Wednesday, May 17, 2023

A perfumer is...

Scent is the last sense to leave a dying person. After sight, hearing, and even touch are gone, the dying hold on to their sense of smell. Does that sharpen your appreciation of the arena in which we perfumers perform?

Fragrance is a conduit for our earliest memories, on the one hand; on the other, it may accompany us as we enter the next life. In between, it creates mood, stimulates fantasy, shapes thought, and modifies behavior. It is our strongest link to the past, our closest fellow traveler to the future. Prehistory, history, and the afterworld, all are its domain. Fragrance may well be the signature of eternity. [...]

There is a long-standing argument about whether perfuming is a science or an art. The argument is irrelevant, for at the higher levels, science and art are the same. There is a point where high science transcends the technologic and enters the poetic, there is a point where high art transcends technique and enters the poetic.

A perfumer, of course, is neither a quantum physicist nor a painter, but at his best, when his purposes are high purposes, when his imagination is liberated, his choices inspired, he, too, enters the poetic. And it is revealed to him, then, what the ancients meant when they said with conviction that the soul receives its sustenance via the sense of smell.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Desfătări olfactive

În stânga: Pierre Bonnard, Nu à contre-jour / Eau de Cologne (1908), model: Marthe de Méligny, care îi va deveni soție lui Bonnard în 1925
În dreapta: modelul Sophie Dahl, într-o fotografie realizată de Steven Meisel (2000) pentru Opium