Hannah Jennings-Voykovich is the newest addition to the team at The Fragrant Man. Currently residing in picturesque Vancouver, Canada, Hannah is originally from Auckland, New Zealand. At home in Auckland, she worked in publishing for ten years; four of these years with The Fragrant Man himself! Introduced to the world of fragrance by Jordan, Hannah is beginning a journey to make her life more fragrant and is sharing her thoughts with us. Before leaving New Zealand, Jordan gave her a very special olfactory experience as a parting gift – she shares this story with us today. ______________________________________________________________________ When I first spoke to Jordan about writing for The Fragrant Man, I told him I was not a very “fragrant aware” person. I’ve been reading the words of Jordan, Brie, Amer and others in the fragrant world for some time since then and have had quite the fragrant awakening – looking back on my life to-date, I have many fragrant memories that I have, until now, cast off. My early fragrant memories are of my mother and grandmother’s perfumes, but I was never drawn to their scent; it was the bottles I enjoyed. My mother’s dresser played house to the floral patterns of Anais Anais and the sleek lines and jewel-tip of Lou Lou by Cacharel, while my grandmother’s dresser displayed Tresor’s hard lines and Chloe’s thumbprint-sized dimple. I was allowed to roll them around in my hands and sniff them, but never use them; perfume was believed to be too expensive a commodity for a child to play with. As a teenager, body sprays were all the rage and changing rooms throughout my school were soaked in cheap aerosol scent – Impulse Vanilla Kisses for the girls and Lynx Phoenix for the boys. Teachers would gag and wave their hands in front of their faces whenever they smelled the air thick with body spray, and would call for the children to knock it off. Later, the young women at my school upgraded to youth-marketed scents CK One and Tommy Girl, leaving the changing rooms smelling a lot more spritely and feeling less claustrophobic. After high school, fragrant memories come to a distinct halt. Maybe it was the time spent frequenting smoky bars or playing games of contact sport, but remembering my 20s is somewhat of a fragrance-free experience. Thankfully, Jordan came into my life in 2009, wafting of various scents and ready to teach me about fragrance. Before I left New Zealand in June, Jordan sent me to World Beauty in Auckland, where I was instructed to sample the delights on offer, wear a few fragrances home and visit the next day to select the winner.
Offering the rather pathetic opening that I liked “fresh, and, um, citrusy” scents, in-house perfume expert Mary began to take me through a range of light scents to try. The four were: Black Jade by Lubin – fruity and citrusy with a spicy kick, this delicate scent was sold to me as the fragrance of queens; Black Jade has been created as a modern interpretation of Marie Antoinette’s favourite scent. Isles Lointaines by Keiko Mercheri – light and white and floral, and described to me as “a bouquet of gardenia and jasmine”. Flor y Canto by Arquiste – I was excited to sample this recent release by Carlos Huber, and was met with an explosion of fresh floral scents. Mullholland by Keiko Mercheri – Citrus bursts and woody hints make up my first impressions of Mullholland; a fitting tribute to the State where the famous perfume’s namesake can be found. While I wanted to make my decision then and there, I was instructed to wear my four favourites home, observe them in the drydown and come back the next day with my pick. It was a wild and windy day in Auckland, and driving home with the windows up was a wonderfully pleasant experience – an array of floral scents filled my nose and took me away to a fresher, sunnier place. Once home, I sat and took in the four scents I had brought with me. While my initial favourite in store was Mullholland, Flor y Canto’s subtler notes of magnolia and vanilla took my fancy, as did the more rosy notes of Isles Lointaines. By the end of the evening, Flor y Canto’s sweet but mildly spicy drydown had me by the heartstrings and I couldn’t wait to pick up a bottle the next day. My olfactory learning experience left me swimming with thoughts as I drove to pick up the package the next day – and those memories I recounted earlier all came flooding back. My experience was given one final push over the edge when I picked up a rather glamorous package from World Beauty. Peeling back the layers of wrapping felt like stripping back years of ignoring and discounting fragrant memories; ones that I remember much more fondly now they are multi-sensory. I left New Zealand two days later to embark on a journey of discovery, and many tales of fragrances, flowers and the dawning of spring have been spun since then – stay tuned. World Beauty – Store Locations
Black Jade: On the Trail of Marie Antoinette’s Last Scent Vanity Fair
Smelling Waiheke Island Carlos Huber for The Fragrant Man
Interview with Keiko Mercheri Recorded at Esxcense 2013