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SmellyBlog

New Incense

Ras El Hanout Incense, Three Ways
After close to twenty years in development and perfection, I'm excited to announce that my alchemical incense blends are finally available for sale! Check out the new section in my shop for Original Kyphi and Kyphi Galilee; Planetary incense pastilles, herbal incense cones and seasonal Nerikoh (traditional Japanese kneaded incense that is meant for warming on a mica plate Koh-Doh style; or more conveniently - on an aromatherapy lamp or incense electric heater).

More details about each incense type in the upcoming posts!

Olfactory Orientalism


Most fragrance families have strange, if not weird names. But "Orientals" almost sounds racist... And it kind of is. The term originates in the "Orientalism" movement in art, architecture and design which was most prominent in the 19th Century, but began before and continued after as well - and is still alive and kicking in the world of perfumery. Orientalists had one thing in common - what seems like an obsession and perhaps even idealization of cultures in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. But there is also a sense of condescending. A view that has a subtext that says that Western culture is better, and could imply a view that these cultures are static, primitive or inferior. Which of course is far from the truth. 

The Orientalism in 19th Century Europe was largely related to imperialism. It romanticized Asian, North African and Middle Eastern cultures, in a way that is neither authentic nor free of prejudice. With that being said, it has largely influenced popular culture as well as perfume and the design and art that go with it. From bottle design to the actual "jus" - the Orient was infused in many perfumes of the early 20th Century - and beyond. Names such as Mitsouko, Shalimar, Crepe de Chine were some of the first to derive their inspiration, name and design from "Eastern" themes; perfumes such as Opium, Cinnabar and Samsara revived the interest in Orientalism towards the end of the 20th Century; and now we have Tom Ford and Serge Lutens as the leaders of the post-modernist Olfactory Orientalism movement, with perfumes bearing names such as Shanghai Lily, Japon Noir, Plum Japonais, Bois Marocain, Arabian Wood, Ambre Sultan, Arabie, Borneo 1834, Muscs Kublai Khan, Fumerie Turque, Rahat Loukum, etc.


Besides the aesthetic idealism of this style and movement, there is also a clever marketing decision, cashing on the Westerner's constant desire to be swept off their feet by an exotic culture; be transported into distant places with only a whiff from a bottle. Admittedly there is much magic in this; but also the danger of caricaturization an entire culture, and innocent yet wrong interpretation of names, concepts and symbols. One such example is Samsara - a wonderful floriental by Guerlain created in the 1980's, with an evocative name that mean "seven heaps of dung" - a metaphor to the material body's various stages of life. Hardly a romantic meaning for this gorgeously orchestrated jasmine-and-sandalwood perfume.



As one can see by the choice of name, marketing and advertising materials - there are plenty of stereotypes packed into each one of these, perhaps all exemplified and demonstrated by this long-yawn-inducing video clip for Guerlain's iconic Shalimar, a mega production that seems to cater to the teenage male fantasy of computer-games and completely unrealistic courtship: misogynistic as well as patronizing a bundle of Eastern cultures (kind of hard to tell where one begins and another ends - we have here an amalgamtion of what seems like an Arab prince on a white stallion, the iconic Indian Taj Mahal, and a passively bathing gal in what seems like a Turkish hammam). FYI: This main female character is blonde and blue-eyed, and does nothing the entire 5:44min film except fantasize about her prince and prepare for his return from the trip to save her from months of boredom in the palace (which will be achieved, of course, by building her another palace). What a shame, since Shalimar was inspired by a very tragic love story - Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth, and the Taj Mahal was in fact a giant tomb which once completed, her lover was buried in it too.


There is no shortage of Orientalists-inspired perfumes, Opium being one of them - launched in 1977, alongside Yves Saint Laurent's Chinese-inspired haute couture collection. It's a wonderfully spicy oriental, with balsamic-resinous counterpoint as well as fresh citrus, and yet the cloves and patchouli at its centre make it unmistakably connected to China (the first place to distill cloves, by the way). Opium has always been provocative with its ads, walking a fine line between portraying languid, opiated women as if they're in the midst of sexual climax. No matter how wonderfully they are photographed - they are highly objectified: the woman in the 1977 ad above seems like part of the tapestry and design, not really like a flesh-and-blood person - at the time of launch criticized more so for the name, suggesting a legitimization of drug use; and Sophie Dal from the more recent (and even more provocative campaign) looks as white as a dead petal of orchid or a marble statue (not to mention completely naked except for her jewellery and stilettos). But no matter how you slice it - there is more than just a hint of suggesting that Asian culture can be shrugged off by these opium-den references, never to be taken seriously.


