The Case For Complexity - Opinion piece

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
Complexity of a fragrance was likely the primary reason that I became a Perfumer. I wanted complexity to wear for myself. The scents that I found on the market at the time, and from the recently previous 1990’s Sports fragrances, were not something that interested me. I wanted the scent that I wore to be “Orchestral”; multi-textured, layered, and evolving scents that told a story over time, and not that were simplistic or even Johnny one note scents. I was probably looking for scents to wear in the wrong place, in the early 2000’s, when I went looking for great and complex men’s scents for myself. But because I didn’t find scents that I liked, or also in the case of those 1990’s Men’s Sports fragrances, that all had the exact same basenote that gave me a headache, I decided to try to make a scent for myself that I liked, was Orchestral in complexity, and that I wasn’t allergic to.

Currently, I find the market saturated with simplistic and bombastic scents for both Men and Women, scents that are characterized by a lack of elegance using massively overdosed cheap key ingredients that don’t conflict with the constantly moving target of IFRA compliance, and the desire to make dirt cheap fragrances. The IFRA issues have driven working Perfumers and their employers to avoid materials that are restricted, because the anticipation is that the restriction could likely turn into a ban, and then the fragrance may need to be scrapped. The IFRA restrictions have scrapped use of naturals that lend their own layers of complexity to a fragrance formulation, and also, use of Naturals have been scrapped because Perfumes need to be as cheap as possible.

Both issues have driven a dumbing down of fragrances on the market, making scents less complex and orchestral, and leading Perfumers down the erroneous road to simplicity, because it is easier not to have to fight the tiger. The erroneous line that comes out of the Big Fragrance houses, is that the restrictions offer an opportunity at creativity ***because of the restrictions. That’s just a bunch of hogwash.

The reality is that Perfumers have been bullied into compliant formulations, and therefore settle on making simplistic scents because it is easier not to fight for what you really want to make, beautiful, full bodied, and complex fragrances.

When a scent is just one single molecule, when a scent is comprised to be 93% of just six molecules, when the bean counters giving you the Perfume’s budget make you ignore broad spectrum naturals that lend complexity, this is just ignorance driving the horse, not the beauty of materials driving the buggy. This is not creativity, this is not what Perfumery has historically been, which has been driven by Beauty instead of fear; this is the downflow of being bullied into compliance, and the desire to keep your job and play by the supposed “rules”, resulting in a dearth of complexity. Indeed, IFRA compliance is completely driven by Fear, not by Safety.

I’m glad that to date, I have been self-employed, following my self-education as a Perfumer.

I have not had to knuckle under to intimidation by the Perfume Industry or bean counters dictating policies based on fear.

When can complexity in the design of fragrances return to the wider Perfume industry?

I suppose the answer is that complexity can return when Fear is drastically reduced or eliminated, allowing Beauty to be the end goal, instead of compliance with some set of rules based on Fear.



My work as a Perfumer has been known for complexity, and it seems to stand in contrast to many scents on the market whose specialty is indeed simplicity.
 

RomanB

Super Member
Oct 22, 2022
Same happens not only in perfumery, but in other areas of art such as painting. All oil painting was based on lead white pigment, it was on every palette for six centuries. Old paintings survive because drying oils make complexes with lead ions which are stable. All other white pigments have problems: zinc white makes brittle paint layers which age at accelerated rate. Titanium white is protocatalytic and degrades everything around it. So, when lead was severely regulated, manufacturers of Lead White pigment went out of business, and now oil painting is beheaded. Paintings from our days will not survive for centuries. There is no rationality in such total prohibitions: people don’t chew Rembrandt’s paintings to be poisoned by lead.
I think a possible solution is to persuade drug cartels to make Lead White paints for artists and distribute them through their dealers.
 

gimmegreen

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 20, 2012
Well said! - 'orchestral' is just the kind of perfume I want to encounter, and wear - except from time to time when I need a soothing simple little something, say before going to bed. But nowadays such perfumes are almost completely in the domain of indy perfumers. You could go through 1,000 new mainstream offering and maybe just find 2. That is just tragic. Sure there are a lot of perfumes with shouty bases now but they are a far cry from exciting, pleasing complexity.
 

parker25mv

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 12, 2016
I think part of the issue here is that, it seems, most all of the best smelling molecules seem to prone to skin sensitisation, hence IFRA restrictions.

Many of those naturals (especially when it comes to base notes) contain component constituents that cannot easily be replicated, yet that natural substance may also contain too much of other components that are IFRA restricted, limiting the amount of natural that can be used.

