Saturday Question: The Case Against Fragrance by Kate Grenville

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Greg Young from AusScents.

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(Ed: Taking an idea from Olfactoria’s Travels. Once a week there used to be a Question. Everyone would chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it would be a generally fun events each week. Taking sides never meant taking offence and everyone kept it respectful and light.
Today we are joined by my mate Greg who has a book review attached to the Saturday Question)

Hi APJ,

As something of a perfume collector, I thought I owed it to myself to read this book and find out more about what is in those fragrances in the cupboard.

Kate Grenville has long known that she has an intolerance for fragrances that give her headaches. When it reached a point where she was almost totally incapacitated during a book tour, she decided to research the matter and wrote this book.

(E)-I-(2,6,6-Trimethyl-I-cyclohexa-I,3-dienyl)but-2-en-I-one
(The Name of the Rose)

Book Review: The Case Against Fragrance, by Kate Grenville

 

Book Depository

 

Grenville points out that, in modern society, fragrance is almost inescapable. It’s not just the perfumes that we wear. It’s also added to every imaginable household product from toilet paper to laundry liquid. Stores, restaurants and hotels spray fragrance in the air. It’s ubiquitous, and that’s a problem for people that are affected by it, like Grenville.

Any attempt to identify what is causing these problems founders on a few issues. First, trade secrets legislation means that the contents of “fragrance” ingredients don’t have to be revealed. Second, there are thousands of ingredients commonly used in fragrance, and only a subset of these have ever been tested for safety. Finally, nearly all the testing and certification is done by the fragrance industry itself, so conflict of interest issues apply. It’s not hard to see why a manufacturer might prefer to declare that a rose fragrance contains “parfum” rather than the chemical formula above.

Even what we do know is somewhat alarming. Grenville provides an extensive list of compounds known or suspected to be carcinogenic that are either used in fragrances or can form when fragrance ingredients interact with the air (as they unavoidably will). Chief among these is formaldehyde, although there are others.

Another concern is the prevalence of synthetic musk compounds that have proven to be almost indestructible. These compounds bioaccumulate so that they become more prevalent the higher up the food chain you go. That means that the very highest levels are seen in the most vulnerable: breastfeeding babies and foetuses in utero. These musk compounds can mimic the action of hormones such as oestrogen, creating over-supply which can lead to birth defects, genetic abnormalities and cancer.

Grenville is quick to point out that it is impossible to pin this on fragrance specifically, because there are so many other potential triggers for such conditions to emerge over a lifetime. Indeed “the case against fragrance” is largely a circumstantial one. Grenville shows that there are potentially harmful chemicals in fragrances, they have reached a point of ubiquity in the environment, and people are having adverse reactions. But there is no smoking gun; it is impossible to say for sure that there is causality here, and no scientific study would draw the kinds of conclusions that Grenville invites us to make here.

So what to do? The author’s solution is a bit simplistic. For one, she advocates embracing fragrance-free versions of products. That’s fine, except she does not apply anything like the same scrutiny to those alternatives. Just as decaffeinated coffee is not necessarily better for you due to the added chemicals, how does one know whether a fragrance-free detergent contains no harmful chemicals either?

More interesting is Grenville’s suggestion that fragrance-free workplaces may become the norm. ¬If a scientific institute such as the US Centres for Disease Control can adopt a policy that says “Fragrance is not appropriate for a professional work environment”, then it’s possible to imagine that this may one day become more widespread particularly if, as in the US, there are OH&S lawsuits decided in favour of people with fragrance intolerances.

Decades ago the idea of passive smoking was seen as cranky, now it is enshrined in law. We do not have the right to deprive others of a healthy and safe work environment; that is a very clear legal precedent. So maybe one day people who wear perfume will be like the smokers of today, skulking out the back giving themselves a shot of Shalimar before washing it off and heading back inside.

