Saturday, 19 August 2017

Project Botanicals with Bombay Sapphire




My parents have always been in the hospitality industry, my Mum works with hotels, and my Dad worked for a liquor company so they taught me to appreciate good wine and spirits from a young age. The legal age of course. Dad always used to say to me that when you drink, do it with style and drink well.

I was thrilled when I was contacted by the agency looking after the next Project Botanicals in Melbourne as Bombay Sapphire has always been my gin of choice. I had attended the previous one and had been blown away not only by the experience but also by the amazing imagery of the 10 botanicals used in the gin. I have long loved the aromatic qualities of gin, but standing there drinking Bombay Sapphire, inhaling the aromas and staring at these images, it occurred to me that 9 out of those 10 botanicals were used in perfume. Always up for an excuse to combine my love of perfume and drinking, I determined that one day I would work with Bombay Sapphire.

As luck would have it, a lady named Hollie spotted me on The Bachelor and she contacted me when they started planning the next Project Botanicals. They wanted me to create a perfume based on the 10 botanicals in the gin, create a fragrance representing each of those botanicals and create an experience for the press day where journalists would make their own perfume using those botanicals. Of course, I immediately agreed. This was literally my dream job.

The first thing I need to do was smell all of the raw materials so I can start creating the eau de parfum and the scents for the 10 botanicals. And drink the gin obviously.


 I was invited to an immersion day where I met all the others involved in the campaign. The purpose of the day was to get to know each other and learn about the world of Bombay Sapphire so we could all go away and begin creating our part of Project Botanicals.


Back row Chef Matthew Fletcher from the Botanical, Shaun from  Bombay Sapphire, Ash Williams and me.           

Front row Andy and Matt from Yolanda be Cool and Chef Tony Twitchett from Taxi.

I started working with my perfumer creating the eau de parfum, and we came up with a few different 'mods' of the fragrance to present to my client. We wanted all of the 10 botanicals in the fragrance and the different mods highlighted different ones. One was heavy on the citrus, one was heavy on the juniper etc. We had to be careful that the fragrance appealed to everyone and that you didn't smell like you had tipped a bottle of gin on you!  Bombay Sapphire picked one, we made a few small adjustments and we had our final fragrance! It is rare that we nail a fragrance so quickly, but it is also rare that we work with such a succinct brief with exact notes. The final fragrance really showcased the beautiful botanicals and the client loved it.



Bombay Sapphire were working with Lost at E Minor on the campaign, and they sent a film crew to my studio for the day to film me talking about the fragrance and also my studio and favourite bar. I have never really considered myself particularly photogenic, but I am pretty comfortable on camera, having a crew film you while a photographer takes photos while trying not to lapse into resting bitch face is pretty hard.

Film crew in my studio                        My favourite bar Eau de Vie.                           Fail - Resting Bitch Face

You can read the article and watch the pretty cool video they created here.

Meanwhile I was also working on the 10 fragrances for the sensory experience at the event. I was able to find some that were exactly the same as the botanicals in Bombay Sapphire such as Lemon peel from Spain, Orris from Tuscany, others I had to work on a bit to get them right. It was important that I get the juniper berry just right, and I had to create the Grains of Paradise from scratch. These fragrances would be used in interactive display at the event, and also for the kit that the press would use to create their very own gin inspired perfume.


Kit for the press to make their own gin inspired perfume.       Perfume oils for the 10 botanicals in Bombay Sapphire

We had such fun at the press event. Sean, the Bombay Sapphire ambassador and I hosted about 50 press, him talking about the cocktails and me talking about the botanicals in the gin. Chef Tony would pop in to chat about the next delicious dish we were about to eat. We ate 10 courses and drank 10 cocktails over the course of the afternoon. Half way through was when every one had the chance to create their own perfume, and everyone was rather well lubricated by then so it was certainly fun!

The space looked fantastic, and artist Missy had built science labs to house all of the scrumptious little extras you could add to your food or cocktails to customise them a little. 





