Sylvaine Delacourte Workshop In Sydney

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Ainslie Walker

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Hello APJ gang! Happy New Year!! Doesn’t it already feel like 2017 is galloping along at an incredible pace?!

Sylvaine Delacourte Workshop In Sydney

Sylvaine Delacourte ‘Queen Bee’ and Creative Director of Fragrance for Guerlain visited Australia last year, whilst in town she taught perfume creation classes in David Jones’ Grand Hall on level 6!

As I entered the hall from the lift I saw rows of aluminium bottles containing exciting raw materials on a table with pipettes protruding from them! GASP.

Sylvaine, looking glamorous, first led us through the history of Guerlain.

– Modern perfumery began with Jicky which featured 3 synthetics- vanillin, coumarin and linalool.
– Guerlinade, Guerlain’s identity – the heart of all their fragrances, contains bergamot, rose, iris, tonka and vanilla.
– Guerlain still controls their whole ‘A-Z’ of fragrance, only 4 other companies in the world also do this; Chanel, Dior, Hermes. They buy their own raw materials, sourcing everything, having them sent direct to their labs, making a unique difference.
– Guerlain has 1000 natural ingredients, 3000 synthetics and discover more each year.

Creation time! As Sylvaine pointed out ‘today you will be making, not just a perfume but a Guerlain perfume!’ SQUEALS AND SHIVERS!!

A few definitions!

– A note: of patchouli or any singular ingredient
– A facet: an aspect of an ingredient, eg fruit aspect of rose. Perfumers use this to join for example 3 ingredients all with fruit aspects.
– An harmony/accord: no longer the parts that make it up but a new combination, a synergy. E.g Bergamot, violet and hedione is tea note created by JC Ellena, Raspberry and almond become cherry.

Sylvaine explained, many flowers cannot be extracted and have to be reconstituted eg lilac, lily of the valley…..then we all got to make a lily of the valley!!

So here is what I made:
Floral N74 48 drops
Jasmonal H 20 drops
Rose Bulgare 5 drops (this ingredient is one of Thierry Wasser’s favourites and has a lychee and almond facet)
Citronellol 10
PEA 15
Jasmine Grandiflorum 1
Indol 1

We learnt about all the different floral aspects: fresh, powdery, aldehydic, sensual, animalic, rose, oriental, white or as Sylvaine says ‘sunny,’ and fruity flower

Then we chose to make either a white floral or a fresh floral and give it facets of either oriental, chypre or hisperdic. I made a fresh floral with oriental and rose facets and a touch of hisperdic! I had 3 tries and Sylvaine and I agreed my second try was the best.

What an amazing experience to learn from one of the best female perfumers in the industry!!

If you could make a perfume at such a workshop, what would it be??

Until next time, Ainslie XX

 

 

Guerlain: Sylvaine Delacourte in Sydney: Photo Essay

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hello lovely Perfume Junkies!

How are you all coping in the slippery slope into the festive season? Have you sent your fragrant orders to Santa? Have you been naughty or nice?

I have a confession: I couldn’t wait! I just bought a bottle (with a free additional bottle) of Sylvaine Delacourte’s new Florentina from her new La Collection Muscs. (An independent side project, i.e. not Guerlain)If you’ve not tried them, go on her website and pay a tiny 4 euros and order the sampler – then it’s a one off buy one get one offer on a full bottle – irresistible!

Sylvaine Delacourte Adventures Down under!

We had the pleasure of greeting Sylvaine Delacourte in Sydney in November – THE QUEEN BEE OF GUERLAIN. She really is personable, fun spirited and of course extremely talented and knowledgeable in person. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read my interview with her for APJ while I was in Paris in October, which fills you in on all things Sylvaine Delacourte.

Guerlain: Sylvaine Delacourte in Sydney

Photo Essay

 

Cosmax, the distributers for Guerlain in Australia hosted a lovely lunch in Paddington at the Four in Hand Hotel for press and important people like Michael Edwards from Fragrances of the World. Here we ate and drank amongst beautifully set tables full of flowers and bee bottle factice. Sylvaine talked about her more than 20-year history with Guerlain and she held the group captivated. It was also at this lunch the newest Guerlain Exclusif was launched, Neroli Outrenoir.

