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  1. #1
    Basenotes Robot's Avatar
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    Mar 2015

    Default The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Reside in McLean, Va., Manhattan NYC, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica & Búzios Brasil

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

    Interesting article.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

    Thanks for the interesting comparison and perspectives on this

  4. #4

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

    It appears you did not interview one natural perfumer or supplier of natural aromatics for your article. Why? If you had, you might have found out that there is a strong sustainability focus in the art, and that many natural perfumers are now distilling, tincturing and producing their own aromatics. Holding vanilla, ylang ylang and others up as an example is just wrong, as their market fluctuates from year to year. Are you aware of Liatris and the vanilla leaf plant from the Pacific NW? No one has ever said that all products are sustainable, but those I speak to are adaptable, resourceful, creative and dedicate to working only with natural aromatics.
    Anya McCoy -
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  5. #5

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

    Not very well researched, I am afraid. Vetiver is not a scarce plant, and sandalwood is a very broad topic: Sandalum album is very scarce, but Sandalum spicatum is not, and there are nowadays many planters, especially in Australia, committed to restore the supplies especially for perfumers. The writer should have interviewed more people, not only industry-insiders, but also perfumers, form the industry as well as artisan ones. The dichotomy "natural vs. synthetic" is not so simple as stated in this article.
    Currently wearing: Musk Aoud by Roja Dove

  6. #6

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

    Not very well researched I'm afraid, consumers want natural fragrances not only because it feels better but because they offer a depth and beauty that synthetics just cannot match. Many agree that synthetics are quite 1 dimensional, whereas natural fragrance often sings to the soul in a similar way that ice cream made with synthetic vanilla flavouring just cannot compare to the feeling you get when you eat ice cream made with real vanilla.

    To say that natural fragrances are less green is an outrage, I agree that sustainability is an issue, but that issue applies to everything on the planet and as far as I can see, a lot is being done to ensure that natural aromatics are sustainable and the plants you speak of are not endangered aside from sandalwood from India but as someone else already has commented, there are now huge sandalwood farms in Australia. Vanilla is also grown outside of Madagascar in huge quantities and deforestation due to vanilla farming is a drop in the ocean compared to deforestation to keep up with demands for meat.

    I agree that sustainability is an issue for all industries to some degree but there is nothing 'greener' than natural products, what kind of a world would we live in if everything we consumed was synthetic? never to taste or smell real vanilla again, imagine that! They are now even making meat that is animal free too! We could end up living in a world that values synthetics over natural ingredients which has already happened to some degree in the fragrance industry, though this is more to do with marketing and brand names.

    Being green is keeping it natural and tackling the issues humanity faces in the wake of super consumerism, being green is not trading synthetics for naturals at all.

  7. #7
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    Aug 2014

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

    This article feels strongly "Brought to you by IFRA, in conjunction with aromachem manufacturers". It's not the first article I've seen here that gives me the same vibe.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?


    What a lovely introduction to a conversation! Thank you!

    I think it is obvious now there are certainly some factual issues here, and certainly there are enough half truths out there to make things very very confusing indeed.

    In my experience, there is going to be quite a duality when it comes to natural vs. synthetic... and even to some extent what natural is within the Naturals community. So perhaps it is helpful to agree on a vernacular or vocabulary which is expressing the same meaning and intent. Something perfumers must do when working together, for the term "scarce" is an example which seems to be clogging the flow of communication here.

    While it is true some botanicals have been truly overharvested and even pushed to extinction- this has never been at the hands of the perfume industry, even Bois de Rose and Indian Sandalwood have come to this state more from furniture and clear cutting rainforest than a distiller who reveres the trees.

    The conglomerate synthetic perfume industry, led now as almost all companies, by a monopoly of routinely disinterested three or four players, does not have the well being of the environment or anyone's health in mind. Point out all the prettyverbage you'd like- this remains a fact. Actions will determine truth, not saying the future contains an answer.

    The biowaste from thesewood substances: where is the ecological report card?

    To say the consumer does not want something YET is a promise you will manipulate them into either choosing this by removing all other competition or because you simply have not found the lie which works. In short, you have no intention of listening to the consumer.

    Consider the pharmaceutical industry... another industry which is directly based on natural substances, synthesized and then used to create a profit far beyond its actual worth. This is another industry whose has aimed at negating, controlling and would if possible forbid the use of botanical remedies so it's greed for money and pseudosuperiority will reign... and yet... it would not exist without the natural plants it mimics.

    IFRA is not interested in creativity nor diversity nor a fair playing ground, It does not exist to serve your health. Please understand, while you believe it serves a purpose, you ignore the ways it destroys small business, eradicates the creative genius of perfumers past, and creates a monopoly on raw materials for no other reason than corporate greed.

    The scarcity you are speaking of is not raw materials, what we lack here is honesty, integrity, and an education beyond what corporations are offering.

    Am I biased? Of course. I am not against the evolution of science.. I am against the use of science to lead people astray. Statistics are inherently both true and untrue. So, in telling one side of the story, we have here a collection of half truths sprinkled with some buzzwords all giving to a very sympathetic pat on the head for natural perfumers. Now, shall we present the vast education, experiential knowledge and extensive network of sustainable agriculture, business, energy and community which the Natural Perfume Community actually represent?

    I ask because there is a vital conversation here which seems to come up again and again... it is not, in my perspective, the idea someone chooses a synthetic molecule over a natural one, but the aggressive character assault on natural perfumers and now the political campaign against botanical materials which should point out there is an agenda beyond aesthetics... beyond common sense.

    Let us have this conversation, and not debate aesthetics. This is not about smelling pretty, this is about the Earth, our resources and our bodies. This is about corporate control- body & mind, planet and resources.

    What is scarce? Livable planets.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

    Interesting content. I would like to appreciate the writer because, it wasn't that easy to write such a comprehensible content. Great Detail as I always dream of to create for my SPT Countertop Dishwasher Blog. I wish I could write in a laconic tone.

  10. #10
    Basenotes Junkie broguesforsir's Avatar
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    Aug 2012

    Default Re: The sweetest thing: natural or synthetic?

    Many valid comments above. A disappointingly myopic article that some of a more suspicious mind could interpret as shameful propaganda.

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