Seven new scent themed podcasts you should listen to

We’ve never listened to so many podcasts right now, how about you? So here’s SEVEN new scent themed podcasts for your daily walk, that will whisk you to summer meadows and brighten your mood, even if you’re trudging through the rain.

Filling the endless hours and soothing nerves with fascinating chatter, it’s extremely exciting how many fragrance and scent themed podcasts are filling the airwaves at the moment, don’t you think? If you’ve not caught up with our previous lists of ‘must-listen’ episiodes, simply type ‘podcasts’ in the search box and you’ll have several hours to delight in.

Meanwhile, here are the ones we’re chasing away the blues with currently…

 

BBC Radio 4 Extra: The Perfumed Mountaineer
This story begins by recounting the notorious 1980’s episode of The Russell Harty Show, when Grace Jones slaps the presenter for ignoring her. It’s an incident that’s gone down in televisual history; but have you ever noticed the fellow guest, an ‘elderly man, dressed in a double-breasted suit’ sitting beside her, ‘looking more than a little alarmed at developments’? This, it’s revealed, was Walter Poucher – equally famed, at the time, for his perfumery with Yardley, and his mountain photography skills. As his utterly gripping story is unravelled, we learn Walter had a penchant for wearing lipstick and eyeshadow while climbing mountains and talking about perfume, was befriended by Elizabeth Taylor, and used to like ‘coming down to dinner [at mountaineering lodges] in full slap and gold lamé gloves.’ He sounded completely fabulous in every way, and we’re left wanting to know much more…

 

 

OlfactoStroll
We reported on this brilliant new podcast/smell-walk in full, but it’s worth pointing out again for those who may have missed it. Jan Uprichard is an artist based in Northern Ireland, whose work revolves around ‘smell, walking, archives, mapping, food, sound, film, bookmaking, botany, and interventions…’ She was asked by the Centre for Contemporary Art in Derry to devise a smell-themed walk, and recorded a podcast to go with it. But the point is – you can listen from anywhere, and her soothing voice (and gentle guidance on how to navigate by smell and be mindful of your breathing) is just the tonic we need.

 

Outspoken Beauty: On the Scent
A podcasting pro, host Nicola Bonn has already interviewed some of the world’s leading movers and shakers in the skincare and beauty spheres, but her true passion is really… fragrance. Hurrah! Recently, she invited our very own Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale, to be the co-host and fragrance expert for a spin-off show entitled ‘On the Scent.’ In this first episode, they name the fragrances that have been getting them through lockdown, Nicola probably reveals too much about a fireman ex, and Suzy prescribes perfumes in answer to listener’s queries.

 

The Scent Geeks
Presented by @fragstoriches and @fragmental.uk, this is a weekly and often humorous look at the scent world that feels like dropping in to a conversation of two fragrance-obsessed friends. In this episode, the twosome talk romance, filming and their tribute to the passing of fellow YouTuber, Carlos Powell (a.k.a Brooklyn Fragrance Lover).

 

Escentric Molecules Molecast
In the third episode of this regular series, perfumer Geza Schoen (the founder and ‘nose’ behind so-successful cult house, Escentric Molecules) reveals ‘the story behind the story’, specifically discussing how he went ‘…from working at one of the big five fragrance manufacturers to being an indie perfumer at a time when they were as rare as hen’s teeth.’ Always well worth listening to, Geza is an extremely down-to-earth perfumer who explains everything really clearly, and can be said to have completely revolutionised the fragrance industry as a whole, having showcased ‘synthetic’ notes as brilliant artistry, not something to hide or shy away from talking about.

 

Fume Chat
Waving good riddance to the dumpster that was 2020, our genial hosts, Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley, have nevertheless found some fascinating fragrances from last year to sniff their way through, rate and discuss. As usual, ‘Hijinks ensue.’ Well it really wouldn’t be Fume Chat if no hijinks were involved! Listening to this podcast is always like catching up with two best friends over a drink or three – something we’re sorely missing, so this is the next best thing.

 

Every Little Thing
We always love this podcast for host Flora Lichtman’s proudly terrible puns, and the endlessly fascinating list of topics prompted by listeners who ring in to the ELT Helpline. This episode was particularly of interest, as it focuses on our nostrils and the sense of smell. Get ready to hold on to your hats (or face masks) though, as it’s revealed *we only use one nostril at a time to breathe and smell through!* More than that, it seems we can actively switch which nostril we’re using by stuffing a fist into our armpit… Learn why/how and WTF with expert rhinologist, Simon Gane.

