Tallulah Jane Naturals: Interview and Perfume Review

Hey Hey Gang,

I hope this finds you happy and well. Funny thing is no matter how awful things get, they will get better soon enough. You can depend on it. Look at me, on Perfume Posse again. Woo Hoo! I am Portia from AustralianPerfumeJunkies and I’d love it if you’d come check us out.

Back in January I was trolling the net and I stumbled upon the Tallulah Jane Naturals fragrance line from NYC. Intrigued, I ordered a set of samples and loved the presentation, very pink and luminous but in a recycled looking box, and then promptly forgot about them. Trying to make some order out of the nightmare that my samples have become they resurfaced and now they are front and centre. I’ve drained my sample of their namesake Tallulah and just about through the other two. This fragrance line is like crack in technicolour smellovision, and I am totally loving it.

Not content to just smell of Tallulah Jane Naturals, I wanted some of the inside skinny. The upshot being that I begged Eleanor Jane, Tallulah Jane Naturals founder and perfumer, to do an email interview. She has kindly consented and here you go…

Tell us about young Eleanor please, where you came from, family, siblings, poignant or helped create who you are moments?
Although I’ve been established in New York City for many years now I’m a Brit by birth. I was born on the southern coast of England but moved to London with my family when I was quite young. I still have my mum and my brother back home and try to visit as often as I can get over.
I have a wonderfully supportive husband who not only allows himself to be my guinea pig for new formulas but also helps with many of the creative and administrative aspects of running a small, family business.
Together we have a beautiful little boy who loves all little boy things! Trains, planes, bugs, mud. And even though he ends most days in dire need of a bath he also has a particular and refined side to him that makes him an excellent little helper in the perfume studio.

How did you become interested in fragrance?
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had a love affair with scent and from a very young age fancied myself a perfumer. My Grandmum still lived on the south coast, in Brighton, and I would often take the train down to visit her. In the garden out back she had great thickets of rose bushes that would produce such beautifully fragrant blossoms. I would spend my afternoons picking the petals and creating tinctures and rose water that I would spritz everywhere I could! My Grandmum seemed to be a big fan of my concoctions but who knows, maybe she was just abiding her overly enthusiastic granddaughter!

What qualifications do you have as a perfumer?
Although I attend every seminar, workshop and industry event I can I am largely self-taught. I spent many, many years just making product for myself and didn’t really have any intention of going public with my experiments. I guess I started taking the thought of launching a perfume house seriously after receiving such great feedback from friends and family who received more than their fair share of my fragrances for every gifting occasion imaginable.
I’ve pored over every perfume book ever written and have studied with and corresponded intensely with a wide range of perfumers over my career and find the shared knowledge to be invaluable in expanding my understanding of scent and developing different approaches to evolving my craft.

Who were and are your mentors and inspirations?
I’ve always had a big crush on Serge Lutens! Not only for the perfumes he created with Christopher Sheldrake, which are some of my all time favorites, but also for his artistic direction, fashion imagery and branding genius. He was one of the first to really understand how fine art could have a profound influence in expanding the beauty product experience.

Who is your favourite independant perfumer, other than yourself, and why?
In the natural category there are some amazing artisans that are making their mark. I’m currently loving the perfumes that Laurie Stern produces under the Velvet and Sweet Pea moniker. She has really created some of the loveliest florals I’ve ever experienced and she’s also one of the sweetest perfumers I’ve ever met. I’m also a big fan of Anya McCoy who releases her creations as Anya’s Garden. Not only is she one of the most gifted artists working today but she’s such an incredible advocate for natural perfumery as well as a tremendous source of knowledge and inspiration. Between running the Natural Perfumers Guild and teaching aspiring perfumers as an instructor and blogging prolifically on all things natural perfume, she is a huge asset to the community.

