December 3, 2011

Creating My Own Perfume Day

After two fragrance-free (!) flu weeks I made a proper comeback today. In some ways I think this involuntary two-week preparation was positive because I stepped into the perfume making session as an (at least mentally) olfactory tabula rasa prepared for new discoveries and willing to re-evaluate preferences.

This was my first time. The entire thing lasted maybe two hours (not exactly the time-frame that a professional nose has at his or her disposal) but it felt like an eternity. In a good way. In the same way that a first kiss can feel like a lifetime of life. Experiencing note by note, slowly, is magic. I was sometimes surprised by what I liked and disliked - and that I disliked so much. How that made me feel. There was an oakmoss thing that was like having the essence of bad mood right in my nose. Why is that? I mean, I realize that someone else would inhale the same thing and be transported to excitement and desire. There was another little paper with perfume oil that reminded me of the horror of entering tax-free shops on airports where people are spraying hundreds of perfumes in all directions. In fact, the note I had under my nose at that moment was a floral one and I am just not a floral fragrance woman. However many women are. Many… And it seems, my guess is at least, that you can find these women in lavish quantities in tax-free shops at airports. Florals sell well at airports. That's why someone like me waits for the boarding call at the coffee bar.

Back to perfume lab.

December 2, 2011

Tension, sensation, suspense

Tomorrow is an epic day. I am going to a perfume laboratory to make my own fragrance. I am too excited to think of anything else or write about anything else. To be continued.

November 29, 2011

The scent of a chair, of history, of life

I spent this Tuesday evening in one of my favorite places in the entire world, auction house Bukowskis in Berzelii Park, Stockholm. To my great pleasure and surprise – scents – were one of the main topics this evening.

Fantastic Bukowski furniture expert Björn Extergren explained how the scents in furniture objects not only bring history closer but also help in a very tangible way to define authenticity. He explained this with the help of a Swedish rococo chair, describing how the removal of color layers exposed new textures and scents…and times. Much like an archeological excavation. You can imagine, I was quite captured by this moment. I remember, from my years doing guided tours in the palaces and old parts of Stockholm, this longing to find the alive part of things from our ”before” and making it accessible for others to experience. Because it is always there. In fact, being in the presence of great architecture and art from centuries back, at some point you realize that you are actually the only transient thing.

Björn’s words about the life in what we sometimes perceive as static moved me. Also because it is a beautiful thing to watch someone in action doing what they are most passionate about. As Björn explained how they removed the color layers to find the original green and how the rose fragrance first appeared from the top of the chair, and then as they proceeded the less pleasant smells emerged. This gets to me. That a smell incapsulated under centuries of paint suddenly hits the nose of a young man from another time. It gives me existential goose-bumps in my soul. And makes me wonder, what scent will I leave in my things for my grandchildren?

This topic makes me think of the French perfume company Histoires de Parfums. Their Library of Scents is a sixteen volume collection of fragrances inspired by famous people who influenced their generation and named after their date of birth.

A thing that I appreciate about the web site is the list of fragrances group by olfactory category, and that you can order a selection of samples.

History, or lets rather say time in general, and scent is an intricate fascinating topic. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. For Swedish readers, I also recommend this text by Swedish historian and writer Peter Englund.

Sleep well.

November 28, 2011

EdP, EdT, etc.

To some of you this is just too basic. Well, then good for you, have a nice cup of tea and join me tomorrow for new in-depth adventures. For most people though, I think these abbreviations seem obvious but are not. Or perhaps you just don’t think about why one of your fragrances is so much stronger than another, you just notice that it is. It was like that for me for a long time, so I think - let’s just go through it.

You might feel that one of your fragrances is stronger than another. That is probably true. Perhaps you have not noticed that one of them is an Eau de Parfum and the other Eau de Toilette. But that does not have to be the reason.

November 27, 2011

Dazzle like it's 1925.

The 1920's were a decade that had great impact on perfumes and perfume use. In fact, this decade produced some of the most important perfumes of the entire century. One significant trend was that fashion designers started to sell perfumes under their clothing brands, the most legendary one (and quite revolutionary at the time) of course being Chanel No 5, released by Chanel in 1921. Even the bottle was a bold zeitgeist statement with a bottle design far from the ornamentation associated with feminine things. It was simple, bold and unquestionable. 

Bottle designs and the visuals around the fragrances were extremely important and often flirted with contemporary life style. There was the mascerade theme… Masque Rouge, for example, was introduced in a modern bottle, and a box with a red mask. "Mascarades" by Cherigan came in a black bottle with a golden face under a rain of gold dust and gilded triangles. Baccarat were extremely popular for bottles because of their superior quality crystal.

One of the reasons for doing a post on the 1920’s, I admit, is the occasion to indulge in…