Sniffapalooza Fall Ball 2016 Wrap-Up- A Peek Behind the Curtain

Sniffapalooza has been putting on a biannual event in New York City for perfume lovers since 2004. This past October the aptly named Fall Ball 2016 was the twenty-fifth of these to take place. In the past editions, it has been the opportunity for attendees to be exposed to all the shopping delights NYC has to offer. For this landmark edition, the organizers Karen Dubin and Karen Adams decided to give those who would be spending the weekend the opportunity to see something special.


It was a chance for a consumer to peek behind the curtain to see how perfume is made, which is where Saturday of Fall Ball began. Symrise invited the group up to their Park Avenue offices where the perfumes they work on are composed. Over the course of two panels we were going to go “From Idea to Shelf”.

The first panel was comprised of Symrise employees as they would talk about how Symrise worked as a company in creating fine perfume. The second panel would bring in two of their clients who would interact with some of the same panelists as they gave us the background on their brands.


Symrise Panelists (l. to r.) Doreen Bucher, Dave Apel, Juilanne Pruett, Caroline Catherine, and Sophie Bensamou

The first panel was moderated by VP of Marketing Doreen Bucher. She introduced us to perfumer David Apel, Julianne Pruett VP of Fine Fragrance who represented sales, evaluator Caroline Catherine, and VP of Fine Fragrance Creation for North America Sophie Bensamou.

The panel was a fascinating look into how it takes an entire team to both land an account and eventually turn it into a fragrance to be sold. It starts at the beginning as all the panelists spoke about how when Ms. Pruett is vying for an account they will all learn as much as they can about that potential client. I learned that the cooperation that takes place in bringing a perfume to life occurs before the first raw material is chosen. Once the account is brought in each of the members of the panel do their jobs. Mr. Apel designs the fragrance, Ms. Bensamou and Ms. Catherine act as liaison between Mr. Apel and the client. That job of evaluator is often that of being the behind-the-scenes influencer. Hearing from both about their jobs is something rarely spoken of in the process of perfume making but it is a critical piece of the process. After the perfume is designed Ms. Bucher works on the marketing of it helping decide on the bottle.

For over 90 minutes this panel kept the entire room leaning in to absorb every word.

After the panel, we took a break to do some shopping at Bergdorf-Goodman on our way to the second panel at Brasserie 8 1/2.

Once again Ms. Bucher was moderating and was joined by Mr. Apel and Ms. Bensamou from the morning panel. The new additions were Eric Korman and Anne Serrano McClain of the brand Phlur along with Joseph Quartana of the new line Les Potions Fatales.

Throughout this panel we gained insight in to that give-and-take that happens during the creation of perfume which lives up to what the client wants. In the case of Les Potions Fatales Mr. Apel had been imaging an idea around the plant foxglove and the fairies who live in those flowers. As Mr. Quartana explained his concept Mr. Apel presented his idea to him. This would result in Digitalis becoming part of the initial collection.

I must thank the team at Symrise for being so willing to spend a Saturday with the group. For the rest of the weekend what we heard in these panels became starting points of discussions which took place as we spent our day walking around sniffing the new perfumes.

This made the twenty-fifth Sniffapalooza one of the most unique events I’ve been to.

Mark Behnke

Sniffapalooza Fall Ball Oct 21-23- Visit a Perfume Company and Shop NYC

Sniffapalooza has been doing events twice a year in New York City for over ten years now. The upcoming Fall Ball will be the twenty-fifth edition of these events. For this anniversary the two founders, Karen Adams and Karen Dubin, have put together a very special program.

On Friday October 21 everyone is invited to visit Twisted Lily in Brooklyn for a special cocktail party where you can mix and mingle with your fellow perfume lovers from 5-9PM while trying the latest new releases.

Here is the very special event for this year’s Fall Ball.


On Saturday October 22 we will begin the day at 9AM inside the offices of Symrise one of the major perfume companies in the world. At their NYC site while we eat a light breakfast we will listen to a presentation called, “From Idea to Shelf”. We will hear from an entire Symrise team on how a perfume is created and marketed using a recent example of a perfume on the market. This first part is, unfortunately, limited seating so only the first 75 people to sign up will be admitted.

After leaving Symrise we have a little time to stop at Bergdorf-Goodman before heading to lunch at Brasserie 8 ½. Over lunch you will hear a continuation of what we heard from the Symrise team in the morning as two of their most recent clients from Phlur and Potions Fatales talk about their experience creating a new perfume collection with the staff at Symrise.

If you have ever wanted a peek behind the curtain at how perfumes get made Saturday at Sniffapalooza Fall Ball will give you unsurpassed access to the process.

After lunch you will be able to visit the midtown NYC locations of Molton Brown and Penhaligon’s.

The day ends with a luxurious cocktail party sponsored by Parfums de Marly.


Sunday October 23 is all downtown in what I call The Fragrance District of NYC where single boutiques of some of the most famous niche perfume brands are located.

At 9:30AM Annick Goutal invites us in to their boutique for a mini Master Class and the debut of their latest fragrance, Rose Oud.

After that there are open house events at Diptyque, Le Labo, Atelier Cologne, and Red Flower. Each has special surprises for all Sniffapalooza attendees.

At 1PM yours truly is the host of the lunchtime EAU (Emerging Artisans Uncorked) de Sniffapalooza Showcase. I will open with some thoughts about our fabulous speakers; Stefania Squeglia of Mendittorosa, Stephen Dirkes of Euphorium Brooklyn, and Irina Adam of Phoenix Botanicals.

After lunch you have two choices. One is to visit The Scentarium where for an additional cost you can be guided through the process of designing your own perfume by expert Sue Philips.

Or you can visit the Byredo Flagship Store where their new Unnamed fragrance will be displayed. Then you can end at Harney & Sons Fine Teas to have a cuppa to allow you to reflect on this jam-packed weekend.

If you’ve attended Sniffapalooza before the entire program around Symrise on Saturday is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a consumer to see how perfume is made. Remember the attendance at Symrise is capped at 75 so if this is what you want to see you need to register early.

All of the details can be found at this link.

I really hope to see some of you at the end of the month in NYC. I’ll be the one in the hat and Hawaiian shirt.

Mark Behnke