Spirited Away: Scent News from New York

August has been quite the month in the New York fragrance world. Elements Showcase brought dozens of perfumers and cosmetics brands to Tenth Avenue and West 36th Street in its third incarnation. Buyers and bloggers descended upon the event, which featured presentations and panels about the industry, and existing lines unveiled new creations (my favorites: Andrea Maacke’s “Coal” and Frapin “Speakeasy”). The runaway hit though among all of the people I spoke with was Olfactive Studio from Paris, who describes their concept as “the meeting between contemporary artistic photography and perfumery.” My favorite is “Autoportrait (Self Portrait),” inspired by photographer Luc Lapôtre, which has the warm woody spiciness this perfumista adores. Not everything was top-notch at Elements, though: Vegas Dream, a brand focused on perfumes evoking the city of Las Vegas, featured scents as declassé as that sinful metropolis in the desert.

That same week, MiN New York hosted an exclusive gathering at their Soho digs called “Aphrodisiac: Tequila, Chocolate, and Scents,” where folks from Herradura and Vosges Haut Chocolat collaborated with the store’s scent curator, Mindy Yang, to mate taste with smell.

After spending three days surrounded by scent, my nose experienced olfactory fatigue. Aside from a bag full of brochures, press kits, and samples, I came away with my head filled with stories. Hundreds of narratives were woven in those few days by perfumers to humanize the experience of buying. They connected to my emotions through images and text, weaving luxurious fantasies and taking me from Paris to Las Vegas to Mexico. Biting into a humble chocolate truffle with a sip of reposado while sniffing Frapin 1697 can enliven even the most downtrodden spirit during the dog days of August.

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