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Turn up the Stereo-Chemistry

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

Turn up the stereo, or in this case, stereochemistry! Our new perfume Stereo Chemistry is tuned to be loud, like straight pipes on a Harley Davidson bike. Learn how this spicy leathery unisex rose fragrance leverages the stereochemistry of aroma chemicals to make its bold statement: roses can be unisex!

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A Musical Inspiration

When we talk about fragrance or music we use terms like notes, harmonies, accords and composition. It seems natural to draw connections across different art forms, but music and perfumery have two more obvious common elements. They are both invisible art forms that use the air as their canvas. Some perfumers say that they see different colors with each raw material they work with, like a form of synesthesia. As an artist in both perfumery and visual art (painting), I generally find parallels in painting and perfume, but for this fragrance I looked to music.

Perfume and music have the ability to both create a mood or change it. My perfumes are intended to be bold and bombastic like the epic emergence of Rock and Roll. This months perfume Stereo Chemistry was tuned to be LOUD. The tingling, chiming woody ambers, citrus and spice in the top quickly transition into booming deep suede notes as they are joined by a choir of heavy musks and rose materials.

Bohemian Rhapsody

What were the 70's if not booming with rock, bellbottoms and luxurious smelling suede! While formulating this months fragrance, I thought of my favorite anthem: Bohemian Rhapsody. This triumphant work of art by Queen was released in 1975, an era know for cultural change in America, the triumph of the sexual revolution, and a sense of artistic liberation.

The song by queen is inspiring in both sentiment and structure. If you listen closely to the song you'll note the line "MaMa, Just Killed a man...". Is this a murder confession or has Freddie Mercury metaphorically killed his old self and taken on his true identify? Some say this is a song about how much happier he would have been had he just stopped hiding his true self. I found this inspiring for a fragrance that challenges the label of rose as feminine. Rarely do I find that men's fragrances are marketed as rose, but why? Can a man not enjoy a rose? Is the rose less beautiful when worn by a man? I think not! Which is why Stereo Chemistry is built up on a classic sweet dewy rose usually associated with women's fragrances, and juxtapositioned with suede and woody ambers.

The structure of this particular song is also part of the inspiration for Stereo Chemistry. This months fragrance uses high pitch woody ambers and flashing citrus in the opening to represent the gentle piano notes and soprano opening of Bohemian Rhapsody. Then the song key changes into deeper booming guitars and tenor voices represented by loud suede materials and long lasting sandalwood materials like Firsantol, this months featured raw material.

Featured Raw Material: Firsantol

When you first smell this one, you will not be blown away by the strength. Firsantol smells of a delicate creamy/waxy wood called sandalwood. In the context of other sandal wood materials, Firsantol is certainly considered strong, but not in the crinkle your nose way. While this material has a low odor detection threshold (you can smell it at low levels) it is not painful to smell at high doses like other strong materials and can be used in high concentrations. In Stereo chemistry for example it is used at 8%! This material actually seems to get stronger as it dries, so I suggest you dip the blotter, do an initial evaluation, and then leave the blotter in a room with the door shut. When you return you will likely find that Firsantol has filled the room with its delicate woody notes.

Why Firsantol and not sandalwood oil?

Sandalwood is a commonly featured note in perfumery, but due to cost constraints the expensive natural wood extract is used sparingly. The high cost of sandalwood oils has been primarily driven by the overharvesting of sandalwood in India. As a sustainable alternative, perfumers use synthetic aroma chemicals such as Firsantol to reconstruct this delightful wood note. I personally find it easier and more effective to use the synthetic materials as opposed to the natural oil.

Why Stereo Chemistry

There is stereo in music then there is stereo in chemistry. Stereo in music, is a method used to create a multi-directional, 3-dimensional audible perspective using two independent audio channels (two speakers). This makes it feel like you are hearing the sound from multiple directions giving it a more natural and space filling effect. If you listen closely, the song Bohemian Rhapsody uses stereo in an artistic way transferring the music from speaker to speaker, giving the 3-D impressing of being surrounded by a choir.

Stereochemistry in perfume is generally referring to stereoisomers, which are molecules that only differ in the 3-D orientations of their atoms in space. In other words, same compound bent into a different shape. As a perfumer I find it fascinating and somehow metaphorical that different isomers of the same fragrance materials smell different. Using multiple isomers or finding the best smelling isomer can make a fragrance seem more 3-D and orchestral!

Firsantol for example has several isomers. Some of these isomers are more sandalwood while others are more milky or cedarwood froward, but the combination makes for a beautiful symphony of creamy woody tones. This month's fragrance also contains Timbersilk and Iso E Super, another good example of leveraging stereochemistry to build a 3-D formula. These two isomeric twins pair together well to make a more textured but clean cedarwood chasse for other more intense materials. Where Iso E Super is more smooth and woody, Timbersilk is more woody amber.

This Month's Perfume: Stereo Chemistry

Notes: Dewy Rose, Bergamot, Lemon Sfumatrice, Spice, Woody Amber, Cardamom, Suede, Sandalwood

Composed with a symphony in mind, the perfume top notes open with a light pink dewy rose and bright citrus, sparkling woody ambers, and spice. Middle notes of suede and cedarwood bleed into the dry down of leathery woody amber and sandalwood. The dewy rose backbone of this fragrance incorporates watery cucumber synthetic materials, like calone and melonal, as well as luxurious naturals including Bulgarian rose oil and Turkish rose absolute. A plethora of spices including cardamom and caraway, support the elegant suede and sandalwood dry down. While delicate and pink, this fragrance maintains a loud fierce quality in it's unique pallet of spices and juxtaposition of peppery suede with dewy rose. It is a pink rose for everyone and anyone because at LabHouse all of our fragrances are unisex.

Final Thoughts...

This month's musically derived fragrance is a dewy pink rose that challenges the concept of gendering fragrance. Many parallels can be drawn between the two art forms music and perfumery. Both are invisible art that uses air as a canvas. Both are spoken of in terms of notes, accords and harmonys. Both can change a mood or create one. I hope Stereo Chemistry boosted your mood and inspired your brain!

So now that you have trained your nose to identify Firsantol and its effect(s) in perfumery, what do you think?

Feel free to share any questions or comments you have! I would love to hear your thoughts! As always, thank you for subscribing. I work very hard to make this subscription as fun, engaging, and educational as possible, but I am always seeking suggestions for improvement.

If you like what this raw material has to offer, I do suggest sniffing the perfumes listed below:

Sandalwood Perfumes

  • Declaration d'Un Soir Cartier

  • Declaration

  • Original Santal Creed

  • Santal 33 Le Labo

  • Molecule 04 Escentric Molecules

  • Escentric 04 Escentric Molecules

Further Rescores

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