Perfumed Potions & Elixirs

Have you noticed there are Potions & Elixirs currently abounding in fragrance form – tapping in to our need for a way to add some magic and feelings of strength and control over our lives, perhaps? Well, we certainly feel the best way to empower yourself – and feel magical – at any time of year is through the power of of perfume…

 

 

 

Penhaligon’s recently-launched Potions collection offers fragrant remedies for modern living that evoke William Penhaligon’s experiments with aromatic concoctions. Beckon courage with Eau the Audacity, energise with Va Va Vroom, ignite desire with Liquid Love, banish worries with A Balm of Calm, or feel euphoric after a spritz of A Kiss of Bliss. Visit the website to explore them – it’s a joyous experience!

 

 

Penhaligon’s says: ‘William Penhaligon laboured for his legacy to be delightful. One to cure all ills, one that he and future generations would be rightly proud! You are about to discover the result of his travails… Discover five new fragrances filled to the brim with miraculous ingredients to boost your mood.’ All Penhaligon’s Potions £195 for 100ml eau de parfum penhaligons.com

 

 

A Penhaligon’s Potions & Remedies Discovery Set is also available: £30 for 5 x 2ml eau de parfum

 

 

 

Goldfield & Banks Silky Woods Elixir

Encased in molten gold, this deeper, darker take contrasts the supple ripples of woody smoothness of oudh and radiantly hushed yet ultra long-lasting musk with succulent fig and rose to add even greater allure. Irresistible!

£215 for 100ml pure parfum harrods.com

 

 

 

Roja Dove Elixir

The spellbinding scent you reach for when a touch of magic is required to whisk you through a humdrum day, a single drop of the vanilla-stroke, peach-nuzzled, rose and raspberry-infused nectar making ‘skies become bluer’. Yes please!

From £60 for 10ml eau de parfum rojaparfums.com

 

 

 

 

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble… this sailor’s so hot his torso all a-smoulder (as are the senses of all who encounter him). Gilded amber melts gold flecks through the warmly resinous composition – a sensual deep dive into new scented waters that’s bound to cause long-term fans to storm the decks, while captivating a whole new jolly crew. Far too sexy not share, all the nice (and naughty) girls (and boys) certainly do love an amber-infused, elixir-powered sailor.

£73 for 75ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com

 

 

 

 

 

Mugler Angel Elixir

Magical waves of a Muglerian bouquet follow your every move, swathes of white flowers juxtaposed by the bold amber trail, the heady exoticism of ylang ylang cocooned by the creamy, twice-distilled sandalwood and simmering spices.

£65 for 25ml eau de parfum mugler.co.uk

 

 

 

 

BDK Gris Charnel Elixir

An amber-gleamed, intensified glory with smoked cardamom, black tea and fig accord atop a sinful patchouli and tonka base. Powerfully addictive, one to swagger in the full knowledge that the answer to ‘who smells so good?’ is YOU.

£220 for 100ml extrait  harveynichols.com

 

[P.S. Try a sample of BDK Gris Charnel Elixir in our Scintillating Scents Discovery Box! £33 / £29 for VIPs]

 

 

 

 

 

HUGO BOSS Boss Bottled Elixir

A cool breeze of silvery cardamom throbs through ripples of frankincense resin, wet earthiness of patchouli and vetiver evoking the glorious sensation of petrichor, with cedar and labdanum smouldering, charmingly in the long-lasting trail.

£73 for 50ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com

 

 

 

 

Ralph’s Club Elixir

Reinterpreted to reveal warmer, more lingering facets, the sensual woody notes conjur glowing amber, green mandarin and grapefruit. Wafts of incense drift to dry lavandin, aromatic geranium and a fiery patchouli / leather base.
£108 for 75ml elixir boots.com
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fragrance Houses Harnessing the Power of Neuroscience

‘Wellness’ fragrances aren’t a new thing – the first Colognes claimed health-giving properties – and aromatherapeutic suppositions have been linked to scents for centuries; but something that is very new are fragrance houses employing neurologists to look into the ways that smelling something has a direct effect on our brain chemistry.

This fascinating new era for fragrance design not only takes into consideration our pleasure in wearing the finished product – of course they have to smell nice for us to be attracted to using them – but dives far deeper into what’s happening in our brains when we smell some of the particular ingredients used, or when we inhale the finished perfume.

When founding edeniste, the key motivating factor for Audrey Semeraro was ‘Blending the science of emotion and the art of perfumery,’ because ‘…the link between scent and mood has long been known and talked about, but never been scientifically proven when it comes to perfume. Now for the first time, the worlds of cutting-edge olfactory neuroscience and classic fine fragrance are brought together.’

 

 

 

 

Though new scientific discoveries to do with our sense of smell were out there, Audrey says, ‘no one was using it to create luxury fragrances.’ What followed was a gruelling yet fascinating four year scented research stint in which she was ‘reading medical journals, speaking with neuroscientists, meeting with R&D teams in fragrance companies…’ Learning of the true impact fragrances can have on the structure and function of the brain, nervous system, and related physical responses, the final result of all that hard work is edeniste: ‘a fragrance brand that infuses scientifically proven olfactive molecules into a unique active fragrance collection that improves wellbeing.’