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Table setting at the Neroli Outrenoir launch in Paddington

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Michael Edwards and Sylvaine Delacourte

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Now available instore – David Jones – the exclusives collection is to die for and worth popping on your list to Santa. I bought myself Angelique Noire (the greenest one) when I was in Paris, however I have popped pretty much the rest of the collection onto my wish list. DEELICIOUS! The core theme is Sylvaine’s desire to showcase raw materials in unexpected spotlights so the gardenia is presented in a lacey way. In Cuir Beluga we have leather, however it is more of a light soft caress of suede rather than something tart from a tannery. Neroli Outre Noir’s magic lies in the top notes seeming to remain throughout nearly the whole dry down. Any perfumer will tell you this can almost only happen by pure MAGIC. Notes of combined citrus, orange blossom, smoky, earthy tea for me also makes it a win.

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAngelique Noire I bought in Paris in Septermber!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Bee bottle Factice from table setting to swoon at

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Lily of the Valley that was on my table setting at home in my Mud vase!

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Sylvaine then spent a few days upstairs at David Jones level 7 where she did a question and answer style talk for VIP’s and the Sydney Perfume Lovers Meetup Group. In addition and a highlight for me were two workshops where participants created their own Guerlain-esque floral fragrance. After learingin all about the raw materials from Sylvaine herself! I spent the entire time with jaw on the floor, inspired and absorbing everything. How lucky we were to have her visit and share this wonderful insider knowledge and experience!

Have you experienced the Exclusifs range? What are your thoughts and favorites?

Xx until next time! XX Ainslie XX

With Guerlain’s Sylvaine Delacourte in Paris + Photo Essay

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hello Fragrance lovers – something very special for you today!

Sylvaine Delacourte’s story is of hard work and perseverance. Currently Guerlain’s Artistic Director of Fragrance, an inspiring pioneer, in an historically male dominated industry. She has instigated change and innovation within Guerlain’s traditional curtains.

I attended Atelier Il Était Une Fois prior to the meeting, smelling 25 original, discontinued Guerlain fragrances. A beginner when it came to Guerlain, my visit to Paris was certainly rectifying this. Basics covered and now who better to bring me up to speed than Sylvaine Delacourte!?

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With Guerlain’s Sylvaine Delacourte in Paris

Australian visit announcement!

AW: From the beginning, tell me about your career?

SD: I was a makeup artist! Knowing nothing about perfume I joined Guerlain, became a trainer in makeup for France and internationally, then Product Manager.

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AW: How did you progress into fragrance?

SD: I became curious. I worked for the most beautiful perfume brand in the world. There was no in-house training for perfume so I attended Cinquième Sens and it was a revolution! My teacher Monique Schlienger was inspiring. I fell in love with perfume. I started to buy books and bottles – my collection was enormous!

I asked, “If I can study perfume, after I will create training for Guerlain.” I was given 2 years, paid, to learn perfume.

I attended Isipca, Firmenich and many more! I spent one week with Jean Claude Ellena.

I kept my word and created perfume training for Guerlain. I was the first person to do sales training about perfume at that time.

AW: From trainer to perfumery?

SD: Jean Paul Guerlain invited me for lunch. Handing me 3 blotters, he said “I’m creating a fragrance” I replied, “I am a beginner, I know nothing!” He insisted, I made my choice and he said, “I feel exactly the same.” It was Heritage. He said “stop what you’re doing and come work with me.”
I became evaluator, technological coach and psychological coach. [Laughs]
We did many perfumes together; from after Samsara, to Champs Elysees – a turning point: I was quite alone in that project, working with Olivier Cresp from Firmenich, nobody knew -it was secret and it was chosen to launch!!

JPG was upset about Champs Elysees, “Sylvaine, go into marketing, it will be good for you.” He developed Coriolan and Mahora – good perfumes but commercial disasters.
Guerlain was not in good health, I was asked to come back, “we have to launch a perfume, it must be a success!”

I developed one with Maurice Roucel and won against JPG and other perfumers it was L’Instant de Guerlain I cosigned with Maurice. Next, I won Pour Homme and after I won a floral, Insolence.

Finally I was made Director of Creation.

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AW: Your current role?

SD: I control all the tools and language about perfumes we transmit to beauty advisers, press and marketing. I know all the steps of the perfumer; I know what’s inside. I know how to talk about it, so I know perfectly the message we need to give.

AW: Bespoke Fragrances?

SD: Since 2006 I’ve made 35 bespoke fragrances. I have 6 to make now! I created a 2-hour consultation with psychoanalysis, olfactive tests – I make them anosmic, almost in an hypnotic state to find positive smells from their life.

AW: Working with Michael Edwards?

SD: He is very cute. He comes many times, yes, to see me – twice a year to talk new products and their pyramids. He asks, “Are you ok with this category,” first. He is very professional and serious, does not take risks. Very kind -a gentleman. He understands perfectly the fragrances.

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AW: Two fragrances most special to you?

SD: They are all my babies, but 2 are very important:

L’Instant de Guerlain for Women as it was tough at that time. I cosigned with Maurice Roucel, I was in the spotlight and it meant a new life for me.

Cuir Beluga I made for myself, it is me! It is my perfume! Cuir Beluga is the most beautiful fragrance I have created. It is difficult to stay at that level. This will be by my gravestone!

AW: Working with Thierry Wasser?

SD: I worked with Thierry on 3 fragrances before he joined Guerlain, when he was still at Firmenich, Quand Vient La Pluie, Iris Ganache and Guerlain Homme.

La Petite Robe Noir, the original, was an exclusive. When Thierry joined Guerlain he said in an elegant way “I have kidnapped your formula to make it more international!” [Smiling]

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AW: Difficulties as a woman?

Always fighting as a woman – I did not want to be in the spotlight but when you do something you are proud of, you want to be recognized. Now, everyone in the team is important.

AW: “Musk-inade,” working with musk -L’Instant Magic days!

I am very fond of musk! It is very comforting, elegant, refined, and warm. Some are difficult to catch. You must blend a bouquet musks for everyone to smell it. It’s not easy to work with musk, it hugs close to skin, and it’s hard to make it extraverted. Musk is tenacious but has no trail. We have to add trail to the musk.

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AW: Raw materials you like / don’t like?

I love vanilla, mimosa, heliotrope, iris and violet. I love vetiver and patchouli. Vetervyl acetate, heliotropin and hedione.

I work on delicacy and subtlety. I like to work raw materials in contrasting ways e.g. Cruel Gardenia – I made Gardenia like lace, very delicate and subtle. I made vanilla fresh and green in Angelique Noire. Rose Barbare’s rose is not romantic or fresh but dark, musky, nutty.

I don’t like indole – too animalic for me!

Oud I find the hardest – I don’t like it. Thierry loves working with that kind of note. I am happy he takes care of this!

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Sylvaine Delacourte Australian Visit:

Sylvaine visits Australia November 3rd – 5th, launching L’Art et la Matiere collection, David Jones, Sydney.

Sylvaine oozes such passion for the brand and fragrances; specifics roll off her tongue without hesitation. She will share her remarkable knowledge to attendees. In addition she will host workshops, where VIP’s will create their own floral fragrances.

– 3rd November 6:30pm / 5th November 4pm instore at DJ’s.
– Perfume Creation Workshop $65, 4th November 10am / 5th November 1pm

BOOK through Sydney Perfume Lovers Meetup Group online or David Jones.

Thankyou for reading! Hope to see you there!
Ainslie X

Ainslie’s Pitti 2016 Photo Essay

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hi Fragrant Friends,

I popped over to Florence, Italy (Firenze as the locals call it) for Pitti Fragranze in September. The fair showcases the best in Niche perfumery, a whopping 270 brands exhibited this year! If you times that by how many fragrances in each collection, you’ll start to understand how much brain/nose cramming was done over the 3 days – I hope to share some of the magic so you feel you were there too!

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Ainslie’s Pitti 2016 Photo Essay

I saw a big sign in front of an almost rundown building, Stazione Leopalda announcing the event. The entrance served as an area where people could relax, interview and of course, being Italy, smoke! The interior was rustic and industrial but with loads and loads of shiny new stalls set up and numbers and flowers hanging from the ceiling. My Pitti app let me know the theme was Numbers and Flowers – an art show running simultaneously expressing connections of numbers and flowers – the right numerical proportions can create palpable sensory experiences.

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Die!! I WAS IN NICHE HEAVEN!!

I’d never been to Pitti before, so, full of excitement I began my first day’s journey and spotted Andy Tauer straight away. He was launching his new fragrance Tuberose Flash so I had a chat, sniff and also of newbie, At Coeur Desert…oh and of course had a quick selfie with him.

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Turning, I saw the new Atelier des Ors – Iris Fauve and sprayed it, knowing I was more than likely spending $400 if I fell in love – it’s divine: smooth, sensual – I need to wear it some more but the iris was almost caramelised and velvet during the dry down.

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Then my phone rang and it was Mark Buxton (OMG!!) – he was running a tad late to meet me – I resniffed his fragrances and neighbouring Eccentric Molecules while I waited for our scheduled interview…which of course you’ll be reading here in the upcoming weeks. HILARIOUSUS chap!

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One stall along further, I ran into Nicolas Chabot who not only had his beautifully reinvigorated Le Galion collection, of which I got to smell a few, new to my nose and his novelty for Pitti, Sang Bleu. I had been anticipating experiencing his new brand, Aether for some time as it rolled out on instagram so he took me through the collection – all based on molecules and there were some really interesting scents I need to try on skin STAT. Overall I love the packaging and vibe which is quite dark and apothecary-like.

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Montale had The New Rose on sparking and catchy metallic display – they handed me a small sample, so a review will follow (eventually).

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Carner Barcelona was showing newbie, Costarela.

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Lovely warm, Neela Vermeire and I had a half hour chat through the range and she doused me in her newest fragrance Raheme, ready for my evening, a lovely osmanthus based floral number made by perfumer Bertrand Douchfour. I left from day 1 in a cloud of exotic goodness!

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More Pitti to follow in my next post(s)! Have you ever been?

Ainslie XX

Ormonde Jayne in Florence: An Aperol spritz with Linda Pilington

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hi Fragrant Friends!

I’m in Italy for Pitti Fragranze 2016 and today you can share with me:

An Aperol spritz in Florence with Linda Pilkington
*And a prosecco ‘roadie’ if I’m honest…

A Florence virgin, I arrived from Australia just 30 minutes before the first of many exciting interviews I had prearranged before departing. By the time the curtains opened for Pitti Fragrance I already had met with three fascinating folk from the world of fragrance. Nothing like hitting the ground running…and run I did!!

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Linda Pilkington of British brand, Ormonde Jayne and I met in the garden in her quaint hotel, Lungarno Vespucci 50 on the bank of the Arno River nearest to Ponte Amerigo Vespucci, Firenze.

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Ormond Jayne at Pitti in Florence

An Aperol spritz with Linda Pilington

With a fascination for scent and an entrepreneurial mindset from a young age, it is not surprising Ormonde Jayne has evolved into a successful, luxury cult brand.

How the brand evolved….
Initially named by her husband after the street she was living on in London, Ormonde Terrace, combined with her middle name, the brand began a rapid evolution. Winning Top Draw for best designs for handmade candles, room sprays and bath oils meant Ormonde Jayne was noticed and picked up by department stores Harrods and Liberty soon after launching.

Soon after, Linda began work on a stand-alone boutique on London’s Old Bond Street with the help of Chanel’s merchandising team. Linda had previously created for Chanel’s fine jewelry an in-house scented candle, that she still supplies.

Before doors opened on day 1, the editor for the Evening Standard had already knocked on the door and by day 2 there was a buzz – a queue forming before second day of trade. This was November 2001.

Linda bashfully describes her successes as ‘happenstance,’ however it’s clear she has put in plenty of hard work and loads of travel too!

