Jasmine Awards Winners 2019: we’re celebrating!

The Jasmine Awards are the most prestigious literary awards in the UK for fragrance journalism – think of them as the Oscars for olfactory writing – and every year, The Fragrance Foundation nominate a list of finalists for the fragrant categories, and finally, announce the winners.

We waited with baited breath… and are thrilled to have won the Practical Guide Award, with our Scented Alphabet issue of The Scented Letter Magazine!

The Scented Letter is delivered digitally, for free, to our VIP Club members, or you can subscribe for glossy print copies of the magazine – and now International Online Subscriptions are available for only £20 for a full year.

But as a special treat, we’d like to make the entire award-winning issue available for you to read:

Simply click on the picture above, make yourself a cuppa and lose yourself in the wonders of fragrance history, design and innovation… we tried to cover everything fragrant from A-Z, and it was a huge effort to research, write and put together, so we really couldn’t be more pleased to have won this award.

Continuing with the celebrations, we are jumping for joy for all the winners this year, and wanted to share them with you. Do make time to go and have a look at their work – in each case, you’re in for a treat…

We were especially thrilled for Viola’s piece winning an award, written after joining us at one of our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops – and highlighting the importance of this, our most neglected of senses.

Congratulations, again, to everyone involved and all of the finalists – we don’t envy the judges having to make the final decisions from such a wealth of creative talent!

Now, you’ll have to excuse us because we’ve got to find time to eat celebratory cake while getting ready for National Fragrance Day tomorrow (Thursday 21 March) and our social media scented take-over with our #smellfie campaign. Make sure you join in – and WIN prizes up to £300 of scented goodies…!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Share your #smellfie to WIN perfume prizes

March 21st is National Fragrance Day!

Can you believe it’s five years ago The Perfume Society (pretty much) invented the #smellfie to celebrate March 21 and National Fragrance Day?!

Every year even more of you join in, and you can bet that on Thursday 21st March we’ll be glued to all our social media channels, watching with glee as you post your perfume-themed photos.

Join in on March 21st – all you need to do is take a #smellfie – a ‘selfie’ with a favourite fragrance or whatever scent you chose to wear today – and follow the simple rules below… then you could be in with a chance of winning some incredible perfume prizes!

How to post your #smellfie:

On Instagram: hashtag #smellfie and tag @theperfumesociety in your photo

On Facebook: hashtag #smellfie and tag @ThePerfumSociety in your photo

On Twitter: hashtag #smellfie and tag @Perfume_Society in your post/photo

After all the images are in, we’ll be choosing our top 5 favourites: the most inventive, the most artistic, the ones with the best captions! Every winner will receive a subscription to The Perfume Society’s VIP Club. The overall winner will receive a subscription and a fragrance bundle worth £300!

Overseas winners will receive an International Subscription to The Scented Letter, our online magazine dedicated to scent, so an entire year’s worth of fragrant reading.

We can’t wait to see what you fragrance-lovers come up with this year – last year we had celebrities, children and even pets joining in the fun… so what are you waiting for? Make sure you post your #smellfie on March 21 and mention us so we can see your entries!

Feeling balmy: 5 fragranced balms we’re obsessed by

A couple of weeks ago we experienced something of a mini heatwave in the UK, with temperatures reaching the twenties and t-shirts making an appearance… now of course we’re back in a sort of Winter/Spring with hailstorms and bright, cold sunshine the order of the day. But we’re still feeling ‘balmy’ by reaching for some of our favourite fragranced balms – something of a scent trend it seems.

Often multi-use and perfect for travel, we also love the fact a balm represents a private moment of stopping to smell the roses (or rosemary, or whatever the balms are fragranced by) – they feel extra special because we kind of annoint ourselves when using and enjoying them. Here are a few of our favourite balms we cannot urge you enough to sniff out and try for yourself…

Sometimes we just need a quick blast of wake-me-up concentration: long (dull) meetings, exams, important events when we need to concentrate, all these occasions require some extra help, though it might not be appropriate to reach for a bottle of perfume and start spraying. So we reach for this 100% natural focus balm – from an exciting new(ish) name in aromatherapy – gliding onto pulse points, it’s powered by memory-boosting rosemary, crisp peppermint (known to help with mental alertness), and clary sage which combine to help relieve mental fatigue. It’s like a shot of sudden awareness and immediately clears mental fogginess.

