What Does Flower Porn Smell Like?

How Heretic Parfum's founder Douglas Little is making natural fragrances great again.

What Does Flower Porn Smell Like?

“Natural fragrances are the purview of housewives and heretics.” It was this statement, said by an executive at a large fragrance company, that made Douglas Little want to create his own natural perfume company—so he did. He trademarked the name Heretic the very next day, and launched Heretic Parfum in 2016.

Little may have a steep hill to climb when trying to convince people that natural perfumes are the way to go. After all, when speaking of all-natural fragrances, the image of essential oils, spas, and homemade concoctions inevitably arises in our minds. And while we all enjoy a good spa treatment, nobody wants to smell like a lemongrass body scrub, or like lavender essential oils. These scents are not bad per se—merely simple and unsophisticated.

Thanks to Little, however, we’re convinced that natural perfumes no longer have to be one-note. Little believed that perfumes made from 100 per cent natural ingredients could smell as complex and sophisticated as regular perfumes, which almost always contain some measure of synthetic ingredients. All of Heretic Parfum’s fragrances have top, heart, and base notes, just like a traditional perfume. The difference, according to Little, is that synthetic fragrances are like oil paints—intense, and meant to cover up what is underneath. If you have ever walked into an enclosed space and felt like you had been punched in the nose by someone’s perfume or cologne, you know what he means. Natural fragrances, on the other hand, are like watercolours—sheer, soft, and less harsh to the nose.

Douglas Little, founder of Heretic Parfum

A Sniff of Scandalwood

Heretic Parfum’s perfumes are all super sophisticated and edgy. Even their names are a big clue—Dirty Lemon, Smudge, and Flower Porn are not the names of your grandmother’s perfume. (If they are, you have the world’s coolest grandma.) The latest fragrance, Flower Porn, emerged from this burning question: If a flower were to engage in a pornographic act, what would it smell like? The answer is apparently a balance of grassy vetiver, budding damascus roses, and spicy black pepper, with an unexpected hint of coriander. It is the smell of fresh-cut flowers, green stems stripped of leaves, and wet earth. Flower Porn made its debut at the Goop Health Summit (Gwyneth Paltrow is reportedly a huge fan)
in March as a “trial” product and immediately sold out, so Little decided to add it to the Heretic Parfums lineup. It is not available online at the moment—it is having its global debut at Siri House in Dempsey Hill.

Heretic Parfum has also created a fragranced candle exclusively for Siri House, with notes of rose de mai and damask rose, citrusy bergamot, vibrant pink pepper and juicy, warm apricot.

The other fragrances in Heretic Parfum’s scent library are similarly interesting and unusual, guaranteed to tickle the olfactory senses of anyone fatigued by the usual commercial fare. We suggest having a sniff at Scandalwood and Dirty Neroli.

What Does 100 Per Cent Natural Mean?

Beauty junkies all around the world are becoming increasingly conscious of what they are putting on and into their bodies—hence why brands are becoming more transparent about their ingredients lists, and why brands focusing on natural ingredients have become increasingly popular. Heretic Parfum’s fragrances are all made using 100 per cent naturally-derived ingredients, as certified by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

Those familiar with traditional fragrance composition will, however, know that there are some scents that are simply impossible to replicate without synthetics, usually because the ingredients of natural origin have been banned, or because there is no way to extract the scent of that natural ingredient. Musk, for instance, is a note commonly found in perfumes. Its natural source is an aromatic glandular secretion derived from animals such as the musk deer or muskrat. This secretion was used extensively in perfumery until the late 19th century but is widely banned today for ethical reasons. Just about all of the musk you smell in modern-day perfumes is synthetic—and therefore will not be found in Heretic’s fragrances.

Little says that he is always on the lookout for alternatives to such elusive ingredients, but it is likely that there will be no direct replacement available. Given that Little has a more limited scent palette to work with, his ability to create such sophisticated fragrances is all the more impressive.

“Natural fragrance captures an authentic, raw quality of nature; its very essence wild and sensual, from lush petals to the earthiness of soil, bumps and bruises, raw and mucky
—these are qualities that synthetics can’t replicate adequately. I wanted to encapsulate all of that in my perfumes, as opposed to perfectly engineered synthetic smells,” says Little.

Of course, synthetics in fragrances are not evil. There is no reliable evidence to suggest that synthetic ingredients found in skincare and fragrances (such as parabens or other preservatives) are harmful, and without synthetic fragrance ingredients, we would not have legendary perfumes like Chanel No. 5, and Guerlain Shalimar.

If you want to have a natural fragrance, however, now you have some truly great options. Time to wake up and smell the Dirty Rose.

Heretic Parfum is available in Singapore exclusively at a pop-up at Siri House from 16th June 2019 to Mid-August, or via their website.

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