Well, I am sure of one thing; the_good_life, you should be the person writing Tauer's/ "perfumisms" press; you are eloquent, and all of your proclamations/protestations on behalf of "perfumism" impute a sincere, if quixotic, righteous idealism to this "cause". And I am honestly moved to review and look beyond my initial reaction to the turgid, circuitous declaration of "perfumism's" intent (copied above), which was, to be blunt, that I was witness to another marketing shuffle.
To illustrate my impression, I'll refer back to the parallelism to the 'slow food' movement, an admittedly privileged pastime, in which I eagerly participate .
My heartfelt interest, as a conscientious consumer and gourmand, is in eating well (and beautifully) and in moreover acquainting myself and others with food "sources" (their political dereliction and consequently frightening product), the value of supporting private growers, and the ultimate importance, both in terms of responsibility and evolved epicurism, of consuming and cooking "slow" cuisine.
However, I can also attest to many small restaurateurs who espouse 'slow foodism' more as a savvy 'term' than as a sincere motivation, simply in order to attract an extant, "informed" --and frankly monied -- target demographic... us bohemian bourgeoisie folks to be exact.
Therefore, I am wary of the buzz of "consciousness", generally. And in an an effort to separate the true artisans from the bandwagon riders, I must ultimately resort to my personal discernment of quality. We all must...
My point being, Mr. Tauer is from the get-go speaking to a specific, identified segment and obvious potential buyer. Clearly,tween girls throwing away their money for Paris Hilton's swill, won't reflect on their patronage of the bottom-line-driven cosmetic industry, nor will they stumble upon the "perfumsim" website. Nor will starving Africans. I would further argue that the presence of such a passionate declaration of "intent" adjunct to a particular fragrance maker, which trumpets a lot of already stable notions (fueled by Turin and even many of the brilliant proponents of quality here at BN) of niche fragrance's established, 'cottage'-supporting demographic (I suspect herein lies his impetus in suggesting undeserved and ubiquitous niche claims, btw -- to attract the "judicious" niche consumer.), strikes me as a particularly shrewd strategy, which will potentially expand sales. (I daresay if Jaime Oliver (for example) initiated or funded a 'slow food' website, I'd regard it no differently.)
Finally, it is up to the true connoisseurs, who I believe are inherently capable of rising above the prevailing 'conscious'-consumer Zeigeist, to evaluate the final products of the artisan, based on their subjective notions of quality.
I, for one -- just as I think many slow food establishments pale in contrast to classical French cuisine -- don't think Tauer's perfumes stand in the league of better Amouages or PdNs, firms I noticed his manifesto borders on declaring non-existent or somehow "false", and I therefore, with regard to all this affectation of "excellence", am just inclined to "take it all with a grain of salt".
Last edited by Hillaire; 26th February 2010 at 09:47 PM.
I recall the debts raging within Slow Food Germany about idealism vs. interest. The issue is tricky. Most SF activists are professionals in the food business - producers, vendors, restaurateurs. Their professions and contacts enable them to be effective activists. Yet, they unquestionably have a commercial stake in the affair. I've settled for preferring an interested party lobbying on behalf of genuine extra-native olive oil and getting the job done in favor of abstract pronouncements and protests - to have at least a semblance of effective opposition to the dark powers that rule the halls of Brussels and Strasbourg. I'm deeply cynical about humanity, btw., but I often trust individuals (maybe falsely so) and it seems to me that Tauer is sincere. But perfumism needs to recalibrate its message, perhaps the initial pronouncements cam on too strong and wordily. I am looking forward to reading various perfumers' thoughts on art, though and still believe the site aims mostly at clarifying (what is artisan perfumery, how are its criteria different from mass market) rather than judging (industry - bad, artisan - good), opening a dialogue between and among like-minded perfumers and the public - which, as you correctly diagnosed, will surely consist primarily of hardcore fragheads. But, then, it's always been the crux of liberal bourgeois reformers that the people they want to reach aren't listening and the effort frequently becomes primarily about feeling good about one's own moral superiority. I do believe that SF has shown it can work and has given incredible impetus in the shape of the SF university and the Terra Madre network. Agaion, perfume is a much more limited, elitist and trivial pursuit by comparison, but I think Andy Tauer and many of us as well are deeply passionate about it. The only Tauer I wear myself is L'Air, btw. his is not my preferred style of perfumery. I prefer the older products from those myth-mongering purveyors of historical falsehoods and disingenuous infusion-method tales. Such is life . But I respect the quality of his scents and the transparency of his approach.