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  1. #1

    Default Minimalist Compositions

    I'm sure you've all seen the ridiculous Helvetica perfume by now which (I hope) is a joke, but I've had a few days lately where the thought of a heavy, oppressive perfume has been unappealing. Consequently, I've been revisiting some stripped down, minimalist scents as an alternative.


    CdG's Odeur 53 has been working: the dryer-sheet aesthetic of galaxolides and the weird industrial notes hum along at a low level throughout most of the day. Yet the irony is that this is, in fact, a relatively convoluted formula.


    So, what perfumes do you turn to for minimalism? How do you reconcile a stripped-down composition with a higher price tag? How does the melancholic watercolor aesthetic of, say, a Hermessence stack up against the brawn of other scents? Is the recent drive toward minimalist perfume (MFK, Biehl, Escentric) tied somehow to our cultural moment?

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions



    I chose a very odd minimalist counterpart to your choice today, kind of a neat (anti)symmetry, too - from CdG to CREEDŪ. Seriously - this time it was Original Vetiver, with laundry musks and just a hint of vetiver. Your description of Odeur 53 reminded me of that. I really think OV - so reminiscent to me of Guerlain's Vetiver Pour Elle - doesn't get enough credit. But then, it doesn't cater to the pick-up artist, or the flashy guy trying to impress the ladies. If anything, it approaches others in the most congenial, deferential and professional way.

    I'll quote Kevin Guyer. I don't remember the stylistic context, but it was spot-on.

    Less is more.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    When I'm in the mood for a minimalist composition I seem to gravitate toward Vertical Limit.

    vertical_limit.jpg
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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    I was intrigued by this one recently:

    Eau de Polder


    It was conceived more as an art project, but had a minimal yet encompassing aesthetic to it. It's an oil, so it's somewhat less transparent than others, but it certainly got my interest. I guess it sort of fits into the grass aesthetic that was popular in the '90s for a minute (Gap Grass etc), but the oil is prominent.

    For what it's worth, the concept of the scent is absolutely fascinating. A polder is a specific geographical terrain, and while researching it for a review, I stumbled upon this haunting set of images: http://cargocollective.com/MarOne/POLDER-GEIST
    Last edited by deadidol; 28th November 2013 at 04:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    I was intrigued by this one recently:

    Eau de Polder


    It was conceived more as an art project, but had a minimal yet encompassing aesthetic to it. It's an oil, so it's somewhat less transparent than others, but it certainly got my interest. I guess it sort of fits into the grass aesthetic that was popular in the '90s for a minute (Gap Grass etc), but the oil is prominent.
    Extremely cool bottle!!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    When I'm in the mood for a minimalist composition I seem to gravitate toward Vertical Limit.

    vertical_limit.jpg
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    Is this available anywhere? Seems like it is LOOOONG gone!
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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Perhaps this might be of interest:

    images[1].jpg

    Les Liquides Imaginaires-Tumulte(Eau Dela)
    Top: Pomelo
    Mid: Coconut
    Base: Cedar, Patchouli and Sandalwood
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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    I invariably gravitate towards something of a more multidimensional nature, but if the mood takes my minimalist option is usually Nasomatto Silver Musk.






    The note pyramid seems to be a cloak and dagger affair, with nothing official ever being revealed to my knowledge. A veil of clean musk with the feel of an expensive body wash. Great packaging, cringeworthy description - "The fragrance aims to evoke superhero magnetism. It is the result of a quest for mercurial liquid love sensation".

    Over and out

  8. #8

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post


    Is this available anywhere? Seems like it is LOOOONG gone!
    Becoming increasingly difficult. Can still be found in the NYC wholesale fragrance district for a pittance, but a lot of patience is required in those shops!
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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    I'm a big sucker for minimalist compositions but, at the same time, it seems there are very few that really fits this category with honesty and artistry. As a matter of fact, most of the time, minimalist means *too little* or *on a diet* and that's exactly why when I face something supposed to be minimalistic, the first thing I'm looking for is originality. If you present a single accord, it has to be prticularly good or novel, IMO.

    In this context I think many CDGs are still unbeatable when it comes to the artistry/minimalist binomial. Standard (CDG for Artek) or Odeur 71 are two of my favorites in this genre.

    Re your question about this genre being tied to our cultural moment, I think it's all about *waves*. Beside certain brands which have always been identified with this genre (CDG / Hermessence / Heeley...just to name a few) we've experienced a big trend of minimalistic stuff during the late 90s /early 00s, then we witnessed a comeback of thicker and more complex fragrances but now it seems there's also a comeback of more *restrained / minimalist* stuff (Les Liquides Imaginaires, Escentric Molecules, some of the Nu_Be's offering). Just like with every other form of art or fashion, it's a lot about recycling / revisiting previous ideas and/or trends.


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  10. #10

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Great suggestions so far, all!

    Redneck: I know that I've smelled that Creed at one point or another, but seem to have forgotten it. Vetiver can go quite big on me, but this has more of the thinned out, slightly scratchy profile doesn't it? Or perhaps that's the association that I'm forcing onto it.

    Hednic: Vertical Limit seems like it's the kind of thing you might stumble across accidentally, so I'll keep an eye out for that one!

    Trex: How prominent is that coconut? I'm a little weary of that note (the whole tropical / piņa colada effect is skeery), but when used right, I could see it working. I wore Pear + Olive a couple of days ago (not one of my favorites from that line) and the massoia bark gives off a similar effect. In fact, I'd be inclined to approach that scent as minimalist, but there really is a lot going on in it.

    Jon: Silver Musk is very close to the kind of aesthetic I have in mind, and parallels can be drawn between it and the Odeurs from CdG. Interestingly, the Nasamatto perfumer is the one responsible for Eau de Polder as well. But Silver Musk raises another question about the genre (see below).

    Alfarom: I was thinking Artek Standard as well, and I agree that CdG really have this aesthetic nailed. Even their EdP, despite a couple of prominent notes, might fall into this category. What's so amazing about their creations is how they seem to balance all of these things (unusual components, impressions of industrialism, taste)—they really stand alone as far as execution goes, don't they?

    And yes, it absolutely makes sense that these things come in waves, but I'm also curious as to how such waves are triggered / respond to other waves (i.e. MFK has been rabbiting on about minimalism and these hedione and water compositions for a while now, seemingly ignoring AplS—which is arguably his best work).

