Chelsea Flower Show 2024: blossom & bloom with these joyful spring scents!

As flower and garden lovers we are, of course, super excited about this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show – the annual event celebrating the very best of garden design, the growers, movers and shakers in the horticultural world. And of course, it’s the season when the perfume landscape is naturally burgeoning with florals for late spring and early summer.

 

 

 

At The Perfume Society, we have rooted out some florals for you to fall for – no matter if you are lucky enough to have a ticket for Chelsea Flower Show, are looking forward to visiting some spectacular public gardens over the coming weeks, or simply enjoying your own garden or local park.

Here you will discover a whole garden of floral and seasonally sublime samples – SO brilliant for trying before you buy a full-size – with earthy tones, fruity notes and even a subtle dusting of spice. Each fragrance sample has been specially picked to form a panoramic view of all the blossoming promise a floral fragrance can bring. They’re perfect for popping in your pocket or throwing in a bag for travel, too.

 

 

We know even those who thought they didn’t like floral and scents have fallen for several of the seasonally perfect perfumes from this selection! And you can find them all handily gathered within the Seasonal Scents Box Spring Box. Which will you pick to wear first? In the box you’ve got ALL these blossoming glories to try samples of…

 

 

4160 TUESDAYS SONNET No.1 eau de parfum
Fragrance Family: FLORAL

‘We first made a limited edition of Sonnet No. 1 for the Barnes Fragrance Fair, and the aim was to blend the aroma of Shakespeare’s flowers. Shakespeare’s first sonnet mentions “beauty’s rose” hence the name. To rose – both the absolute and essential oil – we added lavender, beeswax, narcissus and hay absolutes, and evoke the aromas of lily and violet. It floats on a bed of white musks. This is the most expensive fragrance we’ve ever made…’

 

 

BRIONI ESSENTIEL eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: WOODY AMBRÉE

‘The intriguingly green opening with sparkling bergamot and bright aromatic cardamom create a play of light through tender tomato leaves. Earthy patchouli enhances the heart’s woody facets which features an exclusive tonka bean variety, used for the first time in perfumery. The enveloping amber drydown brings out two truly spiritual notes – resinous frankincense and creamy sandalwood – and reflects a sense of calm and well-being.’

 

 

CREED SPRING FLOWER eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL

‘Pretty in pink, Spring Flower is a playful and unapologetic celebration of femininity. Succulent peach extracts and soft florals blend effortlessly into notes of jasmine and white flowers, transporting you to a quintessential English garden on a perfect spring morning. Sensual ambergris and musk follow, adding depth and tranquillity to ensure every accord of this powerful female fragrance is fully savoured.’

 

 

 

GOUTAL PETITE CHERIE eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL FRUITY

‘Petite Chérie is the irresistible fragrance Annick Goutal bestowed on her daughter Camille as a gift. Petite Chérie is a bright and cheerful floral-fruity musky perfume. Beneath its soft, mischievous and carefree airs, the fragrance unveils captivating, devilishly tempting and dangerously endearing charms. It seduces firstly with its playful notes of sweet and juicy pear and freshly-cut grass then blossoms into sumptuous and sensual rose with petals as velvety-soft as skin. It is said to be reminiscent of a young girl’s cheek that you want to lovingly kiss.’

 

 

 

FLOWER BY KENZO IKEBANA eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL WOODY

‘This second fragrance in the FLOWER IKEBANA collection brings the Japanese mimosa to the fore. The Mimosa Absolute is at the heart of the scent and offers a unique floral expression close to nature. The verticality of hinoki wood supports the entire composition, with golden sesame extract resonating in a sillage of addictive comfort.’

 

 

LALIQUE SOLEIL VIBRANT eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family:  WOODY FLORAL

‘Woody, floral, with a hint of vanilla. Soleil Vibrant Lalique bottles a beaming energy whose scent is a joyful ode to femininity and wildness. A fragrance that smells as delicious as sun-kissed skin. That makes you feel as happy as a summer day.’

