Friday, July 14, 2006

Osmanthus Whispers

I am going to let you in to my secret osmanthus experiments. That is, of course, if you promise not to disclose any of my trade secrets whispered through SmellyBlog…

I find it quite difficult, generally speaking, to document my progress during the process of designing a fragrance (except for, obvioiusly, documenting the actual formulas, for technical reasons). I usually start with a concept – an inspiration. I obsess about it for a while (anywhere between a day and a few years) before I start to actually, physically, blend and marry the essences I have chosen. There process is rather internal for the most part, but can be also viewed on my endless notebooks, sticky notes, index cards, napkins, anything that one can write on (that is only if I don’t have my note book with me – which is very rare: I carry a note book everywhere I go, just like a photographer must carry a camera, I need a tool to capture my olfactory visions whenever they occur). My formulas are written in a secret arcane language of mythical alchemical hieroglyphs, so that only few can understand. When I go to my pyramid, I will take them with me and everybody will have to try and decipher my formulas from scratch (with a little help from a mystical chromatograph).

This kind of documentation is part of the process. But it’s difficult for me to go beyond that. I find it distracting. Rather, I prefer to share whatever internal process it is that I go through in the more abstract way, that brought me to experiment with one material or the other. I spend more time conceiving perfumes than blending them, and so I find that usually, the technical part, of actually blending the essences into alcohol in certain quantities is just the very end of a long mental process. Just like a baby’s head popping out of a mother does not reveal much about the conception and the long months spent in the womb. I can’t imagine myself documenting myself when in labour – anyways, not on my blog…

Another thing there is to say – I am trying not to create new scents. My line has many already. I should try sell more of them first. It is really hard to step back, and I am trying hard… Most of my perfumes were created before I even knew how to blog, and when I had no intention of keeping a diary. So any documentation is going to be in retrospect. And I do intend to tell the stories of each of my scents one day, despite the fact that I feel they already do tell a story. My perfumes are created in an overwhelming abundance and spontaneity. To document that would be quite overwhelming, but I am looking forward to that. Most of them have a strong connection to a person or a memory. Others were inspired by the essences themselves, and when I smell them a few months later – I realize they have created a memory already. I feel really lucky to be able to

I have decided, though, because I have shared with you some of my soliflore thoughts, and I am in the midst of creating a new soliflore (which I probably shouldn’t!) - to try something new. So I will share with you the evolution of my osmanthus soliflore, which I haven’t yet decided how to call it (which is one part of the problem). It’s an interesting experiment for me, in seeing how recording the physical phases helps me out with achieving my goals for the perfume. But also it’s an interesting spin on the observer’s effect. Will sharing my process interfere with the result? We will see.

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2 Comments:

At August 08, 2007 4:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can you tell me what is a soliflore?

 
At August 08, 2007 7:32 AM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Soliflores are single florals or singular note perfumes (not necesserily a floral perfume, but rather one dedicated to one specific botanical note, though florals are the most common in this category). These are floral compositions that are simply designed to highlight the beauty of a single floral essence. The most popular soliflores are of rose, lavender, violet, carnation, orange blossom, jasmine and lily of the valley. For example: Rose Absolu (Annick Goutal), Fleurs d’Oranger (Serge Lutens), Bellodgia (Caron), Verte Violette (l’Artisan Parfumeur). My collection entitled THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS is a soliflore collection, and each scent is dedicated to one particular flower.

 

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