lessons in perfume making #4

By now, hopefully, you’ve guessed that I tend to write as I am, philosophical and inward-looking. I approach perfume making the same way, it couldn’t be otherwise.  Could it?


Being the solitary, introspective craft that perfume making is it tends to generate more questions that it appears to answer.  Freaking frustrating, but such is the nature of this beautiful work.  So here’s what I’ve been struggling with lately and as I haven’t been able to commit to an approach (until today) the result has been table “bottle neck” – that’s right, backlogged vials:  what is a perfumer to do with their “failed” attempts? Pour them down the drain or keep them in cold storage for future evaluations?  There’s something to be said for both choices and I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

coming in for a landing
coming in for a landing

In praise of holding on: I get it, they are our creations, it’s like perfumicide or something.  In all honesty, it hurts.  Simple as that.  I’ve also read that many perfumers keep their trials as a way to evaluate their own educational progression.  And who knows, perhaps that duckling may turn into a swan in 6 months, you never know, so how can you bring yourself to part with a would be, could be, nugget?


In praise of letting go: the sensation is freeing.  You feel unencumbered by the past “mistake” and each time you start a new trial you really feel like you are starting fresh, from scratch but with the knowledge and experience of what didn’t work still impressed upon your olfactive memory.  That’s right, in a way you’re building olfactive muscle memory.  And anyway, if we’ve been diligent with our note taking then we have written proof of what doesn’t work.  Why keep the evidence to mock and taunt us?

it's always better together
it’s always better together

I have chosen the latter, for reasons that are purely personal, individual and speak of where I am now in my journey.  You will probably choose a different approach and that is perfectly perfect.


So, what’s up with the pictures?  Well, spring came really early here in the valley and I’ve been meaning to capture it on camera which is what I did today.  But I see now that it really fits perfectly with my choice to let go of my experiments.  Like Spring I enjoy the beauty and mistakes of every one of my creations and like Spring I know each of them must relinquish their place to another season of wonders, perhaps my masterpiece.  But it won’t come into being for me if I keep hanging on, so today they go down the tube.  Hello Spring!

Tomorrow (or today for some of you) is the first day of spring, make it beautiful!