Truant’s Report: Rochas Femme, Sissel Tolaas, Milestones & Luca Turin’s New Perfume Blog


I’ve been unwell, dear readers, really not myself at all lately. I lost my mojo due to a flare up of chronic illness, and haven’t had much energy to write. But I’m getting back on the horse and I’m not going to fall off again. I’ve been a truant from Perfume Polytechnic but now I’m back and making up for missed lessons. Here is a little update on my recent smelly adventures and discoveries…

Rochas Femme Where Have You Been All My Life?

While I’m an eager beaver when it comes to perfume, and though I try to smell most of what I can lay my nose on — with the exception of many recent commercial releases, which I often find uninteresting — I still haven’t smelt every perfume out there, including some of the classics. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what I’ve smelt and how it smelt, unless I make notes about it. I might have smelt a fragrance once in a discount chemist somewhere, or at a friend’s house, and then swiftly forgotten what it was like. Unless one has a vast scent library, it can be hard to keep track of things.

I have only been on this olfactory adventure for a little over three years, and I live in Australia, a rather isolated island, where it seems impossible to find and sample certain perfumes. Here, you take what you can get, what you can find, and what friends can share with you. It can be a patchy self-education, but I try my best. My nose is maturing and developing with all of the wonderful indie perfumes I’ve been sent to review and I find I’m more open-minded (open-nosed?) than ever before. But it’s still only a fraction of what’s out there…

Despite these limitations, I estimate that I have nevertheless smelt at least a thousand perfumes by now. I haven’t kept track. Even though this is only a small percentage of what’s ever been produced, it’s getting to the point now where not much surprises my nose, and when it does, or when I instantly adore something, it’s a good and surprising thing. It reminds me of the early days, when I first decided to study perfume, and every single fragrance smelt new and exciting to me, because I had experienced so little at that stage.

Tastes change also, so what didn’t appeal a year or two ago might now be the instant love of my life. As is the case with my recent rediscovery of Rochas Femme, in one of those family-run chemists that stocks odd and interesting bottles of perfume, heavily discounted, in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Rochas Femme was ubiquitous at various discount chemists a couple of years back, and I did try it then, but it didn’t grab me. Was it too vintage-smelling, too mature, too animalic? These are the reasons why I love it now, but a couple of years ago, I don’t think my nose was ready for those qualities.

Continue reading

Smell and Sound 1: A Scented Opera. Perfumer Sarah McCartney scents Handel’s Acis and Galatea

Smell and Sound is a new series on Perfume Polytechnic, exploring the relationship between smell and sound, including multi-sensory projects created in this field. As a classically trained musician and composer who is also a perfume enthusiast and a synaesthete, I am interested to explore the junctions and interconnections between the senses of hearing and smell, and between the art forms of music and scent. Multi-sensory art that engages people in new, corporeal ways is being embraced by artists, perfumers, and even multi-national companies. People are interested more and more in the interconnectedness of things, including creative modalities. As a composer and olfactory blogger, a creative cook, felter, knitter and textile addict, I am often looking for new ways to combine my creative skills. This series is a result of my personal research and will inform my own creative practice in the months and years to come. As always on Perfume Polytechnic, I want to share what I learn with you. I hope you find this topic as fascinating as I do.

Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays

Sarah McCartney

Sarah McCartney

Perfumer, author and classically-trained musician Sarah McCartney is no stranger to multi-sensory work that involves scent. The 4160Tuesdays perfumer has worked with BitterSweet, an organisation that hosts multi-sensory classical music concerts. For one concert that Sarah was involved in, the Phaedrus ensemble played Debussy’s String Quartet in G in a multi-sensory performance involving touch, movement, taste, smell (Sarah’s scents) and sound. This video featuring snippets of the performance and the audience’s reaction is fun, uplifting and moving. Please spend a few minutes watching it:

Sarah has also worked with poet Claire Trévien to scent her one-woman show The Shipwrecked House. Sarah created the scent of a house and the sea for the show and you can read here about some of the creative processes she used while making the scents for The Shipwrecked House.

Sarah has worked on other multi-sensory arts projects as well, and you can read about them all over at the 4160Tuesdays website.

A Scented Opera: Handel’s Acis and Galatea


A drawing of Covent Garden (the Royal Opera House) in London. Created in 1808, just before the building burnt down and got rebuilt. This is how an 18th Century opera house looked. Public domain.

Last Monday, November 2, perfumer Sarah McCartney scented a performance of Baroque composer George Frideric Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea at St John’s Smith Square. This might seem an odd concept to modern-day opera-goers, who are used to sanitised spaces often scented with little more than the pleasant perfumes of patrons. However, it’s important to remember that going to the opera in Handel’s day was a smelly business: accidentally, because of the repulsive smells that abounded in Handel’s pre-sanitised 18th Century London, and intentionally: pleasant smells and fragrances were used to mask and detract from the repulsive smells of everyday life and the unwashed.

Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays says:

“A few years ago I read about the way early music was scented and wanted to give it a try, bearing in mind that people’s exposure to smell has changed completely over the last 150 years.

 In Handel’s time scents abounded – from animals, lack of public hygiene, both personal and civic, and from expensive perfumes used by wealthy individuals and establishments, including the church.

An opera would have been intensely scented, both accidentally and on purpose.

Posies drowned out the stench of the street; dried flowers and incense created a suitable atmosphere, the wealthy powdered their hair and clothes with costly iris root, and kept deterred fleas and moths with patchouli.

People generally assume that naturals are safer, but in fact it’s the other way round.

For this project I’m using pure synthetics to avoid even the slightest possibility of any kind of allergic reaction.

Rather than aiming for an authentic 18th century fragrance – which 21st Century audiences would find completely intolerable – I have created three light background scents to alter the mood, literally changing the atmosphere.”

Source: St John’s Smith Square website

If you want to read more about the opera and how Sarah’s scents were received by the audience, have a read of Sarah’s fascinating blog post Greek Gods & Monsters. It’s so comprehensive and interesting that I decided to link to her post rather than write anything else about the project myself.

Sarah was also interviewed on BBC Radio 3 about the project, and you can listen to the broadcast online (and download it if you’re in the UK) for a limited period. The broadcast expires on Saturday the 28th November, so get your skates on! You can hear extracts from Handel’s opera as well as listen to Sarah and musicians from the performance speak about the project. Click here to access the broadcast, and listen from the start of the program.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Sarah McCartney’s multi-sensory work as a perfumer and finding out about her recent, scented version of Handel’s’ Opera Acis and Galatea. Stay tuned for more interesting posts in the new Smell and Sound series, which I will publish regularly over the next few months.

