synthetic ingredients have been used in perfumes since the late 19th century, but 150 years on, most brands still bleat on about natural materials, even though they rarely make up more than a tiny proportion of a given formula. their thinking goes that people are scared of ‘chemicals’, ignoring the fact that some natural ingredients can be highly toxic. so let’s hear it for those brands that credit their customers with more intelligence and celebrate their synthetic side. comme des Garçons arguably led the way with odeur 53 in 1998, but since then we’ve had brands that put synthetics centre stage. escentric molecules molecule 01 is a bit of marketing genius that is often (wrongly) referred to as the perfume that smells of nothing, and several new brands have followed their lead. Zarkoperfume’s molécule 234.38, for example, contains ‘contradictory molecules that evolve into a fragrance that’s adapted to you’, while nomenclature, founded by new york perfumer karl Bradl and designer carlos quintero, specifically showcases the latest molecular ingredients. it’s a similar story at paris-based aether, whose perfumes celebrate ‘synthetic molecules and the frenzy of chemistry’. synthetic scents are clearly here to stay.
olfactory library series 6 synthetic in tar and Garage, Both £70 For 50ml, By comme des Garçons. rose alcane eau de parfum, £150 For 100ml, By aether; molecule 04 eau de toilette, £79 For 100ml, By escentric molecules, Both From harvey nichols. lumen_esce, $165 For 100ml, By nomenclature, From aedes.com. molécule 234.38, £85 For 100ml, By Zarkoperfume, From space nk. measuring Jars, From a selection, By serax, From Future and Found. carafes, €49 each, By david derksen, For tre writers: emma moore, christopher stocks