Wednesday, March 14, 2012

M’Eau Joe № 3: The Fragrance Brief

Opus Oils and Glass Petal Smoke are collaborating on another fragrance creation; M’Eau Joe № 3. The fragrance is inspired by three things that resonate with myself and perfumer Kedra Hart; rock 'n roll, the blues and perfume. (Confession: we're both rather fond of Jack White and have seen It Might Get Loud more times that we thought was humanly possible.) 

Fragrance briefs are designed to give direction to perfumers so what is imagined in words will result in a perfume that inspires emotions, memories and archetypes associated with the scent story. I've worked on few fragrance briefs in my day (can't say for who because of the non-disclosure agreements I've signed), but I can tell you that they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are elaborate and some are as short as a single page. Competitive fragrances are usually mentioned as are demographics targeted by age and gender. The essence of M’Eau Joe № 3 is not constrained by these requirements so you'll get to see creativity up close and personal; starting with the brief. 

As a perfumer, Kedra Hart will rely on the contents of the fragrance brief for inspiration and use what moves her to create a formula. The formula will be tweaked as part of the fragrance development process. Each variation of the formula is referred to as a "mod" in the business which is short for modification. Glass Petal Smoke will evaluate the mods and provide guidance in the development process, respecting the perfumer's style and the contents of the brief. Fasten your seat belts ladies and gents; it's going to be an interesting ride.    

M’Eau Joe № 3
A Fragrance Brief Prepared by Michelle Krell Kydd 
Presented to Kedra Hart of Opus Oils

M’Eau Joe № 3: The Scent
A fragrance inspired by the charismatic magnetism that is unique to musicians; blues/rock guitarists in particular. Subtext includes cooking and magic.

The Name:
·     A play on the word “mojo” referencing the term “eau” in perfumery. “Eau” is the French word for “water” in English and is the phonetic sound of pleasure often found in blues /rock songs.
·      “Joe” as a universal man’s name and a character in the Jimi Hendrix song “Hey Joe,” the first song to draw acclaim for the renowned guitarist on the English charts. 
·      Music and perfumery are linked. Base, middle and top fragrance “notes” reflect the rate of evaporation in a perfume, which in sum is referred to as a “composition.”
·      N°3 as a numeric reference that is pervasive in mythology and religion (life, death, and rebirth). The number three is known to be a favorite of musician Jack White.
·      “Mojo” is a spicy sauce used to marinade meat. It contains olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin and citrus (usually lemon, orange, lime) or vinegar. Mojo originated in the Canary Islands and is common in the cuisine of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands.
·      “Mojo” can refer to a concealed cloth bag (red flannel) containing a magical charm and herbs that are carried for good luck. In “Hoodoo Theory and Practice,” Catherine Yronwode links scent and mojo, “…mojo hands are customarily fed with scented liquids that are themselves derived from various magical herbal ingredients -- herbal conjure oils, magical herbal-floral colognes, and even liquors such as whiskey ("water of life") in which herbs have been soaked. This is nature magic, the use of this earth's spiritual interweb of magically active beings, in which persons, animals, plants, and minerals are bound together in social patterns on an invisible plane.”

Defining Mojo:
Mojo says everything about being alive. Mojo gets inside a person’s soul, in the place where wonder, mystery and longing live, waiting to be stirred. How do you know you’ve encountered mojo? Your heart skips a beat in its presence and when the source of mojo is gone you are left with a combination of satisfaction and yearning. Mojo is pure unadulterated magic; the essence of the creative force of life. If you’ve got it you naturally give it, but no one can take it away from you unless you lose it, (this has been known to happen to several performers and self-proclaimed Casanovas).

The Connection between Mojo and Perfume:
Perfume is an invisible talisman of power meant to pleasure and attract. Perfumers alleged to have mojo by the perfumista digerati include: Christopher Sheldrake (under the direction of Serge Lutens, currently developing fragrances for Chanel), Maurice Roucel, Germaine Cellier, Yann Vasnier, Christophe Laudamiel, etc. Perfumers with mojo break olfactory barriers. They don’t think outside the box; they smash it to bits. They can’t help it. It’s who they are. Jimi Hendrix smashed guitars. Perfumers smash boundaries (and sometimes glass).

The fragrance could be housed in an amber bottle with potion-inspired labeling (retro chic rockin’ mad science kind of thing). Packaging should include a red velvet bag in homage to a mojo hand with a talisman hidden inside.

Inspiration for Creation:
 "I always return to the number three. I use it as a basis for everything I do. Red, white, black... Vocals, guitar, drums. Storytelling, rhythm, melody. I was also one of three upholsterers on my block growing up. The Holy Trinity, that's the big one." –Jack White of the White Stripes

Perfume101: Stealing Mojo (a story featured on Glass Petal Smoke)

Graphic for “M’Eau Joe № 3 is Cooking,” and “Mojo” perfume bottle designed by Michelle Krell Kydd. 
Photo of Jack White taken by Scott Penner at the Ottawa Blues Festival in 2009. Licensed via Creative Commons.