John Stephen is the perfumer and owner of The Cotswold Perfumery Ltd. He is the "nose" and jokingly defines his work as "sticking my business into other people's noses!". But make no mistake about it, perfumery is a serious business, and John learnt the tools of his trade in the same way that all perfumers' learn, by painstaking trial and error over many years.
Modern perfumery requires an unusual mix of abilities. There are times when the perfumer must be the artist - creative, open minded, unbound by tradition and willing to experiment on new ground. But he may also have to be the scientist, having the technical knowledge to be able to predict chemical conflicts between oils or between a perfume and its packaging. Other times he needs to be the detective, testing to see if an oil he is buying has been adulterated. It is this variety of skills that John finds enjoyable and a permanent challenge. John has done creative work for London Perfume Houses, French Perfume Houses, even the Queen.