Readers in 109 Countries (12/21)

Notetaking was a podcast/’zine focused on the art of perfumery. Between 2020-21 we regularly reviewed works by international artisan + independent perfumers. A hybrid of cultural criticism and social engagement, balanced by years of journalistic practice (1992-present). Each of these reviews is short/sweet as we want to get on with our day, and you with yours!

TJ Norris (the gent behind the scenes) is a New England-bred, Pacific Northwest-hearted and Texas-based artist + sensory practitioner. For the past three decades he has continued to work as an artist/photographer, as well as a freelance contemporary art curator, teacher, gallery owner + cultural writer. Norris first explored fragrances in the early 80’s with classic offerings like Eau Sauvage, Armani Pour Homme, Halston, Lagerfeld, Adolfo, Quorum, Fahrenheit, Aramis’ Devin & JHL or anything that contained olibanum. After many years absent from the world of perfume when the pandemic hit he began a re-discovery process of so-called contemporary niche fragrances – and began a passionate new discovery that had lied dormant for the first several decades! Here at Notetaking we present daily musings about contemplative, exquisite and confounding scents from all corners of the globe. We encourage you to listen to our short podcast segments on all things olfactory, 24/7.

Between the late 80’s and early 90’s Norris curated two multisensory exhibitions that focused on scent-related work in various media: Uncommon Senses (SUNY/Binghamton Art Museum, NY + Cambridge Multicultural Art Center, MA) and Breaking The Mold (Tufts Aidekman Arts Center, MA). Both of these exhibitions were lauded by the media and each included olfactory elements. His own studio work can be explored in depth here. Aside for previously writing art and music reviews for diverse publications as Art Ltd, Willamette Week, Art News, The Oregonian (online), Paris Transatlantic, Resident Advisor, Igloo Magazine and MIT Press’ Leonardo – once upon a time Norris even had a short stint as a food writer in Nova Scotia and for the Boston Herald where he once had to ingest seventeen different fruitcakes during the holidays.

When not in the studio he can be found appreciating the wonders of the culinary world and/or in the garden enjoying his favorite pastime, birdwatching. Norris only recently put his popular, decade-long podcast, Toneshift (2010-2021) to rest, a weekly curated program focused on experimental, electronic music + modern composers. He also has an extended and ongoing history of published album art.

It’s all about concept + composition. At Notetaking, each fragrance gets a rating from 0-100%. The percentage is pretty much based on both personal preference/taste, as well as a constructive response to the overall composition which is broken down into the “Three C’s“: concept, chemistry, complexity. Most everything we review comes from an initial impression – with the understanding that personal taste about specific fragrances may (and do) change over time. Lastly, I always take into consideration current mood, and the impact of other environmental factors into the entirety of the olfactory experience. Most of our reviews have been made possible by the generosity of the perfumers and houses themselves or their representation, various high-quality vendors, as well as loving people in the fragrance community that understand the power and importance of unbiased critical opinion. Nothing is directly sponsored, so I never rely on others’ opinions or outside influence. We always do our best to offer an honest review (or musing, if you will) given all these factors, even when something doesn’t fit these parameters, or my normal biases – in terms of note breakdown, etc.


First of all, your format is cutting edge, the fact that you are doing this vocally but like a podcast/radio show is very unique…it has an advantage over video in that there are no visual distractions…Secondly, your voice is awesome. It so had an esoteric quality to compliment the spiritual nature of the fragrances. – Incensum

We love the work of Notetaking. – Essential Parfums

Appreciate your unique style. – Maison Sybarite

Your take on perfume is truly original, as you give a genuine context on what you smell, taking the listener on a grand voyage through the senses. Your sense of smell is awesome! Love the new age vibe and love your asmr relaxing voice. – Monsillage

You guys rock! – Dasein Fragrance

Oh my goodness!!! First of all you have an amazing voice, and I don’t know that I’ve ever enjoyed listening to someone walk through the fragrances the way you do! This is something very special you are doing here. – House of Matriarch

Stunning presentation! – Maria Candida Gentile

Spend some time with his reviews – they are insightful, and deliciously different! – Cognoscenti

Gosh, this is so well done and compelling! – Le Jardin Retrouvé

Thank you so much for taking the time to give us such a detailed, eloquent review!
– Scent Trunk

…a wonderful review. I do appreciate your thoughts and beautiful descriptions.
– One Seed

Seriously I think you really keyed into and communicated very well (our) approach to creative fragrance development as well thoughtful insights into the oak barrel aging effects – really well done! – OK Fine Fragrances

Thank you very much for your review and for your Artistic approach. I love it! – Rania J

Your podcasts are great! Is very cool, hearing your review was a great experience! – Ricardo Ramos

Love how soothing you are to listen to. – Roux St. James

We like your format. It felt like we were there with you. Your vibe was so easy, cool, and thoughtful. – Blackbird

Love your descriptions and reviews. – DS & Durga

Thank you for your thoughts…you definitely seem to pick up on different aspects than many others. – Libertine Fragrance

Your voice is so soothing. It’s a pleasure to listen. I’m hooked on listening now while I’m at my lab bench. – OSM Perfume

I think you really nailed what I was going for. – Curioso

Clearly you are operating from a place of real love for fragrances. – Merz Apothecary

It’s not that often that reviewers understand how to smell or articulate natural perfumes, and I am totally amazed by your meaningful and clear experiences. – Gather

Dig the format it’s got kind of a cool asmr vibe. – Hendley Perfumes

Gorgeous blog. Love the podcast. You really get into the scents! – Eris Parfums

I appreciate your understanding of my intention with this fragrance. – Anka Kuş

I adore the unique way that you showcase perfumes with your soothing voice. – Velvet & Sweetpea’s Purrfumery

(Notetaking is) so thorough, professional, in-depth, fun, fabulous! – Artisan Parfums

….smiling and remembering all the process of (creating) Lumberman, every second of your audio — It was a very personal effect when I was listening (to) you. – NŌSE

Opinions are not facts.
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