Scent themed podcasts we’re listening to for spring

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!

 

Fragrances to uplift (one year on from the first #lockdown)

Oh sweet heavens, how we need something to help uplift our spirits and keep us keeping on. If you’ve just about reached the end of your rope, we’ve some fragrant ways to tie a knot in it and help you hang on

Incredibly, we’re heading for the one year anniversary of the first offical #lockdown in the U.K, and while in some ways it has seemed like wading through treacle, in others barely a day seems to have passed.

We mark the days not in encounters and newness, but with calendars full of red slashes: the things we didn’t do, the people we’ve not seen (perhaps for all of that time), the trips we’ve cancelled and how few hugs we’ve had from loved ones, if any hugs were had at at all. But with the advent of vaccines and a better understanding of how we’re going to live with this virus, we are SO nearly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s not just whimsy and conjecture that fragrance can help in troubled times – your sense of smell is directly linked to emotions and memory, so wafts of a favourite scent throughout the day can be a perfumed pick-up for you, or worn as a fragrant shield against the world in general. And there’s research to back up those beliefs.

When you take a deep breath and inhale aroma molecules, they’re detected by the olfactory receptors in your nose and immediately stimulate the Limbic system – some of the deepest, oldest parts of the brain – in ways that we’re only just starting to understand.

 

Scientists have conducted studies on single aromas, like lavender, rosemary and vanillin, but not yet on more complex blends. For example, lemon (and other citrus notes) are often regarded as the most instantly upifting smells – they make us feel energised, somehow, and can smell like distilled sunshine in a bottle – but as with all smells, this does depend on the quality of the ingredient and personal preference.

Interestingly, lemon is among the notes in a ’10 smell test’ given to those who may be experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease – along with ‘strawberry, smoke, soap, menthol, clove, pineapple, natural gas, lilac and leather.’ So, although a study published by Frontiers in Psychology found that tests with citrus and feelings of positivity ‘yielded inconsistent results’, they also discovered that ‘Indeed, depressive individuals seem to display a specific preference for citrus fragrances…’

It sounds simple, but it all comes down to finding out which fragrances make you feel happy. An easy way to find six new scents you might like is to use our Find a Fragrance tool – just type the name of a scent you love and the algorithym searches for fragrances with similar emotional characters.

Whatever your preference, we have no doubt there are perfumes out there to help you feel brighter, more alert and ready to face the day…

 

Shay & Blue Mermaid Kisses
The perfect pocket-sized pick me up, this is all swaying palm trees and wiggling your toes in warm sand as you drink that first holiday cockyail. If citrus doesn’t do it for you, try crispness and zing via apple and salty samphire sea lily atop luscious honeydew melon. You can practically feel the warmth on your skin and breathe a sigh of satisfaction from the very first spray. We recommend applying the second that clock hits 5pm, for a hit of hopefulness!
£12.50 for 10ml eau de toilette
shayandblue.com

(PS: Try a 2ml sample of Mermaid Kisses in the Scented Retreat Discovery Box)

 

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No.1
Sparkling fresh, this citrus scent with a rich floral heart is ‘perfect for spritzing any time your spirits need a boost,’ as they put it. It’s that sudden snapshot of summer memories, memories of laughing while dancing in a garden, the fizz of Champagne bubbles still on your lips, a warm breeze swirling rose petals at your feet. Spray whenever you need reminding that these better days will come again.
£54 for 50ml eau de parfum
uk.lizearle.com

 

Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot
Whisking you to the light-filled royal courtyards of Seville, bitter orange, sun-drenched bergamot and mandarin giggle into neroli and the cardamom-flecked, florist-shop freshness of galbanum; while ylang ylang is (unusually) found in the base, making for a giddily joyous landing. Wrapping cedar with flirty floral tendrils, the musky trail of sunshine-infused happiness surrounds you like a much-needed hug, which lasts even longer in this formulation. Plus, layer up the sunshine and try the scent in the matching bath & shower gel, also included in The Scented Retreat Discovery Box!
£120 for 50ml eau de parfum
moltonbrown.co.uk

 

Clarins Eau Dynamisante
A revolutionary fragrance and body treatment that was first launched in 1987, the invigorating aroma was unisex way before the word became trendy, and offers uplifting essences along with the promise of moisturising, firming and toning. Containing essential oils of lemon, patchouli, petit grain, ginseng and white tea, it leaves you feeling like you’ve just bounced out of a spa treatment. Book the appointment and splash this on at will as you countdown…
£52 for 200ml eau de Cologne
clarins.co.uk

 

La Montaña First Light Reed Diffuser
It isn’t only fragrances we wear that can lift our mood – scenting your home with something to give you a boost of happiness is another brilliant way to use scent in everyday life. We adore the freshly squeezed sparkle of citrus in this – delivered via candle or reed diffuser – along with a fresh, herbaceous breeze that altogether evokes the tendrils of sunshine, that kiss of dawn that wake you from a dream. Try the entire La Montaña home collection in mini room mists to find your most uplifting home scent within The Scented Retreat Discovery Box.
£35 for 120ml reed diffuser
lamontana.co.uk

By Suzy Nightingale

Nose Dive by Harold McGee – a joyous celebration of our most under-appreciated sense

There are some books that really transcend the boundaries – appealing not only to those already immersed in the subject, but to the wider public – and Nose Dive by Harold McGee is most definitely one of the best we’ve read. So wonderfully connecting the dots between the worlds of smell and taste, it’s no wonder the Sunday Times named it their 2020 Food Book of the Year, calling it ‘A joyously nerdy study of how and what we smell, the effect on our appetites and much more.’

Having worked with some of world’s most innovative chefs, including Thomas Keller and Heston Blumenthal; McGee has dedicated over a decade of his life to our most overlooked sense, and here gives us not only the facts about the chemistry of food, cooking and smells; but widens this (and encourages us to widen our nostrils) by explaining the science of everyday life and the various whiffs we may encounter along the way.

Think of this as a manual to re-connect you to your nose, heightening your enjoyment and understanding of food but, much more than that – enriching every single part of your life. Along the way, McGee introduces us to the aroma chemicals that surround us, which make up our entire world and colour the way we experience it. It’s a joyous book that should be read by cooks, perfumers, fragrance-addicts and absolutely anyone who has been struck by a smell, wondered what it was and wanted to know more.

Something we especially loved was how clearly this information is laid out – so it can be easily referred to. Each smell mentioned is laid out in a chart of its name/species, the component smells to identify it with, and the molecules that create those smells. Gleefully, some have a column respresenting ‘Also found in’, so we learn, for example, that Some Smells of Cat Urine are like blackcurrant, which is caused by methylbutyl sulfanyl formate, and can also be found in beer and coffee. More fragrantly, many flower varieties are described, along with plant pongs, animals, humans, food (raw, cooked or cured) and the scent of space itself.

Managing to be both scholarly yet immediately accessible, it’s his passion for that subject that really sporings off the page and makes you want to run out into the street and start smelling things with a new appreciation for what you might find. Whether he has you bending to smell wet pavements and marvelling at ambergris, exploring the fruit-filled Himilayan mountain ranges, literally stopping to smell the roses or cautiously approaching a durian fruit… this is a celebration of something the majority of us take so foregranted – until we have it taken away from us. Witness the huge rise in smell-related news stories, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Perhaps now the media are focussing on our sense of smell at last, and realising how important it is to our enjoyment and understanding of every day life, there will be further books like this to enjoy a wider readership than they may have previously. And maybe that will lead to proper funding for the much-needed further research we still so desperately need. Now that’s something to celebrate!

If your intrest in pongs has been piqued, perhaps you’d like to perfuse the many other books about smell and the senses we have reviewed for our Fragrant Reads bookshelf…?

