Summer is (mostly) in the air, so we’re going to be listening to even more perfume podcasts as we sashay forth in… (cross your fingers) actual sunshine!
Fragrance, smell and scent-themed podcasts are on the rise – and about time, too, we say, given the number devoted to our other senses. You can find our previous must-listen-to lists by typing perfume podcasts into the search bar, or see our previous post, here.
With 15 million+ (and rising) regular podcast listeners in the U.K. alone, have you added any of these to scent your airwaves…?
The Sniff – Aurelien Guichard
Interviewing one of France’s top perfumers, who’s worked for Nina Ricci, Guerlain, Gucci, Issey Miyaki and many more, host Nicola Thomis talks to Guichard about coming from a family of perfumers, growing rose centifolia on his organic farm in Grasse, and founding his own house, Matiere Premiere.
Escentric Molecules Molecast – Not According to Plan
‘Things did not go according to plan when Geza Schoen launched Escentric Molecules. They went ridiculously, spectacularly better.’ If you’ve not yet caught up with EM founder Geza Shoen’s podcast, it’s well worth your while diving in to his (always eccentric) world. Here he discusses why off-plan ventures for a perfumer / fragrance house often turn out the best.
On the Scent – The Icons
Previously part of Outspoken Beauty, On the Scent’s proved so popular it’s launched on its own podcast platform. In episode 6, co-hosts Nicola Bonn and our own Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale, enter the world of some of the most iconic fragrances of all time; discovering their history, the huge statements that they made and why they’re still relevant now.
Smell Yeah– Smell Loss & Dysfunction
Irene Plax is a former restaurant cook and cooking teacher, and ‘has always noticed aromas before other people.’ Here Irene investigates the psychology behind how smells touch every one of us, including those with smell loss or dysfunction, across a surprising number of industries.
Perfume Room– What Makes a Fragrance ‘Easy to Wear’?
Hosted by comedian, dating expert, and perfume lover/advisor Emma Vernon, in this episode Emma chats with Rosie Johnston. Togtether they divulge their mutual love of white musk and chat about the inspiration behind each of the seven frags in Rosie’s collection, as well as some of her inspiration for future scents.
Podcasts now have an incredible 15 million+ regular listeners in the U.K. alone, covering literally any topic you can think of – from ‘An Unusual History of Gnomes‘ to the frankly terrifying-sounding ‘Dental Hacks.’ Thankfully, some more pleasant topics are also included, and we’re continually excited to see the growing number of fragrance and smell-related podcasts.
According to the website statista.com, ‘Podcast listenership in the United Kingdom (UK) has been increasing year-on-year, reaching an estimated 15.6 million listeners in 2020‘ because, simply put, ‘more brands start to see opportunity in this format due to its audience reach and ability to build a following…’ What’s more, they continue, ‘podcasts (news, interviews, and serialised formats) were named as the top three audio initiatives publishing experts saw as being crucial areas of focus in the year ahead.’
We’re constantly keeping an ear out for fragrance-related content of all kinds we can share with you, and if you type ‘podcast’ in the search bar, you’ll see several lists of scent-themed shows we’ve already recommended. But if you’re anything like us you’ll always need more on the listening list, so here’s some further fragrant offerings to be going on with…
Describing themselves as ‘A blissfully stupid, miserably niche, and earnestly fascinated podcast that exists at the intersection of perfumery, comedy, art, critique, alchemy, 16th-century Venetian fashion, and queer emotional baggage,’ hosts Kris and Montana get up close and personal with the movers and shakers of the niche fragrance world.
BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed: Perfume
In a fragrantly-themed episode of the long-running series, presenter Laurie Taylor looks at the new book, Scent of Empires, A fascinating slice of scent history we’ll be reviewing soon! Exploring with author Karl Schloegel ‘the history of the 20th century through the prism of two scents, Chanel No 5 and Red Moscow. Also, how do scents become invested with meaning?’
