A new way of measuring fragrance potency? An Interview with Aaron Benjamin of the FPIndex Project
12th March, 2013
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?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!
How do you test the projection of a fragrance?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.
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.
What fragrances have performed well on your index?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.
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