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Luca Turin on Natural Perfumery

By courtesy of Luca Turin

NZZ Folio 4/06

Duftnote

Natural Perfumery

There are now officially four kinds of perfumery: normal, niche, vintage and natural. Normal is what you find everywhere; niche is what you hope others won’t find; vintage is what you find only if you know what to look for. Where’s the natural stuff ? In health stores, next to the rock-salt lamps. They carry aromatherapy oils, so people have had access to a wide range of plant extracts previously accessible only to perfumers. This happened at a time when this wonderful-smelling stuff has almost disappeared from the mainstream. The big six perfumery firms are aromachemicals manufacturers, and it is in their interest to keep naturals, with their attendant problems of price and quality fluctuations, to a bare minimum. Just how bare that minimum can be has become clear in the last five years, during which the cost of a «fine fragrance» formulation has gone down by half and the quality by nine tenths. Good perfumes have almost disappeared: there are 500 launches each year, but only a dozen are worth smelling twice.

Capitalism hates a vacuum: by popular request, aromatherapists have started composing fragrances. Unsurprisingly, their creations are supposed to be Good For You. This marketing strategy is no worse than the usual «Wear this and every man/woman will lust after you», and just as easy to disprove empirically. But never mind the therapy, how’s the aroma? I recently received a sampler of the work of several US-based natural perfumers. Some were inept. Some were imitations of well-worn themes, i.e. recipes lifted from a book, competently executed with natural materials. Some were not natural at all, either knowingly (crooks are uniformly distributed among the population) or unknowingly (including among fragrance suppliers).

But a tiny number smelled good in a surprisingly new way. I’ve always believed perfumery is virtual cuisine, not pornography for the nostril, and these fragrances confirmed this. Natural perfumery may be waiting for another Guerlain, armed not with vanilla, but this time with a spice no-one outside Szechuan Province has yet heard of. But hasn’t all this all been done already before the invention of chemistry? Surprisingly, no. Serious natural perfumery was indigenous to only a handful of countries, each using a small number of traditional ingredients. New extraction methods and global trade now conspire to provide an unprecedented palette. Natural perfumers claim not to be bound by the aesthetic criteria of classical perfumery: if it survives EU regulations and New Age nonsense, their art may yet deliver on this promise.

Luca Turin

From www-x.nzz.ch/folio/curr/articles/parfum_engl.html

the_guide_turin_sanchez

Luca Turin on Ambergris

Luca Turin on our perfumes

AbdesSalaam Attar on Natural Perfumery

Subliminal dose

Subliminal dose

In a perfume, the ingredients that are not smelled are more important than the ones that are smelled.

I once had a customer who loved my perfumes but he could not stand any fragrance containing Rose. Even in those where it was present in such a small proportion that no one could smell it, he would say “there is rose”. I think that he had been traumatized during childhood, either by a nasty aunt wearing rose perfume of by a painful experience in a rose garden.

My last fragrance “Milano Caffé” illustrates very well the “subliminal dose” concept

Read more

Why Luca Turin stopped his quarterly updates to The Guide?

the_guide_turin_sanchez

It is always a pleasure to speak with Luca, of course I did not ask him directly why he and Tania had stopped but rather I expressed how much I missed his reviews.

He told me that I could not imagine how boring and deluding it was to smell 2000 perfumes a year, 1500 of which were totally inept.

I imagine he would love to write epic reviews about great fragrances, about perfumes that would inspire to him new parables and analogies, that would make him imagine new words and concepts, that would allow him use his great culture to describe the subtle and strange harmonies of scents. Instead of that he became tired of always having to find new “vacheries” (nastinesses) for products of fine perfumery barely worthy of being shampoo fragrances.

Read more

Olfactory theories, Luca Turin speaks…

Two different olfactory theories. Do we smell the shapes or the vibrations of molecules?

Explained in a brilliant humoristic way by Luca Turin himself.

New essences from Australia

fire-tree

New essential oils are just arriving to me from Australia, Eco Sandalwood and Fire Tree.

Australian Sandalwood is precious to me as a substitute to Mysore Sandalwood. Not only a minor quantity is enough to have the top and heart note of Sandalwood in a fragrance, but it costs also a lot less than the Mysore.
It does not have the clean and very special drydown of the Mysore, but this is not very important because the delicate smell of the Mysore sandalwood dry down would be lost in most of the fragrances a perfumer can make, except if he were to use synthetic Santalol in heavy dose.
Australian Sandalwood is farmed, just like the Mysore, it’s availability is anyway limited but one may always buy a few hundred kilos if need be, while this would be very difficult with the Mysore. This is definitly an advantage for a natural perfumer who wants to be ready for big opportunities.

