Watch our Instagram Live with perfumer Maïa Lernout

We’re thrilled that Maïa Lernout, French Senior Perfumer at Takasago, joined us recently for our Instagram Live series – and you can watch the interview with Jo Fairley, below. (It’s on our YouTube channel with the other insightful perfumer interviews, with names like Geza Schoen, Sonia Constant and more).

Maïa has created for many designer names including Elie Saab, Burberry and Kenzo – but her latest, sun-filled creation is the absolutely stunning Molton Brown Flora Luminare (Maïa is part of Molton Brown‘s Perfume Collective) – and we talked solar scents, sustainable ingredients and how she’s been creating during lockdown…

Enjoy…!

Floris celebrate Florence Nightingale’s White Rose history

Did you know that Floris has a long standing relationship with the founder of modern nursing: Florence Nightingale? And now, with Floris donating 15% of sales from her favourite fragance to the White Rose Appeal, fronted by Helena Bonham Carter, and having been recently featured in the drama series Killing Eve, it seems timely to nose further into this intriguing historical snippet…

Floris explain that this direct connection to perhaps the world’s most famlous nurse, can be found in a personal letter she wrote them.

Floris’ White Rose fragrance was a favourite perfume of Florence Nightingale, and in our Jermyn Street shop we display a treasured letter written by Nightingale in 1863 to “Mr Floris” thanking him for his “beautiful sweet smelling nosegays”.

 

 

Alongside the White Rose Campaign, Floris have committed to donating 15% of all sales of White Rose Eau de Toilette to the foundation for a 12 month period.’

And oh! White Rose is a simply beautiful scent to wear, so what a wonderful way to celebrate Florence – and all nurses and midwives – most especially during this crisis. The fragrance itself is a couquet of velvety roses dusted with soft iris, swathed in warm amber and grounded with earthy musk. At once strikingly elegant and wonderfully confident, it’s something we shall be reaching now more than ever…

Floris White Rose £80 for 100ml eau de toilette
florislondon.com

Floris continue: ‘The Florence Nightingale Foundation does amazing work supporting nurses and midwifes through its scholarships and has done so since its formation in 1929. This year marked a big year for the foundation, particularly today on the bicentenary of her birth.’

Sadly, due to the current situation, Floris say that ‘…Westminster Abbey was due to be filled with nurses for an annual service to mark Florence Nightingale’s birthday but was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the current circumstances, the foundation launched a special programme to equip nurses and midwives with the skills to support the emotional well being of those working directly with Covid-19 patients and the owners of Floris have made the decision to team up with the charity to support their fundraising efforts.

 

 

And so, in partnership with actress Helena Bonham Carter, the foundation have launched the White Rose Appeal, a symbol of hope and re-birth. You can support the Florence Nightingale White Rose Appeal by buying a special anniversary e-white rose in honour of a nurse or midwife who has helped you or a loved one at any point in your lives. Every white rose bought will go on to form part of an actual floral display to be created at Westminster Abbey when lock down comes to an end, marking and honouring the contribution of nurses and midwives everywhere.’

Buying a white rose is a simple way to honour our nurses and midwives. We must never forget the sacrifice they make on an everyday basis during this time.’

Helena Bonham Carter

Fragrant fans currently glued to the latest season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve Netflix series have been treated to a peek inside lead character Villanelle’s favourite perfumery… which just happens to be the 89 Jermyn Street HQ of Floris!

‘I want to smell powerful. I want to make people gag with it,’ Villanelle tells the Floris perfumer dring her visit. ‘Can you do that for me?’

 

‘…I want to smell like a Roman Centurion who’s coming across an old foe, who in battle once hurt him greatly,’ she continues. ‘But since then, the Roman Centurion has become emperor, and is now powerful beyond measure.’ The perfumer pauses, before tactfully suggesting: ‘Maybe something more… woody?’

I’m sure Floris’ perfumers receive all sorts of interesting bespoke comissions, but perhaps not quite so… unusual as this request!

You can read all about the time I was lucky enough to have my own personal perfume made by Floris in-house Perfumer Penny Ellis, here. But long story short: I didn’t mention Roman Centurion’s (or making people want to gag) in my brief…

From Florence Nightingale (and their myriad famous customers from their archives) through to Helena Bonham Carter and now, Villanelle – Floris certainly has a diverse heritage and continues to thrive as London’s oldest surviving perfumery: something of which we can all be proud and will continue to support.

Now, Roman Centurians aside, what brief would you like to set a Floris perfumer for a bespoke fragrance when we can step inside those hallowed doors once more…?

By Suzy Nightingale

And all that jazz… Fragrance writer’s musical talents raising money for charity

Stephan Matthews, is a fragrance writer and long-time friend of The Perfume Society, and of course a man who’s been obsessed with scent for many years, and he has revealed another talent: music!

Stephan got in touch with us after he saw the theme of our just-published Scented Letter magazine: Music & Perfume, commenting that there must be something musical and fragrant wafting in the air, as ‘…the timing of this is a little spooky! I’ve just rereleased my Jazz album from 2006 to raise money for NHS Charities Together.’

Stephan explains: ‘We’re all trying our best to support each other during these challenging times, but one of the areas that is still under so much pressure is the NHS. We have so much to thank them for, so I wanted to help in some small way.

Back in 2006, I released a successful jazz album called Call Me Irresponsible. It was only available as a CD (remember those?) and went out of print in 2010. I changed career and went back to my real name, swapping the acting business for the perfume industry, and the recording was archived.

 

 

Spending so much time at home recently gave me the chance to finally go through the last few boxes that were never opened when we moved and, in one of them, I found all of the original paperwork and masters.

So, after fourteen years and with the help of my original producer Richard Niles, Call Me Irresponsible is available to download and stream with all of the profits going to NHS Charities Together. It’s been great fun to revisit these recordings, and I can’t believe it was fourteen years ago!’

The recordings are now available to download or stream on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify.

We were hugely impressed, on listening, and with music and fragrance definitely filling the airwaves right now, it’s a great way to support NHS Charities Together – and the way this fragrance writer is helping – in such a toe-tapping, enjoyable way…

By Suzy Nightingale

Latest Launches: Put a Zing in your Step!

With radiant citrus notes and the most summery of petals, this week’s latest launches are certain to light up your day. From the feel-good neroli of Clive Christian X Neroli Limited Edition to the azure blue of Atelier Des Ors Pomelo Riviera, get ready to feel energised! Did we mention the sublimely pretty bottles?

ATELIER_DES_ORS_POMELO_RIVIERA
ATELIER DES ORS
POMELO RIVIERA
An olfactory ode to the French Riviera, one glance at that deep blue bottle and we’re halfway there… Add armfuls of sun-soaked citrus and a tang of salty air, and we can practically believe we’re there for real. So let’s use scent memories to inspire future holidays and keep us aloft, no matter where we are. The signature gold flecks swirling in the juice are particularly mesmerising, meanwhile – glimmering sunshine and sea…
£225 for 100ml eau de parfum
libertylondon.comCLIVE_CHRISTIAN_NEROLICLIVE CHRISTIAN
X NEROLI LTD EDITION

