Have You Read Any Good Perfumes Lately?

Bookshelf from nextimpact.com

Bookshelf from nextimpact.com

Perfumers don’t compose perfumes, instead they “write” them.  It’s an interesting choice of verb.  If you are one of those people who regard perfume as rather like cooking, then this idea will probably not appeal to you, but it is part of the industry, especially in France where fairly or unfairly, the metaphor for “cooking” in perfumery also exists but in a pejorative sense.  A chemical brew is known as a “soup” and these comprise the majority of releases on the  mass market.  Something may be cooking or stewing at the big oil production houses , but  isn’t being conceptualized, most product has no discernible plot beyond, “Make the sale!”

However perfumers themselves who are concerned with more than the fiendish difficulties of scenting detergent or soap, have a little more leeway, and for them the idea of ideas becomes feasible, even defensible. You get Frederic Malle’s “Editions” de Parfums, for all the world like Hachette or Gallimard. Continue reading

The Organic Perfumers

organicThe year before last a small line of perfumes debuted.  Honore des Pres was going to do it the hard way, they were going to offer perfumes that were not only natural but also organic, and that of course opened up a can of worms for any perfumer working with them.

It’s difficult enough to swear off the chemicals.  Think how small the possibilities become: animalics are nearly impossible, and when you do resort to them, you are left with odd possibilities such as extract of goat hair (yes, I know).  Fruit notes are exceedingly hard because nearly all of them come to us courtesy of the lab, e.g., fructone and friends. So you have trouble with those old faithfuls, the masculine and the fruity floral.  Continue reading