The Eco Well Ask: Is your fragrance ‘clean’? And what does that actually MEAN?

The Eco Well explore… Is your fragrance – or scented beauty product – ‘clean’? Is it safe for you to wear?

If you spend more than a few minutes on Instagram, or any other social media, you’ll be bombarded with similarly worded (and very worrying) questions; with certain sectors of the beauty industry now falling over themselves to assure you that their particular products are ‘safe’ and even ‘chemical free’ compared to the rest of them which may be termed as ‘toxic.’

Now we’ll put your mind at rest, immediately, here because aside from the fact that everything is chemicals (including you, the air you breathe and that apple you ate earlier) – fragrance, cosmetics and skincare have to adhere to the strictest safety rules there are. And those ‘all natural’ products you found online that someone makes in their bedroom using ‘only essential oils’? Not only are they likely to be illegal if not fully certified, some of the strongest allergic reactions you can have are to essential oils if they are not properly (and scientifically) used.

 

 

With this fear and misinformation culture in mind, The Eco Well – a website and podcast ‘to help make accurate information about cosmetics and sustainability in beauty, more accessible to everyone’ – are hosting a free online event with an expert panel…

Free Fragrance Conference: October 9th 2 – 3:30 EST (7 – 8:30pm U.K.)

The Eco Well say: ‘Fragrance – apparently the great skincare debate of 2020. Are fragrances suitable in cosmetic products? We’ll be coming at the topic from a few different vantages. From the perspective of a perfumer and overall fragrance expert, Pia Long, regulatory expert, Marie Dehlinger, 2 dermatologists, Dr Angelo Landriscina and Dr Andrea Suarez, and the consumer and influencer perspective, Hyram Yarbro. Moderated by Jen, who will bring the perspective of a cosmetic product formulator. Should be a lively and insightful conversation! See you there?’

We know Pia well – a longtime friend of, and sometime contributor to The Perfume Society – and are sure this will be a fascinating discussion that will shed light and soothe and scented worries you may have! So do book your free tickets and tune in to learn more…

By Suzy Nightingle

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Says Olivia:

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

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

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

TOPICS

+ Intro to Speculative Design

+ Spaces (Personal, Public, Extraplanetary)

+ New Realities (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality)

+ Hyperpersonalization (Products, Experiences, Body)

+ Role of Brands

DATE/ TIME / LOCATION

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

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

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

By Suzy Nightingale

Pitti Fragranze goes virtual – here’s how to watch the fragrance festival online…

Normally, right about now, I’d be planning my annual trip to Florence, and the fragrance fair Pitti Fragranze. A meeting place for perfumers, founders, makers, buyers, brands, olfactory artists and anyone obsessed by scent; it’s always a highlight of my year.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity to sniff the not-yet-launched fragrances, see interesting new niche houses and spot possible perfume trends for the next few years ahead. You might like to have a look at my report from last year’s Pitti Fragranze, to get a sense of the scale of the event. It’s huge! And quite overwhelming. But always wonderful.

 

 

Of course, this is not a normal year, and any such in-person events have sadly been cancelled or postponed. But while I am mourning meeting up with fragrance journalists and fragrant friends from around the world; I am heartened that Pitti Fragranze have taken to decision to still run their fair, but as a virtual, online fesitval.

Along with events, talks, special guests, and focuses on new trends (all in English), do check out the complete calendar to see which you might wish to take part in. The various events begin on Monday September 7th  – Monday September 21st 2020.

 

 

Included in the lineup are Chandler Burr talking to Laura Tonatto, and again, discussing the art of incense with Hiro Nakayama; the evolution of the ‘wellness’ concept in fragrances with MANE, and a talk about the new defininition of what ‘green’ actually means.

Being held online has the added benefit that perfume-lovers around the world can watch and join in the fragrant fun, so I suppose we must look to (scented) silver linings.

