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  1. The Limits of the Fragrance Wheel

    For visual diagrams, we have traditionally relied on two dimensional forms. Diagrams aren't direct visual translations, but representations, devices. They are models, and however rudimentary, they are intellectual constructs. They have rules and, like all description, they seek to reduce an object or restrict a concept to a set of identifiers. Diagrams can’t quite be said to have an intention, but by the nature of their rules, they have implicit goals.

    Much of the trouble with ...
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  2. Bernard Chant and the Cabochard Family Tree

    The start: Grès Cabochard, 1959.

    Expectation works against Grès Cabochard, poor dear. Many compare it in its current form to a vintage model. I’ve never smelled vintage Cabochard, so that expectation isn’t an issue. Cabochard is the reference leather chypre of the mid-20th century. It was popular, critically acclaimed and directly influenced the decades of chypres that followed it.

    My expectation, and I’ll own it, comes from Cabochard’s family resemblance to Aramis ...
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  3. Richard Lüscher Britos Terroir Perfumes, 2013 (part 2)

    44°N 03°E (lavender)

    How did Richard Lüscher Britos match the botanical material to the perfumer? Did they draw names from a hat? Did the perfumers choose their key material? If Andy Tauer chose lavender, he's a brave man. It is likely the best known botanical scent in the world after the rose and the lemon. It suggest hygiene, cuisine, cleaning products, ancient history and the new age. Tauer has been there before. His Reverie au Jardin played lavender from top to bottom, demonstrating ...
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  4. Richard Lüscher Britos Terroir Perfumes, 2013 (part 1)

    Classical perfumery is wounded. The IFRA barbarians are at the gate. The chypre has left the building, orientals have deflated into gourmands, leather is now ‘notes of suede’ and flowers have lost their bite but gained a sweet-tooth. Flankers of flankers of perfumes that were originally designed to be flankable in the first place are released weekly. Niche has been around long enough to have been reformulated and re-reformulated and therefore diminished. Designer lines copy niche strategies ...
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  5. Against Notes

    Notes describe qualities of a fragrance. They offer a side door into the discussion of perfume with points of comparison. If you have smelled a lemon, then a "lemon" note will make sense to you. Notes are used like similes. A “rose” note smells like rose. Bvlgari Black smells like rubber. (I exclude imagistic description couched as notes, typically in product description, eg. notes of burly arctic breeze or forlorn longing.)

    Parfumo, Fragrantica, Basenotes, MakeupAlley… ...
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