We’re currently loving exploring ScentCulture.tube – a website offering ‘an incisive look at a research project that reveals the secrets of creative practice in perfumery.’ So how do perfumers solve a mysterious scent mystery when working on their composition?
‘In most cases, a perfume is meant to be a pleasurable odour,’ the ScentCulture piece begins, ‘Technically, it is a mixture of essential oils, aroma compounds, and solvents used to provide an agreeable scent. Yet, the process is more complex than often explained.’
In a fascinating film called Wet Dog: Chasing the Villain, offering a unique insight into (okay, we’re calling it) one of the most inventive and brilliant perfumers working today; we get to see how Christophe Laudamiel works with raw materials and traces the mysterious presence of sudden appearance that’s certainly less than ‘pleasurable’…
Together with fellow perfumer Christoph Hornetz, during the development of ‘a jewel-like perfume’, they suddenly discover ‘…an unpleasant facet, an annoying animalic note. Laudamiel calls it a “wet dog” that only appears after some delay. The two perfumers are puzzled. The phenomenon seems to be really special, if also undesired. They investigate the composition, ingredient by ingredient. In the end, the detective search for malodor delivered a suspect for which Christoph Hornetz had noticed the same unexpected effect in other previous instances.’
We wont spoiler it for you, but the chemical compound they trace it to is actually often described as ‘tropical coconut, tonka bean and tobacco’. So how do we get from delicious to dawg? The clip linked above tells the detective story of that puzzling perfume mystery…
‘We do things differently, here in London W3…’ Sarah McCartney, founder of independent perfume house 4160 Tuesdays, explains. ‘All our fragrances have a story. This year we want to bring out four new editions; eaux de parfum each with its own mystery story, inspired by the classic crime novels of the 1930s.’
Having successfully reached out to the fragrance community and many long-time fans of her distinctively quirky scents, last year saw the crowd-funded Crimes of Passion collection selling out and winning awards. Crowd-funding has become popular over several online platforms recently, with small companies and independent entrepreneurs reaching out for public support to give them a much-needed initial cash investment they then use to fulfill project they could otheriwse only dream of, with those initial investors receiving a number of bonuses or gifts in reward for their belief and support. Fragrance expert and vintage perfume aficionado Barbara Herman also used this technique to launch her Perfume X range of vintage-inspired fragrances, which were composed by Antoine Lie.
Last year, 4160 Tuesdays launched seven fragrances to evoke ‘unexpected acts of devotion’ and included Dirty Honey, which won the EauMG Best Indie Scent 2015; Maxed Out having been one of Lucky Scent’s Top 12 Perfumes of 2015 and currently in the running as one of the finalists for The Fragrance Foundation‘s 2016 award for Best New Independent Fragrance; along with yet another of the series – Midnight in the Palace Garden – also having made the final list of nominees.
The scented stories are enticingly described as follows…
The Search for Flora Psychedelica
The story: ‘A tale of botany and skullduggery.’
The scent: ‘A blend of rare flowers with intoxicating spices and herbs.’
The Mystery of the Buddhawood Box
The story: ‘Horatio Kimble had sailed for Australia to seek his fortune. Twenty years later, his lawyers invite the relatives to a meeting.’
The scent: ‘Four distinctive woods, with a note of multicoloured opalescence.’
Up the Apples & Pears
The story: ‘Cissy and Dotty Shuttleworth defend their London pub from an unscrupulous property developer.’
The scent: ‘Autumn fruit in a tiny London orchard.’
Captured by Candlelight
The story: ‘When the lights go out at Dolderbury Hall a portrait goes missing, but which one was it?’
The scent: ‘Traditional plum pudding, covered in brandy and set alight, with a background of oak panels and oil paintings.’
Those who invest in the scheme can contribute from as little as £5, with a range of benefits and bonuses available varying from a signed, bound book of the stories, a specially reduced price of the perfume, and sample sets of the finished scents.
Talking about the sliding scale structure of investment in such schemes, Sarah said:
‘We’re starting with a very affordable dip of the financial toe, right down to a deep plunge of a bespoke service, story and scent. Perfume is an unusual thing to buy before trying, so we’re doing sample sets to reduce your risk, but there are great incentives to take a chance on buying before you try them.We’d love to invest in more amazing materials which you don’t find in big brand fragrances; we’re a tiny company so crowdfunding makes it possible. If some of these scents sound exciting to you, join in! We’d love your help to invest in interesting materials and to use them to create something marvellous…’
Sarah’s ‘wish list’ of ingredients:
Boronia flower absolute
Granny Smith apple creation
Colombian enfleurage lily and gardenia
Natural pear creation
Brandy CO2 extract
Absinthe essential oil
Artemisia essential oil
Davana essential oil
Hemlock essential oil
Hazelnut CO2 extract
Oakwood CO2 extract
If you’re crossing your fingers and hoping it all goes ahead so your favourite-sounding scent gets made, never fear. Says Sarah: ‘We shall definitely be making the perfumes, no matter how many people join in; but the more supporters we have, the more of these lovely materials we can acquire, and the more beautiful our story books will be. We’re also planning a rather interesting launch event…’
We’re duly intrigued and shall be keeping an eye on further crowdfunding schemes in fragrance world – a fascinating way that fans of smaller, independent perfume houses can directly invest in the purveyors of their perfumed delights.
If you’d like to get involved or find out more, visit 4160 Tuesdays IndieGoGo page.