 

 

I will miss the gelato, though. There’s nothing that can console me; only hoping that I may return next year…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Join in Sana Jardin’s calming & empowering online workshops

Sana Jardin are bringing ‘scents & sensibility’ in a series of calming, strength-giving and empowering online workshops, via their Instagram scent sessions – to watch live or later, in their stories, at your leisure.

Having taken a virtual trip to the flower fields with self-hypnosis and meditated with a Love-Alchemist, for the next session on Tuesday 5th May sees (and hears) sound-healer Charlotte Hastings will teach you how to ‘experience your being through the language of sound.’ All with the fragrant backdrop of the stunning scents themselves.

And we’re rather fascinated with fragrance and music, currently, as you will find in our soon-to-be-published next edition of The Scented Letter Magazine. Watch (and listen to!) this space…

Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed has created a stunning portfolio of perfumes that reflect her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. As she told The Perfume Society: ‘The scents I’d encountered on my travels over the years were enchanting to me: the pure and golden shimmer of orange blossom, the mystical, enveloping depth of sandalwood, the seduction of jasmine blooming at night. I felt I could never find that captured anywhere on a department store shelf.’

 

 

The scents in the Sana Jardin collection really are strikingly beautiful – a magic carpet ride in every bottle. And – enhancing their feel-good factor – this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house offers flacons created entirely from recycled glass, along with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations for Sana Jardin.

But don’t just take our word for it, why not explore the collection yourself, from the comfort of your home? Allow yourself to experience the bliss of a scented sanctuary…

 

Try the full Sana Jardin collection for only £30 – seek your scented sanctuary and smell-along while you watch!

 

Mayfair perfume walk – get a whiff of history!

If you’re a perfume lover (and we suppose you are, since you’re here!) then we know you’re going to love an historical Perfume Walk through London’s vibrant, heritage-rich Mayfair…

On March 21st, Perfumedaze are going to be sauntering through the world of scent, taking in the sights and smells of London’s historic fragrance houses, led by the very knowledgable Olga (who we often see at out own Perfume Society events, as she’s a long-time and very enthusiastic member!) So although we’re not organising the walk, we very much wanted to flag it up for fellow fragrance addicts.

 

 

Says Olga: ‘The perfume walk is an invite to have a glimpse of London history through perfumes, their creators and people who wore them. The tour takes about three hours during which walk we will visit heritage perfume shops and find out the exciting history of old English brands like Floris, Atkinson’s, Penhaligon’s and Grossmith. We will have access to places usually closed to public, like the Museum at Floris and the Georgian Suite at Atkinsons.

 

Floris offers an opportunity for a real time travel. The shop has been occupying the same premises for 290 years and is still run by the same family. Among his clients there are royals, famous people, actors and even literary characters. The visit to Floris also gives a chance to discuss what a unisex fragrance mean.

 

Atkinsons, meanwhile, is a real phoenix of the perfume industry connected to the king of English fashion Beau Brummell as well as Russian Royal Family, Queen Victoria and Sarah Bernard. We will also be walking on the street once famous for Turkish baths where William Penhaligon created his first fragrance. And the tour will finish in the mecca of modern perfumery, Jovoy Mayfair, where we will discover secrets of main perfume ingredients and discuss pros and cons of naturals and synthetics.’

 

 

All the details you need to know are on the Eventbrite ticket page, but the basics are that the walk is March 21st, 11am–2pm, and tickets cost £20 (non-refundable).

Traversing from the oldest houses still proudly proferring perfumes in the Captial, right through to exploring some of the most modern fragrances around – think of this as a way to time travel with your nose.

By Suzy Nightingale

Jonathan Ward

Fragranced candles don’t get much hotter than Jonathan Ward‘s… metaphorically speaking, of course, but we were wowed from the very first time we smelled them.

You see, British candle maker and fragrant auter, Jonathan Ward, likes to do things differently. Having begun in the fashion world and created fragrances for others, Ward crossed over to the light side with his own fragranced candle house at last, and now has perfumistas filling their own homes with his scents.

