I had been looking forward to last weekend for MONTHS. So many of my friends from other countries, that I rarely get to see, would be converging on my home town for the fifth annual Art and Olfaction Awards on the evening of the 21st April.
The day before I met up with my mate (from APJ and now a ABR contributor), Val the Cookie Queen and her fabulous daughter, Blundeswunder, over from Austria. We met at the Frederic Malle store in Burlington Arcade and immediately tried the forthcoming Sale Gosse by Fanny Bal. It has notes of pettigrain, neroli, bergamot, rosemary, Malabar and violet. On me, it’s a very lovely, sweet-but-not-too-sweet violet cologne-style fragrance. I didn’t pick up on the much talked about bubblegum.
While Blundeswunder scoured Topshop, Val and I did some sniffing downstaits in the cafe. ABR reader, Crikey, had sent Val some of Dior’s discontinued Mitzah and very generously included some vintage Miss Dior for me – whoop!
Later in the day we met up with Antonio Gardoni of Bogue Profumo for drinks. He is always excellent company and was on the judging panel for the Awards. They sent him no fewer than 180 vials of scent to assess.
On the morning of the Awards, eight of us met for brunch at The Diner in Spitalfields. This fragrant group included Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume, Megan of Megan in Sainte Maxime, Lucy of Indieperfumes, regular commenter Lady Jane Grey and the superstar that is Margo, over from Poland. Just as much chatting and sniffing as eating took place, as you can imagine.
Lucy brought us lots of American indie samples to try from brands like Kerosene and For Strange Women. Val brought the new releases from the Hermssence collection. The three perfumes are Cedar Sambac, Myrrh Eglantine and Agar Abene. The two oils are Musc Pallida and Cardamusc. Musc Pallida was beautiful but far too ethereal for £275. The one I really fell for was Cedar Sambac.
After brunch we made our way west to the niche perfume store Bloom, in Covent Garden. I’m very pleased they now stock Aussie brand Naomi Goodsir. Her niche fragrances are distinctive in a world of blah. The latest addition, the striking Nuit de Bakelite, was a finalist in the year’s Independent Category of the Awards – review to come.
The Art and Olfaction Awards celebrates independent and artisan perfumery from across the globe. The city location changes each year (in 2017 it was Berlin) and this year they were held at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill. If you’re interested, you can read the full list of 2018 finalists and judges here. It’s fantastic that the Awards shine a spotlight on the great work indie and artisan perfumers are doing.
The event was very well attended (and rather hot) with musical accompaniment from a samba band.
I was excited to be reunited with Portia from the back-in-business Australian Perfume Junkies. Happily, I was seated near the dynamic duo that is Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunckley who recently quite rightly won the Innovation Jasmine Award for their brilliant Fume Chat podcast.
A lot of indie perfumers were in attendance including Josh Meyer of Imaginary Authors, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes and Andy Tauer.
Andy Tauer, Denyse Beaulieu and Sarah McCartney all presented awards (pictured below).
Here are the winners, who each received ‘The Golden Pear’.
ARTISAN CATEGORY WINNERS
CD/ Perfumer: Amanda Beadle
by The Zoo
CD/ Perfumer: Christophe Laudamiel
INDEPENDENT CATEGORY WINNERS
Eau de Virginie
by Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger
Perfumer: Jean-Claude Gigodot
Nuit de Bakélite
By Naomi Goodsir
Perfumer: Isabelle Doyen
SADAKICHI AWARD WINNER
(Experimental Work with Scent)
Under the Horizon
by Oswaldo Macia
Perfume: Ricardo Moya (IFF)
AFTEL AWARD FOR HANDMADE PERFUME
By Monsillage (Canada)
Perfumer: Isabelle Michaud
CONTRIBUTION TO SCENT CULTURE
Peter de Cupere (Belgium)
Above: Naomi Goodsir with perfumer Isabelle Doyen and Chrisophe Laudamiel
It was a fun night, not least because it was a great excuse to catch up with friends from near and far.
See you in Amsterdam for the 2019 Awards?