This concept of “precious” oils has me questioning how we value some raw materials over others.
It got me thinking, why is Oud or Ambergris considered more “precious” than Lavender essential oil, a material that is so very versatile in its application? Or Lavandin or Clary Sage Absolute or any of the other hundreds of perfume ingredients at our disposal that don’t come with the same price tag, mystique or cachet as Ambergris or Oud (Agarwood) oil.
Is it the availability, or lack thereof? The length of time it has been deteriorating? What then?
Shouldn’t a material’s preciousness be based on its usefulness, its multi-functionality, its ability to transport you to places and moments of the past and future? If these are what make a perfume raw material “precious” then ALL essential oils, concretes, and absolutes are precious and what it ultimately comes down to then is the artful skill of the perfumer and how he or she uses the materials.
It’s easy for a string of pearls or diamonds to make one appear more beautiful, much harder though for the wearer to be exalted by a string of Tourmaline or Onyx; here for the beauty to come forth what’s needed is greater interaction between the wearer’s charisma and the stone.
The same can be said for perfume materials and the perfumer’s ability to transform humble raw materials into distinguished, fragrant works of art.
Today, whatever you’re working on, make it great!
Today I met a friend, he’s elderly and has a very warm vibe, we shook hands chatted a bit and parted. 3 hours later I could still smell him when I went to touch my nose. I say “him” because his scent brought up an incredibly crisp image of him in HD but it was also accompanied by my impression of him at the same time, what’s more, at the same time it took me right back to my father. That in an instant, with the intake of a breath, is the power of scent.
Silently weaving the tangible and the intangible to create a tapestry of emotion, imagination and recollection are the threads of scent that take us places real or imagined, the emotions know not the difference.
This brings to mind a most fantastical book that haunts me still, Weaveworld by Clive Barker (think I’ll give it another read). I read it ages ago but the impression it left on me remains. It is about a secret world hidden in a place one would never think to look. Perfumes, especially niche perfumes, with their greater percentage of essential oils, I believe, is a world captured in a bottle. Your world of memories, wishes, emotions and dreams unfulfilled.
Think of the various countries of origin from which these essential oils arrive: Rose Otto from Morocco and Bulgaria, Jasmine from Turkey, Agar Wood from Indonesia, and on and on. Each essential oil used in a composition comes with it’s own history – wars fought, blood shed centuries ago on the soil where they now grow, love lost and found under an Olive tree in Cypress. They all come and mingle with our own personal stories to form this magical carpet, taking us to distant places.
That’s what good perfume can do, why it’s so personal and part of the reason why I choose to approach the design or composition as a craft and art, believing inherently that each one of us is a work of art with the power to move.