Rosewood Scent Dinners Series
Scent Critic Chandler Burr
An evening of "scentertainment"
combining Exquisite food, scent
Hosted by exclusive arrangement
by The New York Times' Scent Critic
Scent Dinner at the
Carlye Hotel, Sunday,
October 21, 2007
Just when you thought Sniffapalooza weekend couldn't get any more incredible, something *amazing* happens!
Our good friend Chandler Burr, fragrance critic for The New York Times and
renowned author of The Emperor of Scent, is collaborating with The Carlyle Hotel
to produce a special edition of his Scent Dinner series Just for Sniffapalooza.
The dinner will be held during Sniffapalooza weekend on Sunday, October 21,
to give our out-of-town visitors a chance to participate in this exquisite evening
of scent, fine cuisine and interactive live theatre.
Chandler Burr has teamed with Chef Jimmy Sakatos to produce a meal influenced by
raw materials and fragrances hand-picked by Chandler to create a unique culinary
experience. They worked together over many months to extensively edit their choices,
putting the multi-courses together material by material, perfume by perfume, artistically
melding taste and fragrance.
To find out more about the Scent Dinners with Chandler Burr, please go to the link
of the page. The cost of the dinner is $200, excluding tax and gratuity. Seats for this
dinner are extremely limited and will sell out quickly, so we need to hear back from
you right away if you are interested in attending the Sniffapalooza Scent Dinner with
Chandler Burr at The Carlyle on Sunday, October 21.
To reserve your space, please write to Karen Dubin as soon as possible
thrilled to be able to offer this spectacular opportunity to our friends!
Dedicated to providing guests with one-of-a-kind experiences, Rosewood Hotels & Resort has called upon the natural pairing of cuisine and scent to launch a unique culinary journey with a series of Scent Dinners highlighting the delicate intricacies of food and fragrance. Rosewood's Scent Dinners have been designed and will be hosted by Chandler Burr, Scent Critic for The New York Times Style Magazine and author of The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses.
Most people are unaware of the great role food plays, and has always played, in the development of fragrances. Some of the most renowned perfumes have derived their scents from food, creating the ever-popular gourmand perfume trend. Rosewood's acclaimed culinary minds and Mr. Burr have collaborated to launch a unique Rosewood Scent Dinner series which debuted at The Carlyle in New York and continues this fall in Dallas.
August 6 - The Carlyle Hotel, NY, NY
October 25 - Inn of the Anasazi, Santa Fe, NM
November 9 - Las Ventanas, Cabo, Mexico
November 14 - The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas, TX
The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel New York
Monday, Aug. 6, 2007
A distinct scent wafts through the air, evoking thoughts of freshly
baked bread. As the inviting smell dissipates, another rushes in,
but this time of a crowded spice market in far away lands. "What
do you smell?" coaxes Scent Critic Chandler Burr as he challenges
his captivated listeners to identify the food. An elegant white china
plate is placed in front of the guests as a barrage of scents intensify
to reveal the answer: saffron. An illusion of the senses this is not,
but a culinary journey being held at The Carlyle with a six-course
Scent Dinner prepared by Executive Chef Jimmy Sakatos.
7:00 p.m., $200 per person. Call 212.744.1600 for reservations.
The Mansion on Turtle Creek, A Rosewood Hotel
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007
"What food could be in this legendary perfume?" An illusion
of the senses this is not, but a culinary journey that will test the
complex relationship between taste and smell. Scent Critic
Chandler Burr will work closely with Executive Chef John Tesar
to create a multi-sensory journey through a rare six-course
Scent Dinner, pairing select perfumes with spectacular dishes
to highlight culinary essences found in chosen fragrances.
7:00 p.m., $150 per person. Call 214.559.2100 for reservations.
Future Scent Dinners will be hosted at:
Inn of the Anasazi, A Rosewood Hotel in Santa Fe on Oct. 25
Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos,
Mexico on Nov. 9
New possible location update in late 2007: Florida!
From the Editor: Raphaella Barkley
There may be a Scent Dinner added to this popular series at
Aqualina, the luxury Rosewood resort located between Miami
and Fort Lauderdale, near Bal Harbor. This added event is yet
to be confirmed, but is very exciting for fans on that side of the
coast as New York City is already sold out! These events are
small and personal so I would recommend that you call the
Aqualina Resort sales and management office (see information
below) to ask to be placed on a possible waiting list, if
and when a date is confirmed and set.
Please say that you saw it in Sniffapalooza Magazine and that you
heard that they may be hosting this event in late 2007. Ask to get
more information on this event. Ask to be put on a waiting list in case
it is confirmed. This may be the only way to guarantee your seat
reservation for as soon as it goes public, it will sell out. I tried to book
a seating at The Carlyle in NYC and it sold-out in a heartbeat.
(I love jumping onto airplanes and taking off at a moments
notice, you can tell)
Don't miss this once in a lifetime experience with Chandler
Burr for an evening of fabulous food, scent & entertainment.
For the possible Florida event please call:
Aqualina, a Rosewood Resort
17875 Collins Avenue
Sunny Isles Beach, Florida 33160 USA
Tel: (+1-305) 918-8000-ask for sales and PR office or manager
For information on registering for the above events please go to
on "Scent Dinner Series" in the lower middle link)
Press released used with permission.
Interview with Chandler Burr
by Mark David Boberick
SCENT DINNERS at Rosewood
Hotels & Resorts
This fall, something exciting is coming to a resort near you! Renowned Perfume critic Chandler Burr continues his very unique and exciting series of Scent Dinners at a select number of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts around the country. These innovative and interactive dinners combine the artistry of perfume and gourmet cooking and promise to be an unforgettable experience you won‘t want to miss! I recently sat down with Chandler to get an in-depth view from the head of the table…
Mark David: How did the idea for the scent dinners first come about? Had you been thinking about it for a while or was it more of an idea that you acted on impulsively?
Chandler Burr: Actually I'd been thinking about the idea for years. I've always been instinctively drawn to the food perfumes, and I found it fascinating that what in France is a very well-known category, culinary perfumes-les parfums gourmands-is virtually unknown in the United States. Americans don't talk about them, don't even realize that for professional perfumers they're a standard class along with florals, orientals, woods, etc. I'm an instinctive teacher. I was literally a teacher in Japan, where I taught English in my early 20s, but all journalists are simply story tellers and teachers. Combine that with the fact that I'm also an inveterate performer, plus the fact that I write on food, and it was, I think, merely a few weeks after discovering my first culinary perfumes that I thought up the idea for the dinners- a lecture on perfume that I would do in the context of a dinner that illustrated those perfumes via other senses, the senses of sight, hearing, touch, and of course taste.
Mark David: What made you choose the Rosewood chain of hotels? Did you approach them or did they approach you?
Chandler Burr: Neither and both. It was pure coincidence. I had drinks at the Bryant Park Hotel with some of Rosewood's communications people to discuss their properties as traditional travel destinations. Then at the end of the meeting they asked, naturally enough, "OK, so what perfumes should we buy? For boyfriends, mothers, ourselves, what's good?" and I was talking about what I admired, and one of them said, "You know, you really like food perfumes." I hadn't realized it, but I'd been recommending scents like Safran Troublant from l'Artisan Parfumeur and talking about the vanilla in the classic Guerlains. One woman said, "You know, you sound like our chefs" and she pointed out that each Rosewood has its own restaurant, and their chefs are constantly seeking to innovate, find new approaches, do dinners that delighted and surprised. I said, "Funny you should mention that, there's a category called gourmand perfumes, and I have this idea.." They loved it. We started working on it immediately. It took eight months to put together.
Mark David: To plan for this event, where did you start - obviously with the fragrances themselves, yes?
Chandler Burr: Yes. Which is not necessarily the way I'm going to be doing it every time. It looks like I'll be doing a charity fundraising dinner at the James Beard House on West 12th Street on December 7. I've had one meeting with the chef with whom I'm going to be collaborating, Paul Liebrandt, had him smell some perfumes, but we're getting together again in a few weeks for our next creative session, and I may actually take quite a few cues from him. He's know for his inventiveness and creative daring, and if, for example, Paul has specific spices or fruits or vegetables he's interested in creating with, I'll write our script around those. At the Carlyle, Jimmy Sakatos, the Carlyle's Executive Chef, and I departed from the perfumes I proposed to him. So you can approach it either way.
Mark David: What was the process of choosing the particular fragrances that corresponded to the courses like? Once the fragrance was chosen, did you work with chef Jimmy Sakatos closely to conceive the course or did you let him have complete control over the food part of the event?
Chandler Burr: With Jimmy it was extremely specific: At our first meeting I brought in about 40 perfumes that were either in the gourmand category or contained gourmand raw materials, like Estée Lauder's Pleasures, which has a spectacular Firmenich natural pink peppercorn. We went through them, and for the first hour Jimmy just thought I was completely crazy. He's a good Jersey boy, and these guys, as Jimmy said, don't really have much contact with
perfume. I was getting a little worried, and suddenly he tentatively smelled Bois Farine by l'Artisan Parfumeur. The name means "Wood / Baking Flour" and the concept is the smell of baking flour on a wooden plank. It's an astonishing scent. Jimmy stopped dead, and all five of us in the meeting were staring at him. I thought, "Oh, Christ.."
He smells it, he smells it, and he starts smiling and thinking about it hard and he says, "Now this.I could make a terrific bread that smells just like this." And that, the bread course, the very first course of our meal, was the first course we put together. I enhanced the olfactory bread course with some other materials-I actually serve a virtual bread course, I won't tell you how, come to the dinner and see-and Jimmy filled out his culinary bread course in a very interesting way, an idea that at first I thought was strange but that winds up working great, and we were off. Jimmy started re-smelling every single scent and raw material and saying, "I can do a fish with that one! I wanna do a tomato glaze with that.!"
Mark David: What kind of work did you have to do to prepare for the dinner - research, etc.?
Chandler Burr: Basically smelling lots of gourmand perfumes and then spending lots of time figuring out which raw materials we wanted to use. Because of ethical considerations due to my position at The Times, I very consciously chose perfumes from a variety of houses-Lauder, Mugler, Missoni, Dolce & Gabbana,, Tom Ford, etc.-and I use raw materials from all the major scent makers so that I can tell diners about them: Firmenich, Givaudan, IFF, Symrise, and even some from Charabot for one particular perfume I love. Remember that this is a lecture. Its purpose is as much didactic as it is entertainment, guests come to learn-they're simply not learning in a dry lecture hall with a podium but instead in the entirely sensual context of a gourmet dinner whose moving parts and process are the 3D illustration machine. Rather than some Power Point. And central to that is that I systematically deconstruct perfumes, break them down into their crucial components and show the exquisite pieces inside them, like taking apart a Swiss watch and showing watch enthusiasts how the cogs fit together. The point is to allow people to love perfume by understanding it better and by reconceptualizing it. It's self-evident that the more people know about perfume, the more they'll appreciate the immense, difficult work and creativity that goes into this art, the more interest they'll have in it, and the better, more discerning consumers of perfume they'll become.
Mark David: What did you find was the hardest thing about the entire process?
Chandler Burr: Actually the hardest thing in my view was simply our rehearsals. Making the timing work. The thing has to run like an atomic clock. We have pre-dinner champagne for arrivals at 6:45, then curtain promptly at 7 for Act I, an intermission about an hour later, Act II opens after that, and curtain falls, depending on the audience, at around 10 or 10:30. Late arrivals are seated at the discretion of the management so as not to disturb the show. It took us several rehearsals to get it right, get it organized. Logistically it's extremely complex. But as a diner, you don't see the half of that, of course. Any good lecturer-on painting, sculpture, wine, or literature-will try to be as polished as possible. We simply have more moving parts.
Mark David: Did you only use gourmand fragrances? Would you ever choose a Chypre or a White Floral?
Chandler Burr: In Jimmy's and my dinner, it is basically gourmands, but we stretch the boundaries. There is a perfume-again I don't want to say which-that I use for one of our two dessert courses that most wouldn't consider a gourmand. I bet the designer doesn't even consider it a gourmand. But it has a fascinating Givaudan gourmand natural raw material in it. So that's the "traditionalist"- if you will- scent dinner I'll be doing at The Carlyle hotel in New York on Sunday, October 21. But actually I very well may be using chypres and florals and so on in future dinners. Each Rosewood chef will be recreating the dinner from scratch, and thus each property will be unique. My next dinner will be at the Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe on Thursday, October 25, and I already know that Executive Chef Martin Rios has some raw materials particular to the South West that he wants to use, peppers and smokes. On Friday, November 9 I'll be collaborating with Executive Chef Fabrice Guisset at Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico, and then on Wednesday, November 14 with Executive Chef John Tesar at The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, and Guisset and Tesar will also take the raw materials and perfumes in my script and create their own culinary illustrations. When we go to Tokyo and the Caribbean in 2008, we'll recreate the experience in those places.
Mark David: What was the most surprising thing that has happened during one of your scent dinners?
Chandler Burr: Um.no one was able to guess one of what I consider the simplest of scents. It was weird. It's like everyone froze for a moment. And when I told them what it was, everyone exploded, "Oh, God, of course!..."
Mark David: As a guest of your scent dinner, what should I know before attending?
Chandler Burr: Don't wear any perfume, and try to avoid using any heavily scented soaps or shampoos before you come. If you're a woman, try to wear a sleeveless top so you can try the perfumes on. Other than that, just fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.
Mark David: How interactive is the dinner for a guest? What kinds of things are asked of someone in attendance? Need they be well-versed in fragrance before they attend?
Chandler Burr: The dinners are, in fact, extraordinarily participatory and interactive. You are smelling, guessing, judging, thinking, tasting, drinking, listening and talking the whole evening. You smell naturals, synthetics, and finished perfumes constantly. But you don't need to know a single thing about perfume, and there is no "expertise" necessary. I ask you to try to identify scents, and everyone has a pad of paper and pen to take notes. Sometimes we play perfume games, it all depends. But the experience is for everyone, from lovers of Serge Lutens and Andy Tauer to those who don't know Charlie from Chanel No. 5. It's about experiencing and interacting.
Mark David: What are your future plans for the Rosewood Scent Dinners? Can we expect a regular series of them?
Chandler Burr: Actually we're working on it. We have some plans...
I would like to thank Chandler Burr for taking the time to speak with us on this most exciting of ventures.
Upcoming dates for the Scent Dinners:
Sunday October 21, 2007, The Carlyle, NYC
October 25 - Inn of the Anasazi, Santa Fe, NM
November 9 - Las Ventanas, Cabo, Mexico
November 14 - The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas, TX
The book reviews are coming in for Chandler Burr!
Publishers Weekly Book Review
November 5, 2007
THE PERFECT SCENT
By Chandler Burr
New York Times perfume critic Burr
(The Emperor of Scent) follows the creation of two
new scents—Un Jardin sur le Nil by French luxury
house Hermès, and Lovely, a celebrity fragrance
by Sarah Jessica Parker—in a kind of travelogue
through the international perfume industry, "one of
the most insular, glamorous, strange, paranoid,
idiosyncratic, irrational, and lucrative of worlds."
The former perfume was conceived by Hermès,
informed by a trip to Egypt, then crafted by Jean-Claude
Ellena, who represents a breed of "ghosts" known in
the biz as perfumers. For the latter, Parker worked as
artistic director of a corporate scent-making team.
Burr illuminates perfumery’s clash of cultures and values—
French artistic purity versus American commercialism.
Worldwide, this highly secretive industry’s PR machine
propagates several anachronistic myths. For example, it insists that perfume ingredients are naturally derived (the overwhelming majority are not, because of concerns about quality control, ecological impact and allergies, among others) and that the big names on the bottles are personally involved in creating scents (perfumers alone typically do this; Parker was a rare exception). Burr makes a strong case that this mythmaking works to the industry’s detriment, and that inviting the public behind the scenes might help to reverse the industry’s declining sales. Burr’s is a thorough and often hilarious account of perfumery’s colorful characters, the science and art of fragrance creation and the human experience of scent itself. (Jan.)
Kirkus Book Review
November 1, 2007
THE PERFECT SCENT: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York Pub date: January 22, 2008 By Chandler Burr
The New York Times perfume critic-yes, you read that right-follows the creation of two industry-defining perfumes.
While Burr (The Emperor of Scent, 2003, etc.) approaches his beat with healthy skepticism, he's also capable of flowery language, describing a perfume as smelling "like early evening on an island where it is always summer." It's this mixture of hard-nosed business writing and flights of olfactory fancy that makes the text improbably exhilarating. Split between the twin capitals of fashion, and therefore of the perfume industry, Burr's account tracks the development of two new scents, each a high-stakes crapshoot. The New York fragrance was celebrity-driven. To create Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, the actress spent an impressive amount of time with beauty-product manufacturer Coty's corporate perfumers trying to
create a scent that would not only capture her essence (don't laugh: they actually seem to have done it) but would survive in an increasingly volatile $31-billion market.
Un Jardin sur le Nil, the more traditionally designed Parisian fragrance, was revolutionary in its own way. Seeking a higher profile in the lucrative perfume market, Hermès hired Jean-Claude Ellena, one of the professional "ghosts" who actually make the scents sold under designers' names, to be its first-ever in-house perfumer. The astoundingly complex struggle to define and refine Nil, first reported by Burr in a 2005 New Yorker article, centered on an ephemeral conceit of green mangoes on the Nile. Lovely comes across here as a far more personal scent, though that might be a subjective judgment-the author seems a little star-struck by SJP.
Nonetheless, Burr sharply evokes the intoxicating, often infuriating mix of precise science and artistic vision necessary to create a perfume, aided by his impressively calibrated BS detector and ability to unearth the industry's many dirty little secrets. An unusually grounded depiction of a business built largely on artifice.
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