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This nOde last updated February 20th, 2005 and is permanently morphing...
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perfume (pûr´fy¡m´, per-fy¡m´) noun
1. A substance that emits and diffuses a fragrant odor, especially a volatile liquid distilled from flowers or prepared synthetically.
2. A pleasing, agreeable scent or odor.  FRAGRANCE.

verb, transitive
perfumed, perfuming, perfumes (per-fy¡m´)
To impregnate with fragrance; impart a pleasant odor to.
[French parfum, from Old Italian parfumo, from parfumare, to fill with smoke : par-, internal linkintensive pref. (from Latin per-, per-) + fumare, to smoke (from Latin fúmâre, from fúmus, smoke).]

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Up, Bustle & Out - Light 'em Up and Blow 'em Out on Ninja Tune (1997)

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Nearly all commercial perfume formulations are secret.  A typical heavily merchandised fragrance - _Chanel No. 5_, _Bal a Versaiiles_, _Joy_ - is a blend of many scents.  Industry conviction is that a perfume that simulates a single, identifiable scent, such as rose or orange blossom, is difficult to market:  Consumers assume a complex scent is better.  Prospective customers are less likely to refect a scent if they can't explain why they don't like it.  Instead of saying, "No, that smells like lily of the valley, and I don't like lily of the valley," they say, "Maybe."  Or so the industry postulates.

Blending perfumes is a complex business.  Good perfumers command salaries commensurate with those of investment bankers.  It often takes years to formulate a fragance.  Some perfumes are reputed to contain as many as three hundred ingredients.  Insiders say the large perfume houses routinely analyze each new competing fragrance as it is introduced.  The analytic powers of "noses" - skilled perfume blenders - are legendary but have limits.  Increasingly, gas chromatography and kindred techniques are used for analysis.  Any sufficiently popular new fragrance is soon copied by competing manufacturers and sold under a different name.  Thus Estee Lauder's _Cinnabar_, a cinnamonlike Oriental-type fragrance, seems to have inspired Yves Saint Laurent's _Opium_.
internal linkWilliam Poundstone - _Big Secrets_atomjacked inventory cache 1983

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"Perfume, Defence & David Bowie's Wedding", Lecture and slide installation, Sadlers Wells, London by Brian Eno slide intallation:  "The Future Will Be Like Perfume", Martkhalle, Hamburg, Germany 1993 by internal linkBrian Eno

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