December 1, 2016 was an evening of perfume and poetry at Fumerie Parfumerie, featuring original works by Portland-based poets Patrick S. Rogers, Sara Kolp, Wendy Bourgeois and Wendy Noonan. The result of a collaboration between Fumerie and local poets, each of the works was inspired by a fragrance.
The fragrances in question were provided to the group and sampled blindly. Removed from their bottles and packaging, the poets had only their noses to guide them. One cannot truly understand the enormous influence of marketing on one's perception of fragrances until they are sampled blindly. For example, let us examine a scent like Serge Lutens' Féminité du Bois. The most obvious influence on our perception of this fragrance is the bottle. With its clean, simple lines, rectangular shape and minimally-adorned label, the bottle itself conveys a French elegance. The copper-colored lid may call to mind antique fixtures. The clean lines of the bottle may suggest old apothecaries. The quality of the packing is also immediately evident, leading to an expectation of quality on the part of the fragrance itself. All of these associations take place immediately and are the direct result of our personal experiences. All of this from a bottle—we haven't even begun to examine the effect of the name Serge Lutens, the name of the fragrance, the box and all of the things we may have heard about the fragrance (notes, family, marketing, etc.). Exploring fragrances blindly is perhaps the most pure and true way to appreciate fragrance as an art.
So, when viewing the video of the event, keep all of this in mind. If you happen to have any of the fragrances explored over the course of this event, consider sampling them while listening to these poems and try to appreciate these fragrances from the perspectives of the authors. Exercises like these shed light on previously unseen aspects of these complex compositions. If you find yourself inspired to take a leap yourself and blindly sample some of your own fragrances.
The fragrances featured in this video include:
KNIZE TEN Knize
LES JEUX SONT FAITS Jovoy
COMPLEX Boadicea the Victorious
BOMBAY BLING! Neela Vermeire
CUIR VELOURS Naomi Goodsir
L'AIR DU DÉSERT MAROCAIN Tauer
ZEFIRO Xerjoff: XJ 1861
L'ORPHÉLINE Serge Lutens
Thanks again to the poets who participated in this event and to all of the attendees. We look forward to seeing you all at our next event this month!