Perfume Society scent school

Scent School with the Perfume Society

perfume society

This week I was lucky enough to attend a fun Scent School with the Perfume Society in London’s Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design. It’s fair to say that before I entered the room, my knowledge of the fragrance world was a mixed bag of settling with what I thought I liked from a quick squirt and sniff session in an airport duty free, through to trying to sprint through many a department store without being doused in whichever fragrance du jour was being touted on the shop floor.

perfume society

Luckily the Perfume Society’s Jo Fairley was on hand to upgrade my woeful lack of knowledge, and the first step was all about improving one’s sense of smell. Working through a series of scents we were asked to test our senses by smelling various blotters and coming up with descriptions which meant a little more than the norm. So instead of rose, or sandalwood or some such bog standard label, the super creative noses in the room came up with associations like walking through summer fields, a warm embrace from their mother, or even their granny’s dressing table.

perfume society

Jo advised that with your initial whiff of a scent you should try to connect with the first thoughts which come into your mind. If you get stuck try to imagine it as a colour, what colour would it be? If it was a fabric, which one would it be? Pinning down the senses into figuring out what a fragrance means to you is about drawing up a whole pile of emotions, colours, words and images which evoke something in you. Once you’ve nailed that, you’re well on the way to finding the right perfume for you.

We also heard from Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen the creatives behind the exquisite Annick Goutal perfumers in Paris, who regaled us with stories about the intricate journey each perfume takes from creation to production. One top tip they advised was to keep your precious perfumes in their boxes to maintain their notes, and even went as far as to suggest popping them in the fridge for extreme freshness.

annick goutal

We headed home with our noses twitching with new smells and our heads full of descriptive new patter with which to continue the fragrance journey. So, today I’ve been busy figuring out whether I’m a floral fan, or more of a gourmand kinda gal – the key to educating the nose is to keep practicing apparently.

perfume society


The Perfume Society – great gifting idea.

If you’re looking for the perfect everyday perfume, or would love to have an evening scent or a fragrance for a memorable occasion then the Perfume Society is a great place to start. They offer ‘discovery boxes’ which are fun to explore, as well as their awesome fragrance editor FR.eD which is a genius online tool to help you figure out which is your next fave fragrance. If you become a VIP subscriber you’re also treated to their gorgeous e-magazine, The Scented Letter, as well as invites to exclusive events throughout the UK, and at £25 a year, it’s actually a pretty cool gifting idea for a girlfriend or your mum as we head on up to the festive season.

the perfume society

Right, I’m off to test my nose on another batch of scents – just wondering if I’m going to get a whiff of my Granny’s smalls drawer or a blast of heady aromas from a French vineyard at twilight…?

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