Nathalie Atkinson, Columnist, The Globe and Mail
As we gear up for the 2016 Canadian Fragrance Awards, get to know our panel of expert judges.
What’s your all-time favourite fragrance? I have five I go back to over and over again. #sorrynotsorry #perfumemeansneverhavingtosayyouresorry. When I lived in England in the late 1990s, I often made weekend trips to Paris. Call it nostalgia or accidental good taste, but I still wear the perfumes I discovered in those days! The first is Diptyque Philosykos. With notes of sweet milky coconut, green fig and glossy wet leaves, it smells to me like the last few days of vacation, one of those cool, waning summer days in August—my favourite time of the year. The other made me smitten during a walk after the Musée d’Orsay one late afternoon, when I stepped into the Annick Goutal boutique on rue de Bellechasse. It was such a beautiful and fancy glass-lined shop that I felt intimidated and almost left. But the friendly, chic brunette working there was very welcoming, and after she spent a patient hour teaching me how to smell things, I blew my food-and-everything budget on a fluted bottle of herbal sunshine called Eau du Sud.
What’s your best new find? 24 Old Bond Street by Atkinsons 1799. Not because of the name, I swear. The Turkish rose and astringent black tea twist on untraditional juniper-cucumber eau de cologne makes it smoky yet still overall refreshing. I love it.
How many bottles are in your fragrance collection? As decants, swaps and samples, nearing a hundred. Full bottles are a different commitment, with maybe 30 divided into seasonal rotation. I like iris and pepper and seldom resist a good ecclesiastical scent in winter or unusual variations on classic cologne come summer. After I started exploring fragrance more seriously about a decade ago, I took stock and realized I am unwittingly and repeatedly drawn to a few specific perfumers. Their work contains a creative fingerprint I respond to, regardless of the fragrance family, brand or style they’re working in. For example, Jean-Claude Ellena, now in-house at Hermès, had unbeknownst to me created many of my favourites well before Terre d’Hermès—from Sisley Eau de Campagne back in 1974 (his very first) and Van Cleef & Arpels First to several I own from L’Artisan Parfumeur and The Different Company (try Bois d’Iris, trust me) and Bulgari’s forever classic Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert! His L’Eau d’Hiver for Parfums Frédéric Malle is pure poetry. So if there’s a strategy to my collecting now, it’s that I make a point of sniffing out any latest by Ellena, Christopher Sheldrake, Christine Nagel and Olivia Giacobetti the way I do new novels by my favourite writers.
What’s your signature spritz style? Morning—spritz on wrist, then dab on nape. Evening—spritz and walk through the mist.
NEXT: MARIAN BENDETH