Mitchell and Peach – outstanding in their field(s) of lavender. We loved them so much, we invited you, too!

For five generations, the incredibly photogenic Mitchells have been farming the same land deep in the heart of Kent – The ‘Garden of England’ – and cultivating everything from apples, strawberries, cobnuts, honey and chamomile. But it’s the lavender they’re perhaps most famous for – a swathe of purple shocking commuters into delighted squeals who glimpse it from their packed train carriages (ourselves included!) and gaze longingly as it hurries past…
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Imagine how thrilled we were, then, to receive an invitation to a press day at Mitchell and Peach. We immediately envisaged ourselves wafting through the fields wearing white summer dresses and straw hats, perhaps carrying a wooden trug brimming with the fragrant blooms – like a 1970s shampoo advert bathed in sunshine. Of course it rained (of course!) cometh the day, but it was absolutely impossible not to feel ridiculously happy surrounded by such beauty (seriously, even their barns are beautiful) – and by people who clearly cared so much about their crops and the gorgeously scented products they now make with them.
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From 1923 to 1972, the Mitchells ran a thriving market stand on the south-west corner of old Covent Garden in London. Having celebrated 100 years at Foxbury Farm, it still remains the centre of their estate to this day, and continuing in the family’s tradition while diversifying their offerings, Ian and Jod Mitchell (see main picture) planted fine lavender on the estate.
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Such great quality were the essences distilled from this plantation, they were inspired to create a bath and body range, planted more lavender to keep up with demand and trial crops including chamomile – so wonderfully soothing and far more fragrant than you’d imagine when the petals are crushed beneath your fingers – and beehives for their fragrantly delicious honey. Here’s “Brett the Bee Man” (below) who guided us around the hives and so proudly explained his work…
Brett the Bee man at Mitchell and Peach
 
Far from the slightly fusty image some may have of a family business in such idyllic surroundings engaged in creating fragrances, skin-care and scented grooming products, this is no kitchen-table job. The perfumes are exquisite and so reminisent of their surroundings, yet totally contemporary and wearable by all. The streamlined, stylish packaging also enhances their no-nonsense ethos, and we left seriously impressed by everything we’d seen and smelled (and tasted – we highly recommend lavender as a swizzle stick!)
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In fact, so impressed, we knew we just had to invite our VIP Subscribers along to share the treat with us – and what a treat it proved to be. Even the sun shone for our return visit…
13‘A sophisticated floral structured around rose, ylang ylang, peony and lavender, emboldened with larkspur and sweet fennel. This outstanding perfume is hand-blended in England with pure essential oils from the Mitchell estate. The result is a distinctive fine fragrance with a singular depth, warmth and elegance.’
Mitchell and Peach Fora No.1 £75 for 50ml eau de parfum
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‘A bright “green floral” inspired by the lush countryside of Foxbury Farm, the home of Mitchell and Peach. This unique scent is hand blended with natural extracts including soft citrus, coriander leaves, basil, mint and floral oils from the Mitchell Estate. It possesses an uplifting, aromatic freshness redolent of ‘mown meadows’, with a hint of musky cedar wood to lend complexity and depth.’
Mitchell and Peach English Leaf £55 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy them at Mitchell and Peach
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

Illuminum 95%…. the delicious link between taste and smell

Illuminum are ‘pushing the boundaries of the possible’ and exploring the myriad links between between taste and scent. Ever ones to enjoy explorations in both of those areas, we set out to discover more…

