While perfumers have been grumbling and the online perfume community has been howling for years about regulations and reformulations, the matter has seldom been addressed by the mainstream press.
For Wired magazine, science editor Courtney Humphries breaks the omerta with Engineering Replacements for Essential Perfume Ingredients, a limpidly-written, highly informative investigation in the November issue.
Humphries’ investigation takes her from New York to Paris and Grasse, where she speaks to industry insiders such as IFF perfumers Clément Gavarry and Calice Becker as well as Regulatory Affairs VP Greg Adamson; Mane perfumer Ralph Schwieger and the researcher Cyril Rolland; Isabelle Doyen, Andy Tauer, Roja Dove and… myself.
I am quite tickled to see that the word I coined some time ago to describe the stripped-down, anorexic IFRA-compliant fragrances, “iFrags”, has made it to the printed press.
A link to the article will be permanently featured on the right-hand sidebar of Grain de Musc, as it summarizes the issue neatly.
I'm so pleased that Wired have published this piece. It isn't comprehensive, but I'm not complaining. It's a massive step in the right direction, as far as raising public awareness of the issue is concerned.RépondreSupprimer
Persolaise, I don't think anything short of a book could be comprehensive. I know Courtney did a lot more research than what the magazine ended up using.RépondreSupprimer
Hurrah, excellent article! And I have to say, I love puns, and your iFrag pun is in my all-time top 5! Very glad it's caught on. BTW, do you know if Evernyl/Verymoss is considered by the pros to smell anything like real oakmoss? I love both materials, but they couldn't be less alike imo.RépondreSupprimer
Marla, glad you liked the pun! Re: Evernyl, no, it certainly isn't considered a replacement for oakmoss, though it can play a similar role in a composition. I think the people who love it, like Isabelle Doyen, appreciate it for its intrinsic properties.RépondreSupprimer
Wonderful article! And your interview is near the top. It anchors the whole piece, actually. Without your definition of iFrags, the piece wouldn't work. Nice.RépondreSupprimer
Normand, I've sinfully underused the expression, possibly because I don't tend to spend much time testing iFrags... Will need to find ways to build it up!RépondreSupprimer
Fanatical? Ouch. ;3RépondreSupprimer
But this really was an interesting look into the issue, from the point of view of a "sympathetic outsider." (I guess that's my own understanding, not a quote. :P ) It is a complex issue that isn't even easy to understand, let alone resolve quickly. I find it interesting to read that IFRA is regulating the industry from within rather than let the EU regulate from the outside. While it does ring familiar, I don't quite get it. Is the EU really so stringent on allergens? It's a little frightening if that's true. That seems to be the way the modern world is shifting, though.
I liked this article. I find the inside world of perfumery as interesting as the actual scents (maybe it's my lack of perfume expenditure funds diverting my attentions). Even the chemistry aspect fascinates me, though that's the chemistry degree I'm sooo close to completing talking though.
Anyway, that's my 1 AM take. :P
Eric, like you I am also fascinated by the workings of the industry, the chemistry, and R&D.RépondreSupprimer
Re: the EU, the thing is, from IFRA members' point of view, it's best to self-regulate than have laws voted by lawmakers who would know less about the subject than the industry. And, yes, this being a zero-risk-aspiring society, the laws could be even more stringent than IFRA standards.
More worrying than IFRA though is REACH, regulating the importation of chemical substances in the EU (and, yes, natural essences are counted in). Look it up.
A very good article, although the end was really depressing. I hadn't realized before that even if they could make good safe substitutes for ingredients like oakmoss, they still won't be used by the industry because they're "dated". It seems our ultimate fate will be to smell of safe fruity florals no matter what the perfumistas may wish...RépondreSupprimer
Eva, that seems to be a common perception (that it's "dated"), but oakmoss is still used. As are several other fascinating materials full of character... And labs are working on great new variations on naturals, so even if the majority of fragrances out there are iFrags, there will be always be an offer for people who want more.RépondreSupprimer