By Suzy Nightingale

International Women’s Day – celebrating female founders of fragrance houses

For International Women’s Day this year, we want to give a fragrant high-five to the strong women who’ve founded – and continue to successfully run – many of our favourite fragrance houses.

In previous years we’ve flagged up female perfumers we think you should know about, and we’ll be taking a look at fragrance houses run by mothers and daughters in a forthcoming Mother’s Day post; but for now let’s celebrate and support just some of the incredible and entrepreneurial women who strode their own paths in the world of perfume

 

Amy Christiansen Si-AhmedSana Jardin
A former social worker whose c.v. includes time with the Bill Clinton Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation and the Cherie Blair Foundation; Amy set about ‘changing the world, one bottle of perfume at a time.’ Working with perfumer Carlos Benaïm, she sources ingredients via a women’s co-operative where, locally, they can now market orange flower water, candles made from flower wax, and compost made from the waste flowers.

 

Mona Maine de BiranKierin NYC
Following a successful international modelling career – which allowed Mona to traverse the globe and visit remote, exotic locations – returning to New York, Mona turned her experience into a successful  arts and lifestyle blog, before honing her passion for perfume and storytelling by launching her own. Wanting people to be ‘…inspired, not defined or confined, by fragrance’, the house celebrate ‘Diversity and inclusion… for young people of all ages, colors and nationalities.’

 

Mona KattanKayali
Huda Beauty have been wowing the world for over a decade, building an empire that went from a humble beauty blog to a blockbusting makeup and beauty business. Believing ‘scent is our most transformative part of our beauty routine, It has the power to completely change how we feel’, Mona and sister, Huda, are American-born to Iraqi immigrants, both now running their businesses from Dubai, embracing diversity and often opening up about the bullying they faced in childhood.

 

Annabella Fasano-Leslie & Holly HutchinsonContradictions In ILK
Creative Director Annabella is a free-spirited perfume-lover with a background in human psychology and eight years of advertising industry experience; while Holly was already known for her luxury niche line, Memoize London. Melding their skills and passions, Ilk embodies none of being summed-up by a single character trait, so why not play with perfume & layer people’s expectations of you?

 

Olivia da Costa  – Olfactive O
From Chelsea College of Art, Olivia went on to become fascinated by scent as a literary device in turn of the century novels, while then studying English Literature. The psychology of perfume led her to working her way up from shop assistant to buyer at John Lewis, and when a friend introduced her to a distinguished perfumer, the passion became reality in her personality led, story-telling scents.

 

Michelle FeeneyFloral Street
Following her time at the Estée Lauder Companies, then revolutionary tanning name St Tropez, the always enterprising Michelle Feeney unveiled a fragrance line ‘built on the streets of London’. With an ethos of sustainability, the vibrant fragrances celebrate florals in a so-modern way, and from a flagship Covent Garden boutique to huge success in Sephora, these bouquets are blooming.

 

Ruth Mastenbroek
Having discreetly created fragrances for many famous private clients, she made the famous Grapefruit candle for Jo Malone (which Jennifer Lopez loved so much, she bought 300 for her hotel room). The first perfumer to use advanced micro-encapsulation (in a scented bathrobe) she now has her own fabulous fragrances evoking treasured memories, perfectly balanced and captured forever.

 

Sarah McCartney4160 Tuesdays
Having written for LUSH for 14 years, Sarah studied essential oils, acquired a small kit of rare ingredients and made her first fragrance. She then wrote a novel about ‘a woman who makes perfume to remind people of a time when they felt happy’ and turned her hobby into a business. There are 4160 Tuesdays in the average lifetime, and Sarah squeezes the scented juice out of every single one.

 

Emmanuelle MoeglinExperimental Perfume Club
Completing her extensive training at the French perfumery school of ISIPCA, Emanuelle worked as a Scent Design Manager for various global fragrance brands, then become an independent perfumer based in London. Wanting to make the fragrance world more inclusive, she runs incredibly popular workshops which led to her own line of exceptionally exciting scents, including kits to make your own.

