Interviews Wine-Inspired Perfumes: An Interview with Kelly+Jones

Wine-Inspired Perfumes: An Interview with Kelly+Jones

11/05/16 03:34:23 (25 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Kelly & Jones Notes of Pinot Grigio

While some perfumers are inspired by history or travel, Kelly Jones of new American perfume brand Kelly+Jones was inspired by a simple sip of wine. A perfume lover who had owned her own fragrance boutique in Arizona, Kelly attended a wine tasting wearing a vanilla scent only to recognize that 1) according to the sommelier, fragrances are typically not worn during wine tasting so as to avoid tainting the experience and 2) wearing aroma during wine tasting could actually enhance the wine tasting experience by helping to bring out specific facets of the wine. Kelly's finely-tuned esthetic instincts won out and soon she was developing aromas that represented aromatic facets of wine, not at all attempts to replicate them but attempts to create fragrances that could enhance the wine tasting experience. Here Marlen chats with Kelly about her background, brand vision and new products. At the end of the article discover how to use a shopping discount expressly for Fragrantica readers and how to be one of ten lucky US-based recipients of sample flights from Kelly's two collections!

Wine Vine

MARLEN: Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I'm excited to introduce you to our international Fragrantica readers.

KELLY: Cheers! It's so nice to be here - thank you! I've been a long-time fan of Fragrantica and love how you educate and inspire others on our sensorial world.

 

MARLEN: Your website - www.kellyandjones.com - does a great job of telling your brand story, especially your BLOG, ABOUT and FAQ pages. For example, you explain how you understood that wearing fragrance to a wine tasting is largely discouraged and so set about to craft aromas that would compliment the wine tasting experience. Moreover, I think a lot of perfume lovers are also wine lovers due to the similarities in the way we experience and communicate about the two mediums. And I see that you refer to yourself as a "scent sommelier". What is your history as a perfumer? How about your history with wine?

KELLY: I am definitely passionate about connecting the worlds of wine and perfume - genres that too often are forbidden to cross-pollinate. You're really not supposed to wear perfume while drinking wine because it interferes with the art of the winemaker. But that's also where the magic begins. 

Kelly Jones

I've had a very unconventional path into fragrance. I grew up in Detroit; I love cars (ok I'm a real gearhed!) and grew my career in the auto industry. But on a business trip to Tokyo I saw a cherry blossom tree outside of the board room window. It was as if I could smell the petals falling, telling me to go be creative and follow my nose. I started studying perfumery after hours, and one day I put it all on the line - I quit my safe and steady job, and opened a custom scent bar called Salud in Tucson, Arizona. 

I learned so much in my storefront about perfumery. When the recession hit, I had to bootstrap. But I got a call from Firmenich - they invited me to come to interview on the east coast. It was an opportunity I couldn't pass by: the chance to work inside a fragrance house. So I'm proud that I was able to get experience in the industry as an "outsider", and I met so many wonderful and inspiring people there.

My wine experience began before that, when I lived in Los Angeles. I used to drive up the coast to the wineries on weekends and started taking the tastings more seriously. Most of my expertise is in the West Coast varietals. I also started connecting with chefs, mixing blends that were inspired by their recipes, and of course we always talked about wine. Now, living in NYC, I'm able to be more immersed in Old World wines. 

Kelly & Jones Notes of Riesling

MARLEN: Kelly, what were some of the challenges you faced as a perfumer?

KELLY: I now have a sommelier style collection of books on wine - wine encyclopedias, tasting guides and a pile of wine country maps. I devoured the wine aroma wheel- developed by UC Davis to describe the notes of wine. I also had guidance from a friend who was a believer in my concept - and a Master Sommelier. To have her on my Evaluation team from the start was such magic. When I determined the notes of each varietal that I wanted to capture, then I had to translate them into the perfumery world and parallel ingredients.

One challenge was the patience and persistence that it took to build my team and make sure that I balanced out the wine and perfume perspectives. I had a few wine bloggers get quite upset with the concept. I had to really believe in the idea, because some oenophiles really did perceive it as a danger to the tasting room, at first. But now I'm at the point where the concept is widely accepted, since I've been able to build that story on the sensoriality. However, I still believe that you should NOT wear any scent to a serious tasting. It's the same thing as being scent free when you're evaluating in the booths at a fragrance house. Now, my line is at a perfect point where it's used as inspiration for celebrating and learning about wine. I just got back from Central Coast California, where I worked with one of the region's best female winemakers - Clarissa Nagy. The inspiration that we exchanged was amazing and incredibly fun!

Kelly & Jones Notes of Merlot

MARLEN: Let's talk about the current fragrance line up from Kelly & Jones - the Reserve scents (pictured above and below). Can we start with you telling us a little about the reds? What makes each of them unique and how do they relate to the wines that inspired them and the locales you paired them with?

