perfume tips: 2 posts

Making Perfume Samples and Decants (In Pictures)

One of my first jobs at the perfume lab was nothing glamorous–I had to label blotters and make samples. Sticking hundreds of tiny labels on narrow strips of paper and filling out bottle after bottle was such a mind numbing task that I entertained the idea of creating a small robot and underwriting the expense. Eventually, I moved onto something more interesting, but ever since then I’ve become very good at making perfume samples. While not a resume worthy skill, it comes in handy from time to time.

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The seasoned perfume lovers among you have probably made hundreds of samples–congrats, you all qualify for a perfumer assistant position! On the other hand, those who are new to this hobby might wonder what on earth is a decant and how to get perfume out of a sealed spray bottle. I receive these questions on a regular basis, so when I recently had to make a perfume care package for a friend, I asked my husband to take some photos.

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We Smell With Our Mind

“We smell with our mind. Your mood affects the way you smell. The French verb sentir, ‘to smell’, also means ‘to feel’. Smells change our moods. It’s no good if you’re tired. You must be intellectually fresh,” said the late International Flavors & Fragrances perfumer Bernard Chant.

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Chant was the creator of Clinique Aromatics ElixirEstee Lauder AzureeParfums Gres CabochardRalph Lauren Lauren, Aramis, and many other perfume classics. I love this quote, because it applies equally well to the professional perfumers’ work and enjoyment of scents in general. Creating fragrances is about the imagination, the ability of the creator to capture an abstract idea–dew covered orchids, a walk along the beach, a childhood memory–in a drop of liquid. For this reason, some perfumers resent the term “nose,” which reduces their work to a mere technique.

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