Four years ago, I set out on a journey. I soon realised I’d been on it far longer; for as long as I’d had my sense of smell. It was this odyssey through fragrance that led to the modernist.
I don't recall the exact moment when everything started to smell the same, but it was critical. At home, hundreds bottles of eau de cologne, perfume, aftershave and eau de toilette lurked about the place. As attuned as I felt to each of them, the more they proliferated, the harder they became to tell apart. They started to gang up into big bland families.
Looking back, the olfactory origins were there for me. My dad installed and restored wooden floors; I have early memories of fresh cut pine and newly sanded mahogany. Somewhere along the way these merge with the smells of church, incense especially, when I was an altar boy - capped off by a six week spell in hospital when I was five years old and all sorts of odours pervaded my life.
And those recollections barely tip the iceberg.
I was ready to do something new, to smell something different. It’s easy to look back and think the timing was spot on. That was true to a degree but the rest was like anything you’re passionate about: hard work, perseverance, some setbacks, a bit of luck.
The next few years were spent digging in deep with fragrance, working out of the spare room, finding and contacting suppliers and manufacturers, playing with the surprisingly many and mobile parts that go to create a fragrance - research, planning, formulation, compounding, branding, design, manufacture, packaging, sales channels, shipping, service.
As I went along, I made notes, followed timetables, composed formulae and sketched out plans. I also took a few pictures and as I went through the camera roll on my phone, they were a great visual map. I did all this so I could repeat the process minus some of the self created challenges.
This blog is a more formal write up of that archive. Travel writing for a very personal and exciting voyage. If you're taking the time to read any of it, thanks and I hope it's insightful and maybe even useful, whatever your journey.