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- Wednesday 15 July 2009
- 7.00pm - 9.00pm
- Lecturers: Will Andrews
For nearly all of human history, capturing scent from nature meant collection and extraction of precious essential oils from plants. Heaps of flower petals and baskets of resin were gathered, and their essence stripped out with heat or solvents. These essential oils are the distilled, concentrated odour compounds, which are stored in the flowers, leaves, roots and woods of scented plants. By the mid 1970s, many of the perfume industry's largest companies were working on a non-destructive technique to capture the volatile odour compounds from nature. This was driven by the desire to expand the perfumer's pallet with new ingredients, which had previously been unobtainable, due to the plant species being rare and endangered or being too delicate to process with conventional methods of extraction.
The advent of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry technology provided a platform for chemist perfumers to capture, analyse and reconstitute the plant odour molecules into ‘living' replicas of the previously unobtainable oils. This event briefly shares the fascinating Headspace Capture process and its technology but goes further to describe how the scientists and perfumery team at P&G Prestige Products have applied this technique to capture and recreate scents that are more experiential in their nature. These range from the familiar smell of Lord's Cricket Ground to the distinctive, unusual odours of the Hugo Boss open-60 ocean racing yacht. The resulting fragrance accords, which the audience will be invited to smell, showcase a fascinating voyage of discovery in contemporary perfumery, successfully balancing the traditional art of perfumery with the world of high science and technology, and innovating to apply it to the aspirational arena of world-class sports.
Could these accords become key components in a complex, wearable fragrance of the future? Judge them for yourself!
(The event includes odour evaluation, so please refrain from wearing strong scent)
Supported by P&G prestige products
Tickets cost £8 standard, £6 concessions, £4 Ri Members.
Listen to the audio archive of this event: