Rose scents are BLOOMING! Here’s why (& which to try…)

A budding trend for wearable, contemporary, even edgy rose scents has turned into a full-bloomed renaissance. Suddenly, rose scents are blooming everywhere, (along with our own late-blooming rose bushes here in the U.K. thanks to the washed-out, dreary Spring!)

Here, we celebrate some of our favourite modern takes on the ‘Queen of the flower’ fragrances…

 

 

 

 

Not very long ago at all, if you had a sneaking love of rose perfumes, chances are you might keep pretty schtum about it. Despite rose appearing in the construction of the vast majority of perfumes – a pillar, around which other fragrance ingredients entwine – in perfumistas circles, overtly ‘rose perfumes’ were perceived by many as a bit dusty, a bit boring, somewhat outdated, and best relegated to scented drawer-liners and grandma’s dressing table.

Indeed, James Craven, fragrance expert, and one-time archivist for London’s first niche perfumery, Les Senteurs, recalls that many customers who came searching for a new scent would begin their consultation by pronouncing, definitively: ‘Nothing with rose in it’. Customers had a preconceived idea of how a rose scent would smell, he says. But undeterred, and indeed without telling the customer what they were sniffing, James would nevertheless proceed to show them a fragrance with rose as a note.

 

 

 

 

‘Nine times out of 10, the rose scents would be the one they’d fall in love with,’ he says. (Though to be fair, it would have been pretty hard for him not to, since roses feature in at least 75% of modern feminine fragrances, and at least 10% of all men’s perfumes, too.)

Today, however, there is a serious rose resurgence in perfumery – and we aren’t talking ‘chorus line’ rose notes, but fragrances which put rose front and centre in the scented spotlight, in an utterly modern style. Roses don’t merely have to be seen as a ‘romantic’ scent style, now – or, of course, reserved for ‘feminine’ fragrances. We’re loving the more masculine takes, too.

One thing is perfectly clear – never have we seen so many new overtly rose-centric fragrances being re-embraced in such a flurry. The only problem you have is: which of these blooming rose scents will you seek out to try first…?

 

Chanel Les Eaux Paris – Paris

Recent recipient of The Fragrance Foundation Reader’s Choice Award, this dreamy rose scent pays homage to, ‘the vibrant and timeless Paris of Gabrielle Chanel; the authenticity of her character and the modernity of her soul.’ Sparkling with citrus and pink pepper, the Damask rose exudes an effervescent, contemporary kind of chic being so perfectly borne aloft on the radiance of those top notes.

£122 for 125ml eau de toilette chanel.com

 

 

Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance

A scorching interpretation of rose, in which smouldering leather tangos with rich Damask rose against a vibrantly glowing backdrop of patchouli, amber and warm waves of sensual oudh. Think of a summer party’s bonfire-smoke still clinging to your hair, pinpricks of starlight against a velvety sky and passionate kisses which smoulder nearly as long as this will on your skin.

From £70 for 30ml eau de parfum ruthmastenbroek.com

 

 

 

Memoize Rose Luxuria

Fresh and floral, yes, but with a sultry undercurrent resonant in the burning embrace of the ambreé’s character (which slowly reveals itself as it settles on bare skin). A caress of bright bergamot, lemon and cedar leaf trembles to the bouquet buried within the heart: that coriander-speckled rose rippled with jasmine, lily of the valley, magnolia, orange flower, then dusted with orris before the seductively woody base takes hold.

£227 for 100ml extrait de parfum shop page

 

 

 

Penhaligon’s Halfeti

Inspired by a small Turkish village famed the world over for its roses, perfumer Christian Provenzano coaxes baskets of the blooms to radiate in the hot sun. Steeped with spices, the nutmeg and oudh sweep in clouds across supple leather (and often, onto the streets, actually wafting from Penhaligon’s boutiques). That distinctive amber woodiness in the base has ensured its modern icon, smash-hit status never fades.

From £95 for 30ml eau de parfum penhaligons.com

 

 

 

Edeniste Rose Fatale 

Talking of contemporary, perfumer Aurélien Guichard worked with cutting-edge neuroscience discoveries to create this almost jammy rose essence from Bulgaria that’s spiked with cool nutmeg, textured with labdanum’s supple, leather-like facets and another favourite partner of rose – patchouli essence from Indonesia. Edentiste suggests pairing with any of their ‘Lifeboost’ actives to ‘let your feelings rule…’

From £96 for 30ml eau de parfum shop page

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

Luxury fragrances for less? (The REAL deal, no ‘dupes’ allowed!)

Luxury and niche fragrances are always lusted after, but of course can become somewhat injurious to one’s wallet if you want to try several all at once (and we always, always do!)

The problem is, this often leads people to try ‘dupe‘ fragrances (a nice word for ‘copy’ or ‘rip off’) when we are bombarded by companies aggressively advertising these copies on social media, which promise to be ‘as good as the real thing’ or saying ‘you’ll never know the difference’. It’s understandable some are (literally) duped this way – it sounds too good to be true…

And it is.