 

 

 

MOLTON BROWN DELICIOUS RHUBARB & ROSE eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL FRUITY

Firmly rooted in cherished childhood memories of baking with rhubarb’s unique tartness sprinkled by just enough sweetness. In this utterly addictive eau de parfum, those seeking scrumptiousness can indulge with joyfully juicy raspberry and a vivacious kick of pink pepper enhancing rhubarb’s sparkle, as luscious lychee and the tender peony showcase rose’s powdered charm, with a soothingly sensual base of cedarwood and musk swathing you in a gossamer soft trail. This is one to wear when you want to smell utterly scrumptious, and simply can’t get enough of yourself. Delicious, darling!

 

RUTH MASTENBROEK SIGNATURE eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: CHYPRE

‘A story of freedom…set along a winding path of wet and earthy leaves that lead to a secret garden. In Signature, fresh fruity notes of mandarin, bergamot and pineapple waltz elegantly together with rose on a stage of patchouli and oakmoss. The result is a sparkling and elegant perfume with an evolving woody base, that lives as an accolade to times gone by.’

 

 

 

SHAY & BLUE CEDARWOOD GRAPEFRUIT eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: WOODY CITRUS

They say: ‘Huck the Fipsters! This fragrance is not just for beards. Sparkling pink grapefruit will put some style in your step contrast with coffee bean for character. Finish with refreshing cedar wood for a sense of mystery.’ Discover Cedarwood Grapefruit Eau de Parfum from Shay & Blue, an uplifting scent with notes of juicy pink grapefruit, neroli, vibrant coffee bean and cedarwood. This gorgeous scent will make a refreshing addition to any perfume collection.

 

 

 

TOCCA COLETTE eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL AMBRÉE

‘Colette is a heady bouquet of florals with warm, spicy edges that linger everywhere she goes. Sparkling citrus and pink peppercorn swirl around jasmine and violet, drying down to musk, vanilla, and sandalwood. Spicy. Mysterious. Seductive.’

 

So, whether you’re looking for a new signature scent, want to settle down with a Shakespearean-inspired floral, or even dream of some Parisienne armchair travel, throw open the windows as we indulge in the Spring Seasonal Scents Subscription Box

Wedding Guest Scents: What to wear? Match Fragrances to Fabric!

For ‘what to wear’ as a wedding guest (or any of the posh parties and events one might get invited to in the warmer months) it can often be a bit of a struggle to wonder which fragrance we should reach for – something that feels dressed up, but not too overpowering. Where to start…?!

 

 

 

Help! Suddenly, those going ‘out-out’ scents we saved for dressy occasions can feel rather too cloying or stifling in the summer, and so we urge you to reach out and match the feel of your fragrance to the fabric used in the outfit you’ll be wearing. There are so many scents out there evoking the sensual textures and moods of silk, cotton and linen. So, start with the look for inspiration and finish with the fragrance that best enhances it as your invisible accessory. It’s the most cohesive way to feel put-together and instantly event-ready, no matter the occasion…

 

 

 

 

Juliette Has a Gun Musc Invisible

If you’re wearing something more simple but beautifully cut – say, a stunning cotton dress, the airy perfection of broderie anglaise, or the clean lines of summer two-pice –  you don’t want to overwhelm the look. Pair with this dreamy blending of radiant jasmine absolute with deliciously soft cotton flower, resting on a featherbed of soul soothing white musk. Want a scent to wear every day, not only for a special events? This is your new go-to for any occasion.

from £100 for 50ml eau de parfum Johnlewis.com

 

 

 

Cacharel Noa

Created by none other than famed nose Olivier Cresp, this is a timeless masterpiece of understated loveliness – and perfect for those on a budget (if you pushed the boat out for the outfit!) Who doesn’t want to be wrapped in a whisper of white, soft cotton and pretty, powdery peonies? Weightless yet fluffed around the edges, the soothingly nuanced freesia nuzzles fuzzy peach skin, ylang ylang and a shower of sheer rose petals to the creamy, transparent incense base.

£21.99 for 30ml eau de toilette theperfumeshop.com

 

 

 

FLORIS_TUBEROSE_IN_SILK

 

Floris Tuberose in Silk

A ‘celebration of voluptuous tuberose’, think elegantly draped silk – the captivatingly iconic flower enrobed in the solar breeze of jasmine, the soft musk of warm skin and a surprisingly fruity benzoin base. Sourcing a natural tuberose absolute from southern India, there’s sunshine folded within, so it blooms beautifully for hours. In-house perfumer Penny Ellis worked with perfumery director Edward Bodenham to create this hand-poured, small batch edition. Stock up now!

£180 for 100ml eau de parfum florislondon.com

 

 

Creed Queen of Silk

For something more va-va-voom, this wows with the intricacy of a lavish pattern that emerges from a roll of the finest silk. Fusing the opulence of tuberose with the rich qualities of patchouli, think of those notes as the warp, the scented structure of this composition, while succulent passion fruit balances smooth vanilla and amber-rippled woods act as the colour-shift weft. Threaded together, they drape with magisterial presence for a perfume that demands attention.

£270 for 75ml eau de parfum creedfragrances.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Estèe Lauder White Linen Legacy

‘I named it White Linen because I envisioned the woman who wore it as fresh, crisp and clean’ said Mrs. Estée Lauder of her original masterpiece. Reimagined here with the help of Frederic Malle in the Legacy collection, White Linen feels elevated beyond simplicity to become, as they describe it, more ‘geometrical.’ The pureness feels exquisitely tailored, a symphony of airy aldehydes, breezy rose and jasmine wafting to the warm, musky, hay-like vetiver base. Sublime!

£250 for 100ml eau de parfum esteelauder.co.uk

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Fragrance Foundation Awards 2024: and the winners are…. (squeal!)

Forgive us for floating on a cloud (of perfume, obvs) for the next few weeks (okay, months!) because we’re still buzzing from the most exciting night in the scented calendar – The Fragrance Foundation U.K. Awards 2024. And this year in particular, we had a LOT to be excited about! Let’s gather ourselves a moment and let you know ALL the winners (and the next scents your nose needs to be in search of…)

Recognised as the most prestigious journalistic awards in the beauty industry, the Fragrance Foundation U.K awards began in 1990. They are split into two distinct sections: The Jasmine Awards – which recognise and reward the talents of journalists & visualisers whose difficult task it is to translate the complex art of perfumery into words and pictures; and The Fragrance Foundation U.K. Awards for individual fragrances, ad campaigns, expert sales assistants and fragrance retailers. Altogether, it’s an overview of the hottest (and best-smelling) names to know right now.

A new panel of judges is recruited annually and includes experts from the worlds of journalism, literature, fashion, lifestyle, PR and fragrance consultancy. The panel is chaired by an expert in the fragrance industry, and you can read all about the judges here, which this year included the world’s foremost fragrance expert and author, Michael Edwards.

Okay. Drumroll, please…

 

Literary Award: The Scented Letter magazine, Up in Smoke: Fragrances Flagrantly Defying the Smoking Ban by Suzy Nightingale

 

Short Piece Award: perfumesociety.org Green with En Vie by Suzy Nightingale

 

Creative Award: On the Scent Podcast ‘Scented Story’

by Suzy Nightingale & Nicola Bonn

 

Practical Guide Award: We Wear Perfume – Who Am I? New Ways to Make Your Perfume Personal by Amanda Carr & Tamara Fulton

 

Rising Star: Highsnobiety, Fragrance, Unfiltered: What Shoppers Want Perfume Brands to Know by Alexandra Pauly

 

 

 

We must also take a moment to pop some Champagne corks for our own Scented Letter magazine editor / writer, Jo Fairley (no stranger to awards, with a shelf-full of them over the years!) for being a finalist in in two categories: Literary, for When Your Back Garden is a Tuberose Field, and Practical Guide for her piece The Wash Gets Posh. And of ourse for the brilliant Scott McGlashan who was a Rising Star finalist for his Scented Letter magazine feature It takes them right backabout finding his beloved gran’s favourite (now discontinued) fragrance of her youth, because her eyesight is failing and she wanted to return to treasured scent memories. It was so moving to so many, and we know Scott’s star is certainly rising – a name to watch for sure.

