Sunday, November 23, 2008
Symrise Part II
OK I guess I should get to the latest Sniffapalooza thing at Symrise, which I'm calling Symrise Part II right now.
This was quite possibly the best presentation I could imagine from a flavor/fragrance manufacturer (for the most part) aside from just being let loose and allowed to smell the raw materials. It was about (and I may misremember things, so there's your warning. I'm just winging it; I ain't no journamalist) luxury scents, and they were letting us smell some scents that they've pitched to their clients for 'inspiration.' One of the groups they were pitching was luxury scents--one of the qualifications for luxury was long-lastingness; another was quality of materials. Quality of materials. Think on that one. Because that was what made this presentation so great--we got to smell some scents made out of top-quality, expensive materials. Scents that no accounting department in a company that sells fragrances would greenlight. So basically we were smelling perfumes to expensive to ever be mass-market produced.
There was one that was made mostly with orris if I remember. When I smelled it, it actually smelled like this very cheap synthetic orris that I got at a health food store years ago, except fuller and softer. It was really lovely! It brought to mind Hiris by hermes, and also carrot seed oil. I really liked it, and kept smelling the strip throughout the presentation; it only got better. Then there was one built around immortelle absolute, which is wonderful and smells darker and deeper than the essential oil that I'm used to (and slightly prefer). It smelled closer to labdanum, but still had a distinct caramellic backnote. There was one that was supposed to smell like a classic floral, and did, in the sense that it smelled like it could've been launched in 1950 (in the good way). There was one greenish one with seaweed, that smelled so clear and fresh and beautiful that I was just bowled over. There was another floral meant to smell like a stargazer lily, and it DID! It smelled as exactly like a lily as I could ever imagine. It was made with all synthetics too, which is interesting.
The last group of fragrances they showed us was themed around something like "Less Is More." Basically here they showed us scents built around Symrise branded compounds--there were quite a few built around ambroxan, one around cashmeran and one with ambroxan and timber propanol. I've smelled ambroxan and TP before, and I could smell them in these. Ambroxan is pleasant, but kind of spare to be building scents with it as a dominant. The whole exercise seemed kinda masturbatory in their part--because there weren't real perfumes in these raw materials, and I don't really know what they were after by showing us stuff built with only ambroxan (the branded name is something different, like Ambroxide)--I mean, it's not THAT great alone. (It's supposed to be magical BLENDED with other notes--providing a fixative effect but also making the upper notes pop.) And I think I remember reading somewhere that it's going a little out of fashion in perfumes. Also, they said that it's really expensive, but I wasn't so sure about that--if you look on some resellers' sites, you can see generics of it, and to look at their prices, it doesn't look expensive at all. Compare it to a jasmine, tuberose, vanilla, beeswax, ambrette or even cassis absolute, and I think it compares well. It surely compares well to real ambergris, which I'm sure costs a fortune. So anyway, smelling those scents was kinda perfunctory, since once you smelled the scent that was nearly all ambroxide, everything else smelled the same.
There was one scent in this part that I really didn't like, and everyone else in the room seemed to have a different reaction. it was this one with a metallic-woody note on top and a dry woody drydown. I found it very unpleasant--it smelled metallic and harsh, and just like really piquant synthy wood notes screaching. But other people in the room found it very sexy and were bordering on the salacious in their comments. I couldn't smell the sexiness. I couldn't smell the leather in it, unless it was that "burnt wood" flavor of leather. I just did NOT get what everyone else smelled in it. Maybe I'm anosmic for something.
Anyway, one of the best parts came at the end, when I got to smell some raw materials: cashmeran, cocoa absolute, bran absolute, tiare absolute, immortelle absolute and a few others. Wow, that was cool. I couldn't smell much of cashmeran--isn't that interesting? That these are really strong, uber-longlasting base notes that don't smell strong by themselves, but really do amazing things to blends? I think it's fascinating. Cocoa: like very dark chocolate--I so wish I had some of this. Bran absolute--I think it's called son, actually. Interesting. Tiare--wow, this is great. I've never smelled the actual flower, but this stuff really does smell like a flower. Immortelle--like I said, deeper/darker than the essential oil; lovely.
And that's the Symrise beep.