On the Scent: Laura Tonatto

Have you ever been convinced that you were hyper-sensitive?  Not like my older sister who was an easy target for anyone clichè enough to say "Four Eyes".  I mean acute X-Men/ Spidey senses sensitive?  Obviously, I was and felt my special sense was smell- thanks to Patrick Suskind's Perfume*, a wicked novel about a man born without any personal scent yet with the ability to identify and recreate every scent in the world.  Yes, I eventually realized that I was no budding Grenouille- neither the need nor the nose did I have.   And I resolved that no one really had a nose that fine. Apparently, they do, and one of the perfume world's best noses has just opened a boutique in Rome.  Enter:  Laura Tonatto, a parfumeuse from Torino who has been creating personal perfumes for twenty-five years.  Her famous creations include scents for Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia, and several fashion houses, as well as her own collection.

After talking with her daugher Diletta, I am convinced Laura is a 21st century Grenouille.  She's considered a natural nose, who previously had no background in perfume until a post-university pausa in Cairo, where she began apprenticing in a maestro's parfumerie.  Of course, she was led to Grasse- bookworms will remember that Grenouille notoriously spent time there as well- and from there, the world.  And now Rome with her one-of-a-kind boutique.  Along with its collection of perfumes and scents (all beautiful and long lasting- I stil smell like a Taif rose!), there is an olfactory museum.  Yes, a museum within where the focus is not rare roses and redolent woods, but paintings, film and literature which are paired with scent inspirations.  Think about inhaling a Caravaggio. . .

Tomorrow evening,  her eponymous boutique officially blooms: 6:30pm, Piazza di Pietra 41

*please do not compare the book with the movie by Tom Tykwer whose Run Lola Run was fabulous but this was not.