L’Orchestre Parfum harmonise perfumers and musicians to create fragrances ‘to smell and listen to.’ We just know they’re going to strike a chord with you…
We talk of perfumers ‘composing’ a fragrance, using ‘harmonic’ ‘notes’ and ‘accords’. Traditionally, a perfumer would arrange their fragrant ingredients according to ‘top, middle and base notes’, on a ‘perfumer’s organ’. We explored the long history of Music and Fragrance in The Scented Letter Magazine, and L’Orchestre Parfum are a niche perfume house that really turns up the musical inspiration to eleven…
All of the fragrances evoke the central instrument associated with particular styles of world music, with L’Orchestre‘s founder, Pierre Guguen, visiting the workshops of the artisans who create the instruments – smelling the types of wood and materials they use and, wherever possible, then getting perfumers to echo these in the notes of the final scent.
Everything L’Orchestre do has a musical inspiration, so instead of merely creating a set of samples, they wanted to produce a kind of ‘Mix Tape’ – a Discovery Set of six fragrances – which comes with a QR code to scan, so you can sniff and listen simultaneously – the perfect way to experience their greatest fragrant hits and try them on your own skin (while listening to the beautiful music at home).
Each of the fragrances dances to its own individual rhythm, and we feel certain that at least one of them will strike a very personal chord with you.
Simply click on the name of the scents to be whisked to the musical accompaniments…
Thé Darbouka eau de parfum, composed by perfumer Amelie Bourgeois and interpreted by Nicolas Leroy, evokes a Sahara desert dawn coloured by the nomadic rhythm of a darbouka, a goblet drum that has been around for thousands of years. Thé Darbouka is an elusive unisex sweet and spicy fragrance with main notes of bergamot, caraway, candied fruits, immortelle, oud, cocoa and styrax.
Bouquet Encore eau de parfum, composed by perfumer Pierre-Constantin Guéros and interpreted by POPOF with Animal & Me, evokes irresistible techno waves, a fluorescent rhythm in black light with collective adrenaline surging. It is a sublime ultraviolet bouquet of tubéreuse and jasmine amplified by explosive timut pepper. Irresistible Madagascan vanilla, ambroxan and sumptuous musks reinforce the addiction of this euphoric mix. Sensual, carnal and addictive, Bouquet Encore is a narcotic, unisex floral fragrance.
Electro Limonade eau de parfum, composed by perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer and interpreted by NIID, takes you to a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at sunset, with a ‘chill out’ cocktail in hand. A perfect mix where the fresh essences of lemons, clementines and Italian bergamot dance alongside a mint ‘canaille’ and cocktail bubbles. Rhubarb and orange blossom lead you into a night where the groove is hovering over amber wood bass, incense and Haitian vetiver. A fizzy, sparkling and aromatic electronic unisex fragrance that accompanies you until the early hours.
Flamenco Néroli eau de parfum, composed by perfumer Anne-Sophie Behaghel and interpreted by Mathias Berchadsky, evokes the gardens of the Alcazar Palace in Seville where an evening walk is guided by the subtle arpeggios of a flamenco guitar. Flamenco Néroli is a luminous unisex citrus-woody fragrance with main notes of néroli, bergamot, bigarade, ginger, jasmine, Virginian cedar and Atlas cedar.
Piano Santal eau de parfum, composed by perfumer Jean Jacques and interpreted by Edouard Ferlet, evokes white sheets and somnolent skin scents in a woody, surrealist, musical cathedral. A white woody dream, languorous, pheromonal and milky, it is a mystical moment and unforgettable movement between dream and reality. Piano Santal is a unisex fragrance with main notes of white sandalwood, cedarwood, white musks, heated skin, bergamot, ambroxan, warm milk and caraway.
Rose Trombone eau de parfum, composed by perfumer Anne-Sophie Behaghel and interpreted by Nicolas Benedetti, evokes a Jazz Club in Harlem, New York, where magnetic glances are exchanged during a torrid trombone solo. Rose Trombone is a sensual, clean and aldehydic unisex fragrance with main notes of rose, ‘clean’ notes, pear, vanilla, sandalwood, white musk and rum.
