Scent Futures: smell-centric explorations for possible future worlds (online event)

Scent Futures by Future of Smell is …’an exploration of futuristic smell-centric concepts based on human needs and emerging technologies.’

Olivia Jezler is a someone who’s fascinated by our sense of smell, and explores it, fascinatingly, through research, events and on her website, Future of Smell. Her olfactory career has spanned fragrance innovation through new technology products and fine fragrance, at  IFFSymriseRobertet, and she’s also been collaborating on various projects, for over a decade, with the brilliant perfumer, Christophe Laudamiel.

Our attention was first grabbed on Instagram, where Olivia posts all sorts of mind-blowing news about scent technology and design; and we then interviewed Olivia for our Future of Fragrance edition of The Scented Letter Magazine.

 

 

Olivia looks beyond mere trends in the fragrance world, thinking outside the perfume box and peering in to what role smell could hold in all our futures. And with this in mind, you are invited to join in what promises to be a brilliantly smell-centric online event – Scent Futures

Says Olivia:

‘Tremendous shifts are occurring on global and local levels. Smell is a direct gateway to our emotions, memory and our sense of safety. Fast Forward. Now imagine a future world. How could this primal sense inspire innovations that support us and how could this also go eerily wrong?

This event is an exploration of futuristic smell-centric concepts for our immediate and distant future worlds. We will outline current projects, emerging technologies, speculations and potentials for scent and smell based technologies.

The aim of this event is to provide frameworks, visualise, question and inspire. When ideas are brought to life conversations around them can take place and more desirable products and experiences can be created. If there are infinite possibilities which one would you choose to create and how could it change our world?’⁠

TOPICS

+ Intro to Speculative Design

+ Spaces (Personal, Public, Extraplanetary)

+ New Realities (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality)

+ Hyperpersonalization (Products, Experiences, Body)

+ Role of Brands

DATE/ TIME / LOCATION

October 1st, 2020 at 2pm NY/ 3pm SP/ 7pm UK/ 8pm Paris on ZOOM (Future of Scent will send you a link before event).

Tickets are $30 – $60 and can be purchased here.

So what do you imagine the future holds, not only for fragrance, but for the limitless possibilities of our sense of smell itself…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Escentric Molecules ‘Molecast’ – a new perfume podcast featuring Geza Schoen & Susan Irvine

Escentric Molecules has launched a new Molecasta regular podcast Co-hosted by perfumer and Escentric Molecules founder, Geza Schoen and writer, Susan Irvine – and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

If you’re anything like us, you have a whole host of podcasts you listen to on any subject you care to mention, but sadly, although there are a handful of notable fragrance-focused podcasts we love, they are still few and far between.

It’s a phenomena our co-founder, Jo Fairley, always likens to where the wine industry was twenty years ago (in the U.K. anyway): a subject then rarely discussed, and now with weekly columns in national newspapers and supermarket shelves labelled with information about the indie producers, tasting notes and even the terroir the grapes were grown at.

 

 

In the ‘Molecast’, Geza and Susan will be discussing ‘various topics across the world of art and chemistry’, and in the first episode, the topic is Cashmeran – the star molecule in his new Molecule 05, and the inspiration behind Escentric 05, which Geza calls, his ‘most personal fragrance ever.

Escentric Molecules have always had the ethos of demystifying the fragrance industry, and especially celebrating the incredible man-made aroma molecules that have been a growing part of the perfumer’s palette since the 1800’s, but were never talked about in the public. Geza Schoen proudly puts them front and centre in his creations.

 

 

We were so excited when Escentric Molecules asked to launch this fabulous new fragrant duo with us at The Perfume Society, and had the pleasure of interviewing Geza about the inspiration behind their creation, and you can watch the film of our fascinating discussion

Meanwhile, we highly recommend getting your hands on Escentric Molecules‘ two new (and hotly-anticipated) 30ml eaux de parfum (which you can now purchase directly from us) so you can sniff and glory in the scents as you listen to Geza talk about Cashmeran.

 

Escentric Molecules Molecule 05, £36 for 30ml eau de parfum

As perfumer Geza explained to us, ‘Cashmeran is dry, radiant, warm and woody with an unexpected touch of pine resin‘. MOLECULE 05 consists of this pure and singular molecule which was created at IFF in the late 1970 – boasting a cocooning musky quality when alone.’ But it’s gloriously complex, as you’ll discover…

 

Escentric Molecules Escentric 05, £36 for 30ml eau de parfum

Geza also says that because Cashmeran is dry, radiant, warm and woody with an unexpected touch of pine resin‘, it was used in ESCENTRIC 05 to create a fragrance, developed to transport you to a Mediterranean island… umm yes please!

Choose one – or both! – but definitely explore the miraculous world of aroma molecules, because we have a hunch they’re going to rock your fragrant world…

By Suzy Nightingale

Recycle Week: Floral Street call beauty industry to action

It’s Recycle Week (21st-27th Sept), and award-winning, London-based independent perfumery Floral Street are ‘…calling on the Beauty industry to drive sustainable change.’

We once thought recycling was enough, but the concept of just throwing packaging into the recycling bin and hoping for the best is outmoded and most certainly not enough. ‘It is reported that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, much of which is not recyclable,’ Floral Street remind us.

This craziness has to end if we’re to make an impact on environmental change for the better, and so tossing that used container into recycling isn’t enough – even if it can be recycled, it will likely be turned into yet another single use packaging product.

It’s a subject Michelle Feeney, the Founder of Floral Street, feels passionately about. ‘The Beauty industry can do so much more to make products and packaging recyclable and reusable,’ she says. ‘Collectively we can innovate and drive real change. We are an industry of creatives, so let’s lead this responsibly, together.’

‘The majority of fragrance comes packaged in plastic wrapping and foam inserts with ornate caps and lavish additions – sometimes all in one purchase. Often the packaging that can be recycled is not done responsibly which results in unnecessary landfill and pollution of our oceans.’ – Michelle Feeney

 

 

From the get-go, Floral Street have championed re-using and up-cycling their packaging – the gift boxes are FSC certified, confirming they meet the highest environmental and social responsibility standards, and even the grosgrain ribbon they use is made from recycled plastic bottles! Personally, at The Perfume Society, we love using the boxes as seed trays and to store makeup brushes.

 

 

But as well as the boxes being fully compostable, Floral Street didn’t stop there, explaining that ‘…instead of cellophane, our fragrance packaging features reusable, brightly coloured, elastic bands. Our scented candles are presented in glass pots which are widely recyclable, but why not reuse them!

Our entire bath and body range is housed in sleek tubes made from sugar cane bioplastic which is recyclable and sustainably sourced. We have an accreditation to confirm this comes from a bioproduct of the food industry, so it’s not specifically grown just for beauty purposes.’

Why not get creative and have a look at some ideas we suggested on how to re-use your perfume bottles? They are far too beautiful not be given a new life, don’t you think? And we’re in total agreement with Michelle…
‘We believe recycling is good but reusing and repurposing is even better. This is the future of Beauty.’
By Suzy Nightingale

Diptyque City Candles – previously exclusive, they’re travelling until 27th September (grab them while you can!)

Diptyque has put their much sought-after City Candles on their website (previously only available in the respective locations they were inspired by), but they’re only travelling for a few days and stocks are strictly limited! Time to hope aboard and add them to your baggage, immediately…

If you’re one of the many who obsessively collect the olfactory delights of Diptyque candles, you’re going to want to get your (virtual) boarding pass ready, because the limited edition City Candles are now on the Diptyque website – but only until 27th September 2020!

 

 

Normally, you’d have to jump on a plane and physically travel to the Diptyque flagship stores in Tokyo, Berlin, London, New York, Hong Kong, Beverley Hills, Miami, Shanghai and Paris to collect them all. Notwithstanding the airmiles you’d rack up, the money and carbon footprint you’d have to burn through would make this a trip you’d be unlikely to take – and of course this year, it’s been made impossible, anyway.

So the next best thing to being there? Burning your way through this lovely lot! Here’s our fragrant travel wish-list, but we wonder: where would you like to travel to with the Diptyque City Candle Collection…?

This ultra chic lavender-tinged Chypre has us dreaming of sashaying down the early autumn sunlit streets of Saint Germain.

Diptyque Paris Candle: £54

 

The heady, honey-laden scent of linden blossom transports us to the German capital – we’re craving the bookshops and über-cool clubs.

Diptyque Berlin Candle: £54

 

Why not stroll the intriguing alleyways of Tokyo, the shade of cypress trees mixing with wafts of mystical temple incense?

Diptyque Tokyo Candle: £54

 

New York’s bustling streets and vibrant nightlife is calling, with a hot rush of rich patchouli and sudden breeze of dry cedar and vetiver.

Diptyque New York Candle: £54

By Suzy Nightingale

Vintage perfume posters (to purchase & swoon over…)

Vintage perfume posters are currently making us consider papering entire rooms with them, and these are particularly swoon-worthy versions…

In these uncertain times, sales of classic fragrances are, appparently soaring.

And no wonder. We’re crying out for a bit of soothing scented nostalgia to wallow in, and so although actual vintage versions of these fragrances would set you back a pretty penny (well-preserved bottles and rare examples can go for anything from a couple of hundred quid to several hundred thousand!) it’s rather tempting to purchase several of these gorgeous advertising poster prints, non?

 

Ahoy! Recognise the shape of the bottle this sailor’s snuggling up to in the Schiaparelli Perfumes1945 ‘Shocking Sailor’ image by artist Marcel Vertès?

 

The HP Prints website we came across has THOUSANDS to choose from when you type ‘perfume’ as a key-word search (which we spend most of the day doing online, tbh…)

But where to begin?!

 

Bourjois 1944 Mais Oui, Leonard. ‘Frankly flirtatious’? We’ll take the largest bottle you have, thank you.

 

Well, we’ve picked some favourites for you – each of which can be purchased as a print (if in stock) or, for a fee, downloaded as a high quality image file to use as you please, sans the watermarks of course.

 

Guerlain (Perfumes) 1959 J. Charnotet, Mitsouko. Would v much like a cutting from this tree, please.

 

We’re thinking ahead to (shhh!) Christmas, and birthday presents, or perhaps just to send to fragrance-loving friends we can’t meet up with right now. As well as, you know, papering every wall we can find…

 

Nina Ricci (Perfumes) 1971 L’Air du Temps (Version B). Such a classic – and a first scent love for so many.

 

Le Galion (Perfumes) 1959 Lily of the Valley, Lovers, Maurel. Stunning, and slightly sinister fairytale-esque: we approve.

 

Elizabeth Arden (Perfumes) 1941 It’s You. (We wish it was – say yes to that dress!)

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Vellichor: capturing the scent memories of old books

There are times when discovering a new word can ensnare you, and ‘vellichor’ is one of those, for me. So when the Odorbet online dictionary asked me to submit a piece to their collaborative gathering of fascinating, lesser-known words to describe smells, I knew immediately which one I wanted to explore.

In my feature, A Shiver of Vellichor: On the Satisfaction of Finding New Words, I look at the very recent coining of this word; but basically what you need to know is, it describes one of the very best smells in the entire world: old books.

The word’s author, John Koenig, added it to his Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows – a catalogue of terms forensically detailing emotions from ennui to existential despair, which previously we may have struggled to adequately express.

Specifically, the word ‘vellichor’ sketches the overwhelming wistfulness that can engulf us when we enter an antiquarian bookshop or library, and are plunged into an olfactory sensation far beyond smelling the paper, leather and dust. Just as the olfactory word it was inspired by – petrichor – is larger than the sum of its parts; so vellichor conjures a fragrant universe far beyond the smell of a room lined with leather-bound tomes, ‘which are somehow infused with the passage of time.’ We feel nostalgia for our own past, for the memories instantaneously triggered when we pick up a particular book, for that comfort the very act of reading and escaping to another world can bring.

