The Perfume Bottles Auction 2018

Every year, some of the world’s most rare and beautiful perfume bottles are gathered together in one room, at the Perfume Bottles Auction (and going for eye-watering prices, as you’ll see, below!) ‘The longest-running specialty auction of it’s type worldwide, returning clients have come to expect unique, undocumented, and seldom seen bottles to be offered by the Perfume Bottles Auction.’

Bidding on these precious lots are flacon collectors and a good number of museum directors, all desperate to get their hands on these utterly stunning pieces. This year’s auction took place in conjunction with the International Perfume Bottle Association‘s 30th annual convention in Tyson’s, VA, matching the previous year’s already staggering result of $400,000 within a few dollars. Oh my goodness, how we would have loved to be there! Which of these would you have bid on, given a chance…?

1922 Lucien Galliard for Violet ‘Pourpre d’Automne’

Now we have the incredible results (and heart-flutteringly fabulous pictures of the bottles) of what they realised, as told to us by the Perfume Bottles Auction representative… ‘A large and enthusiastic crowd compeated with online bidders, multiple phone lines, and a number of absentee bids over 250 lots chosen to suit every pocketbook – resulting in a wide spread of wins from a 1925 Terre de Ritz figural powder box formed as a 17th century court lady ($120) to the 1940 Helena Rubenstein “Gala Performance” ($24,000, seen below) formed as an actress with outstretched arms standing in an elaborate stage-set box of ostrich plume and velvet.

Bottle designs of 1925 proved to generate special interest and some of the highest results, including the Julien Viard bottle for Myrugia “Besame” with it’s rare love-birds images on label and box ($19,200); the French comic-strip inspired black and white auk character for Coryse “Alfred” ($9,600); Rene Lalique‘s dancer and butterflies motif for Erasmic “de Lui” ($13,200); and the alluring fan-themed label, box, and scent name of Oriza L. Legrand “Eventail” (fan) topping the sale ($39,000) at triple it’s pre-sale estimate.

A fine grouping of R. Lalique items featured perfume bottles, powder boxes, hand mirrors, and a rare 1930 three-chamber perfume tester bed with miniature stoppers as nude maidens for Maison Lalique ($8,400). The auction drew particular interest from a number of museum curators over three historically significant Guerlain bottles including “The Moorish Bottle” a rare 1910 hand decorated bottle by Pochet & du Courval ($9,600, seen above). All three went to museum collections.

1830 Guerlain white opaline glass, with hand-written note and label.

Other highlights in the commercial bottle category include the surrealist female bust of 1941 Lilly Dache “Drifting” ($19,200); the 1938 Baccarat white crystal fan for Elizabeth Arden “Cyclamen” (9,600); and the 1927 Marblehead Art Pottery Egyptian pharoah bottle for Leigh “Amber Nile” ($10,200, see feature image at top of page).

The sale included several lots of perennially popular 19th century scent bottles featuring a Thomas Webb peachblow bottle with applied gold cherry blossoms ($960); an 1850s miniature gourd with hand carved Napoleonic images ($660); an 1887 silver-capped British porcelain monkey ($480); and an 1870s crystal chatelaine bottle with ruby, sapphire and pearl set silver mounts ($1,320).

Dominating the evenings offerings was a beautiful private collection of 1920s-1930s Czechoslovakian crystal bottles, which became a buyer’s paradise due to the large selection and variety, scattering winning bids to between $500 and $2,500, and sending an exceedingly rare Ingrid bottle simulating carved lapis birds soaring ($7,200, seen above)!’

Full results for this and past auctions can be found online at perfumebottlesauction.com

And for those of you hoarding stashed of fabulous flacons, consignments are now being considered for the 2019 auction in Chicago. For further information contact Auction Director: Ken Leach at [email protected]

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Experimental Scent Summit & Awards 2018

The heart of artistic perfumery throbs strongly in Los Angeles, home to the Institute for Art and Olfaction since 2012, and as founder Saskia Wilson-Brown explains, the pulse for perfumery is changing, too.

‘New, self-educated perfumers are thriving, the scents themselves are becoming progressively more audacious, and the art of perfumery as a whole is going through a deep re-examination.’ With this in mind, she launched the IAO as a means of support for perfumers and artists working in and exploring this medium, with the aim ‘…to highlight the innovation and artistry in perfumery, to instigate greater engagement with the art and science around scent, to juxtapose it with other creative practices, and to bring it into the big bad world.’

