Are you ready to escape in The Perfume Garden…? We’ve found a perfect scent-themed book for spring

The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown might just be the perfect book to escape with (seeing as we still can’t travel very far). We’ve only recently discovered it and, of course, immediately added it to our Fragrant Reads bookshelves. Now, here’s why you should read it, too…

‘I understand why creating a perfumer protagonist is catnip for novelists,’ says Angela in her pithy review on the Now Smell This blog. ‘Perfume is glamorous, and the art of creating fragrance holds more mystery than, say, playing the cello. But so many novelists butcher perfumery. Often they portray noses as bloodhounds who can sniff a sprig of mint down the block, but they ignore the heart of creating a perfume — beautiful, effective composition.’

Mercifully, she notes, ‘Kate Lord Brown avoids this pitfall.’ Adding: ‘Thank you, Brown, for not spending paragraphs having your perfumer heroine wax on about the smell of a carrot that was raised in a field fed by spring water run off through alfalfa fields where a gassy Doberman frolicked.’

We have all, I am sure, read (and raised eyebrows at) books like that, or films that overly romanticise what remains, after all, an exact science. Then again, don’t get this book expecting it to be a faithful reconstruction of how a perfumer works.  The main protagonist here, Emma, being a perfumer is more like one of many ingredients rippled through a fragrance, than the entire composition itself. Instead, the pleasure of reading this novel comes from its dreamy, evocative descriptions and the clever weaving together of two stories.

 

 

One story is set in the modern day, just after Emma simultaneously loses not only lost her mother, who was also a perfumer, but the father of her child at the same time. She travels to an abandoned house her mother owned in Valencia, and in renovating it, discovers all manner of disturbing family secrets revealed in the flashback portion of the book, set during the violence of the Spanish Civil War. Interspersed throughout is the sense that the author is fully in tune with her own senses – who understands that taking time to describe a smell not only helps evoke a place, but adds another emotional connection for the reader. At one point, Emma tries to think of a particular fragrance ‘like a half-remembered melody she couldn’t sing’ and imagines the fragrance she would like to make of her time in Spain; writing a list as inspiration:

‘The seduction of white flowers
Woodsmoke and saffron
Lavender mountains, cranberry sunsets
Blue domes
Lemon trees
Floating bridges
Immense night skies pricked with stars.’

Yes please, sign us up for a bottle! The rest of the novel is similarly lush, and should really be enjoyed in the garden, preferably on a sunny days with a glass of something cold, and hopefully sitting somewhere near a heady honeysuckle or fragrant blossom to immerse yourself in glorious scents as you read. It might not be the most detailed description of a perfumer’s work, but it’s a romantic – heartbreaking at times – engaging tale of a house giving up its secrets and the way scent weaves its own tale in all of our lives.

By Suzy Nightingale

Retro fragrance ads – moustaches, pot plants & lasers: oh my!

Retro fragrance ads have a certain nostaligic charm – we might remember them from our childhood – or occasionally downright hilarious (let’s just say that some age better than others…)

While some houses or perfumes slip through the mists of time and become names we forget altogether or perhaps spot at vintage fairs, others remain firm favourites and become scents that stood the test of time. Here’s a list of some of our favourites you can sit back and chuckle at if you will, or be propelled back into vivid scent memories via the magic of perfume’s ability to whisk us through time and space.

Prepare yourselves for moustaches, pot plants & lasers: oh my!

 

#moustachegoals for miles as our hero is seen splashing on Blue Statos Cologne one minute, and hurling himself into a hang-glider the next. We hope he waxed that ‘tache or he could give himself whiplash. And who’d have thought it? It turns out hang-gliding is the perfect sport to take up if you want to make eye-contact with female drivers – not something we’d have thought Health & Safety regs would approve of, but still. She can get a whiff of his Cologne even as he whisks through the air above her car (like a fragrant falcon), and they immediately decide to live together in a glorified wooden shack. We love happy endings.