 

 

Fragrant Reads – Smell: A Very Short Introduction

Part of a fantastic series by Oxford University Press, Smell: A Very Short Introduction by Matthew Cobb is an easy to read and very accessible intro to the incredibly nuanced, complicated and still most misunderstood sense…

Small in stature but big on fragrant facts, it’s one of those ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ type publications, being an overview of ‘the science and physiology of smell and its historical, cultural, and environmental significance,’ in which Cobb reveals exactly what happens in our brains when we smell something, and how our human olfactory processes differ from those of mammals, birds, and insects.

At The Perfume Society we are, of course, fully on-board with how important our sense of smell is; and we suppose seing as you’re here, you agree. But our sense of smell still lags behind – in scientific research and the wider public understanding – in being discussed and even thought about on a daily basis. We wonder, however, if the recent links between Covid-19 and smell loss (and that anosmia being an early indicator of Covid, among many other medical conditions that doctors are still investigating) if smell will be taken more seriously from now on?

After all: ‘The connection between smell and memory is more than a literary conceit’ Cobb shows, ‘with smells proving more effective than images at unlocking memories.’ Cobb does a good job of explaining how ‘The same odour can have different meanings to different people. Smells themselves are often blends, and our reactions to them are influenced by our memories and cultural conditioning,’ as well as asking bigger questions, such as: ‘Is there a link between smell and genetics?’

Although we’ve said it’s accessible, that doesn’t mean it skimps on taking scent seriously, and this book can be read by those interested in smell and fragrance at most levels of understanding – from complete novice to the already well-read. It’s also a great gift for friends and family members who perhaps don’t ‘get’ why we’re so obsessed with smells!

Get it at Oxford University Press

If you’d like some more recommendations to fill your scented bookshelves, do have a look at our ever-expanding list of Fragrant Reads. We’ve reviews of everything from scent-themed romance novels to seriously weighty science books, and stunning coffee-table tomes to a tale of Guerlain’s history told in graphic novel form…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Fragrance consultations online: discover your perfume personality

Fragrance consultations have moved out of the perfumery and on to our laptops, with many notable houses now offering free ways to discover your next new scent online – via so-clever ‘perfume personality’ quizzes, one-to-one Zoom experiences and even group ‘scent school’ classes you and your friends can take together.

With the beauty counters still closed in most places (and the fragrance testers removed from all others) it’s been extremely challenging to actually get your nose on a new scent, if you didn’t want to ‘blind buy’ a full-size and pray to the olfactory gods that it suited your skin.

Many of you have been delighting in our Discovery Boxes and Brand Sets of samples and mini ‘try me’ sizes for just that reason (the perfect way to explore new perfumes from the comfort of your home). And of course you’ve been taking to our Fragrance Finder, which brilliantly uses algorithms based on your preferences to suggest six new scents for you try.

But we’ve been so happy to see that many fragrance houses have also stepped up their innovation game and made it far easier to navigate your way through their collections.

Whether a fun multiple-choice fragrance quiz to take in your tea break or an in-depth consultation with an expert, think of them as a scented stepping-off point to exploring and be ‘matched’ with your perfect perfumes online….

 

 

Molton Brown Fragrance Finder – free (online quiz)

Created in tandem with trend forecasting and innovation agency The Future Laboratory, in this quick and easy profiling quiz, you’re invited instinctively to choose from a series of images that represent textures, interior design styles and note-inspired pictures, and at the end you’ll discover which ‘psychological perfume profile’ you match. It’s spookily accurate [NB: both our Senior Writer and Editor have very similar tastes in scent, and sure enough, this matched them both with the same one] and an insightful start to your fragrance journey.

 

Floral Street scentschool™ in a Box from £24 for eight fragrances + online class

When you buy this special discovery set of eight fragrances, blotters and scented ‘touch and smell’ cards, you also receive a code to book a complimentary live online class to delve deeper into the fragrance notes and help you find your faves, plus there’s a discount on your next purchase. You can do this one-to-one, or there’s even the option for a whole group of friends to do this together. Such a fun activity (and it will make a change from Zoom quizzes!)

 

Shay & Blue 15 minute Fragrance Consultationfree (online chat)

When you hop on the Shay & Blue website, an online chat box opens up, inviting you to schedule a free 15 minute consultation. They explain that it’s been designed to combine ‘…the best of the convenience of shopping online with the personal touch of human conversation. We spend 15 minutes getting to know you and your perfume choices and we are then able to select what we think will make you smile.’ Ultimately, they say ‘the more information you can give us the better,’ and then you can be guided to ‘the one’ (or several) for you to try.

 

 

The Merchant of Venice Personal Shopperfree (online consultation appointment)

To aid your navigation of their website, The Merchant of Venice tell us you can ‘interact with specialists in a sophisticated presentation of the collections’ that will guide you in your choice of the perfect perfumes for you to try. So, from your home, you can ‘take advantage of a private, tailor-made and highly professional service as in The Merchant of Venice boutiques.’ Personal shopper Christian Waas will be your scent-presenter, and you can make a free appointment by emailing: [email protected]

 

 

 

Penhaligon’s Live Video Consultation£15 for 1 hour + 5 fragrance samples

Penhaligon’s now warmly invite you ‘…to try our new video appointments and enjoy a personalised consultation with our obliging team. Answer a short questionnaire aimed to discover a little about your likes and dislikes and a selection of 5 fragrance samples will then arrive through the post to assist in your nasal education. The cost of the appointment is ‘fully redeemable after your session with our sommelier either online or in-store,’ so peace of mind while you’re helped to peruse their perfumes. Alternatively…

 

Penhaligon’s Online Profilingfree (online quiz)

If time is of the essence, the free online profiling quiz is jolly good fun (as you’d expect from Penhaligon’s) and only takes about a minute to complete. Choosing from categores such as the time of day you’d like to wear it and how it should make you feel, your most suitable fragramce is then revealed (with the option to purchase a sample and a selection of others you may like).

 

Creed Fragrances Ask a Scent Expertfree (online chat / video)

As you can’t currently take advantage of their fragrance advice at the Marylebone boutique, Creed are offering the opportunity for an online chat via a message box that pops up on their website as you browse. Alternatively, you can request to be connected via a video chat if that’s easier for you, and you’d prefer to actually see the expert you’re chatting to! Afterwards, if still not sure, you could always buy yourself a pack of the samples, either ‘Men’s’, ‘Women’s, ‘Univerdal’ or ‘Royal’ to try at home.

 

Guerlain Fragrance Consultationfree (online quiz)

Designed to help you choose ‘a perfume for yourself or a loved one… Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s Master Perfumer, and Guerlain Perfumer Delphine Jelk select the rarest and noblest raw materials to create exceptional fragrances.’ Taking the overall atmosphere and main notes of the fragrances as choices, you’re then presented with either one or several scents that should fit the bill. It doesn’t beat being in-store and revelling in the glamour of sniffing be-ribboned glass stoppers, but really, nothing does… and this is a good starting point if you’ve no idea where to begin.

Indeed, all of the quizzes, while great fun to take online, can of course only guide you so far. Some perhaps work best for those who already have an inkling as to which fragrance notes or main families they prefer, but need a little bit of help to guide them through the virtual shelves.

So what to do if you need some more in-depth or specialised help, but can’t book a video consultation (or don’t feel comfortable with that)?

 

Our new Perfume Agony Uncle, James Craven, says that ‘Helping a client to find the perfect scent requires the combined skills of a psychologist, palmist and priest’, and often talks about the expertise a skilled fragrance consultant will pick up over the years; learning to do ‘a cold read’ when someone walks through the door and, as well as listening to what they say, picking up on their reactions – sometimes what you don’t say can be just as revealling!

Luckily, James is going to be answering some of your fragrance questions in The Scented Letter magazine, so if you’re still struggling to find the right scent, ask your questions, here

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Latest Launches: A Night to Remember

This week’s latest launches are certain to captivate. YSL Black Opium Storm Illusion offers bold glamour and a glittering flacon, while Byredo tempts with the ruby coloured juice of Tobacco Mandarin. Connock London, Jo Malone and Paco Rabanne offer glamorous bottles and irresistible scents. Which ones will you choose…?