 

 

 

Luxury copies are often completely unregulated, using untraceable, unsustainable and inferior materials they can be made in unsanitary, sweat shop conditions, in huge vats of copycat smell-alikes, which may not have been fully safety tested, or have been adulterated with rogue ingredients and then passed off as being a ‘bargain’. Presented in such a way these companies suggest they are somehow doing you a favour, in fact, it’s daylight robbery – a theft of artistic ideas (often pretending to be the real thing by copying names and labels). And we have never once, in our combined decades of professional experience, found anyone, with any knowledge of fragrance, who has smelled the real thing and a knock-off dupe and not IMMEDIATELY been able to tell the difference. Fact.

Those in the know have found the way forward when we’re on a smaller budget. Luxury Discovery Boxes are the chance to indulge in the fragrances of niche and designer houses, often giving you the opportunity to try the scented wares from cult brands you’ve not heard of, or not everyone knows about yet. And, of course, not everyone happens to live near a niche perfumery (or feels brave enough to go in, even if you do). Very few of us could go out and purchase full-size bottles of every brand we want to try. Luxury boxes allow you to afford to wear every single one… and get to experience the real deal, made by perfumers, not thieves.

 

 

 

Where to Get Samples?

The best idea is to get a Discovery Box of fabulous mini sizes and samples from a wide range of luxury, niche and top-end designer fragrance houses. That way you can start exploring and trying them all in the comfort of your own home, before you splash out on a full size. This way, you also get to try things you may never have picked up to try in store (indeed, may never have heard of previously!) and have proper time to try on your skin.

 

 

Want to Explore More…?

Luxury Brand Boxes are the way forward. You may know you like one scent from a particular house, and are ready to be a bit braver and see what else they do. It’s a fantastic leaping-off point, actually, as many houses offer differing styles of scents while still retaining a kind of olfactory handwriting – the same way an artist will have a certain look to their work you can recognise, or a clothing designer tends to work with shapes or tones that suit you. So, when you’ve found one you love, do explore the rest in their collection (and obvs samples are the best way to do this without breaking the bank).

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Oh honey, honey…

Rich, warm, luxurious and comforting, honey works wonderfully in fragrances to emphasise floral notes, or add touches of amberiness.  And with the profusion of gourmand fragrances out there, honey-lovers can easily find themselves in sweet heaven. We love what the nose Christine Nagel has to say about this ingredient:

‘Honey has two facets – half devil, half angel. In Ambrée structures, it has a sweet, comforting effect, taking you back to childhood. But a small touch in a feminine structure can be extremely sexy…’

Are you already a honey-lover…?  Then you’ll know that honey comes in so many different varieties, each taking their smell (and colour) from the flowers on which the bees that produce it have feasted.  Orange blossom honey.  Eucalyptus honey.  Acacia honey:  the variations are almost limitless, sometimes woody, flowery, herbal or even tobacco-y.  The ancient Arab perfumers were the first to capture honey’s sweetness in perfumery, but today the honey featured is generally a synthetic note – one that’s drizzled sensually over quite a few fragrances in the past few years.

It’s over 15,000 years since man first harnessed bees’ busy-ness to produce this natural sweetener. (According to cave paintings in Valencia in Spain, anyway.)  Symbolically, honey stands for ‘the sweet life’, prosperity, even immortality;  the word itself comes from the ancient Hebrew word for ‘enchant’…  When man and bee teamed together, it turned out to be a win-win situation:  bees got a safe place to live (and a reliable food source, in the form of flowering crops) – and we got to harvest honey and beeswax in unbelievably impressive quantities:  a single beehive can produce up to 200 kilos of honey each season.

Guerlain are known for their love of bees of course, featured in their utterly exquisite and iconic Guerlain Bee Bottles, which have been… ‘An icon for nearly 170 years: timeless, the Bee Bottle is more than a bottle, it’s a statement: a precious Guerlain signature and a craft symbol between tradition and modernity.’ What’s more, apart from using honey in their skincare and as a note in fragrances, Guerlain also fund a number of Bee loving projects to ensure the future of bees (and, therefore, crops – and humankind! For without the bees we are truly lost).

 

 

 

 

Guerlain explains: ‘First founded in 2018 and launched globally in  2021, Guerlain’s Bee School initiative was founded as a result of the brand’s ongoing mission to teach children about bees and how they positively affect our environment. Nearly 6,000 children in over ten countries have been able to learn about the various issues facing bees and biodiversity conservation. After discussions, question-and-answer sessions, workshops, and games to test their knowledge, each child receives a Bee School certificate at the end of the session. The programme encompasses meaningful initiatives and partnerships…’

With World Bee Day having been celebrated recently around the globe, and with summer scents in mind (now the weather finally seems to be playing ball), what better time to explore honey fragrances, with scents that evoke both the flirty innocent sweetness and the deeper, more ‘devilish’ side of honey’s character, as Christine Nagel so beautifully put it…?

 

 

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Nettare Di Sole

A deliciously unusual icy floral honey absolute that sings of summertime, the magnolia, rose and Sambac jasmine bathed in honey, as if infused with the sun itself, and rippled with that deliciously cool note evoking dappled shade in a courtyard. Glorious to wear at any time, I especially adore wearing this when the heat properly simmers.

