Thursday 30 March 2017

My Fragrance Foundation Scent Memories

The Fragrance Foundation was formed in 1946 by six of the largest perfume companies of the period. Chanel, Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein, Coty, Guerlain and Parfums Weil agreed that the time had come to recognise the many achievements in the fragrance industry and later on also provide training for consultants, journalists and marketing departments. This greater understanding allowed the industry to develop and grow into the huge machine that it is today. As part of their commitment they also introduced #ScentMemories which runs alongside National Fragrance Day. It brings together peoples memories on the subject of fragrance and I’ve happily contributed for the last two years, although the recolections were very different.

2016 - Je Reviens and Petrol
It’s funny to write about my #ScentMemories when I spend so much time interviewing people about theirs. There are two perfumes that define me. Every summer my family would holiday in Cornwall, and I vividly remember the aroma of petrol as my father filled up the tank of the car. When I smelled Lights by Roads it had that same benzene note, which reminded me of those journeys. I don’t remember the first time I discovered Je Reviens, it’s just always been in my memory somehow. It’s such a glorious Aldehydic Floral, and the narcissus and jonquil always send me skyward. I wear the eighties parfum version, which I luckily get from the owners, but also secretly like the screechy Eau de Toilette.

2017 - Insolence Doesn’t Need To Apologise
It’s strange how the space of a year can alter what you think of as your most important #ScentMemories. When I wrote about mine last year it was Je Reviens and petrol, it’s an intoxicating mix, but this year my memory is very different. I’ll be spending this year’s National Fragrance Day in Paris, pretending to work, but also meeting up with Sylvaine Delacourte who used to be Guerlain’s Director of Fragrance Evaluation and Development. One of her most controversial collaborations, and still one of my top five Guerlain perfumes, was Insolence. It was launched the year I joined the company in 2006 and so holds many happy #ScentMemories of those nine years. Maurice Roucel created an iris and violet fragrance bomb which took the perfume world by storm. It was designed for the woman who “never needs to apologise”, and you couldn’t escape any beauty hall without being sprayed by the “overdosed, high-voltage” pink explosion. Once smelled it could never be forgotten, and Luca Turin famously described it as managing to “antagonise everyone by lacking all social graces”. I know that Candy Perfume Boy will agree with me when I say that it is absolutely fabulous!! Long live Insolence!

For more #ScentMemories you can visit and to find out about the Fragrance Foundation please visit


  1. We moved to France in 2006 & my Husband bought me Insolence when he came back from a business trip, each time he went away he brought me some. I loved it. It brings back memories of our early days here.

    1. I think that Insolence holds memories for many people. Thank you for reading and I hope that you enjoy the Summer. Best, Stephan