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Independent artisan made perfumes.

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Blog

January Scent Project thoughts and musings.

 

Reviews, Products, Action, Awakening

John Biebel

Greetings my friends, it has been a busy and somewhat hibernating few months of winter. During that time, I created a new scented parfum oil, Treebuoy, for the fantastically ethically-minded perfume shop Avé Parfum. It was an exclusive for February and is now also available here on JanuaryScent.com. I'm excited to have begun with this relationship with Avé Parfum and their exciting line of work.

 Treebuoy Parfum Oil

Treebuoy Parfum Oil

 

January Scent Project has received some extremely thoughtful reviews and some awards wrapping up 2017, many of which have peered deeply into the fragrances and made them come alive. Now Smell This wrote about Vaporocindro in December 2017, saying about the lilac note: "as though I'd stumbled across a lilac bush growing in an abandoned factory yard, rooted in gravel and dusted with soot." I am so stirred by this stark depiction, it's poetic! Take One Thing Off, a particularly fascinating blog, wrote an earnest review of all the perfumes, with a great analysis about why niche and indie scents make sense in today's world, vis a vis some of the sameness of department store offerings :

Although like most fragrance wearers, I am personally drawn to polish and creaminess and well, a certain slick mouthfeel to the perfumes I wear, the lack of real creativity and new ideas in niche can be a bit of a turn off. Increasingly, I am asking myself if the price bump for nicheyness is justified if I can find the same ideas and the same polish on the department store shelves.

That’s why I have been gravitating more and more towards the indies and the naturals. Raw and weird they may (occasionally) be, but when I want to experience real creativity over mouthfeel, that’s where I go. The January Scent Project fragrances, by artist, Fragrantica editor, and all-round good egg John Biebel, are the perfect embodiment of long tail thinking. Highly unusual, kooky, outlier scents that would go down like a lead balloon at a department store but flourish online because there is enough people in this small, scattered, but passionate community of ours who love outliers and want to buy them.
— "January Scent Project: Selperniku, Smolderose, Eiderantler - Reviews (Sort Of)" Clair, of Take One Thing Off

JSP was on a number of Best Of lists for 2017, which was humbling and makes me grateful for how far this has come within one year since the big releases of last March. The Muse in Wooden Shoes, a Netherlands blogger, listed all the scents as Best Of's for the year, saying "I’m still not sure any of these are “me,” but they are bold and unexpected and, best of all, wearable. Hurrah for the indies."

A true highlight of the year was talking to the author of A Scent of Elegance / The Silver Fox, and his minutely detailed reviews of the perfumes in his piece "Strange Pilgrims". He not only describes the perfumes at length but also makes comparisons to the surrealist painter  Leonora Carrington, drawing mythic parallels between her work and mine. It's not only apt, but extremely revealing about process, intentions, and psychic reality. His writing is intense, fruitful, and super revealing to me about my very own process of working. It was a pleasure to get to know his writing through this process.

CaFleureBon awarded January Scent Project two excellent commendations for 2017 including Rising Star, and Top Ten list of Ida Meister for Eiderantler. This was particularly nice for me because Ida had offered some important guidance as I showed her early "drafts" of some of my work as I began - and her feedback was sincere and helpful. 

Work has begun anew on a new perfume which is coming closer and closer to a finished state. Along with that, I've been engaging in some excellent side projects that could easily turn into proper perfumes themselves! I have been working on a perfume challenge with Alexander Chesebro of Fitzgerald and Guislain - our project has been to assign ourselves a perfume type to each work on individually but then to pass along samples to each other for critique. The process has been illuminating for as I get to understand a more collaborative way to working, and speaking directly to what I'm doing, want to do, and hope to achieve. It's one thing to have a notion and follow it along as it snakes an unfamiliar territory, but quite another to be more methodical in one's approach toward an end goal. This has helped me maintain a focus I may not have had before. I hope to keep working with Alex and Fitzgerald and Guislain, as they are excellent perfumers with a vast collection of ideas. Alex writes about the Evergreen Challenge here.

More will come soon about the new perfume, the Evergreen Challenge, a lecture and workshop planned for May at the de Cordova museum in Lincoln, MA, a visit to the Esxence festival/perfume conference in Milan (which I will be attending, representing Fragrantica,) and more. JB 

New Sample Structure for 2018, Wrapping up the Year

John Biebel

It is extremely cold in the northeast right now, but an extremely busy time for January Scent Project. I was visiting my brother and his wife's family in Iowa over Christmas, and came back to a large group of shipments to be sent out. There are some other shipments waiting to go which have slowed down slightly due to the blizzard we've had in recent days.

  New sample packaging for January Scent Project.

New sample packaging for January Scent Project.

Along with the new year, I've created new promotional material for the January Scent Project samples. When the newest perfume (Vaprorcindro) was released in October, I listed it as a separate purchasable unit on the site. It's also the most costly perfume to make due to its ingredients, so it required a slightly higher cost. Moving forward, however, Vaporocindro is now happily part of the full line of perfumes and shall be included in the standard sample kit.

People have remarked that they like the "Elevated Samples Kit" because it offers 3.5 ml parfum sprays, which really gives people a decent way to experience a perfume properly. Later this year I will be introducing some new options for sampling, but for the beginning of 2018, I'm going to move over to the full sample kit of all the current 4 perfumes and Smolderose Oil. The price of Vaporocindro will be added in; so this will explain an adjustment in prices. This change in sample options will occur starting Monday, January 8th. I hope you enjoy the new packaging!

As the Project continues, I want to keep revisiting the way that people sample the perfumes. I think that some things always hold true: Generally people like to spray their samples, they like to have options, and they want to get a sense of what the whole project is "about", not just a group of random smells that aren't in some way connected through a vision of sorts. I want to continue to offer as much of this as I can in the sampling experience while keeping it affordable and accessible. 

Much more to come as we brave the cold in the fascinating new year.

Thoughts from Kafkaesque, and the closing of a busy year

John Biebel

It was something of a surprise to see such a detailed and truly beautiful review of the perfumes (and of January Scent Project in general) from Kafkaesque at Kafkaesque Blog. I was very pleased that so much work had been put into a deep analysis of Smolderose, with such musical overtones and many roads that lead from it (into dark corners, majestic Carmen-inspired musicality, and even some leathery rock 'n' roll.) It's the depth and expanse of Kafka's writing that is inspiring. It ends the year on such a high note; amusingly ironic that many orders came flooding in as a result of this wonderfully written piece. I smiled my way through the mountains of boxes - these paper cuts were lovingly earned.

I'm thoughtful and reflective about the conversations that have been raised by the fragrances that came from JSP this year. As I've mentioned elsewhere, although I began with this in 2015, this indeed was the actual "beginning" of the project in its most fully realized state, and this may be why two years were needed in between. There were too many things unfinished, too many rough edges I wanted to sand down to be a bit smoother. I can rush into many things in life, but things that I care about, I move with patiently. Keeping that patience seems more important than ever as we're about to enter another year. And as ideas bounce off my head (sometimes barely able to stay IN my head,) I think too that the process of creating anything artful, reflective, soul-full has a psychic cost. We don't go through these motions without some repercussions. In my case, I balance many things. I work a full time job in UX design management, I paint part time, and I perfume part time. and there are yet so many other things I love to do. We all lead very busy lives, perhaps now more than ever, but maybe our best skill is when we can balance all these things and still be good to each other, good to ourselves?

Many open questions, but we have nothing but time in front of us. 

I raise a glass to you all, a thank you for the immense support of 2017, a special thank you to Kafkaesque and all the writers and video reviewers who have been so supportive and nourishing to JSP, and to all involved in the great moments of the year - many, many thanks. I look forward to seeing more and more of you in 2018.

- John