£89 for 75ml eau de toilette guerlain.com

 

 

Floris Honey Oud

A really good introduction to how oudh can be used in a nuanced way – almost as a seasoning instead of the main flavour – this one is actually delicious (as in, if it came in a jar, I’d want to slather it on buttered toast and guzzle it, or perhaps slather myself in it and roll on a meadow). The dark, spiced honeyed note deepens as the oudh kicks in. Intensely nuzzle-able, there’s nothing whatever to frighten the horses, here.

From £22 for 10ml eau de parfum florislondon.com 

[NB: Also available to sample as part of the Floris Private Collection set, for only £35, and including some of their most iconic scents].

 

 

 

Manos Gerakinis Methexis

The name ‘MEΘEXIS’ derives from ancient Greek, translating as ‘the communication between the divine and the human’. A feast for the senses, cocoa and honey luxuriously swathe fig, while blackcurrant ensures the perfect balance of sweetness, swirled into the reassuring woodiness of cedar. A sprinkle of cinnamon ensures this so-sophisticated, intoxicating indulgence of a scent is seasoned to perfection. Divine!

From £50 for 10ml eau de parfum shymimosa.com

[NB: Try samples of the rest of the collection in the Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set, where for £35 you can explore his other scents].

 

 

 

Sarah Baker Charade 

An absolute stunner of a scent, there’s a mellifluous segue between hypnotic floral notes of tuberose and ylang ylang, generously drizzled with honey that brings forth their headiness and makes them swoon into the dry, grassiness of vetiver and tea. Nestled in the base are deeper notes of leather, amber-y warmth and resins resting on smooth sandalwood and snuggly moss. Completely beguiling…

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum in our shop

 

Marc Jacobs Honey

Created by master ‘noses’ Annie Buzantian and Ann Gottlieb, the sunny fragrance opens with a refreshing bouquet of green pear, juicy, ripe mandarin and a cool, fruity punch. Then at the floral heart you’ll find a composition of orange blossom, peach nectar and honeysuckle, followed by a warming base of that gloriously golden honey, creamy vanilla and silky woods. Scrumptious!

Currently £39.99 for 100ml eau de parfum at theperfumeshop.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

An in-depth, exclusive interview with Master Perfumer Olivier Cresp…

One of the perfumery world’s most distinguished figures, Master Perfumer Olivier Cresp has composed hundreds of your favourite creations, including Christian Dior’s Midnight Poison, Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Givenchy Gentleman and, of course, the utterly legendary Thierry Mugler Angel – a perfume which became all the more poignant this year with the passing of Manfred Thierry Mugler on 23 January.

Named a master perfumer in 2006, Cresp joined the Firmenich team in 1992 and was honoured with the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture in 2012. In 2018 he was announced as the Fragrance Foundation’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Award recipient, and far from slowing down, he’s now launched his own fragrance house of AKRO with his daughter, Anais.

Suzy Nightingale recently had the privilege of sitting down with this paragon of perfumery and in an exclusive interview originally for our magazine, The Scented Letter (which you can also buy a gorgeous print copy of) and discovering exactly how he works…

 

When does your day start?

Olivier Cresp: I like to play tennis in the morning, then go to the beach in the afternoon… [laughs] No, seriously, I never really feel like I’m working because it’s my passion, that’s why I’m still working within Firmenich, and then my own projects with AKRO – that’s pure pleasure because we have no limits, we can dare. On a normal day, I get to the office around 9:30. I love that you’re interested in this! The other day I had someone filming me all day long, for a short video that will be edited down to three minutes. It’s interesting that people want to know how perfumers spend their days, now. The first thing I always do is talk to the other perfumers – ask how their evening was, have a coffee. Around 9:45 or 10am I open my laptop and then start working.

Where do you work?

I have a double job, in fact: working for them as Master Perfumer, based in Paris, and working for my own house, AKRO. I have assistants, FDMs (Fragrance Development Managers), sales teams, managers, any number of colleagues depending on the project.

How does your day break down? 

My office is open, so I have the FDMs come to see me, followed by the evaluators and the salespeople. After that some customers call me. A new thing is the number of Zoom and Teams online meetings we do throughout the day – a few years ago this just didn’t happen, but since lockdowns, it can be three hours a day of talking to colleagues through this connection. When I’m working on my laptop, I try to concentrate myself on the projects I have open at that time.

How many fragrances might you be working on at any one time?

In the past, when everything was done by hand, I could only work on eight or ten fragrances a day. Now, with computer technology, I can send fifty formulas a day, sending them all over the world. There are perhaps twenty projects I’m working on at once, sometimes more. I prioritise the fragrances by dates and even hours for deadlines. I can be fast. You have to be! Depending on how quick you are, you can win or lose a project. To work fast you must have the experience and use your time well. Instead of doing hundreds of experiments, like I did at the beginning of my career, I now only need to do four or five – then I know exactly what to move in my fragrance formulas and it just works.

Do you compose fragrances mostly in your head? Do you write by hand or use a computer?

