Meet the Founder: Pierre Guguen of L’Orchestre Parfums

Live Instagram Q+A on Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 12.30p.m.

We’re delighted to welcome Pierre Guguen to our next InstaLive, to share the fascinating story behind his creations. Music and fragrance have long been in harmony, and for French niche house of L’Orchestre Parfum, the instruments, artisans and musicians inspire note-perfect perfumes ‘to smell and listen to…’

Pierre is a man ruled by twin passions – music and fragrance – describing himself as both a ‘perfumer and musician.’ With the founding of L’Orchestre Parfum in 2017, these two seemingly separate talents created the perfect duet.

We’ll put readers’ questions to Pierre during the Instagram Live online chat with Suzy Nightingale (which will later appear on our YouTube channel). But to get you thinking…

• Why does he feel that music and fragrance are so closely linked?

• Do perfumes other than his own conjure up particular pieces of music, in his mind?

• How has #lockdown impacted on the creativity needed to dream up and launch new scents?

• What are his plans for future L’Orchestre creations?

• Is there one piece of music in existence that he’d love to translate into scent – and how does he think it would smell?

Whatever you like, actually… Simply fill in the form below, to submit your question.

MY QUESTION FOR L'ORCHESTRE'S PIERRE GUGUEN

We’ll be going live from The Perfume Society Instagram account – @theperfumesociety – on Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 12.30pm UK time.

Read more about L’Orchestre Parfum here

Meet the Founder: Richard E. Grant of Jack Perfumes

Live Instagram Q+A on Wednesday 1st July 2020 at 12.30p.m.

We’re delighted to welcome the much-loved actor and perfume-lover, creator of his own London-inspired Jack collection of fragrances, for our (stellar) next guest on Instagram Live.

Adored by cinema audiences and perfumistas alike, we’ve always been inspired by Richard’s fragrant journey, from growing up in Zimbabwe to launching his own fragrances.

We’ll put readers’ questions to Richard during the Instagram Live online chat with Jo Fairley (which will later appear on our YouTube channel). But to get you thinking…

• What is the first thing Richard smelled and loved?

• What makes an actor want to start a side-hustle in fragrance?

• What fragrance DID he wear to The Oscars?

• How has #lockdown impacted on the creativity needed to dream up and launch new scents?

• What scented excitement does he have in store for us, in future?

Whatever you like, actually… Simply fill in the form below, to submit your question.

MY QUESTION FOR RICHARD E. GRANT

We’ll be going live from The Perfume Society Instagram account – @theperfumesociety – on Wednesday 1st July 2020 at 12.30pm UK time.

Read more about Jack Perfume here

Discover the sustainable future of fragrance with Sana Jardin’s Amy Christiansen

We’re delighted to welcome Amy – founder of Sana Jardin – as our next guest on Instagram Live. This dynamic fragrance figure is looking to change the world, one bottle of perfume at a time.

Amy’s background is certainly unusual, in our glamorous world: a former social worker, her c.v. includes time with the Bill Clinton Foundation and the Cherie Blair Foundation. But she set out to create the world’s first eco-luxe fragrance house, recruiting the legendary Carlos Benaïm as her perfumer. Together, they have created a portfolio of fragrances which has been widely acclaimed, winning the CEW Eco Award, sponsored by Givaudan, in 2018.

A social enterprise which has trademarked the phrase ‘Beyond Sustainability’, Sana Jardin sets out to empower the people who pick the ingredients for its creations – notably, orange blossom, with a co-operative that enables them to create products which repurpose the waste created during flower harvest and distillation.

We’ll put readers’ questions to Amy during the Instagram Live online chat with Jo Fairley (which will later appear on our YouTube channel). But to get you thinking…

• Where did Amy’s passion for scent start?

• How did she set out on her journey of sustainability with Sana Jardin?

• How and where has she been working during lockdown, and what have been the challenges?

• What has been the impact on the growers/pickers – and what news is there of how the pandemic has impacted on ingredients, globally?

