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The artistic perfumery has never been so influenced by forms of fast fashion as it is today. A world where the most important aspect for those who sell is to have always a new fragrance at the counter. In order to advertise, offer and sell until the natural push factor towards novelty has been depleted, a person is constantly looking for something “newer” to astonish his public.
Giorgio Armani talks about it in his open letter to the public published in April 2020 in WWD Women’s Wear Daily, facing full Coronavirus emergency:
“The decline of the fashion system started when the luxury sector adopted the fast fashion operating mode with the continuous delivery cycle, hoping to sell more, yet forgetting that luxury takes time, to be achieved and to be appreciated. Luxury cannot and must not be fast. It makes no sense that one of my jackets, or one of my suits live in the store for three weeks, become immediately obsolete, and are replaced by new merchandise, which is not too different from the one that preceded it. I do not work like that. I find it immoral to do so. I have always believed in an idea of timeless elegance, in making clothes that suggest only one way to buy them: that they last over time.”
An unjustified and almost never authentic production, just as Armani has mentioned. It is never a fruit of a pondered and complete creative process. It is an endless cycle that gives no way to see own creations establish. It does not give any way to the consumer to become attached to a product, get to know it with the time it takes. In fact, it incessantly distracts and makes him look for yet another “best seller” to have at all costs. Such product is often very far from being “new” because it has been “copied” from a previous best sold version and so on.
Many have thought how Armani’s words indisputably fit also our field of niche perfumery. And, by saying this, nothing else makes me suffer as much as to see amazing fragrances of the past and present be readily abandoned and substituted by new offers, only because there is a search for a quick and easy way to succeed in sale that can be reached only by having products always similar to each other.
Could it possibly be my vision when I started taking my first steps over thirty years ago in family perfumery? And more importantly today, being an entrepreneur as I am, I am asking myself “Was it the future that I imagined for this market?” Of course not.
These days we often read and hear how global crisis caused by Coronavirus, unimaginably up to a month ago, is giving us an opportunity to change our vision of the future. I believe that if in our future restart we truly wish to change things, we should really “go back to doing everything as we used to”. Just as Giorgio Armani has suggested.
We have an opportunity to put our path back on track of the past when quality and creativity prevailed. Track of authenticity that must not satisfy any frenetic rhythms of market logic. We have an opportunity to cooperate and build a healthier and more sustainable market where the profit is not gained quickly and at all costs but it is a result of joint work with a farsighted look.
“Going back to doing everything as we used to” does not mean to decline but it means to recover the philosophy, the core of our work in order to convey it together to our public. It does not mean to loose well-being; on the contrary, it means to restore also in our work that dimension, those human rhythms that can help us build a better society. Such test is unquestionably difficult to pass but, more importantly, we have a great opportunity. The opportunity that the Renaissance had after the Dark Ages.
I, therefore, ask the owners of a great number of wonderful artistic perfumeries in Italy and Europe to return to their origins. You have always been more than retailers, you are connoisseurs and testimonies of perfumery, authors of proposals to our public of amateurs and novices. You have always been those who advise, educate, and guide people to discover the world of perfumes. Keep doing it but have a greater scruple and renewed responsibility going back to the authentic role of Great Perfumeries. Choose carefully the brands you want to offer and always remember focusing on three key factors: quality, creativity and authenticity. Make sure you offer only those products that follow this philosophy and maintain values that made you open your boutique. Be a protagonist of your own choices! Do not bear them.
I address to our public, our beloved consumers, and ask to maintain curiosity. Indulge yourself in a marvelous journey that as all journeys, which are worth remembering, should have slowness of those who observe and seize every single moment. Dream with fragrances, travel with fragrances and most importantly seek the unknown, something you do not know because there is no such journey that I can name that would not lead to discoveries and new experiences. The fragrance has this power; take your time to discover a new scent. Live it on your skin for days, seizing multiple nuances before you understand whether you like it or not. Be curious and slow to explore. Ultimately, it will be worth doing!
When we smell a perfume, our natural gesture, breathing, activates our senses. By inhaling a fragrance, each one of us perceives it differently. However, thanks to the scent composition we manage to sense and discover it in an objective way. It happens due to an olfactory pyramid that every fragrance has. But what is it? Why is the olfactory pyramid so important?
The olfactory pyramid is a classification of olfactory notes that make up a perfume. Aimé Guerlain used the term of a pyramid for the first time in 1889 to describe one of her creations Jicky.
The concept of the olfactory pyramid can be compared to the musical scale. Each fragrance is classified according to the degree of volatility and persistence of its notes.
The perfumed notes, depending on how they are mixed among each other, make up a perfume. We perceive them differently, based on the moment of application on our skin.
The olfactory pyramid is interpreted from top to bottom and indicates multiple facets of a fragrance itself. As a perfume gradually evaporates, it reveals new nuances and accompanies us with a new trail thanks to the olfactory classification of every single note.
Every fragrance consists of top notes, at the top of the pyramid, middle or heart notes, in the middle, and base notes, the most persistent ones
Once the olfactory notes are mixed in order to create a perfume, they transform into chords. Each one of them communicates a different nuance of the fragrance. If we take it into account, it will be easier to choose or wear a perfume depending on our occasion.
We smell the top notes right away, at that very moment when some drops of a perfume touch our skin. They are the ones we sense at the beginning, and for this reason, they are the ones we catch immediately.
The top notes represent the most volatile part of a perfume because they fade right after a few moments from its application. The most common olfactive families on the top of the pyramid are citrus and marine.
For example, the citrus notes of Bergamot and Lemon prevail in Puro Neroli and reveal right at the first contact with the skin. The high concentration of these two raw materials in the formula gives a very intense top note to the fragrance. It manifests itself for a long time before giving space to the heart notes.
The heart notes are those that are perceived after some minutes. We notice them immediately after the top notes. It is about the warmest part of the olfactory composition of a fragrance, the one that often distinguishes the soul of the fragrance that we wear.
We smell the heart notes for up to four, six or eight hours after its first application. Moreover, in most times, they are composed of floral or fruity olfactory chords.
The floral note of Osmanthus in Osmarine manifests itself for many hours along the whole trail of the perfume and conveys a desired olfactory harmony already present among the top notes.
The core of all niche perfumes are base notes, the most persistent and long lasting notes. We can smell them on our skin after eight hours and even the day after wearing our perfume (depending on the skin pH).
The most intense notes in the bottom of the olfactory pyramid are spicy, woody, oriental, gourmand or leathery. The lighter fragrances, on the other hand, have Vanilla, Chypre or Musk as final notes.
The Sandal, one of the most important base notes, enhances the perfume Caldo Legnoso. In this olfactory harmony, the Sandal reveals through all olfactory pyramid, taking place and passion right from the heart of the perfume. Standing out makes this note so peculiar, that is why the base of a perfume is distinctively perceived on the skin also the following morning.
If we know the olfactory pyramid of a fragrance, the volatility of top, middle and base notes, we will immediately learn a fundamental aspect: never judge an essence at first sight.
Considering that every chord can be influenced by our skin pH, it is highly important to go well beyond the top notes in order to understand a perfume. It would be like drinking a glass of excellent red wine, perhaps vintage wine, without decanting it first.
Never judge in a hurry a niche perfume. Similar to a good piece of music, it is often necessary to listen to it two, even three times to understand whether we like it or not
The perfume changes over time, gradually as it reveals. For this reason, it is always necessary to make more than one try before your final choice. Do not make hasty judgments and give all necessary time to let the fragrance reveal completely.
We have explained how an olfactory note, being a part of the top, heart and base notes, depends on its level of volatility in contact with air. This clearly explains us the reason why the scents with a dominant citrus feature will hardly have the same persistence of a scent with woody or gourmand characteristics.
It is impossible to make essential Orange Blossom oil evaporate more slowly or behave like a base note. Precisely because it is the nature itself to determine the laws and not perfumers.
In fact, this is one of the greatest challenges for those who create a perfume. The challenge to create a balance based on the top notes together with the heart and base notes without making dominant the last ones.
Those who choose a perfume in a hurry must accept the fact that every fragrance expresses itself according to own characteristics. We need to enjoy our favorite fragrance for its natural predisposition and not for what we expect it to be.
Regardless the classification of the olfactory stages, we do not clearly perceive how a perfume evolves when we wear it. In fact, the notes of a perfume intertwine among each other in order to give natural olfactory harmony to the scent. A delicate balance, created thanks to the right dose of every component. A game of the parts based on a balance of natural elements that result in an unprecedented olfactory facet. This is the beauty of the artistic perfumery. The power to count on new creations and interpretations always unique that are worth trying over and over again.