segunda-feira, dezembro 25, 2006

On Making Sense out of Scents

On Making Sense out of Scents
by Elena Vosnaki

Top notes of honey flower and solar musk. Heart notes of Osmanthus and Amberlyn. Base notes of tactile woods and vetiver.  Does this random perfume notes list, replete with sensuous innuendo, make absolutely no sense to you? It might be unicorn tears and rainbow ends for all you know! Likewise, in front of an aromatic stanza, we're often at a loss to accurately describe what we smell to another.

Apparently, dear reader, you're not alone; the confounded crowd includes tons of perfume lovers who struggle through perfume descriptions on a regular basis. It's hard to make sense out of scents...

The Situation: Introduction to Confusion

Consider flipping through a fashion magazine for a minute: Sandwiched between glossy pages of advertising with models in ecstatic surrender to the sheer beauty of any given potion of seduction, you will find editorial guides that teach you that fragrances are classified in olfactory "families" and that they develop like music "chords" into top notes, heart notes and base notes, built into a "fragrance pyramid": maximum volatility* ingredients first; medium-diffusion materials following them after the intial impression vanishes; tenacious, clinging for dear life materials last. That should make it easier, right? Well, not exactly.

The thing is most contemporary fragrances are not built as neatly and the bulk of fragrance descriptors are written with a marketing consideration to begin with. It's not a plot to mislead, but the industry is still shrouded in mystery, offering a rough blueprint rather than an analytical Google map into the largely uncharted terrain of fragrance composition. So how does one go about it? (clique aqui para ler o artigo completo)

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