Keep in mind all these fragrances have to be designed for a smaller segment of the population who have more sensitive skin and are more allergenic. So if the fragrance is perfectly suitable for 70% of the population, that is not good enough. (Especially in the modern age with strict government regulation, one-size-fits-all cookie cutter policies, and out of control lawsuits)

It is off topic, but I have been thinking, maybe they should make two different versions of fragrance - one designed to be put on skin, and the other designed to only be sprayed on the outer surface of clothes. The two versions could be sold in pairs and designed to work together.
 

Darren Alan

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 20, 2019
Complexity of a fragrance was likely the primary reason that I became a Perfumer. I wanted complexity to wear for myself. The scents that I found on the market at the time, and from the recently previous 1990’s Sports fragrances, were not something that interested me. I wanted the scent that I wore to be “Orchestral”; multi-textured, layered, and evolving scents that told a story over time, and not that were simplistic or even Johnny one note scents. I was probably looking for scents to wear in the wrong place, in the early 2000’s, when I went looking for great and complex men’s scents for myself. But because I didn’t find scents that I liked, or also in the case of those 1990’s Men’s Sports fragrances, that all had the exact same basenote that gave me a headache, I decided to try to make a scent for myself that I liked, was Orchestral in complexity, and that I wasn’t allergic to.

Currently, I find the market saturated with simplistic and bombastic scents for both Men and Women, scents that are characterized by a lack of elegance using massively overdosed cheap key ingredients that don’t conflict with the constantly moving target of IFRA compliance, and the desire to make dirt cheap fragrances. The IFRA issues have driven working Perfumers and their employers to avoid materials that are restricted, because the anticipation is that the restriction could likely turn into a ban, and then the fragrance may need to be scrapped. The IFRA restrictions have scrapped use of naturals that lend their own layers of complexity to a fragrance formulation, and also, use of Naturals have been scrapped because Perfumes need to be as cheap as possible.

Both issues have driven a dumbing down of fragrances on the market, making scents less complex and orchestral, and leading Perfumers down the erroneous road to simplicity, because it is easier not to have to fight the tiger. The erroneous line that comes out of the Big Fragrance houses, is that the restrictions offer an opportunity at creativity ***because of the restrictions. That’s just a bunch of hogwash.

The reality is that Perfumers have been bullied into compliant formulations, and therefore settle on making simplistic scents because it is easier not to fight for what you really want to make, beautiful, full bodied, and complex fragrances.

When a scent is just one single molecule, when a scent is comprised to be 93% of just six molecules, when the bean counters giving you the Perfume’s budget make you ignore broad spectrum naturals that lend complexity, this is just ignorance driving the horse, not the beauty of materials driving the buggy. This is not creativity, this is not what Perfumery has historically been, which has been driven by Beauty instead of fear; this is the downflow of being bullied into compliance, and the desire to keep your job and play by the supposed “rules”, resulting in a dearth of complexity. Indeed, IFRA compliance is completely driven by Fear, not by Safety.

I’m glad that to date, I have been self-employed, following my self-education as a Perfumer.

I have not had to knuckle under to intimidation by the Perfume Industry or bean counters dictating policies based on fear.

When can complexity in the design of fragrances return to the wider Perfume industry?

I suppose the answer is that complexity can return when Fear is drastically reduced or eliminated, allowing Beauty to be the end goal, instead of compliance with some set of rules based on Fear.



My work as a Perfumer has been known for complexity, and it seems to stand in contrast to many scents on the market whose specialty is indeed simplicity.
Very well written Paul. I couldn’t agree with you more! I too tend to create more “orchestral” fragrances…most of them are composed in a vintage style…but working primarily as an independent/artisanal perfumer, I too have the luxury of not being restricted by a corporate brief & I can choose whether or not IFRA restrictions will apply to my fragrances or not.

I adore using naturals and am constantly amazed at their complexity & nuance and I appreciate their ability to lend a fullness and richness to a composition that is not always obtainable with synthetics alone.

The texture they bring to a composition is unique and would be a struggle to create in situations where the client wants to keep the material cost to under a dollar per bottle….. another issue I believe has pushed the use of naturals to the side is merely the changing taste of the American consumer.

With the explosion of bath & body products in the 90’s…I’ve noticed a trend in the fragrance industry of moving toward more simple compositions that lack depth & complexity and focus on clean & freshly-showered fragrances. Of course there is always the exception, but looking at the industry as a whole one can clearly see that trend.

