This video empowers consumers to challenge the salesperson upon their next trip to a perfume store!
At most perfume stores it is common to classify scents by olfactory families. For instance, a department store perfume salesperson identifies the consumer’s passion for a flowery or spicy note and provides more samples from these olfactory families. In encounters such as this, a consumer might easily feel inferior to the salesperson’s expertise. However, in observing the perfume field, we have noticed that even among experts there are highly personal systems of classification that vary from perfumer to perfumer. We asked Christophe Laudamiel and Christoph Hornetz for a set of sample olfactory materials that could help us to better understand some of the everyday practices in the field. One of the perfumers came up with a list of materials grouped by families. One night, we discussed the list over wine and cheese with the two perfumers. On this occasion we learned how even two perfumers who had closely collaborated for several years can quickly disagree about commonly shared olfactory conventions and classifications. Bear in mind that the perfumers talk about single molecules whereas commercial perfumes are composed of several dozen different molecules. After watching the video the viewer should feel empowered to challenge the salesperson upon their next trip to a perfume store!