Orientalism and exoticism has also found traction in European culture through the performances of the legendary Mata Hari (the stage name for a Dutch exotic dancer, whose olive skin and darker hair, complete with Indonesian (then known as the Dutch-East-Indian) inspired outfits and music. Mata Hari was executed by a firing squad after being prosecuted for espionage during World War I (in 1917)*.

On a more nerdy and technical level, there is much more to be said about Oriental perfumes, besides bottle designs, names, or using exotic materials. Historically, perfume technology evolved in the East first - beginning in Mesopotamia, where fragrant resins were discovered, and continuing to Egypt, where the first perfume-incense-blend Kyphi was created, using no less than 16 secret ingredients (the formula was written on the walls of a temple, and re-discovered thousands of years later).

From Egypt, the knowledge and technology of perfume making (which was strongly tied to practical as well as spiritual practices of alchemy) moved to the Mediterranean region. In the island of Cyprus archeologists recently found the remains of the first perfume factory that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1850 BC were discovered.

In Asia - primarily in India and China - there were also (probably parallel) developments, where the Indian and Chinese alchemists were hard at work looking for similar things though with different names than the Western ones - Chrysopoeia (transmutation into gold, which was universally considered by alchemists as the ideal physical matter), the Aqua Vitae aka elixir of life or longevity, and Panacea (the cure-all medicine). The Indians knew how to distill essential oils as early as the 6th century AD.



"The first evidence of distillation comes from Greek alchemists working in Alexandria in the 1st century AD" - mostly of hydrosols; and around the same time (during the Han Dynasty), the Chinese also got their hands in distillation - although it won't be till hundreds of years later that they would widely use that technology for distilling beverages.

In the 6th century, the Indians were also distilling their own essential oil, from agarwood; and the Arabs and Muslims, who likely learned this from the Alexandrians (in Egypt) and India (by way of Persia). Nevertheless, the Arabs and Muslims are credited for perfecting this technology, and for discovering alcohol (ethanol) and how to separate it from wine, and last but not least - spreading their advanced technologies to the West as they concoured Europe.

Ibn Sinna (aka Avicenna), a Persian doctor, have found a way to separate ethanol (alcohol) from wine - not an easy feat, especially considering its low boiling point and high evaporation rate and flammability. And if it weren't for the Muslims concurs of the Balkan, North Africa and then Spain - Europe might be never become fragrant at all. The Muslims brought their technological advances with them to wherever they traveled. And these have made their mark on today's chemistry and medicine.

The Chinese as well as the Indians have perfected the art of incense, which transformed from a crude burning of resins, gums and woods into a technologically advanced  and the beginning of distillation technology was developed. It was not until the Middle Ages, that thanks to the Muslim alchemists and doctors, the science of distillation have been truly perfected and distilling delicate flowers such as rose and orange blossoms became possible - first as hydrosols (floral waters) and then as attars (the Arab name for essential oils). The term "Attar of Rose" means "rose essential oil" (Attar is an Arabic word, which refers to the spirit or “ether” of the plants, i.e. the essential oil. The word “attar” or its permutation “otto” is often used to describe rose essential oil (in perfumery literature, it is referred to as “rose otto” or “attar of rose”).

There is much more to "Eastern" perfumery than meets the eye. And this is owing greatly to the fact that the knowledge and formulae were not typically recorded - but passed from generation to generation as oral tradition and through apprenticeships. Till this day, Indian and Arabian perfumery spark one's imagination with their exotic raw materials and dreamy compositions unlike any others found in the West (though imitations abound).

How Indian perfumes differ from Western perfumery is first and foremost in that the perfume is blended before it is actually distilled. You make a "masala" of perfume materials, then distill them in the traditional copper still, into a receiver full of sandalwood oil. It's a completely different mindset, thinking of the finished blend in advance, before measuring the ingredients into the still - as well as predicting how they will behave in a sandalwood oil carrier. It requires the ability to envision how these essences will be transformed in the still together, mastering the unique temperature and pressure needed for best results; and thinking in advance about the raw materials before you actually have in your hand the finished essence. It requires a similar mindset to that of making incense: You need to not only know how things smell; but also how they smell when they burn, and how to make them smell wonderfully while burning together, not to mention the technicalities of getting them to burn through, but not too fast, so you can smell their essential oils before they turn into scorched spices... 

