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

Pyramids, lies and mythos of Modern Perfumery

MY-HOUSE-IN-LEFKE-2
From my house in lefke.

If you believe that olfactory pyramids published by the industry are meant to give you information about the ingredients or about the smell of a perfume you are really ingenuous.

Pyramids are but a marketing tool used to persuade you into buying frags.

If you believe that the ingredients listed in the pyramids are in the fragrances you just missed the point. Pyramids are to make you dream a of a wonderful world where perfumes are made with real musk, real amber and real rose…

If it is written “Lavender”, it does is not meant the extract of lavender flowers, it means “lavender note” such as the one you find in dish wash soap. It smells nothing like lavender but it is, let us say, “legal lavender” because if it is not written “Lavender essential oil”, it is a “legal lye”. 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

Sniffapalooza Interview on natural perfumery

freedom

Sailing towards new horizons

For the English interview just click  HERE

The interview features Natural perfumery aims, ethics and philosophy.

AbdesSalaam Attar interview with Raphaella Barkley

Human sweat and perfumery pheromones

Civet easily becomes a pet, but keep your nose away from its behind part

Whoever smelled pure Civet for the first time has wondered how such an odor could enter into a perfume bottle. My first impression was the smell of rotten tooth.
It takes some training to be able to understand Civet perfume, one has to overcome the social olfactory programming that make us classify straight away this odor among stenches.

An infinitesimal dose of Civet can double the longevity of short lived perfumes, and although being in amount so little as to be subliminal, it also add to fragrances a different olfactory dimension, the animal one, and our instinct recognizes it immediately.
This is the reason why the public often prefers the scents that contains civet or other perfumery pheromones over scents who do not.

Human sweat can be a very fascinating smell to a perfumer. A professional  perfumer must approach smells with an unprejudiced nose, or must at least be able to recognize the origin of his liking or not certain smells, and thus be able to evaluate them with an objectivity not given to the general public.
Moreover, a perfumer is always very attentive to the reactions of people to smells, because his aim is to build scents that people will like (and buy). Read more

Ambergris

It is not easy to buy Ambergris even for one who knows it well.

The business is in the hand of very few people who are ready to throw millions of dollars for really big lots. They control the prices and are very fast in travelling to the finding places with the cash payment.
It is a matter of “grab and run”, that often occurs in luxury hotel rooms.
It is certainly dangerous to go around with such big amounts of money, and the life of an Ambergris hunter is surely adventurous and romantic. Read more

Perfume-Therapy

A perfumer who looks for inspiration inside himself is not only necessarily very limited, but he also risks to end up into an ego trip completely incompatible with true inspiration, as by definition inspiration transcends the person who receives it.
I heard Guerlain in an interview saying: “I never “created” a perfume that was not for a woman who really existed and preferably who had a significant importance in my life”.

A real perfume is made for real persons.
The true fount of inspiration for the perfumer is the others, and it is endless.
A perfumer should consider himself as being at the service of others and not as a mythical being worth of admiration.

The worst that could happen to him is to close himself in a world of his own, loosing connection with the reality of the others.
A sound dose of humility is indispensable to be able to progress on the way of learning. 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

Pyramids, lies and mythos of Modern Perfumery

MY-HOUSE-IN-LEFKE-2
From my house in lefke.

If you believe that olfactory pyramids published by the industry are meant to give you information about the ingredients or about the smell of a perfume you are really ingenuous.

Pyramids are but a marketing tool used to persuade you into buying frags.

If you believe that the ingredients listed in the pyramids are in the fragrances you just missed the point. Pyramids are to make you dream a of a wonderful world where perfumes are made with real musk, real amber and real rose…

If it is written “Lavender”, it does is not meant the extract of lavender flowers, it means “lavender note” such as the one you find in dish wash soap. It smells nothing like lavender but it is, let us say, “legal lavender” because if it is not written “Lavender essential oil”, it is a “legal lye”. 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

Sniffapalooza Interview on natural perfumery

freedom

Sailing towards new horizons

For the English interview just click  HERE

The interview features Natural perfumery aims, ethics and philosophy.

AbdesSalaam Attar interview with Raphaella Barkley

Human sweat and perfumery pheromones

Civet easily becomes a pet, but keep your nose away from its behind part

Whoever smelled pure Civet for the first time has wondered how such an odor could enter into a perfume bottle. My first impression was the smell of rotten tooth.
It takes some training to be able to understand Civet perfume, one has to overcome the social olfactory programming that make us classify straight away this odor among stenches.

An infinitesimal dose of Civet can double the longevity of short lived perfumes, and although being in amount so little as to be subliminal, it also add to fragrances a different olfactory dimension, the animal one, and our instinct recognizes it immediately.
This is the reason why the public often prefers the scents that contains civet or other perfumery pheromones over scents who do not.

Human sweat can be a very fascinating smell to a perfumer. A professional  perfumer must approach smells with an unprejudiced nose, or must at least be able to recognize the origin of his liking or not certain smells, and thus be able to evaluate them with an objectivity not given to the general public.
Moreover, a perfumer is always very attentive to the reactions of people to smells, because his aim is to build scents that people will like (and buy). Read more

Ambergris

It is not easy to buy Ambergris even for one who knows it well.

The business is in the hand of very few people who are ready to throw millions of dollars for really big lots. They control the prices and are very fast in travelling to the finding places with the cash payment.
It is a matter of “grab and run”, that often occurs in luxury hotel rooms.
It is certainly dangerous to go around with such big amounts of money, and the life of an Ambergris hunter is surely adventurous and romantic. Read more

Perfume-Therapy

A perfumer who looks for inspiration inside himself is not only necessarily very limited, but he also risks to end up into an ego trip completely incompatible with true inspiration, as by definition inspiration transcends the person who receives it.
I heard Guerlain in an interview saying: “I never “created” a perfume that was not for a woman who really existed and preferably who had a significant importance in my life”.

A real perfume is made for real persons.
The true fount of inspiration for the perfumer is the others, and it is endless.
A perfumer should consider himself as being at the service of others and not as a mythical being worth of admiration.

The worst that could happen to him is to close himself in a world of his own, loosing connection with the reality of the others.
A sound dose of humility is indispensable to be able to progress on the way of learning. Read more