We're always interested in learning more about the ideation and creation of new scents from our favorite independent perfumers, and appreciate the time John took to tell us about how his newest scent, Triptych, came to be. And don't miss the mouth-watering reveal about what's coming next!
Q. We're intrigued by the idea of Triptych as "a fragrant wall of art for skin", combining three distinct "earthly elements". Can you tell us more about this concept?
A. I'm happy to say that the idea behind a 3-panel fragrant wall of art was by complete accident! As with most of my creations, I like to start with the main note or theme for a scent and build around the note from there. The main note I was working with was geranium. A scent on its own that's super complex and really quite a bit polarizing.
I found woods to play nice with the geranium but it wasn't quite complete. And so I added some elements of water to add freshness. Ultimately, I feel it ended up being a spicy, floral, woodsy, herbal scent. The ironic thing is that I wasn't a fan of geranium until I really starting messing with it. After a while, it's one of those scents that seems to grow on you. Then it becomes an addiction.
Q. What's a typical starting point for you when you set out to create a new scent?
A. Great question. I don't know! I typically will stumble upon a note that gets me excited. And then I'll work on some combinations around that note. It'll either end up well or a complete and utter disaster. Both are results that I'm cool with. Because you never know what magic might happen in the process of creating.
Q. Triptych must be close to the 20th perfume for Kerosene Perfumes! What aspect of fragrance creation gives you the most joy, and has that changed over time?
A. It's funny you raise the question about what brings me the most joy. Honestly, it's not so much of what I create for myself but when I hear of others enjoying the creations I make. When I hear of those who have sprayed my scents onto their bodies and to hear feedback that the scents have evoked fond memories of the past or the scent simply brings them happiness, then that's what brings me joy. But at the same time I don't create scents for others, rather it's like sharing my scent art with others.
Q. Are there fragrance ingredients you haven't tackled yet that you really want to use?
A. Oh, there are many of those. Right now, keeping up with production has really slowed down my ability to experiment and work with notes that inspire me. A note that quickly comes to mind is black currant. I love that smell in the wild and to create something around it has many challenges. One challenge being that it kinda smells like pee. But in a weird good way. Fun, eh?! So there are fragrance notes like that one that I really want to use but haven't found the right combination for yet.
Q. Kerosene has been one of our top 5 selling lines since we started our relationship with you in 2015. While your fragrances are neither conventional nor mainstream, they clearly have broad appeal. What do you attribute this to?
A. Another great question. And my answer is, I don't know! I love bold, yet approachable smells. I think Triptych might fall into this category. The initial blast will be a kick to the nose of geranium but if a person gives it enough time, the scent will evolve into something more. Maybe that's the appeal? I hope my scents take the wearer on a bit of journey.
Q. Anything else exciting emerging from your lab that you can tell us about?
A. Yes, there is! I was working on something simply for the heck of it. Something I told myself I'd never do and well...I did it and am glad it happened. I created a gourmand and after I sprayed a scent strip, I had actually thought about what it would taste like to eat the paper. I think it's that delectable.
I really don't like releasing too many scents at the same time. Right now, those that enjoy spicy florals will be attracted to Triptych. And soon, those that like the edible kinda scents will be drawn to another release that won't be too far away. All I can say is that my wife wore the scent at church last week and it was distracting me because I hadn't had breakfast and I was starving and just wanted to take a bite of her arm! Spoiler alert: Caramel.