Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent

Somerset House


21 JUN 2017 - 23 SEP 2017
Exhibit content
Exhibit set-up
Text panels
Visitor recommended
Overall visit

Multi-sensory exhibition featuring ten extraordinary perfumes and their pioneering creators, who have radically changed our perceptions of fragrance over the last 20 years. Discover a vibrant new perfume scene, the contemporary cult perfumes shaking up scent culture and the unseen works of art worn on our skin. Contemporary perfume provocateurs are dispensing with traditional high gloss communication concepts, gender boundaries and conventional notions of good taste. From the self-taught to the classically trained, the exhibition explores perfumers reworking their palette of ingredients to construct original and outrageous signatures which assault all of the senses. Seeking out visceral, surprising and sometimes unsavoury smells such as smoke and sweat, they evoke unexpected places or moments, rather than simply trying to mask our own odours. No longer anonymous figures working behind the scenes for big brands; the selected perfumers have opened up and are celebrating their craft with a global online community of fumeheads. Providing insights into processes, engaging in discussions and even taking inspiration from customers, they have offered a much more accessible approach to perfumery that’s unlike anything seen before.

Visitor Reviews


EleanorJames reviewed

Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent
@ Somerset House, London, England
Something successfully different
28 Aug, 2017

This exhibition is unlike any I've been to before. It is really worth the visit, simply for the experience. Each perfume was presented in a new sensory way, and I learnt about coming across smells in real life and what makes a perfume a perfume. It is not full of information plaques, and you can make notes on a card collected at the beginning and see just how your description compares to the professionals' at the end of each section, which let's you explore the way in which you personally understand scents and smells.