Can you talk about your experience with Indian sandalwood and what it evokes for you?

Indian sandalwood for me is very exotic and luxurious. Sometimes in church you'd smell it with the incense burning. Even when I started working in Manhattan, you'd have people selling incense and sandalwood would be in there - it's this creaminess rather than a sharp wood.

When I saw it in perfumery, I thought it was really nice. I try to use it in everything I create, depending on the price range.

Pure sandalwood smells classy and beautiful, while the synthetics will smell harsh and commercial. When you're creating a fine fragrance, you've got to have that pure sandalwood.

It was made most popular by Le Labo’s Santal 33 and Samsara by Guerlain (floriental).

What are the technical/creative elements you are looking for with each submission?

I’m looking for real bold creativity, that's not a knock-off of something else. I'm also looking for the wearability of it. 

It will be fun to judge knowing that the perfumers don't have any limitation on price or customer wants. They can really go wild and do whatever they want. I'm also looking for versatility - can it go from fine fragrance to candle? Home care? Body care?

Pure sandalwood smells classy and beautiful, while the synthetics will smell harsh and commercial. When you're creating a fine fragrance, you've got to have that pure sandalwood. 

Gail Fowler-Krell

How do you think this competition will benefit the fragrance industry/ASP?

It will make people aware of the ASP. I also think it will benefit the up-and-coming perfumers (be it the trainees or junior perfumers) to be recognised in the industry. A lot of people are starting to retire and we'll need the next generation - we welcome them to join the ASP! 

Given the major changes from the last two years, from COVID to supply chain issues, where do you see perfumery/ingredients headed in the future?

First of all, we're going to be judging fragrances without knowing the formula. Is it tox friendly or not? Every customer has their own tox where they have raw materials or chemicals they don’t want you to use. Unfortunately, it's becoming more expensive and perfumers have to put their creative thinking cap on with the demanding palette we have now.

The palette at IFF has changed in the last two months due to cost restraints. Vanillin, ethyl vanillin, everything is so expensive now. It's a challenging perfumery world due to rising costs.