Neuroscientist Dr. Gabriel Lepousez was one of the experts Audrey reached out to when conducting the research used to inform the compositions of edeniste fragrances, and they explain: ‘From the beginning of the Edeniste project, Dr. Lepousez has guided and supported Audrey in her enterprise. For Edeniste, he discusses the vital connections between our nose and our emotions, and recent discoveries can help us innovate in fragrance.’ You can read a full interview with Dr Lepousez here, and you can also read much more on the methodologies they used. But for how it works, in a nutshell, Dr Lepousez explains:

 

‘The olfactory system is the only sensorial system to be directly connected to the seat of emotion, the part of the brain called the amygdala. Between the perception of a smell in the mucous membrane of the nose and the centre of emotions, there are only two synapses, whereas there are four to six for all the other senses. Olfaction truly has an intimate, almost unconscious connection with emotions.’

 

Of course, even though so much work has already been done, there are vast areas of research yet to do, and so many more exciting ways that we can use our scents directly connected to our emotional responses, utilising our sense of smell as the superpower it truly is. But what an exciting time this is for the science and the fragrance industry – and for we fragrance-lovers, who may have always instinctively felt that some scents truly seemed to help us more than others, but didn’t understand how (or why).

Let’s take a look at just some of the fairly recently-launched fragrances that go beyond merely smelling nice, to being perfumes with a greater scented significance, and more even more emotional impact than you may first have realised…

 

The Lifeboost® essences can be worn alone or layered with any of the eaux de parfums as an extra shot of whatever you need right now. For Relax, the mellowness of ylang-ylang melds with creamy monoi – the name means “sacred oil” in Tahiti – and the pure jasmine sambac simply sighs into the smoothness of Madagascan vanilla absolute. edeniste says: ‘Relax, feel the sun shining up above, let yourself be rocked by the sound of the waves and trees swaying in the breeze… You’re in Eden.’ And honestly, don’t we all need that feeling, currently, more than ever?

edeniste Relax Lifeboost® £68 for 30ml eau de parfum in our shop

 

 

 

 

Vyrao‘s founder, Yasmin Sewell wanted to offer ‘the power of nature to amplify energy, tapping into the science of scent and its potential to activate the parts of the brain where memories and emotions are processed.’ And for The Sixth, she collaborated with Irish perfumer Meabh McCurtin who used neuroscience via ‘scientific protocols from the Science of Wellness program at International Flavors & Fragrance (IFF)’ to guide her composition. Apple, patchouli and basil radiate positivity; juniper, cedar and fir add balance, while angelica, fennel and wormwood counteract negativity.

Vyrao The Sixth £150 for 50ml eau de parfum vyrao.com

 

 

P.S: For even more emotionally-supportive scents, read all about Vyrao’s High Five Discovery Set!

 

 

 

Using IFF’s Science of Wellness computer programme for the design of Phantom, it was ‘conceived by a team of perfumers — Loc Dong, Juliette Karagueuzoglou, Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo — who were assisted by AI and powered by neuroscience.’ Identifying key emotional benefits for the chosen ingredients, the styrallyl acetate molecule (which smells green, slightly metallic, and can be found as a component of gardenia and tuberose, among other floral notes) was used at 10x the usual dosage – as suggested by AI to increase alertness – but woven with lavender to calm and create a harmonious balance.

Paco Rabanne Phantom £60 for 50ml eau de toilette pacorabanne.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launching with two wellness fragrances harnessing the power of neuroscience and experienced to their fullest potential using an app – 85% of people studied wearing them achieved a more focused state, while 90% reached a more meditative state. AI generated programmes of well-being rituals use smell, calming or stimulating visuals, and sound. Red Skies is a ‘functional fragrance’ designed to re-focus and energise via vibrant orange blossom, rose, pink pepper, mandarin and neroli in the top notes, blissfully enlivening jasmine, carrot seed, sap, iris and spices in the heart, resting on a grounding, earthy base of patchouli, oakmoss, resin and cedar.

Øthers Red Skies £90 for 50ml eau de parfum + 6 months app subscription others.co

 

 

 

 

This ‘scent and sound ritual’ was partially designed by AI for those ‘desperately seeking clarity of thought’ and feeling overwhelmed by ‘a rising sense of panic.’ [That’ll be most of us, then!] Using notes of cut grass and ‘green canopies’ entwined with soothing green tea, the heart resonates incense, wild mushrooms, worn leather and spices on toasted woods, while the base sinks into spiritual Palo Santo, shady vetiver, smoked amber, Hinoki wood (prized as sacred, native to Japan, with unusual hints of citrus) and a silken sandalwood. They suggest the scent and app are used in combination to ‘create a gearshift in your day.’

Øthers Mystic Zingaro £90 for 50ml eau de parfum + 6 months app subscription others.co

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

We cedar-WOOD urge you to try these fragrances!

Do you remember the smell of your school pencil case? That’s really the smell of cedar, which is of course also the wood used for pencils. Of course it smells woody, but that’s just too simple: it also has a freshness, with hints of resin. If you’ve ever walked in an evergreen forest, cedar will transport you back there, too. And so many utterly fabulous fragrances employ cedar to evoke this forest-y wonderment.

It’s mostly the foliage (from trees grown in the Atlas mountains of Morocco, or Virginia in the USA) that is steam-distilled to produce the intense oil, which is also used in aromatherapy for calming and balancing. Sometimes, the roots and the wood of this slow-growing tree are used, putting some environmental question marks over its use today. Partly for that reason, there are now quite a few cedar-like synthetic notes used to give depth and a ‘grounding’ quality across some women’s fragrances – and many men’s.

