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A symbosis of product, material and history

London based Japanese artist and sculptor Kentaro Yamada launched Neandertal Perfume in 2015. Creating two unisex perfumes in collaboration with perfumer Euan McCall, the project was inspired by the history of Neandertal who disappeared from earth around 30,000 years ago. The fragrances are inspired by the history and past of Neandertal’s, harboring ingredients such as leather; berry and Hinoki which are combined with sophisticated olfactory palettes wearable by humans of today.

“If Neanderthals still walked the earth, how would their unique olfactory system influence their perception of perfume organoleptically? What materials would the ‘modern’ Neanderthal have an affinity with now?” Perfumer Euan McCall responded to these questions informed by materials available throughout ancient history, present day, creating a symbiosis between product, materials, and this historical concept.

Many of the ingredients and accords have ancient and historical context. These materials were used as foundations, the initial skeleton for the Neandertal project. Other materials accent and highlight the structure in a modern, contemporary notion. Most of the natural ingredients can be found across the regions of Eurasia, Western Europe, Central China, East and South West Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean; areas now understood to have been active Neanderthal habitation zones. The oils suspended within the final fragrance are of the highest quality, be they natural, isolate or of synthetic origin.

After many modifications and a year of refining, perfumer and the artist arrived at two themes. One, a darker, smokier more animalic interpretation of the concept and another brighter facet of the theme containing higher levels of lighter, delicate and fresher materials.

Woven through both scents is a hot mineral accord, taking inspiration from the hot flint aroma produced during the knapping process. The resulting accord is an overdose of several high-impact, steroidal odorants against lighter aquatic elements to recreate this sensation.