    This also raises the question of how we define a minimalist aesthetic? For something like CdG, I'd argue that there's an overall minimalism to their compositions, yet they're quite complex formulas (Odeur 71 for example). Le Labo will strip back the components of their creations (Guaiac 10), but minimalism doesn't really map onto that particular aesthetic (aside from something like Labdanum 18 or Musk 25). I've heard people describe minimalist aesthetics as a "your skin but better" approach, but in the arts, we're inclined to think of minimalism more as a theme of reduction and focus (Raymond Carver, Frank Stella, La Monte Young). So, in perfumery, might we approach a minimal aesthetic as something that centers on a single note / material as a feature? For me, I think I lean more toward the "minimally there" approach of a light musk or an impression of a scent, but I could absolutely understand how some might turn to a solinote as a minimalist study of a note as well.
    Last edited by deadidol; 28th November 2013 at 04:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post

    Alfarom: I was thinking Artek Standard as well, and I agree that CdG really have this aesthetic nailed. Even their EdP, despite a couple of prominent notes, might fall into this category. What's so amazing about their creations is how they seem to balance all of these things (unusual components, impressions of industrialism, taste)—they really stand alone as far as execution goes, don't they?
    I think they also nailed a certain sense for restraint which, while surely being a remarkable part of their aesthetic, it also paradoxically adds character to most of their stuff. It's quite easy to be striking with something super-bombastic but it's not that easy when you achieve this goal with a nice sense of restraint.


    This also raises the question of how we define a minimalist aesthetic? For something like CdG, I'd argue that there's an overall minimalism to their compositions, yet they're quite complex formulas (Odeur 71) for example. Le Labo will strip back the components of their creations (Guaiac 10, for example), but minimalism doesn't really map onto their aesthetic (aside from something like Labdanum 18 or Musk 25). I've heard people describe minimalist aesthetics as a "your skin but better" approach, but in the arts, we're inclined to think of minimalism more as a theme of reduction and focus (Raymond Carver, Frank Stella, La Monte Young). So, in perfumery, might we approach a minimal aesthetic as something that centers on a single note / material as a feature? For me, I think I lean more toward the "minimally there" approach of a light musk or an impression of a scent, but I could absolutely understand how some might turn a solinote as a minimalist study of a note as well.
    I think the concept of minimalism can be pretty subjective. Personally I can associate it both to the *minimally there* and the *focused on a single note*. I give you my personal motivations for this. If you take music in example, you can surely describe minimalistic an artist such as Rioji Ikeda whose sound is basically all about an incredilbe multitude of glitches and silences. Barely perceptible in some of his compositions but, at the same time, not necessarely minimalistic in the meaning of *simple*. On the other hand, the wall of sound generated by, say, Merzbow and the likes, while being thicker, louder and room-filling, it feels definitely minimalistic. In this context I'd say I find Sahara Noir to be minimalistic while, say, Apres L'Ondee it's not...this is just to say that the former is loud and minimal and the latter is barely perceptible, faint and restrained but not necessarely minimalistic.

    On a side note, Helmut Lang EDC could be one to add to your list.
    Last edited by alfarom; 28th November 2013 at 04:57 PM.


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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Minimilist seems to equate with one-dimensional. Not great for any fragrance I would have thought.

    Any Tom, Dick or Harry could produce a fragrance like this.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    I think the concept of minimalism can be pretty subjective. Personally I can associate it both to the *minimally there* and the *focused on a single note*. I give you my personal motivations for this. If you take music in example, you can surely describe minimalistic and artist such as Rioji Ikeda whose sound is basically all about an incredilbe multitude of glitches and silences. Barely perceptible in some of his compositions but, at the same time, not necessarely minimalistic in the meaning of *simple*. On the other hand, the wall of sound generated by, say, Merzbow and the likes, while being thicker, louder and room-filling, it feels definitely minimalistic. In this context I'd say I find Sahara Noir to be minimalistic while, say, Apres L'Ondee it's not...this is just to say that the former is loud and minimal and the latter is barely perceptible, faint and restrained but not necessarely minimalistic.

    On a side note, Helmut Lang EDC could be one to add to your list.
    We're certainly thinking in parallels here as Sahara Noir entered my mind as a minimalist study of frankincense, but then I thought about the lack of space in that scent and held back. I'm writing about Stephane Mallarmé right now—specifically his championing of a new, "pure" aesthetic language that was largely built upon the idea of space and gaps between words. Sahara Noir, in this respect, is closer to Merzbow than anything in that there's constant underlying hum to the scent with little breathing room, but it's not unusually complex. Certain solifores might venture down this path, too and one of Chandler Burr's recent "untitled" scents—Isle Ryder by DS&Durga—has a certain diaphanousness to it that makes it a contender also. The spectrum, it seems, is quite wide.
    Last edited by deadidol; 28th November 2013 at 05:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Yes, it is wide mostly because I believe minimalist as a general concept, can be very subjective. I mean, it surely should go somehow by the principle that *less is more* but where *less* can mean a lot of different things depending on one's personal parameters.


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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    Minimilist seems to equate with one-dimensional. Not great for any fragrance I would have thought.

    Any Tom, Dick or Harry could produce a fragrance like this.
    Especially when it's JUST WATER!!!

    http://www.nstperfume.com/2013/11/25...new-fragrance/

    http://helvetica-the-perfume.myshopify.com/



    I agree - one-dimensionality (or even zero-dimensionality) is a great way to distinguish transparent/unworthy from transparent/worthy. And it is FAR easier to create the former than the latter.

    I think what ultimately distinguishes transparent art that remains real art is the ability to deal with the logical complexity of arriving at novel solutions which are sparse but non-trivial. Helvetica - far from non-trivial - simply becomes a platform from which to view such art, but it's outside of it - as it should be. Helvetica is more art criticism than art. It's like a really scant coffee-table book about transparent perfumes, made into an icon. It's like an ode to the beauty of zero, but it's not a new zero. It's the Eau d'IFRA joke stripped of the belly-laugh, leaving the smirking sigh of accepting nothing fragrances. The Stockholm syndrome of perfumery in imperial bureaucratic decline.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    Any Tom, Dick or Harry could produce a fragrance like this.
    I'm not so sure that's true, Kaern, especially given the kind of complexity that goes into something like Odeur 71 (71 components)! Isn't that a bit like the "my child could paint a Pollack" approach? I think there are very calculated decisions that need to be made with minimalism in all the arts (olfaction included) that go beyond a simple "just put one thing in it."

