News: 527 posts

Latest news from the fragrance world and other interesting reading

The Smell Test

Until recently it would have been unthinkable for a negative perfume comment to appear in traditional press. Which is why Women’s Wear Daily’s perfume ranking feature is as important as it is daring. WWD is one of the major beauty and fashion publication, and I hope that this decision signifies bigger changes to come. 10 judges, along with panel chairman Michael Edwards, smell perfumes blindly, rank them and offer their commentary. The jury includes perfumers, industry analysts, scientists, journalists, and above all, passionate fragrance lovers: Jean-Claude Delville (Drom), Karen Dubin (Sniffapalooza), Christophe Laudamiel (DreamAir), Luca Turin, Kevin Verspoor (PerfumeKev LLC), Paul Austin (Austin Advisory group), Chantal Roos (Roos & Roos co), Nathalie Pichard (toPNotes), and myself.

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How the perfumes are assessed: “Panelists are given unmarked vials of fragrance to smell in a blind, impartial test. The fragrance will be scored on a scale of 10 (the ultimate) to 1 (forgettable), with an average score computed. The judges will make short critiques of each fragrance, which will be kept anonymous to ensure independent thinking. Scents being judged are new to the market and among the most promising. WWD will buy them at retail, like any consumer.”

The first edition of The Smell Test reviews Misia from Les Exclusifs de Chanel. You can read the comments at the WWD site. It remains to be seen how the initiative will develop, but I look forward to the subsequent editions, and of course, to your thoughts and commentary.

Les Muscs et Les Parfums : The Osmotheque Event

On Wednesday, May 27th, the perfume conservatory Osmothèque will present a new lecture on the role of musks in perfumery. Titled “Les Muscs et Les Parfums”, the event will explore different facets of musks and the reason they are an essential ingredient in the perfumer’s palette. The lecture will be led by Max Gavarry, the author of famous fragrances such as Molyneux Vivre (1971), Guy Laroche J’ai Osé (1977), Rochas Mystère (1978), and Caron Infini (1972).

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When: May 27th, Wednesday at 18h30 (1.5-2 hours duration)
Where: 8 Avenue de la Porte de Champerret, 75017 Paris
Online Order Fees: 22€ per person; the reduced fee for students and members of Société des Amis de l’Osmothèque is 16€. Entry for students of ISIPCA is free. To reserve your tickets, please click here.

If anyone goes to the event, could you please let us know your thoughts about it in the comments here? Of course, if you want to write up a short report, we would love it.

Extra: you can also read about different types of musks used in your favorite fragrances in my article, Musk : Salt and Butter of Perfumery. It was written 10 years ago (and updated); it’s still among the most visited posts on Bois de Jasmin.

Why This Small French Town Has the World’s Best Roses

Condé Nast Traveller’s April issue has an article about Grasse, a town in the south of France famous for its roses.  Why This Small French Town Has the World’s Best Roses follows Fabrice Penot, co-founder of perfume line Le Labo, around Grasse and explains what makes this place so unique. The article also uses my photography (the second image) from my own visit to Provence last year.

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“When is a rose not just a rose? When it’s Rosa centifolia, an old varietal so highly scented that it makes the florally obsessed downright covetous. “It’s a little fruitier, deeper, and more voluptuous than any other rose,” says Fabrice Penot, co-founder of the New York–based cult perfume line Le Labo, known for its complex yet clean, single note–inspired scents. Centifolia’s allure is heightened by the fact that it’s still grown commercially in relatively few places: The most famous is the small town of Grasse on the French Riviera, where decades of rising real estate prices have shrunk thousands of acres of rose fields to just a few plots. And although the Frenchborn Penot has traveled around the world to find inspiration for his perfumes—including recent trips to Quebec and China—his favorite pilgrimage remains the one he makes to Grasse’s annual Rosa centifolia harvest in May. To continue reading, please click here.”

Extra: From Petal to Essence : Grasse Rose Harvest

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, rose de mai

From Jicky to Petite Robe Noire : Guerlain-Osmotheque Event

On Saturday, April 11th, the perfume conservatory Osmothèque and Guerlain will present a new lecture on the history of this venerable French house. Titled “From Jicky to Petite Robe Noire”, the event will cover Guerlain’s masterpieces and legacies. The session will be presented by Guerlain’s Sylvaine Delacourte and Osmothèque’s Patricia de Nicolaï. If you’re close to Versailles, it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about French perfumery tradition from experts close to the source.

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When: April 11th, Saturday at 14h15 (1.5-2 hours duration)
Where: The Osmothèque, 36 rue du Parc de Clagny, 78000 Versailles
Online Order Fees: 22€ per person; the reduced fee for students and members of Société des Amis de l’Osmothèque is 16€. Entry for students of ISIPCA is free. To reserve your tickets, please click here.

Fragrances of the World 2015

Perfume expert Michael Edwards has released an updated version of his guide, Fragrances of the World. “My first guide book in 1984 listed just 38 new fragrances,” says Edwards. Meanwhile, the 2015 edition includes 8,000, with 1,500 new additions. As he explains, “The book organises perfumes into 14 fragrance families – including Woods, Oriental, Floral, Fruity and Citrus – and even more subfamilies from which to choose.  Refreshed weekly the online databank provides current and up to date details on new launches, while the annual guide book is an iconic sales tool with current and historic references at your fingertips.”

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The book is intended as a guide for retailers and it lists the fragrances sold today. It also contains discontinued, iconic and limited edition fragrances. The listings are indexed by gender and brand for ease of reference. The book is available at www.fragrancesoftheworld.com, $210 (a coupon code FOTW15 for a 10% discount is valid before the end of March.) Via press release

In other book releases, indie perfumer Mandy Aftel has recently published Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent. It also includes a smelling kit of essential oils such as cinnamon, mint, frankincense, ambergris, and jasmine.

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