With an on-going diary bursting with creative, interactive projects, talks and workshops, each year the IAO celebrate independent perfumery with an awards ceremony – the fragrances blind-sniffed by an array of knowledgable judges – and the awards themselves (known as ‘The Golden Pears’) handed out at a differing city each year.

The Art and Olfaction Experimental Scent Summit: London 2018 [Photo by Marina Chichi]
This time, celebrating their fifth year, it was London’s turn to host the awards, and you can see the list of the winners, below; but we were especially thrilled to attend this year’s twist – an ‘Experimental Scent Summit‘, which saw guest speakers from all over the world coming together to talk about their artworks dedicated to exploring our sense of smell. A full two days of talks, performances and discussions, you can read about what went on in greater detail here, but suffice to say we left truly inspired, and buzzing with ideas!

Do take time to have a look at the winners’ websites, and see what your nose might have missed…

Artisan Category Winners:

Chienoir by BedeauX     
CD/Perfumer: Amanda Beadle

[P.S: We must admit to cheering extra loudly for this one – Amanda’s a Perfume Society V.I.P Member! She’s visited us at two of our How To Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops – one in London, and one in Hastings – and we shall be interviewing her shortly to find out the full story of this incredible win, so watch this space…]

Christophe Laudamiel holding his ‘Golden Pear’ Award [photo by Marina Chichi]
Club Design by The Zoo     
CD/Perfumer: Christophe Laudamiel

Independent Category Winners:

Eau de Virginie by Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger  
Perfumer: Jean-Claude Gigodot
CD: Virginie Roux

Nuit de Bakélite by Naomi Goodsir
Perfumer: Isabelle Doyen
CD: Naomi Goodsir, Renaud Coutaudier

Sadakichi Award Winner: Under the Horizon by Oswaldo Macia
Perfume: Ricardo Moya (IFF)

Aftel Award for Handmade Perfume: Pays Dogon by Monsillage (Canada)
Perfumer: Isabelle Michaud

Contribution to Scent Culture: Peter de Cupere (Belgium)

Winners, judges and organisers of the 5th annual Art and Olfaction Awards [photo by Marina Chichi]

IFRA's Fragrance Forum put our sense of smell on the map…

Every year, IFRA – the trade association promoting the safe creation, development and enjoyment of fragrance) organise a Fragrance Forum – an utterly fascinating coming together of highly engaging speakers with experts from just about every sector you can imagine – all of whom are linked by their expertise and interest in the sense of smell. We were thrilled to be invited along for their seventh Forum as part of the fragrance press, and so found ourselves learning the power of Medical Detection Dogs, how to make a Mosquito Invisibility Cape, how to smell-map a city, how the Pre-Raphaelites responded to the stench of the river Thames (by linking it to paintings of fallen women, it turns out), the difference between Synaesthesia (one of my favourite subjects ever) and cross-modal correspondences, and font-sniffing (as in: can you smell/taste/hear typefaces? Short story: yes.)
To give you a taste of the breadth and diversity of the subjects covered, here’s a little more about the speakers and the topics they spoke about so passionately. In a Fragrance Forum for which the theme was Scents & Sensibility (a nod to this year marking the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death), we left with a renewed excitement of the sense that some neglect, but which many of us have built our careers and, indeed, our lives around…
Dr Claire Guest – Sniffing it out
CEO Medical Detection Dogs
Claire has been involved in the training of dogs for tasks involving scent for over twenty years. Since 2002 she has been professionally involved in training dogs in the detection of human disease through scent. She is now the CEO of Medical Detection Dogs (MDD) the leading charity training dogs, pioneering both medical assistance and disease detection, and is not only a pioneer of the training but committed to carrying out empirical research to improve operations and to inform future medical technologies.

Professor James Logan How to make a mosquito invisibility cloak
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
James has more than 10 years of experience in the laboratory and field – in the UK and overseas – of controlling insects of medical and veterinary importance. He has an award-winning PhD investigating why some people are bitten more than others by mosquitoes and midges. Mosquito-borne diseases affect more than half the world’s population, diseases transmitted by insects account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than one million deaths. By understanding more about mosquitoes and their incredible sense of smell, we can develop better ways to control one of the world’s most formidable forces. One day, we may even be able to make ourselves completely invisible.

