JESSICA - June 2004

"Perfume, the final answer of fashion."

Article on JESSICA.

Perfume, Perfumer as a profession

A perfumer blends original essences together to design fragrances. The creation is not necessarily a perfume; it can also be a detergent, a toothpaste, a gum... Fragrances are used for countless daily goods, made out from 2000 to 5000 different kinds of smells.
Satori is a Fine Fragrance Perfumer who focuses on perfume and eau de toilette. "There are about 500 kinds of essences applied in fine fragrance making. After combining these essences together in my imagination, I write out a prescription and then blend and create a fragrance."
It may not sound so complicated at first, but the uniqueness of the hundreds of original scents makes its combinations infinite.
"Let's say we would like to create a perfume for a woman called Jessica. First, let's try to build her image." ...Jessica's image? Well... Active, fresh, but feminine, and sexy as well... "Now, to concretely express the active image, I recommend this group of scents, this group for the freshness, and this one for the feminine image... We first blend scents within each group and try to find the most beautiful combination (we call this in professional term "take the accord" find harmony). Those combinations called "concept groups" are then blended together until we finally find the best "accord", the best "harmony". Within this process, some scents do not match, or even if they do match the slightest change of the quantity can change the whole nature of the fragrance, and we have start the whole process again." ...a mind-boggling process. It is said that a common person's sense of smell gets confused after 3 kinds of smell. This sense can be trained and brushed up only by smelling different scents everyday.

Looking for the lost scent
Satori creates original order made perfumes in her atelier.
"When I get an order, I do a close analysis with my customer in order to build a concrete image and concept. We talk about fragrances, fashion, music, and I also use a key word classification chart." This chart contains many check points and is equivalent to a doctor's counseling carte. The perfume that would perfectly fit its owner is made inspired by this intense information. "...But in my view, the work of a professional perfumer is not complete yet. Because it is a perfume made uniquely made for that person, I would like to suggest a fragrance that would lead that person one step forward; a scent that would lead to self discovering and the brush up of one's sense of beauty."
Some people order the remake of their favorite old perfume. "Due to extinctions of some natural ingredients, or changes in regulations and guidelines of natural ingredient industries and manufacturers, some ingredients can no longer be applied and the original scent changes or can be lost forever." Even Channel No. 5 is different from its first one in 1921. "So sometimes it is impossible to remake exactly the same scent. When I get a remake order, I make sure to first explain this to my customer and then make a brand new scent as similar as possible, trying to find common feelings my customer can get between the lost scent and the new scent." It is nothing but nostalgia to remake a perfume just out of curiosity. More than that, a perfume has the purpose of brushing up the aesthetic sense of the person who wears it.

Perfume... "How to wear and how to choose"
Clothes, shoes, accessories... the last thing we wear is Perfume. In that sense we could say Perfume is the final answer.
"In the old days we used to say "Wear a dot of perfume, a line of eau de toilette, and a side of Colon": stronger the scent less the amount. When a scent is too strong the nose gets accustomed and people tend to put even more scent. Again, when a scent is put on too many times, only the "last note" stays and the scent gets too heavy. It is commonly known to wear perfume the wrists, the ankles, behind the knees, mostly skin areas apart from the center of the body. It is preferable not to wear it above the décolleté, and to wear it before getting dressed. The perfume also oxidizes so it is recommended to finish the bottle within one or two years."
How can we choose a perfume that would perfectly fit us? "First do not get influenced by the fragrance popularity or market. The most important thing is that you like the fragrance and not because so and so is wearing it, or because it is in fashion. Brushing up one's sense of beauty is an effective way to mature one's taste of fashion, which will naturally lead to a step up in one's selection of perfumes.

About the Salon
Satori owns her Salon. She claims, "A professional can only be fostered by a professional" and she has her own reasons. She was herself a student of a professional perfumer who worked for a worldly famous perfume company in Switzerland.
"A perfumer is not a profession that can easily be mastered. Sometimes there is a big gap between the image and the reality of the profession. In some of the private fragrance schools (since there are no official perfumer certifications in Japan), we can notice light catch phrases such as "why not becoming a perfumer!" trying to attract students. However perfumer as a profession in Japan is a very restricted field. Most of the perfumers work in companies which rarely recruit new employees. My wish is that people come and gather in my salon because they purely and simply love good fragrance. Perfume may then become a hobby or implied in work, any choices are to be treasured when it starts playing a role in your life. I think the most important thing is not whether or not it can lead you straight into business but how it can open your mind and doors.

World Perfumery Congress and the "blue rose"
In France a perfumer is considered as an artist. When Satori attended the World Perfumery Congress held last June in Cannes, France, the symbol of the congress was a "blue rose". Blue roses signify the "impossible". Since the ancient times, there is a legend that it is impossible to reproduce a blue rose. The blue rose was chosen as a symbol of the congress, which keeps exploring the unknown and mysterious world of perfume. Satori says she loves to stroll through the city of Paris. "Paris is like a kaleidoscope of beauty. Like an excited child running from one flower garden to another, I devour the streets. Changing in a slow pace, the city gives me a new inspiration every time I visit since I first visited when I was sixteen. "There is beauty in Paris. At the same time I think there is beauty in Japan. But somehow people don't really turn their eyes towards it."
So now, what kind of fragrance would you like to provide to the Japanese clientele? "The oriental image represented in the western world is often not the same as the real oriental taste lived and appreciated in Japan. There are also many people who don't like the intrusive smell of brand perfumes. In my view, a scent facing outwards with a strong self-assertion is too aggressive to a Japanese woman. A scent facing inwards, making oneself comfortable. A simple and natural, but not cheap... a sheer scent. Including the bottle design, I wish I can provide a luxurious product."
As I am writing this article, I heard the latest genetic recombination techniques materialized the blue rose. This news struck me as incongruous and made me think... All along history, what were the true meanings behind the pursuit of the blue rose? Is there really a meaning in a rose made artificially, surpassing people's dreams and history? Through this interview, I came to understand that blending perfumes is an act that defines the person's upbrought esthetic sense, a sense of beauty invisible to the eye. We always have to be eager to brush up this sense in order to become a perfumer or to find a perfume that would perfectly match us. Fashion's final answer... Why not start brushing up your esthetic sense through perfumery?

2004/06/01,JESSICA magazine