Don’t forget – you can sign up to get FREE copies of the digital edition of The Scented Letter magazine delivered to your inbox each time they published!

 

 

Now, let’s take a breath and raise our glasses to the incredible fragrance awards winners – many of which are fragrant friends of The Perfume Society, and all of which we whooped with joy for seeing their names on the big screen…

 

 

Media Campaign: Diptyque Do Son

 

Design & Packaging: Penhaligon’s Potions & Remedies

 

Interior Fragrance: Byredo Summer Rain

 

Independent Fragrance: Vyrao Sun Rae

 

Perfume Extraordinaire: Ella K Camélia K

 

The Evening Standard Readers’ Choice: Billie Eilish, Eilish No.2

 

People’s Choice: Burberry, Burberry Goddess

 

Newcomer: Victoria Beckham Beauty

 

Innovation: Diptyque Les Mondes de Diptyque

 

Limited Distribution: Maison Margiela Replica Under the Stars

 

National Distribution: Tom Ford Beauty Café Rose

 

Retailer of the Year: Harrods H Beauty

 

Online Retailer of the Year: Harrods H Beauty

 

Best New Collection: Victoria Beckham Beauty Fragrance Collection 

 

Ultimate Launch: Yves Saint Laurent MYSLF

 

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

Until next year, fragrant friends, we’ll be wafting along and glowing just a little bit more brightly than usual…

Celebrating 20 Years of MALIN+GOETZ!

It seems unbelievable, but  MALIN+GOETZ are celebrating an incredible TWENTY YEARS of groundbreaking skincare and cult fragrances, and we can think of no better way to join in than sniff our way through the collection (and urge you to seek them out and follow our noses, too!) Read on for how to get samples of them all…

 

It was in 2004, in Chelsea, an ultra-hip corner of Manhattan, where Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz first launched their distinctively-packaged skincare. From the word ‘go’, this was something different. The unique and pioneering approach Matthew and Andrew had to their business got us hooked, first with that easy-to-use, easy-to-understand skincare, which rapidly became a ‘cult’ favourite, and is now a force to be reckoned with. But at The Perfume Society, what got us really excited was their move into fragrance. Obvs.

You can read the full and fascinating journey of their founding on our page dedicated to Malin + Goetz; but really, we want to cut to the chase and tell you what’s so ‘must try’ about their fragrances – and why they have stood the test of time, yet feel so-right for right now…

 

 

Their shared love of fragrance was first expressed via a line of candles. Grabbing headlines, in particular, was the Cannabis candle – a tongue-in-cheek name, yes (not least because Andrew and Matthew advise having ‘something savoury or sweet on hand when burning’!) But also a fabulously spicy, herbaceous scent in which fresh top notes of lemon and orange mingle with fig and pepper, underpinned by deep, dark base note of oakmoss, sandalwood, patchouli and amber.

Hailed for their strong visual aesthetic and their portfolio of award-winning skincare formulations, MALIN+GOETZ made a natural progression into the world of fragrance via a range of hand-made candles, long-lasting perfume oils and progressive fragrances for us to enjoy on our skin. Experience the entire collection of eau de parfums in one beautifully packaged discovery set which includes the following six fragrances… 

Bergamot – a citrus orchard in bloom, with the spice of bitter fruit, bell pepper and ginger, with undertones of earthy musk and woody notes.

Cannabis – rich and herbaceous, with soft, floral notes of muguet and magnolia, on a base of earthy cedarwood, patchouli and sandalwood.

Dark Rum – a refreshing dark and spicy aroma, sweetened with plum and bergamot, with notes of leather, rum and creamy milk.

Leather – a formula of muted florals with smooth leather while rustic wood notes call to mind the softness of a well-worn vintage find.

Stem – luscious notes of green hyacinth, muguet, mandarin leaves, and green elements from wild freesia, all softened by a trio of modern musk molecules.

Vetiver – a combination of fresh citrus peel twists that are warmed by savoury celery seed, amber and guaiacwood.

 

Intrigued? You can try the *entire* unisex collection of MALIN+GOETZ scents for only £22 in their brilliant set!