Along with all the unbidden time-travelling and spiritual yearning through scent, the smell of vellichor happens to be extremely pleasant – a mixture, it turns out, of book materials begining to break down and releasing their volatile odours. A pleasing irony, perhaps, that the smell of the slow death of books can give life to such bitter-sweet pleasures as revelling in scent memories.

In the 2009 scientific study, Material Degradomics: On the Smell of Old Books, the lead reseracher, Matija Strlic, closely studied the smell and discovered it was made up of…

‘A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.’

The vanilla-like smell comes from lignin, (closely related to vanillin – the primary component of the extract of the vanilla bean, which can often be synthesised in perfumery) and which is present in all wood-based paper. I wonder if this is another aspect that aides vellichor in soothing troubled souls? After all, scientific tests have proven the calming powers of vanillin.

 

 

It used to be assumed this was because the scent infantilised us somehow – reminded people of mother’s milk or the childhood bliss of licking cake-batter straight from the bowl; but those tests proved it significantly reduced the ‘startle reflex’ even in animals that don’t suckle or, presumably, share our nostalgia for forbidden treats. Vanillin has since gone on to be trialled in fragrancing particularly high-stress areas of hospitals, such as MRI and CT Scanning rooms, and for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Whatever you might like to ecape from – or to – fellow book-sniffers seeking solace from daily woes should immerse themselves in the following, and enjoy a hit of vellichorian goodness whenever they wish…

 

The Yorkshire Soap Co, Library Glycerine Soap
Even Lady Macbeth would surely have enjoyed her handwashing had this been available: the half-remembered hush of soft tobacco, the supple leather of a friendly chair to sigh into.
£3.50 for 100g
yorkshiresoap.co.uk

 

 

The Perfumer’s Story by Azzi, Old Books
Whispers of incense curl through motes of dust dancing on hazy, sepia-toned memories, as patchouli, amber vetivert and cedar slowly evanesce.
£95 for 30ml eau de parfum
libertylondon.com

 

 

Immortal Perfumes, Dead Writers
Black tea sipped as fingers trace words known by heart, a shady nook of vetiver, clove and musk snuggled into voluptuous heliotrope and a hug of vanilla tobacco.
$50 for 15ml parfum
immortalperfumes.com

 

Maison Margiela REPLICA, Whispers in the Library
Waxed wood gleaming in the afternoon sun, drowsy days in the ancestral library (we wish), a twist of pepper adding spice to the pencil shavings of cedar and a sweetly dry rustle of vellum.
From £22.50 for 10ml
maisonmargiela-fragrances.co.uk

 

 

Byredo, Bibliotèque
The romance of nostalgia made liquid, a fuzzy nuzzle of ripe peach and succulent plums atop a tangled posy of blowsy peonies, powdered violets and ripped, resinous leather.
£115 for 50ml eau de parfum
byredo.com

By Suzy Nightingale

Art & Olfaction Awards: register to watch for free!

The Art & Olfaction Awards 2020 are to be live-streamed online this year (as with so many other scented events we’re sadly missing in person), but the good news is, this means they have flung open the virtual fragrant doors, and you can register to watch as a guest…

The scented award season really is in full swing – we’ve just had the Fragrance Foundation and Jasmine Awards, the Perfumed Plume Awards, and now: The Art & Olfaction Awards sashay forth to the spotlight.

Far more than an exercise in self-congratulation, The Art & Olfaction Awards are open to any independent perfumer who wishes to enter a submission, and the results are blind-sniffed by a panel of judges around the world. As well as the indie brands, they celebrate artisanal fragrance and installation artists who work with fragrance as a creative medium as part of their work.

Some of the names you may have heard of, but we guarantee there will be many you don’t (and need to get to know!)

