Neo-absolutely, yes

The American Library
Yinka Shonibare CBE, The American Library, 2018


I’ve been quite fascinated by some of the ways the large flavor and fragrance companies have been innovating along the lines of making ingredients more sustainable. When you operate a massive corporation, and your business affects many smaller businesses downstream, your relationship with the environment is bound to come under scrutiny, and broadly speaking, there’s only one acceptable direction in which to go.

Givaudan, for example, has been “upcycling” raw materials by developing new ingredients from natural resources that have already been processed once for the initial extract—hence Rose NeoAbsolute™, Cedarwood Atlas NeoAbsolute™, etc. I haven’t had the chance to smell these yet, but will probably get to smell a perfume made with these types of ingredients soon enough.

It’s impressive, because you wouldn’t necessarily think about such a possibility until a technology proved it possible. Many years ago, I would brew the same teabag at least twice. I applied the same principle to coffee grounds, only to be disappointed by a watery liquid laced with a stale coffee flavor. Since then, I have never thought of brewing the same coffee twice again.

That’s neither here nor there, until we start thinking metaphorically. Raise your hand if you have ever interrogated a part of yourself, realized that part was so against the grain of society that it would probably work only against you in life, and moved forward ignoring or suppressing it.

Until something came along that affirmed it—long after you yourself had abandoned it.

Then comes the reconciliation: both with the thing and with your having rejected it at one point. A double reconciliation. (In the best-case scenario.)


We’ve got to allow the piecing back together, even if it’s awkward, and clearly not as “pure” as the first pass. How else are we to get something new out of what we’ve got?

Well, that’s not necessarily a rhetorical question.






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