LATEST LAUNCHES DISCOVERY BOX: PARFUMS DE MARLY DELINA

FRAGRANCE FAMILY: FLORAL
Top notes: bergamot, lychee accord, rhubarb accord, nutmeg
Heart notes: Turkish rose, petalia, vanilla, musks
Base notes: Hatian Orpur vetiver, cedar, frankincense, cashmeran
Ingeniously sculpted for a softly rounded accord of floral nuances, Turkish rose leads Delina’s dance – swiftly followed by delicate facets of lily of the valley and peony. Lychee, rhubarb and bergamot beckon the nose forth to freshly grated nutmeg swirled in vanilla, twirling through gauzy white musk and cashmeran to the mysterious depth. Distinguished perfumer Quentin Bisch was chosen as the nose for Delina – his inspiration not merely a floral bouquet, but ‘a tribute to luminous and sensual femininity.’ As we enjoy contemporary fragrances which renew the concept of King Louis XVth’s ‘Perfumed Court’, we curtsey to the splendour of Parfums de Marly’s vision…
Parfums de Marly Delina £175 for 75ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges

The greatest perfume bottle designer of modern times lands at Liberty in London

Pierre Dinand is a legend. A word that’s oft-used (we’re guilty as charged) – but really and truly applies to the man who brought us the most extraordinary roll-call of perfume bottles.
They include Robert Piguet Fracas, Givenchy Amarige, both Opium and Rive Gauche (with its revolutionary blue and silver tin) for YSL. Clarins Eau Dynamisante and Calvin Klein Obsession. Estée Lauder Pleasures, and Paco Rabanne XS.
It’s a career that began, astonishingly, with the bottle for Madame Rochas back in 1960 and continues today with the bottles for Vilhelm Parfumerie and for Map of the Heart*, showcasing their beautiful fragrances in a bottle based on the most phenomenal piece of ‘design’ of all time: the human heart.
Map of the Heart founder Jeffrey Darling is a filmmaker – and has created the beautiful short movie about Pierre Dinand‘s life and work that you can view below, featuring a rare interview with this tastemaker. (It’s also showcased on mapoftheheart.com, among other really interesting features on their website.)
It begins with an anecdote about Elsa Schiaparelli, who effected his move from the world of advertising to perfume bottle design (though he  a bite from her dog in the process). You’ll discover, too, that the tasseled Opium bottle was originally designed for Kenzo – who passed on it. That originally, Calvin Klein wanted to call Obsession ‘Climax’, but it was considered too overt. And so it goes on…
The film marks a four-day retrospective of just some of Dinand‘s work, at the Liberty department store in London. It opened yesterday – for a frustratingly short few days, closing on Sunday 2nd April 2017.
If you can’t get there – and even if you can – enjoy this encounter with the living legend (sorry!) that is Pierre Dinand
Find the pop-up exhibition in the ‘Disappearing Space’ on the 4th Floor at Liberty London, Regent Street, London W1B 5AH (though actually on Great Marlborough Street).
 

 

Valeur Absolue get passionate with crystal powered perfumes

There is no doubt that fragrance has the power to utterly alter the way we feel – it can lift our spirits, transport us to a specific time and place so rapidly we’re left reeling with sensorial shock or swathe us in comfort just when we need it most. But what about taking that further and using ingredients in perfumes to target particular feelings and to provoke our enjoyment beyond merely “smelling nice”?
Valeur Absolue take inspiration from aromacology, mineral therapy and the roots of 17th century fine perfumery: each scent created to fragrantly enhance a mood – the key ethos being to uplift, relax and revitalise. Of course fragrance-lovers instinctively understand perfume’s feel-good factor: But Valeur Absolue’s founder – Geneva-based Benedicte Foucart – wanted to take that one stage further. Imagine fragrances infused with ingredients known to soothe, to nurture, or to inspire passion. Imagine gemstones, not only creating something beautiful to look at – but, according to Foucart, helping to shift energies… With many people now subscribing to the idea that semi-precious stones can harness “healing” powers, it’s certainly a fascinating path to follow within the world of luxury perfume.

