I am delighted to introduce you to Nancy Meiland, local Lewes perfumer who I recently featured in my ‘Mother’s Day Gift Guide‘ post
Fine art and fine smells both entice the senses and I was intrigued to find out about Nancy’s creative process in blending her beautiful scents.
“A perfume is like a piece of clothing, a message, a way of presenting oneself.. a costume.. that differs according to the woman who wears it. “- Paloma Picasso
Nancy Meiland is an English parfumier and trained nose who shaped her career designing signature scents for those coveting something highly individual and special. Nancy has now launched Paper Leaf, her first collection of fragrances under her eponymous label Nancy Meiland Parfums. Sourcing and blending exceptional raw materials from around the world, Nancy Meiland Parfums’ PAPER LEAF Collection comprises three exquisitely contemporary and unique scents, each as wearable by men as by women.
“I love walking and tuning into nature. I love the idea that all plants, trees and wild flowers want to be noticed, observed and admired – if not then why are they often so beautiful? The same is true of their scent. So much of my inspiration comes from a ‘sensory snapshot’ taken in nature’s wild landscapes.
The creative process of gathering sensory impressions and honing them into a formula is a vital one. Once a blank canvas, the formula sheet acts as a metaphor and gradually emerges essentially as a kind of Haiku poem, with body, light and shade and a life of its own.
The inspiration or starting point for a signature scent created for someone else can vary from the divinely poetic to the downright eccentric. From requests for a perfume with notes of crushed ladybirds to motorcycle grease, or to capture the moment just before a dew drop falls off a leaf. That’s as it should be, of course. It’s very much what draws me to perfumery – it is intensely personal and everyone’s interpretation and experience is completely unique. It falls outside the lines of harsh judgment and into a more spacious, synesthetic place where everything is possible.
All perfumers/noses have their own individual approach and set of creative values but practically speaking, the creative perfumer developing a perfume is initially preoccupied with the ‘evaporation curve’ of its component parts and the ‘drydown’ of the fragrance throughout its olfactory journey from bang out of the bottle to its almost undetectable trace on the skin or blotter the next day. What are the characteristics of each stage? Is a compelling scent profile revealing itself, is it too linear and in need of more ‘spike’ or more ‘twist’, perhaps a hint of the unexpected, tantric or exotic? Has it moved away from the initial concept? And if so, is the result the better or worse for it?
The next step is to make several drafts of the formula and makes notes of each version’s drydown. In my own creations, I’m quick to edit out anything that doesn’t contribute or stay true to the bare bones ‘story’ of the scent, always opting for beautiful fragrances though clarity, economy and precision rather than unnecessary pearls, whistles, crashes and wallops.
Hit repeat on the above process and over weeks, months and indeed years a perfume will step out into the light and as Mother Nature herself is wont; call to you to be noticed, observed and admired. ” www.nancymeiland.com