Life in Scents

Life in Scents

United States

Life in Scents is a podcast about smell, hosted by Jo Barratt and Odette Toilette. It’s an interview show where each time, our guest talks about the scents that have meant something to them through their life. Bonfires, arm pits, swimming pools, Shalimar, the subway or a club at 3am, if it’s got an odour, it’s got a story.


29 Tom Chatfield  

Tom Chatfield has written six books on digital culture and technology, and he's also got something to say about smell. In the light of his latest publication, Live This Book, he's urging us to reclaim the quality of our time including the relationships we hold with our environments. Join us for a fascinating, challenging discussion on the value of stopping to sniff in this edition of Life in Scents.

28 Jay Tabb  

This time on Life in Scents we’re at the home of footballer Jay Tabb. Currently with Ipwitch, Jay has also played for Coventry and in the premier league with Reading. In this episode he talks to us about the smells which have accompanied throughout his career. From spending his weekends at the local rugby club with his dad, to the smell of his part in Readings 2008 Championship winning Campaign. Sweat, mud, fresh new boots and some other smells you might not expect.

27 Carla Valentine  

Carla Valentine is the technical curator of the Bart's Pathology Museum, founded in Smithfield London in the nineteenth century to conserve and document human specimens. Surrounded by death, whether restoring what are called 'pots' of remains, carrying out autopsies, excavating plague graves, or running a dating night for those working in the death industries, Carla shares with us the olfactory worlds of death and decay in an utterly captivating and sensitive way, from the funeral parlour-inspired scents of her personal perfume collection, to smells that most of us, fortunately, will never encounter. Contains content that is unsuitable for those aged under 18. Music by Kai Engel

The Flower Appreciation Society  

Everything's Coming up Roses. Ellie Jauncey and Anna Day are The Flower Appreciation Society, who have been revitalising the world of floristry with their unstuffy arrangements celebrating seasonal British flowers, and recently published their first book. Early one morning, they took us round New Covent Garden Flower Market to sniff around the sea of blooms, and find out how to buy flowers from the trade.

Ex Fuedo Stallaini  

A walk with Loredana. Encounter lucid, vivid scents, smells, colours and be present in this ancient place. Meet Salvatori, the last of his kind, who dances for us in his home. Feel the earth that produces fruit not tasted for a thousand years.

26 Mark Crames  

With over 300 scents in its catalogue, The Library of Fragrance (known as Demeter), has become the place to go for perfumes inspired by the everyday, the nostalgic and even the banal. In our only interview directly in the fragrance industry, Life in Scents chatted with lawyer-turned-perfume-company-founder Mark Crames about stopping in his tracks when he encounters smells that he simply has to get translated into sprayable form , whether it’s the perfect vanilla cake batter, fresh air in Alaska, and rotting fish.

25 William Tullett  

Life in Scents takes an unexpected turn this month; instead of discovering the smells of one person’s world, we travel back to the scents of a place and time: 18th Century England, with PhD researcher William Tullett of King’s College London. Moving between the aromatic pleasure gardens habituated by fashionable, scent-obsessed Macaronis, the perfume shops of London purveying the ubiquitous lavender water, and the crowded assembly halls with their assorted putrid miasmas, it’s time to inhale the fragrant (and not so fragrant), airs of the past and discover how a historian goes about using smell as a source material.

24 Pedro da Costa Felgueiras  

Pedro da Costa Felgueiras is a specialist in historic paint techniques. In this episode we talk to him about the smells of his craft from turpentine and pigments to the objects and buildings he painstakingly restores to their former glory. We also travel back to with Pedro to his childhood and the scents fish, sea, vegetables and growing up in Portugal. And we visit him on site at the restoration of Twickenham’s Georgian Gothic Revival Villa, Strawberry Hill House.

23 Mark Champkins  

Life in Scents heads into the inspiring, energising and cacaphonous world of London's Science Museum this month, as we meet Inventor-in-Residence Mark Champkins to talk all things smell. The founder of Concentrate Design, Mark is tasked with solving problems into useful, patentable products. He pitches the concept of the anti-smell spectrum, the odour absorbing school gym kit, and the olfactory world of the inventor, while Jo and Odette pitch him some real and fake smell-invention ideas to see if he bites...