The day before the event launched, Bombay Sapphire hosted a friends and family trial run. It was great to see all of the elements come together. I particularly loved the displays that Missy had created for the 10 botanicals. You could crush juniper berries, touch lemon rinds and taste/smell liquorice root. Guests were given a little card to guide them around the displays, and when you liked a particular botanical, you could punch a hole in the card and use this as a guide when selecting your food and cocktails




I attended quite a few times over the next couple of weeks so I could have my favourite cocktails and dishes a coupe of times. I hope they keep doing this event, it is a truly wonderful experience so keep an eye out for announcements! 













Monday, 29 August 2016

Perfume Master Class with The Powder Room


One of my favourite things about my business is the perfume master classes that I run around Australia, and soon New Zealand.


Many years ago when I worked for Miller Harris in London, I used to host an educational night for the new stores that took the brand. I would chat about the brand, the founder Lyn Harris, and go through all of the fragrances. Customers had the opportunity to try all of the perfumes and then have a one on one consultation with me to find their perfect fragrance.

When I came home to Australia in 2008 and started The Powder Room, the core of my business was distributing niche perfume brands including Miller Harris and Penhaligon's. In order to educate people about my brands, I did these nights for my stores here, but started adding in a bit of history of perfume. Guests told me that they really enjoyed learning about perfume and would be interested to know more so I developed a Perfume Master Class that was more in depth. My shiny new class covered the history of perfume, perfumer's training, how they create perfume and the raw materials used, among many other interesting perfume facts. I had a selection of gorgeous raw materials from around the world, some natural, some synthetic and guests learnt how to select the perfect fragrance for themselves and how to wear perfume.

After a few years doing this, I came across an organisation in Paris called Cinquieme Sens. They offer perfume workshops and have a wonderful tool called The Olfactorium. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be their exclusive licensee for Australia and New Zealand. Being affiliated with Cinquieme Sens enables me to offer a Perfume Creation class, among other classes they run in Paris and New York for enthusiasts and professionals. It also gives me access to a global network of perfume professionals and to a very prestigious firm that worked with all of the major perfume houses in Europe for over 40 years.

Thanks to Cinquieme Sens, guests who attend my perfume master classes have the opportunity to create their own perfume using the Olfactorium, a mini perfumers organ filled with 19 fragrance families. This gives my guests the tools to create a beautiful, complex fragrance  using a limited amount of materials. 


Image Credits Castle Towers, Maurice Meade, Zest Fashion Blog and the Fashion Heist.

Below is what we cover in the Master Class


  • ·       Origin of the word perfume
  • ·       History of perfume
  • ·       Who wore perfume throughout history and how they influenced the perfume industry
  • ·       Perfumers training and how they create perfume
  • ·       Fragrance families – demonstrate with example of each
  • ·       Famous fragrances and their stories
  • ·       Synthetic versus Natural materials
  • ·       Discuss origins of raw materials and guests have an opportunity to smell some examples
  • ·       Mass  versus Niche perfume
  • ·       Fragrance wardrobe – Different fragrance for different seasons and occasions.
  • ·       How to chose a fragrance that suits
  • ·       How to wear and store perfume
  • ·       Latest perfume launches
  • ·       Fragrance creation

My next class is on the Gold Coast on Saturday June 17th from 10.30-12.30. You can buy tickets below.

Eventbrite - The Powder Room

If you are an organisation and would like to arrange a perfume master class for a conference or team building exercise, please contact me at info@thepowder-room.com

Sam  

Friday, 4 March 2016

RepreScent Fragrance Lab at Castle Towers

Castle Towers is a shopping centre in the gorgeous hills area of North West Sydney. It is a lovely centre comprising of over 300 specialty shops and they invited me to create bespoke fragrance for their VIP guests for two weeks as a part of their Age of Style celebrations last year. Their idea was to take their shoppers on a sensory journey and help them discover their fragrance style.


Collen and Luke Cuneo of Cuneo Productions built me a fragrance lab in the middle of the centre near customer service.

My favourite part of the lab was the stunning flowers by Melinda from Lucien Shine Designs. She created a a veritable wall of flowers representing the different fragrance families.



