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Sep 24, 2013 >> #5MinutesWith Olfactif’s Tara Swords and Sabine Poncet Hernandez

We love all things local, and Olfactif’s September collection combined two Chicago labels. First, the brand itself: Olfactif is a Chicago-based fragrance delivery service—the first of its kind. Creator Tara Swords hand selects a variety of scents each month and sends them to subscribers to try. Though the curated perfumes come from all over, Swords selected a fellow Chicagoan’s—Pleasant Promenade by Sabine Poncet Hernandez of S Poncet—for the September edition of Olfactif. Swords and Hernandez took a break from the spritzing and sniffing to answer our questions.

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G&F: What was your inspiration for the Pleasant Promenade scent?
Sabine: Pleasant Promenade was inspired by one of my mother’s watercolors. The artwork represents an oak tree forest in the midst of autumn in the Loire Valley of France. The scent is a mosaic of olfactory memories from promenades in the woods near our family home during the fall, and I am now sharing these memories with all of you.

G&F: Paint us a picture of the scent using words.
Sabine: You may recognize the scent of damp earth from the beet extract, humus, and violet leaf oils. The forest is wet and the air is cool. You feel serene smelling the oak moss and the wood notes. I picked patchouli, sandalwood, and galbanum (a resin) to create this effect. Pears are ripening in nearby yards and roses are fading, and to capture this I added essential oils of pear, honey, amber, red berries, and ancient rose. To sum up: If you’ve ever gone to any woods in the midwest during the fall after it rains, this would smell almost like Pleasant Promenade. 

G&F: Tara, how did you discover Sabine’s perfume?
Tara: I connected with Sabine through another Olfactif partner. When I discovered that Sabine was based in Chicago and had her own line, I was really excited. Pleasant Promenade, in particular, grabbed me right away. I first tried it many months ago and decided right away that I would include it in an autumn collection.

G&F: Being a local company, what is the significance of working with someone else local?
Tara: I’m thrilled to have found an independent perfumer who is as talented and clear-eyed in her vision as Sabine, and the fact that she’s in Chicago is pure serendipity for me. Anybody who has visited Chicago knows that this is a city with a vibrant arts and culture scene, so it was only a matter of time before we started producing the kind of olfactory art that you see in Europe and on the coasts. Sabine is an artist that Chicago can be proud of.

G&F: What occasion would you rock this scent for?
Tara: Pleasant Promenade is actually really versatile, but my ideal occasion to wear it is on a crisp, sunny, autumn weekend. 

G&F: Who do you envision wearing the scent?
Sabine:  Anyone who enjoys life. If you like to sip a glass of good wine by the fireplace, if you enjoy listening to your kids laughing, or if it thrills you to discover new horizons, then you will enjoy Pleasant Promenade.  After all, we have only one life to live, so we might as well make the most of it.

Read more about Olfactif’s September scent Pleasant Promenade at