What the Perfumed Plume awards have to tell us about scent


PerfumeI won a fragrance writing award! Well, kind of. Actually, this blog won an honorable mention in the first-ever Perfumed Plume fragrance journalism awards.

The blog post called out as a “top entry” in the awards’ inaugural year was “You’re Doing It All Wrong: 8 Signs You Need to Rethink Perfume.” I wrote this one with the sole purpose of getting non-perfumey people interested in perfume and I am thankful for the honor.

I thought it might be fun to look at some of the winners and what they add to the world of fragrance writing this year.

Scent Stories in Mainstream Media, Digital
“That Unattainable Object of Desire: Avon Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve – the Anti-Avon Lady Perfume”
Written by Mark Behnke for Colognoisseur


The greatness of this story, a look at Catherine Deneuve’s eponymous floral chypre perfume, comes from the counterintiuitive angle — that even an Avon perfume, one with a nightmarish marketing plan and terrible launch — can become a cultural obsession if the scent is right.

Takeaway: Perfume is not just the marketing.

Visualization of Scent Stories, Magazines/Newspapers/Digital
“Perfume as Opera: Madama Butterfly, Carmen and Turandot
written by Jasia Julia Nielson for Michelyn Camen, CaFleureBon


This sweet story gets at home much perfume has in common with narrative by looking at a scent inspired by Madama Butterfly.

Takeaway: Perfume people experience scent as narrative, and every bottle is a story unto itself.

Scent Stories in Mainstream Media, Magazines – Print & Digital
“Escape Artists,” written by April Long for Elle Magazine


This is one of those stories that prompt journalists like me to say: Darn it! I wish I wrote that. It’s a profile of perfumers that are taking their inspiration from travel, including one of my all-time favorites, Juniper Ridge.

Takeaway: The world of DIY scrappy perfumers has hit the mainstream.

Science of Scent Stories in Mainstream Media – Magazines/Newspapers/Digital
“Flower Power: Scent, Identity and Culture in the Middle East,
written by Dana El Masri for Michelyn Camen, CaFleureBon


I found this one a little difficult to read, but appreciate it for the way it unfolds scent’s place in non-Western culture.

Takeaway: Scent’s mystery lies in how it can be both global and personal, exotic and familiar.

Scent Stories in Mainstream Media, Newspapers – Print & Digital
“Power Perfumes Return to the Scene,” written by Rachel Syme for The New York Times


I adored this trend story about how making a big impression with perfume is coming back into vogue among millenials.

Takeaway: Everything old is new again. Except for the shoulder pads.

Fragrance Book Award: “Fragrant – The Secret Life of Scent,”
written by Mandy Aftel


Kudos to Mandy Aftel, my mentor and one of the best creative folk I know. Her book Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent, took home the Perfumed Plume book award. I love Mandy’s appreciation for the materials she works with and this book is an homage to the journey from the natural world to the perfumer’s studio.

Takeaway: If you want dinner party fodder for the rest of your life, read the section on Ambergris and then whip out the Fragrant companion kit to give everyone a sniff.

Want more smelly writing? I’m collecting great scent writing over at the Scent in Literature Project, where you can add your own!

5 thoughts on “What the Perfumed Plume awards have to tell us about scent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s