Black Roses and Frilly Tulips – The myths surrounding unusual flowers

There are highly exotic-looking flowers in the world, and some look fantastic but smell of nothing, and some smell fabulous but look weird. Here are two extremes: the “Black Rose” of Halfeti, Turkey, and the extremely vivid “Fringed Tulips” which are prolific this time of the year. Strange looks but great fragrance Halfeti, in the southeastern…Read more »

Quantum Biology explains why we “hear” with our noses

Prof. Jim Al-Khalili’s fascinating program The Secrets of Quantum Physics, from BBC Four, included a particularly intriguing section on Quantum Biology. In the second episode in the series, Let There be Life, he explains the “vibration theory of olfaction”, and he does it so eloquently and coherently (and beautifully!) that even I could grasp the general…Read more »

Recreating scents as “memory perfumes”

People do all kinds of things in an effort to keep or get back something of the person they loved who has died. They make diamonds of their ashes, they have paintings of them, they dedicate park benches to them in their favourite parks, keep their clothes in their wardrobes until the smell has faded,…Read more »

Memories of summer days and roses blooming in the garden – Sa majesté la rose

Serge Lutens – Sa majesté la rose (Her Majesty, The Rose) “The king is dead, long live the queen! Author Marcel Proust based his [character] ‘Madame de Guermantes’* on three society women of his day. Like Proust, I went in search of the lost land of childhood. On a quest for my rose, I charmed three royals,…Read more »

A tricky distinction: synthetics and natural ingredients in perfume

One of the most controversial subjects in all of chemistry is natural versus synthetic elements. Why is this matter so complex? It comes down to understanding the difference between synthetics and naturals: “Synthetics” are man-made molecules or nature-cloned ones. “We live in a synthetic world, yet many of us strive to use all-natural materials and…Read more »

Radical and imaginative – The young Noses of the perfume world

Les nez, the Noses, of today are turning the perfume world on its head, independently creating micro-perfumeries and unusual perfume ranges. The trends have been to create unisex perfumes, or perfumes with rarely-used or obscure components, or to recreate sensory experiences, or memories, as opposed to recreating or using scents in nature, such as florals or woods.…Read more »