Armchair Philosopher

afternoon tea

Maybe it’s my growing fondness for leather scents. Maybe it’s latent curiosity about the storytelling aspect of perfume making. In any case, I wanted to explore the idea of a milieu and mindset in which ideas were tossed around without a clear sense or intent of their execution.

And this had to be achieved with materials I had on hand.

Naturally, I thought of an old library, with chunky wooden cabinets and oversized leather armchairs with brass studs. I’ve been accused of being too literal before—imagine that!

For the abstract components, the recipe included:

  • An intricate heart comprising opoponax and vetiver
  • Tact embodied by pink grapefruit and lavender
  • Definitiveness as punctuated by nutmeg
  • A penchant for fantasy imparted by geranium
  • A trace of self-sabotaging behavior represented by blond tobacco
  • Pacifist soothing by sandalwood
  • Sweet idealism brought to life by fenugreek

I tried several more ingredients at first—those that dropped out for not playing well with others over various mods included green tea, black pepper (and later dihydro eugenol as I’m running out of black pepper), davana, and red spikenard.

Those that stayed were rounded out by the addition of bergamot, Atlas cedarwood, hexyl salicylate, and Habanolide® (the last 2 being the only synthetic aromachemicals in the blend).

It wasn’t immediately satisfactory, but after almost a month of sitting on my desk, it became somewhat decent, albeit predominantly an opoponax-fenugreek show. The scent is quite heavy, with an apropos degree of disagreeableness (aren’t armchair philosophers prone to being disagreeable at some point?) that’s held in check by the brighter ingredients.

This confirms my experiences so far that mixtures of botanicals tend to sort themselves out over time and harmonize, while synthetic aromachemicals are more likely to retain their original sharp edges and angles if not assembled properly.

Ladies and gentlemen, Armchair Philosopher—brought to you by this swivel-chair aspiring perfumer. May the new year bring more and better ideas, and the carrying out thereof, to all!






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