Although it is Friday, and hence theoretically a happy “creative Friday” day, I will not really be creative today. The job today consists primarily in packing perfumes: Miriam from Tableau de Parfums, and some adding more Incense xxx and Orange Star to the pile. Later in the day or tomorrow sees me mixing: Another batch of Loretta is ante portas.
For that I checked with my excel where I try to keep track of all ingredients that I have in stock (it says “yes”, we’ve got everything). I did another excel sheet for the new lot TDPL002, printed the formulafor the mixturewith the empty cells for the batch numbers of the ingredients and thus, I am ready. For every batch of perfume that I mix I write and document all the batch numbers of the ingredients. Thus, basically, every perfume bottle and sample that you get respectively every drop of perfume therein can be traced back, to the ingredients’s individual certificates of analysis.
Loretta comes in a cool formula., and looking back into it after quite a while, it is also brave: In the mixture of the scent goes 2% Tuberose absolute (so yes!) , 4% Patchouli, 2% orange blossom absolute, 1% rose essential oil and 2% rose absolute. Other naturals are: Cistus (c. ladaniferus), styrax pyrognized, cinnamon bark, clove oil. Some ingredients are overdosed, come in high concentrations, like vanillin in the base and salicylates that come at a stunning concentration of 14%.
So, yes, mixing Loretta is going to be a nice scented flash back.
Today’s picture shows you what I did yesterday in the packing room: Packing 60 Loretta, 50 ml size, with DVD and mini poster and all. It is a bit a laborious packaging, but I nevertheless love it a lot. You do not get this anywhere else. So yes, I love this packaging. And yes, it is all handmade in mainland Switzerland. I think you get the message.
Looking back to Pitti. I do not really know what to make of it. I am still suffering from sensorial overload. Let’s put it that way. There was a lot. And I am so worried about me adding more to it, next year. Seriously.
Welcome to day 6 of the advent calendar. Today, for the first time this season, my little jasmine bush is blooming.
It’s scent: Amazing, wonderful creamy and rich, but less intense compared to a jasmine flower in the wild. Mine lives a wild life only in summer and then, by mid October, the plant needs to go inside and waits with us for the spring sun, for many months.
So it starts blooming and I call this perfect timing: Right in time for our scented gathering where we will sniff some Jasmine absolute, and orange blossom and tuberose absolute. Ideal to compare the real thing with the extraction of the scent, made by humans, in a very smart and clever way, but still: A human piece of work. Like an abstraction. Thus, today’s prize for today’s draw: A sample of a fragrance where I use a lot of white flowers, Orange blossom and Tuberose absolute,…. LORETTA, from Tableau de Parfum, an ongoing collaboration with Memphis based indie movie maker Brian Pera, where I create scents that are inspired and directed by the moving pictures, the characters, their moods and the lights and colors of Brian’s art.
And as it is December 6, with the Santa Claus hopping around in this part of the world: I am picking three winners for a 1.5 ml spray sample each, wrapped in a little poster of Loretta. And as always: Good luck to you all.
Participating is easy today : Just leave a comment and, if you wish, tell me what you think about jasmine. A happy St. Nicolas day to you all!
Comments closed. See day 7 of the advent calendar. Thank you!
Antonio’s perfumery in Paris is called Marie-Antoinette, like the famous wife of Monsieur le Roi, Louis XVI, both decapitated, madame on October 16 1793. When she lost her head, she was call Ms. Capet, and had sort of lost most of her priviledges beforehand. She, like many others, were wiped away by a revolution, starting 1789, followed by quite a disaster in Europe. We tend to forget that revolutions normally come with bloody hands and mouth. And it is usually not the wise and gentle who surf the waves of the masses, inflamed by anger and hunger and ideas. Marie Antoinette lost her head, Europe went to war, has seen the rise of Napoléon, who -what irony!- became *empereur* later, and it continued to be a mess for quite a while. Actually, it was really a disastrous time for Europe, for quite a while. Imagine how shocking the events in France at the end of the 18th century must have been for the elites, the aristocrats. You hear from your cousin or friends in France that everybody was kicked out of their palaces, had to flee, hide like lepers, and quite often lost not only all their influence and money, but also their life.
