When, however, you have them on the phone, and you're asking them questions, and they're simply lying to you, when they expect you to re-vomit up their marketing protocols in print (and they have good reason for automatically assuming you will; most of the publications that write on perfume do) and you're completely aware that what they're insisting is "so-and-so designer's vision" is the manufactured result of some 3:30pm corporate meeting in an office tower in midtown, when you ask the simplest question about the molecules forming the real construction of the scent and they behave like panicked sheep and the stuttering and/or dreary silence you hear coming over the phone represents not necessarily them but the fanatic neuroticism of some huge company that doesn't believe in its products, doesn't believe in its clients, and sure as hell doesn't believe in accurate journalism—then you get angry.
— Chandler Burr on being a perfume critic, from part two of a series at Basenotes on deleted scenes from Burr's upcoming book, The Perfect Scent.
Ok, I sort of love him now. LOL! I'll still take his opinions with a grain of salt (as I do anyone's), but he has won me over. And if those are the *deleted* parts of the book I can't wait for the real thing! This actually made me laugh out loud:
” Addictive? Their accountants wish. They'd happily put oxycontin in the stuff if it nailed that second sale, but they can't and it doesn't so let's drop the pretense and that particular adjective.”
Lots of great inspiration for the Prix au faux too. If everyone who really loves perfume hates ad copy as much as we seem too (Mr. Burr included) – why is it still written that way?!
The book is interesting, especially if you're a Jean Claude Ellena fan.
But must say, I don't hate perfume ad copy at all! I criticize it if its ludicrous, but at the same time, I absolutely love reading ludicrous ad copy, the crazier the better.
I see, I need to *embrace* the silly. LOL! I've been looking at it from the wrong angle maybe.
Have you read it? I ordered a copy from Amazon months ago but it won't ship until the end of the month.
Thanks, Robin. He's a terrific writer, and I always enjoy reading him. I think it's a little misguided of those who dismiss him (or anyone else) because they disagree with his (or anyone else's) particular taste in fragrance. Is that not the point? That we all have our own peculiar taste, and part of the fun of the discussion is to hear what you think, especially if you smell something in a way that I do not?
I read an advance reader's copy that a friend shared with me — don't think it is for sale yet.
Agree it would be misguided to dismiss him because you didn't agree with his taste, but not sure I'd agree that that is the main reason people dismiss him.
LOL — exactly!
Interesting reading! I had no idea his background was so far from the fragrance industry. I was taken aback and a little offended by the quote on “actuarial souls”, though! What is that?
K, I'm not following you, sorry — why did that particular sentence offend you?
Robin, this is great read! NST is mentioned together with other blogs..
Tonight I will sit down and read the whole article.
Life cannot be easy for a Perfume Critic
Life can be hard for a perfume critic?
I agree. I find it all really funny and I just chuck it if I don't feel like reading it. Sometimes I use the nice shiny folders to sort my mail.
You didn't post the best excerpt (pointed out to me by Stanzi on MUA):
“Issey Miyake's Le Feu? I love this stuff like Richard Pryor loved crack, but you could jump-start Soweto with .001 ml of Le Feu injected into a butt cheek.”
The internet saying “WTF!!!1!!!1!!” was invented for moments like these.
Boy, my English is failing me here..
MW, yes, but not exactly in a glowing way, LOL…
You tell us! Although perhaps I'd rather not know
T, I picked the excerpt I was willing to entertain comments on. I'm sure I'm not qualified to discuss that particular statement.
R, I do actuarial work. I understand the point the quoted intends to get across, but why not use an adjective that doesn't negatively generalize an entire industry of people? I'm sure I'm being overly sensitive, but I just think that's rude.
Hey, you're a perfume critic too!
I do. That particular statement, my fellow NST readers, is weird.
(I meant, “I do feel qualified.” Not “I do.” That's what I get for posting on the internet while on anti-histamines.)
Oh, I get it, sorry! Well, you know, all I can say is that if you read that whole article, it is clear that CB is not concerned about generalizing in a negative way. He says lists of fragrance notes are for morons, PR people are idiots, he clearly things bloggers and those who post on forums are at least mostly moronic idiots, fashion people are beneath contempt. So, you're in good company!
Nope, not me! Refuse to accept any such title. I am an obsessive busybody fan, nothing more, and don't aspire to be anything more. In fact, I'm thinking of renaming the whole blog I Am Not A Perfume Critic.
LOL! Thanks, R! Yes, he was certainly on the warpath in that article. It was hard for me to tell how much of it was intended to be humorous, but it came off as very angry and defensive.
I just made my publisher change the flap copy on our book, because they called me a “longtime perfume critic” and I protested that my actual description should be “longtime perfume lover.” (Please, no Me So Horny Jokes about me loving perfume longtime. Maybe I should have said “longtime perfume fanatic”? Well, too late, I think the jacket's gone to print.)
First of all, I believe that Chandle Burr is very full of himself and second, he must be SO ALONE with all that kicking against anybody and everybody.
Well he bears so much contempt that it could almost qualify for some sort of personality disorder.
Man am I being hard..!!
Sorry Robin, but I just felt like kicking him.
I've read the mentioned parts of his book and it is very well written and gives a good insight in that world of perfumes.
But still all this disdain and contempt seems so misplaces to me.
It's funny, I see him as being specifically frustrated at the nonsense that spews out from marketing departments, as opposed to generally angry and full of contempt. He seems to genuinely love perfume in the way that all of us do, and I have read articles of his where he gave glowing descriptions of scents that he likes and/or thinks are well done. He is definitely opinionated, but that's not such a bad thing. I do like the way he writes, and if he is lying awake at nights stewing in his own venom, well, that's his problem.
You have put things in a better perspective Existentialist.
So true, he seems very annoyed with the whole industry around the perfumes as are many perfumers themselves.
More than 10 years ago I watched a programme on tv where the makers spent a lot of time with the perfumer of Guerlain (can't recall his name now) and we could see how he travelled to India and other places smelling a great variaty of flowers, getting inspiration, and then how the making of a perfume began. The whole process until the official launch of his great work which was then Champs Elysees. He was just sitting behind the stage feeling somehow sad because this big business had little or nothing to do with the perfume he had created.
I have never forgotten that program and out of 'love' for this kind great Nose I have bought Champs Elysees.
As for Chandler Burr : “c'est le ton qui fait la musique”
There is such discrepancy between the world of the Noses and the world of the industry.
Yay, just glad to hear it's gone to print!