While natural essences bask in the limelight, synthetics are the clandestine infiltrators that spark off fragrant revolutions. It was the discovery of coumarin that yielded the first modern perfume, Fougère Royale, in 1881. Aldehydes lent their abstract sheen to Chanel N°5. Ethyl-vanillin enhanced Shalimar’s plush cleavage. Hedione® breathed its radiance into Eau Sauvage. And no contemporary scent could do without synthetic musk or the ubiquitous Iso E Super. Whether they imitate nature, tease out its innermost secrets or veer off into botanically impossible smells, synthetics are the true building blocks of perfumery. Elegant solutions discovered by scientists, wafting from labs onto skin and into your nose.
Nomenclature celebrates design in perfume chemistry by showcasing today’s most inspiring, exclusive molecules—so exclusive that some, known as “captives,” are zealously guarded by fragrance companies. Through a series of sheer and streamlined compositions, Nomenclature explores their complex facets and their potential for protagonism. Demonstrating that these man-made hybrids of poetry and science have a beauty all their own. The beauty of modernity.