As ‘nose’ Christine Nagel explains, cedar wood can be used to different effect: ‘Virginian cedar has a dry and almost “nervous” effect in a fragrance, whereas cedar wood from the Atlas Mountains is much warmer…’

Which of these cedar-infused fragrances do you want to try first? We urge you to seek them out in the colder months ahead for the comfort of nostalgia plus the magically spacious quality they can offer in a scent…

 

 

Ostens Cedarwood Heart

‘Cedarwood Heart leaves a dry, almost pencil-shavings scent on the skin that’s then softened by an unexpected, slightly creamy and almost vanilla like quality’ they say, and within seconds of this sumptuously comforting scent being on your skin, we know you’re going to fall for it in a big way. The cedar is nuanced, flinty at first then sinking into that deliciously soft creaminess, which has a natural sweetness but stays far away from the ‘gourmand’. Truly woody, with a sense that you’re floating above a forest in a dream, or are somehow living in a storybook treehouse. Magnificent!

Try a sample in the Ostens Discovery Set£40 for all six scent samples to adore!

 

 

 

Maya Njie Nordic Cedar

Within Nordic Cedar, you truly feel as though you’ve walked into one of the atmospheric photographs Maya Njie is inspired to create her fragrances around. Harking to her part Swedish heritage, although we may never have visited the exact forest this scent evokes, all of us wearing it can feel a sense of towering trees, the shadows thrown by lofty canopies far above our heads, that reassuring comfort of cedar mixed with earthy patchouli – all enclosing us in a hug as cardamom gifts brightness, ambergris adds cool mist, and it feels like we’ve been on a fabulously fragrant walk.

Try a sample (along with five other fragrances) in the Maya Njie Discovery Set – £34 for 6 x 2ml samples

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

 

Experimental Perfume Club Smell Like a King

A brilliant blending of heritage and modernity in which so-clever perfumer/ founder Emmanuelle Moeglin melds ginger, turmeric, salt-tinged woods and mellow tobacco of her Cardamom Moss with the unashamedly magnificent leather and herbaceous depth of the stunning Cedarwood Absinth base (do also try this scent on its own – glorious!) Think wooden-panelled rooms and freshly rolled cigars glinting with a verdant freshness, mellowed with a husky muskiness that exudes confidence. Easy to wear yet stylishly characterful, this really deserves a fanfare.

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

 

 

Laboratorio Olfattivo Tonkade

This cedar-enriched stunner is from the perfume house’s Nero collection, with an unusual opening of seasonal dried fruits, neroli, tonka bean, and a cool breeze of cardamom spice leading to a crescendo of warm woods – all swirled with that deliciously dry cedar to meld the composition. In the trail, patchouli and soft vanilla add to the moody, woody vibe which positively bursts out of the so-stylish bottle. Then as the pace slows again, enjoy a smoky-sweet base accord that swirls with soft musks – a misty perfumed path you’ll be following (and trailing) all day…

From £110 for 100ml eau de parfum pulseofperfumery.com

 

 

COSMOSS Sacred Mist

Kate Moss taps into powerful ingredients to showcase into her spiritual side, embracing meditation  and mindfulness with her signature gusto. And we couldn’t be happier with that metamorphosis, expressed via her Cocomoss skincare collection, also offering us an astonishingly accomplished Chypre creation in which subtle jasmine and tuberose fuse with geranium and bergamot. It’s the sense-soothing, calming notes of oakmoss, cedarwood and tonka that we’re spritzing and re-spritzing – on and off the yoga mat.

Try a sample (plus 11 other scents & a body care treat) in our Garden of Delights Discovery Box £23 / £19 for VIPs

 

 

ARgENTUM Les Parfum Infinis – discover which archetype YOU are (& why the fragrances are alcohol free)

Microbiome-friendly skincare has become a must for many as more people seek out products that support the skin barrier’s own defences ~ formulations that care for sensitive skin and which don’t cause breakouts. ‘But what about fragrance?’ asks the apothecary ‘where science meets poetry’ of ARgENTUM

 

ARgENTUM says: ‘Perfumes often contain ethanol as a base, a source of potential irritation due to its negative impact on the skin’s microbiome. Taking the same diligent approach as they have with their skincare for visibly healthier skin, ARgENTUM have spent years researching and formulating their own collection of fragrances. Using a patented process — known as Water Plant Emulsion® that excludes alcohol and solvents from the formulation — and selecting only the fi nest ingredients of natural origin, les parfums infinis does not disrupt the skin’s microbiome. This has been conclusively shown by a microbiome assessment study carried out by the Medical University of Lodz in Poland.

 

 

MICROBIOME ASSESSMENT RESULTS:

– The fragrances did not disturb the number of microorganisms present on the section of skin selected for testing, which was the neck. The fragrances preserve the presence of Staphylococcus epidermidis ~ a key species for healthy skin (recent research indicates that acne might be the result of an imbalance between Cutibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis* )

– The fragrances do not disturb the natural balance of the skin microbiome. These results support the microbiome assessment study for la potion infinie, the brand’s award-winning silver face cream, which has also been proven to be microbiome-friendly.

– Supporting the friendly bacteria which make up the microbiome is key to healthy skin that’s free from blemishes and acne. As scientific research into the delicate skin microbiome continues to develop our understanding of the body’s immune defences, ARgENTUM continues to set the benchmark for luxury skincare and fragrance that supports wellbeing at a profound level.’

 

“The ARgENTUM philosophy is to ‘discover the beauty in balance’. This means that all our products are formulated to support the skin’s natural intelligence in retaining equilibrium. The fact that the entire collection of les parfums infinis is microbiome-friendly is an inspiring step in the right direction for luxury fragrance and for wellbeing.” – Joy Isaacs, Founder

 

 

You can find out the extraordinary full story of how (and why) ARgENTUM was founded by Joy on our page dedicated to the house, but meanwhile, we urge you to seek out the scents and see how wonderfully kind to the skin they truly are, while still being long-lasting and powerfully characterful. Now, your only quest is to discover WHICH of the fragrant archetypes YOU will feel most instinctively drawn to…

 

 

 

ARgENTUM says:

‘By embracing ourselves and the energies we attract, we can aspire to reach a beautiful balance ~ that place where opposites align and become one. Through the ARgENTUM archetypes, reveal your energy and embody your fragrance to explore this element.’

 

ARgENTUM Discovery Kit – Air Collection £28 for 4 x 2ml eaux de parfums

‘As an element, air encapsulates a masculine energy of thought and communication. Born at sunrise in the crisp breath of Spring ~ air is imaginative and intelligent, but without flow can become stifled and cruel. Moist and warm, air symbolises a nurturing energy that celebrates your knowledge and ideas, the beginning of something intangible and without permanent form. This brisk and exhilarating element stimulates the mind and cuts to the heart of your quest for connection.

  • Become: All encompassing, balancing, beginnings
  • Creator: Creative energy, trust, manifestation
  • Sage: Wisdom, knowledge, awareness
  • Ruler: Balance, adaptability, vulnerability

 

 

ARgENTUM Discovery Kit – Earth Collection £28 for 4 x 2ml eaux de parfums

‘Earth encapsulates a cleansing feminine energy of strength and solidity. Born at midnight in the depths of Winter ~ earth is grounded in fertility and security, but left to harden can lack vision and freedom from material things. Cold and dry, earth symbolises the physical, immersed in reality and centred in groundedness with intuitive abundance. This generous and nurturing element guides you to wisdom on your quest to find nourishment.’

  • Become: All encompassing, balancing, beginnings
  • Everyman: Human connection, trust, loyalty
  • Explorer: Personal journey, growth, learning
  • Caregiver: Soothing, nurturing, guiding

 

 

ARgENTUM Discovery Kit – Fire Collection £28 for 4 x 2ml eaux de parfums

‘Fire encapsulates a powerful and masculine energy. Born at midday in the blazing sun of Summer ~ fire transforms and purifies, but let loose has the power to burn and destroy. Warm and dry, fire symbolises a forceful energy that invites you to pursue your passion and ignite your creativity with strength, assertiveness, and courage. This fierce and flaming element creates change and allows you to release what you no longer need on your quest to find balance.’

  • Become: All encompassing, balancing, beginnings
  • Magician: Powerful balance, transformation, spirit
  • Hero: Self-sacrifice, strong-will, courage
  • Rebel: Letting go, completion, renewal

 

 

 

 

ARgENTUM Discovery Kit – Water Collection £28 for 4 x 2ml eaux de parfums

‘Water encapsulates a feminine energy of fluidity and purification. Born at sunset in the tide of Autumn ~ water embodies a peaceful flow of unconditional love, but if locked can entice anger or disconnection. Moist and cold, water symbolises the power of dreams with their ability to stimulate healing and propel the journey of rejuvenation. This cleansing and life-giving element guides your emotions on your quest to feel love.’

  • Become: All encompassing, balancing, beginnings
  • Lover: Self-love, connection, balance
  • Jester: Sense of play, overcoming adversity, entertaining
  • Innocent: Child-like innocence, playful, trusting

 

 

 

Les Parfums Infinis from ARgENTUM - The Perfume Society

ARgENTUM Discovery Kit – Les Parfums Infinis £68 for all 12 x 2ml eaux de parfums

‘Together with BECOME, our signature scent, we invite you to discover the ARgENTUM archetypes ~ CREATOR, SAGE, MAGICIAN, CAREGIVER, HERO, JESTER, INNOCENT, REBEL, EXPLORER, RULER, EVERYMAN & LOVER. Twelve symbolic images, captured in scent to reflect inherent energies common to us all.

By embracing ourselves and the energies we attract, we can aspire to reach a beautiful balance ~ that place where opposites align and become one.’

Sandalwood scents to adore this autumn

Perfumers have been seduced by sandalwood’s silky, sweet woodiness for centuries. Arabian perfume-makers would use the wood in pulverised or sawdust form as the base of solid perfumes and incense. In India, sandalwood’s soothing, pervasive scent has long been considered an aid to meditation, helping to still a whirring mind. In rituals, sandalwood oil may be applied to the forehead, the temples, or rubbed between the eyebrows. And it’s been used in many cultures as incense, burned on altars, as a way of communicating with the heavens.

 

Surprisingly, Santalum album isn’t actually a tree but a parasitic plant which grows by suckering itself to the roots of other trees, and slowly growing as high as 10 metres. To extract the deep, sweet woodiness, wood or root chippings are steam-distilled. If you ever come across a piece of the wood itself, it’s magical: the scent can still be enjoyed, years after it was harvested. (A little light sanding re-releases the scent, if it fades.)

 

 

 

In fragrance compositions, sandalwood is adored by noses because it’s so versatile – it blending seamlessly with pretty much any note you can name, it also has the benefit of working as a ‘fixative’, tethering other ingredients and keeping them ‘true’, in a composition. Because of its universal appeal and effectiveness, and because so many sandalwood trees have been cut down in India, largely for production of perfume and incense – it’s now highly protected, as it’s often been illegally harvested.

