Lauren: 6 posts

A life-long lover of perfume, Lauren Salisbury has worked in the fragrance industry for nearly a decade, developing fragrances for many popular brands around the globe. Now a senior evaluator at Arylessence, Inc., her next project is tackling a website currently under construction, www.thelittlenose.com.

Does It Spark Joy?

Creative chaos, orderly arrangements, or everything in between, we embrace all forms of building our perfume wardrobes. Today, Lauren offers her thoughts on perfume collecting and the power of scent.

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo by now, you haven’t been reading much on the internet.  Marie is a best-selling author from Japan, an organizational expert and consultant who helps clients tidy up their homes.  She advocates de-cluttering to an extreme, advising readers and clients alike to get rid of any object that does not “spark joy.”  No over-thinking, re-sorting, or feeling guilty.  Either an object sparks joy for you or it does not; and if it does not, it doesn’t deserve a place in your home.

mitsouko-kundera

As a neat freak, I devoured the book and relished applying her process to my entire collection of earthly belongings.

Except my perfume collection.

It sits on a rickety platform stand in my bedroom, 3 small shelves completely covered bottles, boxes, and vials with which I have never considered parting.  It’s unstable and easy to knock, several bottles often falling in subsequent domino-style if I don’t replace a piece perfectly, or if a puppy lollops by a table leg with a bit too much enthusiasm.  My modest collection houses antique finds from my grandmother’s house (modern-day regulatory nightmares); Chanel print marketing from the 80s; a bottle of Anais Anais from 1993; mass and niche bottles I’ve purchased for myself in the last 20 years.  As a fragrance evaluator and self-proclaimed perfume-o-phile, how could this collection not spark joy?

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Bad Smells: It’s All Relative

Lauren who is a professional fragrance evaluator shares her insights into what makes us perceive some smells as unpleasant. 

My dog smells like Saltine crackers: bleached white dough, a touch of yeast, and a generous sprinkling of salt. Her doggy scent, while unexpected, is not altogether unpleasant – and really quite appropriate, since she is snow-white. Historically, I never liked the smell of Saltine crackers—it conjured anxiety-filled memories of being sick with a stomachache—but today, I inhale my dog’s Saltine odorprint, and I’m filled with all the light and sweetness that her little spirit exudes. Whatever my associations with the aroma, it begs the question: how can my pet really smell like a processed cracker?

coffee

It turns out that many things we come into contact with on a daily basis do, in fact, share flavor or fragrance compounds. This explains why large tomatoes, if unripe, taste metallic like fish to me; or why, if I’m awakened by tempting odors luring me into my grandmother’s kitchen, I can never pinpoint if it’s brewing coffee, frying bacon, or both – bacon and coffee smell extremely similar to me.

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Career in Fragrance : Where to Start

Are you interested in a fragrance industry career? Lauren shares her insights and tips.

As a fragrance evaluator, the question I am asked most often is: How did you get into that career?  Some people mean this in a non-literal sense and are really asking me, What on earth made you decide to turn your interest in perfume into a full-blown professionThis is casual conversation, amusement expressed plainly through twinkling eyes and grinning lips.  But there is another set of people who ask me this question literally.  They want to know how they can get a job in the fragrance industry, too.  They want to turn their passion for perfume into an everyday reality, and I recognize what we have in common: they want it is as badly as I wanted it.

perfume-work

When I was in college, I loved writing, so much that I considered pursuing it as my main profession.  My professor said, “Don’t pursue creative writing unless you truly cannot imagine doing anything else.”  Now, I would offer the same advice for those interested in a fragrance career: go after it only if you cannot imagine doing anything else.  If you keep this in mind and stay open to what you learn each day, there’s really no way to fail.  No matter what your job title may be.

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Around the World in Scents : Japan

Today Lauren explores attitudes towards perfume in Japan and invites us to experience its various scents.

It was a rare night for us young English teachers in rural Japan.  We were escaping our hot, stuffy apartments amid the tea fields for a glitzy night out in the bright lights of Tokyo.  I greeted my friend Mayumi in the parking lot.  Her skin was creamy and flawless, as always, but as I hugged her hello I noticed something different.

temple-wishes

“Mm!” I said.  “You smell so nice!”

“Thank you,” replied Mayumi timidly, smiling as she put a finger to her lips.  “I’m wearing it for our big night out in Tokyo.”  Her eyes pleaded with me to keep the secret.  Our friend Jun was picking us up shortly, and she didn’t want to discuss perfume in front of him.

Though I’d been living in Japan for several months, it was the first time I smelled a fragrance on anyone with whom I’d come into contact.  The light, gently tumbling cloud of lilies, vanilla and sparkling orange was enough to make me thirst for big doses of perfume.  I was a vampire who’d caught a whiff of blood. Cultural differences in Japan meant that wearing personal fragrance was generally considered rude.  In a country that is so crowded with people and so limited on space, extending your personhood via a bubble of perfume – however pleasant – is considered intrusive and inconsiderate.

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The Honeysuckle Hour

Lauren, whom you’ve met when she talked about the role of a fragrance evaluator, returns today with a testament to the strength of scent memories. The Honeysuckle Hour is also a tribute to her father.

I am walking, gliding along a paved path atop a river bank, staring coolly into the steamy, tangled vegetation, noting the various plants my parents have taught me to identify: tulip poplar, poison ivy, maple, dwarf maple, river birch… and honeysuckle.  I smell it from thirty feet away, the sweetness that is sophisticated but light; indulgent but sparkling; nostalgic but still fresh.  As I pause in my walk to breathe in the honeysuckle’s perfume, standing like a conductor before an orchestra, I realize: this scent will hurt me the most, if I am here and my father is gone.

honeysuckle

One breath of honeysuckle amid these densely-packed leaves, and in a cloud of fragrance I land directly in my past: standing on a dock at the lake, my father meeting with a stranger, shaking hands over uncomfortably long, reedy boats gently bobbing on the waves.  They’re called shells.  I’m supposed to climb in one and try rowing – although each moving part is three times my height, and I’ve never commanded anything with a sliding seat.   I’m nervous and scared, feeling every inch the awkward new teenager that I am; but mostly, I’m afraid to fail my dad.

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