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A Scent Event: 9 Scentual + Slow Luxury Epiphanies


“…indie perfumers ride high…Artisan fragrances are thriving…

The Guardian, July 2015

We like to define Slow Luxury as a dedicated moment or a lifetime philosophy—–>meditation—–>experience.
The power of artisan scent is that it intriguingly combines both at once.

One autumn Thursday evening in New York City,  Slow Luxury and Cornelia Spa at The Surrey presented a special evening in The Epic Road Series with our Slow Luxury client, Master Perfumer, Maria McElroy.

Maria McElory and Cornelia spa guest

Maria’s bespoke perfumes and those in her AromaM collection are world-renowned for sensory transport.  To honor her newest scent, the Roma-inspired, Voluptuous Nostalgia, we created three sensual havens within the spa, transports to the magical cities of Kyoto, Marrakech, and Roma…and much more.  Above, Maria offers a whiff to Miranda Plunkett with Jessica from the blog, Now Smell This, in the background.


Maria’s scents of desire, Prosecco Superiore, and treats in one of New York City’s best spas attracted guests from the media, the hotel, the perfume world and even actress, Devika Bhise, above.

Here are 9 Scentual + Slow Luxury Epiphanies from the event…best of all, with scent, you can re-create these experiences anywhere you call home!


*1! Prima! Roma!

Setting the stage on a whole wall of an intimate spa room, a film of a butterfly exploring Roma of the 50’s and 60’s unfolded, the campaign designed by House of Cherry Bomb productions, Alexis Karl and Maria for the launch of Maria’s newest scent, Voluptuous Nostalgia. 

Roma! See the American girl with a full polka-dot skirt and oversize Pucci-print sunglasses rides on the back of a Vespa, swerving through the ancient, teaming streets of Rome with her Italian lover, flashing his brilliant smile around every curve.  Secret meetings at the Piazza Navona, gelato at the Trevi Fountain, draped in Fortuny velvet at the Teatro dell’ Opera.
A Roman holiday captured in a bottle.

Voluptuous Nostalgia gives a nod to vintage glamorous Rome, with heady notes of Muget and Gardenia. The ancient scent of Ambergris is evocative of Rome’s antiquity, and Tonka Bean sets the tone for a more modern twist. Amber and Violet combine to add just the right amount of romance. The sensual royal velvet wrap for the perfume says it all!

Try this slow luxury at home: 
You can watch the film here
and buy Voluptuous Nostalgia from Maria’s AromaM collection here.
Sweet Update!  The AromaM collection of perfumes will be offered at Cornelia Spa as of Dec. 1, 2015.

*2    Geisha- Central in Kyoto as Inspiration for a ‘lil well-deserved Slow Luxury

Maria McElroy lived in Japan for seven years and is married to a top sushi chef here in New York City ~ it is these authentic experiences and passion for scent that come alive when one inhales her Geisha fragrances.  Studies in Kodo, the ancient art of fragrance, Ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement Koto, Japanese harp, Shiatsu massage and Zen Buddhism solidified Maria’s appreciation for Japanese culture and aesthetics.  An MFA in painting and a Certification in Aromatherapy from Queensland Institute of Natural Science is the science beyond the beauty.

Maria’s company, AromaM is now based in Brooklyn, New York (of course!) and is known worldwide.

Maria and ....
Maria here with Yoshiko who greeted arriving guests geisha-style.
AromaM perfumes are wrapped in traditional Yuzen paper from Kyoto and each scent is named for a color, evoking ingredients and mood.
Geisha Blanc et Noir
Here are Geisha Noire, a spicy mix that transports to an exotic bazaar and Geisha Blanche, for coolness and evoking the symbolism and sensuality of a Geisha’s white collar.

 Style-snifferA guest gets transported!

Here, Jade Dressler, co-founder of Slow Luxury and event host, between Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin and Tracy Stern, co-chairs of the upcoming American Heart Association Heart Ball for which the evenings’ event supported.
A guest, Mark Merfeld, takes the epic road to slow luxury.
Daisy, Maria, Lucy, Carlos at AromaM event
Maria with guests, Daisy, Lucy Raubertas of the Indieperfumer blog, and Carlos J. Powell of the Brooklyn Fragrance Lover  blog, with Judith Wendell in the background.

*3   Slow Luxury is always non-digital experience!

Slow_luxury-food 2
The event offered a sparking spread of tiny sandwiches, treats and Prosecco Superioire to encourage heart to heart connections.
Ellen and AHA
Here Cornelia owner, Ellen Sackoff speaks with Barbara Poliwoda, Regional Director, Hamptons Heart Ball of the American Heart Association.
Ellen, Maria and ...TBD
Ellen, Maria, and  Mirria DiGiacomo share a laugh.
Sharing scent experiences of all kinds, here Carlos and Suzanne.
Jade Dressler, Barbara Poliwoda and Kelsey Bent of Epic Road.

*4  Travel the Epic Road with Slow Luxury

Kelsey-Epic Road
Kelsey Bent, above, has been instrumental in the recently created partnership between Slow Luxury and Epic Road, the transformative travel company offering exceptional, mind-expansive journeys that inspire, captivate, and thrill.  Awarded as a Travel & Leisure‘s A-List Travel Specialist for 2015, Epic Road creates tailor-made holidays, luxury safaris, and honeymoons in Africa, the Indian Ocean, Asia, the Arctic and Antarctica that combine the planet’s great adventures with thought-provoking experiences related to humanitarian and conservation initiatives.
Stay tuned as more details of our Epic Road and Slow Luxury trip to Marrakech to create bespoke perfume with Maria McElroy are coming soon!
In the meanwhile, Epic Road is offering travel discounts to anyone mentioning “Slow Luxury.”  If wanderlust has been calling, give Epic Road a call and mention the password!
Until then, you can experience on these shores…
Don a caftan, play Talitha Getty and imagine.  Both AromaM and Cornelia offer scentual and healing ways to get there…

*5   Cornelia’s Hematite Treatment for the eyes and transport to Marrakech.


