Smell all about it! Scented inks & inky scents

Givaudan recently created the first newspaper printed with perfumed ink, and we suddenly wish all papers were similarly scented. It would certainly make some of the news a nicer experience to read, don’t you think…?!

Partnering with the Argentinian publication ‘Diario Perfil’, Givaudan perfumer Walter Soares worked together with the newspaper’s team to compose this one-of-a-kind scent. Sadly we didn’t get to smell this scented paper first-hand (first nose?), but it reportedly featured ‘spicy, amber-y, citrus and floral notes.’ It got us wondering about using scented inks for ourselves, to write literal ‘scented letters.’

And because simply everything leads back to perfume for us, that got us thinking about the wonderfully ink-inspired fragrances out there, and so we’ve included a round-up of those to consider trying…

The Scented Inks from the Jacques Herbin Collection offer ‘a new expressive dimension to writing, correspondence or calligraphy.’ They combine deep colors and an evocative scent of memory and travel. Scented Inks develop subtle hints of honey or lime, with musky or floral inflections.’ With scents from Rose, Violet and Lavender to Chocolate, Orange and Apple to choose from,there’s luckily also a selection pack to enjoy them all.

Jacques Herbin Scented Inks £7.80 for 30ml
Try them at thewritingdesk.co.uk

Although inky notes can come from natural materials like oakmoss, it isn’t generally ink itself that you’ll smell in a scent. More commonly, ‘ink’ is a synthetic ingredient, used in fragrances to give a mysterious hint of solvent or damp moss, or (more romantically) to conjure up the vision of someone writing love letters, perhaps, with a good old-fashioned quill.

Here, Bertrand Duchaufour imagines Tender is the Night as a black tulip, ink swirled through leather, saffron and geranium on a flickering, amber-ish base. Held aloft by the fizz of a pink pepper CO2 extraction with aldehydes, the most incredible green hyacinth opens to shimmering cyclamen, incense and that dry, metallic base.

Miller Harris Tender £120 for 50ml eau de parfum
millerharris.com

Mark Buxton used headspace technology to capture and reproduce the scent of Japanese ink for this lovely play of light and shadow in a fragrance. There’s a sense of cold air from aldehydes and juniper, and drifts of incense with that liquid inkiness, emphasised by labdanum, cedar and shadowy pools of vetiver.

Comme des Garçons 2 £90 for 100ml eau de parfum
Try it at selfridges.com

We sense ringlets romantically tangled by the wind, a softness of candlelight on ink-stained love letters, a scatter of singed rose petals and the peaty depth of patchouli swirled throughout. A glorious Galway-based house to be celebrated, Cloon Keen combine contemporary elegance with emotional lyricism.

Cloon Keen Atelier Roísín Dubh £136 for 100ml eau de parfum
lessenteurs.com

Inverting the traditional perfume ‘pyramid’ of notes, we plunge straight into darkness with bittersweet black cherry and plum lapped by salty purple roses and liquorice. Deep violet begins to soar, a brightness softened by the soft almond-like powderiness of tonka beans then swathed again in the darkest of inks. It really tells a tale on the skin…

Map of the Heart Purple Heart V 5 £150 for 90ml eau de parfum
Try it at harrods.com

The cool spiciness of black pepper and cardamom, juxtaposed with smoky birch and an accord of magnetic ink is ‘A scent of subtle contrasts.’ Birch & Black Pepper is tarry, leathery and seasonally perfect, with its whispers of bonfire smoke, and so great worn with a chunky knit and wellies on a brisk autumnal walk.

Jo Malone London Birch & Black Pepper £120 for 100ml Cologne
Try it at jomalone.co.uk

Writing actual letters again is something we plan to do more of – or sending lovely postcards to friends and loved ones around the world. What a wonderful surprise it always is to receive a letter in the post, rather than junk-mail and yet more bills! And how even more special it would be to have the ink beautifully scented.

Meanwhile, if you’re still also stuck on the hundreds of daily emails, as we are – why not try some of the delightfully inky scents, above, to at least feel writerly and filled with fragrant inspiration.

Now then, we wonder: who will you choose to send that first scented letter to…?

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

Givaudan’s Eden Project scent sculpture

Have you ever wanted to smell history? Well, now you can, for deep within the Biomes of Cornwall’s Eden Project, the fragrance development house of Givaudan have collaborated with Studio Swine (‘Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers’), aka: Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves, to create a monumental new scented artwork.

Standing at nearly nine metres and firing out rings of fragranced vapour, the structure is thought to be the world’s largest ceramic sculpture.

The sculpture has been named ∞ Blue (Infinity Blue) and it’s an immersive, 20-tonne installation created as the centrepiece of the newly opened Invisible Worlds, a major new (and permanent) exhibition homage to cyanobacteria, one of the world’s smallest living beings.

32 cannons fire out scented vapour rings into the exhibition space, which the Eden Project say ‘…reveals the untold and unseen stories of our planet beyond our senses: too big, too small, too fast, too slow and too far away in space and time.’

