What is a ‘Nose’

Perfumery is an esoteric art. That’s to say, it’s mastered by only a very small handful of people with highly specialised training.

In perfume speak, those individuals are called ‘noses’ (or ‘nez’ in French).

As the name implies, a nez is prized by how good their nose is. A good nose must go through years, sometimes even decades of training. Most of them are trained chemists. They work in labs. And they’re constantly researching new scents.

But for all the scientific precision involved in perfumery, it remains as much an art as anything else. Because when perfumers search for new fragrances they’re driven by emotion and feeling.  

The smell of fallen leaves. The smell of laundry drying in the breeze. Or even the smell of cotton-candy.

All of these trigger rich memory associations. And it is this exact sense-memory trigger that all great noses hope to capture in the fragrances they design. Their ultimate goal? To evoke a warm feeling, sensual mood, or beautiful memory from the very first spray.

It’s no small task to master this sensorial journey. And maybe that’s precisely why there are supposedly more astronauts than perfumers out there.

Kevin Shroff at work as top perfumer at International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF).

We sat down with Kevin Shroff, one of the perfumers behind Waft, to discuss passion, inspiration, and all things scent. Shroff is one of the top perfumers at International Flavors & Fragrances, one of the world’s leading fragrance houses.

According to Shroff, a perfumer in the literal sense is someone who designs fragrances. But the reality is also a lot more complex than just that…

We geeked out and asked Shroff a few more personal questions about his scent passion. His answers…

Favourite ingredient?


Most expensive ingredient in your lab?


Most common ingredients you work with?

Citrus and musk.

To find out why these ingredients made Shroff’s selection, check out the full video here!


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