Notes on Notes

“Sabzi is all about the efficacy, but the experience and ritual is also important” Ziad tells me “This product is extremely sensory.” I agree, having myself worked in the industry for most of my adult life, I can co-sign that the ‘experience’ of a product is a large deciding factor for the consumer.

Scent, in particular, plays a huge part in this experience. There is a cognitive association that is tied to scent which effects our decision-making processes. In fact, according to a recent article by The Harvard Gazette, the part of our brain which processes smells, is also responsible for storing memories. This accounts for the fact that scents often ‘trigger’ memories, and why scent is so divisive and personal.

Scent is handled by the olfactory bulb, the structure in the front of the brain that sends information to the other areas of the body’s central command for further processing. Scent bypasses all other senses and takes a direct route to the limbic system, including the amygdala and the hippocampus – the regions related to emotion and memory.

After three years of formulating Sabzi, Ziad sat me down for the nose test – “First impressions?”. He examined my face for my true reaction, and this was no time for pleasantries either. I was surprised as this definitely had no semblance to any other facial oil I had ever used before. “What you are smelling is the result of the natural blending process. The oils have been left to infuse which has mellowed the sharpness of each ingredient. I couldn’t change the smell even if I wanted to, it smells as it should.” I could tell from his face that this was a very important take away. The top notes are very earthy, and once it’s been on the skin for a few minutes it develops a much fresher, greener scent. “I hope it’s not too earthy” he laughed.

The notes are certainly not what you would typically associate with a facial oil; initially warm, woody and familiar, the base develops into herbal and fresh notes on the skin. Apparently, this also changes the more you use and ‘air’ the bottle. “Imagine opening a bottle of wine” explains Ziad, “once you let it air, it naturally changes the tones of the wine.”

In fact, the ageing of wine, is not too dissimilar from the infusion of Sabzi. Once the product is initially blended, the formula is left to infuse for a period of three months before it is finally ready for consumers.

I was curious to find out why so long. It turns out that this process of allowing the oils to infuse and rest are key in the efficacy and performance of Sabzi. “It’s an infusion, not just a blend; a beautiful marriage of key ingredients that have the time to comfortably sit with one another to create something incredible…we are called Supper Club for a reason!” it also seems you can’t rush this process, nor will this ever be an option, as Ziad is absolutely committed to keeping this process consistent, and thoughtfully slow. The quality of the outcome takes precedence over everything, so if it takes three months then it seems that Ziad is happy to wait.

The scent in Sabzi is a real reflection of this journey, and the thoughtfully long process of production. Ziad cites olive oil production and wine making as comparable, and you can see why. A year on from smelling the original batch of Sabzi, the final yield is a true medley of this vision; familiar yet unique, warm yet fresh, simple yet complex, but perhaps most importantly a real representation of the ingredients that reside in each beautiful violet bottle.

How scent, emotion, and memory are intertwined — and exploited – Harvard Gazette