Watch a short video of the sculpture in action – it’s completely mesmerising!

And the scent of the vapour? Apparently it ‘tells a layered, 4.5 billion-year history of the atmosphere… using the aromas of primordial worlds as a starting point for new sensual experiences.’

So we’re imagining it might be… green, earthy, with heart notes of mineralic haze and a base of swamp?

Studio Swine explain: ‘Around three billion years ago, cyanobacteria first developed oxygenic photosynthesis. In doing so, they changed the nature of our planet. In the same way that artists of the past would depict the sacred, our sculpture ∞ Blue gives physicality to the invisible elements our existence depends on; our breathable atmosphere, microbial life and deep time.’

Accompanying the sculpture, a film directed by Studio Swine – who like to use this medium to enhance their artworks – in collaboration with Petr Krejčí, fascinatingly charts the sculpture’s very beginnings in the sea off the Cornish coast, using ‘otherworldly, sci-fi-inspired cinematography.’

We can’t wait to visit and sniff the ‘primordial scent’ for ourselves, and definitely something to consider for the summer holidays! Pretty much nothing is going to be more impressive for kids (and adults, alike) to write in their What I Did On Holiday journal than, ‘Dear Diary, today we smelled the scent of microbial life, and deep time itself…’

Visit the Eden Project’s website for more information.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Givaudan perfumer reaches for the stars

Givaudan perfumer Shyamala Maisondieu grew up wanting to be an astronomer, ‘…but in Malaysia, there are no astronomers!’ and so decided she wanted to travel, broaden her horizons and eventually became a perfumer. And there’s a link with the stars in more ways than one, for did you know that there are more people who have walked on the moon than there are master perfumers?

We loved watching this insightful interview with Shyamala, which we’ve shared with you, below, and especially hearing her views on niche versus mainstream (or what she calls ‘selective perfumes’), especially because she has worked extensively across both categories of fragrance, enjoying them in differing ways but finding ‘a symbiosis between them.’

‘I think perhaps travelling gives you different insight into differing people, different cultures, different backgrounds. And as perfumers, it’s imporant for us to understand the diversity of human beings!’

‘People are more in tune with themselves, and they need things that reflect them, and you cant make one type of perfume for so many different types of people.

It’s always such a pleasure to hear directly from perfumers themselves, on what drives and motivates them, what inspirations they bring to a fragrance brief – something we enjoy talking about in our series of Working Nose interviews (just search that phrase at the top of the page), and when asking noses about their Five Favourite Smells (which never fails to be an eye-opener!)

Watching this video and Shymala’s humble but obviously passion for her craft, it’s also encouraging to see diversity of gender and culture finally breaking through in the fragrance world. For, as Shymala puts it so well: we humans are a diverse bunch, so why shouldn’t our fragrances reflect this?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Givaudan bring together fragrance, flavour & body language…

What’s your body language saying about the fragrance you wear…?

Givaudan‘s Fine Fragrance perfumers have created a new ‘Delight’ collection in collaboration with flavourists – the first fragrance house to specifically use body language research in order to better understand the pleasure we feel when wearing perfume.

The idea began when Givaudan encouraged a close collaboration between their flavourists and perfumers in Paris, New York, São Paulo, Dubai and Singapore. Two arms of the industry who never usually work together, the project also required the input of a non-verbal communications specialist. And their goal?

‘Imagine your favourite flavour and the great feeling you get when you taste it: a powerful physical and emotional reaction that makes you crave more. Now imagine if we could bring that same level of desirability and moreishness to fragrances… That’s exactly what Givaudan has been doing as part of a new global initiative called Project Delight.’

Intriguing, right? There’s a definite correlation between that heady rush of pleasure we’re consumed with when smelling a scent we love – we might describe it as ‘delicious’, ‘moreish’, or even ‘addictive.’ With no true language of its own, we liken fragrance to food and taste all the time – and of course many of the same ingredients are used across flavour and fragrance – so it completely makes sense that Givaudan are focusing on studying the two together.

As a starting point, they analysed ‘…those moments where lip-smackingly good flavours collide with equally delicious aromas,’ composing evocative fragrance bases such as the candyfloss memories of a fun fair, the perfect buttered croissant we associate with a Parisian breakfast, the smoky-creamy mingling of a Brooklyn brunch and the glittering fizz of night out with cocktails. And Givaudan report ‘the result is a revolutionary and exclusive set of bases for perfumers to work with… scents that are both aromatic… and appetising.’

Senior Flavourist for Givaudan, Arnaud, explained the exciting thing for him was that, ‘as a flavourist, I work in a realistic, true to life way, while a perfumer works in the world of abstract and interpretation. In our collaboration on Project Delight, we wanted to mix these two strengths and add a realistic touch to our fragrance palette.’

