For Spring 22, we were keen to build on the culinary elements of basil and pink peppercorn that brought a tantalising edge to last year’s light, floral Spring fragrance. In considering how to approach this, we found ourselves returning again and again to the seasonally inspired menu at Spring, Skye Gyngell’s restaurant in Somerset House, London. In the summer of 2021, we went to visit Skye there for the first time.
One of Britain’s most esteemed chefs and food writers, Skye Gyngell earned her reputation, and a Michelin star, as head chef at Petersham Nurseries. Now running her own restaurant, Spring at Somerset House, Skye’s elegant food celebrates the beauty of seasonal and local produce. She is also Culinary Director of Heckfield Place, which in 2022 became one of nine restaurants in the UK to be awarded a Green Michelin Star.
Over the summer and early autumn of 2021, our founders Owen and Emily and our nose Elodie visited Skye Gyngell’s restaurant, Spring in Somerset House. During several afternoons spent amid the delicious olfactory backdrop of the kitchen, we discussed the shared artistry of a chef and nose; how each works to create a lively interplay between the finest natural ingredients. Skye noted that she ‘had never realised the strong parallels between the roles of a chef and perfumer before.’
We talked with Skye about our concept for last year’s fragrance - the freshness of a springtime greenhouse - from which we were eager to bring forward the light, floral notes, while building upon the culinary elements of basil and pink peppercorn. For the new fragrance, Skye suggested an accord of elderflower and gooseberry, hoping ‘it would smell like the first time you open the windows in spring’ - while Elodie had elderflower cordial in mind, ‘its sweet-sharp tang.’
Elodie set to work, creating five or six rounds of samples which we took back to Skye to test and discuss. Upon Skye’s suggestion, we were aiming towards a central accord of gooseberry and elderflower - a little tricky as gooseberry cannot be extracted directly from the plant, and elderflower absolute is a much deeper, richer note than its parent flower. Nonetheless, after many weeks of hits and misses, Elodie hit upon an accord that realised Skye’s vision: elderflower absolute, a little peppermint and lime, and buchu leaf.
To accompany the fragrance, Skye has developed the recipe for a cordial of elderflower and gooseberry that will be served at Spring, Somerset House, until May 2022.