As you might imagine, we’ve had our noses on a fair few scented candles in our time. The Perfume Society offices are contstantly aglow (candle-light is so flattering to the features, don’t you think? Especially when you’ve lost that post-holiday glow!) and currently we have Halcyonic wafting its magic. Inspired by the Bright Young Things of the ‘roaring 20s’, we felt it was just the thing to have burning after watching the Downton Abbey film. And as you’ll see, below, even the wayhe describes the notes feels like the an entire world and cast of characters, captured in scent…

Top
Steam Iron Lapel, Smoked Lipstick Kiss, Tea Rose, Amber
Heart
Crab Apple, Honeysuckle, Prickle Pear, Wet Jasmine
Base
Black Amber, Black Salt, Tuxedo Musks

Fragrance expert Stephan Matthews regularly cites Ward’s creations among his favourite in the whole world  (and as we know, there’s a lot of candles out there!) and recently caught up with this coolest of candle makers to discover his scented heritage. We Wear Perfume, meanwhile, fell madly for the literary and mythological inspirations behind the brand, waxing lyrical (sorry, couldn’t resist) about the ‘complex and captivating stories for his artful scented candle collection that are akin to miniature novels.’

Indeed, these are no ordinary candles – Ward creates scented spaces into which we can escape at the flick of a flame. He likes to ‘…ignite the olfactory legacies bequeathed by artists, visionaries, prophets and poets—bringing fresh light to their thoughts and ideas.’

Where we think these candles excel is the fragrances have just as much complexity (and time spent on them) as a bottle of personal perfume. In fact, Ward admitted to We Wear Perfume that he sometimes dabs a bit of the fragrance oils he composes for the candles behind his ears, apparently even combing a bit through his beard! But be in no doubt: here’s a man who takes the compositions of these scents really, really seriously.

Another point of difference is the added benefit of the candles being completely clean-burning – Ward is one of the founders in the promotion of natural waxes, with the wicks attached using an artisan candle technique that fixes them without using glue or resin.

When Jonathan asked if we’d like to learn how to create your – completely bespoke – candle we leaped at the chance. And now you can join us

We’re not talking about pouring some already created scent into some wax and adding a wick, here. We mean blending your own custom scent using professional perfumer’s accords, then practice making your very own candle; from mixing the oils to pouring the wax it’ll be a hands-on experience (and a new life skill).

The workshop will be led by the immensely talented Jonathan Ward himself, who will undoubtedly share invaluable candle-related knowledge throughout the day. This will be an unforgettable workshop where guests will enjoy refreshments and take home their personally scented Jonathan Ward candle, along with being offered an incredibly generous and exclusive discount of 15% off Jonathan Ward products on the day.

Tickets for this unique day’s custom candle course are £65 and can be purchased here:

Saturday 5th October 2019
Times: 11.00 am – 2:00 pm
Venue: Johnathan Ward Candle Studio, Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Rd, London E8 4QN

By Suzy Nightingale

London Fashion Week pops up: Behold the ‘Beauty Playground’!

How we love a pop-up, especially when it’s got beauty and perfumes a-go-go! How exciting, then, for the duration of London Beauty Week, a Beauty Playground will pop up on Covent Garden’s East Piazza, inviting visitors to discover and experience the best of the beauty and fragrance industry.

Weleda Skin Food will bring their Nice Cream Van to the Beauty Playground, dishing delicious ice cream over discussions about the brand’s ethical and sustainable ethos. Miller Harris will serve up bright neon, bespoke illustrations – and ice cream via their exclusive pop up – and will reveal two new vibrant fragrances: Blousy and Brighton Rock. Floral Street Fragrance will bring magic to The Beauty Playground with a spinning prize wheel, where visitors can take a spin the wheel to discover their perfume persona. Showcasing their new Eau du Parfum range, Molton Brown will offer fragrance consultations and a bespoke Beauty Bar will also be in situ courtesy of Miami export Buns & Buns, serving up Bottled Beauty cocktails designed in partnership with Molton Brown, inspired by the brand’s classic scents and presented in their signature bottles.

