There are difficult, technical phrases that perfumers use to change concepts (strive saying “tetramethyl acetyloctahydronaphthalenes” one time, slowly) and simply recognizable (simply pronounceable) ones for notes like rose or vanilla. However there isn’t any actual common language for advanced compositions — one particular person’s “contemporary” is one other’s “candy.” As an alternative, we frequently conjure imagery of laundry snapping within the breeze, waves lapping on the shore, or lemons ripening within the solar. 

However these visible clichés aren’t the one method: “Probably the most efficient methods to explain scent is with shade,” says Frédéric Malle, founding father of the fragrance home Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. For Malle, associating perfume with shade is second nature. Born with a sensory-processing trait referred to as synesthesia, he perceives a variety of vivid, painterly strokes when he smells fragrance—or something in any respect. It is an computerized response that performs a key position in his inventive course of. “Once I’m growing a scent with a perfumer, I would recommend making it ‘darker’ or ‘extra purple’ as an alternative of including a selected chemical,” he says. “This offers some route whereas leaving room for interpretation. The end result typically surprises me.” 

Whereas synesthesia is not precisely widespread (it happens in as much as 5 % of the inhabitants), a visible strategy to scent would possibly assist to construct a standard perfume vocabulary. “It makes fragrance tangible and extra matter of truth,” says Malle, including, “I consider everybody has the capability to equate shade with scent.” We requested Malle to look past the hyperbole and present us the true colours of 4 new fragrances.

Photographed by Brigitte Lacombe

Photographed Brigitte Lacombe

Estée Lauder Lovely Magnolia Eau de Parfum

Illustration by Samantha Hahn

Illustration by Samantha Hahn

“In fragrance, the violet flower has many various, contrasting facets — a candy however woody base and a clear, stringent high, which largely comes from its leaves. This fragrance performs up these distinct results. It’s kind of violet in shade — vibrant, sheer, and dry within the again, virtually crisp.”

Frederic Malle Artificial Jungle

Illustration by Samantha Hahn

Illustration by Samantha Hahn

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