Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Random Picks - Pierre Balmain Amber Gris EDP


First time when I smelled this fragrance I had a somehow thought of golf players. 

Elegant men in cashmere sweaters and argyle socks, upscale country clubs with selected members...caddies holding leather golf bags, metal clubs, wood clubs...something elegant, quiet, something GQ magazine would approve...
Than it became a little bit louder...a caddy bagging the socialite in a private bungalow? Caddyshack style?

and finally it hit me! Pierre Balmain is to me just like Golf's love-and-hate experience to comedian and "golf-a-hole-ic" Larry David - click HERE for the entire article - New Yorker magazine.

First stage - anger - "There was a time when I was always angry on the course. Driving fast in the cart. Throwing clubs. Constantly berating myself. “You stink, four-eyes!"

Back to Ambergris EDP - "You are not a real ambergris fragrance, you say you are but you are not!! I will break this bottle... I must say the cap looks like a golf ball, but the perfume, not a hole-in-one! I am feeling cheated...

Second stage - denial - "The Anger phase lasted for years, and then I entered the next phase, Denial. “All I need are some lessons,” I told myself. “Why should everyone else be able to do it and not me? Why are they good? I’m coordinated. I have a jump shot! I can go to my left. Obviously I have it in me".

Ok, it is not a real ambergris but it is wearable...kinda nice...flowery, rubbery, slightly woody and slightly animalic...people bought it and gave sorta nice reviews... I am not even an ambergris much sex involved there...

Third stage - bargaining - "The third stage was Bargaining, and I did my share of that. “Please, God. All I want to do is hit the ball. What is it You want? Good deeds? Give me a swing and I’ll give You good deeds up the wazoo. I’ll help sick kids, the homeless . . . well, sick kids. I’ll stop all the mocking. I’ll give up cookies, coffee, coffee cake, cashmere".

All I wanted was to try to like an ambergris fragrance...a real one...what did I do to you Mr. Balmain? Give me one and I promise you a good review...pleeease?

Forth stage - Depression - "Then I drifted into the next stage, Depression. I was never going to be good. Never. Think what I could’ve done with all that time. Learned French. Piano. I’d be playing Chopin now if it weren’t for golf".

Never!!! this is never going to be good... I would be playing Chopin by now if I wasn't wasting my time here with this fake fragrance...

Last stage - "And now I find myself in the final stage, Acceptance. I will never be good. There, I said it. I like saying it. I’ll say it again: I’ll never be good. It’s just not something I’m suited for. That’s O.K. I’m good at other things".

It is just one more commercial what? If you like it, be my guest to wear it and have fun...It is something that does not suit me...I prefer other things...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Random Picks - Belle au Parfum de Oud - Esteban


Official olfactive Notes: Mandarin, cistus, saffron, ylang ylang, Lys, nargamotha, oud, labdanum, patchouli. Sold for 90 Euros/50ml at 1000 & 1 Seife (sample provided by the shop via Erik K.)

Bohemians were outsiders who lived in an unconventional way and who did not care about society's approval. They were often described as vagabonds, wanderers, adventurers, or artists who believed in free love, frugality and poverty. The term emerged in France, when artists moved to neighborhoods where the rent was lower and where gypsies lived. I would say they were somehow the hippies of the 19th Century...

If Belle au Parfum de Oud was called by other reviewer's as a hippie - flower child fragrance, or had the aura of the woodstock days...I would say it does have the aura of freedom, peace and love, but with the european bohemian style, not a hippie one.

Natasha Poly - Bohemian Rhapsody for Vogue

It is a flowery-leathery French-y kind of fragrance. It has the simplicity of bohemian's life style. It has both a dirty and freshness that comes from the minty and dirty-chocolat-y notes of patchouli, not remotely reminding me of Marijuana as others noted.  Hippies did not take showers at all, and were stoned from pot all day long. This is not BAPDO! It does not refer to pot or human filth. 
It is unconventional in a sense that it is not rich nor a heavy oriental like many Ouds you have already tried last year. It smells cleaner than dirtier.
It contains a bit of the simplicity and frugality of bohemians. Flowery prints and leather jackets. 
It has the vibe of a bohemian balade in Paris.
It has the happiness, the musicality and the colors of gypsy songs and clothes.
It is less wild than hippies. It is Bobo. More sociable acceptable. More commercial, more Western styled.

