Colourful fragrance feeds to follow

Colourful fragrance feeds on Instagram are lighting up our life right now – most especially as we’ve just published the latest edition of The Scented Letter magazine with the theme of ‘Perfume’s Bright Future.’

 

 

Because fragrance truly has been brightening the darkness of the last year for so many of us – both literally and metaphorically – and we now know that colour, emotions and scent are not only metaphorically linked, but scientifically proven. Changing the colour of the bottle, packaging or juice inside can drastically alter our perception of how a perfume smells to us. And, as you will discover in this biggest ever issue: fragrance designers have mapped out your mood, sometimes long before the first drop of an ingredient has been added to the composition.

But really it all comes down to that immediate uplifting appeal that bright colours and the right fragrance can have – a whizz, bang, pop! of rainbows bursting forth from our phone screens just make everything seem jollier, somehow. And how we’ve needed that of late.

Here are some of our favourite multi-hued, must-follow fragrance feeds on Instagram, for whenever you need to smell in full colour...

dr.elle.perfume
A perfume collector based in the U.K., Dr. Elle’s account is a brilliantly curated glimpse at her incredible collection – displayed in a rainbow of colours. Fascinating to see the colours en-masse, to spot rare bottles and be entranced by her impeccably arranged flatlays!

 

anillustratednose
In her ‘spare time ‘from working in science, Nafia is a talented artist who renders some favourite fragrances in hand-drawn illustrations. Often surrounded not only by their literal colours, but those the scent evokes for her, adding another sense to seeing them on screen.

 

yura_perfume_collection
A perfume collection of dreams, we wonder how many bottles Yura has in total, with snippets such as ‘Photos of a few months ago. And have collected 300 bottles more after that…’ Exquisite flacons, usually arrayed by house, showing their full scent spectrum.

 

suzys__niche_fragrance_reviews
No not my collection (I wish!) but this Suzy shows her ‘passion for fine fragrance expressed through reviews and photos.’ Wonderfully evocative and so-colourful backdrops give another vibe to her really great descriptions of how the particular perfumes make her feel.

 

markus.ebrahim
Anyone who keeps fragrance bottles in a cocktail cabinet is right up our street, and Markus describes himself as a ‘perfume extremist’, whose Instagram also serves as a scent diary. A rapid response nurse for the NHS, his feed is full of color, wit and personal reflections.

 

fragrance.obsession
Exploring both niche and more mainstream designer houses, colourful flowers and themed layouts are often employed to accompany her lovely reviews (sometimes even matched with nail polish too!) We love her trays of monthly scent sellections as well: so organised!

 

alltheperfume
Sarah has an extraordinary collection we’ve previously shared in The Scented Letter magazine’s #ShareMyStash feature, having visited her home and seen the beautiful bottles for ourselves! Gorgeous photos and thoughtful reviews of often more affordable houses.

By Suzy Nightingale

 

 

 

Escentric Molecules M+ exclusive webinar launch (watch here!)

Escentric Molecules M+ is an incredible NEW trio, incorporating their iconic Molecule 01 with iris, mandarin and patchouli, respectively, for the most fabulous fragrant results. Now, you can purchase your own M+ Discovery Set and sniff-along online…!

We just know you’re going to fall (hard) for all three of these Escentric Molecules M+ fragrances, and what better way to introduce them than let Geza guide your nose while you exolore them on your own skin…?

 

 

As if we weren’t excited enough at hearing of the M+ range, imagine the squeals of delight when we learned Escentric Molecules had chosen to launch them LIVE with us, during a webinar in which Geza Schoen, the genius perfumer and founder of the house, talked through the M+ fragrances with our co-founder, Jo Fairley, and our subscribers. Those who’d purchased tickets were sent an M+ Discovery Set and a Zoom link, to join in the live sniff-along.

As you can imagine, those tickets and boxes sold out in record time (this was a rare opportunity after all!) but we’re so happy to inform you those M+ Discovery Sets are available to purchase, and we’re sharing the sniff-along video, below – so whenever you purchase your box, you can open and explore with Geza and Jo in your own time, woohoo!

 

 

During the video, Geza shares his inspirations, explain how he chose the ingredients to pair with Molecule 01 for the new M+ collection, and reveal his passions for the world of perfumery, and answering some of the many questions our subscribers wanted to ask him.