At the event, guests were invited into one of the pristine and soothing treatment rooms of Cornelia to experience the earthy Hematite Healing Eye Massage.  Hematite stones and Cornelia Luminous Eye Complex combined to reduce puffiness and decrease dark circles tender tissue around the eyes, a treatment performed by spa technician, Pilar. 

Morocco actually produces some of the best hematite in the world!

cornelia spa at the surrey

In ancient times, hematite has been called blood stone, for when this stone is deliberately scratched, scraped or polished it bleeds and forms stains that appear like blood. Full of iron, the stone has strong positive charges. The cooling of the stone reduces eye puffiness while the positive charges of the iron (heme) promotes circulation to the eye area forcing out the coagulated blood of dark circles and replacing it with fresh blood flow, improving appearance.  It’s amazing how hematite in its natural state resembles an eye!


Iron, such as found in hematite, is the actual carrier of nourishing oxygen transport throughout the body.  Combined with the ingredients of Cornelia Luminous Eye Complex, including soy and rice bran peptides to dissolve mini-clots responsible for dark circles; and, Resveratrol from the skin, seeds and stems of grapes which brightens skin – this remarkable massage reawakens the eyes.

Guests of the evening could also sample another whiff of Morocco in AromaM’s Camellia Oil which contains Moroccan Rose Oil.



We love this dedication to earthy healing and sweetness reigning at Cornelia Spa, in fact, they start all spa treatments with a tablespoon offering of their signature Cornelia Black Sage Honey from Italy.

Ciao! Back on the Vespa bright-eyed lovers! The next stop on our epic road goes back to those rolling, misty hills of Italy…


*6   Taste Prosecco Superiore for some Slow Luxury.

Prosecco-Superiore-with Alan Tardi

Alan Tardi joined us to offer tastings of Prosecco Superiore DOGG from the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, the birthplace of Prosecco.  He detailed its birthplace, a small area of just 15 villages in the Veneto region between the Dolomite mountains and the sea of Venezia, where vines have been handcrafted for centuries in harmony with the natural surroundings. As Alan explained “Nothing captures La Bella Vita Italiana better than Prosecco Superiore DOCG!”

*7   Book a treatment at Cornelia Spa at The Surrey.

In 2005, Cornelia redefined the day spa model as an urban retreat with the launch of the Cornelia Day Resort on prestigious 5th Avenue in New York City. Today, Cornelia Spa at The Surrey‘s aesthetic and philosophy live on and the brand has become the pillar of excellence in the spa industry.
The elegance and sophisticated edge of The Surrey Hotel (and lobby’s huge face of Kate Moss!) leads to Cornelia’s pristine, yet warm and comforting space.  A dedication to providing the highest level of service delivers the most nurturing and unforgettable spa experience. So urban smart!

Enter the haven!  With Ellen’s artisan background as a fabric designer and her husband, Rick Aidekman‘s savvy business knowledge, all treatments are based upon that kind of rare, individualized artisan approach to beauty and wellness that embodies tradition, attention to detail, and exquisite touch.  Cornelia has been featured in dozens of leading fashion, beauty, and lifestyle publications and on television.  Cornelia’s signature products and services are also offered at Eau Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach and in five-star hotels globally.

*8   Visit The Surrey for the most elegant, chic respite in NYC.


The Surrey
is New York City’s only Relais & Châteaux hotel, owned and operated by Denihan Hospitality Group.  An intimate address on the Upper East Side, just tucked behind Bar Pleiades, with it’s outdoor cafe filled with intriguing guests, it began as a townhouse to the stars of the 1920s and is now a hot 2014 pied-à-terre address.

The location just off Madison Avenue gives international celebrities, style-icons, and art aficionados guests direct access to top fashion houses, restaurants, world-class art institutions and iconic landmarks, while its discreet service allows for calm personal space—“Privately New York.”  The Surrey offers world-class dining by Café Boulud, and an expansive private roof garden. Its 189 exquisite salons and suites were created by Lauren Rottet.

Cornelia-spa-at-the Surrey-roses

*9  The Slow Luxury Mantra: More is Always Coming.

If you missed this scentual event with Maria McElroy, in 2016, Cornelia Spa at The Surrey and Slow Luxury will present the next “Transporting Evenings with Magical People” event as part of the Epic Road Series
Sign up to receive your invitation with a quick email to:
Here, more guests at the event:

Audrey, a scent lover.


Below, hotel guest whose name we didn’t catch, with her “Dog Mary,” whose name we did catch!

Slow Luxury event guests
The hotel guest and Alexis speak of their uncanny meeting in the elevator.
Slow Luxury event guests
These ladies floated through like geisha, quiet, thoughtful, and enjoying.
guest and Alexis
This is Jack Ventimiglia and Alexis.
This is Sonia Lopez transported!
Cornelia spa guests
This is Terry Yoffee and Cara Goldberg.
Here are Lindsay and Christopher Oscar. Yes, her hair matches his shirt.

Maria and Jeffrey Paul.

Larissa, photographer
Thank you to everyone experiencing this Moment of Slow Luxury!  We look forward to sharing more!
 Images: Larissa Nowak, above.
Text: Jade Dressler

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