Key theme: Scent and our surroundings
Kate McLean – Programme Director for Graphic Design at Canterbury Christ Church University
Dr Daniele Quercia – Bell Labs, Cambridge
On the Impossibility of Mapping the Smellscape
Kate McLean is a British artist and designer and mapper of urban smellscapes – the term used to describe the odour landscape around us. She runs smellscape mapping workshops, leads smellwalks around the world and has co-edited a book, Designing with Smell: Practices, Techniques and Challenges (2017). Her talk looked at how interative design research can be used to investigate how the general public perceives and reacts to smells in public spaces.
Daniele Quercia leads the Social Dynamics group at Bell Labs in Cambridge. He has been named one of Fortune magazine’s 2014 Data All-Stars, and spoke about “happy maps” at TED. His research has been focusing in the area of urban informatics, focussing on the fact that, although humans are able to potentially discriminate thousands of different odours, smell is simply hard to measure. SmellyMaps have recently proposed a new way of capturing the entire urban smellscape from social media data (i.e., tags on Flickr pictures or tweets). The SmellyMaps project aims at disrupting the mainly negative view of city odours and being able to celebrate the complex smells of our cities.

Dr Christina Bradstreet – Art, Smell and Sanitation
The National Gallery
Christina is Courses and Events Programmer at the National Gallery and she has taught 19th-century painting at Birkbeck College as well as guest lectures at Sotheby’s Institute, Royal Holloway College and the Courtauld Institute. So, how did the Pre-Raphaelites respond to the stench of the River Thames, in the summer of 1858? This talk explored how the urban stink influenced artists in Britain and beyond in the nineteenth-century.

Key theme: Scent and psychology
Dr Clare Jonas – Synaesthesia – a blending of the senses
University of East London
Synaesthesia is a fascinating condition in which the senses become entangled so that music might appear to have shapes, or smells have colours. In this talk Clare explored what synaesthesia is and how it relates to mechanisms of multisensory perception in the general population. She also explored visual aspects of art, advertising and packaging and how psychological research links them to taste and smell.

Sarah Hyndman – Wake up and smell the fonts!
Founder and Director, Type Tasting
Type Tasting founder Sarah Hyndman is a graphic designer, author and public speaker, known for her interest in the psychology of type. Her main area of expertise is multi sensory typography, she works on collaborative research studies with the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford. In her talk Sarah explored how visual language influences all of our senses as it tells the story of a product. The visual translation of luxury, gender or smell creates anticipation, informs our choices and enhances our experiences.
Innovative new research into crossmodal perception is now mapping the typography of smell – understanding this enables us to use visual language to accentuate nuances and nudge behaviour… just one of the many subjects we left wanting to explore in more depth, so stay tuned for our further investigations!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

How artist Paul Schütze began his journey from paper to perfume

Before photographer, artist and musician Paul Schütze even dreamed of designing fragrances and launching his own line, his obsession with the oft-overlooked sense of smell was already apparent the moment you stepped in to the gallery…
In 2014 Schütze exhibited Silent Surface – a collection of photographs comprising books on fire and with missing words – within the fitting surroundings of an antiquarian bookshop. A central piece of a blackened book resting atop a plinth wafted an other-worldly aroma he’d sprayed the pages with and, under the lights the fragrance diffused to fill the space. The piece was called IN LIBRO DE TENERIS, and the majority of visitors asked if they could buy this inky, woody, book-ish scent (they couldn’t, it hadn’t been created to wear on skin, just as a one-off aroma to enhance the experience of the show) but from that moment, his fragrant fate was sealed.
From then, Paul went on to immerse himself in the world of perfume, working to design his very own trio of fragrances, all borne from olfactory memories of his extensive travels and the inherent artistic sense he has of interpreting the world around him.
Cirebon is a glowing citrus swathed in Tunisian orange blossom, inspired by Paul’s memory of a ‘… Night on the island of Java: by the edge of a lake; the perfumed sounds of a court gamelan orchestra drift across the water, hovering in the air like a constellation of shimmering insects,’ while Tears of Eros is an incense like no other, weaving a scent trail that takes you to ‘…The artist’s studio: Winter; incense from Kyoto’s Sanju Sangendo, a bowl of discarded clementine peel and a night blooming hyacinth; moonlit air from the open windows: these fragrances coalesce into a narcotic, heady, living incense.’ The last of the three so far – Behind the Rain – expands the beauty of mineralic petrichor (the smell that follows a downpour) with a trip to  ‘…An island in the Aegean: a sudden violent rainstorm: as the storm ends, the warmth of the emerging sun on bruised foliage coaxes waves of resinous fragrance that wash down onto our place of shelter under a stand of conifer trees.’

