Posts

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

Philosophy of Perfume (part 1): Bases for a revolution

PerfumeMaster_pyramid

A philosopher is always a revolutionary because he aims at discovering truth and he does so by uncovering and denouncing falsehood.

Philosophy sets  the basics of morals and ethics in whatever field it inquires, because when it reveals truth from falsehood, it reveals also the right from the wrong.
This is also the limits of philosophy,  any philosophy  is worth only the philosopher.

The first thing which is taught to the students who want to enter a Way, a profession, a trade or an art is its ethics and its philosophy.

Guerlain is reported to have said  to perfumery students: “Have simple ideas, work them scrupulously, never cheat on the quality and make good products”.

He said “have simple ideas”, meaning that perfumers should work on simple ideas, because simple ideas are clear and having a clear idea of what one wants to do is indispensable to reach a result diligently and straight to the point. Complicated ideas are wrong because they give birth to no good results.
This sentence is Guerlain’s lesson to perfumers for being practical and have modesty.

“Work them scrupulously”, scrupulosity is the quality of who works meticulously, curing details, thoroughly and rigorously. Scrupulosity bestow to a person the quality of professionalism that belong only to those who do their work with utter seriousness.

The antonym of scrupulosity is carelessness. carelessness is wrong for anybody doing anything. Read more

The natural perfumery trend (part two)

NICHE PERFUMERY

personalized-perfume

Not many years ago there were just 3 official types of perfumery, Vintage, mainstream and Niche perfumery, such as Creed or Lutens.

The last 20 years have witnessed not only the  birth and growth of independent natural perfumers but also the of “New Niche” perfumers,  like Ormonde Jane, Andy Tauer,  Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, etc… ,  who steadily won recognition and reached a level of success superior to that of natural perfumers by proposing a return to the origins of modern perfumery, where the artistry of fragrance resided into the clash or complementarity of synthetics with naturals.
Their success in the niche market has been due to the fact that they were offering  what had totally disappeared from mainstream perfumery and was disappearing from “Old Niche”, creativity, experimentation, new ideas…

All this was happening while mainstream and old niche perfumery were  eliminating naturals not only from their new products but also from their famous classics, reformulating them. Read more

22. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: THE EARACHE

The earache is so widespread in Timbuktu that even I got it after a month. It is probably the desert wind that transports the poisoned dust street into people’s ears. Fortunately before it happened to me, I had a lot of practice with curing the population, so that I did not suffer from it for more that one day. If some day earache should happen to you without any medicines around, simply use warm olive oil inside the ear. This all Italian home remedy functions well, but for aromatherapy and extra efficacy I have always added one drop of lavender essential oil to it.

At the beginning in Timbuktu I continued to successfully cure earache with lavender and olive oil. But since I had brought little lavender with me and I had many patients, my supply ran out quickly, so I thought I had to find a substitute remedy. Read more

21. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: RINGWORMS AND OTHER

tigna1

Ringworm is a disease that affects mostly children. It makes them suffer a lot and the itching is so strong that they scratch their head until it bleeds, sores get enlarged and the pain prevents them from sleeping. Ringworm makes children’s life miserable. Timbuktu hospitals’ or traditional therapists’ remedies are so expensive that most families cannot afford to buy them.
Traditional medicine in Timbuktu is no alternative to hospital for the health problem. The remedies are prepared and sold by the “tradithérapeutes” themselves. They depend entirely on their sale for their living and when they do not overprice them, they convince their patients that their case necessisates several remedies, quickly making a sum that amounts to several days of wages.
In Timbuktu people fear the doctors more than the disease. Read more

Aromatherapy in Timbuktu – Haemorrhoids and headache

vento-di-sabbia
The streets of Timbuktu in a day of sand wind

For a long time doctors have observed strange epidemics of non contagious diseases, for example rheumatism or ulcer. Cosmo–geological causes have been assumed –  that means solar winds or the fluctuations of terrestrial magnetic field. Two years ago in Timbuktu the major disturb I was asked to cure were haemorrhoids. A real epidemic disease. So when I returned this year I brought with me a big supply of a truly miraculous remedy for this problem – the essential oil of cypress.

Use it in its pure form of essential oil (although a bit hot) or diluted in olive oil (40 drops for 8 ml), it has to be used externally every time one goes to toilet. One should clean oneself with water instead of paper tissues, and then apply the product. Results are rapid and definitive. Read more

23. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: THE TOOTHACHE

Ibrahim3

One of the most frequent problems for which people of Timbuktu came to me was toothache.

In Timbuktu dentist is an unaffordable luxury for almost everyone. This fact accompanied by the loss of Islamic traditions, including cleaning teeth five times a day with a brush stick has caused an enormous problem of oral hygiene with dramatic cases of infections and great affliction amongst children and adults.

With aromatherapy the solution to the pain is rather simple – one drop of clove on caries has an immediate analgesic effect. Besides, frequent use of this essence can remove tooth infections and stop caries.

The problem which I stumbled upon was how to put the drop on the tooth when it’s on the upper part of the jaw and how to allow the patient to continue the treatment for next few days alone. Putting the head upside down is not practical and to treat every person in this way would take too much time. Read more

Pages

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

Philosophy of Perfume (part 1): Bases for a revolution

PerfumeMaster_pyramid

A philosopher is always a revolutionary because he aims at discovering truth and he does so by uncovering and denouncing falsehood.