 

Escentric Molecules M+ discovery set

 

Molecule 01 + Iris  Geza says: I have had a long-standing love affair with iris. Every Escentric fragrance has an iris note somewhere in there. To me, iris is luxury. The iris pallida absolue I’ve used here is one of the most expensive ingredients in perfumery. You can find iris extracts for way less than that. But they do not have the great and subtle beauty of this absolue. It’s radical to put this much in a fragrance. The sillage is fantastic. This is a bomb, but a subtle bomb.

Molecule 01 + Mandarin  Geza says: ‘Mandarin is all about the instant hit. It’s so alive, the way it radiates off the skin with that citrus zestiness. But there’s more to mandarin, it’s very fruity and aromatic as well. It’s a beautiful ingredient. Its transparency means that it vanishes quickly. I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness. Then as it begins to fade, Molecule 01 syncs in, bringing a warm, erogenous feeling to play with that zinging freshness. That’s unusual – for a topnote ingredient like Mandarin and a base note like Iso E Super to dance together naked like this, without other notes coming between them. And then the mandarin is almost gone and you are left with the elevated simplicity of Molecule 01.’

Molecule 01 + Patchouli  Geza says: ‘Patchouli is a unique natural. Unlike 99% of perfume ingredients, we associate it with a particular period, with the sixties and seventies and that bohemian spirit. It has a cool, rather aloof woodiness to it. I love it for its moody beauty. I’ve  used two qualities of patchouli here. The biggest chunk is Patchouli Coeur which is a very clean, soft patchouli oil fraction with the camphor-like top note removed. I have also included a patchouli oil from Indonesia to round it out with a little bit of a top note. The result is a sophisticated, clean patchouli that pairs fantastically well with Molecule 01.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Discovery Set £20

By Suzy Nightingale

Scent themed podcasts we’re listening to for spring

Scent themed podcasts seem to be bursting forth like so many buds blossoming, and we’re here for it! When we began recommending perfumed podcasts to listen to a couple of years ago, there really were only a handful around. Now? A whole bunch we’re adding to our ‘subscribe’ list for spring.

Exploring our sense of smell, reviews of new launches and retrospectives with perfumers and fragrance house founders alike, here’s some more direct links to listen, grab a cuppa and some precious ‘me time’ with…

 

An Aromatic Life: Interview with Christophe Laudamiel
Exploring our sense of smell from angles including science, art, literature, movies and health, host Frauke Galia seeks to ‘…shed light on this beautiful sense and increase its profile in a culture dominated by sight and sound.’ With fascinating guests providing insight into wine smelling, aromatherapy and even ‘why we have two nostrils, not just one’, Frauke recently interviewed brilliant perfumer Christophe Laudamiel for the second part of ‘The Art of Perfumery’ (and we highly recommend listening to the first, too).

 

The Sniff: Interview with Kingdom Scotland
Fragrance blogger Nicola Thomis loves taking a deep dive in to all things fragrance and scent related, and in this episode she gets to know Imogen Russon Taylor, founder of the unique Scottish fragrance house of Kingdom Scotland. During their conversation, the two discuss the latest release ‘as well as delving into the influence that Scotland has on their perfumes’ and the intriguing role the Royal Botanic Society of Edinburgh archives have played in inspiring the brand and their scents.

 

Heston’s Journey to the Centre of Food: ‘Heston Smells’
This podcast series invites listeners to hop on board for an exciting trip ‘with the world’s most creative chef, as he explores the amazing hidden secrets within our simplest ingredients,.’ It’s well known that Heston is obsessed with smell and has worked with perfumers and scientists previously to incorporate that sense into his epic food concepts. Here he’s interviewing author Harold McGee on the launch of his new book, Nose Dive (which we recently reviewed, here). A jaw-dropping tome (and it’s a big ‘un!), it reveals the chemical components that make up familiar (and bizarre) smells that surround us.

 

 

The Smell Podcast: Interview with psychologist Dr. Kathrin Ohla
Katie Boateng is an ‘acquired anosmic’ who became anosmic ‘after suffering a post-viral infection that lasted for weeks in late 2008/early 2009.’ She explains that ‘The goal of the podcast is to spread awareness and to make sure that you know, you are not alone in your anosmia journey!’ With Covid-19 having caused a new awareness on the psychological implications of a loss of smell, there’s no better time to tune in. This latest episode being a conversatioj with psychologist, Dr. Kathrin Ohla, and an explanation of how to use ‘GCCR’s Smell & Taste Check.’

 

Every Little Thing: Skewed Smells – A Weird COVID Mystery
Another smell-related podcast in this series (and proof the pandemic is getting everyone talking about our least explored sense), this time with a caller’s personal story. ‘Leña had COVID-19 last October and temporarily lost her sense of smell. As it started to come back, she noticed something strange — fruity things smelled like burnt hair and condoms. Where are Leña’s mystery smells coming from? Rhinologist Simon Gane fills us in on COVID-related smell loss.’

 

Perfume Philosophers: Spring Forward with Floral Street
Fragrantly obsessed friends co-host a podcast ‘about all things that smell good.’ From scented candles they love to explorations of new (to them) fragrance houses and even explaining their love for the smell of marshmallows, this episode is all about their personal first impressions of the Floral Street perfumes. A British house that has recently gone stellar in the United States (thanks to being stocked at Sephora), we’re glad to see the scents from this indie house are getting worn around the world.

 

Pinot & Perfume: Kilian Vodka On the Rocks
‘Do you love perfume?’, host Sarah Chacon asks. ‘How about wine (or any alcohol bevvie)?’ (okay, you have our full attention). ‘If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE.’ Hurrah for that. Each week ‘everything relating to perfume: reviews, news headlines, trends in the industry, and even some educational tidbits (what exactly IS musk, anyway?)’ are discussed – ‘all while sipping on a little sumpin’ sumpin’.’ This time, it’s the refreshing beverage-inspired fragrance of Kilian Vodka On the Rocks that’s tickling her fancy.

 

Mary Portas: On Style: Lizzie Ostrum interview
Talking about ‘the power of style’, guru Portas waxes lyrical with the help of several guests on how to celebrate yourself (and ‘travel through space and time’) through the medium of exploring your personal style. On this episode, one iof the guests is our good friend, fragrance expert and author, Lizzie Ostrom (aka ‘Odette Toilette’) to discuss invisible style, and how ‘Scent is intrinsically linked to memory, and we examine the way it has brought us closer to the people and places we’ve missed in lockdown.’ They also look at ‘how the perfume market fared during the past 12 months, and get some tips from Lizzie on choosing a signature scent online.’

 

Outspoken Beauty: On the Scent Epidose 2
Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale is once again ‘On the Scent’ with experienced beauty broadcaster and co-host, Nicola Bonn. ‘Suzy is a fragrance expert who describes scent like no one I’ve ever met,’ Nicola says [thank you!] and during the episode they chat about ‘some of the most exciting and incredible fragrances on the market and Suzy also does a fragrance prescription service, answering all of the fragrance dilemmas that you’ve been sending…’

Fancy some more fragrant listening? Simply type ‘podcasts’ in the search bar and even more hours of scented musing will be yours to while away the hours with!

 

Happy Birthday Chanel! N°5 – 100 years of celebrity

We’re ready to celebrate in more ways than one, not the least by saying Happy Birthday, Chanel. Incredibly, N°5 is celebrating 100 years of being adored by celebrities and fragrance fans the world over. We urge you to join in by spritzing some, now, while watching the fragrantly-themed full-length film and resting your eyes on gorgeousness awhile…

‘Its name is universally renowned. Its wake, a revolution. Its bottle, an unmatched masterpiece,’ says Chanel. ‘Created in 1921, N°5 is the best-known perfume in the world. The new episode of Inside CHANEL looks back over 100 years of celebrity.’

 

Delving deeply into just what makes it so enduringly special, Chanel explains that:

‘From the start, N°5 threw habits and conventions to the wind. At the beginning of the 1920s, Gabrielle Chanel had already changed people’s views on fashion by suggesting a new allure. Her first perfume is consistent with her pioneering designs, simple yet well thought through. Revolutionary in its composition, N°5 is also the first perfume imagined by a woman for women.’

Marilyn Monroe © Chanel

 

N°5 has spawned many iconic scent memories over the decades, ‘Whether it be Marilyn Monroe turning it into a myth by confessing she only wore a few drops in bed, or Andy Warhol screen printing it as a pop art icon.’ And did you know – N°5 was the perfume to be advertised on TV!

 

Chane N°5 © Chanel

 

The visual images accompanying N°5 have always been swoonsome, too (just cast your eyes around this page for proof) – inspiring some of the greatest names in photography and cinematography — including Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Ridley Scott, Jean-Paul Goude or Baz Luhrmann — and has truly ‘become a visual symbol that has never lost touch with the contemporary creative scene.’

