I am happy to admit that I am quite sensitive to smells.I would venture to guess that most people drawn into collecting or making fragrances probably are.This is both a blessing and a curse.While I may notice a particular scent more readily than someone else, I’m also more prone to be irritated by something you may not be aware of at all.I am speaking very generally here, of course.
When I did Felix Navidad, I spoke quite openly about my dislike of lavender.Panda still wears him, she was after all the motivator for his creation. When she does, I ask her (kindly) to stay away from me.I wonder sometimes what lavender ever did to me?Is it just a scent I can’t stomach?Is there some ancient programming in my DNA that warns me away?Or do I have, what we throw around so easily now, an allergy to it?In the case of vetiver, I do think something in me greater than just dislike is at work.For when a scent contains the grass, my nose interprets the note as pain.It’s the scent equivalent of an opera singer belting the highest note possible at a siren’s blare. It’s deafening.Or whatever you say about something that drowns out every other scent around it.(If anyone knows if there’s a word for that, email me.)
Why I tell you about my poor sensitivity is that doing a “green” (the olfactory categorization, not an earth-friendly) scent, vetiver is usually a perfumer’s first choice.It’s rich, long-lasting, incredibly fresh and appealing to most, and best of all, rather inexpensive.It imparts a crisp, grassy note that is like breaking the stem of rooted plant.Voila, green!However, I was not about to bring the dreaded stuff into my lab.No doubt, I’d spill it all over myself, or the room, and never be rid of it.So, where does one go next?
I looked into using galbanum, a fragrant plant resin which has been around since biblical times, but to me, it smells like someone just cut a green bell pepper.I admit I’ve given up trying to figure out what people want, but I’d bet, it’s not to smell like a bell pepper.To get the note I was looking for, I had to dive into the wide range of aromachemical alternatives.The finished Brussels is a botanical, green scent tempered with wood and wet earth.It’s has the high-pitched snap of plants contrasted with the softness of Himalayan cedar and light, green musk.It’s absolutely gorgeous on rainy days; I wore it for a week straight when it was pouring here.If you haven’t gotten around to trying him, don’t worry, he’s made the cut and will be debuting in our line of sprays next week.
ps - If you had been wondering what our picture on the site was, it's the Atomium (pictured above), made out of Brussels sprouts.