Linda’s favorite fragrances…
Linda and her sister were “the best smelling teenagers of their small village near Manchester, England.” Her sister owned a bottle of Dior’s Eau Sauvage and Linda had Dior’s Diorella. The pair used to layer the duo and the town folk used to all say “those girls smell amazing!”

Her all time favorite, for its uniqueness is Feminite du Bois Shiseido / Serge Lutens. She has also worn Givenchy’s Pour Femme (Eau de Givenchy??), Van Cleef & Arpel’s First and Chanel’s Cristalle – In fact Linda told me Ormonde Jayne’s “Tiare is a little nod to Chanel’s Cristalle”

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Linda’s creative process…
Linda’s innovation has been on finding unusual ingredients, not widely used at the time, such as hemlock, oud and champacca – and daring to use them first. “Champacca (2002) came out almost 10 years before Tom Fords in 2009” she explains

Recent news…
Currently the company is repackaging to linen covered boxes. Each country can choose a pantone color, which will then be unique to them. For example purple is already exclusive to Russia. A nice touch.

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My personal favorite is Ormonde woman – full of mesmerizing hemlock. What’s yours?

I will be meeting Linda in her London boutique and Studio in a few weeks, so please let me know if you’ve any questions you’d like me to ask on your behalf!

Cheers!
Ainslie X

Grace by Grace Coddington and Comme des Garcons 2016

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hi fragrant friends,

In the lead up to Christmas and a change in seasons, we’re seeing an influx of new releases…including Grace by Grace Coddington.

We’ve been waiting an eon to smell Comme des Garçons and Grace Coddington’s fragrance. It was released April 2016 overseas and late August in Australia, exclusive to Mecca nationwide.

As April came and went I observed some ‘spoilers’ on Instagram etc, however all I really knew was there was a cat connection and I had also heard it was rose based. Grace has been obsessed with roses since her English childhood experiences in rose gardens. She used to wear Floris’s Red Rose as a teen.

I have a soft spot for Comme des Garçon’s edgy fragrances. How might they ‘shake up the rose’ for Grace? Roses are well loved and Grace spending more than a decade with her finger firmly on the fashion pulse means it should really hit the nail on the head. [NB for those who do not know, Grace was Vogue’s Creative Director for at least a decade and before that a model, originally from England. If interested you can find out more about the fashion icon from her book, Grace – A Memoir or by watching The September Issue movie.]

Grace by Grace Coddington and Comme des Garcons 2016

Grace Grace Coddington FragranticaFragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Mint, Basil leaf, Cardamom, Pink pepper
Heart: Moroccan rose absolute, Freesia, Peach blossom
Base: Vetiver, Cashmere wood, White musk, Crystal amber

On first whiff its light, fresh, rosy and white musk, with some transparency. Second whiff deeper rose notes with an impression of freshly laundered towels. Sweetness, maybe juicy peach. Sparkle..maybe green pepper, or still the fizz of laundry powder. What I see in my minds eye is; a rose growing on another planet wrapped in a thick clean towel, warm from the dryer, looking at the twinkling stars.

The lovely Grace bottle, designed by Fabien Baron is actually a cute, sophisticated cat. A heavy bottomed, curved – almost egg-shaped glass bottle. The lid is a weighted silver metal ball with little ears. A little drawstring bag features illustrations by Grace herself. VERY handbag friendly. The bottle feels lovely in the hand. There’s that swoony weight / balance thing…sigh.

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Who would wear this? I recommended it as a gift for my friends’ daughter’s 18th, however the fragrance is not limited to a younger audience. I think the lightness, elegance and playfulness of a flirty cat is captured and who does not want to smell like that some days?

You could wear it to work, dates or outdoors. There’s a cosy feel to it…and yet a watery luminescence too. A nod to old-fashioned English rose scents, but interpreted in a more lasting, modern way. At no point does it feel thin, however for me longevity is medium – one that I would top up midway through my day.

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Further reading: Now Smell This and Wallpaper
Mecca in Australia

A year ago I reviewed Miu Miu, another feline involving fragrance – a kitten was used in the adverts. Are we seeing a ‘cat lady’ trend forming?

Have you tried this new release? Have you any other fragrances with a feline theme? Purrrrrr!

Until next time! XX Ainslie XX

(Ed: All photos by Ainslie unless otherwise noted. Cool pics love. XX)

Ps a little English Rose song by “my mate” Paul Weller for you to enjoy whilst reading:

Fragrant Books

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hello Fragrant Friends,

Today I’m talking fragrant literature, as I have some new, beautiful books in my clutches. My “fragrant library’ brings me so much pleasure. If I remember to stop, breathe and read I always feel inspired.

Fragrant Books

FRAGRANCES OF THE WORLD 2016$195 Fragrances of the World

Fragrances of the World 2016

Released this year in May and even better than last year. Gorgeous photography and floral art, utilising fragrance ingredients, by Grandiflora’s Saskia Havekes and Gary Heeley. Charming forward by amazing and witty Luca Turin. I love spending time highlighting the fragrances from my collection under their Fragrance Families. Then I oooh and aaaah about which fragrances are under the same subheadings of the same group. For example just this afternoon I was comparing Naomi Goodsir’s Or du Serail with Olfactive Studio’s Ombre Indigo, both classified as Dry Woods and subdivided under Rich/Profound. Two of my favourites, completely different and yet somehow so similar in style. I am in awe of both Michael Edwards and Erica Moore who have categorised pretty much every perfume known to mankind and actually agreed where each belong. This year the book also has a separate ‘discontinued’ section so we can clearly see what to stock up on and hold onto from our collections! Available from Fragrances Of The World (incidentally they have just launched their fabulous interactive website – well worth taking a look)

An Odyssey of Flavours and Fragrances – Givaudan BookDepository$64 Book Depository

An Odyssey of Flavours and Fragrances – Givaudan

Released early this year featuring photography from Denis Dalilleux and Lilli Roze. With accompanying, fascinating and informative prose by the likes of Annick Le Guérer, Caroline Champion, Brigitte Proust, Sean Rose, and Percy Kemp. Beginning with a 70-page history of Givaudan, photo essays on Jasmine and Tuberose from Tamil Nadu, Southern India. Madagascar Ylang Ylang and Vanilla from the Comoros. Mouth-watering images which interpret and present a ‘snapshot’ of fragrances such as J’Adore, 1 Million, Shocking, Angel, L’Air du Temps and Opium. Discussions on Natural vs. Synthetic. Niche vs. mainstream. Production – from raw ingredients to bottled fragrances. Tasting, smelling and sensing in general. This will bring HOURS of pleasure and make an amazing gift for anyone into scents, taste, flowers and flavours. Just beautiful! I got mine from Book Depository, which delivers to Australia for free!

Why Does Asparagus Make Your Wee Smell? And 57 Other Curious Food and Drink Questions BookDepository$14 Book Depository

Why Does Asparagus Make Your Wee Smell?
And 57 Other Curious Food and Drink Questions

For those of us curious about everything smelly, be it good or bad this Andy Brunning book features scientific snippets exposing all! Not just aromas but full of biochemistry and facts. Why does garlic make your breath smell? Why do Durian fruit smell bad? What causes blue cheese to smell so strong? It’s all in here and more! I read some of these to my friend’s kids whilst babysitting…!

Transports of Delight BookDepository$72 Book Depository

Transports of Delight:
An Aromatic Journey in Verse from East to West on the Wings of Perfume

Transports of Delight – David Pybus “An Aromatic Journey in Verse from East to West on the Wings of Perfume” is a cute anthology quoting verses from literature, all linked back to smell. Each evoking memories, emotions, romance and adventure from all over the world. Translated from Japanese and about one of my favourite fragrance notes: Fragrance of the Orange

“ Fragrance of the Orange,
Flowering at last in June,
Wafts through the summer night
The memory of scented sleeves
Of someone long ago”

I hope you find some of the above and enjoy them as much as me. Feel free to recommend what’s in your fragrant library?

XX Ainslie