January often feels like a month (or two!) of Mondays, so we’re reaching for bright and brilliant fragrances to help us look forward again. From vibrant, luminous florals to lightly frosted but sunshine-filled foresty walks and fruity, opulently warm concoctions; why not seek these recent launches out to try on your own skin? The future is bright(er), so let’s still snuggle-up, but also welcome the turning of the seasons, looking forward with these fantastic scents…
We love Carole Bamford’s description that her new fine fragrance duo is ‘layered, rich and uplifting, much like the natural ingredients in which they are so deeply rooted.’ The ingredients in Woodland Moss and its ‘sister’, Wild Meadow, definitely evoke a sense of the natural world, harnessed here in a woody masterpiece that is at once damp and mossy, earthy and intriguing, rendered elegant and soft by an exquisite garland of dew-drenched rose. From £25 for 10ml eau de parfum bamford.com
BYREDO Young Rose
Debuted in China – a country just awakening to the joys of perfume –Ben Gorham refers to this as ‘an ode to the perennial restlessness of youth: an olfactive diary of those who are writing their own future.’ But we’d say this should most definitely appeal to those outside the ‘Gen Z’ or ‘millennial’ age brackets, a joyous clash of Sichuan pepper and Damascus rose, buffed by orris, musk and Ambroxan. What is Mandarin for ‘fabulous’, again? £122 for 50ml eau de parfum byredo.com
Jeroboam pioneered downsized flacons: easy on the back, easier on the pocket, now offering this ‘flurry of flowers’. Fruit notes first capture the attention: green and red apples, and luscious pineapple. Then the flowers burst open: jasmine and airy, transparent petal notes, rendered a touch creamy by sandalwood and finished with a flourish of dry woods, white musk and cedar. Eminently shareable, Jeroboam suggest (and oh, we do love flowers, on a chap!) £90 for 30ml eau de parfum jovoyparis.uk
DUNHILL Icon Racing Red
There’s some extra pep in this engine – perhaps the sizzle of spicier notes with the warm glow of that rich amber base does it, but nonetheless we can say the red is – racier than its somewhat sleeker Racing Blue garage-mate. Solar notes remind us of driving, top down, ‘round winding lanes on holiday with a carefree abandon, the citrus speeding leafy fern and geranium before the frankincense-like base kicks in. £88 for 100ml eau de parfum fenwick.co.uk
JIMMY CHOO Urban Hero Gold Edition
Luscious pineapple and ripe blood orange offer the most welcome kind of bracing opening, perfectly offsetting the more balsamic sweetness of soothing lavandin and rich, creamy tonka bean (think roasted almonds, lapped in milk) at the heart. This fragrance of contrasts, reflecting the inspiration of street art and free-spirited creatives amidst a city environment, is captured in a special edition golden bottle that will steal the show on his side of the bathroom shelf. £72 for 100ml eau de parfum boots.com
Legend has it that before he became famous, the artist, ballet dancer, designer and all-round creative visionary Manfred Thierry Mugler, once visited a fortune teller. So the story goes, she gazed intently at his palm and noted the lines formed a star. Telling him to incorporate the shape in all his designs to ensure his success, he did as she suggested and, well, the rest is history. Whatever the truth of this tale, the star emblem can be found woven throughout the cosmos Mugler created, and forms the shape of what continues to be one of the best-selling fragrances of all time…
Manfred Thierry Mugler died at the age of 73, on January 23rd. Shockwaves have rippled through the fashion and fragrance worlds alike. A message posted on the official Mugler fashion house Instagram account read:
‘It is with deep sadness that the House of Mugler announces the passing of Mr Manfred Thierry Mugler. A visionary whose imagination as a couturier, perfumer and image-maker empowered people around the world to be bolder and dream bigger every day.’
On the catwalk, Mugler’s designs might burst forth in a froth of feathers and acres of pastel tulle, cocooned in form-fitting armour and cinched-in waspie waists or swathed in fetishised, curve-accentuating fabrics on gleefully strident fembot style models. Never expected, always extraordinary, his clothes were vibrant, unapologetically fun and totally unforgettable.
Mugler was also the man behind countless signature looks of celebrities – including outfits for the Too Funky music video by George Michael and Demi Moore’s dress in the 1993 film Indecent Proposal. He also dressed the likes of Grace Jones, David Bowie, Celine Dion, Kate Moss and Diana Ross, with Ross paying tribute to him on Twitter, writing: ‘I will miss you Thierry Mugler this was a wonderful time in our lives.’
Mugler designed costumes for Beyonce’s I Am… World Tour, and the iconic singer paid tribute to Mugler on her official website, posting a black and white picture of the designer with the words ‘Rest In Peace’ above; while Kylie Minogue posted a comment on his Instagram, saying: ‘Deepest condolences (heart emoji) A true visionary. Thank you for your art Manfred.’
His art didn’t stay put on the catwalk, or in high-end clothing boutiques. It burst free again in the massive way his fragrance, Angel, shook up and forever changed the fragrance industry.
What makes an iconic fragrance? To bring about a scented shift, to become a true icon, it can never be a ‘me-too’ crowd-pleaser, it must do something new, take risks. Those ‘classics’ we revere and nod sagely at nowadays were once the punk rock of the perfume world. Angel was an olfactory ‘shock’, when it launched in 1992 – causing a sensation. It was also, crucially, given the gift of time.
In the early 1990’s the fragrance world was all about beachy, clean aquatic scents (now making a comeback in a new wave of water-inspired releases), so the emergence of a brashly swaggering, chocolate-dipped fruity funfair-inspired concoction was all the more shocking.
It should be noted that Angel wasn’t an immediate success. Indeed, one wonders if it had been launched in today’s more impatient marketplace if it would have been allowed to survive that first year. Thank goodness Mugler had the vision to stick with it, and Angel waited until the world caught up with what was the first true ‘gourmand’ or food-inspired fragrance.
