domingo, 31 de janeiro de 2016

A Melody of Rose Quartz and Serenity: Pantone's 2016 Colors as Scents

by: Roxana Villa

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"
Here we are, almost one month into the start of another new year of the Julian-Gregorian calendar. Our friends at the Pantone Color System have deemed Rose Quartz (a soft pink) and Serenity (a pale violet) as the official colors of 2016.
It is the first time ever that the color maverick has chosen two shades blending into one. Although I personally do not see these two shades as a reflection of our current status here on Spaceship planet Earth, I do appreciate the concept of two colors that represent tranquility gently melding together. The choice feels more like a snapshot of what many of us gentle, peace loving souls hold in our hearts as what we wish to witness in 2016.
According to Pantone “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”
As I contemplated these two hues in reference to scent, several ideas came to mind, specifically what would these two shades represent in terms of a fragrance or aromatic notes? In the art forms of visual, musical and aromatic art there are many parallel universes. Today lets look at the relationship of color to aromatic materials.
In 1992 Jeanne Rose devised the “Basic Seven Vocabulary of Odors”™ to help her students formulate a language for describing scent combined with a visual tool. This is not a fragrance wheel used to define fragrance families in perfume. The Vocabulary of Odors”™ is a system to describe notes that exist in any object containing a fragrance. For example when we inhale the scent of a collection of fresh fruits the note we primarily experience is fruity. Complex aromas contain dominant notes with subsidiary and back notes. The dominant note in a stargazer lily flower is floral with a subsidiary note of spice. The world of wine uses a similar classification scheme.
Jeanne Rose organized her system as follows:
Red = Floral
Orange = Fruity
Yellow = Citrus
Green = Green/Vegetative
Blue = Woody
Indigo = Herbaceous/Camphoraceous
Violet = Spice
This vocabulary can be further expanded, eventually including a list of 28 descriptive words. Floral, Powder, Honey, Oily/Fatty, Musk/Amber, Waxy, Fruity, Aldehyde, Hay, Citrus, Green, Vegetative, Conifer, Mint, Almond-like, Fungal, Marine, Moss, Wood, Smoke, Leather, Earth, Civet, Herbal, Camphor, Balsamic, Carmel and Spicy. Can you think of more? Here are some: Resinous, Rich, Edible or Gourmand, Agrestic (referring to rich hay-like notes), Animalic and Balsamic.
"Just because we have a standard set of words doesn’t mean we should lock ourselves into a cage with them, instead let your imagination run wild with abandon and creativity."
During the perfume classes at my studio I have students smell scent strips blindly and then describe the fragrance before knowing what it is. This allows the right brain, creative mind to run free. One of my favorite scent descriptive words that has come out of these classes is “spooky” in relation to a dusty-earthy note. Just because we have a standard set of words doesn’t mean we should lock ourselves into a cage with them, instead let your imagination run wild with abandon and creativity.
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) essential oil has dominant notes of Wood and Herbaceous/Camphoraceous with a back note of Green/Vegetal and a subsidiary note of Spice. Patchouli does not have a Fruity note, thus we would term Fruity as being absent. If we were using the twenty eight word vocabulary we would lead with the word Earthy and add Musk/Amber to our back or subsidiary note. It all depends “which” patchouli you are experiencing. Each patchouli will be different depending where it comes from (Indonesia, Madagascar or India) how it is produced (EO, C02 or absolute) and how old it is. An aged patchouli may have a dominant note of Floral compared to a really fresh, newly distilled patchouli that can be very Green/Vegetative.
Blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum)
Looping back now to pairing the hues of Rose Quartz and Serenity to fragrance my first thought was that the pink of Rose quartz is well represented by soft florals and the powder blue violet of Serenity aligns well with the watery notes of blue tansy (Moroccan chamomile). Using the color system we just learned, these are the hues that more closely relate to pink and cool powder blue:
Red = Floral Blue = Woody
Indigo = Herbaceous/Camphoraceous
Violet = Spice
Thus our beginning selection of a soft floral and blue tansy works well. Contemplating further and going through all my essences like a library catalogue in my mind, orris butter emerges as a beautiful melding of both these hues. Distilled from the roots of Iris pallida, this rare beauty has a balance of warm and sweet which brings to mind violet flowers and a moist earthy, balsamic wood note with hints of powder. There is great potential with the basic schematic of orris butter as our main base note uplifted by an accord featuring herbaceous blue tansy and another accord with gentle florals.
Iris Pallida
Now it's your turn! What building blocks do you suggest for a fragrance based on the 2016 Pantone colors, and why?