Thursday, 3 December 2009

The "Scent Crimes" Series: No 3 - The Aroma Chemicals Study That Was Just A Job

As noted in my bio, I am an industrial market researcher by profession, and routinely work in the chemicals industry, typically carrying out customer satisfaction audits with a client's key accounts. In 2000 I was asked to carry out a five country project on benzyl-based aroma chemicals used in both industrial and fine fragrances. I visited purchasing and marketing managers at companies like Givaudan in Switzerland and Paris, Haarmann & Reimer in Germany and Quest International in the UK. (Some of their names have of course since changed.) I also remember driving up windy narrow roads in Grasse to visit a company called Astier Demarest Leroux. It was beautifully warm and I may have had an Orangina or two in a honey-coloured market square...

I was talking about perfume ingredients with people at the hub of fragrance manufacture - and I didn't care. It was just another project to me (albeit in some very picturesque settings). I could have been talking about guttering, flanges, blind rivets or firemen's hose. Looking back at myself 9 years ago compared to the rabid perfumista I am now, I am gutted that I didn't make more of the opportunity I had to ask these influential fragrance specialists more searching questions. So was that a scent crime? Maybe not so much a crime as a profound regret, the way people might be sorry that they were somewhere amazing like New York or Rome, but chose to stay in their hotel room all day watching the shopping channel.

But then again, I had a job of work to do and my own personal agenda might have interfered with - or even derailed - the detached and objective process of the customer audit. It is probably sour grapes, but it helps me to live with myself...!


  1. How exciting that you visited those places in the first place. You are right, it isn't a scent crime at all. We've all done things we regret....I've given away countless bottles of fragrances in the past when I didn't like them at first sniff; my thought was, well, I have other bottles. Had I known then what I know now, I could've sold decants, bottles, revisited and fallen in love, etc. Oh well!

  2. Ah yes, you and me both. And not made so many thoughtless FB purchases when I was new to this hobby. Hindsight is a wonderful thing... : - )

  3. I-m sat here nodding. I would love to go back to Self minus 7 years, passing at Marylebone station at least once a month, and just get her to take an extra hour before going home to visit the L'Artisan shop and some of the other lovelies along there. (Hebe)

  4. I would love to visit the L'Artisan shop. Though they were a bit naughty the other day when I bought a bottle for a friend for Xmas and they forgot to gift wrap it as they said they would. And they had no sample of Havana Vanille and offered none in replacement!