Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stagnation: The perfumer's worst enemy

Getting comfortable, playing it safe, rehashing past succeses; these are the symptoms of an artist who has lost the will to innovate and shock - they may lead to a profitable lifestyle but they are also destructive forces which will impede or even reverse personal growth. However, as much as this phenomena can affect established artists (or perfume houses for that matter) it can also be crippling for the novice perfumer. Take me as an example; I hate fruity florals! Bright Crystal? Yuck! Gucci EDP II? barf! Paris Hilton?? say no more...

So why should I ever bother to try and make one? well logically I thought I never should, until last night. You see, it took me years to realize that I am shooting myself in the foot for not poking my nose out of its spicebomb, amber based comfort zone. I had no idea what a freesia even looked like, let alone how it smelled. Despite having some reconstitution, I hadn't even opened the vial since the 3 years ago that I purchased it. Lately however, I had read an article by a famous perfumer (can't remember who now - was it Jean Carles?) who said that a perfumer, to gain great skill must work outside their comfort zone, for instance if one hates vanilla as a note, they MUST in fact try to use it twice as often as the notes they like, for this type of diversity will bring true knowledge.

So in the photo above you can see the fruits of my two-nights labour, my first try at a fruity floral, here are the notes:

Citrus, Grapefruit, Neroli, Berries, Pineapple, Melon, Aldehydes.

Freesia, Tuberose, Ylang, Jasmine, Rose, Iris/Violet

Vanilla, Nuts, White Musks, Sandalwood, Ambergris

I would describe it as a somewhat elegant fruity floral with the melon notes and citral imparting a guava-like fruityness at the top, it is less fruity than the Escada summer offerings and plays highly on the white florals. The base is very comfortable, a creme brulee type vanilla, with foody nuances of nuts. The musk base is also assertive but very comfortable at the same time (tonalide). This is only attempt one, I will soon try a re-work with the addition of davana (more elegance), cedar (a bit colder woods), heliotropin and maybe a touch of saffraleine.


+ Q PERFUME said...

Dear Matt,
according to the sense of smell institute, there are no smells or scents that we like or don´t like. The truth is the subconscious relations we make to this or that scent.
I used to hate hesperides. I never liked critusy perfumes till I met Scale à Portofino e Eau D'Hadrien by Annick Goutal.
I had samples in my closet and I was wearing everything and making a face when thinking of these 2.
More or less 2 s ago I was very sick and I thought citrus notes would make me feel better. Indeed these perfumes are uplifting and I used them for 10 days and they changed my idea of these kind of perfumes.
I will never start a phrase with "I hate..."
Tastes for fragrances change...
I am happy you are having a better attitude and giving yourself the opportunity to enter into notes never loved before:-)
When can i get to smell any of these creations!?!
kissy, Simone

Parfum said...

Yes, thats precisely what I am trying to say with this article, we must learn to move past our pre-conceptions of perfume notes, if not only to broaden our own horizons of preference as perfume appreciators, but also to broaden our skills of working with materials we generally avoid as perfumers.

As for smelling any of my creations, well it will certainly be a while. I am only a student thus far and I am even only at the first few steps of that path. With any luck, maybe in a few short years ;)

+ Q PERFUME said...

nahhhh, you are certainly sending me a 2ml sample of one that will really be a knockout!

Than later....we will see

Parfum said...

If I ever make anything worth releasing to the public you'll be among the first to know ;)