Featuring David Pybus and his experiences on “Dragon’s Den”
Report on the Christmas meeting, 6th December 2007
Twenty-one members and friends met this evening for our traditional Christmas get-together. The evening was, by our President’s admission, a “pot pourri”! To start everything off, Rhona had brought a seasonal selection of goodies (the real things) for us to smell. Representing “a Danish Christmas” was the following:
• satsumas, which are traditionally placed in everyone’s Christmas stocking, these were fresh and orangey
• cinnamon bark sticks, which are used in cooking many traditional Christmas cakes, biscuits and puddings and of course also used in fragrancing
• a piece of stollen cake, without which no Scandinavian Christmas would be complete, the comments about the scents in this ranged from “dried fruit” and “cake” to “marzipan” which of course has its lovely strong almond note
• a piece of orange studded with cloves (just 3 or 4 cloves) – these are traditionally made into decorations to hang on the Christmas tree and the scent of the cloves were surprisingly strong and balanced with the orange scent very well
• the last one was a fragrance, the scent of chocolate and nuts, which are eaten in great quantity at Christmas!
The scene had been set, we went on to smell a further four Christmas scents which were provided in fragrance form, two were similar to above:
• satsuma – a blend of mandarin and lemon essential oils, simply enhanced with small amounts of aroma chemicals such as mandarin aldehyde and citral, made by comparing the blend to actual satsuma peels
• fir needles – the evocative scent of a Christmas tree, but with a green, vegetal top note reminiscent of freshly crushed fir tree needles
• “Snowball”, a scent capturing the mixture of sweet, vanilla-like advocaat with fizzy lemonade and lime notes, reminiscent of the popular Christmas drink
• marzipan – based on benzaldehyde but more “sugary”, some suggested this was in fact the maraschino cherry on top of the snowball (and were smelling the two strips together!), or of course the strong almond scent of marzipan used to coat Christmas cakes or baked in the middle of stollen cakes such as that shown above
Our main feature of the evening, David Pybus came to talk to us all about his Dragon’s Den experience. David has, for a long while been known as the “Indiana Jones” of the fragrance world, seeking out forgotten recipes lost in time, and David’s dream was to recreate some of these scents for today’s market, and launch them as a complete set of fragrances. David could see the opportunity by enlisting the help of some of the “Dragons” to make his dream come true and make “Scents of Time”, David’s company, a reality. All he had to do was convince the “Dragons” to make an investment! He proceeded to tell us in his usual entertaining style how he achieved this, became one of the “winners” on the show and got the investors’ backing. The website is up and running, and the first few “Scents of Time” are available to order just in time for this Christmas.
David read out a lovely quote by Goethe, he says this has inspired him and says it’s true – “there’s no such thing as luck, you make your own luck in this world”. David also said he had to learn so many new things, for instance, if you wanted to launch a new product, would you know where to get a bar code?! Where do bar codes come from?! He Googled “bar codes – the getting of…” Well, isn’t that just something you never even think about? But someone has to issue these bar codes and David says you have to buy them in blocks of a thousand so he has much scope for his many Scents of Time!
Each of the Scents of Time come with a booklet describing the inspiration / research behind the fragrance, and a full odour description, using David’s lovely idea, he says we are describing something which appeals to the emotions, so it should not be merely top, middle and base notes, he describes them as the “head”, “heart”, and “soul”, how wonderfully evocative!
David also told us some of the successes he has had gaining unusual sales outlets for the Scents of Time – the Past Times shops, cruise ships, even the British Museum – and they have 5 million visitors a year!
If you would like to know more about the Scents of Time, the website is www.scentsoftime.co.uk and for the Dragon’s Den show, www.bbc.co.uk/dragonsden
The Christmas meal had a flavour of the Far East (although traditional turkey and Christmas pudding were also on the menu). We were treated to a Singapore Sling cocktail in the bar before returning to the room for a delicious selection of Indonesian and Malaysian style dishes rounded off with exotic pineapples in rum syrup or tropical fruit salad.