Saturday, 1 December 2012


I am not referring to random outdoor smells like food, pollution or people, but to (more or less) carefully designed, indoor scents. A whole new world of store smells is taking shape as more brands are using the creative and powerful language of scents to communicate with their customers. 

Any examples? I've recently taken a walk down Oxford Street in London, one of the major shopping streets in the world and, on a nose-shopping, I noticed that that...

High street fashion giant H&M are designing the air of their ground floor womenswear department with a soft, fresh, floral blend. The scent magically fades away as you take the escalator up or down. The scent is quite subtle and pleasant I'd say and can get unnoticed. 

On a quite more enveloping approach, underwear brand Intimissimi, is using a talc powder-like scent, which you can smell from outside the front door. Does this reflect their idea of a woman? Store and window pictures show soft, reassuring curves being pushed up by bras... 

Further down the road, on Regent's Street, a woody accord welcomes you in the new state-of-the-art Burberry store. The accord is, again, quite subtle and matches well with the store materials. It plays a contrast with the soapy musky Body fragrance which is everywhere in the store.

This is just the beginning of a scent revolution... How can you find out more about how scents can enhance design, marketing and retail or simply our homes? 

Come to our one and only, Vogue-featured, Design With Scents course in London: with other creatives, you'll experiment how to design a place through the sense of smell. Also, don't miss the Scent World conference in New York, where I will be guiding a "Scent Awakening" session!



Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Last summer at Kingston University London we received Vogue's visit.

Francesca Segal, a novelist who was writing a perfume feature for British Vogue, spent a day with us at the "Design With Scents" course to find out more about her story...

Talking about "rewriting her olfactive signature" after the fragrance she loved was discontinued, you will find her piece in the December issue.

Thank you Francesca for your visit and for talking about our course...


Friday, 26 October 2012


"You really have changed my perception of perfume!", 

said a gentleman to me at a very much enjoyed Perfume Networking Event I ran last Wednesday. Considering that my mission statement is "aiming to change people's attitude towards perfume" I couldn't have been any happier!

Held at the Weiss Gallery in central London, home to one of Europe's finest collections of Tudor art, the networking event was organised by the Westminster Business Council.

The superb location offered the perfect room for networking and learning. After a tour of the gallery's highlights, I took our attendees through a scent journey, where they got to know each other through the experience of perfume and explored how scents can enhance their projects.

Thanks to the attendees for coming and for the very favourable feedback:

Thanks for the very inspiring presentation/workshop. I was inspired and never see scents in same light again. Even smelled the grapefruit in the morning before eating it and it did have an effect to wake me up! 

Thank you for a very enjoyable and interesting evening.

Thank you for a fascinating and well-delivered talk last night at the Weiss Gallery. 

I enjoyed it immensely and found what I learned very useful. 

I enjoyed your talk very much. 

Many thanks to the WBC and the Weiss Gallery for impeccable organisation.

Till the next scent journey

Sunday, 30 September 2012


Yesterday brought another fantastic scent journey. As part of S Sense's mission to enhance people's lives through the experience of perfume, I guided a "Meditation and Fragrance" session. It was aimed at healing ourselves and increasing our wellbeing through a unique combination of meditation and the use of essential oils.

We started to bring clarity and energy to our system through our breath. C., for whom I ran this session, said she wanted to work on her heart. We then smelled a selection of essential oils: woods, resins and flowers this time, and explored which ones would resonate with her heart. She chose two: a comforting wood and a warm floral.

Just like me, over time she has been practicing meditation and using essential oils to enhance her life.

This approach is the result of years of yoga and meditation practice and the study of scents. I am very thankful to my teachers and the perfumers who helped me to gain a holistic understanding of fragrance. There is also a nice book, "Subtle Aromatherapy" by Patricia Davis, a good input to explore the use of scents for mental and emotional states.

This year, I felt like it was time for me share all this with others.