Psst! You can try a darling mini-size in our Feel Good Box

Scentered Focus Therapy Balm £14.50 for 5g
planetorganic.com

First created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Diptyque, this innovative solid perfume is named for their first-ever boutique – at the iconic 34 Boulevard Saint Germain. It’s the perfect transitional season scent, too, with blackcurrant leaves and moss atop warm spices and fig, it aims to recreate the scents that filled that shop floor over half a century ago, and in surely one of the most chic (and satisfyingly hefty) containers ever. We like to smooth it through the tips of dry hair, too, to get little wafts of perfume the whole day through.

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Solid Perfume £40 for 3.6g
diptyqueparis.com

A much loved, multi award-winning and multi-tasking product, this is a one-pot wonder for all skin types. With antioxidant-rich, organic wild rosehip oil and a balancing blend of organic geranium and patchouli essential oils, this cult favourite nourishes skin and enhances your skin’s radiance, for a natural glow. It’s rich in rosehip oil, featuring pro-vitamin A (a source of retinol) and vitamin E, and apart from perfectly cleansing, you can: leave it on overnight for an ultra-rich face mask, use as a lip balm, cuticle oil, hair frizz-tamer, or skin-soothing salve – all while enjoying the heavenly, rosy aroma!

Try a travel-size pot in our Feel Good Box, and we’re betting you’ll fall in love, too…

Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm Cleanser £40 for 50g
nealsyardremedies.com

There are definitely times you need to feel like a goddess, and now you can carry a cute little scented pot of balm to apply whenever you need reminding. Lush have a number of solid perfumes in balm form, but this is their most recent release (and perhaps their most lavish!) Featuring Turkish rose, jasmine and smoky sandalwood, there’s also some oudh from responsibly managed nurseries in Thailand, all on a solid jojoba oil base. It’s great to smooth on decolletége for some va-va-voom that comforts while creating confidence.

Lush Goddess Solid Perfume £9 for 6g
uk.lush.com

Encased in a weighted metal compact that’s been sculpted to perfectly fit the curve of your palm and thumb, with an addictively flippable hinged swivel. You simply swing it open, press your finger into the scented balm and glide onto skin wherever you please. Beautifully designed and so-satisfying to use, this is Glossier’s ‘your skin but better’ perfume in solid form. It’s slightly salty, lightly musky and has a powdery pink-pepper note that kept our noses coming back for more. A quiet, contemplative scent for when you just want to smell like yourself (but better).

Glossier You Solid Perfume £19 for 3g
glossier.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Show us your #smellfie & join in the celebrations for National Fragrance Day!

National Fragrance Day is on March 21st every year, and we want you to all join in by putting your best face – and fragrance – forward for a #smellfie, to have fun and be in with a chance to WIN amazing perfume prizes...

Five years ago, at The Perfume Society we came up with the idea of the #smellfie – a selfie with a scent you love – to highlight this special day.

Little did we know it would lead to thousands of fragrance fans all over the world sharing their photos, with celebrities (including Little Mix, Katy Perry, Charlotte Tilbury, and Richard E. Grant) joining in and, last year, the combined photos people posted getting over 41,000 likes!

This year we want you to help us make it even bigger, and to join in some of the great celebrations the Fragrance Foundation have planned, so scroll down to see how you can get involved.

How to post your #smellfie:

On Instagram: hashtag #smellfie and tag @theperfumesociety in your photo

On Facebook: hashtag #smellfie and tag @ThePerfumSociety in your photo

On Twitter: hashtag #smellfie and tag @Perfume_Society in your post/photo

After all the images are in, we’ll be choosing our top 5 favourites: the most inventive, the most artistic, the ones with the best captions! Every winner will receive a subscription to The Perfume Society’s VIP Club. The overall winner will receive a subscription and a fragrance bundle worth £300!

Overseas winners will receive an International Subscription to The Scented Letter, our online magazine dedicated to scent, so an entire year’s worth of fragrant reading.

Now you’ve set March 21 in your diary, we asked The Fragrance Foundation what they have planned. Head to their Calendar of Events for some fabulous scented happenings and giveaways spread over the entire week.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Help her Feel Good this Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, March 31 – and it can be emotional for many reasons. Those of us lucky enough to have a mum who’s still around can take a moment to treat her for a change, and those of us who don’t can feel rather overwhelmed by the occasion. But many of us might have a ‘mother figure’ – a strong woman we look to for advice and comfort in times of stress – so why not take the opportunity to send her some scented, feel-good vibes?

Why not buy mum / your mother-figure the Feel-Good Box (along with a nice bottle bottle of wine/tub of hot chocolate and bunch of flowers for full-on spoiling) – it’s our first collaboration with the Beauty Bible and packed with beautifully fragranced body and face-care treats to soothe away stress, leaving her calmer, glowing and stunningly scented.

