Olfactory Adventures Launch in London: Scratch+Sniff hosts interactive events for our sense of smell

by Grant Osborne, 06th September, 2010

We have plenty of exhibitions for our eyes, restaurants for our tastebuds, and music for our ears, but our sense of smell has been rather neglected by cultural offerings, until now. Following its pilot in February, covered then by Basenotes, Scratch+Sniff, "Purveyors of Olfactory Adventures", are introducing a new kind of event which places scent and the nose at its heart.

Hosted by fragrance enthusiast Odette Toilette, Scratch+Sniff events have been set up as the fragrance equivalent of wine-tasting to introduce more creative ways of responding to our sense of smell:

"Smell is incredibly powerful, especially as a way of vividly recalling memories, but it's quite a hard thing to talk about and is rather clouded in mystery. We're aiming to make fragrance appreciation enjoyable, accessible, and provocative. Rather than traditional formats of perfume appreciation which are based on being able to identify 'notes', we're using more inventive formats to get people enjoying smell by crossing it over with all sorts of things: social and historic themes, cultural ideas, and other artforms", says Odette. Forthcoming events include:

September: The Scent of the 1920s

October: Scent in the Movies

November: Scent and Creativity

January: Around the World Through Smell

February: Male Identity and Scent

Scratch+Sniff are partnering with London's original independent perfume shop, Les Senteurs, who as well as providing plenty of perfumes to enjoy, loan their resident perfume archivist, James Craven, as speaker and guide. With his, and other guest speakers' expertise on hand to help, it doesn't take long for people to start opening up and really going for it: "When we ran our pilot event, we were taken aback by the wildly creative ways people were responding to fragrances, and knew we were onto something. One of our favourite comments, to a concoction that shall not be named was: 'This is a sweet shop in Disneyland. The appeal vanishes in seconds, leaving you guilty that you are even there and sad that the lie does not exist anywhere.'"

Scratch+Sniff are delighted to be partnering with Basenotes to enable conversations and gossip begun at the events to continue online afterwards, and to welcome in those who can't make it to the London events. Basenotes have set up a specific message board to host the chat at the Scratch+Sniff forums,

The events take place on the fourth Tuesday of the Month between 7.30pm-10pm at The Book Club, 100 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London.

Tickets are £12 per person with advance online bookings at www.scratchandsniffevents.com

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    • Nostalgie | 7th September 2010 01:03

      I am definitely living in the wrong city. State. Country.

    • OdetteToilette | 7th September 2010 13:04

      Hi Nostalgie, you never know, maybe we can make something happen where you are. Would be fun if we could sort out a livecast sometime. hmmm....

    • Kiliwia | 7th September 2010 14:13

      What a wonderful idea!

    • NevilleM | 7th September 2010 15:26

      I'm getting my nose along to the 1920s.

      Now where did I leave those two tone shoes Al?

    • OdetteToilette | 7th September 2010 18:11

      Hi Neville, yes please go for the Spatz by all means. I imagine you won't be the only one.

      Looking forward to the 20s one, our only lament is that so many of the perfumes have been discontinued. Would love to get hold of some of Jean Patou's Chaldee but its nearly all gone and scarily expensive to get a decant.


    • distortech | 12th September 2010 19:28

      Chaldee is something to behold and cherish forever. I love it! :smiley: