Oh the things that have been going on in the fragrance world!
All of Monsieur Guerlain’s fan material has been taken down by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (who own the cosmetics company Guerlain) to the shock and anger of its followers and its fragrance community. As I didn’t follow him, or dabble as much in Guerlain, though I respect the brand and love Mitsouko, I don’t want to write much pertaining to it. A lot of it has to do with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which has been critical in stemming sources of copyright infringement (some may say unfairly, and with detriment to creativity), but I’ll link these Kafkaesque (1, 2) posts about it, as they seem to have more information than I do.
Overall, it’s a sad situation, as Monsieur Guerlain was one of Guerlain’s biggest fanboys, even supporting the brand after it was bought by LVHM (not a universal move) and this move is incredibly upsetting and disillusioning to those who feel they’ve supported the company over the years, purchasing Guerlain, as well as Acqua Di Parma, Dior, Givenchy, Loewe, and Kenzo.
Frederick Bouchardy of Joya is opening up a flagship store in Brooklyn. Described as “part retail gallery, part fully operational production facility (candle, soap, and ceramic fabrication and small-batch perfume and diffuser blending all take place here)” the place will not only sell retail items, but will join the many Brooklyn-based companies in giving tours of the physical creation of the products. Fragrantica has a list of Joya fragrances, but Bouchardy himself has been a private-label producer for over a 100 brands, Malin+Goetz, Opening Ceremony, and Shinola listed in the article, and of course many whose information remain a mystery to me.
As taking tours of places that produce products I like is probably my favorite thing to do, I will 100% be visiting, no matter how arduous the walk is, and I hope I’ll get to stop by Parlor Coffee and hit two birds at once!
While fans of fragrance and the behemoths who own them had a falling out, and a new way to enjoy fragrance came to town, food and fragrance came closer together to celebrate the old a few weeks ago on the 10th anniversary of Thierry Mugler’s Alien at one of Chandler Burr’s scent dinners. The chef was Jean-Georges Vongerichten, owner of Perry St., where the dinner was held, as well as Jean-Georges and The Mercer Kitchen in NYC, and the Matador Room in Miami.
The fragrances interpreted included Alien, Alien Essence Absolue Intense, and Alien Oud, and the dishes were as unique eclectic as the fragrances themselves. “Milk chocolate–infused scallops in a bubble-gum broth”, “a crunchy popcorn-encrusted salmon, lobster with pina colada bubbles, veal with bergamot”, and an “almond pudding that had no business being called pudding” according to Elizabeth Siegal. I do like reading about these and hope to one day be important enough to attend. Chandler Burr is a very nice man. Fingers crossed!
This piece on Mandy Aftel by the NYTimes draws up a contentious topic; synthetics vs. natural fragrance. Aftelier Perfumes boasts an all-natural host of fragrances, and the reasoning is that synthetic fragrances, often composed of only one molecule as opposed to a natural scent’s makeup of dozens, makes the resulting fragrance less complex. Compare this attitude with an old NYTimes piece by Chandler Burr, or even with some of the quotes in the article itself:
- Kilian Hennessey: “Without synthetics, you don’t have Shalimar, you don’t have L’Air du Temps, you don’t have Chanel No. 5.”
- Francis Kurkdijan: “Synthetics bring new colors to the palette, and I don’t think there’s any reason to go back.”
But the author seems to be utterly swayed; likely, not least because she got a bespoke fragrance from Mandy herself, which, well, bully for her. Alice Gregory is not the only one vouching for Ms. Aftel however; “she was listed as one of the top seven bespoke perfumers in the world by Forbes, and dubbed the “angel of alchemy” by Vanity Fair. Her artisanal line of all-natural perfumes includes 3 FiFi Finalists (the “Oscar” of the perfume world), and her line of Chef’s Essences is carried at Williams-Sonoma stores nationwide. Her work has been featured on CNN and in Vogue, In Style, Time, Gourmet, Bon Appetite, Food and Wine, W Magazine, Self, O (Oprah) Magazine, National Geographic, Allure, Elle, Bloomberg Business Week, and The Financial Times” and won the Sense of Smell Institute’s Richard B. Solomon Award. She will also be judging this years Art and Olfaction awards.