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.

Iconic, game changing, history making, and totally awesome luxury perfume brand Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. We’re big a fan of the brand here at Fume Chat so we thought we’d gatecrash the party and say “bon anniversaire” by chatting all things Frédéric Malle and of course, sniffing some of our favourites. Listen to the episode below the jump!

Image: CHANEL

Candy Crush is where I write about scent-related things that I’m currently obsessed with.

The brand new, very exciting, and you-just-know-it’s-going-to-be-beautiful, CHANEL Nº5 campaign with Academy Award winning actress, Marion Cotillard, is about to land and as a self-confessed CHANEL fanboy, I could not be more excited. The actual film doesn’t land until Thursday, but to tide you over until then (I know, it’s going to be a long wait of two whole days) I’ve got all the details AND some exclusive behind the scenes shots. Don’t say I never give you anything…

“Perfumed escapism” – that’s what Nick Steward, founder of indie brand Gallivant, aims to bring to the world with his collection of city-inspired scents, and let’s be real, if there ever was a time when we needed to be transported elsewhere by perfume, now is it. With so many people under lockdown or working from home, and unable to travel, all because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Gallivant provides virtual tours of faraway places, all through the medium of olfaction. Gallivant makes this big old world a much smaller and more accessible place, all with just one spritz of their transportive perfumes.

With their latest launch, Gallivant whisks us away to Uzbekistan and the noble city of Bukhara. This “fairytale city on the Silk Road”, as Gallivant puts it, is home to beautiful, colourful architecture, talented artisans, welcoming people and a melting pot of spices, fabrics and fruits. Gallivant worked with perfumer Ralf Schweiger (Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle; Eau des Merveilles by Hermès, and so many more iconic scents) to distill the city of Bukhara into olfactory form. Together they chose the luxurious and elegant note of iris as Bukhara’s core material. To be honest, they had me at “orris”.

On this week’s episode of Fume Chat, we are exploring the material vetiver. This clumpy grass is one of the most beautiful smelling and versatile perfume materials, with a vast and varied odour profile. We sniff some key vetiver materials and some iconic scents. So, get ready to hear us say the word “vetiver” about a million times and brace yourself for a full vetiver education. Listen below the jump:

Candy Crush is where I write about scent-related things that I’m currently obsessed with.

This week my Candy Crush is a celebratory limited edition from Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the brand for a second. Celebrating 20 years this year, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is perhaps the most important and game-changing perfume brand to launch this side of the millennium. From its launch in 200, Malle brought a unique point of view to the industry and a revolutionary approach that put both the perfume, and the perfumer at the very centre of everything. Malle set the tone and standard for all other niche brands that followed.

It was a breath of fresh air, or maybe fresh perfume.

Goldfield and Banks is a unique perfume brand. Their ethos focuses on a fusion of Australian materials, some of which have seldom been used in perfumery before, and a French approach to perfume creation. The results are contemporary and exciting, with some surprising twists along the way. Botanical beauty is the approach and each of their fragrances are incredibly wearable, as well as showcasing a unique point of view.

Bohemian Lime is the latest launch from the brand and it takes inspiration from Byron Bay, the tropical and free-spirited coastal town where, as the brand evocatively puts it, “Australia first meets the sun”. The fragrance, which Goldfield & Banks call “carefree” and “lush” is an ode to the Australian finger lime, with herbal accents of coriander, warm woods and vetiver. Let’s take a sniff and see whether it’s as delightfully refreshing as it sounds!

Maison Crivelli is one of the most exciting new brands in niche. They have a clean, but bold aesthetic, and with their fragrances, they seek to subvert expectations, but also embolden customers to talk about and experience perfume in a new way. I’ve pegged it as a brand to watch and with so many gimmicky, cynical niche brands on the market, Maison Crivelli feels like it comes from a place of aunthentiticy. So yes, I’m excited by what they have on offer.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with the Maison’s founder, Thibaud Crivelli over Zoom. During our chat we talked about Thibaud’s origins in perfumery, how we works closely with perfumers to execute his vision, and how he believes in a very sensorial approach. We also touched on how the pandemic may impact the industry and how the industry can seek to be more sustainable. It was fascinating and insightful, and you can read it all below!