Friday, 30 August 2013


Earlier this year, I had the honour of being invited by the British Society of Perfumers as a Guest Speaker for their Training Weekend, a recurrent BSP educational initiative that has been going on for many years.

What happens there? The Training Weekend provides an opportunity for chemists, evaluators, marketers and other perfume industry professionals to expand their perfumery knowledge, network and refresh their skills on a fragrance development exercise. Whilst working on a body care/fine fragrance solution, delegates received input on different topics such as perfume creation, regulations and history of perfume by other perfume industry professionals.

Together with my friend Jo Norman, with whom I teach Design With Scents in London, I took delegates through a session called "Scent Awakening: The Holistic Experience of Scents", encouraging them to develop a thorough perception of perfume ingredients. Thank you to the BSP Council for inviting me and to the delegates for their warm feedback!


Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Christophe and me. Photo by Francesca Faruolo

There is a new destination and new friends in my delivery of olfactory inspiration around the world: Berlin and Les Christophs respectively. But let's go back a square.

Earlier this year I gave a perfume session at Scent World in NYC. On the panel of speakers was Master Perfumer Christophe Laudamiel too, one of the world's greatest scent artists, who with Perfumer Christoph Hornetz has been scenting quite some air and skin around the world.

Sharing passion for scents and education, we got soon together again as Christophe kindly visited our Design With Scents course in London. It was then the time for Berlin, where we hosted DUFT-VISIONS ("scent-visions" in German).

This was a fantastic opportunity to explore our sense of smell and olfactory art - thanks to all the enthusiastic noses who joined us from all over Europe.

We will be back soon!


Sunday, 18 August 2013


I have been away from my blog for quite a while. Life has been lately filled with new adventures, which included being exposed for the fist time to the Middle Eastern culture (and smells).

I realise that it's the first time (or perhaps the second, after Brazil) I see fragrance being so much part of a culture. Here they wear enigmatic and overpowering perfumes in big quantities. But fragrance is not only worn, it is used to celebrate special moments too.

A few scented pictures:

Grocery wonderland.

In the west herbs and spices are practically ground, contained in jars and sold in supermarkets mostly. Here you can buy the whole ingredient (mainly for cooking) practically everywhere. As I visit a grocery store, a "scent library" is in front of me, each drawer containing a different taste and smell universe... Heaven!

Sealed with a scent.

I was invited to a wedding. Real oud being burnt on a burner, the burner being passed around to participants as they let their clothes become imbued with the smell. The scent sealing that moment. Unforgettable. Oud has become an overwhelming trend in Western perfumery over the last few years. In Saudi, Oud is perfume culture, having always been used for burning and as a perfume. 

Besides, another scent. Elegant men wearing a traditional uniform, carrying around luxurious jars. They pour a hot, spicy drink in small cups, which they serve throughout the wedding. That drink is coffee and the taste (and smell) is new: that of cardamom. Saudis drink it often throughout the day.

Another suitcase, another journey...

We are at the souk. Next to mesmerising carpets and goods of any kind, I am offered the opportunity to smell real perfume ingredients (wood), chopped and contained in a lot of suitcases. In the meantime, I am sipping hot camel milk. Unlike any perfumery store!

Aside from the raw materials, (ridiculous amounts and mysterious varieties of) bottled perfumes are sold, made by local producers. In the West we use perfume in alcohol, here perfume is in oil.

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg...


Thursday, 1 August 2013


The following is the report from DWS 2013. For the 2014 edition see here

It has been an out-of-the-ordinary adventure. This was our second - and oversuscribed - edition at Kingston University London, where we experience the design of places through the sense of smell.

Design With Scents 2013 has seen 15 participants from all over Europe participating in our 5-week scent marathon and an extraordinary panel of guest speakers. Delegates came from perfumery, marketing/advertising, design, wine, fashion and education.

On Monday we embarked on a sensory experience of perfume ingredients and looked at the relationship between scent and space. We had the chance to hear from Will Andrews, Fragrance Scientist at P&G about his experience creating designer fragrances and communicating perfume.

Jo Norman, Christophe Laudamiel, myself with some of the participants.

The cross-sensory study of ingredients continued on day 2, followed by a fascinating journey through the history of perfume with Jo Norman. Master Perfumer Christophe Laudamiel joined soon after, with a mind-blowing lecture where he shared his experience in fragrance making and air scenting. 

Divided in "Scent Agencies", on Wednesday students started to work on their scent design solutions. They received inspiration from Jenny Tillotson from Central St. Martins / Cambridge where she researches and teaches about textiles and scents and Dr. Victoria Henshaw, Manchester University, who investigates the relationship between scents and urban design.

Thursday began with John Ayres, who talked about fragrance and the creative process. Together we took the students through the process of "translating" ideas with fragrance. The creation session was followed by Odette Toilette who shared her experience organising perfume events in London. 

After a few hours sleep (we had a dinner on Thursday evening!), participants presented their final projects on Friday. The design solutions they produced were quite impressive, as a result of a strong creative process. To finish, we went on a trip to London where we visited local perfumer Ormonde Jayne and had some very well deserved drinks (on which we must thank the generosity of our friend Barat!).

Speakers, tutors and students: I have learned so much from you! It has been a true delight to take this journey with you and am so happy and grateful that what started one year ago as an experiment is now a very much enjoyed course in the world of perfumery and design!

Thank you to my co-lecturers Jo Norman, John Ayres and to Kingston for believing in this format and all the hard work making it happen together. Thanks to the guest speakers and the participants for their enthusiasm. 

To all of us!
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