Monday 9 May 2016


When Demeter Colognes launched in the UK under the name of The Library of Fragrance it was with Clare Rees at the helm. An unconventional perfume lover, which is why she was perfect for the brand, Clare has FINALLY succumbed to "Stephan's Six". I've subtitled this interview, "From Hairspray to Haute Couture", and with her eclectic selection you'll quickly understand why.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
I would probably be lying if I claimed it as my earliest remembered smell, but the scent of sun-baked fences, recently painted with Creosote, is definitely the odour that’s most evocative of my young childhood. I can’t get enough of it (perhaps an early indication that I was fated to work with a brand as bonkers as The Library of Fragrance?!). It reminds me of playing in the street on hot summer afternoons. Try as I may, it’s really rare to get a whiff of Creosote, as I remember it, these days… maybe I’m just not spending enough time skipping about in cul-de-sacs? [It's actually banned now due to some nasties that were in it!]

What was the first perfume you remember your mum or dad wearing?
Chanel No.5 was my Mum’s evening fragrance. Add a spritz of Elnett hairspray to the mix and I’m instantly transported back to her dressing table, watching in awe as she gets ready. The smell of Elnett is actually pretty revolting if you think about it - if they launched a new beauty product with that scent today there would be an uproar! But even now, I don’t feel ready for a night out until I’ve administered a generous misting of Elnett (and that’s got everything to do with its smell and little to do with my hair!). I don’t remember the fragrance that my Dad used to wear, but I suspect, at some point, it may have been Faberge Brut because I adore the stuff and wear it all the time. I mostly remember my Dad smelling of his worn leather jacket and Rothmans fags - in a really good way. When I first started to take a real interest in fragrance, I wasn’t surprised to discover that ALL the most-loved scents in my collection had a leather note in the composition.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
Yes! Fendi Donna! God, I loved it and definitely used to wear FAR too much of it! It reminds me of nights out with the girls and first dates. When I started noticing it on sale at Tesco (a sure sign of discontinuation, if ever there was one) I started hoarding bottles but I am now down to the last remaining 50ml. I simply can’t wear it now because it’s so synonymous with my twenties that I’d literally feel like a fraud, but I still love it.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
Last summer we recreated the scent of an ancient tree fern forest for artist Sam Treadaway's installation for the "Bideford Black – Next Generation" exhibition. Whilst we were experimenting with materials I spilt a bottle of our Mushroom fragrance oil (undiluted) over the carpet in my study at home. It still smells undeniably fungus-y, even now.

You can only choose one perfume?
The Library of Fragrance Musk #7. It’s like burying your face into the soft fur if a snoozing kitten, quiet and whispery. If I had to play it safe and choose one fragrance that would be suitable for any and all occasions, this would be it.

What perfume should I try?
Salome by Papillon. It completely blows my mind. It’s terrific. It’s incredibly sexy, yet sophisticated, on both women and men and it’s just timeless. If it doesn’t win the Perfume Extraordinaire award at the Fragrance Foundation awards, this week, I might have to stage a revolt. Seriously, it’s even better than Creosote.

More information about Clare's company can be found in my previous article, THE LIBRARY OF FRAGRANCE, or by visiting their website,

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