Customers began their session with a cup of tea from Tea 2, they were then ushered over to my little lab, and we discussed all things perfume while I created a bespoke perfume for them based on what fragrance would suit their skin. I met so many women who told me they only wear Chanel No 5. While it is the best selling fragrance of all time, and I love the story and admire Coco Chanel, the fact that it is the best selling fragrance also means that it is the most worn perfume of all time. I like to encourage my clients to explore their individuality and step outside of their comfort zone. At first they can be little resistant to change, but once they smell my creation or recommendation, they often come around! I also recommend other fragrances for them to try when they are in the centre, customers are spoilt for choice at Castle Towers as they have great stores to visit for perfume, such as Mecca (my favourite), L'Occitane, The Body Shop as well as Myer and David Jones.


Me at the tools!

I look at things like the customers skin colour, hair colour and the way they dress as well as their personality to recommend a fragrance style that will sit well on their skin. This is a method that I have refined over 20 years of selling, marketing and creating fragrances. Lyn Harris, perfumer of Perfumer H and ex perfumer of Miller Harris, taught me a lot about this as well. She was the first to show me how different skin types react to different raw materials.

We had a press event where I met some lovely bloggers such as Sharon the Makeup Artist, Yan Yan Chan and Madeleine from The Daily Mark. I guided them through the process of creating their own scent using the Cinquieme Sens Olfactorium. The Olfactorium is a mini perfumers organ with little vials of the 19 fragrance families, I show you how to create a formula, and then you start creating! The juice comes from the leading perfume house in France and is possible to create a very good fragrance using these raw materials and my guidance and evaluation.


Image credits - Sharon The Makeup Artist, The Daily Mark, Taleisha Bonora and Yan Yan Chan

We also had some great press for the event as I was interviewed by a few different publications and even appeared on the cover of the local newspaper! Links below.





If you work with a shopping centre and would like The Powder Room to create a Perfume Master Class for you, please contact  Samantha Taylor at info@thepowder-room.com



Saturday, 11 July 2015

Autumn Winter 2015 at Pacific Fair

In April I was invited to present a Perfume Master Class at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast to celebrate the launch of their Autumn Winter Fashion campaign. Pacific Fair invited local Gold Coast bloggers and fashion blogger super star Sara Donaldson from Harper and Harley  to enjoy breakfast by the river. The setting was gorgeous, and the bloggers were treated to sparkling wine and  yummy food followed by a fashion parade of the latest fashions. I love presenting my perfume master classes, but it is quite daunting choosing an outfit to wear when you know you will be standing in front of 20 fashion bloggers!



Once this part of the morning was complete, I went to work. We covered the history of perfume, and a little of how perfumers train and how they create their works of art. Not many people know of the extensive training required to become a perfumer, it makes me very sad that they are not often given the recognition they deserve. We then covered raw materials, how they are extracted and how they are the building blocks of perfume. 

Our bloggers then had an opportunity to create their own perfume, using the Olfactorium from Cinquieme Sens, our partner in Paris. The Olfactorium contains 19 accords, all representing the 19 fragrance family that Cinquieme Sens have identified.

Image Credits - Sassy Australia, Fifi Deluxe, The Fashion Heist and Zest Fashion Blog.

 I love seeing the photos that people post on Instagram. One of the main goals of The Powder Room is to change the way people think about perfume, and I find it very gratifying when people post lovely photos and comments about their experience.

The next day shoppers at Pacific Fair had the opportunity to attend perfume school with me. Guests were able to see the fashion and taste the food that the bloggers had in a series of stores across the centre, finishing with a perfume talk with me. I taught them how to chose a new fragrance for cooler weather, how to wear and store fragrance, and we smelt some new perfume launches including B. Balenciaga.
Image credit - Pacific Fair

If you work with a shopping centre and would like The Powder Room to present Perfume Master Classes as part of an activation, please email us info@thepowder-room.com

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

D'Marge

Earlier in the year I met the lovely Luc Wiesman from D'Marge, a style blog for stylish men. Even though I am not the target market, I do read lots of the articles posted as they often feature beautiful cars and lots of good looking men looking all brooding and sharp.

As we were presenting at the launch of a new men's fragrance, we naturally started talking about what kind of fragrance Luc wears. I mentioned that I do write fragrance articles for various publications and Luc said he would love for me to write something for D'Marge.


Image credit D'Marge


Of course I was thrilled, and immediately said yes. As we were approaching winter, I suggested the article be about how to chose a fragrance for cooler weather. Most people don't think to change their fragrance with the season, so this was my chance to educate D'Marge readers how to go about it. Here is my first column.

