It has been thirty years since I was first introduced to the world of perfumery and I can remember some of my first reactions to the raw materials, particularly Geranium Bourbon. Among many others, I’m sure some of you remember that one—rich, powerfully rosy with a strong sweet background, so strong it was overpowering, almost nauseating. Today this product is not around and the best of its replacements come from a source that was so politically foreign to our way of life back then—one would have never predicted the economic exchange that was to come between China and the U.S.
I began in the 1950s as a kid in the perfume lab at Lever and stayed there until the mid-1960s. After a couple of years on the client side creating fragrances for cosmetics and toiletries, I succumbed to the lure of the supply-side and spent years creating, building and managing. Last year, I returned to Lever as an experienced young man. Some say I’ve come full circle and I agree. Today the experience of both the client and supply-side and my loving observation and participation in this industry provide some powerful insights. During these thirty years I have matured and so has our industry. It matured, became saturated, even stagnated, causing the attrition which we are now experiencing.
The world of fragrance and flavor variously suffers and enjoys the long lead times from submission to success. That history of patience is a part of the trouble today as our managements and we delay responses to the changing marketplace.