To create Angel, Thierry Mugler approached Jacques Courtin-Clarins, head of the celebrated Clarins skincare and fragrance empire. Having revolutionised the world of fashion, the designer was seeking a partner who could bring his brand to life through a fragrance. So Angel was born, with its good-enough-to-eat notes, and an unprecedentedly high concentration of 30% ultra-rich, woody patchouli, added to keep the fragrance from becoming overly sweet.
The patchouli was the brainwave of perfumer Yves de Chiris, who knew he needed something to counterbalance the heart of sugary confections – the candyfloss, caramel and chocolate – which were inspired by Thierry Mugler‘s vivid, fairy-lit memories of a childhood fairground. Together with renowned perfumer Olivier Cresp, they created something more than a mere perfume.
On his personal Instagram account, Olivier Cresp wrote: ‘Thierry Mugler was a true genius in fashion, photography and shapes in a broad sense. I’ve always been amazed by his ability to project through his many projects, he was a great visionary. 2022 is the year of Angel’s 30 years, so let everyone honour her by staying in touch with her through perfume. Working alongside him was a privileged and unique moment that I am very proud and happy of.’
Thomas Dunckley (a.k.a The Candy Perfume Boy) once wrote about his first experience with Angel, saying ‘The very first time I smelled Angel, right at the beginning of my perfumista journey, I was shocked, appalled and disgusted all at once. Who would want to wear this? I thought. But I kept finding myself coming back to Angel, there was something about her, she lured me in and wouldn’t let me go, I was helpless. I became obsessed and after many sniffs I finally bought a bottle, wore it with pride and didn’t look back.’
In later years Thomas commented that Angel ‘is always the perfume that I come back to, and it’s the only fragrance that I can wear for weeks on end without thinking of anything else.’ He continues:
‘Angel isn’t just your typical perfume, she is a legend, a legend in exactly the same way that N°5 and Shalimar are legends. She’s also not just a legend, she is a fierce vixen and a complete diva.’
As Pierre Aulas, Mugler‘s Olfactory Artistic Director comments: ‘What makes Thierry Mugler fragrances successful? The power of the unexpected, the force of audacity and unbridled creativity’.
Angel will always remain an iconic fragrance, with new generations similarly discovering, being shocked by and eventually falling in love with her. Even if you’d never smelled the scent itself, the bottle will be forever emblazoned in our collective consciousness – one of very few flaçons to be instantly recognisable the world over from its shape alone.
As those in the fashion and fragrance spheres continue to mourn Manfred Thierry Mugler’s death, social media is filled with images of celebrities wearing archival pieces and fans lovingly clutching their bottles – ensuring his name, and Angel’s perfumed presence, will be eternally written among the stars. So, if you’re already a fan, fling caution to the wind and douse yourself in an extra spritz; or, if you’ve never quite dared wear it, now’s the time to don that fragrant armour and swagger-forth, deliciously scented and celestially blessed.
If you’re looking for a flash of fragrant brightness amidst these greyest days, Floral Street Sunflower Pop is your go-to burst of olfactory optimism!
Having already proved that exceptional quality fragrance needn’t cost the earth, Floral Street’s fashion-forward and so-affordable approach combined with an impeccable sustainability and cruelty-free ethos, are now set on proving, as founder Michelle Feeney puts it: ‘fine art can meet fine fragrance.’
Celebrating their 4th year of scented success, with their perfumes now available to purchase in shops based in 20 countries around the world; this British indie house was thrilled to be approached to produce a fragrance based on the most famous painting in the entire world. Says Michelle: ‘When the Van Gough Museum people walked into the Floral Street shop and asked us to create some products based on the Van Gough paintings, it was a dream come true – they said we could choose any painting we wanted for inspiration! Of course… it had to be Sunflowers.’
Seeing the painting in-person really blew Michelle Feeney away, and she explains that ‘When I stood in front of the painting, I could really feel the brushstrokes, I could feel the movement.’ It was this vibrant energy Michelle wanted in-house perfumer Jerome Epinette to somehow bottle (indeed, the painting appears suspended in the bottle itself) and for Jerome, that meant capturing the feeling of the painting. ‘I love the different colours, contrasts of textures, and that’s what really inspired my creation to try and evoke those,’ Michelle chimes in, her face glowing with the passion she so obviously feels for the subject:
‘It’s also about the passing of the day,’ Michelle gestures toward an image of the iconic work; ‘…if you notice in the painting, it’s not just about bright yellow fresh and shiny flowers, they are captured in lots of stages as they change colour, which I love.’
‘We also discovered that Van Gough used to live in London,’ Michelle continues, ‘and spent a lot of time walking in Covent Garden, so that was quite spooky in a way – to think he probably walked past the place where our shop is, now!’
The very definition of optimism, Floral Street’s Sunflower Pop (from £24 for 10ml eau de parfum) is both sunny to look at and sunny inside – vibrantly fizzing with fresh mandarin, Calabrian bergamot, and accords of vegan honey and Bellini cocktails. It settles to a smooth, nuanced warmth, a scented sunset that feels timeless. Oh yes, we’ll raise a glass to a happy scent that allows us to dream of sunshine with every single spritz. In a letter to his brother, Vincent Van Gough once wrote: ‘If one truly loves nature, one finds beauty everywhere.’ And what a beauty this is!
Don’t forget – you can try a sample of Sunflower Pop in the Niche VII Discovery Box (£23 / £19 for VIPs, for ten fragrances + two treats) for a proper perfumed pick-me-up.
During the greyest months of the year, when life seems dormant and waiting, there is one little glimpse of brighter times to come – a whiff of hope on the frosty breeze – in that cheering moment we first spot a snowdrop. Yes, that might sound clichéd, but I defy you to smother a smile when you see one. Delicately scented with a lightly honeyed, creamy almond kind of smell, the latin name ‘Galanthus‘ means ‘milky flower’, and this tiny bloom has gathered centuries of fragrant folklore around its origins, continuing to inspire perfumers with its transcendent prettiness.
Native to Alpine regions, where they thrive amidst the cold, mountainous climes; snowdrops are believed to have first appeared in the British Isles when they were brought there by monks. It’s rather nice to imagine them tenderly tucked in religious robes while they travelled, but however they first arrived, they took root in the frozen winter soil of this country, and in our souls, somehow. Perhaps we were seduced by the mythology – stories passed down through generations, such as the legend recounted on the snowdrop-centric website snowdrops.me: ‘when you listen closely,’ they explain, ‘you can hear their bells ringing, trying to wake up nature from its winter sleep.’ Even more beautiful is the ancient German tale re-told on The Creative Countryside blog:
‘At the beginning of all things when life was new, the Snow sought to borrow a colour. The flowers were much admired by all the elements but they guarded their colour’s jealousy and when the Snow pleaded with them, they turned their backs in contempt for they believed the Snow cold and unpleasant. The tiny humble snowdrops took pity on the Snow for none of the other flowers had shown it any kindness and so they came forth and offered up to the Snow their colour. The Snow gratefully accepted and became white forevermore, just like the Snowdrops. In its gratitude, the Snow permitted the little pearly flowers the protection to appear in winter, to be impervious to the ice and bitter chill. From then on, the Snow and the Snowdrops coexisted side by side as friends.’
I’ll be the first to admit the smell of snowdrops isn’t effusive, it doesn’t billow through the woods as a scented cloud harkening Spring; but though tenderly scented, it’s the symbolism of this flower that so inspires perfumers, I think. And to which we feel drawn – perhaps likening ourselves to the ‘brave’ flower having clung on through icy conditions, and having managed to immerge, even through the frozen ground. A triumph of beauty over adversity that’s also evoked in writer Vikki Bentley’s poem, which was penned in conjunction with the launch of Anglea Flander’s Lawn fragrance:
These gauzy mornings
there’s a reason why you push your bed pillow-close
to the open window so that the cool, the light
bathes you awake five o’clock and eager
to leave diseased dreams and watch
the calm, silver sheet of the
dawning lawn catch the
unhurried tumble of
a petal’s feather curl
for in the blink of that first, not-quite time
you still believe in the lightness of your footfall
stepping out onto the fresh, the wet
beneath your soles, between your toes;
inhaling silver, tasting green as
each liquid call in the chorus
trickles down to touch the
newness in you
until the truth of the day scorches through
Quietly scented (to us) they may be, but that smell acts as a clarion call for potential pollinators. The composition of the snowdrop’s fragrant waft depends on the type of insect it wants to attract. The honeyed kind attract bees (and us), but because the snowdrop is a fairly recent inhabitant on British shores, the scent they exude can also be a wordless cry to a species not available here. So, not all snowdrops have a smell that pleases the masses. Explains the National Plant Collection of Galanthus at Bruckhills Croft in Aberdeenshire on their snowdrops.me blog (where you can purchase several varieties of the flower): ‘The species Koenenianus is often described as having a smell of animal urine or bitter almonds, so perhaps has evolved to attract pollenating beetles in its native North-Eastern Turkey?’
Focussing on the tenderly honeyed side of their scent (thank goodness), perfumers tend to use a blend of notes to evoke these seasonal flagposts of hope in their fragrances – boosting their brightness, smoothing the edges, radiating anticipation. Such is the alchemy of a fragrant composition, we might be smelling lily-of-the-valley or bluebell accords (also imagined evocations) or the dewy green of violet leaf. Creamy white musks are often used to create that elegant shiver of the flower, or a whisper of cool woodiness wafting an imagined breeze to shake their bells. Conversely, the sense of snowdrops may be borrowed to add pale shafts of sunlight within the darkness of a scent, the contrast emboldening the harmony of the whole blend.
So, while you may not pick up a bottle and confidently declare ‘Aha! I detect snowdrops!’ we can quite willingly succumb to the romance of the story, and cling on to the feeling of hopefulness each of these fragrances grant the wearer…
Shay & Blue Black Tulip £55 for 100ml Contrasts abound as white chocolate swathes spiced plum, but before gourmand-avoiders back away, it’s not overtly sweet – think of it more like the silky ‘mouth-feel’ amidst swathes of bright snowdrops and creamy cyclamen. The dark heart hushes to wood shavings, curls of chocolate still falling like snowflakes.
‘A note of grassiness in the air and a promise of flowers to come, snowdrops & woodland bulbs are making an entrance. It feels as if it’s time to wear a fresher note in fragrance too. For the first time this year I instinctively reached for my bottle of Lawn, yearning for the dewy galbanic freshness that later warms on the skin like the mid day sun.’ – Kate Evans [Angela Flander’s daughter, now perfumer for the house]
Angela Flanders Lawn£75 for 30ml eau de parfumKate learned perfumery at her mother’s knee, taking over the house after Angela died, with this dew-speckled, dawn-struck scent her first offering. ‘Lawn marked a new start for me as a perfumer’, she explains, ‘and is therefore a most appropriate scent for the time of year when we feel ready to embrace the promise of a new season.’
The glacial gust of the central white floral accord – Tunisian jasmine and orange flower absolute – is crisp with snapped green stems, Lyn Harris creating a dampened breeze of iris and carrot seed atop drenched mossy notes on a frosty, woody backbone of spikier juniper. The scented personification of a sanguine elegance, you’ll float.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s calone-based ‘snow accord’ imagines the backdrop for the owl’s scented swooping: ‘A thick carpet of silver envelops the landscape, untouched but for the dazzling reflection of the sun.’ Icy mint, lily of the valley and coconut drift to snowdrops and sap-filled galbanum, softly feathered by the moss-snuggled base.
A portrait of a frozen stream in perfumed form, snowdrops and freesia are lapped by lychee water, peony petals and jasmine hinting at warmer days, clementine blossom a burat of happiness amidst misty, crystalline musks. Then, the smooth teakwood base is whipped through with fluffs of creamy vanilla for an ambient blanket of calm.
