On the scent of perfumer’s digital sweet spots.

British perfumer, Nancy Meiland, has a nose for naturals, her abiding belief that the scents we wear define us and the spaces we inhabit. Her first collection, Paper Leaf, was stocked at Harvey Nichols and made it into style bibles everywhere while, from her Sussex studio, she also creates bespoke scents for her ever-loyal clients. Nancy’s fragrances are the stuff of the most powerful sensory memory, the kind you get lost in; heady, beautiful, rich and transporting.

Yet her trajectory could have been so different. Nancy trained as an actress before following her nose and, but for a chance encounter with perfumer Anastasia Brozler at a party in St James, London, her life may have gone that way; a week later, however, Nancy had taken up as her apprentice. Helping to ‘profile’ clients for bespoke fragrances, she gradually fell in love with the whole heady world of perfume.



These days, she is drawn to raw materials that connect us to place and the natural world. Her process is slow and organic, allowing her formulae – which she creates hundreds of versions of – to take shape of their own accord. And to ensure that the finished article is true to the environment it hails from, she even goes out walking with her scents across the South Downs to ensure that they don’t jar with scents of the natural world.

Here she tells us which book recently made her re-evaluate the human experience; how raving with Jarvis Cocker in the kitchen got her through lockdown; and the app that helps her sneak veggies into every meal – even pudding.

My favourite app...


Food is queen in our house and I’m into vegan, gluten-free recipes wherever possible, as we all feel better. My daughter always tells people I smuggle veggies into anything – even desserts. Guilty as charged. For this reason, I love the Green Kitchen app with recipes from the Green Kitchen book by Luise Vindahl and David Frenkiel.

My favourite blog...


With a spare minute I love to seek out some spiritual wisdom and higher frequency thinking so I tune into blogs from Mystic Mamma.



My Internet hero...


I’m hugely into the teachings of Ram Dass, because of his luminosity and sense of humour. He’s my hero because his spiritual talks and writings from over forty years ago translate to a contemporary audience so well through the medium of the internet and seem more relevant than ever.

My favourite podcast...


Fortunately with Fi and Jane always makes me laugh like a drain. And I love delving into the Desert Island Disc archives while I’m cooking.

My favourite YouTuber...


I follow a weekly update from Costa Rican based astrologer Kaypacha. He’s very solid in his ability/clarity and a light-filled guide in these turbulent times.



My most recent buy online...


A metal detector for my nine-year-old son, Heath.

Last book you downloaded or read...


American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. Every now and then a book comes along that blows the lid off any idea you thought you had around human experience. It’s searingly well-written, deepening your understanding and empathy in a forever-changed way. I’m mid-way through George Elliot’s Middlemarch right now, burying myself in the classics.

Favourite tweeter...


I’m more of a twitcher than a tweeter, truth be told.



Favourite Instagrammer...


I love the photography of @isabelle_menin_photography. I can see/feel/hear my perfumes in many of her photographs – they are playful, free-formed symphonies of the natural world.

Favourite tech gadget...


My ear pods.

The most useful gadget/item on your desk...


My GAIA rollerball as it brings me back into myself when I’m in need of some inner peace.

Most useful digital resource during lockdown...


BBC Bitesize and BBC weather!

First thing/app you look at on your mobile when you wake up/in the morning...


First emails then Instagram but I try to check them before breakfast and respond later when the children are sorted and the dog is walked.



Last thing you binge-watched...


Call My Agent: pre-Covid Paris plus top talent agency with French slebs equals fun and silliness on a plate. Can’t ask for much more!

Favourite brands have you discovered online...


Sessun, The Vampire’s Wife and Liv & Dom.

The best digital advice I've been given...


No digital devices in the bedroom at night!

My screensaver is...


A beach in Nosara, Costa Rica where I travelled with my young family three years ago. I’ll sometimes go to it during my daily practise as my ‘dharana’ – my single focus in meditation. It’s the most heavenly place I’ve ever set foot in.

My standout online memory...


Kitchen rave-ups with Jarvis Cocker in the first lockdown. Also Ki- Gong/Yoga with @clairealexandermoore and online sound baths with @sound.and.space.

My pet online hate is...


Having to accept cookies on every website even if you’ve visited them before.



Do you have any online rules or resolutions...


Family mealtimes, family walks are not for screens. I have a digital detox even if for a few days over the holidays so I’m not connecting with my children on a reduced bandwidth.

The Internet. On balance, a force for good or ill?


On balance for good, but the extreme nature of it and our relationship with it needs to come out of its adolescent phase. We need always to use it to come together for the greater good of humanity and our home planet!

By Nancy Alsop
May 2021

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