KELLY: My RESERVE line is my new vintage. Just as a winemaker creates varietals for different harvests - it was time for me to harvest a new interpretation of the wines. Notes of Merlot is a luscious, soft and subtle essence with Rhubarb, Red Currant, Mission Fig and Candied Violet (oh, I love how this also pairs with a rare Ruché wine!).  The Notes of Cabernet is great for winter. Pair it with your wine, next to a roaring fireplace. It has Pink Peppercorn, Black Cherry, Tobacco Flower and Vintage Leather. 

Kelly & Jones Notes of Cabernet

MARLEN: And there's a rosé as well?

KELLY: The Notes of Rosé was ideated in the winter - who says you can only drink Rosé in the summertime? So I worked on a Provence style, bright and happy scent - with Blackcurrant, Damask Rose, Herbes de Provence and White Suede.

 

MARLEN: And how about the whites? It's funny because I'm a big Chardonnay fan and honestly I enjoyed the Notes of Chardonnay fragrance the most!

KELLY: I love it! The Chardonnay is the wine that inspired it all, the wine I was sipping when I got in trouble for wearing vanilla in the tasting room. It captures the art of "toasting" the wine barrel to up the oak flavor. The fragrance has honeydew melon, toasted oak, vanilla blossom and creme brulee. Notes of Pinot Grigio is a bright mix of yuzu, starfruit, green apple and camellia. And Notes of Riesling is like being in an orchard with sunlight warming your skin - ethereal white peach, anjou pear, bergamot and raspberry leaf. 

Kelly & Jones Notes of Chardonnay

MARLEN: On your website you mention that these fragrances can be worn by both men and women but that the Pinot Grigio and Cabernet are suggested for men. What is it about these two wines/scents that seemed to be more "masculine"? Is it tricky to talk about gender when we're discussing aromas inspired by, essentially, grapes?  

KELLY: This was so unexpected, but about 40% of my market is men. I think it's because my line is so clearly linked to something that we can olfactively relate to. If you love Chardonnay, the Notes of Chardonnay will certainly resonate with you. When I do wine events, men always seem to have a glass of leathery, tobacco essenced Cabernet and when they smell the spice of the corresponding scent, they become intrigued. These wines tend to have the most freshness and the most spiciness, which is an olfactive category appealing to men. But we should all drink whatever we want, and wear whatever we want. Break the rules!

 

MARLEN: Kelly, can these fragrances be blended and customized by the wearer?

KELLY: Each fragrance is already so complex that I don't necessarily recommend that. But you can definitely wear them while sipping and switching up various wines. For example, pair the Notes of Pinot Grigio with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Or the Notes of Cabernet with a gorgeous Tempranillo to experience different spices. 

Kelly & Jones Blends

MARLEN: Speaking of blending and customization, tell us about your newest project launching this autumn, the Kelly & Jones Blends oils. I'm personally obsessed with the Oak oil.

KELLY: Sommeliers and wine makers use a tool called "the wine aroma wheel". It is a reference for all of the aromas of wine, everything from orchard fruits to bell pepper to cardamom. The main starting point for olfactive categories in wine aromas include Citrus, Fruit, Floral, Earth and Oak. I was inspired to allow my clients become a Scent Sommelier - so I created these individual essences to mix and match, and also as a tool to learn more about wine. The Oak is the best seller! The Blends also capture the "terroir" of the wine world. The true natural essences that are special to the earth where the grapes grow. And, these are small roll-on oils that you can take to wine country or to your favorite wine bar.

 

MARLEN: Are there any plans to launch ancillary products such as soaps, lotions or candles?

KELLY: I've had so many requests for home fragrance and have run a few limited edition candles - we will definitely have more in that category very soon; I'll be launching a few new candle fragrances at Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn in December. I have some other surprising products coming soon as well - stay tuned.

 

MARLEN: Thank you so much for telling us more about Kelly & Jones! And thank you for agreeing to share some samples with our readers! We wish you all the best of luck and look forward to more innovative products from the brand!

KELLY: Raising a glass to you, Fragrantica! Cheers!

wine vine

Kelly has been kind enough to offer Fragrantica readers 15% off purchases with use of coupon code FRAGRANTICA at check out (expires 12/31/16).

Additionally she is sharing 5 RESERVE Sample Flights (a $25 USD value) AND 5 BLENDS Sample Flights (not available online yet, also a $25 USD value) to US-based readers who leave a comment below by November 15th, 2016. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via Fragrantica private message.

Image of the author

 

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Managing Editor & Columnist

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as PlayboyMen’s JournalMen’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to BeautyAlmanac.com and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting www.MarlenHarrison.com.

 

 



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perfumecritic
perfumecritic

Winners have been contacted : ) Happy sniffing!

Nov
25
2016
Antonia99
Antonia99

Another wonderful article from the Fragrantica team. I would love to try these. Pick me!

Nov
07
2016
mamaeko
mamaeko

Thank you for this opportunity! Wine perfume - sounds great!

Nov
07
2016
robinw47
robinw47

I am a wine lover who has taken many wine classes, as well as a passionate perfume lover. In my classes I was taught never to mix the two. I am so happy to find out about a line that allows you to indulge in both!

I especially love reds and rose'. I would be thrilled if I got the opportunity to sample your fragrances!

Nov
06
2016
Mr_mustache101
Mr_mustache101

Absolutely love the idea behind these! Super interested in trying them eventually.

Nov
06
2016
eirenelisa
eirenelisa

Very cool. I'd love to try these, especially the Notes of Merlot.

Nov
06
2016
I.D.Adam
I.D.Adam

Well thought out fragrance notes and I'd be eager to try. I didn't see a port fragrance but it should be considered must have in the lineup.

Nov
06
2016
deruitem
deruitem

I didnt like the idea at first but after reading about it! Notes being used so great

Nov
06
2016
rufflesbows
rufflesbows

I really enjoyed reading this article! I love wine and perfume and I would be very excited to try this line.

Nov
05
2016
LorieMarie
LorieMarie

Fascinating...

Nov
05
2016
NathalieMireille
NathalieMireille

This is some fascinating stuff - thanks, Kelly, for the chance to try these! Despite their masculine recommendation, Cabernet and Pinot Grigio sound most interesting to me - but I certainly don't feel limited by biology in my scent choices...

Nov
05
2016
redskyatnight
redskyatnight

Thanks so much for pursuing a chancy dream and bringing us these scents! Even though I'm female, the Merlot and Cabernet sound the most attractive to me. Can't wait to try them out.

Nov
05
2016
UnearthlyApothecary
UnearthlyApothecary

I love the correlation between wine and perfume, both are aromatic and indulgent. Wonderful article!

Nov
05
2016
Perfumeaddict777
Perfumeaddict777

I love this article. Wine and perfume have so much in common and I'm one of the fragrantica members that love wine tasting and trying to find the notes. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Nov
05
2016
Carestinus
Carestinus

Great news!! Have you tried any of O Boticario scents regarding wine such as Barolo or Malbec? those have been for years in the market, it would be nice to see whether this is a different take on wine or a complementary one!!! Congratulations Kelly!!!

Nov
05
2016
tandaina
tandaina

Interesting, and sort of surprised it hasn't been done more extensively before!

Nov
05
2016
PerfumeEmpress
PerfumeEmpress

I'm a boozy frag lover. I love wine and other alcoholic drinks (no, that does not necessarily make me a drunk) and I love perfume. The idea of mixing the two is nothing short of addictive.

I will certainly keep these scents in mind.

Nov
05
2016
aglow
aglow

Cheers to Riesling!

Nov
05
2016
ekoeko
ekoeko

FINALLY!!!!!!
As a sworn wine lover, I've been waiting for fragrances like those since can't remember when :)
Thank you for this giveaway!

Nov
05
2016
sweaterfreak
sweaterfreak

Kelly, I became a fan of yours while watching you on HSN with Marilyn Miglin this past year. I hope that your visits will continue, and I look forward to being introduced to your brand.

Nov
05
2016
smellagent
smellagent

Hey I have tried one of her brands perfumes and really liked it a lot. Would love to try more. Put my name in the hat.

Nov
05
2016
ademcjade
ademcjade

These all sound amazing!

Nov
05
2016
relle
relle

This concept is innovative and well needed. As a lover of perfumes and wines, (fine to modest priced bottles, both perfumes and wines) I've often wondered what scents to pair with my menu for a home cooked dinner party or an outing. I've wanted my perfume to compliment the rest of the olfactory mix. (Off topic-- Sublime went fine with my spicy lamb chops and big Cab, last weekend). The ability to customize those scents is ground breaking. I'm very excited to try them! I lift my glass high for a toast to Kelly & Jones for a heart-felt congratuatory toast. Please enter me in the generous giveaway of the flight samples.

Nov
05
2016
Meremere
Meremere

A Scent Sommelier..such a distinguished and completely accurate title! What an intriguing article and it makes complete sense that we can use our personal fragrances to enhance our gustatory sense!

Nov
05
2016
KajiraSuzanne
KajiraSuzanne

I like this idea, since wines are fragrant, why not make wine inspired perfumes?

Nov
05
2016

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