Giverny Blooms at Denver Art Museum: Scent Experience by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz at “In Bloom: Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism”


Spring blooms

It’s been a long, cold Winter here in rural, South-Eastern Australia, but spring is finally here. The fruit trees have blossomed, the canola fields are neon yellow, pretty bulbs have come and gone: tulips, daffodils and irises. The rose bush is now in bud, and my pot of carnations promises flowers soon. Lavender flowers have emerged a deep shade of purple after dying off over Winter. The grass is green and needs constant mowing, the sun is plentiful, encouraging weeds to shoot up rapidly. I’ve spent a lot of time in the garden recently, fingers in the dirt, smelling the cut grass, the uprooted weeds and the flowers. It seems like an appropriate time to embrace floral perfumes again: they mimic my real-life experience of Spring, which promises vibrant new life, energy and growth.

When I travelled to Europe in March 1999, I spent some time in France, on the cusp of Spring. I was keen to visit painter Claude Monet’s famous garden at Giverny near Paris, but was mortified to find out, once in Paris, that the garden didn’t open until the 1st of April. As I had plans to be in Provence before then I sadly had to forgo my visit to Giverny.

Giverny in Bloom: a Scent Experience


The Iris Garden at Giverny by Claude Monet (1900). Public Domain.

Sixteen years later, perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has given me the chance to experience an olfactory visit to these gardens with her fragrance collection Giverny in Bloom. Giverny in Bloom was created for the Denver Art Museum’s In Bloom: Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism exhibition, which has been running throughout the American Summer and finishes this coming Sunday, 11 October. The exhibition showcases floral, still-life paintings by 19th Century French Impressionist painters, including Manet, Degas, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. For anyone living in or near Denver who is interested in olfaction, you still have a chance to visit and experience the special scent experience that Dawn has created for this exhibition. The Giverny in Bloom collection is also available to purchase from the DSH website, so if you can’t experience the scents in the context of the exhibition, you can still enjoy them at home.

Dawn is a perfumer, painter and synaesthete and has collaborated with a range of other artists and with the Denver Art Museum many times before. The Giverny in Bloom scent experience takes place in its own room at the In Bloom exhibition. The room features a panoramic photograph of Claude Monet in his famous garden, and the scents designed by Dawn are dispersed into the space with specially-designed diffusers. Dawn’s scents were inspired by the flowers and plants found in Monet’s garden at Giverny, with a focus on Spring and early Summer flowers, as well as paintings by Monet of Giverny, and floral artworks by other painters in the exhibition. The scents and their placement in the space are intended to convey the impression of being in a garden, moving from one fragrant flower bed or garden space to another, through the use of three separate accords. Each of these fragrance accords is linked to colour.

“Le Jardin Vert” (The Green Garden): a refreshing, slightly cleansing blend of green leaves, trees, and moist earth scent. This aroma of fresh cut leaves and soil greets the visitor and gives its last breath to you as you leave the garden room.

“La Danse des Bleus et des Violettes” (The Dance of Blues and Violets): a lighter, mildly watery interpretation of violets, heliotrope, irises, and lilacs.

“L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses” (The Opera of Red and Pinks): a dramatic, heady scent dominated by old roses, red and pink, peonies, red geraniums, and carnations.

Source: Denver Art Museum website

Dawn has also created a fourth scent from a combination of these three accords, resulting in a highly complex garden fragrance called Giverny in Bloom. Dawn describes this fragrance as:

“An impressionist style perfume of green budding trees, wet dewy flowers and soil, that transforms to a rich floral bouquet as it wears.”

Source: DSH Perfumes website


Water Lily Pond at Giverny by Claude Monet (1900). Public Domain.

She says of her inspiration for the scents:

“The inspiration for Giverny in Bloom is not only taken from actual information about Monet’s garden but also from the flowers found in the paintings of the exhibit. This ties the scent experience to more than the Monet paintings in the show. Before leaving the scent experience visitors are invited to take a scratch and sniff card of “Giverny in Bloom” as a memento but as well as to bring the multi-sensory aspect of the olfactory art with them to enhance their interaction with the remainder of the exhibit.”

Source: DSH Perfumes’ Press Release

Dawn also drew upon Impressionist creative concepts when making Giverny in Bloom:

“I intended for the designs to not only reflect the flowers in the paintings, but also to give a sense of what impressionism entails,” Dawn said. “A ‘plein air’ feeling, a kind of lightness and airiness that I feel is found in many impressionist paintings, much like the fleeting delight of walking through a flower garden in full bloom.”

Sourced: Denver Art Museum website

Giverny in Bloom Micro-Reviews


Claude Monet in his Garden at Giverny, 1921.

As well as including Dawn’s descriptions of the Giverny in Bloom scents (see above), I also want to share my own impressions of the scents with you. I’ve written some quick sketches, or micro-reviews of each of the four scents below.

Le Jardin Vert (The Green Garden)

Dirty. I smell the realistic scent of freshly dug earth, sweet grass and green leaves. A garden waiting to be planted: empty beds in a manicured garden bordered with neatly clipped lawns, waiting for flowers. Like the inside of a flower shop, which, oddly, these days, rarely smell of fragrant flowers and more like cut stems, greenery and water.

L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses (The Opera of Red and Pinks)

Rich and vibrating with excitement and intense energy. The rose is crisp and tart and the clove-like, peppery carnation adds a spicy undertone that makes the fragrance shimmer even more. This is a deeply exuberant scent and it literally took my breath away when I first sniffed it. My favourite of the collection.

La Danse des Bleus et des Violettes (The Dance of Blues and Violets)

Soft and comforting and old-fashioned with notes of Victorian violet, iris and heliotropin dominating. I’m reminded of Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, though this is softer and as it develops, watery notes emerge and take over. This is a watercolour-soft fragrance. It’s delicate, realistic and pretty.

Giverny in Bloom

A realistic, interesting and complex scent – just like that of a real garden. At first I smell mostly the green, dirty, watery and softer floral notes (the blues and violets), but as the fragrance warms and settles, the sweeter, richer red and pink flowers emerge. The smell of dirt remains subtly throughout, which reminds me that I’m smelling the scent of a garden, not just a bouquet of flowers.


It’s been a delight to be able to experience Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Giverny in Bloom collection, particularly at the height of Spring in Australia, when smelling these lovely floral and garden-inspired accords and fragrances seems particularly apt. As a veteran collaborator with other artists and galleries, and as a synaesthete, perfumer and visual artist herself, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is the perfect fit for this scent collaboration. I wish I could visit Dawn’s special scent room and experience the In Bloom exhibition in its entirety, but having the fragrances to smell will have to suffice. These beautiful garden scents transport me in my imagination to Monet’s garden at Giverny, a place I’ve wanted to visit for many years.

Exhibition Details & Where to Buy Giverny in Bloom

In Bloom: Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism is on at the Denver Art Museum until Sunday October 11, 2015. Visit the Denver Art Museum website for further information.


Giverny in Bloom Discovery Set

The Giverny in Bloom collection can be purchased at the DSH Perfumes website. You can buy the Sample Pack (4 x 1ml) for $24 USD or a Discovery Set (4 x 3ml) for $48 USD here. A coffret of four mini flasks can be purchased for $70 USD here. You can also purchase the individual fragrances from the collection in a range of different sizes here.

