It seemed like a good idea at the time: Take some of our fine fragrances, and make candles from their scents. After all, if you love the way something smells on your skin throughout the day, why not perfume the air with it, too. Easy, right? Well, in the immortal words of the Brad Pitt film Moneyball, it’s incredibly hard.
Fortunately, we had the incredibly talented perfumer Nathalie Benareau to help us, and she made it seem effortless. In roughly two months, she took her original scents from Hanami, Olmsted & Vaux and Hepcat, and translated them into Annica, Claremont and Howl, respectively. “This guy I love to work with is very knowledgeable, and he gave me a few ideas on what to use,” she says. “I called him in and he said ‘Augh! These people who try to turn fragrance into a candle. It never works!’ [Laughs.] But it does if you do it the right way.”
We couldn’t agree more. We spoke with Nathalie to learn just what the right way entails.
These days, you hear the term “natural” thrown around a lot. It sounds great—who doesn’t like nature?—but it’s a little misleading. After all, cyanide is found in nature, but you wouldn’t want to eat it, drink it, or spray it on your skin. That’s why we prefer the term botanical. It’s a little more precise (we only use plant products). And at this point, natural is basically a marketing buzzword. And who needs more of those?
Our goal is simple: We strive to use the best possible ingredients in all of our products, and the reality is that scents created in labs are often the better choice. Take Indian sandalwood. A wonderful ingredient, but one that’s been overharvested to the point of near-extinction. We love how it smells, which is why we don’t use it—we want future generations to experience it, too.
In this series, we introduce our partner organizations, and illustrate how your support has had a real-world impact. Up first: The IUCN, whose highly regarded Red List is the world’s most authoritative database of species, and the threat level those species are facing.
Our friends at Glossy recently interviewed our founder and CEO, Eric Korman, for their namesake podcast. Among the topics: sustainability, transparency, and the fragrance industry at large (including what it means to buy a fragrance with a fashion designer’s or celebrity’s name stamped on it).
Welcome to Notes on Notes, our regular series explaining what a note is. For our full perspective on notes, read this post. For earlier posts in the series, click here. For an enlightening read on hazelnut, keep reading.
Welcome to Notes on Notes, our regular series explaining what a note is. For our full perspective on notes, read this post. For earlier posts in the series, click here. For an enlightening read on white florals, keep reading.
Welcome to Notes on Notes, our regular series explaining what a note is. For our full perspective on notes, read this post. For earlier posts in the series, click here. For an enlightening read on fig, keep reading.
Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.
Here’s a not-so-fun fact: The fragrance industry is barely regulated by the FDA. Crazy, right? You can hardly buy a cup of coffee these days without learning the name of the farmer who grew the beans. So you’d think people would demand a little more transparency from something they spray right on their skin (considering it’s our largest organ).
Perhaps you’ve noticed that most fragrances prominently list their notes somewhere. On the packaging, on their website, on the materials included with the perfume… somewhere. Maybe even all of those places.
You might have observed that we don’t go out of our way to advertise which of our fragrances is considered an eau de cologne, an eau de toilette or an eau de parfum. The reason for that is simple, and perhaps best explained by Victoria Brolova (of Bois de Jasmin fame) in a recent article for the Financial Times:
“Perfume concentrations are a marketing tool and often do not mean anything exact. The proportion of oil doesn’t play as great a role as the ingredients in the composition. As such, different concentrations denote neither how long a perfume will last nor how many ‘rare and precious’ materials it contains.”
In other words, how a fragrance is classified shouldn’t be your first reference point on whether you’ll like it. (Or as we always say: all that matters is what you like.)
That said, if you’re as fascinated by scent as we are, you’ll appreciate a basic understanding of what’s what. Here’s what you need to know: