F&F Q&A: The Stories are in the Juices

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. You interviewed two generations of Ellenas. Are there material differences between the old guard and the new?
  5. 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?”
  6. You’re a great champion of synthetics. Do you think the public can handle the truth?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. 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?
  10. Is your sense that the industry’s problems are intractable?
  11. Finally, what are your favorite smells?

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