 

Marion Cotillard © Chanel

 

The muses have been meticulously chose over these years as well – only those women who can emody the character of the fragrance without overshadowing it, such as Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman or (current ‘face’) Marion Cotillard have been ‘…among the ambassadresses who, by their spirit and modernity, lift N°5 into the eternal feminine pantheon for posterity.’

 

Happy Birthday, Chanel! © Chanel

 

From being included in museum exhibitions to countless scent memries we all share, we certainly agree that ‘It is a perfume which, like a coat of invisible armor, gives the strength to face life. Backed with its 100 years of celebrity, N°5 will always be one step ahead.’ That’s why we chose to continue the celebrations, while asking trend forecasters and fragrance experts how they think Chanel N°5 will sashay forth in the next 100 years – with a stunning spread in the just-published Perfume’s Bright Future issue of The Scented Letter Magazine.

 

 

VIP Subscribers can view online for free, or you can purchase glossy print copies, here, and International readers can buy a year-long online subscription, here.

However you choose to celebrate, we feel it’s time to spray on N°5 with abandon and shake our fragrant tail feathers as we look to our own futures with an increasing sense of joy…

By Suzy Nightingale

Clive Christian Matsukita – a fragrant history, revived

Clive Christian has been searching through the Crown Perfumery Company archives to research ‘some of the most infamous scents from this revolutionary British perfume house; loved by the aristocracy, politicians, artists and actors of the Victorian era and beyond.’

Select perfumes, we’re told, will be ‘uncovered from history, taking inspiration from a unique heritage whilst remaining true to the Clive Christian traditions of concentration, complexity and a dedication to using the finest ingredients.’

 

 

Matsukita was inspired ‘by a fabled Japanese princess who awed the Victorian royal court with her elegance and grace’ – first launched in 1892 by Crown Perfumery, and heavily advertised with lavish, hand painted illustrations.

Today, Matsukita ‘has been reimagined to capture this illusive elegance.’ A deliciously woody chypre, there’s an invigorating freshness wafting around the top notes to keep this breezy and beautiful. Green bergamot, pink pepper and intriguing nutmeg swoop to the floral, woody heart of Chinese imperial jasmine infused with with smokey black tea. The smoke dispersing to reveal an amber-rich base swathed in whisper-soft musk add further to the ‘sense of mystery and grace’ they hoped to capture of the original.

 

Clive Crown Collection Christian Matsukita £325 for 50ml eau de parfum
Available at harrods.com

 

Such a fragrance deserves a fitting presentation, and Clive Christian explain that, ‘The presentation case showcases the unique history, with an archive image hidden for discovery beneath each bottle. The symbol for this new collection is none other than the delicate motif of the Crown Perfumery Company, a symbol guarded by the perfume house as a sign of excellence and perfume quality. As with all Clive Christian perfumes each bottle is topped with our signature crown stopper, a sign of perfume prestige since 1872.’

While fragrance lovers have been swooning at the scent and its packaging, we also lost our hearts completely to the charmingly illustrated film to accompany the launch of this contemporary itteration, which we’re thrilled to share with you, below…

 

Perfume Bottles Auction 2021 – the rare, unique & ravishing!

The annual Perfume Bottles Auction is the most important date in the diary for serious scent bottle collectors around the world. Every year, stunning examples of artistic fragrance flaçons are meticulously sourced and offered to bidders, and it’s a chance to see some of the rarest bottles outside of a museum.

Since 1979, organiser and founder of The Perfume Bottles Auction, Ken Leach, has been working ‘to create public and corporate awareness of the artistry to be found in vintage perfume presentation.’ His antique shop’s show-stopping merchandise ‘has served as a source of inspiration for glass companies, package designers, and celebrity perfumers, before ultimately entering the collections of perfume bottle enthusiasts around the globe.’

Like last year, thanks to the pandemic the auction will be held online on May 1st 2021 – though this offers the opportunity for everyone to join in. The circumstances have made sourcing items more challenging, but Mr. Leach says, although he’s not been able to travel ‘…as I normally would to view collections, fate smiled and among this year’s consignments are some of the rarest and most unusual items I’ve seen.’

 

 

The stunning print catalogue – highly collectable in itself, and an invaluable resource for fragrance fans and historians alike – is now available (and can be sent worldwide).

