News: 530 posts

Latest news from the fragrance world and other interesting reading

Secret of Scent and Vintage Perfumes

I promised to give more details on the Secret of Scent course that will run October 20-24 in Provence. Luca Turin and I will cover the science and art of fragrance during a 3-day event. We’ve decided to keep the number of attendees small to allow us to interact with every participant and give each one as much personal attention as possible. It will be an excellent educational event, and it will also be a lot of fun (food and wine tasting will be included). You need not have a background in either science or perfumery, but at the end of the course, you will have a good understanding of both fields.

vintage-coty-perfume

Among the highlights of the program are the vintage perfumes. Participants will smell the precursors to Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, the original version of Hermès Calèche, Coty Chypre, and many other treasures. Finally, I will share some of my favorite raw materials, the essential ingredients in the perfumer’s palette.

Reservations can be made via Science & Vacation. For all of the logistical details, accommodation and prices, please contact Science & Vacation directly.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

The Art of Fortunate Proportions

“The art of fortunate proportions” is how Edmond Roudnitska described perfumery. The idea is simple–all elements in the right dosages and in the right balance, but as is often the case, the simplicity is the most elusive attribute of all. Whenever I revisit his fragrances, I’m moved time and again by their grace and harmony. In Perfumes: The art of balance and proportion, my new FT column, I describe Roudnitska’s art, the elegance of Guerlain and the feisty brilliance of Germaine Cellier.

art of balance

When I speak of balance in perfumery, I mean both the aesthetics and technique. Consider Guerlain’s Chamade, one of the most perfectly balanced fragrances. From the bright-green top notes to the rose and hyacinth heart and velvety, woody notes, the perfume unfolds like a silk scroll. Similarly modulated is Dior’s Diorissimo, one of Roudnitska’s masterpieces and the subject of many articles in this column. To continue reading, please click here.

Image via FT HTSI

“Secret of Scent” Course with Me and Luca Turin

On October 20-24 I  will be giving a glimpse inside the world of perfumery during a 3-day science & art event in France. I will be joined by Luca Turin and together we will explain various aspects of smell, from the chemistry and neuroscience of olfaction to the art and culture of perfume.

perfume-lab2

The event is part of the Science & Vacation program, and it’s designed to give you as rich and multifaceted an experience as possible. You will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the sense of smell, study the perfumer’s palette, smell rare vintage fragrances–and by rare, I mean Coty Chypre, original versions of Guerlain Mitsouko and other Osmothèque worthy treasures, and even learn about the basics of fragrance composition. The course will take place in the Lubéron region famous for its lavender fields, and there will be lots of good food, wine and interesting discussions.

Reservations can be made via Science & Vacation. For all of the logistical details, accommodation and prices, please contact Science & Vacation directly.

Also, on October 6-10th, Science & Vacation will have a food related course presented by Guelia Pevzner. “Over the course of a long weekend in October, we are presenting a series of lectures and discussions on the subject of food and its future. We also plan to indulge in sampling a variety of regional French cuisines.” It’s worth taking a look.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Perfume Discontinuations, Museum Closures, Bosch

As an illustration of the idea that time doesn’t always separate the wheat from the chaff, two gems–Bulgari Black and Guerlain Nahèma extrait de parfum–have been discontinued. Black has been in limited distribution for some time, but the news of its discontinuation is now official. It has a peculiar odor of rubber and lapsang souchong tea, an anti-trend perfume as it were. As for Nahèma, the parfum was one of Guerlain’s treasures.

nahemajonquille

Other perfumes to bid goodbye to this year include Fleur de Chine, Lys Fume, Jonquille de Nuit, and Azure Lime, all from Tom Ford’s Private Blend collection. Azure Lime was Ford’s attempt to do an expensive take on a cheap sports cologne, so I’m not going to miss it, but Fleur de Chine was a brilliant aldehydic floral, modern but with a clever retro twist.

Continue reading →

Rethinking Gourmand : Savory Fragrances

Does gourmand have to be only about cotton candy and caramel? In my article for the Financial Times Magazine, I explore whether there is room on the perfume counter for different flavors, including salty, piquant and savory.

savorygourmand

Most savoury gourmands aim for a subtle illusion – the tangy darkness of olives, the green sharpness of coriander leaves or the musky warmth of basmati rice. Fittingly, the biggest savoury gourmand launch came in 2010 with Womanity (from £38.50 for 30ml, second picture), another Thierry Mugler creation. The composition is built around caviar and fig, the briny nuance pushing against a backdrop of roasted hazelnuts, musk and woods. Like Angel, it provoked polarising reactions, though not the same level of infatuation. To continue, please click here.

Do you have any salty or savory favorite perfume? Today I’m wearing Etat Libre d’Orange’s Fils de Dieu, which fits the savory theme well.

Photo via FT

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