There’s nothing like learning a new skill to increase your admiration one hundred-fold for those who execute it at a high level. Recently I’ve been dabbling in art and so now when I see what experienced artists can produce, it fills me with awe.
Paul Schütze is a London-based artist who has created works in a variety of forms including photography, installations and soundworks.
After creating scented elements for art installations and objects, he launched a collection of three personal fragrances in April of this year. Each one represents a key moment or impression from the artist’s memory.
Behind the Rain
Notes: Black Pepper, Fennel, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Linden, Mastic, Moss, Patchouli and Vetiver.
Who doesn’t love the smell of petrichor? That amazing aroma is created when rain hits the dusty ground for the first time after a prolonged dry spell. The is what Behind the Rain seeks to capture and it does indeed start with a delicious blast of musty earth paired with juicy grapefruit, thereby mimicking the contrast between the dry soil and the quenching rain.
As the opening fades, I find myself wanting to spray it again to relive that short but fun moment. However, this is the fleeting nature of petrichor so it’s true to life. The rest of the development is tart grapefruit zest against a soft green backdrop with a lingering touch of musty-ness that reminds me of dusty tea leaves. Sometimes I’m repelled by grapefruit notes but here it remains pleasant and fresh for hours on end.
Tears of Eros
Notes: Ambergris, Benzoin, Cardamom, Cedar, Clementine, Frankincense, Gaiac Wood, Hyacinth, Iris Butter, Labdanum and Pepper.
The stimulus for Tears of Eros was a chance moment when the aromas of Japanese incense, clementine peel and hyacinths collided in Paul’s Parisian studio. It’s described evocatively as a “living incense”.
After an opening salvo of sparkling clementine Tears of Eros moves through a phase of green hyacinth before settling into a woody hyacinth with a hazy aura of incense. In the base it becomes salt encrusted and makes me think of driftwood. Tears of Eros is an unusual composition and holds me captivated partly for this reason. It’s the one out of three which is the stand-out for me.
Notes: Bergamot, Bigarade Orange, Cedar, Magnolia, Orange Blossom, Petitgrain, Sandalwood and Vetiver
The inspiration for Cirebon is a night spent sitting by a lake on the island of Java as the sound of a traditional Indonesian Gamelan orchestra drifts across the water. I’ve visited Bali and went to a performance featuring Gamelan music which really is mesmerising.
The fragrance seeking to capture this experience can be summed up in two words, “spiced orange”, but it’s so nicely done that I don’t tire of it. Sometimes a simple accord that really works is all you need and Cirebon has the quality and depth of the other two compositions in the collection.
The orange is distilled down to its essence making it thick and potent, while the spicy facet is very smooth and suave. This turns what could have been a bright citrus cologne into a dark, sensual scent.
I really wish guys I’m in close proximity to on the tube would start wearing Cirebon instead of the unpleasant olfactory foghorns they usually go in for.
It’s interesting that a number of indie perfumers are also artists, including Liz Zorn of Soivohle and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes. I wonder if, for them, perfumery is just another form of artistic expression, another palette to work with.
Do you see a connection between art and perfume? Do Behind The Rain, Tears of Eros or Cirebon appeal to you?