The experience immerses into an interactive home page inviting users to take part in an intuitive and easy creative soundscape page where they can create their own unique piece of music.
“Sounds of Fusion” offers a new playground for both novice and experienced music creators. It takes its roots in the popular organic and nature-inspired music genre.
The experience is composed of:
4 main themes inspired by nature: air / lava / water / stone sounds
8 different sounds representing the main themes, as different interpretations of each one
A play and pause button, there to start or stop the player
A record/share button allowing to download the composition when one’s done, and share it on different social media channels
The digital platform is live now and open to anyone who is keen to become his/her own music creator inspired by organic sounds.
Be inspired & share your Sound of Fusion!’
So, why not spritz your scent and get inspired to create your own track to share with friends online? With Issey Miyake you’re invited to ‘Dive at the heart of the elements where the strength of nature is expressed through images and for the first time… through sounds. Just listen: water flowing on rocks, wind blowing through leaves, boiling lava, crackling rocks…’
For those of you who’ve not managed to get your noses on the new fragrance yet, Fusion juxtaposes hot and cold, a fascinating exploration of the perfumer’s alchemy in conjuring coolness from citrus and coconut milk, the breeze of a solar-filled mineral accord (think sunlight sparkling on water). Earthiness exudes from the smooth sandalwood, while resinous patchouli provides the heat of the base.
Vinyl is having something of a moment, with new record stores selling both vintage and new vinyl LPs opening in all the hippest of locations. Imagine our thrill, therefore, when we discovered that vinyl is often sold scented! From Madonna to Stevie Wonder, musicians have perfumed their vinyl grooves to enhance the listening experience.
Fragrances are often inspired by a good tune. The gorgeous Acqua di ParmaNote Di Colonia collection springs to mind, with its appreciation of soaring operatic crescendos, artful preludes and glorious musical scores. On a more modern note, JUSBOX’s collection of fragrances honours musical genres: there’s Cheeky Smile, which celebrates Acid House, alongside Green Bubble, a scented ode to reggae (and yes, there are notes of marijuana in the accord). JUSBOX‘s vinyl-capped bottles can even be found for sale in an actual record shop, the delightful Olympic Studio Records in Barnes. (Disclosure: it’s owned by my husband – which is how I stumbled onto this story in the first place…)
Actually scenting the grooves is an inspired move. It’s no surprise the Queen of Pop, Madonna, dabbled with perfuming her tunes. First pressings of 1989’s ‘Like A Prayer’, were impregnated with the smell of frankincense and patchouli, reinforcing religious connections, along with song tracks such as ‘Oh Father’, and pictures of Madonna’s considerable crucifix jewellery collection. Our much-played copy of the album still carries a shadowy sillage of a rather good patchouli scent, although those earthy, incense vibes remind us more of dressing up and dancing till dawn at parties held in darkened basements rather than the cold stone and incense-heavy interiors of churches.
Stevie Wonder’s ‘Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants’, a title crying out for its own scent, was perfumed with a floral note on its release in 1979, although apparently stopped after reports that the scent – which fans of the record remember as a faint hint of rose – turned out not to be helping the quality of the sound. But technology has since improved considerably and scented vinyl continues to be pressed by modern artists. The Third Man record company, founded by uber-cool musician Jack White, bought its own vinyl factory in Detroit, where its produces top quality vinyl that is often scented. Karen Elson, ex-wife of Mr. White, released ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, in 2010, as a delicate peach coloured vinyl record which is also scented with the dewy aroma of softly sweet peach.
Less artful but still enthusiastically received by fans, the 30th anniversary ‘Ghostbusters: Stay Puft Edition’, a 12-inch double A-side single, released by Sony Music in 2014, was scented with marshmallow in tribute to the film’s giant Stay Puft marshmallow baddy. Singing along to Ray Parker Jr.’s catchy theme tune on one side and Run-DMC’s updated reboot on the other, could surely only be improved with wafts of sugary-sweet vanilla notes coming off the stylus. We can’t help thinking that other film soundtrack albums could use fragrance creatively to add to the sense of fun, for example wouldn’t ‘Mamma Mia’ be even more joyous to sing along to if it pumped out an olfactive scentscape of a sun drenched Greek island alongside the songs…?
With a different angle on the concept, Japanese fragrance house Shiseido once hired musician Hiroshi Noshimura to create a vinyl album entirely inspired by one of its fragrances as an innovative gift-with-purchase idea. The fragrance was called A.I.R (Air In Resort) so the album, which was steeped in the scent, was given the same name. The music complemented the green, forest notes of pine, earth and wood with a sound track of birdsong, the sea and field-based recordings of nature. Customers were were encouraged to listen to the record while appreciating the scent. It’s certainly a step up from the paper tester blotters we’re used to.
And artists, it seems, simply can not resist a scratch-n-sniff album cover. A quick chat on the super-informed Discogs forum, where music fans hang out to talk all things vinyl (there are many similarities between music and perfume fans) turned up a long list of album covers with scent-infused patches used to enhance the listening. The gold standard scented cover is unanimously agreed to be a 1972 release by The Raspberries, with a scratch-and-sniff sticker that smelled very convincingly of…yep, raspberries.
From Duran Duran’s limited edition ‘Perfect Day’ 7-inch single with its strawberry scented ice cream cone cover, to Spinal Tap’s The Majesty Of Rock album, with its scratch-and-sniff sleeve scented with Ye Olde Roast Beef Flavour, via Melanie’s ‘Garden In The City’ – where listeners were encouraged to rub the sticker to ‘release the magic of Melanie’s Garden’ – musicians clearly love to scent their songs.
We say: that makes for a great-smelling record collection. And we’d like to see more of this, please…!
• In Hitting All The Right Notes (above), Viola Levy looks at ways that modern perfumers use music to inspire their creations
• Ofactory consultant Pierre Aulas – who chose perfumery over a career as an opera singer – shares the secrets of his creative days in A Working Nose
• Scent gets social with Smellfie Day 2020, our celebration of International Fragrance Day – which had quite a different message in this strange year
• Suzy Nightingale invites us to enjoy A Scented Symphony, discovering a perfume house with works with instruments, artisans and musicians
• And why note create your own scented playlist? In Listening to Scent, Persolaise invites us to sit back, relax, hit ‘play’
And of course, as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more!
We are now able to take orders for a limited run of printed copies of the magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs). And remember: you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letter (six issues), here
(NB Print copies are sent out approximately 10 days after each new issue of The Scented Letter appears on the website, so please bear with us. We work right up to the wire to make sure everything is truly newsworthy!)
Stephan explains: ‘We’re all trying our best to support each other during these challenging times, but one of the areas that is still under so much pressure is the NHS. We have so much to thank them for, so I wanted to help in some small way.
Back in 2006, I released a successful jazz album called Call Me Irresponsible. It was only available as a CD (remember those?) and went out of print in 2010. I changed career and went back to my real name, swapping the acting business for the perfume industry, and the recording was archived.
Spending so much time at home recently gave me the chance to finally go through the last few boxes that were never opened when we moved and, in one of them, I found all of the original paperwork and masters.
So, after fourteen years and with the help of my original producer Richard Niles, Call Me Irresponsible is available to download and stream with all of the profits going to NHS Charities Together. It’s been great fun to revisit these recordings, and I can’t believe it was fourteen years ago!’
We were hugely impressed, on listening, and with music and fragrance definitely filling the airwaves right now, it’s a great way to support NHS Charities Together – and the way this fragrance writer is helping – in such a toe-tapping, enjoyable way…
Chanel Perfumer, Olivier Polge, is a man imbued with many artistic passions. Perfumery, of course, but his first true love was actually music, and in an intriguing film we find out how he came to realise they shared the same language…
In the utterly gorgeous film, entitled ‘I am a Nose’, on Chanel’s official YouTube channel, perfumer Olivier Polge describes his childhood, and the passions his parents passed down to him.
Polge’s parents had met and fallen in love at perfumery school, and ‘I was four when my father became the nose of Chanel,’ Polge says, his words overlapping footage of him working, now the ‘nose’ of Chanel himself, and grainy, atmospheric and incredibly personal archive family films.
