Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Luca Turin may very well have started the whole process of recognition for Natural Perfumery when in 2006, in his iconic duffnotes on NZ Folio, he declared to the perfumistas community with an amazing foresight: “There are now officially four kinds of perfumery: normal, niche, vintage and natural.”
His statement was not a recognition of the value of natural perfumes, not yet. It was only the recognition of natural perfumers stubbornness. He understood that they were starting a trend and that they were not going to renounce to their idea of making 100% natural perfumes whatever happens and whatever Luca Turin said.
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Not many years ago there were just 3 official types of perfumery, Vintage, mainstream and Niche perfumery, such as Creed or Lutens .
The last 20 years have witnessed not only the birth and growth of independent natural perfumers but also the of “New Niche” perfumers, like Ormonde Jane, Andy Tauer, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, ecc… , who steadily won recognition and reached a level of success superior to that of natural perfumers by proposing a return to the origins of modern perfumery, where the artistry of fragrance resided into the clash or complementarity of synthetics with naturals.
Their success in the niche market has been due to the fact that they were offering what had totally disappeared from mainstream perfumery and was disappearing from “Old Niche”, creativity, experimentation, new ideas…
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Only 3 years ago natural perfumers were a striving bunch of stubborn idealists who had been brought together by Anya McCoy in the natural perfumers guild.
Those who accepted her views stayed in the guild, others left and went ahead on their own, stubbornly.
Stubbornness is an obvious quality of natural perfumers. They started making perfumes that nobody wanted to buy, that critics criticized, with ingredients that are very expensive and often difficult to find. The cost of their materials are medially 20 times superior to medium price Synthetics, this makes their fragrances more expensive and therefore more difficult to sell, and with a lower profit margin. Moreover, consumers have known only synthetic mass mainstream perfumes, and their first encounters with natural essences are most of the time something of a shock.
Natural perfumers just went ahead not heeding to reason or to anyone, carried by passion for the natural smells.
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Monday, 22 August 2011

Perfumery and aromaterapy

Honoring the guest is much more than a part of the tradition of Islam, it is part of its fundamentals.
From my years of travel in the Muslim world where I have been for so long a guest myself, I have learned the art of receiving guests.
When hosted by a perfumer, a guest expects to receive some gifts of perfume sample or at least to be invited to smell some very special perfumes.
My guests are always amazed when I serve them tea or coffee flavored with the essences of exotic species. Cardamom, Ginger, Mint, Lemon …
To the drinking water I add a drop of perfume, I spray over the cookies essence of grapefruit or lemon, and if they come to me with some cold or other illness, I prepare for them some sugar cubes with a few drops of anise or incense ….
Then I say my favorite phrase: “Never trust a perfumer who does not drink his perfumes.” Continue...

Human sweat and perfumery pheromones

Whoever smelled pure Civet for the first time has wondered how such an odor could enter into a perfume bottle. My first impression was the smell of rotten tooth.
It takes some training to be able to understand Civet perfume, one has to overcome the social olfactory programming that make us classify straight away this odor among stenches.
An infinitesimal dose of Civet can double the longevity of short lived fragrances, and although being in amount so little as to be subliminal, it also confers to fragrances a new olfactory dimension, the animal one, and our instinct recognizes it immediately. continue...