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  1. #1
    Common Lackey

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    Default "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quite interesting. A survey of the history of "oriental" scents, the culmination of that interest in today's oud craze, and an Asian perspective on the political ramifications of the term "oriental" itself as well as the perfumes.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/10/t...ientalism.html
    Last edited by Cook.bot; 11th May 2021 at 03:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Member Nom de Guerre's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Thanks for sharing – will have something to read after work.
    Currently wearing: 1957 by Chanel

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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Thank you. This was delight: thoughtful, well written and less freighted with identity politics than I had feared.

    One bizarre thing, though: the author's description of GB Tiepolo's paintings as having an emphasis on interiors. This is manifestly untrue (all that Venetian sky).

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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Interesting read. Thanks.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Thank you for posting that link.
    Summer is here : greens, vetiver, aromatics. Selecting from : Bottega Veneta Bottega Veneta pour Homme EdT; Guerlain Vetiver, Etro Palais Jamais. Aramis Tuscany; Penhaligon's Juniper Sling; Knize Sec; Caron Yatagan; . Evening : Etro Ambra, Etro Shaal Nur; Knize Ten, Penhaligon's Elixir.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    I always thought it was just a matter of time until 'Oriental fragrances' got cancelled when I first learnt about them. Fragrantica has already removed the term and replaced it with 'amber' which is painfully regressive as it is by no means a like-for-like replacement of terms.
    “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
    Currently wearing: Beau de Jour by Tom Ford

  7. #7

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Thank you for posting. Liked the way different sub-types within this categories were structured, detailed and explained in distinct chapters.
    Currently wearing: Open by Roger & Gallet

  8. #8
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Thanks for the link. Interesting.

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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Very interesting read, and I'd say quite correct and to the point. This is unusual for a newspaper, since newspapers and magazines tend to be very uninformed about perfumes. And we had a discussion of orientalism here on BN a couple of weeks ago.

    I was puzzled too by the reference to Tiepolo, with the interiors. And the paintings (Tiepolo mostly did frescoes). Either this is a wrong quotation, or the author of the book mixed up Tiepolo with somebody else.

    cacio

  10. #10
    Common Lackey

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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by saminlondon View Post
    One bizarre thing, though: the author's description of GB Tiepolo's paintings as having an emphasis on interiors. This is manifestly untrue (all that Venetian sky).
    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    I was puzzled too by the reference to Tiepolo, with the interiors. And the paintings (Tiepolo mostly did frescoes). Either this is a wrong quotation, or the author of the book mixed up Tiepolo with somebody else.
    The piece was just published yesterday. I'll try to remember to check back and see if a correction gets posted about the reference to Tiepolo.

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Fantastic article!
    "I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
    -John Cage

  12. #12

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by Cook.bot View Post
    The piece was just published yesterday. I'll try to remember to check back and see if a correction gets posted about the reference to Tiepolo.

    Thanks for posting.

    I am also wondering if a correction is made for the pants, or if they really cost almost $5000..... !

  13. #13

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Really good article, thanks for posting! It's been decades since I'd read a good perfume article in a magazine.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by slpfrsly View Post
    I always thought it was just a matter of time until 'Oriental fragrances' got cancelled when I first learnt about them. Fragrantica has already removed the term and replaced it with 'amber' which is painfully regressive as it is by no means a like-for-like replacement of terms.
    Ugh. Yeah, "amber" sucks. "Non-occidental" for me!
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Very enjoyable article. Thanks for posting it, Cook.bot.

    All I know is that I wish that I could have an attarwallah visit me!