 

Nathalie VinciguerraAnima Vinci
From 2006 until 2015, Nathalie was Head of Fragrance Development for Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur – working with some of the world’s best perfumers on award-winning fragrances. This prepared her for the massive leap in founding her own fragrance house, with a very particular aim in mind: fragrances encouraging you to embrace life full force, just as she has, with optimism and joy.

 

Nancy Meiland
Apprenticed to one of the UK’s experts in custom perfumery, Nancy began her career creating bespoke fragrances, she took her dream and made it reality – all the while, dividing her time between town and country and raising a family. Now with her own artisanal line, she has the knack of conjuring emotional responses with lyrical fragrances that are contemplative yet so effortlessly sophisticated.

 

Rebecca HarrisonVines House Parfum
Having seen first-hand the amount of work that goes into the creation of a brand and already achieved a successful career in the beauty industry, Rebecca began her work in skincare, which ultimately led to fragrance, and planted the seeds of a new passion: to be a perfume creator. Living amidst vineyards gave her the creative spark to launch her own fragrance house, ‘with its roots in vines, both metaphorically and geographically.’

 

Rebecca RoseTo the Fairest
Inspired by storytelling and female strength, Rebecca first explored perfume via treasured vials from her grandmother. Later, still scent-obsessed, meeting fragrance expert Lizzie Ostrum encouraged her to launch her own company. Dedicated to giving back, Rebecca donates funds to charities, including a horticultural project working with vulnerable people; and during the pandemic, Head to Toe, who support people receiving mental health, community and social care.

Whichever of their perfumes you choose to explore, you will be amplifying and applauding the hard work and bravery of these female founders, every single time you spritz…

By Suzy Nightingale

World Book Day – fragrant reads to fill your bookshelves with

It’s World Book Day so we’re celebrating by perusing our Perfume Society bookshelf, which is filled with Fragrant Reads – from novels and books of poetry inspired by scent to technical tomes and books that explore the history of fragrance in so many fascinating ways.

Here are just a few of our ‘must reads’ to get your nose stuck in to…

Poetry

 

Atomizer poems, by Elizabeth A.I. Powell
A professor of writing and literature at Northern Vermont University, Elizabeth Powell writes poems that immerse us in what fellow author Dianne Seuss describes as ‘the perfumery of seduction.’ Harnessing her sense of smell and recalling often painful memories through scented snapshots, we are plunged into her world, seeing the world not only through her eyes, but through Powell’s nose.

 

The Book of Scented Things – 100 Contemporary Poems About Perfume, Edited by Jehanne Dubrow
The culmination of a unique aromatic and poetical experiment – an anthology based on this original concept of deliberately provoking with perfume and collecting the results. Hence we discover poems of deeply personal childhood memories, that relate directly to a sense of place and more deep-seated philosophical longings.

 

The power of smell

 

The Smell of Fresh Rain, by Barney Shaw
From describing petrichor (the actual smell of fresh rain) to researching the scent of fresh paint, frying bacon and pondering the question of what three o’clock in the morning smells like, it’s a fascinating journey to be part of. Merely reading this book expands your mind to the possibilities and scents you take forgranted every single day.

 

A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman
The title doesn’t do this justice: Diane Ackerman’s writing is exquisite, exploring and explaining not just the sense of smell, but all the senses. In the first chapter – Smell – she looks at scent and memory, at roses, at sneezing, at the way our health (and what we eat) impacts on our body odour. Something to read that shakes the very foundations of how you’ll look at smell and fragrance.

 

Perfume-themed novels

 

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Traversing decadently through the decades in New York, Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, Grace discovers she’s the beneficiary of a famed fragrant muse who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers to immortalise her in three groundbreaking fragrances. As she finds out more, Grace is forced to choose between the image of what society experts of her, and who she really is…

 

The Scent of You, by Maggie Alderson
‘I experience the world through smell – I always have.’ We couldn’t agree more, and Maggie was inspired to write this novel by spending time in our own Perfume Society office! The central character, Polly, is a perfume blogger who loses herself in the world of fragrance while her own world falls to pieces around her – something many of us can connect to.

Why not have a good browse of our Fragrant Reads for more suggestions and reviews of scent-themed books we think you’ll fall in love. We’re always adding more, so having treated yourself to a tome for World Book Day, do check back often!

By Suzy Nightingale

Scents of calm – fragrances to unwind, uplift spirits & soothe frazzled nerves

In this time of unprecedented stress, seeking calm or a way to boost our energy levels has become more than a moment of ‘me time’ – it’s absolutely vital to our wellbeing. Focusing on your sense of smell helps control your breathing and forces your mind to concentrate on something lovely for a change.

Our sense of smell is directly linked to our limbic system, which stores memories and emotions, so using scent to uplift, unwind or soothe is a brilliant way of dealing with anxiety. Taking time to care for yourself should not be a luxury – it helps you face the day feeling revived and ready to go.

Experiencing ‘newness’ is something everyone has been severely lacking of late, but using a fragrance or scented product and fragrancing your home can transport you somewhere lovely, and change your mood in an instant.

Here’s how to ward off an anxiety attack or lift your spirits with scent:

  • Take a few minutes to spray a fragrance on a blotter or thick piece of paper.
  • Close your eyes while smelling it and see where it takes you. Don’t try to guess all the notes (it’s almost impossible unless you’re a trained perfumer!) instead, let your imagination run wild…
  • If this fragrance was a place, where would it be?
  • Think about texture as you smell. Can you say what type of fabric it would be? Heavy velvet, soft suede, crisp cotton… or something else?
  • What occasion does the scent bring to mind, and who else would be there? Allow yourself to picture the people you’re missing and imagine yourself laughing with them, hugging them again!
  • Music and fragrance are closely linked, so what type of melody would be playing, and which instruments does the scent remind you of?

It can be difficult, at first, to think of the answers, but whatever you imagine or feel is the right answer, for you. Scent is incredibly personal, so the more you practice this technique of ‘deep smelling’, the more in-tune with your sense of smell and how it connects to your memories and emotions you will be.

This is how perfumers train – often having to commit several thousand smells to memory, so they know how to recall them and can evoke particular moods in their compositions. If you’d like to try this so-soothing technique and experience some spa-like serenity, we’ve chosen some scents that help you turn your home into a Scented Retreat.

Filled with specially curated scent samples, the entire collection of La Montaña home fragrances (which perfectly echo their matching candles, if you’ve ever wanted to try those), and sensory beauty treats, including 100ml bottle of Molton Brown Bath & Shower gel – The Scented Retreat Discovery Box allows you to relax in style at home. Here’s how…

 

Scents of Calm:

Anima Vinci Sesame Chan
Embracing the skin with ethereal light, the warmth of ginger slowly simmers to a haze of dry nuttiness – a cocooning, Cologne-esque experience, yet one that feels immediately comforting, at the same time.

Initio Rehab
Based on sweet yet smoky notes of patchouli and vanilla, this one wraps itself around you, swathing you in softness on a soothing heart of lavender and tobacco for a truly sophisticated finish that lasts all day and into the night.

Botanics Pure Essential Lavender Oil
Lavender has been shown to improve mood – add a few drops to a bath, humidifier, or for use for massage This essential oil from Botanics is bursting with all the wellness benefits of this herbaceous plant.

ånd fragrance Måd
Sustainably sourced naked vanilla in all its raw beauty is blended with violet, blackcurrant, ylang ylang, jasmine and grounding vetiver for a scent that’s like a warm hug in a bottle.

Ecooking Day Cream
This hydrating cream is formulated with 100% organic oils that are combined with the highest quality natural peptides and vitamins, specifically hyadisine, which mimics hyaluronic acid, and trylagen, to support collagen production.

La Montaña Siesta
This home scent evokes the sweet scent of neroli, rose and herbs on the warm breeze mingled with woods and resins to send you off into the most sublime sun-dappled slumber. Heaven.

La Montaña Alfredo’s Cafe
The scent of sleepy village awakening, all sun-soaked light, fresh citruses, black coffee and the incense-y smell of the church drifting through the air. Spritz your room to recall the gentle excitement of a day exploring on holiday.

La Montaña Fig Grove
Think of a green fig’s freshness, soothing musky wood enhancing earthy, bark-like qualities, with the warmth of white flowers and a little powdery piquancy from hyacinth. This is lazy, hazy, hotter-than-hot days to scent your home.

La Montaña Galán de Noche
Few smells are more seductive than that of night-blooming jasmine, the hypnotic radiance synonymous with late nights in balmy climes and the mystery of flowers that shine their brightest once the sun goes down.

La Montaña Three Kings
Spiritual contemplation for your home – a spritz of pine, woods, frankincense and myrrh with a little Balearic twist. Sweet almond nougat and a dash of brandy give a flash of brightness and warmth that, somehow, is so very Spanish.

La Montaña Sacred Roses
Combined with sweet neroli, crisply green narcissus and geranium, and dreamy lavender, spritz your bedroom (or boudoir) to float away on a bed of velvety rose petals, warm cedar and ripened, fruity davana oil. Sumptuous!

 

Scents to Uplift:

 

Histoire de Parfum 1899
Peppy, cocktail-like notes open with unbridled optimism, fizzing with a Champagne-esque effervescence as they dance off the skin. The sweetened, powdery heart then sparkles with unbridled joy.

Shay and Blue Mermaid Kisses
The light, watery honeydew melon note that first greets you is pure aquatic-juicy joy; it is holiday cocktails on the shoreline at sunset, looking out to an endless horizon and all its possibilities.

Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot Bath & Shower Gel
Zesty orange kicks off an uplifting sensory experience, heightened by mouth-watering mandarin and and gloriously sunny neroli notes that transport us to citrus groves in Seville.

Exfo-Lite Stimulating Salts For Legs
Packed with diuretic, detoxifying Himalayan pink crystals and sea salt, formulated not only to smooth the skin but to encourage better blood flow to our often-neglected lower-limbs (getting ready to bare again!)

Benamôr Alantoìne Hand Cream
The classic outdoors-y citrus scent turns a much-needed (several times) daily hand-soothing ritual into a moment of uplifting contemplation. Breathe deeply and inhale as the Portuguese beauty hero sm oothes and protects your skin barrier.

La Montaña First Light
In the morning, fill your room with the luminosity of a sun-filled new dawn, captured with wild fennel and orange, supported by energising mountain pepper, warm amber-y notes of rockrose and aromatic rosemary.

La Montaña Cloudburst
That moment when the sun breaks through the clouds in perfect shafts of light; all the scents of a herb garden, a citrus grove zinging to life against the backdrop of a mountain steaming in the sun, releasing wild, mineral-like vapours.

La Montaña Winter Oranges
One of their best-selling home fragrances, the orange here is both uplifting – a memory of high summer, devoured while juciy or adorning glasses – and calming, grounded here in aromatic spices that smoulder as they warm the soul.

 

You can try every single one of these scents to calm or uplift in The Scented Retreat Discovery Box – £23 or just £19 for VIP Club members. Why not get yours home and help change your olfactory outlook for the better, today…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Seven new scent themed podcasts you should listen to

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…

 

 

OlfactoStroll
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.

 

Fume Chat
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.

