The idea of portraying an idea or concept, impression or emotion with a perfume rather than just a literal translation of something that smells nice is what modern perfumery is all about. Before the development of synthetic ingredients, the pallet of materials that could be used by perfumers did not allow much more than the reproduction and combination of smells that already existed in the environment. Some wonderful and functional perfumes were created, but it was the development of the first aroma chemicals such as vanillin, coumarin and so on and also the isolation and cheap manufacture of the aromatic components of flowers that allowed the blossoming of true artistic perfumery.

Chandler Burr, curator of the first museum exhibition dedicated to the olfactory arts The Art of Scent, 1889-2012 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York city, has been quoted as saying that artistic perfumery started only with the advent of these materials.

Work on Aquarelle started with my experiments with the concept, the idea, of water.  What is it about water that can be translated into a smell, after all water itself doesn’t have a smell – only any impurities dissolved within the water impart any smell that can be detected. So descriptions of the smell of water include terms like ozone, weeds, algae, mineral, salty etc. But there are other more poetic terms we use such as fresh, clean, crystal, pure and blue -more ethereal, subjective concepts. I believe that to create a scent that would evoke the impression of water, a blend of both the down to earth, real components and the more subjective, ethereal impressions needs to be created. For example, ozone with fresh or salty with clean or mineral with blue.

So Aquarelle developed out of an initial short formula that was inspired by these ideas and combined a bright, airy, ethereal accord with a touch of marine, earthy notes.  All very well, and the result was like an earthy version of Cool Water (Davidoff). Nice, but I wanted to take the fragrance further and after adding more dihydromyrcenol and then some fruity and berry notes that provided an amazing balance to its marine and somewhat metallic nature. The end result turned out to be a wonderfully ethereal, slightly sweet and airy with notes of citrus, white florals, berries, cedarwood, ambergris and powder.

Then came some musks and a touch of cassis (blackcurrant) and even a touch of pineapple and lemon in the top note and I was finally happy with the result.

The final version of Aquarelle is somewhat more feminine than it started out and has moved away from the initial concept of pure water. Now it is water with floating petals and berries! It is certainly wearable buy the any gender and age and of course, I wear it frequently. It also is a versatile fragrance and suitable for the office or out-doors, summer, winter or whenever. I hope you enjoy it.



Evaporating Amber

I’m here trying to work on a deep, rich amber perfume, not the real fossilised amber as you would imagine the Amber Room in the Tsarskoye Selo palace in Russia would smell, but the fantasy amber accord that magically emerges from a combination of benzoin, labdanum, vanilla and a little patchouli.

The Amber Room

The Amber Room

Aromatics and fruity notes like pear and fig are currently in the top notes which are blending nicely into a little saffron, rose and spices before the baton is passed to the amber and leather base.

All good and well and the perfume is progressing nicely. But, do I really need to choose this particular day to work on it?  It’s the middle of an Aussie summer, the outside temperature in Adelaide is currently 44C and our air-conditioner has thrown in the towel. Not only is this a rich, sweet fragrance perfect for wintery weather, but if I turn my back for any amount of time without lidding the test vials, the liquid just evaporates. Sheesh.