The Nexus of Wine & Perfume


My confession is this: I’m a perfume whore.   A Cologne Nut. More than anything it is the idea that man can combine so many aromas and scents into a singular potion that has the power to simply arrest arrest our mind has always captured me.

I used to keep a bowl of coffee beans in my bathroom and had at my disposal too many bottles to keep on the bathroom counter. Many of them were hid away for lack of room. And, past girlfriends tended to get the stuff as gifts for no good reason other than I couldn’t help myself as I walked past the perfume counter at Macy’s.

Then there is the artistry of the vessel that holds these scents. It’s quite a production, creating not just the scent of the perfume or cologne but wrapping it up in a container that might help tell the tale of the essence of the aroma.

It is no different than wine, is it: a perishable product that serves merely to please us and that we consume.

The New York Times announced today that they have appointed their first ever Perfume critic, Chandler Burr, also the author of "The Emperor & Scent" The True Story of Perfume and Obsession".

Burr says:

""The creation of fragrance is one of the highest art forms crafted
for the senses, the equal of painting for sight and music for
hearing, and this column is about treating perfume as
the art that it is. Every other true art has a serious criticism. I
believe perfume should as well, for the benefit, and I hope enjoyment,
of the Times reader and the industry expert both. Perfume is an
aesthetically rich and complex product, one both deeply anchored in
history and more commercially important than ever. My opinion is, of
course, just my opinion; given The Times’s weight, I take this
responsibility quite seriously. I intend to treat this position with
the greatest respect, and I’m delighted to serve as The Times’s
perfume critic."

Burr, and the Times in particular, will take a great deal of flack for this move. It will seem to many as silly, inconsequential and indulgent, all those things that make life enjoyable. And, all those things that make the connoisseurship of wine seem the same to many. Furthermore, the idea of critiquing a perfume will seem to many to be the height of arrogance, just as it does to many who contemplate the wine critic.

Yet it is true that without a healthy dose of arrogance residing in the mind of man, we would be without art, great cuisine, buildings beyond boxes, and wines that matter. And, we would be without much perfume. All artists accept the arrogance of the reviewer too and accept that the review and critique of human endeavors, particularly the ones that reach beyond the mundane, are an essential element in the creative process.

Good for the New York Times.


16 Responses

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