 

 

Fragrant Reads – Smell: A Very Short Introduction

Part of a fantastic series by Oxford University Press, Smell: A Very Short Introduction by Matthew Cobb is an easy to read and very accessible intro to the incredibly nuanced, complicated and still most misunderstood sense…

Small in stature but big on fragrant facts, it’s one of those ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ type publications, being an overview of ‘the science and physiology of smell and its historical, cultural, and environmental significance,’ in which Cobb reveals exactly what happens in our brains when we smell something, and how our human olfactory processes differ from those of mammals, birds, and insects.

At The Perfume Society we are, of course, fully on-board with how important our sense of smell is; and we suppose seing as you’re here, you agree. But our sense of smell still lags behind – in scientific research and the wider public understanding – in being discussed and even thought about on a daily basis. We wonder, however, if the recent links between Covid-19 and smell loss (and that anosmia being an early indicator of Covid, among many other medical conditions that doctors are still investigating) if smell will be taken more seriously from now on?

After all: ‘The connection between smell and memory is more than a literary conceit’ Cobb shows, ‘with smells proving more effective than images at unlocking memories.’ Cobb does a good job of explaining how ‘The same odour can have different meanings to different people. Smells themselves are often blends, and our reactions to them are influenced by our memories and cultural conditioning,’ as well as asking bigger questions, such as: ‘Is there a link between smell and genetics?’

Although we’ve said it’s accessible, that doesn’t mean it skimps on taking scent seriously, and this book can be read by those interested in smell and fragrance at most levels of understanding – from complete novice to the already well-read. It’s also a great gift for friends and family members who perhaps don’t ‘get’ why we’re so obsessed with smells!

Get it at Oxford University Press

If you’d like some more recommendations to fill your scented bookshelves, do have a look at our ever-expanding list of Fragrant Reads. We’ve reviews of everything from scent-themed romance novels to seriously weighty science books, and stunning coffee-table tomes to a tale of Guerlain’s history told in graphic novel form…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

OlfactoStroll – artist creates guided ‘smell walk’ (with accompanying podcast)

Artist Jan Uprichard has created a unique ‘smell walk’ called OlfactoStroll, with an accompanying podcast to gently guide your senses and help shape your usual daily walk, into something hopefully not only interesting but a valuable moment of serenity…

Devised in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Derry – it doesn’t matter if you’re not in Northern Ireland: the walk can be taken wherever you live. There’s a specially-created podcast of that name, which you can download and listen to no matter where you are in the world. The prompts Jan gives during her so-soothing narration are not dictated by place, but rather suggest things to look out for during your walk, how to navigate your local landscape using the sense of smell.

OlfactoStroll was an idea Jan came up with as part of PhD research, for which she’s developing a method of Deep Smelling. Using smell, walking, archives, mapping, food, sound, film, bookmaking, botany, and interventions as practical, participatory tools for her art, the idea is to offer differing ways to experience familiar surroundings. Says Jan:

‘Deep Smelling is a meditative, experiential and process-based art practice, which brings our attention to our sense of smell. The smell walk has been configured with Derry city in mind, however you can apply the principles of the walk to anywhere in the world, including your own home.’

The podcast/guided walk is an incredibly relaxing listen – Jan has a naturally soothing voice and instead of talking all the time, you’re offered suggestions several minutes apart, for how to control your breathing, things to look out for and special circumstances to take note of (such as air temperature) which make this an experience that would be interesting to repeat several times during the next few months, to see if you notice any changes.

You can download the podcast from Anchor, Spotify and iTunes, or listen to it by clicking below…

 

If you do happen to live in Derry, the walk is apparently ‘accompanied by a series of Deep Smelling protocols, visible through the gallery windows and at various spots around the city.’ But as Jan says – this is a walk you can take absolutely anywhere, whether you’re in an urban environment, going for a hike through the woods or walking beside the seashore.