In this series we are inviting you to ‘get to know the nose’ – those perfumers who create the scents we adore, who bottle lifelong scent memories and span the worlds of Art and Science. In this exclusive interview, you’ll get to know none other than Alberto Morillas…
‘Legend‘ is a word bandied about so often it can be rendered meaningless, but when applied to the perfumer Alberto Morillas, there can be no doubting the truth of such a statement. Creator of countless iconic fragrances – from Calvin Klein CK One, Kenzo Flower, Bvlgari Omnia, Cartier Panthere de Cartier, Giorgio Armani Aqua di Giò for women (seriously, the list is seemingly endless) – to the more recent scent success of Gucci‘s fragrances, perfumes for Penhaligon’s, and the BVLGARI Goldea scents. And then those more ‘niche’ interpretations of his art, working alongside remarkable brands such as Aedes de Venustas, A Lab On Fire and By Kilian to name but three of his extensive client list. Whatever your taste, wherever you began your quest for the perfect perfume – his scents have doubtless been in your collection and on your skin at one time or another.
Winning the prestigious Prix François Coty in 2003 and The Fragrance Foundation Lifetime Perfumer in 2013, among numerous other awards for his creations; Morillas then set up his own house of Mizensir, initially selling candles – using the same dedication and attention to detail in hand-making these as he does creating fine fragrances. Now fans rejoice in the fact Morillas has recently expanded Mizensir in to a range of fine fragrances, too.
With so many infamous names on his client list, Alberto can pick and choose who he works with at any time, so those scents he composes are very special indeed. We were honoured, indeed, to catch up with Alberto for our regular ‘get to know the nose’ feature, and hearing him wax lyrical on his favourite (and most-hated) smells, his fragrant inspirations and for a unique insight in to this, yes, legendary perfumer’s behind-the-scenes techniques…
What is your first ‘scent memory’?
‘Traditional Christmas Cakes that smelled like Anis and Vanilla, made by the Carmelite nuns in my town, we would order these cakes from Christmas and pick them up at the convent, this smell is imprinted in my memory.’
When did you decide you wanted to be a perfumer/create your own perfume?
‘I started hearing about the métier of perfumer when I came to Geneva to study; around the same time I discovered that there was a creator behind each fragrance. I had read an article in Vogue Magazine where Jean Paul Guerlain explained how to create a fragrance. That was a revelation for me!’
What are your five favourite smells in the world?
‘More personally, I like everything that would evoke the Mediterranean Sea, with the deep blue water, the sun and the nature which go with it. I am very attached for example to the citruses, sea notes and flowers including jasmine, tuberose, neroli and orange blossom. They are the expression of a certain kind of freshness, a sophisticated freshness and at the same time full of joy. I’m also in love with gardens. They are my second passion. I spend a lot of time in my family garden in Geneva, it gives me a breath, a moment of dream and relaxation, and it always inspires me for my work as a perfumer. The inspiration which feeds my creation is very simple, it is everything I see in nature.’
What’s the worst thing you ever smelled. (Honestly!)
‘The smell of onion is really unpleasant and overwhelming. I can’t smell anything when there’s onion in the room. And it makes you cry!’
Do you feel (like us) that this is one of the most exciting times in fragrance history, because of the creativity being expressed by perfumers? Why do you think that is?
‘A lot of things have changed! Mainly due to an acceleration of time and pressures. In reaction to these constant pressures, people want freedom, to express themselves freely. Perfume is a world of passion, pleasure and emotions which gives a beautiful escape to everyone. The increasing number of new creations each year has not restrained the community of perfume lovers. On the contrary, men and women are becoming more and more experts of fragrances. Brands are now offering a different storytelling around creation, giving a major place to the olfactive creation and to the ingredients. I’m very positive about the future!’
How many perfumes might you be working on, at one time?
‘Oh I can be working on many, many – in over twenty directions at any time! I work on mine and for other people. I like to say yes, but only if I love the people themselves. I made Zara candles and that was an honour to me, that they wanted to have my signature. But when I finish working on something it is no longer mine, it’s not for me when it’s finished – it’s for the customer, it belongs to them. Though the formula is mine!’
Does your nose ever ‘switch off’?
‘No, never, I am working all the time – even just walking down the street I am smelling and sometimes, well quite a lot as it happens, I smell one of the perfumes I created as someone passes me. It still gives me the same pleasure to smell that on someone now as when I first created it… Perfumers never rest, no one is ever in a completely odour-free environment and it is like the brain: the nose never rests. Creating a fragrance is an art, it is very personal and creative exercise.’
How long, roughly, does it take you to create a fragrance?
‘Some are one or two years, others can be five or more. But it’s very difficult you know, because it needs to change only a tiny bit and that takes a lot longer than if it was just brand new. To alter something a little takes a lot more work.’
Is creating a fragrance ‘visual’ for you, as well as something that happens in the nose/brain? If so, in what way…? Is a mood-board helpful?
‘No, I can be inspired by seeing something but it automatically goes to an emotion in my head and I memorise that and that’s what I try to create. As perfumers, we use words, sounds, colours, shapes, textures to talk about smells, and get our memory working. That’s how we build up and maintain our “scent bank”, by associating a smell with another completely different sensory element. Perfume calls on our strongest instincts and our emotions. Spontaneously, we grab hold of something palpable, something we can see to give it meaning. In my daily work, I’m a very visual person, almost all my formulas are written by hand. My handwriting is my emotion. When I write the formula, I can smell the perfume. I also really like to receive images when I create new products; it is always a great source of inspiration.’
What can each of us do to enhance our appreciation of fragrance? What is your best tip for improving a person’s sense of smell?
