Burr, the one and only New York Times perfume critic, is hosting the intimate dinner in a beautiful room that revels in all the heady glory of New York’s insane neon nightscape. I am the ridiculously fortunate person seated next to him, and I can confirm that his encyclopaedic mind and charming-perfume laced banter is suitably delicious.
The idea for his marvellous scent dinners evolved naturally when he thought about the category of perfume called “les parfums gourmands”, in other words, the culinary scents as they are known in France. Many perfumes over the ages have used food, spices vanillas, and peppers as intrinsic elements and Tom Ford has a number of them in his stable: Café Rose, Tobacco Vanille, and, not least, Black Orchid.
Burr explains that: “Ninety-five percent of what we perceive as taste is, in fact, smell. Ninety-five percent of what we think we’re tasting on the tongue, we are actually registering in the olfactory receptors of the nasal epithelium.” So it makes perfect sense to eat the smell. Burr hosts these sublime dinners around the world — he describes the experience as a “combination of fine dining and a stimulating interactive master class in scent and perfume — two parallel dinners, one olfactory and invisible, the other gustatory and edible.”