D'Marge Winter Fragrances for Men

Monday, 11 May 2015

Kerastase 50th Anniversary

Kerastase Paris is one of the world's leading hair care brands, and last year they celebrated their 50th Anniversary. They hosted a conference and gala ball in Melbourne and invited their brand ambassadors from around Australia. They were kind enough to invite me to present a perfume master class and create a fragrance to give as a gift to their guests. I was to present after Ita Buttrose and Megan Quinn, so I was in excellent company!

Before I began preparing my presentation, the first thing to do was to create the fragrance. I worked with my perfumer to create a fragrance using the scent of a signature Kerastase product as inspiration. My suggestion of diffusing the fragrance into the room during the conference was enthusiastically accepted. I work with Dan from Scent Australia on all of my sensory branding projects and he supplied me with two units that we positioned behind some signage in the front corners of the room. This placement allows the fragrance to disperse throughout the room evenly. The fragrance was set quite low, just enough to give the guests a hint of the fragrance without it being too overpowering.

Now to the presentation. I started with the history of fragrance, and how the perfumer trains and then creates fragrance. I touched specifically on the use of fragrance in hair care and explained why using fragrance in hair care can enhance the pleasure of the customer as well as mask the use of chemicals.



We then explored the fragrance families and I taught my guests the basics of perfume creation using the Olfactorium, a traveling perfumers organ from our partner in Paris, Cinquieme Sens. Everybody loves this part of the class and starts hashtaging away on social media!

After the event, Kerastase wished to gift their guests with a  bottle of the fragrance to say thank you for attending. We used the fragrance we had created, decanted it into bottles with a gold lid and we applied custom made 'K' stickers on to the bottle. 



The Perfume Creation Master Class is an excellent team building exercise for a conference or staff event and we can tailor the event to suit the needs of your business. If you would like The Powder Room to create a team building exercise or a custom fragrance for your business or event for you, please contact samantha@thepowder-room.com

Saturday, 9 May 2015

How to Up Your Brow Game




Recently I was asked by Brittany from The Glow for some tips on how to use makeup to give the illusion of fuller brows.

Being of South European descent, from a young age I had full brows (read: Mono Brow) when plucked thin brows were on trend. Years of plucking, waxing and threading has thinned my brows down. but they lacked a definite shape. I was fortunate enough to visit Amy Jean Eye Couture where Amy Jean herself tended to my neglected brows, and it completely changed my view on brows. It was no longer acceptable to just have neat brows, it was necessary that I have arched and fierce brows from that point forward. Amy lightened my brows and instructed me on the use of brow powder. I love the brush she gave me, and I switch between her brow products and the Anastasia Dip Pomade I recommend in this article.

http://www.theglow.com.au/beauty/4-ways-fix-thinning-eyebrows/

Friday, 24 April 2015

Scents and the City. Samantha's Guide to Perfumeries in New York.


In August last year I went to Mexico, New York and Los Angeles for a working holiday. I had the most amazing time discovering perfumeries and various department stores in NY and LA. I was a woman possessed in Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys as I was determined to try every brand I had never heard of.  I went a little crazy and bought this much....



I had to buy another bag to bring all of my loot home, as all of these products weighed about 6kgs. I am about to head there again and am compiling my list of perfumeries I have to revisit. Needless to say I will be taking a spare bag this time.

As a perfume specialist, it is my job to be in the know about what perfumes are out on the market, but it is also a pleasure for me to do so as I love what I do. Who wouldn't love strolling around the streets of New York, smelling and chatting to other perfume aficionados?

Below are some of my favourite perfume stores in NYC, there are many more which I will add to this post when I return in June.


 Aedes de Venustas


Aedes looks more like an opulent yet quirky Parisien salon than a perfumer, but that is part of its charm. I found the staff extremely friendly and eager to help me find a new fragrance from their array of brands. I fell in love with their signature fragrance by Bertrand Duchaufour, which is no surprise as I am quite partial to his fragrances. My other favourite of his is Rhubarb in the Sherbert series for Comme des Garcon. He clearly likes this particular raw material as it features in Aedes de Venustas along with tomato leaf, red berries and vetiver. It is deliciousness in liquid form, and was on high rotation in my perfume wardrobe for all of summer. 

