From the April 1983 Newsletter…
A lecture given to the Society by Mr. Bernard Chant on November 11th 1982
I want to thank the Society for giving me this opportunity to share with you some thoughts of my favourite subject…creativity.
I think we perfumers have a real responsibility to help our industry grow by giving the public the fragrances that make new statements, that have good diffusion and that last a long time. Do you know of any other multi-billion dollar business that depends on a handful of people like us for its growth and vitality? We should be very proud of the role we play, but also very conscious of its great responsibility, and our responsibility is to bring forth new ideas constantly, adapting them to the needs and tastes of our varied clients.
As our particular company loyalties prevent us from sharing our latest discoveries, I would like to discuss with you tonight some of the contributions that have been made in the past; to look at some creations that, in my opinion, have made their mark in the history of the fragrance business and have exerted their influence on the rest of the market. By doing this I hope to provoke in your mind some new thoughts that will perhaps lead you to new creations. I would also like to try to put everyone at ease. I am going to take the liberty of mentioning some key ingredients used in these creations. I feel that in the age of chromatography anyone can identify them, so I am not revealing any secrets. I also believe, very strongly, that a chromatographic formula is just a guideline, or a thin skeleton, and never gives you the true smell of the fragrance you are studying.
What do I mean when I speak of a new creation in fragrance? Why are some fragrances true creations and others not? Quite simply put, creations contain new notes, or products, or combinations of notes, or notes used in a brand new way.
Why is creativity so important? While the public does not understand anything we do, they seem to have a natural sense of taste that helps them appreciate what is beautiful. Let’s face it, no bad fragrance ever made it to the top. If we don’t bring them new ideas on a fairly regular basis, eventually their interest in perfume will wane even though they might not be able to explain why. What we do is part of the fashion world and it must be as up-to-date as the latest clothes. In a new product introduction, the box, the bottle and the perfume must all work together to achieve a certain level of beauty and newness.
I do not pretend to talk about every creation, nor about every fragrance. I will try to mention and explain ingredients used differently for the first time and the reasons for their success. I will illustrate my emphasis on new notes by going back into history and showing you some great perfumes that creatively have brought something new to the industry.