Friday, August 25, 2006

In the Palm of His (Sweetly Scented) Hand

Smell that?

That's the smell of fear. With just a hint of sandalwood, jasmine and lavender.

When the New York Times first introduced it's new olfactory critic Chandler Burr, I'll admit that I didn't pay much attention. But re-reading the release today made me think about the consequences of such an appointment.

Anytime a high-profile critic is introduced, the targeted industry realigns. Think about it. Movies (Two Thumbs Way Up!). Restaurants (starring the Michelin Guide). Wine (Robert Parker is indeed God). Even colleges (US News & World Report, anyone?).

Every time a critic is introduced, the industry changes. First for the better (as in diversifying competition to produce a better product), than for the worse (as in homogenous competition solely to please one source).

Ah, the power of journalism!

Bravo to the Times for securing a consistent reason for the average person to read the Style section. As the first perfume critic, and thus the premier critic, Burr is a solution to increase its declining readerbase. So the perfume industry, with all of its top-luxury marques, should indeed be shaking in its...well, curvy glass bottle boots.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Burr has assumed the identity of Luca Turin, the scent expert he wrote about and uses his skills as a pathological narcissist to take advantage of an industry challenged by declining sales, an over abundance of poor fragrances and publicists who are easily seduced by a piece of press, good or bad. He is disliked by people in the industry, not for being controversial, but for being unprofessional. Most recently, he verbally attacked natural perfumer, Mandy Aftel, at a Fragrance Foundation event on the use of natural essential oils in fine fragrance. Guess the NYT thinks they will sell more ad pages. Good luck. Those budgets are getting cut everyday.