The good news, however, is that plantations in Australia are now coming on-stream, producing sandalwood oil of high quality – to the relief of perfumers, fragrance-lovers and conservationists alike. Also, a wide range of excellent quality synthetic sandalwood-like ingredients are now used in place of this at-risk wood, to give that smooth milkiness.

This autumn, we urge you to seek out some of these sandalwood scents and revel in all its qualities…

Sana Jardin Sandalwood Temple

Moroccan neroli oil glimmers like motes of gilded glitter suspended in languid, late afternoon sunshine. Atlas cedarwood and Haitian vetiver add the dappled shade of a walk through nature, marvelling at stained-glass effect of sunlight through leaves. Rich vanilla and East Indian sandalwood swirls throughout – a sacred space to sigh, contentedly.

Try a sample of Sandalwood Temple in the Sana Jardin Discovery Set: £30 for 10 x 2ml eau de parfum

 

 

 

Fragrance du Bois Santal Complet

Inspired by waves of bliss you feel on sunny but chilly days, lemon’s brightness frosted with coconut shavings gleams to the heart of soft violet and black pepper, before that creamy base sandalwood swirls like a cashmere wrap around your shoulders, a hug of warmth resonating with the amber, musk and vanilla that’s a joyously sun-filled snuggle.

£245 for 100ml eau de parfum fragrancedubois.com

 

Goldfield & Banks Silky Woods

If a fragrance can ever smell like liquid gold, this is it – a smooth, molten swoon of Australian sandalwood, harvested sustainably for the first time in the Daintree Rainforest in Tropical Queensland. Spiced with a tingle of saffron, swirled with smoked vanilla and the hug of tobacco leaves in the trail, it’s an all-day (and night) wrist-sniffer, for sure.

£180 for 100ml eau de parfum fenwick.co.uk

 

 

Escentric Molecules Molecule 04

Perfumer and founder Geza Schoen showcases the single note of Javanol – a sheer sandalwood synthetic molecule created from a natural substance at Givuadan in 2001. Mindblowing-ly fresh, and radiating grapefruit amidst the woodiness, it’s a wake-up call for the senses which reveals the multifaceted versatility of sandalwood’s appeal.

OR…

Escentric Molecules Escentric 04

Here surrounded by a supporting cast of complimentary notes, the Javanol shines like a polished gem with the added zest of lime, piquant pops of aromatic juniper and and the warm, almost sherbet-y fizz of pink pepper give an extra shot of freshness, while marijuana leaf softens the grapefruit pith (and adds to the addictiveness of the sandalwood scent).

Try samples of both these takes on sandalwood, plus EIGHT other pairings of single molecules and their ‘Escentic’ counterparts in the Escentric Molecules Discovery Set £25 for 10 x 2ml eau de parfum

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

STORIES Parfums – even more reasons to fall in love & layer the scents

Containing aloe vera, Provitamin B5, glycerin and coconut oil cleansers, these washes are exquisitely luxurious, lather wonderfully, and being woven through with their iconic, memory-laden scents, are of course are brilliant to layer with. Not only are they SLS and cruelty free, the multi award-winning wash formula has now been stunningly re-packaged for extra wow-factor in the bathroom, and are now available in our shop!
STORIES Parfums comments:
‘At STORIES Parfums we believe passionately in beauty without boundaries. While our story may have started with deep roots in traditional perfumery methods and ancient craftsmanship, our ethos is that of a thoroughly modern brand and at the heart of our brand is a deep respect for the planet we live on, and we want to make sure that the place we call home does not simply survive but thrives.
We view ourselves as New Niche Fragrance Pioneers, bringing luxury and sustainability together. This true sense of connectivity is why we are committed to ensuring that we are as sustainable as possible.’
All STORIES fragrances have been created ‘with the lightest carbon footprint we can,’ they continue. ‘It is also why all of our labels are rock paper derived from marble mining waste, we use recyclable Zamak caps for our glass bottles, all of our bottles are refillable and our boxes are made to be repurposed.’
This thoughtful re-working is all part of STORIES ongoing commitment to ‘recycle, reduce and reuse’ – a campaign and ethos that runs through the heart of the house, and which has already seen them win awards for sustainability in beauty two years running. A fact that means so much to founder and creative director, Tonya Kidd-Beggs.
I believe passionately in beauty without boundaries. Right from the concept of STORIES it was hugely important to me to create a luxury fragrance house that came from traditional perfumery methods and ancient craftsmanship but with the ethos of a thoroughly modern brand. At the very core of the brand I wanted to carry a deep respect for the planet we live on – I want to make sure that the place we call home does not simply survive but thrives.”
The hardworking but so skin-gentle formula is laced with the delicate yet always evocative scent of the original STORIES Nº.01 fragrance, which contains notes of bergamot, grapefruit, cedarwood, and jasmine, and feels like tip-toeing through a garden at dawn.
Scent Notes: Bergamot – Grapefruit – Orange Blossom – Cedarwood – Jasmine – Heliotrope – Fig-Tea – Amber – Sandalwood – Vetiver
£68 for 500ml 
A gentle, foaming hand and body wash that leaves skin clean, deeply hydrated and feeling balanced. The hardworking formula is infused with truly personal scent memories of their STORIES Nº.02 fragrance, which contains notes of Bulgarian rose, ginger, green tea and honey tobacco.
Scent Notes: Bulgarian Rose – Ginger – Cardamom – Green Tea – Honey Tobacco – Cedarwood – Opoponax – Tonka Bean – Patchouli – Amber – Musk
£68 for 500 ml
The fragrant layering needn’t end there, as the sensorially and skin-soothing matching Hand & Body Lotions are available at £75 for 500ml – we’re all for these fragrant super-sizes, as apart from meaning they last way longer, they’re so stunning to display in your bathroom!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to bottle autumn sunshine: scent notes to seek & how to layer

At this time of year we are clinging on to every scrap of sunshine we can get – and one of the best ways to do this is to wear scents that seem to bottle that particular, golden quality of light we get in autumn. This way, even when the weather isn’t sunny all day, or there’s a chill on the breeze, we can still revel in that gilded warmth all day long.