Then, suggest she indulges in the following routine for a guaranteed feel-good / smell great treat of a day…

1. Cleanse with the iconic Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish / 30ml – the plant-based cream removes all traces of makeup, including stubborn waterproof mascara) while chamomile, rosemary, hops and eucalyptus soothe the skin (and the senses)…

2. Slather your face with the also award-winning Neal’s Yard Rose Beauty Balm / 15g –a multi-tasking product that can be left on as an ultra-nourishing face mask, dabbed on dry cutilcles/ends of hair, and used as a lip balm.

3. Run yourself a bath and add any of these generously sized options (BOTH are included!) depending if you feel…

Stressed out? Use just half a capful of the relaxing Olverum Bath Oil / 15ml – an aromatic blend of essential oils which combine to ease stress and relax tension in both mind and body. The scented steam will fill the room and the oil’s easily absorbed by the skin (no greasy residue in the bath!)

Need pampering? Try the decadently gorgeous Molton Brown Rosa Absolute Bathing Oil / 45ml – notes of rose absolute, violet leaf, blackcurrant, raspberry, geranium, sandalwood and patchouli, infused with skin-silkifying oils of argan and Italian rose, this bathing elixir will veil your skin in a deep, velvety fragrance that clings to the body for a beautiful trail, as you emerge from the scented waters.

4. After patting yourself dry with a fluffy towel, smooth the Temple Spa Peace Be Still Calming Skin Balm / 50ml all over your body. A Gold Beauty Bible Award-winner in 2019, It’s aromatherapy and skincare in one – with extracts of coriander, lemon, nutmeg, antioxidants and a fusion of relaxing Mediterranean essential oils and vitamin B5, deeply moisturising and leaving skin silky to touch.

5. After removing the Rose Beauty Balm/mask with the muslin cloth (acting as a deeply moisturising double-cleanse); warm a few drops of the Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil / 4ml in your hands, slowly massage into your face and allowing replenishing, renewing and restoring botanicals to work their magic. Including sinks-in-fast Kalahari oil, vitamin E-powered mongongo oil, firming Kigelia Africana and omega-rich, ‘buzz ingredient’ baobab oil, together with a blend of hibiscus and pomegranate to help fight free radicals.

6. Change into pyjamas, relax on the sofa with a glass of wine / hot choccy and allow the velvety smooth, rich Madagascan vanilla-ness of Green & Black’s White Chocolate / 100g to melt in your mouth. This indulgent treat features lashings of cocoa butter alongside organic whole milk, giving this white chocolate its wonderfully creamy texture.

7. While catching up with Netflix, massage the shea butter and almond oil-infused Heathcote & Ivory Gardener’s Handcream in for a mini-mani: The Original Gardeners Shea Butter Hand Cream is inspired by the vegetable patch, juicy with tomatoes and redcurrants, basil and mint. Hedgerow Hand Cream, meanwhile, delivers a luscious yet subtle berry scent, infused with tart rhubarb, blackberry and elderflower. Whichever you receive, we love them both!

8. Breathe deeply and apply This Works Stress Check Roll-On / 5ml to pulse points (we also love using it on the temple to relieve a headache). This concentrated 100% natural superblend of pure essential oils is the perfect antidote to stress overload. An invigorating, mind-cleansing, calming blend, it features refreshing eucalyptus, to combat mental fatigue, frankincense (to help you relax mentally and physically), alongside lavender oil, the most effective oil in helping hypertension, nervous tension and insomnia…

 

9. In the morning, have a fabulously scented shower with Percy & Reed Heavenly Hydrating Body Wash / 100ml – breathing in refreshing top notes of citrus and apple, heart notes of lily of the valley and rose, and comforting base notes of cedar wood, amber and musk. This nourishing formula is blended with botanical extracts to help calm and soothe the skin.

10. Take a shot of energy with Hello Day Vitality Boost / 4g – a new name in supplements, created with the help of Swiss and French health experts and doctors in micro-nutrition and phytotherapy, Vitality Boost sets out to help you feel more energetic, with stimulating and tonic properties to boost mental and physical wellbeing. Ingredients include cinnamon bark extract, to help your body feel stronger, and vitamin C to reduce tiredness and help your metabolism energy yield return to normal.

11. Before heading off to work/daily chores, glide some Scentered Focus Therapy Balm / 1.5g onto pulse points, it’s powered by memory-boosting rosemary, crisp peppermint (known to help with mental alertness), and clary sage – with its wonderfully clarifying scent – which combine to help relieve mental fatigue and promote concentration. Just what you need to carry with you through the day, for top-ups of a scented tonic!

We think you’ll agree, there’s a whole lot to explore and fall in love with in this box, and it’s the perfect gift for anyone you love who’s been feeling a bit overwhelmed or could just do with a bit of a pick-me-up… and perhaps that person is YOU? Go ahead, indulge yourself while you’re at it…

Feel Good Discovery Box £19 / £15 for VIP Club members

Written by Suzy Nightingale

International Women’s Day 2019: celebrating female perfumers

As it’s International Women’s Day, can we take a moment to collectively cheer the world’s first recorded chemist – a woman named Tapputi – and a perfume maker whose existence we only know about thanks to being recorded on a 1200 BCE Cuneiform tablet, found in Babylonian Mesopotamia.

Tapputi was granted the title “Belatikallim” which suggests she was regarded as a high-ranking scientist, and her role would have held great sway in both the Mesopotamian government and their religion, because she was overseer of the Mesopotamian Royal Palace.

But think of a perfumer or famous ‘nose’ now and, chances are, the picture that comes to most peoples’ mind is a man in a white lab coat, or – if you’re more romantically inclined – a man in a velvet jacket plucking rose petals at sunrise and being struck by artistic inspiration. My point is: it’s probably still a man you’re thinking of.

In the Fashion, Feminism & Fragrance edition of our magazine, The Scented Letter, we devoted the issue to looking back to the women we have to thank for shaping the way we smell today, and focussing on the current crop of women perfumers shaking up the scent world.

Here, we pay tribute to just some of these remarkable and talented women, and urge you to seek out their work as a way celebrating International Women’s Day 2019

 

Daniela Andrier’s CV now stretches endlessly: triumphs include Bottega Veneta Knot, the daring Maison Martin Margiela Untitled and Guerlain’s Angélique Noire – but the name which continually crops up on her list of creations is that of Prada. She clearly has a fantastic working relationship with Miuccia Prada, which has brought us such blockbusters as Prada Man (2006), Prada Candy (2011), and every single one of the Prada ingredient-focused Infusion series, so widely adored by bloggers and perfume-lovers alike.

 

 

Christine Nagel says the first time she met a ‘nose’, that’s what she knew she wanted to be. So she trained as a research chemist and market analyst, and in Paris, in 1997, launched a seriously distinguished career that’s included creations like the blockbuster Narciso Rodriguez for Her (with Francis Kurkdjian), Jimmy Choo Flash and Guerlain’s Les Elixirs Charnels collection. After several years at Jo Malone London, Christine joined Hermès, to work alongside the legendary Jean-Claude Ellena in 2014. When he retired two years later, Ellena named Nagel his rightful successor, and she took her place as the esteemed Head of Perfumery. Nagel’s pared-down style with innovative twists has composed Eau de Rhubarb Ecarlate, Galop d’Hermès and the much-admired recent addition of Twilly d’Hèrmes – some of the Hermès’ most critically acclaimed and commercially successful fragrances to date.

 

 

Mathilde Laurent is widely considered the ‘rock ‘n roll superstar’ of contemporary perfumery, having been encouraged to become a perfumer by a family friend who noticed from a young age she’d been ‘encountering the world nose first, whether to describe a plate of food or the atmosphere of a new house,’ as Laurent puts it. Trained at ISIPCA after gaining a degree in chemistry and physics, she put in a call to Jean-Paul Guerlain himself, asking for an internship. After three months, she was offered a permanent position and stayed for the next 11 years. Joining Cartier to become their in-house and bespoke perfumer, Laurent has tirelessly worked to promote the creative use of quality synthetics in modern perfumery, in order to ‘shatter the idea that the result had to be hard, abstract, aggressive.’ Her work is by turns contemporary with a classic touch, surprising yet ultimately, sublimely wearable.

 

 

Camille Goutal studied Literature at ‘A’ Level then took courses in art, photography and design at the Louvre Museum School. It led to a career in photography, but it was scent that ultimately beckoned. Her mother, Annick, had founded the now renowned house in 1981, being joined by equally talented nose Isabelle Doyen in 1985 and watching as the name spread like wildfire around the world. By the 1990s, the collection was in the ‘top five’ in leading department stores like Saks and Nieman Marcus. When Annick sadly passed in 1999 aged just 53, Camille – who’d been the inspiration for both the inspiration for both Eau de Camille, and Petite Chérie – the baton was passed from being muse to Aromatique Majeur: honouring her mother’s legacy while continuing to drive the house – now re-branded as Goutal – ever onwards, to the delight and relief of millions of fans worldwide.

 

 

Alice Lavenat was a young perfumer working for Jean Niel in Grasse. Entering the prestigious French Perfumers Young Perfumer of the Year Competition in 2014. Inspired by her family’s wine business, and creatively interpreting the brief of using blackcurrant bud, the judges’ decision was unanimous: Lavenat was awarded first prize. One of Jean Niel’s clients was Marie Lise Bischoff – founder of the perfume house, Nejma – and she’d not only smelled Alice’s fragrance and fallen in love with it, but was determined to nurture the talent of this young perfumer. Naming the creation Parfum d’Alice, her talents have developed Nejma’s incredibly successful fragrance collection, including a collaboration with a French rap star for KoEptYs, and an exclusive range of Extrait for Harrods.

 

 

Fanny Bal is apprenticed to none other than Dominic Ropion – regarded by many as one of the greatest perfumers of our time – who says her approach to perfumery is ‘curious, tenacious and bold’ and predicts she has ‘all the best qualities to become a great perfumer.’ Another ISIPCA alumni, going on to work at IFF, Bal’s currently storming the expectations of the fragrance world with Sale Gosse for Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle (inspired by a mixture of bubblegum, cheeky ‘enfants terribles’, old-fashioned sweets and ‘doodles on the blackboard’). According to Malle, Fanny Bal is known for ‘constantly surprising her seniors’, and having recently smelled her utterly majestic (homage to) Hemmingway for Masque Milano (a trio of vetiver that had us swooning for hours), we say: watch this space. The name Fanny Bal will soon be on every fragrance fan’s lips, and her scents surprising your nose for years to come…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Dior Prêt-à-Portea: fragrantly inspired afternoon tea

Inspired by the magnificent Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition we reported on from the press day at the V&A, Dior have now launched an afternoon Prêt-àPortea at The Berkeley, and it really sounds like a treat for all the senses…

‘The Dior Couture Collection transforms landmark pieces into exquisite biscuits, bakes and fancies. From the Junon Dress worn by Theo Graham at Le Pré Catalan in Paris 1949 to the Bar Jacket which has been synonymous with Dior since it took to the catwalk in 1947 as part of the ‘New Look,’ each piece this season takes inspiration from Dior’s fashion history.

Your tea also includes a flavoursome collection of miniature savoury skewers, taster spoons, elegant canapés and tea sandwiches. To drink, choose a loose leaf tea from our extensive collection…’

Or you could go all-out and add some bubbles to the perfumed proceedings – a special treat for their Mother’s Day sitting on March 31, perhaps – or simply a way to celebrate the scents and treat yourself?

Prêt-à-Portea is priced at £60.00 per person.
Champagne Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of Laurent-Perrier, £70.00 per person.
Signature Mocktail Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of a refreshing Mango & Rooibos mocktail, £70.00 per person.
Couture Champagne Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé, Bollinger Rosé or Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, £76.00 per person.

Take a look at the full menu, here

This menu will be refreshed every six months, to reflect the catwalk trends, but right now we’re salivating over the thought of the rose pink Miss Dior cake and the Muguet pavlova, both directly inspired by the perfumes… Perfume and cake, could it honestly get any better?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Future of Fragrance: Olfiction’s Pia Long predicts…

In the current issue of our magazine, The Scented Letter, we take a look at what lies in store for the future of fragrance, and what we’re likely to be spritzing in the years to come.

Of course such crystal-ball-gazing is backed up by experts whose job it is to predict which ingredients – and relies on innovative ways of growing, harvesting, distilling and filtering fragrant natural crops, or even the creation of brand new synthetic aroma molecules… smells that cannot be captured or, perhaps, do not even exist in nature. Can you imagine the excitement if we created a new musical note previously unheard by musicians, or added a new, never before seen colour to the artist’s palette?!

We honestly could have written two volumes of a book with the amount of fascinating information we discovered, so wanted to share with you in a series of scented snapshots, the thoughts of three people we talked to with experise in varying fields of fragrance. What, we asked them, can we expect the future to smell like?

Pia Long is a perfumer and co-founder of Olfiction – a UK-based fragrance consultancy that work with suppliers, contract manufacturers, brands, retailers and fragrance industry organisations. So they can be involved with a brand right from the start, helping them create fragrances and scented products; or aiding existing fragrance houses to shape and better define themselves in the marketplace. And for Pia, education, accessibility and honesty are key factors…

‘Fragrance is currently experiencing a similar breaking down of barriers to access as we’ve seen in other trades – film and television; music. The differences are, though, that we don’t necessarily have the platforms and systems in place to democratise perfumery (though organisations such as The Perfume Society and the Institute for Art and Olfaction are heading the way in acting as a bridge between the trade and general public).

What the public currently understands as perfumery has typically been communicated by brands and marketers, rather than by perfumers and the trade, and therefore the concept of what perfumery even is, remains a little bit unclear in the public’s perception. This, combined with a general greater demand for transparency from consumers, creates an interesting scenario: if perfumers and businesses become fully transparent about how perfumes are made, are consumers ready? Would they understand? Or would the information that lands on a bed of misconceptions, in fact do harm to our trade?

Pia Long

I think for the fragrance trade to continue to thrive, we need to do far more education and allow far more access. This will help everybody. We are already seeing an increase in queries that involve full ingredient traceability, sustainability, and other considerations that touch on the growing, harvesting, supply chain or manufacturing processes.

Specific material predictions are hard to make, but the popularity of naturals as a marketing message, and for their aesthetic beauty is an ever-growing part of the trade, and all major fragrance houses have some systems in place to obtain and supply complete natural materials, as well as their own specialities. Natural materials have always had variation due to location and extraction methods, but I see the strategy of larger manufacturers ensuring ingredient loyalty as being one of creating specialist materials that are unique to that supplier.

In general, with synthetic materials, we’re likely to see more efforts to go back to some of the classic feedstocks like wood (turpentine), versus petrochemicals, and we’ll also see novel ways to replace raw materials that have fallen foul of regulators (if not 1:1 replacements, then certainly ones that can go towards creating similar accords).’

So it seems the future is smelling distinctly woody… and with perfumers looking for ways that we can still enjoy those ingredients that end up on the ‘naughty’ list (due to concerns about allergens and skin irritants), while manufacturers further explore how to make naturals smell unique. And at The Perfume Society we share Pia’s hope that more organisations and fragrance houses will open their doors and let the light in on what continues to be a subject that excites us every day.

There’s absolutely no doubt that fragrance lovers want (and deserve) more information about how their perfumes are made; how and where the materials are being sourced and hearing directly from the perfumer’s themselves. Just ask anyone who’s attended one of our many exciting events – visiting the archives of heritage houses, seeing ingredients distilled in front of them, smelling raw materials, hearing perfumers talk about their scientific and creative process and founders discuss why they bravely – some may say madly – wanted to launch their own fragrance house in the first place.

Or, indeed, from authors who’ve written about their enduring love-affair with perfume – such as the launch of Neil Chapman’s book, Perfume – In Search of Your Signature Scent. So why not join us on Thursday 28th March 2019 to find out more?

We think there’s a buzz about perfumery, alongside the developments in technologies and public hunger for reliable information, that’s perhaps where the food industry or wine business was twenty years ago. A widening of the world of ingredients we have access to, and want to know more about – and ultimately, a hunger to smell and wear even more exciting things. Better make room on that scent shelf, then, because we’ve sniffed the future, and it’s shaping up to be fabulous…

Written by Suzy Nightingale, with many thanks to Pia Long of Olfiction for her insights.

Fragrance as art: exhibitions to see this year

Fragrance as art was a concept often (if you’ll pardon the pun) sniffed at, but it seems that scent – and our sense of smell – is gradually working its way into the public consciousness as a valid subject to be displayed and discussed.

From 2017’s Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent exhibition in Somerset House, to their Polution Pods installation last year – London has been a part of the scented art scene (though how we long to see – and smell! – more), but 2019 sees two major new exhibitions you might have to hop on a plane for.

British designer Tim Simpson and Dutch designer Sarah van Gameren formed their London-based studio, Glithero, to produce installations that ‘capture and present the beauty in the moment things are made,’ and are excited to be part of a current fragrantly-themed exhibition in Switzerland, which runs until June…

Glithero say: ‘We have designed the complete scenography for an exhibition about perfumery. The exhibition, ‘Nez-à-Nez, Contemporary perfumers‘ at the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne (MUDAC) consists of 6 bespoke installations that we have designed over 6 rooms. Each room presents a different theme of tendency from the world of contemporary perfume making that have been identified by the curators in collaboration with the olfactory magazine Nez.

Mudac called upon us to create poetic and immersive installations displaying 39 fragrances from 13 of the best contemporary perfumers such as Jean-Claude Elena, Fabrice Pellegrin, Olivia Giacobetti, Dominique Ropion and Isabelle Doyen. Our challenge of this exhibition was to make the immateriality of the perfumes tangible within a museological context where the visual input is often given centre stage. We chose to present the fragrances in ways that surprise and intrigue the visitor but that don’t colour in or adulterate the evocative impressions of the perfumes.

We’re looking forward to show you the result of this adventure. See you there!’

Date: Friday 15 February – Sunday 16 June 2019
Location: Mudac, Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains
Place de la Cathédrale 6, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 11.00 to 18.00 (Closed on Mondays)

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, The Givaudan Collection offers a rare opportunity to gaze at some of the most beautiful perfume bottles in history, as part of the Perfume & Seduction exhibition.