You can read more about Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and her work as a perfumer and artist over at her website.

Find out more about Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny at the Fondation Claude Monet website.

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer

Warmest thanks to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz for generously providing me with a discovery set of the Giverny in Bloom collection for this blog post and review.

Design Age: Dulux Colour Forecast 2016 With Room Fragrances by Fleurage


Dulux Design Age Colour Forecast 2016 launch. Infinite Worlds colour palette display room.

What do certain colours smell like, taste like, feel like? Do colours trigger emotional associations, and do they suggest certain forms and shapes, the use of certain materials and the creation of certain kinds of objects? What of other times and worlds? Can these be denoted or expressed with certain colours? All of these questions were opened up, explored and experienced at the Dulux Australia Colour Forecast 2016 launch last Tuesday evening, September 1, at Meizai in Richmond, Melbourne.

The new Dulux colour trend collection is titled “Design Age”, and features four colour palettes, all with evocative names: Bio Fragility, Infinite Worlds, Future Past and Retro Remix. I’ve not been to a product launch of this kind before, and was thrilled when perfumer Emma Leah, of Fleurage in Melbourne, invited me to this cross-sensory event, which featured artisanal objects by local makers and designers, all influenced by Dulux’s new interior paint palettes and the creative concepts behind them. Emma designed a room scent for each colour palette, and textiles by Elise Cakebread, ceramics by Porcelain Bear and furniture by Grazia+Co were also featured.

As Perfume Polytechnic is interested in exploring the art of olfaction in all forms, including synaesthesia and multi- or cross-sensory events and art that features scent, I’m very excited to share my experience of this immersive, hyper-sensory event with you.

The launch began with champagne and canapés on the ground floor of the Meizai furniture showroom, which gave me time to talk with Emma Leah about her involvement in the project, the colour palettes, the concepts behind them, and how she incorporated these ideas into room fragrances. After an official welcome, we were each handed a Dulux paint colour swatch from one of the palettes, and divided into groups according to colour. Each group was then guided separately through the four Design Age room displays on the top level of the showroom.

Each of the palettes was displayed in a unique room, specially created for the launch, with wall paint in a number of colours from the designated palette. Each of the designers had their work featured in one room, although Emma had created room scents for each palette, all of which we experienced at the launch. Emma’s main focus however was on the room scent for the Future Past theme and her scent was the feature design object for this room and colour palette.

What transpired during our tour was a cross-sensory delight, an intense experience of interrelated tastes, colours, scents, furnishings, decorations, and specially designed artisanal objects. As we were led into each room, we were offered specially designed gourmet canapés and mini-cocktails by Peter Rowland catering that also drew on the theme of the room’s palette for inspiration. Emma’s scents had been sprayed into the air of each room, adding an olfactory element not often considered or experienced in designed spaces, and the scent component was a welcome counterpoint and addition to the otherwise very visual displays.

Room One: Bio Fragility


Dulux Design Age display room: Bio Fragility

“Fragile life is the embodiment of beauty…

We marvel in the intricacy of creation and its duality of fragility and strength…

Bio Fragility takes its colour cues from natural and living matter – flesh tones, lichen, moss and stone influence the subtle hues of the palette which are derived from chalky brittle elements rather than soft textures.”

(Source: Design Age Dulux Colour Forecast 2016 launch brochure)

Canapé: Mushroom macaron
Cocktail: Elderflower martini
Featured Designer: Porcelain Bear – “Porcelena Bowl” and small vessels

Upon walking into the Bio Fragility room, we were surrounded by muted pastel paint shades, furniture, decorative objects, and softly chiming, Eno-esque electronic music punctuated by tinkly and percussive sounds, which was replicated in each of the rooms. The mushroom macaron was a surprisingly stunning canapé. It matched two of the paint colours (the pale pink “frock” and the mushroom-coloured “mangaweka”), and provided a fascinating taste combination of a sweet exterior with a pungent and savoury mushroom filling. The crunchy yet brittle macaron gave way to a gooey filling, perfectly demonstrating the duality of strength and fragility in this design concept. The elderflower martini was delicate and sweet, but not too sweet, just like the colours in the room.

Room Scent by Emma Leah

Emma spoke to me about this colour palette and the concepts behind it – that Bio Fragility was “pastel” and delicate, but that the concept didn’t allude to softness or cuddliness, as pastels often do. Rather, the theme was more about hard and fragile surfaces, such as chalk and porcelain that easily shatters, hence the bowl by Porcelain Bear as the feature object in this room, as well as shattered ceramics as a room decoration. She says of this colour trend and her scent: “powdered pearls are a high quality abrasive exfoliant that shines and sparkles like fairy dust, and struck me as the perfect representation of what this trend captures. The scent is smooth and elegant but cool. It is alluring but what we call a hard scent. Nonintrusive but present and affecting.”

Notes used in the Bio Fragility scent and related colours from the palette*:

white musk (great star), rose musk (chamber), baby powder (chain pearl), coconut (snow queen), smoke (silkwort), anise (purebred), lilacs (partita)

*note – to refer to the full colour palettes, see the link at the bottom of this post

How does it smell?

The baby powder dominates and is soothing and familiar, and there is musk and a hint of coconut. It’s a very pretty fragrance, and it certainly smells fragile in a powdery way, a little like broken chalk, or, as Emma says, powdered pearls. It aligns superbly with the colours from the palette that were chosen for the walls, which included a muted pink (frock), a pale mossy green (fibre moss), a pale lavender (atelier) and a soft mushroom (mangaweka).

Room Two: Infinite Worlds


Dulux Design Age display room: Infinite Worlds

“As the world becomes overcrowded we explore the innovative possibilities of unknown worlds…

Our fascination with the deep ocean and infinite space inspires visions of creatures glowing with phosphorescent light against dark coloured backdrops and celestial objects such as planets, moons, exploding stars and vast nebular clouds.

Dark colours… juxtaposed with flashes of brilliant reds, pinks, coral and space age metallics. Glowing hues are used as accents to help recreate the eerie effect of deep uncharted worlds.”

(Source: Design Age Dulux Colour Forecast 2016 launch brochure)

Cocktail: Homemade lemonade cocktail
Featured Designer: Elise Cakebread – hanging soft hemispheres and pile high club floor cushion

Infinite Worlds is an entirely different colour palette to the previous one. We walk into a room filled with deeply soothing dark and pale blues, with pops of brighter reds and oranges. The room and its contents nod back to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust of the 1970s while at the same time hinting at the future, and unknown worlds on planets far away. Futuristic textile hanging orbs and a floor cushion by Elise Cakebread are the featured design items in this room and they add a whimsical, organic element to the otherwise mostly hard and smooth textures in the room. The cocktail for this design concept is a homemade lemonade cocktail in a sci-fi shade of aqua.

Room Scent by Emma Leah

Emma Leah in the Infinite Worlds room

Perfumer Emma Leah in the Infinite Worlds room

Emma says of this scent: “To me this is a burst of star dust – a soft metallic scent with a watery fruit note, gentle but present, cool and ethereal, gender neutral but a drifting prettiness to its feel. It flows and reveals itself smoothly.”

Notes used in the Infinite Worlds scent and related colours from the palette:

blackberry (purple verbena), melon (melon baby), pomegranate (lickety lick), metallic (thebe touch), white musk, ocean salt (lake tekapo), velvet rose (jupiter jazz)

How does it smell?

Emma’s Infinite Worlds scent is full of fruit; at first my nose struggles to identify what the fruit is and I think I’m smelling something sharp and citrussy, but then melon, blackberry and pomegranate emerge quite clearly. A sweet rose compliments and blends with the luscious fruit notes. Most of these fruity and sweeter notes represent the warmer, brighter and metallic tones in the palette, literally popping out with sweetness and brightness from the fragrance. They seem to float on a salty ocean surface, with an ocean salt note reflecting the oceanic blues of the colour palette and a metallic, slightly smoky note in the background providing further interest and a hint of sci-fi.

Room Three: Future Past


Dulux Design Age room display: Future Past

“As we move towards the future we look to reassurances from our past.

Our reality is one of a digital world where we seek comfort in nostalgic references that ground us in times of uncertainty… We are drawn to contemporary designs that evoke reassuring memories and fuse modern with heritage and classicism… This theme takes its cues from Steampunk references merging with modern design to create a new version of the old…

Deep and decadent traditional hues are made modern with the addition of mustard, pink and purple. The scents of tobacco and leather are reminiscent of an 18th century explorer’s lounge, evoking visions of luxurious browns and rich timbers.”

(Source: Design Age Dulux Colour Forecast 2016 launch brochure)

Canapé: Roast duck tasting spoon
Cocktail: Mulled wine
Featured designer: Emma Leah – Future Past room fragrance

The Future Past room revisits old worlds and is reminiscent of times past, merging colours, materials and styles from the Victorian era and pre-WWII decades with clean and modern design elements. Shades of brown, grey and lime green dominate. Gorgeous brass lamps, wooden and leather furniture, and a shelf display featuring old-fashioned perfume bottles fill the room. A modern take on a Persian rug, in mottled shades featuring lime and musky pink, dominates the visual space. The surfaces in the room are mostly hard and sturdy, yet the ambience is warm and inviting. The rich red colour and spicy flavour of a small glass of hot mulled wine and an exquisite roast duck tasting spoon, complete with pate and dried kale garnish, expresses the opulence and vintage feel of this colour palette perfectly.

Room Scent by Emma Leah

Emma says her featured room scent for the Future Past theme is “complex and rich but smooth and elegant. Bold and dark with definite presence, I have woven a delicate floral through a complex mossy wood with era-specific hints of unusual notes like hay, tobacco and leather that deserve exploration like the colour palette of this trend.”

Notes used in the Future Past scent and related colours from the palette:

moss (highlander), green wood (emerald forest), violets (passionate blue), honeysuckle (army canvas), lilac (purple people eater), leather (loose leather), bergamot (pickled), coriander (vintage green) and a hint of cherry (ripening grape)

How does it smell?

Emma’s feature scent for the Future Past theme is rich and opulent. It’s a beautiful and complex chypre, with an opening of fresh green notes, well-blended old-fashioned, sweet and powdery florals (including a wonderful violet), and a touch of leather and cherry to make things really interesting. It’s refined yet plush, and is a sexy, feminine fragrance. It reflects the bygone eras that the Dulux palette alludes to and yet is perfectly suited to the modern era at the same time. As Emma is a vintage perfume expert and specialises in vintage perfume making techniques, I can’t think of a better choice of perfumer to design a fragrance for this theme, mixing old and new.

Room Four: Retro Remix


Dulux Design Age room display: Retro Remix

“A new retro is formed — mixing together iconic elements from across the mid to late century…

Less of a nostalgic trend this theme explores a more youthful expression, with new generations discovering these influences for the first time and creating their own remixed style…

Experimentation in colour combinations leads to acid brights clashing with faded, muddied colours such as browns and olive greens. The colours are happy and nonconformist, optimistic and energetic.”

(Source: Design Age Dulux Colour Forecast 2016 launch brochure)

Canapé: Banana split
Cocktail: Brandy Alexander
Featured designer: Grazia+Co – David ottomans and Bowie side table

Retro Remix blends colours and styles from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. It’s an unusual juxtaposition, and one that I personally find a little jarring. Bright, clear, pop colours of the 60s and 80s co-exist alongside more muted, nature-inspired colours from the 70s. The furniture and room decorations are clean and sparse, with a nod to the modernist and slightly futuristic pieces of the 60s and 70s. The Brandy Alexander cocktail is a delicious nod to the 1970s and the miniature Banana Split is a classic, fun retro dessert, suiting the vibe of this playful palette.

Room Scent by Emma Leah

Emma says of this theme: “Fizzy pop is what jumped out as I looked this over and my symbol of the seventies is pineapple! A lively, playful, interesting fruit that went with everything I have taken it as the cornerstone but not dominating. Instead what results is a fresh fun combination that pops with green grass, subtle woods and herbaceous greens.” Emma also said to me at the launch that when she created this scent she imagined summers from the 1970s and drinking fizzy pineapple drinks while sitting on grass. We also spoke about the use of pine in her scent, which was a ubiquitous fragrance ingredient of the 1970s.

Notes used in the Retro Remix scent and related colours from the palette:

grass (grass court), sandalwood (tuk tuk), green fern (green olive) , traditional musk (titi islands), pineapple (brassed off)

How does it smell?

Realistic, fresh, crisp and green grass and pine notes open this fragrance. As it develops the pineapple emerges, and the fragrance takes on a more tropical feel. I feel transported back in time to my early childhood in the 1970s when I smell this fragrance and reminisce about pineapple flavoured ice blocks and my Dad’s Pino Silvestre. Pineapple was king during this era, and while it is strong in this fragrance, it’s not sickly sweet or fake smelling. The sandalwood is gorgeously sweet and creamy and the musk blends in well, adding an airy, light and sophisticated aura to the composition. This room fragrance certainly matches the fun vibe of the Retro Remix palette, but displays an extra air of elegance thanks to the green notes and musk.

Gift bags

Gift bag contents

Gift bag contents

At the end of the evening we were each presented with a gift bag containing a range of goodies including a bottle of one of Emma’s room scents and a full colour brochure of the Dulux Design Age Colour Forecast for 2016. Lucky me – I managed to score three bottles of scent (from various bags) and one of Emma’s samples, so I can enjoy all of her specially commissioned fragrances at home now too.


