I admit to vanity: I google my blog name. But what I found the other day is worth the admission. A finnish company named Kaipaus produces small objects that can carry your perfume in a solid form. A series of pieces of jewellery and a key chain. Every perfumista’s dream. To be able to carry with you your favourite perfume and experience it without the limitations of time. I decided to get one and report.
I had two things in my mind. Firstly, I work in a fragrance free environment. Perfume is not welcome for practical reasons: anything that is airborne can dilute in liquid culture media and the possible effects in cell cultures are completely unknown but certainly not beneficial. Having a small quick fix in my bag would be really nice. The idea of ceramic blotters is not new though. Chanel publicized the use of ceramic blotters in their new London flagship saying that they allow you to experience all stages of a fragrance at once, top, mid and base. Of course this doesn’t sound like something any fragrance aficionado would be looking forward to: the development of a perfume is a major attraction so anything that gets in the way of experiencing this is probably something that should be toned down in a promotional campaign. So my second interest was to see how different is the experience of a fragrance when all the notes are presented at once .
I ordered the key chain with the bean (sic) and the processing of my order was fast. The ceramic bean came in a sturdy but nice looking cardboard box which contained a black velvet pouch with my key chain in it and directions for use. To test note behaviour I decided to use a perfume that changes a lot, Cuir Ottoman. This is a composition that is classified as unisex only because it can make Luckyscent’s gender meter go bust. It starts as an S&M black leather and slowly drifts to benzoin powder, not girly, but definitely not masuline. It is one of the fragrances that I consider to be masterpieces. I loaded my bean with four sprays (2 to 6 suggested) and waited to see how it behaves.
As expected the bean delivers everything up front. Top and base. Petrol and powder. No development. But this can also be a good thing. You get to trap those fleeting top notes which makes the experience completely new. There is no projection from the bean. When you want to get a whiff you have to approach it to your nose, like any other blotter. One reason for this might be that the bean is covered with enamel leaving only a small hole to load it and emit the perfume. It would be worth trying a different version (if available) that would leave a larger area exposed to breathe. It is an excellent way for prolonging those elusive topnotes, even though you don’t get to actually wear them.
The process of changing the perfume is quite interesting. You have to actually bake the object at 200 degrees C for half an hour to burn the previously loaded perfume and then let it cool and replace it with a different one. I will get back when I do this.
Disclaimer: I purchased my own test item and this is not a promotional report. This is why I do not provide a link to the official site. If anyone is interested it is not hard to find it.
13/10/2011 UPDATE: Last night I baked my bean. Half an hour at 200 °C. The kitchen was filled with the sweet remnants of Cuir Ottoman. I have been living with my Kaipaus bean for about a month and it was not bad. It’s nice to catch unexpected whiffs of perfume in my everyday life. The topnotes lasted for about a week. Then they were turned down a little bit in favour of the powdery base. Still I could catch the petrol note until the moment I popped my bean in the oven.
However there is one thing that has gone wrong: ceramic’s biggest disadvantage, it breaks! I dropped my keys and chipped by bean. A nasty white chip is now showing on the black shiny surface. Maybe a key chain is not the best place for a ceramic blotter. A piece of jewellery is less likely to be dropped so will probably last longer. My bean looks really ugly now but I will still be using it. I have loaded it with Mandarine Mandarin as I want to study this a bit more before writing about it.