Describing the smells that dominate his childhood memories, above all else, it’s ‘the smell of turpentine in their friends’ studios.’ Enthusiastic artists, it might be expected that painting would transfer to young Olivier, along with the love of perfume, ‘but above fragrance and painting, music was my first passion,’ he admits.
Olivier came to realise that music and fragrance were two loves that entwined, without his even having made the connection. ‘When I was 20, I started learning the craft,’ he explains, ‘and I discovered that music and fragrance spoke the same language. I would have to compose and write formulas made of notes and accords.’
Watch the film right here and be carried away by the memories and music, yourself…
One can only imagine how nervous he must have been on being asked, as the ‘nose’ of Chanel, to ‘rewrite a contemporary version of No5…’ A sensation akin to a musician being asked to whip up a new version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, perhaps? Whatever his feelings were, for me No.5 L’Eau is a mellifluous mingling of those aldehydes, now with a cedar and sandalwood hum in the base. It feels familiar but new all at once – a harmony of modernity and homage…
Chanel N°5 L’Eau, £113 for 100ml eau de toilette Sun-drenched, thirst-quenching and filled filled with freshness, this is a beautiful modern play on the classic, with a fizz of aldehydes dancing on lemon, mandarin and orange atop a honeyed shimmer of jasmine and luminescent ylang ylang. As the opening chords drift away and the floral heart warms on the skin, a thrum of warm cedar and vetiver mellow to a harmonious trail of soft white musks. Quite simply: a virtuoso performance… chanel.com
London-based composer Daniel Sonabend today releases Scent Constellation – an album of ‘five musical fragrance creations’ based on Jason Bruges’ award-winning permanent installation at Le Grand Musèe du Parfum in Paris.
Music and fragrance have long been linked – we use the same language to describe and shape their creations, after all: we talk of ‘notes’, ‘accords’, and of course a perfumer may use an ‘organ’ to ‘compose’ their piece – this ‘instrument’ the very inspiration behind Daniel’s creative interpretation.
There’s a deeper connection, too, when we experience fragrance and music – no other art can move us in quite the same way as smelling a scent that suddenly whisks us, unbidden, to an overwhelmingly distinct emotion or memory; similarly, we cannot control our reaction to hearing a piece of music for the first time. Both of these cause instantaneous emotions we feel before we can logically process, as the hautingly beautiful, ethereal soundscapes Daniel has created for Scent Constellation, most certainly attest to.
Daniel was a guest speaker at the Art & Olfaction Scent Summit, which was held in London this year, describing the multi-sensory art piece, created by Jason Bruges Studio, in which he intriguingly portrays the very creation – and visceral perception – of perfume through sound.
Experiencing Jason Bruges’ installation at Le Grand Musèe du Parfum, spectators see a ‘perfumer’s organ’ depicted by 200 optical prisms directly linking to 200 sounds, representing a fragrant palette of raw ingredients, from bergamot oil to synthetic musk and violet leaf. These musical notes react in the way a traditional perfume pyramid does: top notes fleetingly present, heart notes lingering longer and base notes providing a lasting emotion.
The ingredient sounds are then ingeniously ‘mixed’ together, creating 5 different perfume music compositions: Eau de Cologne, Oriental, Fougère, Floral and Chypre (see feature image at the top of the page). ‘In the museum, these olfactory mini-symphonies are harmoniously played out with light as each ingredient from the fragrance formula is triggered by a laser beam hitting the prism, then bouncing into and illuminating a glass flacon centre piece, bottling the final creation. A poetic audio-visual metaphor for the process of imagining new perfumes.’
During our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell workshops, we often ask people to imagine which instrument or piece of music they would liken to the scent they’re (blind) smelling, and you know what? They’re never lost for an answer. Our senses blur all the time, and it’s fascinating to really give in to the synaesthesia, sometimes.
Before photographer, artist and musician Paul Schütze even dreamed of designing fragrances and launching his own line, his obsession with the oft-overlooked sense of smell was already apparent the moment you stepped in to the gallery…
In 2014 Schütze exhibited Silent Surface – a collection of photographs comprising books on fire and with missing words – within the fitting surroundings of an antiquarian bookshop. A central piece of a blackened book resting atop a plinth wafted an other-worldly aroma he’d sprayed the pages with and, under the lights the fragrance diffused to fill the space. The piece was called IN LIBRO DE TENERIS, and the majority of visitors asked if they could buy this inky, woody, book-ish scent (they couldn’t, it hadn’t been created to wear on skin, just as a one-off aroma to enhance the experience of the show) but from that moment, his fragrant fate was sealed.
From then, Paul went on to immerse himself in the world of perfume, working to design his very own trio of fragrances, all borne from olfactory memories of his extensive travels and the inherent artistic sense he has of interpreting the world around him. Cirebon is a glowing citrus swathed in Tunisian orange blossom, inspired by Paul’s memory of a ‘… Night on the island of Java: by the edge of a lake; the perfumed sounds of a court gamelan orchestra drift across the water, hovering in the air like a constellation of shimmering insects,’ while Tears of Eros is an incense like no other, weaving a scent trail that takes you to ‘…The artist’s studio: Winter; incense from Kyoto’s Sanju Sangendo, a bowl of discarded clementine peel and a night blooming hyacinth; moonlit air from the open windows: these fragrances coalesce into a narcotic, heady, living incense.’ The last of the three so far – Behind the Rain – expands the beauty of mineralic petrichor (the smell that follows a downpour) with a trip to ‘…An island in the Aegean: a sudden violent rainstorm: as the storm ends, the warmth of the emerging sun on bruised foliage coaxes waves of resinous fragrance that wash down onto our place of shelter under a stand of conifer trees.’
Fascinated to learn more of Paul’s fragrant travels, we asked him to guide us through the most evocative, his personal favourites, and the scents that always inspire him… What is your first ‘scent memory’?
Chlorine: I have loved swimming in pools since I can remember. I do my best thinking while plowing up and down the lanes letting the world slip away. The huge pleasure of it is inextricably bound to the smell of chlorine. The faintest whiff and I’m transported When did you decide you wanted to design your own perfume?
I’d always wanted to but it was only four years ago that I realised it might be possible. What are your five favourite smells in the world?
Well, chlorine – obviously, the interior of the Sanju Sangendo in Kyoto, the flesh of a perfect white peach, our dog Gilbert’s head smells delicious and finally the epicenter of Queen Mary’s Rose Garden (Regent’s Park) in the middle of Summer: the most dizzying, hallucinatory storm of perfumes imaginable. What’s the worst thing you ever smelled. (Honestly!)
Red Bull: utterly nauseating! I have moved decks on the bus to avoid it. What is the fragrance you wish you’d created?
Sycomore from Chanel’s Les Exclusives series Do you feel (like us) that this is one of the most exciting times in fragrance history, because of the creativity being expressed by perfumers? Why do you think that is?
I think we are in a time of intense activity both in commercial perfumery and in the outer edges of experiment (Sisal Tolas and Peter De Cupere). Also because people are realizing that the classical way is not the only way. I think there are parallels with the birth of contemporary music and with visual abstraction. If you could have created a fragrance for a historical figure, who would it be?
If I might be allowed a fictional historical figure then Des Esseintes the protagonist in Huysmans À rebours. What’s the first fragrance you bought. And the first bought for you…?
The very first fragrance I bought was Grey Flannel. The first bought for me was Tabac Blonde. Do you have a favourite bottle design?
I recently made a unique, triple strength version of Cirebon for my partner Chris’s 50th Birthday. I gave it to him in a very beautiful antique, stoppered bottle with a hinged gold cap. It sits in a leather sarcophagus-like case (see photo, below.)
How many perfumes might you be working on, at one time?
Depends, I prefer to work on only one but if I have commissions then it can be three or four at a time. Does your nose ever ‘switch off’?
It does. Then I know to turn my attentions elsewhere. You can’t force things. How long, roughly, does it take to create one of your fragrances?
The fastest was a single day the longest so far has been a little over a year. Is designing a fragrance ‘visual’ for you, as well as something that happens in the nose/brain of the perfumer? If so, in what way…? Is a mood-board helpful?
No, barely visual at all. Very musical though. I often find myself confusing sounds and smells. I listen to music while I work and it is chosen with infinite care. I find time spent in certain architectural spaces hugely helpful in getting a bead on the “right” feel for a fragrance. What can each of us do to enhance our appreciation of fragrance?
Smell everything. Stop deciding how things smell by merely looking at them. Grab things and burry your face in them. That goes for people too! What is your best tip for improving a person’s sense of smell?
Again, just smell things: never buy food without taking the time to smell it extravagantly. Never begin to eat until you have savored the aromas of your food. If you find yourself in a lift, close your eyes and imagine the other people from the aromas surrounding you. Open windows and inhale. Never walk past plants, flowering or otherwise without taking the time to sniff them. Never, never worry about how nuts all this makes you seem! If you had one fragrance note that you love above all others, what would that be?
We couldn’t leave it there, because we particularly wanted to know about two unusual notes used in the fragrances, and so Paul explained why they are used.
Green Incense: I’m obsessed with incense both as a ritual item and as a family of smells. I love the idea of an incense which is living, green, not-yet-burnt.
Tamarind: Wonderful aroma which hits you in the taste buds as much as the nose. I can’t smell it without my mouth watering. It has a phenomenological impact on the body which I find really seductive.
With such instantly evocative and unique fragrances to launch the range, we can’t wait to see (and sniff) where Paul Schütze will take us next… Paul Schütze parfums £135 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Liberty
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Aesop have fragrance at their heart, but always linked to the efficacy and wellbeing benefits of their produtcs. Never a brand to slap a nice smelling scent in for the sake of it, they’ve now launched a trio of home fragrances created by perfumer, Barnabé Fillion, with the premise that Istros, Cythera and Olous will ‘…transform the home, redefining the physical space that surrounds us.’
Each of the room sprays has been commissioned with a bespoke musical track composed to evoke the notes of the scents themselves, and with such a connection between music and perfume – we speak of musical and fragrance ‘accords’, the ‘notes’ of a scent, a perfumer arranging their ingredients on an ‘organ’ – it’s an harmonious match, indeed.
Aesop say: ‘Just as each Aromatique Room Spray unfurls in a melody of top, heart and base notes, composer and musician Jesse Paris Smith has created three distinctive tracks to narrate the shifting journey.’ Istros
A union of enlivening florals and smoky tobacco, underscored by the embrace of sandalwood.
Istros is a scent of what has been left behind: a street baked by heat during the day, cooled at night; tendrils of tobacco smoke long dispersed; bazaars that bear the etchings of commerce, commotion and carnival. But more than this, it is a communion with the creative spirits who have journeyed through – an energy distilled from their traces. Cythera
A veil of geranium and incense, lent symmetry by woody patchouli and the warmth of myrrh.
Cythera conjures a moonlit garden as vespertine flowers relax their petals and nocturnal animals emerge from sleep. Drawing us into the present, an atmosphere of reverence is stirred as darkness returns. The air in this space holds a delicate aroma woven with the memory of the day, and the promise of the evening ahead. Olus
A blend of citrus botanicals, balanced by breaking waves of cedar and the refreshing spice of cardamom.
Just as words are born of our breath, Olous rouses an exhalation of clipped, green aroma. Boundless as it is, nature makes its presence felt inside the home – stillness ensues. The environment is redefined to an elemental time, when life was all silence – pleasantly devoid of the babble of phone chatter, or the burring hum of the mechanical.
You can listen to the soundtracks on the Aesop website, and we highly recommend taking a few minutes to sit down, spritz and chill to the scents…
Aesop Aromatique Room Sprays, £37 for 200ml
Buy them at Aesop
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Rihanna is known for her unashamedly – and utterly contemporary – take on femininity in all its forms, within her award-winning music, of course, her personal and much-copied style and in the medoum of fragrance with her ever-expanding perfume wardrobe. Now the inimitable RiRi is sending you scented kisses with the launch of her latest fragrant offering and the launch of Kiss by Rihanna.
Marking the third fragrance in the performer’s namesake RiRi collection, Kiss is presented in a blue-tinted bottle that was, we are told, designed by Rhianna herself. A lady who likes to keep her finger on the pulse of what’s happening, then, the juice inside is described as ‘Mesmerizing, whimsical, and unexpected, the dynamic addition to the RiRi fragrance trilogy is flirtatious, feminine and lighthearted.’
But what does it actually smell like? Well expect a modern, white floral deliberately overdosed with luscious neroli, juicy plum and the waxy freshness of freesia.In the heart we have the delicacy of orange blossom infused with a buxom gardenia and the feminine frills of peony, all rounded out with a cashmere-soft landing of woody musk.
Kiss by Rihanna from £23 for 30ml eau de parfum
Exclusively at Superdrug from the 18th January 2017, nationwide from 1st February 2017
Written by Suzy Nightingale
At The Perfume Society we happen to fall firmly in the camp of perfume as an art form to be celebrated in its own right – a myriad of cultural and language crossovers in the areas of music and fragrance being particularly prevalent; with top, middle and base ‘notes’, perfumer’s ‘organs’ with their raw materials arrayed as the keys of an instrument, ‘accords’ and olfactory harmonies now standard references in scent.
Colours and painting, too, have their scent story to tell, with any number of world-famous noses experiencing the multiple layering of senses (people who ‘smell’ colours and musical notes, for example) known as synaesthesia – a subject we have previously explored in great depth within our Scented Letter magazine, indeed devoting an entire issue to the subject.
We’re blessed with a rich tapestry of diverse cultural events around the UK, and this summer promises a spectacular line-up of shows, festivals and arty comings-together with a little bit of something for everyone. As any ‘fume-head’s nose knows, one must always scent appropriately for the occasion (indeed, many of us pick our perfumes before we get dressed in the morning), and this set us wondering which perfumes would be best for culture vultures to wear at the panopoly of entertainment on offer in the months ahead….
Their musical cavortings now – incredibly – span 54 years, and this lively exhibition reflects on the vitality the Stones have brought to the music scene at large. Purporting to be ‘the most comprehensive insight into the group’ ever seen, it’s even got a sensory depth to plunge in to – should you wish… the scent supposedly evokes the ‘revolting digs’ the band lived in before becoming famous. A heady blend of Tandori chicken (Mick’s dish of choice, apparently) and fish & chips (the other members’ preference) along with the distinctive scent of unwashed socks and – well, all manner of things, one supposes – it’s likely even die-hard fans wouldn’t want to splash that all over. Maybe go for a stylish take on nostalgia with this old-school perfume oil, instead? Not the headlong dive into a hippie shop one might expect, it’s the resinously smoky birch tar that takes centre-stage, here; joined by vanilla on in the base (on the bass?) to further soothe animal insticts.
Le Labo Patchouli 24 £95 for 30ml perfume oil
Buy it at Liberty
Exoloring ‘the intimate relationship between underwear and fashion and its role in moulding the body to a fashionable ideal’, this major new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum proves an eye-popping extravaganza of all things racy and lacey. From historical under-crackers that could raise more than titter, to some of the finest examples of scanties ever seen, we could think of nothing more appropriate than the designer who made it okay to show-off your underwear as outerwear – breathe in and plump for this latest, lighter version of JPG’s powdery orange blossom and musk-laden perfumed paean to the powerful curves a corset can bring.
Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Eau Fraiche £67 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop
With a plethora of fascinating talks, banquets and ‘happenings’ lined up, including a Mini Beast Safari, Wine and Philosophy tastings, talks about trans-humanism, and cream teas in the orangery, there was already a lot to tempt us here. Add a perfumed book club over afternoon gin cocktails with our fragrant pal Odette Toilette, the rather lavish sounding promise of a ‘Scented Swim in Compton Verney’s stunning lake to the soundtrack of live classical piano’, AND one of Sarah McCartney’s perfume making workshops – we were sold. Of course you could eventually be weaing a scent you create yourself, but if you can’t bear to go bare, drench yourself with this British take on the Oriental – a bright mix of citrus, jasmine, vanilla and cedarwood, it’s the scent of sun-kissed skin and happiness.