The Dulux Colour Forecast 2016 launch event was a fun, engaging and creative night. I was pleasantly surprised at the degree of cross-sensory thought that had gone into the production of the room displays, the works by the various makers and designers, and the food and drink. As an artist and synaesthete myself I have worked in cross-sensory ways for a long time. In fact, I think it’s a core aspect of how many creative people think, in ways that recognise the connections between life and art, between the various senses and art forms, and by finding creative equivalences between one art form and another. It’s a method of working and thinking about the world that appeals to me, and this is why I thoroughly enjoyed the event.

The colour trends themselves were really fascinating, distinct from one another, and broad-ranging. A nod to the past and an almost nostalgic longing for the pre-digital age was a theme that traversed several of the palettes, as well as the influence of natural elements, from worlds both real and imagined, contemporary, and into the future.

I’m really thrilled that a global company like Dulux has taken this cross-sensory and very intimate approach to launch and promote its new colour range. The event was smoothly organised and felt personal, special and unique. All of my senses were fully engaged and stimulated throughout the evening.

Scent helps to create specific and complex moods in architectural and designed spaces and can be tailored to match certain colours, design concepts and themes. It was wonderful to experience Emma’s room scents in each of the spaces, and exciting to witness scent being used as a design element, featured equally alongside the visual design objects. I do hope this is a trend that we see much more of in the future.

Dulux has produced a short video about each of the designers involved in the launch:

To explore each of the colour trends further and to view the full colour palette for each of them, visit the Dulux Australia website.

To find out more about perfumer Emma Leah, visit the Fleurage website, and read my interview with Emma, right here on Perfume Polytechnic.

RE_VELACIÓN: To Reveal or to Re-veil. What will you choose? A new artistic performance by Angelo Orazio Pregoni


Angelo Orazio Pregoni performs Re_Velación


(*Warning NSFW: Some images are not safe for work as they contain nudity)

On the 25th June, artist and perfumer Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driu Perfumes performed Re_Velación at Mutuo Centro de Arte in Barcelona, a performance piece based on the “concepts and central figures of biblical symbolism related to the number 4”. The performance involved the use of four fragrances created specifically for the event: 1. Mors et Justitia (Death and Justice), 2. Fames et Prudentia (Famine and Prudence), 3. Bellum et Vigor (War and Fortitude) and 4. Strages et Moderatio (Violence and Temperance).

Today’s post presents the press release for the event, some program notes about Re_Velación, and photographs of the performance. In the comments section below, Angelo and I will discuss the performance, how it was received by the audience, and some of the main artistic concepts behind Re_Velación.



Press Release


To Reveal or to Re-veil. What will you choose?

A new artistic performance by Angelo Orazio Pregoni

Mutuo Centro de Arte – Carrer de Julià Portet, 5, Bajos 1 y 2, 08004 Barcelona

2015 June 25th – 7.00 p.m.

Milan, May 11th, 2015 – To Reveal or to Re-Veil? Removing the bandage or putting it back on the eyes? The shocking nudity of truth about ourselves, or the reassuring guise of fiction? What will they choose those who will be able to go all the way in RE_VELACIÓN, provocative art performance by Angelo Orazio Pregoni, at Mutuo Centro de Arte in Barcelona, last June 25th? Above all, will the participants accept the consequences of the choice the Italian iconoclastic Nose and contemporary artist will ask them to accomplish – up to compromise with their own sense of ethics, if necessary – in the course of this unique artistic experience?

Indeed in Fluxus style, Pregoni doesn’t limit himself to stage a performance, but makes the attendees part of the artwork and builds it with themselves, with their reactions – curiosity or anxiety? – their feelings – excitement or discomfort? –, challenging them to make a decision free from social and cultural conditioning totally. The artist will ask to participants to give up their rational part and to resort only to the senses, thus relying on instinct, that part of them communicating with the subconscious and its truth directly. The discovery of how far are these two spheres could change all certainties about themselves, putting them in front of a revelation they might not like.

Author of other provocative and surprising Fluxus performances – from Milan to London, Naples, Florence, Amsterdam – Angelo Orazio Pregoni, brilliant perfume maker and unconventional contemporary artist, finally arrives in Barcelona with a project tailored to the charming Catalan city and its fascinating history. Once more, the intent is to investigate individual identity and its complex relationship with the contemporary world and its codes, always the centre of Pregoni’s artistic activity. On this occasion, the attention of the Nose and performer moves from the profane mass languages to one much more ancestral, but still social and cultural: Religion.

RE_VELACIÓN is an original rite conceived to lead participants, through an unprecedented experience of choice unrelated to the rational sphere, to a revelation about themselves and reality.

It is assumed that in our times we don’t make real choices, so, if we were faced with some events very frequent in the past – wars, famines, violence and deaths, signs of impending Apocalypse according to the religious authority – we would enter into conflict with our own ethics, remaining paralyzed or being forced to violate what we consciously know as Right.

The scent – as in all the performances of the Italian Nose – is the favourite means by which we can enter into a relationship with the art: in RE_VELACIÓN, the scent goes back to its origins in rituals, becoming the leading sensory door towards the Holy and, at same time, to the Unconscious, beyond the threshold of rational consciousness, and presenting itself as the only means through which we can make a really free, individual choice. A true one.

Angelo Orazio Pregoni has therefore made four new fragrances ad hoc for this performance, in the unmistakable, extraordinary O’DRIÙ style. Conceived as access keys to the artwork, these perfumes are real experiences that you can live only during RE_VELACIÓN and that will guide you, through your nose, to enjoy the performance.

And you, what will you choose? Revealing or Re-Veiling?


By Angelo Orazio Pregoni

2015 June 25th – 7.00 p.m.

Mutuo Centro de Arte – Carrer de Julià Portet, 5, Bajos 1 y 2, 08004 Barcelona


For information:

+39 02 58100564

2angeloProgram Notes

an artistic performance
by Angelo Orazio Pregoni


The performance focuses on concepts and central figures of biblical symbolism related to the number 4, so important as they became part of mass culture (Pop culture):

The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Death, Famine, War, Violence
The Four Cardinal Virtues
Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance
The performance starts asking everyone present an ethical question:

What are you willing to do to save the world (from Apocalypse)?

The four doors that lead to the background are “closed” by towels, so that the space behind them it is not visible. This way, people think that the those doors lead to 4 different rooms.
In reality, as we know, over the openings there is a single space.
Here, on the floor, it will be located a long bed.
The environment beyond the four doors will be dark fully.
The participants will put up on the bed, always blindfolded, until the lights are turned on again, then will be asked to remove the blindfold. At this point, they will discover to be surrounded by people completely naked, lying next to them.
The performance will be filmed and photographed.

