“When we reflect on the origin of creativity, in whatever field of endeavour, our thoughts turn first to the imagination…And the imaginative person, gifted with taste, will naturally be drawn in the direction of artistic creation.” – Edmond Roudnitska
The creation of perfume is both an art and a science; the ancient art of composing and creating a substance that will evoke specific memories and emotions in the person who uses it, combined with the science of organic chemistry.
A perfume that has been specially created is like an abstract painting. Its meaning for the wearer lies in the personal associations they experience when they smell it – a hot summer’s day, their mother’s scent, the skin of a loved one, walking through damp cedar woods, or standing on a beach, breathing in the sea scent. Each person will interpret a perfume differently, and for each, a perfume will reveal its top, middle and bottom notes as subtly different as each person’s own chemical makeup.
Magically (though it is actually mainly science!) the perfume creator combines different extracts of carbon-based compounds, found in plants, in a systematic and intentional way to layer different smells to recreate memories for the user. One sniff – and you are somewhere else.
The word perfume is used today to describe scented mixtures and is derived from the Latin word, “per fumus,” meaning “through smoke”. And that is exactly what wearing perfume is like – the fragrance reveals itself like fragrant, invisible wisps of smoke – first the top notes, then, after a while, the middle notes, and lastly, lingeringly, the base notes.
The words we use to describe these notes in a perfume are generally understood, but like describing a piece of art, or a wine, or a piece of music, the words and imagery are merely approximations. To truly experience a perfume, you have to smell it.
For most people, a perfume is the closest they will ever come to owning a piece of art, or a poem or piece of music dedicated to them. But today, owning your own piece of perfume art is more attainable than ever before.