Advanced fragrance basics: Establishing a framework for fragrance research & practice

Date of publication: June 15, 1991


The paper describes an empirical approach aimed at establishing and communicating what fragrance actually is, materially and parception-uise , preliminary to fragrance research or practice. The potential usefulness of so doing results from the fact that communicating the nature of fragrance has by and large remained in the hands of the creative perfumer fraternity. For a variety of reasons, as discussed, these have only partially disclosed their fragrance knowledge to outsiders, whether researchers, practitioners, or the general public. As a result the range and variability of possible fragrance perceptions have been largely mis-perceived, detrimentally to sound research design and execution. The approach consists in establishing the material nature of fragrance through direct personal observation, appropriately sequenced, of selected compound fragrances and of typical odour building blacks, singly and worked into odour combinations; of a parallel survey of the process, range and variability of odour and fragrance perception, bringing in awareness of its specific features; and in relating the two together.' This is achieved by step-wise, group, participatory "workshops" rather than through ex-cathedra lectures. The information passed on to participants is derived partly from a prior investigative search as to the nature of the creative process - - from literature, interviews, observation and personal odour compounding; partly from the workshops themselves, including the one in progress, functioning together as an ongoing survey- cum-focussed group discussion with continuing fact-gathering and interpretation. A degree of validity is arrived at through group-to-group replication of various elements of perception and interpretation.

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