Award-Me, Award-Me-Not

In fragrance industry there are many ways to shed a light on perfume that is considered innovative and groundbreaking. There are FiFi Awards from The Fragrance Foundation, Art & Olfaction Awards held by the Institute of Art & Olfaction or Jasmine Awards established by Fragrance Foundation UK. Now that after years of lurking in the shadows the perfumers can finally stand with pride next to their creations and get well-deserved recognition for ther artistic work, they also earn awards. But did you ever think in what way people who write about perfume are appreciated for their articles?

In over 8 years of my blogging career there were only few times when I thought about awards for perfume writing in general but I quickly discarded the though from my mind. The topic came back to me a few days ago when my friend Elena, also known as The Plum Girl, posted the announcement on Facebook that entries are now being accepted for Perfumed Plume. I got a little bit curious again so I clicked the link to find out more. There was a list of different categories for which you can submit your articles but there was also an information that you must pay for every individual submission.

A 50$ fee for each post that will become a candidate for the award. Is that a lot? Some will probably say it’s not, but for a non-US citizen like me, once I convert dollars into Polish currency it becomes a more serious amount of money. Actually it’s more than I spend on food in 2 weeks. I always considered writing my perfume reviews as some sort of hobby but what can’t be denied is that each article is the investment of a couple of hours from your private time to prepare a good, evocative text & some complimentary images. The time nobody pays you for because blogging is not your job.

A short discussion has happened between Elena and me & I can understand her reasoning. You know how they say you can’t buy time? Those hours spent on polishing each post are priceless, so why wouldn’t you want some sort of recognition among other fragrance writers & journalists, a validation of your talent in form of an award or a statuette to put on your shelf. Yes, it would be nice to have one and I’m sure earning it would be a great way to promote my blog and find new readers. However considering that I’d want to submit more than 1 entry, this is something that I can’t afford.

Perhaps Elena is right, after all she’s won one of those Perfumed Plumes in 2019 and year later she was one of the finalists too. Can you consider paying for the jury’s consideration an investment for the future? Chemist in the Bottle is the entirely free perfume blog. I don’t use ads, my posts aren’t and never will be sponsored by brands because I value freedom of my opinions above anything else. And unlike many other websites I even don’t use those platforms like “buy me a coffee” to support a writer with a small “pocket money” donation. Maybe I should consider joining such site?

Following my question on Twitter someone suggested that starting a fundraiser campaign to gather the sum that would cover the fee cost of those few categories entries could be an option. Maybe yes, maybe not. I don’t know what to think. Would you consider sending a tiny donation to a perfume writer you like (because you like me and this blog, don’t you?) or do you think it’s a complete waste of money to enter such contest, especially that there’s no guarantee that I will get anything out of it? I’d love to know your opinion on this and digest some more food for thought on this polarizing topic.

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Glowing Halo, Nishane Nanshe

When I was a school boy, history classes were a bit of a torture to me. I never liked memorizing the dates and places of uprisings, battles, wars or entronements. With one exception – as I was fascinated by the ancient history & old civilization. The oldest times there were to remember. I love mythology, studying about Egyptian or Greek gods. I still have a soft spot for learning about that era. When in late 2020 a perfume named after Sumerian goddess of social justice, fertility and water was launched by Nishane, I only had one thought in my mind – please be good and don’t disappoint.

At the beginning Nanshe smells of tart and acidic bergamot rind, a little bit on the dry side of the spectrum. After a minute or two it is joined by a tangy, fruity-citric scent of yuzu. The latter one is not overly juicy but it feels fleshy, plus the balance of sour & sweet elements compliment the opening so well that my mouth decided to get to work and water a bit. A tad later the top of the composition surprises with a mild vegetal twist due to use of the carrot seed note. It kind of tempers the first citrusy impression and adds something that feels moist, watery, yet in a tiny aspect earthy at the same time. Cardamom warms it all up, adds a tingy flavor and a grainy texture to the scent.

The warm feeling coming from cardamom lasts for a majority of this perfume’s lifespan however the form that it takes changes. At the top of Nishane Nanshe it’s textured, grainy, more compact. Over time the structure loosens up, becomes more spacious and airy. Through those ’empty spaces’ it’s the floral notes that start to emerge. Flowers with their silky petals covered with morning dew smell fresh, breezy and aquatic. Coming next are watery fruits. They are in the 2nd or 3rd line from the front, slightly more hidden in the perfume but when I inhale slowly I can notice hints of something that smells like watermelon or guava. The smell is intriguing and definitely not the banal kind.

Continuing its steady evolution the watery facets become less important and some more substantial flower notes start leading. There is a lot of rose in this perfume but describing it comes with a bit of difficulty. It’s not a pink, ethereal scent, nor is it a rich smelling flower with crimson red petals. It’s kind of beige, with some streaks of tan. I definitely recognize it as creamy, veering towards cosmetic fragrance registers. Jasmine sambac which joins with some delay gives Nanshe an intensity boost and while it doesn’t smell even slightly indolic, it does give a characteristic shift to the floralties. Ylang-ylang is what actually makes the creamy, almost buttery feel on my skin after few hours.

Speaking of buttery, it seems that Nishane Nanshe couldn’t do without iris and its generous portion appears in the drydown of the composition. It started on more creamy side thanks to ylang but when it dissipates the more silky and powdery facets come to the fore. The composition seems to lose that moisture and reveal it’s dry side as after some time I find orris to become more earthy and closer to talc in its smell. This feeling of dryness is confirmed through the woody notes. Sandalwood that appears is soft and subdued by the iris powder. Even patchouli seems to be stripped of its dirtiness and is incorporated in the powdery accord. The same happens with a fluffy musk note.

When I first smelled Nanshe, one of the two latest fragrances from Nishane that were launched in 2020, there was a smile that instantly appeared on my face and I knew I’d enjoy wearing this composition. It’s a complex creation that relies on subtle changes and I appreciate the fact that it’s beauty is hidden within, in its details. It’s a perfectly composed & well balanced elixir with easily visible skill and talent of a perfumer, Cecile Zarokian. I can’t omit the fact that I also like the tan beige color of the bottle and the visual. Nanshe is an extrait de parfum, it comes in 50 & 100 ml bottles.

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