    I mean, clearly something like Molecule 01 is doing something very dodgy by attaching a BS pheromone myth to Iso E Super, but part of me isn't as angry about what they did as I feel I should be. Yes, anyone could make that (I have), and yes, it's stringing people along, but the artistic choice to feature such a key industry component in this manner was (somewhat?) brilliant—even if the scammy part is unavoidable.

    I find minimalism to be much more than something anyone could do.
    Last edited by deadidol; 28th November 2013 at 05:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    Becoming increasingly difficult. Can still be found in the NYC wholesale fragrance district for a pittance, but a lot of patience is required in those shops!
    (928)
    Thanks, Hednic! I will keep my eyes open for VL - especially if I ever find myself back there. Just for concreteness, what intersection puts me in the heart of the district? It was a serious "stumble-upon" last time!!!
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Hmmm, minimalism in fragrances. Let's see:

    Whenever I want something very simple, I almost always reach for my bottle of Menthe Fraiche by James Heeley. It's basically just super high quality bergamot and some mint. I find it is great as a fragrance "snack," and tend to use it when I want something for just a few hours before applying something else, or if I just don't feel like wearing much that day.

    I'd agree that Original Vetiver is also minimalistic, and that's what makes it so great.

    And to your point about Pear and Olive deadidol, I agree that some may find that minimalistic, but there is a lot going on when you study it. I get a whiff of white florals when I inhale deeply, which definitely isn't something I hear most people saying. That being said, the overall structure is pretty "light" by anyone's standards, especially Josh's.

    I probably can think of more, but I'll keep that as my list for now.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    I'm not so sure that's true, Kaern, especially given the kind of complexity that goes into something like Odeur 71 (71 components)! Isn't that a bit like the "my child could paint a Pollack" approach? I think there are very calculated decisions that need to be made with minimalism in all the arts (olfaction included) that go beyond a simple "just put one thing in it."
    a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y-a-g-r-e-e

    I mean, clearly something like Molecule 01 is doing something very dodgy by attaching a BS pheromone myth to Iso E Super, but part of me isn't as angry about what they did as I feel I should be. Yes, anyone could make that (I have), and yes, it's stringing people along, but the artistic choice to feature such a ket industry component in this manner was (somewhat?) brilliant—even if the scammy part is unavoidable.
    I'm not THAT technical to know for sure but Luca Turin claims Molecule 01 to be actually a whole composition and NOT just bottled IES.

    I find minimalism to be much more than something anyone could do.
    This is what minimalism should be. Problem is that, too often, anything that's too simple to be called *simple* goes automathically under the minimlistic disguise to sound, in a way or another, cool.


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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    I think what ultimately distinguishes transparent art that remains real art is the ability to deal with the logical complexity of arriving at novel solutions which are sparse but non-trivial. Helvetica - far from non-trivial - simply becomes a platform from which to view such art, but it's outside of it - as it should be. Helvetica is more art criticism than art. It's like a really scant coffee-table book about transparent perfumes, made into an icon. It's like an ode to the beauty of zero, but it's not a new zero. It's the Eau d'IFRA joke stripped of the belly-laugh, leaving the smirking sigh of accepting nothing fragrances. The Stockholm syndrome of perfumery in imperial bureaucratic decline.
    The Helvetica scent is just bad form. It's a very poor attempt to exploit artistic intentionality—which is ordinarily quite valid—but it's nothing more than crass commercialism of the worst kind. I can't help but wish the fleas of a thousand camels to infest the crotch of whoever came up with this idea. (Although I can't help but think this isn't that different [and perhaps a commentary on] the kinds of garbage unleashed onto the public in the form of flankers and what not.)

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    I'm not so sure that's true, Kaern, especially given the kind of complexity that goes into something like Odeur 71 (71 components)! Isn't that a bit like the "my child could paint a Pollack" approach? I think there are very calculated decisions that need to be made with minimalism in all the arts (olfaction included) that go beyond a simple "just put one thing in it."

    I mean, clearly something like Molecule 01 is doing something very dodgy by attaching a BS pheromone myth to Iso E Super, but part of me isn't as angry about what they did as I feel I should be. Yes, anyone could make that (I have), and yes, it's stringing people along, but the artistic choice to feature such a ket industry component in this manner was (somewhat?) brilliant—even if the scammy part is unavoidable.

    I find minimalism to be much more than something anyone could do.
    Haiku as a form is the immediate disproving counterexample. I think that Ellena's obsession with Japonica (big J) proves that he gets the core of where art lies in the realm of the transparent and minimal. When the complexity of pulling something out equals the complexity of adding something else, I think it shows you're on track. The designers at Google and Apple clearly get that, too.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    The Helvetica scent is just bad form. It's a very poor attempt to exploit artistic intentionality—which is ordinarily quite valid—but it's nothing more than crass commercialism of the worst kind. I can't help but wish the fleas of a thousand camels to infest the crotch of whoever came up with this idea. (Although I can't help but think this isn't that different [and perhaps a commentary on] the kinds of garbage unleashed onto the public in the form of flankers and what not.)
    It might have been more interesting as a museum piece. Although, I have to say, the crass commercialism done right becomes a comment in itself. Were the "pop-up niche" bottles done with more intent and irony, that part might even get more of a pass from me.
    * * * *

  22. #22

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Haiku as a form is the immediate disproving counterexample. I think that Ellena's obsession with Japonica (big J) proves that he gets the core of where art lies in the realm of the transparent and minimal. When the complexity of pulling something out equals the complexity of adding something else, I think it shows you're on track. The designers at Google and Apple clearly get that, too.
    There is an orientalist component at work here (in an Edward Said sense), but I wonder too how minimalism has the capacity to both cite as well as exploit through cultural appropriation?

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    I'm not THAT technical to know for sure but Luca Turin claims Molecule 01 to be actually a whole composition and NOT just bottled IES.
    The re-creation of the scent of Iso E SuperŪ as a fragrance would not only be technically interesting, if the authors chose to self-impose a great deal of technical constraint (say, start out at great "chemical distance"), but also much more of an artistic statement.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    There is an orientalist component at work here (in an Edward Said sense), but I wonder too how minimalism has the capacity to both cite as well as exploit through cultural appropriation?
    I agree. I see more citation than exploitation in Ellena - I see him as being far beyond even some kind of more honest but still blindered neo-Japonism. I really think he gets it, and it actually makes me feel good about the modern French attitude toward the East. That attitude (at least in the people I pay attention to) has humility which was absent from more colonial times, and to me that makes all the difference. I'm not saying that Europe or France are without the old baggage, but I think that most of the thought leaders and people are beyond it. Much of that comes from my wife and I traveling in Europe and other places.

    I've learned to be forgiving about the exploitative aspects of Western understanding of the East, and vice versa. I think the intent is always to cite, but it is in the rush to reach a conclusion that we exploit. Since reaching conclusions is inevitable, I just choose to forgive the incompleteness, the misinterpretation, and the local agendas that lead to distortion.

    Cultures all make valid choices which - over time - lead to different solutions - separate beauties. Age gives us insight into it, but youth has a certain innocence and honesty that I think is very teaching. Even though the adoption of Eastern art appreciation by Western youth made somebody a lot of money, I see a certain honesty in the acceptance by youth that almost precludes exploitation.

    Maybe I'm just an old fool, but I think Orientalism in the Said sense is dying. The world is falling for its internally divergent beauties, and now sees the need to preserve them, less and less from the point of view of provincialism and fear, and more because they simply matter as something not to be lost. I love to say that everything in Star Trek becomes true, and that is perhaps even more important in the non-material senses.
    Last edited by Redneck Perfumisto; 28th November 2013 at 06:21 PM.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Maybe I'm just an old fool, but I think Orientalism in the Said sense is dying. The world is falling for its internally divergent beauties, and now sees the need to preserve them, less and less from the point of view of provincialism and fear, and more because they simply matter as something not to be lost.
    It did its job, raising some necessary critical concerns and is germane to the discussion of minimalism, but I do agree that there's a citation that can be respectfully negotiated without venturing into more questionable territories. I find that line to be crossed in something like Kilian's Bamboo Harmony—not just because it's a poor scent, objectively speaking (it really is very, very bad)—but more that it's playing up a set of aesthetics designed to capitalize on cultural ideals for a Western market. The scent itself is stripped back for sure, the marketing behind it is (how should I say this) "fully loaded."

  25. #25

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Thanks, Hednic! I will keep my eyes open for VL - especially if I ever find myself back there. Just for concreteness, what intersection puts me in the heart of the district? It was a serious "stumble-upon" last time!!!
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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    I'd actually be interested in hearing from some of the DIY folks about this subject, too. I wonder if I can lure some of them in?

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    I am a dabbler in DIY and simple minimal compositions can be satisfying BUT they leave no hiding place for the quality of your materials.
    As others on the DIY board have remarked to me and they are quite correct, a simple formula of 3 natural materials may contain 100's of aromachemicals. So not really so simple.

    I would recommend some of the simpler compositions from Profumo.it who is a friend of Basenotes
    Muschio di Quercia: Oak Moss, Veteryl Acetate and Mysore Sandalwood or
    Chillum: Tobacco, Ginger and Mysore Sandalwood.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe C View Post
    I am a dabbler in DIY and simple minimal compositions can be satisfying BUT they leave no hiding place for the quality of your materials.
    As others on the DIY board have remarked to me and they are quite correct, a simple formula of 3 natural materials may contain 100's of aromachemicals. So not really so simple.
    I'm also a dabbler, Joe and I've had success with taking a beautiful featured note and accentuating it with some chems. There's a great frankincense/cedar co-extraction, for example, that stands alone (IMO) as a beautiful material. It doesn't take much to prop it up as a central focus, but requires some dexterity to create "space" around it.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    It did its job, raising some necessary critical concerns and is germane to the discussion of minimalism, but I do agree that there's a citation that can be respectfully negotiated without venturing into more questionable territories. I find that line to be crossed in something like Kilian's Bamboo Harmony—not just because it's a poor scent, objectively speaking (it really is very, very bad)—but more that it's playing up a set of aesthetics designed to capitalize on cultural ideals for a Western market. The scent itself is stripped back for sure, the marketing behind it is (how should I say this) "fully loaded."
    Word! Compare to Rose Ikebana, where the huge reference to chadō (tea ceremony) by inclusion of matcha (special tea) was not even noted. But Hermčs has always been huge on restraint, and their aesthetics seem to have a very natural overlap with real Japanese tastes. I don't fault Kilian - it's an effort - it is only in the rush to conclude that we err. To truly understand requires appreciation of the haiku masters who took years to complete three lines, or the zen gardens that require more study to design than the patience of the beautifully exemplary oji-san, who spend hours contemplating them, while tourists and modern Japanese move on.

    Which brings me to a minimal gem that gets no respect. Creed Les Floralies, which has an interesting Japan backstory. So delicate as to be uncommercializable. Somebody really got Japan when they made that stuff. It's a Japanese Windsor, and nobody knows about it. I hope they re-release it someday for the 10 people who will appreciate it. The Creed Boutique had it for a while.