Like sunshine in bottled form, neroli has long been one of our favourite fragrant notes. And there’s a riot of brightness, here, with an exhilarating green opening that’s pepped-up with petitgrain, through to a sweetly immersive floral heart of tuberose and the plush softness of a musky, cashmere base. That zing keeps on giving – no wonder, as neroli forms an incredible 20% of the formula – with over eight hours of skin-sniffing pleasure promised!
£285 for 50ml eau de parfum
clivechristian.comELIZABETH_ARDEN_WHITE_TEA_MANDARIN_BLOSSOMELIZABETH ARDEN
WHITE TEA MANDARIN BLOSSOM
White Tea has always celebrated the simple pleasures which somehow are brought into sharp focus, now: sunlit skin, crisp sheets, a good book, the day’s first sip of tea. For this vibrantly sparkling floral twist on the iconic scent, perfumer Gil Clavien was inspired by his own Sicilian vacation, with energetic mandarin, lemon, bergamot, orange flower, jasmine, neroli, comforting musks, cedarwood, Ambrox and osmanthus, all steeped in that signature white tea note.
From £29 for 50ml eau de toilette
elizabetharden.co.uk
GUERLAIN
AQUA ALLEGORIA ORANGE SOLEIA

Also joining this ‘continuously renewed collection that pays homage to the wonders of nature and beautiful raw materials’ is a fizz of blood orange and mint, further brightened by pink peppercorns and bergamot, that whisks you to Sicilian citrus groves. The backdrop is of tonka bean and woody notes, but the result delivers on Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria promise of ‘cheerful fragrances that represent happy moments’. And has there ever been a better time for that?
£63 for 75ml eau de toilette
guerlain.comROOK_PERFUMES_FORESTROOK PERFUMES
FOREST
A fragrance of ancient forests: great cypress and pine trees loom overhead, the scent of sharp elemi resin seeping from their bark. There’s a tingle of black pepper in the air. Tendrils of incense smoke curl around branches. The roots are buried in moss and earthy patchouli, while stroke of white musk softens the damp forest floor. A sensory journey to those primordial conifers that we’re thrilled to take.
£100 for 50ml eau de parfum
rookperfumes.co.uk

Watch our Perfumer Q+A with Nancy Meiland

We know you’re loving our series of Perfumer Q+As on Instagram Live. Here, our Co-founder Jo Fairley chats with British perfumer Nancy Meiland, who at the time was locked down a few miles away from Jo in East Sussex, organising fragrance walks for her children while working on future, nature-inspired compositions. She talks about how she got into perfumery, her mentors – and her favourite materials.

It’s a great interview – one of a growing library that you can watch on our YouTube channel here, including interviews with Geza Schoen, Sonia Constant, Experimental Perfume Club‘s Emmanuelle Moeglin, Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays, and more…

To read much more about Nancy Meiland and her beautiful perfume creations, click here.

 

We’ve found the most relaxing, flower-filled films ever…

You can practically feel your blood-pressure drop as you watch these short but so-exquisite flower-filled films on Instagram – but can looking at pretty pictures of nature ACTUALLY (scientifically, not merely anecdotally) lower your stress levels? Apparently so…

A dear friend of mine recently posted on Facebook to say she’d been suffering panic attacks, but that watching these films had really helped her relax, to focus on something lovely for a while and just help her to breathe out again.

I’d been feeling similarly wobbly, to tell the truth, so immediately clicked and scrolled, and actually found myself sighing out-loud with how beautiful they are.

 

 

Available to watch on Li Ziqi’s Instagram, the IGTV films follow her adventures as she strolles through flower-filled meadows, picking blossoms to cook with, to arrange into stunning, so-simple floral arrangements, and even make her own floral hydrolates with a copper still in her garden. A Chinese food and country-life vlogger from Pingwu in Mianyang, Sichuan, Li has become something of an Internet celebrity within China, and is fast gaining popularity around the world as stressed-out viewers tune in to drop out for a while.

 

 

And oh! That garden! Filled with rambling roses, herbs and vegetables of all description, kittens and puppies frolic and her grandmother chuckles in what are almost overwhelmingly charming and bucolic scenes, as Li Ziqi wanders further into the forest and welcomes spring by picking magnolia flowers, celebrates ‘peach blossom day’ and makes all manner of utterly delicious (and sometimes bewildering, if you don’t happen to be familiar with them) floral-themed dishes.

