Nancy Meiland is a brilliant British perfumer, now with her own gorgeous boutique in Brighton; but let’s get to know her (and her scented style), starting with where it all began…
Based in East Sussex, Nancy divides her time between town and country, explaining that ‘the creative process of gathering sensory impressions and honing them into a formula is a vital one. Once a blank canvas, the formula sheet acts as a metaphor – and gradually emerges essentially as a kind of poem, with body, light and shade and a life of its own.’ (It amuses Nancy, looking back, that she often had essays returned to her emblazoned with ‘too flowery’ as a criticism. ‘It figures!,’ she says.)
Beginning her career as an apprentice to one of the UK’s experts in custom perfumery, in London, creating signature scents for those coveting ‘something highly individual and special…’ before launching Nancy Meiland Parfums, her decade-long journey through fragrance also saw Nancy co-run the former School of Perfumery, act as a consultant for independent perfume houses, work on collaborations with Miller Harris, and speak on the subject of fragrance at events nationwide.
Now with her own artisanal line, she has the knack of conjuring emotional responses with lyrical fragrances that are contemplative yet so effortlessly sophisticated, based on scent memories of her own, but inviting the wearer to go on their own fragrant journey with every spritz.
Writing about Nancy Meiland for The Perfume Society, beauty writer (and proud Londoner) Viola Levy once admitted that ‘…Nancy Meiland’s fragrances – an ode to the beauty of nature – would make even the most hard-nosed city girl like yours truly want to kick off her Louboutins and go skipping and spinning through a meadow Julie Andrews-style. (I feel similarly towards other UK perfumers inspired by green spaces, there’s just something about the earthy, rain-sodden British countryside that lends itself rather well to perfume…)
You always have an image of someone in your head before you meet them. To be honest, I was expecting Nancy to be a softly-spoken, Brönte-reading country girl (albeit a glamorous one, à la Savannah Miller), pausing our conversation to whimsically gaze into the distance every now and again. A far cry from the chatty, effervescent blonde sat opposite me – and all the better for it. I’m surprised to find out that Nancy is a city girl herself – a fellow North-Londoner no less – whose fond memories of visiting her grandparents as a child inspired her olfactory journey.’
You can watch a fascinating in-depth Q + A with our co-founder Jo Fairley interviewing Nancy Meiland on the video below…
And of course you can read about each of the fragrances (and her inspirations for them) plus the full story of the how the house began, on our page dedicated to Nancy Meiland Parfums.
So-knowledgeable, always engaging, we’re thrilled Nancy now has the scented space to experience the perfumes in person – well worth a visit to the seaside to go on your own mini sniffari to seek them out!
Nancy Meiland Parfums, 2 Nile Street, Brighton, BH1 1HW
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am – 4pm (Saturdays 11am – 5pm)
Written by Suzy Nightingale