I remember back in the heady days of the early 2000s when every aspirational restaurant in town would proudly display a bottle of Molton Brand handwash in the loo. The sign of an impending Michelin star! These days, it’s all about Aesop. It’s always nice to go to the ladies and have a moment inhaling that exfoliating wash when you hope nobody’s watching, and then slathering on the lotion, before realising you can’t now open the door handle and are traped.
Thanks to such escapades, Aesop is one of my favourite-smelling skincare brands, though interestingly they never formulate their products with fragrance top of mind. They start with the performance and what they want to achieve, and then if it happens to smell lovely, that’s a bonus.
When Aesop opened their Covent Garden store they invited me to host a series of events for customers and press which introduced them to some of the essential oils and aromatics used in the products. I set up a smell school which turned the events space into a classroom. No exams, thankfully, but a fast-paced nose bootcamp which took them through some familiar and less familiar (violet leaf) oils, and giving them loads of different ways of enjoying the materials, and thinking about smell.