making ofscents

like photoshop layers

So you see: another Fall related picture today. Colorful October leaves. Right now, it would be difficult to come up with the same picture, as it pours. It does so since hours, and although I am blessed with GoreTex layered trousers and shoes and jackets and more: It does not feel like the right weather to hopp onto the bike and ride to the little two room tauerville factory. So I sit here, wait for the ethanol getting delivered (it comes by truck and is scheduled for now), optimize the picture of today’s post with photoshop and answer interview questions and think about text about me.

Photoshop is nice. You can do everything, almost. And once you do photoshop pictures yourself, you stop trusting every picture that you see. In photoshop you work with layers: it is a bit like filters. You can for instance put a contrast layer on top of a picture that is a bit dull and thus, you get a higher contrast. You can put layer over layer and optimize colors, sharpness, brightness and more. A normal picture with reddish leaves turns into a magnificent unearthly allegory of autumn.

In perfumes, you can do comparable: Adding a layer that reaches out and in, through the entire development of a fragrance. This layer comes with an “optimizing” effect.  One of the well known molecules that you can use to add a layer is iso E Super. Many hate it, because they associate it with a particular type of perfumery (I think), some know its scent from the single molecule series, iso E super is No. 01, but mostly it is actually there, in the fragrance, where you do not really smell it but where it acts like a layer in photoshop.

It adds lift, and it soften all notes, and it brings out contrasts and optimizes a fragrance in quite a spectacular way. In a sense it is present by its effect, and less by its scent. It is not by chance that you find iso E Super in so many scents these days. Actually, the analogy to a photoshop layer is not so bad.

Aldehydes have a comparable effect, but are more present with their specific bright smell, their tonality. And they last a touch less than an iso E super layer that last throughout a fragrance. I haven’t used many aldehydes, for sure not as a really important, dominant and present, note, in any of my scents before Miriam, the first fragrance from the Tableau de Parfums series. For Miriam, I reached out for the aldehydes, as I wanted to refer to vintage fragrances, heady aldehydic vintage fragrances of the thirties. Whenever I saw the movie Miriam, with Ann Magnuson in her life that falls apart, I felt a bit sad, with a bright note on top, a bright note of life moving on, of new doors opening. For me, matching notes in Miriam were violett leaves, aldehydes, a bit of anisic fennel (think “bitter sweet memories”), roses, and a violet flower, promise of spring.

As always: Notes and ingredients are only one part of a fragrant picture. I find perfumes difficult to explain by looking at ingredients, and I think others are much better in explaining scents and notes,and still: Notes are relevant, also for me, when I think about a scent, I think in notes, too (besides patterns and shape, light , color, and texture). If you are interested in an outside view of Miriam,  you find it here, for instance, on the smellythoughts-blog. I loved this review and was puzzled by how well it described some patterns.

And if you are interested in a some details on fennel: Here is a nice piece on fennel on Fragrantica, writen by Naheed Shoukat Ali, with an extra by myself. Enjoy!