Jahnvi Dameron- Nandan,Orhan Pamuk & The Perfume Library


Fragrance creator and curator Jahnvi Dameron -Nandan has a PhD in architecture and a passion for dance, but perfumes are her calling and she distills her creations like contemporary art. Abstractions, conceits, poetry, pain, obsession are all part of The Perfume Library‘s theatre of olfactory memories.

“Dance transcends consciousness and perfumes do the same” , she says as we chat in a poem scattered garden in Mumbai. Her approach to fragrance making is influenced by the Japanese principle of monozukuri or excellence in craftsmanship (she studied architecture in Tokyo) as much by the formlessness of dance .


Fusun, her latest offering inspired by Chapter 68 in novelist Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence, a Proustian ode to Istanbul, love and time, is a complex offering.  Nandan says it is still a work in progress in her head ( that’s the monozukuri  influence ) even though it is out there as a gender neutral,  bottled offering at Good Earth, Colaba, priced at Rs 8400 for discerning buyers.

Chapter 68 titled 4213 cigarettes is to my mind, one of the chapters in Pamuk’s book that brings us closest to Fusun, the recipient of Kemal’s obsessive love.

The complexity of the fragrance comes from distilling some of  the emotions embedded in the act of stubbing out of 4213 cigarettes over nine years.  Yes, I had to re read the chapter after the launch .

The fragrance opens   with a top note of peony, a unisex note then reveals layers  fizzy lavender, cedar, vetiver, sandlawood, bergamot, ink, suedewine corks, cloves, nagarmothcheese  to name just a few of the  ingredients used to create the smoky accord suggested by 4213 cigarettes and all the emotions they encapsulate.

Read my article on Fusun in Mint Lounge .http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/lQ5OMCHtXG0MIahZSWqGDP/Source-A-weekly-compendium-of-beautiful-and-bizarre-objects.html

“Everyone, says Jhanvi,  has shared experiences and I think of my fragrances as as a love letter to the world. Smell is healing and in exorcising those experiences including the dark ones like loneliness and fear, the creation of a fragrance can become a cathartic project.”

Earlier offerings from the Perfume Library include Bhang Bang, a hint of marijuana and a fresh burst of greens, held by a woody accord and Aphtoori Absolue , which is inspired  a Ladakhi proverb and a  collaboration with the late artist Hema Upadhyaya to create The Space In Between You and Me, which I have featured on an earlier blog.

The curated fragrances available at The Perfume Library are  Grossmith, Mary Greenwell and Parfums D’ Empire each with interesting legacies. Grossmith’s  Phul Na  Na,  for example,  dates back to the  late Victorian era and was a rage thanks to its heady Indian bouquet –Phul is the  Hindi word for flower



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