One of my favourite books to read to relax in the evenings and Sunday mornings is Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. The descriptions are often beautiful, sometimes snarky and hilarious, and I’d recommend it to absolutely everyone whether they’re a perfume enthusiast or not. I was also very pleased, nearing on smug, when I found that my personal favourite perfume Mitsouko, is also the author’s favourite. They didn’t like my other favourite, though: Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.
Since I’ve been going back to this perfume book like a comfort blanket over the last few weeks, I decided to do a series of perfume illustrations, and where better to start than with the most famous perfume: Chanel No. 5? Through my trusty copy of the Perfume A-Z, I learnt that Chanel has its own fields of may rose and jasmine which are farmed exclusively for them in Grasse in the South of France. The flowers are harvested twice a year and form the heart of several of Chanel’s perfumes, including, of course, No. 5.
I want to do a series which features of perfumes positively exploding out of the bottle, so here are roses, jasmine, with hints of ylang ylang, iris and neroli bursting out of the classic bottle, along with the musky smokiness in the background. I may do this picture again and add in more of the flower notes of this perfume, which also includes lily of the valley and iris.