The idea of consumer alienation from the materials that make up our favorite products is almost nowhere as obvious as with perfume: we may claim to love ylang-ylang, and even have a favorite ylang-ylang perfume, only to later discover that the perfume contains no ylang-ylang at all. Or we may claim that perfumes with "chemicals” or “synthetics” give us headaches—without realizing that what gives us a headache is a singular, specific chemical found only within the volatile chemical makeup of an organic jasmine grandiflorum oil of specifically Egyptian origin—for which there does not (yet!) exist any synthetically derived analogue.
With MATERIALS FLIGHTS, Chronotope seeks to help customers close this alienation gap by offering sniffing flights of materials used in the creation of our perfumes. Each Materials Flight contains between five and eight raw materials, in isolation, packed in individual, half-milliliter vials differentiated by dot stickers, along with a set of mini pipettes. Materials come unadulterated save their dilution in perfumer’s alcohol to IFRA-approved, skin-safe levels.
Each Flight purchased guarantees access to a brief video between ~10 and ~25 minutes in length wherein Carter, Chrontope’s founder and nose, reveals the identification of the materials included within a Flight. The video will be made available via email prior to a corresponding 60-80-minute Flight Salon held via Zoom, wherein Carter will lead attendees in a discussion regarding their impressions of the materials, to answer any questions attendees may have about the materials, and deliver more information about them, including their history of use in modern perfumery and prior scent cultures, allergenic contraindications, colonial history, environmental impact, and beyond.
Since their inception upon the release of Spite Eau de Parfum in the spring of 2021, Flights and their accompanying Salons have become staple programming for Chronotope and have been attended by nearly 200 unique customers. Salons exist as open, egalitarian forums where all questions about perfumery are welcome, no single attendee—including Carter—is considered an expert on any material or even on perfume itself, and no point of discussion regarding the materials is off-limits. For decades, the vanguard perfume industry has remained buttoned-up and secretive in regard to providing consumers with information about these materials that are used in perfume formulae. But consumers have a fundamental right to know what their perfume is made of and how its production affects the world around them as well as themselves—and the dialogic process is, quite often, the only way to reveal these truths.
Perhaps best of all: Flights & their accompanying Salons are, ultimately, just plain fun. Join in!