Having worked as International Vice President at Elizabeth Arden (where many fragrances were launched, during her tenure), and then perfume house Firmenich as head of global marketing, Foucart came to the brand with ample consumer experience. Indeed, Valeur Absolue was actually inspired by a consumer study of 10,000 women in the USA and Europe, which revealed ‘the growing dissatisfaction among women concerning the current offerings in the fragrance market,’ observes Benedicte, explaining, ‘Our products are “more” than perfumes; above all, perfumes that smell absolutely delicious, but they are also real wellbeing elixirs which offer real benefits to women.’
“Areumat perpetua” features in all the blends – a natural extract of immortelle flower, linked to the release in the body of feel-good beta endorphins. The ultimate vision Benedicte had for Valeur Absolue was ‘to bring fine fragrance and wellbeing back together,’ returning to the tradition of the 17th Century roots of fine perfumery, and the time when perfume had a  health- or mood-enhancing powers.

Rouge Passion marks the seventh fragrance in their line, and takes the story further with regard to creating a scent that takes a more intensely sensual direction. Champacca is the stand-out ingredient for us, here (collars woven with champacca were traditionally worn by Indian women as a seductive ploy, so Benedicte informs us!) with a deliciously addictive quality that keeps your nose clamped to your wrist long after spraying. A softly powdered tonka bean was chosen to round off the base – a highly sophisticated yet totally on-trend gourmand touch that we dare you to try and resist…
Valeur Absolue Rouge Passion £59 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at House of Fraser
Can crystals “heal” or enhance? Well whatever you believe, there’s no doubt the gem-filled bottles are beautiful objects in and of themselves, and the soft rattle you get with each spritz is terribly satisfying and soothing to play with. More than this – and most importantly – the fragrances smell great. These are not “spa” products, it was vital for Benedicte to give women contemporary, sophisticated scents they actually wanted to wear. The new branding – which we love – reflects this, and the whole ethos of the brand: wellbeing through elegant simplicity, for people who don’t want to compromise.
Interested in finding out more of these crystal-powered, mood-enhancing scents? Read our page dedicated to the brand to match the perfume to your personality, and check out their website for an in-depth guide to each fragrance….
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Art and Olfaction Awards 2017 shortlist: the fragrant names you need to familiarise yourself with right now…

During last week’s Esxence fragrance exhibition in Milan, the shortlist for the fourth annual Art and Olfaction Awards was announced in a special presentation. Some of the partners and judges for the awards were there in person, to declare the good news for those breathlessly waiting to hear if they’d made the cut – anxiously watching the faces and hanging on every word of Luca Turin, Helder Suffenplan, Adam Eastwood and Franco Wright, Antonio Gardoni, Christophe Laudamiel and Saskia Wilson-Brown, we’re sure!

Celebrating independent, artisinal perfumery and those indie houses that really push the boundaries in exciting ways – we are excited to see names we know well and already admire greatly among some we’ve not yet had the pleasure of getting our hands (and noses!) on and will be following with great interest.
So, for those who weren’t able to make the presentation, here’s the list of those who will be gnawing their fingernails a little longer while they await the finals on May 6, at Silent Green Kulturquartier in Berlin…

ARTISAN CATEGORY

Baraonda
by Nasomatto (The Netherlands)
CD/ Perfumer: Alessandro Gualtieri
Bruise Violet
by Sixteen92 (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Claire Baxter
Ceremony
by Mirus Fine Fragrance (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Neal Peters
Fatih Sultan Mehmed
by Fort and Manlé Parfum (Australia)
CD/ Perfumer: Rasei Fort and Al Manlé
Limestone
by Thorn & Bloom (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Jennifer Botto
Liquorice Vetiver
by SP Parfums (Germany)
CD/ Perfumer: Sven Pritzkoleit
Mélodie de l’Amour
by Parfums Dusita (France)
CD/ Perfumer: Pissara Umavijani
Onycha
by DSH Perfumes (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Rosuerrier
by Pryn Parfum (Thailand)
CD/ Perfumer: Prin Lomros
Saffron
by Aether Arts Perfume (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Amber Jobin
Vanilla and the Sea
by Phoenix Botanicals (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Irina Adam