• Does she see the rest of the industry now playing catch-up, in terms of environmental and social responsibility?

Whatever you like, actually… Simply fill in the form below, to submit your question.

MY QUESTION FOR SANA JARDIN'S AMY CHRISTIANSEN

We’ll be going live from The Perfume Society Instagram account – @theperfumesociety – on Wednesday 24th June 2020 at 12.30pm UK time.

Read more about Amy and Sana Jardin‘s fragrances here

Meet the founder Instagram Live: Sophie Vann-Guillon

Our next guest on Instagram Live is a the dynamic Sophie Vann-Guillon, co-owners of Valmont skincare, whose exquisite Storie Veneziane fragrances have just burst onto the scent scene, transporting us and buoying up our spirits at a time when we can’t physically travel.

They’re inspired by the Italian city of Venice, once the cradle of perfumer, where Sophie and her husband Didier Guillon have an exquisite palazzo. Venice, of course, is a city whose history is woven through that of perfume itself, via its trade routes, its sensuality, its famous love of luxury. It is a project born of the shared passion of Sophie and Didier for art and materials, and we’ll put readers’ questions to Sophie during the Instagram Live online chat with Jo Fairley (which will later appear on our YouTube channel). But to get you thinking…

• What made Sophie want to launch her own perfume house?

• How can fragrance capture a sense of place?

• What have been the biggest challenges of running a fragrance and skincare company, through lockdown?

• How does Storie Veneziane work with its perfumers?

• How does Sophie envision the luxury perfume landscape after ‘all this’ is over?

Whatever you like, actually… Simply fill in the form below, to submit your question.

MY QUESTION FOR SOPHIE VANN-GUILLON

We’ll be going live from The Perfume Society Instagram account – @theperfumesociety – on Wednesday 17th June 2020 at 12.30pm UK time. Make that a date!

Read more about Storie Veneziane by Valmont here

Watch our blooming good chat with Floral Street founder Michelle Feeney

Beauty world dynamo Michelle Feeney‘s Floral Street perfume house has been a hit with Perfume Society followers from Day One – so we were delighted to welcome her as our Instagram Live in our ‘Meet the Founder’ series.

A disruptive force in our fragrant universe, Floral Street has enlisted the talents of Jérôme Épinette to create a portfolio of modern floral fragrances which they describe as ‘bunches, not bouquets’. They’ve put sustainability on the agenda with recycled/refillable packaging that is beautiful, at the same time – setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the perfume industry to follow, as we consider the future of fragrance. Before launching her own perfume venture – today, Floral Street fragrances are sold around the world – Michelle was a driving force involved with brands including St.Tropez, Crème de la Mer and MAC (she was deeply involved in the MAC AIDS fund).

We put readers’ questions to Michelle during the Instagram Live online chat with Jo Fairley – and you can watch it on our YouTube channel below. Check it out or subscribe here for interviews with Geza Schoen, Sonia Constant, Maïa Lernout, Nancy Meiland and more…

Read more about Floral Street and their fragrances here

Scenting the groove

With the Music & Perfume edition of The Scented Letter magazine hot off the press, we’re really feeling the harmony right now – and here, Amanda Carr explores the intriguing history of fragranced vinyl…

Vinyl is having something of a moment, with new record stores selling both vintage and new vinyl LPs opening in all the hippest of locations. Imagine our thrill, therefore, when we discovered that vinyl is often sold scented! From Madonna to Stevie Wonder, musicians have perfumed their vinyl grooves to enhance the listening experience.