It’s a good question – perfumers are like writers, some prefer handwriting or dictating, others like writing straight on a computer. Twenty-five, what, even thirty years ago now, I used to do everything by hand and my calculator. I’d handwrite the ingredients and work out the percentages and the price for them, because you have to know that. Those days are long gone. Now we have special programmes that work those bits out for you. When I’ve written my formula on my laptop I send it straight to the robot, the robot compounds about 80% of the formula. Then I have my assistants who weigh and compound the missing 20%. As soon as I get the idea for my fragrances, I know exactly what ingredients I want to use.

The next step for me is to discover the correct type or best quality for that fragrance. In two or three hours it’s fixed in my head. From that point I think about what else it needs to create the atmosphere I want, so I might think about what could create some smokiness or an animalic note, for example. Sometimes the idea is easy, but then it’s not easy to find the right molecules to match that smell in your head. I try to be figurative, to catch the profile of what I want. The other day I had to create the smell of a marshmallow. I’d never done that before really, but in two or three experiments I had it. I knew I wanted orange blossom, I used some violet and some rose-y elements, then some praline and vanilla to make it smell edible. It must be logical. It’s a chronological story, and then I’m never lost that way – it’s kind of a red thread I’m following.

 

 

What kind of other inspirations do you look for, during your day? 

I can be inspired by anything, but conversation is really important to me. I buy loads of magazines on all subjects, I really enjoy reading Figaro, but I get lots of feminine magazines especially. I also love walking, being in the forest, foraging, fishing, smelling the seaweed. I always carry blotters with me, so during the day I tend to jot down ideas on those, just in a few words.

Do you break for lunch – or eat at your desk? 

After meetings and working on those, I like to meet colleagues for lunch around midday to 1pm. We always go out because there’s no canteen or anywhere you can food in the office. Perhaps a few times a year if I’m in a hurry I grab a snack and eat that at my desk, but that’s not funny to me, I hate it. I could also go to my house for lunch, because my house isn’t far away, so that’s always a possibility. I might walk there and stay an hour, make myself some nice food, have a change of scenery, then I come back and feel revived by that.

After lunch, how long do you work for – and what will the afternoon be spent on?

I always feel more energetic in the afternoons than I do in the mornings – probably helped by the lunch, inspirational conversations with colleagues and simply the change of scenery – so I feel I can tackle more difficult things then.

What time do you go home? Is that the end of the day, for you? Do you continue to think about the fragrances when you get home?

In the past I used to stay until 9pm, when I was younger I’d work at least twelve hours a day, but I don’t do that any longer. So, let’s say after lunch, from around 2pm I usually stay in the office until 7:30pm minimum, then I go back to my house and do some sport. I never work at home, not ever, otherwise my head would explode. Well, okay, sometimes when I’m fed up, I take my laptop and work from home instead of the office, but on these occasions I’m with my wife and we stay maybe a week in Paris and a week in the South of France, where we have a nice flat.

Seeing the sea, the luminosity of the area – being in Cannes, visiting the islands, the harbour, watching the boats coming in and out – it gives me such inspiration. My nose doesn’t switch ‘off’ as such, but we’re not going around smelling things all the time as a perfumer, not in the same way as when we work, I think it would be impossible to have a life.

Do you need to be in a particular mood, to create?

Not especially, but I do need to feel energised I suppose, I must feel passionate about what I’m doing because otherwise what’s the point?

How long does it take from concept to finished fragrance, in general?

I mean my initial concept can be done in two or three hours, but how long it then takes to come out as a finished fragrance might be two or three years! Ideally, a year and a half is enough to create a great fragrance. You see you have to wait until the year after that to be on the market. There’s one project, I don’t want to say for whom [he chuckles], but I’ve been working on it for eleven years. And it’s still going on!

Do you listen to music while you work, and if so, what kind – pop, jazz, classical…?

No, I can only concentrate in one thing at a time when I’m working. So I couldn’t even read a book or magazine with the radio on in the background, for example, I don’t do that thing of watching TV while you’re on your phone and half reading something else… I do find most of the perfumers like to have music on the radio or stream it from their smart phone, but for me the key is to focus.

 

 

Is a visual moodboard of inspirational pictures / colours helpful for you to create?

More and more clients send me pictures to look through. Before, I’d be sent a few piles of pictures a year, in hardcopy. Now it’s mainly digital they can easily create a moodboard, it’s a visual language. To see on the screen what they want is useful. But often they can turn out the same. You know: it has to be strong but easy to wear, pleasing to the market, something different, long lasting, another unique fragrance…

When I’m gathering inspiration for myself, I read through all the magazines that I buy, I like to first of all flick through in about ten minutes to get an overview and see the colours, colours really drive me. I like to keep my eye in, see what people are interested in. Sometimes I then see these images again in moodboards clients then send me, because they often use images they’ve found in magazines, so I like to know the context. Sometimes the inspiration they send is really good, it helps give me ideas more quickly.

What is the most number of modifications you’ve ever had to do, on a fragrance? And the least?

Some just happen really quickly. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, for example, I did in forty experiments, but I have some that are painful – the longer you’re working on something I feel it’s the worst for creativity because you can get lost. I’m lost, the client is lost. The entire concept can change, the name, if it’s feminine or masculine in style, literally everything.

How many materials do you have at your fingertips, to work with? And how many tend to be in your regular palette?

Out of 1500 main ingredients I have access to – though it’s what we call a ‘living palette’ and that can always be added to – I’m usually working with the same 400. This means I don’t have to smell them all the time, which might sound strange to some people, but I know them so well I know all the outcomes and possibilities of them. It takes you ten years to get to know them that well – to see, to feel, to touch, then just to know.

How much of your day (or perhaps week) is spent on your own work – creating new accords, working with materials that may have been offered to you by the ingredients houses, to ‘store up’ and use for future finished creations?

I don’t have that time generally. The only trésor time I have, to do exactly what I want, is with AKRO. The thing is, I don’t get to actually smell materials all day, I don’t need to do that anymore to write a formula, I will only then smell them to create a big step in that formula or change it somehow. When we get new molecules or ingredients and extractions to smell, that is always exciting, because I don’t know them!

 Is there one fragrance you WISH you’d created, and why is it so special?

[Without hesitation] Shalimar. It’s what I’ve smelled in my family for years, I love the richness of the bergamot with the leather and vanilla, the benzoin. It’s magic! I created Champs-Elysés for Guerlain – with musk, mimosa, you know, very different. I loved it but it didn’t go so well. [He laughs] I created for them, anyway, and it was a great time. For a masculine, I’d loved to have created Dior’s Sauvage. Another all-time classic. What more can you ask for?

The Fragrance Foundation & Jasmine Awards 2023!

We are still absolutely BUZZING with excitement from The Fragrance Foundation U.K. Awards 2023, where over 500 guests and nominees gathered at The Brewery in the City of London, to celebrate the fragrance industry and our passion for perfume…

Having begun in 1992, and known as ‘the Oscars of the fragrance industry’, the Awards recognise ‘excellence within the fragrance arena, from Packaging, Advertising through to Best New Fragrance and Ultimate Launch’. With sequins and scent a-go-go it was surely the most glamorous (and definitely the best smelling) location in London!

Part of The Fragrance Foundation award ceremony now also includes The Jasmine Awards, which were launched in the UK in 1990, and are recognised as:

‘…the most prestigious journalistic awards in the beauty industry. They recognise and reward the talents of journalists & visualisers whose difficult task it is to translate the complex art of perfumery into words and pictures.’

Before we get in to the Jasmines (scroll down to see the winnersincluding the award WE WON!) let’s take a breath and raise our glasses to the incredible fragrance awards winners – many of which are fragrant friends of The Perfume Society, and all of which we whooped with joy for…

 

 

We were ecstatic to see the talents of Ruth Mastenbroek on stage collecting the Perfume Extraordinaire award for Zephyr – a gorgeously luminescent and crisply shimmering breeze of a scent we adore. And you can try a sample of the award-winning scent in our Platinum Discovery Box!

 

 

And the loudest whoop of the evening was surely from the team at the Versace, when Eros Parfum won the People’s Choice Award!

 

 

Versace Eros Parfum is a flamboyantly jubilant modern fougere that exudes confidence via mint, lemon, apple and a unique smooch of tonka, geranium and ambroxan in the heart before woody notes, oakmoss and vanilla swirl the base. And you can try this award-winner as part of our Men’s Must-Have Discovery Box!

 

 

Audrey Semeraro, founder of Edeniste, was absolutely glowing with joy to win the Newcomer award for her fabulously mood-enhancing fragrance house…

 

…as were we, having taken the decision to stock the entire Edeniste collection in our shop as soon as we smelled them, plus putting the Edeniste Vétiver Imaginaire as part of our curated Feel Good Fragrances Discovery Box.

 

 

With the announcement of every award, the room lit up with cheers – it’s such a mood of celebration for all, and for fragrance itself! Here are the other proud Fragrance Foundation Award winners who were also whooping it up during the evening…

 

Media Campaign: Prada, Paradoxe

 

 

Design & Packaging: Dries Van Noten, Soie Malaquais

 

 

Independent Fragrance: Angela Flanders, Leather Rosa

 

 

Interior Fragrance: Diptyque, Roses

 

 

Readers’ Choice: CHANEL, Paris-Paris

 

 

Newcomer: By Far

 

 

Innovation: Launch of Jo Malone London ‘Shining a Light on Mental Health Foundation’

 

 

Retailer of the Year: Harrods

 

 

Limited Distribution: Diptyque, Opsis Eau de Parfum

 

 

National Distribution: Gucci, Flora Gorgeous Jasmine EDP

 

Online Retailer of the Year: The Perfume Shop

 

Best New Fragrance: Prada, Paradoxe

 

 

Best New Fragrance Collection: Tom Ford, Enigmatic Woods Collection

 

 

Ultimate Launch: Frédéric Malle, Uncut Gem

 

 

Ultimate Launch: Prada, Paradoxe

 

 

We were also so pleased to see the previous Chair of the Fragrance Foundation, the hard-working and supportive Annalise Fard welcomed into the Circle of Champions (the Fragrance Foundation’s equivalent of the Hall of Fame) – such a well-deserved tribute for this incredible woman.

 

 

 

And it is always especially heart-warming to see the importance of brilliant consultants recognised, with Kenneth Green Associates’ Nathan Macpherson La Maire receiving the award for Consultant of the Year Award for 2023. Bravo!

