Shakespeare’s Scents – flowers he loved, fragrances we adore…

Shakespeare’s exact birthday isn’t known, though scholars generally suppose it to be somewhere in late April (his baptism being recorded as taking place on April 26), while April 23rd is National Shakespeare Day, the anniversary of the bard’s death in 1616. Therefore, at this time in spring our thoughts turn to the man who is still the most well-known poet and playwright in the world; and our thoughts, in particular, turn to fragrances we can connect to Shakespeare’s love for flowers

 

 

 

Shakespeare’s Flowers cards£3.99 for 5 x A5 pack, DaysEyeCards

 

Though much of what we know of Shakespeare’s life is supposition, what we can surely surmise is that he loved flowers – including references to over fifty types of them within his writing, using blooms and blossoms to highlight the emotional tone of scenes, reflect character’s thoughts or send messages his audiences would have readily understood in the ‘language of flowers.’ Artists, writers and musicians still find much inspiration in these floral allusions, and little wonder, given the veritable bouquet of creative suggestion Shakespeare proffers.

Many of the flowers Shakespeare alluded to in his work have led to well-known phrases we still use, such as ‘a rose by any other name’ and ‘gilding the lily’, though often their context gets lost in the repetition. In Romeo and Juliet, for example, the rose is used to there to garland Juliet’s complaint about their families refusing to let them marry because of an ongoing feud, saying:

 

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet. [Act II Scene II Line 43]

As for the lily, that pops up when painted, in King John, with a courtier commenting

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily

To throw perfume on the violet …

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess [Act 4 Scene 4 Line 11]

 

 

 

 

Sarah McCartney, founder and perfumer of British indie perfume house 4160 Tuesdays explains her personal inspiration for creating a Shakespearian scent:

‘We first made a limited edition of Sonnet No.1 for the Barnes Fragrance Fair, and the aim was to blend the aroma of Shakespeare’s flowers. Shakespeare’s first sonnet mentions “beauty’s rose” hence the name. To rose – both the absolute and essential oil – we added lavender, beeswax and hay absolutes, and evoke the aromas of lily and violet. It floats on a bed of white musks.’

‘This is the most expensive fragrance we’ve ever made, even topping Floral Psychedelica and The Waft From The Loft, although that was a lot more complicated to make. For batch number one we only made 500mls, but we loved it so much we decided to add it to the collection in 2024.’
Sonnet No.1 £60 for 15ml eau de parfum – a sample is available in our Seasonal Scents Spring box

 

But this wasn’t 4160 Tuesday’s first foray into Shakespearian-themed fragrances…

 

‘We were invited to make a midsummer scent for a 2013 charity evening in Ealing, West London, using plants and flowers named in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so we imagined the scenes taking place by Pitzhanger Manor on Ealing Green, and created the aroma of a magical summer evening. Its perfect for wearing in the heat.
It starts with a wander through the herb and flower gardens of Walpole Park, takes in a picnic on the grass and ends up lying on the lawn by the pond, staring at the clouds floating by, smelling the warm earth.’ – Sarah McCartney

 

 

4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green £65 for 50ml eau de parfum

 

Well, what better time to purchase a bottle and immerse yourself in the floral imagery of Shakespeare? And apart from these two meadow-frolicking, star-crossed lover-evoking stunners from 4160 Tuesdays, here’s two other blooms of Shakespearian-esque scents you might care to try, and feel inspired while wearing…

 

 

 

Exploring the nuances of what femininity means – the house’s name imagining the most swooning-ly romanticised heroine armed with a pistol – they explain that ‘JULIETTE illustrates what our heroine would be in 2024. A symbol of untamed femininity, powerful, free, passionate, she aims to be the one and only in the spotlight, she’s leading the dance!’ Black cherry, pops of pink pepper and a sizzle of spices keep the nose dancing to this olfactive melody.

Juliette Has A Gun JULIETTE from £25 for 8ml eau de parfum exclusive to spacenk.com

 

 

‘Inspired by William Shakespeare’s most famous comedy- A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Set in a forest where mythical fairies live, a place where dreams and reality are oddly mixed.’ An amber gourmand that opens with citrus notes of bergamot, grapefruit, neroli, the honey-like tones of the amber meld like liquid gold, granting an other-worldly glow to the more ethereal brightness. Beautifully balanced, it’s a delight from first spritz to that final, tantalising trail. Magical!

Clive Christian Jump up and Kiss me Hedonistic (try it in the Clive Christian Around the World Discovery Set £150)

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Scenting The (Snow) Globe: Olfiction perfumer creates the smell of Christmas

Get your snow shoes on and experience a fabulously scented, festive performance, as the world famous Globe Theatre is transformed into ‘The (Snow) Globe’ with fragrant help from Olfiction and perfumer, Pia Long

Pia is the co-founder of Olfiction – a UK-based fragrance consultancy that work with suppliers, contract manufacturers, brands, retailers and fragrance industry organisations. As well as creating fragrances and scented products, and aiding existing fragrance houses to shape and better define themselves in the marketplace, Olfiction can also help evoke specific moods (or seasons) by scenting spaces – and this one couldn’t be more festively fragrant!

