Fiction and Fragrance


CPL Aromas have recently had the pleasure of working with world renowned author Joanne Harris, perhaps best known for her novel Chocolat. Joanne is set to release her new novel ‘The Strawberry Thief’, which follows the characters from Chocolat, on the 4th April 2019 published by the Orion Publishing Group. 

Joanne has a passion for fragrances and has openly spoke about her synaesthesia and her fascination for aromas which is effortlessly translated in her work. The fascination of smells she holds is uncanny, and her ability to convey a fragrance and mood through words is sought after.

The use of aromas in her writing led Joanne and her publishers to an exciting addition, choosing to work with CPL Aromas to create a special fine fragrance inspired by an extract from the novel. With an array of perfumers working in the UK and globally it seemed a perfect fit. The UK perfumery team were ‘thrilled to work with Joanne’ and create fragrances inspired by the soon to be released novel ‘The Strawberry Thief.

There is an entirely different language used when describing fragrances and is notoriously difficult, the tone uses musical notes and parallels, a poem of sorts. Joanne shows off her skills in the extract describing numerous scents that blend together and the rich, raw materials that combine to create the Xocoatl drink. Not only does she talk of the materials in their current state but the aromas they release through the cooking and blending processes, transforming them from independent scents to the combination of a rich, smooth and spicy concoction full of heat and nostalgia.

The final fragrance chosen by Joanne to accompany the release of ‘The Strawberry Thief’ was a creation by CPL Aromas Senior Technical Perfumer, Tim Gage. Like Joanne in the extract, Tim was able to encompass all the nuances of scent embedded in the passage. From warming spices of nutmeg, to hints of animalic notes such as ambergris and castoreum with frankincense and amber type notes adding a complexity to the fragrance. These tones come to rest on sweet creamy accords like tonka, vanilla and deep sandalwood, whilst Sichuan pepper and bergamot bring a vibrant sparkle to the final alluring mixture.

This collaboration has been one of excitement and has deepened the understanding of the relationship between words and scents. ‘The Strawberry Thief’ by Joanne Harris provides a wonderful setting and atmosphere with a delightful fragrance by CPL Aromas to compliment it. Now to read the entirety of the book…

The Strawberry Thief 9781409170754 a2


 Photo Credit:  Kyte Photography