Mr. Leach is pictured, above, with some of the most important items, and walks us through them, below. Get set to swoon…!
DeVilbiss & Osiris
‘Exceedingly rare 1928 DeVilbiss figural dragonfly perfume atomizer with a pre-sale estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.  Also in this photo is the all important Osiris by Vinolia with a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $40,000
Paul Poiret Rosine
‘1919 Rosine Aladin perfume bottle in elaborate box signed Mario Simonis ’19. The box graphics depict Paul Poiret as a Persian King in an imagined Orientalist tableau, the base covered in authentic Moroccan fabric. Pre-sale estimate $2,500-3,500.’
Hoffmann
‘Spectacular 1920s Heinrich Hoffmann Czechoslovakian black crystal perfume bottle with Austrian decoration by Turriet & Bardach. Pre-sale estimate $4,500-5,000’
 
Isabey Lalique
‘1924 Rene Lalique for Isabey A Travers la Voilette (Through the Veil) perfume presentation in collaboration with Alix Ayme. On the box cover and seen through a veil, a beautiful woman smelling a bouquet of flowers is detailed. The lustrous box is finished to appear lacquered while the veil pattern is printed in metallic ink, allowing the embossed flowers to appear to pierce through the veil. Pre-sale estimate $3,000-6,000′
Powder Box
‘1920s Rare Galleries Lafayette “Terre de Retz” highly detailed figural “Pirate Ship” powder box. Pre-sale estimate $1,500-2,000’
Lalique Olives
‘1912 Rene Lalique et Cie. “Olives” clear glass perfume bottle molded with convex oval cabochons, matching stopper. Pre-sale Estimate $600-800’
Ballerina
‘1940’s Marie Earle Ballerina perfume bottle presentation includes a covered plaster ballet shoe stand box. Advertisements for this perfume read “Ballerina perfume for dancing souls.” Pre-sale estimate $3,000-4,000′

Schwarzlose Berlin – the heritage fragrance house that survived war by being one step ahead…

From piano-maker to perfumer, the historic Schwarzlose Berlin have been selling scents since 1856, beloved by the royal courts of Europe and Chinese Emperors alike. This always-innovative perfumery has survived war, inflation and changing tastes by always being one step ahead, but their name still may not be known to many. Let’s put that right…

It all began when entrepreneurial piano-maker Johann Friedrich Schwarzlose decided to branch out and establish his own drug store at Markgrafenstrasse 29, beginning with production of perfumes.

 

 

Quickly establishing himself, his next venture to take over the distinguished fragrance manufacturer Treu & Nuglisch in 1858. The company had been purveyor to the Court, and now the aristocracy flocked to the new fragrance shop. By 1897, Schwarzlose had taken on a business partner, Franz Köthner, and together they traded with the added title: ‘Purveyor to the Court of His Majesty the Emperor and King’. Indeed, a flacon found in a collection of Emperor Pu Yi confirms their formidable reputation had already reached as far as China.

Always attuned to the latest innovations, Schwarzlose was quick to adopt the new scientific advances which were then rocking the perfume world, by combining blends of naturals with man-made aroma molecules – discoveries akin to creating a new musical note or gifting a previously unseen colour to an artist. As the J.F. Schwarzlose history documents, ‘Although fashion around 1900 still calls for perfumes imitating the natural fragrance of a blossom as closely as possible (lilies of the valley, violets, roses, or lilac are the dominating scents of that time) the art of composing olfactory fantasies becomes increasingly important.’

Their continuing renown for combining heritage quality with contemporary tastes meant that by 1902, with Ernst Köthner, grandson of Joachim Friedrich Schwarzlose, now sole owner; the company had begun expanding further in foreign markets worldwide – Spain, Asia and Australia just some of the locations their products are sought-after. Continuing their innovative ways, around the turn of the century, they launched their first perfume vending machine to the English-speaking world, with the automat promising ‘to dispense ‘Perfume Soap-Powder’ in the four different fragrances: ‘Eau De Cologne’, ‘Rosa Centifolia’, ‘Lilaflor’, and ‘Melati Radja’ onto a handkerchief held in front of it.’

The crippling inflation of the early 1930’s saw many established houses go under, but luckily J.F. Schwarzlose survived – testament to their wise business-handling and fine perfumery skills. In fact, they’re able to move into a modernised store located on Leipziger Straße 113 in the September 1930. They continued to thrive for well over another decade, but another war was looming, and their fragrant fate was not so kind, this time…

 

 

In 1944 the J.F. Schwarzlose factory and shops were bombed and totally destroyed. That might have been the end of the tale – another proud perfume house lost to history – were it not for the resilience of one Anni Köthner, who restarted the business, first in Hamburg, then moving back to its true home city, Berlin. But the shadow of the Berlin wall now loomed, in 1961 splitting locations of the company East and West Germany, impacting on the business, which ceased trading once again in 1976.

