Greenpoint’s Natural Greenery Inspires Conservation-Minded Butterfly Perfume

Butterfly Set via Euphorium Brooklyn
Butterfly Set via Euphorium Brooklyn

Greenpoint sports a lot of green. From McCarren Park to the G train, our slice of north Brooklyn is colorful. In fact, Greenpoint’s natural greenery has inspired Euphorium Brooklyn’s newest fragrance, Butterfly. Ten years ago, when olfactory artist and perfumer Stephen Dirkes moved into a loft on Commercial Street, he noticed that the weeds and wild flora growing on the banks of the Newtown Creek supported something stunning: the annual Monarch Butterfly migration between Canada and Mexico. Each year, the butterflies descend on the northern reaches of Greenpoint, heralding summer and bringing a spectacular natural grace to the industrial waterfront.

Stephen notes that while Newtown Creek’s wild plant life might be “a peculiar starting point to develop a fragrance palette, butterflies have done a remarkable job of curating a wide range of fragrant floral, mint, grass, & herbaceous notes for a perfumer to work with.”

And the fine fragrance world is all aflutter over Butterfly. Reviews call it “bright, clear and sparkling…unearthly and ethereal” and mark it as the go-to scent of the summer. But, Butterfly didn’t begin as a fragrance. Instead, it started as a local conservation effort.

When Greenpoint’s zoning laws changed, new development began to spring up on the water’s edge, where plants once grew undisturbed. Suddenly, the Monarch’s migratory path faced peril, and Stephen began researching butterfly gardens as a way to help sustain the natural habitat. Now, Stephen’s made it possible for anyone to be an armchair conservationist!

A month after launching Butterfly in the high-end perfume world, Euphorium Brooklyn launched the scent in collaboration with botanical partners including the North Carolina Arboretum, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and the Washington DC Botanical Garden. The special set, available at Twisted Lily, includes both the perfume and a special seed packet “curated to sustain butterfly life and habitat,” so you can create your own butterfly garden.

Stephen says the most important plant in the mix is the milkweed, because the Monarchs use it to nest in. But you’ll find much more than milkweed in your seed set. The packet, which also sports butterfly bush, lavender, violet, marigold, mint, sage, and a variety of nectar flowers, includes a wider variety of plants than you’ll find in the fragrance itself, because Stephen hopes to distribute the environmental effort far and wide. He explains, given the seed packet’s variety, “no matter where you are in the US, something will grow, so anyone can be a citizen environmentalist.”

Here in Greenpoint, Stephen suggests planting your seeds in a place where they’re not likely to be disturbed, such as a parking lot where weeds and wild plants are already growing.

About Lucie Levine

Lucie Levine is the founder of Archive on Parade, a local tour and event company that aims to take New York’s fascinating history out of the archives and into the streets. She’s a Native New Yorker, licensed New York City tour guide, and freelance writer with a passion for the city’s social, political and cultural history.

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