While my knowledge of perfume is limited to the contents of Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins (which also includes the greatest ode to a root vegetable in modern literature), Walker is an abundant source of information. She answered a couple of questions to get attendees prepped for tonight.
How are wine and perfume work together in an event like this?
Wine is 98% aroma and is designed similarly to perfume, so naturally they go together. I think it's an unusual idea as people usually associate perfume with stinky, cheap, overpowering synthetic perfumes. We hope to change their minds at the event tonight!
Are you pairing each wine with a perfume?
We will be doing a flight of seven wines, each paired with several single notes, in addition to a fully composed perfume. Four of the wines will have two perfume pairings, as they are both highly complimentary.
Describe your process for this? Is this a trend elsewhere?
As a perfumer and sommelier we have both studied for years and are highly trained to use our sense of smell to identify complicated and unusual individual notes. Although scent is somewhat subjective, I'm always amazed at how Katherine and I will be smelling various wines and notes and look at each other and agree "citrus" or "dirty mushroom" it's pretty amazing!
This perfume and wine tasting event is rare, I've only seen it done a handful of times. Niche perfumery is a growing luxury trend and therefore bringing scent back into the spotlight - complimenting the local, organic and slow food movements here in the United States.
What wines will be featured?
We chose wines that are complex and perform well when compared to the perfumes. They are all highly drinkable, but definitely more complex than the usual fare. We had a delightful selection provided by The Wild Grape, as this establishment is totally dialed in to local wine producers as well as national and global trends.
What else do you have planned for tonight?
We'll also be discussing the history, methods, and techniques of wine and perfume as they have so many similarities. We've structured the event to be incredibly informative, but also casual and fun, similar to the traditional Japanese scent game "awaseko".
We will be featuring both organic and synthetic perfumes as a comparison to the wines because they are unbelievably different. I think it's interesting to see the reactions from the people comparing the two...it's definitely an "Ah ha" moment.
Why go organic?
While working for multi-billion dollar beauty firms in New York, I noticed certified organic beauty products were super rare. There is a huge demand in the market for quality, but large companies are focused on profitability - simply, organic products are much more expensive to produce. I think producing an incredibly high quality product is more important, and wanted to provide an extra assurance to my customers that they were getting the best of the best. I also wanted to support American organic agriculture.