To judge a perfume is, above all else, a matter of taste. Taste evolves under the influence of the environment, but this fact must not prohibit judging the environment. Taste evolves chiefly with the acquisition of learning, with the knowledge of facts and of aesthetic accomplishments, which makes it possible to analyze them and to provoke instructive comparisons. It is thus that each of us can progress along the road of beauty and of art. To deny the usefulness of this training would be like refusing to admit that a symphony is better appreciated after one has studied music.
— Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, in Concerning the Circumstances Favorable to the Creation of an Original Perfume, an article which originally appeared in the April/May 1984 issue of Perfumer & Flavorist. It is available for download in PDF form at Anya's Garden.
So beautifully said. In music talent is what you must have to start with and practice is what brings you further, appreciating more and more what other people think is strange or impossible. Taste is not something to take for granted. Taste you practice and develop as well “.. following the road of art.” Also following your urge to find something that never existed before; the perfume or the music or the art that somewhere in a corner of your imaginary path awaits for you to come by.
Agree! I loved this quote — seemed to me it could act as a kind of perfumista’s creed, although he is talking about perfumers here, not consumers.
I guess it has to do with how deeply one is involved with something.
Yes! (to the quote) And about more than perfume.
It’s such a great public service Anya is doing by posting these, and very generous of Michael Roudnitska to share his father’s work like that. Just one of those “and that’s why I love perfume people” moments for me…
Yes, it is…it’s wonderful to be able to read these.
Definitely want to read the article. The road of learning and training he talks about is such an important concept. There is little in this fast paced life that encourages us to take the time to know a topic fully, yet it is only with time, experience, and learning that the world opens up its wondrous details to us. The more I know, with perfume and with anything, the more I love this life. In that way, ‘the road of beauty and art’ is truly a spiritual path.
I agree, the more I learn about perfume the more pleasure I get out of life. Sometimes bad memories are triggered, but most times I come up with good ones. Like hiking my favorite trails, a gathering with family members, etc.
Ditto. When I was younger, I figured,”Okay. It smells good so I’ll wear it.”, not realizing the different notes involved, their effect on body chemistry and vice-versa, etc. It really is an education onto itself.
Smelling a quality fragrance has the same effect on me as ice cream-rapture.
I think any perfumista would enjoy reading it…much of it still resonates today.