About

 

 

 

Warning

The Extracts are very concentrated and forbidden to wear on skin due to the inclusion of possibly dangerous or irritating materials. Instead it’s suggested they are used on a handkerchief, in a pomander or an aroma locket.

Some customers are tempted to wear them on skin, and report doing so, but they are very naughty people and do it entirely at their own risk.

NOT perfumes aren’t for everyone and it’s strongly suggested that you sample before you get a full bottle.

In November 2018 the ready-made Extracts are launched to the public and will be available from this webshop exclusively.

Do not expect perfumes, do expect NOT perfumes!

 

Philosophy

Demanding full freedom to create olfactory art, without any restrictions on the use of ingredients apart from the ethical rules I set for myself, while maintaining total honesty and integrity, I created NOT perfumes.

Breaking all the rules and regulations of traditional perfumery, as well as the modern safety recommendations, I needed a loophole that did not mislead or harm anyone.

This radical honesty is present in my work on all levels, leading me to rely heavily on naturals, use very costly materials in unconventional ways, and commit to a no-nonsense communication policy.

NOT does not sell stories, or dreams. I create olfactory poetry, to fulfil my vision, give form to the formless and express the wordless.

 

Process

Years of thought, experimentation, and maturation can be needed, from the seed of the idea, something smelled only in my imagination, to a first sketch on paper, then in beaker, all the way to the final perfected blend, when the composition is a perfect reflection of the vision.

My inspiration is often quite simple; the materials themselves, especially but not exclusively the naturals that can be experienced in their raw, or even living, state and sometimes collected and extracted by myself to use in my creations.

The love of naturals and refusal to compromise mean the scents can not be approved for use on skin, it makes big batches impossible and leads to inevitable batch variations as the majority of materials vary by year and season. I welcome the challenge.

I hope you do too.

Johanna Venables
perfumer

Photo: Karolina Olson Haglund

 

FAQ

 

Why are NOT perfumes forbidden to wear on skin?

In order to maintain full olfactory freedom I decided to sell my scents as Olfactory Art or “Extracts” intended for use on absorbent materials such as textile, ceramics, leather or wood. Local restrictions on what can be used in “perfumes” are very strict, as they absolutely should be for things that are mass produced and readily available on shop shelves. But these regulations are also becoming very limiting, with more and more naturals, or their components, added to the list every year. I wanted to give myself the freedom to create the scents I wanted, with no compromises, give proper warning to those who want to be safe, as well as offer those who want to experience these olfactory poems however they chose, the possibility to do so. By labeling them NOT perfumes and be clear about their non-safety I hope to do this without misunderstandings.

Do you only use natural ingredients?

No. I often get this question as the Extracts are very dominated by the naturals they contain and more than one knowledgeable user have been convinced they are all natural, but they are not.
Only one of the current extracts NADIR is all natural, as the formula happened to turn out that way.
Composing all natural perfumes has for a large part of my years as a perfumer been a pure pleasure and a welcome challenge, but for NOT it was a limitation that didn’t fit the idea of full olfactory freedom.
Since “natural” ingredients are not inherently safer, healthier or more gentle on the environment, counter-intuitive as it may be, there is no reason beyond the possible aesthetic and marketing value to limit the olfactory palette by 90% or so.
Beauty is beauty. And everything comes from nature. There is no other source.

Do the Extracts contain alcohol?

Yes, around 60%. The concentration is comparable to “parfum”.

Do you use added colours?

No.

Are the current extracts limited editions?

The batches are limited to 100 15ml flacons, but I intend on making new batches as far as access to the raw materials allow. So, no guarantee of continuation.

What’s your policy on environmental issues?

I firmly believe every little piece matters in the big puzzle and try my best to do my part.
In all stages of production and distribution plastic disposables and packaging are avoided as far as practically and hygienically possible. Of course I always choose sensibly grown materials whenever available. I will use rather than waste flawed packaging materials, and recycle the little waste there is responsibly.

Why is the name of the fragrance not typed on the bottle?

The scent should belong to the wearer alone, thus I wanted to leave room for the customer to use any name they choose. The name, the brand, the bottle should all be irrelevant compared to the scent. Using symbols seemed a more open and interesting way to identify the different extracts. And personally I find them aesthetically pleasing.

Why is the bottle so simple?

Much effort was put into finding the perfect quality bottle and the right labels to communicate the spirit of NOT and the high ambitions behind it.
Most brands spend more money on the packaging than on the ingredients. This seems like madness, but commercially it works very well and therefore it’s the norm all over the perfume business. I prefer to be sane and not play that game, knowing without a doubt it will not be the most profitable way, but one I can stand behind.
The bottles also had to reflect my personal taste and fake gold or rhinestones do not communicate either beauty or quality to me, Italian glass and artisan letterpress print on fine paper does.

Are NOT perfumes vegan?

No.
But I do make sure the products do not contain any endangered, trapped or tortured animals or anyone killed for their scent. I never have and never will use any kind of natural civet or deer musk. The animalic notes in NOT perfumes come from Hyracheum (petrified hyrax excretions), Castoreum (from salvaged glands when beavers are shot as pests here in Sweden) and beach found Ambergris, as well as botanical extractions and aroma chemicals.

Why do you charge for samples?

They cost a lot to make, not least in the amount of work going into every kit, and NOT perfumes is a tiny business. Charging for them is also a way to ensure they end up with people who have a serious interest.
It’s against the principles of NOT perfumes to provide free samples, bottles or any other compensation in exchange for “positive reviews”.

What’s your thoughts on perfumery?

Response to the Extracts has proven to me not only is perfumery an art, it’s a communicative art form and as such would benefit from more artistic freedom and fewer self imposed restrictions.
To me the wearing of the scent should be a satisfactory experience in and of in itself, and it’s to that end I compose. How do I want to smell in order to not be able to stop sniffing what I wear?
What is it that makes enjoyment maximal when it leaves you wanting more and more of the thing enjoyed? The appetite and sensory enjoyment clearly demands something to be left to yearn for, an absence, a void.
Perfume is often pushed by some forced and arbitrary connection to sex, status or traditions, none of which interest me at all when I compose a fragrance.
To me perfume in general is more about connecting to nature, sensual enjoyment, feeling at home in ones skin, feel welcome in the universe and a general appreciation for life than about sex, it’s more about finding ones unique identity and ways of communication than status, and the whole tradition/nostalgia thing is just suffocating to me. Be. Here. Now. I want to make things that have never been done before, rather than relive the past or raise corpses.
Perfumery is also a craft, just making something that smells nice is not good perfumery, it also has to work for its intended purpose. It has to last both in the bottle and when used, develop in an interesting way and ideally not in any way create a problem for the user. This may seem contradictory as I make perfumes so dangerous I have to tell you they are forbidden to use on skin, but I actually think safety regulations should be very strict, and artists/producers like me who don’t obey them should simply be transparent about it. For the sensitive user it’s not worth the risk to allow free use of any irritant, but with sufficient information anyone can make their own choice and some will chose to wear “forbidden” perfume on their own risk.