Thursday, July 30, 2009

Souvenirs from the Osmotheque: Parfums Disparu

Here is a photo of great pile of samples of "parfums disparu" brought back from the Ostmotheque in Versailles. Each perfume is sprayed on the evaluation strip, its name written on the cardstock - They are then they are individually enclosed in miniature envelopes as not to evaporate from the strips too quickly. In addition to perfumes, there are a number of strips which are just scented with individual raw materials, such as the banned "isoeugenol" or naturals like vetiver, patchouli etc. These strips were brought back to me by my business partner who was able to meet with Mr. Kerleo at the Osmotheque earlier this summer. The strips still smelled very fresh thanks to the little envelopes and there are a number of absolute gems that I had been dieing to try! My business partner also got the chance to sit in a great lecture led by Mr. Kerleo as he frantically wrote down everything he could, filling almost an entire small notebook! He received around 50 samples, but I will mention a few that I found most exciting (some of which I already have in perfume form in my slow-growing reference library)

Houbigant - Quelques Fleurs

Eau de la Reine d'Hongrie

Parfum Royale

Eau Sans Pareille

Iris Gris

Arpege (as it once was)

Rose de Grasse (raw material)

Monday, July 27, 2009

News from the rumour mill...

It has been made known to me that Aramis may be doing some rebranding soon, the SA I talked to said the representative reportedly would not discuss the fate of all the fragrances, hinting that something may possibly be lost?

We will wait and see... be watchful over the next couple months if you have any Aramis favourites

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A note for 2010 : Sweat

I have been experimenting with various ideas in "the lab" over the past few days and an interesting blend I have come up with is a very transparent, liquid and synthetic feeling amber perfume. The perfume was a bizarre intellectual exercise to begin with, so I asked myself how can I give this more of a natural "feeling", in a completely unconventional manner?

Then the answer came to me, I chose to build in the most natural thing of all, a sweat note! I did a quick search on Basenotes and found no perfumes currently listed as containing such a note - so I started to think about how I would go about constructing it. By using materials which are commonly used to create the salty atmosphere of the sea side, I instead used them to create the salty/mineral air of sweat. These materials paired with just a touch of cumin seed essential oil have resulted in the most interesting sweat note I could have imagined! Since I will be in no position whatsoever to put this into a commercial formula anytime soon, I am wondering if any perfumers every stumble across my blog? (ya right! I wish...) - but if anyone out there reads this, its certainly something I'd love to see further developed by someone more knowledgeable - maybe this idea would suit someones niche project nicely for 2010 ? I mean after all we already have secretions magnifiques ;)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fragrant Innovation from Peugot !

Here is a fragrant innovation from French automaker Peugot - an air freshening perfume diffuser fitted onto the dashboards of numerous versions of the 207 and 308 model cars. It is integrated into the dash and perfumes the passenger compartment to a desired intensity via the use of the air circulation. The perfumes offered from Peugot are reported to have been developed in partnership with a major French perfumer and offer "anti-tobacco" qualities - two birds with one stone. There are a number of perfumes offered from Peugot and it is very easy to change perfumes while keeping the cartridge already begun for later use, one must simply slide in and out as shown in the illustration above!

Knowing me, the first thing I would do is rip a cartridge apart and figure out how to refill it with Ambre Sultan or Royal English Leather :)

(car incense burner offered by "MingChina" on E-bay)

I wonder if this particular innovation from Peugot was at least partly inspired by the growing popularity of these portable incense burners that gain their power through the cigarette lighter of your vehicle. I have one and have used it to burn some nice quality agarwoods and sandalwoods on the way to classes, meetings etc - I would prefer not to have my entire vehicles cabin filled with smoke though ;)

Dior - What were they thinking ?

Do you ever have one of those moments where you just stop and say to yourself "what were they thinking??" - well I definitely had the feeling with this Dior ad for Eau Sauvage from 2001. I totally do not see this advertisement connecting in any way with the target audience! Thank goodness they followed it up quickly with another more traditional ad, and not too long after with a superb flanker "Fraicheur Cuir".

