Strategic raw materials

We now keep reserves of strategic raw materials – such as vetiver, vanilla and lavender – selected on the basis of three criteria: they can't be synthesised, only come from a single geographical source and are needed in large quantities.

— A spokesperson from Givaudan, quoted in Perfume manufacturers must cope with the scarcity of precious supplies at The Guardian. Perfumer Thierry Wasser, in the same article, jokes "What was Jean-Paul [Guerlain] thinking of when he put so much sandalwood in Samsara?"

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  1. Kelly Red says:

    I have never understood why the perfume industry has sat back and not fought for the old formulas and ingredients. I understand the cost issue, but I’m taking tradition. Wine, regional food, etc has all won laws allowing methods based on traditional recipes and process. The perfume industry has allowed materials to be banned or severely limited to the point of scents totally changing. Why has perfume been treated differently then say someone “Possibly” being allergic to tannins in red wine or the cheese? Tell a french cheese maker they have to limit the amount of rind mold or a red wine producer they have to change their recipe for Pinot and there would be all out mutiny. Tell a perfumer they can no longer use too much oak moss and they roll over and say “Oui”.

    • Robin says:

      It’s hard to answer, but the best I can do is to say the industry apparently wishes to self-regulate before somebody else steps in and regulates allergens for them.

      And on the contrary, many perfumers have complained. But most perfumers work for the big fragrance & flavor companies that fund IFRA to begin with.

  2. Thalia says:

    Well, some of the old ingredients are gone for good reasons. Mysore sandalwood has been drastically overharvested and I think it would be wrong to rush to plunder the remaining trees. Animal-based ingredients involve a lot of cruelty and in some cases the animals are endangered — I’m much happier to buy fake civet, even if it doesn’t have the full pong of the real thing. It’s not all “OMG, someone might sneeze if they smell oakmoss or get a rash from that orange peel!”

    I don’t understand, however, why the industry has created IFRA and capitulated to the “allergen” bans so much. Why are they choosing to spoil their own perfumes? I don’t understand the rationale behind the regulations at all.

    • Robin says:

      Again, I think the attitude seems to be “better do it ourselves before we’re forced”. Still, there is lots of push & pull in the press…articles like this, as I see it, end up in the papers precisely because some of the companies would like to see things ease up.

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