Many thanks for one of the best morning coffee reads in a long, long time. I delayed my vacation to soak up every last word. Your writing is nothing short of brilliant! I, for one, am glad the "real journalists" were unable to attend and that I experienced the magic and energy of the event via your pen.
Thank you so much for the "heads-up" on these upcoming wonders. Your writing really brought the event and the juices to life for me but made me incredibly jealous of your good fortune. My envy will only be sated when I,too, am able to enjoy these gems. Please, tell them to hurry!
Thanks, friends! Yes, it was really one of the high points - if not THE high point - of my fragrant adventures. I began writing as soon as I was out the door and in the cab - I didn't want to forget a thing. I just had to let my fellow perfumistas know what it was like to be in an intimate conversation with these perfumers. I knew that you all would understand - that you would appreciate it, if I could just get it into words. Honestly, it was like meeting up with other scent fans, only these people are even MORE obsessed with scent than we are. It's like they've abandoned all other conventional paths in the world to follow perfumery. It's the common thread in all of their lives. They are extraordinarily dedicated individuals - willing to work very, very hard, anywhere in the world, to create things that smell amazing.
I do wish I could have had more than 7 minutes, to talk about each perfume, but not every reporter in attendance was a fragrance specialist, and I don't think it would have worked for some of them. Many were general fashion reporters - who I still have to say are VERY sharp about fragrance - but they seemed to be looking for a quicker story. So it was probably a good thing. And I did get to schmooze with everybody both before and after the "speed sniffs". We even had a great luncheon, with a lot of discussion about BN, fragrance forums, and similar things.
I felt very satisfied that I had gotten the story I came for. In fact, I don't think I could have soaked up any more information without forgetting my own name, and why I was there!
PS - Will these scents ever see the counter, even in niche lines? It's hard to say. I think we may see things LIKE them, but some of these scents were both very personal, and using some very costly ingredients. Plus, they likely don't fit the exact brief that clients might bring. So, if we are lucky, we will see them, but holding one's breath is not advised. I've tried to give my best description of the scents, so that interested parties out in the commercial world might be led to them. What can I say? They're great scents. I would love for you all to experience these scents.
Cling *virtual lightbulb* never put the 2 of you together, Neil & Redneck Perfumisto LOL
THANK YOU for a wonderful brilliant entertaining and passionate read, I could relate so much with both sides of the table! Whoever calls commercial perfumers like these just 'perfumers following a stupid brief' is a damn fool!
Thanks for the article. I really enjoyed it. It is heartening to me that these artists are being given free reign occasionally, to flex their creative freedom so that their brilliant vision can be given an opportunity to soar.
I'm convinced that a happy medium must be found between marketable and creative in the fragrance industry, as the balance was on the former side for so long. That experimental and personal olfactory art is being supported, even in a minor capacity, by one of the big perfume companies is encouraging and exciting. I am convinced we are living in a golden age of fragrance, during which fragrances can be found for any taste, and at the most reasonable prices ever. This is yet another sign that olfactory art is still on the rise, and getting better, and more refined, with every passing year.
It was a pleasure, Irina and Leesee - so glad you enjoyed it. Irina - I think you bring up something very important. Perfumers clearly put their heart and soul - and an extraordinary amount of effort into their work. Seeing this up close was heartening, but it also made me scared, in a way, for the psychological well-being of these finely tuned and extremely sensitive people. Perhaps this is the eleventh of the ten proofs that perfume is an art - the fact that perfumers most obviously have artistic temperaments and sensitivities. And I would not say to a lesser degree than most artists - I would say to a greater extent. Not surprising that IFF seems to work very hard to keep their perfumers in a good place. This is one of the upsides to working on art in a commercial bubble. I think another one is the exposure of their art. While some constraints of a highly commercial task may be disheartening, the knowledge that millions of men and women smiled earnestly at one's work in the morning - that it may have even been one of the best moments of their entire day - that is probably deeply satisfying.
MonkeyBars - I agree with everything you said. I particularly agree that this may be a golden age (knock on wood). In fact, I think that if fragrance takes all the right turns at this moment, it could be the beginning of really big and really long golden age (knock twice on wood). But people will need to do the right thing on all fronts. These things don't come easy. Chandler Burr did the right thing, putting art before self in going to his new gig. But even as consumers, we can do this. Let's say that Breads 'n' Roses shows up, probably under a more marketable name. Let's say it showed up with the rose intact - some of the best rose in the world. Would we pay the price, as consumers? Would we give it the love it deserves? It's every bit as great as Égoïste - maybe more, because it's immediately relevant to the market. Would we walk in and pay an "Exclusif" price? Or even stylistically - would we men (and I'm pointing especially at American fragrance fans) wear rose to work and push the fashion envelope? Would we carry the banner of a new trend? What if "D&G the one rose gentleman EDP" was a rose scent more or less like Pascal's scent? Would we let it die like Le Feu or Bulgari Black, or would we make it the next big thing? That's why I say this - WE have a responsibility too, to support innovative designer scents when they happen. If we don't, then we aren't pulling our weight in expanding the offerings.
Sorry for the soapbox (which is admittedly a digression to propagandize those listening in on our discussion) but - yes, MonkeyBars! Yes, yes, yes! :smiley:
Just read your article and the responses. Thank You. What a fantastic experience, and a great dialogue....and hey, don't apologise for getting up onto your soapbox. That is like apologising for your passion. Get back up there!
Thank you - Great reportage! Stayed positive and gave us hope that there is still a lot of fun times to look forward too with "out of the box style" scents. More importantly that these artistic talents are being encouraged to create and innovate as individuals. Looking forward to a bright future for the Fragrance industry in general.
Thank you for one of the most enlightening and joyful essays on this fine art that I have ever read.
What a blast it must have been to be right in amongst it all with these people and their work - fantastic! Do let us know when/if any of these perfumes surface so we can check them out - narcissus, the black hole, bread and Turkish Rose . . . cool.
Thank you so much for sharing your once-in-a-lifetime experience here Red. I always enjoy your rich and thought-provoking writing, but this really was a treat! Here's hoping that these wonderful, original perfumers' ideas make it onto the market in some form true to their original inspirations, and please do let us all know if you ever hear whispers of this happening in the future. And yes, here's hoping for a new "golden age" of perfumery born from our tiredness of mediocrity and our yearning for glorious things with guts and souls.
Well, I'm struggling to think of something to say that has not already been said . . . one of the earliest comments was that this article made a perfect coffee morning read: well I can tell you that it worked just as well for filling the Martini hour (accompanied in my case by a large martini made with Sloane's excellent gin).
I met today with a magazine editor who has agreed to take a regular series of articles from me on matters perfumery. After reading this I find myself a little intimidated.
I'm a perfumer and fancy I'm quite good at it. After reading this I find myself a little intimidated.
It is difficult to know what to appreciate more - the fine evocative writing or the deeply creative fragrances and highly skilled perfumers that are being written about - either way I'm very pleased to have had the opportunity to experience the passion.