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Experimental Perfume Club – 4 Key Learnings in the World of Fragrance

Inspired by scent…

On a sunny Saturday morning in August, our Bulletproof Inspiration Fund took us to the Experimental Perfume Club, an immersive laboratory tucked away in Netil Lane, south Hackney. The Experimental Perfume Club lab is a unique and rather special environment, that despite being dedicated to the world of fragrance, doesn’t neglect any of the senses. The workshop space reflected a boutique yoga studio, with tranquil lighting and high ceilings from which potted plants were suspended (basically, every Instagrammer’s dream).

We had decided to enrol in a full-day masterclass hosted by founder and professionally trained perfumer, Emmanuelle Moeglin. Whilst we had prepared for a girly day out where we would come out smelling fresh and fabulous, what we hadn’t anticipated was the huge amount we would learn along the way. Here are our top 4 key learnings from this experience.

Experimental perfume club workshop

  1. It’s all in the detail…perfumery is not just an art but a science

All our favourite perfumes are crafted using a plethora of scents, carefully considered and balanced with numerical expertise. It can take up to 20 years to craft a scent for market. Before making our bespoke fragrances, we were asked to write a brief. We were then challenged to combine as many as 15 scents to create a perfume that met our creative intent.

Scents are categorised into fragrance families and notes (top, heart and base). We had the opportunity to experiment with the following families: wood, leather, oriental, floral, fruity, edible and aromatic. As you can imagine this was quite a task! We were both naturally drawn to quite contrasting scents – Ellie opted for woody, leathery scents (more Jo Malone) whereas, I preferred fruity, edible and aromatic notes (more Zoella beauty).

Fragrance masterclass - Experimental Perfume Club

  1. Don’t neglect the senses

Working in a design agency, it’s so easy to only think about what we see, but during our perfumery workshop we had to truly focus on our ability to smell. This was quite a meditative experience, as all stimuli around us was heightened by this task. Visiting the Experimental Perfume Club has certainly made us reconsider the importance of other senses within the brand world. Touch, scent, hearing and sight all intertwine to help us to create unbreakable associations with brands and experiences. Realistically, true brand recognition and association is most effective in a 360 dimension.

Experimental perfume club open lab

  1. Naughty, but nice…

Not all the scents that are used in perfumery smell nice. Scents which reflect odours such a burning flesh and even faecal matter are used (in miniscule quantities) in many commercial fragrances. According to the experts, small amounts of unexpected ingredients chemically appeal to our senses. The idea is that our natural bodily odours are enhanced rather than masked to produce an alluring and desirable scent. Fascinating!

Experimental Perfume Club inspiration fund

  1. In the world of perfumery, the brand means everything and nothing

Interestingly, when producing a fragrance product, marketers and perfumers rarely work together. This means that in most cases, the story of the scent and the marketing concept work in silo. We thought this was rather counterintuitive, as in true Bulletproof style, we believe the product truth should be reflected within all creative and communications.

When smelling perfumes in an environment where all branding was removed, our perception and appreciation of the fragrance changed dramatically. Ultimately, the brand frames the fragrance, and the consumer (buys into and) wears the brand.

Blog written by Aerin and Ellie.