Givaudan say: ‘It took the perfumer’s skill and collector’s passion of Leon Givaudan to assemble, in the years from 1924 to 1930, this unusually homogeneous collection of 18th Century toilet accessories. Composed of about a hundred items, manufactured from costly materials and lavishly decorated, the Givaudan collection is one of the most important of its kind in Europe: crystal perfume bottles set in gold mounts, bottles in fish scale and tortoiseshell for smelling salts, Vernis Martin étuis, enamelled vinaigrettes, bronze or ceramic bottle cases, patch boxes in ivory or mother-of-pearl.

To view the Givaudan collection is a rare treat for all those who value both the artistry that went into the making of these precious objects and the stories they tell about the history of perfumery and its place in our society.’

Hillwood Museum say:Perfume & Seduction will trace the form and function of perfume bottles, explore a variety of shapes and materials and the process of making perfume, and examine the evolution of forms during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, highlighting examples from Hillwood’s collection.’

A section of 64 items from Givaudan’s private collection will be showcased in ‘Perfume & Seduction’ at the Hillwood Museum in Washington DC, from February to June 2019.

If you can’t make it to Switzerland or Washington before June and are pining for beautiful perfume bottles to look at, might we suggest a trip to the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, currently at the V&A? We rather breathlessly reported from the press day of this fabulous show – of which the fragrance bottles play a small but vital part – and cannot urge you enough to go and see it for yourself, if you’re able to get tickets.

In the meantime, might we also urge more galleries and museums to be brave enough to use fragrance and smell as part of their exhibitions and experiences? Smell remains the least scientifically and culturally explored of our senses, yet it has been proved to be the sense that links most directly – and emotionally – to the brain. Shows and installations that encompass all the senses and excite us beyond merely viewing, to being part of the exhibition ourselves, are definitely the way forward. And with this in mind, our magazine, The Scented Letter, will be decoting an entire issue to fragrance and culture later this year, so get ready to be olfactorily obsessed…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Splurge vs Save: fragrance bloggers choose

Could you ever splurge on an all-time lust list fragrance, or save the cash by buying more pocket-friendly (but still utterly fabulous) ‘fumes? We all have fantasties of winning the lottery and suddenly having access to the rarest scents in the world… But when reality hits and more attainable scents are the name of the game, what, I wondered, would some of our favourite social media fragrance commentators choose…?

Persolaise
Splurge: If money were no object, I’d love a full bottle of vintage Diorissimo extrait (price… priceless?) in the famous, gold-topped Baccarat flacon. Actually, I’d be happy with some vintage Diorissimo in ANY bottle, but if we’re dreaming, let’s throw in the Baccarat. I could probably write a whole dissertation on why I love the perfume so much, but if I had to sum up my feelings, I suppose I’d say that, for me, it is THE most perfect example of a perfumer both reflecting nature and putting his own personality on it. Roudnitska’s nose was being guided by the scented gods when he made it. It is an absolute masterpiece.

NB: You can see this very Baccarat bottle at the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition in the V&A.

Save: I might go for Gorilla Perfume Kerbside Violet £29 for 30ml eau de parfum from Lush: a modern, uniquely urban take on florals, mixing that strange, green, lung-filling ‘openness’ of violet leaf with smoke, concrete and exhaust fumes. Genius.

Viola Levy, Scents & the City
Splurge: If money were no object, I would go for a dazzling bottle as much as the fragrance itself – and for stunning perfume bottles, you can’t go wrong with Lalique (they pretty much invented the concept!) Their limited edition Crystal Collectible Bottle in Naïade €1,200.00 is a miniature work of art, featuring a mermaid-like Art Deco figurine as the stopper, while the fragrance inside: ‘Lalique de Lalique‘ ticks all the boxes when it comes to my favourite perfume notes (jasmine, rose, blackcurrant and sandalwood). I like to think of this scent as the equivalent of an off-the-shoulder cashmere cardi – old-school elegance with subtle sex appeal. Plus you can never go wrong with a mermaid, can you?

Save: Coty‘s L’Aimant,£14.49 at Boots for 50ml eau de toilette, would be a no-brainer. Created by François Coty (dubbed ‘the father of the modern perfume industry’) it was launched in 1927 at the Galleries Lafayette in Paris and is an incredibly romantic concoction. The backdrop was the Roaring Twenties – of girls emboldened by their contribution to the war efforts and the greater freedoms this had allowed them – which lead to the perfume being promoted as ‘the pure essence of Modernism – vivacious, warm and magnetic – the passionate woman’s perfume.’ Certainly it’s similar to No.5 in its composition: sparkly aldehydes, rose and jasmine (always a winning combination for classic scents), but it’s got a lighter spring in its step and a certain sparkle all of its own.

