Hello fellow Perfume Junkies,
Many of you will be familiar with Sheila Eggenberger of TheAlembicatedGenie and her as yet unpublished novel Quantum Demonology that has become a seriously cult-style hit in the fragrance community. Some of you will be going, “Um, What?” and it is to you that I offer this rare insight into a blogger, author and general all round great girl of the scentbloggosphere. Sheila has been a mate and champion in the short time that APJ has been running and I am proud to count her among my yet to be met net friends. Her never say die attitude is a beacon we should all learn to follow.
In conjunction with this interview if you drop in at PerfumePosse today I have reviewed the Olympic Orchids Devilscent Project fragrances Lil#1 & Dev #2 so down the bottom there is a jump you can easily hit to trot across and read there too.
Give us a brief history, who was young you, important you defining moments or early fragrant memories that may have herded you towards the ever moving now?
I grew up with a perfume-mad mother, so perfume was everywhere as I grew up, and living in South Florida – a very fragrant spot! – helped, too. Defining perfumista moment: (It ruined me for life!) A coming-of-age trip to Paris for a 14th birthday, when Maman took me to the Guerlain flagship store and told me to buy what I loved. I bought Jicky, since she didn’t wear it and I loved it. Today, I can’t believe I would choose something so …audacious! The next day, I bought (the original) Miss Dior. I was a great-smelling teenager.
What spurred you onto creating the Alembicated Genie?
It was my book, Quantum Demonology, believe it or not. By the time I neared the ending, I had had it with testosterone bombs and rock’n’roll. I wanted an outlet for my girlie sensibilities, so I created Scent Less Sensibilities which became The Alembicated Genie. I never in my wildest dreams expected to become a perfume writer. But life has been exciting ever since!
Do you have a favourite independent perfumer?
Too many to count! Andy Tauer, Vero Kern. Mandy Aftel, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Neil Morris, Ellen Covey, Kedra Hart, Maria McElroy of aroma M and Alexis Karl, Amanda Feeley – and a new discovery who has blown my mind – Juan M. Perez of Exotic Island Perfumes. A definite one to watch – and sniff!
What do you see as the most important trend in perfume currently?
Perfume as an art form in its own right. The trend towards indie perfumers pushing the boundaries of defining perfumes is redefining the industry as well as our own perceptions of it. That more and more people are turning to the artistry and dedication of indie perfumers. And I think it’s interesting that more and more, different art forms are coalescing into projects – books and movies to go with perfumes, for instance. And a far sadder trend – world-renowned brands killing the very heritage that made them what they are.
Do you have a signature scent? If so, what is it and how did you find it? If not, why do you think that is?
In terms of perfume, I’m an utterly faithless slut. I’m fully capable of being virtuous to my favorite brands, but the idea of picking just one perfume gives me hives – and a massive case of indecision. I have complete perfume AHDH. Where would I start, when perfume to me is a case of “Who do I want to be today – tonight – this instant?” But the closest would be Chanel no. 19 eau de parfum, which I’ve worn for over 30 years with no end in sight. It was perfect for a punk and for the Goth that punk became. It’s perfect for this walking midlife crisis and writer wanna-be, even today.
Tell us about Quantum Demonology?
It began with a discography and a discussion in a Copenhagen record store. When I came across a certain inspiring image, it evolved into a short story I wrote one night out of boredom as a joke and posted on my soapbox blog. I never thought I would be asked to continue it, but I was. So I did. Nine months to the day (!), I had a finished first-draft novel. An ode to …music, madness, passion, redemption and perdition, among other things.
How did that translate into the Devilscent Project
I blame Andy Tauer. And Ellen Covey. Perfume was always woven into the storyline. Frankincense and labdanum – two of my favorite notes – are mentioned many times, as are several other perfumes. When I reviewed Andy Tauer’s Incense Extreme as a “Would this be the Devil’s Scent?”, Ellen commented that I nearly dared her to make …the Devil’s Scent and that was how it started. Since then, it’s grown to ten bloggers, eight US indie perfumers, and no less than 19 incarnations of mind-blowing, category-defying perfume, including an incense and a deviously delicious massage bar.
If there’s anyone reading from the world of Literature Publishing, where can they taste your Quantum Demonology?
They can find some explanations as well as samples of the prologue and the first three chapters in draft form at the Quantum Demonology blog: http://quantumdemonology.wordpress.com, many more inspirations on both the book and the Devilscent Project at the Quantum Demonology fan page on Facebook: http://facebook.com/quantumdemon, and follow the Devilscent Project on Twitter through the hashtag #devilscent.
Olympic Orchids Devilscent Project fragrances are running a terrific sample program 5 x 3ml Devilscents for $30 delivered to the world.
Read Sheila Eggenberger at TheAlembicatedGenie
Go check PerfumePosse for my reviews of the Olympic Orchid Devilscent Project, go on!
I hope you enjoyed our Sheila Eggenberger interview and also hope to see you tomorrow but till then, love, love, love, from us at APJ.
Portia, this has been a thrill and an honor of no small order! Thank YOU for all the fun and the ‘fumes we’ve shared – and I’m so very glad I could stretch your boundaries a little! xo
Sheila? You are thanking ME? OMG!! Thank You for your amazing generous spirit.
Great interview. I learned a few things that I didn’t know. The Devilscent Project is very interesting. I do enjoy her blog too.
Thanks for coming over and saying HI Poodle. Always a pleasure to host you down under.
Really interesting interview, thanks to you both.
Proof – if it were needed – that this is a very close, enthusiastic and supportive community.
Great to see you. Sheila is amazing isn’t she. I really want someone to publish Quantum Demonology. that would be a treat.
I have been lucky enough to only experience good here in the scentbloggosphere. I am loving it and you all have made me feel so welcome,
Great interview, Portia. I’m always in awe of Sheila’s writing.
Great interview, Portia! I love the meeting of two great bloggers 🙂
[…] Orchids’ Dev no. 2 and Lil on the Perfume Posse, and interviewing yours truly on her own blog, Australian Perfume Junkies. (My own reviews are here and there.) I feel so privileged to have met and connected with so many […]
Portia, thanks for interviewing Sheila! She deserves all the love and attention she can get. Collaborating with her has been, and continues to be, a truly amazing journey.
Ellen Covey, it’s people as warm and generous and talented as you and Sheila that inspirew me to write every day.