You Or Someone Like You GIVEAWAY WINNERS




Hey Hey Crew,

Thanks to ELdO and Chandler Burr for their incredible generosity. Good luck in the giveaway.

Portia xx

You Or Someone Like You GIVEAWAY WINNERS

LuckyScent has it from $52/30ml + Samples


This week there will be 10 winners who will receive:
1 x 2ml decant of You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange
P&H Anywhere in the world


Entries Closed Sunday 16th April 2017 10pm Australian EdsT
Winners will be chosen by



Susan Farber




Kate Apted




The winners will have till Sunday 23rd April 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

You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange




Hi Lovers of NEW!

Yesterday we chatted about You Or Someone Like You by Chandler Burr + Etat Libre d’Orange 2017. It’s brand new, only just appeared at LuckyScent and Chandler sent me a bottle. Suddenly last night after the review went live I thought, how churlish I am not offering a GIVEAWAY! So though we don’t post here at APJ on Saturdays anymore I thought maybe I could make an exception so some of you could get to try it too.

Further reading: Colognoisseur and Scents Memory
has it from $52/30ml + Samples

You Or Someone Like You GIVEAWAY


This week there will be 10 winners who will receive:
1 x 2ml decant of You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange
P&H Anywhere in the world


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


Please tell us any of the Etat Libre d’Orange scents you like or if you’ve read any of Chandler’s books and enjoyed them? 


Entries Close Sunday 16th April 2017 10pm Australian EdsT and winners will be announced in a separate post.
Winners will be chosen by
The winners will have till Sunday 23rd April 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

You Or Someone Like You by Chandler Burr + Etat Libre d’Orange 2017




Hey Crew,

I got home from my holiday to find a box awaiting pick up. I had no idea who the sender was but guessed it was fragrant in nature. There were also a couple of messages in my email inbox from Chandler Burr. That’s kind of unusual because he has been holding radio silence lately. So when I opened them and saw that he has creative directed a fragrance with the kooky crew from ELdO I was immediately on high alert.

Based on the heroine of his book You Or Someone Like You, a rollicking read that I found provocative, informative and unpretentious. The ad copy is just as provocative but lacks information thus presenting itself as audaciously pretentious. From the Press release: I find that the smells mesmerize. Astringent mint/green of eucalyptus, wild jasmine from vines climbing the stop signs, catalyzed car exhaust, hot California sunlight on ocean water (although “You” contains no jasmine, eucalyptus, car exhaust; if you need to know what it’s made of, “You” is not for you).
When Etat Libre d’Orange approached me about creative directing, my perfumer Caroline Sabas and I created not a “perfume” — people in Los Angeles don’t wear perfume – but a specific scent, the scent someone like Anne would wear, this woman high in the Hollywood hills, imported like the palms into this blue air.

Nevertheless, if head-up-your-ass ad-copy was a problem for me I’d definitely not be loving the perfume industry as much as I do. So I took all of that with a grain of salt and went to the box.

You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange 2017

You Or Someone Like You by Caroline Sabas

So, though the idea is to wear this scent experientially, I know you want to know what it smells like. Sharp herbaceous green opens. Like a tart unripe orange and grapefruit with the green of basil, cardamom and grass. Mint! There is a minty note running through too. There is no note list so I’m guessing here, we’ll all have a good laugh at my guesses when the note list is revealed. There is an awkward creamy note that is disturbing and alluring, like matcha tea.

Not long in and a spiky green that really does seem like eucalyptus comes through and suddenly I’m transported to bush walks through the Australian Mallee Scrub with the Cadets as a boy. Also we had a Wildflower Park and National Park not too far from where we grew up and we would picnic in them as a family.

I like that ELdO have allowed this slightly freaky niche fragrance to be born. The first couple of hours You Or Someone Like You doesn’t sit quietly and comfortably but there is always a lightly curdled feeling running through. Later in the development there feels like definite references to the LA air seen and smelled from the pinnacle of the Hollywood Hills. There is also the warmth and cool of lying in the sun with a foot or hand draped into the pool.

Dry down is a soft focus creamy-mint with a shitload of white musks, nothing particularly distinctive but it smells nice enough and hums away in the background for hours.

Further reading: Colognoisseur and Scents Memory
has it from $52/30ml + Samples

Then there is the final question. “Is it art Chandler?”

Does this read like something you’d try?
Portia xx




Portia's Christmas Giving Guide 2014

Hey there gang,

Yes, 2 weeks till Christmas! Crazy how it comes up so quickly. I have been thinking long and hard about things I would like to gift my friends and family with, some are fragrant, some not.

