Incredible Artisan Perfume From Micro-Perfumeries

Karen Timson | Karen Timson Fine Fragrance

Whenever we launch a new perfumer, we interview them about their thoughts, experiences, and process of making perfume. Here is the interview with Karen

 

Bare & Bond

Going through each of the two fragrances, what makes them special to you? (e.g. What story do they tell, what mood do the evoke, do they have a specific personality?)

 

Karen

Hermia is a mystical perfume synonymous with the forest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is the light and shade of an enchanting fragrance interwoven with whispers of scent that leave trails of magic behind them!

 

Pendragon is defined by the unique blending of bright, modern scents with roots steeped in a traditional fougère. Legend would have it that King Arthur Pendragon, a brave Dragonlord, possessed an ability to tame dragons with magic and yet he showed a great affection for Merlin, his teacher. The sanctity of this sacred bond sealed, Pendragon allows himself to succumb and falls under the bewitching spell of the ‘Lady of the Lake’. The enigma of Pendragon is where the legend becomes reality, where traditional meets modern, where brave meets sensual but where the story lives on.

 

 

Bare & Bond

What kind of activity or occasion do you imagine is best suited to each scent?

 

Karen

Both fragrances have a fabulous ‘sillage’ especially Pendragon. Both have particularly good projection, yet neither are too heavy or overpowering. I see them as an ideal day wear fragrance yet with longevity that will see them well into the evening and beyond!

 

 

Bare & Bond

Can you talk about the key notes and accords in each of the scents and how they work together with each other? In other words, what might jump out at our subscribers when they wear them and how do the notes work together to form this perfume?

 

Karen

Hermia:

In the ‘Midsummer forest’, is where dreams are made, firstly, you will be sprinkled with verdant droplets of green fern and dappled sunshine, where citrus notes of green mandarin and highly floral neroli will welcome you in.

The heat of the day warms the pine needles beneath your feet as they release their fresh woody scent, that I liken to a freshly sharpened pencil!

There is a hint of sensual oakmoss, from the bark and soft berry warmth from wild blackcurrant buds. Sparks of pink pepper add to the aromatics. Nestling within is vetiver, 'The oil of tranquility,’ reminiscent of the warm earthy carpet of the forest which gives Hermia a deep lingering finish. Close your eyes....

 

Pendragon:

Pendragon opens with King Arthur riding through fields of French lavender with Sir Lancelot. Pendragon unfolds with a flourish of bright herbaceous notes melded with a citrus peppery misting of bergamot that brings instantly to life this legendary fragrance. Merlin weaves his spellbinding alchemy where he subtly unites the prized sweet spice of coriander seed with smoky leather from the Knights quiver. This noble duel intertwines traditional scents including oakmoss and sandalwood to allow this truly adventurous fougère to reign throughout the day and night.

 

 

Bare & Bond

Is fragrance important? If yes, why do you think we care so much about it?

 

Karen

Our sense of smell is arguably the most ancient sense and possibly the most evocative too. We all associate certain smells with certain memories that can instantly recreate powerful emotions. How often does that festive ‘Christmas tree’ smell herald feelings of enormous excitement, whatever your age! That first cuddle with a newborn baby, a smell we are hard- wired to nurture and cherish. Why? The scientists will tell us that this unique baby smell ‘lights up’ our dopamine pathways in our brain, which in turn encourages us to stay close to them. Very clever stuff this sense of smell!

From the science to our smell memories, how that one whiff of an aroma can instantaneously transport you back to that moment. Think perhaps, of the fragrances from your wedding day. You have spent months planning every detail, yet you are likely to be able to remember the fragrance of the flowers, your partners own scent or the fragrance of your chosen perfume.

We can all remember what our grandparents smelt like, pipe smoke, lavender water and moth balls come to mind!

The ability to smell is a safety mechanism to keep us safe. We become ‘noseblind’ or experience odour fatigue to enable our bodies to be in readiness to respond to new smells, and possible potential hazards. Therefore, there is perhaps no better reason than to wear and experience many different fragrances, if only to keep your sense of smell on its toes!