 

Now, your only choice is which of these utterly iconic scents to spray first…

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Guerlain Muguet Millésime 2024 – excuse us while we swoon…

Every year in the month of May, Guerlain releases their much-anticipated Muguet – a limited edition, Bee-bottled fragrant homage to the the spring season, and artistically referencing legends surrounding lily of the valley…

 

Only available on guerlain.com and in Guerlain boutiques, this annual exquisite collectors piece represents Guerlain’s olfactive ode to their heritage – utilising a beloved floral symbol which we happen to adore at The Perfume Society, too, lily of the valley being the emblem we chose for its fragrant folklore meanings (and because we began ten years ago on May 1st, when bouquets of lily of the valley, or muguet in French, are traditionally bequeathed to loved ones.

Guerlain Says: ‘Like every year, the House of Guerlain celebrates the arrival of spring with its emblematic Muguet in a limited, numbered pieces edition. For this long-awaited and exclusive lucky rendezvous, Guerlain reaffirms its commitment to arts and crafts by collaborating with Anne Lopez.’

 

 

 

 

‘On the iconic Bee Bottle, the sculptor brings to life subtle bells fashioned in stucco and enhanced with 22-carat fine gold, turning the 2024 Millésime into a singular sculptural work. A trail, which freshness reminisces of a freshly-picked sprig of lily of the valley.’

Artist Anne Lopez was chosen to design the precious flaçon this year, and Guerlain explains that ‘The adornment of lucky bell-shaped flowers was born from her delicate sketches, drafts that create a singular vision. Fashioned in stucco, a coating made of marble powder, the twenty-four bell-shaped flowers illuminated with gold and the two green leaves are sculpted by Anne Lopez directly on the glass. Just like a delicate necklace, the lily-of-the-valley sprig composition unfolds in a considered way around the bottle’s curves : plump bell-shaped flowers at the top, then gradually refining into an utterly graceful string.’

 

 

 

 

Although each year the bottle design and embellishments change depending on the artist Guerlain is collaborating with, the stunning scent remains – gracefully, gratefully – unchanged. ‘It is to Guerlain’s Master Perfumer that we owe the feat of reproducing the fragrance of lily of the valley.’ And Guerlain reminds us that the this flower is one of the trickiest to translate in fragrant form. ‘Described as “mute”, its natural essence is impossible to extract. Guerlain’s Muguet, composed since 2016 by Thierry Wasser, captures as faithfully as possible the scent of the lucky sprigs. In a burst of freshness, the green notes meeting the floral preciousness of jasmine and rose adorn this emblematic trail with soft and pearly green and rosy facets. At the heart of this bouquet, the olfactory illusion of a freshly picked sprig of lily of the valley emerges.’

Of course this is a dream piece – these are collected, and beloved all over the world. But how wonderful that such artistry can still be found, and admired (even in simply gasping at pictures of the work, or watching the bottle spin in the film found on Guerlain’s website). Drink in the artistry of the images, and (we urge you) do go and smell the scent in-store, and allow yourself to be awed awhile by something beautiful. It’s good for the soul…

 

 

 

Guerlain Muguet Millésime 2024 (4885 limited and numbered collection pieces), £675 for 100ml Bee Bottle + 30ml Spray Bottle guerlain.com

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrant Folklore: Seven Scents of the Uncanny (for May Day & More!)

With a history firmly rooted in Celtic, Christian, Nordic and Germanic folklore, the many myths and legends that entwine our superstitions – and filter through to current day celebrations – also provide a host of perfumed inspiration across many cultures.

May is a month particularly ripe in these traditions in the British isles, though, with May Day and the annual Jack in the Green parades around the country providing part mirth, part whimsical terror in the form of mobile hedgerows and Morris Dancers and May Poles.

 

The Jack in the Green parade, Hastings, East Sussex.