 

 

Satisfyingly, every single part of the plants seems to be used, in meals, for homemade fabric dyes or in glorious floral arrangements in huge vases. There’s something very ASMR about it all – Auto Sensory Meridian Response: a tingling, relaxing sensation some people feel while watching or listening to pleasing audio – with the wind rustling the rose bushes as she meticulously chops and prepares the food, windchimes tinkling in the background.

 

 

If you’re stuck indoors and feel trapped, as I do (self-isolating while looking after two elderly, at-risk parents) watching these short films feels almost as good as running through the forests in gauzy gowns yourself… And you know, the calm that washes over you isn’t just make-believe. Scientists have proved that even just looking at pictures of trees and greenery for a few minutes a day can actually help reduce stress and depression.

 

 

Dubious? Have a read of this fascinating article in Psychology Today, which asserts that ‘the sight of trees allows the parasympathetic nervous system to gain an edge, calming the entire body and making us more relaxed. That’s a good thing given how many of us live in concrete, urban environments. A recent NIH study [2] found that in urban surroundings, “contact with real or simulated green settings as opposed to [manmade] settings has positive effects on mood, self-esteem and self-reported feelings of stress and depression.” The Japanese have longed practiced Shirin-yoku, taking in the forest atmosphere or “forest bathing,” to alleviate stress, aggression, fatigue, and feelings of depression.’

 

 

So there you have it: if we can’t find freedom for now, or if you don’t have access to a garden of your own (let alone a flower-filled forest to frolic in), you can at least tune in and switch down your stress levels awhile.

Wishing you safe and well, until we meet again fragrant friends…

By Suzy Nightingale

What would YOUR favourite smells sound like…?

In our latest, music-themed edition of The Scented Letter – an exclusive benefit for our VIP Club Members (for more info click here), the fascinating composer and music producer Daniel Sonabend talks to Carson Parkin-Fairley about his scent installations at the late lamented Grand Musée du Parfum and for Cartier‘s Perfume Cloud project.

Carson also asked Daniel to share his three favourite smells – and what they sound like, to him. We didn’t have the space to squeeze his answers into the article, so we’ve featured them below…

First, though, for those who didn’t get to Paris to see the installation, a little bit about that project. The centrepiece, Daniel explained, looked like a perfume bottle. ‘There were 200 perfume ingredients which made up five perfume compositions: one floral, one Chypre, a fougère, a Cologne and an Ambrée. Each ingredient was represented by a glass prism, which had a sound associated with it. As each perfume was “created”, a laser would be beamed from the centrepiece and hit the prism for a particular ingredient, playing the sound – and the result was quite mesmerising.’

 

 

He works in the most fascinating way. ‘There’s an obvious correlation between top, middle and base notes, and organic and electronic musical instruments. Once I’d figured out the language, writing the music was easy. I tweak as I go, smelling compositions throughout. I’m trying to gauge what a perfume smells like not only to me, but to other people, so when I translate it to sound, everyone can understand it. So for instance the music for the eau de Cologne, similar to the fragrance composition, had a lot of high notes and almost no base. The floral was more complex, quite feminine, melodic and sweet. A woody sound might be more bassy and organic.

Creating a sound for a note like jasmine,’ Daniel continued, ‘required a different sort of approach. Jasmine is made up of a few molecules; indole, benzyl acetate and jasmone. Each of these molecules is an individual ingredient as well, so there was a sound for each; when you combined them they created the sound of jasmine. Vetiver was interesting, too; even though it’s a natural material, it still smells modern. I played with the idea of using an organic instrument in a more modern way, so for vetiver I used an electric guitar played with a double bass bow, which made it sound quite dirty and masculine.’

As for those three favourite smells and what they sound like…? Here goes.

Clean washing when I visit my parents’ house. The sound of home? It’ll have to be warm, and intimate and calm. A kind of organic ambient bed that hugs you.