INDEPENDENT CATEGORY
Absolue D’Osmanthe
by Perris Monte Carlo (Monaco)
CD: Gian Luca Perris / Perfumer: Jean Michel Santorini
Altruist
by J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin (Germany)
CD: Lutz Herrmann / Perfumer: Véronique Nyberg
Anti Anti
by Atelier PMP (Germany)
CD: Stefanie Mayr, Daniel Plettenberg / Perfumer: Mark Buxton, David Chieze
Belle de Jour
by Eris Parfums (USA)
CD: Barbara Herman / Perfumer: Antoine Lie
Civet
by Zoologist (Canada)
CD: Victor Wong / Perfumer: Shelley Waddington
Close Up
by Olfactive Studio (France)
CD: Céline Verleure / Perfumer: Annick Mennardo
Lankaran Forest
by Maria Candida Gentile Maitre Parfumeur (Italy)
CD/ Perfumer: Maria Candida Gentile Team
Maître Chausseur
by Extrait D’Atelier (Italy)
CD: Chiara Ronzani / Perfumer: Not Disclosed
Romanza
by Masque Milano (Italy)
CD: Alessandro Brun, Riccardo Tedeschi / Perfumer: Cristiano Canali
Fathom V
by BeauFort London (UK)
CD: Leo Crabtree / Perfumer: Julie Marlowe
Stones
by Atelier de Geste (USA)
CD: Beau Rhee / Perfumer: Irina Nesa

SADAKICHI AWARD
Is This Mankind
by Peter de Cupere (Belgium)
Perfumer: Various
Osmodrama Berlin / Smeller 2.0
by Wolfgang Georgsdorf (Germany)
Perfumer: Various
Paradise Paradoxe
by Elodie Pong (Switzerland)
Perfumer: Anonymous
Smell of Data
by Leanne Wijnsma (The Netherlands)
Perfumer: Leanne Wijnsma with ScentAir
The Feelies: Multisensory Storytelling – Amazon
by Grace Boyle (UK)
Perfumer: Nadjib Achaibou (Singapore)
 

We were thrilled to see the inclusion of proudly independent British brand, BeauFort London‘s Fathom V on the shortlist! A well deserved finalist, we have been raving about this fragrance since we first sniffed it. Humongously green – imagine a florist-shop filled with freshly snapped stalks, fat buds bursting and white flowers tied raggedly with twine – this would fill an entire fairytale palace with its otherworldly life-force, with echoes of roiling salty waves mercilessly crashing on rocks as lightning tears the sky assunder.
It’s awards season a-go-go in scent land at the moment, with the Perfumed Plume awards also just announced in the US (many congrats to Basenotes for their nominations!) and the prestigious annual British Fragrance Foundation Awards being judged right now. And oh boy, that’s an exciting list of names we absolutely cannot wait to see…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Read it NOW! The Scented Letter 'Collectors & Collections' is live…

We’re delighted to share with Subscribers the latest edition of The Scented Letter – our online, downloadable fragrance magazine (one of the key VIP Subscriber benefits when you belong to The Perfume Society).
If you’re an existing VIP Subscriber, be sure you’re logged in and click here to read our latest issue in ‘flickable’ format – or join us here to access this dazzling straight away!
• In The Great Harlot of PerfumeryBethan Cole drenches her senses in tuberose – a love-it-or-hate-it perfume ingredient that inspires unswerving devotion among its fans
• Our exploration of Scent Storage looks at the dark secrets (literally) of prolonging your perfume’s lifespan – with tips from a world expert
• Sixties icon Twiggy – the world’s first supermodel, and as super-cool as ever – shares her fascinating life in smells in Memories, Dreams & Reflections
• Karen Gilbert recalls her experience of what happens When A Stash is Stolen – with sage advice for fellow perfumistas
• In La-LaliquelandCarson Parkin-Fairley visits the world’s largest collection of René Lalique perfume bottles and objets on a visit to France
•  And of course, we bring you all the Latest Launches,  news, events – and so much more
NB A print edition is available, priced £12.50 for non-Subscribers and £10 to our VIPs. Click here to read more and order… And remember: you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letterhere



The first gourmand: Brillat-Savarin – an 18th Century chemist who knew you are what you eat (and smell!)

Long before ‘gourmand’ foodie-inspired fragrances were even dreamed of and while smell was still perceived as the poor cousin of our other senses, one 18th Century polymath was championing the exquisite pleasures that taste and smell bring to everyday life. And more than mere pleasure alone: in fact, he heralded the proper appreciation and scientific study of these long-foregranted senses…
‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.’ So said Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826, a French lawyer and politician whom, apart from law, studied chemistry and medicine, and eventually gained fame as an epicure and gastronome.
 

 
His seminal work Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste), contains Savarin’s philosophies and observations on the pleasures of the food, which he very much considered a science – long before the birth of molecular gastronomy and serious studies of taste and smell had begun. And smell was very much at the forefront of the gastronomique experience, Savarin had worked out; exclaiming:
‘Smell and taste are in fact but a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose.’
Previously considered the least important of the senses – indeed, smell remains the least scientifically explored, though technology is making huge leaps in our understanding – Savarin proclaimed that,’The sense of smell, like a faithful counsellor, foretells its character.’
 

 
Published only two months before his death, the book has never been out of print and still proves inspirational to chefs and food-lovers to this day.
 

 
Preceding the remarkable leaps in knowledge high-tech equipment has allowed and revealing how entwined our sense of smell is to the taste and enjoyment of food, Savarin also observed how our noses protect us from eating potentially harmful substances, explaining ‘…for unknown foods, the nose acts always as a sentinal and cries: “Who goes there?”‘ while coming to the conclusion that a person’s character may be foretold in their taste and smell preferences… ‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.’
We devoted an entire issue of our award-winning magazine The Scented Letter (now available in print, and with online subscriptions worldwide!) to taste and smell – as of course we are gourmand fans in ALL the senses. And so it is heartening to know that Brillat was on our side here, with this extremely useful advice we selflessly pledge to carry through life:
‘Those who have been too long at their labor, who have drunk too long at the cup of voluptuousness, who feel they have become temporarily inhumane, who are tormented by their families, who find life sad and love ephemeral… they should all eat chocolate and they will be comforted.’
Wise words, indeed. We plan to enjoy all the sweet temptations that come our way, in scent form and in chocolate. Talk about having your cake and wearing it, too!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Superstitious? That's us, as Frederic Malle unveils his collaboration with Alber Elbaz

The wait’s over.
Ever since Frederic Malle announced a forthcoming collaboration with genius designer Alber Elbaz – a three-way project with Dominique Ropion, unquestionably one of the greatest noses on the planet – perfumistas have been on tenterhooks, longing to smell it.
We’ll confess: we had a teeny vial, which were allowed to sniff secretly, given to us after our event with Frederic at Selfridges last autumn. Suffice to say it long ago spritzed its last, and we’ve been impatient for a full-size bottle.
It’s here. Right here, right now, on our desks and on our skins. And our Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale describes it thus: ‘Fresh from the shower, straight into bed.’ Thanks to a rush of aldehydes, Superstitious starts out clean and soapy – and then gets very dirty indeed. It continues to veer between prettily innocent and phwoar!, on an olfactory rollercoaster. There are definite resonances of Ropion’s Portrait of a Lady (if you love that, this is going straight on your dressing table) – but this deliberately dares to go up against extravagant and complex aldehydic white florals like Chanel No.5, Arpège, Ma Griffe.
Can a fragrance become a ‘classic’, from the moment it is first un-stoppered…? It seems so. And from today (Friday 24th March 2017), the Frederic Malle boutique within Liberty (on London’s Great Marlborough Street) has a one-week exclusive on the fragrance – so you can make up your own mind. Superstitious? We don’t think Frederic needs to keep his fingers crossed that this will become a massive success.
And in Frederic’s own words, here’s how the fragrance came about…

Unusually for Frederic Malle, the bottle and box are black and gold

‘For years I’ve admired Alber Elbaz, whose work I discovered in the late ‘90s when Pierre Bergé chose him to take the helm of Yves Saint-Laurent. It was a brand worn by my mother throughout my childhood, like many women around her, and one whose aesthetic shaped my own taste. It came as thus a happy surprise to discover Saint Laurent’s genius not only respected, but reinterpreted for a new generation.
When Alber arrived at Lanvin, my wife Marie often donned his designs – to my great pleasure. I admired him from afar, attracted by both his talent and the tender space he held in the hearts of our many mutual friends – that space for those we truly love…
It was just months ago, however, that – overcoming my reserve – I asked our mutual friend Élie Top for his number and invited him to lunch. We spoke at length, discovering not only friends in common but also a certain way to look at life and our respective professions.
With Alber, I realized that roles could be reversed. As a perfume editor, it’s my job to push others to outdo themselves. Yet there I was, face to face with someone who made me want to outdo myself. Someone whose extreme generosity – with his ideas, his designs, his attention – made me eager to return the favor a hundred times fold. I was full of ideas and rather than make a careful selection, I bared it all.
In a world where life seems programmed, organized and logical, Alber sees the irrational – neglected everywhere we are and in everything we do – as essential. Beyond words, images and reason, we must let ourselves be guided by a sixth sense – by our superstitions – free from judgment and unsuppressed. We must let ourselves go. We must trust our instincts.
If we were to create a fragrance together, we said, it would possess this mysterious element. Like a book open to interpretation, it would let the imagination run free. And like Alber’s own fashion designs, it would empower whomever wore it, leaving an indelible trace long after it passed. Almost immediately we knew if we were to create such a scent, it would bear the name Superstitious. And that is how it began.
A work in progress – Alber Elbaz’s own sketch for the Superstitious bottle