Portia’s Christmas Giving Guide 2014


What candles do I burn in my house? These are the ones I burn and the ones I gift. A candle is an excellent gift because it lasts for ages, they are lovely and for people who already have everything they need a candle is something they may not think to buy themselves. I like to have my bath with candlelight whenever possible, so glamorous.

MudAustralia Candle Ainslie Walker #3

MudAustralia Candle #1: Ainslie Walker: Our very own Ainslie Walker designed and produced these gorgeous candles for MudAustralia. They have a beautiful scent with a white floral/woody tone that clears out all the bad juju in my house/apartment in about 30 minutes. The porcelain container can be re-purposed as a vase or glass and you can buy candle refills too. This lush and creamy candle fragrance gives me a rich satisfying fragrance in the whole apartment and comes in a super great range of colours too. Everyone that I have gifted one of these to has fallen instantly in love with it.


Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Candle: Mecca Australia: When I need something calming and soothing in the air that won’t overwhelm but will allow me to really centre myself then I choose the 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Candle by Diptyque. This is what I used to scent my house while it was for sale and one of the things that ALL the prospective buyers said was that the house smelled beautiful. I have had this candle for over a year and use it often, there is still about a quarter left, that is serious lasting power.

34 Blvd St. Germain celebrates the brands 50th anniversary since their original boutique opened in Paris. Green notes, moss, blackcurrant, fig leaves, exotic spices, fresh flowers, woods


Yes, most of you know I have a ridiculous collection of soaps too. Here are two that I use regularly and a new brand I discovered in the USA recently at Twisted Lily.


Rancé Acqua di Colonia Soap: Rancé Soaps: Billed as Made Originally for Catherine di Medici, that may even be true. What really matters though is how freaking LAVISH you will feel when you use Rancé Acqua di Colonia Soap. Super creamy and scented with mainly citruses, white flowers and spices. If ever you need to feel like the king or queen of your world then this is the soap that will send you on your way.

Tabac Original Soap by Maurer & Wirtz

Tabac Original Soap by Maurer & Wirtz: All Beauty: Yes, I bang on about this one quite a bit. I love it. Gorgeous scent, lathers beautifully, leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. Anyone who has touched my skin can tell you that soap has not ruined it over the years (nor has all the other stuff I’ve done to my poor self), it’s as soft and supple as it was in my teens, just stretched a bit tighter. Did I mention Cheap As Chips? Unbelievably good value.

Sandalo-SoapNEW!!! Sandalo Soap by Ortigia: Twisted Lily: I have not used this yet but the packaging is exquisite, so glamorous with its heavy silver card and picture of a Rajasthani elephant. The whole presentation is luxurious and the Italian form Ortigia is also very reasonably priced. 4 x 100g bars of glycerine soap that smell heavenly.

From Twisted Lily: The essential oil of this exotic tree with narcissus, cedar, teak, vetiver, rose and jasmine. Rich, complex and sophisticated. Bars of pure vegetable glycerine; wonderfully translucent, naturally coloured, and generously fragranced with the cool and spicy Sandalo perfume


The Perfume Lover by Denyse Beaulieu is one of my all time favourite fragrance books. Filled with fragrance, romance, insider perfumer information and a wonderful stary of a woman finding herself, and some company along the way. Great read. I have read it twice now.

The Perfume Lover Denyse Beaulieu BookDepositoryBuy The Perfume Lover from Book Depository in paperback for around AUD$16 delivered to your door.

The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr is the story of two fragrances from opposite ends of the spectrum. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely and Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil come to life as you read the book. It’s an eye opening insiders fast track and a really great read. I started rereading this on my holiday but there was no time, I will complete it this week.

The Perfect Scent Chandler Burr BookDepository
Buy The Perfect Scent from Book Depository in paperback for around AUD$20 delivered to your door.

Revelation!: Reveal Your Destiny With Essential Oils by Suzanne R Banks is a really interesting look at creating a new life for yourself with Essential Oils. Aroma-Life-Therapy that gets you to become more mindful and present in your own space through scent, personal and ambient. It’s all about the naturals and very natural specific, shunning chemicals and synthetics, to use the energy of the plants and nature to help propel you to a higher level. Our very own APJ contributor Suzanne R Banks is a published author!! COOL!

Revelation Reveal Your Destiny With Essential Oils Suzanne R Banks Amazon
Buy Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny With Essential Oils from Amazon for $3.30 on Kindle, also available as a book $11

Oh, My God, Am I Alright? by Michael El-Bacha is the ‘coming out’ story of a young confused man growing up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney to strict Lebanese Christian parents. From the outside looking in, Michael El-Bacha seemed like any other Lebanese boy from a large family with strong values and an appetite for football, fast cars and chicky babes. But after his parents notice that Michael is not like other ‘typical’ Lebanese boys, he is whisked off to Lebanon to marry his first cousin. Young Michael struggles to deny his true sexuality and leaves his young bride and infant child to find his identity. He embarks on a downward spiral until losing a lover leads him back home. Sex, drugs, homosexuality and love potions are what make this tale of self-discovery so tantalising. Michael’s story will make you laugh, cringe and cry.