Heres another ad which may have had people wondering - why a man in a womens perfume ad? the reason being that it is in fact not an official Gucci ad, but an unofficial ad placed by a prankster in a Swiss magazine and billed directly to the Gucci company!! Wild!! The prankster was eventually caught but the two page spread did run for one issue in 2007 :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A tip for novice perfumers for evaluating a mystery formula

Here's just a quick tip that I would like to share with the other student perfumers out there. I did not learn this from my school or lessons but I have thought of it myself. In this case if there is some flaw with my logic I would appreciate if someone more knowledgeable could send me a note so that I don't keep this posting up... However this is a technique that has worked for me and helped me alot in my studies :)

If you are trying to evaluate a mystery formula, meaning that you do not know the ingredients -like a commercial formula etc, I always find it helpful to splash a little water on where I have sprayed the fragrance on my skin. This works on the same premise as aftershaves, since they contain alot of water... The scent is "amplified" but much less lasting, due to the water making the molecules want to escape faster. Used in conjunction with other methods such as selective nose fatigueing this can be a great tool for figuring out minor details and microaccords. Selective fatiguing should not be done often however, so use this information at your own risk :)

Asking Questions: Lancome Magnifique

The newest release by Lancome - Magnifique, is my favourite fragrance (niche/mainstream or otherwise) released in the past year. It is perfectly balanced with the most curious, sweet, exotic and deep aroma! I am not yet the proud owner of one of the beautiful red flacons although I cannot help myself in testing it everytime I am near a perfume counter!

Today while taking a quick look through the mall I decided to ask some questions to the Lancome representative. Despite receiving less then great press on the internet the fragrance is selling well at both counters that I inquired at, with the largest 100ml bottle being the most popular. This is supported by the fact that I have not yet seen it discounted anywhere, nor is the Ebay price deeply discounted. According to the friendly Lancome SA, the demographic amongst which Magnifique is most popular is middle aged women, however surprisingly (but not surprisingly to me!) the second demographic group is actually middle aged men! Apparently sales are minimal to nonexistant in the younger demographic (18-25), which is a shame because I believe it would sell at least moderately well in this category if there was a sales push from the representatives at the counter. Lancome can be considered by many to be "their mother's" fragrance (Tresor) but Magnifique is equal in quality and innovation to many niche brands (and definitely surpasses some!). I believe it is an excellent fragrance for a young man or woman who is a trend setter or someone who has a taste for Middle Eastern style perfumery.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Some quick perfume reviews ( Memento Venice, Moschino Glamour, VC&A Feerie )

I havent been posting much lately as my involvement in the industry is taking up extraordinary amounts of my time (sleep has become a luxury) - but I started this blog with the intention to continue writing it over the long term, so I will pop in a few impressions I had of some perfumes today. I was supplied with a generous amount of samples from my favourite SA at my local Holt Renfrew counter, a few of which I was moved by. Two of the stars from today were new releases from Memento and Moschino, Venice and Glamour respectively. I will start with my favourite:
Moschino Glamour (official pyramid as per the literature on the sample card):

Top Notes: Mandarin flower, sea salt flower accord, absinthe

Heart Notes: catteleya orchid, hibiscus, waterlily

Drydown Notes: White Musk, Amber, Cedar Wood

( Glamour also has a really cool tester vial, check out the applicator stick! )
As per my nose, I detect mainly a fruity note in the opening, reminiscent of ripe apple/damascones and sharpened by citrus. I believe the sea salt note is achieved with a material named Maritima which I have used in a few of my formulas. The wormwood mentioned in the notes does give it a classy natural feel upon application. I detect a touch of mandarin aldehyde which contributes not only a sweet candy mandarine note but also an overtone of cilantro. To comment on the style of the perfume, it is quintessential Moschino, excellently put together with ferocious diffusion/sillage. Fans of previous releases by the house will feel right at home wearing Glamour, as there is something familiar about it, yet it manages to unique new and fresh at the same time. This is an extremely sexy perfume! The heart note are strongly in the direction of the orchid and exotic flowers via the use of salicylates, which follow into a strong sweet base of cedar amber and coumarine. The base is both strong in presence, and also solid in construction meaning that it does not fall apart on the skin as many modern formulas do. The real miracle of this perfume is the aquatic feeling which is brilliantly weaved into the formula and very lasting - four stars