 

Spying someone gorgeous at a party, trying to subtly flirt across a crowded room, has always been a situation fraught with danger. But it’s all going so well for this woman – she’s chic, fun and poised with dignity – until she applies Tigress, quick-changes into a catsuit, spends several minutes fighting her way through the potted plants and breathes on her ‘prey’ in a quite unpleasant and off-putting manner. And this is why we should all have that friend who says, ‘Yes, Susan. There is such a thing as “too many cocktails” and you’ve had them. I’m calling us a taxi.’

 

Shopping for men while picking up their vegetables for the week, two women perform an improptu musical outside a greengrocer’s, discussing what, exactly, constitutes ‘something about an Aqua Velva man.’ I’m not sure we ever quite get to the bottom of it, only that they must be ‘manly’ and ‘last all day’. With packaging that at first glance might be mistaken for men’s hair dye – or a devastatingly attractive fake Moustache In a Box – we can only guess how ‘fresh’ and/or ‘provocative’ the duo of fragrances actually smelled. Or perhaps it’s of secondary importance to the freshness of the veg?

 

On what looks to be the set of a 1960s Hammer Horror film, and wearing a nightdress that only adds to the impression, we are given life advice by a really quite terrifying woman who declares in a breathy, faintly sinister way, that her men must wear ‘English Leather, or nothing at all.’ We’d be straight on the phone to the police, to be honest, advising them to check under her patio for those who refused either option…

 

Lasers, leotards, smoke machines… could this be the dawn of the 1980s by any chance? This couldn’t be more thrillingly of its it time (1981 to be precise) if it tried, and we even have SCIENCE (along with some nifty robotic dance moves, which I’m pretty sure we’ll all be breaking out down the club this weekend) to back up their claims of ‘pheremones’ in every bottle of Jovan Andron, that are ‘guaranteed to attract.’ Attract what, we’re not quite sure. Stifled laughter?

In the mood for more retro fragrance vibes? Take a look at our feature in which we invited author Maggie Alderson to browse through the adverts of more recent years and see how men’s fragrance advertising has changed

By Suzy Nightingale

Wake up and smell the coral – and climate change?

Caitlin Lawson, a marine biologist at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia, thinks we have a lot to learn about climate change from the smells that coral produce

Having witnessed the annual spawning of coral larvae, which takes place every November on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and describing the spectacle as being ‘like an underwater snowstorm,’ – Lawson set about her task of collecting samples of the gaseous (and rather pongy) scent chemicals they release during this orgy of olfaction. Hakai Magazine reported on her research, explaining that ‘Using advanced analytical chemistry techniques, Lawson and her colleagues are working to identify the spectrum of volatile chemicals the corals produce under different conditions. They hope that measuring these gaseous compounds can give them a way to assess the corals’ health.’

Because when you think about it: why do things smell? Why are we so receptive to these scents, and what might we learn by unravelling this secret, sniffable language?

‘All living things release volatile chemicals,’ explains the report, ‘and many species have adopted specific volatiles as communicative signals. Scientists have long studied their function in terrestrial organisms. A plant’s volatile emissions might indicate to nearby flora that an insect predator has alit, for example, or they might be used to attract another species that feeds on that predator. Detecting these chemicals also has medical uses—think of dogs sniffing out cancer or perhaps even COVID-19.’

 

 

But it’s far harder to capture and analyse smells transmitted under water (think baked beans on toast for tea followed by a nice warm bath…) and so Lawson says she and her team ‘are playing catch-up to the terrestrial world,’ when it comes to unravelling the signals living creatures such as the so-endangered coral reefs are trying to tell us.

‘In a recent study’, the report continues, ‘the scientists described how they detected 87 volatile chemicals being dispersed by two species of coral, Acropora intermedia and Pocillopora damicornis.’ A great number of these volatile smells have already been flagged as important to climate regulation, and Lawson believes ‘this is a potentially huge source that, so far, we have overlooked’ when it comes to mapping (and predicting) what’s happening to our climate.

We already know that odours impact people’s social interactions, and sense of inclusion or exclusion from others; and plants signal attack or distress to one another through smell – that’s basically what essential oils are: invisible scent messages whizzing through the air to warn others of their species or deter insects. So, might coral (and other living creatures) send scented signals not only to ring the alarm bell (or perhaps even help warn surrounding creatures of impending danger), but bang the gong for getting it on? Says Lawson: ‘This is still very much in the baby stage of research. There’s so much to explore…’

By Suzy Nightingale

Latest Launches: Here for the drama

As spring is in full bloom and our freedom tiptoes back to us, this week’s latest launches have a scent for every mood. Byredo Mixed Emotions sets the tone, with a fragrance designed to “reflect the nature of tumultuous times.” By Kilian offers Love Don’t Be Shy Extreme and we don’t mind if we do. Speaking of drama, who could fail to covet the theatrical red stiletto of Carolina Herrera Very Good Girl? Not us!

BOGUE_PROFUMO_LITABOUGUE PROFUMO
LITA
An unapologetically immense swathe of rum-soaked, floral-licked lusciousness, perfumer Antonio Gardoni worked in collaboration with Luke Pritchard, lead singer of The Kooks, and his singer-songwriter wife Ellie Rose, to celebrate their new musical project: Duo. Gardoni says ‘I wanted to produce something that echoed their dark, smoky, lustful sound.’ Cue heady ylang ylang and plush gardenia wrapped in a tobacco and champaca infused heart, ripe jasmine harmoniously swooning to the sticky, resinous base. Encore!
£190 for 50ml extrait de parfum
bloomperfume.co.uk
BYREDO_MIXED_EMOTIONSBYREDO
MIXED EMOTIONS

Mixed Emotions has been created, so we’re told, ‘to reflect the tumultuous nature of our times’. Yet the fragrance itself seems to offer something of a welcome antidote to that: a beautiful, cool blend of maté tea, sharply sweet blackcurrant, Ceylon black tea, violet leaves, tethered by papyrus and birch wood. ‘A refreshing reminder that it is OK to not be OK – and that from unsettling experiences, a new reality might emerge,’ conclude BYREDO. Here’s hoping.
From £122 for 50ml eau de parfum
byredo.com
CAROLINA_HERRERA_VERY_GOOD_GIRLCAROLINA HERRERA
VERY GOOD GIRL
Embodying the spirit of fun, fabulous and fearless, even if you’re not ready to squeeze back into your actual heels; we know many who’ll be reaching for the instant glam of this so-collectible new version of the best-selling scent. Redcurrant and lychee make the mouth water before a swag of red roses garland the heart (we imagine them draped around the shoulders, like a feather boa), while the base swirls seductively with vetiver and vanilla.
£55.50 for 30ml eau de parfum
theperfumeshop.com
DOLCE_GABBANA_VELVET_BLACK_PATCHOULIDOLCE & GABBANA
VELVET BLACK PATCHOULI
The dark, heady, shareable counterpoint to Dolce Rose is this woody-Ambrée, conjuring up a time when precious goods from the East would arrive in the ports of Italy, filling the air with the scent of the patchouli used to protect precious fabrics en route. Davana, blood orange, clary sage, tonka, caramel and sweet vanilla build a seriously intriguing construction that positively smoulders. One for patchouli-lovers – but also, one to convert patchouli refuseniks.
From £200 for 50ml eau de parfum
harrods.com 
KILIAN_LOVE_DONT_BE_SHY_EXTREMEKILIAN
LOVE DON’T BE SHY EXTREME
Get ready to clutch your pearls, girls (and anyone who loves wearing the original), because this Kilian bestseller has been ramped up with an extra dose of Bulgarian rose. Part of the ‘Narcotics’ collection, they warn us that it’s now such an addictive pleasure that ‘sensitive souls are asked to abstain…’ With heady orange blossom up top and pillowy marshmallow in the base, the even-more-voluptuous floral heart won’t spare your blushes…
£225 for 50ml eau de parfum
bykilian.co.uk

Take a moment to smell the roses – in a seriously affordable luxury scent!

