Musings of the Nose – John Stephen

Isn’t it amazing how one can relive emotions that were long forgotten, just by a whiff? Today happens to be the day dedicated to the world of fragrances. And what better way to celebrate this day than to share with you the scent memories of our esteemed nose – John Stephen.

He is the nose behind some of the most recognised fragrances in the world. With over 40 years of expertise in perfumery, John is one of the top five independent perfumers in the UK. We asked about his favourite perfume/fragrance that brings back happy memories, and he had this to say:

“I know one smell that always bring back memories, and that is Methyl anthranilate! A strange choice I know, but when I was a boy, I used to have a lot of fun rooting around in my parent’s attic. There were many things left over from the war – ration tins, gas masks, leather spats, old leather cases, razor sharpening straps, etc. I even found a hand gun!

There was also an old wind-up gramophone with steel needles that you could play 78’s on. It was in an inlaid wooden box and when you opened the lid you got this very distinctive smell that seemed to come from the green baise that they always used for the turntables.

Many years later, when I became involved in perfumery as a teenager, I ran across Methyl anthranilate – and it instantly reminded me of that gramophone. I have since thought why a gramophone should smell of Methyl anthranilate and I have no idea!”

When asked about his favourite fragrance ingredient, John shared: “I don’t have any favourite ingredient that I like working with as such. It all depends on the application. When you pick the perfect ingredient to finish off a composition – then that is my favourite ingredient”.

Celebrate Your Scent Memories

Whether it’s the smell of vanilla or the kick of freshly cut grass, or something truly unique to you, we want you to share your scent memories with us this International Fragrance Day. Comment below and tell us!

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