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 real ylang-ylang material at all. Or we may claim that perfumes with "chemicals” or “synthetics” give us headaches—without ever realizing that what gives us a headache is a singular, specific natural material.
With MATERIALS FLIGHTS, Chronotope seeks to help customers close this alienation gap by offering customers sniffing flights of materials used in the creation of our perfumes. Each Materials Flight contains between five and eight 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 ~25 minutes in length wherein Carter, Chrontope’s founder and nose, conducts a “smell-and-tell” of the materials included in the Flight. The video will be made available via email one week prior to a corresponding Flight Salon, for customers to watch at their leisure, and will cover a range of subject matter including information regarding the materials’ chemical composition; their effects on the health and wellbeing of wearers, the farmers and trappers who grow and/or harvest the materials, those responsible for processing the material, and any animals implicated in the material’s production; information regarding the materials’ global supply chain implications; their environmental impact; and their limitations for use within perfumery and other fragranced media per international and local regulations. Then, during a corresponding 60-minute Flight Salon, Carter will lead attendees in discussion regarding their impressions of the materials and to answer any questions attendees may have about them.
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 forums where all questions about perfumery are welcome, and no discussion is off-limits. For decades, the vanguard perfume industry has remained buttoned up and secretive in regard to providing consumers with information about the materials that are used in perfume formulae. But consumers have the right to know what their perfume is made of and how its production affects the world and themselves.
Perhaps best of all: Flights & their accompanying Salons are, ultimately, just plain fun.