Monday, 18 April 2011


A must-read for the sensory hearts

So I must have been blessed. God s been sending me the bestest perfume passionates lately. Gotta share this. Yesterday's workshop was another exclusive, avant-garde encounter between people who want to learn, to study, to feel, to know what perfume is, and a selection of perfume ingredients and compositions. Oh, and to come to appreciate them, this time they used food - a palette of tastes I had devotedly looked for and selected in the gourmand paradise also known as Whole Foods. 

It was lots of fun - their enthusiasm was infectious. I had the pleasure of having for the second time a choreographer -now fashion designer- whose savvy nose could easily pick the dark chocolate reflections of patchouli and chatted with him for more than an hour about anything in between food markets and Japanese attitudes. His amazing girlfriend, a radiant French stylist, quite as nose-driven, easily picked the synthetic that drove Kawakubo mad (and is in fact a CDG's fragrances honour member) and will soon write about the experience.

Just to reassure that everyone can be a perfumer and not only artists come to my workshops (the world of smell and its ingredients is with us unintentionally every day, perfume culture is for everyone), I had the most incredible pleasure to have an anesthesist, who came down from Leicester just for the workshop, and was the best vanilla taste / scent sensor - and lover. Let doctors say it with scent!

Last but not least, I was completely overwhelmed by Imran's questions - about my perfume taste, recommendations, and he had wonderful suggestions... even the company's founder agrees that he knows everything about what smells good in perfume. Perfume must be his drug as, as a banker he sometimes works 18 hours/day!!

Two more attendees were supposed to come from the Netherlands, but we haven't seen them... I hope they're alive!

I have been very lucky and I must thank God for inventing the senses of taste and smell and making us experiment to learn more about this world, which takes us on the way to pleasure. And then of course thank to students for coming and for trusting me when, blindfolded, they tasted in the name of scent. And LE LABO for being the best perfume shop in the world.

Monday, 11 April 2011

CALONE (And then perfumers could take you to the see)

In perfumery, the discovery of a new molecule allows the creation of new perfumed landscapes. It is since the 80s that it’s been possible to “depict” a seashore, to create a marine-fresh feeling with scent. Something that became then a trend in the 90s (EAU D'ISSEY - COOL WATER - ESCAPE, just to give you a smelling reference). This happened thanks to the introduction of a molecule called CALONE in perfumery, which is still a very popular synthetic perfume ingredient. Read more in this article by perfume scientist Luca Turin.

Today I am smelling CALONE as it will be one of the ingredients that my students will study on Sunday at the next perfume workshop, where they will learn about perfume using their sense of taste.

Saturday, 2 April 2011


The way I was introduced to perfumery and the way I now introduce my Students to it is through a visual art media: watercolour. This is what I call "step 0" of the sensory perception of perfume, the one that explores the connections between scents and the sense of sight. It is also a media which I came across when performing research on botanical art for a perfume house: it's an artform that has become dear to me.

Watercolour is considered very delicate and precise, capable of producing "an astonishing variety of effects, from subtle atmospheric washes to brilliant tanslucent colour." It has first been used to record information about the world around us, hence we can find miniature paintings, animal and plant books, manuscripts and maps made using it. A perfect companion in the travelling and mapping of the world, also given its compact and easy-to-carry nature, it's been a knowledge tool.

Lara Melis Iris xiphium

Though landscape has always been the favourite watercolour scenery, this technique has later gained its status as a work of art and used in a different range of paintings, up to abstract. "It's long been regarded as a distinctive part of British cultural heritage", the leading British watercolour artist being Turner.

Today I had the fantastic pleasure of seeing WATERCOLOUR, the exhibition which is now on at Tate Britain here in London (see also TATE blog). Highly recommended to all the perfumistas out there who can see an artwork when they smell. And for them to discover the connections with perfume!

In this painting (Cozens) you can see the movement of the tree
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