 

 

 

And now, let us take a moment to celebrate the Jasmine Awards section of the evening – a highly anticipated and incredibly prestigious collection of awards which receive hundreds of entries from the biggest names in publishing.

 

 

At The Perfume Society, we were so excited to be finalists with FIVE nominations this year, for articles published in our magazine, The Scented Letter (sign up to get your FREE digital copy, here, if you’ve not done so already), and for our blog. It was a genuine THRILL to see The Perfume Society celebrated on the huge screens at the venue, among such talented company as the other incredible nominees and all the fragrance houses. And well, we only went and WON!

 

Practical Guide: The Scented Letter Magazine, Time to Spray Your 5 a Day – Suzy Nightingale

 

 

Creativity: Instagram, All The Perfumes I Wore Last Week – Sali Hughes

 

 

Literary: Glamour Magazine, It’s time to stop treating affordable perfumes like dirt and champion the must-smell-now scents for under £30 – Alice du Parcq

 

 

Short Piece: Country & Town House, The Green, Green Grasse – Jan Masters

 

 

Rising Star: Fabulous, How to smell expensive (without breaking the bank) – Tara Ledden [NB: We couldn’t find this piece online, but you can read Tara’s other work for Fabulous here]

 

The prestigious judging panel had to read so many submissions, and we were full to the fragrant brim with gratitude for this recognition, and send huge congratulations to ALL the finalists, and to the winners, which we were over the moon to be among.

Until next year, fragrant friends, we’ll be wafting on a scented cloud!

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

Timothée Chalamet announced as new face of Bleu de Chanel

Chanel have just announced that Timothée Chalamet will be the new ambassador of the Bleu de Chanel fragrance. It marks the 27 year-old’s first ever collaboration with a beauty or fashion label. His first ad campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti, will be released in June followed by a short film directed by ‘friend of the house’ Martin Scorsese in the autumn.

Whilst it’s not necessarily earth-shattering news that a major fashion house is working with an acclaimed young movie star, Chalamet’s appointment feels like a progressive move for Chanel and an acknowledgment that depictions of modern masculinity are evolving. The French- American actor joins Chanel after the untimely death of Gaspard Ulliel, who was the first ever male ambassador for the brand and worked on campaigns for 12 years. Ulliel was a fine French actor but portrayed a more traditional example of what constituted ‘manhood.’ He was handsome, chiselled, strong and in the Scorsese commercial from 2010 was tortured by memories of a mysterious blonde woman. It’s 60 seconds of beautifully shot nightscapes, a moodily-lit press conference, two glamorous women, a pair of giant red lips and is Bond-like in its styling. It can be hard to get away from the idea that perfume campaigns are often about desire and desirability, but with Chalamet, Chanel have recruited someone that can bring something else to the party – sensitivity, duality and one hell of a range. This year alone we’ll see him play a young Willy Wonka, Bob Dylan and he’ll reprise his leading role in the sci-fi epic Dune: Part Two.

 

 

Feted by Kenneth Turan of the L.A Times, who said “he might be the male actor of his generation”, Chalamet is a press darling, has a fervent social media following (over 18M on Instagram alone) and is equally at home on the red carpet, the film festival circuit and the front row. Fashion is clearly important to him. He co-chaired the Met Gala in 2021 and was the first ever solo male star to grace the cover of British Vogue. Last year he famously wore a sequinned jacket from the Louis Vuitton womenswear collection to the Oscars ceremony and followed it up with an iconic halter neck jumpsuit at the Venice Film Festival. Stars like Chalamet, Lil Nas X, A$AP Rocky and Harry Styles are exemplars of a more nuanced and idiosyncratic kind of modern masculinity. One that is playful, irreverent and unafraid of doing things differently.

 

 

The announcement of actress Whitney Peak as the new face of Coco Mademoiselle (also the first black fragrance ambassador for Chanel) and the arrival of Chalamet signals a new era for Chanel fragrance campaigns. With Bleu de Chanel I’m hoping the brand take their cues from their new signing and imbue the work with boldness, vulnerability and beauty. Showing the modern man, redefined.

Haydn Williams @yousmellgreatwhatist (IG)

 

How to find the ‘true you’ with fragrance…

How do find the ‘true you’ and know if a fragrance suits you? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get at PSHQ, and to be honest, it’s one of the reasons we launched (incredibly, nine years ago, now!)

One of the the best ways to really tap into that ‘true you’ and discover what you need from a fragrance on any given day is how it resonates with you – how it makes you feel, not just what it smells like.

Personal Preferences:

From childhood, we are all conditioned to have individual smell preferences, and our response is based partly on our individual genetic make-up (our DNA), and partly on our life experiences. So: that crushed tomato leaf note that reminds you of a beloved grandmother and her greenhouse – or the jasmine that was growing round a door when you were poorly on holiday, and which you can hardly stomach. Technically, we all have an ‘olfactory fingerprint’, which is unique to us: it is our life’s experiences all locked away in our smell memory. In the same way that we each respond differently to different smells, we don’t all like the same pictures, or the same music. (And wouldn’t life be boring, if we did…?)

