By Stef Schwalb
Christopher Gable loves to cook, and as co-founder and vice president of marketing for the Demeter Fragrance Library, his culinary abilities have come in handy. Over the years, his hobby and his vocation have grown together and have come to influence one another significantly. He works hard to get all of the ingredients right for a final fragrance “dish,” and won’t release something until it’s prepared exactly the right way. The fact that he has an uncanny sense of smell certainly comes in handy with this endeavor. “And I have a no wine before it’s time attitude,” says Christopher.
With an unspoken mission statement such as the above, the result has culminated in some fragrances being shelved and others, like the award-winning Snow, taking five years for release. In the latter case, having patience proved to be extremely worthwhile since Snow received two highly acclaimed Fifi Awards (the equivalent of an Oscar for the fragrance industry) in June 2000 and was hailed by industry insiders as scent-sational. Demeter also won two additional Fifi’s in June 2001 for Sugar Cane, which was an equally sweet success.
Demeter fragrances have the amazing ability to capture pleasant memories and everyday life experiences through their highly accurate aromas. With more than 160 fragrances to choose from, customers can indulge daily in a little Angel Food or Chocolate Chip Cookie, dive in and ride the waves of Ocean, or even saddle up to the bar with a Cosmopolitan Cocktail or Gin and Tonic. As consumers, we simply get a whiff of any of these scents and know exactly what they are; but of course the process of capturing them is a little bit trickier.
Some of the ingredients for Demeter fragrances are plant-based or made from the freshest flower materials. Others are gathered through headspace technology, an advanced system that allows for the creation of different scent versions by capturing and analyzing aromas to extract a reproducible formula. Ultimately, however, time and the odor-efficient nose of Christopher Gable are what bring us the finished product. “I just know when a scent is something else,” he says. “Someone had presented me with a scent that was dubbed ‘Flower Show,’ but the minute I inhaled it, I knew it was really Funeral Home – the smell of a little wood and a hint of a wet oriental rug is what tipped me off.”
Just as with cooking, the process of trying different things together and frequently partnering unusual “tastes” is the essence of the creation. The difference between following traditional recipes in the kitchen and making these fabulous fragrances is that the recipe isn’t set in stone. It’s ever-evolving, which makes the experience so enjoyable. In addition to his sense memory, Christopher also finds great inspiration in traveling. Sampling exotics scents is always a treat. “Different soils smell differently in different places,” he says. “To find them is an outstanding adventure. I mean you have scents in the natural world, the botanical world, here and abroad. Flowers even smell different at different times of the day.”
Some of the scents Christopher is working on capturing include Puppy and Newborn Baby’s Head. These fragrances are tricky due to stability issues that just haven’t been cracked yet, but if anyone can pull these off, Christopher Gable can! “Another request we’ve gotten from female clientele is the smell of gasoline,” he says. “Not the in-your-face-when-your-at-the-pump smell, but the way that it smells on your hands, say, a mile or so down the road after you’ve left the station.”
Affordable and enjoyable, Demeter fragrances have become an industry darling and in high demand from A-list celebs such as Uma Thurman, Sharon Stone, Stella McCartney, Todd Olham, Drew Barrymore, and Tyra Banks, among others. They are available at Anthropologie, Pure Beauty Stores and online at FragranceNet.com, or by calling 1-800-482-0422.