Fragrances are often inspired by a good tune. The gorgeous Acqua di Parma Note Di Colonia collection springs to mind, with its appreciation of soaring operatic crescendos, artful preludes and glorious musical scores. On a more modern note, JUSBOX’s collection of fragrances honours musical genres: there’s Cheeky Smile, which celebrates Acid House, alongside Green Bubble, a scented ode to reggae (and yes, there are notes of marijuana in the accord). JUSBOX‘s vinyl-capped bottles can even be found for sale in an actual record shop, the delightful Olympic Studio Records in Barnes. (Disclosure: it’s owned by my husband – which is how I stumbled onto this story in the first place…)

Actually scenting the grooves is an inspired move. It’s no surprise the Queen of Pop, Madonna, dabbled with perfuming her tunes. First pressings of 1989’s ‘Like A Prayer’, were impregnated with the smell of frankincense and patchouli, reinforcing religious connections, along with song tracks such as ‘Oh Father’, and pictures of Madonna’s considerable crucifix jewellery collection. Our much-played copy of the album still carries a shadowy sillage of a rather good patchouli scent, although those earthy, incense vibes remind us more of dressing up and dancing till dawn at parties held in darkened basements rather than the cold stone and incense-heavy interiors of churches.

 

 

Stevie Wonder’s ‘Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants’, a title crying out for its own scent, was perfumed with a floral note on its release in 1979, although apparently stopped after reports that the scent – which fans of the record remember as a faint hint of rose – turned out not to be helping the quality of the sound. But technology has since improved considerably and scented vinyl continues to be pressed by modern artists. The Third Man record company, founded by uber-cool musician Jack White, bought its own vinyl factory in Detroit, where its produces top quality vinyl that is often scented. Karen Elson, ex-wife of Mr. White, released ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, in 2010, as a delicate peach coloured vinyl record which is also scented with the dewy aroma of softly sweet peach.

Less artful but still enthusiastically received by fans, the 30th anniversary ‘Ghostbusters: Stay Puft Edition’, a 12-inch double A-side single, released by Sony Music in 2014, was scented with marshmallow in tribute to the film’s giant Stay Puft marshmallow baddy. Singing along to Ray Parker Jr.’s catchy theme tune on one side and Run-DMC’s updated reboot on the other, could surely only be improved with wafts of sugary-sweet vanilla notes coming off the stylus. We can’t help thinking that other film soundtrack albums could use fragrance creatively to add to the sense of fun, for example wouldn’t ‘Mamma Mia’ be even more joyous to sing along to if it pumped out an olfactive scentscape of a sun drenched Greek island alongside the songs…?

With a different angle on the concept, Japanese fragrance house Shiseido once hired musician Hiroshi Noshimura to create a vinyl album entirely inspired by one of its fragrances as an innovative gift-with-purchase idea. The fragrance was called A.I.R (Air In Resort) so the album, which was steeped in the scent, was given the same name. The music complemented the green, forest notes of pine, earth and wood with a sound track of birdsong, the sea and field-based recordings of nature. Customers were were encouraged to listen to the record while appreciating the scent. It’s certainly a step up from the paper tester blotters we’re used to.

And artists, it seems, simply can not resist a scratch-n-sniff album cover. A quick chat on the super-informed Discogs forum, where music fans hang out to talk all things vinyl (there are many similarities between music and perfume fans) turned up a long list of album covers with scent-infused patches used to enhance the listening. The gold standard scented cover is unanimously agreed to be a 1972 release by The Raspberries, with a scratch-and-sniff sticker that smelled very convincingly of…yep, raspberries.

 

 

From Duran Duran’s limited edition ‘Perfect Day’ 7-inch single with its strawberry scented ice cream cone cover, to Spinal Tap’s The Majesty Of Rock album, with its scratch-and-sniff sleeve scented with Ye Olde Roast Beef Flavour, via Melanie’s ‘Garden In The City’ – where listeners were encouraged to rub the sticker to ‘release the magic of Melanie’s Garden’ – musicians clearly love to scent their songs.

We say: that makes for a great-smelling record collection. And we’d like to see more of this, please…!

