Bluemoon, your feedback is very interesting to me, I want to attempt to answer your demands.
To me the idea of making an oud that smells better than oud implies exaggerating the pleasant notes, hiding or converting the "bad" ones, and adding new elements that would add to the beauty of the composition.
This is also what I intend, you are perfectly right
It's not yet clear to me what "character" or "style" this oud conveys. Should the perfumer ask the "public" to make this determination, and merely be the interpreter of the public's vision? What if each member of the public wants something different?
In the case of the Oud Caravan project we are not trying to make a custom perfume for a public, I would do this in a different way.
The project consists in shaping a determinate scent, Oud, letting the feedback of the general public be the main source of inspiration. This has never been attempted before.
I know what I want to do and I explained it to the public, an “Oud better than Oud”. The fact that most of the people do not know what is a good Oud is not important, because I do. The goal that I have fixed gives me a direction, the feedback of the public makes me understand if I am threading the right path to reach the goal.
should the artist (I understand why you call perfumers craftsmen; maybe great craftsman are artists) seek to dissolve our preconceptions and present us with a new, unexpected and hopefully exciting vision?
Rather I would like to present the public with the authentic Oud, making it acceptable to a larger number than it would normally be. Oud is not a perfume for all. It is not easy to wear it, you must have a lion’s heart. If your inner force is weak you will not bear it. It is the perfume of the Bedouin princes of the desert. Princes they have become by conquering the cities, but Bedouins they have remained in character.
I tamper the excess of roughness that a good oud has. A good Oud to me should be powerful and long lasting. The initial roughness is natural in a long lasting Oud but the beauty of Oud is in the heart and end smell. The head scent has to be overcome and not all have the energy for that.
My aim is to smooth and temper the initial notes and energy. Oud is a bit like the date tree of the arabs, it is difficult yo climb to its top because of the dangerous needles of its leaves, but when you overcome this, you reach a treasure of sweetness when you get to its fruits.
It is more easy to enjoy the shade of the date tree sitting under it than to climb it and get the dates, likewise it is more easy to smell the sillage of a person wearing Oud than to wear ti oneself.
Perhaps I have a romantic and misguided notion that artists are visionaries- that they are able to see things we have not yet opened our eyes to; or they are able to show us familiar things in a new light- a light that makes us more appreciative and better able to understand the world around us. I believe to be able to have this vision does require humility, however to me that's different than asking for public input/involvement in the creative process.
I am only a perfumer, I compose scents for the people, I cannot compose them without them, now and before this project. Perfumes are intended for the others, this is why others are always part of the process of composing perfumes. A perfumer always has an interlocutor during the genesis of a perfume, be it a single “evaluator” or a “board” from the company for whom it is composed, or my family and friends to whom I let smell the new perfumes that I am making in order to watch their reactions and ask their comments.
Perfume is unlike any other mediums in this respect, you can make a film, a painting, a book or a melody all by yourself, you cannot make a perfume without the people.
Also, in reference to what davido22 said, there's a difference between great art and art that's a commercial success.
I would say further that in perfumery generally and also for us indie perfumers, success is much more in the ability to market the perfumes than in the goodness of the perfume itself.