22 Shonagh Marshall  

Shonagh Marshall is a curator at the cultural centre Somerset House, home of London Fashion Week and the Courtauld Gallery. As a cataloguer and archiver of fashion collectors, she has worked on internationally renowned exhibitions including Alexander McQueen’s collection for the Costume Institute in New York, Tim Walker: Story Teller and Valentino: Master of Couture. Most recently, Shonagh was asked by Daphne Guiness to catalogue the personal collection of the late Isabella Blow, and co-curated the subsequent exhibition, Fashion Galore!, which has been running for the past four months in London. Shonagh joins LIfe in Scents to talk about how scent and clothing are connected, the Fracas effect, and an abhorrence of the aroma of oranges. This episode features original sound design by MAKEWILD.

21 Darren Rook  

Darren Rook is the co-founder and CEO of the London Distillery Company, the first to open it’s doors in London for over a hundred years. Darren speaks about how his team create their Whiskey and Gin using high quality ingredients and an attention experimentation, process and the latest technology. He also takes us back to recycling plants in Newcastle, and to Islay, the island which sparked his passion for the magic of distilling.

Sniff and Scream: Hawthorne and Pink May  

Hawthorne and Pink May

Sniff and Scream with James Craven: Episode 3

Sniff and Scream: Patchouli and The Incredibly Strange Bed  

Patchouli and The Incredibly Strange Bed

Sniff and Scream with James Craven: Episode 2

Sniff and Scream: Oud Velvet Mood and Lot 249  

Sniff and Scream with James Craven: Episode 1

20 H.E. Williams Nkurunziza  

Our guest on Life in Scents this month is His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza, who is the High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Kingdom and non-resident Ambassador to Ireland. With a diplomatic career that follows years in industry, His Excellency is also a poet, and his recent volume ranges across Rwanda's painful recent history and the drive towards rebuilding the country in the aftermath of genocide. We talked with him about the olfactory scentscapes of his home, from coffee plantations to gorilla-spotting at altitude.

Victoria Henshaw: Urban Smellscapes  

In this special edition of Life in Scents, we map the smells and stenches of the city, as Dr Victoria Henshaw, Lecturer in Urban Design and Planning at Sheffield University, shares her work in understanding the olfactory character of the urban. Victoria's talk, hosted at Angela Flanders' perfumery in East London to a public audience, was recorded immediately following a smell tour round Spitalfields which Odette had organised. From the scent implications of urban zoning to the creation of scents for perfuming town centres and the ethics of whiffy street ads, get ready to resniff your street. Victoria's book, Urban Smellscapes, was recently published by Routledge, and her website is:

19 Benjamin Hebbert  

Benjamin Hebbert, a London-based dealer in stringed instruments, is one of the world’s foremost experts on violins and instrument making. A former curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and European Specialist for Christie’s auction house, Benjamin how buys and sells for a client base of professional musicians, for whom he helps find the perfect instrument. The world of strings is unexpectedly, one where an absence of smells is a mark of quality and authenticity. Odour is a sign that something might not be quite right, as Benjamin explained to us….

18 Uta Frith  

Developmental psychologist, Professor Uta Frith takes the hotseat in the latest edition of Life in Scents. One of the most formidable neuroscientists of her generation, particularly in the field of autism, she also loves perfume - taking listeners on a tour of her garden, lifting the lid on her box of German ointments and unguents reminiscent of childhood, and sharing the importance of spending time to enjoy beautiful scented objects and fragrances. By the end, you may well be keen to try her recipe for Maibowle, an aromatised wine made with sweet woodruff...

17 Matthew Beaumont  

We take an olfactory walk into the life of the flaneur in this month’s Life in Scents, as we meet Matthew Beaumont, an academic at University College London who specialises in the cultural history of the city. Matthew gives his take on some fragrances of the Flaneur, the difference between day and nighttime smells, and the smells encountered by the walker as they go about the metropolis.

16 Scottee  

With his acts ranging from CAMP - a celebration of variety showpresenting - to Hamburger Queen, a fat beauty pageant, Scottee is a truly unique performance artist, journalist and director who has collaborated with the Barbican, the Royal Opera House, the Royal Festival Hall, and even the X Factor. Scottee also happens to be a perfume-fanatic, and in Life in Scents he discusses why he thinks perfume and class (that British sticking point…) are wrapped up in each other, and how he uses particular fragrances with each of his shows, often bringing some unusual audience interactions…

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