1. Sacrificing the lives of those you love
The answer is directly related to the Knight of Apocalypse identified as Death and is characterized, as the horse of the same Knight, for the greenish colour.
The Cardinal Virtue associated to this option is Justice, the devotion to God and His Right Order, in whose name you are ready to make a sacrifice not of yourself, but of someone else, even without understanding the meaning superhuman at all.
Mors et Justitia

2. Reject your ideas forever
The answer refers to the Knight of Apocalypse identified as Famine and is characterized, as the horse of the same Knight, for the black colour.
The Cardinal Virtue related to this option is Prudence, which is nothing but loyalty to God’s wisdom rather than our own, in whose name we evaluate and confront the events and carry out appropriate actions waiving our own ego.
Fames et Prudentia

3. Wage war against all
Knight of Apocalypse joined to this response is identified as War, whose horse is white.
The Cardinal Virtue called into question is the Fortitude, which is not passive resistance, but deployment of our power against all the others.
Bellum et Vigor

4. Abstain from your loved ones until the end
The answer is inspired by Knight of Apocalypse identified as Violence, for which it is characterized by the red colour, just like the horse of that biblical figure.
The Cardinal Virtue for this answer is Temperance, understood as the right measure, the balance in the passions and emotional impulses, attitudes that can subdue even the use of violence as emotional reaction. The cost of this is, however, the almost ascetic giving up feelings: a violence toward ourself.
Strages et Moderatio

Re_Velación is an original rite created to lead participants to a revelation through a really new experience of critical choice. Whatever to choose critically, we must know how to call into question ourself and enter into crisis. In Re_Velación, the aesthetic that is based on the beauty or the presumptions of good leads to the ethical and the two elements meet and mix just like in ancient rituals, through a confrontational orgy of the senses: smell, sight, touch and hearing. Drawing on his own origins, the scent becomes therefore the door to the sensory level of the holy and, at the same time, to our own nature, beyond the threshold of rational consciousness. Religions and their rites in fact born to put the experience of the world in an order, offering a solid and shared reference system that helps an individual to not get lost and to not succumb to the chaos of reality. To do this effectively, the same religions neutralize ethical conflicts and moral contradictions “asking” acts of blind faith that need to put aside their ethics, pursuing dogmatic contents sorted and no longer perceived as chaotic.
One example is Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac to God’s will: he gives up his ideas and surrenders to the will of God.
If we were faced with some possibilities that were very frequent in the past – wars, famines, violence and deaths that religious authorities indicated as signs of impending apocalypse – and requiring a suspension of ethics in favor of survival, as we would choose to behave?
And what if the same Apocalypse was sprouting in these days?

Photos of Re_Velación*

(*Warning NSFW: Some images are not safe for work as they contain nudity)
























Thank you to Angelo Orazio for sharing his Press Release, Program Notes and photographs with me. All material courtesy of Angelo Orazio Pregoni/O’Driú 2015. Please do not reproduce without permission from the artist.

Related material

I’ve interviewed Angelo in the past as part of my Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series, and also in a recent interview, tailor-made to discuss Angelo’s unique work as an artist/perfumer.

You can also read my review (blind-sniff challenge) of some O’Driu perfumes here.

Art, Carnality & Consumerism: A Conversation With Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù Perfumes


Angelo Orazio Pregoni


A few months ago I interviewed Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù Perfumes as part of my Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series, a series in which I interview niche and independent perfumers, asking them the same thirteen questions each time. It’s a very interesting process seeing how each perfumer answers the questions, and the similarities and differences between the answers. Angelo’s answers were the most unusual of all ten interviews to date, and his interview constitutes a work of conceptual art in itself. I recommend reading it with this idea in mind. Since this first interview, Angelo and I have become friends, and we regularly discuss the ideas behind his perfume, his art and what he thinks of the world of perfumery. Today, I bring you a more tailored interview with Angelo, with questions more specific to him and his artistic practice.

In my opinion, perfume can be considered as a product of smell-based art, but it cannot always be considered an artistic artefact. Is a mass-produced perfume created out of a limited range of aroma chemicals, and a very restrictive creative brief based on current trends, art? Or is it just another example of mass-produced pop culture that has little artistic merit and is designed for maximum profit? Sure, art can be profitable, artists can earn a fair sum of money for their work — they usually don’t — but should sales drive “artistic” decisions at perfume houses? Angelo considers and fights against these notions in his work as an artist who makes perfume.

Perfume is just one type of cultural artefact that results from working with the sense of smell and scented materials. Olfactory art, which I define as installations, conceptual art, and performance art (often situated in galleries or performance spaces) that utilise the sense of smell and scented materials, is another kind of smell-based artistic practice. Smell-based art (which includes perfume, but is not limited to perfume), is in its infancy. Thinking of a perfume as an artistic artefact, a “work of art” is a relatively new idea. Perfume has been made for millenia and has long been considered by humans as an aesthetic experience, or as a fashion accessory, a way to make things smell nicer or to cover up smells, to instill and invite moods, to cleanse, to heal.

Angelo Orazio Pregoni is an interesting figure in that he is an artist who makes perfume. He is a contemporary, conceptual artist who uses scented materials (among other elements including performance, video, costume, and the visual arts) as his medium. The concepts behind his perfumes are artistic concepts. As an artist myself I do not find his ideas shocking, but many do. They have plenty of precedents in art history: Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, performance art and happenings, etc. I am excited by Angelo’s ideas and excited that he is translating them into perfume, or using perfume to express one aspect of a complex art project or performance. Angelo’s work straddles the worlds of perfumery, olfactory art and contemporary visual and performance art. It crosses barriers and questions norms and in doing so confuses, amuses and outrages people. Many people still think perfume is something that must be beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, a wearable accessory. They might think that if conceptual ideas are employed in the creation of a perfume, they must be similarly beautiful, pleasing, nostalgic, and understandable. Angelo bravely turns these notions on their head: the concept for a perfume, an artistic perfume, can be anything at all. The concepts behind Angelo’s perfumes and performances usually seek to challenge our notion of what perfumery is and should be. He broadens the very notion of what perfume can be and does us all a favour in the process.

If perfume is to be considered as an artistic artefact, if we want to think of perfume as art, we must redefine it and create a broader definition of what perfume can be, of the sorts of smells it can include and the concepts it can express. We must allow it to be all the things that art is and has been. Art can be difficult, ugly and challenging, as well as beautiful, comprehensible and pleasing.

Keeping this in mind, please allow your curiosity to guide you and come along for the ride! Without any further introduction, let me present a conversation with Angelo Orazio Pregoni: perfumer, artist, iconoclast.

Touch me!

Angelo Orazio Pregoni

A Conversation With Angelo Orazio Pregoni

Your work as an artist and perfumer involves a lot of performances. I just came across the following Fluxus performance piece by Robert Bozzi that involves perfume. What are your thoughts about this piece?

In Memoriam to George Maciunas No. 2

Performers position themselves in a semi-circle. The first performer operates a perfume nebulizer; the second, a throat nebulizer; the third, a fertilizer sprayer; the fourth, an insecticide sprayer. They operate the equipment toward the audience following a pattern determined in advance.


