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Ditch & Amber Molecule (The Perfumer's Story by Azzi)

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

This article was initially written and published for CaFleureBon.

Zinc explosions & Amber Molecule from The Perfumer's Story by Azzi . Drawing by dana

When the luckiest, speediest, most inspired sperm meets the egg and makes contact, there’s a spark. In the depths of the womb, you see, the egg has been sitting on a trove of Zinc, waiting in the comfy nest of its fleshy burrow for the right amount of Calcium to wake it up and make it all crumble like a dragon’s lair full of tumbling coins. As it goes, the sperm has plenty of Calcium, and it’s willing to share; as the little ‘un enters, the Calcium it carries stirs chemical things up a bit, thus causing the egg to promptly release the Zinc- with a bang. (We could go into the molecular phenomena of fertilization, but that’s tedious and nothing to write home about. Meiosis, on the other hand, may be- but let’s save it for another kind of review).

Anyway, back to the egg and its hot surroundings: when a fluorescent tag like FluoZinc™ is present for the, ahem, act, it literally sticks to Zinc like unwanted tags on your worst photo on social media, and makes it glow under a fluoroscope. Sexy science? Maybe not, but—if you look at it the right way, at the right time, and in the right conditions, BAM!- FIREWORKS, every single time.

Angler fish and The Perfumer's Story by Azzi cap. Drawing by dana

When Albert Guntner (ichthyologist, zoologist, and herpetologist (read: cool as a cucumber, likes fish and snakes), experienced, and one of the most prolific taxonomists to this day) looked at the first sea devil dredged by the Challenger Expedition in 1887, he gasped. You see, this creature, which he later named Melanocetus Murrayi, sure is ugly. This anglerfish is found in tropical waters down at depths of over 6500ft (2000m) and lives its life in massive pressures and pitch dark… until, of course, it’s time for dinner, or to mate (both important, and both rarer than you can imagine).

The Murrayi anglerfish female (dark, cold, and righteously hideous) is 5 times bigger than the male and possesses a lure that makes her irresistible: light. Hanging off a weird crest on her head, this bioluminiscent appendix looks like a fishing pole, and is vital in the vast depths of the ocean where both dinner and mates are few and (very) far between. That being said, when the conditions are ripe and the female meets a male in the right place at the right time- light makes for good (albeit freezing, and alien-like [since the male literally fuses into the female’s body]) romance.

Azzi Glasser is a British bespoke perfumer who creates olfactory art for scent-focused artists like Jude Law, Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kylie Minogue, and Cindy Crawford.

Away from our consumerist eye, in the depths of bespoke art, matches in perfumery happen daily, when lucky, discerning noses get to be fit with the right molecule combination by people like Azzi Glasser of The Perfumer’s Story by Azzi. For the rest of us mortals, things are not as easy: waters and not always teeming with other anglers, and the fluoroscope is not always on; but every once in a while, the conditions are propitious and we find ourselves, well, gettin’ sparky with a new fragrance.

Amber Molecule by The Perfumer's Story by Azzi and Azzi portrait by dana

Amber Molecule is warm, fleshy, and sweet like a clean navel. Straight from the bottle and onto the skin, it morphs like no other to mimic one’s state just like the dark, salty waters of a flotation tank fooling the mind into forgetting where your body actually ends. Flowers here are creamy and slightly salty, not perfumey but skin-like; musks are gentle and dormant; resins are soft and powders are instrumental in imprinting texture to an otherwise fusing fragrance. Easy to wear, Amber Molecule attaches to one’s presence like a Zinc marker and tags, when conditions are just right, the little miracle of personal chemistry.

official notes: amber, orris, rock rose (labdanum), sandalwood, tuberose, musk, lily-of-the-valley, powder, vanilla

other perceived notes: maple, ambergris, rice, coconut, Tolu

Ditch and portrait of Jonas Akerlund by dana

Ditch, in contrast, is cold, inorganic, and somewhat telescopic; built in collaboration with Swedish film director, writer, and photographer Jonas Åkerlund, it creates an outward-looking impression of dark suspension. The opening is unexpectedly sharp, rushing through the nostrils with mineraly grasses and briny marine accords. What follows, then, is entirely synesthetic: calones that drip, smoke that envelops, woods that croak, and a patchouli that echoes make Ditch simultaneously bodily and oddly industrial. Think of licking batteries… or—if you can—the overcrowded belly of a 1887 bathyscaphe.

official notes: wood, patchouli, myrrh, vetiver, calones, green grass, watery notes, oud

other perceived notes: dirt, wet stone, frankincense, banana peel, salt, musks, cream, peat, olives, sandalwood, iris, tin, fish


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