Hopefully with the recent interest in the past few years with artisan/indie perfumery, new & budding perfumers will continue to emerge who will challenge this sanitized commercial fragrance genre & offer more complex & orchestral (I love that term!) choices for the discerning consumer.
 

jfrater

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jun 2, 2005
I am definitely down for complexity. But there is also a time and place for simplicity. My favourite vetiver perfume (aside from the best Vetiver on the marker: Frater Vetiver) has five ingredients. It is a golden age perfume. Coty's Fougeraie Crepuscule was more than 40% one base (albeit with around 15 materials in it). But you have to love the velvetiness that some of the Clive Christian perfumes have. Give me that over BR any day!
 

jfrater

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jun 2, 2005
Oh one more thing - I was very pleasantly surprised to smell Le Lion by Chanel Exclusifs recently and it is the first time in a very long time that I smelt a mainstream brand releasing a perfume that had the sense of the old school richness we love in classic perfumery. Olivier Polge really surprised me with this one.
 

jsweet

Basenotes Member
Sep 16, 2021
The way you describe the impact of regulatory limitations on commercial perfumery as simplification seems correct. But it relates to other market forces than IFRA. You have to look at the UK and EU bodies that IFRA responds to, among other regulators. You also have to look at the impossibility of sustaining a supply of naturals, and plenty of synthetics, to meet the global demands of commercial perfumery.

Supply chain disruption has been a driving force of this simplification moreso than IFRA, and for much longer. There have always been large pressures for houses to shy away from materials due to unreliable sourcing. Why hold out hope that the Indonesian patchouli crop will yield sufficiently when you could rely on more dependable synthetics developed by multinationals? I guess all of this to say that the market forces causing the simplification can't neatly be blamed on IFRA, as much of a fun punching bag as they can be. The profit motive behind commercial perfumery alone is a debilitating limitation that can be credited for the dumbing down of perfumes more than supposed external regulation. It isn't IFRA that limits the use of sandalwood, jasmine absolute, real neroli eo, etc, after all. This is the market.

Finally, I have certain individual molecules that smell far more complex that the Sport fragrances you mention. A formulation need not contain hundreds of different raw materials to smell complex.
 

Casper_grassy

Basenotes Dependent
May 5, 2020
I think part of the issue here is that, it seems, most all of the best smelling molecules seem to prone to skin sensitisation, hence IFRA restrictions.

Many of those naturals (especially when it comes to base notes) contain component constituents that cannot easily be replicated, yet that natural substance may also contain too much of other components that are IFRA restricted, limiting the amount of natural that can be used.

Keep in mind all these fragrances have to be designed for a smaller segment of the population who have more sensitive skin and are more allergenic. So if the fragrance is perfectly suitable for 70% of the population, that is not good enough. (Especially in the modern age with strict government regulation, one-size-fits-all cookie cutter policies, and out of control lawsuits)

It is off topic, but I have been thinking, maybe they should make two different versions of fragrance - one designed to be put on skin, and the other designed to only be sprayed on the outer surface of clothes. The two versions could be sold in pairs and designed to work together.
I agree with this except for I genuinely believe that 70% you mention is much closer to 90-95% if not more.

It’s like in elementary school where there was always that one asshole kid who ruined a potentially good day for everyone.
 

jfrater

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jun 2, 2005
The way you describe the impact of regulatory limitations on commercial perfumery as simplification seems correct. But it relates to other market forces than IFRA. You have to look at the UK and EU bodies that IFRA responds to, among other regulators. You also have to look at the impossibility of sustaining a supply of naturals, and plenty of synthetics, to meet the global demands of commercial perfumery.

Supply chain disruption has been a driving force of this simplification moreso than IFRA, and for much longer. There have always been large pressures for houses to shy away from materials due to unreliable sourcing. Why hold out hope that the Indonesian patchouli crop will yield sufficiently when you could rely on more dependable synthetics developed by multinationals? I guess all of this to say that the market forces causing the simplification can't neatly be blamed on IFRA, as much of a fun punching bag as they can be. The profit motive behind commercial perfumery alone is a debilitating limitation that can be credited for the dumbing down of perfumes more than supposed external regulation. It isn't IFRA that limits the use of sandalwood, jasmine absolute, real neroli eo, etc, after all. This is the market.

Finally, I have certain individual molecules that smell far more complex that the Sport fragrances you mention. A formulation need not contain hundreds of different raw materials to smell complex.
IFRA does have a restriction on jasmine absolute - 0.6% Jasmin Grandiflorum (French jasmine) and 3.8% on Sambac.
 

Bmaster

Super Member
Sep 24, 2021
Thanks for your testimony Paul. I will quickly add that in order for complexity to work, it requires exceptional perfuming skills. It’s so easy to produce mud if you don’t know what’s doing what. IMO complexity is what separates the poor quality fragrances to true luxury scents. Without having profound fragrance experience/sampling, the lay person assumes what they may own is superior.

