Saturday, June 21, 2014

Annals of Blithering Idiocy: Special Roja Dove Edition

A UK-based group calling itself The Perfume Society sent a team to sit at the feet of Roja Dove. He bloviated and they took notes. They posted “ten fascinating things” they learned.

Here’s another fascinating thing: every one of the ten is a crock.

The folks at The Perfume Society think Roja Dove is “a fountain of fragrant knowledge.” Personally, I think Roja Dove is a fountain of fragrant bullshit. Do you think that’s too harsh? Then check out his ten smelly little droppings:
1. If you loose [sic] your sense of smell, psychologically it will cause us [sic] more long-term damage than going blind.
Just think about this for a few seconds to let the full idiocy sink in. It’s not even worth asking Roja Dove to provide one piece of evidence, because there isn’t any.
2. Kissing is the most intense form of smelling in the animal kingdom.
WTF does this even mean? I would say it is fatuous nonsense except that it might be true for Roja Dove—after all, he had an entire team from The Perfume Society kissing his ass.
3. In Japan, they use perfume to treat depression.
When tossing off a claim you know isn’t true it’s always best to credit it to someone in Japan—this greatly reduces the risk of having someone call your bluff.
4. We are born with no knowledge of odor. Our sense of smell is linked directly to the emotive part of our brain and therefore, our individual sense of smell is based purely on impressions and experiences.
Infants are born with odor preferences acquired in utero.

The Blank Slate view of human psychology has been discredited for years.

Why doesn’t Roja Dove know this? Could it be because his individual sense of his own importance is based purely on his impressions and experiences which don’t really involve much actual, you know, reading?
5. Heat dulls smell, yet humidity intensifies it – think of London after rain.
All heat and no AC makes Roja a dull boy.

I bet when Roja Dove farts in the shower he experiences a rainbow of olfactory nuance.
6. When jasmine & tuberose are used in perfumery, they have to be picked before the sunlight hits them.
Because the tuberose harvest is controlled by French peasant vampires.
7. If Quelques Fleurs wasn’t created in 1912, none of the other great florals could exist – this is due to its structure.
Because the world wasn’t ready for the structure of QF in 1911.

Because there is only a single creative path to floral perfumes.

Because this claim is so vaporous it defies negation.
8. Fragrances contain an average of 10-15% natural ingredients – the rest is synthetic and quite incredibly, created in a lab. This has changed the face of perfumery.
What? Synthetics* are created in a lab? OMG!

And natural ingredients are gentle to the face of perfumery because they are charmed out of flowers by elves playing magical flutes.

Has this guy ever seen natural ingredients being processed?
9. Enfleurage is the oldest method of extraction in the world – it’s the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of extraction. There are roughly only 5 people alive today that know this process…it’s a dying tool.
The Rolls-Royce people are no doubt thrilled to have their automobiles characterized as an ancient dying tool driven by only a handful of people.

The transistor tube was the oldest method of watching television yet today it’s a dying tool. And I, who as a child watched B&W broadcasts on tube television, am alone qualified to mourn all that we have lost. O tempora, o mores!
10. Tuberose is worth its weight in gold – it’s now mostly synthetic.
When shit gets expensive, cheaper alternatives are found. That clicking sound you hear is the Perfume Society team transcribing Roja Dove’s pseudo-profundities as fast as they can type.

*Typo fixed. Hat tip to commenter Sarah McCartney.


4160Tuesdays said...
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4160Tuesdays said...

Thankyou for an amusing and chastening lesson in fact checking. Although I don't think anyone was claiming that synesthetics are created in a lab. Yes of course I know you meant to write synthetics but it's an interesting thought. And it does give a neat demonstration of why we all need someone else to read our stuff before we post it. As the lovely Alice at the Perfume Society is probably wishing she'd done, with the benefit of hindsight.

There is a great deal of total tripe written in the perfume business and I imagine that all over the web people are rushing to edit their words. Maybe that's why it's so quiet here.

I do have to protest about natural ingredients though. Everyone knows that they are spun by unicorns during the hours of darkness and delivered by butterflies, drop by drop.

Avery Gilbert said...

Sarah McCartney:

Nice catch. Will fix and credit you.

Re: tripe. Roja Dove generates tripe at an astonishing rate. But he's a hard case, immune to ridicule and incapable of embarrassment.

I'm sorry lovely Alice got splattered when the tripe hit the fan, but as they say in Japan if you live by the listicle you die by the listicle. I fire off Roja Dove warning flares on a regular basis--there's only so much I can do.

Thanks for the useful information on naturals. I'll quote you in my next lecture!

4160Tuesdays said...

I would be honoured.
The perfume tripe mountain is piling so high it's in danger of blocking the view.
One of my former colleagues used to say very sweetly, "The trouble is, that when you disappear up your own arse, you suddenly realise a lot of people have followed you."

Peter Apps said...

Fascinating things indeed.

Google: fascinate meaning, gets you:



(especially of a snake) deprive (prey) of the ability to resist or escape by the power of a gaze.
"the serpent fascinates its prey"

Sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

Have just subscribed to the Perfume Society. Thanks for the link. xx

Avery Gilbert said...

Jill Burt:

Good for you. Did they give you the free Roja Dove bobble head for signing up?

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

The amount of uncriticized poppycock that is pumped into the rarefied air of fragrance aficionados is perhaps only outdone by people interested in nutrition science. It is disheartening to be an amateur and student of this craft when everyone from the Youtube reviewer all the way up to the charlatan clown himself is some form of self-fashioned expert. Where is the humility? I wish people would study, smell, and think critically and stop repeating this nonsense. Thank you for calling it out.

Avery Gilbert said...

Brian Chambers:

Thanks for your support. There is a lot to be said for humility. And for skepticism. Difficult virtues to practice when self-esteem and non-judgmentalism are rampant.

Like your point about nutrition, esp. when so much official wisdom is turning out to be suspect (sugar, salt, fat).

pigoletto said...

Nice to see someone really calling out the total BS some of the well known people in the industry are spewing. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure all of us give a little when it comes to people we admire, but what RD has said gives the industry a bad and pretentious name. Maybe the retort from RD would be amateur hobbyists like me don't know a thing, and for me, that's true, but I'm also intelligent enough to know unsubstantiated BS when I see it.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you know about the French peasant vamps? I thought everyone did...?

+Q Perfume Blog said...

Avery Avery...
You dare to say what others think and never do! I think it is because you are maybe...A REAL EXPERT!

I checked the spelling this time!

Miss you a lot! XX