Friday, July 1, 2011

Peace, Love and Patchouli



The Summer of Patchouli Love is finally here...
Some months ago I was invited to take part in a fascinating perfume event.The wonderful Monica Miller from Perfume Pharmer, had come up with a really great idea: To host a double blind perfume challenge based around Patchouli.
The idea was to see what a bunch of Indie Perfumers could come up with, when faced with the following brief: The perfume had to be:

a) completely natural
b) made with at least 25% of patchouli oil

To make it even more interesting, all submissions were re-bottled by Monica herself and given a number, rendering them completely igcognito,  and then sent out to a huge cast of reviewers to be sniffed and judged purely on their scent alone.
This was a first in perfume challenge history. It was a double blind event, neither the judges, not he perfumers themselves had any idea who's perfume was who's, and the reviewers had to go by their own personal tastes, as they were not given a list of notes, or in fact anything at all about the individual perfumes to work from!
Monica also managed to orchestrate an amazingly diverse cast of judges, with two totally different groups: Firstly a more traditional group of perfume reviewers who regularly write reviews for various blogs.
And a second group of celebreties, ranging from International political activist and Witch, Starhawk, over eco clothes designer Deborah Lindquist , Cirque de Soleil members and musicians and actors the likes of Jodie Foster and Mary J. Blige!

With such a wide and stellar cast, us perfumers have been sitting there chewing our nails, wondering how our babies were going to be recieved.....I was a bit sceptical at first, as I know how a perfumes story is a huge part of it's appeal...and I wasn't sure how people would relate to a perfume without this, esp. as many of the judges were unfamiliar with natural perfumes.....
I am now a great believer! The "double blind" nature of this contest has made it far more fascinating...the judges perceptions and the descriptions they have found for the individual perfumes are absolutely wonderful! It has made the event absolutely fascinating to watch for me as a perfumer too!
And it is giving us all true feedback on the scents themselves, unbiased by stories, packaging or the perfumers reputation!

If any of you would like to be able to follow the story on an olfactory level, Monica still has a limited number of sample boxes of all of the PLAP perfumes for sale....email her for details!


(I'm now eagerly awaiting my own!)

Later today I'll introduce you all to the perfume I submitted for the event myself too!

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