I’ve had many friends and family misconstrue musks as a finished perfume. We know this is not usually the only constituent used in perfumes. I’ve developed better perfumes with an insignificant amount of musks compared to with musks alone.

One last note, I’m actively working on a tobacco themed cologne with currently 19 constituents in the accord. As each component plays a critical role, it has a plethora of room to increase the complexity and thereby resulting in an improvement in overall beauty.
 

polysom

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 4, 2021
Complexity of a ...
I like your writing, Paul. This reads like a nice magazine article. And I fully agree with you. In addition, I think to make a good complex perfume you need to be a very skilled perfumer. So I assume a commercial perfumer who is only allowed to make simplistic scents, could be bored with his work.
 

jsweet

Basenotes Member
Sep 16, 2021
IFRA does have a restriction on jasmine absolute - 0.6% Jasmin Grandiflorum (French jasmine) and 3.8% on Sambac.
Yes, and this illustrates that IFRA contributes to the simplification, undeniably, as the absolute must be supplemented with more monotonal synethics to produce the effect of a larger dose. The point I was making was that the increasingly prohibitive pricing on bedrock raw materials also contributes to the same supplementation with simpler synthetics, and has all along, as we have seen with the history of bases.
 

ScentAle

Basenotes Junkie
Oct 26, 2021
Thanks for your expertise thoughts Paul.
I think that now too much often many brands, make too simplistic and not surprising fragrances, too much "generic perfumes", maybe because need so less time for make and with experience can be not that hard, meanwhile for specific and unique blends, can become crazy for years, and seems that now unluckyness all have to be in hurry.
There are perfumes that cost 300 dollars and sincerely the price is total unfair for the non complexity, not unicity, no resonance. Viva the complexity and the long study always will have advantages for me.
 

REB80

New member
Mar 30, 2021
I find that there is an irony in this opinion piece. You have sought, due to your own allergy to components of certain fragrances, as well as personal tastes in more orchestral and complex fragrance, to pursue a lifetime of education, hard work, dedication, and ultimately passing on that knowledge on this DIY forum. It has been, I can only assume, a very gratifying though challenging process to become a perfumer, self-taught, and hopefully self-supported by dint of your work and talent.

Ironically, you rail at IFRA and regulation and make assumptions as to the malevolent intent of these agencies but do not apply the same work and education to solve the problem. I make no claim as to what drives them, but while my avocation is perfumery, my vocation is as a physician and I can assure you, there is nothing trite or banal about harming others en masse or individually, accidentally or on purpose through one’s actions and work.

Lead, as an example given by RomanB, was omnipresent, lending it’s name to plumbing as lead pipes (plumbum in Latin) were the first to be used for indoor plumbing by the Roman Empire, and used in paints, makeup, food, etc. Unfortunately, lead is toxic, especially to children as it bio-accumulates in their bones and teeth when in too-high levels for the body to rid itself of, and poisons and ultimately kills them.

The lead, in your paintbrush or on a Rembrandt may be innocuous assuming you don’t lick the paint, or get it on yourself in anyway, and when cleaning your brush, you dispose of it responsibly, but lead particulate matter can accumulate in soil, on hair, clothing, and elsewhere ultimately poisoning people not just through paint. If there is a way to educate and work as a group to find responsible ways to use lead, getting licensure and responsible use education, then perhaps the splendor of painting of yore can be restored.

Similarly, if Paul wants, and many people mirror this wish, to use materials restricted by IFRA in fragrances due to minor or major issues with people being hurt by these materials, then seek to label them so individuals can decide for themselves if fragrances can or cannot be worn. Petition medical practices to have a list of fragrance allergens and some form of test people can get, then ensure labelling is adequate, so people are liberated through your knowledge rather than simply complaining. Work and education, not complaining about bureaucracy is what meaningfully changes policy and improves matters for all of us.

Additionally, and as a related aside, the fragrance manufacturing industry is extremely wasteful and toxic in their production as well as R&D environmentally and it would be penny wise and pound foolish to not ensure the environmental friendliness of not just the process but materials themselves - the industry is beginning to create environmentally friendlier products and processes due to the public’s demands. Perhaps galaxolide is a wonderful musk, but if there is a biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternative, such as romandalide, then it’s OK with me to put up without it, no matter how lovely is smells.

We should widen our awareness of how we influence those around us, not just ourselves. If you want to pour a vial of pure oak moss absolute from 1996 onto yourself at home, that’s your business and will smell marvelous, but when that leaves the home, someone hugs you and gets hurt by that action, it’s no longer worth it if you ask me. We should find out if it’s safe or not, why and how, then take action, not complain, as experts, educators, and passionate sensualists.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
I find that there is an irony in this opinion piece. You have sought, due to your own allergy to components of certain fragrances, as well as personal tastes in more orchestral and complex fragrance, to pursue a lifetime of education, hard work, dedication, and ultimately passing on that knowledge on this DIY forum. It has been, I can only assume, a very gratifying though challenging process to become a perfumer, self-taught, and hopefully self-supported by dint of your work and talent.

