A Sense of Olfaction Interviews by Antonia Peck

The Luxury Channel and its ‘Scent Panel’ discuss celebrity-led perfumes, the market today, natural perfume and scent as nourishment.

Azzi Glasser

Azzi Glasser is the current creator of the award winning Agent Provocateur Parfum and perfumed beauty collection, Azzi has also created and collaborated for Alexander McQueen, Jean Patou, Kylie Minogue’s Private Collection for the V+A, award winning Men’s Nicole Farhi and Women’s Signature Parfum, Tann Rokka Fragrance and Home collection, Project D fragrance Collection with Dannii Minogue, Monsoon signature scent, Accessorize signature scent, Lucy in Disguise with Lily Allen, Hugo Boss, Kelly Hoppen Fragranced Home Collection, Liberty fragranced Home collection, and Jasper Conran Man and Woman followed by the award winning Home fragrance range for Jasper Conran to name a few, and retains an ambition to educate the world to smelling well.

What is your take on celebrity trends in the perfume industry at the moment?

The latest trend has seen celebrities launching fragrances under their own fashion brand rather than just their name alone. Fashion + Style trends are led by major celebrities who are constantly in the public eye. The fashion brand Project D launched in 2010 (which is headed up by Danni Minogue) has just introduced a fragrance collection. The concept is based around fragrances that can be worn from day till night and also blended together to create your own individual style.

Meanwhile, ‘Lucy in Disguise’ is the new vintage inspired fashion label founded by Lily Allen and her sister Sarah Owen. They have launched together with their own fashion collection 3 fragranced candles that visually display the stunning design logo of ‘Lucy in Disguise’, which completely stands out in the market place. The beauty of this collection is that they are leading the celebrity trend by not flaunting their name all over the packaging and have created a beautiful stand-alone brand that fits a perfect gap in the marketplace.

How do celebrity led perfumes affect the perfume industry at large?

Celebrity fragrances have now been on the rise for the last 10 years. The growth in this area has been phenomenal. There is a divide between global celebrities such as J-Lo, Britney, Kylie and David Beckham who lead the celebrity market world-wide and are more long-term, in comparison to the local celebrities such as Katie Price, Jade Goody and Colleen Rooney who are short-term. I think there is always room for different concepts such as celebrity fragrances, to reflect consumer tastes and behaviour change. The perfume industry is large enough to absorb this.

What is the correlation between an evocative scent and an evocative personality?

I always think that fragrance should reflect your personality and style. So if you feel womanly and evocative and dress to impress, then a great evocative scent will reflect this and can act as your complete finishing touch. Agent Provocateur’s signature scent is the ultimate winner as it ticks all the right boxes.

Vicki Edgson

Health and nutrition expert
Author ‘Vicki Edgson: for the love of food, the senses and ultimate nutrition!’

How important is the smell of the food we eat?

Smell is a vital and important part of digestion. The first part of digestion occurs with smell and sight. When you start to think about a food that you really love, the process of digestion starts immediately. It is a strong reminder that we need to be conscious about what we eat. Ask will this be nourishing? Half the reason, why people eat mindlessly is that they are eating foods with so little nutritional value that they cannot connect with the food or what it is doing to the body.

When I do my work shops or supper-clubs, I do blind-fold testing so that people will smell something before they actually taste it. If someone smells something that they do not like, there is a high probability that they will not tolerate the food.

There is nothing more comforting and joyful than the smell of a delicious meal…

I am a passionate foodie! I want to imbibe into my clients the sense of nourishment, enjoyment and pleasure. Very often I am confronted with people who have forgotten the pleasure of eating. They have been on so many diets and imposed so many restrictions. One of my key strengths is to motivate people back into the pleasure and art of eating well.

My gastronomy retreat in Mallorca is all about the senses and smell. It is about saying enough with the detoxing, the dieting and everything else. I say to my clients, that if you really want to learn how to eat good food, prepared healthily then come to my retreat and enjoy good wines, great olives and olive oil. I take a fabulous home twice a year. The first one is in February.

What health benefits can be obtained from Asian herbs and spices?

Asian herbs and spices have been used for thousands of years and are often found in our kitchens. For example, Tumeric, that wonderful intensely yellow spice associated with Indian curries, stimulates the immune system and is a potent anti-viral. Likewise, Cumin, another popular Asian spice frequently used in cooking, contains curcuminoids, which act as an anti-inflammatory that can reduce asthmatic systems, arthritic pain and to calm digestion. Another well-known herb – Ashwaganda, has been used as an adaptogen. This helps the body to manage stress, increase libido and balances female hormones. All of which proves, that what we commonly use as spices and herbs in our kitchen to mimic Asian dishes, posses strong ‘medicinal’ properties.


Sylvie Dumontier

International director of E.Coudray, Paris

How would you define the current state of the luxury perfume industry?

I would say that there is kind of a “bottom road”. As a matter of fact, companies have realised that they were producing too many perfumes per year and that this was pushing the distributors and retailers to an edge. Which led to too many stocks, not enough time to sell it, lost customers and repetitive marketing ideas…

The Luxury perfume industry, in my opinion, has a challenge to assure. To continue to give their customer a “dream” which is usually less and less real. A perfume should not be obsolete after 6 months. Even the marketing will not help at a certain point.

The market trends have also completely altered. We definitely see that there is a new wave of consumers searching for “new and exclusive brands”. I believe that exclusive / niche brands are the future of the perfume industry.


Isabelle Gellé, Creative perfumer

Founder ‘Les Parfums d’Isabelle’
Aromachology consultant

What is the difference between a perfume and a fragrance?

I specialize in natural perfumes and use no synthetics. The perfumes are natural but not organic. Organic ingredients would lead to a limited palette for the perfumer. Natural ingredients are different – they are based on essential oils and absolutes. Today, consumers and the public have been focusing on organic with less of a focus on natural products. There is a need to define what natural means. Companies are listing 5% essential oil and 75% synthetics as a natural perfume. Whilst, a nod to ‘fragrance’ on the ingredients means they are not telling you what is in the product.

People have a right to know what they are putting on their skin. Perfume should not contain toxic ingredients.

Fragrance is considered a trade secret, so companies don’t have to list the often dozens or even hundreds of synthetic chemical compounds used. Big consumers now have to face the issue of the product the consumer wants and business.

Look how quickly fragrances develop today. Traditionally fragrances took time and skill to develop.

Marketing used to be based on touch and taste. If you use natural ingredients

Can you tell The Luxury Channel more about how scent can be used to promote wellbeing?

Tuberose is excellent for depression. I believe that it can heal psychological problems – by breathing in a pure smell. I blend materials like a perfume but these ingredients are to target a problem.

The Egyptians used perfume in this way – they would incense the hair, clothes and body – not for a luxurious objective but to heal, and protect the body from bacteria.

My perfumes are about traveling, discovering nature. Most people do not know what the smell of nature is. My crusade is to re-educate people through my perfume and workshops.


With special thanks to Creezy Courtoy, Chairman, The Perfume Foundation