Oh, My God, Am I Alright? by Michael El-Bacha Bookshop Darlinghurst

Do you know any kids/adults on the cusp? Maybe they need a story like this to ease the heartache of coming out? Extra plus? I have a whole chapter! Michael was my friend when much of this was happening for him.

Buy Oh, My God, Am I Alright? from The Bookshop Darlinghurst AUD$20

Hopefully this has helped you in your Christmas Shopping in 2014.
Portia xx

PS> Just so you know, I love these products because they are really good. Yes, I am affiliated with some of the people who have produced these lovely gifts. They are my friends and I am justifiably proud of their efforts, no one is paying me to write about them. Fingers crossed they are thrilled I wrote about them and that some of you go buy their shit.

Part 2: “Hyper-Natural” The Exhibition


Post by Ainslie Walker


Mist billowed atmospherically towards us from the garden of the NGV. Chandler Burr explained, “the NGV created it to make it more memorable.” The thing is Chandler Burr sees scent as a major artistic medium, and it seems to me, it is his quest to ensure everyone agrees.

Chandler Burr curates at the NGV

Part 2: “Hyper-Natural” The Exhibition

My walk in the Garden with Chandler Burr and some of his interesting stories


I was honored to have a personal tour of the exhibition by curater Chandler Burr, and I wanted to share with you some of his comments and stories made at each of the 7 numbered, scent stations. Each station contained 1 design material in alcohol, and 1 Guerlain fragrance containing the material:

1.A Design Material: coumarin – a molecule synthesized from Tonka bean in 1868. So “delicious, smelling like sweet dreamy vanilla hay and warmth,” Chandler described, whilst breathing deep.
1.B Jicky Aime Guerlain 1889 – 21 years after the coumarin was synthesized, came Jicky, “a smell with no clear image, like nothing you know in the real world” Chandler explained. He spoke about perfumers becoming impressionists once they started using synthetics such as coumarin. He cites Jicky as being one of the first great modern works of perfumery

2.A Design Material: Ethyl vanillin – synthesized in 1872, being almost twice as strong as vanilla, Chandler describes it as “hyper-natural-when you smell it you swear you know it, and at the same time you don’t”
2.B Shalimar Jacques Guerlain 1925 – “Shalimar has only 2% ethyl vanillin, yet the effect is immense and as precise as a laser” says Chandler, “It’s supernatural. The rumor is that when Jacques Guerlain received Ethyl Vanillin he mixed it with Jicky and Shalimar was the result. Thierry Wasser says, “I imagine Jacques did do something like that, but then he began the serious creation of Shalimar”. Ethyl vanillin has been described as more present than reality – crisper than the real, less balsamic, more resinous, less powdery and richer. It subtly disorientates you, which is what all art must do”

3.A Design Material: Sulfox was discovered in 1969, synthesized from Buchu plant and “smells like a nuclear powered exotic fruit salad: mango, grapefruit and guava fired with plutonium and with a strong sulphur angle like a pitch-black blackcurrant. It’s flashy-an olfactory version of diamond-laden heavy gangster bling-and hugely powerful, it jumps on your nose like an attacking jaguar. It was nothing like anyone had ever smelt before” he explains whilst simultaneously inhaling from a sniffing strip.
3.B Chamade Jean-Paul Guerlain 1969 –“When Thierry Wasser arrived at Guerlain, Jean Paul showed him the formula, ‘I said to him “you’re crazy”’. The punch in the nose this molecule gives you is tempered by other punches to the nose. There is a fistful of blackcurrant buds/cassis-1%, which is huge! And there’s a chunk of galbanum- a gigantic slug of it! And if you knew how much rose was in there, you’d faint! The formula is very green and fruity.” he says now smelling Chamade.