Ironically, you rail at IFRA and regulation and make assumptions as to the malevolent intent of these agencies but do not apply the same work and education to solve the problem. I make no claim as to what drives them, but while my avocation is perfumery, my vocation is as a physician and I can assure you, there is nothing trite or banal about harming others en masse or individually, accidentally or on purpose through one’s actions and work.

Lead, as an example given by RomanB, was omnipresent, lending it’s name to plumbing as lead pipes (plumbum in Latin) were the first to be used for indoor plumbing by the Roman Empire, and used in paints, makeup, food, etc. Unfortunately, lead is toxic, especially to children as it bio-accumulates in their bones and teeth when in too-high levels for the body to rid itself of, and poisons and ultimately kills them.

The lead, in your paintbrush or on a Rembrandt may be innocuous assuming you don’t lick the paint, or get it on yourself in anyway, and when cleaning your brush, you dispose of it responsibly, but lead particulate matter can accumulate in soil, on hair, clothing, and elsewhere ultimately poisoning people not just through paint. If there is a way to educate and work as a group to find responsible ways to use lead, getting licensure and responsible use education, then perhaps the splendor of painting of yore can be restored.

Similarly, if Paul wants, and many people mirror this wish, to use materials restricted by IFRA in fragrances due to minor or major issues with people being hurt by these materials, then seek to label them so individuals can decide for themselves if fragrances can or cannot be worn. Petition medical practices to have a list of fragrance allergens and some form of test people can get, then ensure labelling is adequate, so people are liberated through your knowledge rather than simply complaining. Work and education, not complaining about bureaucracy is what meaningfully changes policy and improves matters for all of us.

Additionally, and as a related aside, the fragrance manufacturing industry is extremely wasteful and toxic in their production as well as R&D environmentally and it would be penny wise and pound foolish to not ensure the environmental friendliness of not just the process but materials themselves - the industry is beginning to create environmentally friendlier products and processes due to the public’s demands. Perhaps galaxolide is a wonderful musk, but if there is a biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternative, such as romandalide, then it’s OK with me to put up without it, no matter how lovely is smells.

We should widen our awareness of how we influence those around us, not just ourselves. If you want to pour a vial of pure oak moss absolute from 1996 onto yourself at home, that’s your business and will smell marvelous, but when that leaves the home, someone hugs you and gets hurt by that action, it’s no longer worth it if you ask me. We should find out if it’s safe or not, why and how, then take action, not complain, as experts, educators, and passionate sensualists.
There's a lot of absurd hyperbole & flat-out falsehoods in this post. For example, using lead poisoning as an analogy for skin irritation caused by aromamaterials is grossly hyperbolic. As another example, no one who hugs someone wearing an aromamaterial that could cause irritation to the skin of the wearer is being harmed.
 

RomanB

Super Member
Oct 22, 2022
There's a lot of absurd hyperbole & flat-out falsehoods in this post. For example, using lead poisoning as an analogy for skin irritation caused by aromamaterials is grossly hyperbolic. As another example, no one who hugs someone wearing an aromamaterial that could cause irritation to the skin of the wearer is being harmed.
Ironically, lead-containing products are regulated in the very same way as some widespread aromachemicals.
 

jfrater

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jun 2, 2005
to use materials restricted by IFRA in fragrances

Please note that IFRA simply suggests limits on use - it doesn't outright prohibit most materials (though it does recommend prohibiting some obviously). The EU outlaws those chemicals they deem to be actualy dangerous to health and the methods they use to determine the danger is questionable according to some views. We must comply with the law but that doesn't mean we must trust that bureaucrats are making good decisions in their legislating and we are free, if we wish, to lobby against those decisions. Paul's point is quite valid on that I think.

Also, just to illustrate how silly a lot of the rule making is, let's say we make a perfume with 0.6% jasmine oil (the IFRA reccomendation). Person A wears three sprays, person B wears ten. There is such a diversity in the methods of wear with perfume that what is the point of that 0.6% recommendation? It is arbitrary and so, IMHO, pointless.

If peanuts can go in food (knowingly deadly to some people) and the only requirement is a small label saying "contains peanuts", the same should be true of perfume. "Contains flowers." Or perhaps more simply: "Contains Perfume". Oh wait . . .

due to the public’s demands
I think, more correctly, it is a media-driven capaign by lobbying groups to give the impression of public support. In many of these "public demands it" industries, companies are begining to collapse as there is no demand to match the perception the media is creating to sell clicks.
 

jsweet

Basenotes Member
Sep 16, 2021
I think, more correctly, it is a media-driven capaign by lobbying groups to give the impression of public support. In many of these "public demands it" industries, companies are begining to collapse as there is no demand to match the perception the media is creating to sell clicks.
Yes, but we need to be clear who is seeking to drive the entire market: 3 corporations. All of these changes happen with their acquiescence or, to put differently, a regulatory limitation on lilial and lyral is not something that hurts the profits of Firmenich, Givaudan, and IFF. Far from it. Look no further than Firmenich's promotional blitz for Hivernal, Lilyflor, Beyond Hivernal, Beyond Lilyflor, etc. Bans on commonly available materials push demand for more valuable intellectual property held by these corporations (among a small few others). The regulations and media blitzes that go behind them need to be considered in conjunction with the fact that patents and intellectual property are the most lucrative parts of the industry.
 

jfrater

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jun 2, 2005
Yes, but we need to be clear who is seeking to drive the entire market: 3 corporations. All of these changes happen with their acquiescence or, to put differently, a regulatory limitation on lilial and lyral is not something that hurts the profits of Firmenich, Givaudan, and IFF. Far from it. Look no further than Firmenich's promotional blitz for Hivernal, Lilyflor, Beyond Hivernal, Beyond Lilyflor, etc. Bans on commonly available materials push demand for more valuable intellectual property held by these corporations (among a small few others). The regulations and media blitzes that go behind them need to be considered in conjunction with the fact that patents and intellectual property are the most lucrative parts of the industry.
You are absolutely right - I was speaking more to the environmental point - for example the huge media support for veganism but "beyond meat" and similar companies are begining to collapse as the reality is that regular people are not wanting these frankenmeats.

You are right on the other issues: isoeugenol -> Methyl Diantilis is a good example - especially when comparising prices. The really great replacers for products like Lyral are captive and the people lobbying to BAN those materials are the very holders of the captive patents. In any other industry this would bring about anti-trust lawsuits one would think.
 

Saraiva

Super Member
May 26, 2018
Same happens not only in perfumery, but in other areas of art such as painting. All oil painting was based on lead white pigment, it was on every palette for six centuries. Old paintings survive because drying oils make complexes with lead ions which are stable. All other white pigments have problems: zinc white makes brittle paint layers which age at accelerated rate. Titanium white is protocatalytic and degrades everything around it. So, when lead was severely regulated, manufacturers of Lead White pigment went out of business, and now oil painting is beheaded. Paintings from our days will not survive for centuries. There is no rationality in such total prohibitions: people don’t chew Rembrandt’s paintings to be poisoned by lead.
I think a possible solution is to persuade drug cartels to make Lead White paints for artists and distribute them through their dealers.
Maybe it would be a good idea to ask the drug cartels if they can get hold of the Perfumaria captives... :LOL:
 

RomanB

Super Member
Oct 22, 2022
You are absolutely right - I was speaking more to the environmental point - for example the huge media support for veganism but "beyond meat" and similar companies are begining to collapse as the reality is that regular people are not wanting these frankenmeats.

You are right on the other issues: isoeugenol -> Methyl Diantilis is a good example - especially when comparising prices. The really great replacers for products like Lyral are captive and the people lobbying to BAN those materials are the very holders of the captive patents. In any other industry this would bring about anti-trust lawsuits one would think.
Methyl Diantilis is a molecule easy to make at any laboratory with minimum equipment and common reagents, for a little fraction of cost of the proprietary product. If you have a fellow chemist, they’ll make it for you. I bet if it will be produced somewhere else, the current trademark owners would drown a couple of mice in it and proclaim it harmful on inhalation.
 

jsweet

Basenotes Member
Sep 16, 2021
Methyl Diantilis is a molecule easy to make at any laboratory with minimum equipment and common reagents, for a little fraction of cost of the proprietary product. If you have a fellow chemist, they’ll make it for you. I bet if it will be produced somewhere else, the current trademark owners would drown a couple of mice in it and proclaim it harmful on inhalation.
iso-md.PNG
 

jsweet

Basenotes Member
Sep 16, 2021
Methyl Diantilis is made from Ethyl Vanillin (15$/kg in bulk) in two steps.
By all means do so (but make sure you remove impurities as a 3rd step) but if you try to market or sell it, Givaudan will be on you quickly. That (and the fact that it's apparently difficult to manufacture in the same batch quantity of isoeugenol) is why it's twice as expensive.
 

