The scent of hope for someone who could no longer enjoy perfume…
Notes: Citrus fruits, Iris, Violet, Petitgrain, Woods and Musks
Today, British beauty and perfume blogger, Louise Woollam, is attending the Fragrance Foundation’s Jasmine Awards. She has been short-listed for three articles including one about the creation of Paradox Eau de Parfum on her blog Get Lippie. Two years ago, things were very different.
It’s not hard to empathise with just how traumatic it would be to have your sense of smell distorted so much that scents that used to make you swoon now make you want to be sick.
After what seemed like a pretty run-of-the-mill cold, Louise lost her sense of smell (anosmia). Then when she started to regain it, she experienced parosmia which made most food – let alone perfume – smell horrendously unpleasant. In her article for The Guardian, Louise wrote “I have had days when everything smells like faeces, making me retch. I thought I was losing my mind.”
During this disturbing time Louise went on a trip to the Osmotheque (which I also attended) during which she discovered she could smell violets and citrus the same way she always had. Sarah McCartney, perfumer of 4160 Tuesdays, then set out to work with Louise to create a fragrance based on these notes which she could actually enjoy.
Through a process of elimination and trying a few different combinations they hit upon a composition of bright yuzu and cubeb (a fruit of the pepper family), three different types of ionones (which smell like violets) and orris/iris to smooth out the citrus and amp up the violets.
The perfectly named Paradox was born.
The opening of the fragrance is a thicket of dense grass; the blades parting to reveal tart, yellow, citrus fruit. The feel is cool and breezy as the violets come through. They aren’t the sweet Parma variety but the chilly, green kind.
The orris is very much in the supporting role of providing backbone to the violets, giving them even more of a bluish purple hue. When I press my nose in close I get deep green foliage. The base comprises clean woods and musk but as often happens, I don’t register this.
Last year, Sarah decided to make the fragrance available for sale with at least £5 from every bottle sold being donated to the charity Fifth Sense which provides support to those affected by smell and taste-related disorders.
Thankfully, matters are now much improved but Louise’s sense of smell is still far from what it was. She says that working with Sarah on Paradox gave her more than a perfume she could wear, it gave her hope that recovery was possible.