Subscription-based beauty brand Glossybox will delight beauty fans with an exclusive beauty treasure hunt around the estate. Those who find the hidden golden tickets on the Piazza on Wednesday 11th September and Thursday 12thSeptember will be taken to a beauty store within Covent Garden’s Beauty Quarter to collect one of ten exciting prizes. Prizes will be worth £100 or more from brands including NARS, Miller Harris, Atelier Cologne and more.

London Beauty Week is on a mission to discover Next British Beauty Brand and is hosting a competition to offer start-up beauty companies the chance to win expert beauty business mentoring and a central London retail space. The judging panel includes some of the most influential names in the UK beauty industry including senior executives from The British Beauty Council, Covent Garden, WGSN, Harvey Nichols and Felix Capital. The winner will receive mentoring from two British Beauty Council trustees, a pop up store in Covent Garden – London’s Beauty Quarter, a listing in Harvey Nichols Beyond Beauty, financial mentoring from Felix Capital and a year’s subscription to WGSN Beauty – the world’s leading trend forecaster. Participants can visit BritishBeautyCouncil.com to sign up, ahead of the judging panel which will take place on Friday 13th September.

Brands across Covent Garden will join the celebrations and offer late night shopping and exclusive events for Londoners and visitors for the duration of London Beauty Week. Beauty lovers can pop into Aesop’s stunning King Street store, which will be adorned with fresh flower arrangements, for a bespoke skincare consultation, or visit Chanel on Friday 13thSeptember or Saturday 14th September where illustrator Melissa Bailey will be on-hand to capture the results of the brand’s incredible express services. Jo Malone London will host an exclusive cocktail evening on Thursday 12thSeptember and a special Poppy & Barley Flower Arranging Masterclass, led by expert florist Wild Things, over London Beauty Week weekend. Those who love the glamour of the runway should reserve a space at Tom Ford who will be serving Metallique inspired cocktails to an intimate group and providing a demonstration on how to achieve Tom Ford catwalk looks.

Additional in-store events, experiences and installations can be enjoyed across Covent Garden beauty brand favourites, including Atelier Cologne, Miller Harris, Molton Brown, Ted Baker and Trevor Sorbie and The Alkemistry. Covent Garden is home to London’s best beauty brands and experiences, further including Dior, NARS, Deciem, Penhaligon’s, Aesop and more, making it the perfect destination to host London’s inaugural London Beauty Week.’

Be still our beating hearts. Ice cream and perfume and prizes, you say? We’ll be there faster than you can shake a stick (of rock!)

Reported by Suzy Nightingale

 

Edinburgh Festival’s fragrant pop-up: Jenners host unique scent space

Jorum Laboratories are Scotland’s first fragrance-creation house, and excitingly announced the launch of their own eponymous perfume brand, Jorum Studio, showcasing scents in a pop-up perfumery at the iconic Edinburgh department store, Jenners, during the Edinburgh Festival.

Having already worked with leading brands including Penhaligon’s London, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Miller Harris and NEOM Organics, amongst many others, Jorum Studio – run by talented perfumer Euan McCall and partner, Chloe Mullen – was first established in Edinburgh in 2010, giving them a way to explore a more truly artisanal approach to fragrance creation. And also, allowing further collaboration between fellow artists and craftspeople, with local photographers, writers and even glass-blowers getting involved.

Now, because of the Jenners pop-up, the public will can sniff out these modern olfactory expressions for themselves, with six fragrances from the brand’s original Progressive Botany collection, showcased alongside three from the Psychoterratica range. And in addition, Jorum Studio say there will be samples and special offers available for customers throughout the duration of the pop-up.

With the launch of each new fragrance, Jorum Studio will be progressing the current conversation around fragrance as a craft and/or artform in itself. The debut collection, Progressive Botany Vol.1, launched earlier this year, and in the autumn, a collaborative heirloom art-work will be presented by glass artist Juli Bolaños-Durman.

Along with other contemporary Scottish businesses, it’s a chance to celebrate a new image of Scotland, because, as Euan comments, ‘Jorum Studio is a vision of contemporary Scotland, showing that our country is about far more than tartan, whisky and shortbread,’ an ethos reflected in this homegrown, artisan brand. So from now until 26 August 2019, Jorum Studio will be taking up residence in a standalone area of the world-famous store, showing visitors what contemporary niche perfumery has to offer.

The myriad links between the arts and perfumery are growing with each house and event that highlights the connections, and we are thrilled whenever retailers take this seriously – investing time and space to help showcase indie brands who are leading the way for the future of fragrance. If you’re in Edinburgh before the end of the month, make sure you stop by and try the Jorum Studio scents for yourself – and keep an eye on the exciting artistic collaborations they have planned…

The Jorum Studio pop-up perfumery at Jenners Department Store in Edinburgh is accessed via the entrance on Rose Street. The pop-up will be open from 9.30am daily until 26 August 2019.

By Suzy Nightingale

 

 

 

Fragrance as art: exhibitions to see this year

Fragrance as art was a concept often (if you’ll pardon the pun) sniffed at, but it seems that scent – and our sense of smell – is gradually working its way into the public consciousness as a valid subject to be displayed and discussed.

From 2017’s Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent exhibition in Somerset House, to their Polution Pods installation last year – London has been a part of the scented art scene (though how we long to see – and smell! – more), but 2019 sees two major new exhibitions you might have to hop on a plane for.

British designer Tim Simpson and Dutch designer Sarah van Gameren formed their London-based studio, Glithero, to produce installations that ‘capture and present the beauty in the moment things are made,’ and are excited to be part of a current fragrantly-themed exhibition in Switzerland, which runs until June…

Glithero say: ‘We have designed the complete scenography for an exhibition about perfumery. The exhibition, ‘Nez-à-Nez, Contemporary perfumers‘ at the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne (MUDAC) consists of 6 bespoke installations that we have designed over 6 rooms. Each room presents a different theme of tendency from the world of contemporary perfume making that have been identified by the curators in collaboration with the olfactory magazine Nez.

Mudac called upon us to create poetic and immersive installations displaying 39 fragrances from 13 of the best contemporary perfumers such as Jean-Claude Elena, Fabrice Pellegrin, Olivia Giacobetti, Dominique Ropion and Isabelle Doyen. Our challenge of this exhibition was to make the immateriality of the perfumes tangible within a museological context where the visual input is often given centre stage. We chose to present the fragrances in ways that surprise and intrigue the visitor but that don’t colour in or adulterate the evocative impressions of the perfumes.

We’re looking forward to show you the result of this adventure. See you there!’

Date: Friday 15 February – Sunday 16 June 2019
Location: Mudac, Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains
Place de la Cathédrale 6, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 11.00 to 18.00 (Closed on Mondays)

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, The Givaudan Collection offers a rare opportunity to gaze at some of the most beautiful perfume bottles in history, as part of the Perfume & Seduction exhibition.

Givaudan say: ‘It took the perfumer’s skill and collector’s passion of Leon Givaudan to assemble, in the years from 1924 to 1930, this unusually homogeneous collection of 18th Century toilet accessories. Composed of about a hundred items, manufactured from costly materials and lavishly decorated, the Givaudan collection is one of the most important of its kind in Europe: crystal perfume bottles set in gold mounts, bottles in fish scale and tortoiseshell for smelling salts, Vernis Martin étuis, enamelled vinaigrettes, bronze or ceramic bottle cases, patch boxes in ivory or mother-of-pearl.