Did you know that 95% of what we perceive as a taste sensation is actually constructed from our sense of smell? It sounds astonishing, but anyone who has taken part in our immersive How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops can attest to the power of that discovery [our next one is in Brighton, August 21stcome and join us!]
Indeed, anyone who has ever suffered from a cold and then attempted to eat some comforting bowl of nourishment – only to discover it tastes of almost nothing (or simply unpleasant) – will suddenly have realised the intricate connections between smell and taste…
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Illuminum London proudly straddle the worlds of art and fragrance, pushing the boundaries of how we experience scent and altering our pre-conceived perceptions of smell itself. Having collaborated with many artists, designers and architechts over the years, it seems only natural they should now be working with chefs and exploring that vital link between food and fragrance. Illuminum invited innovative chefs Jackson Boxer, Yuki Gomi and Tom Wolfe to create three distinctive fragrances that explored the interfaces of this connection, playing with our notions of what we think our nose knows.
Illuminum say: ‘Outside the world of perfume, it is chefs who use their sense of smell on a daily basis to spark or guide their imagination. For Illuminum, this cross-disciplinary collaboration with three thoughtful practitioners, each with a clear view of the role and potential of scent, is a unique opportunity to transcend the borders of experience, expectation and practice in order the fashion the new. Formulated in partnership with expert perfumers, the three new scents demonstrate the brand’s ethos of carrying a passion for perfume into fulfilling realms of shared experience, including the worlds of art and culture. For Illuminum, fragrance is an art form in its own right.’
Illuminum Bruswick House

‘Founder of the Brunswick House restaurant and bar in London’s Vauxhall, Jackson Boxer brings his individuality to bear on every facet of the guest experience. Here, within a unique architectural emporium, the antiques themselves are for sale as part of a spirited homage to good taste.’ Explains Jackson:  ‘Food and wine have long provided the framework around which I construct memory. Since I mainly perceive this through scent, the opportunity to create a fragrance with Illuminum that would not only stir me, but also represent a range of hard-to-articulate feelings about cuisine, was fascinating.’ His fragrance features labdanum, oak and cedarwood for a warmly woody Oriental to set the nose tingling…
Illuminum Yuki&bottle
‘For Yuki Gomi, master of Japanese cooking, teacher, and founder of Yuki’s Kitchen, the ‘95 Percent’ series collaboration is an opportunity to reconnect with a childhood spent in the foothills of Mount Fuji, home to all the subtlety and poetic suggestiveness of Japan’s culinary tradition.’ For Yuki‘s scent, the notes osmanthus, green tea, tangerine and vetiver are entwined to entice the senses…
Illuminum Tom Wolfe
‘London-based Tom Wolfe pioneered the fusion of food with art and product design, carving out a uniquely flamboyant niche in the capital’s culinary landscape. This collaboration with Illuminum is a chance to show off his dazzling talent for drama, story, spectacle and cultural allusion.’ Tom Wolfe #234 twists fennel infused with bergamot, geranium and neroli and a base of pine tree with amber to intrigue…
Illuminum 95% fragrances £80 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Selfridges
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Love to Smell… love us, too! Have you watched the fragrant friends?

Imagine having incredibly knowledgable, engagingly funny and totally un-snobby friends who like nothing more than inviting you ’round their house (or meeting up at a local coffee-shop) and gassing about the latest “OMG, you have to smell this” fragrant find… Well, some of us are lucky enough to have those friends (or hey, even be those friends!) but not everyone is so fortunate. We know this from meeting so many of our subscribers at events, or having them run up to us and say, ‘Oh thank god, people who understand me!’
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Two of our favourite ‘fume-heads  – fragrance expert Nick Gilbert [formerly Ambassador for Penhaligon’s and now freelance consultant] and Pia Long [perfumer, fragrance marketer and now freelance writer with monthly column in Perfume & Flavorist magazine] teased us a little while ago with the trailer for their new show – all about sharinf the things they have most enjoyed sniffing, lately. Now the YouTube channel Love to Smell has officially launched, viewers have access to those kind of friendly people talking about perfume in an informative but completely fun way – and were thrilled to find out they explored our Introductory VIP Discovery Box in their first full episode. It turns out, they love what we do, too…

