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August 22, 2005

Fabulous Fragrances of the World: Tour with Jan Moran

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I am walking through a fragrance library, where scents and words are intertwined. I browse through the pages of perfume history, perfume images and various other bits of information a fragrance lover relishes. Whether I want to read about Daim Blond by Serge Lutens, creations by Jean-Claude Ellena or a fragrance in a Mossy Woods family, the information is at my finger tips. This veritable fragrance library is an online program created by Jan Moran, the author of Fabulous Fragrances series, in collaboration with Michael Edwards. ...

Jan Moran guides me through my first steps, her warmth and patience making the journey even more pleasant. She describes the process of compiling the information, which seems like an enormous amount of time and effort. Then again, the program is so impressive that one cannot but suspect that besides everything else, its creators must have had a true passion for the project.

The fragrance library is the first place where Ms. Moran leads me, explaining elements of classification: gender, perfume house, distribution venues, fragrance families. I feel like a kid in the candy store seeing names of my favourite fragrances under a neat drop down menu. Ms. Moran suggests we start with 1000 by Jean Patou. Like this example, each entry contains a variety of information, starting with a correct pronunciation, a name of the nose and a date of release and ending with a designer/celebrity quote. Quotes from Luca Turin’s Parfums: Le Guide are included as well. In addition, the fragrance is classified under Michael Edwards’ system—Mossy Woods Rich, in case of Yatagan. Moreover, Jan Moran’s writing is an important part of the fragrance entries, often including various stories about a fragrance as well as descriptions of its character. Ms. Moran’s beautiful review of Yatagan, a dark Caron fragrance, with key notes of woods, musk, castoreum, oakmoss, fennel, and basil make me want to reach for my bottle immediately.

Promotional Wizard is another fascinating aspect of the program, allowing one to tailor a search in a variety of ways, whether it is a year of launch, fragrance family, or a perfumer. Thus, a surprising discovery for me is that Pierre Bourdon, the nose behind Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums Iris Poudré, also created Les Parfums de Rosine Roseberry, another favourite of mine. Fragrance structure index allows one to search for a fragrance with a specific note. Whether one wants a fragrance with ambergris or rose-violet lipstick accord, the information can be found in the most effortless way. By way of example, should one desire to search for a fragrance containing amber, the list would include about 1500 titles. However, it is also possible to search for a specific combination of notes. Thus, among fragrances including rose, sandalwood and benzoin, I discover Clarins Par Amour, a recent release composed by Raphaël Haury. Par Amour, with its luscious rose otto note on a dark vanillic backdrop, conjures associations with a weightless velvet scarf.

Ms. Moran points out a feature that allows to search for perfumes various celebrities prefer. Thus, I discover that Catherine Deneuve could be my fragrance twin, preferring fragrances like Guerlain Chamade, L’Heure Bleue, Chanel #19 and #22 among others. Isabelle Adjani, on the other hand, favours Caron En Avion and Creed Fantasia de Fleurs, both of which I also very much enjoy. Moreover, I find out that Edith Piaf wore Robert Piquet Bandit, a dark leather fragrance, as outstanding and unconventional as Piaf herself.

Ms. Moran’s ability to undertake several projects simultaneously is impressive indeed. Not only does she serve as a fragrance expert, publicity spokesperson and brand communications consultant, she writes articles for a variety of venues. Moreover, she also has her own fragrance line, Jan Moran® Beverly Hills.

I ask Ms. Moran if her fragrance line, which includes Fabulous, an elegant composition of rose and jasmine on a rich ambery base, will be joined by another perfume. While the process of creating a fragrance was very enjoyable and allowed Ms. Moran working with a perfumer Marvel Fields to recreate a perfume she remembered from her childhood, her current projects do not leave much time to expand the fragrance line. Nevertheless, the idea is not dismissed. As Ms. Moran wistfully notes, if it is a right thing to do, it will happen.

At the moment, the program, which already earned a Stevie Award for Technological Innovator of the Year, is intended for researchers, editors and above all retailers, allowing them to plan sales promotions, help customers, as well as organize staff training sessions relying on a comprehensive database of more than 4,000 fragrances, which is updated weekly. Of course, I cannot wait for the program to be more widely available. I am anxious to have more opportunities to visit that wonderful fragrance library.

Photo: Countess Jan Moran. For more information, please see Fabulous Fragrances and Fabulous Fragrances of the World.Info.

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