How do you fancy looking out over the rose fields of Grasse and enjoying some seriously affordable luxury? Stephan Matthews, a self-confessed Francophile, fragrance expert and long-time friend of The Perfume Society, lets us in on his latest scented obsession…

Trésors Publics is a boutique that I’ve written about in the past for The Perfume Society, and is also one that holds many happy memories for me. It’s in the heart of Nice, which before recent events was my regular place to escape to, and they specialise in products that are solely made in France. Just walking through their large red doors is guaranteed to make even the most hardened heart swoon. In amongst the rustic glass and traditional Provençal fashions there is a carefully curated selection of scents, and it’s just got a little bigger.

When the company were looking to create their own fragrance they were clear that it had to fit into their artisan style, but they also didn’t want to overcomplicate it. Many ingredients can be thought of as a fragrance in themselves, made up of a multitude of facets, and so the decision was taken to launch a singular floral water. Now there are many of these already on the market which meant that the actual company behind the production was going to be a big part of its success. Well, they aimed high and managed to enlist the help of the Mul family.

 

Stop and smell the roses Eau de Rose

 

You might not recognise the name but you’ve definitely worn one of their ingredients. The Mul family famously produce some of the most exquisite flowers in the world and, since 1987, many of them have been solely destined to end up in your bottle of Chanel perfume. The family began farming in the 1840s and have weathered many storms, including the very real threat that was posed from flower imports in the seventies. Their way to fight back was to form their own extraction and distillation facility, and this is where the beautiful rosewater comes from for Trésors Publics.

Rosa centifolia, also known as Rose de Mai, is just one of the flowers that Mul grows for Chanel. When they extract the oil, and remember that it takes 60,000 roses to obtain a single ounce, they also produce a lot of rosewater. This often ends up in skincare or delicious pastries, and some perfumers like Jessica Buchanan even add a touch to their formulas, but it is spectacular spritzed on its own. When we think how complex many fragrances are, a pure burst of that green faceted honey rose transports you immediately to those acres of petaled hillsides.

 

 

With overseas travel looking unlikely this year, and with Nice once again in the midst of yet another lockdown, getting to try products from independent overseas companies like Trésors Publics is difficult… but not impossible. Christian Estrosi, the Mayor of Nice, has tried very hard to support local businesses and one way was to encourage them to embrace selling online. He told me, We’ve made €1200 available to businesses to allow them to create a virtual presence, and so provide an alternative to the giants of e-commerce.” France has always encouraged artisans, which is why it’s so wonderful to see Christian continuing to champion this.

If you want to stop and smell the roses – and try a little bit of the magic of the Rose de Mai without the usual price-tag – Eau de Rose is available from the Trésors Publics website priced at €9 for 100ml, although I guarantee you’ll be tempted by more than just perfume.

By Stephan Matthews

 

Taste & Flavour – FREE cookbook for Covid sufferers who’ve lost their sense of smell

Up to 80% of what we taste is actually relayed through smell, and a FREE cookbook, Taste & Flavour, has been written to help those who’ve lost their sense of smell following Covid…

When it first came to light that many of those people who’d had or were still suffering with Covid-19 were experiencing loss of taste and smell, Life Kitchen said, ‘our first thought was – what can we do to help?’ Having undertaken extensive research, and garnered the help of experts such as Professor Barry Smith, from the University of London, the anosmia (smell loss) charity Abscent, and Altered Eating; it was ‘discovered that Covid-related taste and smell loss has some distinctive features.’ These included people who ‘found they didn’t want to eat certain, quite common ingredients, including onions, garlic, meat and eggs,’ while additionally (and upsettingly), ‘certain foodstuffs seemed to trigger parosmia (changes to or distortion of the sense of smell), anosmia (loss of smell) and phantosmia (smelling something that isn’t there).’

The loss of smell (and therefore taste) has been devastating to those already suffering other symptoms and feeling isolated, and we’ve written several articles on anosmia and parosmia previously, including an explanation of the help Abscent can offer – with anosmic Louise Woolham writing a feature in our just-published edition of The Scented Letter magazine. The idea behind the book, the authors say, is to be ‘a collection of recipes, ideas and expertise to help you on your journey towards enjoying food again.’

 

 

As Life Kitchen comment, and we know from the reports of many post-Covid patients: ‘Any of these olfactory conditions can have a profound knock-on effect for physical and mental health.’ So, what to do for immediate and – most importantly – practical help if you’ve lost your sense of smell and can’t taste the food you once enjoyed…?

Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke worked with the smell and taste experts, to produce this recipe and self-help book. And – SO generously – they’ve not only produced printed copies you can purchase on the website for only £3.00 to cover postage costs, but have made a digital copy FREE to download, so they can help even if you can’t afford the book right now, and no matter where you are in the world.

‘Using our five principles of taste and flavour – umami, smell, stimulating the trigeminal nerve (responsible for sensation in the face), texture, and layering flavour’ they explain, ‘we’ve taught over 1,000 people with cancer to enjoy food again. We wanted to apply these principles to create recipes for those people who have lost their senses of taste and smell as a result of Covid.

 

Taste & Flavour: A cookbook to inspire those experiencing changes in taste and smell as a result of Covid by Ryan Riley & Kimberley Duke

Dowload the FREE digital edition, here.

Print copies available at: lifekitchen.co.uk

By Suzy Nightingale

Latest Launches: Scent memories revived!

This week’s Latest Launches beckon you outside to revisit happy memories past and present. Bath House Climbing Trees sets the tone alongside Malin + Goetz Strawberry and Bel Rebel Bubble Gum. Who can resist the tall flowers of Kenzo FlowerbyKenzo EDT, looking as if it’s already in a vase for you? Round off a day of blue skies with Marc Jacobs Daisy Spring Limited Edition and its irresistible bottle.BATH_HOUSE_CLIMBING_TREES
BATH HOUSE
CLIMBING TREES
A collaboration with British perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek, the name alone conjures wonderful images, while the scent doesn’t disappoint. Memories of carefree childhood summers and fields of sun-scorched grass are evoked through vetiver, cedar and amber representing the woodland floor. Clambering effortlessly through canopies of aromatic green leaves, sweet bergamot and radiant jasmine sparkle like dappled sunshine, while lemon and rosemary feel like crisp countryside air. Basically, the scent of freedom, bottled!
£72 for 60ml eau de parfum
thebathhouseshop.co.uk
BEL_REBEL_BUBBLEGUMBEL REBEL
BUBBLE GUM
One sniff and you’re immediately propelled back to the days of flipping through teenage magazines, dancing madly at the disco and illicit snogs around the back of the bike sheds, while covering your beau in fruit flavoured lip gloss. The photo-realistic bubble gum scent bubble pops to reveal a cool, chic wave of Cashmeran on a base of sheer patchouli and vanilla, the sudden sophistication juxtaposed with the giggle-inducing joyousness of the opening.
£139 for 69ml perfume
belrebel.com
KENZO_EAU_DE_TOILETTEKENZO
FLOWERBYKENZO EDT
The archetypal fantasy floral feels shot through with sunshine – each spritz feels as though we’re not so much walking through the poppy fields but flying above them. The wind gleefully ripples our hair as scarlet petals scatter beneath us, a whisper of white musk dotted with sparkles of lemon, fluffy clouds of organic vanilla sprinkled with Bulgarian rose water. If the original’s too powdery for you now, try this flight of fancy.
£41 for 30ml eau de toilette
boots.comMALINGOETZ_STRAWBERRYMALIN + GOETZ
STRAWBERRY

