We had an email a few weeks ago from Aaron Benjamin telling us about his project - “The Fragrance Potency Index”. The idea is to catalogue and compare the projection of commercial fragrances using scientific equipment. This sounded like a fragrance-geek’s dream, so we asked Benjamin to explain the project.
How did the FPIndex come about?
How do you test the projection of a fragrance?
I really should begin by giving thanks where it's due: to you and the entire Basenotes community. The FPindex might not exist today if not for this fantastic resource. So, thank you very much!
I have always enjoyed fragrances, but that enjoyment turned into a full-blown obsession when I stumbled across Basenotes in the fall of 2011, while searching for the perfect winter fragrance. Up until that point I had never considered elements like projection, sillage or longevity when searching for a fragrance. All I was concerned with was finding something that was affordable, smelled great, and was relatively exclusive. I joined Basenotes and began the hunt for my "holy grail" by reading reviews and participating in forum discussions. Needless to say, I ended up with about 10 "holy grails" over the course of a few months. More importantly, I became more aware of the ongoing discourse related to projection, sillage and longevity. I noticed that people's individual impressions typically varied substantially, making it difficult to get an idea of just how potent a fragrance was. So, I set out to develop a system that could solve this problem. Shortly after, the FPindex was born.
To test projection, I first transfer the the fragrance from the bottle into a small atomizer. Then, once I have confirmed the air is clean, I spray a card and prop up the card at one end of the room. After a brief period of time has elapsed, I proceed to bring the odor detector towards the card from the other end of the room, ensuring it remains at the same height, until I get a reading. I then adjust the distance as necessary until the scent is no longer detected when the device remains at a certain spot for 30 seconds. From there, I measure the distance from the card to the receptor of the device and, voila! We have our projection rating!
What is your background? Did you have access to all this equipment before you started the project?
I don't have a background in fashion or fragrance, although I have always been a very creative person and like to think that I am on top of the latest trends. I studied Japanese and Mandarin Chinese in university, and have studied and lived in Japan for a combined three years (Japan is my other love). I am now in law school, aspiring to practice international entertainment law after I graduate.
What fragrances have performed well on your index?
I definitely did not have access to any of this equipment, or anything even remotely resembling this type of equipment prior to the development of the FPindex. After reaching dozens of companies that sell odor-detectors, I slowly narrowed down my options and purchased the one that I felt would be best for my purposes. It was a hefty investment, but well worth it.
It's probably not going to come as a shock to many, but Creed's Aventus really surprised me. There have been so many accounts of how Aventus performs, ranging from both ends of the spectrum, so I was very excited to see the results. Lo and behold, it turns out that Aventus is the most potent fragrance on the Index so far! Now the question is, how long will it be able to hold the throne?
Have you had any feedback?
You bet! The feedback so far has been incredible. People have been offering great suggestions, and I have received a ton of questions, some of which I have done my best to address on the FAQ page of the FPIndex. Others have offered to provided services just because they want to be a part of the movement
By far, though, the most common reaction I get is somewhere along the lines of "This is going to be the new standard! I can see people discussing fragrances and referring to their 'FPi' ratings in the future!". And that's exactly what I'm hoping to achieve.
You can read more about the project on the website here http://fpindex.com
and follow him on Twitter here https://twitter.com/FPIndex