Fascinated to learn more of Paul’s fragrant travels, we asked him to guide us through the most evocative, his personal favourites, and the scents that always inspire him…
What is your first ‘scent memory’?
Chlorine: I have loved swimming in pools since I can remember. I do my best thinking while plowing up and down the lanes letting the world slip away. The huge pleasure of it is inextricably bound to the smell of chlorine. The faintest whiff and I’m transported
When did you decide you wanted to design your own perfume?
I’d always wanted to but it was only four years ago that I realised it might be possible.
What are your five favourite smells in the world?
Well, chlorine – obviously, the interior of the Sanju Sangendo in Kyoto, the flesh of a perfect white peach, our dog Gilbert’s head smells delicious and finally the epicenter of Queen Mary’s Rose Garden (Regent’s Park) in the middle of Summer: the most dizzying, hallucinatory storm of perfumes imaginable.
What’s the worst thing you ever smelled. (Honestly!)
Red Bull: utterly nauseating! I have moved decks on the bus to avoid it.
What is the fragrance you wish you’d created?
Sycomore from Chanel’s Les Exclusives series
Do you feel (like us) that this is one of the most exciting times in fragrance history, because of the creativity being expressed by perfumers? Why do you think that is?
I think we are in a time of intense activity both in commercial perfumery and in the outer edges of experiment (Sisal Tolas and Peter De Cupere). Also because people are realizing that the classical way is not the only way. I think there are parallels with the birth of contemporary music and with visual abstraction.
If you could have created a fragrance for a historical figure, who would it be?
If I might be allowed a fictional historical figure then Des Esseintes the protagonist in Huysmans À rebours.
What’s the first fragrance you bought. And the first bought for you…?
The very first fragrance I bought was Grey Flannel. The first bought for me was Tabac Blonde.
Do you have a favourite bottle design?

I recently made a unique, triple strength version of Cirebon for my partner Chris’s 50th Birthday. I gave it to him in a very beautiful antique, stoppered bottle with a hinged gold cap. It sits in a leather sarcophagus-like case (see photo, below.)


How many perfumes might you be working on, at one time?
Depends, I prefer to work on only one but if I have commissions then it can be three or four at a time.
Does your nose ever ‘switch off’?
It does. Then I know to turn my attentions elsewhere. You can’t force things.
How long, roughly, does it take to create one of your fragrances?
The fastest was a single day the longest so far has been a little over a year.
Is designing a fragrance ‘visual’ for you, as well as something that happens in the nose/brain of the perfumer? If so, in what way…? Is a mood-board helpful?
No, barely visual at all. Very musical though. I often find myself confusing sounds and smells. I listen to music while I work and it is chosen with infinite care. I find time spent in certain architectural spaces hugely helpful in getting a bead on the “right” feel for a fragrance.
What can each of us do to enhance our appreciation of fragrance?
Smell everything. Stop deciding how things smell by merely looking at them. Grab things and burry your face in them. That goes for people too!
What is your best tip for improving a person’s sense of smell?
Again, just smell things: never buy food without taking the time to smell it extravagantly. Never begin to eat until you have savored the aromas of your food. If you find yourself in a lift, close your eyes and imagine the other people from the aromas surrounding you. Open windows and inhale. Never walk past plants, flowering or otherwise without taking the time to sniff them. Never, never worry about how nuts all this makes you seem!
If you had one fragrance note that you love above all others, what would that be?
Vetiver.
We couldn’t leave it there, because we particularly wanted to know about two unusual notes used in the fragrances, and so Paul explained why they are used.

  • Green Incense: I’m obsessed with incense both as a ritual item and as a family of smells. I love the idea of an incense which is living, green, not-yet-burnt.
  • Tamarind: Wonderful aroma which hits you in the taste buds as much as the nose. I can’t smell it without my mouth watering. It has a phenomenological impact on the body which I find really seductive.