Eleanor Jane

Why does Tallulah Jane focus on naturals, do you or have you ever used synthetics?
Like I said, I’ve loved scent ever since I was a very young girl. I used to love running around the fragrance counters with my girlfriends and sample all the latest perfumes from Mary Quant or Cacharel or YSL or Chanel as well as revisiting all the classics. Unfortunately, as I got older I began having adverse reactions to most synthetic perfumes and had to abandon wearing scent altogether for a very long time. I always missed it though and was thus inspired to begin creating my own natural-based formulas which would one day become Tallulah Jane.
Even though I’ve studied and experimented with synthetics in order to better understand the olfactory space I have never used synthetic ingredients in any of our formulas and never will. That we are a natural perfumery is a core tenet of our brand and is something that spend a lot of time and energy maintaining.

What do you have in development that you’d like to share with our readers?
To be honest we’ve been so busy producing our current lines that we haven’t been able to enter production on a whole range of other products that we have in the works. We’ve completed the formulation phase for candles, room sprays and even a collection of gorgeous soaps but haven’t had the time to finalize packaging and production workflow. We are extremely excited about all the new lines though and are champing at the bit to get them out in the world so stay tuned.

TALLULAH 2009. I spent half a day wearing this uber white floral grande dame made modern before I looked at the notes. I was seriously under the impression that it was a Casablanca Lily soliflor, and was LOVING IT SICK. Of course I was completely wrong so here’s the list according to Fragrantica.
Top Notes: Ginger and Bergamot
Middle Notes: Tuberose, Jasmine and Clary Sage
Bottom Notes: Frankincense, Elemi and Cedarwood
Tallulah harks back to the glorious era of big fat sexy white floral glamour fragrances. She is a conqueror but not a wall of scent, rather a gently wafting seduction that is entrancing. If you are looking for another Fracas then this is too subtle for you. The sillage is good, your company will notice you are fragrant and delicious but the next table and the people at the bar will remain undisturbed, and nobodies dinner will be ruined. This would be a fabulous going dancing scent yet even if you are only rocking faded denim and a t-shirt you will feel a certain movie-starness added to your demeanor. As it warms up you can smell the change, underneath the white flowers you get a deep and warm fizz from the resins and wood underneath the continuing tuberose and jasmine which remain fresh throughout. I get about one and a half hours from my first spritz before it become too skin scent-ish to notice but the second spray laid on top lasts for hours, quietly wafting away still at the 6 hour point. I still smell good, very good. This is a very classy fragrance, in the best and truest sense without any mockery. This is my next FB, the sample is as dry as the day it was made and I am yearning for more.

Thanks for rambling through my fragrant madness with me,
Do you have a favourite natural perfumer? I’d love to read your thoughts.
I hope to see you soon,

Portia xx

  • Jillie says:

    Portia, this sounds so lovely, and I want it!

    Here in the UK, there is a little company called Essentially Me, which was founded by the wonderful Alec Lawless, who tragically died a couple of months ago, He was an amazing perfumer and created really gorgeous natural perfumes whhich defied all the assumptions that some people have about them being weak and uninteresting. Alec is a great loss to the perfume community, and I hope his work will continue. There are generous sample sets available, and they make a good introduction to his line.

    Thanks again for writing so beautifully about this little treasure – lillies are my fad at the moment, and the fact that it makes you think it’s all about that flower is enough for me to hanker after it!

    • Hey Jillie,
      I am looking up Alec Lawless and Essentially Me now.
      You will love Tallulah if you love Casablanca lillies, you will love it SICK.
      Thanks for the tip,
      Portia xx

      • Jillie says:

        Thank you too! Just received my Guerlain AA Lys Soleia, bought because I love Stargazers and Casablancas – it’s nice, and quite true but (sob) gives me a headache …

  • Love your writing! Also love the idea of all natural so I ordered some samples yesterday & can’t wait! Thanks Portia!!

  • This scent sounds yummy, Portia. I’ll make a note to try these. BTW, great interview!

  • Ann says:

    Wow, Portia, how neat is this?! Love it! Sounds like a must-try ASAP.

    • Thanks Ann,
      Here to provide lemmings. Seriously though, I love it when someone is told they can’t and finds a way to, like Eleanor has done with wearing perfume. It is seriously gorgeous too,
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    Extremely cool interview, Portia! The only thing cooler would’ve been if you could’ve done a video. I am now thoroughly IN LOVE with your videos!

    xoxoxo :Devil: