Tectonic Shifts

Brooklyn Perfume Company released its line of four eaux de parfum in 2014. The reception, was enthusiastic. Several who reviewed the perfumes said they were “original.” One said “I’m at a loss for words” and declared there were two aphrodisiacs in his life: BPC’s Oud and the smell of his wife. Another found them “odd.” My 94-year old mother-in-law wears the musk. A friend, who swore he would never wear scent, puts a different one on each day. A friend’s wife hates them all. 

I sent samples of all six scents—including the new Black Iris and Ambergris--to three important bloggers. One, again described the scents as original, and gave the oud a four out of five rating. From another one, someone took the time to write a full-page letter. The letter was devastating. The third blogger stopped communicating—emails not returned, nothing.

These are people whose opinion matters enormously, not only in determining Brooklyn Perfume Company’s future, but as critiques of my work. I am thinned-skinned. 

While this has been difficult, it forces me to sit back and take another sniff. 

I think I’m being objective, but then people come into my lab and say “Oh, it smells so good in here,” when I smell nothing. This “background smell” cannot help but influence how I perceive aroma. 

The four original scents—Musk, Oud, Amber, and Sandalwood are what they are. I’m not going to change them. But the new scents, my beautiful Black Iris, hated by all, and Ambergris, smelling like chemicals, must be reevaluated. 

To learn, I smell others’ iris perfumes. While I have not found one that reminds me of orris, they all have top notes, some lovely, that pop out immediately. They pull you in. At the risk of sour grapes, I like none.

I shall continue my search for a convincing top note. For now, the heart and base seem ok.