Perfumer Ernest Shiftan {Directory of Perfumers, Artistic Directors, & Fragrance Designers}

offrande cheramy.jpg


Ernest Shiftan (1903-1975) in his time was a renowned perfumer working for IFF with a reputation in particular for being an excellent mentor to younger perfumers. Sophia Grojsman for example was trained under him. Despite the recognition by his peers that he was a great perfumer in the tradition of American perfumery, little data is immediately available concerning his career and creations, apparently in great part due to secretive practices that were even more dominant in the industry then than now. But also, it might be hypothesized, due to the possibility that he might have operated as a supervisor and collaborator on a number of perfume creations rather than as their sole author. We encounter again the tricky issue of ascribing authorship clearly in perfumery and some perfumers - it must be noted - do not even think that it really constitute an issue. In 1974, a newspaper article presented him as "a senior vice-president and chemist at IFF."

His creations include: Offrande by Cheramy (1925) (with Paul Schving), Youth Dew (1952) (with Josephine Catapano - not all sources mention him), Le De by Givenchy (1957), Norell by Norell (1967-1968) (with Josephine Catapano - not all sources mention him), Island Promises by Fragrance of the Bahamas Ltd. (ca.1970),.....

His association with the Fragrance of the Bahamas Ltd. venture was based on his friendship with its founder Albert Whisnant and his fragrance Island Promises is still available for sale today. The name was inspired by the work of another friend of both men, playwright Neil Simon. You can read about the story of this brand located in the Bahamas and exploring an island theme here.

He also co-authored with Max Feinsilver an article antitled "Practical Research of the Art of Perfumery", Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 116, p. 692-704, July 1964. The article offers little insight into his mind as a perfumer creator except to show his keen interest in the chemical advances of his field and his taste for academic writing, which goes together with his reputation as an excellent teacher.

Jeannine Mongin wrote a rare article about Shiftan entitled "Enver Omer Arif - Ernest Shiftan" in the Nouvelles de l'Osmothèque, vol. 33, which we have not read yet.

(Photo of Offrande by Cheramy from Museu del Perfum

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I did a small presentation on him last year on my blog but since then I found some other interesting informations and also...some photos.

  2. Octavian,

    I saw your post, but thought it was not necessary to link back to it since you said that little info was available. Looking forward to your update, if you decide to do one on your blog.


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