PS: [HINT] Perhaps if you sniff around a little, you’ll find a brand new, just-launched to VIPs box to discover…? [END HINT]
In their Show Notes section of the accompanying blog, Nick and Pia talk a little more about what drew them to The Perfume Society, before discussing some other ‘try-me’ sizes of frgrances:
‘So we really love what The Perfume Society is up to – as you may have noticed, we love to smell… and love perfumes and talking about them. And The Perfume Society is more or less a club for people to get excited about smells. One of the best things about getting more into fragrances is the social aspect – talking to others, training your nose to be better at smelling; comparing notes and attending fragrant events. You will learn so much about fragrances, perfume history and the ingredients, too…’
With four episodes already out there – the next ones concentrating on subjects as diverse as Foam Burst shower gels and new perfume house Amouroud – we urge you to grab a cuppa and make time for Love to Smell – a fun, fragrant show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and makes you want to share the scents you love, too!
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 
 

Paul Schütze – a beautiful journey through art, photography, music and now… perfume

We first met the artist Paul Schütze some years ago, during his Silent Surface exhibition – a gallery of works exploring banned books and the power of words. The centrepiece was a magnificent tome on a plinth, the pages entirely blackened as though burned, and from which the most incredible aroma wafted – the more instense the closer you got. A scent evoking old libraries, dusty pages and fresh ink filled the room, and apparently many visitors asked if they could buy the fragrance itself. Having never seen the exercise as a commercial venture – the aroma as much an artwork as those on the walls – Paul hadn’t really considered such a thing, back then. But how things change…
Fascinated by the ability of aroma to provoke distinct emotions and long-distant memories, Paul began working even more closely with the concept of integrating artworks and instillations with our innate sense of smell – an unseen hand of the artist. Last year, Paul collaborated with Sir John Soane’s Museum on a candlelit tour devoted to exploring the sensorial heritage of the house, with Paul using aromas to evoke the sense of the family having just left the room – olfactory time-travel, if you will.
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While still working on his music and stunning photography (seriously, have a look at his Instagram account for a taste of the visual treats), Paul worked extensively on creating exquisite formulas, himself  – transforming his fragrance dreams into a reality, while slowly traversing the tricky areas of perfume regulations.
Now, the trio of fragrances have been realised – each of them chosen to describe a moment in time recalled by the artist ‘for it’s unique particularity’. And there’s no doubting these fragrances are unique.
Behind The RainBehind the Rain: black pepper, conifer, olibanum, grapefruit, lentisque, linden, moss, patchouli, sweet fennel, vetiver.
The moment of being caught in a Monsoon-like downpour – sheltering beneath a tree on some exotic island’s beach, the petrichor scent of the rain istelf, drenched foliage and sweetly sodden earth, then plants blooming as heat returns and the liquid steams…
CirebonCirebon: bergamot, bigarade, cedar, cyclamen, magnolia, pettigrain, sandalwood, Tunisian orange flower, vetiver.
An hallucinogenic evocation of one sultry night in Java – the memories of an orchestra playing, their music drifting across the water on the scented breeze; a synaesthetic merging of the senses as sound and smell become one as they swirl around you…
Tears of ErosTears of Eros: ambergris, benzoin, cardamom, cedar, incense, green clementine, guaiac wood, hyacinth, labdanum, orris, pink pepper.
A rememberance of the artist working in his Parisian studio – the smouldering embers of incense from Sanju Sangendo, Kyoto, among discarded clementine skins, the heat releasing the sharp pithy notes along with the juicy freshness of the skin; a potted hyacinth on the window ledge blurring the cool air of the city beyond…
Strikingly characterful and bold, yet hauntingly ethereal, they seem almost to recall the manual method of developing photographic prints themselves – an image deepening with details, shadows emerging as they warm on the skin. Like his artworks, there’s an avant garde starkness shot through with a stately elegance – a way to transcend through scent.
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Paul Schütze perfumes £135 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Roullier White
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Aether perfumes – time to stop and smell the molecular roses…

