creating scents

an old fashioned flask

You know: It is odd. When creating fragrances, sometimes, rarely though, things fall in place like a magic hand leads you through your excel layout of a formula and later mixing of the written formula. Most of the lines, notes, ingredients just seem to snuggle perfectly, like a large tetris assembly where things just fit. Maybe a few changes might be needed, but the overall structure is just there and feels fine.

Sometimes this happens. And, for reasons that are beyond my comprehension, there seem to be phases where this happens repetitively.

And then, there are phases, or ideas, that just won’t happen. Usually, when I start working on a new theme, I circle my ideas, my vision, by making large iterations, checking out the territory and later narrowing one particular circle, adjusting what is not right. But sometimes, things just don’t work. It is like the big circles of experiments are drawn on wrong premises. Something’s fundamentally wrong.

Thus, I was mixing for quite a while and still feel like having gained nothing, on an idea centered around vanilla.

When painting, this happens too. And I learned that it is often better to start from scratch again than trying to safe an oeuvre that is wrong.

On another note: I have a chemistry background, studied bio-organic chemistry, did lab work, synthesized molecules and isolated proteins later and did DNA work. The usual stuff. I loved the lab work. The more obscure and the more alchemy like, the better. I remember night shifts in the cellar of the university, with my reaction going on in flasks, and needing my hourly attention, adding drops of catalysts, fuming bottles, bubbling liquids inside complicated glassware. I loved to work with glassware, but spent a fortune on broken glass thermometers that were always super delicate and in constant urge to proof to me that gravity exists.

When I ordered some lab material the other day, I came upon 50 ml glass flasks (see the picture going with this post), brown flint glass, with a cut polished top.  An amber apothecary flask. I got some, just a few, and used one to mix a trial of something new that I wanted to mix since a long time, sort of a private joy thing. It brought back chemistry lab memories of 30 years ago.

Usually, I mix my trials in 12.5 gram total, in a simple brown bottle with screw top. They look industrial, cold, technical. This time, I did an alchemist trial: 40 gr, in an amber apothecary bottle, calling the gods of perfumery for help. No vanilla centric scent, though. Just a weird idea, around sandalwood and iris, and a few other things. Playtime in perfume wonderland.

In a sense, I forced myself to think more seriously before mixing, too. Sandalwood is expensive. And I loved the idea to mix a trial in a flask that is more sensual and less practical that what I usually use. It felt like pleasing the forces of perfumery by using an old fashioned flask. Don’t ask me whether it helped, though.

Today I did an illustration of the apothecary flask, digitally, on the citiq. I just love this flask.