Monday, 4 April 2016

STEPHAN'S SIX - NICK GILBERT


Many people that work within the perfume industry claim to be experts. Whether it’s perfume composition, creation or reviews their knowledge can sometimes be looked on as questionable. One person who this doesn't apply to is Nick Gilbert. He previously worked for Penhaligon’s as their Training and Development Manager before becoming freelance, and is also one half of @fragrantreviews which publish twitter’s best 140 word perfume reviews. So, with all of this in mind what would Nick Gilbert make of “Stephan’s Six”?

What is the first smell that you can remember?
One of my earliest memories is the perfume hall of Debenham's in Bristol, in the late 1980s. It was an explosion of scent, and to me the melange smelled like hairspray. I hated and loved it at the same time, and it made me want to be a "grown up" so I could smell of something like that.

What perfume do you remember your mum or dad wearing?
Mum wore Coco for special occasions and nights out, whilst Dad wore a lot of Jazz. My family have always been pretty well scented. I remember getting into my Nan's Nissan Datsun, her smelling of cigarettes and Sunflowers, and my aunt smelling of Samsara (and Wella spray hair gel). Mum now wears Dolce & Gabbana - the one in the red bottle - and bemoans the reformulation, "it doesn't smell the same!”.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
Well, seeing as they have only just ended, I think the signatures that most stand out of my twenties are Dior Homme, Guerlain Homme, and Infusion d'Iris. I was a total perfume floozy, having been working in various companies. Dior Homme smells like having my heart broken. Guerlain Homme I wore exclusively when I travelled to Australia, and still reminds me of of Taronga Zoo and sitting on Bondi beach. Infusion d'Iris was an every day go to for years.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
Smashing a bottle of Fahrenheit in my very early days at Boots. It soaked into my shoes and uniform trousers, and I loathed it because it wouldn't go away. I still hate Fahrenheit, and have pretty repulsed by violet leaf ever since.

You can only choose one perfume, what would it be?
Mon Numéro 10 by L'Artisan Parfumeur. It has accidentally become my signature over the past year. A cacophony of spice and incense with a fizzy top note and animalic base. I just love how it smells on me and I'm on my third bottle since falling for it at the beginning of last year. I've still got two backups.

What perfume should I try?
Well, I'm gonna need to be a total shill and say the one I'm most proud of working on, Lothair by Penhaligon's. I named it and created the story as part of a collection we brainstormed in my first week at Penhaligon's, and the scent tells the story so beautifully. It's named after a Tea Clipper, built on the lavender dock in Rotherhithe and launched in 1870, a ship that sailed between China and London bringing tea and spices with it. The idea is that it smells like the ship in full sail, sea breeze against the heavy hull, loaded with a smoky black tea cargo, and it achieves all of that.

Nick is now an independent consultant focusing on fragrance development and training. For more information visit his website at nickrgilbert.com

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