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

Sandalwood is an ingredient that we all use, however the quality from Quintis is new.

I've worked with sandalwood oil for 40+ years. It's an element that we use every day. I use it quite often because of the quality it brings a fragrance - the fullness, the naturalness.

I love the material because it adds fixation and longevity to fragrances - it makes a regular fragrance smell a lot more expensive. 

Although you can use certain chemicals to simulate sandalwood, it’s really not the same. If you have the luxury of price, you can knock the socks off any fragrance [using natural sandalwood]. 

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

When I smell submissions, I'm looking for something that can utilise the material in a way that brings the sandalwood out, without making the ingredient stick out and off balance; I want to see it worked into a fragrance that's unique and commercial. This is going to be the next Coco Mademoiselle.

I would like to see how these perfumers can use the lowest amount to make the biggest statement.

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

There are so many people dying to submit and it is a great thing. I was involved in similar contests decades ago.

Any kind of competition is healthy; there should be more out there! We are such a commercial and private business, no one wants to tip their hand on what they are doing. How is it going to benefit the perfumer? It's difficult with our industry being so secretive because the credit for a fragrance created by a perfumer working within a fragrance house, will always go to the house itself. It should benefit both the company sponsoring the material and the perfumer creating the formula.

It will be good to see the material used in different ways. To use it at a higher level takes technique. I would want to know how participants are going to use the maximum amount. You could put 2% in a formula, but you are starting the formula at a higher cost. The more recent ones, Byredo, Santal Blush or Santal 33 (Le Labo), those are the modern ones, versus others such as Jil Sander.

I'm looking for something that doesn't smell like what's out there, something unique. Indian sandalwood will work with a lot of different things because of its woody notes and its milky, creamy qualities.

I'm personally looking for something that's technically unique; and also cost-restrictive. I'd like to know if the fragrance is $100/k or $30/k - I think that would be an interesting take.

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?

The supply chain is struggling because the price of everything is going up like crazy. It's really making it difficult. On top of that, a lot of ingredients are petroleum based and with gas/oil going up, the overheads of companies that are producing are getting hit from all ends with cost increases. I think that there is going to be a problem, at least for another year or two.

I've gone through this before, maybe not to this magnitude, but there have been price increases of raw materials over the last 40 years. Hopefully, things stabilise soon. I think right now, fuel and energy are going to be at a higher cost. Even creating other materials, using the cost of energy that are used to produce things, it's going to create a chain reaction with delivery and shipping. 

I love the material because it adds fixation and longevity to fragrances - it makes a regular fragrance smell a lot more expensive. 

John Gamba