To view the Givaudan collection is a rare treat for all those who value both the artistry that went into the making of these precious objects and the stories they tell about the history of perfumery and its place in our society.’

Hillwood Museum say:Perfume & Seduction will trace the form and function of perfume bottles, explore a variety of shapes and materials and the process of making perfume, and examine the evolution of forms during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, highlighting examples from Hillwood’s collection.’

A section of 64 items from Givaudan’s private collection will be showcased in ‘Perfume & Seduction’ at the Hillwood Museum in Washington DC, from February to June 2019.

If you can’t make it to Switzerland or Washington before June and are pining for beautiful perfume bottles to look at, might we suggest a trip to the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, currently at the V&A? We rather breathlessly reported from the press day of this fabulous show – of which the fragrance bottles play a small but vital part – and cannot urge you enough to go and see it for yourself, if you’re able to get tickets.

In the meantime, might we also urge more galleries and museums to be brave enough to use fragrance and smell as part of their exhibitions and experiences? Smell remains the least scientifically and culturally explored of our senses, yet it has been proved to be the sense that links most directly – and emotionally – to the brain. Shows and installations that encompass all the senses and excite us beyond merely viewing, to being part of the exhibition ourselves, are definitely the way forward. And with this in mind, our magazine, The Scented Letter, will be decoting an entire issue to fragrance and culture later this year, so get ready to be olfactorily obsessed…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Speed Sniffing with IFF-LMR & the British Society of Perfumers

When you’ve been obsessed by fragrance for some time, you might think you have a good idea about how ingredients smell. I reckon I’d know a patchouli or pepper from a few yards away, for example. But suddenly, presented with an array of natural ingredients in the form of a ‘Speed Sniffing‘ game, my sense of smell was turned upside down. And I wasn’t alone…

In the august surroundings of Burlington House in Piccadilly, the British Society of Perfumers met at the Royal Society of Chemistry, where we’d been invited for an evening of exploring fragrance ingredients by IFF-LMR Naturals. The LMR refrers to Laboratoire Monique Rémy, which IFF (International Flavors & Fragrance) took over in 2000, continuing and evolving the incredible, groundbreaking work Monique began. Indeed, the company have recently rebranded with the slogan Pioneering Nature – a phrase that encompasses their ethos of always pushing the boundaries of what we can expect from natural ingredients: the way they are grown, harvested and processed; the wellfare of the those who produce them, and sustainability of the environment at large.

These natural ingredients go on to be used by the world’s top perfumers and flavourists, in every major and niche fragrance house you care to name, and there’s no doubt you’ll own many scents and have eaten all manner of foods that include them. 

Esteemed members of the BSP mingled with representatives of IFF-LMR and fragrance-loving members of the public alike, and we were led into a room of eight tables for the fun to begin. Think of it as a combination between speed dating and an intense gym workout for your nose.

In groups, we moved our way around the room, being given only five minutes at each table – a bell ringing when time was up – and with an expert from IFF-LMR in place to guide us through what we were smelling. My group began at the ‘New Ingredient‘ table, and we first had to solve a word puzzle to make up the names. These were Pepper Sichuan Absolute Extract LMR and Cocoa Extract 12% PG. We might think of pepper as being punchy, up in your face and almost aggressive in character, but here we smelled something more reminiscent of citrus, with a vibrant, fruity/floral facet that astonished us all – and remember, there were professional ‘noses’ at this table, equally enthralled by what we were smelling. It was a tickle to the senses, and unlike any pepper I’ve previously experienced. The cocoa, too, was a revelation. Usually used in the flavour industry, this one is silky, nutty, warm and dry rather than overly sweet and sickly.

Resisting the urge to suck the blotter, we moved on to smelling fragrances – one without the central ingredient, one with, and this process was repeated at each table we visited. How fascinating to explore the way even a minute amount can utterly alter a finished fragrance – adding complexity and elegance, boosting the surrounding aromas or softening the edges for a comforting snuggle of a scent. I can only liken it to the difference between a landscape painting completed in oils or watercolour – the scene might be the same, but the translation, mood and emotional response has changed.