Food for thought? What do you think?
Greg x

Scent Of The Day Diary

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Val the Cookie Queen

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Greetings APJ,

Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.” Heinrich Heine

Colouring Book v iPad

It has become popular and encouraged over the last couple of years for adults to start to colour again, as many of us did in our childhoods. There are some lovely colouring books around but what do you do with them afterwards? I know the therapy of it all is in the doing but still, I didn´t bother to get into it. Then I was introduced to the Scent of the Day Diary, including perfume related pictures to colour in. Hurray! A colouring book with a use. How many of us (I am sure it is not only me) sit down at night, turn the telly on, AND grab our iPad? Way too stressy and I have stopped it for the moment at least. I now take my SOTD diary and colour. It is so relaxing, I can´t recommend it highly enough. Trial run of turning the iPad off at night is proving successful and I am sleeping better. Interesting.

As perfume lovers, perfumistas, pefume addicts, I think we are all familiar with the Scent Of The Day hashtags #SOTD/#sotd. Many of us use it on our social media pages as we share what we are wearing. Great fun in this tumultuous times, and let´s face it, we all love to know what everyone else is wearing do we not?

Scent Of The Day Diary 365 pages

Anisia, from Anisia Beauty has taken SOTD one step further and designed, and printed a fantastic diary filled with perfume doodles and quotes. Each day has a full page, days, date and month, but no year printed, meaning you can record the perfumes you wear each day for at last the next five years! The ultimate perfume OCD diary. I admire the creativity of people and the energy taken into turning an idea into something tangible. It´s a ballbuster, I know.

Thanks to Stefanie Jähn from Fragantica Germany, team member of Fragrantica.com who sent me a SOTD diary, I am absolutely not affiliated with the SOTD diary in any way. I think is a fantastic idea and just want to bring it to your attention APJs. And yes, of course the first thing I did when I got it was to look for a Vero Profumo doodle.

Get your Scent Of The Day Diary <<JUMP

Do you like to sketch or colour?

Painted and Coloured Bussis
CQ

A Literary GIVEAWAY WINNER

Good morning APJ,

Sun is shining here in Sydney and the world is warming up.

Let’s see who Val’s lucky winner is. Thanks for your kind generosity my love.
Portia xx

A Literary GIVEAWAY WINNER

WHAT CAN YOU WIN?

This week there will be 1 winner who will receive:
1 x Brand New Book: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
P&H Anywhere in the world

HOUSEKEEPING

Entries Closed Thursday 26th January 2017 10pm Australian EdsT
Winners will be chosen by getting one of my family to pull a name out of my dead armadillo basket

Wendy Hardy

The winner will have till Sunday 29th January 2017 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

Antibiotics, Assumptions, OCD and Perfume by Patrick Suskind

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Val the Cookie Queen

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Good day APJ Readers!

Antibiotics, Assumptions, OCD

The Joy Of Medication

Seriously. After nearly a month of swollen eyes and a slightly puffy face you´d have thought I´d have realized something was wrong. I took
steamy baths, put iced eye masks on, eye drops, a variety of concealers, and hung myself upside down to encourage drainage. Some stuff
drizzled out the corners of my eyes probably brain fluid. I was still completing menial tasks, shopping, baking and packing 500 cookies, but
needing three hour naps to get over the exertion. I finally hauled my sorry ass to the doctor and am the proud owner of a sinus infection, my first.
Rattling around with pretty blue antibiotics is now doing the trick.

Preconceived Ideas

I received “Perfume. The Story of a Murderer.” by Patrick Süskind for my birthday. I´ve been asked countless times if I have read it
to which I always replied “Absolutely not.” I never wanted to read it. All I knew was it had to do with murdering virgins for their innocence and
I´m like, nope, not for me. I mean for years I have skirted around this book and needless to say the film. But true to form my partner-in-crime,
cognitive behaviour therapist and BFF, Dr. Fox suggested I read it as though it was a text book that I HAD to read, being that it was perfume related.
I couldn´t put it down. Enthralling, astonishing, quite bizarre, and it is on the reading syllabuses in school in Germany as it comes under the
German literature category. I loved the book so much I have no intention of seeing the film. Not because of preconceived ideas, just the fact I
prefer to keep a book I so enjoyed in my mind. A film seldom matches my imagination.