4.A Design Material: Polysantol “gives one of the aspects of sandalwood. It is not a cute molecule. It is not demure. Rather it speaks at an intense volume. Polysantol gives a spectacular abstracted sandalwood scent, not the natural material but a heightened, streamlined version of it. It is exactly what sandalwood is: the scent of wood with cream poured over it, but it precisely excludes the strong cedar-esque aspect of the natural. It skips the tar angle. It presents the scent designer with a tool that is the abstraction of sandalwood, and is extremely precise”
4.B Samsara Jean-Paul Guerlain 1989 “Jean Paul Guerlain told me he went to a dressage show and met a beautiful woman who was riding a horse. He talked to her. She wasn’t wearing a fragrance. He asked her why, and she replied that she wasn’t happy with what was around. He asked her what she liked, and she said Jasmine and Sandalwood. So he created something for her. He gave Polysantol a key role. She began wearing the perfume. Guerlain and the woman lived together for 19 years. It’s Jean Paul’s favorite fragrance”

5.A Design Material: Cis 3 Hexanol “is astonishing green, gloriously strange and instantly identifiable the instant you smell it. The moment you smell it you recognize, a first green of freshly cut grass clippings, and a second green of an unripe green banana. A green grass and a green fruit: at once delicious and inedible.” He takes a whiff, continuing, “In alcohol solution it is filled like a sail with a fresh air scent and chlorophyll angle. This molecule allows the scent designer to paint scent portraits that are ultra lifelike. Hyperrealism”
5.B Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca – Jean Paul Guerlain 1999 “A work of hyperrealism whose presentation of a naturalist motif and obvious desire to strike all the brains sensory pleasure points combines with an equally clear, artificially heightened reality. The artificiality of the design is delightful, fascinating and utterly lovely.” He explains Jean-Paul Guerlain’s skills “ are demonstrated here in landscape portraiture of the imaginary, the scent of a perfect field cradled in a space station, green grass and succulent plants grown under the sun’s rays and the blackness of space. There is the smell of the sun, reflected through thick walls of glass, of green spring sap in an eternal spring, and all of it cool to the touch”



6.A Design Material: Methyl cyclopentenolone – “the smell of chewy chocolate and black liquorice, yummy and dry and dark, dark, dark. Is nicknamed maple lactone due to its sweet caramel maple-syrup smell, like sugary, burnt coffee with bready, nutty nuances. This synthetic generates sugary caramel notes without association of fairy floss. It is similar to ethyl maltol, but much less sweet. One is caramel, the other liquorice, with no sugar, sticky and black”
6.B La petite robe noire – Thierry Wasser 2009 “Wasser said his first sketch should find the colour black. He found this with Methyl cyclopentenolone. He realized he had the olfactory colour, but not the texture. So he added benzyl aldehyde (bitter almond smell), raspberry ketone, ionone beta (sunlight on violets) and birch tar (very dark and smoky), bergamot, iris root, rose, jasmine, ethyl vanillin and coumarin” He went on further, relating to giving scents texture “synthetics allow you to smooth, to abrade and manipulate scent’s three dimensions. Synthetics allow you to create dreams”

7.A Design Material: benzaldehyde “First synthesized in 1832, is one of the oldest molecules in the scent designer’s palette, and one of the most difficult to use. The material is so powerful it must be wrestled into submission, however used correctly it creates a fascinating vibration. It is the smell of bitter almonds, not actually, but a perfected idea of bitter almonds – a great knife-like gourmand/toxic, delicious/inedible nutty/bitter scent”
7.B L’homme Ideal Thierry Wasser 2014 “Wasser was mixing up 100 kg of Jicky, when pouring in the benzaldehyde he became intoxicated. An amazing river of bitter-almond scent, hitting the lavender, jasmine and bergamot of Jicky. He realized it was a molecule he wanted to work with” Chandler mentions, “although the L’homme Ideal was marketed to men, there is no gender in smells. Benzaldehyde is the central structure, with pillars of coumarin, of Jicky, and ethyl vanillin, of Shalimar. These 3 synthetics reference real things, and yet are not real, they are themselves. L’homme Ideal works, in scent, in the way a Marc Chargill’s paintings work – there’s a person, a cow, a goat, but one quickly realizes that people do not really fly and goats and cows are not hot pink and blue. There is a constant tension between the real and the surreal”

WOW! What an incredible experience! One I will remember for a long time – have you made it to the exhibition yet? What did you think?

Ainslie Walker x

“Hyper-Natural” – Chandler Burr curates at the NGV 2014


Post by Ainslie Walker


I was invited down to the NGV in Melbourne for the Chandler Burr Exhibition, Media launch, Scented Dinner AND Opening Keynotes talk last week. So excited!! – I jumped in my car and drove 10 hours from Sydney without a moment’s thought. Did not want to miss a single thing!

It was apparent early on, that the NGV were not prepared for a bunch of perfume enthusiasts and Chandler Burr fans to descend upon them. Events were changing at the last minute, and invites were extended and retracted with less than a days notice. Sadly, this was the case for my Scented Dinner invite. It was a case of the art world and the perfume worlds colliding, and this time the NGV members were the winners, with the event suddenly being deemed as “private” – I hope they enjoyed it as much as we would have!! GUTTED were those who had flown down at great expense and then had been let down last moment.

Margaret from Fragrances of The World was quick to arrange a private dinner with Chandler and a small bunch of us instead, thus I was definitely going to get plenty of time to mingle with Chandler, and not let the cancelled activities ruin my week.

“Hyper-Natural” – Chandler Burr curates at the NGV


The exhibition got started with the Keynote Address: Hyper-Natural: Scent from Design to Art where Chandler spoke onstage in the NGV auditorium, successfully revealing scent, as an Art medium. Aimed entirely at the “art-world”, he gave a remarkably exciting, alternate perspective of scent, with both “know-it-all” perfumistas and ”unbeknownst” arty types, both walking out of the auditorium enlightened, an hour or 2 later.

He spoke about (and we smelt) 4 key synthetics materials in 4 Guerlain fragrances. (Guerlain sponsored the whole event).

His stance was different: there was no mention of the naturals involved in the fragrances. His perspective was new: he did not try and paint a picture of the scents and “pretty them up” and bring them to life using their natural ingredients, and break them down like we are used to from perfume reviews, and marketing for example.

What was apparent was “this other angle” to the fragrance industry- Scent as Art. Ingredients were spoken about like pantone colours and musical notes – tools for perfumers to create completely new sensory experiences for people, using substances that have never been smelt before. Synthetics allowing perfumers to present fragrance as a whole, surrealist “picture”, not made up of or broken down into recognizable components such as jasmine, rose etc.

He made synthetics sound exciting, new, different, accessible AND FRIENDLY! He pointed out the fragrance world is still discovering new molecules and synthetics and yet we have heard all the notes, and seen all the colours in art/music…painters and composers now only rearrange their mediums for us to hear/see the same things in a different order. The world of scent as art, is far more fascinating and exciting and about to EXPLODE!

• Firstly Ethyl Vanillin (a synthetic vanilla molecule) was passed around and he allowed us to experience its strength and beauty – it’s “hyper real” amplified vanilla scent. “It smells more real, than real Vanilla!” he exclaimed, face like a kid in a candy store. The invention of this molecule, ethyl vanillin, lead to the construction of the first, and arguably still the greatest gourmand, Shalimar by perfumer Jacques Guerlain, in 1925. (which we were then handed to smell and compare)

Chandler’s big belief of the definition of art being “a lie, a manipulation, a creation of something new”, was backed up at every turn. He knows natural ingredients and perfumes are beautiful, but says they can never be true art. “Art needs to present something new to the world, as yet undiscovered” It was in around 1884, the perfume Fougere Royale was released, and this was the first true olfactory art piece, containing synthetics, which finally freed perfumer Paul Parquet, to “lie” and create something fictitious and not solely replicate nature.

The poet, John Keats said: “Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced” this, to me, sums up Chandlers stance on Scent as Art. It captures the essence of the exhibition and also perhaps answers the question; is scent Art?

• Secondly Sulfox was passed around, not so delicious as the vanillin, being reminiscent of cats-pee, cassis and sulfur; there were groans from around the auditorium. Quickly we were passed Guerlain’s Chamade from 1969 to smell. “There-is-nothing-like-this-smell, that exists in the natural world!!” he exclaimed. He went onto compare perfumer Jean Paul Guerlain’s “abstract idea” with that of a Mark Rothko painting – “you recognize nothing!” he exclaims!

A Rothkoe representing what I saw, personally, on smelling Chamade, and incidentally for the first time, at the exhibition;

'Magenta,_Black,_Green_on_Orange',_oil_on_canvas_painting_by_Mark_Rothko,_1947,_Museum_of_Modern_ArtPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

• Polysantol was the third molecule we experienced, and I instantly smelt Sandalwood, and of course, guessed Samsara-Guerlain as the scent containing it. Chandler explained polysantol is an aspect of Sandalwood and provides a luminescence to a fragrance. It is subtler and quieter than the molecules we had already smelt. It emanated warmth. It was linear. Samsara, he describes as “taking you into it’s arms, like Keats’s poetry, with it’s ways of expressing love”

This quote, to me, is reminiscent of Samsara’s shimmering, comforting sandalwood-esque hug: “I wish to believe in immortality-I wish to live with you forever” John Keats

• Chandler’s favourite molecule of all was last in line, Cis-3-Hexanol. Its cut-wheatgrass, slightly green-banana-like scent spread throughout the room. He describes the molecule as ”green and cutting, like a knife blade. It is sharp, yet moves through you with beauty”. Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca was passed around with its refreshing mint-green scent. He describes it “as a lie, a manipulation. It makes you happy. It is a beautiful manipulation. Artificial in the same manner as David Hockney’s pool images”

I found this David Hockney picture to explain the “artificial version of real” concept of the Herba Fresca:

splash-david-hockney-1390948990_orgPhoto Stolen LIBGuides

At this stage we were at the end of the talk and it was time to head to the garden to see the exhibit via the foyer, which was all abuzz after such an inspirational and mind expanding dialogue from Chandler Burr.

