Thursday, May 7, 2015

Smoke and Mirrors

The world just keeps getting more and more strange, not in a good way in my opinion. I was going to use the word surreal, but I like surrealism, even the word strange may not be appropriate. What has my panties in such a bunch? The lack of truth in perfume but also in other sectors like food which has quite a bit of cross over.

This morning in my inbox was an e-mail from the Organic Consumers Association about the latest theatrics happening with large "organic" corporate poultry farms who want to be allowed to give their chickens more synthetic methionine. Regrettably the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) agreed, despite petitions. "The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) submitted testimony against the Livestock Committee’s petition, along with more than 17,000 signatures on a petition calling on the NOSB to phase out the use of synthetic methionine and honor the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) requirement of year round legitimate outdoor access."1 Disgusting! Anyway, this incident combined with more and more perfumers throwing around words like "natural" and pretending they actually make the perfumes that have their name on them and they promote has me in a bad mood.

You may recall that back in 2012 I attended a perfumers breakfast meeting where I learned that all main stream perfume, including many uber niche and niche perfumers, don't actually make their perfumes but hire a lab to do so. Here's a paragraph from that post.


We were educated that all perfumes in the main stream are created by an individual who works at a fragrance house. A company, celebrity or artist comes to a fragrance house with an idea where the staff perfumer begins the process of transforming the idea into a perfume.

Rather quickly many of us in the audience realized that this system would not work for those of us who prefer to construct and formulate are own perfumes. We were told that it was cost prohibitive to create a true natural perfume and that we should consider broadening our palette to achieve a wider reach. Yosh shared how she struggled with the idea of someone else manufacturing/producing her perfumes and letting go of specific ingredients like a beloved Vetiver from Haiti.


This fact that most main stream niche perfumers use a lab was a huge reveal to me, I had no idea but can see how this would be lucrative. It actually occurs a lot more than you would imagine. The challenge for me is that I don't like that this little kernel of information is kept secret AND that these labs will label some ingredients as "natural" that have nothing to do with nature.

Here's the tie in with the labeling of "organic" poultry that allows a certain amount of synthetics because "the corporation" asked for it. This particular issue is of authenticity is huge to me. I just read somewhere that "millennials", those born somewhere between 1980 and 2000, prefer transparency. If this is true than perhaps this new generation will assist in pulling back the curtain on some of these theatrics reminiscent of this scene from the original Wizard of Oz movie.

1 Organic Consumers Association

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