(image Rosenthal Fibers)
Perfumer Hans Hendley
Rosenthal is an interesting challenge. It’s a new perfumer’s entry into a well-travelled genre. It’s a big, boozy rose, in the same broad woody rose category as the rose chypres, florientals and woody florals. Artisanal perfumery brings a new perspective to the table. Small-batch extractions of materials, inventive methods and ‘outside the box’ approaches ignore the boundaries of mainstream technique and can lead to novel perfumes.
One of the drawbacks, though, is the reinvention of the wheel. Self-taught perfumers run the risk of stumbling across compositional frameworks, that, while new to them, have been explored in detail by professionally trained perfumers. The risk becomes even greater with a genre that includes icons like like Amouge Lyric Woman, Portrait of a Lady, Aromatics Elixir and Nahéma. ‘By comparison we suffer’ and all.
Fortunately, Rosenthal avoids the pitfalls and Hendley threads the needle nimbly. The patch/rose accord is a touchstone in perfumery. Hendley plays with it smartly and doesn’t try to bend it into something unrecognizable. Instead, he touches it up with cool, woody/herbal details and extracts a broad range of shades from the accord, from dark berries to flinty metallic flashes. A bready note (iris?) matches the doughy quality of the sandalwood drydown and provides a long arc from topnotes to the milky sweet drydown.
Finding inventive angles on a well-studied accord might be expected from a seasoned perfumer, but it’s particularly encouraging from a new perfumer. Perhaps artistic cross-training has something to do with it. I’ve read that Hendley is a photographer by education and practice. He joins a growing set of artisanal perfumers who’ve taken their practice in other art-forms and applied it to perfumery. This hybrid-artist trend in independent perfumery is one of the most exciting developments in the field and Hendley joins Antonio Gardoni, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Bruno Fazzolari, Dannielle Sergent in bringing new ideas to perfumery through the side-door.
I’m looking forward to trying more of Hendly’s perfumes and will keep my eye out for future work.
Sample from Hendley Perfumes included with purchase of Amora.