BYREDO_TOBACCO_MANDARINBYREDO
TOBACCO MANDARIN
Part of the Night Veils collection, you’ll be hurrying to disrobe and drape yourself in this interplay of citrus and spice. Sparkling mandarin’s immediately shot through with the deeper sizzle of cumin and coriander. This particular combination always puts us in mind of skin that’s slightly sweaty from salacious shenanigans, enhanced by the creamy leather that swathes the heart. Then tobacco and labdanum swirl the base in a smoky hit that seals the deal…
£235 for 50ml extrait de parfum
byredo.com
CONNOCK_LONDON_KUKUI_NOIRCONNOCK LONDON
KUKUI NOIR
At last, a long-awaited follow-up fragrance from British brand Connock London, whose original bestselling Kukui, with its whisk-you-to-the-tropics white floralcy, has long been a favourite of ours. If Kukui is sun-drenched days, this is steamy nights: an elegant encounter with notes of rose, sandalwood, jasmine and patchouli, skin-warmed to reveal notes of oudh and black amber. They recommend it ‘anytime you want to up the glamour level a little.’ Which is most of the time, these days.
£45 for 30ml eau de parfum
connocklondon.co.uk
JO_MALONE_MIDNIGHT_MUSK_AMBERJO MALONE LONDON
MIDNIGHT MUSK & AMBER
Especially for Christmas 2020, Jo Malone London bring us a dazzling, crystalline bottle containing a seasonal fragrance in which warm, sensual amber slow-dances with a sexy midnight musk accord. It actually opens with a fast-tempo green accord of juicy mandarin, but develops a smoochy second-skin warmth as the soft, powdery musks and amber pulse on your skin. And oh, that luminous, faceted, dressing table-worthy bottle – pure Roaring Twenties glamour.
£105 for 100ml Cologne
jomalone.co.uk
YSL_BLACK_OPIUM_STORM_ILLUSION.YSL
BLACK OPIUM STORM ILLUSION
Black Opium is clearly going for collector status here, with this flacon for the seductive ‘rock couture’ fragrance. The coffee-powered eau de parfum is unchanged, but emblazoned here with a shimmering lightning bolt of black, pink and silver that will get the party started – even if it’s just you, a cocktail or two, and the fragrance’s caffeinated jolt of black coffee, bergamot, orange blossom, jasmine sambac, vanilla and white musk. Grab the limited edition while you can.
£78 for 50ml eau de parfum
yslbeauty.co.uk PACO_RABANNE_INVICTUS_ONYX-PACO RABANNE
INVICTUS ONYX COLLECTOR
We’re absolutely loving the limited-edition bottle – a stunning black stone effect shot through with metal, looking for all the (under)world like something that deserves a place on the mantlepiece, never mind the bathroom shelf. It truly reflects the juice, too – the marine accord, laurel leaf, ambergris and grapefruit zest echoing the slivered glints of silver amidst a darkly glowering guaiac wood patchouli base that positively pulses with power. Becomingly seductive and fascinatingly sinister, in turn.
£69 for 100ml eau de toilette
pacorabanne.com

OlfactoStroll – artist creates guided ‘smell walk’ (with accompanying podcast)

Artist Jan Uprichard has created a unique ‘smell walk’ called OlfactoStroll, with an accompanying podcast to gently guide your senses and help shape your usual daily walk, into something hopefully not only interesting but a valuable moment of serenity…

Devised in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Derry – it doesn’t matter if you’re not in Northern Ireland: the walk can be taken wherever you live. There’s a specially-created podcast of that name, which you can download and listen to no matter where you are in the world. The prompts Jan gives during her so-soothing narration are not dictated by place, but rather suggest things to look out for during your walk, how to navigate your local landscape using the sense of smell.

OlfactoStroll was an idea Jan came up with as part of PhD research, for which she’s developing a method of Deep Smelling. Using smell, walking, archives, mapping, food, sound, film, bookmaking, botany, and interventions as practical, participatory tools for her art, the idea is to offer differing ways to experience familiar surroundings. Says Jan:

‘Deep Smelling is a meditative, experiential and process-based art practice, which brings our attention to our sense of smell. The smell walk has been configured with Derry city in mind, however you can apply the principles of the walk to anywhere in the world, including your own home.’

The podcast/guided walk is an incredibly relaxing listen – Jan has a naturally soothing voice and instead of talking all the time, you’re offered suggestions several minutes apart, for how to control your breathing, things to look out for and special circumstances to take note of (such as air temperature) which make this an experience that would be interesting to repeat several times during the next few months, to see if you notice any changes.

You can download the podcast from Anchor, Spotify and iTunes, or listen to it by clicking below…

 

If you do happen to live in Derry, the walk is apparently ‘accompanied by a series of Deep Smelling protocols, visible through the gallery windows and at various spots around the city.’ But as Jan says – this is a walk you can take absolutely anywhere, whether you’re in an urban environment, going for a hike through the woods or walking beside the seashore.

 

 

Besides being an anxiety-busting method of slowing down and taking notice of nature around you – and a way to improve your sense of smell simply by learning to focus on it and being mindful of what you sense – it’s also an important exercise in the current climate. As a spokesperson for the CCA commented on the joint project:

‘Both walking and smell have taken on added importance during the pandemic. Jan’s hope, as we try to figure out what a ‘new normal’ could be, is that we take the opportunity to maintain a slower pace. That we will reflect on our experiences with a quiet activism, that utilises taking time to do nothing but wander around, and in this case, notice what we can smell and sense around us.’