Slightly Obsessive Behaviour

An extremely dear friend gave me “Perfume. The Story of a Murderer.” for my birthday. Uhm, two copies. The first copy he bought, that is the
one on the right-hand side of the photo was a secondhand copy, which he didn´t notice at the time of purchase. Giving a secondhand gift is
so far out of his comfort zone that he went into another book store and bought the one of the left, a brand new copy. I love secondhand books,
and also prefer the cover on that one, as indeed he did too. So you dearest APJ readers one of you gets the chance to receive my brand new copy.

Innocent Perfumed Bussis
CQ

giveaway hemodernhome

A Literary GIVEAWAY

WHAT CAN YOU WIN?

This week there will be 1 winner who will receive:
1 x Brand New Book: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
P&H Anywhere in the world

HOW DO YOU WIN?

Open to everyone worldwide who follows AustralianPerfumeJunkies via eMail, WordPress, Bloglovin or RSS. Please leave how you follow in the comments to be eligible. I must be able to check that you follow so if you have an email address on your gravatar that’s different to your follow address then please email me so I know. Yes, you can start following to enter, in fact it’s encouraged.

You must tell me how you follow APJ

and

Please share any of your own experiences in being proved wrong because of a preconceived or stubborn idea that you held onto firmly in
your head, but then were proved wrong. I´ll get one of my family to pull a name out of my dead armadillo basket and pop the book into the post
to the lucky winner.

HOUSEKEEPING

Entries Close Thursday 26th January 2017 10pm Australian EdsT and winners will be announced in a separate post.
Winners will be chosen by getting one of my family to pull a name out of my dead armadillo basket
The winner will have till Sunday 29th January 2017 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

Christian Dior: Little Dictionary of Fashion

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Post by Anne-Marie

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In my tiny collection of fashion and perfume books, my greatest treasure is a tattered copy of Christian Dior’s Little Dictionary of Fashion: a guide to dress sense for every woman, published by Cassell & Co in 1954. A friend gave it to me and it seems to be a first edition, which is rather special. It’s written in English. If there was an earlier French edition I’m not aware of it.

The book is arranged alphabetically: A for Accessories … Afternoon Frock … Armholes … – through to Z for … Zest (‘There is no beauty which is attractive without Zest’).

Christian Dior: Little Dictionary of Fashion

Book Review

the-little-dictionary-of-fashion-a-guide-to-dress-sense-for-every-woman-book-depositoryBook Depository

Of course on first opening the book I skipped straight to P for Perfume. Here’s the entry in full.
“Since the beginning of civilisation perfume has always been used and has been considered an essential part of woman’s attraction.
“When I was young, women used much more perfume than they do now and I think that was wonderful and I regret that more women don’t use it lavishly now.
“Perfume, like your clothes, can so much express your personality; and you can change your perfume with your mood.
“I think it as important for a woman to have beautiful perfume as it is for her to have beautiful clothes. And do not think that you need have perfume only on yourself; your whole house can smell of it, and especially your own room.”

The entry is accompanied by a photograph of – of course! – Miss Dior in the amphora bottle in which it had been presented on its release in 1947.

miss-dior-amphora-fragranticaFragrantica

It’s intriguing that Dior thought that women of that time wore less perfume than when he was young (Dior was born in 1905). Was that true, I wonder? Perhaps the women in Dior’s (rather privileged) early life happened to be great lovers of perfume? Or perhaps Dior the salesman was he just being sly, encouraging women to buy more perfume? Preferably his own, of course

The book is sheer delight. Dated, of course, in some of its advice. “In town you cannot be dressed without gloves any more than you can be dressed without a hat.” But whimsical too. “I never get tired of dots.” And sensible. “Too high heels are vulgar and hideous.” I could not agree more.

My favourite is the entry for Elegance: “Elegance must be the right combination of distinction, naturalness, care and simplicity. Outside this, believe me, there is no elegance. Only pretension.” I do believe you M. Dior, indeed I do.

This charming book has been republished under a slightly rearranged title, and is widely available online.
By the way, want some Miss Dior bottle porn? Go here.

