I am of course referring to the annual FIFI awards dinner held at the banqueting house in London, quite a nice address and where the Queen entertains. I arrived at the reception after several fumbled attempts to get my bow tie to look cool not having tied one for over a decade.
We were greeted by some very glamorous young ladies, who told us which table we would be sitting at, before being ushered into the bar. Apart from very loud music the other peculiar anomaly were a row of pink silhouetted trees which I later discovered had been put there by Disney. I was expecting to see elves but was greeted by the friendly smile of Grant from basenotes. After grabbing drinks the smoozling and air kissing began. The music was so loud that it was almost impossible to carry on a conversation.
The actual banquet hall was sumptuous and the ceilings painted by Rubens so featured lots of quite large naked ladies and men with small willies. Perhaps the artist is suggesting an inversely proportional relationship. Dinner was surprisingly good and provided the opportunity to talk. The event itself felt quite alien representing for the most part major brands but on our little basenotes table I felt camaraderie and not just because of small willies.
I had never met Andy Tauer before but knew of him and some of his work. He was very affable and I thoroughly enjoyed his company and am pleased to count him as a new friend. He told me that one of his distributors asked him not to bother with scented candles. The reason being that their size and weight in relation to value didn’t make them a good bet. Can you imagine a more inefficient method of scenting a room? We may share Herman Hesse’s sentiment that ‘angels come close when a candle is lit’. But why not light a candle and scent the room using more efficient methods? Another criticism of scented candles is the smell.
Because the method is so inefficient the smells that work best are highly tenacious, synthetic, sweet, sicky, sticky things like vanillin. In fact these chemicals are so efficient that the room stinks even before taking the trouble to light one which brings me onto the goody bag.
One scented candle maker had obviously thought long and hard about the value weight space ratio and decided the solution was to sell a small candle for £20 - absolutely brilliant, why didn’t I think of that?
My conversation with Andy was interrupted by a group of four young ladies bearing gifts and yes you’ve guessed it scented candles. This candle wasn’t just popped into the goody bag like the other freebies as this was no ordinary scented candle. The giving was accompanied by a monotone explanation of its virtues including a list of ingredients and aromas that we were supposed to be able to detect. To our shame as perfumers we were unable to fathom its depths. Andy’s shame not doubt will be worse than mine because he scooped the award for best niche perfume so congratulations to him.
The scented candle in question was being launched by Disney, which somewhat predictably invited some Mickey Mouse jokes. Alas no amount of random banter could distract the bearer from her mission statement. It was then that I realised that she was serious and so was the candle because it was shaped like a candle and it was white.