As The Perfume Society say about fragrance, “..once you really start to explore this extraordinary world, it’s a bit like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia”.
That’s how we both felt when we started on our journey creating the luxury scented candles and reed diffusers for Nostara (minus the fur coats!)
As we developed our collection, we realised that we wanted to do more than just tell our florals from our fougeres. We were both keen to deepen our understanding of fragrance and so we searched out our own perfume guru.
Luckily, we happened to have a world renowned Perfumer just a few villages away from us - nothing like keeping things local! Not only does she have a list of perfumery accolades as long as your arm, but she is also the loveliest person. Her love of using essential oils is matched only by her talent in using them!
In 2011, Marina launched The Perfume Garden, a small artisan perfumery located in the West Country, as a way to return to more traditional ways of creating perfume.
Her ethos was to create the finest fragrances using what nature has to offer. Her vision was to be involved in every aspect of the process, from sourcing rare and precious aromatic essences from around the world, to blending fragrances by hand in her own perfume studio. She saw her passion turn into an industry recognised Fragrance House, culminating in her winning the coveted Fragrance Foundation (FiFi) Award for Best New Independent Fragrance, with ‘India’. This prompted her to take the next step on her journey; The Perfume Garden became Marina Barcenilla Parfums. Since then her successes have continued to roll in.
Our education began on a beautiful summer’s day in Marina’s airy studio. Looking out onto the nature beyond, we sniffed our way through her lotions and potions - tiny vials of precious essences which were passed around with the reverence they deserved. We had a great time learning the more technical aspects of essential oil extraction and Marina made the complex chemistry aspects (aka 'the science bits') more accessible for us to understand (well, she is virtually a rocket scientist in her spare time!)
Marina certainly fulfilled her aim of helping people to 'rediscover the soul of perfume' during our time with her. We loved experimenting with droplets of premium quality pure essential oils onto paper scent strips - reminding us of childhood days playing with old bottles and rose petals. The fun continued when we were let loose to create our own fragrances: using pipettes and beakers it felt like we were back in the science lab at school - adding a drop of Jasmine here, and 3 drops of Neroli there!
We learnt so much and are so pleased to have made the connection with such a talented perfumer...watch this space for the next thrilling instalment!
Nikki & Alex
“...and the award goes to: Marina Barcenilla!”
Well, it’s all over for another year! We hope you all had a lovely Christmas with your loved ones. It sometimes feels that all the hype is over all too quickly but it’s one of the holidays when you make time for your family, and those nearest and dearest to you.
Love it or loathe it, it’s coming! We're in the 'love it' camp, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But, one thing's for sure, if only due to time alone, our Christmas preps are a bit different this year.
There'll be less cards written and more focus on keeping things simple. And, it’s not just us. There’s a whole movement of less waste and valuing what we have...