Memento - Venice

I had not heard of this new line until today when I picked up the sparsely marked plain rectangular bottle on the counter. As soon as I saw its basic white label and arial font markings juxtaposed against the gimmicky bottles of the designer releases, I knew I would be in for a surprise! I tried Sicily first actually, but I will write about the second scent available from this line; Venice. The bottle is curiously marked September 22nd 2007 8am Vaporetto to Lido di Venecia and it can be bit hard at first to locate the name of the producer! The official notes list is as follows:

sea breeze
star anise
black rush
sand accord

We're looking at alot of the familiar aquatic/ripe melon helional-calone accord against a sweet vanillin/ambery and woody base which is very apparent upon initial application (bottom heavy). As the perfume dries down all the components become very soft, velvety woods, powdery amber, soft vanilla absolute - its really very good. The top also has a very well-done salty marine accord. This is a brilliant fragrance that calls to my mind a seabreeze on a bright but slightly overcast day. It is not the sea in the sun but rather during more comfortable weather :) The heart of this perfume is a bouquet of orchid, muguet, rose and jasmine - to which the official scent pyramid designates the word "peony". When the perfume settles on the skin the quality of the raw materials becomes apparent. I do not know much about this line or the perfumer, but both fragrances (Sicily and Venice) have piqued my interest in this brand and I will find out more! The line is very interesting to me as the sister fragrance uses agarwood in its composition, but breaks away from the "oud" style completely! This brand seems to me a very fresh concept in both formulation and marketing/presentation, I like it - also four stars

The third perfume which I will talk about, but more briefly, is Feerie by VC&A. I have been a long time fan of First and Tsar and the house does not disappoint with its latest release either! This perfume is certainly a statement against the cookie cutter fragrances of late. I won't talk much about it but I do recommend it to anyone :)

I also tried the line of Cereus perfumes for women today, but there is nothing to talk about - mostly washing detergent in a pretty bottle - don't bother!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Im crying over bar soap and spray deo

Although bar soaps, after shave lotions and natural spray deodorants (for me; Obsession and Eau Sauvage) have become severely more limited in distribution over the past few years, I have only really started to notice and feel sad about it this morning. Up until today finding these ancillary products for my favourite perfumes was like a fun treasure hunt - it was like playing a game to uncover them in smaller perfume shoppes around my city and region. Now that stocks have pretty much dried up and SA's can only shake their head from side to side when I ask for special orders, its starting to become outright annoying and depressing. The brick wall of reality has hit me. Whats up with balms and shower gels anyways ? how did the big companies manage to convince us that cheap shower gel products are superior to quality milled soaps - to the point that 99% of consumers would rather pay the same price and receive the shower gel instead?

The world we live in is bizarre sometimes, I have had SA's explain to me that people find shower gels more convenient - why ? because they leak all over your expensive luggage? and because you have to rub your hands together slightly less? maybe its because soap takes a minute or two to dry, if you don't have the carrying case that is...

I'm sorry if this post sounds a bit bitter, but I've been dealing with alot of stress and "b.s." in and out of the perfume world lately :) I guess it just got "bottled up" ha!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Follow up to the perfume sketch

Just here to write a quick follow up about my last post, the perfume skeleton sketch. I've learned the same lesson for the 1000th time in my life now - I wonder if I'll remember it this time.

KISS - Keep it simple stupid

I've managed to get much better results by cutting my list down approximately 1/3rd in size and trying again. The result is that my test tube is now unmistakeably filled with the scent of this classic perfume.

On the skin it is evident there is still some ways to go, but its getting there. too much helional...

Take away lesson: always start by trying to balance the most important ingredients first :D

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

a sketch of a popular perfume (formula)

I'm trying to re-assemble a popular perfume. Here is a sketch of it thus far (percentages omitted)...

After about an hour of tweaking, I have taken it far enough to the point that I am satisfied for a night's work. I will come back to it again in a few days as it settles, and there are a few other items on a shortlist that I think maybe be used in the actual formula which I have not added yet...

iso super e
vertofix coeur
ethyl heptanoate

I guess it shouldn't be too hard to figure out what it is, if anyone would like to take a stab at a guess via the comment box please don't hesitate to post your answers :)