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My days start early as it’s the best time to smell when my nose is clear, fresh and not polluted by the different odours and smells which permeate the streets of London.
In my journey to continue to develop new fragrances, my first task on arriving at work is to smell and evaluate all the fragrances submissions I have received. I spray tester strips, close my eyes and embark on a journey through my memories and the rich heritage of the brand – always checking that the new fragrance fits the Penhaligon’s brief and vision.
If you visit my desk you’ll immediately notice an abundance of samples, bottles, tester strips and raw ingredients – everyone is always excited to come and sample our new fragrances at each stage of their development. In fact, I’m always curious to watch their reaction.
After evaluating the new submissions my focus turns to answering emails and correspondence from various teams I work alongside. When working on the creation of a new fragrance, I strive to achieve the Nose’s best potential and creativity without restricting ingredients, price or creativity. I explore and push the limit of his creativity as long as we stay in harmony with the roots and the values of our brand. I immensely enjoy communicating with a Perfumer as I have to choose very precise words, almost poetic to describe the changes or the orientation I would like him to follow on the fragrance development. Most of the time, I prefer to meet with the Nose, to do the evaluation directly with him, so we can share ideas and develop the fragrance in the right direction in a very human way.
To work I need a quite environment especially when I write a new olfactory brief, for me it is like writing a musical partition; it is all about notes and harmony whilst conscious of the market, the segmentation, and the positioning of the fragrance. We work a year or two in advance of bringing a new fragrance to market, working on every detail right down to the packaging, labels and launch.
I also enjoy spending time with our suppliers discovering new ingredients and visiting the birthplace of perfume, Grasse. These visits are a time to gain an insight into their portfolio of raw ingredients as well as new distillation processes. I have witnessed how our suppliers are ensuring they protect the environment through adopting positive sustainability approaches to creating fragrance.
For me no working day is the same. I adore the varied nature of my work and the journey of discovering and creating new fragrances with some of the world’s most accomplished and respected Noses. After a day in the office, when I return home I water my garden and take in a deep breath and smell my own roses and my jasmine. I close my eyes and think about my next fragrance brief.
If you’ve enjoyed reading Natalie’s post, look out for her diary of a trip to Grasse and the rose de mai harvest!