When is a rose not a rose….?
Niche perfumery can sometimes fall in to the very tropes they so desperately try to avoid – highlighting expensive, natural ingredients and hiding, or at least not announcing, the incredible molecular technology (often just as expensive as raw ingredients) at play in the majority of perfumes we have been falling in love with since the early 19th Century. Part of the problem is the language involved – ‘synthetic’ just doesn’t sound sexy. But these clever molecules add depth, space and longevity to fragrance – ultimately, some being as complex and multi-faceted as several hundred ingredients mixed together at once. While of course the perfume industry still celebrates the multitude and quality of naturals, it’s vital – now, more than ever – to educate ourselves on, and stop being squeamish about, the modern methods of extracting and shaping these invisible bubbles of pleasure.
The just-launched Aether perfumes are unique – a wardrobe of fragrances dedicated to paying tribute to synthetic molecules – while showcasing their elegance, diversity and ability to convey distinct and intricate emotional messages through scent. Offering a new way to experience fragrance for we beings who so desperately cling to known and expected smells, the collection is an eye-opening (nostril-widening?) demonstration of how molecules are not something to hitch up your petticoats and stand on a chair (in the manner of a Tom & Jerry cartoon) in fear of. Far from it – these are scents we know somehow, emotionally, if not by name alone – could many people automatically bring to mind the smell of Cetalox or Oxane?

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©Roberto Greco

Under the creative guidance and artistic direction of Nicolas Chabot – perhaps best known for his rescuing and reinvigorating of the heritage house Le Galion – perfumers Amélie Borgeois and Anne-Sophie Behaghel have created five fragrances that break the boundaries of “known” smells, crafting ‘egoless perfumes, creative atmospheres where everything is delightfully extravagant, whimsical, playful…’
Aether say: ‘If each molecule has a rather distinctive smell, who could guess exactly what the smell of the aldehyde C12 or ISO E Super would be? Sometimes a shimmering bubble and sometimes dazzling beauty, the molecule – this almost nothing in infinity – is the sacred young muse of the collection. At ÆTHER, no flower-show or flight of lyricism around the historically traditional raw material; rather the evocation of metallic vegetation, unknown woods, imperceptible sounds, moments to come … These scents of imperial fancy do not envy the wake of others, but prefer a luminous halo, a magical ring, an aura of humor and mystery…’
Closing your eyes, forgetting what you think you know and allowing the fragrance and sensation to wash over you is the pleasure, here. And what pleasures there are in store…
Muskethanol: ‘A semblance of realism: a handful of golden sand poured in alcohol (damascenone) that starts to glow, as if by magic, a thousands sequins, a silver shimmer similar to the sea. The disturbing impression of sand that has been rendered almost abstract. A sand of steel, futuristic, perhaps from another world (cetalox, muscone).’
Ether Oxide: ‘Far away, very far away, you vaguely smell a beautiful fresh and contemporary wood; closer, there is strange “ether accord” (ethyl acetate), a sort of gentle steam, which approaches the skin like a breath of burning wood (ambroxan, ISO E Super). An emanation of love. “And if peace had a smell?” She asked me, a little worried. “It might be like this” I replied.’
Rose Alcane: ‘One could imagine it so textured, so vivid, so real (Rose Oxyde). Beautiful flower in a cowhide. A rose for girl and boys who do not love roses madly, but who do not hate to be surprised. Through beautiful floral mechanics, the miracle of alchemy transforms, right under your nose, a super fresh rosebud into a metallic flower.’
Aether
©Roberto Greco

Citrus Ester: ‘One of those days that seems to stretch out forever, and you are not quite sure there is going to be a second. The moment quivers with energy. An energy ghost, bright (methyl grapefruit) and caring, tinged with a slight taste of primordial fruit (firascone, rhubafurane). Life, the beginnings of life.’
Carboneum: ‘The dreams of a child: the man in a diving suit resurfacing from the ocean wrung out by the waves, before being propelled into space by a magnetic force. A strange harmony representing neoprene (Benzoate Methyl, Sudéral, Timbérol)! One also smells the texture of foam, a little rough (Globanone). The next night it had the same dream.’
We admit we’re very excited by Aether and their unashamed celebration of molecular fragrance beauty – an art form, yes, but not for art’s sake alone: each of them are totally wearable (and sharable) by even the most molecularly-inexperienced fragrance lover.
Forget what your nose thinks it knows – about rose, or any other scent, and give in to curiosity…
Aether perfumes £140 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Liberty
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Feed your senses: A second course with the scented chef

Since our first event sold out in a matter of days, we’ve decided to schedule another date with That Hungry Chef, so other subscribers can experience his delicious food. With that, we are delighted to invite you to the second gourmet scented supper on Friday 30th September with That Hungry ChefPratap Chalal.
Inspired by Mandy Aftel‘s book Perfume: An Edible Scent, and his years of training in Michelin starred establishments, Pratap has been hosting supper clubs for over a year now and has been hailed, by Time Out no less, as one of the coolest in town.
Set in his intimate and wonderfully decorated North London home,  you’ll eat with your eyes, mouth and nose – there’s is 16 places for dinner and we have no doubt there’ll be a very eager, full table on the night.
You can read all about our past fantastic experiences with That Hungry ChefPratap Chalal here
And your menu for the evening will be….

Welcome cocktail: Opihr Gin, extracts of cinnamon & ginger, tonic water & mint

Spiced bread and scented stories

Citrus Burst: Bergamot, Petitgrain, Litsea Cubeba
Ceviche of salmon with bergamot & petitgrain, coriander, avocado & litsea cubeba

The Silk Road: Frankincense, Oud, Sandalwood
Rump of lamb with frankincense & pomegranate, onion & oud puree, sandalwood honey glazed parsnip, green wheat salad

The English Garden: Lavender, Rose, Verbena
English lavender & almond cake, damascene rose cream, raspberries, shaved verbena ice

Dark and Stormy – the fabulous British weather:

Tobacco, Birch Tar, Vetiver and Milk chocolate truffles

Tickets are £45 for subscribers and their guests – to include a welcome cocktail, a three-course dinner and petit fours.
Eventbrite - A gourmet scented supper with That Hungry Chef
The dinner includes a welcome cocktail but is B.Y.O.B, so if you fancy a tipple with dinner be sure to grab something en route!
As this event is held in Pratap’s home we will be emailing directly before the event with the full address in North London, N19. Please do email us via info@perfumesociety.org to let us know of any dietary requirements or for further information.
NB As this event involves food, once purchased, tickets are refundable up to a 7 days before the event, but not alas beyond that point.
 

Bvlgari Goldea – a golden scent for Cleopatra. Behind-the-scenes with Alberto Morillas on his creation of a 're-modelled' musk that simply glows…

