Thursday, October 24, 2013

Love scents, explore scents, use scents

    Part of perfumery -- an important part -- is a love for scents and being what you might call "a scent detective" as well as a scent collector.

    I'm coming into the final rounds with a fragrance I'm calling "Confusion II." You can read more about the concept here.

    I've made no secret of the fact that I sketch out my fragrances using the 26 "A-Z" bases from the PerfumersWorld K26 kit. But the world is full of many more than 26 scents and, for the perfumer, there are hundreds -- thousands -- of aroma materials available for use.

    But let's keep it simple. The essence of a very complex deal may be sketched out on the back of an envelop. Then lawyers fill in the next 200 pages.

    An architect may show a client a simple drawing of a house. Then 200 sheets of blueprint are prepared for the builder and subcontractors, showing where every board, pipe and wire must go.

    So too as I work with perfume. First its that simple sketch that conveys, to me, the "message" I want to convey to others. Then ... those details.

    This is where love of scents comes in. I have my "sketch." Is it enough? Or can I improve it, NOT by piling more notes into it but by making subtle adjustments to the notes I have already chosen. Should the "C" (citrus) note from the K26 kit be augmented or replaced with Kaffir Lime Leaf Oil? To make this decision I have to be familiar with the scent -- and behavior -- of Kaffir Lime Leaf Oil, which means I have to have some on hand and have to do some testing with it.

    So too it goes with each note in the formula.

    It's NOT a matter of adding more and more aroma materials to the formula. It's more like carpentry where, after putting some wood together to make, say, a bookcase, you then take sand paper and sand the sharp edges and corners until all is smooth and beautiful.

    This is where I go from my "approved" sketch. Sanding down those sharp edges -- those smells that stand out a bit too much, that are still a bit awkward and not quite right.

    So I work at smoothing them out, revising the list of materials, drawing from a larger number, working more and more toward the final beauty I am seeking.

    Building perfume is not just about the materials you need on hand. It's about having quite a few materials on hand that you might not use -- now -- but can store in your mind memory bank for future possibilities.

    And just collecting these "extra" materials and enjoying them for themselves, whether you ever use them or not, can give you much pleasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment