Whiffs Of Romeo + Juliet With Woodlot’s Sonia Chhinji & Fouad Farraj

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Our friends Ken and Lizzy of Here There Studio are putting on another Sensory Cinema extravaganza, this time at tbe Groundswell Cafe on April 8th. Prepare to get lost in the eyes of a young DiCaprio as the scents of Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 Romeo + Juliet come to life. Woodlot, Vancouver-based soap and candle company, has conjured a menu of aromas that will be brought to each guest during key scenes of the film. Intoxicating smells and a few craft cocktails make for a lively, immersive cinematic experience of this cult classic. Grab your tickets for one of the two viewings here because you can bet they’ll be gone on the quick.

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We wanted to hear a little from Sonia Chhinji and Fouad Farraj, the key players behind Woodlot, to get a better idea of who they are, what smells they dig, and how they plan to pull off this “Scent-sory” experience.

What is a smell that reminds you of your childhood? Sonia: Home-cooked Indian food: butter, turmeric, onions, ginger and garlic!

What are some unlikely scent combinations that work well together? We were skeptical about blending Rose and Black Pepper together, but to our delight the scent is quite unique and works nicely for our bath soak blend.

What does Sunday morning in a snow covered cabin smell like? Foaud: Smells like coffee (whiskey), pancakes, bacon and eggs.

What is a smell that is impossible to capture? Petrichor, an earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. We would love to recreate this one day, even in small batches using our copper alembic distill.

Why is smell the most important sense? Sonia: I feel really connected to my sense of smell. It guides me in my everyday living from what I choose to eat to which scent I choose to mist on before a meeting or date night. Scent is a personalized and nostalgic experience; there is so much power linked to this incredible sense. I encourage more people to train their sense of smell.

What are your top two favourite movies? Fight Club and Groundhog Day.

Similar to what you’re doing with Sensory Cinema, what scents would you introduce in key scenes of those films? In Fight Club, during the airplane scene when Brad Pitt shows Edward Norton the suitcase full of soap, we imagine the airplane to gently fill with woodsy scents, fir, cedar, and patchouli. In Groundhog Day, a scene that stands out to us is when Bill Murray is gluttonous and feasting over food at the diner. We would produce the scent of pancakes, coffee, and cigarettes.

In today’s age so many perfumes, soaps, shampoos etc. that smell the same. Do you know the smell I’m referring to? It smells like a mix of extra fruity perfumes gone bad with a hint of bubblegum…it’s everywhere. It seems like Victoria Secret patented this smell that every middle school girl uses. Is this the scent characterizing our time? What do we do about it? I sure hope not. The conversation around scent and what we spray or apply to our bodies is changing; more and more people are interested in natural and plant based options. There is a growing interest in custom perfumes and alchemy, using traditional ways to extract scent, and educating us on how to apply scent.

Is there a place that you wish you could control the scent of? Sonia: I would have to say confined places in general; you know when you’re on the skytrain and you have a blend of bad body odour mixed with too much perfume? You think to yourself, I wish everyone wore the right amount of something right now.

You know those times when you’re sitting in a restaurant and some overly enthusiastic AXE fan comes in fully doused and radiates that scent throughout the room. What are they thinking? Foaud: Ha ha. They are thinking that a scene from an Axe commercial is going to break out at any moment.

If it weren’t socially awkward and you could give people advice all the time, what would you tell those buds?
Sonia: Just reel it back in with the perfume and makeup. Natural is beautiful.

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