creating scents

classification of flowers and woods

This morning, pretty early, outside dark as we are moving into autumn, inside bright thanks to electricity, I was thinking about the blog post of today. Referring to yesterday’s interview part II on the Persolaise blog, and a quick illustration that I did while trying to come up with an answer to a particular question; “If flowers could be placed on some sort of spectrum according to their smell (you decide how this spectrum should be defined: maybe lily of the valley at one end and tuberose at the other) where would you place gardenia and why?”

It is an interesting question, that I tried to answer doing this sketch that you find on the Persolaise site.

So I was drinking my first morning coffee, reading the news that are not very new these days, people against people, and I was thinking that I might talk about human nature and how we love and need to classify things, and people. I am no exception there. I like to think in simple terms. It helps. Sometimes.

Early in the morning, the mind wanders more readily, and hence I started thinking about how one could try to put all sorts of perfumery raw material into some sort of wheels, classifying them. Like woods or woody notes. I made a little ink sketch of how one could look at woods then. Oudhy does not exist as term, but I think you know what I mean. And now I wonder whether I missed a couple of categories to classify. Ambery could be added as parameter. Earthy might be another one. But then: In order to make sure that classifications help explaining the complex world with simple terms, the number of terms must be limited. You can’t really make a category for everything that is out there.

It is a mind game. Patchouli, for instance, is somewhere in the middle between powdery, incense and oudh. Sandalwood is all the way up there, floral. Cedarwood (Texan) is close to the middle, with a bit towards the incense side. Cypriol is close to oudh with a mark saying “leathery, earthy, cistus is somewhere in the middle , too: Oudh, incense, dry wood.

As I said: This is not reality, it is a mind game, that might help to understand the world. When writing these very lines, I was thinking, that actually, a nice woody oudh base should not touch the powdery side of woods, and if then only to add a little twist, but the main notes should come from the right side of today’s illustration. So you see: Simplification helps. It ‘s like “good wood, bad wood “. And no: I have no plans to make an oudh.

The illustration of today, by the way, was done with ink, Indian ink, and a nice ink brush that I got the other day. Drawing sketches with ink is inspiring. Reducing complexity, there we go…