RomanB

Super Member
Oct 22, 2022
By all means do so (but make sure you remove impurities as a 3rd step) but if you try to market or sell it, Givaudan will be on you quickly. That (and the fact that it's apparently difficult to manufacture in the same batch quantity of isoeugenol) is why it's twice as expensive.
The patent is expired a long time ago. They own the trademark, not the right to make or use the substance.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
By all means do so (but make sure you remove impurities as a 3rd step) but if you try to market or sell it, Givaudan will be on you quickly. That (and the fact that it's apparently difficult to manufacture in the same batch quantity of isoeugenol) is why it's twice as expensive.
Best that I can determine, patent protection for the molecule sold by Givaudan as "methyl diantilis" expired long ago, although there is a live trademark owned by Givaudan for the word "diantilis" as applied to aromamaterials. Accordingly, anyone is legally free to manufacture and sell the molecule sold by Givaudan as "methyl diantilis", so long as they don't use the "diantilis" trademark.
 

julian35

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 28, 2009
Complexity of a fragrance was likely the primary reason that I became a Perfumer. .... I decided to try to make a scent for myself that I liked, was Orchestral in complexity, and that I wasn’t allergic to.

The IFRA restrictions have scrapped use of naturals that lend their own layers of complexity to a fragrance formulation, and also, use of Naturals have been scrapped because Perfumes need to be as cheap as possible.

Both issues have driven a dumbing down of fragrances on the market, making scents less complex and orchestral, and leading Perfumers down the erroneous road to simplicity, because it is easier not to have to fight the tiger.

When can complexity in the design of fragrances return to the wider Perfume industry?
The perfume industry will never return to what it was, everything changes and moves on. .... and now we have hundreds of Niche perfume purchasing opportunities that allow for a wonderful diversity. Look at the new wonderful creations. In New Zealand Mr. Frater using historic perfume bases along with new molecules. In Canada Mr. Wong is allowing many perfumers, including yourself, freedom of creation supported by some pretty stellar design and marketing support. In England Ms. McCartney has received huge accolades and support for her independent quality perfume work and writing and teaching.
All three have one thing in common; Quality.

We are all brought to perfumery for different reasons Paul. You wanted to make perfumes that you like and could wear and enjoy and not have an allergic reaction. You have also had some success in sharing your perfumes with others that may enjoy them. You also like to share your learning, an admirable quality.
I don't understand how "BIG perfume industry" decisions adversely affected your day to day creativity or output or learning?

Not everyone wants "complexity"(=multi-textured, layered, and evolving scents that told a story over time). Many enjoy the simple linearity of a single note. Not all orchestra compositions are Wagnerian. There is beauty in both complexity and in simplicity.
Simplicity is not always driven by fear or profit. Artists understand the creative reality and challenges that restriction and simplicity can offer.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What we find beautiful others may/will not. The more a person digs into any subject of learning the more we learn the difference between quality and inferiority within that subject; and the more you learn of the subtleties the more you drift into the esoteric and outside the realm of the "common man".
There have always been poorly constructed perfumes alongside quality gems and there is always someone trying to make a profit selling cheap "snake oil" to an uneducated populous who have no knowledge of the subtleties of perfume creation; and they don't care to learn. (It doesn't interest them. They like what they know and they know what they like.)

Complexity does not ensure quality. So what DOES ensure quality? In my opinion, Quality of materials and quality of composition and the willingness to take a risk. Using a lot of different material, making things complex, does not lead to quality in itself.

I have no issue with IFRA or RIFM providing education and transparency to the world on products that may cause them harm. These days there is a proclivity to always find conspiracy and politicize everything.
I remember driving without seatbelts until someone gathered enough data to say "hey, ya know, we might all be better off if we strap ourselves in". We are, as a species, better off for it. .... but I can still get in the car and not wear a seat belt.... but the potential consequences are much clearer...
 

Mando

Super Member
Mar 10, 2020
The perfume industry will never return to what it was, everything changes and moves on. .... and now we have hundreds of Niche perfume purchasing opportunities that allow for a wonderful diversity. Look at the new wonderful creations. In New Zealand Mr. Frater using historic perfume bases along with new molecules. In Canada Mr. Wong is allowing many perfumers, including yourself, freedom of creation supported by some pretty stellar design and marketing support. Ms. McCartney has received huge accolades and support for her independent quality perfume work and writing. All three have one thing in common; Quality.

We are all brought to perfumery for different reasons Paul. You wanted to make perfumes that you like and could wear and enjoy and not have an allergic reaction. You have also had some success in sharing your perfumes with others that may enjoy them. You also like to share your learning, an admirable quality.
I don't understand how "BIG perfume industry" decisions adversely affected your day to day creativity or output or learning?