These houses and artists represent some of the most interesting movements in perfumery right now, and it’s always fascinating to keep an eye (and, indeed, nose) on them by way of glimpsing to future trends for the fragrance industry as a whole…

 

 

The organisers of The Art & Olfaction Awards say: ‘Grab a bottle of bubbly, wear your fanciest outfit, and join us to celebrate this very strange year’s most excellent finalists in the artisan, independent and experimental categories. The ceremony will take place on September 17, 2020, from 2pm to 3:30pm PDT. Join us!’

To watch the event, you need to register for free tickets first.

Meanwhile, check out the list of 2020 finalists (always names worth knowing, as these awards are hotly contested…)

By Suzy Nightingale

Angela Flanders re-opens with pop-up & limited edition fragrance!

Wonderful news for fragranct fans of Angela Flanders – they’re re-opening with a surprise pop-up exhibition and limited edition fragrance…
With there still being so much doom and gloom around in this strangest of years, we react to each piece of good news with the urge to pop the Champagne corks – and here’s something we definitely want to celebrate. The much-beloved London-based niche fragrance house, now with Angela’s daughter, Kate, at the helm, is staging a perfumed pop-up entitled ‘Bleu Anglais.’
Featuring a display of the gorgeous textiles Angela so loved (and began stocking in the original shop, even before she’d made her first perfume), it’s part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle Festival, which runs from the 12th – 20th September 2020.
Angela Flanders perfumery say:
BLEU DE CHINE PERFUME
X
BLEU ANGLAIS TEXTILES
‘We re – open our Spitalfields shop with launch of a limited-edition fragrance Bleu de Chine and a pop – up with antique and vintage Chinese indigo textiles from Bleu Anglais.
Bleu de Chine is a sophisticated scent inspired by the vintage Chinese indigo paste resist textiles, sourced by textile expert Noel Chapman of Bleu Anglais.

The perfume, created by Angela Flanders in 2014, includes notes of bergamot,  lavender and patchouli. These last two ingredients, when perfectly blended together, create a third, indefinable scent which is a perfect match for these individual textiles.

This cool and aromatic scent features top notes of invigorating bergamot, soothing lavender, and a base of mature patchouli aged for richness and depth, with a heart of bois de rose which lends its spicy woody, floral beauty.

Bleu de Chine creates a soothing yet exotic atmosphere in the home either as a diffuser or a perfumed candle, and is also available in eau de toilette or eau de parfum.’

 

With small and independent businesses needing our help more than ever, if you can go and visit, do go and gaze at the fabulous fabrics and, of course, make sure to try the stunning Bleu de Chine scent. It’s exactly the kind of artistically-inspired pick me up we need right now…
By Suzy Nightingale

The ‘e-tongue’ – a ‘powerful tool’ that can tell what perfume you’re wearing…?

Scientists have developed an ‘e-tongue‘ – an electronic tool for analysing perfumes and helping decide how they should be classified. Could it revolutionise the fragrance world? Could a robot replace a ‘nose’…?

‘The identification of more than three perfumes is difficult,’ a report at sciencedirect.com begins. And as anyone who’s stood at a perfume counter, trying to weigh up the differences between an armful of scents can attest, they’re not overstating the matter.

Scientists have been trying to find a way to introduce electronic devices into the world of fragrance manufacturing for some time – the majority of large fragrance houses have used computer systems to correctly weigh and mix fragrant ingredients according to a perfumer’s formula, for years; but still a human nose is preferred to gauge the nunaces of the final fragrant result. Because, as the report continues, ‘…no analytical tool can completely replace the human olfactory system for fragrance classification.’