 

With the start of this new month, now seems the perfect time to frolic in a contemporary retelling of fragrant heritage. Indeed, we’ve noticed a slowly building pattern for fragrance houses dipping into traditions, and reviving ingredients more often seen in vintage perfumery, and with ‘creepy’ scents that were only usually trundled out at Halloween being launched and revelled in all year long. But with recent issues of The Scented Letter magazine featuring articles on celestial and astrologically-inspired scents, and the current issue being all about The Rites of Spring, this surge of new-age spiritualism comes hot on the heels of a report in The Face magazine on the return of folk culture, and rave reviews for The Red King – a new Wicker Man-esque drama series.

 

The Red King [TV Drama, Alibi]

Are we collectively seeking some semblance of comfort in embracing ‘the old ways’, or has there always been an inherent fascination for folklore that’s simply bubbling to the surface as a new trend? Whatever the reason, cast aside notions of the uncanny being confined to Halloween and join us in donning floral crowns – including lily of the valley, of course – and revelling in these frolicsome fragrances…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you go down to the woods today… swathe yourself in the spirit of the forest with this so-evocative scent. There’s an otherworldly quality to the composition, to be sure, with all the mossy, mulch-y mysteries of fir needles and fallen cedar branches; but the verdant stirrings of new life, and your part of nature’s cycle, is apparent in the leafy unfurling of buds, the trilling of birdsong. Wrapped in an earthy base, warmed by saffron, it’s your scented spell of protection at any time of year.

Wales Perfumery FOREST – COEDWIG £54 for 30ml eau de parfum walesperfumery.com

 

 

 

Shay & Blue Atropa Belladonna 100ml

A slowly creeping intoxication of transparent jasmine and luminescent white narcissus work their magic beneath greedy handfuls of succulent berries snatched in woodland thickets – a sense of half-glimpsed, tulle-draped ghosts flitting between the trees. Inspired by the notorious Deadly Nightshade, by the time you reach the chocolate-y patchouli base and musky vanilla dry down, it will already have cast its spell.

Shay & Blue Atropa Belladonna £65 for 100ml eau de parfum in our shop

 

 

Socrates supposedly drank black hemlock to poison himself, but it’s used here to far greater fragrant effect – oodles of the absolute lending mysterious shadows to a dusky forest, soft, grassy whispers wafting amidst the verdant undergrowth, all set against the backdrop of a violet-streaked, vetiver rich, amber-tinged, sunset. This one captivates crowds, and could charmingly convert newcomers to your cult, should you so wish.

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman £235 for 88ml eau de parfum
ormondejayne.com

 

 

If you need to summon up strength of heart and creativity, brilliant perfumer Lyn Harris has conjured this composition to aid your quest. Simmering with a spiced heart of cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper, swags of of roses (thorns and all) are stirred into the melting pot, along with oodles of powdery orris for an enchanted cloak of protection. What’s more, each Vyrao scent comes charged with a naturally sourced Herkimer diamond crystal for extra good vibes.

Vyrao Witchy Woo £135 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

[Or try a travel-size via the Vyrao High Five Set]

 

 

 

Dare you follow the strangely flickering light that leads to the heart of the woods? Fern fronds and bundles of lavender twist together – the brightening weather beckoning sunshine tomorrow, but if the shadows still tap at the window, you need this… One to wear for feeling emboldened, we say, when you need an extra layer of loveliness to bring you safely home (and have others demanding to know what beguiling scent you’re wearing along the way).

Maison Crivelli Absinthe Boréale £75 for 30ml eau de parfum lessenteurs

 

 

Pythia, the mythical oracle of Delphi inspires this scent – as high priestess she delivered her oracles ‘after entering a state of delirium by inhaling the vapours emitted by the sacred chasm beneath the temple.’ A crisp apple is studded with bay leaves, the juice mingling with wafts of spiritual smokiness that richly swishes leather, amber, oud and ambergris in a cloak that surrounds, comforts and beguiles in equal measure. 

Manos Gerakinis Omen £205 for 100ml eau de parfum shymimosa.co.uk

[Or, why not try this in the Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set?]

 

 

Portal is described as ‘a gateway to the ancient Caledonian forests of Scotland.’ It’s fresh, outdoorsy, gusting with herbaceous botanicals and bergamot, notes chosen to evoke verdant florals, resting on a veritable forest floor of vetiver and Scots pine. Kingdom Scotland’s description – ