Granted, perfume is not routinely considered a matter of fashion, but this might legitimately be considered an exception. A London-based French woman, Audrey Semeraro, has devised a range of products under the brand name of ‘Edeniste’, which is a sharp piece of nomenclature. There is the underlying suggestion of the Garden of Eden, forbidden fruit and all that, and if you say the word with a French accent it sound very much like ‘Hedonist’ – someone who believes that pleasure is the most important thing in life.
That is the goal of her perfumes. “Why not feel good as well as smell good?” she asks. Rhetorically. Her father was a nuclear scientist and for years she had been intrigued by the prospect of marrying neuroscience with perfume; she was sure that it must make sense to be able to create scents which would not only give off a pleasing aroma but would actually make the wearer feel better about themselves and their lives. Accordingly, while the project became a four-year odyssey rather than an overnight discovery, Semeraro has eventually done just that in the form of six ‘lifeboosts’ and seven eau de parfums. The ‘Happiness’ lifeboost is shown on the home page. That particular one is an amalgamation of tropical mango and warm cedarwood. Another is called ‘Seduction’. I did mention the Garden of Eden.
It probably goes without saying that in order for her endeavours to reach fruition, Semeraro had to call on a great deal of assistance from people in the scientific community. Among these perhaps two were especially notable. Dr Gabriel Lepousez is an expert on the subject of olfactory perception and he enabled her to build a database of molecules proven to have a beneficial effect on one’s state of mind. Dr Jeremie Topin at the French National Centre for Scientific Research conducted the trials to confirm her perfumes and lifeboosts had the desired emotional impact on physiological response. Finally, she needed a ‘nose’ – an expert perfumer to bring the product to perfection. For the most apart this was Aurélien Guichard. And there you have it. The sweet smell of success.
Which reminds me…a year or so ago, I read a story in The Times about a guy who was intending to bring a similar idea to a range of fiction titles; to infuse them with a scent that fitted the book. One of the titles, for example, was Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. (So an aroma of pine, I guess? Or beetles? Sorry!) Anyhow, he was asked what scent might be appropriate for the paper. “Newsprint has an amazing smell anyway,” came the answer. Which, to be honest, is more than can be said for a blog.