Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Buy It: Demeter Fragrance Library

I have a theory that if one of your senses is weak, your other senses are stronger, to make up for it. I have horrible hearing, which is partially genetic and partially due to my tiny, tiny ears, but I have good vision (in my mid-thirties, I don't need glasses yet, knock on wood) and, according to MW, a freakishly acute sense of smell. It can be both a blessing and a curse, especially in summer, when one is assaulted by everything from body odor to rotting garbage. But for the most part, I like smelling things, good or bad. So, in a way, I've always felt like a kindred spirit to Mark Crames, the mastermind behind Demeter Fragrance Library, purveyor of scents ranging from Laundromat and Clean Skin to Dirt and Wet Garden. And when I was given a chance to meet him—and have Crames construct a signature fragrance for me—I was there before you could say perfume.




A little background on the brand: Demeter's fragrances are meant to evoke ideas and reconstruct memories, and rather than give you a more typical scent with top, middle, and bottom notes (as most perfumes are constructed), their scents, while composed of many different molecules, typically have just one note, or accord, as they say in the biz. And even while Demeter's range of scents is rather unique, you can create a more layered, complex scent by combining several. To begin, Crames asked me what I liked to smell. I told him the ocean. So first he handed me Ocean, which smells a bit too much like the real thing, to which Crames said that we have similar perceptions of what the ocean should smell like: Salt Air. He asked me what else I liked to smell, and I said wood. Next came Sandalwood, which I know is a prominent ingredient in one of my favorite perfumes and was thus a hands-down winner. He then asked me what flowers I liked; I told him I'm not a huge fan of flowers, unless they're kind of dirty. We went through a few options, and I couldn't decide between Jasmine and Cannabis Flower (yep, it smells just as you'd expect), so we used both. And just like that, I had a custom-designed fragrance!

The great thing about Demeter is how affordable it is; each 1 oz. spray is $20 on Demeter's website ($15 at Duane Reade's Look boutiques, where I met Crames), so a custom combination of three fragrances, at $60, is still less than what you'd pay for a fancy department-store scent that you'll smell on countless other women anyway. (And, side note: Demeter's ingredients are incredibly high quality; big-name fragrances skip on ingredients in favor of spending $$$ on marketing and advertising—that celebrity in the ad doesn't come cheap!) Salt air, sandalwood, jasmine, and cannabis flower are not notes that I'd ever think of putting together for myself, but I love the way they smell, and the experience was just as fun as the result. I'd definitely recommend putting your perfumer hat on and creating your own combination, but warning, it may be addictive—I'm already thinking about my next scent...

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