Lonestar Memories: Colombina on Perfumesmellingthings. (...)Lonestar Memories makes me want to escape the mundane confines of my everyday world(...)


Lonestar Memories: Katie on Scentzilla. (...) Lonestar Memories smells of the examined life. Inside there is joy, and there is tiny heartbreak, e xisting only in reverie. The scent unravels into the consideration of past experiences, and pinings for future joys and heartbreaks(...)


Lonestar Memories: Marlen Harrison's review on PerfumeCritic.com (...) If you're a lover of leather or richer wood fragrances, this is gonna be a holy grail scent and in that case, better get two bottles.(...)


Lonestar Memories: Cait Shortell's review on Legerdenez. (...) Do you appreciate scent because you identify with the scent and its image? Does a scent have the ability to create a memory outside one’s own experience?(...)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Explaining things, poodles in the garden and a rose in Nirvana

I often compare perfumery with painting, a perfumer being a painter working with scents, trying to find the perfect form and colour. From time to time I feel attracted to working in 2 dimensions with colours, too. I like to work with oil based paint, mixing yellow with ultramarine and producing shades of green. I love the smell of sesame oil, and the thick slurry finding its way to the canvas where it ultimately will render the image of …. a lemon! Ha…and everyone will say: “yeah, that’s a lemon”. Cool! And if they don’t recognize it… then it’s abstract. ”yeah, that’s kind of modern. Cool!”

Now, in perfumery things are not that easy in a first approximation, especially if working with naturals. Staying with the colours analogy: Although there are thousands of shades of –let’s say- green, at the end of the day you mix yellow and blue and what you get is: Green. What do you get if you mix rose absolute with pepper essential oil? A peppery rose, a rosy pepper, eventually, if you do it right, an accord which is new and more than just the individual components overlaid. This new accord, however, will be received very differently by individuals. You might describe the perfume note by stating that it is rose with pepper, but this does not explain things to perfume lovers.


What is a spicy flower for the one, will be the scent of the family poodle after a day in the summer garden for others. Now, fur as scent carrier, including human being’s hair, that’s another topic for a lengthy post; it is just amazing how long and intense some scents are conserved in fur. Try it out: Spray your eau de toilette on your hair… it will last for ever. Thus, the fur of my mom’s poodle smelled wonderfully of dog (dry variant), fresh earth and spring last Monday afternoon after a one hour walk in the nearby woods.

But back to the accord thing….I realized this point again lately, when cruising on Colombina’s wonderful perfumesmellingthings blog, where she was slightly disappointed about some (missing) notes, expecting a particular note based on the ingredients list of a fragrance. And I came across this point when doing my reading about client’s expectations of le Maroc pour elle on perfumes of life and other platforms, which I love to do… it is always enlightening. Perfume lovers discussed there on the rose of Le Maroc, their expectations and what the scent was like. Thus, with all its lovely (and lots of) rose absolute (from Morocco and from Bulgaria), Le Maroc pour elle is not a rose scent. The rose absolute with its hundreds of components is there and it is not. It is a rose which has undergone a mystical (and chemical) transformation, it is a rose in Nirvana, in the garden Eden, where it is blooming in new forms and colours.
Thus, where is the point in describing what’s in it anyway, you might ask….

5 Comments:

Blogger Jenny said...

Dear Andy, you are so right here. In perfumes one and one doesn't make two but three! Blending two scents doesn't mean that the result will smell like the two scents you put together but it will form a whole new scent. Like linalool(you could use Rosewood) and vanilla will give a chocolate scent or benzyl acetate(a jasmin like scent) with methyl ionone(a violet like scent) will give a raspberry note. Jellinek explained in his book how the scent of ripe apples, cotton candy, butter and fresh grass wil give a strawberry scent when it is used in the right proportions, so the individual notes are no longer recognizable.
That's the fun site of the creation of perfume you will never know the outcome of the mix of all the scents together you will be suprised sometimes.

2:41 AM  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

I will sniff Le Maroc soon I hope!

11:47 AM  
Blogger andy said...

Dear Jenny
Yes, isn't this amazing... it is like alchemy or chemistry. Starting with an innocent white powder, add a clear liquid to it, let it stand and cook and bang you have something blue, stinky or otherwise intersting....
The best thing about it... It is an endless learning process. We will never be bored in our life, I guess.
Dear Leopoldo
I hope you will like it... it is for sure different in comparison to the L'air du désert. Very feminine, with this woody touch... I love it...but hardly ever wear it, I have to admit, I love the L'air on my skin. Please, let me (us) know what you think about it...

12:36 PM  
Blogger Anya said...

You bring up several interesting points, Andy. May I as if you have rigorously tested yourself, say, for instance, using the Carles method, of comparison via the contrast method, and then moving on to the family method? It is very rigorous, and takes years (I am glad for my age and decades of study ;-) but knowing the olfactive qualities and strengths of the individual elements helps one predict what the finished product will smell like. You create in your brain first, then formulate. Just my way of doing it, and it works for me. When I come across new aromatics, previously unavailable, but now produced to meet the increasing demand of perfumers for "a new scent", I immediately start the rigorous testing, contrasing and looking for the family (example: my jasmine sambac and auriculatum dilutions, made from my garden flowers.)

As Carles, Roudnitska and others have said just blending stuff you find pleasant is not the route to perfumery. That is more aromatherapy, not perfumery. You must be familiar with all the scents, know them blindfolded, the sweet and the foul, and know how they will interact. When I read your blog, I always have the sense of an artistic scientist at work, so I highly suspect you use this method, too ;-) perhaps in a modified form. Daily discipline and repetitiveness are everything in perfumery whether you are born that way or not, you must adhere to them.

Second point, close to my heart -- the utterly neutral, comforting scent of a poodle. Did you know that poodles do not create the dander and protein that causes allergies, and that they do not shed? You were walking with a living scent strip, and were able to appreciate the clarity and trueness of the springtime.

Third: The ladies of the East have know of the scent-holding properties of the hair for centuries, we Westerners are just catching up. Ylang ylang and jasmine flowers are most often used, frequently rolled up in the hair at night, brushed out in the morning. I also will dab some perfume on the neckline of a dress I'm wearing if the dress pattern will conceal the drops or spray: the scent lasts for a day or more.

7:14 AM  
Blogger andy said...

Dear Anya
I loved your "walking with a living scent strip". That was exactly what I thought. I even thought of kipnapping my mom's poodle and have it stroll around in my hyacinths...
Seriously. Jean Carles was a true master and -based on my limited knowledge- he was very, very educated and even with his smelling sense deteriorating he was able to create fragrances purely in his mind. I am far away from this geniality. I may try to work like he did, but have still to go a long way.
Finally: I feel also very attracted to Daltroff. like an impressionist he dared to work with the most difficult notes and I love what he loved, too: Galbanum, clove, tough, rough leather notes, quinoleines...

In one point, I think, you are very, very right: The repetitiveness is important, training of one's senses and a certain stubborness, to keep on going and try yet another time to reach your image in mind.

12:50 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home