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Cedar

As a child, I used to press my nose against the inside of my grandmother’s cedar-lined chest. It smelled of the Orient, as we called it then, of ships and harbors and of China.  Despite having since survived the assault of cheap “cedar-scented” cleaning products,...

Sandalwood

Because sandalwood has gotten very expensive–the best genuine Mysore stuff goes for around $25/milliliter—many try to emulate its scent using inexpensive aroma chemicals. Despite my own efforts, I’ve never been able to match the silvery, creamy woodiness of...

Shalimar: The Ambreine accord

Perfumers work with a seemingly infinite number of ingredients all of which need to be memorized (at least in theory). In addition to these individual elements—chemicals, absolutes, and essential oils—are accords, which are combinations of more than one ingredient...

The Grossman Accord

One of the 20th Century’s greatest perfumes, Trésor, was created by Sophia Grojsman, whose name is forever associated with an accord. The Grojsman accord, based on only four ingredients: two parts iso e super or sylvamber, two parts hedione, one part methyl ionone,...

Hedione

While I’m astonished by the beauty of natural products, I’ve never been against using something that comes out of a lab. Though natural substances contain an infinity of compounds and so-called chemicals only one, I’ve never hesitated to use something that smells...