Random Picks - Kerosene


Official Olfactive Notes: Honey, Earl Gray, Zing of Lemon, Vanilla, Bergamot, Caramel, Tonka, Waffle Cone (provided by MiN New York, sellers of Kerosene fragrances and Fragrantica). Price at MiN - USD140/100ml.

Although John Pegg, the owner of the brand, describes his fragrance as a walk down a street in a Manchester, in a cold day, listening to Joy Division, sipping a cup of warm London fog...and named the fragrance unknown pleasures...I would call it:

The MAD TEA PARTY (as in Alice's Adventures in Wondeland by Lewis Carroll)!!
In the book, the tea party had to be eternal because the Mad Hatter was being punished eternally by Time. John, our Hatter Perfumer, decided that we have to be whiffed eternally by tons of cups of notes of earl gray tea and bergamot marmalade. And when just when you think you can't handle that amount of sugar, here comes caramels and waffle cones!

Analisys of the Mad Tea Party chapter of the book, presented by sparknotes:

"When Alice discovers that Time is a person and not merely an abstract concept, she realizes that not only are social conventions inverted, but the very ordering principles of the universe are turned upside down. Not even time is reliable, as Alice learns that Time is not an abstract “it” but a specific “him.” An unruly, subjective personality replaces the indifferent mechanical precision associated with the concept of time. Time can punish those who have offended it, and Time has in fact punished the Mad Hatter by stopping still at six o’clock, trapping the Mad Hatter and March Hare in a perpetual teatime. The Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse must carry out an endless string of pointless conversations, which may reflect a child’s perception of what an actual English teatime was really like. Alice must adjust her own perceptions of time, since the Mad Hatter’s watch indicates that days are rushing by. However, the party has not moved past the month of March, the month during which the March Hare goes mad.
Though the tea party challenges Alice’s understanding of the fundamental concept of time, the Mad Hatter’s answerless riddle reaffirms Wonderland’s unusual sense of order. The riddle seems to have no answer and exists solely to perpetuate confusion and disorder. Some readers have suggested that the riddle does in fact have an answer: Edgar Allen Poe “wrote on” both the subject of a Raven and “wrote on” a physical writing desk. In Wonderland, chaos is the ruling principle, but a strange sense of order still exists. Though riddles need not have answers, language must retain some kind of logic. The Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse point out to Alice that saying what she means and meaning what she says are not the same thing. Alice has said that she cannot take “more” tea because she has not had any yet. However, as the Mad Hatter points out, Alice can indeed take “more” tea even though she has not had any, since “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.” The language games at the tea party underscore the inconsistency of Wonderland, but also imply that the ordering principles that govern Alice’s world are just as arbitrary".

Alice's Adventure in Wonderland is one of the many books written during the Victorian Era, a theme already presented in details here in the blog.
So what made me smile about John's creation, is not the smile he expected from me, as he described his perfume "sure to make any gourmand lover smile", but the fact that he succeed to create an URBAN version of a VICTORIAN PERFUME.
Don't jump to say "what is she talking about??", give me time to explain...
It is not a Victorian Perfume per say, because Victorian fragrances were delicate florals. It contains the vibe of Victorian Days. I see here the exodus of English families to the cities in the search for work. I see the crowds of Manchester streets (no Joy Division for me...). I see the Victorian afternoon parties. I see the madness of the Mad Hatter in the concentration of sugary treat and bergamot marmalade of this fragrance. I see tons of Reimer and Delair's vanillin (1876) combined with caramels and waffle cones...

Alice tried to fancy to herself what such an extraordinary ways of living would be like, but it puzzled her too much, so she went on: `But why did they live at the bottom of a well?'
`Take some more tea,' the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.

`I've had nothing yet,' Alice replied in an offended tone, `so I can't take more.'

`You mean you can't take less,' said the Hatter: `it's very easy to take more than nothing.'

`Nobody asked your opinion,' said Alice.

`Who's making personal remarks now?' the Hatter asked triumphantly.
Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea and bread-and-butter, and then turned to the Dormouse, and repeated her question. `Why did they live at the bottom of a well?'

It also presents me a Victorian riddle. A charade. A question that does not necessarily has to have an answer...Where does he intend to go from here?

'At any rate I'll never go there again!' said Alice as she picked her way through the wood. 'It's the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!'
Just as she said this, she noticed that one of the trees had a door leading right into it. `That's very curious!' she thought. `But everything's curious today. I think I may as well go in at once.' And in she went...

