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The perfect petals

It needed to have the perfect petals; not too thick and leathery, yet not tissue-thin. The scent had to be powerful enough to be steam distilled. The plants must be bred under the natural constraints of the field, and then must make it through the next winter as well as be regrown from seed to test for staying power. It takes five years to know if the flower will produce enough oil and resist disease and pests. Kurkdjian and Ducher, whose main tool is a slender sable-tipped paintbrush to spread the pollen of one plant onto the stamen of another, have spent dozens of near-dawn mornings sniffing madly, eyes shut beatifically.

— Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian and rose breeder Fabien Ducher work to create a new perfume rose. Read more in Francis Kurkdjian and Fabien Ducher, Changing History in a Bottle at the New York Times. (found via @sniffapalooza at Twitter)

Quite a fragrant range

I borrowed [perfume] from my sisters. One was very into flirty and sexy scents like Opium, and my older sister was all about Roger & Gallet and Fracas. Thanks to both of them, I had quite a fragrant range to keep me amused and well dressed in the olfactory department when stepping out to dance at any of a million great dancing factories.

— Isabel Toledo talks about the fragrances she wore throughout her life in The Life and Fragrances of Isabel Toledo: What She Wore for Studio 54, Diana Vreeland, and More, at Vogue. Her perfumes for Lane Bryant launch this month.