Unabashedly, I showed my ideas to Alber, who chose one or two to develop further. In the spring, I suggested a black bottle, flanked by a golden eye – a symbol of superstition. Taken by the idea, he casually sketched three eyes with my red felt-tipped pen. One of them – forceful yet modest – reminded me of Alexander Calder’s jewelry. His favourite as well, it became our symbol.
And so it went for everything, guided by a spirit of friendship: I gathered ideas and sketched out a thousand options with my team in New York, then sat down with Alber for lunch, fearlessly showing him everything we’d imagined in a back and forth that cleared away the excess and further developed the ideas that felt right. At the end of our conversations, I often reminded myself: it’s for moments like these that I do what I do…
Alber was born in Tangiers, Morocco, grew up in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and lived in New York. Yet he is somehow the most Parisian of all my friends – the citizen of an eternal Paris of black and gold. To illustrate this deep, timeless elegance, I took a page from the city’s own book, transforming Alber’s eye from red pen on white paper to antique gold on deep black lacquer.

Like Alber’s dresses, a mystery of construction and design, I wanted to create a true “classic” – a perfume whose quality is unmistakable but whose ingredients are indefinable. What could be more beautiful? As luck would have it, I’d been working with the great Dominique Ropion for over a year on such a scent: a “grand aldehyde floral” with a classic architecture completely reinterpreted and comprising the most precious of raw materials. After convincing the ever-generous Dominique to give up “his” fragrance, I revealed it to Alber, who immediately fell in love. The two then met and Dominique finished the scent with Alber in mind.
Superstitious was thus created like the great classics – fragrances composed at a time when perfumers worked alone, only unveiling their work upon quasi-completion to the designers who would lend their name. Like a couture gown, Dominique adapted his masterpiece to Alber’s wishes, creating a perfume beyond definition, a perfume at once modern and evocative of the great scents of times gone by. It’s a perfume crafted from the most luxurious of raw materials: essence of Turkish rose, Egyptian jasmine, velvety peach and apricot skin, labdanum resinoid, sandalwood, Haitian vetiver, patchouli, musk… each unrecognisable, save for the most fleeting of instants.
An abstract piece of art, Superstitious is infinitely deep and endlessly enhancing. In it lies the reflection of a woman’s own complexity. Of her emotion and seduction. Of her mystery.’
Frederic Malle Éditions de Parfums Superstitious £158 for 50ml
Exclusively at Liberty until 1st April 2017 (then at Frederic Malle stockists nationwide)
Written by Jo Fairley (well, mostly by Frederic Malle)
Alber Elbaz’s description (reach for your French dictionary!) of the fragrance

 

Sharing the #smellfie love: the day our fragrance frolics took over social media. And it's all thanks to you!

Three years ago we came up with an idea to celebrate National Fragrance Day that would bring the perfume industry and fragrance lovers together: the #smellfie. Simply put, it’s a “selfie” with scent, and each year has grown a little larger. But little did we know that this year, your combined #smellfie pictures would be streaming in by the thousands in an veritable avalanche of scented revelry!
Really the #smellfie-sharing is an extension of why we set up The Perfume Society in the first place – a mass merry-making that’s not only fun to take part in, but emphasises how important perfume is… the intense memories it can trigger, the moving stories behind people’s favourite fragrance choices and the sheer joy beaming from their faces as you shared each shot.
 

