The science of scent
Let me begin by recommending (again) Chandler Burr’s fascinating, enjoyable, and informative book, The Emperor of Scent. (At the link, inexpensive secondhand copies.) And now I point out Alla Katsnelson’s review in The Scientist of a new show at New York’s Museum of Art and Design :
How do you create an exhibit for a completely invisible art form? A new show at New York’s Museum of Art and Design struggles admirably with this question.
The Art of Scent guides visitors through the historical arc made by 12 fine fragrances representing major aesthetic schools of olfactory art over the past 130 years. In the late 1800s, perfume-making underwent a revolution. Scents had always been made from natural substances—oils and essences as well as fixatives made from animal products such as ambergris (a waxy material from the intestine of a sperm whale) and castoreum (a secretion from the anal gland of beavers). But as commercial chemists got better at synthesizing molecules for all sorts of purposes, perfume-makers couldn’t help but notice that some of those molecules tickled the nostrils.
French scent artist Paul Parquet was the first to use synthetics in his famed 1882 creation . . .