If you've got questions, you've come to the right place. Read on for the most common questions we receive about submitting to The Art and Olfaction Awards. We threw in some information about the awards in general, for good measure.
Q. I WANT TO SUBMIT: WHAT'S THE DEADLINE?
A. Submissions for the 10th annual awards open in October 2022. We will post submission dates soon!
Q. HOW DO I SUBMIT?
A. There is a two part process for submissions:
STEP 1. Fill out the online application form.
STEP 2. Send 20ml of the perfume in the mail.
Once you fill out the online application form, we send instructions on how to submit the physical package within 24 hours.
Q. AM I ELIGIBLE TO SUBMIT MY PERFUME?
A. For the 9th annual awards, we will accept submissions from all countries that are released to market for the first time between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023.
We do not accept reformulations or re-releases of perfumes that were released to market before January 1, 2023 (see the section below for more about reformulations or re-releases). We accept submissions from companies that are independently owned, or owned by a parent company with no more than four perfume companies in its holdings.
Q. HOW MANY SUBMISSIONS CAN I SEND?
A. We limit the amount of submissions to three per perfume company (or individual creative entity, in the case of the Sadakichi Award) per category.
Q. HOW DO I SUBMIT FOR THE AFTEL AWARD FOR HANDMADE PERFUME?
A. To submit for the Aftel Award, fill out the artisan category submission form and select the fee add-on that says "I want my perfume to be considered for the Aftel Award". In the form, tick the little box that states that your submission qualifies for the Aftel Award. We'll take it from there!
Q. I USED A PRE-MADE PERFUME BASE FROM A FRAGRANCE HOUSE. DO I QUALIFY FOR HANDMADE? FOR ARTISAN?
A. We do not track whether the perfumer used pre-made bases when they created their formula. We used the art world for our model in this: When Andy Warhol painted a Campbell Soup can (an object which he didn't originally design) he was still is able to contextualize it in his own way, thereby creating enough distance from the original soup can to warrant him being called the author of the new image. In more prosaic terms, we base our definition of 'hand-made' and 'artisan' on how the business is run, not on which materials the perfumer uses.
Q. WHAT SHOULD I WRITE IN MY STATEMENT OF INTENT?
A. The idea here is to shed some light about the process and inspiration for the scent. Perhaps, for instance, there's a story your perfume is meant to elucidate. Perhaps your intention was simply to create something that inspires a certain reaction, or to pay homage to a style or a genre... Or, perhaps you're working intuitively in the age-old quest for beauty, meaning, shock, or connection... Whatever it is that motivates you, we'd love to know about it. Bear in mind that the judges are asked to consider each statement only in relation to the scent, not as a piece of writing. In other words, we are hoping for information, not style.
Q. WHY DO YOU ASK FOR 20 ML OF MY SUBMISSION?
A. We ask for 20ml of your submission because we have to send the perfume around to various judges, and people are often judging in vastly different places at the same time. It's a colossal amount of organization, and having a little extra perfume on hand makes it possible to get the judging done in a timely manner. We also keep a portion of the perfume at the IAO as a backup just in case a package gets lost in the mail.
Q. I WANT TO SEND YOU EXTRA PERFUME / A THANK YOU PRESENT!
A. So nice! But, for ethical reasons, we cannot accept it. Please do not send us anything beyond what is asked for in the submission confirmation email. Here's why: anything sent to the IAO beyond what is required for the submission itself could be considered a gift, and could therefore potentially impede the impartiality of the mechanism. Any surplus perfume or thank you presents will promptly discarded.
Q. I WORK IN ALL NATURALS, AND 20ML COSTS ME A LOT OF MONEY! WHAT DO I DO?
A. We are cognizant of the value of your work, and apologize for any inconvenience the quantity that we ask for might present. However, less than 20ml means that we might not have enough for the judges to adequately assess your work.
Q. I WANT TO SUBMIT TO THE EXPERIMENTAL CATEGORY, BUT THE SCENTS WERE NOT IN LIQUID FORMAT: WHAT DO I DO?
A. Don't worry, you're not alone! Email us ([email protected]) and we'll work out an alternative for your situation.
Q. CAN I SUBMIT THE SAME SCENT TO TWO CATEGORIES?
A. Nope. Save yourself an extra submission fee and email us first: We can probably help you decide the most appropriate fit.