With such instantly evocative and unique fragrances to launch the range, we can’t wait to see (and sniff) where Paul Schütze will take us next…
Paul Schütze parfums £135 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Liberty
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Would you try 'Street Perfume' at a bus-stop….?

Commuters waiting for their ride at Los Angeles Mar Vista bus stop are being presented with a mysterious chrome cylinder, the inside glowing blue, and a sign that reads: ‘Try Street Perfume’…
Those brave enough to stick their hands inside get a spritz of a surprising scent created by Alan Nakagawa, in his tenure as Creative Catalyst Artist-in-Residence at the L.A Department of Transportation. But don’t be expecting something along the lines of Chanel No. 5 or Shalimar, for as Nakagawa admits, ‘They weren’t really designed for anybody to wear. They were designed to evoke conversation at a bus stop.’
And quite how that conversation might go is anyone’s guess, as the scents are all ultra-locally inspired,
Working with the agency’s Vision Zero team for a year, Nakagawa’s mission is to reimagine how people perceive the streets around them. Having already made art-filled zines and road-sign haikus, he was also ‘…obsessed with experimenting with something to titillate the nose.’
Anyone travelling to L.A in the next few weeks? Here are three of the weekly-rotating ‘Street Perfume’ scents you could try, if you dare…

Into Town: ‘It’s a plant, indigenous to the area, called California sagebrush. Back in the day when the caballeros were working really hard, and then they had a break, they would rub this plant all over their bodies because, you know, they wouldn’t bathe or anything,’ Nakagawa explains. ‘Then they would ride into town and do whatever partying they were going to do. I like the idea of this early form of perfume that the cowboys used in California that happened to smell good enough it would at least neutralize their stench.’
Economic Development: ‘There are a lot of things going on in Los Angeles, a lot of changes. Some call it gentrification, some call it economic development. I wanted that to be more of a fun smell. So it’s kind of a lavenderish smell at first, kind of musky, and then it quickly changes into a coffee smell with cocoa and vanilla. Everyone who smells it always starts giggling, which is what I wanted to evoke. I wanted to make it playful, even though the discussion happening currently is very toxic.’
Hollywood Springtime: ‘This one is very autobiographical because I’ve always had this thing about the four seasons, having been born and raised in Los Angeles,’ says Nakagawa. ‘I’m only aware of the seasons through the movies or television. I didn’t really see snow until I was an adult, for instance, and I only experienced autumn and orange leaves in post-grad…. I guess maybe I felt cheated when I was a kid. ‘Hollywood Springtime’ is going back to that thing about music. It’s a smell that has no base note, so it’s easy to forget what it smells like. When you smell it it’s like, Oh, this is very nice, it’s very springtime and flowery, it has a sweetness and a wetness to it. But after an hour you probably won’t remember what it smelled like because it doesn’t have substance.’
The bus stop is located at Centinela Avenue and Venice Boulevard, where the perfumes will be available to try throughout August. With a counter logging roughly 500 ‘arm-pokes’ in to the machine thus far, we rather hope something similar will make its way to the UK… and we’d be first in line to try!
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

Scent in stone: Comme des Garçons get CONCRETE

What comes to mind when you picture concrete? Urban cityscapes are bound to be involved, but for design-led style leaders, Comme des Garçons, they always like to play with traditional expectations, and their latest fragrance is anything but conventional (but oh-so wearable, we’re glad to report!)
We had the pleasure of being present at the press presentation of CONCRETE – the new CDG scent launching today and exclusively first available at Selfridges. ‘A versatile material finds an unpredictable form’, they say, and from the pleasingly tactile concrete-clad bottle that will age as flagstones do – leaving a part of yourself imprinted every time you touch it – to the intriguingly soft juice inside (as we said: unexpected!) we have to concur…

So what does CONCRETE smell like? Well there’s the CDG signature of peppery notes, though this time very much white pepper, we’re thinking… then a mineral-ic waft of slightly metallic mistiness, but the framework here is bound to the rich, soothingly creamy essence of sandalwood and the most transparent rose, created by synthetic rose oxide – a molecule that turns old-fashioned rose on its head and adds acres of crystaline lightness and air to the mix.
CDG say that ‘…layers of resinous warmth are lacquered with metallic seams’ – by which we understand that the scent smells somehow both warm and cold at the same time. And it really does! We’re super-impressed and see this as a totally sharable fragrance you could easily wear every day.
CDG are renowned for collaborating with ground-breaking contemporary artists and Graham Hudson has been working with the house for 10 years, this time creating an exclusive installation in the Beauty Hall (and window) of Selfridges, Bond Street.

