The first months of 2017 have been mainly filled with perfume blending (the best part) and I wanted to write my thoughts on reformulations because this year comes with me reformulating two perfumes, Sweet Grass and Witch Doctor.
My main thoughts on reformulations are as such. Perfume houses are constantly reformulating, often to meet ever growing regulation and standards and in the case of bigger perfume houses, to cheapen formulas and increase profits.
As libertine has grown I have been constantly examining and upgrading to better ingredients and suppliers as I find them as well as making small adjustments to comply with wider standards. It feels good to be adjusting to better ingredients when big perfume houses typically reformulate to cheaper materials to lower cost.
The second aspect of reformulation is an artistic one. My aim is to be an ever learning student and I am always absorbing more and become a more skilled perfumer.
Witch Doctor, though I have loved it, has always had more elements in it than I was happy with. The new formulation focuses mostly on the relationship between the dry smoldering amber notes and leather. Both of which were present previously, just hidden under a number of other elements. The new version of Witch Doctor is much more wearable and consistent from beginning to end.
Sweet Grass has mainly benefited from the addition of french Hay absolute. The formula is very similar but it has been smoothed out and better represents the sweet, breezy prairie sunshine I have always envisioned it as.
Both formulations will be available later in 2017 when stocks of the original versions sell out. Here is to making the world as beautiful as we can.
Can it be that when a favoured scent is reformulated – to the extent that it loses its original heart – one enters a state of grieving so profound that one does not recover?
‘Sables’ from Annick G was refomulated years ago, and yet I am still pining for it, even now, and can hardly bear to remember how exceptional it was, so painful is the notion of its loss to me.
I wonder if anyone else has ever felt this way about a perfume?
Have you? Have any of your readers?
So deep is this emotion for me, and so strong is my sense of defiance, outrage even, that I am seriously considering training to become a parfumier so that I can make my own – and more besides. With this anger on board, I recently sat down – in the middle of the night – and wrote furiously, the notes for nearly 20 scent concepts, including a signature scent of my own, which makes more than a passing nod to Sable but introduces a reverie that is specific to my life. The notes just seemed to spill out of my soul – a mixture of imagination and real experiences embedded in all of them. Afterwards, I sat in surprise and asked myself: where on earth did all this come from?
I am a wanderer, who is more creative than any job has really allowed me to be, and now I am thinking of allowing myself to be exactly that – at last. I have never really shown the world how creative I truly am – it has largely always been hidden under the need to meet social and capital expectations – but that was then and is no more. The future, I am determined, will be different, and I will not keep this private any more.
Living in Asia and becoming a Buddhist has helped me to shed old skin, and, interestingly, only this one thing has remained.
I am face to face with it now, in the mirror. – my own desire to be creative, every day, without fail. This is a new experience for me.
Reading your story has made me feel less alone about starting this journey. It is encouraging to know that others have stricken out too and that the world has welcomed you. I guess I never felt it did before ,and now I wonder if it might welcome me too?
They say there are more astronauts in the world than perfumers. Perhaps there will be a space for me among you. :)
And who knows, maybe one day, we shall meet.
Best wishes for your work – I shall keep watching – and although you have not written specifically for me, I thank you for writing your story.