Recreating ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’

Occasionally, you’re scrolling through Instagram and something particularly catches your eye. Today it was, firstly, a still from the magnificent film adaptation of Patrick Süsskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. And secondly, the rather intriguing text beneath…

‘Sexy gingers wanted!’ Redheads all around the world, we are looking for you! Mediamatic is looking for sexy gingers who let us extract their scent during Playhouse: Sex S(m)ells! Inspired by Patrick Süsskind’s ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’ we will recreate the perfume from the book. Interested and not afraid of people inhaling your smell? E-mail to: [email protected]

Well now. In the novel (and resulting film adaptation) of Perfume, the protagonist, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, is born with an extraordinary sense of smell. Those of you who have read the book or seen the film will be aware that his methods of capturing people’s scents are rather, um, murder-y, as the title may suggest. Lest potential volunteers are put off by this, the Institute for Art and Olfaction add a helpful footnote:

‘The redheads don’t actually need to be sexy, but exhibitionism is a must. We’re going to attempt Jean-Baptiste Grenouille’s experiments, minus the murder!’

So that’s reassuring!

Earlier this year, the Art and Olfaction team arrived in London for their annual Award ceremony, celebrating independent and artisanal perfumers and artists who work with the sense of smell. Prior to the awards, there were many workshops, talks and performances taking place in Los Angeles, where the IAO are based, culminating in an Experimental Scent Summit in London, which we were delighted to take part in. The next award ceremony (2019) will be in Amsterdam, and ahead of this the IAO team will be taking up residence for the next month. As they explain…

Mediamatic and the institute for Art and Olfaction Team up for a summer program exploring innovative topics around olfaction. Over the course of a month, the IAO Los Angeles team will be in residence at Mediamatic in the first part of an ongoing research and programme on open scent culture and olfactory art.

Join us in our Aroma Lab for perfume blending workshops, follow our live on-site podcast production, learn about sex smells and join our aromatic game show, or a range of other activities presented by the IAO’s Los Angeles-based team.’

We can’t wait to see what they produce. Would you be brave enough to volunteer to have your scent ‘extracted’? We’re thinking it would certainly make for a unique ‘What I Did On My Summer Holiday’ diary entry, if nothing else!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Fabulous new fragrant reads to get your nose stuck into

Make room on your shelves immediately – not for more bottles of fragrance, this time, but books about them. There’s a perfumed plethora of fragrant reads out there that we’ll be reviewing in the coming months, showing the ever increasing lust for more, more, more fragrance facts and behind the scenes peeps in to the perfume world.
Here are just a few of the favourites we’ve read already, but fear not – there are many more fragrant reads to stack up on your bedside table, and we shall attempt to cover as many as we can possibly get our noses stuck in to…


The Scent of You by Maggie Alderson (HarperCollins AU), 32.99 AUD

‘I experience the world through smell – I always have.’ So begins the latest novel by Maggie Alderson, and we couldn’t agree more. Central character, Polly, is a perfume blogger who loses herself in the world of fragrance while her own world falls to pieces around her – something many of us can empathise with. We love the fact Maggie was inspired to name her after falling madly for Vilhelm’s perfume, Dear Polly, and that she even created a blog and Instagram account for Polly to share her perfume reviews.

Having grown up surrounded by the beautiful perfume bottles of her ultra glam (ex-model) mother, and learning to explore the world by sniffing ‘…everything!’ Polly now distracts herself with, among other things, ‘Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer.’ We’re rather wondering who this may have been based on, as that description doesn’t sufficiently narrow it down…
Currently the book has been launched in Australia, but having been utterly gripped by the first chapter – which you can read for free, here – we’re crossing everything that the book will be published in the UK and other territories, soon.
 

CHANEL – The Art of Creating Fragrance by Lionel Paillès (Abrams Books), £125

A breathtakingly beautiful – and lavishly presented – six-volume set of books that foucs on single ingredients, revealing the artisinal techniques used to create those famous Chanel fragrances. Following the journey of the five main flowers from which the majority of Chanel perfumes are made, we learn about the growing, harvesting and meticulous processing of May rose, Grasse iris, Grasse jasmine, rose geranium and tuberose.
Stunning photographs by Pierre Even ensure a feast for the eyes, with fascinating facts dotted throughout. Did you know, for example, that since the very first bottle was made in the 1921,  Chanel No. 5 has been made with flowers from the same picturesque patch of land between the Alps and the Mediterranean, known as the Pégomas Valley?
Gloriously celebratory, this visual tour of the French Rivierea by way of its fragrant flowers just makes us want to jump on a plane and run through the fields in a gauzy white gown and a straw hat, stat. Yes, it’s far pricier than your average book but you are getting a set of six, and these are volumes you’ll want to treasure forever – or give as a really special gift for that ultimate Chanel fan.
 

