Olympic Orchid’s Kyphi (2011)

Olympic Orchid's Kyphi (2011) © Victor Wong
Olympic Orchid’s Kyphi (2011) © Victor Wong

Kyphi’s has saved me from a near mental breakdown.

Last week, Bat, a perfume from my own brand Zoologist Perfumes, won the Art & Olfaction Awards 2016 in the Independent category. Before the award ceremony, I had a full day to see the AIX Scent Fair at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. I finally had the opportunity to meet Ellen Covey, the perfumer of Bat, for the very first time in person.

After I returned home in Toronto, a friend of mine told me to go to a Facebook fragrance group to read about some of the discussions of my brand. To my dismay, the said thread was all very negative. I had read comments such as, “Zoologist perfumes make me want to vomit”, “I don’t want it even if they are free”, “Victor is nice, but such and such scents are just nasty”, etc.

It would be the biggest lie if I tell you such comments didn’t hurt. In fact, they hurt so much that I couldn’t sleep and eat for a whole day, and they lingered in my head and never went away. I didn’t say anything in their thread, because I understand how the Internet works. They didn’t know me, and they just spoke their mind. I myself also write “reviews”, and sometimes they are very negative. It’s a fair game.

However, the irony is that, Bat won an award. And there are positive reviews about my scents. I have had occasional good sales in some countries. I just have a hard time reacting and adjusting to these extreme influx of highly positive comments and highly negative comments.

Long before the collaboration with Ellen Covey, I had known about some of her works (Olympic Orchids) through readers’ reviews on Fragrantica. One particular scent, Kyphi, caught my attention because it had received quite a bit of negative reviews. I was very interested in smelling it, and I asked Ellen to bring some with her to the show.

I smelled it on the show floor and I instantly fell in love with it. She used ingredients typical of what the ancient Egyptians would use, namely frankincense, myrrh, beeswax, lemongrass, and spices.The scent smelled like a tomb, and images of me being hollowed out and mummified came to mind. Is it a perfume? Can I wear it to work? All these thoughts went through my head. It doesn’t matter, I concluded.

Yesterday, I smelled it again because I missed it, and suddenly everything unlocked – despite all the negative reviews, there are always some fans of your work. Just stay focused, and constantly improve. It will all work out.