The Meaning of "Sfumato"


Sfumato is an Italian word, meaning “turned to smoke, or vapor.”  This is very appropriate, since almost immediately upon one of our fragrances leaving the confines of its bottle, it turns to vapor.  However, there is a brief moment of suspended liquid droplets as they fly from their glassy imprisonment before embarking toward their inevitable fate, spread across the land and sky to become one with the universe.  Nothingness before and nothingness after, but for those several glorious breaths, Sfumato!!  An incantation to be invoked upon the release of magical liquid symphony potion to join the aether, a moment of chaotic joy, never to be re-captured.

Sfumato is also a painting technique.  It is characterized by subtle shadings, gradual transitions, and a lack of sharp lines.  Sfumato was favored by DaVinci, who described it as “in the manner of smoke, beyond the focus plane (well, ok, he spoke Italian, but that’s what his Italian words would translate to).  Being beyond focus, increased direct attention does not sharpen the perception of sfumato, rather it must be experienced as a hazy impression, glanced at sideways, never focused upon.  Quantification and boundary have their place to be sure, but sometimes it's nicer to keep things a bit inexact and undefined.  This is a fitting title for a company whose scents waver hazily at the edge of conscious awareness, tip-toeing the upper edge of the subconscious.

And thus, after the nothingness before creation, and before the void after desolation, Sfumato.