‘If you train your nose, you’ll be able to make the difference between the main olfactive families. In fact, everyone has his own olfactive memory like a “library of scents”, made of smells you associate to people, places, travels, objects, food, moments of your life, etc. You can enrich this library by smelling fragrances in store or trying them on skin to live with them. Some are fresher, some are more sensual, try to put words on what you smell to define the different sensations. Then repeat, repeat ceaselessly. Practice by smelling in blind. Be spontaneous, say everything, feel free to write everything which comes to mind. Time after time, you’ll have your own references and you’ll be able to classify fragrances by main themes, like woody, aromatic, citrus and ambrée. Memory. That’s the most important thing. You need to smell again and again and again the same thing and then mix it with other things and see how it changes. Like cooking – you need to taste all the time to improve your palette and it’s the same with smell. I cannot say enough how important memory is, that act of memorising how something smells, what it means to you.’
If you had one fragrance note that you love above all others, what would that be?
‘Oh the rose for me, always the rose. But then the musks of course – I guess I am the king of musk! But each one is different – so there’s an Armani musk, a Cartier musk… They each have their own unique character, so you cannot simply talk of “musk” as one thing. And it’s not an obsession, but I like very much orange blossom when I’m back to my homeland in Seville, spring time is the moment for traditional processions. It smells orange blossom and incense, a wonderful smell that could inspire me in the future, who knows?’
Following the whirlwind of festive treating that’s gone on, we’re betting you’ve been at the very bottom of your own ‘to do’ list (if you appeared on it at all!) It’s time now to stop and treat yourself for a change – perhaps use up some of those vouchers or consider at least making the time to wonder what you want to wear, next, and who you want to be? Perfume can be a dressing-up-box of possibilities, so try these on for size…
If this is ringing bells, you’re spot-on: Kylie debuted Darling in 2006, acquiring quite the following, who grieved when their favoured fragrance was discontinued. Darling’s making a comeback – but with a modern spin; Firmenich perfumer Ilias Eremendis has captured the ‘architecture’ of the original in a vegan formula that offers up a bouquet of freesia, lily, boronia flower, topped by juicy fruits, with a curtain call of sandalwood, vanilla and amber. £22 for 30ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com
Romantically inspired, the mythology and olfactory intelligence of this niche house radiate with every spritz of their floral-swagged invitation to dream. The Roman goddess of flowers is invoked via a clarion call of bright bergamot flecked with sparkling pink pepper; a ribbon of incense twirling to the geranium heart, twisted with a dash of herbaceous clary sage. This hint of verdant greenery soon segues to a dry-down that’s grounded in sweet, musky patchouli. £295 for 100ml extrait de parfum harrods.com
PACO RABANNE Pacollection Blossom Me
Pacollection has been making quite the packaging splash, via innovative, patented ‘Airmetal’ pouches, comprised of 50% natural origin materials. We now welcome three additions to the line-up: fruity oudh Major Me (Emilie Coppermann), irreverent Dandy Me, and Marie Salamagne’s Blossom Me, an ‘eccentric’ floral infusion in which soft orange blossoms, cool vetiver, mandarin and mint combine to offer a first-of-its-kind harmony, in the intriguing form of a ‘solar vegetal’ splash. £65 for 62ml eau de parfum pacorabanne.com
TOM FORD PRIVATE BLEND ÉBÈNE FUMÉ
Palo Santo is a purifying, sacred incense wood, used in ritual, that has curled smokily though many recent creations. Here, this woody-amber incarnation is deliberately meditative; as Tom Ford says, it has ‘an almost spiritual sensuality that uplifts your mood.’ It smoulders alongside dry cade essence, resinous cistus absolute, roses, guaiac and ebony woods. The trick it carries off? This would be equally at home in a yoga class or on the dance floor. £178 for 50ml eau de parfum tomford.co.uk
BRIONI Eau de Parfum Intense
A Lusciously luminous duo of citrus oils first beguiles the senses, radiant bergamot and juicy mandarin studded with highly aromatic pink peppercorn in cool opening notes. A deeper plunge into the suave world of this sophisticated fashion house’s aesthetic, Michel Almairac suffuses the base with patchouli, oudh and Ambroxan, threads of suede-like saffron woven with a swoosh of crisp apple, a fragrant flash akin to the silky moiré that lines their wool jackets. From £85 for 60ml eau de parfum brioni.com
New year, new you? Fragrance is the easiest way to revive your spirits or change the vibe (with no counting calories or impossible exercise routines or self-imposed ‘rules’ to follow!) A new scent can give you more confidence and energy or soothe the senses after a difficult time. It can also be your ‘shoulder pads in a bottle’ best friend – or a hug in a bottle, helping you feeling better about yourself every single day.
If you’re new here (hello!) and don’t know all the things we do, or just want to start the new year as you mean to go on; why not consider some of the fragrance-filled options below, and join us in the scented celebrations…
Treat yourself to something new (with 22% off*)
Now all the Christmas gifts have been exchanged, we think YOU deserve an extra present for getting through all of last year. We’re welcoming in the new year in the most fragrant way possible, by giving you 22% of ALL our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (when you spend £40 or more)!
Simply select your favourite Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (*minimum spend £40, valid on Perfume Society Discovery Boxes only, offer ends 7th January 2022) and enter the code Hello22 at checkout.
Take the stress out of scent shopping
Fragrance can be bewildering, and finding a new one often overwhelming – that’s exactly why we started The Perfume Society, to take the stress out of shopping for a new scent. How can you find your perfect perfume? What’s the best way to take care of it? How can you make it last longer? Where should fragrance be applied, to get the most out of every spritz? Nobody’s born knowing these things, so we’ve collated answers to dozens of the questions we’re regularly asked in our FAQ section. Simply head there and click on the question, and your answer will appear!
Find your next favourite fragrance
How can you find the perfect scent to suit you? It’s a question we’re asked more than any other, and can be somewhat overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. And that’s at the best of times – let alone trying to navigate buying a new scent from your sofa, without sniffing beforehand!
