Part 2: perfumery tradition
Beautiful raw ingredients are not in themselves perfumes. The perfumer's art is to combine them, with knowledge, skill and taste. This is where tradition enters, along with creativity. A good perfume is a structure composed of top, heart and base notes in which each plays a role both simultaneously and successively. Perfume is a combinatorial art of which the potential is theoretically limitless; but practice, finesse and imagination count heavily, and only experienced human noses are truly able to evaluate its products.
Like classical composers, perfumers create compositions which must please from moment to moment but also take time to reveal their full meaning and structure. In the case of a perfume the expected duration is normally several hours, with something finished in five hours seen as rather short-lived and anything still standing after twelve considered exceptional.
The charge is often levelled at all-natural perfumes that they cannot last long, or not long enough, to satisfy the expectations of either connoisseurs or the majority of perfume users. At Prosody London we have successfully traced out several routes by which these potential limitations can be overcome without resorting to synthetics in the formula.
Working in a structured way allows a natural perfume to describe a journey of experience comparable in length and intensity with a good (ie predominantly natural) synthetic one. Prosody London perfumes all perform over a period of at least 6 hours on skin and far longer on fabric. A fan of our Oud Octavo, who also wears Oud perfumes from some well-known Italian brands, says that ours is outstanding in both character and duration – and he’s delighted by that.
In our view great perfume results from the determination to make something exceptionally pleasing - the essential drive behind classical art in any medium. That is the essence of tradition, which is constantly reinvents itself in quest of new excellence and excitement. This is our goal, in common we believe with the majority of perfumers whose approach to materials is less exclusive than our own. On the evidence so far, we are helping to write a new and worthwhile chapter in the ancient art of perfumes made without modern synthetics.