Q. CAN I SUBMIT MORE THAN THREE SCENTS?
A. You cannot submit more than three scents to each individual category. However, you can submit three scents each to the three categories, meaning that a very busy perfumer could theoretically submit three to artisan (released under their own brand), three to independent (if they worked as a perfumer-for-hire for an external brand) and three to experimental (if they also work in an experimental capacity).
Q. I REFORMULATED AN OLDER PERFUME AND RE-RELEASED IT UNDER THE SAME NAME IN 2023. CAN I SUBMIT IT?
A. Unfortunately, no. We do not accept reformulations or re-releases of perfumes first released under the same name by the same company before January 1, 2023.
Q. I REFORMULATED AN OLDER PERFUME AND RE-RELEASED IT UNDER A DIFFERENT PERFUME OR COMPANY NAME IN 2023. CAN I SUBMIT IT?
A. If the perfume name or company name is different, we consider it a new perfume. However, we urge you to email us first.
Q. HOW DO YOU DEFINE A REFORMULATION OR RE-RELEASE?
A. By reformulation, we mean any perfume that was tweaked and re-released under the same name, by the same company, in the same form (e.g. liquid perfume).
By re-release, we mean a second (or third!) public release of an existing product, released under the same name, by the same company, in the same form.
Q. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY PUBLIC RELEASE?
A. By public release, we mean any instance or engagement that allows people to purchase the perfume, in any country. This could include making the perfume available for sale on the internet, making it available for sale in or to third party entities such as a store, gallery, or craft show, exhibiting it at a public-facing perfume exhibition where direct or industry sales are allowed (eg Esxence, Pitti, Tranoï, etc), or placing it any other environment where a press release might be dispatched, or a financial transaction may occur. Note that we do not consider pre-launch marketing as a public release (e.g. social media posts, coming soon notices, trade show participation announcements, etc).
Q. ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS?
A. The only exception to this rule is when the new release comes in a clearly different form – e.g. you released a candle, soap or body lotion before 2023, but then took the formula and made a perfume, putting it for sale to the public in 2023. We consider this new product to be in such a different form that there could be no confusion in the market as to their being different products.
Q. CAN YOU SUMMARIZE?
A. Let us summarize: If you are releasing a tweaked perfume in 2023 (that was originally released before January 1, 2023) under the same name by the same company, we cannot accept it as a new perfume – even if you reformulated it. If you re-formulated and re-released it in the current submission year under a different name, under a different company or in a different physical form (e.g. perfume vs. soap, body lotion or candle), it would qualify.
Q. I WROTE THE PERFUME FORMULA MYSELF AND AM RELEASING IT UNDER A BRAND I OWN, BUT WE DECIDED TO USE A FRAGRANCE HOUSE TO COMPOUND THE LARGER BATCH. WHAT CATEGORY AM I?
A. If you wrote the original formula, and you own or co-own (minimum 35% ownership) the company releasing the perfume, you should submit in the artisan category.
Q. I CREATED AND WROTE THE PERFUME FORMULA MYSELF, BUT WE USED A FULFILLMENT HOUSE TO COMPOUND THE FORMULA, ADD ALCOHOL AND/OR FILL BOTTLES. WHAT CATEGORY AM I?
A. As long as the company's main perfumer wrote the original formula, and owns or co-own the perfume company releasing the scent, it qualifies as artisan.
Q. BUT THAT'S NOT HAND-MADE
Yes! That's right! We have had to make a differentiation between hand-made and artisan, due to the vastly different practices and regulations in different countries. We have a separate award to honor hand-made work, called the Aftel Award for Hand Made Perfume.
Q. I MARKET MY COMPANY AS ARTISAN, BUT WE USE A COMPLETELY EXTERNAL PERFUMER TO WRITE THE ORIGINAL FORMULAS. ACCORDING TO YOUR RULES I SHOULD SUBMIT AS INDEPENDENT. WHAT DO I DO?