Having caught up with genius (and we do not use the word lightly) perfumer Alberto Morillas for our recent Nose interview, we couldn’t just leave it there. Actually, we could conceivably spend years listening to his tales of perfumes past and present – the intricacies of his methods, the creative process from brand’s brief through creative inspirations and onwards to the final scents we all know and treasure so dearly.
Specifically, we wanted to know all about how Alberto worked on the recently launched Goldea by Bvlgari (available to try at home in our Exquisite Essences Discovery Box), and graciously were granted an exclusive interview to find out more…
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What were your inspirations for the fragrance?
‘Goldea is a tribute to gold and femininity. It really hypnotizes you and makes you travel through the most mythical places of our History. It is a multifaceted interpretation of the Golden Age, from the antique goddess to the modern diva. The fragrance reflects the richness and timelessness of gold, just like a jeweler, I wanted to sculpt the radiance of gold. And create a deep and sensual fragrance that literally radiates on women’s naked skin.’
How did the use of musk help you to conjure up ‘a golden symphony’: what does it bring to this fragrance?
Among all the gems of my perfumer’s palette, musks are the talismans of Bulgari and create a mythical and sacred signature. Goldea plays with their sensual and bright royal aura which echoes gold. A waterfall of musks that I worked for Goldea with a lot of texture and richness. As a step back in the origins of musks, an ultra-precious ingredient of the perfume History which is today bathed with light and modernity. I wanted to push the radiance, beyond limits, to reach the full power, the supreme alchemy and express this “golden symphony”.’
 How do you put ‘the sun’ into a fragrance, as a perfumer?
‘To create solar strength in Goldea, I wanted to add noble raw materials such as papyrus and patchouli wood. In the floral accord, we begin to sense the palpitation of flowers and the rare ylang-ylang from the Comoros Islands. An intensity golden yellow ylang-ylang is the perfect embodiment of a flower fusing with gold. I have always used bergamot as a citrus note; this fruit is round and luminous, intensely yellow and instantly suggestive of the sun. In Goldea, you feel at the same time the morning sun with its sense of renewal and unique freshness, the burning midday heat and the nostalgia of the evening sunset.’
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 Did you have an image in your mind, when creating?
‘Cleopatra was my muse for this unique fragrance. She is an absolute icon of femininity, power and seduction. And so the fragrance is. If it were a piece of art, it would be a golden sculpture of Brancusi. Brancusi was a visionary, a pioneer of modernism and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century. This craftsman of gold inspired me a lot to create a sculpted floral oriental, in which each ingredient is facetted and polished like a gold nugget.’
Unusually in a fragrance construction, this note is actually present in the head, heart and base notes, awakening the sensual amber and floral elements in the fragrance. Musk highlights the airy naturalness of orange blossom, alongside the voluptuous qualities of ylang ylang and a cascade of jasmine pearls. In the base, a soft and rounded velvet musk is ‘fanned’ by the carnal sensuality of that amber accord, with an intoxicating trail of golden patchouli and Egyptian papyrus…
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Bulgari Goldea £37 for 25ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Harvey Nichols
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Selfridges launch Fragrance & Candle Space scent-destination for perfumistas – and we hosted the opening party!

We were utterly thrilled when Selfridges London asked The Perfume Society to host the prestigious opening party to celebrate their brand new Fragrance & Candle Space. Located on the ground floor of the department store, it’s a brave new sensorial world of scent exploration, offering a unique space in which to discover all manner of exciting brands, and some houses that were even new to us! Tickets had been eagerly snapped up – and with 100% turnout on the evening, clearly we weren’t the only ones anxious to experience this new olfactory arena…
Selfridges Fragrance and Candle Space main
The new department is spacious, elegantly modern in design and is set to expand even further later in the year when the back of the department is fully opened up. Currently housing the candle and home fragrance collection of Lola James Harper – one of our favourites ever since we first visited their press launch earlier this year and soon with their incredibly evocative fine fragrances to follow; we also spied the exquisitely revamped L’Artisan Parfumeur, the intriguing, music-inspired Justbox, the oft’ swooned over (and we certainly sniffed out why) The Fragrance Kitchen (their Spike Odyssey scent is a world exclusive) and So Oud. But seriously, you need to head there pronto to check out the full range of fabulousness.
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As glasses clinked and bubbles sipped, our Co-Founder Jo Fairley gave an introductory speech welcoming our VIP Subscribers to the event, and we led groups around key stands in the venue whose founders and brand representatives had honoured us by travelling to Selfridges especially for the party, talking about how they began, what their fragrances are inspired by and behind-the-scenes info of their processes.
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From Linda Pilkington (who began Ormonde Jayne literally at her kitchen table), to one of the iconic (arguably first ever heroes of niche) Frederic Malle team; from the charming and so-talented founder of Lola James Harper, Rami Mekdachi; and onwards to the ever-wonderful Diptyque (complete with a travelling trunk of fragrant goods we lusted over for some time…)
Of course there was plenty of sniffing, and our groups were reluctant to tear themselves away from each stand – it’s staggering to see (and smell) the hundreds of hard-to-find fragrances on offer there. On leaving, guests were handed the incredibly generous goody bag – honestly, it had to be seen to be believed. We heard gasps of delight as people opened theirs – provided by brands mentioned, above, for our party, containing a number of fragrant treats to check out at home. But as we left, the tills were still ringing with ticket-holders snapping up their scents of choice – a prospect made all the more agreeable by the £25 gift voucher also included in the goody bag!
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If you’re reading this and feeling slightly sick that you couldn’t make it or hadn’t been quick enough to secure a ticket, may we suggest you take some time out to saunter down to Selfridges and sniff out the new Fragrance & Candle Space for yourselves? You’re bound to come away with a list of must-have perfumes to lust over, at the very least.
Want to join us at future scented soirées? Why not become a VIP Subscriber – or gift a subscription to a fellow scent-lover? Only £25 for a full year, not only will you be invited to equally fabulous and exclusive events and in-depth workshops – you get a complimentary introductory Discovery Box of scents to explore (plus any others you decide to buy will be available at our special VIP rate); on-going special offers and discounts in some of your favourite stores and access to the downloadable version of our award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter, too! It’s kind of win-win-win-win…
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