Read more

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Luca Turin on Natural Perfumery

By courtesy of Luca Turin

NZZ Folio 4/06

Duftnote

Natural Perfumery

There are now officially four kinds of perfumery: normal, niche, vintage and natural. Normal is what you find everywhere; niche is what you hope others won’t find; vintage is what you find only if you know what to look for. Where’s the natural stuff ? In health stores, next to the rock-salt lamps. They carry aromatherapy oils, so people have had access to a wide range of plant extracts previously accessible only to perfumers. This happened at a time when this wonderful-smelling stuff has almost disappeared from the mainstream. The big six perfumery firms are aromachemicals manufacturers, and it is in their interest to keep naturals, with their attendant problems of price and quality fluctuations, to a bare minimum. Just how bare that minimum can be has become clear in the last five years, during which the cost of a «fine fragrance» formulation has gone down by half and the quality by nine tenths. Good perfumes have almost disappeared: there are 500 launches each year, but only a dozen are worth smelling twice.

Capitalism hates a vacuum: by popular request, aromatherapists have started composing fragrances. Unsurprisingly, their creations are supposed to be Good For You. This marketing strategy is no worse than the usual «Wear this and every man/woman will lust after you», and just as easy to disprove empirically. But never mind the therapy, how’s the aroma? I recently received a sampler of the work of several US-based natural perfumers. Some were inept. Some were imitations of well-worn themes, i.e. recipes lifted from a book, competently executed with natural materials. Some were not natural at all, either knowingly (crooks are uniformly distributed among the population) or unknowingly (including among fragrance suppliers).

But a tiny number smelled good in a surprisingly new way. I’ve always believed perfumery is virtual cuisine, not pornography for the nostril, and these fragrances confirmed this. Natural perfumery may be waiting for another Guerlain, armed not with vanilla, but this time with a spice no-one outside Szechuan Province has yet heard of. But hasn’t all this all been done already before the invention of chemistry? Surprisingly, no. Serious natural perfumery was indigenous to only a handful of countries, each using a small number of traditional ingredients. New extraction methods and global trade now conspire to provide an unprecedented palette. Natural perfumers claim not to be bound by the aesthetic criteria of classical perfumery: if it survives EU regulations and New Age nonsense, their art may yet deliver on this promise.

Luca Turin

From www-x.nzz.ch/folio/curr/articles/parfum_engl.html

the_guide_turin_sanchez

Luca Turin on Ambergris

Luca Turin on our perfumes

AbdesSalaam Attar on Natural Perfumery

Subliminal dose

Subliminal dose

In a perfume, the ingredients that are not smelled are more important than the ones that are smelled.

I once had a customer who loved my perfumes but he could not stand any fragrance containing Rose. Even in those where it was present in such a small proportion that no one could smell it, he would say “there is rose”. I think that he had been traumatized during childhood, either by a nasty aunt wearing rose perfume of by a painful experience in a rose garden.

My last fragrance “Milano Caffé” illustrates very well the “subliminal dose” concept

Read more

Why Luca Turin stopped his quarterly updates to The Guide?

the_guide_turin_sanchez

It is always a pleasure to speak with Luca, of course I did not ask him directly why he and Tania had stopped but rather I expressed how much I missed his reviews.

He told me that I could not imagine how boring and deluding it was to smell 2000 perfumes a year, 1500 of which were totally inept.

I imagine he would love to write epic reviews about great fragrances, about perfumes that would inspire to him new parables and analogies, that would make him imagine new words and concepts, that would allow him use his great culture to describe the subtle and strange harmonies of scents. Instead of that he became tired of always having to find new “vacheries” (nastinesses) for products of fine perfumery barely worthy of being shampoo fragrances.

Read more

Olfactory theories, Luca Turin speaks…

Two different olfactory theories. Do we smell the shapes or the vibrations of molecules?

Explained in a brilliant humoristic way by Luca Turin himself.

New essences from Australia

fire-tree

New essential oils are just arriving to me from Australia, Eco Sandalwood and Fire Tree.

Australian Sandalwood is precious to me as a substitute to Mysore Sandalwood. Not only a minor quantity is enough to have the top and heart note of Sandalwood in a fragrance, but it costs also a lot less than the Mysore.
It does not have the clean and very special drydown of the Mysore, but this is not very important because the delicate smell of the Mysore sandalwood dry down would be lost in most of the fragrances a perfumer can make, except if he were to use synthetic Santalol in heavy dose.
Australian Sandalwood is farmed, just like the Mysore, it’s availability is anyway limited but one may always buy a few hundred kilos if need be, while this would be very difficult with the Mysore. This is definitly an advantage for a natural perfumer who wants to be ready for big opportunities.

Read more