Comme des Garçons CONCRETE has been imagined as a kind of love story in scent and its artistic expression through all the senses. Music plays on records as sculpted figures and textural shapes abound. The installation is only up for a week, so do pop along and see it while you have the chance!

Comme des Garçons CONCRETE £115 for 80ml eau de parfum
Exclusively at Selfridges until 25/09/07
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent opens at Somerset House… follow your nose!

The perfume world has been abuzz with news of the Somerset House summer exhibition –always a treat, this one had fragrance fans practically fainting with pleasure at the mere prospect…
Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent seeks to explore modern perfumery in an artistic setting – bringing together (hashtag alert) #PerfumePioneers renowned for their challenging, ground-breaking work. Treated to a press preview yesterday, we packed into the East Wing Galleries and couldn’t wait to follow our noses…

10 landmark fragrances greet visitors in the first room of the show

Somerset House say: ‘These pivotal perfumers have been carefully selected by Curator Claire Catterall and Lizzie Ostrom, the fragrance writer also known as Odette Toilette, for the creativity and ingenuity they bring to their work. Whether self-taught or classically trained, each perfumer within the exhibition challenges a long-held convention in scent-design – from creation and communication, to gender and good taste – pushing their craft in daring olfactory directions.’
The 10 perfume provocateurs in the exhibition are a veritable who’s-who of contemporary perfume: Daniella Andrier, Mark Buxton, Bertrand Duchaufour, Olivia Giacobetti, Lyn Harris, Antoine Lie, David Seth Moltz, Geza Schoen, Andy Tauer and Killian Wells… We could list all the perfumes featured but don’t want to spoil your scented surprise, because as you walk in you’re handed a blank sheet for impressions. And knowing what they are definitely shapes your impressions.
The room setting for Daniela Andrier’s Purple Rain for Prada

So what can you expect? Well, again, we don’t want to give too much away – this truly is an exhibition where you need to encounter the scents first hand (well, nose). But during your fragrant travels you will encounter rooms reflecting the inspirations of the scents in their design – from the heat of the desert to the wild Scottish Highlands, with a lover’s boudoir (ooh la la!) followed by a trip to a Catholic confessional, and even a water theme-park! Each fragrance is experienced in a differing, uniquely interactive way, and taken out of context (with no bottles or perfume notes guide) you really are forced to challenge your expectations and concentrate on the smell alone.
It’s not all about the newness, though. Homage is paid to the classic perfumes that have shaped the way we feel about fragrance, fittingly arrayed in the first room you come to – an olfactory time-travel through ten of the most trailblazing scents of the time, one for each decade of the 20th Century.  Beginning with the legendary L’Origan de Coty (1905) – a hallmark perfume, now out of circulation, but specially recreated by Coty for the exhibition – this whisk through the ages ends with ck one (1994), the original ‘unisex’ fragrance that gave us the whole ‘clean’ scent trend.
An original bottle of Coty’s iconic L’Origan

At the end of the exhibition there’s even a mini perfumers’ lab, complete with noses going about their business of carefully creating fragrances, weighing the materials and more than happy to explain the process and let you sniff as they do.
A working Givaudan lab has been transplanted to Somerset House

Following our noses all the way to glorious gift shop, we must admit swooning somewhat at the plethora of perfume books, scented postcards (genius idea!) fragranced pens – with, we’re delighted to report, many of the fragrances available to buy.
Blogger/journalist Persolaise makes sure to exit via gift shop

If the world of fragrance used to be a stuffy old secretive place, we believe the past few years have seen a tide-change, with perfumers stepping out from their laboratories and becoming superstars in their own right. The Somerset House exhibition is a fragrant tour de force that continues this wave of accessibilty: the very ethos of The Perfume Society, in fact!
The organisers worked in association with Coty and Peroni Ambra, with additional support from Givaudan and Liberty London – clearly many hours (weeks, months… years!) have gone in to making this a feast for all the senses.
We cannot urge you enough to go along and sniff for yourself.
Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent 21st June – 17th September 2017/tickets £11 (or £9 concessions)
Somerset House, East Wing Galleries
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Pictures by Jo Fairley
A confessional has been created for Bertrand Duchaufour’s incense-rich Avignon