Behind the Fragrance
Matt and Antonio are the founders of Thomas Clipper, an indie men’s cologne and grooming company in London. The series follows the development their latest fragrance – Atlantic – but goes beyond to discuss men’s fragrance and smell in general. It’s a fun & fact-filled listen, as they say: ‘The source of the word “inspire” means “to breathe in”. …Bottom line: scent matters.’
The Sniff Podcast
Nicola’s a fragrance blogger and long-time friend of The Perfume Society, and she regularly interviews interesting people from the perfume world. This time it’s a deep dive into the world and work of niche perfume Karen Timson, where ‘We also uncover some of Karen’s scented memories and talk about what it takes to be an indie perfumer in the marketplace today.’
On the Scent is an olfactory offshoot of the Outspoken Beauty podcast series, hosted by Nicola Bonn – named one of Top 10 podcasts by Harpers Bazaar, Stylist and Glamour among others. Nicola teams up with fragrance expert, freelance fragrance journalist (and our senior writer) Suzy Nightingale to discuss favourites and give ‘perfume prescriptions’ to listener queries.
We’ve learned all manner of tips and tricks at The Perfume Society, which we’re thrilled to share with you, here. We’ve been privileged to meet some of the world’s best perfumers and foremost fragrance experts over the last seven years we’ve been going, and want to share their advice with you, below.
If you want a fabulous new fragrance to try, need tips on how to smell it as a perfumer does or how to describe what you’re smelling, consider some of these most useful fragrant facts to help you enjoy your fragrances even more…
Your taste in fragrance changes over the years – just as in food preference – and depends on weather, what you’ve eaten recently, your mood and hormones. So, take your time to explore a new scent out of your comfort range.
Spray on a blotter first and come back to it at hourly intervals. Write down your initial thoughts, then re-try a few days (and weeks) later.
Many perfumers trained for more years than a heart surgeon, memorising ingredients by connecting their smell to personal scent memories and images that immediately spring to mind, unbidden.
Smell has no distinct language. If you’re struggling to describe a scent, try likening it to fabric (is it velvety, suede-like, cotton fresh, silken or fluffy?) Perhaps it reminds you of music (played on which instruments? Fast or slow?) Or you might picture a place – imagine the air temperature and scenery it evokes…
Your nose gets used to smelling the same things, so avoid wearing the same thing daily. Try layering to re-awaken your senses or branch out with exciting new discoveries!
Like all artists, perfumers tend to have a certain style. If you fall in love with one (we’re predicting several) of these, research them online: we bet you’ll fall for others.
Scent molecules are volatile and evaporate at differing rates. Citruses are lightest, often found in top notes and disappearing rapidly; florals tend to be in the heart while base notes are heavier, woody or resinous. Make these stages last FAR longer by using matching or unscented body lotion, spray into your hair or on clothes (after testing on tissue!)
Undecided? Spray on a scarf rather than skin: you can take it off and sniff again, later! Spraying on fabric (or your hair) also helps make it last far longer as the molecules don’t warm up so quickly (or evaporate) as on skin. As does…
Use an unscented (or matching) body lotion or oil. Fragrance doesn’t last long on dry skin (or in hot climates). It clings far longer to moisturised skin – so slather up, then spray.
Don’t know what to try next? Use our simple Find a Fragrance tool: just type the name of a fragrance you already know and love, and the so-clever algorithm suggests six new scents with similar characters to try.
Fragrance samples are THE best way to try new things, dive nose-first into a whole new house you’ve never tried or perhaps a differing perfume family than you’d normally go for.
