“Love may be blind but it does have a nose”
When the opening page of an fragrant magazine is a short essay on the fact that perfume has no gender I know for a fact that I’m going to be fully on board. That’s exactly how Issue 3 of Nez (‘Nose’) starts and it very much proceeds in as positive a vein. I first encountered the new olfactory magazine in the gift shop at the Somerset House Perfume Exhibition earlier this summer and I was initially struck by its presentation, which can only be described as absolutely gorgeous in every way.
Published twice per year, Nez aims to explore the world of fragrance around us and provides a host of articles about perfume and other scent-related topics. I was kindly sent a copy of Issue 3 (the spring/summer issue) to read and I’ve included it as this week’s Candy Crush because I was really struck by just how interesting, unique and extensive its content was. Did I also mention that the presentation is absolutely drop dead flipping gorgeous?
The recurrent theme of this semi-review will be that there is a lot of content in Issue 3 of Nez, but it’s true, it is a bumper issued filled with all sorts of interesting things. There’s interviews with the likes of Francis Kurkdjian (which also includes his own take on five of his creations, which is TRULY fascinating) and an insightful profile on Carlos Huber, the founder of Arquiste. Not to mention articles penned by perfumers such as Jean-Claude and Celine Ellena. In fact, Jean-Claude Ellena’s open letter to a Junior Perfumer is an absolute must-read.
My favourite pieces though were two that really deconstructed aspects of fragrance. The first was an ‘Under the Molecule’ exploration of Iso E Super. Like everything in the magazine, the piece is incredibly well thought out. Not only does it traverse the history of the material, it also has input from perfumers (Jean-Claude Ellena, Mathilde Laurent and Maurice Roucel) on its use within modern perfumery, in addition to short profiles on scents that utilise it. I think it’s a great way to get to know a material and it really feels like a comprehensive look under the hood at a material that is a vital part of the perfumer’s tool kit.
The second piece I really enjoyed was called ‘The Car’ and it’s an analysis of the “olfactory microcosm” that we find in our vehicles. From leather seats to screen wash and magic trees, The Car explores every scented aspect of driving, highlighting the molecules at play and how they smell. The article also laments at how the rise of electric vehicles could lead to use losing the associations we have with petrol/diesel vehicles as they are today (a small price to pay for cleaner driving, but a price no less). It’s truly interesting to see articles written about our every day relatable experiences with smells and not just about perfume. Oh and of course, it’s a beautifully illustrated piece, as with everything else in the magazine.
Honestly, this magazine is the nuts. There is so much in here and it took me a good while to get through everything, which suits my reading style because it’s the sort of thing you can pick up, put down and enjoy over a number of occasions (my attention span is permanently set to ‘goldfish’). In a world that is lacking in publications specifically dedicated to fragrance (I still mourn the loss of ODOU Magazine – Liam we miss you!), Nez is utterly refreshing, not to mention compelling, fascinating, enveloping and many other ‘ing’ words I can’t think of right now. Yes, it may be on the pricy side, but for a specialist magazine that is so well-presented and so filled with interesting fragrance content, I think £20 is an absolute bargain. I for one cannot wait for Issue 4!
Nez is available for £20. In the UK it can be purchased at Jovoy and Somerset House.
Sample, notes and quotes via Nez. Images are my own.