Smell is our most primitive, least understood sense. Perfume manipulates that sense, reminding us of good times past, and speaking of glamour and sophistication to those who get close
. --- "Perfume", Episode 1: Something Old, Something New
are considered by many to be the essence of Frenchness in a scent. Ancienne école comme attendez!
But the house whose founder/namesake wrote his first formulae in the 19th C. face the challenges of the 21st, including the first non-Family perfumer
, updating a classic
, and the fall of 4th generation family perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain after his openly racist comments on French TV
. We also follow the corporate entity known as Tommy Hilfigger
as it tries to bottle and market the scent of Rock & Roll
to the Drum 'n Bass generationPerfume is magic worked by science. It's job? to capture the moment
. --- Episode 2, "Bottling The memory"
]: In this episode we see three very different sets of perfumers: Jean-Claude Ellena
, house perfumer to Hérmes
, who lives like a reclusive philosopher/alchemist in his tower, descending only when he deigns to, when inspired, on nobody's schedule but his own: Christopher Brosious
of "I Hate Perfume"
, renegade perfumer and purveyor of alternative scents, who travels to London on the quest to concoct a bespoke scent for an avid Anglophile in Brooklyn; And three apprentice "noses
" at the elite Givaudin Perfumery School
, who will create the next generation of perfumes in an atmosphere very different from school graduate Jean-Claude Elenna.
What we like in a smell is determined by our environment and our culture... The Russians want rich and heavy. The Chinese crave light and airy. And the Brazilians go bananas for fruits.
--- Episode 3, "The Smell of the Future"
]. While the taste of Paris, London, and New York have dictated perfume Western perfume styles for a long time, the future of global taste are likely to be influenced from parts East and South. The Brazilians are crazy for anything
and everything perfumed and scented, and consume them in staggering volumes. Avon
doesn't have a sale force in Brazil, they have an army of over 1 million reps. We see fragrance designer Anne Gottleib
travel to Sao Paolo to answer the (quite literally) multil-million dollar question: Do 20-yr-old Brazilian men like this body spray?
Givaudin moved Perfumer Thierry Bassard
to Brazil permanently
so his nose would adjust to the scents there.
We also been Simon and Amanda Brooke
who, once they discovered a family link to one of the oldest perfume houses in England
, bought the then idle company and revived it. They now produce the rich, complex fragrances inspired by the (once) mysterious "Orient" that won Royal Warrants, using the original Victorian-era formulae and top-flight ingredients. Now Simon travels to the Gulf States where petro-luxury is equaled only by the heat, and the scents that were in fashion 125 years ago in England
do well in the 125° noontime of modern Bahrain.