One of the great things about writing monthly articles for Perfumer & Flavorist is that nobody (at least so far) has ever said, “You can’t write that,” or “You need to cut that section out.” Given this glorious freedom of expression I have felt at liberty to intersperse monthly articles that do actually attempt to convey a degree of objectivity with the occasional piece that expresses my utterly biased opinions. So, here we go again.
I love movies. One of the best, and certainly one of the most original in recent years, was Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. In an age when so many movies seem to be put together to a very simplistic and utterly predictable pattern, Perfume was unique (and all the better for being illuminated by the magnificent The Perfumes of Perfume collection created by Christophe Laudamiel). Obviously the subject matter of fragrances was fascinating to me personally, but it was especially interesting to see a nonperfumer’s view of the personality of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, the story’s strange and murderously obsessive perfumer played by Ben Whishaw.
I have come across a great many perfumers over the years, and I can safely say that I have never met anybody who even remotely resembles Grenouille. His character makes for a great, macabre story, but it is thankfully, obviously, wrong. A character like Grenouille could never be a successful perfumer. That said, judging the personality type to be so clearly wrong assumes that there is some degree of recognizable commonality to truly creative personalities.