I had the pleasure of hosting industry legends Chris Yu and Laurent Delafon on my latest episode of Live @ Five (my instagram live series). Chris and Laurent are the founders of Ostens, a British niche brand created for curious noses that celebrates the beautiful raw materials perfumers use every day. Working with IFF (and IFF-LMR), Ostens work with legendary perfumers (Dominique Ropion, Sophie Labbe, and Bruno Jovanovic, just to name a few), giving them carte blanche to create a fragrance inspired by a specific raw material (either a natural or an aroma chemical) which is sold alongside the isolated material. It’s a fascinating and unique brand.
In this episode of Live @ Five, we chat about Chris and Laurent’s love of perfume, how they got into the fragrance biz, what inspired them to create their own brand, and what the future holds for Ostens. We also talk about the creative process and Cedarwood Heart Impression, which is Ostens’ scent of the season. It’s a really fascinating chat and you can check it out by clicking here or by heading below the jump for the embedded video.
In my final #christmascrush gift guide this year, I take a look at some beautiful perfume discovery kits that will make excellent presents this Christmas. With going in to stores to test fragrances becoming harder with the pandemic, these kits allow you to give the gift of choice and they can be an excellent tool in helping narrow down a full bottle purchase, either as an additional gift or if your recipient wishes to treat themselves to something at a later date. The cost of some of these kits are even redeemable against a full size purchase. Check out the video below or visit my Instagram page by clicking here.
The raw materials in the perfumes we wear are fascinating but they can often be confusing and inaccessible. In Material Focus I try to demystify these essential building blocks of perfumery, covering how they smell and how they’re used.
Let’s be real for a second, it can sometimes be utterly mystifying to read a notes list. Often you’ll stumble across materials that you’ve never heard of and some that frankly, don’t exist (“black gardenia” anyone?!). You see, many of these materials aren’t things we encounter in every day life, so it can be hard to place them, and when we can’t place them, or relate to them, they can feel meaningless. I’m all about making perfume accessible, so in this new series I’ll be looking at some of the nifty aroma chemicals that are used widely in perfumery, covering how they smell and how they’re used, so when you encounter them in the wild, you know exactly what they are.
One can accuse the perfume industry of many things, but one cannot call it unproductive. There are now over 2,000 launches per year and it feels almost as if a new brand comes into being every single day.Now, I’m not sure how I feel about all this olfactory noise – part of me thinks the more the merrier, after all, it’s exciting to smell new things all of the time.But the other half – the grumpy cynical half (sometimes he’s not a half and verges on a whole, I’ll be honest) – thinks that all this noise makes it difficult to discern what is good or not. How can one find the magic needle in all that hay? Sometimes it’s hard.
Perfume brands come from all sorts of places; from perfumers who want to go it alone and perfume fanatics who stumble into the industry wide-eyed and ambitious. My cynical side tells me to include the fact that brands can also come from entrepreneurs who have no passion for the subject but an eye for making money too, so let’s indulge him for a moment.In my experience though, the brands that work most successfully are those that come from people who are passionate about perfume (whoever they may be, perfumers, industry insiders or outsiders) but also understand the realities of the industry and retail. Ostens is one such brand – it comes from two industry veterans, two people that not only love perfume, but understand it too – two people who understand the challenges consumers have relating to perfume and have crafted a brand that makes it both accessible and experimental.