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  1. Mario Valentino Ocean Rain (1990) or, On Diorissimo: Edmond Roudnitska's Manifesto

    Roudnitska is known for his perfumes, for his influence on the state of the art of perfumery and, more than many other noses, for his discussion of the art of perfumery. I don’t know all his work. I’m not an historian and there has been very little critical analysis of perfumery as an art form. There isn’t much to draw on for those who would like to know more. The eternal proviso that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing comes to mind. Still, I’d like to write about Ocean Rain.
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  2. The Gourmand Apocalypse

    The ‘foodie‘ focus of modern perfume started in the late 19th century, coincidentally at the start of chemically synthetic perfumery. We tend to highlight the abstract perfumes from this era, such as the fougère, the chypre and the oriental. The fougère has long been defined by its lack of food scent and proudly accepts “soapy” jibes. But the chypre contains citrus, albeit the rarely eaten bergamot orange, in it's basic composition. More than the fougère, the chypre at least leans toward the ...
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  3. The Problem of the Fruity-Floral

    The problem of the fruity floral isn't a problem of genre. It's a problem of abstraction. Abstraction is critical to the art of perfumery because it is key to separating notes and building accords.

    I use the word abstraction a lot in talking about perfume, so I should explain my meaning. Abstraction is considering an idea or thing without its associations or known characteristics. It is freedom from representation. It is concept over character.

    I find perfumery implicitly ...
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  4. A Fruity Floral Comparison, or; Big Fish, Small Pond

    The fruity floral tends to be a dismal genre. It's not intrinsically bad, but producers in the 2000s chased the least common denominators of the hybrid down a well of banality until there were only two controls left on the soundboard, marked 'sweetness' and 'kool-aid'. Both dials were stripped from sweaty overuse and wound up stuck at volume 11.

    Badgley Miskchka's and Juicy Couture's eponymous perfumes somehow managed to steer clear of the horrors of the genre and find some poise. ...
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  5. Bogue Maai, memento mori and the traps of artisanal perfumery.

    Bogue is a small perfume company featuring the work of perfumer Antonio Gardoni. The approach is artisanal in nature in that fine, rare, exotic materials are the basic components, extraction and refinement methods are done in-house and limited volumes are produced. Implied in the artisanal approach is a reproach to large scale production in favor of a return to neglected, traditional ways of training and production.

    Artisanal work is nothing new, but has become prominent in perfumery ...
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