Monday 3 July 2023


Picture of Brooke Belldon, owner of perfume retailer Sainte Cellier

When Brooke Belldon drew on her long-term passion for fragrance to launch the retail website Sainte Cellier, she quickly gained a reputation for stocking a carefully curated selection of the best that niche perfumery has to offer. Brooke has been a well-known face in the fragrance community for over a decade but, even after becoming a go-to voice for the niche market, still playfully describes herself as “an obsessive collector and enthusiastic student”. With such a wealth of knowledge, it was great to finally sit down with her and discover her scented memories during “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
Just before the Christmas holidays every year, my grandma would make pizzelles, Italian waffle cookies. She used to flavour hers with anise, which is what I remember most distinctly about them - the smell of anise in the kitchen while she was making them in the iron. She'd make tons of them every year and give boxes of them to people as presents. I grew up right next door to my grandparents, so I spent a lot of time at their house anyway, but everyone would always get together on the day she made her pizzelles. It's a really nice memory to look back on because it was something that was just ours, and became a tradition for our family that was separate from the rest of the upcoming holidays, but just as special.

Vintage advert for Guerlain's Shalimar perfume
What perfumes did your parents wear?
My mum was always a devoted Shalimar wearer, and I remember her bottles - particularly the parfum extrait bottles - having pride of place on her dressing table. Those Guerlain bottles always reminded me of some sort of wondrous object from another planet holding court there amongst all of the jewellery and makeup.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
I think the most significant perfume of my twenties was Gucci Rush, because I had so many amazing nights out wearing that perfume! Dancing all night and getting up to all sorts! It's a scent I associate with being really carefree and truly invincible in that early 20's kind of way. It also reminds me of the people in my life at the time, especially the people I was sharing a house with, and the wonderful little family of misfits we became.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I'm not sure if it's a mistake or a happy accident, but I once entered a crowded lift not long after generously spraying Papillon's Salome, and the discomfort of my fellow passengers was palpable! I still consider it one of the most provocative perfume experiences of my life!

Advert for Balmain's Vent Vert perfume
You can only choose one perfume?
This is a very uncomfortable question to answer when you're a retailer, Stephan! But I will choose the democratic route and go with Balmain's Vent Vert. I will be very geeky and request that it be a vintage parfum, please! I am, obviously, a huge fan of Germaine Cellier's work, and while I think Bandit, Fracas and Jolie Madame create a fascinating mirror to the lives of women at the time, there is something really magical about Vent Vert. It's like this beautiful outsider. If sunshine peeking through tree leaves had a smell, it would be Vent Vert.

What perfume should I try?
I always feel that anyone looking to have a better understanding of modern perfumery should begin with the classics, in particular Guerlain's Jicky. Jicky straddles the fougere and the amber, and in doing so has this deep tension between traditional masculine signatures and traditional female signatures in one perfume. Fragrance has a history of pulling the rug out from under ideas of gender that goes all the way back to 1889! Even Old Spice started its life as a women's fragrance. What people might feel are fixed binaries in fragrance, aren't fixed at all, and Jicky is a great place to experience that. Plus, it's a cracking perfume!

For more information about the range of fragrances that Brooke Belldon carries at Sainte Cellier you can visit the website at

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