The traditional Indian perfumer is not only an olfactory artist and a master distiller - but also a forager of wild treasures. Armed with a copper still small enough to carry on their backs, they travel the jungles and fields, collecting seasonal perfumed plants and distill them fresh on the spot into sandalwood oil, creating rare attars such as blue lotus, white lotus and pink lotus (which they need to harvest while immersed as high up to their waists in marshes and ponds). You can read more about Indian perfumery in White Lotus Aromatics' newsletters, such as this one about making Hina.

Traditional Indian perfumes are also called “attars” and are created in a completely different technique and approach than Western perfumery. Indian attars differ from modern perfumery on several levels. The most obvious are the technical ones:

1) The formulation process takes place with the raw materials prior to distillation. The spices, woods, resins, herbs, flowers and so on are measured and blended together in their raw state and only than placed in the still. My guess is, that the principles of blending these perfumes may be in tune with Ayurveda or spiritual and religious principles such as the chakra systems. Rather than blending based on technical qualities such as volatility rate and tenacity - plants and raw materials are chosen for their elemental affinity, energetic qualities and healing powers (i.e.: moist/dry; warming/cooling). 

2) Sandalwood oil forms the base or “carrier” for Indian attars (much in the same vein that rather that alcohol or a fixed oil are used in modern perfumery). Thus, even the simplest attar will contain at least two botanicals. For example: Attar Motia is made from jasmine sambac (Jasminum sambac) which is distilled into the sandalwood (Santalum album) essential oil. Sandalwood oil is one of the few oils that can be worn neat on the skin, it has a rich, viscous and sensual teqture, and a very subtle aroma that deepens the perfume of single flowers and adds fixative qualities to the attar.

3) Last but not least, unlike modern Western perfumers, the Indian perfumers actually distill their own essence. They are in touch with the plants in their original raw state, and at times even pick them from the wild. Using a light, portable copper still, the perfumer can carry it on his back while entering the wilderness to collect flowers in their blooming season, be it from the coast, the jungle or the pond For example: lotus and water lily have to be harvested while the perfumer goes into the marshes, and immerses himself waist-deep into the murky waters.

Arabian perfumery is also rather secretive, as they were strongly associated with religion. Mohammed was particularly fond of roses and perfume and saw the importance of bathing and perfuming one's body: "The taking of a bath on Friday is compulsory for every male Muslim who has attained the age of puberty and (also) the cleaning of his teeth with Miswaak (type of twig used as a toothbrush), and the using of perfume if it is available" (Sahih al-Bukhari).
 Arabian perfumes were at first macerations of various spices, woods, resins and animal materials (i.e.: ambergis, musk) in a fixed oil (such as olive). When advancements in distillation technologies took place, their perfumes became more refined and sophisticated. Similarly to the Indian "Attars", suspended in sandalwood oil - the Arabian perfumes were carefully blended oils of rose, musk grains, and other costly essences, in a base of non other than the rare agarwood oil. This gave them an over-the-top richness that even surpasses that of Indian Attars. In additional to oud, the Arabs were - and still are - very fond of musk (which they mixed with the mortar when building some of their mosques), rose, ambergris and saffron. These potent essences were blended in full-on concentration into the agarwood oil, creating at times very richly animalic perfumes, sometimes smelling almost like "barnyard" - for example when darker, more animalic ouds formed the base for even funkier animal essences.

To summarize: Egyptian perfumes, Asian perfumes, Arabian perfumes and Indian perfumes are created with completely different principles in mind. Although  literature in English barely exists on the subject, I have my guesses on what these guiding principles are. What is common to all these traditions, is that they are the true origin of perfume, and it is strongly tied to spirituality. Perfumes were first viewed as the spirit of plants, and as having the ability to alchemically transform those who smell them and use them. A far cry from the passive opium-den, harem-bound women portrayed in the "Orientalist" fragrances, these perfumes were meant to transform the soul, heal the spirit, and invite it back to the body and connect it to the divine force and bring it renewed health and vitality. 

*Another not any less famous dancer, who was also a spy but did not suffer a tragic death as a consequence was Josephine Baker, who inspired at least two perfumes that we know of: Bois des Îles and Sous la Vent.

Sorting and Sifting: The Apothecary of the Heart

In the story of Vasalissa the Wise, as told by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, the fierce hag Baba Yaga gives Vasilissa the impossible task of separating mildewed corn from the good corn; and sifting the dirt out of poppy-seeds. To her assistance, a pair of invisible hands come to her help, as well as her own intuition - the doll given to her by her dying mother.

Estés' interpretation of this part of the story truly resonates with me at the moment. Not only because this time of year (fall) is a time for sorting, sifting and preparing for the long winter. But mostly because the symbolism and meaning of these particular tasks: Estés reminds us the medicinal properties of mildewed corn, fermented to form ethanol (grain alcohol). Corn-smut is a hallucinogenic, also true for poppy seeds. The medicinal properties alludes to the woman-healer role of foraging, collecting, sorting and preparing herbal remedies.

"This is one of the loveliest phrasings in the story. The fresh corn, mildewed corn, poppyseed, and dirt are all remnants of an ancient healing apothecary. These substances are used as balms, salves, infusions, and poultices to hold other medicines on the body. As metaphor, they are also medicines for the mind; some nourish, other put to rest, some cause languor, others, stimulation. They are facets of the Life/Death/Life cycles" (Clarissa Pinkola Estés, "Women Who Run With The Wolves", p. 96).
 
In this apothecary of the heart, we gravitate towards our soul's remedy. Find the correct medicine - literally self-regulating our emotional state; or figuratively speaking in our spiritual path of healing:
"Baba Yaga is not only asking Vasalisa to separate this from that, to determine the difference between things of like kind - such as real love from false love, or nourishing life from spoiled life - but she is also asking her to distinguish one medicine from another".
(Clarissa Pinkola Estés, "Women Who Run With The Wolves", p. 96).

Like an artist or a healer, a large part of a perfumer's work is hidden from your eyes. Much of the creative process, as well as the physical aspects of producing perfume is pure alchemy. Some of the process is so subtle it is at times hidden from me, unaware I'm undergoing a process until I've arrived at the "other side" of the tunnel I've been crawling through and struggling with for months. As I reach the end of that tunnel, I'm re-born - not a newborn, obviously; but a new person in many regards. 

The seemingly aimless search for meaning turns out to be another jar of medicine in my heart's apothecary. As I distill, extract and concoct the stories of my own internal process - it's own remedy is prepared and recorded in the lab's ledger. As I do so, wounds close and heal, maladies melt away, becoming nostalgic chapters in a book that I'll never finish writing.

Structure and Philosophy


reflection symmetry, originally uploaded by Ray Wise.

Fragrance is a fleeting thing.
Fleeting, moving, ever-changing and not quite tangible – this art form demonstrates the passage of time in the most profound way and forces us to “live in the moment” so to speak. Even music, which acts in a similar way, can be re-created and re-lived by most people, simply by humming the tune.

The notion of something so fleeting having a “structure” always struck me as odd. I’m puzzled by it even more than how it is used in reference to music. I still remember that one piano lesson to which my stepfather unusually accompanied me. I was studying a sonatina by Mozart. My teacher and him were keenly trying to explain to me the concept of “symmetry” in classical music and how it is parallel to symmetric visual art. I was trying hard to grasp it, until I gave in and just pretended that I got it (incidentally, my stepfather, a painter, was obsessed with symmetry art all his life; which is perhaps why he always thought that if something goes wrong in his life, it should also go badly for everyone else – just for the sake of making things nice and even).

Things that pass through time work differently than still images or sculptures. The only way symmetry can be created is by perceiving the present and the future as relating to the past; being able to recreate the past while experiencing the present, and having some kind of anticipation of the future, based on a gestalt that was molded in the brain (although could be proven completely wrong).

Western perfumery is a relatively new invention; and like many things that travel from the East to the West (perfumery was developed in the Middle East and in Asia before anywhere else in the world) – it has taken a path of its own, making some things far more advanced (technology-wise), yet remaining rigid in many other ways. The “pyramid” structure that is so popularly used to explain and describe the evolution and so-called “structure” of perfume, although shaped like a pyramid, has nothing to do with Egypt (the culture that developed the first most complex perfume in the form of Kyphi incense); and says very little about a perfume’s behaviour and characteristics. The breakdown of notes into three stages is rather random, too. Even perfumes that have been designed to fit this paradigm, there are many more stages than that.

Ancient perfumery did not have “structure” in the sense that Western perfumery perceives its art form now. Egyptian perfumes, Asian perfumes, Arabian perfumes and Indian perfumes are created with completely different principles in mind. I am still trying to figure out what that might be, as literature in English barely exists on the subject; and I doubt if there is any official literature either. In India, perfumery is a family secret that is passed from father to son, and outsiders are rarely privy to this knowledge. What we do know is, that traditional Indian perfumes, which are called “attars” are created in a completely different technique and approach than Western perfumery. Attar is an Arabic word, which refers to the spirit or “ether” of the plants, i.e. the essential oil. The word “attar” or its permutation “otto” is often used to describe rose essential oil (in perfumery literature, it is referred to as “rose otto” or “attar of rose”).
Indian attars differ from modern perfumery on several levels. The most obvious are the technical ones:


1) The formulation process takes place with the raw materials prior to distillation. The spices, woods, resins, herbs, flowers and so on are measured and blended together in their raw state and only than placed in the still. I can only guess that the principles of blending these perfumes may be in tune with Ayurveda or spiritual and religious principles such as the chakra systems.
2) Sandalwood oil forms the base or “carrier” for Indian attars (much in the same vein that rather that alcohol or a fixed oil are used in modern perfumery). Thus, even the simplest attar will contain at least two botanicals. For example: Attar Motia is made from jasmine sambac (Jasminum sambac) which is distilled into the sandalwood (Santalum album) essential oil. Sandalwood oil is one of the few oils that can be worn neat on the skin, it has a rich, viscous and sensual teqture, and a very subtle aroma that deepens the perfume of single flowers and adds fixative qualities to the attar.
3) Last but not least, unlike modern Western perfumers, the Indian perfumers actually distill their own essence. They are in touch with the plants in their original raw state, and at times even pick them from the wild. Using a light, portable copper still, the perfumer can carry it on his back while entering the wilderness to collect flowers in their blooming season, be it from the coast, the jungle or the pond (for example: lotus and water lily have to be harvested while the perfumer goes .


The roots of modern Western perfumery are in alchemy – an art and a science that has began as early as ancient Egypt and later on re-discovered by the Muslims in the Middle Ages. The Arabic and Muslim alchemists further developed this esoteric mysticism into the scientific realms of chemistry and medicine as known today. The three principles of the Western “pyramid structure” actually correspond to the three alchemical principals – the “Tria Prima” which make up all matter: sulfur, mercury and salt.


Mercury is a passive principle, yet it is also very dynamic, which makes it a little more confusing to grasp, just as it is difficult to catch quicksilver, being both a metal and a liquid. It is associated with Luna, the feminine archetype; as well as the element of air or with water, cold and moisture. It is the most volatile. It also represents the human soul. The alchemical symbol is identical to that for the planet mercury: a circle with a crescent atop it, which does not represent the moon, but the winged messenger (the Greek god Hermes, aka as Mercury to the Romans). I find this interesting: being so volatile makes it transcend above matter and connect to the spiritual world. The top notes in a perfume have very much the role of “Mercury”: they are the most volatile, fleeting and difficult to grasp. Yet they are what gives the perfume vibrancy and are the first contact we have with the perfume. In a way, they are the “messenger”, the medium rather than the message... They invite us in to further explore what the perfume has to say.

Sulphur (the original spelling for “sulfur”) is the active principle, “The Red King”, Sol (the sun), associated with the element of fire – heat and dryness. The symbol for sulphur is a fire triangle mounted on the earth cross. It has a masculine and expansive force, and creates evaporation and dissolution. Within the aesthetics of Western perfumery – the heart notes are what make perfume a true perfume.

Salt is the stable, solid foundation. It is analogous to the physical body and to the earth. The alchemical symbol is of a circle with a horizontal line dividing between above and below; very similar to the symbol of the planet earth (a circle with a complete cross in the middle). It only is missing a divine force from above (a vertical line) to make it complete and complex with potential for life, like the earth. The base notes in the perfume are like salt: they provide the stability and the foundation for the perfume. They are what gives it a form. Being so less volatile makes the reliable and solid like salt. And with the added elements of the top notes and the heart notes, a dynamic entity is created, with vitality and movement. And of course the final and most important element which makes perfume complete and alive is the person wearing it.

Western perfumes were created with that philosophy, aesthetic values and “structure” in mind for hundreds of years, until commercialism got in the way, so to speak. In the early 1990’s, perfumes began to create linear perfumes. Sophia Grojsman’s Trésor (1990) was especially groundbreaking because it used very few ingredients to bring forth an abstract rose, instead of using many complex bases with hundreds of ingredients. “It is like drawing a flower—at first, you draw a heart and then you start by painting petals” – described Grojsman her process in an 2006 interview to Bois de Jasmine. Her approach was revolutionary at the time, and her perfumes have an unmistakable style – bold yet tender, focused (usually around rose) yet dynamic.

Trésor was just one of the first perfumes signaling the beginning of a trend of linear perfumes – it was not only simple (rose, vanilla and peach seem to be the main three notes), but also had very little in the way of evolution. But the first linear perfume per-se, created solely with that intention is Toacde (Maurice Roucel, 1994, for Rochas), where rose, magnolia, vanilla and a flat freshness of bergamot persists through the entire composition. Poême 1995 Jacques Cavallier was also an epitome of linear thinking.

Linear perfumes change very little if at all from start to finish, disregarding the element of time and replacing it with a static sculpture of molecules hanging in mid-air, and avoiding any relationship with the wearer’s skin.

It’s interesting that the first linear scents were so rosy… But the first ones were at least interesting. They were soon replaced by a humdrum of gourmands (a-la Angel, which also does not change much with its patchouli and caramel persistence) and clean, paired-down musk accords which are at times nothing but an insult to the consumer’s olfactory intelligence. While the first compositions seemed to have poise and elegance and purpose or thought behind them, the current state of affairs is that linear scents were adopted by the mainstream perfume industry as means to make more sales: what’s the point of having top notes if they disappear after half and hour or less? What’s the point of having any evolution at all, if the customer needs to spend days in sampling, experiencing the scent and making up their minds? It’s easiest to create something 100% homogenous, that will not be affected by factors as skin chemistry and just remain as the “trailer” (i.e.: the scent strip or fabric ribbon) promised.

Another confusing structural approach was presented in Allure (Chanel’s house perfumery, Jacques Polge). When it was launched in 1996, it promised a revolutionary structure where “facets” rather than an evolution from top to heart to base:
“No more top, middle and base notes. ALLURE dispenses with these traditional notions to embrace a multi-faceted approach. There are six of these facets to be exact, which overlap and harmonise with each other, no single facet becoming dominant over the others…”
(from Chanel's website).

The six facets were illustrated by a hexagon, divided into 6 triangles:
1) Fresh : Citron note.
2) Fruity : Sicilian Mandarin.
3) Timeless Floral : May Rose, Oriental Jasmine.
4) Imaginary Floral : Magnolia accord, Honeysuckle accord, Water lily accord.
5) Woody : Haitian Vetiver.
6) Oriental : Vanilla from Réunion.

A quick glance at this makes one wonder. After all: citron and mandarin (Sicilian or otherwise) are both top notes. The florals in facets 3 and 4 are all heart notes; and lastly, vetiver and vanilla (facets 5 and 6) are both base notes. What are they trying to say? That the perfume progresses gradually through its various notes (which is true to some extent)? That it revolves like a circle between those various facets? There is only one way to tell, which is to wear it and try it for yourself. I experience it mostly as a linear scent. There is none of the complex evolution that can be found in other Chanel perfumes (say, Bois des Îles).

Recently, I stumbled upon CrazyLibellule and the Poppies website, where the “Etoile Olfactive” (olfactory star) is used to illustrate the different notes. Which kind of olfactory evolution would this be? An explosion, perhaps?

The more I think about it, the more confused I become. And than I get back to my original view and perception of perfume: an art form that takes place in time, rather than space. If it has any structure it would be similar to that in a music, film or storytelling. And the perfumes that I want to create, wear, smell and experience are those that tell a story. And stories have a beginning, middle and an end.

1+1=3


Dumpster Graffiti, originally uploaded by JenWaller.

The non-mathematical principle above suggests that the marriage of two elements creates a third entity: the relationship between the two. Have you ever seen a couple act completely different when together than when they are alone? As if there is an invisible entity between them, determining how they relate not only to one another but also to the world around them. Essentially, the togetherness of the two becomes a third person (and I'm not speaking of babies).

This is the principle of perfume. An entity that is greater than the sum of all its parts - mathematically speaking, of course: We know that perfume bounds to the laws of alchemy rather than mathematics or chemistry per-se.
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