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.
So there follows for all of April, blog posts about the perfumers who have created their own styles and lines in America, sometimes using specifically American references and sometimes not. What is interesting is that each perfumer has developed a style of his or her own, and created scents that are the equals of department store fragrances in quality and subtlety. We may have been dealing with a cruder approach from domestic producers in the past, but these days the work of American perfumers rivals what is put out by fashion designers and often surpasses what is on the mass market. If you don’t know the lines of some of these creative people, you should.
In all cases except for two, I purchased my own samples so that readers can rest assured that what I’ve written is my own opinion. I threw one interesting twist into the process. Although I ordered from nearly all of these perfumers, I asked them to make their own selections of what they considered the most interesting or innovative fragrances in their lines. The results have been arresting, as I’ve been able to try compositions I might not have thought of trying on my own. For fun I’ve paired each perfumer with an American artist whose work seems appropriate to their house style.
The actual line up here is truncated only by time constraints, and one of those periodic disasters that the real estate market visits upon all of us. I wrote this series while juggling house re-decoration and marketing and have not been able therefore to include every perfumer I would have preferred to, but the results are worth it all the same.
At the end of each post I include a list of the scents that I think are the technical standouts, and also for no good reason the one I loved, and where known the perfumer’s best seller, so that readers can get a sense of where to begin with each line. Sometimes I had to guess at notes, and may be off, but have tried to give a faithful account of the progression of every fragrance.
So April is a month full of American scents and their creators, and I hope readers enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed the process of sampling the perfumes and asking the questions. You see the perfumers working in the US now are as sophisticated, well traveled, and thoughtful as their counterparts anywhere else. There really is a New World out there.