A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend a fragrance workshop which was conducted by Sandy Blandin, a fragrance expert who is also the founder of Nose who Knows. I was intrigued by Sandy’s knowledge on fragrances as well as the her thoughts about the current fragrance industry, so I decided to carry out an email interview.
Perfumes are more than just a bottle of liquid mixed with alcohol. Let’s think and dwell deeper into the world of fragrances.
1. What got you so excited over fragrances? How has the journey of pursuing your passion been for you?
Actually, even though I was playing the beauty advisors with my friends as a kid using my friend’s perfume miniature collection, I only got hooked by the industry when I was studying chemistry and started to wonder what job I could do with such studies. I did some research and found out about a few schools/ universities that were actually offering Chemistry but applied to perfume and that’s how my journey began!
2. What is the inspiration behind Nose who Knows? What do you hope to achieve?
I really wish to expose the Asian consumers to the art of perfumery and share my knowledge and passion with them to open up a whole new world to them.
I was lucky to be born in France which is known for its historical role in the perfumery business so since young, I have been exposed to fragrances and got educated about perfumes without much effort.
3. Do you consider yourself as a perfumer? Or have you ever dreamt of creating and selling your own scents?
No, I am not a perfumer and never intended to be one. I was trained to be an evaluator who accompanies the perfumers in their creative journey and I liked it this way. Of course, being a chemist, I very much enjoy mixing ingredients together so ‘Never say never’!
4. Why can’t perfume houses declare all their ingredients on the packaging like other beauty products? Aren’t there a copyright laws in the perfume industry?
The copyright issues in the perfume industry are often a very complex and controversial matter.Often the packaging, name, design etc. surrounding the perfume are protected under such laws but not the “juice itself”. That’s one of the reasons why the perfume manufacturers do not want to reveal the whole list of ingredients present in a perfume as it would then be too easy for anyone to just reproduce it. It would also clearly undermine the work or creative process of the perfumer.
5. How much does a successful perfume formula worth?
It’s hard to give an answer to that question as the cost of ingredients changes constantly! Of course, the imagination and ideas of the perfumer are priceless and these play a big part in making a perfume successful!
6. Last year, there were news that the European Union had proposed to ban on one of Chanel No.5’s key ingredients, tree moss as it may cause allergic reactions in consumers.How would this impact the perfume industry if this ban was carried out?
It’s not the first time that this actually happens as natural ingredients are always reviewed and the list of banned ingredients keeps growing. Of course it would be bad; it’s like removing a color from the painter’s palette!
However, thanks to organic chemistry and the invention of synthetic ingredient, we have managed to replace some of the natural ingredients banned by synthetic ones. Most of the consumers might not pick up the difference but the experts can definitely tell.
For some perfumes, it would actually be impossible to reformulate them.As such, they might disappear from the shelves one day. It’s a real shame!
7. Would the value of perfume decreases if more synthetic ingredients were used in place of natural ingredients that causes allergy?
Not necessarily as some synthetic ingredients are also very expensive due to the complexity of the chemical reactions or processes to obtain them.
8. Is perfume a beauty product or a fashion accessory?
Both I guess 🙂 But it’s definitely a natural extension of your personality.
9. Are perfumes created to attract the opposite sex? What are the scents that attracts a man? Or a woman?
As mentioned above, since perfumes enhance your personality and make a person more visible ( “smellable”) to others, it definitely is a tool for seduction. To attract a man, use a perfume that is in line with who you truly are!
10. Lastly, in your opinion, which is the most beautifully-crafted perfumes of all times?
That’s a very hard question as there are so many beautiful perfumes out there but I would say that it still needs to be created 🙂
This interview was conducted with Sandy Blandin through email.
Also, you can read about blog review on their perfume discovery day workshop here.