 

 

But what a phoenix this fragrance house is – because the story isn’t finished. In 2012, packaging designer Lutz Herrmann and communication expert Tamas Tagscherer revived it under the name J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin – enlisting brilliant perfumer Véronique Nyberg as the ‘nose’.

Today, this new guard remains ‘in close contact with the last heir to Schwarzlose, Jutta Jank-Trabant, who is delighted to find the brand on display again… and is always a welcome guest in the new office of J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin. And how utterly joyous this important perfumery was saved once again! Now thriving afresh, the modern-day fragrances of J.F. Schwarzlose harness the grandeur of their heritage, and all they learned through history, but still stay true to leading the fashions rather than merely following them.

We think this heritage name deserves to be celebrated the world over – a house that’s so proudly continued and re-invigorated their fragrant catalogue with the most modern innovations. So now, we urge you to continue the Schwarzlose Berlin story by trying their wonderful scents for yourself…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Escentric Molecules M+ – a trio of NEW fragrances! Molecule 01 + naturals

Escentric Molecules have just today launched THREE M+ fragrances – iterations of their best-selling Molecule 01 – a fragrance that first showcased the artistry and depth of synthetic aroma molecules and changed the face of the industry forever.

As pefumer and founder Geza Schoen says, ‘‘Molecule 01 is an exceptional molecule: radiant, velvety, cocooning. It’s mysteriously effective on its own as Molecule 01, But I started to wonder if there might be another way to play with it. What if I could take the molecule and add just one other beautiful ingredient and see how they danced together in the bottle?’

That perfumed pondering has led to three brand new explorations of Iso E Super – each of them blended with naturals, because, as Geza says, ‘Only naturals have the complexity and radiance to work in a dance of two like this, while maintaining the simplicity of the concept.’

We’re thrilled to be launching the M+ collection during a live event tomorrow, when our Co-Founder, Jo Fairley, will be putting your questions directly to Geza, but for now, let’s dive into the whole thought process and let Geza explain more…

 

 

1. As a brand that has always launched in binary pairs, this is a real change for Escentric Molecules, what made you want to do this triptych?

‘It’s three fragrances by accident. Not by any particular design, but as I started to work on the project I realised
I was considering a base, a heart and a top note. M+ mandarin gives you a huge top note experience, M+iris highlights the heart as M+patchouli emphasises the base note, all the fundamental roles of a fragrance.’

2. Why now?

‘It’s actually another accident! It all started with my partner’s wish for the best possible singular iris note within a fragrance. She asked me to create this for her. I thought about it for a while and then decided to add very little else
to the iris combination used so as to not detract from the powdery beauty of the orris root absolue itself. The simple
inclusion of Iso E Super with the orris blew us both away. M+ iris was born. Even then, I didn’t immediately think of it as a Escentric Molecules fragrance. It was only after experiencing Sophie wearing it and the reaction she got from others that the concept of developing it for commercial release formed in my mind.’

3. How did you choose the + elements for the fragrances?

‘From the reaction Sophie’s Iris fragrance got, I started to think about other combinations that may work in a similar minimal marriage. I experimented with many, deciding on patchouli as it is probably the ultimate, elegant woody
note in perfumes, M+ mandarin was chosen for it’s almost shocking aromatic zesty boost, using this particular mandarin oil that is just so beautiful.’

4. You have some very loyal molecule fans who have been with you since the beginning – how do you think
they will react to this, or have they been asking for something like this?

‘No one particularly asked for this. Making it available as an EM product is just a continuation of our principles that we
only release products when we have something that we love and believe has to be released.„..’

 

Escentric Molecules M+ mandarin

‘Mandarin is all about the instant hit. It’s so alive, the way it radiates off the skin with that citrus zestiness. But there’s more to mandarin, it’s very fruity and aromatic as well. It’s a beautiful ingredient. Its transparency means that it vanishes quickly. I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness. Then as it begins to fade, Molecule 01 syncs in, bringing a warm, erogenous feeling to play with that zinging freshness. That’s unusual – for a topnote ingredient like Mandarin and a base note like Iso E Super to dance together naked like this, without other notes coming between them. And then the mandarin is almost gone and you are left with the elevated simplicity of Molecule 01.