It is not the stupidest tea party I ever been. Far from it. But it made me curious as well...
And just like Alice did, I think I will might just jump into the next fragrance of my random picks!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tem gosto e cheiro para tudo

Minha fascinação pela integração olfato-gustativa vem da infância. Quem nunca passou os dedos num livro Scratch n'sniff? Lembra? Aqueles livros com figuras de comidas e frutas que a gente arranhava com o dedo e sentia o cheirinho da ilustração? Eu ficava enlouquecida com essa idéia de poder arranhar um desenho de maçã e sentir o seu cheirinho...

Anos depois...

Em 1992 Angel EDP criado pela Givaudan para Thierry Mugler trouxe uma inovação para a perfumaria mundial. Pela primeira vez odorantes com aromas de alimentos foram compostos para criar uma fragrância da família Oriental, que posteriormente Michael Edwards passou a denominar como subfamília oriental "Gourmet". 
Os perfumes gourmet de lá para cá se multiplicaram, e novos odorantes foram introduzidos pelas casas de fragrâncias. Notas de bebidas, refrigerantes, sobremesas e até notas salgadas de sal, leite, caviar entraram nas composições dos gourmets.

A integração cozinha - laboratório, ou melhor dizendo, paladar e olfato, foi se desenvolvendo e muitos projetos bacanas saíram do "forno", como o da marca francesa Laudurée que lançou uma linha de fragrâncias inspiradas em seus doces.
Chefs de cozinha lançaram perfumes. Perfumistas lançaram livro de receitas...
Vimos também um barman que traduziu composições olfativas como o Chanel Nº5 em coquetel (tastologie)...Empresas de bebidas também lançaram versões olfativas de seus produtos, como a marca de whisky Macallan, Vinhos Sonsierra, etc...

E quando a gente pensa que já viu de tudo um pouco...surge a marca americana Demeter de perfumes, que traz em seu portifólio fragrâncias estranhas como sushi, lagosta, cogumelo, vagem...

Pois é, segundo a filosofia olfativa de Luca Turin e da esposa Tania Sanchez, bacon é o cheiro que mais atrai os homens. 

Na verdade, o cheiro do bacon já era motivo de interesse desde a década de vinte, quando John Farginnay, um açougueiro francês,  quase que acidentalmente descobriu que ele podia aumentar o "humor" de seus fregueses com uma receita secreta que era composta de 11  óleos essenciais, e que cheirava como...Bacon! 
Infelizmente em 1924 a receita foi queimada num incêndio e o negócio foi fechado. Anos depois a receita virou um perfume que hoje é vendido sob o nome Farginnay, em duas versões: a clássica, com notas de bacon, bergamota, laranja, melado de bordo, limão, grapefruit, pimenta preta, cedro, vetiver e madeira guaiac; e a versão gold, com notas de mandarina, bergamota, grapefruit, limão, noz moscada, pimenta preta e junípero.

Marcas de fast food resolveram dar um passo adiante no mercado de perfumes gourmets, e lançar suas próprias fragrâncias.  Isso também não é bem uma novidade como parece! 

Em 2006 os fabricantes do queijo Stilton lançaram seu perfume, que recriava o aroma pungente, frutado e terroso do queijo. O projeto comercial foi comissionado pela associação de produtores de queijo do tipo Stilton, com o intuito de aumentar o interesse do consumidor pelo queijo Stilton.

Dois anos depois a rede de fast food Burger King chocou a mídia e muitos apaixonados por perfumes quando lançou o seu perfume, que segundo a marca continha "o cheiro da sedução com um toque de carne na brasa".

No ano passado a rede de fast food Pizza Hut resolveu também se lançar no mundo da perfumaria. O perfume é resultado de uma pergunta lançada no facebook da marca: "Você ama o cheiro de uma caixa de Pizza Hut sendo aberta? Nós acreditamos que sim. Se esse cheiro fosse um perfume, qual seria o seu nome?" 
O volume de respostas (feedback dos clientes) foi tão grande que a empresa resolveu comissionar o perfume, que supostamente tem um cheirinho de massa de pão, cartolina, talco e queijo.