 
Celebrities, perfumers and industry greats alike rubbed noses with perfumistas and fragrance fanatics around the country (indeed – the world) yesterday, as we took to social media en masse. From Little Mix to Richard E. Grant, Guerlain’s Thierry Wasser, Atelier Cologne’s founders – the lovely Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel – who we got to hang out with at their latest launch event in Covent Garden and posed for #smellfie right then and there… to Liz Earle, Victoria Christian (of Clive Christian fame), countless others – and, of course, all of YOU!
 

 
Seriously, we were blown away by the response, and our fingers were worn to mere stubs with our frantic efforts to acknowledge, like and comment on as many pictures as possible. We still have people posting #smellfie pictures right now. And if you’re yet to take part, we’re keeping it open for the rest of this week. Remember to post the picture on Instagram with the hashtag #smellfie and tagging @theperfumesociety). We are working through the thousands of snaps to make a a selection of favourites to award prizes to very soon – but it’s taking forever!
 

 
In the meantime we want to give a huge shout-out to every single one of you who joined in the fragrance frolic fun of our #smellfie campaign. Thank you SO much for all your efforts – we have been thrilled beyond belief with the way people dressed up, filmed videos and snapped pictures of themselves. We love them all – and we can’t WAIT for next year’s #smelfie sharing extravaganza…!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

The man responsible for the rebirth of Buly 1803 – Ramdane Touhami – shares his five favourite smells

Let’s make one thing clear: Ramdane Touhami‘s as creative, as kooky, as crazy-on-the-outside-and-smart-on-the-inside as anyone we’ve ever met. First, he was responsible for injecting life into Cire Trudon, now a global force in home fragrance.
He left Cire Trudon for a very good reason: to revive the ‘lost’ Paris perfumer and ‘supplier of beauty vinegars’, Buly. We recently paid a revisit to their boutique on Rue Bonaparte, in Paris, and were once again blown away. With its apothecary jars, old-fashioned lettering and floor-to-ceiling wooden display units, its essences and ingredients for customers to smell, this is a place which feels and looks like it’s been there for 200 years – yet the boutique is entirely new.
Ramdane had been searching for a potential ‘phoenix’ brand. As he explains: ‘The “vinaigre de Bully” was a patented aromatic lotion for performing ablutions and preserving skin tone. With my wife, Victoire de Taillac, we spent hours collecting everything we could on the history of Bully and 19th century perfumers. We bought archives and catalogues when we could, but mainly browsed through those held by institutions.’
French-Moroccan polymath Ramdane has ideas coming out of his ears. A new Buly store in Japan is split down the middle: one side completely contemporary. In London, there’s a corner of Dover Street Market carved out as a Buly 1805 store-within-a-store – like nothing you’ve ever seen, with its petal-pink decorative tiled display towering skywards. (There’s to be another exciting London opening later this year –so watch this space.)
Formulations are modern – but again, packaged like something from two centuries ago. (Look out for quite the sexiest micellar water bottle on the planet, while our favourite indulgences are the glass-domed scented candles – no two of them alike, since they’re carved from real marble.) In the Paris flagship, meanwhile, there’s even a resident calligrapher – ‘we call him The Head of the Word’, smiles Ramdane – who will inscribe your purchases. (This is the calligrapher’s desk, below.)

