We'd like to say we're above the allure of pretty packaging or clever marketing campaigns, but who are we kidding? What first grabs our eye about any beauty product, especially a perfume, starts with either the lush visuals or the fancy flaçon. Many of us are also swayed by the name of the fragrance or the designer behind it. All of those things register in your brain and help you form an opinion before you even have the chance to smell the perfume, after all.
But how would you feel about a fragrance based purely on its scent? What if all of those additional factors were removed and you were given nothing more than a blank bottle — no name, no enticing descriptions of notes, no sexy models peering at you seductively from an ad. By asking that very question, the new Untitled Series project on OpenSky is turning our passion for perfume on its head.
The brainchild of Chandler Burr (curator of The Department of Olfactory Art at New York's Museum of Arts and Design and the scent editor for GQ), the Untitled Series will feature a currently available scent that has had all descriptive images, names, and notes removed. Burr will describe each in a divinely abstract way in order to help you decide if you and that month’s pick are meant to be. And, as there are no clues to help you figure out the mystery smell, your online purchase will be guided solely by whether or not you connect to the beauty behind that particular scent's structure.
The first scent, S01E01 (aka, Season 01, Episode 01) was released on June 1 and has already sold out on OpenSky (that was quick). A new scent will be released monthly on the first, and only 100 sample bottles will be available for purchase, so if you want to get in on this highbrow scent experiment, you're going to need to move fast. At the end of the month, the fragrance name and designer will be revealed, so if you fell in love with a fragrance, you'll have all the info you need to purchase more.
Though the idea of relying solely on our sense of smell to try a perfume is, rather ironically, odd to us, it’s also really exciting. Without being able to prejudice against one brand or show favoritism toward a certain fragrance house, we’ll be able to open our hearts and minds to a new favorite. And isn’t being creative and objective what beauty and style are truly about?
OpenSky Untitled Series, $50 each, available at OpenSky.
Photo: Courtesy of OpenSky