Forget strawberry jam and berry shortcake: this is strawberry ‘reimagined’ by the artistic team at Malin + Goetz. They ‘deconstructed’ and reinterpret the garden strawberry, invoking its luscious freshness via bright shafts of pink pepper and bergamot, given a floral flourish by orris root, jasmine petals and warm musks. ‘A dynamic scent that challenges the conceptions around the strawberry,’ they promise. What the fruit has in common with this, however, is a decided moreishness.
£75 for 50ml eau de parfum
malinandgoetz.co.uk
MARC_JACOBS_DAISY_SPRING_2021MARC JACOBS
DAISY LOVE SPRING LIMITED EDITION
The boundless airy optimism of Daisy gets three limited edition seasonal twists, our favourite being the barely yet unfurled new-shoots green of Daisy Love. Perfumer Alberto Morillas drizzles freshly picked, still sun-warmed figs with the powdery blossoms of blowsy pink peonies, lapped by cool fig milk in the base. It’s a gourmand-esque comfort to those of us not nearly ready to ditch the tights but welcoming every lighter day with a whoop.
£60 for 50ml eau de toilette
boots.com

Colourful fragrance feeds to follow

Colourful fragrance feeds on Instagram are lighting up our life right now – most especially as we’ve just published the latest edition of The Scented Letter magazine with the theme of ‘Perfume’s Bright Future.’

 

 

Because fragrance truly has been brightening the darkness of the last year for so many of us – both literally and metaphorically – and we now know that colour, emotions and scent are not only metaphorically linked, but scientifically proven. Changing the colour of the bottle, packaging or juice inside can drastically alter our perception of how a perfume smells to us. And, as you will discover in this biggest ever issue: fragrance designers have mapped out your mood, sometimes long before the first drop of an ingredient has been added to the composition.

But really it all comes down to that immediate uplifting appeal that bright colours and the right fragrance can have – a whizz, bang, pop! of rainbows bursting forth from our phone screens just make everything seem jollier, somehow. And how we’ve needed that of late.

Here are some of our favourite multi-hued, must-follow fragrance feeds on Instagram, for whenever you need to smell in full colour...

dr.elle.perfume
A perfume collector based in the U.K., Dr. Elle’s account is a brilliantly curated glimpse at her incredible collection – displayed in a rainbow of colours. Fascinating to see the colours en-masse, to spot rare bottles and be entranced by her impeccably arranged flatlays!

 

anillustratednose
In her ‘spare time ‘from working in science, Nafia is a talented artist who renders some favourite fragrances in hand-drawn illustrations. Often surrounded not only by their literal colours, but those the scent evokes for her, adding another sense to seeing them on screen.

 

yura_perfume_collection
A perfume collection of dreams, we wonder how many bottles Yura has in total, with snippets such as ‘Photos of a few months ago. And have collected 300 bottles more after that…’ Exquisite flacons, usually arrayed by house, showing their full scent spectrum.

 

suzys__niche_fragrance_reviews
No not my collection (I wish!) but this Suzy shows her ‘passion for fine fragrance expressed through reviews and photos.’ Wonderfully evocative and so-colourful backdrops give another vibe to her really great descriptions of how the particular perfumes make her feel.

 

markus.ebrahim
Anyone who keeps fragrance bottles in a cocktail cabinet is right up our street, and Markus describes himself as a ‘perfume extremist’, whose Instagram also serves as a scent diary. A rapid response nurse for the NHS, his feed is full of color, wit and personal reflections.

 

fragrance.obsession
Exploring both niche and more mainstream designer houses, colourful flowers and themed layouts are often employed to accompany her lovely reviews (sometimes even matched with nail polish too!) We love her trays of monthly scent sellections as well: so organised!

