I would like to announce a new project, tailored specially for the Basenotes community, one in which both the process and the product emerge from a collaboration between myself, and my friends and fellow perfumistas. It has long been the case – too long, I think – that perfume consumers have been cast in the role of passive spectators, an audience for ‘professionals’ whose only role is to accept or reject the efforts of designers, packagers, advertisers, and the like. In any case, that was the old way. It seemed to me that there had to be a new way, a way which could draw on the fantastic skills and knowledge of the readers of this website. I wanted a project where the people who cared most about perfume could participate in shaping a scent to suit their tastes. I needed a wild idea; appropriately enough, that idea came from Basenotes itself.
Over the past year or so, the members of the Profumo Friends Club have increasingly become participants in the creation and production of new, all-natural perfumes. When I made Sharif, they helped me choose the packaging. With Oud Caravan, they contributed to the very construction of the perfume. With our next project, Tawaf, I was searching for a way to let members of the Club be with me at the very heart of perfume design, but I didn’t know how – so I naturally turned to them.We live in a world in which communication is no longer a one-way affair, and even ideas themselves are no longer the sole possession of individuals. A world of massive collaborations, which lead, almost paradoxically, to more individual choices. Call it the 2.0 world: I was looking for a Perfume 2.0 idea.In normal perfumery the bottle is chosen by the company. With Perfume 2.0, we chose the bottle together. (Sharif). In normal perfumery the graphics are chosen by the company. With Perfume 2.0, we make the graphics together (Sharif, Nathan Branch). In normal perfumery the fragrance is designed and launched by the company. We Perfume 2.0, we finalize the fragrance together and launch it amongst ourselves (Oud Caravan). In normal perfumery the company takes out advertising. Perfume 2.0 relies upon positive reviews online to attract customers.
This is how it started: when I proposed the idea for Tawaf to my friends in the Club, and asked them for ideas about how best to further this new approach to creativity. Puente wrote: “since we are looking at just two opposite notes (Opoponax and Jasmine) you can maybe make two versions of the perfume. One version would be Opoponax heavy and a second version which would be Jasmine heavy. This way the wearer can choose one or both perfumes and use them alone or (if the two versions work well together) even wear them together when they choose. Or, two individuals (example: husband and wife) can each wear one version (husband wears Opoponax heavy version and wife wears Jasmine version) so when they walk side by side the two essences compliment each other and create the ultimate aura of Tawaf.”
I thought this was a good start, but I wanted more than simply splitting the perfume in two. Then Hoschhti wrote: “Choose the shape of the bottle by a poll, send out samples of different versions and let us choose the best one, then let us write the description of the perfume and finally let us choose the best text ............”This was closer to the kind of 2.0 idea I was looking for.
By then Hoschhti’s imagination was unchained and he wrote: “I have another idea: why not splitting the perfume in two bottles, one with the jasmine and the other floral ingredients, and one with the oppoponax and the other resins. So WE could have our own individual "Tawaf-experience" at home. Women could use more jasmine and men more of the oppoponax or however they both want. So WE would really become the perfumers this time, but the inspiration would come from you.”Brilliant! -- And that’s how the “Tawaf custom blending kit” was created on Basenotes itself.
Today Tawaf and the Tawaf kit are available at profumo.it, with decants for sale at Surrender To Chance.But, of course, we’re not done yet. Now we need some impartial reviewers. And here, too, we’re calling on the Basenotes community, by forming a “ Basenotes reviewing group” for Tawaf.
Here are the guidelines
- There will be 20 reviewers, each of whom will receive a sample of Tawaf.
- Each will be asked to send in a review, to be published here.
- Basenoters will vote for the review that they prefer, and the one that receives the most votes will win a Tawaf custom blending kit
- Second prize will be a 33 ml bottle of Tawaf.
- Another bottle of Tawaf will be split among the voters.
- Finally, the official presentation copy of Tawaf will be compiled from the best reviews, with the names of the reviewers attached.
Let this be an invitation, then, to all of you: sign up and help us crowd-source the entire campaign for this new scent. We hope you’re as excited about this as we are, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Contact me at my “Profumo” PM on Basenotes (by 15th July) if you wish to take part in the project.