Monday 26 October 2020

ASHTON by Olfactory NYC

One of the current fashions in the world of fragrance is giving the customer the ability to literally customise their perfume. This has an obvious major advantage over creating one from scratch, namely that it is significantly cheaper, but how the process is managed varies dramatically from company to company. It can often feel a little lacklustre, with few options, and so it makes you wonder just how “customisable” it really is. One of the companies to venture into this area is Olfactory NYC, and their method is a discovery experience in itself. So, let’s travel stateside as I introduce you to the sun and surf inspired Ashton.

When it comes to customising a perfume the most important piece of the jigsaw is the original scent. If this is solid, well crafted, and attractive, then you’re starting from a good place. This is often where the process can go awry, with too much emphasis being placed on the additions rather than the core fragrance. This was exactly what Joseph Vittoria of Olfactory NYC wanted to avoid. So, he selected a team of perfumers to work with who would each provide finished fragrances that could then be customised. With fourteen to choose from, there really is something for every taste.

The company approached Firmenich to create the scents for them, and the perfumers chosen for the project were Gabby Chelariu, Honorine Blanc, Ilias Ermenidis, Harry Fremont, Frank Voelkl, and Annie Buzantian. Now there are some major perfume credits amongst this line-up and so the quality was never going to be in question. With the core selection covering everything from uplifting citrus through to darkly resinous, the problem isn’t which one to choose but how many. It’s worth mentioning that each perfumer is credited alongside their creation and so, whichever one you go for, you know exactly who you have to thank.

The process is wonderfully straightforward. Once you’ve chosen from the core selection of fourteen scents, or nine if you’re using the postal Explorer Box, you then discover the various accords that can be added to make it semi-bespoke. All twenty-one of these are available in person at the New York boutique, but only the five recommended by the perfumer are included in the appropriately named Tinker Box. However, you do have the option to request a specific accord if one takes your fancy. Once you’ve selected the perfect pairing, or just the core scent, your customised fragrance is blended for you. My final choice was Ashton by Harry Fremont, but what did I plump for as a fragranced extra?

opens with a mouth-watering blend of bergamot and lemon but, very quickly, a delicate aquatic touch comes through courtesy of the white tea aroma. This is joined by an aromatic cardamom note which, alongside a hint of dewy rose, lands on a bed of sweetened cedarwood and delicate amber. The accord I chose was “lavender, pepper, and patchouli”. With this added, the former provides more body to the aromatic note in the centre, the pepper gives spiciness to the opening, and the patchouli boosts that amber quality. This means that Ashton leaves the refreshing aquatic style for a decidedly more resinous territory.

The core fragrances cost $20 for 10ml and $50 for 50ml, or customised they cost $28 for 10ml and $78 for 50ml, and are available from the Olfactory NYC website at The Explorer Box costs $18, which is then redeemable against the $20 Tinker Box. The Tinker Box then comes with a $20 credit that can be used against the price of a full sized fragrance. The fragrances are currently only available in America. [Samples provided by Olfactory NYC]

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