A. Submit as independent. Note that our rules are rules ONLY for the awards, not for the world at large. We do not pretend to define the market. So go forth with your artisan marketing plan in the wider world (but please submit to us as independent).
Q. I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT CATEGORY I SHOULD SUBMIT TO!
A. If after reviewing the category descriptions and the answers above you still are not clear on whether your submission should be in the artisan, independent, or Sadakichi Award categories, then email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help. We can assess your situation individually, and recommend the appropriate category for your work.
Q. WHAT HAPPENS IF I UNINTENTIONALLY SUBMIT TO THE WRONG CATEGORY?
A. Email us right away if you think you may have submitted to the wrong category, and we'll get you in the right place.
Q. WHAT IF MY PACKAGE ARRIVES AFTER THE SHIPPING GRACE PERIOD?
A. If you anticipate any troubles in this vein, email us ([email protected]) right away. We'll do our best to accommodate late arrivals, where possible, but we're on a tight schedule so be kind and send early!
Q. WHY DO WE HAVE TO PAY TO SUBMIT?
A. A simple question with a simple answer. The awards cost us a lot to operate, and as a non-profit we rely on several sources of income to run them: Sponsorships, and submission fees. Without submission fees, we wouldn't be able to hold the awards. We do our best to keep them as low as possible.
Q. AFTER I SUBMIT, CAN I CONTACT THE JUDGES ABOUT MY SUBMISSION?
A. No way! That would make the awards unfair, and therefore we would have to disqualify you. We ask you to please respect our judges' time, privacy and integrity by refraining from contacting them directly about your submission. As we are trying to maintain an ethical competition, the scents are judged blindly. For any issues or queries related to our judges, please email ([email protected]).
Q. MY QUESTION ISN'T ON HERE... WHO DO I TALK TO?
A. Email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have, including the meaning of life.
Q. WHAT ARE THE ART AND OLFACTION AWARDS?
A. An annual awards mechanism designed to promote and celebrate independent and experimental practices in perfumery.
Q. WHEN ARE THE NEXT AWARDS?
A. We're working on that! The next awards will take place in Spring or early Summer 2024, in a beautiful city that we are confirming soon. All are welcome, whether you are a finalist or not.
Q. HOW ARE THE AWARDS JUDGED?
A. In the most complicated (but fair) way possible. We have multiple judges in each category, two phases of judging (preliminaries and finals), and very specific instructions. We also ensure fairness by imposing blind judging, and a strict code of ethics. Learn all about it in this blog post!
Q. WHEN DID THE AWARDS START?
A. The program was initiated in 2013, and the first awards ceremony took place in April 2014 at Goethe Institut, in Los Angeles.
Q. WHO’S BEHIND THIS?
A. The Art and Olfaction Awards are a program of The Institute for Art and Olfaction, a non-profit organization devoted to advancing public and artistic engagement with scent through public education programs, creative residencies, and collaborative projects between perfumers, scientists and other creative practitioners.
Q. OK, SO HOW MUCH MONEY ARE YOU MAKING OFF THIS?
A. In the highly unlikely event that any profit should ever be made on this program (we can always hope!), it will go right back into the next year's awards in the form of a bigger venue to accomodate more members of the public, and maybe more free drinks? We do this, in short, for the love of the community.
Q. WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
A. The Institute for Art and Olfaction is based in Los Angeles (United States), but the awards are an international mechanism - with judges and participants spanning the globe. 34 countries, at last count!
Q. CAN I BE A JUDGE?
A. Our judges are invited based on proven experience with perfumery, cross-media arts practices, and other fields that are important to fair and diverse modes of assessment. If you have something to offer that you feel is not already represented on the judging panel, please email us at [email protected]. Note that only one or two judging slots open up every year, and we have a long waiting list.
Q. I WANT TO SPONSOR YOU! WHO CAN I TALK TO?
A. Wow, really? Hooray! Please email us at [email protected], and we will get right back to you.
Q. I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT THE AWARDS. WHO DO I TALK TO?
A. Please email us at [email protected], and we will connect you with the appropriate person.