What has a beer got to do with the world of fine perfumes? One might indeed wonder. Yet this is exactly what we found out at the launch event of Wychwood Brewery newest ale, Hobgoblin India Pale Ale (IPA) held at recently opened French perfume shop Jovoy.
Being very fresh from my beginner perfume course which I attended the previous week at the Experimental Perfume Club (and absolutely loved!), I was particularly keen on finding out more on hops and their fragrance, although having used Italian hop flowers in my soap in the past, I wasn’t sure the smell was going to be a wearable one.
Wychwood Brewery blends old traditions & new innovations to produce beers with real character.
The evening had an interesting argument behind it: hops can be made into essential oils, which in turn, have strong smells and aromas. Could these be also used, as well as aromatising an IPA, also to create fragrances?
We were able to smell each individual hop oil that has gone into making the Hobgoblin IPA, from UK hops (Fuggles, Golding and Styrian) to American ones (including Chinook). We were then challenged to make our own ‘hop perfume’ by selecting a number of hop oils from the above and mixing them in whatever proportion we thought appropriate bearing in mind how a perfume is built (the ‘top’, the ‘heart’ and the ‘base’, things I actually learnt last week and wasn’t aware of before).
I surely disappointed myself not making it to the top 3 of the evening, but nevermind… hops are too herby and musky for my taste… I’d rather drink them! So what about the Hobgoblin new tipple launched on the night (of which copious amount were distributed). I actually quite liked it. I did not find the hops overpowering, indeed it was a full bodied, not too bitter ale with citrus notes, perfectly drinkable even on its own (the italian in me would have liked some food with my alchool however).
Ambergris, ambergrease or grey amber, is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull grey or blackish colour, produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. Freshly-produced ambergris has a marine, fecal odour.
During the evening, I also had the opportunity to smell ambergris, the most expensive frangrance ingredient on earth, and find out more about it. Jovoy has a few ambergris items, kept under secure locks of course, and we could smell them, and they actually really stink but when they are distilled, they do become beautifully nuanced base fragrances for perfumes. Jovoy’s Ambergris is ethically harvested hence the high prize and rarity of it, and the story behind is quite interesting.
I do like the brand itself, it’s eye catching and kind of medieval inspired, although it might aim at a younger target perhaps. A recent collaboration by the Wychwood brewery is with Burts, crisps producer. I was also sent a bunch of crisps to try, and amongst these, the special edition Hobgoblins: a Spit Roast Steak flavour and a Ham and Pickle (‘Hamageddon‘), which go perfect of course with a beer, and in fact, the IPA. My favourite would be the ham, I found the steak a little too dry and salty. Burts also make alternative crisps for the health conscious such as lentils twirls and quinoa cheesy bites, which I have been buying for some time and really like, particularly the lentils curls.