Friday, December 14, 2012

Honey Lips Kiss Macaron Au Cassis -- Who Can Make Perfume?

Honey Lips Kiss Macaron Au Cassis is a perfume by Melina Ehrsam. You can read about it on Victoria's Bois de Jasmine blog. The fragrance is not commercially available (it could be a best seller if it was!) but I scored a bottle and thus I'm sniffing it while writing this.

The creation of this fragrance was a high school project. Melina was tutored by Philip Kraft, a research chemist at Givaudan, Switzerland, who, at times, composes his own perfumes. Because it was a research project -- and is not commercially available -- the formula has been posted online (in a jpg file) and you can easily find it with a Google search.

If you are interested in formulas, it is well worth studying alongside Vicky's commentary on it. While the ingredient list may make your head spin (some ingredients are common, some are exotic), Vicky explains the structure and why, for example, Melina made use of multiple musks in a fragrance that is NOT "musky."

A question came to mind in reading the responses to Vicky's blog posting. One responder after another said, "I would love to create..." and then described a desired scent BUT --

Ignoring their lack of strong desire TO create perfume, the "excuses" tended to be "I wish they had that when I was in high school" or "if only I had someone like Philip Kraft guiding me..."

But the fact is -- TODAY -- if CREATING PERFUME is something you really want to do, you CAN do it. And you CAN create, in scent, that romantic setting you have imagined. I say this having worked for a number of years now with Steve Dowthwaite and PerfumersWorld and Steve's home study Foundation Course in perfumery which can teach you how to really make the fragrances that you want.

Yes, your first creation won't be as refined as Melina's final version of Honey Lips Kiss Macaron Au Cassis, but she didn't do this overnight. I think, if you asked her, she would tell you that a lot of learning -- hours of it -- and a lot of trials -- took place before the final version ended up in a bottle.

That's what perfumery is about. Sensing, imagining, studying, and lots and lots of carefully documented, hands-on experiments.

People who really WANT to make perfume CAN make perfume. And most of them are doing it right now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You've got to be able to sell it

OK. The phone rings. The caller got my number off the internet. (Never bothered to go to the website and read anything) "Is it true that for $25,000 you can set me up with my own profitable perfume line?"

I respond, "How are you going to sell your (notice I say YOUR!) perfume?"

"You don't do that?"

"Sorry. It's your deal, you have to sell it."

I suggest a trip to my website and a little reading. After all, if you're prepared to spend $25,000 for something you don't understand, paying a few dollars and doing some reading to gain understanding seems reasonable (to me).

But they won't. They need it all done for them -- along with a guarantee that their money will double or triple or more. And that $25,000? I can only imagine the trouble we would both be in if, at this point, they wrote me a check and I cashed it.

Publicity for perfume launches tries to make it LOOK like magic. Celebrity X woke up one morning with this great idea for a perfume, made a few calls to their agent, and the next thing you know, there was the bottle with their name on it in Macy's.

Perfume can make money. It can, in some instances, make a lot of money. But putting a perfume -- and a "perfume deal" -- together requires all that boreing planning work that goes into any successful promotion -- or perfume.

And the first question must always be, "How are we going to sell it?"