Flacons Guerlain: Collection de Sylvie Guerlain, by Bernard Gangler (Chêne), £42.24

Imagine being a member of the Guerlain family (oh, imagine…) and becoming obsessed by the bottles (easy enough even when you’re no relation at all, we find!) and then setting about making an extensive collection of them by scouring the flea markets and antique shops of France to hunt down every last rare example you can find. The book is written in French, but really it’s all about the lovingly documented flacons themselves – page after page of them – with greater emphasis on the visual joys than the writing itself, so even if your French is sub- Sixth Form, you’ll get by just fine.
We think this is the perfect ‘coffee table’ book with which to flagrantly display your love of fragrance – hours of flicking through, gazing and sighing happily are pretty much guaranteed, we feel. It’s so interesting to see how some of the bottles change through time – and those that barely change at all. Definitely one for your Christmas List if you can’t quite swing for it yourself right now.
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 
 
 

The Perfume Society Gift Guide: your one-stop shop for a scented extravaganza…

From a gift that lasts the whole year through to a fragrant read and scented treats for the pickiest of people… we have solved your shopping woes with a one-stop shop for all your scent-loving friends, family and colleagues.
Shopping for others isn’t always so easy. But our Perfume Society themed guide to which-box-for-who can help you make all the right choices. With the mere click of a button, it’s your Christmas list, sorted…
 

screenshot-2016-11-29-12-24-04  A VIP Subscription £25

The Perfume Society is the go-to authority on fragrance choosing, wearing, ‘after-care’, history, news, ‘noses’ and much, much more. So why not gift someone a VIP subscription so they can join our ranks?

As a VIP (a Very Important Perfumista), they receive a welcome Perfume Society Discovery Box of samples, accompanied by our exclusive ‘smelling notes’, designed to introduce the key fragrance families – plus Perfume Society sampling blotters and a bespoke notebook for their fragrant thoughts.
They’ll have priority access to exclusive Perfume Society events through the year, and will receive eight digital editions of our award-winning online magazine The Scented Letter. And with their VIP Subscriber card they’ll be entitled to special privileges and exclsuive discounts at stores including Penhaligon’s and Miller Harris, among many other treats. It’s the win-win choice and don’t forget – this gift will last for twelve whole months, so you’ll be in their good books for an entire year…!

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Discovery Boxes from £12.50 for VIPs (£17.50 non-VIPs)

Our Discovery Boxes can be a great gift for someone who is passionate about perfume or a complete novice. Each box is carefully curated and scent-fully themed – we use our fantastic perfume world contacts to bring you an array of well known, niche and latest launches.

Why give just one scent, when you can introduce them to a whole wardrobe of fragrance?! We include expertly written smelling notes, so the wearer can impress with their new-found knowledge when people say ‘you smell amaaazing! What perfume are you wearing…?’
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 The Perfume Bible £16.25 for VIPs (£25 non-VIPs)

Written by The Perfume Society‘s Founders, Jo Fairley and Lorna McKayThe Perfume Bible is must for every fragrance-lover. An encyclopaedia of all things fragrant – from how to build a perfume ‘wardrobe’ to a line-up of the 100 perfumes to try before you die – it brings together their combined years of experience and wealth of knowledge. You’ll discover the journey of ingredients from field to flacon, a run-down of the best perfume shops in the world, the history of scent and much more in 192 pages of invaluable expertise.

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Luxury Perfume House Boxes from £10 for VIPs (from £12.50 non-VIPs)

Alongside The Perfume Society’s own selections, you’ll now find scented boxes from fabled and ‘rising star’ perfumery names including Shay & Blue, Santa Eulalia, Molton Brown, Ormonde Jayne and more with exciting new discoveries added all the time. There’s a box for every budget, with prices from £12.50 – £78 – and The Perfume Society Subscribers can take advantage of special prices: from as little as £10
 

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Gift Vouchers from £15 – £50

The fuss-free solution for those uncertain about what to buy that perfume-loving special someone…
The Perfume Society Gift Card is available in £15, £25 and £50 options and can be redeemed across any item in the shop section of our website – our magazine or copies of The Perfume Bible, VIP Subscription, Discovery Boxes and more!
We hope this has given you a good start to your seasonal shopping – but do look out for our forthcoming posts explaining in-depth how you can make a fragrance lover’s year with whatever gift you choose…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Game of Thrones: we perfume the main players – 9 scents, but no spoilers (we promise!)

Game of Thrones Season 6 has finally begun, to the nail-biting, breath-holding anticipation of the series’ legions of fans around the world. Having once been asked for our advice on scents to suit zombies by a certain TV programme’s producers (yes, really.

We’re on standby for pretty much any fragrant conundrum here at The Perfume Society HQ!) it got us pondering how we’d perfume some of the main players from another of our must-watch shows.

GOT_PerfumeInterestingly, Game of Thrones had its very own scent for a time, with the website Think Geek selling a fragrance called ‘Fire and Blood’ – though this no longer seems to be available. Whether you’re a die-hard enthusiast of the books or TV series, or simply have an interest in boldly characterful fragrances, we think these are worth exploring, instead…

Arya Stark

arya
Unique and youthful, fresh, willful and difficult to define – this pocket-friendly Cologne is a tempestuous mixture of cold steel and sweetness, electricity and petrichor; that tingle in your senses of dark clouds obscuring a bright sky before the heavens open and the downpour begins.

Library of Fragrance Thunderstorm £15 for 30ml cologne spray
Buy it at Boots

Bran Stark

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.53.23A mysterious harmony of dark forests and sunlight fighting its way through misty undergrowth, it’s perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour’s abstract portrait of a hazelnut tree. Freshly green buds unfurl to amber-hued leaves, creamy woods slowly drip rich, honeyed droplets to an earthily sweet forest floor as tendrils of smoke hearald a slow-burning dry-down that’s alive with magic.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Méchant Loup £87 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at House of Fraser

Sansa Stark

Sansa
Wild flower meadows kissed with a cold sea breeze, a tangled bouquet of delicate flowers and juicy berries surrounded by thorny stems. Capturing the dramatic landscape where land meets ocean, within the refined flacon perfectly tied with a grossgrain ribbon lurks a scent of innocence blooming into something altogether more unpredictable in nature.

Penhaligon’s Blasted Bloom £90 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Penhaligon’s

Jon Snow

Jon
Frostily attractive with a minty herbaceousness that gives way to dryly brooding undertones, it’s been splashed on since 1988 and although it may be passed over by those seeking more spirited adventure in their fragrance journey, it should never be overlooked. Simplicity is sometimes written off as dull, but this still has an icy masculinity that longs for a secret snuggle.

Davidoff Cool Water £41 for 75ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

Cersei Lannister

Cersei
Staggeringly provocative with a vastness that can fill a room, this is full-on waxy tuberose seduction that could double as a weapon if you so wished. Razor-sharp white flowers whistle through the air like silver bullets, tempered only by a buxom bouquet of velvety roses and crown of orange blossom resting on a glamorously musky base.

Robert Piguet Fracas £95 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges

Jamie Lannister

Jamie
Classically handsome and knows it, winsomely charming with a bracingly rugged edge, 50 years ago this was the first male fragrance by Dior and broke new ground. Described as ‘absolutely wild and resolutely sensual’, this is bergamot balanced with a mossy, floral heart for the ‘new man’ or ‘metrosexual’ – a forward-thinking guy who favours facials but still hankers after a spot of sword-fighting – before the term was coined.

Dior Eau Sauvage £49.50 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Debenhams

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion
Soaked in boozy fruits, tenaciously strong yet crowd-pleasingly smooth at heart, bobbing in the perfumed punch bowl we find juicy pineapple, orange, plump raisins and dried plums soaking up the alcohol; while cocoa, tonka and coffee lead to vine blossom, peppered honey and spiced vanilla. Definitely one for those with a taste for the finer things in life.

Frapin 1270 £98 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Bloom

Melisandre

Melisandre
‘Darker than night, stronger than desire, what is the line between passion and the urge to dominate?’ A question posed by Blood Concept – a line inspired by blood types and their inherent proclivities – and answered thus: Milky pools of liquid cedarwood charged with black pepper, laden with glowering guaiac wood and resinous patchouli sinuously seeping into the flickering heat of amberwood and incense.

Blood Concept 0 Cruel Incense £108 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Avery Perfume Gallery

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys
Compellingly unusual with notes of cade oil, spikenard (praised for its curative, medicinal properties) spicily perfumed cardamom pods, clearwood and darkly glistening berries; the labdanum-rich smoky base is one to clamour for. One moment it’s all refined sophistication with bone dry woods and the next, passionate, carnal, and mysterious.

Imaginary Authors A City On Fire £70 for 60ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Roullier White

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Shakespeare’s in a lather with Heyland & Whittle’s commemorative Soap Book

Fans wishing to mark the #Shakespeare400 anniversary of the Bard’s death, may wish to make like Coriolanus and ‘Bid them wash their faces / And keep their teeth clean’ by presenting a loved-one with Heyland & Whittle‘s ‘To Beard or not to Beard’ gift-boxed commemorative Shakespeare Soap.

Shakespeare Soap Book SMALLDelightfully packaged in a book-like gift box, instead of merely including a leaflet describing the soap, Heyland & Whittle have allowed the muses to inspire them and written their own little homage – a playlet called ‘The Two Gentlemen of Castile’ – containing puns, quotations and clever quips for the discerning customer to persuse as they lather up, whether to shave or not to shave…

With natural moisturising properties and a vibrant citrus fragrance including essential oils, herbs and spices, whether they choose to shave or just wash and go, it makes a great gift for would-be whiskery thesps and bearded bibliophiles alike.

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The Commemorative Shakespeare Soap Book £12.00
Buy it at Heyland & Whittle

Written by Suzy Nightingale

4160 Tuesdays launch IndieGoGo project – The Mystery of the Materials: Four Scented Stories

‘We do things differently, here in London W3…’ Sarah McCartney, founder of independent perfume house 4160 Tuesdays, explains. ‘All our fragrances have a story. This year we want to bring out four new editions; eaux de parfum each with its own mystery story, inspired by the classic crime novels of the 1930s.’

Having successfully reached out to the fragrance community and many long-time fans of her distinctively quirky scents, last year saw the crowd-funded Crimes of Passion collection selling out and winning awards. Crowd-funding has become popular over several online platforms recently, with small companies and independent entrepreneurs reaching out for public support to give them a much-needed initial cash investment they then use to fulfill  project they could otheriwse only dream of, with those initial investors receiving a number of bonuses or gifts in reward for their belief and support. Fragrance expert and vintage perfume aficionado Barbara Herman also used this technique to launch her Perfume X range of vintage-inspired fragrances, which were composed by Antoine Lie.


Last year, 4160 Tuesdays launched seven fragrances to evoke ‘unexpected acts of devotion’ and included Dirty Honey, which won the EauMG Best Indie Scent 2015; Maxed Out having been one of Lucky Scent’s Top 12 Perfumes of 2015 and currently in the running as one of the finalists for The Fragrance Foundation‘s 2016 award for Best New Independent Fragrance; along with yet another of the series – Midnight in the Palace Garden – also having made the final list of nominees.

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This time the collection is entitled The Mystery of the Materials: Four Scented Stories, and each will be themed around specific 30s style mysterious tales that Sarah has written, with a specific perfume and specific ingredients in mind.

The scented stories are enticingly described as follows…

The Search for Flora Psychedelica
The story: ‘A tale of botany and skullduggery.’

The scent: ‘A blend of rare flowers with intoxicating spices and herbs.’

The Mystery of the Buddhawood Box
The story: ‘Horatio Kimble had sailed for Australia to seek his fortune. Twenty years later, his lawyers invite the relatives to a meeting.’

The scent: ‘Four distinctive woods, with a note of multicoloured opalescence.’

Up the Apples & Pears
The story: ‘Cissy and Dotty Shuttleworth defend their London pub from an unscrupulous property developer.’

The scent: ‘Autumn fruit in a tiny London orchard.’

Captured by Candlelight
The story: ‘When the lights go out at Dolderbury Hall a portrait goes missing, but which one was it?’

The scent: ‘Traditional plum pudding, covered in brandy and set alight, with a background of oak panels and oil paintings.’

Those who invest in the scheme can contribute from as little as £5, with a range of benefits and bonuses available varying from a signed, bound book of the stories, a specially reduced price of the perfume, and sample sets of the finished scents.

Talking about the sliding scale structure of investment in such schemes, Sarah said:

‘We’re starting with a very affordable dip of the financial toe, right down to a deep plunge of a bespoke service, story and scent. Perfume is an unusual thing to buy before trying, so we’re doing sample sets to reduce your risk, but there are great incentives to take a chance on buying before you try them.We’d love to invest in more amazing materials which you don’t find in big brand fragrances; we’re a tiny company so crowdfunding makes it possible. If some of these scents sound exciting to you, join in! We’d love your help to invest in interesting materials and to use them to create something marvellous…’

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Sarah’s ‘wish list’ of ingredients:

Australian Buddhawood
Boronia flower absolute
Granny Smith apple creation
Colombian enfleurage lily and gardenia
Natural pear creation
Brandy CO2 extract
Absinthe essential oil
Artemisia essential oil
Davana essential oil
Hemlock essential oil
Broom absolute
Hazelnut CO2 extract
Oakwood CO2 extract

If you’re crossing your fingers and hoping it all goes ahead so your favourite-sounding scent gets made, never fear. Says Sarah: ‘We shall definitely be making the perfumes, no matter how many people join in; but the more supporters we have, the more of these lovely materials we can acquire, and the more beautiful our story books will be. We’re also planning a rather interesting launch event…’

We’re duly intrigued and shall be keeping an eye on further crowdfunding schemes in fragrance world – a fascinating way that fans of smaller, independent perfume houses can directly invest in the purveyors of their perfumed delights.

If you’d like to get involved or find out more, visit 4160 Tuesdays IndieGoGo page.

Written by Suzy Nightingale