Indeed, Jan drives this point home on her blog, saying that ‘Smell has taken on special significance in the past year,’ and so ‘If you have experienced a loss of change in your sense of smell AbScent.org is a UK charity that offers support and advice to people with smell disorders.’

We’ve written several features on smell-loss being an early syptom of Covid-19, and something scientists are currently exploring further; and we hope our sense of smell will be taken far more seriously in the future. In the meantime, what a wonderful way to change-up your daily walk into a scented stroll…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Brooklyn Fragrance Lover – R.I.P.

It was with heavy hearts we learned of Brooklyn Fragrance Lover having passed away last week. Carlos was a hugely popular YouTube reviewer  (he was fast heading toward 70k followers and often got recognised and stopped on the street), and a long-time supporter and friend of The Perfume Society.

There’s no doubt his loss will leave a huge gap in the fragrance community at large.

Carlos hadn’t been in the best of health, posting online about a trip to hospital in October last year. But he’d been on the mend, it seemed, so the upset rippled through Instagram. Within a matter of hours thousands of fragrance fans had flocked to his last post there, leaving shocked messages, saying goodbye. Among perfumers and famous fragrance houses who’d already left their own tributes – broken heart emojis, purple hearts (Carlos’ favourite colour), disbelief and condolences to his family and friends – what shone through were the number of messages from his followers. People who’d ‘found perfume’ as they put it, thanks to his easy-going, down-to-earth video reviews.

‘Thank you for teaching me everything about fragrances,’ one mourner wrote, while another movingly recounted: ‘I didn’t know you but your videos brought me closer to a happiness I share with my friends and family. Your videos seem so genuine and personable, this hurts like no other. Thank you for your contribution to this wonderful community even though you are gone too soon…’

And there are many, many more messages, all similarly moved, mostly people who, like us, had sadly never met Carlos in person but had been touched by his affable, open personality that grounded his very knowledgeable and understandable reviews.

Carlos was a generous man who passionately gave everything he could – and most of his free time – to the world of fragrance; sharing the joy that can be had from a single spritz of something fabulous, celebrating launches from big names and indie brands alike. He also shared family photos on his Facebook page, along with his ‘fur babies’ (as he lovingly called them) ‘Jean & Claude’.

Scrolling through the thousands of personal tributes online, those words are repeated time and again: ‘genuine’, ‘passionate’, ‘honest’, ‘warm hearted’, ‘kind’. Would that we could all be remembered that way, let alone his legacy of many hundreds of excellent, informative and fun fragrance video reviews. We urge you to watch these, if you’ve not already enjoyed them, or to watch again, if you’re already a fan, and share them with others.

One of Carlos’ friends set up a GoFundMe page to help his family members with the cost of his funeral. ‘In addition to the funeral arrangements, some funds will be allocated for the caring of his cats.’ The target had been set at $10,000 – an amount that had been achieved within mere hours of the page being set up, and now stands at $34,367. Testament, indeed, of how well loved he was by perfume people around the world.

Among the many comments left by those donating, one simply says: ‘Carlos was a beautiful man who reached me and many more people with with his love for the world and joy for fragrances. May God be with his friends and family in this time of despair.’

Goodnight, Carlos. We know you loved amber perfumes best of all, and we’re sure Heaven smells all the sweeter now you’re scenting the clouds…

Brooklyn Fragrance Lover, R.I.P.

By Suzy Nightingale

Latest Launches: Going For Gold

This week’s latest launches are sure to add a glimmer of glamour to your fragrance wardrobe. Enrobe yourself in the J.U.S. Sexycrush Gold Edition with its layers of rose, oudh and vanilla. Or perhaps you’ll swoon for By Kilian Angel’s Share – we covet both bottle AND fragrance. Serge Lutens, Playboy and Storie Veneziane by Valmot offer gold flacons full of temptation and we’re helpless to resist.