Olfiction says: This Christmas, world renowned performing arts venue, cultural attraction and education centre Shakespeare’s Globe will show Christmas at the (Snow) Globe. As part of their dedication to making performance accessible, the production will have an audio described performance with a set touch tour for visually impaired visitors. To enhance this aspect of the production, Shakespeare’s Globe commissioned Olfiction to create fragrances which evoke all of the sensations and scents of Christmas.

The team at Olfiction created accords of Snow, Christmas Tree, and Pomanders as well as a finished fragrance which combines all of these elements.

Talking about the experience, Olfiction Perfumer, Pia Long, said: ‘A Finnish person being asked to make the smell of a Nordic Christmas? Absolutely!

The challenge of doing things that are very well known by people is harder than it seems, because if you don’t get it right, it is as though you have ruined something that is personally important to them. It’s a fun challenge to make something that if you give the scent to someone, they will smell it and say ‘that’s Christmas!’.

I particularly enjoyed making snow because it is so abstract, more like a sensation than a smell – and it’s not until you think about it that you realise there is a smell. I’ve always felt that some aldehydes smelled like snow. That was the most fun to do as a perfumer – it’s something that you know and you don’t, because it isn’t as though there is a snow essential oil!’

Snow Globe

A sensation of cold crisp air and frozen earth.
‘As though you are walking into a snowy landscape and take a big lungful of snowy air, it’s got the snow but also the frozen ground under the snow. I wanted you to sense that there are trees in the background. It’s very much a Nordic landscape on a crisp winter morning when it’s well below zero.
Notes: Aldehydes, Juniper, Cyclamen, Black Pepper, Cold Effects

Yule Tree

A picture-perfect Christmas tree.
‘I wanted to do a spruce as it’s growing, ready to be your Christmas tree – so here are the fresh young shoots as well as the smell of the Christmas tree when you bring it into your house for Christmas. So, it’s Nordic spruce, not a typical pine – the smell is more delicate and leafy, there’s almost a fruitiness to it and it’s absolutely the smell of Christmas for me. It’s not Christmas until you have the real live tree in the house. The tradition was that you would go and physically fetch your tree on Christmas Eve, and you’d go to cut it down from the forest as a family.’
Notes: Fir Balsam abs, Cypress, Elemi, Labdanum, Amber, Oakmoss, Pine

Pomander

A traditional orange pomander dotted in spices.
‘For this accord, I wanted to capture an orange pomander with cloves, but I’ve also thought of the Christmas stockings stuffed with clementines and gingerbread – the whole idea is combining citrus and spices. There’s a bit of floralcy in this as well – I added carnations and orange blossom – to make it a bit more sophisticated.’
Notes: Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Orange, Orange Flower, Clementine, Mandarin, Carnation, Patchouli, Amber

Danish Christmas

This fragrance captures all of the sensations of the individual accords, in a wearable perfume that can be used by the actors and ushers as well as to scent the decorations and space.

‘I wanted to take slices of each of the accords. Up top you’ve got the aldehydes from Snow Globe, and the spice and citrus from Pomander. From the Yule Tree, I’ve taken the resins and balsams and the ambery side, with some of the woodiness, so the complete fragrance is this warming and cosy Christmas hug. I’ve added a slight gingerbread note in there as well, to evoke the feeling of baking Christmas treats and festive cosiness.’
Notes: Aldehydes, Orange, Clementine, Mandarin, Jasmine Absolute, Cedarwood Atlas, Carnation, Cinnamon, Orange Flower Absolute, Clove, Nutmeg, Benzoin, Incense, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Fir Balsam, Labdanum, Oakmoss

 

 

About the Show:

‘The Globe Theatre stands empty, the stage bare, the Christmas tree undecorated and we need your help.

Someone has stolen the magic of Christmas from Snowdrop, the fairy who stands watch over our wooden ‘O’ during the winter months. Comedian Sandi Toksvig and her merry gang need your help to find it and bring it back to the Globe.

Sing along to classic Christmas songs with the tremendous Fourth Choir, prepare to make paper chains to decorate the theatre and get ready to harness your belief in the spirit of the season to help restore some festive cheer.

This is a show for the entire family so tell everyone you know to put on their favourite Christmas jumpers and join us for the most heart-warming of gatherings.

Help us spread the cheer further. In the spirit of storytelling and gift giving, we’re inviting audiences to bring along a brand-new children’s book as a present to put under the Christmas at the (Snow) Globe tree, which we’ll donate to local charities that support children and young people.

Created and directed by Sandi Toksvig and Jenifer Toksvig, Christmas at the (Snow) Globe will have integrated BSL for every performance.

There will be captioned performances on Sunday 22 December at 2.00PM and 6.00PM, and the audio described performance will be on Saturday 21 December at 2.00PM, with a touch and scent tour on the stage at 12 noon.