As scent critic Chandler Burr continues to further define his art-of-appreciation-of-perfume project, he has gone through the first unveil which has revealed that the masked perfume was none other than Infusion d'Iris by Prada. Some people were hoping it would be L'Eau d'Hiver by Editions de Parfums, a more exciting prospect in principle as it is less readily available.
The olfactive curator has specified from the start that the fragrances offered up for blind testing would be scents that are already available on the market. While it would be much more interesting in principle to offer previews of fragrances yet to be launched, one can understand that there might be some limitations on the good-will of industrialists to conduct that type of forward experiment and have organized buzz take over their own launches. What is less understandable is why Burr is contradicting himself and his project by writing so much "noise" about the 2nd perfume to be unveiled as he just put up S01E02 on Open Sky for sale...
See for yourself:
"The verbs available for describing what works of olfactory art can do to you are myriad: they can coax (Flora), delight (Happy), alert (Terre), mesmerize (Eau de Lière) [sic] or caress (Coco Mademoiselle). They can (and I apologize for the grossly clichéd marketing term, but) seduce you (Samsara) in the very specific sense of approaching you with a sensual aesthetic as opposed to, say, chic (Candy) or elegance (Chanel N° 19) or whispering just outside the 120° visual span of the human eye (l’Eau d’Hiver).
The artist who created S01E02 is one of the most important commercial creative forces working today, an olfactory James Cameron in terms of grosses and profits. (He has made billions of dollars for the perfume industry, much more than Cameron will ever make for the movie industry.)
But he— or she, of course— also possesses a Cameron-esque imagination, one that is seldom let loose by commercial patrons. This patron, by contrast, had the balls to let their artist run wild, and E02 is in my opinion a work of wild, virtually magical artistry. Here is a creativity almost never seen. E02 does something few other scents can do: Force a sharp intake of breath—the jaw drops, the eyes narrow—both because of its deeply strange beauty and its deeply beautiful strangeness.
E02 is a work of olfactory science fiction. It is not merely the morphing of the eau fraîche into a 22nd century form (which would be feat enough), it is the scent of a plant, a lovely curling vine, in a garden built in outer space. It is the green scent of the plant’s delicate green tentacles and its graceful leaves in the precious, pressurized air circulating in cool post-metal tubes, a perfect equilibrium of the heartbreakingly natural and the mesmerizingly artificial.
E02’s artist has given this plant no flower. He has referenced only the scent of its stem and leaf and tendril, the water that nourishes it, and the glowing capsule, whose marvelously synthetic sunlight protects it from the vacuum outside. (He has included the vacuum too, not its scent of course—space has none—but its weird phantom impact.)
Like other works I’m going to include in The Untitled Series, E02, which has been on the market for years, is among the greatest of the below-the-radar great works I’ve been lucky enough to come across. Its technical specs are excellent. Diffusion and structure are perfect. Persistence, given the many very light molecules I assume the artist worked with here, is admirably executed.
There is nothing else like this extraordinary futurist green that smells as if it were laced with oxygen, if oxygen had a smell. Wear it. It’s not a perfume. Perfumes are things people notice. E02 is something people perceive."
It feels like the whole project might work better as an online course with Burr as teacher guiding scheduled sessions and students smelling from perfume vials.
The good news on accessibility for those interested in the Untitled project is that the size of the monthly perfume is now 30 ml, the price, $25 and the number of participants can be upped to 200.
But seriously, isn't this text defeating the very purpose of the project, which is to encourage unbiased appreciation of perfume? Try now smelling the scent with a neutral nose and mind.
To us, this text can only encourage what the project refuses to be in principle, a guessing game, and what is more, wrapping itself around the words of the curator himself. It is not about blind testing anymore, is it?