Aedes de Venustas website

MiN New York


MiN boasts a pretty impressive range of fragrances in a gorgeous building in SoHo that looks more like a gentlemens club. They take their fragrance pretty seriously at MiN, and I was excited to visit the store, yet the staff member there that day didn't offer me much in the way of help. After sniffing around, I did end up purchasing R'Oud Elements by Keroscene and I am looking forward to returning to discover more of the range. I am hoping that the staff may be more attentive as I am curious to try their Scent Stories range.

MiN New York website

Osswald


Out of all of the perfumeries I visited in New York, I would say that Oswald interested me the most as it had lots of brands I hadn't experienced before. I also ran into a colleague from Miller Harris from about 7 years ago. He used to work in the Miller Harris flagship store when I was the Wholesale Manager, and now manages Oswald in New York.  Clement introduced me to Profumum Roma, and I immediately fell in love with a fragrance called Arso. The fragrance makes you feel like you are strolling through a dark pine forest in winter, with the promise of a fragrant fire in a log cabin with a whisky at the end of your walk. I purchased this for my GBF, it was as if it was made for him. I nearly cried giving it to him but I get to experience the fragrance regularly as he wears it often. I will certainly be returning here in May to discover the rest of the range along with many of their other hard to find brands.

Osswald NYC website

By Kilian


Ye gods, this store is gorgeous, I want to move in. I have long been an admirer of By Killian fragrances and packaging, and Kilian Hennessey is quite the looker. He also is from the Hennessey Cognac family. Le sigh. 

As I had purchased dark, complex fragrances in my perfumed journey around New York thus far, I was determined that today I would invest in something light and summery. That is to say, the exact opposite of what I am normally drawn to. After swooning over Amber Oud, I firmly pushed the tester away and asked for something light and fresh but with some complexity. I purchased Imperial Tea, an impression of Jasmine tea that is like inhaling a freshly brewed pot of tea. It was also utterly essential that I have one of their black boxes with a silver lock. Stunning.


Krigler


Krigler is a little corner store in The Plaza hotel that stocks only Krigler fragrances. I wanted to discover their fragrances as they have been making perfume since 1904 and have an interesting history. They began in Russia, moved to Grasse and then to America in 1931 to cater to the growing US perfume market. I was assisted by a young man who was clearly new to the role and was being 'guided' (told what to show me) by a senior staff member. Sadly I was not asked what kind of fragrance I would like to experience and they kept offering me sweet florals that didn't appeal. I will do some research before I go this time and ask for specific fragrances. 



Caron 


I first fell in love with Caron at Fortnum and Mason, they have a counter there with their spectacular fountains on display. I was further lured by the range at Roja Dove's Haute Perfumery in Harrods when a former colleague introduced me to Poivre, a hot, spicy pepper fragrance.  Tabac Blonde is another favourite and a staple in my perfume wardrobe. Caron fragrance hark back to a time when perfume was bold and daring, even if this is not your perfume style, go just to see the perfume fountains. I need to have one of these in my life one day.

Parfums Caron website 


New York has amazing department stores with extensive rages of fragrances. Bergdorf Goodman perfumery has some gems so stop by and have a wander around. Go and smell JAR, a perfume line by luxury jeweler Joel Arthur Rosenthal. The brand is so secretive, they wont tell you the notes in the fragrance and I can't even find a website for them. Some other brands to have a sniff of are the Roja Dove and Diane Vreeland ranges.

Barneys also has a great perfume range, I bought  Cologne du Maghred, a natural fragrance from Andy Taeur. I have a few clients who like natural perfumes so this was more for them  than me. Barney also have Odin, a really interesting range from NY. I did not buy anything from this brand on my last trip, but I plan to rectify that this time.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Scents and the City. Samantha's Guide to London Perfumeries

I lived in London from 2003-2007 and while I was there I was fortunate enough to work for some amazing brands that inspired me to immerse myself in the world of niche perfume. I worked for Floris, Penhaligon's and Miller Harris and I looked after all of the independent perfumeries in the UK and amazing department stores such as Liberty, Fortnum and Mason, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. My whole world was perfume and I loved every minute of it!

London has some beautiful perfume stores, so if you are traveling there, here is a list of the must visit perfumeries. Keep checking back in as there are a few more I need to add.