 

 

Your DNA:

Your physical make-up can have an impact, but there are many, many exceptions… Please remember this is a very broad rule-of-thumb, and can also change with hormone levels…

  • Blondes with fair skin may find they are happiest with rich florals, as their skin may have a tendency to dryness, and subtle/citrus fragrances will evaporate quickly.
  • Brunettes / black hair often have medium/dark skin which tends to contain higher levels of natural oils, allowing scents to last longer; they may find Ambreés (deeper, more resinous) notes work well.
  • Redheads tend to have fair and delicate skin, and sometimes this turns out to be incompatible with perfumes dominated by green notes.

How to Find a Fragrance You Like:

We’ve previously published a piece on how to find a fragrance, where you will find all the tips and tricks you need to get your hands (and nose) on a selection of scents

 

 

But… Does it Suit Me?

Ask yourself this question, only, at first: Do you really like it? If so, then yes! We can never hope to please everyone with our scent choices, so our advice is, don’t even try.

Sometimes, though, when people ask this question it’s because the fragrance is out of their comfort zone. It’s completely true that some fragrances – particularly the bolder or more complex and unusual ones – can take longer to fall in love with. The most important thing is to give fragrances TIME on your skin – not just one spray on one day, then walking away if it doesn’t immediately grab you.

 

 

 

If you’ve smelled the scent on your skin on more than one occasion and you’re still not sure, make sure you check our tips to try before you write it off as a definite ‘no’.

Other times, people ask this question if they simply can’t smell a fragrance on themselves very strongly. This might be because you’re ‘anosmic’ (unable to smell) some of the notes. This can happen with large molecule notes (like musk), and amazingly, scientists currently still don’t know why we can smell some things but not others. Or, it might be because you’re so used to smelling the same ‘signature’ scent that your nose has ‘switched off’, and doesn’t register it anymore.

 

The best way to find the ‘true you’ with fragrance…

…is to try several – try scents you’d never normally consider wearing, even those that feel so different they might be a little challenging at first. That’s why we started doing our Discovery Boxes nine years ago, and so love curating them to this day!

Really get to know the new fragrance samples – and yourself – by considering what it is you do or do not like about them. It’s just as useful to learn what we dislike, at times, rather than sticking with something safe but dull. Do you wish they were brighter, lasted longer, were bolder, smoother, softer…? Now you know a little of what you need, what the ‘true you’ requires, and you can ask an assistant in store, or search for those key words online.

It’s a starting point, and the beginning of a wonderful journey. Next, you might have learned of a brand you’d like to explore more of. And then you’re already in the midst of a wonderful journey…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Scented secrets of the Coronation (& fragrances fit for royalty)

May we admit to being rather obsessed with the idea of what the official anointing oil for the Coronation smells like?

Okay, well we know we’re among fragrant friends, so we’re not alone. and here we’ll be exploring the scents of the Coronation, both ancient and newly inspired…

A few years ago, a fascinating BBC documentary (sadly no longer available to view online) delved behind-the-scenes of the late Queen’s Coronation on June 2, 1953; and it held a scented secret for sharp-eyed fragrance fans… While discussing the ancient rituals of the act of anointing the monarch, our eyes were drawn to the oil itself – rather incongruously kept nestled in a battered old box and bottle of Guerlain‘s Mitsouko!

 

 

 

 

We’d definitely consider being baptised in Mitsouko, but it turned out it was just the bottle and box. Oh well. No matter, for the story of the oil’s recipe was rather deliciously revealed…

The oil was made from a secret mixture in sesame and olive oil, containing ambergris, civet, orange flowers, roses, jasmine, cinnamon, musk and benzoin– actually sounding rather Ambrée in its composition – and must surely have smelled glorious.

 

 

 

 

The anointing ritual is usually hidden from view – a private moment for the monarch to reflect on their duties and the significance of being touched by that oil – and so a canopy is held by four Knights of the Garter to shield our gaze. This time, though, while King Charles is anointed beneath the canopy; Queen Consort, Camilla, shall be anointed in full public view. Either way, quite a scent memory.

In fact, the phial containing the original oil had been destroyed in a bombing raid on the Deanery in May 1941. The firm of chemists who’d mixed the last known anointing oil had gone bust, so a new company, Savory and Moore Ltd, was asked by the Surgeon-Apothecary to mix a new supply, based on the ancient recipe, for the late Queen’s Coronation.

We’d quite like them to whip up a batch for us, too.

 

 

During the ritual, the highly scented oil is poured from Charles II’s Ampulla (the eagle-shaped vessel shown above) into a 12th-century spoon. Amidst the pomp and pageantry of it all, our minds keep returning to the mysteries of the anointing oil, and whom that bottle and raggedy box once belonged. Whomever they were, we congratulate them on their taste!

Meanwhile, our minds (and noses) turn to more recent royal evocations in fragrant form. Which of these five might you choose to wear for an occasion (or simply to feel extra special any day you fancy)…?

 

 

Penhaligon’s Highgrove

Composed in close collaboration with King Charles, this is a highly personal take on the scent of a beloved silver lime tree in his garden. Using headspace technology to capture the smell of that actual tree (rather than attempting to recreate it), the softly cocooning blossoms glide on a bright, citrus breeze with mimosa and cedar. Refreshing at any time, we feel.