4160 Tuesdays Sunshine & Pancakes £90 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Roullier White
Founded in 1953 by Ottavio Missoni and his wife, Rosita, they actually began by knitting tracksuits for the Italian’s 1948 Olympic team – a rather incongruous start for what went on to become an iconic fashion house noted for their flair for colour, patterns and intricately woven fabrics; but all becomes clear in this wide-ranging exhibition when you discover Ottavio was also a former Olymic athlete. Featuring a stunning central pyramid of fashion mannequins, and with abstract artworks and home furnishings, it’s a feast for the eyes. What else to wear than the colourful new Missoni scent, designed to be the finishing touch to any stylish outfit it’s a distinctly Italian confident concotion of bergamot, pear, jasmine and tonka bean with a woody, soft musk trail.
Having graced many a student’s walls, don’t make do with the dog-eared blu-tacked posters – go and see the real red-heads and wanly pouting beauties in person. With over 120 major works by the masters including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the significance of being exhibited in Liverpool is explored with the history of the city’s Autumn Exhibitions – a tradition that allowed this most overtly poetic and literary inspired movements to flourish. To complete the picture? A spellbindingly beautiful re-working of rose (perfumer Dominic Ropion using an unprecedented concentration, here) with broad brush strokes of refined patchouli, powdered bezoin, a sprinkle of cinnamon, smooth sandalwood and a glistening bunch of ripe berries fresh for the plucking.
Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady £145 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges
Not merely vital as pollinators for the thousands of flowers and other naturally sourced materials the majority of fragrances still rely on, but for the survival of the human race itself, artist Kurt Jackson has long been obsessed with the litle buzzers. Ever since he first enrolled as a student of Zoology at the University of Oxford, Jackson has focused on bees, wasps and other pollinating insects as his main source of inspiration; and together with his various canvases, sculptures and prints, the university have loaned some of their extensive archival collection to support this exhibition, and highlight the true importance of these creatures we cannot take foregranted. It had to be honey-laden scent, of course, and bolstered by the darkly glimmering magnificence of oudh and a delightfully tempered, lightly musky dry down – this one has it in oodles.
Floris Honey Oud £160 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Floris
The day after legendary musician Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, the idea for the first Glastonbury Festival was born – the date of the (originally free) musical shin-dig was moved to coincide with the Summer Solstice, and 1971 saw an estimated crowd of 12,000 enjoy performances by Hawkwind, David Bowie, Joan Baez and Fairport Convention among others. It’s fair to say the numbers have increased somewhat since those days, but it’s still an absolute British institution on the live music scene, and with Adele, Muse, New Order, Coldplay and ZZ Top announced for 2016 so far, it’s set to be a record-breaking year. Another British institution is the almost inevitable torrential rain an ensuing mud-bath. We say, be ahead of the crowds and drench yourself in this before the heavens open, with cool ‘petrichor’ notes – that unique smell straight after a downpour – somehow captured in scent; it’s sure to refresh even under extreme circumstances.
Library of Fragrance Rain £15 for 30ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots
We bet you’ll be joining us in stocking up on safety pins and sprinkling your rubber trousers with talc for this year-long celebration of perhaps the most subversive – and influential – youth-led cultural movement in living history. Showcasing fashions, music and art that were all integral to making punk so iconic, and images of rainbow-coloured mohawked teens as synonymous with the image of London around the world as a red bus; it’s a joyfully exuberant yet important doccumentation of a genre that continues to break boundaries. With the BFI Southbank screening a selection of contemporary films starring, among others, the now Grand Dame of punk, Vivienne Westwood and Ari Up, lead singer of The Slits; it might be that you Boudoir-it-up with one of Westwood’s fragrance collection. However, for a scent that really embodies the shake it up and shock ’em nature of the scene; we tentatively suggest this adrenaline-infused fragrance. Never a house to pull back from the edge, it’s a blend of arousal-inspired accords on a bed of orris, opoponax, coconut and musk. Devisive as the spirit of punk itself, it’s a love or hate you’ll not forget in a hurry…
Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques £70 for 50ml eau de parfums
Buy it from Les Senteurs
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