You’re simply asked to type in the name of a fragrance you like already, and the so-clever algorithm does all the work for you. This is a computer system that was first set up decades ago, when our clever Co-Founder Lorna McKay had an idea how to help customers of Liberty’s perfumery seek out their next scents.
That computer program has been fully updated with key words comparing and describing hundreds of thousands of fragrances – not only the fragrance notes, but how the fragrance will make you feel, the atmosphere the perfumer has created, the character of the scent itself. All you need do is type in the name of a fragrance you already love and you’ll be given an immediate list of six scents to seek out, all at various price points and with characteristics you’re extremely likely to swoon for. Honestly, try it – they’re quite spookily accurate!
Become a V.I.P
For just just £12 per year, you can join our special VIP club and receive the following exclusive benefits for 12 months of fragrant fun…
• Special Discounts: £4 off our professionally-curated Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, you’ll hear about all the launches before anyone else. This year we will be offering even greater discounts and some fabulous 24-hour price drop opportunities exclusive to our VIPs.
• Digital Subscription toThe Scented Letter: You can read more about this below, but all VIPs get immediate access to our award-winning online magazine, delivered to their in-box– featuring perfumes, perfumers, ingredients and so much more devoted to all things fragrant. Psst ..we’ll send you the latest Scented Letter as soon as you sign up..!
• Event Tickets: Early access to events – virtually and in real life…meeting with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world.
• Exclusive Prizes: just for VIPs.
(Please note: due to shipping restrictions we cannot send our boxes to the Republic of Ireland or internationally.)
Read The Scented Letter, our multi-award-winning perfume magazine, now FREE for everyone!
Described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, we are delighted that our gorgeous and fact-packed digital magazine, The Scented Letter, is now free for everyone to read in digital format online. You can read the most recent Time to Shine issue, here. But don’t worry, if you prefer print, the magazine (and back issues) is also available to order in gorgeously printed form via our Online Shop.
Appearing FOUR times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, featuring at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more will take them ever-deeper into the scented world, via our Latest Launches round-up of the new men’s and women’s scents, exclusive interviews with the world’s best perfumers, stunning spreads devoted to the fascinating history and future-forward trends shaping the perfume world.
However you choose to celebrate in scent, we wish you a wonderful (and fabulously fragrant) year ahead for 2022!
If you’re looking for perfumes to wear to a NYE party, or simply a way to celebrate in scent at home, here are some recent launches that will give you that joyously uplifting feeling of a best dress and posh shoes dancing on the table moment… even if the reality is far less glam. Listen, it’s been another tough year – cancelled plans, missing people we love, uncertainty – but it’s time to reflect how well we’ve all done to get through, and celebrate the New Year with hope in our hearts. Spritz on, and cheers to you, our dear scented friends!
4160 TUESDAYS Dancing With Strangers
What did you miss most? Sun-drenched beaches? Festivals? The utter joy of parties…? Cult Fragrances author Tessa Williams partnered with the endlessly inventive Sarah McCartney on this trilogy of scents to evoke all we yearned for. Warm Sands/Blue Ocean is sun lotion on warm skin, Dandelion Musk offers the summer meadow vibes of festival living, but our favourite is Dancing With Strangers, a delicious waltz of lipstick-y rose, violet and white florals. From £32 for 15ml eau de parfum 4160tuesdays.com
BRITNEY SPEARS Electric Fantasy
The enduringly popular Fantasy fragrance – as much of a superstar in the fragrance world as Britney herself is, within showbiz – is playfully and vibrantly reworked in time for the party season. A show-stopping blend of juicily tart passion fruit, jasmine petals and patchouli, it sets out to capture Britney’s enigmatic power and glow.’ Here’s what we know: any Fantasy fan-slash-collector would be thrilled to party the night away while wafting this. £35 for 100ml eau de toilette theperfumeshop.com
HUGO BOSS Boss Alive Gold Edition
Twinkle, twinkle, little scent star: the special limited edition flacon of much-loved Boss Alive shimmers and glimmers with glittering snowflakes, showcased in a golden box. Inside, the scent remains the same, however: feminine, optimistic, fusing cedarwood and sandalwood with jasmine and apple, warmed and smoothed by an almost lickable vanilla note. When you feel like hunkering down, reach for this, to be transformed into a party-perfect Cinderella ready for the ball. £72 for 50ml eau de parfum thefragranceshop.co.uk
JUSBOX Suit of Lights
There’s an electric energy riven through the floralcy of this latest from the musical genre-inspired house, perfumer Julien Rasquinet weaving vibrant mandarin oil and violet leaf through to an addictively balsamic honeysuckle. Creamy sandalwood and dry cedar thrum harmonically to the heart of orange absolute, with a cracking good dose of sunny sambac jasmine. As catchy as a masterfully crafted pop song, it’s unashamedly pretty, yet works brilliantly no matter your gender. €310 for 78ml extrait de parfum jusboxperfumes.com
YSL Y LE PARFUM
We’re loving these new takes on the classic fougère family, and Y Le Parfum certainly has a nod to that suave scent heritage with herbaceous, dry lavender and cool, minty geranium. Just as you think you know it, a darker twist of black cedarwood simmers to a smoky incense that swirls passionately as you promenade. To be worn by someone who isn’t shy about adding a certain swagger to their walk. £96 for 100ml eau de parfum yslbeauty.co.uk
Well firstly, ‘hate’ is a very strong word. If you’ve been landed with the favourite fragrance of your current partner’s ex, we’re not going to pretend to make you suddenly adore it, so maybe re-gift that one – see tip #7 – and treat yourself to one of our Discovery Boxes of fragrant delights, and perhaps a new partner, instead?
