After many years of "wearing, worshiping, studying, talking about, sampling, reviewing, swapping and obsessing about perfume", self proclaimed 'perfume junkie, Sarah, started to publish her explorations in fragrance on her Odiferess blog. Documenting her fragrant habit, Sarah's writing thrills readers with its rich, almost three-dimensional descriptions that seem to leap off the screen and whoosh right up your nose (so much so that when Sarah wrote about our Musk#7 she revealed delightful facets that even we hadn't detected before!).
This week, we quiz Sarah Waite about some of the scent experiences that have shaped her love of all things olfactory.
What’s your earliest ‘scent memory?’
Growing up in the countryside, there are so many.. A wooded path behind our house was nicknamed 'Stinking Onion Wood' because of a proliferation of wild garlic that nestled in it's shade. It also yielded more pleasingly fragrant bluebells in the spring.
I distinctly remember a small pebble that I found on a beach in Wales. When I sucked it a scent of cold milk arose. I rubbed it all over my knees in the back of the car to distribute the odd whiff!
Is there a fragrance that you wish could be ‘bottled’, that doesn't exist in fragrance form?
What could be more magnificent than the scent of a loved one sleeping? Your nose burying into the base of his neck as you curl up around him. Skin and warmth enclosed in the comfort of the duvet. Love is a rare and inimitable fragrance.
What’s your absolute favourite odour? – No matter how unusual or unexpected?
Honeysuckle on a hot evening, feral, wild, otherworldly and beguiling.
Are there any smells that you first disliked, but learnt to love?...
Jasmine and tuberose were both very challenging for me as I began my adventures in scent. Over time I've discovered beautiful interpretations of these stinky adversaries. Since sampling Serge Luten's Tubereuse Criminelle, I'm somewhat converted. Currently, hefty florals in the snooty grand-dame style encourage a great fascination in me.
… or the other way around?
Around the time that I became seriously obsessed by fragrance, 'amber' accords were becoming very popular. These deliciously decadent sweet and woody oriental whiffs were quite a phenomenon. But after far too many years of endless recreations they've become a snooze-fest.
How did you first discover blogging about fragrance?
I discovered Elena Vosnaki's hugely informative blog - Perfume Shrine several years ago. It really helped me to understand the notes and structures that formed my favourite fragrances. The atmospheric and evocative descriptions led me to seek out many of the scents I love today. I started my own blog - Odiferess because I wanted to add my voice to the community. Tales and histories were bubbling away, desperate to be written and shared. In the act of sharing, a comedic slant has often arisen, an occurrence I did not actively set out to achieve. A blogger friend recently named me 'The Sue Townsend' of fragrance. I'd love to have written the marvellous Adrian Mole books so I was rather chuffed.
What’s one ‘top tip’ that you could give to people wishing to learn more about fragrance?
Smelling aromatherapy essential oils can be a great way to train your nose and allow you to become expert in identifying what notes will excite you in a fragrance. For the price of an average bottle of perfume, you can buy a great selection and wallow in delightful baths using your own blends. A search online will reveal suppliers who sell a wider range than shops on the high street. I'm currently bathing in a Spruce oil that combined with a Lavender Absolute, transports me to a Mediterranean forest.
Learn more about Sarah and enjoy more of her writing by skipping over to Odiferess.