A really good, smoky whiskey. It would sound a bit like vetiver, it would be smoky, but a bit more amorphous because it’s a fluid. Quite rough, masculine and modern, created with organic instruments. But a bit cheekier.

Vintage synthesizers and old string instruments. They smell like the 70s, boxed. Old wood, plastic and electronics, like your cool uncle’s basement. Similarly, I love the smell of old string instruments, the resin you use on the bows of string instruments smells a lot like myrrh. And I love the sound of them!

Interview by Carson Parkin-Fairley

NB We also offer print copies of The Scented Letter, priced £12.50 to our VIP Club Members and £15 to everyone else. Find them here

Avon Herstory celebrates Changing Faces charity

Avon has partnered with the UK’s leading charity for people with visible differences, Changing Faces, to launch Herstory – a fragrance celebrating women all over the world.

Five powerful and inspiring women with visible differences proudly feature in the Herstory beauty campaign. This reflects Avon’s commitment to Changing Faces, wanting to give everyone with a visible difference a #PledgetoBeSeen.

Avon explain that ‘The Herstory launch coincides with Face Equality Week (18-22nd May) a time to celebrate people with visible differences and to challenge people’s perceptions,’ and wonderfully, Avon will also be donating 50% of Herstory sales to Changing Faces ‘…which will go towards funding the charity’s Support and Information Line which offers advice for people with a visible difference.

Talking about why they wanted to highlight visual diversity, Avon say that ‘Representing the scent of inspiration for all women, Herstory commends the long lineage of women who have helped shape the present. It celebrates the experience of being a woman, opening the conversation for women to share their own authentic story of the past and present, whilst coming together to write the stories of the future.’

So we know the way this campaign looks is beautifully different to the Photoshopped and unrealistic images of many adverts, but what does Herstory smell like…?

 

 

‘The bold and modern Chypre represents today’s strong and modern women, recognising each unique and empowering story of women. Herstory is built by the passion of pink pepper, the boldness and sophistication of the iris, and the personality of the patchouli.

Pink pepper stands for passion, representing the energy and stamina to fight for your dreams.

Iris for courage: At the heart of Herstory is the noble Iris flower – the emblem of fine fragrance and symbolising wisdom, courage and feminine confidence.

Patchouli Prisma reveals personality: elegant and powerfully woody, it encourages a woman who writes her own story.’

Avon Herstory RRP £11 for 50ml eau de parfum – only £8 for a limited time, so snap them up now!

Changing Faces Ambassador and Avon model, Brenda, says: ‘Having alopecia and losing my hair left me feeling very out of place – I felt I had no control. Yet since I decided to embrace it, my confidence has rocketed.

Now I work with my hair loss rather than hide away from it. By working with Avon on the Herstory launch campaign, I hope to show others that we define what beauty is and being unique is something that should be celebrated.’

 

 

‘Avon understands that beauty can be very powerful and so it’s imperative that it’s inclusive too,’ says Stephen Rendu, Marketing Director at Avon. ‘We are very proud to be working with Changing Faces again and their ambassadors to launch Herstory and inspire women with visible differences to feel included and empowered.’

Smelling great and doing good at the same time? We applaud Avon and Changing Faces for this beautiful – in every sense of the word – fragrance and campaign, and urge you to try it for yourselves…

By Suzy Nightingale

Latest Launches: Scent Your Staycation

Summer shimmies closer and our suitcases remain empty, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a sensationally scented staycation with this week’s latest launches. Hermès L’Ombres des Merveilles will enchant with its glimmering flacon, whilst the jade green juice of Calvin Klein Eterntiy Summer For Men could conjure the most tempting of sea shores. Is it time to spend your holiday money? We say oui!

&OTHER_STORIES_RIVIERA_POSTCARD&OTHER STORIES
RIVIERA POSTCARD
If you’re hankering after sunshine and glamour but can’t stretch to the airfare, follow your nose to the French Riviera with a spritz of this effervescently exuberant (and so pocket friendly) pick-me-up. Mouth-watering freshly grated lemon zest adorns a just-poured peach Bellini, supped at sunset, with playful notes of pineapple and coconut extract joyfully balancing whipped vanilla, pink sugar and caramel. For the life and soul of the party – and partying ‘til way past dawn.
£28 for 50ml eau de toilette
stories.com
HERMES_LOMBRE_DE_MERVEILLESHERMÈS
L’OMBRE DES MERVEILLES
16 years after Eau des Merveilles debuted, Serge Mansau’s so-clever ‘rocking bottle’ now reappears in deep blue, its rounded front ‘a star-spangled magnifying glass revealing the poetry of the world.’ The captivating scent within echoes that mystery, with resident perfumer Christine Nagel contrasting light and shade via a blend of black teas, a swirl of incense and the dark, simmering sensuality of tonka bean, beckoning us to ‘see the world from new and marvellous angles.’
£109 for 100ml eau de parfum
hermes.com

D.S. & DURGA
CRYSTAL PISTIL
A stunningly beautiful homage to heady white flowers, but shot through with a whoosh of fresh air. Here, the classic note of orange flower is rendered crystalline, a transparency buoyed by the clean soap/Champagne pop of aldehydes. Think floral waters and soft ‘your skin but better’ musks, and add this fragrant dew to just about any fragrance you currently own – or simply rock it solo. All the better, we think, to savour the solar rush.
£148 for 50ml eau de parfum
libertylondon.com
MAISON_MATINE_AVANT_LORAGEMAISON MATINE
AVANT L’ORAGE
A new discovery for us, this range of joyful fragrances from a niche French house hopes to ‘embody a free spirit generation’. An immediate favourite has to be Avant l’Orage (‘Before the Storm’) – a swirl of pink pepper fizzing through jasmine sambac and rich benzoin before dark flecks of vanilla and toasty tonka bean join the throng. A musk-infused smooth sandalwood base feels like an extra blanket of protection, and we adore the quirky drawing-embellished bottles!
£50 for 50ml eau de parfum
libertylondon.comCALVIN_KLEIN_SUMMER_ETERNITY_MENCALVIN KLEIN
ETERNITY SUMMER FOR MEN
Swaggering forth exuding creamy spiced coconut and leathery saffron, you might have mistaken this charmer for a chancer – out for quick fragrant fling. But no, wait for the softer, almost peachy floral heart of osmanthus and the seamlessly smooth dry down of resinous labdanum and olibanum to make themselves known. We think you’ll find this as irresistible on the skin as we did – a definite second-snuggle required to reap the full olfactory benefits.
£59 for 100ml eau de toilette
fragrancedirect.com

Win Cannabis Blue 100ml by Fragrance Du Bois!

We’re delighted to be teaming up with niche luxury perfume house, Fragrance Du Bois, to celebrate the launch of their latest original collection of hand-blend perfumes, the Nature’s Treasures Collection – and we’re offering not one, BUT TWO, lucky winners the opportunity to get their hands on a 100ml bottle of Cannabis Blue (worth £249!)

Fragrance Du Bois is renowned for using sustainably sourced 100% organic oudh oil and natural ingredients, and Cannabis Blue is no exception. Created by master perfumer, Christian Provenzano, who formulated a cannabis accord by using smoky guaiac woods, seductive patchouli and oudh facets, he then combined this with aromatic elements of cardamom and Sichuan pepper, contrasted with herbaceous tones and zesty grapefruit to give this fragrance the edge.

For your chance to win a bottle, simply head over to our @theperfumesociety Instagram.

Then…

  1. Like the post on Instagram
  2. Follow @theperfumesociety
  3. Follow @fragrancedubois
  4. Tag three friends who you think would love this smoky and herbaceous luxury fragrance

T&Cs – only open to UK & US residents; we will draw the winners 22nd May 2020/no cash alternative.