Q: Are your perfumes made from organic or all-natural materials?
A: This is really a two-part question so let’s take them individually and start with the far simpler second: are my scents made with all-natural materials? No. It is not (currently) possible to make smells such as Ink, Rubber Inner Tube or Doll Head without resorting to synthetic aromachemicals.
I will stress here that Not All Synthetics Are Bad.
Now for the tough part: are my perfumes organic? Well, what definition of “organic” do you mean? Much like “alcohol” “sugar” and “salt”, this term has several meanings depending on specific usage and context. In a scientific botanical context, I use a great many plant-based aroma materials – FAR more than the vast majority of other perfumers or olfactory artists. I obtain these from several sources all of which I’ve chosen because they guarantee substances of the highest quality and purity.
But if you’re referring to “organic” in the context of healthy, sustainable and environmentally responsible farming practices, my answer is that such issues do not really apply to natural materials extracted for use in creating the scent of perfume. The various processes generally used to obtain natural materials pretty much insure that extraction results in a compound that contains ONLY a vast array of natural chemicals which comprise the odor of the plant.
Here I will STRONGLY stress that Not All Natural Materials Are Good. In fact, there are more than a few that if used incorrectly or irresponsibly can cause a host of medical issues ranging from severe skin irritations to miscarriage.
Since my time at Kiehl’s I have done and continue to do a hell of a lot of research on fragrance compounds of all types. I study not only their history, cultural impact and traditions of preparation but also the ongoing look into their chemical composition, current methods of extraction, the physiological and emotional effects on the human organism and even the environmental and economic impact of raising/manufacturing them. Furthermore, for several years I worked for the country’s oldest and original organic farm where I gained thorough understanding of true organic farming practices. My time at Walnut Acres also left me with far more stringent standards as to what constitutes organic produce than even those laid out by the US FDA. As far as I’m concerned, this knowledge is crucial to creating perfume and no responsible perfumer or olfactory artist can do any less than to have a very very thorough understanding of and respect for the basic materials used.
So with every scent I create, I am and have always been SUPER picky about what goes in them whether natural or man-made. I am very rigid about what I will and will not use.
I will ONLY use
Materials of the highest and purest quality
Materials with little or no probability to cause irritation
Materials with extremely little or no environmental impact in their production, use or disposal.
I DO NOT use or allow
Any material of animal origin
Any synthetic compound containing or consisting of any molecule “never before found in nature”
Any material or compound that may compromise the safety and well-being of myself, my staff, my clients or the planet in general
Lastly I REFUSE to use
Any material demonstrated to cause severe physical distress including but not limited to an Instantly Blinding Headache and Seriously Acute Nausea.
I gently remind that it was my intense dislike of so called perfumes that made me violently ill to take up making perfume in the first place. And it is the continued manufacture and marketing of such olfactory atrocities that is still the prime reason that even now twenty years on, I Hate Perfume.