Ainslie Walker x



Post by Ainslie Walker



Yes, that’s right, if you haven’t heard Mr Burr himself is gracing our shores – He has agreed to an APJ interview PLUS the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne will be showing:

Hyper-Natural: Scent from Art to Design
25 Sept 2014 – 30 Nov 2014 | NGV International | Free entry

Chandler Burr kris krüg  FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Press Release:
The NGV garden has never smelt and felt so seductive, replete with a scented clouds, 16,000 daffodils and 2,000 violas and pansies, come spring it will be a blissful sanctuary with a one-of-a-kind sensory experience.

A maze of clustered clouds will offer a sensory exploration of scent design when an installation and exhibition by New York curator of olfactory art Chandler Burr opens in the back garden of the NGV this Spring.

Hyper-Natural: Scent from Art to Design will present seven small scent stations shrouded in man-made clouds and scattered throughout the NGV’s garden. Each station will house one of seven specially selected synthetic scent molecules and be paired with a major olfactory work of design, or perfume, in which that molecule is a vital design element.

These seven molecular scents tell the story of olfactory design and innovation, offering visitors a visceral exploration of this little considered design medium. The experience begins with the first molecule created in the 1850s and weaves its way through the misty landscape to the sophisticated molecular scents of today.

Chandler Burr commented, ‘In Hyper-Natural we consider the beauty of synthetics and their ability to free the designer from the constraints of nature, allowing for previously unimaginable designs, that introduce abstraction, surrealism and photo-realism to the design medium.’

Director of the NGV Tony Ellwood commented, ‘Like any art form or design discipline, the creation of a scent results from curiosity, experimentation and innovation. Yet, perfume and scent creation is rarely appreciated as the thoughtful design process it is. For this reason we are thrilled to be presenting the first Australian exhibition to recognise scent as an important medium of artistic creation and design production.’

Curated by former New York Times perfume critic and author Chandler Burr, Hyper-Natural introduces us to this thoughtful, intricate, fascinating and under-acknowledged medium of design.

Mr Ellwood added, ‘We are delighted to be collaborating with Chandler Burr on this extraordinary project. Chandler’s insights into scent and its relationship with design will shift visitors’ perceptions in a poetic and profound way.’

In addition to the exhibition, a program of scent design events led by Burr will allow visitors to experience the world of olfactory art from many perspectives.

Burr will present a keynote lecture examining the global nature of the scent industry and the complex world of technology, nature and creativity, which coalesce to create any successful scent.

Burr wrote a seminal feature on scent in the New Yorker magazine in 2005 and has published books including The Emperor of Scent and The Perfect Scent. Burr is currently Curator of the Department of Olfactory Art at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York.

Burr commented, ‘A key inspiration for the project is to get visitors to move beyond mere emotional responses and memories and to recognise and think critically about scent design.’

Chandler Burr VromansBookStorePhoto Stolen Vroman’s Bookstore


Keynote Address: Hyper-Natural: Scent from Art to Design
Wed 24 Sep, 6pm | NGV International
Join Chandler Burr as he reveals the thoughtful, intricate and fascinating medium of scent.
Speaker: Chandler Burr, Curator, Department of Olfactory Art, New York
Cost | $20 A / $16 M / $18 C
Venue | Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, Ground Level (enter North Entrance, via Arts Centre forecourt)

Yoga in the Garden
Fri 3 Oct & 7 Nov, 7.30–8.30am | NGV International
Relax and unwind in the NGV Garden before the world awakes.
Cost | Free
Venue | NGV Garden, enter Garden Gate (via the Arts Centre forecourt)

Yoga for Kids
Thu 25 Sep, 10.30–11.15am | NGV International
Relax and unwind with your family in the garden as part of the exhibition Hyper-Natural. Ages 3+ recommended.
Cost | Free
Venue | NGV Garden, enter Garden Gate (via Arts Centre forecourt)
Parent/carer supervision required

Curator’s Perspective
Thu 25 Sep, 12.30pm | NGV International
Join curators for an introduction to the exhibition.
Speakers Chandler Burr, Curator, Department of Olfactory Art, New York and Ewan McEoin, Co- curator and NGV Design Consultant
Cost | Free
Venue | NGV Garden, Ground Level