The cultural significance of the Fluxus movement, and even before of Dada, can be considered as an integral part of the conceptual experiences of the twentieth century.

It seems to me that in this age, contamination between different phenomena of art is totally lacking: the music world does not compare itself with that of theatre art and both are more and more closed in themselves. Out of ignorance the public doesn’t want to discover the avant-garde, therefore contemporary art, except rarely, is contaminated with consumerism. The production of films became the surrogate of past creative triumphs or even worse, a reworking of television programs. There is also an excess of photography that comes out like a virus from the current “internet social connection” phenomenon, even though the value of these pictures is equal to zero: the vitality of an era of cross-disciplinary artistic encounters and clashes has disappeared, the spirit of the new way of living, such as “fluxers” in the 1960s, no longer exists. So to judge that Fluxus performance today is very difficult, because you are likely to create an idea of the piece that misrepresents it! Fluxus is the art of simplicity; in those years, the cultural ferment of the young people and some social resentment erupted in various synergistic movements. People used to break the mold and in every Fluxus performance the aim was to generate a reaction from a provocation. Then the artwork was the event itself, pictures and films were only the documentation of that moment of sacred art. If I were to tell you what I think about the performance of Robert Bozzi I would answer you in a Fluxus way: “He was so far ahead that he was creating a new perfume for Narciso Rodriguez!” Perhaps geraniol, a typical smell of insecticides. In that time was not so fashionable, nobody was talking about the ozone hole, but everyone had a clear idea of the concept of social class: and for all those who splashed themselves with expensive perfumes, many others became ill with silicosis working in factories, others were poisoned by chemical agents just to earn a little money-making it possible for their children to study and grow up healthy, others were fighting with their everyday suburban life, flies against flies, in the ghettos of the big towns. You think Robert Bozzi meant this? Also this! Because his performance included that one day an Italian Nose gave his own interpretation of it. So finally Robert Bozzi has only generated a flow, or better, a fluxus…

SMLMe child

Angelo as a child

In your performance SPLASH II FAST POP PERFUME  you make a perfume out of junk food: a Big Mac, Coke, Nutella, etc. What did the resulting perfume smell like and how did people react to the smell?

The result was brilliant! Many of the foods we eat contain chemical fragrances that transform foods into drugs that are addictive! This “cosmetic food” is a subject that fascinates me, considering that we eat “subliminal messages” that are called aromas, indeed! People were incredulous about the resulting perfume; it didn’t have great depth, but it was absolutely pleasant. That scent is a unique piece, and it was bought by a collector for 1800 Euros. Actually he did not buy a perfume, but a two-hour performance, my signature, my videos, articles, and now your question about Splash too! Now that perfume has a much higher value, and it is not so unusual that some of my collectors buy some of my works from other collectors, some at tripled prices.

In a recent discussion on the fragrance database/website Basenotes, you wrote the following:

A Perfumer (as an artist) has the rule to dominate the raw materials, creating a performance that brings his work in contact with the nature, as a new and original creative act. People who use this perfume are a part of his performance, by the interpretation of the fragrance, they can determine the language that the Perfumer creates.”

I like the idea that people who wear your perfume are participating in a performance, a performance that you, the perfumer, started, and that they continue. Tell me more about this. How do we, as wearers of your perfumes, participate in your performances?

Many critics focus their attention only on the ingredients of a perfume. This view is frankly nonsensical, because no one would consider any other work of art based solely on the raw materials used: a painting for the quality of the colours, a sculpture for the quality of marble or wood or whatever… I think this need to focus on raw ingredients depends on a basic misunderstanding that implicitly defines perfumes as belonging to the luxury world! For this reason we continue to see the pompous super-kitsch packaging (often not intentionally kitsch) for the Russian market or for the Middle East. And if that were not enough, there are perfumers who claim to make their own creations using valuable raw materials. This is not artistic perfumery, this is a cheap business created by snob idiots for rich idiots. Perfume, if it is to be considered a work of art, cannot be considered differently from a book, which isn’t valuable in itself, but in its emotional content. However, the words of a book take on meaning only if reworked intimately. And with a perfume? After you put ten drops of pee in your Peety and a man tells you: “What a magnificent scent you have!”, you will understand. When you say to your worst snob enemy (who uses only the Château de la Mer) that you are wearing Pathétique, you will make her fall into the abyss of nonsense. But there is more: just your smile after a splash [of an O’Driù perfume] while you think: “That son of a bitch who is Pregoni!” will change the history of that scent.

Né carne né pesce (2)

Angelo’s performance “Né carne né pesce” at Esxence 2015

You wear some very interesting clothing/costumes in your performances. Who makes them and what role do they play in your performances?

To dress differently, or if you prefer, with an individual style, is something that I have developed since I was a child. My mother was a seamstress and all my clothes were made by her. But my family was poor and unfortunately I had an older sister! So many of her sweaters, pants and coats were passed onto me after a bit of time. No one paid much attention in the 70s, but perhaps this has affected my taste! So in the 80s, I continued to wear recycled clothes that I stole from my father and I cut them and painted them in pure punk style. Indeed, it seems that the freedom to dress oneself with originality is something only women are allowed to do! An exquisitely macist constriction imposes a rigid and conventional standard for men, which ultimately amounts to a “castration” of the psyche and consequently to a weakening of its own charism. Consider that most of my clothes are made by me, and are unique pieces: antique kimono, cut jackets, skirts used as T-shirts! Obviously when I go to the lab I dress very comfortably, but during my performances I have a different need. The people involved in my artistic performances do not know what will happen, and I can not even imagine their reaction. Suppose a Dutchman who yells at me: “You’re a jerk! Do not make us lose time with your art of cock!” It may happen, in the end I do not know the participants… Many people may laugh while I would not have understood a word. When I go into a room with a hundred people ready to judge my work, the first thing that I offer them is my image as a little clown. This intrigues them and distracts them, for the seconds that I need to begin interacting with them. They tend to underestimate me and their defenses begin to disappear. At this point, I embrace someone, I kiss a woman cutting a lock of her hair, I unbuttoned the shirt of another man, and no one can react, they are all kidnapped by that clown who now becomes a mystic ominous man! However, ultimately this belief “that I am eccentric” has become commonplace amongst some of my competitors, and is used by them to put a barrier between me and the audience. Surely they do this in order to emphasise my narcissistic side, which fortunately exists, otherwise, instead of creating perfumes, I would just make little farts under the covers and I would appreciate them all alone convincing myself of their deep goodness. “Eccentric” is a word that has its roots in a geometric figure: it means “outside the centre”. So there is no egocentric vision in the way I dress, but only an identification of myself outside the “circle” of fashion and fashion brands. The truth is that when you stay outside of the circle, soon you will have another circle around you and you could become egocentric, then you have to be ready to change, if you do not want to identify yourself anymore in that circle. I do not know why people are not interested in Kilian’s dressing [perfumer Kilian Hennessy of By Kilian], who, in the most genuine idea of marketing, has adopted a uniform as many designers do! In every photo he always has a black jacket and a white shirt with a French cuff. In my opinion this can mean three things: he has no money to buy other clothes, no ideas, or he hasn’t got an older sister!