By Amanda Carr

 

 

To get even further in the groove and explorethe links between music and scent, have a look at our print copy of the just-published Music & Perfume issue of The Scented Letter Magazine

• In Hitting All The Right Notes (above), Viola Levy looks at ways that modern perfumers use music to inspire their creations

• Ofactory consultant Pierre Aulas – who chose perfumery over a career as an opera singer – shares the secrets of his creative days in A Working Nose

• Scent gets social with Smellfie Day 2020, our celebration of International Fragrance Day – which had quite a different message in this strange year

Suzy Nightingale invites us to enjoy A Scented Symphony, discovering a perfume house with works with instruments, artisans and musicians

• And why note create your own scented playlist? In Listening to Scent, Persolaise invites us to sit back, relax, hit ‘play’

And of course, as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more!

 

We are now able to take orders for a limited run of printed copies of the magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs). And remember: you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letter (six issues), here

(NB Print copies are sent out approximately 10 days after each new issue of The Scented Letter appears on the website, so please bear with us. We work right up to the wire to make sure everything is truly newsworthy!)

Watch our Perfumer Q+A with Nancy Meiland

We know you’re loving our series of Perfumer Q+As on Instagram Live. Here, our Co-founder Jo Fairley chats with British perfumer Nancy Meiland, who at the time was locked down a few miles away from Jo in East Sussex, organising fragrance walks for her children while working on future, nature-inspired compositions. She talks about how she got into perfumery, her mentors – and her favourite materials.

It’s a great interview – one of a growing library that you can watch on our YouTube channel here, including interviews with Geza Schoen, Sonia Constant, Experimental Perfume Club‘s Emmanuelle Moeglin, Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays, and more…

To read much more about Nancy Meiland and her beautiful perfume creations, click here.

 

What would YOUR favourite smells sound like…?

In our latest, music-themed edition of The Scented Letter – an exclusive benefit for our VIP Club Members (for more info click here), the fascinating composer and music producer Daniel Sonabend talks to Carson Parkin-Fairley about his scent installations at the late lamented Grand Musée du Parfum and for Cartier‘s Perfume Cloud project.

Carson also asked Daniel to share his three favourite smells – and what they sound like, to him. We didn’t have the space to squeeze his answers into the article, so we’ve featured them below…

First, though, for those who didn’t get to Paris to see the installation, a little bit about that project. The centrepiece, Daniel explained, looked like a perfume bottle. ‘There were 200 perfume ingredients which made up five perfume compositions: one floral, one Chypre, a fougère, a Cologne and an Oriental. Each ingredient was represented by a glass prism, which had a sound associated with it. As each perfume was “created”, a laser would be beamed from the centrepiece and hit the prism for a particular ingredient, playing the sound – and the result was quite mesmerising.’

 

 

He works in the most fascinating way. ‘There’s an obvious correlation between top, middle and base notes, and organic and electronic musical instruments. Once I’d figured out the language, writing the music was easy. I tweak as I go, smelling compositions throughout. I’m trying to gauge what a perfume smells like not only to me, but to other people, so when I translate it to sound, everyone can understand it. So for instance the music for the eau de Cologne, similar to the fragrance composition, had a lot of high notes and almost no base. The floral was more complex, quite feminine, melodic and sweet. A woody sound might be more bassy and organic.

Creating a sound for a note like jasmine,’ Daniel continued, ‘required a different sort of approach. Jasmine is made up of a few molecules; indole, benzyl acetate and jasmone. Each of these molecules is an individual ingredient as well, so there was a sound for each; when you combined them they created the sound of jasmine. Vetiver was interesting, too; even though it’s a natural material, it still smells modern. I played with the idea of using an organic instrument in a more modern way, so for vetiver I used an electric guitar played with a double bass bow, which made it sound quite dirty and masculine.’

As for those three favourite smells and what they sound like…? Here goes.

Clean washing when I visit my parents’ house. The sound of home? It’ll have to be warm, and intimate and calm. A kind of organic ambient bed that hugs you.

A really good, smoky whiskey. It would sound a bit like vetiver, it would be smoky, but a bit more amorphous because it’s a fluid. Quite rough, masculine and modern, created with organic instruments. But a bit cheekier.

Vintage synthesizers and old string instruments. They smell like the 70s, boxed. Old wood, plastic and electronics, like your cool uncle’s basement. Similarly, I love the smell of old string instruments, the resin you use on the bows of string instruments smells a lot like myrrh. And I love the sound of them!

Interview by Carson Parkin-Fairley

NB We also offer print copies of The Scented Letter, priced £12.50 to our VIP Club Members and £15 to everyone else. Find them here

What would you like to ask 4160Tuesdays’ Sarah McCartney?

For the next in our series of Instagram Live interviews with highly creative figures from the fragrance world, we’re doing cartwheels that we’ll be spending lunchtime on Wednesday 13th May 2020 with the founder of 4160Tuesdays,  Sarah McCartney. (That’s a bit of an in-joke. Sarah is an excellent cartwheeler as well as a totally inspiring creator.)

Essentially a prolific self-trained perfumer who has built a huge following for her brand 4160Tuesdays on the strength of her beautiful, often wonderfully story-telling creations, Sarah McCartney is a maverick soul who’s stirred up the perfume world and acted on her dream (shared by many of us) to become a perfumer.

Here’s your chance to ask this visionary fragrance figure everything you want to know about perfumery today. Perhaps…

• After working as a copywriter, what made her want to move into perfumery?

• How did she go about training? Is this something any of us can do?

• How important is storytelling in fragrance?

• How does she see the perfume landscape after ‘all this’ is over?

And more… Simply fill in the form below, to submit your question.

We’ll be going live from The Perfume Society Instagram account @theperfumesociety – on Wednesday 13th May 2020 at 12.30pm UK time. Make a date!

MY QUESTION FOR 4160TUESDAYS' SARAH MCCARTNEY

 

Ruth Mastenbroek brings us Hope and Gratitude – in candle form

We are blown away by how the fragrance industry has risen to the challenges of Covid-19, whether it’s pivoting from perfume production to making hand sanitisers (companies like Louis Vuitton, Guerlain and Lalique) or giving a slice of profits or takings to excellent causes. Frankly, it makes us proud to be working in the perfume world.

Another heart-warming initiative now comes from British perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek, who has just released Gratitude and Hope, two limited edition candles created to benefit the charities behind Our Frontline, a new mental health initiative for key workers including NHS workers, carers and blue light emergency service workers.

The candles are £14.95 each, with 100% of profits going to this great cause. The first – which expresses the Gratitude we all feel for our key workers and NHS carers – is a beautiful, calming scent of amber and tuberose. The second, Hope, is inspired by ‘all those feeling alone or anxious’, explains Ruth, and is infused with ginger and lemongrass. They have a 15-hour burn time, blend natural coconut, rapeseed oils and paraffin wax, and have been hand-blended and poured in the UK by the Mastenbroek family, who are isolating together.

As Ruth says: ‘I think many of us can probably relate to our mental health having been affected recently. My family and I have been especially concerned about the impact this pandemic is having on our keyworkers, who bravely go to work each day to keep our country going. We felt it is now our responsibility to ensure they get the  support they need with their mental health, both now and in the future. Our Frontline is providing round the clock support to keyworkers and so we wanted to raise funds and awareness for their brilliant work.’

Also supported by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Our Frontline brings together leading mental health charities including the Samaritans, MIND, Shout, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. As the Duke said, to launch the charity: ‘Over the past few weeks, millions of frontline workers across the UK have put their physical and mental health on the line to protect us all during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every day they confront traumatic situations at the same time as having to contend with their own worries about the risks to themselves and their families. That takes a real toll, and as I’ve seen for myself through my work with the Air Ambulance, without the right support at the right time the challenges they face will only be greater.’

We still don’t know when all of this will start to ease.

But meanwhile, literally, a flicker of Hope. (Not to mention Gratitude.)

£14.95 for 50g (including P&P – although please be aware that as with many deliveries at present, you may need to be a little more patient than usual)

Find them here

To read more much about Ruth Mastenbroek on The Perfume Society website, click here