A 'nez' is a term used in classical French perfumery to describe the people whose profession it is to compose perfume. We all have noses, yes, and we use them daily - however some of us use them as part of a life's work.
A fragrance itself is made up of three distinct elements: top notes, mid notes and base notes. Each part works together to create a beautiful fragrance – think of it like the ingredients of a recipe.
Much like a chef, a composer or an artist, we believe that a nez (nose) should be recognised and celebrated for their gifts.
We are incredibly lucky to have our very own nose, whose talent and skill whisks us through time, bringing back memories of people and places we've known and loved. Thanks to her talent (and patience) we have created a range of unique scents that our customers keep coming back to.
This is Hélène.
Developing products for brands ranging from The Body Shop to Christian Dior, Clive Christian to Muji, Hélène has travelled the world with her special gift. She studied and worked for many years in Spain, the UK and then France with a career highlight being travelling to Grasse and speaking at the International Museum of Perfumery. Through her artistry and learning, we can feel more romantic, more powerful, more beautiful, more creative and more relaxed with unique fragrances.
What part of the job do you love most?
I love smelling scents, I always loved smelling scents. My interest in fragrances started when I was much younger and collected miniature perfume bottles. My grandmother used to keep them for me when shopping at French parfumeries. I vividly remember opening and smelling the little miniature bottles, remembering their scents composed of different notes and accords and I was astonished by how different they all smelt.
Fast forward two decades, smelling raw ingredients used in perfumery and complex blends became part of my working life and by smelling everything you can, everywhere, everyday is how I improved my sense of smell.
What is your first ‘scent memory’?
I always remember and associate people and their scents, scent memory is very important to me. I can picture where I was and who I was with when smelling a specific scent.
My first scent memory is my mother’s perfume, L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci. My mother never changed her perfume and it was her signature scent. Smelling it today still brings me back to my memory of her.
Which is your favourite one of our fragrances you've developed?
It is difficult to choose one fragrance only as I love them all! If I have to, I will say Geranium & Orange as it is a feminine, floral scent that is inspired by the scent of the summer in an English country garden.
When I first came to the UK, I was surprised by how green everything was, how beautiful English gardens looked and I have a clear memory of the combination of individual notes I smelt when walking through an English country garden. Imagine heady and humid greenhouses thick with leaves, pretty clusters of pink and white Geraniums tumbling over weather-worn terracotta pots, spiked with a burst of sweet citrus.
Geranium & Orange scent is a souvenir/ testimonial of my first summer spent in the UK.
Where do you start when it comes to developing a new scent’?
Starting with a clear idea – a smell that already exists in my mind, using unusual raw materials, combining them in daring ways to create truly distinctive and bespoke blends. Finding the perfect fragrance associations can take a long time. Each scent is memorable and unique and then becomes a story waiting to be discovered. These stories are largely inspired by the British landscape and the shifting seasons.
How long, does it take to create a fragrance?
Creating a fragrance is a lengthy process and it depends on the project. It can take anything from one month to a couple of years. There is no rule.
What are your five favourite smells in the world?
The scent of neroli, the smell of a fig grove, the odour of skin, the smell of the ocean, the smell of books.