Well, it's that time of the year again, when we get to un-box and decant hundreds of perfumes from around the world.
We're not into hyperbole and/or poetics, but humour us for a quick second while we state something from the heart: The entire Art and Olfaction Awards team (aka Minetta, Kendra, Maxwell, Julianne, Jeff, Micah and Saskia) feels so honored to be able to process all these wonderful perfumes and projects.
With that, we wanted to take a moment to explain what happens when your submission arrives in the mail.
After we receive your package, our first step is to tear into the box (not so easy, sometimes) and make sure that the scent didn't leak. You will be happy to hear that leaking is suprisingly rare.
Once removed from the box, we locate the submission in our database, and make a note of the anonymous tracking number we assigned to it. At that point, we mark it as 'received' and send an email to the submitter.
Next, we decant the perfume into the anonymous vials we use for judging, labeled only with the tracking number. The tracking numbers usually look something like this:
+ A-059 for an artisan submission (A of course stands for 'artisan', and the number is assigned based on when the online submission came in)
+ I-103 for an independent submission
+ E-042-1 for experimental (that extra digit is deployed when an experimental submission has more than one scent)
We create 7 vials per submission - one per judge - for the preliminary judging, and will do the same with the finalists for the second round of judging, when the time comes.
This submission preparation process is ongoing, but the 2 weeks before the deadline for receipt are always the most intense as this is when the packages all pour in. Decanting submissions is a lot of work, but - we think - completely worth it. Blind judging is, after all, an important component of our larger efforts to ensure the fairness of the awards.
The next step will be to get started on the long process of assessing all these fantastic perfumes. We'll send the vials to the judges once we've received and processed the very last sample. At that stage, the vials will be packed in numerical order along with the judging forms and instructions and sent along to the judges, wherever they may be! If - terror of terrors - a package should get lost in the mail, we will quickly prepare another and send it again. Fingers crossed this doesn't happen.
But, enough talk! Pictures are more fun. Below is a little photo essay from a recent decanting session at the IAO, where we've blurred out bottle labels to protect the anonymity of the submitters. You can enlarge the images by clicking on them. Enjoy! And, as always, any questions will be answered if you email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Saskia (on behalf of the awards team)