lessons in perfumery #2


Figuring out whether to keep all my trial vials or throw them out is a really gut-wrenching decision to make. I mean, on one hand there’s so much that I could learn from my failures at some future point when my skills are more finely tuned; also, who knows, they could mature into something beautiful. Couldn’t they? But on the other hand they are a constant reminder of what a long road I still have ahead of me and they take up a crap load of room, room that could be put to better use, like storing new supplies.

I couldn’t find a way around this dilemma which left me feeling like a dog chasing its tail. My answer came in the form of a list of criteria. Yeah! I love lists!

You will no doubt end up developing your own set based on different values but here, for the sake of sharing and learning, is what I’ve discovered to be my own personal set of criteria for judging whether a trial stays or goes:

  1. Parameters: how closely does it come to my original intent or brief on a scale of 1-10?
  2. Profile: does it have a recognizable profile? can I distinguish if it’s an amber, a chypre, a fougere or a leather?
  3. Character: does it have a distinct personality?
  4. Power: does it have the right potency for the desired effect?
  5. Longevity: how long does it last on paper and on the skin?
  6. Touch: does it touch a secret place in the heart, strike a chord or a special note?
  7. Unforgettable: do I find myself coming back to it again and again both physically and in my mind – am I haunted by it?

What criteria do you use to judge whether a composition is a keeper or not?



3 thoughts on “lessons in perfumery #2

  1. For me that would be mostly your point number 6. Touch – I often find that if the perfume doesn’t strike me as beautiful right away the moment I try it for the first time, I rarely end up wanting to buy it. For the last year I have recognized my tastes so that if I don’t “click” with the perfume immediately it means it’s not for me. I need to be moved in my heart to want the perfume. Sure there are some exceptions that need some time to explore and smell them before you understand and fall in love with them but there are not many of those.


    1. You are so right, Lucas! After all I believe that is the whole point of perfume; so if it can’t accomplish that then what is the purpose? Have a wonderful Sunday 🙂


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