    I think Taseer’s problematic reference to “Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s paintings, with their emphasis on interiors” comes from misquoting (or perhaps misunderstanding) a passing reference in Alan Corbin’s The Foul and the Fragrant (1982, English translation 1986). The relevant passage, and Corbin’s only reference to Tiepelo in the entire book, is:

    Among the elite, changes in tastes and in fashion sanctioned the experts' discrediting of heavy scents. The smells of private space be- came less strong and were enriched and varied by more delicate and subtle fragrances. The new behavior patterns reflected the fascination with airy space. The balsamic effluvia of springtime meadows became an obsession. The interiors of Tiepolo's paintings corresponded to the inarticulate expression of a new sensitivity to smell. (71, my emphasis)

    When read in context, Corbin is clearly referring to the “airy space[s]” within Tiepolo’s compositions, right at their center, the vast cerulean blue skies that Tiepolo opened up on the ceilings of Baroque interiors. Like saminlondon and cacio, I also find Tiepolo’s skies to be the most memorable part of his paintings.

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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Grayspookle

    thanks for digging out the exact quote. Indeed, the original says something different. I must say the translation doesn't sound as precise. I wonder whether the original french had something more like "The interiors painted by Tiepolo". The interiors of Tiepolo's paintings could indeed be interpreted differently.

    As for the pants, alas, no correction there. A couple of Swarowski crystals and voila:
    https://us.louisvuitton.com/eng-us/p...680017v#1A8PA5

    cacio

  17. #17

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Was just coming to post the same link. I thought it was a wonderful article. Great sense of scope and context.

  18. #18
    Common Lackey

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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by grayspoole View Post
    All I know is that I wish that I could have an attarwallah visit me!
    Don't we all!

    I think Taseer’s problematic reference to “Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s paintings, with their emphasis on interiors” comes from misquoting (or perhaps misunderstanding) a passing reference in Alan Corbin’s The Foul and the Fragrant (1982, English translation 1986).
    Wow, Grayspoole. Leave it to you to have such an esoteric reference at your fingertips! Impressive.

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Grayspookle
    Haha! May I call you this from now on? It's the most charming typo I've seen in ages.

  19. #19

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by slpfrsly View Post
    I always thought it was just a matter of time until 'Oriental fragrances' got cancelled when I first learnt about them. Fragrantica has already removed the term and replaced it with 'amber' which is painfully regressive as it is by no means a like-for-like replacement of terms.
    I don't know. I'm usually irked by excessive policing of language, but for some reason I'm okay with this one. "Oriental" never quite sat right with me - the colonialist, slightly fetishistic connotations of the word are dated, to say the least - and amber is a through-line in enough orientals (almost all of them, right?) that I think the substitution works, even if it isn't perfect.

    That's my two sprays, anyway.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Grayspookle
    Quote Originally Posted by Cook.bot View Post
    Haha! May I call you this from now on? It's the most charming typo I've seen in ages.
    As you wish—I shall be Grayspookle when I am feeling frisky.

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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    As a non native speaker, I probably don't appreciate the full extent of the typo. but whatever it means, spookle does indeed sound funny.

    cacio

  22. #22
    Common Lackey

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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    As a non native speaker, I probably don't appreciate the full extent of the typo. but whatever it means, spookle does indeed sound funny.
    There's no hidden meaning or double entendre, Cacio. I just also thought 'spookle' was a very amusing word.

  23. #23

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by subhuman85 View Post
    I don't know. I'm usually irked by excessive policing of language, but for some reason I'm okay with this one. "Oriental" never quite sat right with me - the colonialist, slightly fetishistic connotations of the word are dated, to say the least - and amber is a through-line in enough orientals (almost all of them, right?) that I think the substitution works, even if it isn't perfect.

    That's my two sprays, anyway.
    The only problem I have with oriental is that oudh perfumes should be included, and they rarely are, so the word isn't even functioning correctly. Amber is fine imo.

  24. #24

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Whilst you argue about what to call a fragrance billions of people are just getting on with their life completely unaware of what an oriental fragrance is. According to the official internets people all over Asia should be outraged.

    1.4 billion people in China. I haven’t even personally come across 1.4 people of any ethnicity, not 1, not even 0.4 in real life that are offended by the word oriental. Ironic that offense always seems to be in dare I say it ‘The West’, and the term ‘the West’ was also coined in the West.