Miller Harris
Well, I am a little biased about this particular brand, and think the store is beautiful. If you stand right out the front of the store, you will literally be standing on what was my office. The store itself has changed a lot since my day but the perfumes are still gorgeous. Noix de Tubereuse remains my go to fragrance to seduce, Feuilles de Tabac makes every man smell so good you want to nuzzle his neck, and Figue Amere is an interesting take on the overdone fig fragrance. Try the teas and olive oils while you are there.




Ormonde Jayne
A tiny boutique tucked in an arcade of Old Bond St, Ormond Jayne is a dramatic little store. For one such as I who has a slight penchant for all things black and shiny, Linda Pilkington's store is like a fragrant cocoon.The Discovery set is a great way to experience all of the fragrances, but the one which stands out in my mind is Osmanthus, an intense floral with the lightness of citrus in the top notes.




Les Senteurs
The orginal home of artisan perfume in London, Les Senteurs is the doyenne of perfume stores. Stately and elegant, it was the very first independent perfume store and has the introduced Londoners to Creed, Frederick Malle, Mona d'Orio. 




Roja Dove Perfumery
Roja is known as the Professeur de Parfum for a reason. His knowledge of fragrance is impressive after working with Guerlain for many years. He has used his knowledge and skill to curate a beautiful selection of perfume from around the world, including hard to find classics. The Caron fragrance foundations are quite simply, stunning and I covet one for my office. 




Floris
My very first job in artisan perfume was working for Floris. I was the account manager for Liberty and I was just blown away by the history of the brand when I was given the opportunity to see their archives. Letters from famous people are displayed next to royal warrants, Admiral Nelson would write to Floris and ask them to send his mistress a bottle of her favourite perfume so she wouldnt forget him when he was off adventuring! 

Floris is the oldest perfume house in the world and the store is still in it's original location. The company is now owned by the eight generation and they opened a manufacturing plant in Devon that makes most of the perfume and scented products for English brands. 






Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Beauty Resolutions in Life & Style Sydney Morning Herald





Cassy Small, a freelance journalist contacted me recently asking me for a few sentences about perfume for her New Year Beauty Resolutions article for Life & Style in the Sydney Morning Herald. I chose to focus on perfume in everyday life as I believe perfume is the final accessory for any outfit and care should be taken when choosing something you wear everyday. Thanks Cassy!

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/beauty/new-year-beauty-resolutions-20140106-30cvc.html?rand=9050959

Monday, 9 December 2013

Scent and Subversion by Barbara Herman


I voraciously devour any books on perfume that I come across, so as soon as I saw this book at my favourite online book purveyor, in my cart it went. The title, Scent and Subversion, Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume, spoke to me as did the sensual cover.




The minute I opened the book, I was hooked. Barbara writes about perfume the way you might discuss a long lost lover, which some of the fragrances she describes truly are. Due to IFRA, the perfume industry's regulatory body, diminished availability of raw materials and bean counters who want to cut costs, many classic fragrances are no longer available, or they just smell different. 

The last 10 years of my professional life have been dedicated to artisan perfume, working in London for Miller Harris, Floris and Penhaligon's and being a distributor or agent for those brands in Australia. Recent developments in my business, such as conducting perfume master classes for clients, means that it has been necessary for me to embrace more commercial fragrance brands. In some cases, some of the new releases have honesty surprised me, such as Honey by Marc Jacobs, but most of the time, I find that they lack substance, soul even. Reading Scent and Subversion reminded of how classic fragrances have a story behind them, and highlighted how different they are from the boring, watered down drivel designed to appeal to the masses we have today.

Barbara points out that perfume was once a way for women to express their raw sexuality in a time when they didn't have the choices in life that modern women do. They couldn't do a Miley and twerk on a married man, while wearing a rubber swimsuit and waving a foam finger. Not that they, or we, for that matter would want to, but back then, you expressed your sensuality with a provocative perfume and a subtly arched brow.

There follows a comprehensive selection of some of the most provocative perfumes since 1882. I have counted no less than 32 fragrances that I simply must own. After a late night spent scouring the internet, the first landed on my desk today, Habanita de Molinard, originally created as a fragrance to apply to cigarettes to make the smoke even more fragrant. Since reading The Perfume Lover by Denyse Beaulieu, I have been desperate to smell this decadent fragrance and I can say it doesn't disappoint.