That’s what I love about Molecule 01 + Mandarin – it may be a dance of two but the story changes completely from beginning to middle to end.’

Escentric Molecules M+ iris

‘It’s not easy to describe iris’ smell as such, but if you smell a fragrance without it, and then with it, you understand immediately what it does. It adds a creamy powderiness. It brings a physical dimension to a fragrance. I have had a long-standing love affair with iris. Every Escentric fragrance has an iris note somewhere in there. To me, iris is luxury. The iris pallida absolue I’ve used here is one of the most expensive ingredients in perfumery. You can find iris extracts for way less than that. But they do not have the great and subtle beauty of this absolue. It’s radical to put this much in a fragrance. The sillage is fantastic. This is a bomb, but a subtle bomb.’

Escentric Molecules M+ patchouli

Patchouli is a unique natural. Unlike 99% of perfume ingredients we associate it with a particular period, with the sixties and seventies and that bohemian spirit. It has a cool, rather aloof woodiness to it. I love it for its moody beauty. I’ve used two qualities of patchouli here. The biggest chunk is Patchouli Coeur which is a very clean, soft patchouli oil fraction with the camphor-like top note removed. I have also included a patchouli oil from Indonesia to round it out with
a little bit of a top note. The result is a sophisticated, clean patchouli that pairs fantastically well with Molecule 01.’

If you loved the original Molecule 01 and want to join the M+ fragrant adventure – or if you’ve yet to discover – we can tell you this: it’s an incredibly beautiful and diverse trio with something that everyone call fall for…

By Suzy Nightingale

Nose Dive by Harold McGee – a joyous celebration of our most under-appreciated sense

There are some books that really transcend the boundaries – appealing not only to those already immersed in the subject, but to the wider public – and Nose Dive by Harold McGee is most definitely one of the best we’ve read. So wonderfully connecting the dots between the worlds of smell and taste, it’s no wonder the Sunday Times named it their 2020 Food Book of the Year, calling it ‘A joyously nerdy study of how and what we smell, the effect on our appetites and much more.’

Having worked with some of world’s most innovative chefs, including Thomas Keller and Heston Blumenthal; McGee has dedicated over a decade of his life to our most overlooked sense, and here gives us not only the facts about the chemistry of food, cooking and smells; but widens this (and encourages us to widen our nostrils) by explaining the science of everyday life and the various whiffs we may encounter along the way.

Think of this as a manual to re-connect you to your nose, heightening your enjoyment and understanding of food but, much more than that – enriching every single part of your life. Along the way, McGee introduces us to the aroma chemicals that surround us, which make up our entire world and colour the way we experience it. It’s a joyous book that should be read by cooks, perfumers, fragrance-addicts and absolutely anyone who has been struck by a smell, wondered what it was and wanted to know more.

Something we especially loved was how clearly this information is laid out – so it can be easily referred to. Each smell mentioned is laid out in a chart of its name/species, the component smells to identify it with, and the molecules that create those smells. Gleefully, some have a column respresenting ‘Also found in’, so we learn, for example, that Some Smells of Cat Urine are like blackcurrant, which is caused by methylbutyl sulfanyl formate, and can also be found in beer and coffee. More fragrantly, many flower varieties are described, along with plant pongs, animals, humans, food (raw, cooked or cured) and the scent of space itself.

Managing to be both scholarly yet immediately accessible, it’s his passion for that subject that really sporings off the page and makes you want to run out into the street and start smelling things with a new appreciation for what you might find. Whether he has you bending to smell wet pavements and marvelling at ambergris, exploring the fruit-filled Himilayan mountain ranges, literally stopping to smell the roses or cautiously approaching a durian fruit… this is a celebration of something the majority of us take so foregranted – until we have it taken away from us. Witness the huge rise in smell-related news stories, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Perhaps now the media are focussing on our sense of smell at last, and realising how important it is to our enjoyment and understanding of every day life, there will be further books like this to enjoy a wider readership than they may have previously. And maybe that will lead to proper funding for the much-needed further research we still so desperately need. Now that’s something to celebrate!

If your intrest in pongs has been piqued, perhaps you’d like to perfuse the many other books about smell and the senses we have reviewed for our Fragrant Reads bookshelf…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Seven new scent themed podcasts you should listen to

We’ve never listened to so many podcasts right now, how about you? So here’s SEVEN new scent themed podcasts for your daily walk, that will whisk you to summer meadows and brighten your mood, even if you’re trudging through the rain.

