creating scents


Everything you always wanted to know about inspiration…..

Today’s picture: I have used it before, in a different context; but it fits today’s post and hence the elephant gets a second chance.

The picture, an elephant, acrylic on canvas (© tauer), is about 1.5 years old and depending on perspective it is a game, a joke, a piece of art. You decide.

A couple of years ago when travelling in Russia with a perfumer friend and getting interviewed by many journalists we invented the pink elephant. The journalists would more or less always ask about the inspiration behind our creations, and as creator you are a person who gets easily bored -maybe that’s one of the driving forces to be creative- and hence we, perfumers, wondered whether it might not be easier to talk about the elephant, pink, sitting on our shoulder, whispering perfume formulas into our ears, instead of going through the highly theoretical process of inspiration.

Because: At the very end, as creator, you do not know where all the ties come from that end up in a creation. Maybe you get the chance to know where it all started. Like me, yesterday, walking to the post office, shipping many discovery sets, in the heat of a Swiss end summer feast. It was hot and I walked home and I wanted a fresh scented water that goes with the heat. I was thinking: I have this lovely iris root, diluted in ethanol that feels like a perfume in itself -without any lasting power- I need to add mint, lime, irones to push up the metallic iris, amber gris, some clean notes – but means clean in perfumery – if you do not want it soapy. And so I walked home.

And no: I did not mix anything. It sits in the head right now. And who knows what’s going to happen there.

When getting up this morning, something else happened there: I started to think about  why everybody wants to know about inspiration in perfumery. And hardly ever anyone asks about inspirations in visual art. It is less an issue there. I published a lot of drawings and paintings on Facebook, for instance, and never got the question “what inspired you?”. If I publish a picture of a flint glass vial telling folks that a newly created experimental perfume is in there: There comes the question about inspiration.

So why?

Maybe because what comes out in this field, perfumery, is/got so shallow and banal that for decennials the products of this industry/art needed to be inflated and exaggerated with pictures, storylines and surroundings like packaging and gold and glitter,  to communicate value, originality and art.

Maybe it is something else.

And you know what: My inspiration does not matter. What matters is: I created it. Not a consortium. Not a perfumer sitting in a castle where he can work for somebody else and although they will tell him that he is free and that costs do not matter, he’s not free and in the end just wants his $ and get out of the castle again.