 

 

Last year, the annual IFRA Fragrance Forum had the theme of Artificial Intelligence in fragrance, and we reported on a talk by Valérie Drobac, Digital Innovation Manager from Givaudan (one of the world’s largest fragrance creation houses), who talked about their latest intuitive and interactive system, ‘Carto’ – a new system that reinvents the way perfumers create fragrance. Drobac explained that ‘Carto is an AI-powered tool that brings science and technology together, to the benefit of perfumers who create Givaudan’s fragrances. The new system is designed to intelligently use Givaudan’s unique ingredients ‘Odour Value Map’ to maximise the olfactive performance in the final fragrance.’ Using the recent Etat Libre d’Orange fragrance She Was An Anomaly as an example, she explained how perfumer Daniela Andrier had been suggested to initial formulas to use, which she then worked on, evaluated and perfected.

This ‘e-tongue’ is not about the creation of fragrances, however, but the efficient analysis of a perfume, because, ‘For the perfume sector, the possibility of applying fast, cost-effective and green analytical devices for perfume analysis would represent a huge economic revenue.’

Which is all well and good, but one thing we might raise an eyebrow at is the device’s being tested to ‘…successfully discriminate men from women perfumes.’ In an age when so many fragrances are seemingly being marketed as ‘gender free’ – a phenomenon that has long transcended the niche trend that began this move (and in fact represents a return to how fragrances always used to be, with no marked difference in the scents men and women wore for centuries) – we might wonder why this is a concern. However, this ‘e-tongue’ has also been used ‘to identify the perfume aroma family,’ and for ‘assessing the perfume storage time-period.’

The future uses of such a classification device are surely far wider than we can imagine at the moment. But one thing we know for sure: perfume lovers won’t be replacing our noses with computers any time soon…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

 

Perfumed Plume Awards 2020: the winners are…

The Perfumed Plume Awards are an annual celebration of international fragrance journalism, to showcase writing that gives ‘an inside view of the cultural, historic, scientific and personal approaches to fragrance design and what it takes to create an evocative scent.’

‘While we would normally gather at MANE Gallery to celebrate with a glass of bubbly, this year is obviously a different time,” said Co-Founders Mary Ellen Lapsansky and Lyn Leigh.

‘In these very unusual times, we’re grateful to have the technology to share this occasion with you.’ Lyn continued.

The ceremony was held virtually on Zoom, and so we were excited to tune in and celebrate the winners, who were…

 

Perfume Stories – Print – Magazines & Newspapers
The criteria for judging: quality of editorial content; originality & creativity; accuracy & depth of information.

A tie!

Holiday O.G. – Why frankincense – the original Christmas present – is suddenly so smoking hotTown & Country

Scents of Place – Venice The Scented Letter, Jo Fairley, The Perfume Society

Perfume Stories in Mainstream Media – Digital – Magazines, Newspapers, Blog Postings, Webzines
The criteria for judging: quality of editorial content; originality & creativity; accuracy & depth of information

Guerlain Mitsouko Centennial 1919-2019: The Scented Skein ÇaFleureBon

Short ‘n Sweet Perfume Stories – Print or Digital
The criteria for judging: quality of editorial content; originality & creativity; accuracy & depth of information

Vision Quest – NewBeauty

INSTApost — Perfume Stories on Instagram
The criteria for judging: originality/creativity of visual element(s); quality of the post content

Cooper Hewitt – Resurrecting the Sublime – Futureofsmell

Visualization of Perfume Stories — Print & Digital
The criteria for judging: design concept; how design relates to content

In Bauhaus we trust – the smell of minimalism — Scentury.com

Fragrance Book of the Year

“Perfume Legends II: French Feminine Fragrances” – Michael Edwards

This was the first year we’d submitted entries, so we were particularly delighted to discover we were finalists with FOUR nominations (and of course, even more delighted that we won one!)

The Perfumed Plume judges commented that:

‘…these marvelous writers deserve recognition and congratulations for their perfume stories. All are factual. All are creative. All are fascinating.” It’s true to say that all the submissions were just wonderful and the results a close call. These fabulous stories are a must-read so please take a few minutes to appreciate the talents of these writers.’

The full list of entires can be found on The Perfumed Plume website, with links to each of the finalists’ work, and we urge you to grab a cuppa, put your feet up and peruse every single one for some precious moments of perfumed escapism.

By Suzy Nightingale