I like it when serendipity strikes through friendship. Michelle from Porters Bespoke just recommended a Lewes-based maker to me, which has lead to gorgeous new discoveries.
Nancy Meiland is an English perfumer and trained nose who shaped her career designing scents for those coveting something highly individual. Last year she launched her first collection of three fragrances, Paper Leaf under her eponymous label, Nancy Meiland Parfums.
Exceptional raw materials are used, with a high proportion of naturals. It means the 'drydown' (what perfumers call the journey from bang out of the bottle to the almost undetectable trace the next day) offers plenty of variation, depth and nuance. The wearer enjoys the perfume more uniquely - like a signature scent working with your unique biochemistry.
Aquilaria, Rosier and Illumine are exquisite for men and women, and retail for Â£105 at boutique outlets or via nancymeiland.com.
Illumine evokes the special light in England after a downpour. It conjures vital green chlorophyll with a lyrical blend of Calabrian bergamot, mandarin absolute, and Jamaican ginger. A tangle of aromatic herbs jostle with refined citrus notes to enliven the wearer.
Rosier is a 'soliflore', in which the whole flower is represented. Pink pepper acts for the thorn, while galbanum is the leaves. Rose geranium, white pear, jasmine and violet are delicately strung together for the bud, and the endnotes evoke a broken beaded necklace as the scent spreads on the skin. A contemporary take on a classic.
Aquilaria is a perfect tour de force. It was inspired by the moment that wood smoke spikes the cold autumnal air. The chypre has a beguiling incense of Oudh combined with a soothing Ceylon tea facet. Sweet, peppery and dry with birch leaf and juniper berry, it is a return to the tree itself and the very origin of Oudh. Bergamot, black pepper, Turkish rose absolute, geranium, saffron, papyrus, ceylon tea, castoreum, guaiac wood, oakmoss, balsam of tolu, labdanum and vanilla notes gently emerge while you wear this. Bohemian in a grown-up way, like a wonderful kilim or a beautifully bound book.
After a walk around Lewes on a crisp day I wondered how much the storytelling has impacted on this collection, Nancy said the descriptions are an important reference to the creative process around each fragrance: 'The future of perfume is more about perfume created from concept, which is how I always like to work.'