 

alltheperfume
Sarah has an extraordinary collection we’ve previously shared in The Scented Letter magazine’s #ShareMyStash feature, having visited her home and seen the beautiful bottles for ourselves! Gorgeous photos and thoughtful reviews of often more affordable houses.

By Suzy Nightingale

 

 

 

Latest Launches: Eau so Emotional

This week’s Latest Launches are sure to take you on an emotional journey. Set off on a dramatic note with Ojar Forgiven Outrage before exploring the covetable feline bottle of CH beasts. Skandinavisk offers Island Solitude whilst Buly explores the mysteries of the Ural mountains with Forêt de Komi, before Atelier Materi coaxes ambrette into a scent to swoon for. OFFICINE_UNIVERSELLE_BULY_KOMI_FOREST

OFFICINE UNIVERSELLE BULY
EAU TRIPLE FORÊT DE KOMI
Quite what the secret of Parisian apothecary/perfume house/all-round-creative-genius-brand Buly’s Eau Triple water-based scents is, we long to know, for they have all the magic of an alcohol-based scent, and plenty of staying power. Here, woods and minerals are melded together with sage, cardamom, basil, violet and lavender, to evoke an imaginary walk in the Komi forest in Russia’s Ural mountains. If this gender-neutral fragrance was a colour, it would be a deep, shaded, mossy green.
130 euros for 75ml eau triple
buly1803.com
SKANDINAVISK_ISLAND_SOLITUDE
SKANDINAVISK
KAPITEL 4 ISLAND SOLITUDE
For their second shareable eau de toilette, Skandinavisk send sea breezes gusting through gnarled crab apple, dog rose and moss. This marine floral is as romantic as their description of ‘exploring glittering Scandinavian waterways under sail, of archipelagos akin to giant’s stepping stones, navigating with no fixed destination, and encountering rocky shadows to escape upon.’ At a time when travel’s so tricky, we are thankful to escape on scent’s magic carpet, instead.
£45 for 50ml eau de toilette
skandinavisk.com
MENS_ATELIER_MATERI_PEAU_DAMBRETTE.
ATELIER MATERI
PEAU D’AMBRETTE
With an ethos of inspecting an ingredient from every angle – born out of founder, Véronique Le Bihan’s architectural background – here the ambrette seed is coaxed to behave almost fruitily, encouraged by the mandarin and ginger. Then, the floralcy of amyris warms to a skin-like musk supported by Ambroxan and spiced sandalwood. Delicately captivating, it’s perhaps the most ‘masculine’ of the unisex range, but they’re so skilfully nuanced you’ll want to take a turn around each.
£195 for 100ml eau de parfum
libertylondon.com
CH_BEASTS_LIMITED_EDITION
CAROLINA HERRERA
CH BEASTS
Stalking stealthily through an imagined garden, this magnificent beast is a limited edition, so you’d best catch it while you can. Wrapped in green velvet and snarling slightly, the dewy violet leaves and aromatic fir balsam evoke nature freshly drenched from a rainfall. But it’s the dry-down we love best: speckles of black pepper dusting the Cashmeran, labdanum and vanilla base – a provocative purr that begs to be nuzzled but hints at dangerous consequences.
£72 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com
OJAR_FORGIVEN_OUTRAGEOJAR
FORGIVEN OUTRAGE
First points go the name, a joy to repeat when someone asks what you’re wearing (and they will, if you allow them that close). Second, to the dual-purpose bottle, which can be a roll-on or used with a dabber, also supplied. Thirdly – and most importantly – it smells divine. Imagine the scent of incense from a Japanese kodo ceremony – a trail of cardamom-speckled smoke twisted with freesias and ylang ylang, grounded by guaiac wood – and relax.
£135 for 20ml absolute
harrods.com

Fragrances for ‘when this is all over’ – soothing scents + party perfumes

How often have you heard the phrase when this is all over during the past year? Well, the “when” is soon – at least in the U.K. with the government’s ‘roadmap’ for easing restrictions seeing the return of shops and outdoor hospitality services reopening on Monday, April 12th.

