|Haymakers (Detail) by George Stubbs, 1785|
Of the two "hay" fragrances from this house, this is the winner. While Hayloft struggles to find its form, Hayride coalesces within seconds and maintains its sturdy and enjoyable profile for hours, signaling good vibes all around. It's an indelible amalgam of coumarin, cocoa, and dried fruits, all brushed with a thin coat of filtered honey and grains, the sort of ambery oriental that doesn't move much, and doesn't need to. It's the olfactory equivalent of a waltz, and remains linear, legible, and genial for ages on skin and fabric.
Of interest is how Nicholas Nilsson makes his hay (no pun intended). He insists that he labored intensively to distill the rare essences of "10 pounds of hay" and "bison grass concrete" for both, but I smell a marked difference in Hayride, and it's a little too obvious to go unmentioned. Hayloft smells "natural" in that it doesn't work; its jagged angles are an unfortunate byproduct of using purest-of-pure essences with thousands of stray molecules and off-notes, which are collectively impossible for even the best nose to tame. Yet I'm to believe that the same stuff fell neatly in line for handsome Hayride? I'm not buying it.
The more plausible explanation, and an intriguing one, is A/B testing at work. Well, not true A/B, but a training wheels version of it: Nilsson may have opted to go halfsies on his perfumers organ, and split his "hay" category into one "natural" (A), and one "synthetic" (B). In doing so, he would likely see which one sells better, and eventually discontinue the loser. My guess is there would be multiple data points, with the extra expense of A's tinctures (in both time and money) eclipsing its profits in the long term.
If I were advising him, I'd tell Nilsson to consider perfumery a design enterprise in the same vein as the automobile industry. When a company produces two different but very similar cars (same wheelbase, drivetrain, dimensional specs), they cannibalize their sales. Cut one, and see the other's bean pile shoot up. And in regards to the whatever-grass-concrete-co-absolute nonsense, I'd recommend he ditch it and use the ready-made stuff that smells good instead. Why try to reinvent the wheel?