Então meus queridos amigos e leitores, não se enganem achando que essas marcas esperam que as pessoas saiam por aí cheirando  a hamburger, bacon ou pizza.
Se fosse assim, Lady Gaga, que já se apresentou no ano de 2010 no MTV Awards com um vestido feito inteirinho de carne...aliás todos os acessórios eram feitos de carne, teria lançado em 2012 um perfume com esse cheiro!
Isso são estratégias de marketing olfativo, simplesmente.
As únicas pessoas que eu vejo usando esses perfumes são aquelas que vivem numa larica constante! Para elas indico o perfume de maconha da mesma empresa que fabrica os perfumes de sushis - o Cannabis Flower, que segundo a marca é um perfume para usar e não para fumar!

E como nem todas as misturas olfato gustativas dão certo... fica aqui a minha opinião sobre uma tentativa de Thierry Mugler de novamente inovar no mercado de fragrâncias - Womanity EDP, com notas salgadas de caviar, é um perfume que não deu certo. 
Mulher nenhuma quer comprar um perfume que vem com a mensagem subliminar de que cheiramos a peixe!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Eau de Fröehliche - Be my perfumed Valentine!

+ Q Perfume Blog - Valentine's Day - Perfume Choice

Photo credit: 100 & 1 Seife exclusively to + Q Perfume Blog

In times when love and romance have to compete with applications such as "Bang with friends" ...

For Christmas 2012 Erik Kormann from 100 & 1 Seife launched his first Eau de Fröehliche or translated to English -  Eau de Merry -  a gourmet treat for the senses with irises, chocolate,frankincense, rosewood, coriander, Frambione, musk, patchouli, cardamom, vanilla, tolu balm and coumarin. At that time I described the fragrance as "A hint of cacao, a hint of iris, a hint of cardamom freshness and you are smiling my dears! Eau de Fröhliche will make you look younger without turning you into a teenager. It will change your mood to a better one because it has a sweetness that is rich, without being boring. It will make you more attractive because it has a tenacious and a vivid spirit all the way till dry down". (you can read the full review by clicking on the link above).

It was indeed a cuddling olfactory experience that I could have enjoyed all year round if  my sister would not have taken it from my collection with the most delightful statement "I have to have this, I am taking it home with me!" So she took it. Both versions - the EDP and the EDT. ;-)

Photo credit: 100 & 1 Seife exclusively to + Q Perfume Blog

Well, giving is rewarded with this year Erik has send me his new edition of Eau de Föhliche. 
Not a flanker thou... it is not the original formula adding this or that. It is a complete new perfume but with one common ground: frankincense. 
Truth is that he launched it for Christmas 2012, but I was away from home, and that was the reason why I could not review it before. Frankly, it is a perfect gift for Valentine's Day!!!
If you are not interest in just banging with friends, or better saying, bootie calls or mean-less sex encounters, and you still believe in the romantic concept of sharing a special day with the one you love,  make the most of it by presenting her/him with something to remember this day everyday! A perfume is one of the most wanted and most popular Valentine's presents because the loved person will think of you every whiff.

So why Eau de Fröehliche?

Because it is romantic and sensitive. Because it brings an exquisite combination of rose and black pepper, with a bonus minty finishing. Because not many rose fragrances are that fresh (it also contains bergamot). Because it is a rose perfume, but it has an urban beat. Because it has a smokey aura that is subtle, not pierce. It is a rock n' roll rose. And most of it, because it contains CATTITUDE! Meow!

Photo credit: 100 & 1 Seife exclusively to + Q Perfume Blog

If you need more reasons I have plenty! The bottle comes with this super cute purrr cat illustration by Jo Zarth. It has a fragrance concentration of 20%. It last longer enough to be hugged and kissed for many hours. It can be nice to both genders.

Eau de Fröehliche Nº1 was a cuddling perfume. So is nº2. Interesting how different concepts can bring the same idea, but with a different intention. One cuddles you more like a friend. This one will also hug you tenderly, but the hug is just the first move...

You can find and purchase Eau de Fröehliche in the brand's website: 1000 & 1 Seife.

