[I want to write about some of the perfumes that have influenced and led me to the creation of my perfume brand, Zoologist Perfumes. They have sparked ideas and given me new understanding about niche fragrances and the marketing of them.]
Pt. II. A Second Opinion That Matters – Byredo’s Seven Veils
Fall, 2013. Like a giant bag of popcorn being nuked inside a microwave oven, my excitement over the new discovery of niche perfumes could not be contained, and everyone in the office could smell it. The daily topic of which video game was great got hijacked by me and had turned into a “Have you smelled this? This is crazy! This is called oud! This is patchouli!” nightmare for some.
Every three or four days I would bring to work a little Ziplock bag containing perfume samples that I purchased from Luckyscents to share with my coworkers. Slowly, some coworkers got quite bothered by my obsession and lost interest in this sample-smelling game, except Carolina, a designer-perfumes lover, remained interested and happy to test samples with me during lunch time. We would woo and boo over different scents, looking like a pair of lunatics that had just escaped from a boring asylum called the work place.
One day after work we went to Holt Renfrew (a Canadian luxury department store) for the first time together to smell some niche perfumes. Caro was appalled by the prices of niche perfumes, but I assured her that we came here just to explore. We tested Diptyque, Frederic Malle, Acqua di Parma, and many more. When we were at the Byredo counter, I immediately showed her Pulp, Mink and The Tulip. These three scents were some of my favourite from the line, but she wasn’t impressed. When she smelled Seven Veils, she said, “Oh this is nice”. I took a sniff and said, “Really? I felt nothing. May be it’s not for me.” We asked the salesperson for some samples and went home.
Caro eventually used up the tiny sample of Seven Veils and had decided to buy a full bottle. (I want to add that Seven Veils remains her only bottle of niche perfume ever since I have got obsessed with perfumes.) Since Caro was a very frugal person, I had figured that she wouldn’t buy another bottle till she had finished her bottle of Seven Veils, so I gave her some samples that I found uninteresting and boring to keep the fire burning.
One day, Caro text-messaged me, “Oh my god, I am in heaven!” She had put some L’artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant sample on her body and went high loving the scent. I texted her back, “That’s awesome! Enjoy!”. Later that night I checked Luca Turin’s book for Safran Troublan’s review and was surprised to find out that it got a very good 4-star review. Similar scenarios of Caro liking an excellent perfume that I found completely boring had repeated a few times, and suddenly I had an enlightenment – she has very good taste in perfumes and I don’t!
You may say I can love whatever perfume I choose and has nothing to do with someone’s opinions, but when I am in the business of making/selling perfumes, I need someone who has a better nose who can give me valuable second opinions. Sadly Caro found a new job a year ago and I no longer see her every weekday. But I make sure every time I receive a draft or a major revision from the perfumers I will ask her out for evaluation.