Interview with Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes

ZeldaDo you have a smell from childhood that you loved-anything from your Mom’s perfume to your dog’s paws-and what was it?

The smell of sleepy warm kittens in the sun.  My grandmother’s bottle of Tabu by Dana.  The fragrance of hot rice boiling on the stove.  Nestle’s chocolate chips in a small ceramic ramekin.

 Are you a synesthete, do you “visualize” odors, or “taste” colors, and does it affect your output? 

Yes, each fragrance ingredient and accord is perceived as a specific color.  I have thoughts along the lines of, “This accord needs more blue”, (or white, or green, etc.)

The indigo accord of lapis lazuli, violet ink, and Parma violets, is significant to the new fragrance of Indigo Vanilla (to be released in May, 2014), and is a perfect example of my synesthesia, as well as my wish to share it with others.

How do you see people using your perfumes, as accessories, personal signatures, or therapeutically? Continue reading

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Magic in Carmel: The World of Shelley Waddington

Sleeping Nude for zELDAYou don’t associate Carmel with enchantment.  Just south of Monterey, you associate Carmel with shoreline and views of the Pacific, magic-not so much.  However, one of the more interesting independent US perfumers lives and produces there, Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes. She has a style.  This is a very simple way of putting it but bear with me. When you are used to industrial perfumes, coming across arresting artisanal work is like tasting micro-brewery beer when all you’ve ever drunk was Miller Lite: a revelation.  That is what you get with Shelley Waddington’s scents, revelations. Continue reading

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Sage Machado Interview

California beachWhat follows is the questionnaire I gave to a number of US perfumers, and their answers.  First up is Sage Machado, who good naturedly agreed to this interview. Continue reading

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California Chic : Sage Machado

Girl in HammockSomeone once remarked that there are only two state names that function as adjectives when combined with the word “girl”: California and Jersey.   The US may produce 50 states worth of women but for all intents and purposes only California and Jersey contain immediately recognizable types of them.

Jersey is not the chic one. Unfortunately.  I should know, I live here, but California is  an entirely different matter.  We all want to be California girls, or all have at some point in our lives.  California is not only a style but more importantly, Continue reading

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American Perfumers

Liberty tree

Next month to celebrate being a US citizen in a more cheerful way than filing taxes, I thought it might be fun to do a series of pieces and some interviews on and with US perfumers.

It’s been on my mind for some time that this needed to be done.  No one enjoys classic French perfume more than I do, but the changes brought about by IFRA regulations are having an undeniably stultifying effect on European perfumes, and market pressures are leading to a kind of lock step similarity in releases. It seems to me that the future of perfumery may be partially in the US. Continue reading

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Florals that Define Us

freesia for spring post

Is there a particular flower scent that is your signature floral? Something you return to over and over and find addictive, something that speaks to you on a molecular level especially in spring time?  Of course I know we’re supposed to be lovers of orientals, or florals, or chypres, and identifiable by all sorts of methods, but really, all of us have a floral that does a lot of our self definition for us even more effectively than pant cuts,  skirt lengths, or color choices, and that we return to with the warm weather, just like swallows to Capistrano. Continue reading

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Smells Like a Rainshower


impressionist rainshowerDid aquatics begin with Apres l’Ondee?  We are all habituated now to the inclusion of Calone and other such chemical diluents in out fragrances to simulate water, everything but the kitchen sink and the faucet since L’Eau d’Issey, but what about a hundred and ten years ago?

Continue reading

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Caribbean Crocus

crocus for saffron post

There seem to be almost no crocus yet this year in New Jersey.  Spring is so late here that I begin to think the whole spring floral show will be truncated, which is something that almost never happens. Spring will be less seasonal panoply than a botched Buzby Berkeley number, with the daffodils stumbling into the middle of the crocuses’ act.    Normally there is a week in between the chorus lines of yellow, white, and purple, on front lawns and the Can Can petticoat whirling dance of King Alfred and Ice Follies daffodils. Not this year.  This year we will have one of those brisk Springs, that zip bulging 80 degree temperatures into weeks designed for 50 degree weather.  But this is North America, and sometimes the cues for seasonal show times get mixed up, as though an addled stage manager and not Mother Nature were in charge. Continue reading

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Hyacinths in the Air

still life with hyacinthIn Britain it might be bluebells, but here in North America one of the best clues that Spring has really arrived, is this scent: grassy, pervasive, and fresh.  When I smell it a cascade of images always runs down the surface of my mind: Easter services I’ve sat through in buttermilk colored southern churches, huge bouquets in white wicker baskets, bristling with pink, blue, and yellow hyacinths in front of altar rails, and the bowls of faience pottery we always had at home, with forced hyacinth bulbs in them every March. These last, just because. As my Mother said, we were good and tired of winter. Continue reading

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More Powder to You: Luctor et Emergo and Farnesiana

woman powderingTo powder or not to powder?  It’s not even a question of the nose, no matter how shiny, but of what wafts off your skin.  Powder these days carries with it the suggestion of the infantile. I bet this has to do with a major brand of baby powder co-opting what must have been a popular scent of the thirties or forties, and sending it, in millions of talc bottles, to nurseries around the world with the result that when we smell powder, we tend to say, “Oh, that’s for babies.”  Continue reading

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