My fascination with perfume - or scents more generally - probably began in suburban teenagehood. My then girlfriend wore Smitty, and I proudly sported Blue Stratos (which trumped my second choice, Old Spice, and was streets ahead of Brut, "fashionable" at the time).
Fast forward the best part of 30 years and a family trip to the perfume museum in Grasse, where the fragrant air, even in the streets outside, and the fabulous design on show inside hooked me once again.
Next was picking up a copy of The Emperor of Scent and trying to understand the scientific processes behind the olfactory genius that is Luca Turin.
In late 2016 came my first attempts at creating perfume myself, taught by the inspiring Sarah McCartney and her kind husband at 4160 Tuesdays.
I share below some interesting perfume-related facts and anecdotes that I come across in my reading.
- Now we’re entering a greener age where sustainable resources are vital ingredients, noted the FT, ecology is the new luxury. In perfumery, a quiet revolution is taking place. Natural ingredients are gently capturing the zeitgeist and gaining traction over synthetic molecules that have dominated for decades.
- Luca Turin was in Zurich in late 2016 and a journalist asked him what he thought was a reasonable price for a perfume. He replied that the price of a dinner for two with a decent bottle of wine in a decent restaurant was about the upper limit, say $120 or so for 100 ml of Eau de Parfum (EdP) or a half ounce of proper extrait. While natural materials are going up in price because there is more demand, Turin points out that formula cost in all but a handful of fragrances is less than 10% of sales price.)
- Further reading:
- ‘A triumph over nature’: perfume in the age of decadence - Aeon Essays
- Immortalising Human Scents as Memory Perfumes - Atlas Obscura
- Learn to use your nose like a perfumer - Quartzy
- Unusual Perfume Made Out Of Trash Is For The Brave And Bold - DesignTAXI.com
- Your sense of smell controls what you spend and who you love — Quartz