Filling the endless hours and soothing nerves with fascinating chatter, it’s extremely exciting how many fragrance and scent themed podcasts are filling the airwaves at the moment, don’t you think? If you’ve not caught up with our previous lists of ‘must-listen’ episiodes, simply type ‘podcasts’ in the search box and you’ll have several hours to delight in.

Meanwhile, here are the ones we’re chasing away the blues with currently…

 

BBC Radio 4 Extra: The Perfumed Mountaineer
This story begins by recounting the notorious 1980’s episode of The Russell Harty Show, when Grace Jones slaps the presenter for ignoring her. It’s an incident that’s gone down in televisual history; but have you ever noticed the fellow guest, an ‘elderly man, dressed in a double-breasted suit’ sitting beside her, ‘looking more than a little alarmed at developments’? This, it’s revealed, was Walter Poucher – equally famed, at the time, for his perfumery with Yardley, and his mountain photography skills. As his utterly gripping story is unravelled, we learn Walter had a penchant for wearing lipstick and eyeshadow while climbing mountains and talking about perfume, was befriended by Elizabeth Taylor, and used to like ‘coming down to dinner [at mountaineering lodges] in full slap and gold lamé gloves.’ He sounded completely fabulous in every way, and we’re left wanting to know much more…

 

 

OlfactoStroll
We reported on this brilliant new podcast/smell-walk in full, but it’s worth pointing out again for those who may have missed it. Jan Uprichard is an artist based in Northern Ireland, whose work revolves around ‘smell, walking, archives, mapping, food, sound, film, bookmaking, botany, and interventions…’ She was asked by the Centre for Contemporary Art in Derry to devise a smell-themed walk, and recorded a podcast to go with it. But the point is – you can listen from anywhere, and her soothing voice (and gentle guidance on how to navigate by smell and be mindful of your breathing) is just the tonic we need.

 

Outspoken Beauty: On the Scent
A podcasting pro, host Nicola Bonn has already interviewed some of the world’s leading movers and shakers in the skincare and beauty spheres, but her true passion is really… fragrance. Hurrah! Recently, she invited our very own Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale, to be the co-host and fragrance expert for a spin-off show entitled ‘On the Scent.’ In this first episode, they name the fragrances that have been getting them through lockdown, Nicola probably reveals too much about a fireman ex, and Suzy prescribes perfumes in answer to listener’s queries.

 

The Scent Geeks
Presented by @fragstoriches and @fragmental.uk, this is a weekly and often humorous look at the scent world that feels like dropping in to a conversation of two fragrance-obsessed friends. In this episode, the twosome talk romance, filming and their tribute to the passing of fellow YouTuber, Carlos Powell (a.k.a Brooklyn Fragrance Lover).

 

Escentric Molecules Molecast
In the third episode of this regular series, perfumer Geza Schoen (the founder and ‘nose’ behind so-successful cult house, Escentric Molecules) reveals ‘the story behind the story’, specifically discussing how he went ‘…from working at one of the big five fragrance manufacturers to being an indie perfumer at a time when they were as rare as hen’s teeth.’ Always well worth listening to, Geza is an extremely down-to-earth perfumer who explains everything really clearly, and can be said to have completely revolutionised the fragrance industry as a whole, having showcased ‘synthetic’ notes as brilliant artistry, not something to hide or shy away from talking about.

 

Fume Chat
Waving good riddance to the dumpster that was 2020, our genial hosts, Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley, have nevertheless found some fascinating fragrances from last year to sniff their way through, rate and discuss. As usual, ‘Hijinks ensue.’ Well it really wouldn’t be Fume Chat if no hijinks were involved! Listening to this podcast is always like catching up with two best friends over a drink or three – something we’re sorely missing, so this is the next best thing.

 

Every Little Thing
We always love this podcast for host Flora Lichtman’s proudly terrible puns, and the endlessly fascinating list of topics prompted by listeners who ring in to the ELT Helpline. This episode was particularly of interest, as it focuses on our nostrils and the sense of smell. Get ready to hold on to your hats (or face masks) though, as it’s revealed *we only use one nostril at a time to breathe and smell through!* More than that, it seems we can actively switch which nostril we’re using by stuffing a fist into our armpit… Learn why/how and WTF with expert rhinologist, Simon Gane.