SMLme and my sister

Angelo and his sister

Does religion influence your work?

Religion does not influence my work, but it influences the perception that people have of my work!

Your perfume Peety is supposed to have the wearer’s urine (pee) added to it to “complete” it. A lot of people wear Peety but refuse to add their own pee. Is it still Peety if there is no pee in it?

No, it is not! I’ll tell you two short stories. A boy had just given Peety to his girlfriend, who is pregnant, to celebrate the impending arrival of their child. They opened it and decided to add ten drops of pee of the expectant mother! Then they forget it for a while. After a month she had a miscarriage. You have no idea what that bottle of perfume is worth to them! A man on his deathbed (a close friend of mine) asked me for three bottles of Peety to which he added his pee and left them to his three sons!

Peety is a fetish: the fetish is considered by anthropologists as a key element of the most primitive human religiosity. Without valuing the magic that a human instills in an object, that object will never be a fetish. This is the only magic value intrinsically unique to humans and not God. Peety is not the defeat of a taboo, is the affirmation of the individual in a world where identity is no longer important.


O’Driù perfumes

Why are some people so afraid of O’Driù perfumes?

My perfumes bring to light false dogmas, my fragrances unmask the unfounded beliefs that the world of niche perfumery accepts as the status quo; we should instead consider these beliefs as a set of views, as opinions only! People who paid attention to the world of niche perfumes were dumbed down for years with meaningless words and concepts such as: olfactory pyramids, Chypre, fragrance families, allure, charm… After spending a lot of money finally you realise you do not have anything different from commercial perfumery; sometimes it’s even worse. Undermining your own beliefs is not so easy! For example, now perfumery is experiencing a neo-classical wave which is actually the sewer of perfumery, but people who buy those little shits feel satisfied in themselves, because they are only able to understand those fragrances!

Some of your perfumes and performances deal with carnal and sexual themes, for example, the names you choose for your perfumes, like Peety. There is also nudity in some of your performances. Tell me about the significance of carnality and sexuality in your work.

I prefer to say that I regenerated the imagery of sex in perfumery. Too many designers were (all) riding the most vulgar wave of sensuality to sell perfumes. Peety is: pee more pity! It is a link between creativity and compassion that unites the Nose to the user through the urine. During my performances the nude has been helpful to reach the idea that the smell could be art. In fact if you can quickly accustom yourself to the nakedness of a person who has just stripped him/herself in front of you, crossing your moral and ethical boundaries, it is not so easy to smell his/her underwear just abandoned. So if the nose is a vehicle rather than the eye of moral or ethical codes, then there exists a kind of aesthetic art also for the sense of smell. In fact, I pour drops of essences on the underpants of the naked subjects and people go to smell these. It is a shamanic experience that frees the participants, at least, this is what they confess after my performances!

Pregoni's Parents

Pregoni’s Parents

Your latest perfume is called Kiss My Ass. Can you explain why?

To kiss my ass can be a very exciting experience. I prefer to dedicate a perfume to my ass rather than to pimps’ references such as Russian tea, under the moon, the day of celebration, Cuban leather… However, I made Kiss My Ass [in a limited series of 16 pieces] to bring back a touch more craft to perfumery and to avoid mass-production. I also imagine my ass covered with the beautiful shapes of red lips. Obviously, always different lips!

Are you kissing my ass in this interview?

We could kiss each other’s asses! But this assumes only one possible interpretation of your question. It [kissing each other’s asses] might be a performance for a man and a woman to get to know each other in the near future, when both will be deprived of their genitals at birth, because of population control!


Angelo and Ogma

You have a beautiful dog called Ogma. What does he think of your perfumes?

He prefers the Tango! He dances very well. He has a favorite smell: it’s called food! Among all the perfumes that I created, the only one which seriously interested him was Linfedele 1004.

You have a perfume school called Wet Dream – Coming Perfume Academy. Tell me more about that.

It’s not a real school. It is a state of mind! I was sick of seeing the organisers of courses “about how to become a Nose” [perfumer] robbing money from poor, naive dreamers! So I created a course for free, with the aim of making a perfume. Only three boys were selected after the first step, and they worked on the Satyricon project with me! Only the formula is exclusively mine, and it could not be any other way. But the concept and the subsequent choice of the ingredients were created out of collective work. I think I have nothing to learn in the perfumery world, except from those who are pure and unconditioned by silly dogmas or mediocrity, and for me they have been a breath of creative enthusiasm.

Né carne né pesce

Angelo’s “Né carne né pesce” at Esxence 2015

My final question is not a question, but a request: I want you to write one question that you’ve always wanted to be asked by an interviewer, but have never been asked. Type the question below and then answer it.

Angelo’s question is: What do you think of competitions and awards in the world of perfumery? And why do bloggers give their vote to perfumes?

Let’s say that after collecting tens of insults from affable operators I can no longer feel bound to highlight the aberrations of Niche. First, when I hear about artistic perfumery I always wonder why this adjective does not result in treating perfumes as “products of art.” I do not mean of course the single bottle, but the work of the nose, which is intellectual and sensitive work, even before a perfume is placed on the shelf. Well if we we’re talking about art, why then are there contests? Let’s start with the information that to participate in a contest usually you pay a few thousand Euros and (in absolute terms) by participating, you are not representing anything, no style, no membership, no poetry or bullshit often attributable to perfumes, much less any nation. Being part of the competition brings you onto the stage, it is only a mere selfish ambition that has little to do with art! One perfume? Five thousand Euros please! You have two?! Enjoy your discount, it’s seven thousand Euros. [By paying to enter] you are increasing your chances of being among the winners: they do not hurt anyone, they include various categories and finalists, so everyone has a place on the stage! But there are also online juries! One vote for every each avatar! Secret ballot… Wow! With regard to algebraic voting, I always wondered why bloggers vote for their favourite perfumes! What is that? Maybe a teacher judges a student? Or rather, the intent of the bloggers is to insert a perfume in a context of value? The Guernica by Picasso, 8.5! Masaccio’s Trinity 7.5/8.

John Holmes had a penis longer than Rocco Siffredi? Wikipedia’s answer is yes! And if the penis could be considered art just for simple apotropaic superstitions, here! The truth would be that Holmes would have had higher ratings, he would win all the competitions and would be considered more of an artist than Siffredi! What about making love?

If you’d like to find out more about O’Driù and Angelo’s perfumes, visit O’Driù’s website. If you’re interested, you can also read a previous blog post of mine in which Olly Technic and I blind-tested and reviewed a sample set of O’Driù perfumes. O’Driù’s fragrances are listed on Fragrantica and Basenotes.