Our Story

John Harpo Harding

In 1983 John Harding discovered he possessed a rare talent. He was what perfumers call a Nose (French: le nez) due to their fine sense of smell and skill in producing olfactory compositions. He discovered he could formulate the multiple oils at the root of every designer perfume.

John's first store (Essense) opened on Newbury Street in Boston and in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 80s.

Boston Magazine recognized Essense as the best perfume house in the city in their “The Best of Boston" issue.

Since 1991, the business has operated exclusively on Nantucket—the historical whaling center where ambergris oil was first used in perfumery.  Over thirty five years of successful operation in the fragrance industry is testimony to his professional diligence.

The Harding Family and the staff of Nantucket Perfume Co wish to thank our many friends for their outpouring of sympathy when John died unexpectedly in 2019. For those who loved him, no trip to the island was complete without seeing John and experiencing his perfume artistry. 

Today, John's wife Patricia Harding and their daughter Caroline (who inherited his nose) keep his memory alive in every interaction with both long-standing customers and new friends.