£160 for 100ml eau de parfum penhaligons.com

 

 

 

Experimental Perfume Club Smell Like a King

A brilliant blending of heritage and modernity, think wooden-panelled rooms and freshly rolled cigars glinting with a verdant freshness that radiates herbaceous greenery and mellowed with a husky muskiness that exudes a new confidence. Easy to wear yet stylishly characterful, this could be a signature scent. Hurry, though – it’s a limited edition: so we say, stock up.

From £35 for 8ml eau de parfum experimentalperfumeclub.com

 

 

Clive Christian Town & Country (Crown Collection)

Fascinatingly, this was originally created in 1925 and worn by Winston Churchill; now recreated for a modern era, this timeless scent is beautifully composed, with a softness belying the effervescent opening. Velvety clary sage leaves cloak a magnificently smooth grey amber, seamlessly melded with a perfectly grounded sandalwood. Effortlessly engaging.

£400 for 50ml parfum clivechristian.com

 

 

 

Angela Flanders Platinum Rose

The very picture of perfumed elegance, this crisply pleasing rose rests on a dew-flecked, leafy base and was originally crafted for the occasion of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. When a breath of fresh air is required, along with an assuredness that never fails, this is one to bring inner strength and feels like floating on a tenderly blushed breeze.

£85 for 50ml eau de parfum angelaflanders-perfumer.com

 

 

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana Q

Lovers of modern regally-inspired scents should try this, resplendent with luscious cherry enrobed in creamy heliotrope. Add the fragrant fizz of frothy citrus, the delicate luminescence of jasmine petals and a glimmer of crystal musk amidst the assuredly dry cedarwood base as it warms, and you have a scent fit for any occasion you need to feel in charge of.

From £61 for 30ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com

 

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

It’s our NINTH birthday! Paying homage to our symbolic flower: lily of the valley…

Regarded as a lucky charm ever since its first introduction from Japan to Europe in the Middle Ages, lily of the valley has become synonymous with the month of May and ‘the return of happiness’.  One of the reasons The Perfume Society chose lily of the valley as our symbolic flower, and why we launched on May 1st – to our astonishment, that was NINE years ago, now!

For the French, May 1st traditionally represents the start of gifting bouquets of “muguet” to loved ones to signify the regard in which they’re held and as a token of prosperity for the year ahead. A tradition supposedly begun when King Charles IX was presented with a bunch of the delicate blooms, and decided to gift the ladies of his court, too.

In Europe, ‘bals de muguet’ were historically held – lily of the valley themed dances that offered the tantalising prospect for young singletons to meet without their parents’ permission.

 

 

An iconic (and ultra-chic) lily of valley fragrance was the original Dior Diorissimo, designed in 1956 by Edmond Roudnitska. Composed in homage to Christian Dior’s favorite flowe, the lily of the valley was to be found on his personal stationary, jacket lapels, printed on his fashion designs, and, on one occasion, inspired his entire 1954 spring collection.

A more recent icon is Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley, which was launched in 1976 – tapping into the fashion trend for romantic nostalgia – and which is wonderfully described as ‘Lacey leaves. Dappled light. Green, clean, wholesome. Lily of the Valley is as fresh and optimistic as the morning dew, grounded by notes of bergamot and sandalwood.’

With the young gals dressed in white gowns and the dapper chaps at those historic bals wearing lily of the valley as a buttonhole, we’re sure there was many a ‘return to happiness’ on such evenings… Now the custom is tied in with France’s Labour Day public holiday, and the tradition of giving lily of the valley to loved ones during May still holds strong.

 

lily of the valley Victorian card

 

Lily of the valley has also made its way into countless bridal bouquets (including that of Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince Willliam);  in many countries, it’s linked to this day with tenderness, love, faith, happiness and purity.

So what does lily of the valley smell like?

Almost spicy, so green and sweet, with crisp hints of lemon: that’s lily of the valley. The flowers themselves are really mean with their oil, though, and synthetics are more often used to recreate lily of the valley’s magic:  Lilial, Lyral and hydroxycitronellal are among them.

 

lily of the valley poem

 

Far from reserving this magical note for May, or thinking that it has to be ‘old-fashioned’ smelling in a scent, we love the way perfumers use lily of the valley to ‘open up’ and freshen the other floral notes in a blend. It can smell like a woodland walk just after a rainshower (so very apropos for our weather right now, in the U.K.) or add some gentle sparkles of sunlight amid more verdant or deeper, shady phases as a scent unfurls on your skin.

 

 

 

No wonder we chose this delightful, flower-filled date in the calendar to launch The Perfume Society – incredibly, NINE years ago, now – running hither and thither all over London handing sprigs of lily of the valley to fragrant friends!

And my, how our friends have grown in this short time! With a readership that stretches around the globe and our Instagram followers now topping 67.8K, we have been delighted with some of the truly beautiful pictures some of our followers have been sharing there. Just feast your eyes on the stunning pictures we’ve sprinkled throughout this post…

 

 

With your help we’ve come so far. We wish we could come and give every single one of you a sprig of lily of the valley to show our heartfelt appreciation for all your support, but for now, accept this symbol of love and luck, from us to all of you

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale