Monday, 6 March 2017

STEPHAN'S SIX - OXANA POLYAKOVA


One thing that London has a lot of is perfume shops, but carefully curated ones are more of a rarity. In August 2012 Oxana Polyakova turned her fascination for fragrance into a business and Bloom Perfumery opened its doors. Located at 4 Langley Court in London, her selective range of perfumes covers the familiar to the exclusive. So, what would we find out about Oxana’s own fragrance memories when I asked her “Stephan’s Six”?

What is the first smell that you can remember?
It's a sharp medicinal smell, probably a visit to the doctor when I was very little. It must have been a bit of a fright. As a perfume boutique owner I find that perfumes with a medicinal, camphorous nuance are the least popular ever. I'm sure that I am not the only one who smelled the doctor’s environment and really didn’t like it.

What was the first perfume you remember your mum or dad wearing?
You have to realise that I grew up in the 1980s Soviet Union. Western perfume was beyond reach, ultimate luxury was for the elite and the whole notion of wearing fragrance daily was not there. I can’t bring up any memories of people wearing perfume around me, but make-up, and bath products were a totally different matter. Mum’s powder smelled sooooo wonderful, I actually nibbled at her compact, and the same happened to a bar of fruity soap. The compact tasted like chalk and the soap was the most bitter thing I ever tasted.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
Amor Amor by Chacharel. Probably the only perfume I ever bought twice. It’s the eternal theme, a sweet and loud “I’m off to a date” perfume. Perfect for when you are twenty and probably only appropriate for that age.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
For quite a while I thought amber was a single material not a mix of resins and vanilla etc. There’s a lot of confusion about that perfume base. I now collect amber recipes by different noses and explanations of what amber is from non-perfumers: from ground amber (as in fossilised resin) to pheromones (??!).

You can only choose one perfume?
Coeur de Noir by BeauFort. I think it’s one of the most balanced, beautiful perfume structures I have encountered among non-floral perfumes. Look at its description and it’s vanilla meets rum, leather and tobacco, but it’s totally 3D and smells of all ancient libraries that ever existed in reality or in tales. If Sherlock’s mind palaces had a smell, this would have been it.

What perfume should I try?
Any perfume made by a synesthetic nose or someone who was an architect or musician in another profession. These people manage to bring metaphysics, multidimensional aspect or rhythm to a perfume formula. A beautiful perfume is only partly the sum the materials it’s made of, also some intangible magic is required.

For more details about Bloom Perfumery and the fragrance houses that they stock you can visit their website at bloomperfume.co.uk

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