We caught up with this whirlwind to ask him to share his five favourite smells – and of course, being Ramdane, the answers are a little off-the-wall. ‘I love to smell things wherever go,’ he explains. ‘Funnily enough, I don’t wear perfume. But my nostrils are always working…’
1. Petrichor – but which one? [Petrichor is the smell of rain on a surface such as pavement.] There are different types of petrichor; it depends on the city! Petrichor in Chinatown is a disaster, because the air fills with the scent of fish and it smells just so, so bad – but in London’s Hyde Park you have a fantastic green smell of petrichor. If you are in Provence, the dust gives the smell of petrichor, and it is different again; you think they’re the same but they’re different. I’m doing a project on petrichor from all over the world; we’re capturing it using headspace technology – I have an alert on my phone which tells me that in two days’ time it’s gong to rain in the Ngorongoro crater in Kenya, so we can be ready. (That’s a fantastic petrichor.) The next one we’re trying to capture is the petrichor from a little garden in Tangier… But don’t for a minute think it’s the same everyone.
2. Inoki. It’s the wood that was burned in old Japanese temples; in the Edo era, instead of painting them black they charred them to create a decorative, and that burning smell lingers in the temples today.
3. My mother cooking couscous. This is a real childhood smell. It took ages to cook; we were always starving before we got to eat the couscous, but for me it’s the smell of anticipation.
4. A brand new sneaker box. Leather sneakers, not fabric: Nike Air Force One, when you open the box has a particular smell. When you’re 20 and you have a new pair of sneakers, the smell is just fantastic. (I don’t wear sneakers any more, but that smell still gets me.)
5. Vintage cars. It isn’t a smell I like, but I miss it; I had many vintage cars from the 1950s and Sixties but I stopped because they cost me a fortune – they were always going wrong. But I still feel nostalgic for that smell: a mixture of fuel, wood, dust and humidity. People talk about a smell of ‘leather’, but actually, it’s not; it’s old plastic that’s been sun-baked. Whenever I see an old vintage car, I know exactly what it must smell like inside.
This is definitely one of the most interesting 5 Favourite Smells we’ve featured; so many of our interviewees, we told Ramdane, cite the smell of  baby’s head on their list. He laughed like a drain. ‘That’s not normal! I would never say that. It’s just the worst thing, when you have to clean a baby. I have three kids but I don’t miss one minute of that particular time – I definitely prefer them after the age of two…!’
Buly 1803 products are priced £24 for 75ml toothpaste to £132 for Campagne d’Italie scented candles
Find them at net-a-porter
Officine Universelle Buly 1803 6 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris/+331 43 29 02 50
buly1803.com

 

Head to Liberty for their Alternative Fragrance Festival – a whiff of things to come

Liberty, as scent-shoppers know, has a very interesting fragrance department. It’s small – but it’s cleverly curated. And later this spring, the mock Tudor department store/global fashion destination will be partnering with Somerset House for a very exciting exhibition called Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent. (We’ll be sharing much more of this with you later.)
As a ‘taster’ for that, Liberty is launching an Alternative Fragrance Festival which will run from Thursday 23rd March through to Sunday 2nd April in what they call their ‘disappearing store’ on the 4th Floor. There’ll be a special pop-up exhibition which also features an edit of antique and vintage fragrance bottles that visitors will be able to buy.
As you can see here, some special collages have been created around some of the niche and indie brands that Liberty is known for stocking: D.S. & Durga‘s Debaser, Vilhelm Parfumerie Dear Polly, Gypsy Water by Byredo, Le Labo Thé Noir 29, Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady and Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger.
There is also a retrospective exhibition of legendary glass designer Pierre Dinand‘s designs and even more excitingly (a truly special opportunity to listen to one of the great raconteurs of the perfume world), he’ll be taking part in an event, below. (Pierre created the bottles for YSL Opium and Rive Gauche, among countless other ground-breaking flacons.)
Tickets for all of these are available priced £10 from Liberty. You have to call Customer Services on 020-7734 1234 to secure yours (and only during store hours. Yup, drives us crazy, too.)

In Conversation With… Azzi Glazzer
Date: Monday 27th March/6-8 pm (Heritage Suite)
The ‘perfume designer’ and creator of The Perfumer’s Story brand will be interviewed by Beauty Director Sophie Beresiner, talking about the creative process behind her fragrances and the candles, which are exclusive to Liberty.

In Conversation With… Lizzie Ostrom (a.k.a. Odette Toilette) and Clare Catterall
Date: Wednesday 29th March/6-8 pm (Heritage Suite)
Our good friend Lizzie/Odette has been working with Somerset House (where Claire Catterall is Senior Curator) on the forthcoming exhibition about perfume – the first in the capital for many years, and one we anticipate visiting several times. Here, they give a sneak preview of things to come, and look at the world of contemporary perfumery.
In Conversation With… Pierre Dinand and Jan Ahlgren
Date: Saturday 1st April/11am-1pm (pop-up event space, 4th Floor)
Pierre Dinand is the world’s greatest bottle designer – a man with a fount of stories and anecdotes about perfumery, as well as a great overview of the olfactory landscape. Having designed the beautiful bottle for Jan Ahlgren’s Vilhelm Parfumerie, Jan is perfectly poised to host this Q+A session with Pierre, who’s not only his hero but has become a mentor.
We dare say we’ll see you there…
liberty.co.uk/020-7734 1234