Quite shocking, indeed. Revolutions come with a certain surprise element. You never know what you gonna get, until it’s there and then it is usually too late. For sure there was a need for a French revolution, as the elite kind of lost their minds before losing their heads. An irrational exuberance, an unseen and unpaid for extravagance of the elites, not realizing the power of new ideas and the misery of the masses, coupled with an enormous dept, people being hungry and without jobs, the elite proving its incompetence on a daily basis and a couple of other factors. I leave the search for similarities to today’s situation in some countries to my readers.
You cannot understand today’s Europe without knowing at least a bit about the French revolution. It changed the name of the game in Europe. So you see: Paris makes me think.
Paris is different. It really is. Today’s picture shows you a woman I have seen on my way to the bathroom in a Paris restaurant: I went to the bathroom and on the wall, there was this lady. Amazing, isn’t it?
And Paris is chic. Chic and luxurious is not the same thing. Thus, contrary to the way of life of the queen and the king before the revolution, Antoni0′s shop “Marie-Antoinette” comes with a certain modesty: but the little shop gleams with hard to find scented treasures. I love this place. It is so different to many of the other supper luxurious places where everything is bling bling and gold and -yes: boring. At Marie- Antoinette you find lovely perfumes and you find a super nice guy who will not tell you what to buy but he will tell you what’s behind a scent, and why you might like it. Usually, he is right when he pickes a scent for somebody. Quite an amazing talent!
It was there at Marie-Antoinette, and we celebrated Loretta’s appearance on Wednesday evening, with many perfume loving French fans and friends, and me speaking in French about the why and how of Tableau de Parfums. Aside from my troubles speaking French ( I miss the practice), it was a lovely evening and I think Loretta made a really nice first impression.
So that was nice. And I came back to Zurich with a lot of impressions and thoughts to follow.
October 29 2012. This draw is closed. Winners will be informed October 30 2012. A warm thank you to all of you who commented and shared!
As there were some technical issues on Evelyn Avenue’s blog page related to the draw there: We continue this draw with an extended deadline here while the problem on Evelyn Avenue is being resolved. All comments on the Evelyn Avenue blog page for the draw will automatically participate, so if you have already commented there, no need to do so again here: you are already entered into the draw.
If you have not participated yet: please leave a comment here, following the instructions further down, and enjoy the perfume spots.
We thank you for your comment and wish you good luck.
The following text is from my collaborator in Tableau de Parfums, Brian Pera, reflecting on the last year of Tableau – our intentions, our frustrations and hopes as perfume lovers and creators. I thank him very much for his insightful remarks on perfume and film and beyond:
Most cynics are really crushed romantics: They’ve been hurt, they’re sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that’s protecting this tiny, dear part in them that’s still alive -Jeff Bridges
It’s easy to understand how anyone who loves perfume might be truly cynical at this point. There are more perfumes released each year than ever, and whereas in the past one could safely mark a line of division between niche/indie and mainstream perfumery and the sales tactics they employed, increasingly even niche and indie lines have started to market their fragrances with big, bold and piercingly loud bells and whistles. This would be fine, if the majority of these fragrances were as inventive as their marketing and buzz. More often, they aren’t. Worse, maybe, is the overall lack of regard for the preservation of classics people have grown to love. The commitment to the consumer of fragrance is pretty tenuous at this point, though the advertising says otherwise. Consumers know this, and respond with distrust. This makes things very difficult for those who want to create perfumes that don’t shortchange their wearers.
A year or so ago, Andy Tauer and I started a perfume line called Tableau de Parfums. We were excited about creating links between our creative fields; perfumery in Andy’s case, filmmaking in mine. We wanted to see what happens when the brief for a perfume isn’t a lofty, overblown paragraph of purple prose but something more complex, the world of a film. We wanted to see how a perfume might influence a film, as well. How would that work? What might happen if a filmmaker and a perfumer engaged in an ongoing conversation about their work and interests? We weren’t interested very much in creating perfumes which represented the characters in these movies, but something more complex; we wanted to use the films and characters as springboards thematically and philosophically. We’ve seen the perfumes in the same way.
The name of the film series these Tableau fragrances relate to is WOMAN’S PICTURE, and the stories in the series explore many things we’re interested in: through the stories and perfumes we remember some of the women in our lives and families, explore how perfume influences and infects memory, and in some way try to determine what a perfume is saying when it speaks to us. What does sadness and regret mean in a fragrance and a film? How is it expressed? What brings happiness, bittersweet or joyful? When you watch a film, or you smell a perfume, how is it speaking to you, and how is it that what one person hears or sees or smells is so different than the next? In developing the fragrance for MIRIAM, the first short in the series, Andy and I asked ourselves what the story was about. MIRIAM dealt with loss and the simultaneously ephemeral and durable nature of memory and our connections with other people. The corresponding fragrance, also called Miriam, was less about the title character played by Ann Magnuson than it was an exploration of how the past influences the present. The resulting fragrance, launched last year, looked at the past from the present, revisiting older perfumes from a distinctly modern point of view. I suppose we were interested in how those two perspectives, past and present, might intertwine or interfere with each other, and what’s changed in the time between them.