Philosophy sets  the basics of morals and ethics in whatever field it inquires, because when it reveals truth from falsehood, it reveals also the right from the wrong.
This is also the limits of philosophy,  any philosophy  is worth only the philosopher.

The first thing which is taught to the students who want to enter a Way, a profession, a trade or an art is its ethics and its philosophy.

Guerlain is reported to have said  to perfumery students: “Have simple ideas, work them scrupulously, never cheat on the quality and make good products”.

He said “have simple ideas”, meaning that perfumers should work on simple ideas, because simple ideas are clear and having a clear idea of what one wants to do is indispensable to reach a result diligently and straight to the point. Complicated ideas are wrong because they give birth to no good results.
This sentence is Guerlain’s lesson to perfumers for being practical and have modesty.

“Work them scrupulously”, scrupulosity is the quality of who works meticulously, curing details, thoroughly and rigorously. Scrupulosity bestow to a person the quality of professionalism that belong only to those who do their work with utter seriousness.

The antonym of scrupulosity is carelessness. carelessness is wrong for anybody doing anything. Read more

The natural perfumery trend (part two)

NICHE PERFUMERY

personalized-perfume

Not many years ago there were just 3 official types of perfumery, Vintage, mainstream and Niche perfumery, such as Creed or Lutens.

The last 20 years have witnessed not only the  birth and growth of independent natural perfumers but also the of “New Niche” perfumers,  like Ormonde Jane, Andy Tauer,  Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, etc… ,  who steadily won recognition and reached a level of success superior to that of natural perfumers by proposing a return to the origins of modern perfumery, where the artistry of fragrance resided into the clash or complementarity of synthetics with naturals.
Their success in the niche market has been due to the fact that they were offering  what had totally disappeared from mainstream perfumery and was disappearing from “Old Niche”, creativity, experimentation, new ideas…

All this was happening while mainstream and old niche perfumery were  eliminating naturals not only from their new products but also from their famous classics, reformulating them. Read more

22. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: THE EARACHE

The earache is so widespread in Timbuktu that even I got it after a month. It is probably the desert wind that transports the poisoned dust street into people’s ears. Fortunately before it happened to me, I had a lot of practice with curing the population, so that I did not suffer from it for more that one day. If some day earache should happen to you without any medicines around, simply use warm olive oil inside the ear. This all Italian home remedy functions well, but for aromatherapy and extra efficacy I have always added one drop of lavender essential oil to it.

At the beginning in Timbuktu I continued to successfully cure earache with lavender and olive oil. But since I had brought little lavender with me and I had many patients, my supply ran out quickly, so I thought I had to find a substitute remedy. Read more

21. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: RINGWORMS AND OTHER

tigna1

Ringworm is a disease that affects mostly children. It makes them suffer a lot and the itching is so strong that they scratch their head until it bleeds, sores get enlarged and the pain prevents them from sleeping. Ringworm makes children’s life miserable. Timbuktu hospitals’ or traditional therapists’ remedies are so expensive that most families cannot afford to buy them.
Traditional medicine in Timbuktu is no alternative to hospital for the health problem. The remedies are prepared and sold by the “tradithérapeutes” themselves. They depend entirely on their sale for their living and when they do not overprice them, they convince their patients that their case necessisates several remedies, quickly making a sum that amounts to several days of wages.
In Timbuktu people fear the doctors more than the disease. Read more

Aromatherapy in Timbuktu – Haemorrhoids and headache

vento-di-sabbia
The streets of Timbuktu in a day of sand wind

For a long time doctors have observed strange epidemics of non contagious diseases, for example rheumatism or ulcer. Cosmo–geological causes have been assumed –  that means solar winds or the fluctuations of terrestrial magnetic field. Two years ago in Timbuktu the major disturb I was asked to cure were haemorrhoids. A real epidemic disease. So when I returned this year I brought with me a big supply of a truly miraculous remedy for this problem – the essential oil of cypress.

Use it in its pure form of essential oil (although a bit hot) or diluted in olive oil (40 drops for 8 ml), it has to be used externally every time one goes to toilet. One should clean oneself with water instead of paper tissues, and then apply the product. Results are rapid and definitive. Read more

23. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: THE TOOTHACHE

Ibrahim3

One of the most frequent problems for which people of Timbuktu came to me was toothache.

In Timbuktu dentist is an unaffordable luxury for almost everyone. This fact accompanied by the loss of Islamic traditions, including cleaning teeth five times a day with a brush stick has caused an enormous problem of oral hygiene with dramatic cases of infections and great affliction amongst children and adults.

With aromatherapy the solution to the pain is rather simple – one drop of clove on caries has an immediate analgesic effect. Besides, frequent use of this essence can remove tooth infections and stop caries.

The problem which I stumbled upon was how to put the drop on the tooth when it’s on the upper part of the jaw and how to allow the patient to continue the treatment for next few days alone. Putting the head upside down is not practical and to treat every person in this way would take too much time. Read more