Friday, May 14, 2010

Scent for a Country Gentleman

vintage 3

I've been asked many times what inspires me to create a specific perfume...and there's no one could be a new ingredient I've discovered and fallen in love with, a bespoke perfume concept given to me by a client, a specific need of a friend, (such as the infamous "Love Potion"), a painting, a song, a particularly nice autumn day...

But the one dearest to myheart is a concept perfume called "Sense of Honour"..
It's based around my memories of my grandfather. He was one of those true gentlemen you don't find very often. The kind of person who made you feel as though there was actually something worthwhile in the world. He had real integrity, solid, kind, reliable and with an air of authority and strength with it that made him someone people admired and trusted. He used to make up the most amazing stories to tell me as a kiddy, as I sat on his big lap and snuggled into his chest and breathed in the solid, warm scent of him.
I went through a phase where he was on my mind a lot...I was missing him, and decided to create a Scent that would call up the feeling of happiness and security he gave me as a child, and a perfume that would suit him. Something solid and real, that makes you feel , well, that things are right in the world.
My Grandfathers name was Noel Weaver. He was a true Australian country gentleman who came from one of the original families that farmed the land near theWisemans Ferry in New South Wales. He came from the generation that really worked hard, starting as a labourer on the roads in his mid teens, and eventually establishing his own citrus orchard, built his own house by hand, and eventually became the head of a small dynasty of kids and grandkids who loved and admired him. He kept his family on the farm during the depression, and I remember my mother telling me how he would always find at least a part days work for any of the many who came walking through the district, desperate for work of any kind....
He was also a pretty high up mason, and one of those deeply spiritual people who never spoke about religion.
He had an incredible love for the land itself, and I grew up listening to stories about the trees and the billabongs out in the bush and the many animals and birds that lived there....he used to also send me books to Enlgand where we were living at the time, with Aboriginal dreamtime stories about spirits living in rocks the living spirit of the land itself...
His stories, and those my mother told of him have shaped my life deeply...

So how in the world do you build a Scent to do this man justice?
I started off with Vetiver. Vetiver is a deep love opf mine (as those of you who read my blog regularly know by now) Vetiver is to me, the ultimate Bear hug of perfume ingredients, esp. the Javanese Vetiver I used here. It's a deep, musky base note that makes you feel safe and grounded. It smells of earth, and pheromones, and is just about as manly as you can get, scent wise.
Perfect as the base for my grandfathers scent.
To this I married some smokey dark Coffee absolute. My grandfather used to drink a lot of coffee, and this is another scent I associate strongly with him. It also happens to fit wonderfully with Vetiver, adding a nice warm, dry masculine element to it.
I used white grapefruit as a topnote, because it's fresh without being sweet, and one of the fruit he used to grow in his orchard....and it adds a great refreshing pick me up note to the smokey base. Then some douglas fir oil because there is something incredibly clear and clean about all of the conifers. And fir is the gentle, mellowest of them. My grandfathers farm also had a row of tall connifers growing along the path lading to the house, which he had planted along a water line he had dowsed...
So you now have a scent impression of a country gentleman, sitting on his verandah drinking his coffee, the fresh sharp scent of the freshly peeled grapefruit from his orchard on a plate next to him, the fresh scent of the tall connifers he planted many years ago as seedlings coming with a gentle breeze from the road down from the house....
I had the beginnings of the scent I had been dreaming of.
I ended up with umpteen variations sitting on the "work in progress" shelf in their own carefully labeled bottles. All of them smelled great. But .....In some of them the grapefruit just took over, in others the base was so heavy that you lost the fresh notes...and some were just a tad too sweet.....
But eventually I got it just right! (Took me over two years though!)
What I eventually worked out was missing was sweetness, ...I kept missing it because I had a masculine fragrance in mind, and was avoiding anything sweet or in the least girly...
But there is another kind of sweetness: the deep, ripe, mature sweetness of late summer fruits, apples at that point where they have reached warm, tart yet soft sweetness that is perfect for making cider..a note of grace and maturity that comes at the end of a long life well lived, the harvest at the end of a long summer....
The perfume now starts with a refreshing headnote of white grapefruit and fir, clear as a cool late summer morning, then warms to a lovely cider sweet middle with notes of foresty spruce freshly rubbed between your fingers, darkening to a deep woody base which wraps around you like you grandfathers hug.....
Then of course I needed a name that encompasses everything my grandfather stood for:Honor, Respect, Kindess and caring for all living things...a real maturity and wisdom that comes from a deep understanding of life.....and above all Integrity.
I was originally going to call it "Noel" after my grandfather...but that just didn't sound right for a scent, much as I loved the man.....
In the end I ran a small competition offering a bottle to the person who came up with the best name.
And it's just perfect:

"Sense of Honour"

This perfume isn't available through the website as yet, so if you'd like to buy some, send me an email and I'll send you a paypal invoice for it.

It's available as :

19ml perfume oil $110

70ml eau de cologne intense $98

19ml eau de cologne intense $45

mini sample atomizer  $20


  1. I love how you have captured a portrait of your grandfather through such a vivid scent description. The notes sound wonderful as well. Two years in the making is worth the wait. When I heard the name I thought I had read "Scent of Honour"!

  2. Like Maggie, I also read "Scents of Honour"! Wonderful article. What a nice way to remember your grandfather.

  3. I'm so excited . . . I think I just won your Sense of Honour perfume on Cafleurbon!! Hooray!

  4. Wow, how perfect Maggie!
    Can't wait to hear what you think of it!