Are you a lover of Dior style, in dress and perfume? Do comment!
Until next time everyone, stay elegant!
Anne-Marie

Susan Irvine: Of Spies and Scatter Cushions

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Post by Anne-Marie

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There is so much online information about perfume these days that books, especially slightly older ones like these two by Susan Irvine, may seem redundant. But there is still much pleasure to be had from holding a well-produced book in your hands, and from being in the presence of a knowledgeable writer who can convey a love of her subject.

Susan Irvine: Book Reviews

9781854104458-us

Susan Irvine: Perfume: The Creation and Allure of Classic Fragrances

Susan Irvine is a journalist and writer who specialised in perfume and fashion for many years. Her book Perfume: The Creation and Allure of Classic Fragrances is a broad sweep across the history of perfume and its production, presentation and marketing. I confess I have only marginal interest in the chemistry of scent, and the production of raw materials. Irvine covers these subjects admirably, but her chapters on how perfume is promoted fascinated me the most.

‘Selling perfume’, she writes, ‘is about selling something indefinable, invisible and covetable: glamour.’ So the philosophy, the brief, the bottle design, the name, the advertising and the launch party are all about creating desire for a slice of this glamour.

Irvine herself is apparently a veteran of many a launch party. ‘Concorde is the journalists’ equivalent of a school bus for transatlantic events’, she writes, laconically. ‘If it’s Monday, it must be the Paris Opéra, filled with 8,000 Casablanca lilies for the re-launch of Yves Saint Laurent’s Y.’ On Thursday its Giorgio Armani’s Giò in Manhattan … and so on. For the haps and mishaps of the launch of Dior’s Dune in Biarritz, you will have to read the book!

419Z50X6QBL._SX369_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Susan Irvine: The Perfume Guide

By contrast, The Perfume Guide is a guide to individual (mostly feminine) perfumes, arranged in families: floral, fruity, herbaceous, chypre, and oriental. It’s always fun to ‘look up’ one’s favourites (and ‘scrubbers’) in books like this to see what the author makes of them. Funny also to note discontinued gems, like All About Eve by Joop!, and obscurities like Smell This by James Berard (what? who?).

By 2000, when this book came out, niche perfume was starting to make a difference, so works by L’Artisan, Diptyque, Annick Goutal and Serge Lutens are mentioned. But of course the great classics are there too: Chanel No 5, Guerlain Shalimar, Lanvin Arpège, Patou Joy. ‘It’s impossible to imagine Chanel No 19 on a badly dressed woman’, Irvine proclaims, making me bite my lip and shuffle my feet in scuffed shoes.

If you have ever wondered where that great comment about Rive Gauche came from – ‘what KGB agents would have worn to seduce James Bond’ – it is Irvine’s. Dana Tabu is ‘for women who wear their knickers on their heads’. But my favourite is this remark on Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, one of the best-selling perfumes of all time:
‘For women who are not afraid of scatter cushions’.

Both books are out of print, but are still available from online second-hand book sellers.
Susan Irvine, Perfume: the creation and allure of classic fragrances (Haldane Mason Ltd, 1995).
Susan Irvine: The Perfume Guide (Haldane Mason, 2000).

 

Ames Soeurs GIVEAWAY WINNER

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Post by Portia

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OMG!! I completely freaking forgot to do the draw for this. SORRY EVERYONE!

Here is our lucky winner below.

Portia xxx

Ames Soeurs GIVEAWAY WINNER

JOYA Âmes Sœurs Net a Porter

Net-A-Porter

Net-A-Porter gives these featured accords:
Top: Tamarind, Grapefruit, Cypress
Heart: Rose Bulgar, Ginger, Orange Blossom
Base: Cedarwood, Incense, Amber, Sweet Musk

WHAT CAN YOU WIN?

This week we will have 1 winner who will receive:
1 x 5ml Ames Soeurs rollerball decant
P&H Worldwide

HOUSEKEEPING

Entries Closed Sunday 24th April 2016 10pm Australian EST
Winner was chosen by random.org

Winner Is amberinblunderlandamberinblunderland

LENA

The winner will have till Tuesday May 3rd 2016 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.