Since leaving permanent employment in February, I’ve been steadily freelancing and working on a variety of interesting projects with clients old and new.
In July, I co-founded Olfiction with Pia Long, industry veteran and independent perfumer, to offer our combined services to clients throughout the fragrance industry – be that brands, retailers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturers.
Our combined passion and knowledge is a boon to our clients – who get much better value for money by engaging us as a pair, because our best ideas happen when we’re bouncing them off each other. You can also catch us on Love to Smell, our YouTube channel full of scented shenanigans.
So, I’ve been working behind the scenes on a YouTube project with Pia of Volatile Fiction, where we sniff all sorts of smelly things and talk about them in our usual, enthusiastic style, getting carried away with ourselves. It’s the start of many of our combined adventures.
We’ve filmed a whole bunch of episodes already, and are filming more in the upcoming weeks. There’s a website with shownotes to keep you informed about the products we’ve sniffed and where they come from. We’ll be uploading them weekly from June 3rd onwards.
Those of you that haven’t read Septimus Piesse’s seminal 150 year old text, The Art of Perfumery, should pick up a copy and absorb it. Piesse was a British perfumer far ahead of his time. He wrote that “scents, like sounds, appear to influence the olfactory nerve in certain definite degrees.” – an idea that I explored back in the first issue of ODOU.
Lenor in Japan took his concept of scents on a scale, and the concept of a perfumery organ, one step further – creating a literal Perfumery Organ, an instrument that plays both sound and smells.
Body of Songs is a collection of music inspired by the body’s organs, supported by the Wellcome Trust – artists meet various scientists and physicians who are the peak of expertise in their chosen field to find inspiration for music.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to meet Sam Lee and Kate Bland from Body of Songs to talk about the process of fragrance creation and history of perfumery. The resulting song has recently made an appearance, and it’s utterly enrapturing and haunting.
“The nose is by far the least understood of all the organs and one of the great of the human science mysteries, This song explores this “archaic nerve” that penetrates our psyche and unconsciousness in magical transportive ways. This original organ has elevated itself to such a lofty position of biological deportment as to become almost unnecessary, yet so rooted in all our judgements socially, sexually, animalistically and atavistically it could be reckoned as the seat of the highest intuition and most advanced of all faculties”
Happy New Year! I hope it’s a fragrant, successful year for all. 2014 was full of ups and downs for me personally, and I’ve been thrilled to work with some fantastic brands over the past 12 months, and look forward to continuing to do so into 2015.
As is now tradition, Grant over at Basenotes asked for my favourite fragrance discoveries of 2014, alongside the picks of all Basenotes contributors.
Read the piece here, and click here for a full review of Eau de Magnolia, which made it into a few of the top picks lists.
On a chilly and grey November morning, I headed off to Versailles from St Pancras with a group of over 20 other perfume lovers.
After a highly eventful morning (I lost my phone in the cab that I took to the station, and managed to get in touch with the driver to arrange with him to drop it off at our Covent Garden boutique) and a lunch that can only be described as ‘challenging’ (anyone that attended will attest to caramel chicken being the most bizarre thing they’ve ever eaten), we got onto our minibus to take us to the ISIPCA campus in Versailles, the home of the Osmothèque. Continue reading “A Trip to the Osmothèque”