If you think about some of the leading names in perfumery many package their products in the form of a branded uniform, often monochromatic and minimal, which perhaps sprang from Coco Chanel’s iconic black and cream box. At Czech & Speake, something that makes us a little different from the rest is our proud use of colour. Our product shape stays true to the original antique pharmacy bottle form, while the design of each perfumes packaging has been developed independently to tell the unique story of each scent, and this is significantly expressed through colour.
When we inhale a scent our mind makes connections with visual interpretations, which you might assume is largely down to life experiences and our cultures frequent associations with physical objects and smell. For example the zesty aroma of a lemon triggers visions of yellow. Although this is a factor, our brains can in fact be far more complex than that, as a research study published by PLOS One showed how individuals from a range of cultures consistently linked smells with certain colours, and when unexpected colour-smell pairings were made, the experience was noted as unpleasant. These compatible connections suggest that our sense of scent is working on a neurological level.
With all this in mind, we are passionate that our sense of smell has the capacity to be extremely visual, which is why a defining colour was chosen to tell the story of each niche Czech & Speake scent. We’ve selected some of our most evocative fragrances with details of its inspiration relating to colour.
The scent of Spanish Cedar was inspired by our founders childhood memories of holidays to Menorca. The formula aimed to capture visions of sandy coves and sun bleached pines, and the key component to achieve this was to incorporate the unforgettable resinous aroma from the cedar tree. The woody notes in this fragrance produce a scent that is musky by nature, which in research was proven to be widely associated with orange and brown. The tangerine orange box is as radiant as the Mediterranean sun, paired with an amber toned bottle to embody the resinous, earthy aroma.
Vétiver Vert personifies Czech & Speake as a brand associated with the classics and our founders interests in traditional perfumery. The modern interpretation of a notorious masculine fragrance is made up of a majority of green components, with the leading note of vetiver – a form of bunchgrass. The study suggested that a vegetable scent is most consistently linked to the colour green, while nature is innate, and the fresh, raw smells of the wild are inbuilt. An almost entirely green box and bottle seemed the most appropriate way to represent this lush scent from the green fragrance family.
Our most iconic No.88 is an exception to Czech & Speake’s colourful fragrance range, as the bottle and box are packaged in the achromatic colours (colours without hues) of black and white. The woody fragrance named after the address of the first Czech & Speake showroom is the most complex, containing a range of contrasting notes that produce a deep and mysterious scent. The dark exterior alludes to the hidden and unknown as well as power and control, which perhaps is why it has remained our most popular; it is a scent that can be interpreted individually, encouraging unique visual perceptions and provides confidence to each wearer.
Cover illustration by Maria Yugen.