Barcelona Olfaction Week

Irene Gisbert Borras : « The Barcelona Olfaction Week is a magical week, where the nose is the protagonist »

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The first edition of Barcelona Olfaction Week, a whole week of activities and conferences dedicated to olfaction and perfume, will take place from June 29 to July 4.

Tell us about the Barcelona Olfaction Week? What is this event about? 

Barcelona Olfaction Week (BOW) is an international event to promote the perfumery industry innovation, the olfaction science, and the beauty culture in general. It is a week full of physical and digital activities hosted by the Spanish perfumery industry historically located in Barcelona.

During that week, Barcelona becomes the city of perfume, regrouping different cultural, scientific and artistic activities always focused on the world of smell and perfume.

BOW was born with the vision of exposing the world of perfumery and its special historical relationship with Barcelona. 2020 is the first edition of the BOW, but in fact, the main activities have been carried out individually during the last years to be finally grouped in this joint global event.

The founders of BOW are Beauty Cluster Barcelona, Ainea Perfums and the city council of Teià, a beautiful small town beside Barcelona, ​​where some of BOW’s physical activities take place.

I think BOW is unique because in the same week you may be surrounded by edible bubble, attend a conference on olfactory receptors, attend top quality online events, vote for the public award for the best pepper fragrance and savor a delicious dinner inspired by the world of olfactory notes. It is a magical week, where the nose is the protagonist.

What motivated the creation of BOW? What is your ambition for this event? 

We detected a lack of international perfumery events in Spain. Considering that Spain is the second worldwide exporter of perfumes, it was clear we needed to develop international activities to boost our participation in this industry. What we expect from BOW is to make visible that Barcelona is one of the most relevant and traditional perfume creative center in the world. Secondly, we work on claiming the relevance of the sense of smell. Finally, we want to spread the idea worldwide that the world of perfume is at the same time art, culture, and science.

Irene Gisbert Borras
Irene Gisbert Borras

Are you targeting professionals of the fragrance industry, fragrance consumers, or both? 

BOW comprises different activities, some of them are focused on the industry, but some others, such as the Teià International Perfume Contest, are open to consumers 1Teià will host the celebration of the I International Contest of Perfumery Mouillette of Argent.

It is an annual event aimed at professional perfumers from around the world who want to publicize their creative capacity.. We want to spread the culture of perfume and we need the involvement of everyone: industry players, consumers, and other stakeholders.

How has CoVid-19 pandemic affected the organization of BOW? 

The Covid has forced us to reinvent ourselves. Some physical events have been postponed to 2021 like the Fair of the Pairing of the Senses. We have pushed the digital activities and as a result, some of our events like the Barcelona Olfaction Congress have grown exponentially.

-How many people usually participate in these events, and what turnout are you expecting this year? 

Every year, the participation increases on each activity. For instance, last year more than 5.000 people participated in the Fair of the Pairing of the Senses which was opened to consumers. This year we are expecting around 2.000 people from the industry to attend the different online activities, that are mainly designed for professionals.

-This year you have had to react quickly; how are you planning to organize next year’s Barcelona Olfaction Week? 

With a clear goal to involve everyone in the industry. This event was born for the industry and everyone is welcome to collaborate. As soon as we close the 2020 edition, we will start organizing the next edition. We have learnt this year that digital tools are key to involve and facilitate the participation of international stakeholders, and some events will probably remain purely or partly digital. The main goal for 2021 is to keep a sustainable growth of the event without losing the focus on being a valuable activity for the perfumery industry.  

– Can you tell me about the second edition of the Barcelona Olfaction Congress that will take place on July 2? 

The Barcelona Olfaction Congress (BOC) is the scientific part of the BOW. The congress is meant to interconnect, train and promote olfactory science innovation for professionals within the fragrance and perfumery industry. This year, we are celebrating online the second edition, with international experts such as Alexander Wiltschko from Google, who will talk about the relationship between the structure of a molecule and its odor. 

We believe in the importance of olfaction science to push innovation in the perfumery industry. For that reason, the content of the congress will include thematics like Artificial Intelligence applied to scent, global trends & future challenges, but also sustainability & green chemistry, and the last industry innovations and researches from tech-transfer centres (encapsulation technology, olfactory receptors,botanical research), body odor management, scent testing and perfume history will be at the core of this edition.

Interview conducted on June 18


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