Last week we stumbled upon a fantastic article about perfume making from a 2005 issue of The New Yorker. "Annals of Innovation: The Scent of the Nile"
details the creation of an Hermès perfume, Un Jardin sur le Nil (translation: A Garden on the Nile
), and provides a fascinating insight into the incredibly complicated world which is perfumery.
From debates about how to create a signature across a line of perfumes to listings of the countless iterations which Hermès perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena created and tested before settling on the final formula for the "juice," the article details exactly how difficult it is to do what perfumers do.
Finally, the overall piece serves as a reflection on the different ways in which perfume is incorporated into major fashion houses, like Hermès. Hermès and Chanel both have in-house perfumers, allowing them to create a body of work that is cohesive and completely in line with their brands concepts. Many other larger houses and big name perfumes (such as celebrity perfumes) outsource their perfume factions, turning to external companies who employ master perfumers to create their scents. While this second tactic has been known to turn out some very successful fragrances, there is no cohesion, no authenticity or truth behind the perfume which links it to the ultimate message of the brand. By using the model found in niche perfumery, Hermès was able to create a body of perfumes which are distinctly Hermès and which represent all of the elegance, glamour, and class for which their brand is known.
Read the whole article here