 

 

Bare & Bond

Who or what inspired you to become a perfumer?

 

Karen

As a little girl growing up in Kent, the ‘Garden of England’, I was very aware that I could smell things in a way that no one else could.

I first became aware of the importance of smell when I could detect whether my younger siblings were unwell, a skill that enhanced my nursing career as I instinctively knew when a diabetic patient was unwell or when someone had an infection yet to be diagnosed. 

My life is a kaleidoscope of colourful fragrances that define so many of my memories, many of which only become unlocked when that same aroma is smelt again.

After repeated redundancies, I hung up my NHS belt and buckle and took time out to reevaluate my next steps. It was clear it was time to invest in myself after a lifetime of giving to others. After undertaking perfumery courses with Master Perfumer, John Stephen from the Cotswold Perfumery, his extended tuition coupled with his unwavering faith in my ability to understand perfume meant I acted on a latent desire and decided to finally make my dream come true. I created my own perfumes!

With John’s mentoring combined with his gift to me of access to his 50 years’ plus experience and expertise in the perfume business, I know I have been taught the art of perfume by the very best!

Yet, as we know, nothing stands still. Daily I seek out new challenges, always learning and always evolving, yet I remain extremely grateful to John, for recognising something in me, something that I thought was just peculiar to me but with extra refinement now gives me endless joy! I am extremely lucky!

 

 

Bare & Bond

What’s the story behind your brand? How did it come to be?

 

Karen

Once the decision had been made to launch my own brand, I was very strongly urged by family, friends and not least one of the perfume consultants for Harrods, to give my own name to my brand. The perfume was to be created by me, was about me and that I should be proud to put my name to it.

 

The branding development was a real family affair - my daughter, with her marketing, and my son-in-law with his IT backgrounds, worked jointly to create the brand ‘stamp’ logo that I knew I wanted! Family members and friends made for excellent sounding boards and critiqued every stage with complete honesty.

 

The stunning artwork for the boxes was drawn freehand by a young and inspired graphic designer, she, also with a love of all things magical and romantic! The perfect synergy to bring my fragrances alive.

 

 

Bare & Bond

What do you think makes your brand special or unique?

 

Karen

My brand is truly independent, driven from the heart with no compromises. I use only fine luxury raw materials. It is never predictable, always pushing boundaries; no more so than when working with a client creating their signature scent. Nothing is quite as inspiring as the synergy between the perfume creator and the individual whilst you both travel the fragrant path of discovery culminating in magic! This is what feeds my soul!

 

 

Bare & Bond

Describe your brand’s perfume personality or style in 3 words

 

Karen

Quintessential, conscientious, sensual

 

 

Bare & Bond

What has been the most exciting moment in your perfume career?

 

Karen

The day John Stephen told me that I “Definitely had the ‘nose’ for perfumery”!

 

 

Bare & Bond

What has been the toughest moment in your perfume career?

 

Karen

The toughest moment was taking that leap of faith to invest my life savings in a new venture and sail uncharted waters. No matter how driven and how deep one’s self-belief runs, it still takes phenomenal courage and very tough decision making to make that jump! However, not one single regret!

 

 

Bare & Bond

Are there any irritating beliefs about perfume that you wish would just go away?

 

Karen

It’s when I hear the words “I can only wear one perfume on my skin, nothing else suits me”! This saddens me if I am totally honest. My response is: yes, we probably all do have a favourite ‘go to’ perfume, the one that cloaks us in reassuring familiarity and yet… you could have possibly stopped enjoying that fragrance on yourself years ago, simply because you have become a bit nose-blind to it!

 

 

Bare & Bond

Finally, what advice do you have for people looking for a new fragrance or a signature scent?

 

Karen

Look to new horizons, explore different blends and embark on a sensory journey, and be prepared for surprises! Give your sense of smell a birthday, it will keep thanking you forever!

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