Many people wonder if cannabis could smell good as a perfume.
The smell of cannabis is usually skunky or earthy with a hint of other smells like berries or flowers. Sometimes cannabis has a strong cheese or diesel smell and I don’t want to wear the smell of cheese. After over 12 years of trial and error, Mark Crames managed to successfully create cannabis perfumes that please the senses.
The popular cosmetic retailer Sephora asked Crames to create a fragrance based on the scent of cannabis. A difficult task for sure. He needed to capture the skunky essence of cannabis and at the same time include the pleasant essences of flowers and spices.
Crames experimented with several versions before developing his final line of fragrances. “I look at cannabis like liquor – it’s about capturing great, memorable tastes, smells and experiences,” Crames explained. His final offerings are light enough to incite desire in non-stoners but nostalgic for the cannabis consumer.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
12 years ago, Sephora asked Crames to create a cannabis based perfume. He created several formulations but they never found one Sephora approved of. Even though Crames’ perfumes were not where they needed to be, he didn’t give up. He found new backers and continued his work, looking for just the right mix.
In 2006, Crames released his first marijuana perfume line. He called the flagship fragrance Cannabis Flower. Crames also released the fragrance under his own label (along with others he had formulated) called Demeter Fragrances. The release became a turning point for cannabis-based perfume and Crames career.
Cannabis Flower became the most popular fragrance within his company’s product line. Cannabis Flower is not too spicy, not too flowery, but unmistakably smells like cannabis. Due to the use of cannabis flower during manufacture, the perfume is illegal to use and possess in some states.
Crames is a pioneer in both the perfume and cannabis industries. It took years of research, effort and imagination to get Cannabis Flower ready for market. However, that didn’t stop other companies from experimenting by trying to create their own cannabis perfume.
Crames started off as practicing lawyer and never went to perfume school.
Crames tried very hard to create a perfume that had the scent of marijuana but at the same time not let it be overpowering. He’s not a master perfumer, as they are called. He never attended a perfume school in France, which flies in the face of tradition. Crames was a practicing lawyer but had a passion for perfume and followed his passion.
Crames trained his nose for 15 years while working as a perfume distributor and a lawyer. Eventually, Crames received his own manufacturing license and started creating his own commercial licenses. Crames said, “I’m always approaching a target trying to capture what the majority of people would recognize as the thing itself. But in an idealized version.”
In 2002, Crames bought Demeter which already had a splendid perfume catalogue from renowned perfume artists. The Demeter company continued to employ perfume artists like Christopher Brosius. Brosius started Demeter 10 years earlier and his scents were exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s Triennial in 2003. That was the first time that perfume design elements construction was appreciated in that type of setting.
With years of practice, Crames developed a photographic memory with his nose. He can recall scents years after he inhaled them. His nose became Demeter’s driving force for fragrances. Crames stretches the concept of what is considered mainstream perfume. He has a long history of creating unusual scents. Some of his most popular fragrances are called Clean Skin, Paperback, New Baby, Laundromat, Snow and now Cannabis Flower.
Cannabis Flower is a haughty supporting actress that steals the show.
According to Crames, “Cannabis Flower is like a haughty supporting actress. There’s always the risk she might get too loud and steal the show.” There is a formula for making a pleasing scent. Good perfumes have top notes, middle notes and base notes.
Top notes are what people smell first but go away after a while. Middle notes reveal their scent over time and base notes appear several hours later. Cannabis Flower is similar to a perfume that has all three notes. Crames says it has a sneaky top note, a middle note that moves in and out, and a steady backdrop of base notes. Crames struggles with cannabis scents because its herby aroma tends to steal the show with its strong notes all together.
More designers are making perfume as well.
Christi Meshell is the owner and professional perfumer for House of Matriarch perfumes, a Seattle-based company. Meshell’s company created cannabis perfumes called Sex Magic and Forbidden. They describe working with cannabis as a strange and underused herb. Like, “drinking lemonade with your pet skunk in the middle of a pinyon pine forest as newly baled hay cures in a neighboring field.”
As the cannabis industry develops and matures, so too will the perfumes and scents associated with it. Gone are the days when patchouli was used to cover up cannabis. Let’s hope more designers like Crames and Meshell continue explore the wonderful world of weed.