Sarah Gallogly
Splurge: If money were not an issue I would blind-buy Mendittorosa Osang. It has a lot of my favourite notes in it such as honey, frankincense, myrhh, labdanum and sandalwood and Mendittorosa is a perfume house I would really love to explore further. I recently tried a sample of Le Mat and it’s straight up beautiful! I can only imagine how spectacular Osang is…

Save: For a fragrance under £40 I believe you can’t beat Lush and I would reach for I’m Home £25 for 30ml eau de parfum, or Cardamom Coffee £39 for 30ml eau de parfum– both wonderful and with sweet, resinous depth. Lush make excellent and creative perfumes for such an affordable price, and I’m a big fan.


Sam Scriven, I Scent You a Day
Splurge: My fantasy bottle would be Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium £210 for 100ml eau de parfum, without a doubt. The first time I smelled it, I got emotional. That’s happened about twice in my life, and as a blogger, I’ve smelled thousands of scents. Pelargonium is a woody floral, but so seamlessly blended it’s like a cloak of iridescent fairy wings merging into each other. It’s mainly geranium, but it’s also musk, oakmoss, spices and smooth orris. Just perfection.

Save: There’s a huge choice of great value fragrances at the other end of the spectrum, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d go for Lanvin Arpège £29.99 for 100ml eau de parfum.  It’s a classic aldehydic chypre created in Paris in 1927 and it makes me feel like a grown-up sophisticated lady even when I’m in pyjamas. Trust me, that’s powerful. Because my pyjamas don’t even match.

 

Viola Cserkuti
Splurge: If money wouldn’t matter, I’d possibly get a lot of raw materials and make something, or rather experiment with my favourite notes: say, a kilo of Iris butter? I’d be pretty over the moon if I could go into Fortnum & Mason and buy a super fancy Caron bottle and get it filled with Farnesiana from one of those glass samovars (price on request!)

Save: I’m a big fan of discovering affordable scents in unexpected places. I love &Other Stories’s Sardonyx Fire £28 for 50ml eau de toilette, it’s very on-trend with a lot of iso-e super and ambroxan, metallic and musky with sweet florals in the background.

Blueberry Chicks
Splurge: The first perfume I’d choose is unavailable today, but if somebody had a sealed version I would have spent my (imaginary) thousands on La Rose Jacqueminot by Coty. I love rose and it is a legendary perfume. It was used by one of the last Romanoff princesses! For a modern perfume, it would be Puredistance White £455 for 100ml eau de parfum – because it smells like diamonds! I have never met a fragrance that’s so deliciously ‘posh’ and yet fresh. The first thing that comes to my mind when I smell it is a sumptuous ballroom full of finely dressed ladies.

Save: Jennifer Lopez Deseo £10.95 for 50ml eau de parfum, on the contrary,  is a recollection of a tropical holidays on the beach. A sweet memory doing nothing all day, with a pina colada in one hand and a book in the other.

Having salivated at the thought of the luscious lottery-win type fragrances mentioned above, and added many of the budget-friendly options to my own shopping basket, of course I couldn’t resist throwing my own scented suggestions into the ring…

Splurge: Oh go on, then, I’ll have a bottle of the original Guerlain Mitsouko, from when it was first released in 1919. Can you imagine? The thing is, I’d want to time-travel back and buy it myself, dressed to the nines in a velvet Opera coat by Elsa Schiparelli, with an ebony cigarette holder and scarlet lips, being shockingly daring yet romantic – presaging the turn of the century and those Bright Young Things to come. One spritz of this (well actually, as money is no object, several lavish applications) and I could snuggle in the cinnamon infused, milk-lapped plump peach skin and oakmoss for hours. In reality, the current reformulation by Thierry Wasser is as close as we’ll get, thanks to oakmoss restrictions, and it still smells *expletive* wonderful.

Save: If you’re looking for something with a sassy swagger, which smells about ten times more expensive than it is, consider unleashing your inner Diva with Emanuel Ungaro‘s much-overlooked masterpiece. First released in 1983, it’s a pleasingly buxom affair of softly powdered rose and iris with a purr of ylang ylang and sandalwood. And the perfumer? None other than Jacques Polge, darlings. Yes, he of the many, many Chanel fragrances. But this can be snapped up at £29.95 for 100ml eau de parfum. I know. You’re welcome.

By Suzy Nightingale