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 »

Scientists and a perfumer define and distill the smell of old books

How we know what we smell is through odour signals being processed in the part of our brain that stores smell identification, memory, and emotion. Smells can take us back years and years, to specific times, happenings and feelings. But how about multiple lifetimes? Two researchers at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlič, have…Read more »

Perfume and poetry – “Ancient Resins (for Leonard Cohen)”

The world of perfume is full of happy coincidences and synergies, such as between Leonard Cohen and old-world resins and oils. Leonard Cohen started his career in music by writing poetry. He started turning his poems into songs and writing music because he couldn’t make a living as a writer. So he did not launch a music career…Read more »

What is it about the smell of cookies and rain?

Dorothy Winters: “It’s cookies, he smells like cookies, and the smell gets stronger when he’s in heat.” (From “Michael”) Do you remember the 1996 film Michael, starring John Travolta, in which Travolta, as the angel Michael, loves dancing, fighting bulls, romance and tourist sites? My favourite part of the film is that Michael is irresistible to women because…Read more »