_J.U.S._SEXYCRUSHJ.U.S
SEXYCRUSH GOLD EDITION
Fervent fans of this hypnotic scent will be in raptures over this pure parfum edition, exclusive to Harrods, suitably presented in a gold flacon. Those of you yet to try, meanwhile, should rush to wrap yourselves perfumer Aliénor Massenet’s sumptuous composition – luscious rose, oudh and vanilla entwined with rippled ribbons of labdanum. Wearing this is a gift to your skin, and to anyone lucky to stand close enough to float on your fabulously fragrant trail.
£165 for 100ml parfum
harrods.com
PLAYBOY_MAKE_THE_COVER_FOR_HERPLAYBOY
MAKE THE COVER FOR HER
With an ethos of ‘anyone can make the cover’, this bright fragrance beams with cheekiness – Givaudan perfumers Roxanne Kirkpatrick and Louise Turner gilding the juiciness of ripe peach and pineapple with a quick floral lick of sheer rose, transparent lily of the valley and luminescent jasmine. Drying to a smooth, woody base and a hint of skin-warmed creaminess; it’s a flirty little number full of happy confidence – easy to wear any time.
£22 for 50ml eau de toilette
superdrug.comSERGE_LUTENS_TARABSERGE LUTENS
TARAB
Exclusive to Harrods is this gilded flacon showcasing Serge Lutens’s enigmatic latest, the pleasing shape echoing the very first bottles he ever launched in Paris’s Palais-Royal, which essentially kickstarted the whole trend for niche perfume. Taking its name from the Arabic word tarab, referring to the trance-like state in which the body is ‘lost in dance’, the Chypre construction swirls and twirls hypnotically with elements of cypriol, Turkish rose and oudh. Dizzyingly gorgeous.
£300 for 75ml eau de parfum
harrods.com
STORIE_VENEZIANE_MICA_DORO
STORIE VENEZIANE BY VALMONT
MICA D’ORO 1
Valmont’s co-founder Sophie Guillon tells us that this latest Murano glass-masked fragrance ‘celebrates hedonism, extols excess, flirts dangerously with lust… We designed this extract with an ardent spirit, driven by exhilaration, a sense of addiction to the intensity that once surged through the Casino del Ridotto in Venice.’ Inside, Nathalie Lorson’s juice is an indulgent gourmand-Ambrée cocktail of rum, Chantilly cream and vanilla that has us coming back for seconds. And thirds.
£451 for 100ml eau de parfum
lamaisonvalmont.com
KILIAN_ANGELS_SHAREKILIAN
ANGELS’ SHARE
Founder Kilian Hennessy maintains that he is introducing a new fragrance family here – which he should label ‘boozy’, as a reflection of its intoxicating qualities (inspired by his own family heritage). Perfumer Benoist Lapouza takes a jigger of cognac essence, adds oak absolute (an echo of the barrels themselves), spiced by cinnamon essence, tonka bean, praline and vanilla. Family-wise, we’d still position this hovering between Ambrée and gourmand – but we’re certain of its irresistibility.
From £165 for 50ml parfum
bykilian.co.uk

Parterre: EXCLUSIVE 25% discount for Valentine’s!

Parterre have lovingly offered our readers an EXCLUSIVE 25% off discount for Valentine’s Day, and we are of course smitten…

You may have got your hands on one of the adorable 10ml Parterre Perfume Baubles at Christmas, well now is your chance to get the real thing! Get 25% off any 50ml & 100ml bottle of your favourite Parterre fragrance. To take advantage of this offer visit parterrefragrances.com  – and enter the code valentine25 when prompted at the checkout.

 

The HOUR of DUSK & GOLD

Persian wild carrot seed and angelica root are embellished with orris, nutmeg, lavender, and bay. Dusky accents of liquidambar linger on the skin, as soft as silk.

A TRIBUTE to EDITH

 A rich, sensuous rose. Reminiscent of Paris in the jazz era, this is a sultry and compelling fragrance with geranium for a modern accent.

RUN of the RIVER

A splash of refreshing lemon and lime mingles with aromatic elements of bergamot mint and lemon thyme layered on clary sage and orange flower.

ROOT of all GOODNESS

Warm and enveloping with an aromatic heart and a touch of citrus and spicy ginger, this perfume is a celebration of Parterre’s English grown vetiver.

 

With the cold weather (and all of us in desperate need of a treat), the code will be valid for TEN DAYS (expiring on 23rd February 2021). So what better time to explore these exquisite scents.

Why we love Parterre: When David and Julia Bridger decided to combine the ruling passions of their lives – art, gardens, travel and perfume – and gather a team of experts (literally) in their field, they set in motion a series of events that is poised to change the face of British fragrance forever. And put Parterre on the map.

David’s family had been in farming for almost 400 years, so horticulture runs in his veins – even though most of his career had been spent in marketing. Julia, meanwhile, had wide experience in advertising, going on to run a luxury villa travel company. Together, the pair (at that point based in Hampshire) began looking around for a farm of their own to buy, before stumbling across the ‘sleeping beauty’ of Keyneston Mill. It had fields – 50 acres of them. A run-down mill house and some crumbling outbuildings. An overgrown orchard. But lots and lots of potential not only to fulfill their dream of actually growing and distilling perfume ingredients right there, in the Dorset countryside – but to show visitors how it’s done, as they’d so enjoyed in Grasse.

