We recently met the rather lovely Katie Puckrik, a stablemate of ours at Handpicked Media, who some of you may remember from her days as a presenter on the uber-cool TV programme The Word. She has transformed into Katie Puckrik Smells, a terrific perfume blog and youtube channel that I am deeply embarrassed to admit -perfume loving geek that I am -that I had never heard of.
More fool me, as Ms P has a huge following (she calls her fellow perfume-loving readers Fumies) and is possibly the new face of perfume, being a witty female who talks about smell how it really is, rather than in the weirdly convuluted perfume-speak that comes from the industry. She is both funny and informed, takes her smelling seriously and has a neat line in tea dresses and printed tops – we have a new girl-crush.
She very kindly subjected herself to a TWR Q&A session….
TWR So, Katie Puckrik Smells, what’s that all about then? It seems a long way from looking cool on The Word…
KP I’ve always loved wearing perfume – beautiful smells stimulate, self-medicate, uplift and inspire me. About 12 years ago, I started noticing intriguing little niche brands popping up – the arty Comme des Garçons, the beautiful L’Artisan Parfumeurs. I was just delighted by the fact that a perfume existed that smelled exactly like the church incense from my childhood – Avignon by Comme des Garçons. Or one that smelled pleasingly like candy floss combined with burnt ash – Vanilia by L’Artisan Parfumeur. (I wore both together for my wedding in 2004.) That whole idea that that you can create a smellscape for yourself, that isn’t just based in smelling generically pretty, is really appealing.
My YouTube channel and blog Katie Puckrik Smells started when my fume-o-philia ratcheted up into high gear after getting hooked on all the perfume blogs that began to appear in the mid-noughties. I was reading MakeUpAlley, Basenotes, Now Smell This, and then was flung into full nerd-dom by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’s hugely entertaining and educational “Perfumes: The A-Z Guide”. I was lucky enough to live in Los Angeles near one of the best niche perfume shops in the world, Scent Bar, so everything I was reading about I could go and smell, and vise versa. I was exploding for someone to share all of my new perfume discoveries with, and judging from the glazed expression on my husband’s face, it wasn’t going to be him. In fact, he was the one who suggested I start a YouTube channel in 2008. The blog followed in early 2009.
TWR As you get older, perfume is a brilliant thing to love because it’s neither ageist or size-ist, which is a relief, what is it about perfume that appeals to you?
KP I always say that perfume is a one-size-fits-all work of art. I love that wearing it allows you to adopt all kinds of different personas, depending on the associations the individual fragrances conjure. I wear perfume for my own pleasure, and am not particularly interested in whether other people can smell it. I see it as less of a performance and more of an expression. It colors my world.
TWR Our readers are mostly 35plus, they are often stuck in a perfume rut, wearing the same smell they picked as a teen. What brands or individual smells would you point them towards in order to reinvigorate their love of a good smell?
KP To me, wearing the same perfume every day would be like only listening to one song or only eating the same food for the rest of my life. Plus, you stop being able to smell it on yourself when you’re familiar with it, so what’s the point?
I’d urge newbie fragrance thrillseekers to check out L’Artisan Parfumeur and Annick Goutal’s lines, because they offer a wide range of familiar, comforting scents in unexpected and new combinations. A good example of that is Safran Troublant by L’Artisan Parfumeur, which is one of my favorite perfumes. It’s rose and sandalwood and vanilla, very soothing and sensual, but given an unanticipated exotic fillip with the addition of saffron. It’s almost edible, but not quite, and that tension is delicious.
Miller Harris is a great line because the scents reflect nature, but in a sometimes quirky way, like Fleurs de Sel, which smells like ocean air and the herbs that grow by the seaside. And Frédéric Malle’s line is filled with modern classics, because M. Malle invites perfumers at the height of their powers to create for him, using only the finest materials.
TWR OK, the aliens have landed to whisk you away in their spaceship forever, due to weight restrictions they will ONLY allow you three perfume bottles on board, which three to do you grab from your dressing table?
KP Well, depending on the day…the hour…the very minute the aliens land, my choice could change, but right this second I would end up with Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady, Amouage Homage and Bruno Acampora Musc.
The top video is Katie’s latest post on Thierry Mugler’s Alien revamp, but if you search on her site you can read/listen to all of the above reviewed. I also like the Fume Finder idea where she lists ideas on what perfumes to start your collection with if you really don’t know what you want.
Katie’s blog is here
The perfume Youtube channel is here