    Even if you pay attention to something, it's easy to miss the totality. I pay a lot of attention to ikebana because of my wife and her friends, but I just saw some that had qualities I simply thought were impossible (I don't want to say grandiosity, but almost). Cultural learning is never-ending if you're honest about it.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    A peculiarity of the real minimalism in each human field is the art to express a lot (and in a complete way) by the implementation of few well combined elements. Is difficult for sure to say a lot in the universe of perfumery combining few notes in a transparent and balanced way (elements which must be complex "di per se" and able to mix fairly their proper nuances with the characteristics of some diverse notes) as well as is hard, probably harder, to combine in a perfect orchestra a moltitude of diverse elements, some reciprocally opposite or dissonant. Minimalism in perfumery to me just means ability to find out all the potentialities a single natural note can express and to put on its side a couple of different notes around that are able to root up and draw naturally out at best those potentialities of the previous note. Taking it for granted i detect minimalism in such fragrances as Terre de L'Encense by Cloon Keen Atelier or Eau Lente where single elements with a moltitude of nuances are combined together with balance in a multifaceted final blend. I can quote also fragrances as some Torre of Tuscany (for instance Corpi Caldi, Berkana or Colonia Toscana), Cedre Santaraque Parfumerie Generale, or Grayland Montale, Hinoki, some Dyptique, some CDG for sure, the great Kenzoair, my lovely Vetyver Etro (basically rooty/earthy vetiver and tobacco), Musc Acampora, Meo Fusciuni # 2 Nota di Viaggio, some tea based compositions around and all those diaphanous concoctions featuring a bunch of few elements as wet woods, citrus and aquatic flowers in a perfect ethereal olfactory harmony.
    Ps: a composition is far more properly minimalist in my opinion whether the elements tend to be arid, stark, transparent or fluidy. On this sphere minimalism can also actually mean "multifaceted sharpness" with the minimum amount of harmonious elements, a tad smoky/misty a tad aqueous and gray, yes a bit as losing yourself somewhere on the north Cina's desolate green mointains territory in the middle of the shadowy and gasseous winter haze.
    Last edited by Darvant; 29th November 2013 at 06:22 AM.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Darvant View Post
    Minimalism in perfumery to me just means ability to find out all the potentialities a single natural note can express and to put on its side a couple of different notes around that are able to root up and draw naturally out at best those potentialities of the previous note.
    This seems to form connections between the solinote and a more general, yet complex minimalist aesthetic in that it appears to privilege space in different ways. So perhaps that is the key that's worth exploring further? Less emphasis on the components themselves, and more of a focus on gaps?

    Is "wall of minimalism" possible?

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Seems difficult to reconcile, at least for me. Perhaps a basic misunderstanding of the terms used. To be minimalist, but to do it with a large-ish number of notes seems contradictory at best, and wasteful at worst. That is if one seeks minimalism as a way of life, a search for efficiency. If minimalism is in the imagery of the scent, that it smells like one, or very few things, then that does not seem to add value in an any particular sense. Go and smell the thing, what is the allure of having that one idea on the skin? And if it takes more than that one thing to recreate the idea but not the presence, then what was the accomplishment?

    On the other hand, minimal ingredients involved does not really add any value to me, either. At that point it isn't an idea of protecting art, but just protecting copyright in what feelings are about purchase or existence of smell-alikes. This is where Helvetica doesn't bother me, at least no more than anything else. If Molecule 01 smells only of IES, yet is art for being so simple and reproducible, then Helvetica is really no different. It smells of nothing, and is a simple mix, but complexity and smell aren't the essence of the art. At least they don't seem to be if minimalism and reproducing or imitating a single odor are viable expressions.

    It seems minimalism requires some learning, some knowing, so the item itself is made insufficient. Is it more impressive to have a bottle of water, or a bottle of numerous aromachemicals that somehow smell of nothing? Or of a dilution of IES alone, or a grand blend that smells like IES alone? If they smell the same, then they have the same value, imo. To smell like laundry musks does not come across as very noteworthy, no offense to perfumers or fans. Minimalism isn't something of material value for me. Eh, maybe I shouldn't have replied since that's the case.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Maricle,

    I wonder if the paradox of "a complex minimalism" should take into account aesthetic intent as well, though? If you think about Michael Fried's understanding of "Objecthood" in Tony Smith's Die—in which he imprints a slew of ramifications onto an otherwise minimal, yet tangible structure—perhaps we can understand complexity in something like Molecule 01 through its citing of perfume's history (IES's prominent role in the industry) combined its apparent lampooning of the sex-sells / consumption motif which, granted, is not dealing with the scent itself, but arguably renders the scent as oddly complex. Helvetica, to me, is attempting something along those lines (or perhaps something closer to Yves Klein's "conceptual painting" [the painting never existed; what you "bought" was the possibility]) but with none of sensitivity or integrity. It's simply capitalizing on a font that was, itself, rendered pastiche through its dissemination.

    But what I'm still trying to get at is the way something like Odeur 73 can contain 73 components and yet feel extremely restrained? For me, that's dexterity of the blend—not in the sense that the perfumer imposed perimeters on the construction ("I'm going to see how many ingredients I can use and still make it smell like nothing"), rather in the way that space and breathing room can be incorporated as a key ingredient in the formula as well.

    As far as not responding because minimalism doesn't have any value to you, I disagree — I'm glad you did respond. I think it underscores what's at the root of this discussion—subjective preference, which is where the thread began. I guess my point (and reason for firing the thread up) is that I find there's a time and place for stripped down compositions, and it's somewhat interesting to discern how such times and places revolve and evolve.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    ^ I certainly haven't given minimalism and transparency this much thought in many moons. Quite glad for the opportunity. Lots of great ideas and thoughts from all of you as well. It's making my Eau Premičre even better than usual.
    * * * *

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    What a great thread. I've really enjoyed reading all of the contributions and as I feel many of my favorite scents fall under these ideas of minimalism - both complex and simple, it is giving me some new perspectives.

    I really enjoy the simple minimalism where the perfumer exhibits his/her skills by what (s)he subtracts and the use of negative space in a sense to really make simple themes/notes/accords stand out, and this is what I had usually thought of with respect to minimalism in fragrance, but deadidol, you are definitely right that there is an art of machieving minimalism through the use of many ingredients and subtle complexity.

    Red's posts definitely make me think of the aesthetic of the tea ceremony, and I think that is a perfect example of what is actually great complexity coming together to provide an almost meditative experience of great simplicity and the Japanese aesthetic ideal of wabi.
    When studying the tea ceremony, my teacher claimed that it was the culmination of all Japanese arts. I don't know whether I'd go that far, but it features traditional architecture in the tea room (itself a study of minimalism, wabi and sabi), ikebana in the simple flower arrangements used, incense, pottery, textiles, metalwork, zen, horticulture, cuisine, etc. There are actually so many elements that go into creating that simple meditative experience. Even the aesthetics of the arrangement of the charcoal and mix of shapes and sizes of charcoal used to heat the water play a part. These often unseen elements all playing a role in allowing you to experience minimalism and simplicity. I'm not saying that it is necessarily a uniquely Japanese thing, but I think it is a good example of how many elements can combine to create a sense of minimalism.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Darjeeling View Post
    What a great thread. I've really enjoyed reading all of the contributions and as I feel many of my favorite scents fall under these ideas of minimalism - both complex and simple, it is giving me some new perspectives.

    I really enjoy the simple minimalism where the perfumer exhibits his/her skills by what (s)he subtracts and the use of negative space in a sense to really make simple themes/notes/accords stand out, and this is what I had usually thought of with respect to minimalism in fragrance, but deadidol, you are definitely right that there is an art of machieving minimalism through the use of many ingredients and subtle complexity.

    Red's posts definitely make me think of the aesthetic of the tea ceremony, and I think that is a perfect example of what is actually great complexity coming together to provide an almost meditative experience of great simplicity and the Japanese aesthetic ideal of wabi.
    When studying the tea ceremony, my teacher claimed that it was the culmination of all Japanese arts. I don't know whether I'd go that far, but it features traditional architecture in the tea room (itself a study of minimalism, wabi and sabi), ikebana in the simple flower arrangements used, incense, pottery, textiles, metalwork, zen, horticulture, cuisine, etc. There are actually so many elements that go into creating that simple meditative experience. Even the aesthetics of the arrangement of the charcoal and mix of shapes and sizes of charcoal used to heat the water play a part. These often unseen elements all playing a role in allowing you to experience minimalism and simplicity. I'm not saying that it is necessarily a uniquely Japanese thing, but I think it is a good example of how many elements can combine to create a sense of minimalism.
    Tea ceremony is definitely fascinating, and a great example of the sort of studied internal complexity that I think good minimalism is all about. It's a way to deeply manage a limited but still sizable number of details, rather than loosely managing a larger number of details by selectively ignoring most. People are always surprised at the depth and number of small details that are consciously chosen. Even the room, as you say, is a science in itself. One of my wife's friends teaches tea ceremony in her non-work life. Her husband built her a tea room - and the list of surprising details that were sweated seemed far more interesting than the room itself.

    Honestly, though, after a while, it is very easy to "get" the Japanese concept of beauty, and just go with it, despite the initial oddity of some aspects. While it may lead to things on the edge like Hello Kitty and voluptuous schoolgirls with crosses and bazookas, the stuff at the core has qualities that beg for preservation of the whole, once they click.

    Speaking of which art, I just remembered that I need to make an announcement for our alpha Japanophile, Chandler!!! Must vamoose. But it has indeed been a great discussion!
    * * * *

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Darjeeling View Post
    Red's posts definitely make me think of the aesthetic of the tea ceremony, and I think that is a perfect example of what is actually great complexity coming together to provide an almost meditative experience of great simplicity and the Japanese aesthetic ideal of wabi.
    When studying the tea ceremony, my teacher claimed that it was the culmination of all Japanese arts. I don't know whether I'd go that far, but it features traditional architecture in the tea room (itself a study of minimalism, wabi and sabi), ikebana in the simple flower arrangements used, incense, pottery, textiles, metalwork, zen, horticulture, cuisine, etc. There are actually so many elements that go into creating that simple meditative experience. Even the aesthetics of the arrangement of the charcoal and mix of shapes and sizes of charcoal used to heat the water play a part. These often unseen elements all playing a role in allowing you to experience minimalism and simplicity. I'm not saying that it is necessarily a uniquely Japanese thing, but I think it is a good example of how many elements can combine to create a sense of minimalism.

    I think this is a very similar idea, and as it came up in the discussion earlier, minimalism and the Japanese arts are somewhat indivisible. It's especially noticeable in CdG's scents, but also in Rei Kawakubo's incredible style. The kind of measured calculations and the sense of balance that comes through such ceremonies as what you described, Darjeeling, seems critical to the way minimalism is articulated. But of course that opens up another question pertaining to the control of formal and technical choices: is there room for an organic experience within such scents, or is the composition so meticulously managed by the perfumer that experience is restricted? It seems to me that it would be dependent on the wearer's own response, but how might a pristine composition beget a different wearing to something that's perhaps more shifting and mercurial?


    Also, throughout the day, I've been thinking a little about Narciso Rodriguez for Men, which is very limited in its notes (just four, I believe), but the notes that it uses are quite multi-faceted. My experience with a scent like that is that it's fairly consistent in what it accomplishes, but it has density and texture that keep it from being truly minimalist. On the other hand, there's Le Labo's Labdanum 18 which, to me, doesn't represent anything close to 18 components (just a handful of dry musks) in the same manner that the Odeurs are more complexly structured, but in granular detail.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    I'm not so sure that's true, Kaern, especially given the kind of complexity that goes into something like Odeur 71 (71 components)! Isn't that a bit like the "my child could paint a Pollack" approach? I think there are very calculated decisions that need to be made with minimalism in all the arts (olfaction included) that go beyond a simple "just put one thing in it."

    I mean, clearly something like Molecule 01 is doing something very dodgy by attaching a BS pheromone myth to Iso E Super, but part of me isn't as angry about what they did as I feel I should be. Yes, anyone could make that (I have), and yes, it's stringing people along, but the artistic choice to feature such a key industry component in this manner was (somewhat?) brilliant—even if the scammy part is unavoidable.

    I find minimalism to be much more than something anyone could do.
    It's Pollock. And a lot of his work is quite structured and formulated if you look closely, so no, I wouldn't expect a child to replicate.

    The point I was trying to get across, was that minimalism imo is peculiarly unsuited to fragrances.

    RP''s example from Helvetica is laughable unless it was viewed as a work of art only. It sort of enhances my point about anyone doing it though -- physically anyway.The idea behind it though and Molecule 01 -- that's different and I tend to agree with you there.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quartz by Molyneux is one of my favorite minimalistic scents. One of the few fragrances I perceive as linear, highly simplified, clean, almost mineral (not just because of the name), almost neutral, yet at the same time incredibly well-made.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Interesting discussions. It got me questioning if a minimalist fragrance composition is always perceived as minimalist (in terms of presentation) especially considering how complex or multi-faceted a single component can be. Or that a complex composition may be experienced as minimalist due to the 'focus and restraint' imposed by the perfumer on the myriad components used in composing the fragrance. Pure oud oil with it's evolving and mutltifaceted olfactory profile can never be accepted as a minimalist fragrance even if it has the bare minimum number of components. But a complex composition with hundreds of components to showcase a single note or accord in a transparent and linear way can easily pass for a minimalist fragrance. Am I making sense here? Lol.

    My own favorite minimalist fragrances include the likes of Bulgari Pour Homme, MFK Aqua Universalis and Creed Original Vetiver. But I'll add Tom Ford Tuscan Leather to this list for its linear approach and singular focus.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    It's Pollock. And a lot of his work is quite structured and formulated if you look closely, so no, I wouldn't expect a child to replicate.

    The point I was trying to get across, was that minimalism imo is peculiarly unsuited to fragrances.
    Gah! Kicking myself over the typo!

    I see your point now about minimalism not being well-suited for fragrance, but I think I'm more inclined to say it's well suited—not from a business perspective, perhaps, but from the perspective of a connoisseur who enjoys a break from heavy scents now and again, or a study of a single note perhaps. From the angle of artistic intention, it's so hard to tell where sincerity sits in an industry that's largely ventriloquized by capital.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    Interesting discussions. It got me questioning if a minimalist fragrance composition is always perceived as minimalist (in terms of presentation) especially considering how complex or multi-faceted a single component can be. Or that a complex composition may be experienced as minimalist due to the 'focus and restraint' imposed by the perfumer on the myriad components used in composing the fragrance. Pure oud oil with it's evolving and mutltifaceted olfactory profile can never be accepted as a minimalist fragrance even if it has the bare minimum number of components. But a complex composition with hundreds of components to showcase a single note or accord in a transparent and linear way can easily pass for a minimalist fragrance.

    My favorite minimalist fragrances include Bulgari Pour Homme and Creed Original Vetiver. But I'll add Tom Ford Tuscan Leather to this list for its linear approach and singular focus.
    I think this sums up some of the concerns about definition, Diamondflame, especially given that you approach Tuscan Leather as minimalist in its linearity. I wonder if this is where the solifore designation breaks away from minimal in that it is indeed a focused scent, but it doesn't get much more oppressive and heavy than that one!
    Last edited by deadidol; 29th November 2013 at 04:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post


    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    The point I was trying to get across, was that minimalism imo is peculiarly unsuited to fragrances.
    Which actually is a really good point. The fine-grained control that our visual sense has over the product of the spatial dimensions, or the variation of the auditory in time, allow minimalism to still carry a lot of information without loss of perception. Fragrance is a toughie, and I think that makes it a lot easier to be a trivial minimalist than a talented one in perfumery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_Russell View Post
    Quartz by Molyneux is one of my favorite minimalistic scents. One of the few fragrances I perceive as linear, highly simplified, clean, almost mineral (not just because of the name), almost neutral, yet at the same time incredibly well-made.
    Thanks for this recommendation! I have been tempted by this one, just from the name. Now I have a reason to go for it. I love quartz (the regular kind)!

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    Interesting discussions. It got me questioning if a minimalist fragrance composition is always perceived as minimalist (in terms of presentation) especially considering how complex or multi-faceted a single component can be. Or that a complex composition may be experienced as minimalist due to the 'focus and restraint' imposed by the perfumer on the myriad components used in composing the fragrance. Pure oud oil with it's evolving and mutltifaceted olfactory profile can never be accepted as a minimalist fragrance even if it has the bare minimum number of components. But a complex composition with hundreds of components to showcase a single note or accord in a transparent and linear way can easily pass for a minimalist fragrance. Am I making sense here? Lol.

    My own favorite minimalist fragrances include the likes of Bulgari Pour Homme, MFK Aqua Universalis and Creed Original Vetiver. But I'll add Tom Ford Tuscan Leather to this list for its linear approach and singular focus.
    Great points. How one defines minimalism makes a lot of difference here. For example, consider natural perfumery, where people are all using natural components as a constraining rule of the art. Some of the perfumers gravitate toward things that appear very simple, and others toward very complex combinations of complex components. Can minimalism transcend the absolute number of substances, at the molecular level? If large-scale structure counts as something which can be minimized, then the answer has to be yes, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    From the angle of artistic intention, it's so hard to tell where sincerity sits in an industry that's largely ventriloquized by capital.
    Somebody frame this quote!!!
    * * * *

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Which actually is a really good point. The fine-grained control that our visual sense has over the product of the spatial dimensions, or the variation of the auditory in time, allow minimalism to still carry a lot of information without loss of perception. Fragrance is a toughie, and I think that makes it a lot easier to be a trivial minimalist than a talented one in perfumery.
    Seems silly to say, but I sometimes wonder what a bear would think of perfume, since their sense of smell is about 2,000 times better than a human. Very little in the world would smell of minimalism then. And elephants might quite like Helvetica, since they can smell water up to 12 miles away. Our fascination with fragrance might be similar to a mole's interest in viewing oil paintings. But then any indulgence in texture and feel we have would pale compared to the 100,000 nerve endings in the star shaped organ around their nose.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    This discussion is interesting. I'll leave all the highbrow analysis to those who know what they are talking about.

    Isabelle Doyen's L'Antimatiere must be a contender. I've had a couple of samples of this. It's certainly minimalist. I can hardly smell it. It is there though.

    Re: Molecule 01, I don't think that Luca Turin is saying that the fragrance is a composition. He is saying that the aromachemical Iso E Super is a compound material. Molecule 01 is just made with this one note/material. I wish they would drop this "blends with your pheromones" nonsense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foustie View Post

    Isabelle Doyen's L'Antimatiere must be a contender. I've had a couple of samples of this. It's certainly minimalist. I can hardly smell it. It is there though.
    Great call Foustie. This is definitely a contender. I'm not paticularly fond of this fragrance but if one's into minimalism, this is definitely something to experience.

    Re: Molecule 01, I don't think that Luca Turin is saying that the fragrance is a composition. He is saying that the aromachemical Iso E Super is a compound material. Molecule 01 is just made with this one note/material. I wish they would drop this "blends with your pheromones" nonsense.
    I think you're right. I dug that review and it actually says...

    "...Helmut Lang had already been there with the pleasantly straightforward Velviona, using Givaudan's exceptionally wonderful and quite cheap macrocyclic Velvione musk. Velviona was more truly monomolecular, whereas Iso E Super is a complex mixture of isomers. In other words, Molecule 01 is a composition, which sort of defeats the object of the exercise."


    Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by maricle View Post
    Seems silly to say, but I sometimes wonder what a bear would think of perfume, since their sense of smell is about 2,000 times better than a human. Very little in the world would smell of minimalism then. And elephants might quite like Helvetica, since they can smell water up to 12 miles away. Our fascination with fragrance might be similar to a mole's interest in viewing oil paintings. But then any indulgence in texture and feel we have would pale compared to the 100,000 nerve endings in the star shaped organ around their nose.
    YES. Excellent points. Minimalism is clearly relative. Which is really, really fascinating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Foustie View Post
    This discussion is interesting. I'll leave all the highbrow analysis to those who know what they are talking about.

    Isabelle Doyen's L'Antimatiere must be a contender. I've had a couple of samples of this. It's certainly minimalist. I can hardly smell it. It is there though.

    Re: Molecule 01, I don't think that Luca Turin is saying that the fragrance is a composition. He is saying that the aromachemical Iso E Super is a compound material. Molecule 01 is just made with this one note/material. I wish they would drop this "blends with your pheromones" nonsense.
    I need to experience L'Antimatiere - it has finally piqued my curiosity!

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    Great call Foustie. This is definitely a contender. I'm not paticularly fond of this fragrance but if one's into minimalism, this is definitely something to experience.

    I think you're right. I dug that review and it actually says...

    "...Helmut Lang had already been there with the pleasantly straightforward Velviona, using Givaudan's exceptionally wonderful and quite cheap macrocyclic Velvione musk. Velviona was more truly monomolecular, whereas Iso E Super is a complex mixture of isomers. In other words, Molecule 01 is a composition, which sort of defeats the object of the exercise."
    Isomerism has always been a thorn in the side of chemists. It's incredibly annoying - separating isomers is very easy for professors to ask, and a horrible pain for graduate students to carry out. I think that makes me very forgiving of this fact in Iso E Super.

    It also makes me wonder - if most people don't even understand what's going on in the fragrance, are molecular counts even a valid concern of minimalism? Definitely weirding me out. [But I did just learn a bunch of interesting stuff about Iso E Super, which I'm going to put into another thread, because it's too OT to this one.]
    * * * *

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    YESIt also makes me wonder - if most people don't even understand what's going on in the fragrance, are molecular counts even a valid concern of minimalism? Definitely weirding me out. [But I did just learn a bunch of interesting stuff about Iso E Super, which I'm going to put into another thread, because it's too OT to this one.]
    I'll be watching for that one, Red.

    I actually like Molecule 01 (although I knock together my own), but it's true that it does feel a little more complex when you zero in on it. So this is fascinating to hear about isomers and how it's busier than it seems. On skin, it does feel quite layered—several possible wood and musk facets merging together. I wonder if Molecule 02 is the same as that feels even more like a complete scent than Molecule 01 (02 is straight ambroxan). It complicates the minimal aesthetic, but once more, in a different way.

    I think we're going to either need a recap or a diagram here soon!

    And thanks for the L'Antimatiere tip, Foustie! I'll be looking into this one soon.

    Incidentally, I just got to smell a material from a friend—a musk (natural, sadly, and hopefully somewhat humanely sourced )—that smelled, I kid you not, like a complete composition with incredible development, texture, and a ton of facets. It would be wearable as is as a scent, but even as a single component, I'm not sure I'd consider it minimal. Consequently, I feel like I'm moving away from the solinote as minimalist and more toward the intentionally minimalist composition (no matter how complex) as the paradigm.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    ... I feel like I'm moving away from the solinote as minimalist and more toward the intentionally minimalist composition (no matter how complex) as the paradigm.
    I agree - and for totally different reasons. As I was graphically doctoring one of the structures in the other thread (whiting out some stuff and drawing back in a bond - I stole it from a much busier reaction diagram), I realized that perfumers can do the same thing - basically dropping differently colored circles on top of each other, until the desired form takes shape. And after having smelled a floral absolute (horribly complex) that a perfumer turned back into the smell of the flower (very clear and transparent), I realize that it probably takes a lot of work to minimize, particularly if it includes hiding stuff, or creating illusions of transparency / clarity / absence.
    * * * *

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Minimalist Compositions

    I'll say it again- thanks guys for the high level of discussion. This thread has given me a great deal of nutrients for my thoughts.

    I love the apparently effortless semplicity that comes as a result of thorough exploration, deep elaboration, wise and personal choice- like haikus, certain instrumental performances (Andrās Schiff playing Bach comes to my mind) or even certain dishes by renown chefs (Olivier Roellinger for one, and his work on spices).
    Perfumewise, I couldn't say for sure what fragrance gives me such a sensation... I dare say that no one up to now has done it, or at least not in a "minimalistic" way.
    "Your fragrance with a fume of iodine" L. Cohen

  50. #50

    Default Minimalist Compositions

    Quote Originally Posted by iodine View Post
    (Andrās Schiff playing Bach comes to my mind) or even certain dishes by renown chefs (Olivier Roellinger for one, and his work on spices).
    I think these are great comparisons to make, and they speak to a concern I raised earlier about organic / dynamic vs static experiences. Arguably, Schiff and Roellinger demonstrate absolute control over their respective crafts; every aspect of the experience is intricately managed by them, which, arguably, is part of their genius. Would this be the case in a minimalist perfume composition? Is there a restriction of experience on the part of the wearer due to the absolute management of experience at the hands of the perfumer? I wonder if variations of subjective response are even possible in something like Odeur 53, or if they're so intimately choreographed that the lack of variation available can be understood as the primary generator of the minimal aesthetic? If that's the case, then surely the wearer is complicit in imprinting the subjective experience onto the objective, minimal surface of the perfume. Therefore, a minimal perfume functions as an empty page upon which the wearer can write the scent's narrative, whereas a complex, maximalist scent writes on the wearer herself?

    In other words: The minimalist perfumer exercises such absolute, total control over the creation in order to (essentially) relinquish control as a means by which to charge the wearer with the task of writing meaning into the creation.

    So, minimalist perfume might be understood as one that necessitates a more active, engaged wearer than a passive one?
    Last edited by deadidol; 30th November 2013 at 10:02 AM.

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