We know that a full bottle can be a big investment and not everyone happens to live near a shop with a great selection. That’s why we put together carefully curated Discovery Boxes. Our Launches We Love Discovery Box is a stunning selection of new names, with gorgeous mini bottles and generous samples from niche and luxury houses we know you’re going to love as much as we do…
We all know how transporting smell memories can be – the whiff of someone’s perfume as they pass by immediately propelling you to another time, place or person you associate it with. It has long been known our sense of smell is the strongest link to unlocking these memories, but new research has only just revealed why…
An international team of scientists, led by Christina Zelano from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, used neuroimaging and intercranial electrophysiology to discover why certain areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus, are more strongly linked with smell than any other sense. According to a report on the science news website New Atlas:
‘This new research is the first to rigorously compare functional pathways connecting different human sensory systems with the hippocampus. The striking findings reveal our olfactory pathways connect more strongly with the hippocampus than any other sense.’
‘During evolution,’ Zelano explains, ‘humans experienced a profound expansion of the neocortex that re-organised access to memory networks.’ Basically put, all other senses got re-routed as sections of our brains expanded, but smell remained intrinsically (and directly) connected to the hippocampus. Or as Zelano more scientifically puts it: ‘Vision, hearing and touch all re-routed in the brain as the neocortex expanded, connecting with the hippocampus through an intermediary-association cortex-rather than directly. Our data suggests olfaction did not undergo this re-routing, and instead retained direct access to the hippocampus.’
While this is, of course, fascinating; perhaps the more practical outcome of this, and other continuing research, is a reaffirmation of how important our sense of smell is to our wellbeing, and impacts on our every day lives even more than was previously assumed. Indeed, the discoveries of links between our sense of smell and depression (and how scent might be used in the future to treat it), has been significantly highlighted because of Covid-19 cases often suffering with anosmia (a lack of smell) and parosmia (a distorted sense of smell).
You can read more about anosmia and parosmia on our website by searching for those terms, and also in Louise Woollam’s piece about how devastating it was to lose her sense of smell as a fragrance blogger. It’s a subject Louise wrote about so movingly, again, more recently for our magazine, The Scented Letter: Perfume’s Bright Future edition. VIP Subscribers receive this magazine FREE, but you can also buy print copies, here, or purchase an International Online Subscription at only £20 for a full year of fragrant reading.
Scent themed podcasts seem to be bursting forth like so many buds blossoming, and we’re here for it! When we began recommending perfumed podcasts to listen to a couple of years ago, there really were only a handful around. Now? A whole bunch we’re adding to our ‘subscribe’ list for spring.
Exploring our sense of smell, reviews of new launches and retrospectives with perfumers and fragrance house founders alike, here’s some more direct links to listen, grab a cuppa and some precious ‘me time’ with…
An Aromatic Life: Interview with Christophe Laudamiel
Exploring our sense of smell from angles including science, art, literature, movies and health, host Frauke Galia seeks to ‘…shed light on this beautiful sense and increase its profile in a culture dominated by sight and sound.’ With fascinating guests providing insight into wine smelling, aromatherapy and even ‘why we have two nostrils, not just one’, Frauke recently interviewed brilliant perfumer Christophe Laudamiel for the second part of ‘The Art of Perfumery’ (and we highly recommend listening to the first, too).
The Sniff: Interview with Kingdom Scotland
Fragrance blogger Nicola Thomis loves taking a deep dive in to all things fragrance and scent related, and in this episode she gets to know Imogen Russon Taylor, founder of the unique Scottish fragrance house of Kingdom Scotland. During their conversation, the two discuss the latest release ‘as well as delving into the influence that Scotland has on their perfumes’ and the intriguing role the Royal Botanic Society of Edinburgh archives have played in inspiring the brand and their scents.
Heston’s Journey to the Centre of Food: ‘Heston Smells’
This podcast series invites listeners to hop on board for an exciting trip ‘with the world’s most creative chef, as he explores the amazing hidden secrets within our simplest ingredients,.’ It’s well known that Heston is obsessed with smell and has worked with perfumers and scientists previously to incorporate that sense into his epic food concepts. Here he’s interviewing author Harold McGee on the launch of his new book, Nose Dive (which we recently reviewed, here). A jaw-dropping tome (and it’s a big ‘un!), it reveals the chemical components that make up familiar (and bizarre) smells that surround us.