 

Parterre workshop

 

Embracing the concept of ‘from seed to bottle’, with Parterre, the Bridgers not only set out to to grow, harvest and distil many of their own ingredients – but they also had a longing to try growing crops that had never before been grown on British soil. Even including – astonishingly – vetiver. For Julia and David, this is about ‘reinventing perfumery by taking it back to its roots.’ Parterre‘s motto: ‘Where creative botany meets artistry and the wild spirit of adventure.’

The planting now expands into surrounding fields, with crop-scale ingredients producing incredible quality yields, which are then hand-blended by Jacques Chabert – one of the world’s leading perfumers, who works in Grasse alongside his daughter, Elsa Chabert, while his elder and equally talented perfumer daughter, Carla Chabert, runs their Paris laboratory. Meanwhile, Parterre’s creative team is headed up by Virginie Daniau, President of the British Society of Perfumers (BSP), who first introduced Jacques to Keynestone Mill’s owners.

 

Parterre gardens

 

This adventure in botany has taken over four years – but the vision has now become reality. Over 2,000 aromatic plants and flowers are now being grown just 20 minutes from Poole – including rose geranium (more of which anon), melissa, hyssop, chamomile, angelica, artemisia, clary sage, yarrow, bergamot mint and red thyme. Many of them have made it into the limited edition, numbered flacons of Parterre fragrance now on sale at spiffy Piccadilly department store Fortnum & Mason, as well as via their own website.

‘Our mission is to grow the most unusual plants we can source,’ explains Julia. ‘Each plant is then trialled, harvested and distilled on site – and this process captures the very essence of each aromatic variety.’

For Julia and David, this is about ‘reinventing perfumery by taking it back to its roots.’ Parterre‘s motto: ‘Where creative botany meets artistry and the wild spirit of adventure.’

A fine romance – classic perfumes every fragrance lover should try

Is it time for you to re-discover classic perfumes – or perhaps fall in love with one for the first time? Fragrances classed as ‘iconic’ have often been overlooked in the insatiable search for ‘newness’, but during this pandemic, an emerging trend has been the sudden up-swing in people reuniting with these fragrant first-loves.

The reason we’re feeling so nostalgic is two-fold, I believe. Covid-19, and the varying ways those in power have responded (or otherwise) to the crisis, has caused the majority of us to live in a state of near permanent anxiety, so we’ve all been desperately seeking those things that swathe us in comfort. While baking banana bread has helped some, it’s inner-calm we really need, and using familiar fragrances that remind us of happier times, places and people we miss can instantly dispel #lockdown blues.

 

 

The rapid spread of the virus has also shrink-wrapped the world around us and therefore, the possibilities for experiencing new things. Gone are the days when you could saunter in to a shop and spray yourself with ten perfumes at a time. When shops were allowed to be open, the scent shelves and beauty counters were swept clean of tester bottles and samples, so it was impossible to smell new fragrances without stumping up for a full bottle – unless you got scent savvy and had a Discovery Box sent to your home, of course (one of the reasons we’ve seen sales soar!) And then, a third lockdown in the U.K. meant most shops were closed again anyway.

The solution? To reach for something that’s stood the test of time, we already knew, or understood was deemed a ‘classic’ so a safer bet than a blind-buy.

 

 

When in-store sales declined, voguebusiness.com reported, ‘One way around this [was] to shelve, or reduce the number of, new launches and focus on sales of classics that customers know and love…’ Patrice Patrice Béliard, global brand president for Aramis & Designer Fragrances, Kilian Paris, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, and Lab Series, agreed, commenting, ‘Consumers want reassuring, calming and optimistic scents. I foresee a resurgence of classic nostalgic scents during these times.’

Don’t be put-off by the term ‘classic’, it does not mean ‘old fashioned’. These fragrances were considered groundbreaking – shocking, even – when they first launched, and have stood the test of time over the eras for good reason.

If you’re wanting to pop into a shop (or order online) for a gift this year – for a loved one, or for yourself (good lord, we all deserve a little treat); why not consider one of these…?

 

Five classic perfumes everyone should try at least once:

 

Guerlain Shalimar £83 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

A silky pair of 1920s cocktail pyjamas worn as daywear – uplifting lemon and bergamot swirled with honeyed, night-blooming flowers of heliotrope and jasmine, rounded by powdery iris and cocooned in a comforting, vanilla-plumped base of patchouli, benzoin, ambergris, tonka bean, incense, vetiver, sandalwood and musk. The ultimate gesture of romance, it’s a masterpiece that’s effortlessly glam.

 

 

Chanel N°19 £95 for 100ml eau de toilette chanel.com

Sparkling and vibrant with every elegant spritz, it’s daringly green but still supremely wearable. The snapped-stalk freshness of galbanum is balanced with soft, powdery iris, heady ylang ylang tempered by a shiver of spring air in lily of the valley and luminescent rose. Exciting and immediately mood-lifting, if N°5 wasn’t for you, try this joyously energising fizz of freshness as a pick-me-up.

 

 

Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet £110 for 100ml eau de toilette penhaligons.co.uk

Inspired by the steamy scents that would have wafted from the Turkish Baths William Penhaligon set up on Jermyn Street, Piccadilly; this is a timeless fragrance (from 1872!) that’s redolent of freshly soaped naked flesh and a shimmering heat. Unmistakably dusky Turkish rose gets up close and personal with heady jasmine, clean lavender, woods, fluffy musk and powdery orris. Scrumptious.

 

 

 

Lanvin Arpège £29.99 for 100ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com

Although imbued with a melody of florals – rose, iris, lily, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang ylang , camellia and geranium – the lasting impression is of being lovingly wrapped in warm, white, supremely fluffy towels. A veritable hug in a bottle, this feels classic yet completely timeless, a comforting yet spirited scent that you wont tire of, and somehow always feels ‘right’ for any occasion.

 

 

 

Rochas Femme £29.75 for 100ml eau de toilette allbeauty.com

Billowing, hip-swivelling sensuality with a playful side, to be worn by someone who sucks the plum stone clean of succulent flesh. Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska created the original as a fragrant tribute for his wife, Hélène (who must have been quite a woman) with the bottle an ode to Mae West’s va-va-voom figure; it’s velvety, spiced fruit laced with a giggle of booziness and a whole lotta fun.

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrant books to snuggle up & fall in love with

There’s all manner of fragrantly themed books on our shelf of scented reading, but did you know that among the many stunning coffee-table books and more scientific, technical tomes; there are a number of romance novels and floral volumes we think you’ll fall in love with?

Spring is just around the corner, we know, but until it fully blooms we’re still somewhat in hibernation mode. So why not grab a cup of coffee or indulge yourself with hot chocolate, wrap yourself in a cosy blanket and take some time to snuggle up with one of these brilliant perfume-related books…?

 

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

This ‘richly evocative novel is a ‘secret history of scent, memory and desire’ and begins in the 1950s with newly-married socialite Grace Munroe’s life being turned upside down by the arrival of a mysterious letter, naming her as the beneficiary in the will of a woman called Eva D’Orsay. Requested to attend the offices of the lawyers handling her inheritence, the main problem is that Grace has never even heard of this woman. But her journey of discovery will lead to the heart of the perfume world, travelling to Paris and exploring the life and death of this shadowy benefactor who, it turns out, was the darling of high society in the 1920s. Traversing decadently through the decades in New York, Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, Grace discovers Eva was a famed fragrant muse, and someone who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers to immortalise her in three groundbreaking fragrances. As Grace finds out more, and indulges her own senses, she will be changed forever when forced to choose between the image of what society experts of her, and who she really is…

Buy it at waterstones.com

 

The Scent of You by Maggie Alderson

‘I experience the world through smell – I always have.’ So begins this novel by Maggie Alderson, and we couldn’t agree more. Maggie was inspired to write this novel by spending time in our own Perfume Society office, attending launches and meeting perfumers, learning the history of perfume and developing a burning passion for it along the way. Central character, Polly, is a perfume blogger who loses herself in the world of fragrance while her own world falls to pieces around her – something many of us can empathise with. Polly, having grown up surrounded by the beautiful perfume bottles of her ultra glam (ex-model) mother, and learning to explore the world by sniffing ‘…everything!’ she is now distracting herself with, among other things, ‘Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer.’ Completely gripping, the story of a life in crisis and wonderfully observed, it’s a perfect cosy read for anyone who also experiences the world through smell (that’ll be most of you, then!)

Buy it at waterstones.com

 

The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni

Any novel that contains the phrase ‘perfume is the truth’ has us whooping for joy, and in her beautiful novel, Caboni reminds us that scent has the greatest power to ignite our memories – something the main character, Elena Rossini, knows only too well. Granted a rare gift of a superior sense of smell, Elena’s passion for perfume has been passed down through generations of her family; but as this ability means painful memories about her mother are carried on the breeze, she can never truly escape her past. When a betrayal destroys her dreams, fragrant events are set in motion when Elena’s best friend invites her to Paris, and she grabs at the chance to start afresh. Searching for a composition within her family’s historic archives, Elena’s new goal becomes the replication of a secret scented recipe that nobody in her family managed to master…

Buy it at waterstones.com

 

By Suzy Nightingale