We checked in with founder and perfumer of Maison Anonyme, Christopher Gordon, to learn more about his striking and unconventional new collection, Hallucinex. Here's what he had to say:
Q. What inspired you to create a line of fragrances about these particular mind-altering substances?
A. Inspiration is a complex thing, and pinpointing a specific influence is challenging. It’s always part of an ongoing experience; an accretion of memory, sensation and perception. But for Hallucinex, I wanted to aim for memories that are different from those usually addressed by perfumery. The name for the line was inspired by a song by a friend’s band, which was in turn inspired by a French avant-garde publication from 1970.
Q. What type of sensory (or other) experience do you hope these fragrances will elicit when worn?
A. The fragrances are designed to provoke a hallucinogenic response — a mild jolt of dissociation akin to time travel — in those who have previously experimented with the substances I call out. Those who haven’t had such experiences have reported feelings of euphoria and unreality. This is why the scents come with a warning. I want people to be prepared for a sensation that they may not have experienced before with perfume. But beyond the initial jolt of astonishment, all of the fragrances are extremely wearable and don’t depend on their connotations to work their magic.
Q. How did you select ingredients/notes to represent DMT, LSD and THC, and are the fragrance profiles more conceptual or literal?
A mixture of both, really. As a perfumer, I work with associations to conjure images and tell a story. In the case of DMT and THC, I based the heart of the fragrance around raw materials found on the perfumer’s organ that are present in the chemical makeup of the substances named. To be clear, the fragrances do not contain any actives – just perfumery materials that are chemically aligned with the target substance. With LSD, the research didn’t turn up anything that had a scent, so I decided to create the smell of a substrate common to the presentation of the substance — inviting the wearer to become the sugar cube.
Q. How would you describe each of the Hallucinex fragrances, using three words each?
DMT: Floral, animalic, cosmic
LSD: Sweet, warm, sensual
THC: Green, herbal, grounded
Q. Were you imagining a specific audience for Hallucinex and, if so, who are they?
A. The house has always been, first and foremost, dedicated to expansion and transcendence. Like most everything we do, the Hallucinex project will appeal to those seeking pleasure and beauty. Psychonauts looking for unique expressions of their interests may also perhaps find something of interest.
Q. Hallucinex is the third line you've released for Maison Anonyme, each completely different in tone and approach. Any hints about what's coming next?
A. It’s true that with each release we attempt to describe a new realm of sensation. But all of the scents share a stylistic resemblance, like a new release by a favorite author. At least two more Hallucinex scents will be released later this year, and I will be expanding the Eau d’Artifice line. I’m also creating incense for an exhibition by the A.S.T.R.A.L.O.R.A.C.L.E.S collective, with whom I did a project for 710 Labs earlier this year. So, it’s turning out to be a busy year after the wilderness of the last.