Provocative, Powerful Fragrances for the Abstract Expressionist

By Julia Mantooth

Through modern artists like Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Paul Klee, we have been able to feel anger, grief, or ecstasy by simply looking at a collection of abstract shapes and colours on a canvas. So strong are the statements of these creators, that simply by looking we feel emotionally moved. Our sense of smell is equally as strong in regard to our emotive response but, what do perfume and abstract art have in common? With the potential to evoke unique and vivid sensory experiences, a whiff of the right perfume can transport us to an entirely different place or emotional state. Read more here in Provocative, Powerful Fragrances for the Abstract Expressionist

The abstract expressionists of our time were able to completely redefine art, and perfumers may want to take a page out of their book. Pioneers in the fragrance industry have an opportunity to find innovative ways to tap into the consumer psyche, but few are taking it. One of these pioneering forces is D’Otto; a brand specifically incorporated to disrupt the industry. With their debut collection of fragrances, they have taken a novel approach to making perfume personal for consumers.

D’Otto’s Collection

The 5-fragrance collection was curated by experienced perfumer Paolo Terenzi. The design of the bottles and the scents themselves reflect an appreciation for the abstract. Every bottle is unique in colour and style, drawing inspiration from the artistry of abstract expressionism. The perfumes are presented as works of art themselves and look more like sculptures than products.

Each fragrance is based upon a different piece of abstract expressionist artwork. These pieces include Malevic’s Black Square, Pollock ’s Number 31, and Klee’s Red Balloon. These paintings are famous for having abstract and simple imagery but, at the same time, are extremely emotionally provocative. The emotions conjured by the paintings are replicated by the notes of each unique fragrance. D’Otto’s team carefully curated the combination of notes in each fragrance to mimic the experience of looking at each piece of abstract art. For example, the perfume inspired by Pollock’s Number 31 has bold and striking top notes of Sicilian Grapefruit and Sorrento Lemon.

The newest addition to this collection is a fragrance inspired by the work of Mark Rothko. Rothko’s White Stripe is a relatively niche painting, but it exudes the same powerful energy as his well-known work.

Rothko’s White Stripe, Image Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The perfume, 7+1, is described as an “aromatic woody fragrance”. Notes of Moss, Oudh, Ambergris, Frankincense, and Patchouli are found at the base. In the middle are notes of Rose, Leather, Sandalwood, Cedar, and White Sugar. Finally, the top contains notes of Raspberry, Saffron, Nutmeg, Cardamom, and Black Pepper. This is clearly a nuanced fragrance influenced by an artist well known for his ability to express nuance and depth.

The sights and smells of abstract expressionism and this perfume collection by D’Otto reinforce the importance of artistic liberty and the creative spirit. This is an interesting and unique approach to making a new fragrance that few perfumers have taken before. It is well known that scent is deeply linked to memory, but these fragrances are reliant on a different provocation of the human unconscious.

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If you enjoyed reading Provocative, Powerful Fragrances for the Abstract Expressionist why not read The Rise and Fall of Delectable Vanilla Here

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