As part of their research, Givaudan carried out a groundbreaking consumer study, assessing non-verbal responses (such as salivation, surprise or swallowing) to different fragrances. The first time this type of methodology has been used in fragrance development, the research enabled their perfumers to develop a new range of special ‘Delight’ fragrance bases which, rather excitingly, further tests went on to reveal ‘…triggered higher levels of pleasure and craving than other bases currently available.’

In the future, will we be craving certain scents with the same hunger we feel for food? Well according to Givaudan, you’d better tuck in your napkin and get ready for the pleasure in a whole new way, because ‘we have begun a voyage of discovery and will continue to explore further, opening up new possibilities for perfumers to entice consumers with new fragrances that spark pure pleasure…’

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Join us in celebrating our 25,000 Instagram followers landmark moment

Instagram has become a really important part of how we share news with our perfumista following and our – and we’re celebrating a massive landmark. We just hit 25,000 followers. Not one follower ‘paid-for’, but all – so you tell us – just magnetised to our account, partly because of our access to the world’s greatest perfumers, and the fact we’re so often the very, very first to be shown launches from all over the world.
Cue whooping in the office! Cue cake!
We are keen followers of many other Instagrammers, too. So to celebrate this amazing 25K moment, we thought we’d also introduce you to some of our favourites. (Click on the bold Instagram account name above the photos – or the photo itself – to find them on Insta.) And of course, you can follow us on Insta by clicking here

guerlain_pate_de_velours


This account has suddenly appeared almost from nowhere, from a French Guerlain addict with a truly astonishing vintage collection. Follow it – and s-w-o-o-n… (We are green with envy.) Utterly beautiful imagery, too.

wewearperfume


The Instagram account of Amanda Carr’s We Wear Perfume blog, which is also a terrific read (wewearperfume.com). Amanda’s a stylist of some years’ experience and it really shows in her pretty and informative Instagram feed, which is dusted with lovely mini-reviews.

stephan_matthews


A true industry expert, Stephan deserves a ton of followers for all the hard work he puts into a great blog (stephanmatthews.com) and #instafeed, which often links to interviews he’s done with industry (and other glamorous) figures. He sleuths out some wondrous vintage perfume advertising and shares fascinating historical nuggets.

littlefridasdream


Put together by a talented illustrator who designs Frida Kahlo-inspired iPhone cases, stationery and more (available on Etsy). Little Frida clearly has quite a love of perfume (we know the real Frida wore Shalimar, NB – which she’s photographed with here), and is often snapped with a pretty bottle, accompanied  by winning perfume descriptions.

anillustratednose  


Another illustrator talent, whose perfume watercolours and pen and ink drawings we’re big fans of. (We were thrilled to be there when Nafia presented Frédéric Malle with a drawing of one of his bottles, in person.) Lovely writing/reviews, too.

davidnewtonphotography

A professional photographer, David does’t only take pix of fragrance, but all manner of beauty and make-up products in breathtakingly beautiful still life. We dream of having one of his photos on the cover of our journal The Scented Letter, one day…

marlimar_  

 

We don’t know much about this Instagrammer, Marjolijn – except that she takes really beautiful fragrance photos, from (we’re guessing) her personal scent stash.

thecandyperfumeboy 

Blogger, vlogger, multi-Jasmine-Award-winning fragrance writer – and now The Candy Perfume Boy (a.k.a. Thomas Dunckley) has truly been bitten by the fragrance photography bug, showing that he’s just as much a visual talent as literary.  (Read him at thecandyperfumeboy.co.uk)

synestessence  

These guys describe themselves simply as ‘two Italian perfume lovers’. Wonderfully moody photos – though alas you’ll have to speak Italian to enjoy the accompanying scent memories.

givaudanperfume


Givaudan – one of the world’s leading fragrance houses, also working on the ground with growers and suppliers all over the globe – have upped their Instagame lately, offering ‘an insider look into our world of perfume: the art of creation, olfactive inspiration, and modern artisanship’. Meet their perfumers (seen here is superstar Yann Vasnier), learn about their ingredients – and the creations they go into – via this #instafeed.
Happy scrolling.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eau de Gaga: capturing the essence of the singer herself

Created alongside Givaudan perfumer Ursula Wandel and visionary fragrance house Haus Laboratories, the second scent from the undeniably avant-garde Lady Gaga fragrantly distils the essence of the singer into an olfactory delight.

The woody floral composition is built around a heart of intoxicating white violet, offset by top notes of sparkling lime to lend an energising first encounter. The base of leather encourages the floral aromas to bloom on the skin.

The result? A delightfully powdery aroma that intertwines woody, musky and floral accords.

Launching mid-September, the new scent is ‘for the adventurous woman and the man who loves her,’ explained Gaga to fans of her Facebook page recently.

The campaign was shot by Steven Klein and stars Gaga herself, surrounded by a number of scantily clad men.

Eau de Gaga, £25 for 30ml
Try it at: Boots

Written by Alice Jones