Daniel Sonabend’s 5 musical fragrances

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.

Daniel Sonabend. Photo by Michal Sulima

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.

Jason Bruges’ Scent Constellation at Le Grand Musèe du Parfums, Paris, where Daniel Sonabend’s music is played. Photo by James Medcraft

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.’

Scent Constellation album artwork

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.

Experience Daniel’s Scent Constellation album for yourself, below. You can also listen via Spotify, if you prefer. Whichever you choose, can you hear the fragrances, smell the music…?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Aesop home fragrances: formulated to stir the senses…

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
 

Seasonal scented ingredients that make winter sparkle…

Frosty foliage glittering beguilingly is uplifting to the soul on wickedly cold mornings, and although our hearts (and hands!) may yearn for the warmth of summer, we can remind ourselves that the onset of winter also heralds some truly magical ingredients that are inexorably associated with the season.
We’ve listed four of our favourites, below, but where does your (cold) nose take you when the frost bites? Well, if you click on the names of the ingredients, you’ll be whisked to their fascinating and fact-filled individual pages, where you can also find a list of perfumes to try with that as the prominant note…
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Myrrh
Long associated with Christmas (one of the three gifts given to the infant Jesus),used in religious ceremonies and magical rites; myrrh is actually a gum resin, tapped from the True Myrrh tree, or Commiphora Myrrha, and originating in parts of Arabia, Somalia and Ethiopia. Tapping the tree to make small incisions, small teardrop-shaped droplets ‘bleed’ from the trunk and are left to harden into bead-like nuggets, which are then steam-distilled to produce an essential oil. Myrrh gets its name from the Hebrew ‘murr’ or ‘maror’, which translates as ‘bitter’. It’s earthy. It’s resinous. It’s intriguing. And it’s still a key ingredient in many sensual and iconic Oriental perfumes today…
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Pssst! Read more about the fascinating history of myrrh, and how Jo Malone London have used this precious indredient in their soon to be released latest perfume, in our hot-off-the-press glossy magazine: The Scented Letter.
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Pine
There are good pine smells, and, well… horrid pine smells. If you’ve ever sat in the back of a taxi with one of those ‘Christmas tree’-scented cards dangling from the rear-view mirror, you’ll probably get where we’re coming from. But pine can also be wonderful crisp, spicy, outdoorsy and invigorating – and it’s been closely linked to perfume creation since the time of the early Arab perfumers, who liked it in combination with frankincense, in particular…
 
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Cinnamon
Spicily enticing, comforting and sweet, all at once.  Our love of cinnamon dates back thousands of years:  2000 years ago the Egyptians were weaving it into perfumes (though it probably originates way before that, in China). Because cinnamon bark oil is a sensitiser – and as such, you may ‘cinnamates’ on perfume packaging, as a warning – where natural cinnamon’s used, it’s likely to have been distilled from the leaves and twigs.  But it’s often also synthesised, adding a spicy warmth to Orientals (and quite a few men’s scents)…
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Orange
Studded with cloves we can hang these ultra-Christmas-sy pomanders from our trees for an instant Yuletide hit. But where would perfumery be without orange…?  The blossom of the bitter orange tree (a.k.a. neroli, when it’s extracted in a particular way) is one of the most precious scent ingredients of all.  Bigarade, from the fruit of that tree, is another key ingredient in colognes, while its leaves give us petitgrain, another popular element in citrussy scents.  And then there’s orange itself (sometimes referred to as sweet orange, to distinguish it from the bitter, ‘marmalade’ variety.)
There are many more notes to discover and explore in our Ingredients section of the wbsite, so why not take a sensorial journey and follow your nose there, now…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale