Queering Scent With Charenton Macerations
Charenton Macerations has been breaking ground for gender representation in the perfume industry, exploring queer transcendence. Perfumarie featured their Asphalt Rainbow as part of our Precious Metals curation for our February fragrance flight.
Notes From the Founder: Douglas Bender
For me, the nose is queer: I believe our sense of smell exists as a distinct outlier amongst the other human senses. As this outlier, people tend to try to understand it through the lenses of the other senses, oftentimes missing the unique qualities it alone possesses (i.e. relying on visuals and written word to describe how scent communicates emotion and spatial dimension flattening its impact). In doing so, they overgeneralize olfaction’s distinctly queer nature. Further exploration of the distinctly queer characteristics inherent in olfaction is a common thread that connects every Charenton Macerations project, starting with Christopher Street and continuing with our upcoming launches.
With the above in mind, Asphalt Rainbow is a fragrance composed from the idea of reappropriation. So how does scent/perfume reappropriate? Firstly, our materials are ripped from their original hosts to be employed for new uses (think how the scent of rose is extracted from flower petals and are then bottled in liquid form). The theme of reappropriation continues with the construction of perfume (a series of disembodied odors recombined to create a new scent composition in search of a new host). As a finished perfume, each of the original aromas used to compose the perfume have now been hijacked from their roles in nature; they are now tasked with communicating a new human-centric olfactive message. In AR specifically, the queen of the garden (rose) is the object reappropriated, here reconfigured as an urban street corner. While made from the pieces of rose, it now exists as something new.
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