The NGV acknowledges the generous support of a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Supported by

Chandler Burr Interview: Untitled + Art Of Scent Exhibition

Hello APJ Friends and Family,

Admission time everyone, I have a crush. Since I found you all on the scentbloggosphere, and started reading the stuff you’d all known for years, I have been hearing and reading about one name consistently. Some people love him, others feel otherwise, but no one can dismiss the changes he has helped bring to the way personal scenting is viewed by the greater public. This man, alongside Luca Turin/Tanya Sanchez, Victoria of Bois de Jasmin, Denyse of Grain de Musc, Robin of Now Smell This, Patty from Perfume Posse, has been a positive voice for change. Educating, expanding the horizons and realigning perfume into the modern consciousness in ways it’s never been before in modern times.

He was the New York Times fragrance reviewer, yes, but have you read his books? The Emperor of Scent, The Perfect Scent? Excellent reads in the perfumed maze of literature but did you also know he wrote a book, A Separate Creation, about how we are biologically pre programmed if we are gay? Or his novel, You or Someone Like You, a story about a gay Jewish young man whose mother was not Jewish? This man is not only sexy, erudite and engaging: he can also write a rollicking tale that is a page turner without being a pot boiler.

You might want to grab a cuppa, or a glass of something, I hope you really enjoy this interview….Please welcome APJs very special guest today

Chandler Burr

Interview: Untitled + Art Of Scent Exhibition

Chandler Burr kris krüg  FlickrPhoto Stolen kris krüg  Flickr

I have a couple of questions firstly about your very interesting “Untitled” series please Chandler. There is so much I love about it, the blind testing and the history of that being the way you measured your frags for the NYTimes reviews, that you have brought all these prominent houses together to do it, the hype and fuss you were able to generate: all these things thrilled me. I’d like to know why you felt the need to send 50ml bottles: surely a 10ml atomiser would have served the purpose as well and been easier to ship?

Actually they’re all 30ml bottles except for E03, which was 15ml. Mailing a 30ml and a 10ml is virtually the same thing logistically, and I very consciously chose to give those who bought each episode a serious amount of the work and not a mere sample.

It was a great shame that it wasn’t open to the world as I’d’ve loved to have been part of the experiment and so would some of the rest of the crew down under?

It’s infuriating and disappointing for us as well. We tried every possible way of getting around it, but it is just flatly illegal to ship alcohol outside the US. That includes 10mls. We talked to people at the US Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, etc. Maybe in the future. People send perfume illicitly all the time—you just write “book” or “sample” or something on the customs form—but if it’s caught the contents are either refused or destroyed and, if it comes from a business like Open Sky, the fact that it’s illegal can lead to serious problems. So there we are, unfortunately.

What were the most important things that the fragrances needed to possess before being put into the series?

One criterion was the inclusion of works that in my opinion are hugely underestimated. The quintessential example is Mugler Cologne, one of the most ingenious works of olfactory art ever created, a masterpiece by Morillas. I have another coming up in the next three episodes. It was and is very important to me in this series that participants re-experience—as pure works in and of themselves with no interference—these pieces. A second criterion was presenting works that I think are the most aesthetically important, that changed the state of the art. Sel de Vetiver by, brilliantly, Celine Ellena. A third: works whose structure and technical performance are landmarks. Epinette’s Rose Noir. A fourth criterion: The introduction of artists whose work is not well-known but which I think will stand the test of time. E10.

I suppose the fundamental criterion is that the Series be utterly unlike anything else in the world or anything anyone’s done before. I’m continually reimagining it.

Are there any in the series that you would prefer not to wear but judge them purely as excellent fragrant pieces that are best enjoyed without their usual accompanying fanfare?

Very interesting question. There are actually two. I included Schwieger’s Vanille Insensee Cologne because it is a fascinating reinvention of the cologne trope in the most unlikely way possible—a structure indelibly (we thought) associated with “fresh,” as in the olfactory concept of fresh, which has nothing to do with a natural-world freshness but is a brilliant aesthetic / social construction, built from a material (we thought) fundamentally contrary to the idea of “fresh,” a material of opaque sensuality.

The cologne trope was irrelevant and outmoded; Schwieger did a Modernist version—this is the most trenchant, perfectly-fitted example of Modernism’s mission and definition, “the reinvention of old, traditional art forms with new materials, technologies, and aesthetics so that they speak to the modern person,” that it’s possible to find—and suddenly it became fascinating again. I simply wouldn’t wear it because…I don’t know why, I just wouldn’t, but I wouldn’t watch Midnight Cowboy again and I loved it the first time and it is a masterpiece. Likewise Bal d’Afrique, a 21st century abstract expressionist work that is like being choked to death with a silk rope dipped in mango and passion fruit. A great work.