I would love to create something as marvelous as a fragrance for cigarettes, but I am pretty sure it would be frowned upon. Smoking is not as glamorous as it was in the 20's, now we know the effects and the enticing ads have been replaced by ads warning us about cancer and poor health, not that I remember that when I hit glass no 6 of wine and fancy a surreptitious ciggie.

Warning - this book is filled with descriptions of fragrance you will want to own, nay, must own. If you love perfume, Scent and Subversion is a wonderful book and Barbara is an engaging writer. The  book has lots of vintage perfume advertising, another obsession of mine, beautiful illustrations that tell the story of the perfume better than a leggy model lolling in a field holding a factice or perfume.




Perfume Master Class with Cocktails

When I lived in London and worked for Miller Harris, we held perfume and wine matching master classes in our Mayfair store. There is so much synergy between wine and perfume and it was lots of fun exploring the similarities. I have wanted to do a Perfume and Cocktail Master Class as a follow on from the Champagne and Perfume Master Classes I did earlier in the year with The Champagne Dame so I contacted 1806, one of Melbourne's best cocktail bars. Luckily, Colleen, who looks after the PR and Marketing, loved my crazy idea, and Dan, a wonderful mixologist got to work creating some amazing cocktails.


First up is the Floral cocktail, a gorgeous concoction of rose and nashi pear on a base of vodka. The second cocktail was the  Fresh cocktail, a chamomile and citrus reduction over a gin base, it was like sipping on liquid sunshine!

The star of the show was undoubtedly the Wood cocktail, ooh and aahs echoed around the table as Dan and Colleen set them down. They were presented in an apothecary bottle with The Powder Room logo with smoke billowing from the top. A whiskey base, Lagavullen my favourite single malt, was served over a single cube of ice and the cinnamon stick was set on fire. Incredibly delicious and well presented.

Some people ask why perfume and cocktails? I say, why not? I love perfume, I love cocktails, they both take you on a sensory journey, and I like a drink, so why not combine them?

This event is be available for private functions at The Understudy at 1806. Please contact samantha@thepowder-room.com is you would like to book. Minimum 5 guests, $95 per person.

Monday, 11 November 2013

bellabox Pout Pencils

I consult for bellabox, Australia and Singapore's leading beauty subscription as their Global Brand Director. I oversee the products that go in the box each month, and work with the international brands that bellabox import into both markets. I keep an eye on beauty trends and scout cult  brands for the online store.

Its a great gig, I get to try lots of beauty products, and my time there it has reminded me that you don't have to pay a fortune for good quality product, but one of my favourite things is when I get to develop product. For the past couple of months I have been working with an Australian company that make a lot of the products you see in pharmacy and department stores. I wanted to create a range of lipsticks that represent the perfect 'Lipstick Library', colours that every woman should own. I called in a range of colours from the manufacturer and consulted with the bb team as to which ones we should go with. We decided in a nude, red, hot pink and coral colour. I wanted them to have a high colour pay off and be moisturising at the same time, as I think that spring/summer lips should be glossy and bright.


One of the fun packaging components around at the moment is a wind up crayon. Clinque made them popular when they launched the chubby stick and lots of brands have them now. It is a little bit different from the normal bullet style lipstick and I think a bit cooler as well so we chose to have the lipsticks packaged in the wind up crayon.


I teamed up with the Editor of bellabox, Lauren to name the products. She came up with a great name, Pout Pencils, and we worked together to come up with the names of the shades. Nuuude is my homage so Prue and Trude from Kath and Kim, and I just cant say nude with out saying it in their accent, nuuuude. Ruby Tuesday is a tribute to Ruby, the little daughter of bellabox founder Sarah. Coral Me Maybe, well it was the song of last summer, so with a little play on words, it makes the perfect lipstick name. That leaves the pink lipstick, which was the hardest to name, I wanted to go with something that referred to The PInk Ladies from Grease, but we went with Lauren's pick, Pink Promise.

The result is a great capsule range of colours, that are moisturising and highly pigmented all for a great price. You can purchase them from bellabox, link below.