But there are things you can try before you completely ditch a scent – we can’t tell you how many fragrance experts (ourselves included!) and even perfumers have drastically changed their minds about a fragrance by trying some of these top tips…
#1 – Seasonal changes
Did you know that the weather, your mood and even what you ate up to *two weeks ago* can dramatically alter how scent smells on your skin? Skin and climate temperature are vital to a perfume’s performance, so even your favourite fragrance will smell different based on the time of year. When perfumers test the scents they’re creating they often use climate-controlled booths to check how they smell in hot and colder conditions (depending what countries they’ll be selling in). Don’t re-gift until you’ve tried the perfume again later in the year, or even on holiday (remember those?)
– Similarly, strongly spiced foods can change how a perfume smells on your skin, and when testing fragrances under lab conditions, the ‘skin model’ volunteers they use are often specifically asked to refrain from eating such foods up to two weeks prior to testing, so the perfumers can smell a ‘true’ representation of the scent. Though sometimes the reverse is true: if a fragrance is to be mainly sold in a country where people eat lots of spicy foods, the ‘skin models’ are asked to replicate that diet to ensure the scent works efficiently.
– We now know that mood plays an important part in how we select a fragrance – try a scent when you’re feeling a particular way, and it colours how you feel about the fragrance itself. If you’re feeling stressed or upset, a bit under the weather or just overwhelmed, these are not ideal conditions for testing out something new. Wait until you’re feeling calmer, or simply have more time to really explore what you’re smelling. That’s when you can try to…
#2 – Improve your sense of smell
Absolutely everyone can benefit from this – we’ve had people from normal perfume-lovers, complete novices to industry professionals telling us how trying these techniques have changed the way they smell for the better (for good). This doesn’t mean suddenly gaining the ability of being able to detect every single ingredient within a bottle of perfume, but rather learning to train your nose the way a perfumer does: by deeply exploring the emotions it makes you feel, colours, textures, places and people it reminds you of.
This is why we developed our so-popular How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops, which we have regularly held in London and, sometimes at independent perfumeries around the UK. We’ll be adding new dates as soon as we’re able to hold face-to-face workshops again, and plan to make a video available online.
Meanwhile, here are a few simple tips to try every day:
– Spray a scent on a blotter, preferably; close your eyes and keep sniffing for several seconds, then take the blotter away, inhale deeply, and re-sniff the blotter again. Repeat this for a minute or so, and then begin writing a few words in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be a description, and it shouldn’t ‘list’ notes – try to use words that make you think of other things. For example…
– If this scent were a fabric, what would it be? What colour? If you made someone an outfit from that fabric, who would they be, where would they be going?
– If it were a piece of music, what instruments would be playing? Is it classical, rock music, pop, rap or jazz?
Really attempt to get past thinking ‘I don’t like this’ and focus instead on the mood it’s creating. Is it too deep or too fresh or floral for your personal taste? Give it time and then, if needed, move on to one of the tips, below…
#3 – Layer up!
Layering fragrances used to be seen as a scent sin, but we’ve all gotten over ourselves a bit (well most of us have). You don’t have to do this to a perfume you already love on its own – why would you need to? – but there are brilliant ways of beefing-up a sadly flimsy fragrance, or adding a zing to something that’s a bit too dark or cloying on your skin. Give it a go, because, as we always say: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!
– Add power: ramp it up by adding more base notes like patchouli, labdanum, vetiver, woods or musk.
– Add freshness: look for citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).
– Add beauty: find a scent too ‘harsh’ or clinical? Look to layer it with decadently velvety or lusciously fruity rose oils, the sunshine-bottled scent of orange flower, a heady glamour of tuberose or a luminescent jasmine; try an apricot-like osmanthus flower, the fluffiness of mimosa or the powdery elegance of iris/orris.
– Add sweetness: vanilla and tonka bean can ’round’ a perfume, making it swoon on your skin (and addictive to smell), as can touches of synthetic notes described as ‘caramel’ or ‘dulce de leche’, ripe fruits, chocolate or even candy floss. Try to add less than you think you need, as adding more is always easier than taking away, and a little of these can go a long way!
For layering any of these, you can either try layering over other fragrances you have in which the above notes dominate, with a single-fragranced ‘soliflore’ (one main note) fragrance oil or spray, or try layering the scent you don’t currently like over a differently perfumed body lotion or oil (see below or the added benefits of doing this…)
#4 – Boost the lasting-power
If the reason you don’t like a perfume is because it just seems to ‘disappear’ on your skin, you’re not alone. We often find those with dry skin have this problem, and it’s even thought genetics and things like hair colour may play a part. Scientists are still finding this out, but while they do, there are ways you can make perfume last far longer:
– Try using a body oil, rich body balm or moisturising lotion before you put any fragrance on (and even afterwards, too), as scent takes longer to evaporate on nourished skin. This helps the fragrance ‘cling’ to your skin more easily, and so you get to actually smell if for more than a few minutes without frantically re-spraying.
– Spray pulse-points you might not usually think of. Behind your knees is a good example – it’s a warm spot that, once spritzed, will mean you leave a fragrant trail…
– Spritz the perfume at the nape of your neck, even into your hair and on clothes – BUT do check by spraying a tissue first that it isn’t going to mark your hair or fabric a strange colour, or leave an oily residue! We adore this way of wearing perfume, as hair and fabric are porous without heating up as much as your skin, allowing the perfume to stay all day.
Spraying a fragrance on to a scarf is a particularly good idea if you want…
#5 – A part-time perfume
There are days we feel the need to try something completely different, but perhaps don’t want to be stuck with that scent all day, so what to do?
– Consider spraying a scarf (preferably not silk or a light colour, unless you’ve patch-tested it as above, first!) with this perfume you’re unsure of, that way if it gets a bit ‘too much’ or you want to wear something different, you can simply take the scarf off and you’re not stuck with it on your skin all day.
Nope? Tried all that and still struggling? All is not lost, don’t give up yet…
#6 – Scent up your life
We all have certain scents or fragrant ingredients that, for one reason or another, we might not wish to wear but do like to smell if it’s scenting something else.
– Why not try spraying off-cuts of pretty wrapping paper or tissue paper, and using this to line your lingerie or sweater drawers?
– Or, how about being utterly fabulous by spraying your note paper and insides of envelopes (the fancy ones lined with tissue paper are particularly good for this), and writing a few actual letters or thank you cards to loved-ones you’ve not seen for a while. Everyone loves getting proper post!
– The truly decadent could try scenting table linen – again, PLEASE patch test, as above – for lavish dinner parties to rival Marie Antoinette – spraying on cotton wool and putting inside a deocrative ceramic or pottery vase, on wooden ornaments or ceramic discs you hang over radiators to scent the whole room as they heat.
We so hope you can find a way to try this poor perfume again and give it some love, but if all else fails and you still can’t bring yourself to use it, well at least you tried! Why not…
#7 – Have a perfume-swapping party / re-gift
Um, remembering not to invite the one who gave you that particular perfume… otherwise, major awks. Or, if you’re looking to re-gift, have a look at our brilliant Fragrance Finder.
Simply put the name of the fragrance into the search box, and it’ll suggest six scents that are similar in character and style, or share a number of significant notes – this way you can see if anyone you know already has one of these, and it means they’ll very likely love to receive this one from you.
Responses to the question ‘What would Santa smell like?’ have revealed a wide range of answers from children all over the world, depending on their age and where they live. Perfumer Penny Williams took the most popular answers and turned them into a fragrance that teachers can use to engage school children in discussions around their sense of smell…
Lisa Hipgrave, Director of IFRA UK, who undertook the research, says ‘We are working with a group of people across the fragrance industry to develop ways to help people understand and benefit from a greater awareness of their sense of smell. Whilst this is a lighthearted approach to get us all in the Christmas spirit which we hope people will try at home, it is part of a wider piece of the work of that group. We have created a new website called fragrancematters.org to help people find out more about the importance of their sense of smell – from new and quirky facts, to taking a deeper dive into the world of olfaction through highlighting wider research, activities and events.’
So, what were their answers? ‘Soot and sweat’ was a popular response, while others answered ‘leather, boot polish and velvet’ and ‘pine trees, from brushing past them on his journey, and from Christmas trees as he places presents under trees in hopeful homes.’ More poetically inclined children decided he might smell of ‘nose-tingling magic and moonlight’ or ‘starry nights from his journey through the night sky’ and even ‘like space, perhaps with a little whisky’. Contributions from the USA included ‘the New York night sky just before snowfall’, and Canadadian children said ‘the first snow of winter on the pine woods’, while responses from Australia included ‘countless beach barbecues’.
Unsurprisingly, food and drink was a major theme, with cinnamon, gingerbread and mince pies appearing most often. Many children think that Santa smells of milk and biscuits, until they reach around 14 years of age, when Santa’s snacks switched to ‘sherry or brandy and mince pies’.
British perfumer Penny Williams, Chairperson of the IFRA UK working group, Vice Chair of the IFRA UK Technical committee and founder of Orchadia Ltd, says: ‘The human sense of smell is incredible. We take around 20,000 breaths a day and each one is an opportunity to learn about our surroundings. Inside our nose are olfactory bulbs, which are linked directly to our brain and create a memory link. That is why our sense of smell is so important to our wellbeing and feeling connected. Through our noses, we can also sense temperature and humidity. Both also affect how well we can smell – and smell is also the flavour of food. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how losing our sense of smell can make us feel disconnected. Our sense of smell isn’t just about the present, it’s about the past and can create feelings of happiness and nostalgia.’ She continues:
‘We want to bring back that innocent joy, comfort and sense of happiness to pupils in the schools we are working with. However, this is such a fun experiment for anyone of any age, so we are inviting people across the UK to spark up the discussion with family and friends. Using everyday objects and a few Christmas treats you can quickly get your olfactory sense working. Our nose is connected to a part of our nervous system which is responsible for detecting heat (chilli) and cold (menthol). So, menthol, found in peppermint and often in toothpaste, has a physical cooling effect that we can feel and mince pies might create a feeling of warmth. The different sensations and feelings evoked by our sense of smell comes from many places and somehow comes together in a wonderful way: rather like Christmas.’
Using these responses, Orchadia created a special fragrance that follows Santa’s journey with a mixture of 48 traditional and modern ingredients that have made an intriguing and bold scent. Most noticeable on first spray are smoke and ozone –using the uniquely woody smokey scent of vetiver and an ingredient that smells like fresh water. Menthol hints at snow flurries in cold air. Also featured are pine needle and davana oil, which is reminiscent of Christmas pudding. There’s even the leathery scent of reins next to reindeer fur, accompanied by earthy patchouli oil. The fresh forest notes are extended with cedar, eventually fading to vanilla and soft moss.
Victoria Osborne, Teacher at Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, says ‘The children are going to have so much fun discussing what Santa smells like as part of their STEM learning. It is a really lovely way to get them to use their own personal experiences and memories whilst also learning about the science of smell. We are going to have a science lab that smells like Christmas has come early as we will be taking time to properly breathe in the different layers of smells in mince pies and to take time to notice if something created a warm or a cooling smell.’
Children respond amazingly and often explain smells in the most creatively imaginative ways, so if you find yourself desperate for a way to entertain the kids during the holidays, why not gather together some ingredients from your pantry (and toothpaste from the bathroom!) to create a sensory station in your own home, where children can explore their sense of smell? Ask them to smell each ingredient and describe how it smells. you can use questions we ask people to think about at our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops:
If this was a material, would it be velvet, suede, linen, fluffy towels…?
If this was a musical instrument, which would it be?
Would it be loud or quiet? High or low-pitched? Fast or slow?
Save your cart?
We save your email and cart so we can send you reminders - don't email me.
By browsing our site or closing this message, you agree to store Cookies by us and third-party partners. Cookies enable certain functions on our site, let you access your account, place orders, allow us to analyse website traffic and usage, and personalise content. We also share certain information about your usage of our site with analytics partners. Find out more.