The Smell Podcast: Interview with psychologist Dr. Kathrin Ohla
Katie Boateng is an ‘acquired anosmic’ who became anosmic ‘after suffering a post-viral infection that lasted for weeks in late 2008/early 2009.’ She explains that ‘The goal of the podcast is to spread awareness and to make sure that you know, you are not alone in your anosmia journey!’ With Covid-19 having caused a new awareness on the psychological implications of a loss of smell, there’s no better time to tune in. This latest episode being a conversatioj with psychologist, Dr. Kathrin Ohla, and an explanation of how to use ‘GCCR’s Smell & Taste Check.’
Every Little Thing: Skewed Smells – A Weird COVID Mystery
Another smell-related podcast in this series (and proof the pandemic is getting everyone talking about our least explored sense), this time with a caller’s personal story. ‘Leña had COVID-19 last October and temporarily lost her sense of smell. As it started to come back, she noticed something strange — fruity things smelled like burnt hair and condoms. Where are Leña’s mystery smells coming from? Rhinologist Simon Gane fills us in on COVID-related smell loss.’
Perfume Philosophers: Spring Forward with Floral Street
Fragrantly obsessed friends co-host a podcast ‘about all things that smell good.’ From scented candles they love to explorations of new (to them) fragrance houses and even explaining their love for the smell of marshmallows, this episode is all about their personal first impressions of the Floral Street perfumes. A British house that has recently gone stellar in the United States (thanks to being stocked at Sephora), we’re glad to see the scents from this indie house are getting worn around the world.
Pinot & Perfume: Kilian Vodka On the Rocks
‘Do you love perfume?’, host Sarah Chacon asks. ‘How about wine (or any alcohol bevvie)?’ (okay, you have our full attention). ‘If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE.’ Hurrah for that. Each week ‘everything relating to perfume: reviews, news headlines, trends in the industry, and even some educational tidbits (what exactly IS musk, anyway?)’ are discussed – ‘all while sipping on a little sumpin’ sumpin’.’ This time, it’s the refreshing beverage-inspired fragrance of Kilian Vodka On the Rocks that’s tickling her fancy.
Mary Portas: On Style: Lizzie Ostrum interview
Talking about ‘the power of style’, guru Portas waxes lyrical with the help of several guests on how to celebrate yourself (and ‘travel through space and time’) through the medium of exploring your personal style. On this episode, one iof the guests is our good friend, fragrance expert and author, Lizzie Ostrom (aka ‘Odette Toilette’) to discuss invisible style, and how ‘Scent is intrinsically linked to memory, and we examine the way it has brought us closer to the people and places we’ve missed in lockdown.’ They also look at ‘how the perfume market fared during the past 12 months, and get some tips from Lizzie on choosing a signature scent online.’
Outspoken Beauty: On the Scent Epidose 2
Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale is once again ‘On the Scent’ with experienced beauty broadcaster and co-host, Nicola Bonn. ‘Suzy is a fragrance expert who describes scent like no one I’ve ever met,’ Nicola says [thank you!] and during the episode they chat about ‘some of the most exciting and incredible fragrances on the market and Suzy also does a fragrance prescription service, answering all of the fragrance dilemmas that you’ve been sending…’
Fancy some more fragrant listening? Simply type ‘podcasts’ in the search bar and even more hours of scented musing will be yours to while away the hours with!
We’ve never listened to so many podcasts right now, how about you? So here’s SEVEN new scent themed podcasts for your daily walk, that will whisk you to summer meadows and brighten your mood, even if you’re trudging through the rain.
Filling the endless hours and soothing nerves with fascinating chatter, it’s extremely exciting how many fragrance and scent themed podcasts are filling the airwaves at the moment, don’t you think? If you’ve not caught up with our previous lists of ‘must-listen’ episiodes, simply type ‘podcasts’ in the search box and you’ll have several hours to delight in.
Meanwhile, here are the ones we’re chasing away the blues with currently…
BBC Radio 4 Extra: The Perfumed Mountaineer
This story begins by recounting the notorious 1980’s episode of The Russell Harty Show, when Grace Jones slaps the presenter for ignoring her. It’s an incident that’s gone down in televisual history; but have you ever noticed the fellow guest, an ‘elderly man, dressed in a double-breasted suit’ sitting beside her, ‘looking more than a little alarmed at developments’? This, it’s revealed, was Walter Poucher – equally famed, at the time, for his perfumery with Yardley, and his mountain photography skills. As his utterly gripping story is unravelled, we learn Walter had a penchant for wearing lipstick and eyeshadow while climbing mountains and talking about perfume, was befriended by Elizabeth Taylor, and used to like ‘coming down to dinner [at mountaineering lodges] in full slap and gold lamé gloves.’ He sounded completely fabulous in every way, and we’re left wanting to know much more…
We reported on this brilliant new podcast/smell-walk in full, but it’s worth pointing out again for those who may have missed it. Jan Uprichard is an artist based in Northern Ireland, whose work revolves around ‘smell, walking, archives, mapping, food, sound, film, bookmaking, botany, and interventions…’ She was asked by the Centre for Contemporary Art in Derry to devise a smell-themed walk, and recorded a podcast to go with it. But the point is – you can listen from anywhere, and her soothing voice (and gentle guidance on how to navigate by smell and be mindful of your breathing) is just the tonic we need.
Outspoken Beauty: On the Scent
A podcasting pro, host Nicola Bonn has already interviewed some of the world’s leading movers and shakers in the skincare and beauty spheres, but her true passion is really… fragrance. Hurrah! Recently, she invited our very own Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale, to be the co-host and fragrance expert for a spin-off show entitled ‘On the Scent.’ In this first episode, they name the fragrances that have been getting them through lockdown, Nicola probably reveals too much about a fireman ex, and Suzy prescribes perfumes in answer to listener’s queries.
The Scent Geeks
Presented by @fragstoriches and @fragmental.uk, this is a weekly and often humorous look at the scent world that feels like dropping in to a conversation of two fragrance-obsessed friends. In this episode, the twosome talk romance, filming and their tribute to the passing of fellow YouTuber, Carlos Powell(a.k.a Brooklyn Fragrance Lover).
Escentric Molecules Molecast
In the third episode of this regular series, perfumer Geza Schoen (the founder and ‘nose’ behind so-successful cult house, Escentric Molecules) reveals ‘the story behind the story’, specifically discussing how he went ‘…from working at one of the big five fragrance manufacturers to being an indie perfumer at a time when they were as rare as hen’s teeth.’ Always well worth listening to, Geza is an extremely down-to-earth perfumer who explains everything really clearly, and can be said to have completely revolutionised the fragrance industry as a whole, having showcased ‘synthetic’ notes as brilliant artistry, not something to hide or shy away from talking about.
Waving good riddance to the dumpster that was 2020, our genial hosts, Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley, have nevertheless found some fascinating fragrances from last year to sniff their way through, rate and discuss. As usual, ‘Hijinks ensue.’ Well it really wouldn’t be Fume Chat if no hijinks were involved! Listening to this podcast is always like catching up with two best friends over a drink or three – something we’re sorely missing, so this is the next best thing.
Every Little Thing
We always love this podcast for host Flora Lichtman’s proudly terrible puns, and the endlessly fascinating list of topics prompted by listeners who ring in to the ELT Helpline. This episode was particularly of interest, as it focuses on our nostrils and the sense of smell. Get ready to hold on to your hats (or face masks) though, as it’s revealed *we only use one nostril at a time to breathe and smell through!* More than that, it seems we can actively switch which nostril we’re using by stuffing a fist into our armpit… Learn why/how and WTF with expert rhinologist, Simon Gane.
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