Category Archives: perfume talk

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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Yearly Review – My Favorite Fragrances of 2020

When this year was starting I greeted it with thoughts in my head and hope in my heart that it will be a special one. It was going to be a year of my 30th birthday, maybe an opening of a new life chapter after earning that 3 at the beginning of my age number… And only as a general comment, I thought that 2020 has a nice look to it. Clean & round – with only two 2 and two 0. The year turned out to be special, yes… Just not in the way anyone of us could imagine it to be. Even the most ominous dreams couldn’t predict that shortly after 2020 started the whole world would turn into some sort of a battlefield and that we’ll be fighting this invisible & dangerous enemy known as coronavirus.

When I heard first reports from Wuhan in China I really thought there was nothing to worry about since it was so far away from Poland. But week after week the reports on TV informed that Covid-19 reached Europe and that it was spreading fast. In Poland the first person with positive test result was announced on the 4th of March. From that day the number of new cases was increasing rapidly which eventually also forced my country to go into lockdown. Face masks, hand sanitizers and ‘stay at home’ slogans became a new reality for us all. Social life reduced to zero and home office solitude made us realize how much we miss these little things we took for granted. I hope it’s over soon.

It was a rough year, for me one like never before. Esxence and Pitti were rescheduled a few times and eventually moved to 2021. Without these events and due to pandemy I wasn’t able to try many new fragrances this year. Many times I wasn’t in a mood to write, therefore overally less posts in 2020. But against all odds I’d like to share with you this modest list of my favorites from this year.

Diptyque Eau Capitale – I like this perfume house and over the years I found a number of fragrances that I truly liked and added to my collection. As you may remember I like me some chypre so I was really curious to smell one that was rose-based. In this particular composition Olivier Pescheux proves that in modern day perfumery oakmoss is not essential anymore to create a good chypre that would stay true to the roots of this olfactive family. I’m a happy owner of 10ml spray of it.

Olfactive Studio Iris Shot – I was ready to tell you about this fragrance almost 1,5 years ago but due to some technical difficulties with caps production and because of pandemy the release got postponed by this much! But it was worth to wait for this silky smooth and buttery rich goodness that slightly dabs a gourmand territory with a suble touch of warm nuttiness and a hint of spices. It’s a luscious fragrance and quite addictive at that. Other two of triplets fell in love with it because of me.

Hiram Green Vivacious – One can never have enough iris, or violets for that matter & when Hiram Green brings up something new it is a reason to celebrate. I don’t know any other perfumer who works only with natural ingredients and who can create such long-lasting perfume. Vivacious is full of youthful energy of spring. It’s fresh, dewy and with a gorgeous floral sweetness of violet & orris. It beautifully marries powdery & flowery nuances. I simply can’t find any good reason to not like it.

Atelier des Ors Blanc Polychrome – One of my favorite brands introduced 2 new fragrances this year. I found the 1st one to be a rather not-special Ambroxan bomb while the 2nd one was a wow and it was ideal for summer months. It was a solar energy packed with vitamin C from citrus, with a tart acidity of rhubarb and a hint of breezy jasmine. Blanc Polychrome sources inspiration from classic eau de cologne but perfumer Marie Salamagne made it lighter and more modern.

L’Orchestre Electro Limonade – When I was on a lookout for an interesting hesperide perfume in the summer this was the new release that really grabbed my attention. Sparkling and fizzy aldehydes up at the top, follow by a not all all sweet cocktail of Mediterranean lemon, clementine and bergamot + ginger for that zingy twist. This fragrance also had rhubarb in it and in the base it was a warm, woody blend of cedar wood and amber. A perfume like a refreshing drink with a tiny umbrella.

Memo Ocean Leather – Personally I find Cuirs Nomades to be a very succesful and well executed line from Memo Paris. My no.1 is still Italian Leather but what the brand did this year was truly interesting to discover. This inconspicuous composition started with a citrusy top but then evolved into herbaceous marine concoction that was paired with a dense leather accord. Initially I thought it’s going to be a very odd pairing but on contrary, it turns out that they are meant to be together.

Van Cleef & Arpels Oud Blanc – Don’t get me wrong, I’m with those of you who think that oud fashion should’ve ended few years ago. By no means I’m not an oud fan but if it’s good one, I can take it. Interpretation from VC&A and Anne Flipo is a fragrances Turkish tale. Brimming with dark petals of richly scented rose flowers, resinously sweet glaze of candied dates and peaceful swirls of transparent smoke. Oud is just an addition here but it’s needed to glue all these elements together.

Gallivant Bukhara – In a year of lockdowns and closed borders “armchair travel” became the most effective way of discovering new places at the comfort of your home. Thanks to Nick Steward this year we could go on a short trip to Uzbekistan and experience Bukhara the way Nick remembered it. In collaboration with Ralf Schwieger a wonderfully spicy perfume was born with earthy & rooty orris that also features a more creamy and buttery side. It’s an iris worth to remember in this weird year.

Amouage Enclave – 2020 brough big changes inside Amouage. With Renaud Salmon as new creative director the brand is set to slightly change their perspective and the way of compositing new scents. In Renaissance Collection 4 fragrances were introduced and I loved Enclave. A contrast between warm spices and cold mint, when they collide the perfume gets steamy and full of energy. With a hint of rose and leather I found it to be a stunner. Plus the bottle shade is so pretty.

Puredistance Rubikona – Puredistance never rushes when it comes to presenting new fragrances. They are proud of taking their time to polish every tiniest detail of the formula. Who would’ve thought that this year we’ll be introduced to a perfume that was in the making for almost 3 years. Rubikona is a very elegant & sophisticated persona. A grand chypre with ylang, rose and iris which rest atop the warm notes of carnation, clove that lead us to a patchouli and cedarwood-infused base.

Olivier Durbano Aram – I’ve been observing his works for years and we always had enjoyable conversations when we met in Florence. Obviously this year that was impossible and I’m grateful that Olivier shared his new composition with me via post. I always liked Pink Quartz but Aram brought to me a much needed feeling of consolation for 2020. An astringent grapefruit, lots of resins & succulent greens plus many other notes were hiding a lot of light within. A light of hope.

Dusita Moonlight in Chiangmai – Save the best for last as they say. In this yearly review a new Dusita fragrance is easily in my top 3 of the year. I love the brand and I love Pissara. We spoke privately on video chats a couple of times during this pandemy but our conversations were never really perfume-focused. Moonlight in Chiangmai is a magical perfume that almost feels out of this world. Yet it’s a very wearable one. A lot of heart went into this Thailand-inspired perfume.

***

We survived 2020, that’s the most proper way to say it. Despite all the hardships and difficult days we had to face let’s still try to look at the bright side of things. The one personal achivement I can share with you is that I lost over 20 kgs of weight, even though there was a lockdown, that I had a twisted work schedule and that doing any kind of sport was almost impossible due to restrictions. But I made it and that’s the thing I’m the most proud of in this wicked year. Now here’s to hope that 2021 will bring us a big relief and that a return to normality will be possible very, very soon. We shall learn to appreciate the small things all over again.

For 2021 I’m sending you my best wishes – be strong & brave, be healthy, seek happiness and don’t stop believing. A better tomorrow will come for sure. May 2021 bring us what we all long for!

With lots of love for a New Year 2021, Lucas.

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