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Dimitri's brief


07th January, 2000

Concept :

I would like to see gender-neutral eau de parfum that reveals a delicate balance between something frightfully noxious and something wildly enchanting. As a child, I always wondered what the poison apple from “Snow White” might have smelled and tasted like... the idea of casting a poisonous/enchanted veil over some-thing natural and alluring always fascinated me. Something delicious played against something wildly repugnant.

I am inspired by botany, but in a vintage, “Brothers Grimm” sense. An age where women administered deadly nightshade to their eyes in an effort to dilate their pupils... beauty and innocence vs premeditation and witchery. I love the idea of rummaging through an old apothecary with fragrant wooden drawers brimming with roots and spices and shelves cluttered with amber bottles holding salves and lotions that have long since expired. Paper packages tied up with string hold obscure bushels of animal and vegetal matter, selected specifically to ward off evil spirits, or be used in a spell. A time where the line between the “old ways” and the new technologies are


Direction :

I would like to keep the brief open to interpretation. I have set the scene, the age, and the overall concept, but the ingredients chosen are up to the perfumer/chemist. Ideally I would like to see something ‘alarming’ when first applied... the idea is to inspire an initial sense of shock or regret... but then compell the wearer to lift their wrist to their nose again and again because they recognise something below... something beguiling and intriguing that slowly emerges as the scent dries on the skin.


Belladonna, Nightshade, Vintage, Witchery, Brothers Grimm, Apothecary,

Rudimentary, Experimental, Contradiction, Beguile, Allure, Repell,


A selection of images below are able to be used as a reference as they conjure the style and feel of the perfume I have in mind.

(see attachment)

Submitted by Dimitri

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      • Redneck Perfumisto | 9th January 2010 04:29

        I do think this is a really great idea.

        Dimi - it's very strange how you and Ken and I all converged on this idea of "Enchantment", but took it in different directions. Ken's take was very spiritual, mental, and abstract. Mine was more related to the place per se - a place of enchantment (no big surprise that I love New Mexico - "Land of Enchantment"). And your thinking was really enchantment itself, as in actual "enchantment". Very interesting connection. Given that the three of us have somewhat similar spiritual outlooks compared to many BNers, I can kind of see this.

        But let me say what I had alluded to earlier about potential "poison apples". I had wanted to use (as you can see in the published brief) green black walnuts as the citrus replacement in the topnotes. They have toxicity problems due to juglone - highly allergenic - in some sense a poison apple, but I never even made a connection to your idea, which is actually a much richer entree into the whole idea of enchantment. I viewed the whole idea of using something with toxicity problems (or even its odor) as a unique thing, but potentially a deal-breaker. If you smell the things when fresh, they're very much like citrus that's somehow weird or off. The difference is a bit like cardamom. Which, to me, is how you might recreate the accord. I understand that the juice of green regular walnuts is used to create the walnut liqueuer nocino, but I'm not sure if black walnuts can be used, because the juglone content (or hydrojuglone, which turns into juglone) is so much higher. I know that people who are allergic to similar nuts had probably best steer clear (one of my friends can go to the hospital if he even looks at a walnut).

        Some links on nocino:

        Interestingly, black walnut trees (I've got 3 huge ones, which is where I got the idea of using the green fruit) have a much higher content of juglone than regular walnuts, and kill many if not most types of trees which try to grow too close to them.

        Again, great brief. I get goosebumps just thinking of that picture of the apple in the witch's hand! : EEK :

      • dareka | 9th January 2010 10:40

        A perfume for everyone who thought the witch was more interesting than Snow White ;)Great ideas and very unusual imagery.Good luck!

      • Sorcery of Scent | 9th January 2010 14:05

        Thanks Dareka and Red for commenting :)

        Red, I like the direction you're going with regard to walnuts! Its an interesting angle... I kinda love that moment of panic when you are drinking a lovely port wine - one with walnuts suspended in the juice - and you bite down into the marinated nut and your mouth fills with a sudden ore-like bitterness! Its a moment of regret and revulsion, but eventually the familiar walnut flavour emerges and you ultimately think its delicious. That's precisely the kind of sensation I'd love the perfumers to capture with that opening spritz... that noxiousness that trips our biological "oh-shit,-Im-eating-poison-spit-it-out!" trigger.

        For years, whenever I would come across coffee-flavoured foodstuffs (coffee cake, sweets and so on), I would encounter a physiological reaction to the taste and smell - my stomach would 'flutter' as if to warn me not to consume it.

        I especially liked your comment with regard to perhaps using the odour of something with toxic properties. If it can be achieved without actually using any sensitizers, then that's wonderful.

        Of course, the underlying aspect here is that the perfume eventually reveals itself as being something of great beauty... as if the poisonous spell of enchantment has slowly lifted.

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 9th January 2010 15:59

        [quote]Of course, the underlying aspect here is that the perfume eventually reveals itself as being something of great beauty... as if the poisonous spell of enchantment has slowly lifted.[/quote]

        It just gets better and better. I'll have something on my BN blog shortly - a commentary on these briefs, and when you see it, you'll see this same thought. Now I know I was reading between your lines correctly. :wink:

      • Asha | 10th January 2010 23:28

        The ideas here are very appealing to me. Two fragrances in production come to mind, both of which seem paradoxically "sweet and poison" at the same time: Guerlain Shalimar extrait and Tom Ford Black Orchid. It would be wonderful to have the edgy modernity of Black Orchid with the utter refinement and subtlety of Shalimar extrait. (I am speaking here mostly of the fragrance vibe and not any particular notes.)

      • Aerandir4 | 10th January 2010 23:56

        Interesting brief Dimitri. Your scent idea reminds me of playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Especially when you require potions in the game and there are special potion stores which once you enter have smoking fumes of potions and perfumes wafting in the air and all sorts of weird draws and potion vials about.

      • selky | 13th January 2010 02:41

        I really like the imagery and contrasts in this. The blend of smells from the apothecary's drawers and the old forgotten bottles... and the repel/allure contradicton. This could be a very interesting fragrance.

      • Sorcery of Scent | 13th January 2010 23:43

        Sorry about the above post - my wife had logged in earlier this evening and hadn't logged out, and I accidentally posted under her username :-/

        What I wanted to say is thank you to Asha, Aerandir and Selky for your comments - its nice to know we all share a similar vision for this. :)

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 14th January 2010 02:11

        I agree. Both of these fragrances achieve the desired objective in a huge way, and provide nice points of aim for the kind of overall qualities (as you say, vibe) we would want to shoot for. Black Orchid has this modern dark sexy/beautiful thing which I think speaks to the brief very well. Shalimar's refinement is..... legendary. I think these are things to shoot for. "Black Shalimar", if you will. A very delicate concept. Expressed in the imagery of the photo, the same apple in a white, "innocent", hand-model's hand - with the edge of a black robe. But no pentagrams, please, and go easy on diamond-shaped umlauts. :wink:

      • Kevin Guyer | 17th January 2010 23:23

        I love the dualities that you've called upon in your brief. I've always imagined that Maleficent was redolent of something like Shalimar, mysterious and frightening! :thumbup:

      • LiveJazz | 19th January 2010 17:17

        This sounds deliciously creepy in a Sweeny Todd kind of way.

        What great imagery in your brief! :vrolijk_26: