Thursday, August 30, 2007

Scent for a Drowned City Re-Emerging

Paula Stratton olfactory description of New Orleans before Katrina has inspired me to do something more for New Orleans: create a new perfume especially for New Orleans. A perfume that will represent these beautiful fragrant moments of the city, and also help the city raise more funds for re-building it.

I read Paula’s description of the aroma of New Orleans, feeling all along the scent of the city surrounding me. A city which I haven’t visited yet, yet have affected my life without my notice. The music, the books, the food and finally –the perfumes of this city – have made their way to me on their own accord.

And now it’s time for me to do something in return. I don’t know when this perfume will be ready. I feel I do need to visit the city before I can truly create something in its name. But for now I am letting my imagination loose and just start pairing notes and building accords… And sniffing in between.

Paula’s letter to me about the aromas of New Orleans have provided me with excellent details, enough to start working and developing some ideas. And so I have been pairing magnolia with cypress, osmanthus with vetiver…

Some of the accords seem to be working beautifully:
Seaweed-Orange Blossom-Lemon
Vetiver-Vanilla-Cypress
Spikenard-Brown Oakmoss-Vetiver
Cassie-Osmnathus-Magnolia
Magnolia-Rose-Orris
Cypress-Osmanthus-Basil
Vanilla-Rose-Lemon
Lemon-Rosemary-Basil

Others are more problematic. Particularly using basil and rosemary with the florals. They balance the sweetness but also add complexity that takes away from the clarity of my olfactory vision for this perfume.

What do I want it to be? I want it to be beautiful. I want it to remind people of New Orleans. It has to have floral intensity that is uplifting and beautiful and at the same time the dirty depth of the swamps and the primordial ocean with its salty breath and the overall compliexity of something that gives life and consumes it at the same time. Fertile, rich soil that can grow these intense blossoms. Just like the waterlily in this image. That’s how I want it to be. The soil for the perfume has to be so dark as to create a backdrop upon which the florals will be strikingly bright and beautiful.

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2 Comments:

At September 16, 2007 9:56 PM, Anonymous Morticia Addams said...

Ayala, if anybody can evoke the scent spirit of a place such as New Orleans, it's you. I would say experiment before you go, then VISIT. My advice is ditch the rosemary and basil, even though along with garlic, they are part of NOLA's culinary scene.

Coffee, moss, jasmine, rose, vetiver? Musk or old amber? It must be wonderful to have a perfumer's palette at hand.

You are a painter of fragrances.

 
At September 16, 2007 10:00 PM, Anonymous Morticia Addams said...

How about ditching the basil and/or rosemary for a poivre note? That might contrast well against the osmanthus?

 

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