Ladies, I have had a fragrance epiphany. Over the last year, I have started to pay more attention to scent anyway; something I’ve had a growing interest in as I get older. Then I attended an event in Manchester run by The Perfume Society, called ‘Improve Your Sense of Smell’ which has really got me interested in perfume in a way that I have never been interested before!
Anyway…so let me start at the beginning….
The Perfume Society is a is a website for people who love fragrance and the art of perfumery, and people like me who want to learn more about the subject. As well as articles and features, there is a rather cool tool called FR.ed (Fragrance Editor!) which helps you find a similar fragrance based on one you already like (either for a replacement scent or if you fancy something new).
There is also a subscription service which gives you a gift of a rather full box of fragrance samples (and a full size one!) BUT it isn’t just a box of randomness; you get cards that guide you through each scent, and basically helps you learn and grow your scent-vocabulary, if you like. You get 8 copies per year of their e-magazine.
Subscribing (only £25 a year) will also give you the chance to attend various perfume events free of charge (like the one I did).
Here is what’s in my subscription ‘welcome’ box:
It’s funny – I get little scent samplers all the time but never really pay much attention to them, but after the event, I have been digging them out excitedly just to see what I can pick out…more about this later.
You get samples from different fragrance ‘families’ which is great – it gives you a better idea of what kind of scent belongs where. I definitely have a thing for florals!
I love the information cards in the box – it really adds a personal touch which aren’t always found in subscription boxes, and is such a good starting point for people who really want to learn more about fragrances.
I am going to keep all my little fragrances in this box from now on!
The blotter pad you get which is handy for trying out new scents:
Now – the event in Manchester was run by Jo Fairley, co-founder of The Perfume Society who was a brilliant host. If I am honest, I found the idea of the workshop a little intimidating; after all, I don’t know much about scent – what if it was full of perfume-mad crazy people who would laugh at my perfume knowledge?! But the moment I turned up I was welcomed right away and the atmosphere was so friendly and relaxed.
The session began with a little reminder of how important smell is to our senses – I had to chew a piece of Green & Blacks chocolate (Maya Gold – which I am obsessed with now, it makes the baby kick like crazy) whilst holding my nose. Once I let go I got a burst of spicy-rich-chocolate…
My trusty notebook for making notes…
The structure of the session was to smell a scent on a blotter, then write down any words at all that came to mind when smelling it – we then went around the room and talked about our findings. I found this really fun and interesting too; some people’s words were very similar to each others, some were a little more out there.
The idea of this nose training to improve the distance you and smell and what you can smell is to do prepare 2 blotters the night before with a new scent or essential oil, then take a sniff first thing in the morning and free associate in your notepad. Do this every day for 3 weeks and your sense of smell should improve greatly.
Now – I was doing this every day since the workshop then I GOT A COLD (thank you Baby H). Now my sense of smell has gone to pot, but once I am better I will continue with this as it’s actually really fun to do and I have plenty of samples to work through.
(Tip from Jo: If your nose gets tired smelling lots of different fragrances, try sniffing the crook of your arm, or inner elbow to refresh your nose).
We also had to bring our favourite perfume along – I cheated and brought two – Molton Brown Lijang and Stella. These are two scents I can consistently go back to and I just feel so happy when I wear them. Molton Brown is quite fresh and floral, with a tea-like note. Stella to me has a musky feel on a rose base.
I really had a great time at the workshop and learned more than I thought I would and also, have the appetite now to learn more. The exercise of smelling and writing down associations is a really useful exercise to improve smell and also quite relaxing to do if you have some spare time in the day – I found it help clear my head for a little bit and gave me something else to think about.
Check out the Perfume Society’s website here – you can subscribe, or use FR.ed or read the articles!