Nose talk: La Bonne Note

“Smell creates memories, it helps associating a fragrance to a brand and building new ties with the customer”, explains Rachel Nullens (left), who launched her olfactory design agency, La Bonne Note, with her perfumer friend Marie Le Guern (right). Claiming the power of smells on our unconscious, they help brands transpose their universe into custom fragrances and work with four-star perfumers – such as Olivia Giacobetti – until they come up with a perfect, unique scent. They are currently working on a fragrance for Ami and the Sandro boutiques, have among their clients the Hôtel Ville d’Hiver in Arcachon, the Epicerie Générale in Paris, and they have revamped Popup’s diamond-filled scented candles. To celebrate summer, Marie and Rachel have imagined Quotidiano Brillante for Parisian bookstore 0fr, a candle that smells fresh like a big flowery field, with champagne notes that take us in the middle of a sunny garden party.

In everyday life, do you trust your flair?
Marie : Yes.

Rachel : As much as possible! Getting a feeling of a person or a situation with your nose really means something. The rare times that I don’t listen to myself, it’s a fail…

Which fragrance(s) do you wear?
Marie : L’Eté en Douce by L’Artisan Parfumeur
Rachel : L’hiver Fracas by Robert Piguet or Paprika Brasil by Hermès, L’été Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene and often nothing at all.

Which place in the world left your nose the best memory?
Marie : Smells of orange blossom in Nabeul, Tunisia.
Rachel : The smell of white truffle in a little village in Piemont (Italy).

What is the worst thing you’ve ever smelled?
Marie : The smell of sulphur steam at the summit of Etna, highly pungent!
Rachel : The smell of line 14 (in the Parisian subway)! Especially at the Pyramides station, a mix of sulphur and rotten egg, plus the wet dog smell on top of that when it’s raining. It’s a living death.

What is your nose most useful for when you are not working?
Marie : Knowing when my dishes and cakes are done baking!

Rachel : Cooking!

What are the smells that bring most memories to your mind?
Marie : Smells related to childhood : the smell of freshly-cut grass reminds me of my grandfather mowing the lawn in Brittany during summer holidays, Gaiac wood has that smoky smell that brings me back to salted roasted almonds, the only food I was allowed while the “adults” were having pre-dinner drinks, the green, floral notes of Cristalle by Chanel, which my mother would wear…
Rachel : The smell of seaside, salt and seaweeds, the smell of attics when the sun heats up the wood and dust. The damp forests that smell of soil and the churches’ incense too… Memories from holidays and childhood.

What does your place smell like?
Marie : Candles in progress, burning.
Rachel : A mix of all the smells we’re developing!

Can the smell of someone influence the way you feel about them?
Marie : Yes, without a doubt!
Rachel : Let’s say it impacts my patience and listening…

What is the worst olfactory faux pas?
Marie : It’s hard to say, I don’t know if there is such a thing as an olfactory faux pas …
Rachel : A heady perfume on a very young woman or a sugary perfume on a mature woman. Basically, when someone uses their fragrance to try to make us believe they are someone else…

And what does your nose tell you about the future?
Marie: It’s fragrant.
Rachel : It’s good! There are still many stories to be told through perfumes…


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