The access to and use of natural essences and materials for perfume is under serious threat by the proposed IFRA 40th Amendment, which establishes industry standards that would disastrously affect artisans making perfume in this country and elsewhere. In a few years, we may no longer be able to use many, even most, of the natural fragrance essences and materials we know, which have been used for thousands of years. Ingredients such as rose, jasmine, ylang ylang bergamot, clove, narcisscus absolute, clary sage, ginger, tuberose, lemon verbena and tea tree could become listed as dangerous, and their use not commercially viable. The individual artisan perfume maker who is now expressing a new energy and creativity in making perfume, may be regulated out of existence. The European Union has in the recent past voluntarily adopted certain stringent standards in relation to natural perfume essences, such as oakmoss, based on the recommendations of a body set up for self regulation of the perfume industry, and adopted as the industry standard by IFRA (the International Fragrance Association). The U.S. and others are invited to and probably will also adopt these standards so that U.S. products may be marketed to the E.U. countries. The requirements for the use of most of the natural perfume materials would be so stringent and require so much red tape and bureaucratic regulation as to make it impractical for anyone as an individual and even the large fragrance companies to commercially offer fragrances with natural components to the public.
It would be more reasonable to label perfumes with a list of their natural perfume ingredients, so that the consumer can make an informed choice. If they know oakmoss, for example, affects them badly, they read an ingredients label and choose to avoid it. You can join the effort for public review of this regulatory process by participating in the petition to boycott the IFRA 40th amendment, linked to at either Cropwatch or Anya McCoy's site. It would be logical to think that public opinion would influence the perfume industry and the regulatory bodies if they know that the public cares and is watching.
I recall recently being given scent strips of a very fine jasmine essence at a lunch for a Sniffapalooza event. The whole table went into an olfactory swoon at the beauty, complexity and mellowness of the fragrance, so deep and rich even as compared to the many composed synthetic perfumes we had all been sampling that day. The loss of that connection to the beauty and deep complexity of natural essences would be a huge blow to the art of perfumery.
Above, St. George Kills a Dragon, by Raphael 1518