I received the entire five volumes of Les Coulisses du Parfum for Christmas. My dear husband took my hints to heart, but that I would get the entire series was a wonderful and very generous surprise.
Each set contains twelve little flacons filled with 7ml of scent. They come with lots of smelling strips, that you are supposed to dip into the small bottles and thus experience the accords on their own and devise combinations of notes yourself. There are also accompanying booklets in every set, that describe the notes and help setting up tests and experiments for combining notes and accords into basic perfumes.
Volume I is called Mythic Accords and contains one essential accord of each fragrance family (citrus, aromatic, white floral, floral bouquet, woody, oriental, chypre, musky, aquatic, spicy, fruity and gourmand). This is the set one should take if only one is bought, it is the most comprehensive.
The others are more specialized and explore the different scent families in greater depth. Volume II has floral notes and accords, Vol. III woods and resins, Vol. IV covers spices and Vol. V explores the gourmand facet.
It is very helpful and illuminating to be able to smell the notes separately. I had many an epiphany already, using this kit. It helps me to clearly remember what note is what, it confirmed for me what I love and what I cannot stand.
But I was also surprised many times at how some notes are quite different on their own from what I expected them to be from my still limited experience.
I expected to not like cumin, for instance, but found it quite pleasant, not bothering me in the least. Gaiac wood, on the other hand, was fairly neutral in my mind, before I smelled the isolated note. Let´s just say I am more than aware of its presence in a composition now.
There are very interesting comparisons to be made, for instance there are two vanilla notes in the gourmand set, synthetic and natural. There is a world of difference, which was understood of course in theory already, but experiencing this difference in practice is something else entirely. It immediately helps you identify every single fragrance where you ever smelled synthetic vanilla versus the real thing.
There is still a lot for me to explore, I just sniffed into the matter so to speak, so I will write another post with my experiences with the kits at a later date. Many of you inquired so I wanted to let you know my first impressions.
I can highly recommend these sets for perfume lovers, especially beginners, as it is eye opening and extremely helpful to smell the different notes on their own. I use my kits like a dictionary, essential for reference and the basic element of any perfume collection (if you are as obsessed as I am, that is ;)).
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