Posted on March 17, 2016

It was a quest for beauty that first led Chris Diienno into perfumery, a passion that has not waned. Today as President of the American Society of Perfumers (ASP) he actively campaigns for wider awareness and respect for this ancient art.

With the World Perfumery Congress fast approaching, Chris has championed a partnership between the ASP and TFS Corporation, the world's leading grower of Indian sandalwood (Santalum album), to hold a competition that's set to celebrate both perfumer and ingredient.

In this Q&A Chris shares his perspectives on the competition, perfumery and why Indian sandalwood will forever be a favourite in fragrance.

Why did you support the competition?

It is my hope that this competition will bring awareness to not only this beautiful ingredient, but also highlight the amazing creativity and talent that is involved in developing a great fragrance. By fostering a friendly competition and inspiring perfumers to step out of their comfort zones, we hope to highlight the true artistry that is involved in creating beautiful scents. Techniques and experience matched with intuition and inspiration, an insight into the mind of the perfumer.

What do you see as the role of raw materials in fragrance creation?

Raw materials are the colors of our pallete. As we work with these colors we are seeking the most interesting shades, tint, and saturation to create the most beautiful picture. We can also liken it to music, where every note and accord comes together through the desired tone and rhythms.

With a perfumer it is the experienced associations of the ingredients and the artful blending of these combinations with the memories of our lives that bring about great fragrances. The more the raw material contributes to appealing to our memories, the better it is to include in our creations.

What do you look for in a base note?

When developing a fragrance my base note must include complexity and facets that continue to drive the fragrance’s interest. By bringing together multiple base note accords and orchestrating a pure and comfortable dry down, the fragrance continues to give to the wearer its true character.

TFS Indian sandalwood achieves this on its own; it’s multi-faceted and has complexity. The combination of woody, sweet, buttery, balsamic, slightly spicy attributes contribute to what I look for in my base note, without impurities. While blending with other accords and ingredients will bring out your creative intent, you already achieve this desirable effect just by including this Indian sandalwood oil.

What was your first experience with sandalwood?

Samsara by Guerlain

What is your overall impression of TFS Indian sandalwood oil, the ingredient the competition is centred on?

This is a truly pure and beautifully textured oil. It elicits the true essence of Indian Sandalwood and inspires with its origin, and the ground breaking biological science that was used to accomplish its production.

It is everything that I described above; woody, sweet, nutty, balsamic and slightly spicy with rich, buttery, yet clean incense facets. It also brings all of the complexity and synergies that are included in a natural product. The odor profile is balanced and it comes to you as a beautiful odor already. In addition, it has the perception of spirituality, sensuality and strength.

Your final word?

This competition will give perfumers an opportunity to utilise this historic essential oil, previously in limited supply, in new and modern ways due to the amazing science and commitment by TFS. I think that is an opportunity that cannot be missed.