For the Seasonal Scents subscription boxes, we choose fragrances ideally suited for wearing right now, so your fragrance wardrobe perfectly reflects the weather. Right now, we’re shipping the Autumn Box – filled with gloriously golden, woody and more snuggly notes, but none of them too heavy or overwhelming for even the most sunny autumn day.

 

 

 

 

You can discover the scents in the Autumn Box, and see a scent-by-scent unboxing here! We’re sure you’ll find several new scents to adore – and when your box arrives you can explore in your own time, all from the comfort of your own home.

 

 

In the meantime, here are some general tips for seeking a sunshine-filled seasonal balance in your choice of perfume:

 

  • Look for notes such as bergamot, orange, mandarin and lemon to add some zing to a scent – uplifting the spirit and reviving energy, these ingredients also cut through heavier notes in a fragrance composition and can remind us of bright sunlight breaking through the clouds. Or close your eyes and imagine the light streaming through amber or red coloured leaves in a woodland setting: citrus plus woody, smoky or resinous notes give this amber-hued olfactory impression.

 

 

  • Floral notes such as rose, iris and even jasmine are still beautiful in autumnal scents – tempered by woody, mossy or resinous bases they feel richer, more texturally akin to velvet, suede or cashmere than summery linen or cotton-centric scents. What’s more, autumn is often the best time of year to try these florals with more density, as in hot weather they can feel too overpowering. Consider looking through your current collection to rediscover scents you may have overlooked in summer – or break out of your comfort zone and try a brand new style of scent you’d previously discounted as ‘not really me’. Temperature and climate can play a huge role in how we wear and perceive a scent.

 

 

If it’s a sunnier autumn day and your choice of scent suddenly feels too heavy (as though you’ve put on a thick jumper or winter-weight coat too early), don’t be afraid to layer your fragrance with a lighter, brighter scent to feel like you’ve taken a layer off and can breathe again! We’ve a simple guide to layering fragrances you can follow to change-up your fragrance as the weather / your mood requires.

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Step into the woods with these stunning scents…

With signs of autumn all around us, this month we’re embracing the season with scents that remind us of walking in the woods, wisps of smoke on the breeze, and that golden sunlight that streams through the leaves and warms our souls.

Now is the time to delight in that new freshness to the air – or add an extra layer of cosiness via your fragrance – reaching for perfumes that have a more contemplative feel, perhaps, or deeper scents, tinged with spices? Whatever you may choose, it’s a time to make the most of sunnier autumnal days while we can, and savour the best of the season. Which of these could be on your list to try…?

 

 

La Montaña First Light

Picture early morning in the pine woods, a walk at dawn when the mist veils trees with jewelled droplets, gossamer spiderwebs silvered by the chill. Then, slowly, the rosy blush rises over a mountain, the breeze alive with wild herbs, fronds of fennel, a verdant stillness which seems magical. That awed alchemy is bottled, here, to perfection.

From £22 for 10ml eau de parfum lamontana.co.uk

 

 

Maison Margiela Autumn Vibes

Capturing ‘a deep breath of woody autumn air in a bottle” this is a scent that recalls the crunch of leaves underfoot, towering trees in the woods a comforting canopy while you explore, a sense of stillness as the season swings anew. Pops of spices fizz beneath the fir balsam – cardamom, pink pepper and aglow amidst the mossy, snuggly soft base.

£58 for 30ml eau de toilette johnlewis.com

 

 

Goldfield & Banks Wood Infusion

An homage to the perfect beauty of a landscape you’ve fallen in love with, this moss-nestled hug of woods feels lined in silk, being dusted with smooth iris and slicked with a sheen of sandalwood. Inspired by Australia’s heritage-listed Fraser Island, it’s an immediate escape route in a bottle – spray, breathe in, close your eyes and exude the bliss.

£138 for 100ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

Escentric Molecules M+ Guaiac Wood

Taking the ‘your skin but better’ creaminess of that original molecule and adding guaiac wood was genius, ‘It has a gentle ‘cocooning around the fireplace in winter’ feel to it.’ explains Geza Schoen; ‘It’s like emulsified smoke that melts into the Iso E Super.’ Swirling amber-hued rum, this will warm your heart and make those around you utterly swoon.

From £20 for 8.5ml eau de parfum escentric.com

 

 

 

Laboratorio Olfativo ExpLOud

Described as a ‘quintessence of woody notes’, this hums with the power of its presence – a call on the breeze, entwined with woodsmoke, drawing you to the heart of the forest. Sublime layers of scent unravel, a duo of Indian and white oudhs swirling majestically, with bright red berries glistening, a surprising brightness atop resinous patchouli.

