A day in a lab, two from Nomenclature

Nowadays in perfume world synthetic aroma ingredients are a topic that easily ignites a fierce discussion. Some perfumistas claim that they only care about highest quality natural materials in their fragrances and that they loathe compounds of laboratory origin. It’s the same with perfumers and brand owners. They say they love natural ingredients but small amount of artificial materials make a huge change in a final formulation. They say in a poetic way that synthetics build bridges and connections between natural aroma materials. Some molecules became iconic over the years and that’s what served as a base at Nomenclature, a new project from Karl Bradl (Aedes) and designer Carlos Quintana. Each of 4 scents pays a homage to particular synthetic molecule.


Iri_del, shown above left is a fragrance centered around iris aldehyde (2-nonenal, here’s a structure). This is a pretty linear composition that I find quite futuristic and modern. This scent opens with a slightly ashy aroma of iris that very shortly subsides and turns into some more watery, aquatic version or iris floral tones. It smells very light, very transparent and lightweight. There is also something woody about it (in a light way) as well as slightly musky somewhere farther in the background. After some time Iri_del becomes a modern and clean interpretation of iris.

There are still some rooty elements that are fading away but most noticeable is the smell of plain linen fabric, or a cotton sheet drying in an open air. It’s austere and clean, with a light touch of aldehydes that give this scent that feeling of elegance and cleanness. I wouldn’t say that Iri_del is a happy perfume. It’s not. The ashy side makes me perceive this fragrance as more “gloomy” in some sort of way. It won’t make you depressed but it’s for one of those days when you need a steady mind and emotions just don’t come out of you. This perfume is pretty much unisex. If you liked Iris Nazarena, Iri_del is like a sibiling, but its smaller, weaker and more quiet.


Adr_ett, shown on the rights side of the picture was on the other hand inspired by modern synthetic musks, precisely by Helvetolide® – a molecule (see formula here) discovered by Firmenich in 1990 and patented by them in 1991. Composition of this fragrance presents a delightful aroma of gently powdered flowers and mouth-watering pear note in the first minutes. There is a lovely sweetness in the opening, followed by aerial ambery aroma of ambergris. Mild fruitiness of this perfume is then followed by a mild spiciness of pink pepper. It has an effervescent character on my skin.

At later stage Adr_ett begins to effuse a musky aroma. However this musk smells rather clean, similarly to Iri_del. It’s a little powdery with undeniable fluffy tone that makes me think of soft cotton balls. Tonka bean and vanilla sweeten the drydown phase of this fragrance, at the same time enhancing fruity facets of pear (and apricot in a minimal dosage, if you ask me). It doesn’t become gourmant but it can evoke some pudding with caramelized fruit on top. This fragrance is very ethereal and has almost no weight. After around 2, maybe 3 hours it completely blends with your skin – it becomes a transparent veil. It’s a pretty little perfume, I like its gently flowery.


These two fragrances from Nomenclature are the lighter ones. I find both as quite sophisticated and elegant. They are rather minimalistic but that’s absolutely fine, sometimes it’s good to wear more simple creation that doesn’t draw much attention. It’s just you and your perfume. Especially Iri_del was to my liking due to it’s clean, powdered character evoking a simple white shirt. Fragrances in this line come in 100 ml bottles shaped as Erlenmeyer flask. Iri_del was developed by perfumer Patricia Choux while Adr_ett is a work of Frank Voelkl.

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15 thoughts on “A day in a lab, two from Nomenclature

  1. Cornelia Blimber says:

    Synthetic, artificial perfumes? why not? better for the flowers, better for some animals.
    And I guess there are more synthetic smells in perfume than we are aware of. But I don’t know of course. Maybe it’s my suspicious mind. maybe you could write more about this. very interesting post, lucas!

  2. jillie says:

    I agree with Cornelia – would love to read more about synthetics as written by The Chemist! Was Chanel the first to use them (the aldehydes in No 5) or were they already employed in fragrances long before?

    Really I don’t mind what my perfume is made from, synthetics or naturals, so long as I like the smell!

    • lucasai says:

      I will think about it Jillie 🙂
      No 5 was probably first to use aldehydes, yes.
      As long as it smells good, it’s okay, no matter whats in formula

  3. Cornelia Blimber says:

    I am with you, Jillie! and I certainly don’t want natural civet in my perfume.

  4. I have no problem with synthetics and their use. Actually, the natural perfumes for the most part aren’t to my liking. That said, I have a hard time rallying around a conceptual perfume that is marketed to look like a chemistry set. Wrap it up in a pretty bottle with a pretty name and maybe I’ll come running.

  5. hajusuuri says:

    These two sound interesting!

    If i was asked my preference between natural and chemical without any context as to the WHAT, i would pick natural. If the context is perfume, i will still gravitate towards natural; however, I am not opposed to synthetics except when the chemicals clash and become chemical soupy mess. Oh, and more posts regarding the chemistry of perfume would be lovely!

  6. Holly says:

    I like the sound of these, particularly Iri_del. I also like the bottles!
    I enjoy both natural and synthetic scents. In general the naturals are more fleeting, unless they’re heavy on the base notes which are not among my favorites. Neil over on The Black Narcissus did an interview with Mandy Aftel regarding the concept of “wabisabi” as it applies to natural fragrances that has helped me view them in a new light.


    I’d also love to read more posts about the chemistry of perfumes, if the spirit moves you. I really became interested in that subject after reading Chandler Burr’s The Perfect Scent.

    • lucasai says:

      Actually I don’t like these bottles but I like the smells.
      It’s good that synthetics materials are no problem for you, it makes a perfumista life easier 😉
      Thanks for the link, I will deffinitely have a look into it later when I have time

  7. Undina says:

    What Steve said! I mean word for word.

    I like the bottles though. And I think that they would have looked even cuter in 30 ml 😉

  8. […] this year Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) reviewed a couple of perfumes by Nomenclature – a project by Aedes de Venustas‘ founder Karl […]

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