Perfume War – watch this fascinating documentary…

The highly acclaimed, multi-award-winning documentary, Perfume War, asks the question: can perfume prevent war? One woman made it her mission to find out..

Perfume War is about two friends and their unstoppable fight for world peace. Captain Trevor Greene’s mission in Afghanistan ends violently with a Taliban axe in his head. Miraculously, he survives to see his best friend Barb Stegemann, a single mom, carry on his peace mission with a new strategy – perfume.

In an Art of War maneuver she takes what the enemy loves most, the poppy crop, by purchasing rose and orange blossom oils, which pay Afghan farmers twice the income over illegal poppy. Scientists marvel at Greene’s recovery as he rebuilds his brain, while Stegemann helps rebuild in Afghanistan and Rwanda.

Barb fights a retail war in stores while working to keep her company financially afloat. In a world that monetizes war, Barb needs a cavalry of business to take up her retail activist charge. A global beauty giant shows interest, but is her essential oil good enough? Will she run out of money? Will she win her perfume war?’

 

 

You can find out for yourself, as the full documentary film has now been made available to watch for FREE online!

Explaining why she wanted to make the film free free to watch during this period of #lockdown, Barb says ‘I was thinking about how I could send you all a gift. So here it is…’

Barb had previously used her go-getting attitude to build a socially-minded fragrance empire in the Canadian niche house of 7 Virtues, and it’s fitting the film of this incredible journey has now been made. She’d launched her brand after discovering an Afghan activist who was encouraging farmers to grow orange blossoms and roses, as an alternative to the poppy trade that was fuelling such unrest in the region.

Can perfume truly stop war? As Steggemann says, we spend a lot of money funding violence all over the world, so surely it’s worth trying to fund peace with perfume…?

By Suzy Nightingale

How to find SIX perfect scents to suit you – from your sofa!

How can you find the perfect scent to suit you? It’s a question we’re asked more than any other, and can be somewhat overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. And that’s at the best of times – let alone trying to navigate buying a new scent from your sofa, without sniffing beforehand!

We have the perfect perfume solution: our genius Fragrance Finder

You’re simply asked to type in the name of a fragrance you like already, and the so-clever algorithm does all the work for you. This is a computer system that was first set up decades ago, when our Co-Founder Lorna McKay had an idea how to help customers of Liberty’s perfumery seek out their next scents.

That computer program has been fully updated with key words comparing and describing hundreds of thousands of fragrances – not only the fragrance notes, but how the fragrance will make you feel, the atmosphere the perfumer has created.

Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be off on a fragrant journey of discovery…

1: Start with what you love
Instead of plunging wildly into the dark and trying every random fragrance you see, it’s a good idea to base your sniff list on something you already know you love. Our Fragrance Finder is completely genius at this, and has been recommended by fragrance experts and Fume Chat podcast hosts Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley as the best place to start when looking for a new fragrance to suit you.

 

All you need do is type in the name of a scent you already love (or one you know your beloved currently wears) and you’ll be given an immediate list of six scents to seek out, all at various price points and with characteristics you’re extremely likely to swoon for. Honestly, try it – they’re quite spookily accurate!

 

 

2: Give yourself time
Now clutching your online-shopping list of scents to try, after purchasing we cannot urge you strongly enough to allow yourself the time to live with them on your skin a while before making a snap decision either way.

– First sniff? That’s the top notes – generally something citrus-y and ephemeral – which can disappear within the first few minutes of spraying because the ingredients evaporate more quickly.

– We find an hour is enough to give you a proper sense of what the perfume smells like on you. And if you don’t want to douse yourself head-to-toe (why on earth not? But each to their own) then spray on a blotter or ‘spill’ (long paper strip) to get an idea.

– Remember – it will only be an idea of the final scent. They were made to be warmed and worn on your skin, not paper, so will often smell very different (and better) on you. And your mood/the weather/food can all drastically alter how a scent smells on you, so ideally, try each one a couple of times.

A lot of fragrance houses are now, thankfully, offering samples of their scents to try before you buy a full size – we stock an incredible selection of Brand Discovery Sets in our shop, as well as our own curated Perfume Society Discovery Boxes for you to try at home.

 

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!

