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Smell is without question the most redolent of our senses, it has the ability to make us travel in time and place, the smell of freshly cut grass takes me to childhood summers or more strangely boiling cabbage to the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong.
I recently visited the Perfume exhibition at Somerset House and there were two perfumes in the first room that reminded me of the first room that reminded me of my parents and the 1960s. My mother always wore Chanel No5, full of aldehydes, which made it so fresh with beautiful floral and citrus notes. My Father wore Dior’s Eau Sauvage a fragrance when mixed with the smell of old leather car seats and tobacco inspired our second Oliver Sweeney fragrance, Bosco Selvatico.
There is much debate in the scientific world as to how we smell with two camps: The ‘Shapist” and the “ Vibrationists”. Both have very different views as to how our receptors detect the scent molecules (I recommend Chandler Burr’s book ‘The Emperor of Scent’ for those who wish to read more). However we detect scent for me it remains one of the most important of our senses and choosing a new perfume is a highlight of our product development process.
Our perfumes are made in Grasse in the south of France, the centre of the perfume world by the wonderful Claudine Robiot. Over the last two years Claudine has really understood what we are looking for and has created fragrances that are both individual and unusual. Our latest fragrance launches this week and is called Fico Nero or black fig in English. It’s a sensuous fragrance with top notes of – yes you’ve guessed it – fig, heart notes are woody and warm with sandalwood and cedar and under that vanilla, amber and musk. It reminds me of a summer afternoon in a hot country, in particular the Gargano a peninsula in Puglia one of my favourite places in the world.
Tim Cooper, Cobbler-in-Chief