Want To Become An Expert Fragrance Writer? Top Tips For Nailing The Artform Every Time

SPONSORED FEATURE: In Partnership With Michael Bublé’s Debut Fine Fragrance, ‘By Invitation’

One of the hardest things to write about is undeniably fragrance. A lipstick can easily be described via its colour, texture and longevity, while a foundation’s success can be attributed to its ability to cover imperfections and create a healthy glow – but how do you bring to life a bottle of scented water in a way that jumps off the page and encourages action? A direct experience with a perfume is the only experience, as there are no tangible ways of measuring it’s relative success or value for money, so how (as writers) can we describe a scent effectively? I’ve been doing my research (namely reading books including Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and A Century Of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom) in the hope of pinning down the best way of writing about scent, as well as chatting to Karine Dubreuil-Serini (an expert perfumer involved in the debut scent from Michael Bublé) about the elements she recommends we focus on when bringing this complex entity to life. In conclusion, there are four main tricks to nailing the skill of fragrance writing that will help you describe the newest launch with as much professionalism as the experts…

To capture the best feeling of a scent on paper, you have to smell it in a neutral environment – meaning you’re not overwhelmed with other smells. It’s then a great idea to ‘live’ with it, applying it on different body parts and at multiple points throughout the day, so you get an overall impression of the scent and how it evolves; Karine recommends spritzing your clothing and body parts that have different temperatures (i.e. neck, arm, wrist) so you can fully understand how it evaporates and lingers. A first impression is not enough, as fragrance continually changes and evolves.

One of the biggest tools at our disposal is the ingredients that have been used to create a scent. More often than not they form a big part of the marketing material and are easy to track down, meaning there’s a whole list of notes and individual scents that have been used to create the overall perfume.   Karine says: “Most of the time we describe a fragrance following the top/heart/base notes and defining ingredients combinations; we may also choose to  talk only about the major four or five
ingredients composing the perfume, as these are easier to identify and
imagine.” We naturally understand the description of rose more than we can an exotic flower picked at the height of the moon, so bring the fragrance to life using easily understood descriptors. 

Karine says: “As perfumers, we can use descriptive adjectives (such as sensual, delicate, warm,
sweet or addictive) and utilise metaphors to give the more precise
impression of the perfume and its various facets.” It’s like going back to school and embracing the long list of adjectives you were taught in GCSE English. List every word that you associate with the fragrance, jotting down any inspiration that comes your way while smelling it: evocative, musty, sexy, uplifting, energising, comforting, light, airy, deep, dark, happy… 

Fragrance impressions are so intrinsically linked with memory, because this is the way we process that olfactive information. We find it hard to verbalise what we’re smelling, so we relate it back to an experience or memory that’s easier to describe and understand. I often describe perfumes as “like a warm Italian summer’s day” or “a comfort blanket wrapped around me on a chilly autumn afternoon” because it’s far easier to illustrate the feeling a scent leaves than attempt to get too technical. Describing the overall impression and feeling that the perfume releases is an effective way of appealing to a reader’s emotions and meaning they simply must smell it.

As an example of how these top tips can be brought to life, Michael Bublé’s debut fragrance includes top notes of red fruits and Italian bergamot, heart notes of rose, peony, lily of the valley and wild jasmine, as well as base notes of praline, vanilla, sandalwood, Indonesian patchouli and musk. It’s described simply as “a sensuous praline vanilla, enlightened by bright florals and luscious fruity accents to be loved.” 

Karine Dubreuil-Serini describes ‘By Invitation’ beautifully, using each of the four elements that make up the perfect description: “Like Michael’s music, the fragrance is modern and transcends time and fashion. A feminine and elegant accord has been created around a glamorous rose, the iconic love flower, treated in a natural way thanks to a floral harmony revealing a mischievous lily of the valley, a wild jasmine and the spicy and transparent inflexions of peony. The floral bouquet is dressed with tempting red fruits and radiant bergamot shades, while the oriental base is an addictive praline vanilla wrapped in a warm sandalwood-musks duet – like the mellow voice of Michael.” Doesn’t that make you want to spritz it immediately?!

So the next time you want to describe or write about a scent, why not break it down into these four different elements and see how your words and thoughts stir the emotions and actions of others.

Find out more about the fragrance and buy it exclusively before anyone else via www.michaelbubleperfume.com 

Follow Michael Bublé Perfume on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for more news as it happens. 

#MichaelBublePerfume #ByInvitation

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Michael Buble Perfume; all opinions are my own.

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  



  1. Joanne Mallon
    September 1, 2016 / 12:34 pm

    I think this is a really good point to make. Fragrance is definitely very difficult to write about. I know I find writing perfume reviews pretty challenging, but in a way that's why I want to do more of them – taking the easy path is just too boring and predictable. Writers need to keep stretching themselves to grow and develop, and writing about something that's hard to describe is a great way to do this.

    • Hayley Carr
      September 11, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      Absolutely Joanne. I find it hard to write about scent, but equally it's incredibly satisfying and creatively liberating to do so.

  2. Beky Lou
    November 21, 2016 / 11:01 am

    I find writing about fragrance so difficult and so a post like this is just perfect for me. I often find myself skipping over the fragrance samples I'm sent and prefer just popping a social shout out to them on insta or twitter when in reality I'd love to write a full on review about them and really explore the scents along with the creativity that comes with writing about them. I'm definitely going to be taking on these tips and trying them out soon! thanks so much for this 🙂 http://www.bekylou.com xx

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