Tableau has no marketing team, no PR division, no bells and whistles department on staff. We’re an army of two. In packaging the films and perfumes together, Andy and I spend a lot of time experimenting and communicating what we might do, and what we maybe shouldn’t. For both of us, it was essential from the beginning, in an industry which often shortchanges its customer by presenting mediocrity as innovation, to make the presentation of these fragrances with as much integrity and ingenuity as possible. We wanted them to be gifts in every possible way for those who engaged with them. We take both sides of the collaboration seriously, and it’s been essential to us that they speak to each other. We package each perfume with its corresponding short film, both of which we regard, in this case, as forms of portraiture. We’re interested in what other people think these fragrances are saying, how they might be speaking to them.
It’s ironic but probably inevitable that one of the primary challenges in our collaboration has been the now nearly-chronic cynicism of the perfume lover. It’s particularly challenging because, as perfume lovers ourselves, we understand, and empathize with, that cynicism first hand. It’s inevitable, for instance, that some people will regard the films as promotional tools for the perfumes, sort of glorified advertisements. We never intended for the films to be advertisements, nor did we intend that the people who buy these fragrances should see these characters – and nothing else – in them. What we hoped, I think, was that in putting as much quality and imagination and care into the perfumes and films as we possibly could we would demonstrate the purity of our exercise. We never kidded ourselves about this: We knew it was a tall order in the present cultural climate. We also felt strongly that it was worth giving it a shot.
Having experienced this prevailing cynicism ourselves, we wanted to slow things down. So much is thrown out into the marketplace. All the bells and whistles shoot out first. Then it all dies down very quickly. Perfume hasn’t worked that way for either of us; nor for most of the people we know who love it as much as we do. Perfumes stay with you, and accrue meaning methodically over the course of time. We wanted to learn as we moved forward, to try as best we could to listen in between each fragrance – not just to what others were telling us but what we were trying to tell ourselves.
We’re excited about the release of Loretta, the next step in our creative learning process – excited to hear what people have to say about the scent and its related story. Where Miriam dealt with history and relationships to the past, Loretta is a meditation on very different themes: sexuality, a tension between experience and innocence, what darkness means when coupled with naivete, and much more – for us, at least. The story is a complicated one, and quite different from Miriam. Together, these stories, all so different from one another, speak to the complexity not just of perfume but of relationships and people themselves. We hope that in ten years, this body of work will constitute a testament to the complicated depths of film and fragrance.
We know that much has to be proven at this point to the discerning lover of fragrance. We don’t expect to do that overnight. We’ve watched others try to do that, and seen what happens the morning after. Trust takes time to build, and we’ve committed ourselves to that process. We know two people won’t turn anything around, won’t halt or reverse the prevailing trends of expediency and built-in obsolescence in the fragrance industry, but just as one good, honest fragrance can make a profound difference – reminding its wearer of all the wonderful things that brought him or her to fragrance in the first place, re-igniting some lost romance – we persist, slowly but surely, hoping to make exceptions of ourselves. With Loretta, we hope to put one more nail in the coffin of cynicism, which we believe, all things considered, has no place in the fragrance imagination.
The Drawing: Three winners will be randomly selected from those who comment on this post. To be eligible, we ask that you answer the following: Which of the three perfume spots for Loretta do you prefer, and why; as well as what makes you cynical about fragrance at this point, and what seems like cause for optimism? Winners will be announced on Monday, October 29 and will receive a full bottle of fragrance from the extended Tauer line, including Tableau de Parfums, a DVD of the first three Woman’s Picture portraits (including INGRID, which will be released next Fall), and a vintage-inspired poster for Loretta. During the course of this draw, we are offering a free viewing of MIRIAM, LORETTA, and INGRID, the Woman’s Picture films which inspired the Tableau fragrances (below).
DRAW IS CLOSED (October 29 2012)
This draw is closed now. The winners will be informed by email October 30. Congratulations to the winners and please stay tuned for more… .
There, three winners will be picked by Brian October 22. You can win a fragrance from my line of scents (including Tableau de Parfums) by watching the short films , -perfume spots-, commenting there and picking your favorite spot. All these three spots are mirroring Loretta, in a sense it is like the scent is reflected in the lense of the camera of the movie maker who created the underlining film Woman’s Picture. Fun, and interesting!
I turned off commenting here, not because I do not like your comments, but just to make sure that there is no misunderstanding where to comment.
After 2 days here, in 29 Palsm, I will head for LA and our scent gathering Friday, October 19th, at the Luckycent Scentbar. See you there!
And now: Enjoy the perfume spots and good luck in the draw!
So I am back from Pitti since yesterday evening and managed to send most e-mails, and ship orders and open the snail mail without major bills induced depression. It is always amazing how many bills fly in when you are gone for a couple of days, isn’t it?
I took the train back, allowing me to get an hour or two of sleep: And after three days on the stand and with a lot of evening gettogethers, this came in handy. Being at a stand at Pitti is very tough. I ususally got there after 9 in the morning and left after 6 pm, without lunch break, just interrupted by a coffee break from time to time. Thus, you stand and meet perfume lovers, retailers, business partners, and also some suppliers. I do not speak Italian, thus much of the talking was left to my friends and partners from Italy who make sure that Tableau de Parfums finds its way into some shops.
I was interviewed by Extrait about niche and what I think about the market these days. So I was talking about the way I see this market these days. First, one has to say that there is an economic crisis and it will affect the way we do things. You do not really feel it when you are at a show like Pitti where all is gold and light, but it sure is there. Furthermore, I mentioned that I do not use niche for what I do, but rather artisanal perfumery. But in the end, to be frank, let us call it niche or mass or artisanal or artistic: In the end it is about bottles that want to get sold. The bottles are different, the inside is different, the way the fragrances are created and how they speak and engage its wearer is different, but in the end we all make perfumes that we wish to be sold at the end of the day because it is how we make a living.
And this, in a sense, is weird. In a sense, I feel like an artist, and in a sense I feel like a business man. Trying to bridge this gap is not always easy and a constant balance. To give you an example: I ended up talking to a Middle East distributor who wants my scents for his shops which is fine. The business man in me would tell you: Yes, there is a big potential for some of my scents. The artist however was a bit shocked: We discussed the brand, the history, the packaging, the bottle, but I could not show one of my scents. There was no interest in actually smelling.
So, this is another side of Pitti that I wanted to share with you. Besides all this glitter and scent and glory: There is a business side to it all.
One (no names here) of my perfume making colleagues, well established and known for his brand(s) brought it to the point by saying: “We create perfumes for the people who buy them. Not for the people who talk about them” (i.e. bloggers et al.) There is some truth in it. On the other hand, I create perfumes for people who love perfume, and many may not buy a bottle, but just get a sample, and I guess that is fine, as perfumes speak to us and we want to speak to other perfume lovers about them. Perfume is communication. And yes: Perfume business is communication business.
And a lot of visual comunication! You see a lot of wonderful presentations, stand decorations that were simply mind blowing! There were simple stands, there were opulent stands, there were huge stands and there were very little stands. I guess this is one of the aspects that I love about Pitti: There is room for all of us. And as every year: A LOT! of visitors.
So, on our stand that was still quite modest, we showed Loretta, the newest offering from Tableau de Parfums. I told the story of this fragrance about 1000 times that last days: Thus, in a nutshell Loretta is a fragrance inspired by a film character in Brian Pera’s movie “Woman’s Picture”. Loretta is a young woman, working in a motel, as room cleaning lady, and she is shy and won’t speak. She lives in a dream world, builds a reverie, where there is music, where she dances and falls in love with a man. Loretta is sensual, sexy, but there is a secret, a dark mysterious side that the film won’t solve. There remains a secret.
In today’s picture you can see the mini poster that we did for Loretta and I love it. It was designed by Jessica Jones. It encapsulated what Loretta is all about. For me, Loretta translated into sensual white flowers: Jasmine, tuberose, orange blossom. A sweet ripe fruit that is yummie and sexy, too. And then there is this dark secret: Patchouli, amber, and a woody, resinous underline. Loretta is present, but not loud. Loretta is sweet and soft, but not too sweet and there is a strength in Loretta.