Pozzo di Borgo – it's a family affair with perfumed portraits (past and present) captured in scent

When you’re a direct descendant of Xavier Givaudan – founder of the eponymous fragrance house, and therefore responsible for many of the greatest scents in the world – growing up with perfume practically running through your veins; it seems only natural the fragrance world would also beckon you forth. And when your childhood is spent living in a house bursting at the seams with creative, eccentric and loving family members – how natural, then to be inspired further, and create an olfactory family album…
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Pozzo di Borgo is a new fragrance house, launching with five fragrances exlusive to Les Senteurs in the UK – each of them based on one of Valentine’s family members, and created by collaborating with differing perfumers for each scent. Pozzo di Borgo explain they are ‘…an olfactory portrait of an ancestor or a living relation, creating fascinating links between past and present, interpretation and perfume. The fragrances showcase precious traditional ingredients in a revealing way.’
‘Valentine has the perfect background to create an intriguing scented gallery. Having grown up surrounded by fragrance, and habitually drawing on this olfactory intimacy, she has always had the motivation to create her own personalised fragrances. Named after the dates on which each family member was born, Pozzo di Borgo perfumes are contemporary readings of the past as well as characterisations of personalities we can all recognise. The bottles, at once classic and contemporary, are designed by Pierre Dinand, creator of the iconic Opium bottle.’
We caught up with Valentine Pozzo di Borgo during the launch at Les Senteurs to ask more about this intriguing – and so personal – project in perfume. What inspired her to begin…?
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‘I decided to do olfactive portraits of my family because I think you decide to wear perfume based on your character – who you are, who you want to be, where you are going… I used to live in a huge houseful of my family, all the cousins, grandparents, parents, it was crazy, but it gave me a lot of time to think about all their characters. For each member, they chose the inspiration for the fragrance, and I would say if I liked it or not, but really it was a direct dialogue between them and the perfumer. It was very important for me to choose the right perfumer for each project, based on my knowledge of their work – their unique styles had to fit the character of each family member. It was a very long process, as you can imagine!’
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When judging, and “capturing”, someone’s character in scent, all manner of problems must arise! But which has taken the longest, we wondered? Explains Valentine: ‘The perfume for myself was probably the most difficult for me personally. The first perfumer I chose was a friend, and he kept seeing me as iris, but it wasn’t really how I saw myself. In the end I went with Violaine Collas and said “this is how people keep seeing me – iris, but it doesn’t work I don’t think…” She also saw me in iris, interestingly, but mixed it with fig and musk and somehow that just worked!’
 