Sunday, 5 August 2012


Cabochard ad

As a young lady M., a woman from the Kansai region in Japan, fell in love with a smell, a perfume called Cabochard ("stubborn") by Parfum Grès. Cabochard is a type of perfume called “Chypre”, French for Cyprus. 

Cyprus Island

One of many perfume legends say that at the beginning of the 20th Century a revolutionary French perfumer went to Cyprus and created a fragrance reminiscent of the woody, mossy, citrus landscape he encountered. That man is Francois Coty and that perfume was "Chypre".

Chypre was such a revolution it became a genre in perfumery. It is a rich journey throughout the contrasts of citrus, (a bit of) floral and woody, mossy, resinous notes. To prove the legend I asked two young men from Cyprus whether this combination (without telling them the story) reminded them of home. They said it did.

Lalique Chypre flacon

M., our Japanese lady, sees Chypre as a scent of sophistication, an elegant, evening scent, not necessarily feminine. Passionate about perfume, she has taken some courses and experimented blending her own. Yesterday Marianne (The Perfumer) and I ran a tailor made workshop for her, to create an idea of Chypre.

To begin with, we took a sniff at the Chypre tale that M. had created, a very nice combination of dark, heart and light tones. We introduced a few variations and observed how the new characters played with the existing script. M. was new to the suggested departures, which made our perfume creation more adventurous.

Our perfume workshop

We started from its heart. There we set up an almost neutral floral scene and in front of it we played 3 flowers: a lady with sophisticated personality, a subterranean, powdery God and a green, unconventional gentleman. The green guy was found to be intrusive and was dismissed.
The dark scene was set with underfoot volcanic energy, a dash of balsamic woods and an interesting man-made ingredient that is both soft and hard. Despite the attractive novelty it brought to our story, it was dismissed. Instead, this thick scene was softened by placing a comforting velvet carpet. 
The result had still too much heart whereas M.’s intention was to go deeper, somehow more masculine than feminine, hence we turned up the darkness volume. A final, filtered ray of Mediterranean sun gave the scent a lift and we had the picture. 
M. happily walked away with her new idea of Chypre and a custom-made dictionary of odours, that she will use to create her next perfume tale. As with the words we may use to write a story, possibilities of expression are endless in perfume. But only the ones that find their mysterious way to our heart will win. 

Find your own journey in perfume with us.

Till the next Perfume Tale. 

Thursday, 2 August 2012


I have just come back from another afternoon of scented inspiration.

Marianne, my fantastic perfumer friend, and I created an inspiring synesthetic perfume workshop for two enthusiastic friends who have just started a candle-making venture.

By exploring a selection of materials suitable for blending in wax, they discovered the naturals, the synthetics, the actual ingredients, the isolates, which make the fantastic language of perfume. Eventually they practiced the language and created their two first-ever candle scents.

Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and they couldn't stop saying what a revelation it all was. The most rewarding moment was when L. looked at me and said: "It is really an art form!". "Isn't it?!", I answered her, as I remembered what a revelation it all appeared to me in the first place... How rewarding to hear that coming back to me now.

We feel truly lucky for having shared our passion with them. It is priceless, to show someone what I believe is beautiful. I do it with scents. Inspiring, lighting people's flame of curiosity, seeing a scent talk to the human experience is the greatest job in the world.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


Last week has been one of the most beautiful and memorable weeks of my life. 

Sometime ago my friend Jo Norman, perfume consultant and lecturer at Kingston University London, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, had asked me to lead their first perfumery course. The result has been "Design With Scents", the first course in the world about the design of places through the sense of smell.

Enriched by the teachings of Jo herself and John Ayres (that together form Pandora), the one-week, full-time scent marathon took off last Monday, with a fantastic group of students, coming from different walks of life, all highly engaged and talented.

Having such a good combination of experience and interest from our students was incredibly lucky. Each one of them has contributed so much in the success of the course, in the learning process, in the exchange of knowledge and passion and in the creation of a scent design network.

Coming from China, Germany, France, Belgium, Saudi Arabia and the UK, their background was in: sensory marketing, urban environment, tobacco flavouring, jewellery design, communication, cosmetics and event design. I feel so enriched having spent a week with them!


Our perfume trip started with the holistic perfume experience, discovering how scents can affect our emotions. We used synesthesia (cross-sensory modality) to study perfume as a creative language. Through interactive sessions, we discovered the scents that form a perfumer's palette. 

After the sensory discovery of scents, we took the time machine and looked at how, throughout time scents have talked about history, fashions and culture, with an inspiring session lead by Jo Norman.

One of our students, Dr. Victoria Henshaw from Manchester University, presented her PhD. research "Smell In The City", about scents and urban environments, which helped to raise awareness of the relationship between the two.

As the workshop progressed, students formed different "Scent Agencies". Every agency analysed a specific environment and came up with a scent design solution. Guided by John Ayres, we experienced how to translate that vision into scent, through a truly inspiring fragrance creation session. 

On their final day, the 4 scent design solutions that students created were presented, as peers, course leader and guest speakers provided feedback on the whole creative process. Working on retail, residential and shared spaces projects, each project showed excellent concepts and fragrance solutions.

A student from Saudi Arabia has been incredibly kind in sharing with us some sensory delights from her culture: Saudi Arabian Oud, Rose Water, Coffee and 3 qualities of dates, which have been my drug for the week!

The more our senses opened, the more they were demanding attention. On our last day, we paid visit to Floris, the historical London fragrance house, as they kindly took us on a tour of their perfume studio in Jermyn Street.

On the verge of a sensory overload, our trip finished with a gourmand experience (macaroons), after which we sipped gin and tonic over indoor strawberry fields and finally had real Italian pizza, to celebrate our happiness!

The experience was thoroughly enjoyed by teachers and students equally. Due to our excitement and the overwhelming feedback, we are happy to announce that Design With Scents course will be repeated next July 2013! Click here for the programme and to book your place. 

My most sincere thank you to Kingston, Jo Norman and John Ayres and our incredible students for making this course happen.

See you next year, 

Friday, 22 June 2012


Last night was memorable!

I had the greatest privilege and honour to share my passion for scents and generate some sensory debate around them during my presentation for the British Society of Perfumers

Under the guidance of their newly appointed President John Bailey, a fantastic gentleman also know as Mr. Perfume, the BSP aims to play a leading role in the demand of knowledge on perfume that has come up recently. With this aim, he asked S Sense to start the new year of events. 

We are putting together a few clips. What I can say in the meantime is that, starting by smelling a poem, we looked at ways scents can enhance our lives and question what the scenario will be like in the future. 

The audience was engaged and responded with interesting comments to the questions that I had prepared and asked them to make the evening interactive and thought-provoking.

It was also the opportunity to introduce the Design With Scents course at Kingston University and the British Society of Perfumers training on scents which will happen in March 2013.

We had people from the industry, as well as perfume lovers and new friends from other walks of life. Thank you all for coming!

My friend John Bailey, President of the British Society of Perfumers and I at The Hub King's Cross

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Two Fridays ago I attended a conference called SCENT AND SENSIBILITY at the INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY. It was on the neuroscience of fragrance and featured presentations from academics who have been performing research on olfaction. The day was inspiring as it offered the chance to listen to experts and open discussions. Ultimately it raised awareness on the importance of our sense of smell.
Prof. Thomas Hummel, a world specialist on taste and smell disorders from Taste and Smell Clinic, University of Dresden - and a brilliant speaker - talked about the lack of the sense of smell (anosmia). He firstly reminded us about the significance of the sense of smell in our "chemical communication, in the way we socialise, the way we detect dangers and the way we feel pleasures. Afterwards, he illustrated the effects of anosmia and the importance of olfactive training as treatment.
Put it simply, by lacking bits of tastes and smells, total or partial anosmia sufferers experience food-related (appetite, cooking, weight) discomforts in the first place. What's more, the absence of smells makes them feel insecure in social situations and their sexual drive decreases. All these conditions eventually culminate in long-lasting mood and depression problems.
Olfactive training plays special relevance in the treatment of anosmia, said Dr. Hummel, as it increases the response of olfactory receptors. Tests show that patients that have received olfactory training made much better progress than those who haven’t. 

