A few weeks ago, following my recent Jasmine Award win (I promise to stop banging on about it eventually, honestly), I was afforded the luxury of being able to judge in not one, but two categories for this year’s Fragrance Awards, which are set to be hosted by The Fragrance Foundation on May 15th 2014. All-in-all this was an incredibly fun process that I found interesting and challenging in equal measure, but it also afforded me the luxury of thinking about how a perfume can be approached in so many different ways.
The first category that my fellow Jasmine Award winners and I were asked to judge was ‘Perfume Extraordinaire’. The perfumes in this selection are submitted blind by the big fragrance houses and the judges are required to test these without knowing the name, brand, perfumer or any details in fact, making for a completely impartial landscape where all that matters is the smell. Personally, I found approaching these perfumes without the knowledge of any bells, whistles or marketing guff, rather refreshing and it made the whole task of selecting the more creative and well-executed perfumes in the pack really quite easy. It’s so easy to get distracted by all of the ‘noise’ surrounding a perfume, but when relying simply on one’s nose the task becomes almost effortless.
Following the Perfume Extraordinaire blind-sniff, the judges were invited to test and score the fragrances selected for the category of ‘Best New Independent Fragrance’, which sees perfumes launched by the smaller, more bespoke houses. Unlike the other category, this one wasn’t a blind sniff and the judges had the opportunity to appreciate the perfumes, some of which were familiar and others that were first-time sniffs, in their entirety with a lively discussion from all sides. Whether blind-sniffing or just simple straightforward-sniffing, this blogger has to admit that the whole process was eyeopening, great fun and an absolute honour to be involved with.