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The first creation is a celebration of Valentine’s 18th century ancestor, Carl Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, a Corsican politician and diplomat and one of the most colourful members of this ancient aristocratic family. This is a spicy citrus with warm, rounded base accords of Russian leather and cognac: Diplomatic, shrewd, eloquent, tenacious. Perfumer: Philippe Bousseton
o.3112027 Fevrier 1950
A tonic cologne with bergamot, patchouli, and neroli, with the Corsican additions of lavender, caraway, boxwood, and oakmoss. Inspired by Reynier Pozzo di Borgo: Creative, tolerant, sensitive, elegant. Perfumer: Pierre Bourdon
pozzo_di_borgo_19_mai_1957_119 Mai 1957
A scent of powerful yet elusive intensity. Evocative of the Corsican landscape of the family heritage, with the liquorice-like odour of the maquis, lavender, eucalyptus, vanilla, heliotrope, cistus labdanum, and peru balsam. A portrait of Alexandre Pozzo di Borgo: Intrepid, entrepreneurial, witty, sophisticated. Perfumer: Sonia Constant
101166142024 Octobre 1985
A scent for Valentine’s cousin Chinzalee – an aquatic and green aromatic scent of mint, grapefruit, and galbanum, with gourmand facets of rum and pear, and a suggestion of cucumber: Independent, spirited, enthusiastic, generous. Perfumer: Mathilde Bijaoui
23_janvier_pozzo23 Janvier 1984
Valentine’s own scent captures the enchanting contrasts of her character. Freshness, sophistication, and spontaneity are characterised in this luminous perfume of cardamom, petitgrain, coriander, fig, iris and musk: Discreet, energetic, audacious, enigmatic. Perfumer: Violaine Collas
So what next for Valentine’s perfumed portraits – we wondered if every single member of her family is queuing up to be “captured” by a perfumer in scent? Valentine laughs, and admitted that is kind of what’s happening; but there’s one fragrance in particular that’s very special for her.
‘I’m working on the two next fragrances at once – one is for my cousin who’s in a wheelchair following an accident. In fact he has completely lost his sense of smell and taste, and that’s very challenging because we’re working on his olfactive memories, it’s very emotional… Everything is disconnected, he can only move his head, and it’s so complex trying to explore his smell memories and then recreate them – without him being able to smell them. We’re working with Sophie Labbé on it, and it’s fun but super personal…’
Pozzo di Borgo £99 for 100ml eau de parfum
Exclusive to Les Senteurs – available now in-store, and soon online.
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Alberto Morillas – our exclusive interview with the iconic nose and ‘king of musk’…

Legend is a word bandied about so often it can be rendered meaningless, but when applied to the perfumer Alberto Morillas, there can be no doubting the truth of such a statement. Creator of any number of iconic fragrances – from Calvin Klein CK One, Kenzo Flower, Bvlgari Omnia, Cartier Panthere de Cartier, Giorgio Armani Aqua di Giò for women (seriously, the list is seemingly endless) – to more niche, modern interpretations of his art, working alongside remarkable brands such as Aedes de Venustas, A Lab On Fire and By Kilian to name but three of his extensive client list. Whatever your taste, wherever you began your quest for the perfect perfume – his scents have doubtless been in your collection and on your skin at one time or another.

Maintaining that he is ‘mainly self-taught’ as a perfumer, Morillas been working for Firmenich since 1970 and creating many of those all-time greats, while also finding time to work on side projects for Zara home, and now concentrating on devloping his Mizensir range of home candles into a luxurious collection of personal fragrances. Imagine our excitement at getting to sniff them at their press launch in the UK last week – with something for everyone (another oft-used phrase that’s equally true in this case) from soft musks, exqusite roses, uplifiting neroli and right through to ‘The Perfect Oud’ (yes, he went there)…

0000011775874_img_6319We’ll reveal our full interview with Alberto waxing lyrical about his love for candles and the new Mizensir fragrances very soon; but in the meantime, sit back with a cuppa and revel in our exclusive ‘nose’ interview in The Noses – a regular feature here on The Perfume Society website, in which we quiz some of our favourite perfumers on their passions, working methods and how you, too, could improve your appreciation of fragrance… Happy exploring!
Written by Suzy Nightingale