Saturday, January 02, 2010


This weekend is comprised of evaluations, both primary scent/single essence evals and finished perfume composition evals. There are similarities in the way one evaluates both, but they are entirely different in many other ways. For example, a primary scent doesn't have to be "balanced", but a finished perfume composition should. A primary scent must follow the current standards of its basic scent profile, for instance, many Natural Botanical Perfumers use Arctander to set the standard, so the scent profile for say vetyver, though it varies from region to region, and the best in my opinion are the Haitian and Bourbon/Reunion Island varities, is sweet, woody, wet soil, sometimes with bitter top notes. The vagaries of vetyvers do exist; Sri Lankan, organically grown, tends toward a floral and creamy profile, while Bourbon/Reunion Island is more woody and smoky. Haitian samples are more powdery and sweet, while the Indonesian can be bitter and tobacco-like. At this point, it's a matter of preference which is chosen for a perfume, though the bitterer vetyvers are less desireable. After 24 hours of drydown most vetyvers tend to smell the same. In Natural Botanical Perfume composition, one looks for balance, complexity, harmonization, and a surprise. In other words, it has to "work". While soliflores are almost never really single scent, the primary goal is to establish an interpretation within the mind of the evaluator/customer/client of a single note, while in reality the perfume may be comprised of dozens of aromatics. Crafty, crafty perfumers. Tenacity is another point in the pros side of the list, at least a few hours makes for a tenacious Natural Botanical Perfume. One of the biggest issues that detract from a Natural Botanical Perfume is its tenacity, or, rather, its lack of tenacity. So it has to be balanced, complex, harmonized, issue a surprise, and last a little longer than a sneeze.

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