Toward a Theory of Perfume Specificity
Requisites and aesthetics of natural perfumery, in particular enfleurage, but to a lesser extent tincturing and making absolutes, that distinguish it from industrial and synthetic perfumery, as well as from plant medicine:
Verisimilitude - art that produces a likeness of the thing it represents, in this case, likeness of aroma.
Realness - art that physically uses the natural source of a scent to represent and preserve the scent.
Intensification - the physical use of natural scented material to produce an intensified version of the scent of that material, resulting in a more intense scent experience than occurs in nature. This is often achieved through repetition, as in the charges dones in enfleurage and tincturing.
Condensation - related to intensification, this describes how the perfumer bears time upon the space of perfume with the aim of infusing a circumscribed space (a bottle, a liquid, a fat, a wax, a jar) over time, to concentrate many natural fragrant materials into a smaller space than they otherwise would occupy in nature.
More to come on how these requirements torque the spatiotemporal experience of perfume, and the roles of immediacy, distance/aging, and indexicality. And how this interplay separates art done in the sense of smell from artistic practices and experiences done in the other senses, especially visual, musical, and gastronomic realms.
© 2023, Abby Hinsman for Wild Veil Perfume.