Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quick Sniffs: A curated collection of smelly links

Wendy Zukerman, Asia Pacific reporter for NewScientist, blogs about a perfumery course she took. Can you spot the two glaring errors in her post? (Hint: You don’t have to be a scientist to play!)

Karl Lagerfeld is coming out with a bookish new fragrance. As usual, Marie-Helene Wagner at MimiFrouFrou is all over the details:
The fragrance will be sold encased within a hard-cover book entitled Paper Passion. The creators see the packaging concept as a throwback to the times when British aristocrats liked to hide their whiskey in hollowed books.
Wait . . . hasn’t this been done before? Yes, and yes.

The smellscapes of Arkansas memorialized: an entirely different way to think about chicken shit.

Peeuuw, it’s springtime in West Fargo, North Dakota. (Flush hard, it’s a long way to Bismarck.)

Busted! Sgt. Terry Waikel of the Noble County Sheriff’s Department in Indiana has a fine nose for police work.

Tom Ford launches ads for his new fragrance Neroli Portofino, and guess what they are full of nakedy people. Although not Ford himself, for a change. [NSFW]

Karyn Khoury talks about her seasonal preferences in perfume. I’m surprised this doesn’t get more attention; I’ve always thought it was a big factor in choosing what to wear.

Over at Forbes.com, Dorothy Pomerantz relays the 2010 celebrity fragrance sales numbers from Euromonitor International. The late Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds tops the charts with $54 million in the U.S. Driven, by Derek Jeter, slides into second with $27 million. (For real?)

Wear a VR headset, bite into a cookie, and we control your nose!

It's sooooo transgressive, yadda yadda.


Carrie Meredith said...

A very engaging collection of links, thank you, Avery. I'm glad you linked to your review of KyotEau: Bottled Memories, because I have been thinking about buying it. No one I know has read it, so hadn't heard much in the way of feedback.

Lucy said...

There can never be too many fragrances about books, though I expect this one will be of the hide bound variety...

The Frowzy Chickadee said...

Largerfeld's new frag...perhaps whiskey, dust and crumbling leather with a wee bit of violet (that's the dandy part)!

I thought Ambergris was vomit. Is the author suggesting that Ambergris was harvested in the past by making the whale throw up (that's an awfully long feather)? Looking forward to knowing what the answer is.

Avery Gilbert said...

Carrie Meredith:

Della Chuang's fascination with the process of design in general, and with fragrance in particular, comes through in her thoughtful book. KL has no doubt thought a lot about design as well; it will be interesting to see whether the bottle-in-the-book conceit will include text or be just a packaging gimmick.

Avery Gilbert said...



Much depends on whether KL is more perfumophile or bibliomaniac.

Avery Gilbert said...

Frowzy Chickadee:

That reminds me . . . I haven't gotten around to the ambergris question.

My understanding is that ambergris is a solidified secretion of the digestive tract, the purpose of which is to protect the tissues from damage by cuttlefish bones and other hard, sharp items ingested by the whale. Some of this gunk may get coughed up, phlegm-like, which gives rise to the "whale vomit" canard.

Whether only sick or weakened whales need, or produce, ambergris is unclear to me. The scene in Moby Dick implies that sick or dying whales are especially rich sources of ambergris. That's sailor lore from 1851, which may have a kernel of truth or may be total rubbish. I'm not sure which.

AnyasGardenPerfumes said...

Chanel #5 was developed in the 20s, not the 50s. Perfume is made only of three notes? I think not. There are three categories, but a perfume may be composed of many notes within those categories.

Avery Gilbert said...


Correct on Chanel 5.

Zukerman's "three notes" bit is so badly phrased you wonder if she even gets the concept. So you get bonus points for that catch.

But the one that popped out for me was her dating of "inexpensive gas and liquid chromatography" to 50 years ago. In 1962 these techniques were expensive and laborious and had come nowhere near altering the fragrance industry.

I know, picky picky, but then she's the one writing for NewScientist.