Artificial intelligence pushes perfume creators to be daring

In the minds of the French, who have always sanctified it, perfumery is a creative process whose only rule is not to premeditate anything – intuition and inspiration being placed above everything. Talk about algorithm and machine learning to a lover of smells, and then you will see his distressed face. It must be said that the first experience of creating a perfume through artificial intelligence was not conclusive.

In 2019, the Brazilian group O Boticário wanted to create juices for millennials by compiling agreements “Magical” of raw materials at the origin of great commercial successes. Egeo On Me and Egeo On You, the two creations resulting from this experience, have no more imprinted memories than noses.

“AI has made it possible to amplify the dosage of styrallyl acetate. »Arnaud Montet, Director of the Human & Consumer Insights Department at IFF

The approach of the American creation company International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) for the creation of Phantom is both more modest and more ambitious. “Loc Dong, our perfumer, wanted to use styrallyl acetate, a vintage green and floral molecule, reminiscent of the smell of gardenia. The AI ​​has made it possible to amplify its dosage and to associate it with an unprecedented lavender cream accord, to create a futuristic aromatic fragrance ”, recount Arnaud Montet, director of the Human & Consumer Insights department at IFF.

It was artificial intelligence that pushed the four noses to dare the overdose when the brain would have been wiser and measured. The algorithm did better: it identified the ingredients best able to integrate this supposedly self-confidence-boosting fragrance, using the Science of Wellness program, which lists the effects on the emotions of raw materials.

Pushed to their limits

Second major breakthrough in science after the advent of synthetic molecules in the mid-19th centurye century, artificial intelligence must be seen for what it is: a powerful tool to aid creation that offers the composer the impetus of daring. This is too often constrained by a theoretical knowledge acquired in perfumery school, and not necessarily questioned afterwards by the practice of the profession.

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To come back to the Phantom project, at no time did the computer take over the four composers: he played the role of a super-assistant perfumer who would have pushed them to their limits.

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Rather than artificial intelligence, perfumer Juliette Karagueuzoglou, co-author of this masculine perfume, prefers to talk about “Increased creativity”. The computer comes to support the creator, it suggests new associations, avenues of work, as the Waze app offers a route to the driver without imposing anything on him.

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May lovers of fine author perfumery be reassured: nothing can replace human expertise and sensitivity. “On the other hand, artificial intelligence can help take innovative paths in the proposed agreements. This will allow each brand to express its identity even more fully ”, enthuses Jérôme Leloup, Managing Director of Paco Rabanne Perfumes.

Phantom, eau de toilette, Paco Rabanne, 100 ml, € 97.