Creative Thailand

Perfumers and the art of perfume making

Writer : Editor Team

Translator : Suchanart Jarupaiboon

The word perfume derives from the Latin per fumum, which means “through smoke.” Perfumery is an art form dating back to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt and was further developed by the Romans and the Persians. Archaeologists have recently uncovered evidence of the world’s oldest surviving perfumes, created some 4,000 years ago.


People in the ancient times used flowers, herbs, and spices to make perfumes, including almond, coriander, myrtle, conifer resin, and bergamot. In the 9th century, Arab chemist Al-Kindi (or Ibn Sina[1] ) introduced how to extract oils from flowers using the method of distillation, which is commonly used today. Thanks to the spread of Islam, the art of perfumery was brought to Europe. Perfume-making prospered in Renaissance Italy. In the 16th century, Rene le Florentin, personal perfumer of Queen Catherine de Médici of France, took the art of perfume-making to France, contributing to its rapid growth as one of the centers of perfume and cosmetics manufacture in Europe.




In Thailand, Western perfumes became popular in the reign of Rama V (King Chulalongkorn). Although Thais have known and been familiar with them for a long time, the perfume industry and the number of “perfumers” remain small.

That Pryn Parfum’s Rosuerrier made it to the final round of the Art of Olfaction Award in 2017, an annual international award that celebrates excellence in perfumery participated by perfume brands and independent perfumers, was no ordinary feat. It is known within the perfume industry as a tough competition, judged by world-famous perfumers such as Andy Tauer, owner of his own perfume brand of the same name, Tauerville Luca Turin, author of “Perfume Guide,” and John Meyer, owner of Imaginary Authors.

While Prin did not study perfumery directly, his passion in perfumes and attendance in a short course in Paris landed him a position in a major fragrance company, and he later founded his own brand. Given this background, the Rosuerrier’s international recognition was indeed a major accomplishment. The Rosuerrier is an oriental floral scent, created in honor of Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) - a scent inspired by history.

When creating a new fragrance, Prin Lomros, Pryn Parfum’s founder and owner, will start by coming up with a one-word definition, before going into its detailed compositions. This is what is called “mise-en-scene” in film production. It is like a perfume made of various ingredients put together: some add colors and scents to it while others tell the story of what’s inside the bottle.

             

According to its creator, the Rosuerrier, which means rose and warrior, can be likened to Jeanne d’Arc who, though as fragile as a rose, was destined to lead an army into battle. It is created from three main ingredients, each telling the story of each phase of the heroine’s life. The first of these is rose, representing her childhood years, during which she had visions of the Archangel Michael who delivered God’s message to her. Three types of roses are used: Damask rose, which has its origin in the Middle East, representing Christianity; Rose de Mai (May rose), a French rose, representing Jeanne d’Arc; and English rose, representing England, which occupied France at the time. The second main ingredient is spices and wood, signifying the heroine’s strength and leadership who served as a military leader. The last one is incense, representing her canonization as saint by Pope Benedict XV.

This is an example of how to create a concept and procure materials for one’s storytelling from the origins of the story. Once the main materials are obtained, other ingredients are added. This does not only result in a scent that represents the user’s identity and personality, but the design of the scent also began from observations and attempts to come up with a specific scent that is perfect for the individual and for the season.

The making of perfume today is subject to more regulations than in the past. These include regulations regarding concentration levels and quality of fragrance materials per the standards set by International Fragrance Association (IFRA), to protect consumers from potential allergens. Even the famous Chanel No. 5, on the market for over a hundred years, had to be reformulated to comply with IFRA standards.



             

A perfume’s journey may change over time, but the art of perfume-making remains mysterious and intriguing. It is just as they say, it is not a perfume’s fragrance that makes it good; rather, it is how it makes you feel.

Special thanks to the following for providing us with information:

https://scentstoriesblog.wordpress.com

http://thainamhom.blogspot.com/

http://www.prynparfum.com

http://www.tkpark.or.th

https://favforward.com

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