Thanks to a member of Basenotes, we came across a wonderful humorous text by perfumer Guy Robert, which had us in stitches. His reflections are excerpted from the newsletter of the British Society of Perfumers of August 1998:
The serious part:
My most important quest was to define which are the essential "building blocks" giving its character to the most important perfumes, and which are the numerous and useless components we usually "pile up" in a formula.
Being humorous about the difficult work of the perfumer:
"There are also several other ways to work:
- the lazy way : you take a classical "accord" : to work around it is easy. But the result may not be as original as the hundreds of recent creations lately appearing on the market ...
- Another way (unfortunately!) is to take the idea of a friend (preferably a dead friend).
You are there, facing two different cases :
If you are a well known and very successful perfumer, everybody will find your creation "so" original. And if somebody with too good a nose or a too precise memory complains, you could always quote our French poet Alfred de Musset who, accused to have imitated your poet Byron said
"even growing cauliflowers is imitating somebody!".......
When you are Moliere or Shakespeare you have the right to use any of Mr Smith's ideas ...
If you are an ordinary Smith (present Smiths excepted, of course), and try to use an idea you found in Shakespeare or Moliere, you will look at the same time stupid and dirty.
That is why I would advise you to start by being a "Taboo Perfumer".
The "Taboo Perfumer" never creates ordinary perfumes ... he is only "achieving masterpieces".
As he never heard of any other existing perfumer, he goes on working alone.
He is convinced his ideas are the only original. For instance, if in one of his creations, he put once : Patchouli and Hedione together, he is assuming any perfume containing Patchouli and Hedione are copied on his work.
You know how it is :
for thousands of years you and your ancestors have been slapping on a goat-skin stretched on a bucket ... when suddenly, one of your friends rushes in, out of breath, shouting he just invented the drum.
(Photo is from Amouage.)