£110 for 100ml eau de parfum libertylondon.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Strictly Scents: Part Two (matching fragrances to all the dances)

Strictly season is hotting up, and we’re scenting all the major dances with fragrances we feel best compliment their unique characters. Don’t forget to read Part One for all the background context of these features, but briefly put, music and fragrance have myriad connections. What’s more, we love mixing cultural references, as it adds to our understanding of scent as an emotive medium!

So, simply decide which dance best sum up your personality, or would match your mood today, and then seek out the perfume we’ve picked to accompany it…

 

 

 

American Smooth – BDK Vanille Leather

The magic of seeing couples glide over the dance floor in this so-sophisticated number never gets old, and we know you’ll be won over by the rich smoothness of the glorious vanilla in this scent, too. But if you avoid gourmands, fear not! Get set to banish all thoughts of it being sickly: this has great depth but glides on skin like a silky caress. Rich, yes, but so, SO chic. Shot through with Indian tuberose, Egyptian jasmine and orange flower, there’s a fizzing sense of excitement from pink peppercorns and a swoony violet to infuse the trail, along with that creamy, dreamy vanilla.

£195 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com

 

 

 

Viennese Waltz – Chopard Imperiale Iris Malika

A classic dance style often depicted in romantic films, the sweepingly graceful moves are reflected in this regally arrayed fragrance. Enrobed in purple, the majesty of this Chopard scent is apparent even before the first spritz. Echoing both the colour of the iris flower and the robes associated with royalty, this fit-for-a-Queen fragrance billows wild berries and warm spices borne aloft on a feather-light, powdery cloud of that exceptional orris concrete, garlanded either side by jasmine and ylang ylang. Further spices infuse opulently silky balms and woodiness in the base. One to fall madly in love with, for sure.

£90 for 100ml eau de parfum fenwick.co.uk

 

 

 

Salsa – Jean Paul Gaultier Divine

Overtly feminine in style, this is a blur of boobs, hips and feet sashaying with intent (and filled with happiness!) You’d not be able to do it in the actual corset, but you can definitely feel the vibe wearing this fragrance. Gilded breast cones? Of COURSE it’s a JPG – referencing one of his iconic fashion pieces in fragrant form, it’s sparkly, yet has a satisfying gourmand hit. Envisage sun-warmed skin, now add opulent wafts of white flowers, and a scented surprise where the addictive sweet creaminess of whipped meringue is suddenly shot through with a lip-smacking hint of the salty sea. Breezy yet buxom, it’s an invitation to be the very best, fragrantly fabulous version of yourself.

£66 for 30ml eau de parfum jeanpaulgaultier.com

 

 

 

Argentine Tango – Floris Tuberose in Silk

Surely the most passionate dance of all, this drama-filled spectacle needs a scent that can balance the sheer sexiness with restraint. Teetering betwixt the hip-swivelling sensuality of tuberose and the softness of a rose’s velvet blush, this surprising dive into untamed eroticism is held at bay by the cashmere fluffiness of musk, a warm hug of amber and a dusting of iris. Calmed by these, the orange blossom and jasmine join the white flowers in a more controlled dance than if left to cavort, while camphor’s on hand with the smelling salts for the final dip.

From £30 for 50ml eau de parfum florislondon.com

 

 

Charleston – Vyrao Sun Rae

Need an instant shot of energy? You will with this breathlessly entertaining dance, and wearing this gloriously uplifting scent – infused with ‘a supercharged Herkimer diamond crystal for clarity and to boost energy levels’ – the brilliant Lyn Harris has created her own magic from a ZING! POP! FIZZ! of citrus explosions that feel like you’re being beamed above the clouds with every spritz. Turn on the scented spotlight for a sizzle of turmeric and black pepper, adding ruffled layers of welcome warmth, while bergamot, lemon, and aqueous ginger sparkle like bottled sunshine throughout.

£135 for eau de parfum libertylondon.com

 

 

Couple’s Choices: (a category introduced in 2018 – celebs and their professional dancer partners have a choice of performing either a contemporary dance, a street/commercial dance or theatre and jazz. We’ve chosen a scent for each..)

 

 

Couple’s Choice Contemporary – Bruno Cucinelli Pour Homme

A poetically lyrical style of dance that often incorporates balletic moves and lifts, this dance truly expresses the emotion of the music. The fragrance for this match is just as expressive, while masterfully understated. Paying tribute to the Italian design house’s home of Solomeo with every sophisticated, spice-infused spritz, Olivier Cresp evokes rolling Umbrian hills, an aromatic landscape brought to life via cypress, juniper, clary sage and Nigerian ginger flecked with flinty black pepper. Known for his masterful textures and superb fabrics, Cucinelli’s aesthetic and his homeland are so brilliantly nuanced within the blend: a sense of overlapping complexity that simultaneously feels effortless.

£160 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com

 

 

Couple’s Choice Street – Art de Parfum Sabotage

Often introducing a retro dance style to appropriately nostalgic tunes, this dance always puts smiles on the audience’s faces. Similarly, this scent joyously revels in revery, harking back to the 90s as its perfumed point of reference. We’re imagining it worn while dancing to MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’ for extra fun. And this really is fun to wear. It has us pining for the optimism and carefree attitude of that era, which is cleverly evoked here with a boozy Negroni accord, a breeze of spearmint, tuberose naughtily swirled with wormwood, earthy patchouli and a mossy dry-down. It’s ‘da bomb’ (as we liked to say, back then).