Loretta was admired and loved. And I am very happy. I think Loretta is very unique. In my palette of scents it sure is. One last detail about Loretta, the fragrance: I made two trials, only. Trial one had a minor mistake in the head notes. Then I created version 2 which was basically identical, just a change in the head notes. And then I was done. Loretta, the Woman’s Picture character spoke to me obviously in a very inspiring way.
So… Loretta was very well received and I am looking forward to sending her out soon into the world. Next stop: Los Angeles, @ Luckyscent’s scentbar October 19.
Today’s sketch shows you: Florence, we are coming. Or at least: Soon! Tomorrow, we will take the early train to Florence, to help build the stand and get ready for the biggest thing in artistic and artisanal and niche and indie and luxury perfumery: Pitti.
It is an amazing number of things to see and smell: Here is the list of all the brands, their offereing, and all of their new scents. The Sniff List is provided by Extrait.it and I hope I will manage to sniff at least 50%.
Am I ready? Technically, yes. All the samples are there in Italy. I have made a pile of things to bring with me, including business cards and adaptors and all my e-goodies. Mentally, I am not really ready, yet. It still feels like far, far, very far away. I guess, once through the Alps, by train, I will feel ready.
I figured, it is time to make an announcement for the Loretta launch event in Los Angeles at the Scentbar of Luckyscent.
Mark your calender and please come by and stop for a drink and a whiff of the newest release from Tableau de Parfums.
I hope you will be equally excited as we are.
October 19, Friday, afternoon after 4 pm, Scentbar at 7405 Beverly Blvd, 90036 Los Angeles.
I am sure it will be a fun event and a great opportunity to finally meet Loretta, the fragrance, and to talk to Brian Pera, Memphis based movie maker, who created Woman’s Picture, the anthology film inspired by classic women’s films of the thirties, forties, and fifties. And I am sure we get lots of opportunity to smell and talk about the movie characters and how they inspired me to create the fragrances, Miriam (launched 2011) and Loretta.
See you soon. We are very much looking forward to.
I am back after a couple of intense days, on the bike, in thunderstorms overnight in a tent that proved to be water tight and resistant to a storm with gusty winds, after a long! wedding and some work on Sunday. I thank all readers who commented on the last post, on the topic “sotto la luna”. I was thinking more about it on the bike, and the more I think about it the more I like the idea of a a line “sotto la luna”.
There is something very poetic in “gardenia sotto la luna” or “rosa sotta la luna” or any other flower under the moon. Thus, I will for sure continue thinking in this line. But to be frank: I am not hurrying to bring anything to the market these days. Hurrying to bring things to the market is wrong. I take my time and the next fragrance that will come the market is *LORETTA* from Tableau de Parfums, and in 2013 there will come 1, 2 scents that I discussed before. Thus, there is time to seriously consider a lot of aspects beforehand.
Acutally, I am looking very much forward to presenting Loretta soon. It is very different and twisted in a positive sense and I love this fragrance.
Anyhow, there is a poetic, a little sad, and a very evocative line in “sotto la luna”. And it is funny, in a sense, l’air du désert marocain is also using the imagery of “under the moon”. Back then, when I created the visuals going with the air du désert marocain, it was sketching a big moon, sitting on a dark, dark blue night sky without stars, illuminating sand hills of the Saharan desert in the Maghreb.
I did another quick sketch this morning, with the moon more in yellow and the sandy hills of the Saharan desert more on the red- orange side. You find today’s version on the left. I show you the original visual here:
Back then, about 6 years ago, I was doing my visual illustrations in Flash.
Who knows whether L’air du désert marocain would be such a s success with a different name? Looking back 6 years now, it is actually interesting what could have been if the name was something different, like “Ouarzazate” or “l’oasis” , or “l’eau d’oasis” or something simple like “Orikatu” or “pour moi”…
I guess I will come up with other names for perfumes today. Time to fantasize….: Right now, I am filtering 10 liters of air du désert marocain and in about an hour or so I will start bottling, pouring it in to bottles and put all the labels on and so. Time to stock up, again.
This is what I will do today: Packing Loretta from Tableau de Parfums. 50 ml flacons into boxes, with all the labels and ribbons and complimentary goodies like the Loretta DVD.
I am preparing and getting ready for autumn’s launch, at Pitti Fragranze in Florence, September 14, and at Luckyscent, in Los Angeles, Friday the 19th of October, later in the afternoon. I can’t wait any longer….