Monday 1 March 2021


Many people dream of starting their own perfume brands but few actually turn it into a reality. One person who did, and went on to be award nominated, was Sarah Ireland. Originally a teacher, her debut collection of four fragrances are described as “a small story shared.” After recently launching the charity cologne Speranza, I thought that it was time to find out a little more about Sarah Ireland as I asked her “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
Well there is no way I can only name one! We moved to the coast when I was three and the fresh air coming up off the beach always felt like a tonic, on top of the fact that my Nana was a total sun worshiper and would often take me to the beach with a picnic. She would immediately cover her arms and legs in Ambre Solaire Oil, and I can still remember the bottle with the yellow screw cap. I also remember that my grandad had a wonderful garden where he grew fruit and veg. He would potter around with his pipe showing me the different plants, and even allow me into the greenhouse. I grew some tomato plants during lockdown and every time I went near them I was transported back to those memories.

What perfume do you remember your parents wearing?
My Dad was more into fragrance than my mum and the one I really remember is Tabac, although she'd always say ‘it’s best not to enter the room as a smell’. Another scent I associate with him is the aroma of Radox Bath Salts, because when he’d soak in the bath the whole house would smell of them! My Mum was very elegant and used to always put perfume on her scarves. I have a photo of her wearing an autumnal coloured one, and when I look at it I can immediately imagine Rive Gauche. She also wore Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris and then moved on to Safari from Ralph Lauren.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
I always had so many, and even at school I would vary my choice depending on my mood or what I was doing that day. It was never anything particularly unusual, although some are rather ‘cult’ looking back now - Fuzzy Peach from Body Shop, Ocean Dream by Giorgio Beverly Hills, and even Impulse O2. When I got to my twenties though it was Chanel Allure, and I would always wear it if I had an exam or was nervous about something, because it gave me an emotional and confidence boost.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I worked at Debenhams on the handbag counter to help me through university, and I remember helping out on the perfume counter one day and dropping a bottle of Gucci Rush. That was not a fragrance you needed much of in order to be able to smell it and, even now, I feel a bit ill thinking about it - also because of the embarrassment!

You can only choose one perfume?
Is it okay to pick one of my own? I worked really hard to start my independent brand, it took dedication to hone my perfume making skills and determination as I began putting together formulations, and I believe Pink Pepper & Ginger Lily was always sort of under the surface waiting for me to make it. I feel a huge gratitude to it because it made me believe I could be a part of this industry. It’s delicate but strong, and I do feel very much ‘me’ when I wear it.

What perfume should I try?
Maybe try something from a less well known or independent brand if you haven’t already. I’ve never been very good at choices, which is strange for a perfumer, but I’d say to try B683 by Marc-Antoine Barrois and Quentin Bisch. It’s a spicy sensual leathery scent, and I feel as though I know a special secret when I wear it.

For more information about Sarah Ireland, her fragrances, and stockists you can visit the website at

[B683 photograph by Roberto Greco]

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