 

 

Besides being an anxiety-busting method of slowing down and taking notice of nature around you – and a way to improve your sense of smell simply by learning to focus on it and being mindful of what you sense – it’s also an important exercise in the current climate. As a spokesperson for the CCA commented on the joint project:

‘Both walking and smell have taken on added importance during the pandemic. Jan’s hope, as we try to figure out what a ‘new normal’ could be, is that we take the opportunity to maintain a slower pace. That we will reflect on our experiences with a quiet activism, that utilises taking time to do nothing but wander around, and in this case, notice what we can smell and sense around us.’

Indeed, Jan drives this point home on her blog, saying that ‘Smell has taken on special significance in the past year,’ and so ‘If you have experienced a loss of change in your sense of smell AbScent.org is a UK charity that offers support and advice to people with smell disorders.’

We’ve written several features on smell-loss being an early syptom of Covid-19, and something scientists are currently exploring further; and we hope our sense of smell will be taken far more seriously in the future. In the meantime, what a wonderful way to change-up your daily walk into a scented stroll…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Sensehacking – professor Charles Spence reveals ‘How to Use the Power of Your Senses’

Sensehacking is the just-published book by professor Charles Spence, and the tantalising subtitle – ‘How to Use the Power of Your Senses for Happier, Healthier Living’ – suggests we can all make use of these hidden super-powers…

We’re adding SO many great books to our Fragrant Reads section, lately (and might have to add more bookshelves soon!) and this latest is particularly exciting. ‘How can the furniture in your home affect your well-being? What colour clothing will help you play sport better? And what simple trick will calm you after a tense day at work?’ These are the questions posed (and answered) by Oxford professor Charles Spence – an expert on the senses who we’ve seen speak at IFRA Fragrance Forums over the years, and whose research has often sparked or informed many fragrant features of our own. As head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory, Spence focuses on how our senses often overlap – sometimes very confusingly – and this book aims to demonstrate how ‘…our senses change how we think and feel, and how by ‘hacking’ them we can reduce stress, become more productive and be happier.’

Exploring how our senses are constantly stimulated – in nature, while in the workplace, at home or while we play – Spence splices his cutting-edge scientific research with practical examples of how we can use this knowledge to our benefit. For example, now we’ve all been constrained due to the global pandemic, Spence drives home the point of how beneficial going out for a walk can be, for our mental health perhaps even more than physically. In the Garden chapter, he cites how even ‘Two thousand years ago, Taoists in the Far East were already advocating in print the health benefits of gardening and greenhouses.’ And recent studies have revealed those who regularly spend time in quiet contemplation on a woodland walk – a practice known in Japan as shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’ – ‘…exhibit lower stress levels as well as an enhanced immune response.’

 

Sensehacking forest bathing walking nature woodland smell photo by FreePik

 

There’s some fascinating sections on how we’re ‘led by the nose’, too. Ask most people about how they think large corporations try to entice us with smell and many will say something about supermarkets and the ‘fake’ but tempting waft of freshly baked bread. Spence reveals that no research is available on this subject – ‘It’s not that the research hasn’t been done, you understand, for it most certainly has. It is just that the supermarkets have chosen not to share their findings.’ But at least that baked bread smell is ‘unlikely to be artificial’ he explains, because ‘the delectable smell of freshly baked bread is one of the aromas that, at least until very recently, chemists struggled to imitate synthetically.’

From the tricks of ‘Subliminal seduction’ and ‘Multisensory shopping online’, the way are senses are appealed to and why we find certain things/people/experiences more appealing than others, to what the future holds for ways we can hack our senses; it’s certainly a thrilling read. And will provide you many ready answers to the inevitable questions we fragrance-lovers always get: ‘Why are you so obsessed with perfume? Doesn’t it just smell nice, and that’s it?’ Well, we’ve always known there’s far more to it than that, and now you can recommend this book for any olfactory nay-sayers you might meet…

 

Sensehacking: How to Use the Power of Your Senses for Happier, Healthier Living by Charles Spence (Viking Books)
Buy it at WHSmith

 

By Suzy Nightingale