Here, Burr discusses the process of writing and researching The Perfect Scent and some of the realities and challenges of today’s fragrance industry.
Questions asked by Perfumer & Flavorist magazine's Jeb Gleason-Allured to Chandler Burr:
- Can you talk a little bit about the roadblocks involved when you tried to gain access to the fragrance industry? How did you gain the trust of such secretive organizations? Or did you?
- How were you able to recreate Jean-Claude Ellena’s creative process, from the initial notes and sketches to the numerous mods and all the editing in-between?
- Ellena’s primary job as Hermès’ in-house perfumer appeared to be “translator” of Dubrule, Gaultier et al.’s comments. Can you talk a little about these interactions?
- You interviewed two generations of Ellenas. Are there material differences between the old guard and the new?
- Symrise’s revamped perfumer training program includes media-interaction education. Does this sort of program signal that fragrance companies are beginning to “pull back the curtain?”
- You’re a great champion of synthetics. Do you think the public can handle the truth?
- You’ve investigated the fragrance industry and have come up with some not-so-flattering observations. Have you managed to make friends in the industry, particularly with perfumers?
- You talk about the less than ideal manner in which most fragrances are purchased at retail today. Do you have any insights into how this can be combated?
- A wide-angle question: with competition from scented body care, air care, etc., what place does fine fragrance have in the world—particularly from a mass fine fragrance point of view? Is the “fragrance noise” too much?
- Is your sense that the industry’s problems are intractable?
- Finally, what are your favorite smells?