Thursday, 24 August 2017

"All Natural Perfumes Smell Like Mud"

I don't usually do follow ups to articles that I write because I like them to stand on their own merits, and I've always been pretty good at not flying off the handle and committing an opinion to the internet without fact checking and researching it first. It's for this reason that I was really disappointed with something that I read on Facebook this week. It concerned 100% natural perfumes and the gist of what the person said was that "all natural perfumes smell like mud". There's nothing like a sweeping generalisation to get yourself noticed, maybe that was the person's intention, but let's get a few things clear.

I wrote a piece called "Natural versus Synthetic" back in May 2016 and it resulted in a lot of emails from pro, anti, and undecided. You can click on the link to read the full piece but the inference was that there were merits in both camps. Working solely with naturals requires constant experimenting and imagination as the palette of ingredients is smaller if you don't include synthetics. You can still create mind blowing fragrances but it just requires a different discipline, because naturals are multifaceted and can be a little unpredictable at times.

The other side of the industry, which many would call the "commercial" side, uses every ingredient known to mankind and revels in the latest synthetic, whether that be textural, emotive or just plain pretty. This combination palette is limitless and as fast as new aromas are developed they are copyrighted and added to the "latest" perfume. I'll put my hands up and say that I like both sides of the industry. I love my mainstream scents, as you'll see by looking around the website, but I also enjoy the all natural fragrances of Marina Barcenilla, Mandy Aftel and Elena Bensonoff.

Sharp eye viewers will notice that I said "enjoy" not "appreciate". My enjoyment of a fragrance is purely based on the smell and, while I can praise the commitment of the natural perfumer, I will always compare fragrances side by side and expect them to perform in the same arena. The only question that you ever need to ask yourself when you smell a fragrance is, "do I like it?" You're not wearing the perfume bottle around your neck on a chain so you have to go purely on the basis of whether the fragrance makes you feel the way you want it to.

So, "all natural perfumes smell like mud." That's where we started from and let me just wrap this up neatly for you. A badly constructed perfume will smell like a badly constructed perfume. Whether this is completely natural or a combination of natural and synthetic makes no difference, the talent of the perfumer will decide the end result. Whatever your choices for purchasing a particular type of fragrance just remember that there are successes and failures on both sides.

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