£125 for 50ml extrait artdeparfum.com

 

 

Couple’s Choice Jazz – Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club

The vibrant allure of an illicit after-party in a wood-panelled club is evoked here via a fizz of pink pepper, the brightness of neroli and lemon slinking to the rum-infused fun of the rich heart. There’s a shadowy coolness of vetiver oil from Java, a sense of refinement from the tobacco, and a sensually resinous vanilla base; but it’s the kind of night that will linger long in your memory, and your secret smiles…

£115 for 100ml eau de toilette maisonmargiela.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Eau de AI – how Artificial Intelligence can help explore your perfume personality

In the Fashion, Fragrance & the Future‘ edition of The Scented Letter magazine [sign up for the FREE online edition here] we explore the myriad ways that Artificial Intelligence is impacting the world of perfumery – from allowing the perfumers to come up with never before dreamed of compositions, building brand new aroma molecules (and predicting how they’ll smell), to more sustainable ways of growing, harvesting, distilling and creating scents, right down to the design and marketing of the perfumes.

 

 

As the AI market grows in leaps and bounds, seemingly daily, we wanted to elaborate on another exciting (and utterly fascinating) use of AI in perfumery: helping YOU choose your next new fragrance.

 

 

We’ve long been proponents of technology aiding customers in this often confusing starting point – decades ago, our Co-Founder Lorna McKay helped set up an in-store computer system to help customers of Liberty’s perfumery seek out their next scents; an idea WAY ahead of its time that (then) printed out suggestions, which The Perfume Society then massively added to and turned into our online Find a Fragrance helper.

Keen to sniff out the latest technology, some months ago, I was lucky enough to be invited by Scent Futurist and consultant, Olivia Jezler, to attend the first European demonstration of an AI system designed by Japan’s SCENTMATIC Corporation. Simply put, they explain:

“Finding a perfume is a challenge. Fragrances are hard to grasp, and expressing our preferences can be tough. KAORIUM by SCENTMATIC is an entirely novel approach to fragrance exploration that decodes the enigmatic world of scents and helps people discover new fragrances intuitively through language. Harnessing state-of-the-art technology, our mission is to deliver olfactory moments of delight.”

Already in-store in some Japanese niche perfumeries, the AI works interactively through a table display. The customer is guided through sniffing some scents based on how they are feeling (or want a fragrance to help them feel) by suggesting some initial scents to ‘blind sniff’ (smell without knowing the name, brand, or ingredients) and asking questions. Narrowing down the possibilities based on your answers then spotlights three scented suggestions from differing houses to seek out in-store – the range suggested being uniquely tailored to the brands each retailer stocks.

 

 

 

“KAORIUM is a unique, innovative AI system that digitises the sense of smell and enables customers to experience fragrances through a digital blind-smelling experience. With KAORIUM, customers can intuitively discover scents by relying on a guided AI-powered olfactory experience that culminates in a poetic reveal of their chosen scents.”

 

My prompt was: ‘River breeze carrying the sound of fireworks’

Fragrances KAORIUM suggested for me:

 

(Restful) The House of Oud, The Time

THOO say: ‘This composition is an invitation to practise introspection: the prelude is Bergamot in an accord with Camomile and the calm of Wormwood, whose warm, woody note shields and reassures. Blue Tea, Iris and Verbena are the throbs of a heart that does not mark the passing of time, but expands it to infinity, wrapping us in a dimension of care and respect. With the expressive force of Cedarwood, Musks and Amber, the base receives the precious, dynamising notes of Black Tea.’

From £33 for 7ml eau de parfum [Exclusive to Jovoy Mayfair in the U.K.]

 

 

 

 

 

(Tranquil) Laboratorio Olfattivo, Sacreste

‘A complex and rich formula, created to give voice to two precious incense notes which immediately tie with Cistus, Elemi and other spicy ingredients which appear on the top notes and on a woody musky base. A sensual and profound incense: a perfume with character.’

£108 for 100ml eau de parfum pulseofperfumery.com

 

 

 

(Lucid) Stora Skuggan, Silphium

‘Silphium (probably of the genus Ferula) was a plant that grew in the area of Cyrene, present day Libya, and was widely renowned as a spice, medicinal herb and perfume ingredient throughout the empires of the classical antiquity. It was praised by Greek philosophers and writers, as well as Roman emperors and cookbook authors.’

£120 for 30ml eau de parfum earlofeast.com

 

I already knew I adored The Time and Sacreste, so these were indeed excellent suggestions, and I’ve since sought-out and rather fallen for Silphium. Quite apart from this being a fun thing to do in-store (who doesn’t like getting things ‘matched’ to them in personality-based quizzes?) AI experiences such as KAORIUM can be a genuinely helpful starting point for both those newer to niche perfumery and overwhelmed by (or nervous to try) the huge selection of scents clamouring for our attention. This absolutely is not to suggest such devices should (or could) put the well-trained and enthusiastic fragrance experts in stores out of a job, rather that it works alongside them – just as the AI programmes perfumers use are an aid to their expertise rather than a replacement for their skills, and emotional understanding of what people are looking for.

KAORIUM say: “…its capabilities are not just for the discovery experience but also for data analysis that can be used for insights and product development.”

So, companies might be able to track what customers are selecting based on their moods, allowing the database to evolve and grow based on realtime experiences. That way, it can learn ever more nuanced suggestions that best meet the needs of actual customers visiting perfumeries and not knowing where to begin: a win-win for everyone!

 

 

Want to learn even more about AI and perfumery?

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale