byPublished on 19th March 2013 02:31 PM
In this article, Global Fragrance Expert, Marian Bendeth takes a look at the etiquette of wearing perfume...
You have to love those special days when you wake up with a splitting headache and your stomach is in war mode with last night's dodgy restaurant meal . You drag your body early in the morning to the local bus/subway and are lucky to find an empty double seat.
No sooner do you settle in than a sickly hurricane of fragrance fumes and it's accompanying body invade the next seat. They shift around in the air, wafting piquant waves up the nose to the heart of nausea. ...
byPublished on 9th November 2011 06:46 AM
Walking in gilded shoes can be a rich and prized role but can also weigh heavily on the wearer. Three years ago, Basenotes interviewed the then newly appointed perfumer, Thierry Wasser, who was plucked and handpicked from the rich gene pool of perfumers to head up the prestigious House of Guerlain.
He has had three years to adapt and create fragrances, oversee not only the makeup and skincare fragrance formulations but also maintain the integrity of the company’s valuable investments in raw materials, a role that has been fascinating and challenging.
What has been of great significance is the role Wasser has played in the cultivation and resurrection of defunct farms and fields in the raw materials sector. Through his travels, he has been able to create or revive precious bespoke materials in underdeveloped countries giving local farmers a new lease on life.
The job of overseeing not only the creation, but also the launches and successes within the stable of Guerlain products, has made for a very unique role.
The personal “father/son” relationship with the last surviving Guerlain forefather, Jean-Paul Guerlain, (whose sudden departure in October 2010) left a rich legacy between the two men of trusted reciprocity, invention and creativity.
We catch up with Wasser to find out how his journey has unfolded over the past three years.
byPublished on 1st July 2010 09:07 AM
Canada has more than just a few perfume secrets to share.
Outside of its thriving retail fragrance industry and Fragrance Award Shows, its relationship with the perfume industry goes back to the raw wilderness in 1670 and the then, newly created Hudson’s Bay Company whose sole focus was the Fur Trade. One of the most expensive byproducts of trapping, was the prized Castoreum, notes of (glandular Beaver sac) which found their way back to Europe and into the Perfumer’s palette. Many European Royals and gentry found this note intoxicating when mixed with local flowers.
byPublished on 15th April 2009 02:01 AM
Seeking and living out the titillation of romance and love relationships is as human as breathing. This choreography of the heart is the sustenance of human attraction and with each partner we choose, and where the ego searches to have it's needs met and bolstered, the love dance is ever evolving.
Ironically, this pursuit of physical bonding ...
byPublished on 2nd June 2008 10:24 PM
Editor's note: These interviews are the first part of a series in which Marian Bendeth explores what a panel of modern perfumers would say if they could travel back to the time of their choosing, to meet, chat and co-create with a perfumer of the past. An introduction to the series and table of contents is here.
Jean-Claude EllenaHermès In-house Perfumeur
Creations: Un Jardin Après La Mousson, Terre d’Hermès, Kelly Calèche ...
byPublished on 2nd June 2008 09:05 PM
My office looks like a perfume emporium. It is stacked high with beautiful fragrances and flacons, tissue-stuffed bags, and dozens of press kits, CD's and USB hubs. Sorting through the jpegs and a plethora of poetic descriptions, mostly pertaining to “beautiful dreams," “far-off lands” and “sex, sex, ...
byPublished on 1st December 2007 07:58 PM
I was a bit concerned about my fashion sense when I heard I was going to meet with Etienne de Swardt, President of Etat Libre D'Orange Parfums. What exactly does one wear when the press kit has some major sexually suggestive graphics and names like: Sécrétions Magnifiques, Putain des Palaces, (Hotel Slut) or Whips and Boots. At least I can say the hair on my head is Blonde, (check out Vrai Blonde) and I do love leather garments (found in Rien, In Praise of a Traitor). Well, it's a start.
The bold range of fragrance names immediately had my mind wandering to an avante-garde Andy Warhol styled perfume factory. I had visions of the bottles with matching platinum blonde wigs, bondage chains, and a perfume-filled condom as a gift with purchase. The sexually suggestive imagery ...
byPublished on 17th January 2007 01:56 AM
Thierry Mugler Parfums' 'Le Coffret' (more information here) began as cultural experiment after Les Christoph's read Patrick Süskind's book “Perfume, The Story of a Murderer”. They explain their interpretations, olfactory lives and inspirations
Marian Bendeth: What was the basis for the coffret? When was it first conceived and by who?
Christophe Laudamiel: “I read the book when I started perfumery in 1994, and right away I knew I had to do something. This book is quite incredible, it has to do with the history and the art of perfumery, the challenges of the perfumer and every page is full of odours and descriptives. In 2000, as a hobby, on nights and weekends, I read the book and the scenes, personally for me were just striking. It spoke of the history of perfumery or symbols in terms of challenges to create the odours of many scents, and I attempted to recreate those very odours. Christoph jumped in 2002 and we continued to work together on this project. Then 2 years ago on the Internet, we saw that Constantin (the studios in Germany) were going to shoot a movie and this inspired us.”
MB: When you were reading the book, were you formulating what notes you would use or did this come afterwards?
Cristoph Hornetz: “No, it came afterwards and after reading some scenes, were were inspired to say, use the notes of leather but the actual formulas took some time to develop. We originally had ...
byPublished on 8th January 2007 01:23 AM
You really have to give credit to those fashion and beauty advertising executives. They really know how to grab our libidos. By placing well-positioned oversized fleshy magazine covers that have more skin than laminate, they are able to secure our interest and dollars. Once our body heat is raised a notch or two, they crank it up even higher by cleverly placing droplets of moisture in strategic places and sit back to watch the payoff sizzle. Sounds good on paper but imagine taking this 3D scenario into realtime. That sweaty body is now right next to you, live and in sniffing colour. How would you react? Would you now find this person's odour pleasing or distasteful?
Getting down to the nitty, gritty, 'dirty' of odoriferous olfactory diffusions, is a painful reality. Our natural body emissions seem to have a mind and timer of their own. Ah, consider the joys of sniffing funky underarm stench on a sweltering crowded bus in the middle of July. How about dreading the removal of your shoes at someone's home out of fear of sharing your stinky feet aromas. Have you been in close proximity to an unkempt, greasy longhaired person when a hit of dirty stale hair oil wafts through the air? Halitosis, unwashed bodies, rancid fragrances and poor hygiene above and below the waist can make anyone uncomfortable. These gaseous fumes are released at the most inopportune moments and are enough to make anyone cringe. Most are bacterial-based and reflect the negative side of odours. The personal care industries spend billions of dollars annually to comb at Mother Nature's little revenges.
Non-scent extremists wish for an odourless world without any scent, but what kind of world would that really be. The bottom line is that these cacophonies of odours, natural and synthesized, positive and negative literally make up our primal being. They announce our existence and lead to procreation, reveal disease, tempt our taste buds to feed our bodies for longevity, and for some, can be a sensual trigger for a total stranger without really knowing why. Our natural perfume, born of physiology, diet, and hormonal fluctuations can act as a natural attractant. Our body oils become a power magnet for partners who appreciate our bespoke (courtesy of our parents) perfume.
These cocktails of aromas escalate when the body heats up. They leave their trail between the sheets, on our clothes or in a loved one's memories. They define and reveal who we are through a single sniff. We are the perfume! The elixir of life.
With this theme of human odorous definitions, attractions and repulsions, author Patrick Süskind decided to encapsulate the very essence or lack thereof, of humanity. His book "Perfume – The Story of a Murderer" takes place in Eighteenth century France and reveals a man, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille with no autobiographical essence (body odour). His greatest gift is the power to smell everything around him in minute detail, including the world of perfume. His longing to be accepted into a scented society is thwarted. His very lack of primal essence denies him public acceptance and love. His maniacal efforts to attain the perfect scent become an execution: one of lust and acceptance, the other, of carnage.
With the movie "Perfume, The Story of a Murderer" being released worldwide, it was only a matter of time before two creative perfumers developed atmospheric odours to replicate Grenouilles' existence in Paris in the early 1700's. A coffret, made up of 15 distinct odours and perfumes was created by Christophe Laudamiel and his partner, Christoph Hornetz (International Flavours & Fragrances) who started to experiment with oils about seven years ago as a cultural exploration in perfumery, atmospheres and interpreting Süskind's imaginings. What they didn't anticipate, was a meeting with legendary Vera Strübi of Thierry Mugler Parfums, and Peter Friedl, President of Distribution and Marketing for the movie that enabled the Coffret to smell the light of day.
This concept is a fascinating and familiar scent journey; I often work with actors using fragrance as a character prop. It has been over twenty years since I initially read Süskind's book. I recall very little of the original plot, other than having nightmares after my nightly readings. I deliberately avoided reading any press materials when I received the blotters for the coffret. Instead, I decided to jot down my initial impressions, I wanted this journey to unfold in my nose, my first impressions to be as virginal as the blotters ...
byPublished on 20th November 2006 01:50 AM
"According to the dictionary: the Greek word "proboscis" is defined as the human nose, especially when unusually large or prominent: a humourous use!
To quote an old adage, "to smell divine" is something fragrance devotees all aspire to. Unfortunately, the ...
byPublished on 25th July 2006 02:36 AM
When the French government graciously invited me on a second perfumery tour, I could scarcely contain my excitement. They most likely thought this scent journey would unfold in France, probably at the doorstep of some elegant French perfumery. They were mistaken. My journey would start on my home turf in Toronto, Canada.
As long as I can remember, each scent I have worn or have encountered holds a special poignancy for me. In fact, I can still track the constellation of aromas in my life, like a necklace of perfumed memories. I remember receiving my first bottle of scent as if it were yesterday.
The scene is London, England, and I am three years old. My Grandmother had just given me my first treasured elixir, Muelhens 4711 . Our house had no central heating, hence no generated heat to last the night. By midnight, my bedroom became a frozen landscape. My favourite goldfish, Barker and Dobson, were suspended in an arctic-like icy freeze the night before, poor things. Lying under the weight of my silk eiderdown, I had the notion that the precious liquid of my new fragrance might freeze as well. I naively hoped my body heat might help to avert the same fate. Obsessively, I carried and sniffed this scent with me morning, noon and night. I often wonder how my parents tolerated this obsessive behaviour? In any event, it jump-started a lifetime of curiousity and collection of fragrance blends.
When it comes to travel, I always enjoy the challenge of the odours leading up to and including my trip. This usually starts with a last minute sniff of packed clothes. Now, I know this may appear a tad eccentric, but I want to retain the scents of Toronto for comparison.
My smell journey to France begins with my taxi pulling up to the departure drop-off at Toronto Pearson International Airport; I open the car door to thick, sticky petrol and diesel fumes. Spirals of cigarette smoke hang in the air.
A young teenager is fiddling with her tartan Burberry luggage. Moving closer, I recognize she is also wearing the matching Burberry Weekend ...