    Whilst you’re at it stop calling them Chypres. They’re Labdano-Prunastri-Bergamots. And throw away your bottles with real civet in whilst your at it. Bubblegum warriors.
    A few favourites

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    Currently wearing: Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

  25. #25

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldWineMemories View Post
    The only problem I have with oriental is that oudh perfumes should be included, and they rarely are, so the word isn't even functioning correctly. Amber is fine imo.
    I used to think that but then I realised I prefer the term to refer to a fragrance family (of resins/balsams) rather than some kind of geographic label, which I think is what carries the colonialist connotations. I'm happy for oud to stay in the woods family as it's more accurate scent-wise.

  26. #26
    I’m not old, I’m vintage.
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Aatish Taseer, the article's author, doesn't argue for "canceling" the term "oriental," but rather takes a much more detailed and nuanced look at the cultural relationship between East and West in and through perfumery, including different ways the word signifies in that context. So, let's not argue against a reductive case that nobody was prosecuting in the first place.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Thanks for posting the article!

  28. #28

    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    I'm wondering if some people complaining about "cancelling" the word Oriental actually read the article?

    The article is more a synopsis of the history of and currently shifting dynamic of scent exchange and imagination between the West and the East told through his personal story. As far as I remember, there was never a cry for cancelling the word oriental. Rather a history on why we use it, why it might be problematic/inaccurate and you can make your own conclusion.

    This is what I love about NYT, they are one of the few news sources left that tends to let the reader make their own conclusion rather than force feeding you how to feel about a topic.

    Also, I absolutely love that he weaved in the smell of armpits and bottoming. Beautiful.
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Ugh. Yeah, "amber" sucks. "Non-occidental" for me!
    I'm of the opinion that Oriental is fine. It's not perfect but it's fine. Because nothing is perfect. I'm happy to hear well-reasoned disagreement to that idea but so far I can't see a satisfactory improvement upon the term. Edward Said doesn't speak for a whole region (or two) of the world, his work has been thoroughly picked apart and responded to - if only you know where to look. By now it reads as little more than applied academic activism of a fringe political belief system projecting its own intentions back on to its perceived opponent, but nevertheless its value is in its potency rather than its quality or relevance to the quest for truth, hence its durability as a force for 'change'.
    “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
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    Default Re: "Oriental" fragrances: NY Times magazine article

    Quote Originally Posted by cheapimitation View Post
    I'm wondering if some people complaining about "cancelling" the word Oriental actually read the article?
    I did, yes. It's an interesting and evocative diary that veers to the political by, sadly, evoking Said's cliches as if they are the first and last word on the subject. It's in desperate need of taking the argument to its logical conclusion, though it does well to flesh it out in to something less than partisan without going all the way and developing greater clarity in the process. This stood out as a vital yet undeveloped point: "Laurent felt that this “reconquest of orientality” was an example of the West listening better to the East and not merely using it as an instrument to speak for itself. Money made people listen, too. By the ’90s, Gulf Arabs, now traveling more and more, were becoming a force at the perfume counters of Harrods, Selfridges and Bergdorf Goodman."

    But still, an interesting read nonetheless and it at least acknowledges that there is a reality to a lot of what is 'oriental', outside mere cultural configuration by the colonialists. It's well-referenced as well, lots to dig your teeth in to.

    I actually started what I thought and hoped was an interesting thread on the other forum relating animalics to sex, and the idea of pain and pleasure being one that is linked to kink/sadomasochism. Sadly, it was removed due to comment culture that's developed on that site. I wonder if it's worth writing something similar on here and seeing what people think as it's not a genre of fragrance I'm particularly enamoured with, although at one time I was very much drawn to stronger, darker, muskier smells.
    “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
    Currently wearing: Beau de Jour by Tom Ford




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