Another rock n' roll cat!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The black code in fragrances - TREND RADAR

Franknweenie by Tim Burton

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

If you think that both movies Frankweenie and Les Misérables, and fragrances like Tom Ford Noir, Coco Noir by Chanel, Bulgari Jarmin Noir L'Elixir, Armani Eau de Nuit, Boss Nuit pour Femme, Gucci Guilty Black, or even Bertrand's Enchanted Forest have nothing in common, you are not really following marketing trends. It might look like they dont have a connection, but in fact they do.  They are all part of a trend that Li Edelkoort explains like nobody else:

“Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in the way of feeling.” Charles Baudelaire

Since the dawn of time, black has a lot to tell, it expressed mourning, poverty, denial, revolt and it exalted the avant-garde and haute-couture. Both rive gauche and rive droite. From lacerated and studded leather to the perfection of the little black dress, from brutal bondage clothing to the gorgeous prom dress, from mods’ modest turtlenecks to the monks’ modern hoods, the same black made a lot of ink flow, black or almost black too. It is able to express love and romanticism as well as hate and racism, in equal proportion and with the same ardor.
Black matter will be forever engraved in our teenage souls; film noir, black coffee, the black jacket, pinot noir.

Today, black is lustrous and magnificent, swallow-tailed, raven or horsehair, is seen in lace of a domination mask, veil of seduction and burka of discretion. Black reflects opinions like a pollster of the air of the times. The surveys all agree; again, we vote for black. However, behind this dark veil hides a myriad of attitudes, divergent tastes and disparate characters.

In a chaotic century, which still cannot find its way, it seems that there is only one way out. One direction to take. In one way or another, we have to merge opposites and erase contrasts to embrace and exploit the idea of creative hybrids from various disciplines to finally bridge the gap between the two brains. To abolish bipolar thinking in favor of a universal and holistic reflection.

Suddenly, black seems to be the unifying of disciplines, the cloth becomes language, drawing pretends to be text, the volume is seen as flat, materials bristle, painting becomes textile, while the photo is thought of in monochrome and videos are selling like paintings. We are the witnesses of an artistic scene in fusion in which all the arts combine to make a single movement, a single vision and a single discipline addressing all the senses, suspended between dimensions.

As such, revisited romanticism can be seen as a reaction against reason, capable of enhancing the mysterious and fantastic. A romanticism to escape from reality and enter into the enchantment of dreams, finding the sublime in the morbid and millions in a skull. The vanity of fashion and design calling us from beyond the grave.

This is probably why black is coming back strong, because everything can be merged into it, anything can unite. Color mixing and blending genres, black becomes silent and dull, can absorb everything, and erase everything. Black sunblock. a way to move on, refocus and fade differences. Suddenly, the black becomes the flag of a political movement that does not yet exist, an altruistic movement is being born, a morality becomes capable of boosting creation outside of economic tracks, instead of suffering a cultural fatality.

To live our time, black establishes itself as a romantic expression, even frenetic. With a return to rural life combined with a deep respect for the ordinary spirituality, a return to a normal life. A romanticism to have great experience and feel a need to escape, a visceral craving of landscapes, seeing the horizons of one's life. A desire to disappear too, like an urgent need of anonymity. An abstraction as a retreat which becomes the study of black, material expressions, alarm cries. The icons commit suicide, forget themselves, disappear.

Following, the grand return of cloaks, redingotes, of long dresses and sweepers skirts. All underlined with boots and many hats. Painter shirts, cigarette pants, monk robes and terrorist hoods. We ironically mix all the exterior signs of religions to make a point of devotion.
So black draws life, silhouette and fate at the same time.
(extracted from The exposition - The Black Code - by Li Edelkoort)

Besides using words like Black, Noir, Nuit, Night, or black shinning flacons, or seductive and mysterious advertising ads, perfumers translated this trend by using odorants suggesting obscurity, mystery, the sensual aspect of the night, and romanticism.
In the composition of Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince, Bertrand used black currant the main core of the fragrance, suggesting that when combined with the odor of the forest, it would result into a dark, mysterious  and super natural aura that was never explored this way in perfumery.

In Coco Noir, Chanel brand reveals a black that is intimate, seductive and intensely brilliant, translated in a combination of notes of grapefruit, bergamot and a sumptuous blend of woods and resins. 
In Oriflame Amber Elixir Noir, notes of patchouli, vanilla, amber, incense, benzoin provided a darker and more mysterious version of a night scent.
For Gucci, patchouli is the key ingredient for the duo that is said to aim fearless, shameless and unpredictable people. A frantic romance translated into a black version of the previous launches.

Researches have been publishing many essays and theories about the relationship between scents and colors. A vast majority of them agree that dark colors are related to oriental and woody fragrances. Also many florals (specially narcotic ones also give a sense of darkness - specially flowers blooming at night). 
According to professor Brian Moran (expert in Business Anthropology), the black color in perfume advertising is related to femininity and seduction. In his work he presented tables with results of 20 years of research in the field of perfume advertising, and the shown results were such as: the notes associated to black are patchouli, sandalwood, jasmine, vanilla and musk/fragrances with this dark connotation are mostly launched during winter and autumn time by the perfume industry.
Shinning black in perfume advertising shows excellence, while black in general can be also used for exclusivity, and that is the reason why many limited editions come in black and gold colors.

So there you have it my dears. 2012 winter and many months to come in 2013 will be populated with "black" perfumes, for the same reason why the movie "Les Misérables" will ace many Oscars, or for the same reason that Frankenweenie is simply a must see. Because we are craving for black. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Trouble with the Curve - PART TWO

If you haven't read part one yet, click HERE, before reading part two.

"Just as curveballs, perfumes create illusions. Perfumers combine chemical or natural ingredients to create olfactory representations, and this is what it makes them so special".

Obs.: Understanding here the term illusion as something that contains an olfactory awareness, it contains a sensorial abstract quality (effluvia), but no tangible or visual quality. Also understand the term illusion as a distortion of reality - as an example - a rose perfume does not represent an actual rose, but a illusion of a rose, an interpretation.

If perfumers are like baseball pitchers, what seems to be the Trouble with the Curve?

I have been hearing in the blogosphere, perfume forums, perfume groups or even outside the internet universe, things like "I am going to develop my perfume line", or "I bought a kit of scents and I am making perfumes", " I just finished a perfume making workshop and I will send you my perfume", or even things like "I know that if I would have the ingredients, I am sure that I could make better perfumes than the ones they sell today"...etc, etc...Perfume bloggers, perfume enthusiasts, perfume critics started to be adventurous and are developing fragrances. 

Fact is, that with a developed sensibility and some knowledge of scents everyone could end up with nice, let's say "vetiver, incense or rose perfume".  And they can eventually end up selling well, and the brand become the next hip indie. No doubt about it,  I have reviewed a few here. But the bitter truth is that their perfumes will enter only to the little league category, and with time and some luck (or with the help of good reviews) get even to the Minor League. That means that these so called "self-tought" perfumers will learn how to pitch fastballs and off- speeds, but they won't have what it takes to pitch a curveball. They will not have the ability to create a classic, or an iconic fragrance. They will not be able to create illusions, but only perfumes that smell nice.
The Trouble with the Curve is that it needs trainning. Proper professional training. One does not pitch a curveball simply because it has a "good hand for baseball".
It takes time to learn the perfumer's profession. A couple of years of technical education (as in a degree in chemistry and a post graduation in perfumery - such as Isipca maybe); years of training ( of actually working in a lab to become a master perfumer);and a sensorial inner journey called experience of learning how to translate emotions, sensations and imaginary hedonic values into fragrances.

It takes a lot of training in the baseball field to get to the professional league and become, per say, a pitcher of the NY Yankees, or Dodger's (you name your favorite team)! 

So don't get me wrong here. I am not saying that these perfumistas should leave the perfume making business because they are not good enough. I am saying something else: You have already the interest and the money to actually make a difference in the perfume industry, so go get your master in perfumery. Go learn how to pitch a curveball! We want to see you in the field pitching for the Yankees! 

The second Trouble with the Curve is that, in perfumery, training is not the only necessary condition to create great fragrances. If the market is a baseball field, we haven't been seeing a lot of creative players these days.
Perfumes classics or hits have been slightly changed and named differently. Perfumes became very ephemeral, like fashion trends. As an example, lets take one of the latest trends in perfumery: oud. 1000s of brands ran to their perfumers to create the newest OUD fragrance.  Oud this, Oud many Oud fragrances were really creative compositions that could enter to the "Baseball Hall of Fame"? Name one fragrance where OUD was the essential component to translate or represent an outstanding illusion?
I leave you to answer that until the next game...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Trouble with the Curve - PART ONE

 To seat 39H, flight LH504.

"CLINT EASTWOOD: AHA! Joe may have played absolutely flawlessly the whole week we’ve been watching him, but I just spotted that he has a slight imperfection with his grip which makes him vulnerable to curve balls but not vulnerable enough to have actually missed a single pitch yet! Even though a good coach could correct the problem in a matter of weeks, my decision is that he can GO FUCK HIMSELF.
AMY ADAMS: But you’re nearly blind, how did you spot that?
CLINT EASTWOOD: I heard it. It sounded like someone hitting a curve ball improperly."

(extracted from the movie Trouble with the Curve by Clint Eastwood)

A baseball pitcher needs to know how to throw 4 balls: the basic ones which are the fastball and the off-speed pitch, and two breaking balls - the slider and the curveball.
You will see curveballs in the professional league only, or at least they are more common among professionals for the simple fact that it requires some degree of mastery to deliver it, and also because of the safety of the pitcher.

The secret to understanding a curveball is the speed of the air moving past the ball's surface. As the ball spins, its top surface moves in the same direction in which the air moves. At the bottom of the ball, the ball's surface and the air move in opposite directions. So the velocity of the air relative to that of the ball's surface is larger on the bottom of the ball.

What difference does that make? The higher velocity difference puts more stress on the air flowing around the bottom of the ball. That stress makes air flowing around the ball "break away" from the ball's surface sooner. Conversely, the air at the top of the spinning ball, subject to less stress due to the lower velocity difference, can "hang onto" the ball's surface longer before breaking away.

As a result, the air flowing over the top of the ball leaves it in a direction pointed a little bit downward rather than straight back. As Newton discovered almost three hundred years ago, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, as the spinning ball throws the air down, the air pushes the ball up in response. A ball thrown with backspin will therefore get a little bit of lift. (explains the exploratorium in an adaptation of the book "accidental scientist", published by Henry Holt & Co, 1997)

There is a discussion whether the curveball is an optical illusion or not. Fact is that the spinning of the ball is what it makes it hard to hit, but this spinning results into an optical illusion that changes the position of the perceived break from where it is actually breaking. In a nutshell, it creates an illusion of direction.

Just as curveballs, perfumes create illusions. Perfumers combine chemical or natural ingredients to create olfactory representations, and this is what it makes them so special.

Let's take a popular fragrance as an example, such as ANGEL EDP by Thierry Mugler - launched in 1992. It became famous for being the first gourmet fragrance of the market. Did not sell well when it was launched, but today it became an iconic perfume of the 90's, and a winner of the FIFI Fragrance Hall of Fame Award (an award that recognizes a fragrance as a classic, being in the market for 15 years or more).

Mugler fragrances - Mugler website

Givaudan created for Thierry Mugler an illusion of tenderness, while Angel provoked an illusion of being in a cloud of cotton candy, caramels, chocolate, honey and vanilla to wearers around the globe. For the first time in history, one could crave a fragrance on the skin. This illusion was mastered by a combination of notes of melon, coconut, mandarin orange, cassia, jasmine, bergamot and cotton candy, honey, apricot, blackberry, plum, orchid, peach, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, red berries, rose, tonka bean, amber, patchouli, musk, vanilla, dark chocolate and caramel. (FRAGRANTICA.COM)
But what made Angel famous for, in times where women could not profit from botox, was the fact that it gave the illusion of youth. Mature women bought Angel because they actually felt younger wearing them.

Also iconic and from the 90's, Acqua di Gio brought a large dose of calone, a chemical odorant responsible for the sea-breeze note used in many fresh perfumes. Calone offered perfumers the possibility to create olfactory illusions of watery - airy, marine - smelling fragrances. Compositions with etherial abstraction. The illusion created offered the pleasure and the freshness one feels with a plunge into the ocean. Young men bought this fragrance because it created the illusion of lighter days, of the new modern man, of freedom and reconnection to Nature. 

Another fascinating aspect of fragrances is not only the smell, but the textures they evoke. Perfumes can be leathery, silky, velvety, creamy, furry, harsh, smooth, thick, buttery, fluffy...
Perfumers can create illusions of textiles, so you will feel their touch.
We can't forget Donna Karan's Black Cashmere, can we? The reason why this fragrance is known by every perfumista is because of the soft warm touch of cashmere it evokes. You can actually feel like wearing cashmere!

Leather in perfumery evoke nobility, luxury, sensuality. It contains a mix of natural, primitive, sexual and yet of successful, aristocratic, military or adventurous connotations. It can bring illusions of coziness when combined with powdery or creamy notes. It can give illusion of manhood when associated with animalic or sensual notes, such as civet, ambergris or musk.

To be continued.
In the PART TWO I will continue to discuss olfactory illusions and representations.
I will also discuss the intrinsic relationship of perfumers and baseball players & curveballs and of course, what is the trouble with curve! Be connect!
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