Smells make investment scents for TV’s Dragons
AROMATIC ADVENTURER: Perfume world’s Indiana Jones ready to launch range
KNOWN as the Indiana Jones of the perfume world, David Pybus is embarking on his biggest adventure yet. The perfume historian and author, who lives in Sandgate, has been busily building his business since appearing on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den. On the show he came face-toface with the judges as he tried to convince them to invest £80,000 to launch his line of historic perfumes, including scents recreated from Pompeii and the time of Cleopatra. “The world has gone crazy since I was on the show,” he said. “I am a presenter and actor and I do cruise ships and the Edinburgh Festival, so confidence isn’t a problem for me. “But for people who aren’t used to that, the Dragon’s Den experience could be quite scary. “You have to be certain of your product and yourself. I went up those stairs when I was feeling least ready to take them on because it had been such a long day. “They were a bit nasty but as far as I am concerned, I got the best deal.” Judges Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis invested £80,000 in the business in return for 40 per cent of the company shares. Three of the perfumes are set to be on sale this year. For Mr Pybus, 60, who worked at Ashford fragrance company Quest International, now Givaudan, for more than 20 years, this is the break he has been looking for.
He became known as perfume’s Indiana Jones after he was involved in the research on a case of perfumes retrieved from the wreck of the Titanic five years ago. Since then he has followed his nose around the world, searching for aromas with a story. “My treasure isn’t gold or silver, it’s perfume. “When I was researching the content of fragrance from the Titanic, I found the very fragrant Jacqueminot rose which was named after a general of the Napoleonic Army. “What I like about that is it the word has Jack and Rose in it, the names of the lovers in the film Titanic. “I have also worked with archeologists in Pompeii and have ended up with nine perfumes lost in time and recreated.” While he may not have come out smelling of roses with business tycoon and gym owner Duncan Bannatyne, who called the fragrances ‘revolting’, Mr Pybus says he believes in their success and will continue to use his Folkestone gym nevertheless. “They are great perfumes in their own right and they carry a story,” he said. “A rose was still rose 200 years ago, cinnamon still cinnamon and jasmine still jasmine. “Perfumers then had just as good a nose and brain so why shouldn’t these perfumes be fit for modern times? “Ancient man didn’t know what was not safe so we have taken out anything toxic but kept the aroma. In Roman times the carrier of perfume wasn’t alcohol like now, but was olive oil or almond oil so we have changed that as well.” A chemist by trade, Mr Pybus says he will never lose his passion for perfume. “I am a frustrated artist but instead of painting with colour or playing music, I make symphonies with aroma. I am creating art but in a different form. “I am really excited about what is happening and building the business. This is going to be a real adventure.”
David Pybus’s next book Transports of Delight, published by Folkestone publishers Global Oriental, is out next month. To find out more, visit www.scentsoftime.co.uk
Perfume professor David Pybus is enjoying the sweet smell of success after appearing on hit television show Dragon’s Den. Having travelled the globe finding fragrances from hundreds of years ago, he is now preparing to launch his business. Kirsty Parkin spoke to the former Quest employee.
Perfume historian David Pybus
The judges on Dragon’s Den