 

Experimental Perfume Club launch online perfumery course

One of the most frequently asked questions we get, is: ‘how can I learn to become a perfumer?’ And now, Experimental Perfume Club is launching a learn-at-home perfumery course, with all the equipment, materials and step by step instructions in online video tutorials! And there’s a FREE mini-course of three lessons – scroll down to find out more…

Emmanuelle Moeglin is a classically-trained (ISIPCA) French perfumer who moved to London and opened a workshop in order help people have access to materials and tuition that would either be incredibly expensive, or impossible to gather on your own. These workshops were so popular, it allowed Emmanuelle to create and launch her own signature fragrances – innovatively presented as perfume ‘Layers that could be worn alone or mixed at home to achieve unique results.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has hit independent fragrance houses hard, so they’re having to innovate and try new things to survive. Explains Emmanuelle: ‘Like so many other brands, we’ve been impacted pretty badly by the crisis as 90% of our business was client facing and almost nothing online.’

Now, those workshops have been put online, so you can have the kit sent to you and learn at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home! With all the mateirals and tuition you need, this is a unique opportunity to take your love of fragrance and interest in perfumery further – perhaps even something that might make you consider a change of career when all this over…?

 

Available as a two-week / 12 lessons Fundamentals of Perfumery begginer’s course, you’ll have access to a series of how to and tutorial videos and a workbook that will help you awaken your sense of smell and develop an in-depth understanding of the most commonly used ingredients in perfumery. You’ll start by learning proper smelling techniques and how to accurately describe and categorize perfumery ingredients by family, volatility and type. You’ll then learn to compare and contrast these ingredients to deepen your understanding of the scented world around you. You will receive the ingredients you need to follow this course including a selection of 30 of the most commonly used perfumery ingredients and laboratory materials including scent strips, pipettes and bottles.

 

Or, you can choose to study a more advanced six-weeks / 36 lessons Fundamentals of Perfume Creation course. ‘During this 6-week course, you’ll be getting a series of videos and a workbook that will help you to understand the fundamentals of perfume creation and gain the knowledge to start creating fragrances. From the ingredients to the formula, you’ll be taken on a step-by-step learning journey that will give you the necessary information to get started in perfume creation – whether it is for a hobby or professional purpose.

Each week, you’ll receive a set of how-to videos, practical demos and theory courses to help you gain a broad understanding of the fundamentals of perfumery. You will start by awakening your sense of smell by learning to recognise, describe and organise a large selection of the most commonly used perfumery ingredients. You’ll then explore the fundamentals of professional perfumery practice including the basic equipment of perfumery and setting up your own laboratory at home. You will end the course by learning the creative process behind a fragrance brief and developing an in-depth knowledge of fragrance creation across a variety of applications by composing both simple and complex fragrance formulas.

You will receive all of the materials you need to follow this course including a wide selection of perfumery ingredients and the necessary lab equipment, including scent strips, a scale, pipettes, empty bottles, and solvent.’

Intrigued? We certainly are. And you’ll be glad to hear there’s a FREE mini taster session of THREE free classes online, so you can get a sense of what you’d be learning, and how it would work.

 

 

Whatever level you want to start at, you’ll come away with a new appreciation for the art of perfumery, for each fragrant ingredient you smell, and for the skill of the perfumers whose creations you spray every day. So why not take this as an opportunity to learn a new creative skill, and to distract yourself in the most pleasant was possible while adding another scented string to your bow…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Anima Vinci perfume masterclass – live-streaming sniff-along

Anima Vinci, the niche house with perfumes that are ‘feel-good potions’ – are live-streaming perfume masterclasses online, for free! Read about how to join in and connect with your sense of smell…

What with staying home being the new going out, we’re loving the inventive and engaging ways fragrance houses are finding to bring the perfume community together – and these weekly sniff-along scent classes with Anima Vinci are just the ticket to learn something new while having fun.

Anima Vinci say: ‘Treat yourself with some time out of the daily confined routine and have fun with us discovering the world of perfume, the raw materials, the creative process and much more. The live event is open to all to follow but it’s much more fun with the @home kit!’

So, how does it work?

The live masterclass will last for approximately one hour, and while everyone is free to watch, of course it’s much more fun if you sniff-along for the session. They have made special Anima Vinci @home Masterclass Kits, £45 which you can purchase on their website, and which will contain ‘7 mystery raw materials to smell, an Anima vinci discovery set with 8 samples, perfume strips and a quiz card.’

If you want to jump straight into discovering their scents, however, without the raw materials and card – we are thrilled to stock the full Anima Vinci Discovery Set, £20 in our shop, for you to explore and fall in love with, whenever you wish.

If you already have a kit, or discovery set – or simply want to tune in to see what it’s all about, here’s the link you’ll need:

NEXT LIVE MASTER CLASS : THURSDAY 9th APRIL 2020 at 7pm (LONDON GMT) – don’t forget to head to the Anima Vinci Facebook page to take part! And check back on their website for news of the next masterclass

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Scenting the airwaves – perfume themed podcasts we recommend

Fragrance is filling the air(waves) right now, with a plethora of perfumed podcasts to catch up with – some fairly recently released episodes, and some other (for us) just-discovered gems.
At The Perfume Society, we’ve long held that the topic of fragrance and our sense of smell is perhaps at the point food and wine were not all that long ago: something the general public are waking up to as a valid subject to explore, enjoy and discuss in depth.

Perfect to download and enjoy while commuting, these will ease you gently from wearing pyjamas past midday while mainly eating a cheese and chocolate-based diet; or perhaps to to catch up with while chilling this weekend…

Fume Chat: The Filth Battle
Fellow ‘fumehead Katie Puckrik joins regular hosts, Thomas and Nick, to judge a battle of their perfume picks that smell nothing short of downright dirty. Our very favourite kind! You’ll come for the fragrances and stay for the banter.

The Conversation: Perfume Makers
How do you capture and bottle a scent? Two perfume makers from France and Malaysia talk to Kim Chakanetsa about how they’ve trained their noses to smell over 1,000 different raw ingredients.

What’s the Tee?
RuPaul and co-host Michelle Visage spend much of this episode discussing their love of perfume, with Michelle in particular proving to be well-up on her niche houses and with seemingly quite a collection. Such a pleasure to hear people be passionate about things they love, don’t you think?

Two Sense: Perfumer & Flavorist Podcast
Flavour and fragrance are inextricably linked, and indeed many perfume companies create for both sectors. Perfumer & Flavorist sit down with Ewan Morgan, national director of Diageo, to discuss what goes into crafting a quality whisky.

The Why Factor: Perfume
For centuries perfume has been used to show status and wealth and the global business is worth now worth tens of billions of dollars, so clearly fragrance is more popular than ever. Here the BBc’s Mike Williams talks to an historian and archaeologist about why we use perfume and what, exactly, it says about us.

Histories of the Unexpected: Perfume
Presenters Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell ‘argue’ that everything has a history (well, yes) here delving in to our favourite topic (obvs).

Making Scents: The Story of Perfume
Bridget Kendall and guests explore the modern history of perfume, including its flowering in France and the explosive chemical discoveries that helped to make fine fragrance what it is today.

The Pool: Perfume: A Century of Scents
Lizzie Ostrum (aka Odette Toilette) discusses her brilliant book, beginning with the story of CK One and how it came to epitomise the 1990s.

Stuff You Should Know: How Perfume Works
Josh and Chuck are the very laid-back and affable hosts who plunge into topics they previously knew little or nothing about, sharing their research with listeners. There are hundreds of episodes covering everything from corsets to cults, but of course we zoomed in on the perfume episode…

Do let us know if there are any more you’ve heard – we’re always on the lookout for further fragrant recommendations!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

War of the Roses: Jo Fairley judges a fragrant Fume Chat 'fight' between Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunckley…

Fume Chat is one of our favourite podcasts (for the uninitiated, think of podcasts as online radio shows you can subscribe to and download to listen later), from the offset aiming ‘…to have fun with fragrance – after all, it’s just perfume, so why it take it so seriously?’ Regular hosts Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunckley (a.k.a. fragrance blogger The Candy Perfume Boy) may be perfume experts in their own right, but they genuinely bring a sense of the joy of discovery along with down-to-earth accessible information to their weekly show.
Most episodes sees the fragrant twosome sniffing exciting new scents both old and new or discussing topics relevant to the world of perfumery – a brilliant recent episode was dedicated to Aroma Chemicals (or Synthetics) and exploring what the giddy hell they actually are and where best to sniff them out.
Our favourite episodes have to be the ‘Battles’, in which Nick and Thomas each bring to the table their favourite examples of a particular perfume genre. Often they’ll get a guest to decide the outcome (and overall winner of the battle!) and the latest – The War of the Roses –featured none other than our very own co-founder and editor, Jo Fairley as the judge. We wont spoil the surprise, but suffice to say it was a close battle and you’ll be wanting to scatter rose petals at the feet of the victor…

 
Do go and have a listen by clicking the Fume Chat logo, above – who do YOU think will win? – and have a pad handy, because the way Nick and Thomas so breathlessly describe their favourites makes us want to go and sniff (and douse ourselves in) them immediately…
(If you’re not an Apple user, you can find the Fume Chat RSS feed here).
Written by Suzy Nightingle
 

Fume Chat podcast's fragrant predictions for 2017…

To roll in the New Year, fragrance experts, friends and now regular Fume Chat ‘podcasters’ (think of podcasts as radio shows you can listen to online, if you’re new to the term!) Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley (aka The Candy Perfume Boy) decided to look ahead to all things fragrant for 2017 and ponder on the perfumes we’ll all be using in the months to come.
In this sixth episode, the fragrant twosome muse on questions including…
– Who will release a perfume in a bottle of their face?

– Will oud ever die?
– What scent can be described as ‘Rosa Dentata’?

fortnums_thomas_nick1
[Photo via Olfactaria’s Travels perfume blog, showing Nick and Thomas on a previous perfume-sniffing outing…]
Presented in their trademark down-to-earth but entirely knowledgable way, it’s a great listen (as always!) and we think their friendly discussions definitely encourage an ever-growing list of perfumes to seek out and try for yourselves.
We suggest you settle down with a cup of tea, put your feet up and listen to the episode here. You can catch up with any shows you may have missed, too!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

'Fume Chat – a new podcast show that has serious fun with fragrance…

We perfume-lovers are greedy types – ever hungry for more fragrance in all its forms: spritzing on layers of it, daily (obvs), surrounding ourselves with scented candles, reading books on it, watching shows [like Love to Smell on YouTube] about it and, now, listening to perfume-themed podcasts to-boot. More is always more, with us, and so of course we eagerly listened to the first ‘Fume Chat episode when it launched a couple of weeks ago…
Hosted by fragrance expert, writer and independent consultant Nick Gilbert and his long-time perfume blogging pal, Thomas Dunkley [aka, award-winning The Candy Perfume Boy]; ‘Fume Chat is a conversation between two highly knowledgable (and very funny) friends that you really feel part of as you listen. And for those of you who haven’t ventured into the world of podcasts yet, think of them as online radio shows that you can download and listen to whenever you wish. Particularly useful for tedious train journeys, we find!
The first episode is more of an introduction to the sorts of topics they hope to be covering, with Nick and Thomas picking some of their favourites from recently launched perfumes in their extensive wardrobes, and talking more generally about what they personally like to wear. The second episode, just released this Sunday, is themed around what will be an on-going feature: a fragranced duel.
comme_des_garcons_01
For each of these special shows, a perfume house is chosen – this time it was COMME de GARÇONS – and sees our hosts each picking three of their favourite examples, playing a kind of game of “smelly Top Trumps” before having a scented smack-down to agree on a winner.
As Thomas explains, the whole idea behind the show is to be informative but in a really enjoyable, relaxed way: ‘Fume Chat aims to have fun with fragrance – after all, it’s just perfume, so why it take it so seriously? We’ll be sniffing exciting scents, both new and old, battling head-to-head to see who can pick the best fragrances, and discussing many topics related to the smelly aspects of this wonderful world.’
female-radio-listener-vintage-radio-01
We’re certainly looking forward to hearing more from our scented friends, the perfect way to ease yourself into a new week over a lazy Sunday breakfast while dreaming of all the new scents you want to sniff. Anything that encourages people out there and exploring more perfumes gets our vote, and can we just say, we love the catchy theme tune, too!
Depending on their equally busy schedules, new episodes of ‘Fume Chat will be ready to listen to on a fortnightly basis, and they’re really simple to listen and subscribe to. Simply go to their page on iTunes or, if you’re not an Apple user, you can find the ‘Fume Chat RSS feed here. You can also follow ‘Fume Chat on Twitter to join in the conversation, and pay a visit to their Facebook page.
Written by Suzy Nightingale