learning from the classics

Today's picture: a pencil drawing based on Segantini's painting of a dead goose. The drawing class that I am attending these days goes to museums, where we analyse paintings, discuss them, the flow, the proportions, the light, the texture and where we sketch them, trying to capture what makes a particular painting a particularly good painting. Next week, we will go and visit Roman and Greek statues and sketch them. The human figure...

In perfumery, I do the same thing: I am looking for classics, and try to look at them, searching for what makes them special.

The problem: There are not many new "classics", but the classics are usually old creations. This analysis is not a copy paste work. Most of the classics cannot easily be copied as some of the raw materials are not there anymore, or they were used in quantities that are not allowed today. It is more like: Trying to capture and understand the "gestalt". Sometimes, you look at them for years and suddenly, you realize: Ah.... that's the trick!


I do not have a vintage collection, though. But I have some classics that - although reformulated over and over again- are still good. I guess a really well done perfume can stand a couple of reformulations before it loses it's "gestalt". Thus, my partner said the other day " you get really tough in your statements about perfumes". And I replied, yes, but only about the new ones.

6 thoughts on “learning from the classics”

  • Good morning Andy, I have 3 things to say :-) (I already apologize for the long post!) 1- This is a really great drawing! It jumps out of the page & almost looks 3-dimensional; I think you really did an excellent job there 2- In my point of view almost all great classics have a certain "edge" to them... maybe a little bit of an animalistic feel, or some dirt, lusciousness (like your Une Rose Chyprée), opulence or sexiness... most renowned perfumes are invariably sexy in some way or another. I wouldn't go with the very very animalistic or dirty of course, as we don't want to push people away, but just a little hint to remind others that we're hot-blooded humans :-) 3- I just received the package of your perfumes yesterday. Thank you for "everything" & I love love love Lonesome Rider; it's really got everything from a happy, fun start to a sumptuous beautiful finish, that comes through a lovely luscious & captivating heart. Really excellent Andy, as usual :-D

  • I like the drawing.

    Your points about the classics and their roles are so true across life in general. History teaches us that too.

    There is, coincidently, an article about painting fragrances on Fragrantica today. A bit different!

  • It is really interesting to study classic paintings. I remember being blown away the first time I saw a Rembrandt up close. There were so many textural details that were not visible from a print reproduction, that could only be appreciated in the presence of the original. As for perfumes, I was similarly blown away when I smelled Vero Kern's Onda and your Rose Chyprée. It is still possible to make classic perfumes, it only takes talent. :-)

  • Good morning, Tara
    Very interesting, referring to Rembrandt: Our teacher mentioned in last week's class that we often look at paintings by the big masters under conditions that are not ok. Rembrandt was painting in dim light, candle light, and what we see these days was -maybe- not how he saw his paintings....

    Ah... and it needs courage these days :-)

  • Hi Peter
    I missed this article. Have a great week!

  • Good morning, Kal
    1. Thanks
    2. exactly. An aspect that I miss in many scents these days
    3. again: Thank you!
    Have a great week!


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