Paints and a classroom have been chosing as the setting for Andy Tauer L’Air du Désert Marocain

Invigorate your senses with Aesop – and be in with a chance to win tickets to discover Australia's Impressionists

The proudly Australian brand of Aesop have partnered with The National Gallery for the exhibition Australia’s Impressionists, showing until 27 March, and the very first UK exhibition of its kind. Featuring works by Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder and John Russell, the show ‘…unveils a distinctly Australian interpretation of the movement,’ and Aesop are offering a limited number of free passes to the show, if you can answer the artistic question on their website

Established in Melbourne in 1987, Aesop’s main objective has been to formulate skin, hair and body care products by souring the very best of both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients, and harmonising these precious essences in everything they do. Furthermore, Aesop explain they like to venture forth from the many boutiques and points of sale they’ve amassed around the world, and ‘…alongside our commercial activities, we explore and support the arts as an avenue through which to inspire, learn and communicate.’

To get you in the mood for gazing at artistic representations of glorious sunshine and flowers, why not pamper yourself with a fragrant spa-like, at-home treatment? As we write this, the sun is shining but the frost glitters cruelly, and what with the dehydrating side-effects of central heating and rapid temperature changes playing havoc with our skins, it’s a good time to slough off the despondencies of winter with an invigorating body scrub. And luckily, Aesop have our backs (and fronts and sides…)

REDEMPTION_BODY_SCRUB_-_DYNAMIC_CONTENT_HERO_940x526px

Crisply camphorous to awaken your senses with essential oils of pine needles, the warm tingle of clove bud and richly herbaceous sage leaf, this enlivening scrub contains finely milled pumice and bamboo stem to meticulously buff away residual grime and prime your whole body for your chosen pampering product (we suggest a richly moisturising body oil, to be layered with your favourite fragrance for an extra long-lasting scented treat that will leave you glowing!)

Aesop Redemption Body Scrub £25 for 180ml
Buy it at Aesop
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Sarah Baker fuses art, film & fragrance in a decadent soap opera feast for the senses. Watch the film and smell the perfumes…

London-based artist Sarah Baker is fascinated in the cult of celebrity, depictions of glamour and the extravagent shoulder-pads-at-dawn dramas played out in American soap operas. Though Baker’s career has thus far mainly revolved around making her own films, in to this heady mix of art and film she wanted to weave another layer of storytelling  – this time through the medium of scent.
Working with the prestigious Institute of Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, Sarah Baker began to develop her own perfume line, collaborating with renowned perfumers, with Baker overseeing production from her East London Studio and the four fragrances finally launching at a decadent art show/party in December. Says Baker, ‘Each perfume is inspired by luxurious fashion motifs that evoke lavish scenes; while gazing at the printed bottles and smelling the perfumes, one could, for instance, be instantaneously transported onto the deck of a yacht in the Mediterranean….’
Sarah Baker Perfumes take us on a journey from the fizzing ozonic freshness of grapefruit and hedoine’s cooling breeze in Greek Keys, to the frankincense, florals and castoreum ferocious animalic growl (underpinned by fuzzy fur) in Leopard. Taking a softer turn, we have milky musk, coconut, vanilla and an ambrox sexiness of bare skin glimpsed in Lace; finishing with the full-on smokiness of open fires, heather-strewn hills, leather, hops and tobacco of Tartan. An eclectic and genuinely evocative collection, the Greek Keys and Leopard were made by perfumer Ashley Eden Kessler; Lace and Tartan by 4160 Tuesdays very own Sarah McCartney. At once enlivening, challenging and comforting – they are all a true feast for the senses.
Sarah Baker Perfumes are currently £60 for 50ml eau de parfum, and available at sarahbakerperfumes.com
The worlds of film, fashion and fragrance are set to collide this Saturday, with the showing of Baker’s 2013 film Impirioso the story of a wealth and fame obsessed fashion heiress who murders her husband when he sells the family fashion business, in the style of an ultra-glam 80s mini tv series.
And vital news for fragrance fanatics – you’ll be able to smell all the perfumes following the film. Sarah Baker explains that, in fact, ‘…Impirioso is actually the artwork which inspired me to make perfumes. It’s not about perfumes at all, it’s about a woman who murders her husband (based on Patrizia Reggiani) . Instead of using Gucci documentary/biopic-style I created a fake fashion brand “Rocco Rosso” and with it the logo and costumes, hats, home wares. It inspired me to finally make a real product, I had always wanted to produce a perfume, and that’s when I started working with Saskia from Institute for Art and Olfaction.’
You can watch the trailer for the film by clicking here
After the screening you’ll be guided across the road to Storefront – the installation where Baker’s perfumes are displayed, for smelling, wine and chats. It all sounds gloriously glamorous, and, even better – tickets for Impirioso are FREE, but booking is required.
The Hat Factory Arts Centre, Luton
Saturday 14 January
4.30pm
Trains run regularly from St Pancras Station and it’s a 1 min walk to the screening from Luton Station.
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 
 