At the beginning of the Speed Sniffing we’d been given a bag containing a notebook to jot down our thoughts, along with collecting specially designed playing cards at each stage of our fragrant journey, each card explaining the IFF-LMR ingredient and what makes it so special. So here, briefly, were my thoughts on what I found to be some of the most exciting ingredients we sniffed…

Organic Notes: Ginger Oil Fresh Madagascar ORG
Produced by hyrdodistillation, this smelled of all the piquant freshness of ginger root, without any of the earthiness or almost rubbery notes that can sometimes accompany this ingredient. Their secret? A far shorter time between harvesting and distilling.

Peru Balsam Oil MD
This is harvested from wild grown plants, and was the first to achieve ‘Fair Wild’ certification. For this, they must adhere to strict standards of sustainability criteria, ensuring the continued use and long-term survival of wild species, while supporting the livelihoods of all stakeholders and respecting their cultures. To me, it smelled of heaven. Soft, creamy, comforting and cocooning – if there was a vat of it, I’d have jumped in (though this could upset their certified status, so probably best for all concerned the opportunity wasn’t presented).

Healingwood BLO
This is patchouli with 99% of patchoulol (an alcohol found within patchouli, and one of the organic compounds responsible for the smell). But it’s not the patchouli you’d recognise – banish any lingering horrors of “hippie” scents, for this was an ethereal, wraith-like smell, a whisper of woodiness without the funk.

LMR Hearts: Patchouli Heart No.3
IFF-LMR’s best selling Patchouli Heart note, and it’s easy to smell why. There’s a silvery clarity that smells like bliss personified, with a touch more earthiness that the Healingwood, but it’s still not muddy. Think of a forest floor during a light Spring shower, water diffused through greenery, a shimmering transparency that’s used to ‘…bring differentiation and personality to any formulas.’

‘Blockchain’ Notes: Vetiver Heart
A Blockchain guarantees transparency throughout the supply chain, with every single step of a process being virtually stored. This way, an ingredient can be traced from being grown, harvested and processed from start to finish, with the information visible for all (other companies buying the product, right through to consumers buying a fragrance that ingredient has been used in). The Vetiver Heart we smelled was a revelation – fruity, highly complex, it was practically a perfume in its own right. Because of that complexity, if a perfumer uses this within their formula, it makes the finished fragrance far harder to copy. Win-win.

New Platforms: Sandalwood Oil New Caledonia
By ‘Platforms’, they mean new places in the world they’re now sourcing materials. Sandalwood has traditionally been sourced from Australia and India, where illegal distilling plants, smuggling and unsustainable usage have caused huge problems for the fragrance industry, and the legal growers and producers in those cultures. By using this astonishingly smooth sandalwood from New Caledonia, IFF-LMR offer a delightful new ingredient for perfumers to incorporate in their fragrances – the one we smelled had an almost milky, gourmand aspect to it.

There are many more ingredients I could mention and swoon over at length, but suffice to say, we were all left with a buzz of excitement about the future for the naturals it’s now possible to use in fragrance, and with minds officially blown. What an honour to have smelled ingredients only the noses of major perfume houses usually get to play with. Speed Sniffing with IFF-LMR resulted in my relationship status with naturals being firmly reinstated.

Interested to smell more? The BSP offer a number of exciting events each year, so make sure you check the website for other fragrant happenings.

Wish you could have been there? Then you must join us at our Perfume Society Ostens Event on 12th February! Using IFF-LMR Ingredients, this future-forward house are revolutionising the perfume industry by offering some of these incredible materials in their highest allowable, singular form within an oil Preparation, or as hypnotically enticing eaux de parfums created by some of the world’s top perfumers around that central, natural ingredient. We’ll be smelling the ingredients, learning how they’re processed and sniffing the divine results…

By Suzy Nightingale