However, while our hearts may be full to bursting at the prospect of seeing loved ones we’ve missed for so long – there’s some real anxiety in the mix, too.

Because we know the ‘new normal’ (ugh, another saying that needs to get in the sea) is still far from resembling what our lives looked like in those hazy ‘before’ days, when many of us (perhaps lazily) took our freedom foregranted. To travel, to meet a friend for coffee, to hug them when we arrived – blimey, just to walk into a shop! And things will remain strange for some time. So we’re going to need some extra help, still, to get through this together.

 

 

If you’re feeling anxious about mixing in public again, you’re certainly not alone. The medical website patient.info has a great article with tips to combat stress in a post-Covid world, quoting psychologist and well-being consultant Lee Chambers, who says of course we’re all still worried, because ‘Over the course of the past 12 months, there has been significant change to adapt and acclimatise to.’ and explains: ‘Without a clear future anchor and the ability to create a longer-term plan, we lack the ability to prepare, and the constantly changing rules lower our tolerance to uncertainty.’

We know that so many more of you have been finding comfort and great mental-health support from scent during lockdown. It stands to reason we’ll need a fragrant anchor to help us get through the next few months as well. So, here are some soothing scents to help calm your nerves and help you feel grounded, but also some party perfumes for when the celebratory spirit strikes and you need an instant spritz of glamour.

Whatever your mood, there’s a fragrance to match or counteract, if needs be. Think of them as bravery: bottled. For when this is all over? For right now, or whenever you need them…

 

 

Nancy Meiland Gaia £45 for 30ml perfume attar
A beautifully nurturing scent delievered via a handy rollerball. A nuzzle of jasmine wrapped in warming nutmeg, brightening bergamot and a soft breeze of blue lotus on a caressing base of cedar and sandalwood.

 

Vines House Parfum Signature Story £75 for 30ml eau de parfum
Founder Rebecca Harrison shares her signature scent ‘for a mood of composure and contentment’ – a veriutable hug in a bottle. Cool lychee snuggles with ginger lily in a whisper of warm amber-rippled vanilla.

 

Angela Flanders Bleu de Chine £79 for 50ml eau de parfum
Swathe yourself in the hush of dry lavender, grounding patchouli aged for extra depth and the woody heart of bois de rose. Inspired by vintage Chinese textiles, it’s immediately comforting yet effortlessly elegant.

 

 

Histoires de Parfums 1899 £35 for 15ml eau de parfum
With a pop of Champagne corks flying, the bohemians emerge from the clubs of Paris into the dazzling lights of the city. The fizz of bergamot and juniper floats on orange blossom ablaze with amber in the vibrant base.

[Try a sample in our Scented Retreat Discovery Box]

 

HERMES_LOMBRE_DE_MERVEILLES

Hermes L’Ombre de Merveilles  £75 for 50ml eau de toilette
Perfumer Christine Nagel encourages us to ‘see the world from new and marvellous angles’ via contrasting light and shade. Shimmering tops notes swirl to black tea and simmering tonka.

 

Kierin NYC Nitro Noir £65 for 50ml eau de parfum
Mathieu Nardin’s powerhouse gourmand/floral positively swings its hips, with ripe berries swirled through rich patchouli and dusted with orris for a hypnotic, individualistic ‘hurrah!’

[Try a sample in the Kierin NYC Discovery Set]

Whether you need soothing or a chance to celebrate, there’s a whole world of fragrances out there to support and reflect how you’re feeling (or would like to feel). If you’re still wondering what would be the best scent to suit your mood, take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder. Simply type in the name of a fragrance you love and it will suggest six others, thanks to the so-clever personality-matching algorithm…

By Suzy Nightingale