Currently you have just finished, I think, the first The Art of Scent exhibition. Were you happy with how it went, did you get your desired result?

Yes, absolutely. 150,000 people saw the exhibition, it was a huge success with the public I’m very happy to be able to say, and it established the aesthetic and design premise I will build my curatorial work on.

Chandler Burr Sam Fam FlickrPhoto Stolen Sam Fam Flickr

What will you do differently when you take it on a world tour? (I have no doubt that this will happen)

We’re working on the touring exhibitions, and we’re planning on adding an entry section that will prepare the visitor better for the experience, provide context. Nothing big. The show’s Museum of Arts and Design / New York installation has been retired permanently, and we’ll be looking for new architects and designers with whom to collaborate on the traveling shows, which is going to be fascinating.

Please give me the most important reasons that you think people should treat Perfume as Art, because though it ticks some of my art boxes I still lean towards craft/trade as a whole, especially in these days of fragrant chemistry.

That scent is a major artistic medium, equal to photography, paint, music, and dance is simply incontrovertible in my view. Indeed, it’s grossly obvious. The medium is utterly artificial, which all art mediums must be to allow artists to create fictional works, works of art, which are defined in part by the condition of being artificial things created by human artistic visions. Music is made of tones that exist in the natural world, and it is the most wildly synthetic, artificial, human-manufactured thing there is; when the hell would a group of notes in a man-made key come together to produce “Claire de Lune” or “Beat It”? Answer: never. When would any perfume—any—come together, those materials, all made by people, in those quantities by anything even remotely resembling natural means? Answer, obviously: never.

I’m not sure why there is this ridiculous confusion coming from the fact that some of the materials used by scent artists are “naturals”—very much in quotation marks since there’s nothing natural, at all, about a rose petal whose oil has been extracted in a man-made machine with steam or by a gas at critical phase in yet another man-made machine. Clay is actually natural, or a hell of a lot closer to natural than a vetiver absolute that’s been manufactured with a solvent; sculpture is utterly artificial. Wood is natural; architecture is utterly artificial. All these materials are used to create works that force the public experiencing them to grapple with the artist’s purpose: to change the way we perceive the world, reality, and ourselves. Any work that does that is a work of art. In my view I think it would be impossible to find any logical, intellectually honest way to exclude scent from all the others mediums as an art medium.

Could you tell me about the exhibition catalog that came with the piece and how to get one please?

I’m as proud of The Art of Scent catalog that we put together as I am of the exhibition itself. If that seems strange to you, well, I believe it is arguably a greater achievement than the show. (“We” by the way is our heroic team at MAD, Yasi Ghanbari who oversaw the entire incredibly complex project, the wonderful catalog designers Christian Hansen and Gloria Pak of Hnt Creative, Heather Barrett, Patrick Gosse, Eric Koelmel, James Reardon, Tony Perez, and everyone from The Estée Lauder Companies, Hermes, Guerlain, l’Oreal, IFF, Givaudan—I’d make the list three times this long if I included everyone.) When I arrived at MAD the catalog we created was deemed by everyone flatly and categorically impossible. The brands would never allow their works to be taken out of the packaging. It would be impossible to convince them to allow the works to be treated as true works of art and sold with competitors’ works as a curated art historical collection. And so on.

art-of-scent-catalogue Now smell ThisPhoto Stolen Now Smell This

And we did the impossible. We created a limited 1,000 pieces of this catalog of which only a few hundred remain for sale—a single collector bought 25 copies the first hour it became available—it will never, ever be reproduced, and it is, I think, with all due humility, an object that will multiply in value both monetary and historic as the first and only one of its kind. There will be future catalogs from my future exhibitions. But there will never again be The Art of Scent catalog.

Best to you,


Chandler Burr VromansBookStorePhoto Stolen VromansBookStore


Stolen Post Script from The Perfumed Dandy…

To learn more about Chandler and his various projects, including where to buy ‘The Art of Scent’ catalogue and join the ‘Untitled Series’ simply click on any of the links in the article, there’s also that intriguing profile of Chandler by the art critic Blake Gopnik, that’s worth a peek.

My conversation with Chandler is one of a series with a number of bloggers organised by the inimitable Lanier of Scents Memory. Do look out for the others in the project which will be appearing over the weeks ahead at:

Another Perfume Blog:

Australian Perfume Junkies 8/9/13:


Scents Memory 20/8/13:

Smelly Thoughts:

The Fragrant Man:

The Perfumed Dandy 31/8/13:

The Scented Hound:

What Men Should Smell Like: