Destruction of Classic Fragrances

Whatever I appear to be, whatever my openness to growth and progress in society, I can safely say I’m a conservative, at once a monarchist and a jealous advocate of freedom. Whatever kings we accept who swear to defend the Christian faith, I expect them by that very word to defend the people against the tyranny of the strong, to be ruled by law and restrained by tradition.

Hysteria must not be allowed to rule the rulers, nor unmeasured fear to burn books, nor revolutions to break the wings off the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Nor is it sensible, as has been done, for a paranoid panel of prelatical planks to banish oakmoss from fine fragrance. According to biophysicist Luca Turin, writing in April 2009 (who also has alternative suggestions),

This material is essential to perfumery and especially to the chypre category, including Mitsouko and hundreds of others. From 2010 it will be replaced by things which do not smell like oakmoss. Why? Because it contains some things which sometimes cause rashes in some people. The death blow to oakmoss was dealt by an environmental chemist called Suresh Chandra Rastogi, working in Denmark. He and colleagues identified two molecules, atranol and chloroatranol, as particularly powerful sensitizers.

Shall a work of art be terminated for a few rashes, or wine be abolished again on account of drunken crimes that go unpunished? Each act of cultural vandalism is the blow of an axe toward what belongs to us all, a stroke of a bell closer to the death of any but the cheapest beauty.


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