Monday 17 July 2023


A picture of perfumer Nancy Meiland

A journey into the world of perfume can come in many ways, but for Nancy Meiland it was a coming together of two disciplines. Originally a successful actress, Nancy also worked as assistant to renowned perfumer Anastasia Brozler. Now a perfume run her own right, this combination of theatricality and technical knowledge shines through in her fragrances, but I wanted to see what scented secrets she would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
The first smell that lodged itself in my awareness and in my memory, and that I still go back to all these years later, would have been the smell of sun on my mother’s skin. So that real sense of the warmth mixed so seamlessly with love.

What perfumes did your parents wear?
My dad was a jazz musician, but I don’t really remember him wearing anything. However, my mum wore Byblos by Ilias Ermenidis, and which seemed to entwine with her. I always have that scented link back to her, because again there was that sort of warm, Mediterranean sun on skin effect happening in the fragrance.

A bottle of Tilleul perfume by D'Orsay
What was the perfume of your twenties?
My timeline is always a little bit wonky when it comes to perfume, but I know that in my younger years it would have been Charlie by Revlon and White Musk body spray. Yes, I’m proud to say I was a Body Shop White Musk girl. I did have a dalliance with Dewberry, but that didn’t last very long. When I started to have a bit of money in my twenties though, things changed slightly. I moved onto Tilleul by D’Orsay.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
Well I’d say it wasn't so much a mistake, but rather I had to fail and fail again to succeed. When I made Sofia, I needed to have a lyrical quality and the top notes needed to last. What was happening though, because it was contained in an oil, they were getting crushed. So it was the balancing of the top and the base notes, which is kind at the heart of perfumery anyway, that created the perfect sweet spot; you have longevity but you’re not crushing the notes either. I had to keep going back to the drawing board many times.

You can only choose one perfume?
If I was going to a desert island, and I could only take one fragrance, it would be Aquilaria. I was completely changed after smelling genuine oud, and I couldn’t believe you could experience such a perfectly balanced symphony of aromas. Because the ingredient worked on so many different levels, it was like a real falling in love moment. So when I came to create Aquilaria, I drew on the stories that surrounded oud, such as it being referred to in the bible as God’s tree, and Tibetan monks using it during mediation. I thought it was a wonderful way to celebrate the bridge that the scent had made around the world, in so many different cultures.

A bottle of Nancy Meiland's Sous Bois perfume
What perfume should I try?
I would recommend Sous Bois for you, because it may be a little different to the current fragrances that you have in your perfume wardrobe. I get a feeling that something about its mineral freshness would be good for you, and it’s also a petrichor perfume so has those wonderfully salty, earthy, and mossy notes in it. But also it’s not linear. When I made Sous Bois, I wanted it to reveal a captivating journey as it developed on the skin. So that means you’ll get to enjoy being under the canopy of the pines in the highlands, and then experience the forest floor after the rain.

For more information about Nancy Meiland, and her latest releases, you can visit her website at

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