Illuminum 95%…. the delicious link between taste and smell

Illuminum are ‘pushing the boundaries of the possible’ and exploring the myriad links between between taste and scent. Ever ones to enjoy explorations in both of those areas, we set out to discover more…

Did you know that 95% of what we perceive as a taste sensation is actually constructed from our sense of smell? It sounds astonishing, but anyone who has taken part in our immersive How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops can attest to the power of that discovery [our next one is in Brighton, August 21stcome and join us!]
Indeed, anyone who has ever suffered from a cold and then attempted to eat some comforting bowl of nourishment – only to discover it tastes of almost nothing (or simply unpleasant) – will suddenly have realised the intricate connections between smell and taste…
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Illuminum London proudly straddle the worlds of art and fragrance, pushing the boundaries of how we experience scent and altering our pre-conceived perceptions of smell itself. Having collaborated with many artists, designers and architechts over the years, it seems only natural they should now be working with chefs and exploring that vital link between food and fragrance. Illuminum invited innovative chefs Jackson Boxer, Yuki Gomi and Tom Wolfe to create three distinctive fragrances that explored the interfaces of this connection, playing with our notions of what we think our nose knows.
Illuminum say: ‘Outside the world of perfume, it is chefs who use their sense of smell on a daily basis to spark or guide their imagination. For Illuminum, this cross-disciplinary collaboration with three thoughtful practitioners, each with a clear view of the role and potential of scent, is a unique opportunity to transcend the borders of experience, expectation and practice in order the fashion the new. Formulated in partnership with expert perfumers, the three new scents demonstrate the brand’s ethos of carrying a passion for perfume into fulfilling realms of shared experience, including the worlds of art and culture. For Illuminum, fragrance is an art form in its own right.’
Illuminum Bruswick House

‘Founder of the Brunswick House restaurant and bar in London’s Vauxhall, Jackson Boxer brings his individuality to bear on every facet of the guest experience. Here, within a unique architectural emporium, the antiques themselves are for sale as part of a spirited homage to good taste.’ Explains Jackson:  ‘Food and wine have long provided the framework around which I construct memory. Since I mainly perceive this through scent, the opportunity to create a fragrance with Illuminum that would not only stir me, but also represent a range of hard-to-articulate feelings about cuisine, was fascinating.’ His fragrance features labdanum, oak and cedarwood for a warmly woody Ambrée to set the nose tingling…
Illuminum Yuki&bottle
‘For Yuki Gomi, master of Japanese cooking, teacher, and founder of Yuki’s Kitchen, the ‘95 Percent’ series collaboration is an opportunity to reconnect with a childhood spent in the foothills of Mount Fuji, home to all the subtlety and poetic suggestiveness of Japan’s culinary tradition.’ For Yuki‘s scent, the notes osmanthus, green tea, tangerine and vetiver are entwined to entice the senses…
Illuminum Tom Wolfe
‘London-based Tom Wolfe pioneered the fusion of food with art and product design, carving out a uniquely flamboyant niche in the capital’s culinary landscape. This collaboration with Illuminum is a chance to show off his dazzling talent for drama, story, spectacle and cultural allusion.’ Tom Wolfe #234 twists fennel infused with bergamot, geranium and neroli and a base of pine tree with amber to intrigue…
Illuminum 95% fragrances £80 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Selfridges
Written by Suzy Nightingale