Not everyone wants "complexity"(=multi-textured, layered, and evolving scents that told a story over time). Many enjoy the simple linearity of a single note. Not all orchestra compositions are Wagnerian. There is beauty in both complexity and in simplicity.
Simplicity is not always driven by fear or profit. Artists understand the creative reality and challenges that restriction and simplicity can offer.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What we find beautiful others may/will not. The more a person digs into any subject of learning the more we learn the difference between quality and inferiority; and the more you learn of the subtleties the more you drift into the esoteric and outside the realm of the "common man".
There have always been poorly constructed perfumes alongside quality gems and there is always someone trying to make a profit selling cheap "snake oil" to an uneducated populous who have no knowledge of the subtleties of perfume creation; and they don't care to learn. (It doesn't interest them. They like what they know and they know what they like.)

Complexity does not ensure quality. So what DOES ensure quality? In my opinion, Quality of materials and quality of composition and the willingness to take a risk. Using a lot of different material, making things complex, does not lead to quality in itself.

I have no issue with IFRA or RIFM providing education and transparency to the world on products that may cause them harm. These days there is a proclivity to always find conspiracy and politicize everything.
I remember driving without seatbelts until someone gathered enough data to say "hey, ya know, we might all be better off if we strap ourselves in". We are, as a species, better off for it. .... but I can still get in the car and not wear a seat belt.... but the potential consequences are much clearer...
The current mens fragrance landscape is very very tepid, my opinion.

I recently went to a Macy’s mens counter and I swear all of the mens scents were a variation of the same theme: Atomic citrus fresh over woody ambers.
The women‘s counters were no different with atomic citrus fresh with piercing jasmine over ethyl Maltol overdose.

I found myself feeling very depressing after the experience.

I hate sounding like one of those old people that say “I remember when we used to have real good perfume!” Hahahaha!!!
But I really feel like that now.

“Give me Estee Lauder Knowing or give me death!“
 

jfrater

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jun 2, 2005
I have no issue with IFRA or RIFM providing education and transparency to the world on products that may cause them harm. These days there is a proclivity to always find conspiracy and politicize everything.

Bravo - I agree with most of what you say. BUT... in many cases in recent days, with the spread of the internet and information leaks, it has become rather clear that many conspiracies were and are in fact true. That is most likely the driving force behind the recent trend to believe them before believing an oppositional and defensive media. The boy who cried wolf comes to mind with regards to those who keep railing against the various conspiratorial ideas as they emerge.

It is a fact that companies whose patented products will make large sums of money if certain materials are banned are the leading members of the very body that recommends restrictions on those competing materials. It seems to me the far more unlikely "conspiracy theory" here is that they are NOT trying to manipulate the markets in which they compete!

On the other hand, whether or not there is any truth to these theories, complying with the various regulations and recommendations makes life far easier for a perfumer without the financial clout to lobby or fight so one does what one must. Is this a crusade worth undertaking? I'd rather sit at my computer and create perfumes with my time!
 

julian35

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 28, 2009
On the other hand, whether or not there is any truth to these theories, complying with the various regulations and recommendations makes life far easier for a perfumer without the financial clout to lobby or fight so one does what one must. Is this a crusade worth undertaking? I'd rather sit at my computer and create perfumes with my time!
Interesting, after a lifetime of watching corp greed I don't view it as conspiracy... but fact. Corporations are openly doing this, it is transparent to those who in the industry. I would be surprised if they DIDN'T do it when shareholder profits are the mantras. I am absolutely astonished at the number of small companies gobbled up daily by these large monopolies and no government willing to touch it. P&F Magazine announces the "acquisitions" daily on their leaderboard as if it is a given. The fundamental issue is that the courts have ruled that money is an extension of speech and corporations are people. Mic drop.
In spite of this BS, you have also made a high quality product and got it to market. Bravo to you.
and as you say, ....no desire, time or resources to take on ..the perfume desk awaits!!
 
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julian35

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 28, 2009
In defence of those massive top 7 Corporations like Givaudan(Switzerland), Firmenich(Switzerland), IFF(USA), Symrise(Germany), Takasago(Japan), Mane SA(France), Robertet(France)... they sure make yummy materials with all those billions of R&D dollars. ... once we can get our hands on them. ;)
 

jfrater

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jun 2, 2005
In defence of those massive top 7 Corporations like Givaudan(Switzerland), Firmenich(Switzerland), IFF(USA), Symrise(Germany), Takasago(Japan), Mane SA(France), Robertet(France)... they sure make yummy materials with all those billions of R&D dollars. ... once we can get our hands on them. ;)
your last sentence renders the first invalid hah!
 

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