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Sustainable Scents

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured
Posted: September 6, 2007

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“It’s in the family of basil,” says Gavarry. “It smells like soft basil notes, but in a verbena connotation—citron, citronellalike, lemon.” The material has found use in 2005’s Euphoria (Calvin Klein).

Smelling Session
Labbé and Gavarry sit at a conference room table and direct a smelling of Euphoria and some of the LMR-derived materials used in its creation. Formulated by IFF perfumers Carlos Benaim, Loc Dong and Dominique Ropion, the scent features notes of pomegranate, persimmon, champaca, black orchid and mahogany. The first blotter to make the rounds is the ambergrislike labdanum, derived from the plant’s branch sap. Labbé says she likes the material’s ambery, leathery notes. Next comes galbanum, which Gavarry describes as fresh-smelling. Next, during the smelling of a decolorized patchouli molecular distillate, Gavarry notes that he likes the effect of combining patchulol and patchouli. “They compliment each other,” he says.

Labbé describes the tagette oil that is passed around as fruity, apricotlike, with some hints of rum. But it’s the China-derived osmanthus that she likes most. “I love the new osmanthus,” she says. “It’s unbelievable; it’s very different from the osmanthus we had before. Usually we have leathery notes. Here, it’s more fruity.” Toulemonde points out that, “Osmanthus is not extracted from the fresh flower. The flowers are left in salted water for two to five months. The flower is fermented.”

Next comes the violet leaf absolute, whose distillation was previously described. During the smelling, Gavarry describes it as very powerful. Finally, blotters of basil verbena are passed around, smelling very lemony.

Labbé and Gavarry discuss Armani Code, formulated by IFF perfumers Carlos Benaim, Olivier Polge and Dominique Ropion. The mandarin oil making the rounds has been decolorized through molecular distillation. Gavarry explains that mandarin oil is usually quite dark orange. In this iteration, he finds the oil fresher, cleaner, and more airy and sparkling as a result of the processing. It is also less fruity. Labbé finds it more concentrated. The jasmine absolute sambac follows spicy cardamom oil, and Gavarry declares it slightly greener and more animalic than typical jasmine. Meanwhile, Labbé points out the flower’s traditional use in weddings and other ceremonies in India; the sambac variety comes from a larger bush than other varieties, sporting more but smaller flowers. Its scent holds the other notes together.