"When people are exposed to odours repetitively, they increase their olfactory function."

By exposing the audience to what is existence is like in the absence of smells, Dr. Hummel ultimately demonstrated the importance of this sense. Put it simply, the better we smell, the longer (and better) we live. By bringing scientific evidence, his presentation motivates me to carry on the work that I have been doing in promoting perfume knowledge to increase wellbeing and enhance people's lives.

The fact that institutions like The Institute of Philosophy are promoting discussions on scents make me think that in the near future the word neglected will be hopefully no longer used when we talk about our dear sense of smell.

For more, his presentation is on youtube:

Thursday, 7 June 2012

SAVE THE DATE: 21.06.12

in association with The Hub King’s Cross presents 

Perfume: Space and Body for the Human Experience 
An interactive, sensory presentation by Nicola Pozzani - S Sense

Thursday 21st June 2012 - 6.30pm for 7.00 pm start

Today, perfume is used on bodies and in places to enhance how they smell. However perfume goes way beyond the realm of fragrance. The sense of smell is an untapped human resource and perfume, a powerful tool that can enhance people’s lives.

Sharing his sensory background and current perfume education venture, Nicola Pozzani founder of S Sense will engage with the audience, question our perception of perfume and how it can change in the future. 

Attendees will discover how the sensory experience of perfume is bringing value to individuals and organisations. The evening will also be an opportunity to discover the “Design With Scents“ course at Kingston University and the BSP 2013 Training weekend.

Nicola Pozzani, also known as Synesthetic Provocateur, is the founder of S Sense The Senses Of Perfume, sensory training company. He is also teacher for Kingston University and the BSP. Nicola received perfume training by perfumer Jean Claude Ellena at the Università dell’Immagine of Milan, and English teaching training by Cambridge University. He has been designing sensory training projects on scents for companies, major perfume/beauty brands and charitable foundations. Nicola aims to be an ambassador for the use of perfume as an enabler of well being, mindfulness, collaboration and innovation.

Nicola Pozzani “It is my mission to bring the benefits of perfume to a wider audience and partnering with he BSP is an exciting and wonderful opportunity to do this”

Free for members, £10 non members – Tea and Coffee available and Pay Bar Venue: The Hub King’s Cross, London. 34 B York Way. London N1 9AB, UK

+44 (0) 207841 3450

Hub Kings Cross is a co-working space for social entrepreneurs based in London. The Hub is an inspiring global community of social enterprises, environmental companies and sustainable businesses. HUBs are uniquely designed spaces that provide a creative environment as well as a professional infrastructure to work, meet, learn and connect. The HUB is designed to facilitate the creation of sustainable impact through collaboration.

Please confirm attendance to Payment can be made by cash, cheque (payable to The British 
Society of Perfumers) or by BACS (Please contact for details)

Visit the BSP website for news and details of other forthcoming events

Sunday, 3 June 2012


"Has it ever happened, 
that as you were reading a book, 
you kept stopping as you read, 
not because you weren’t interested, 
but because you were: 
because of a flow of ideas, stimuli, associations? 
Simply put, 
have you ever read while looking up from your book?"
-Roland Barthes-

Almost ten years ago as I had the greatest opportunity to receive a scholarship and attend UNIVERSITà DELL'IMMAGINE, MA of the five senses in Milan, where I met a wealth of fantastic teachers. 

Amongst them, my now fantastic friend Letizia, who has dedicated her life (and one a PhD) to the pleasure of reading. She started a blog, which I find essential and thought-provoking.

It's called readinginterrupted.

May your readings be always scented my special friend!


Last Friday at the Institute of Philosophy researchers from Oxford University and the audience (including me) were discussing about the connections between scent and sound stimuli.

There may or may not be a scientific explanation, however our human senses and instinct play a special role in saying that there are some correspondences, like our old dear friend Baudelaire used to say.

Today I then decided to make an experiment. I sprayed on my musician friend Guerlain's Acqua Allegoria Pamplelune, asking what it sounded like to her.

Without her knowing anything about the perfume, she played a sonatina, referring to a simplistic, child-like accord. She said that "some violins are in there too". From wikipedia: a sonatina is a shorter, light in character composition.

Just referring to Maison Guerlain's own words, the perfume is described as a "short but concentrated formula, result of an alchemy of simplicity and sophistication". 

Feel free to leave a comment!

Thursday, 26 April 2012


As part of my quest to push perfume education and give people the chance to explore the beauty and power of creating a story through smell, I have created, with perfume ambassadors Johanna Norman and John Ayres the first-ever DESIGN WITH SCENTS course. It's gonna happen next July at Kingston University London, UK. Book your place here (accommodation is provided). Looking forward to seeing you there! Nicola

Monday, 9 April 2012


London, 27 February 2012
Today feels incredibly rewarding and marks history in my professional experience: my perfume training has been used by a charitable organisation which cares for sensory impaired people. 
S Sense has designed and delivered a customized synesthetic workshop around scents for the staff of a centre which cares for deaf and blind people. The objective of the training was for the staff to learn how to deliver effective treatments, using scents.
It was an honor and a pleasure for me and the staff were incredibly enthusiastic. I am so pleased that the approach S Sense has designed, combining the sense of smell and sensory stimuli, can positively affect their daily work!
If you are a charity or organisations that care for different disabilities and ill patients, get in touch. Together we can discuss how the synesthetic experience of perfume can enhance your service users lives.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Who knew you could smell the tales?!

Last Saturday I went to visit a dear friend of mine who has just moved to Canterbury. I had never been and it was such a nice city-break, just an hour away from London St. Pancras Station, with its little pubs, tea houses, shops, and of course The Cathedral! If you have never been, I strongly recommend going, it is really stunning.

But it wasn't there that I found the scents I am writing about. What we all now Canterbury for is not only the Cathedral but "The Canterbury Tales" of course. They have also made a tourist attraction of them, a sort of "museum", so my friend and I decided to act like proper tourists and give it a go. The tales are staged within an entertaining and interactive installation: you walk through different rooms, each representing a different tale - it's this building below, on the left, shame we could not take any pics inside.

What caught my attention was that it is in a way a "multisensory" installation. The tales are told through sound (a device is telling you the story), sight (there are mannequins around you), and they used scents as well! Smell of fire and... well, medieval streets (not that pleasant, let you guess the ingredient!) the ones I can remember. A nice, amusing way of revisiting an old opera, I think. Worth paying a visit when you're there. The use of smells really changes our perception as spectators.

Friday, 3 February 2012


Last post was about smell and architecture. They may seem two world far apart but they are actually very near.

Some time ago I was a student at Università dell'Immagine, an MA about the five senses in Milan, where one of the leading teacher was award-winning architect Anna Barbara. She was holding a (much acclaimed amongst student at the time) Sensory Design course, just one of the sensory education experiences she's been doing around the world in her career.

Some time later she kindly asked me to feature some of my research about perfume in Parma in her book Invisible Architecture, Experiencing Places Through the Sense of Smell. Co-written by Anthony Perliss, the book argues about "recent instances of an architecture that is seeking to reappropriate the invisible dimension of olfaction in order to imbue the experience of places with greater meaning".

The book is available on Amazon, both in English and Italian.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


I m visiting Cambridge and as we walk in the history faculty library, a beautiful 60s building designed by architect Stirling, I m amazed by the smell of this place.

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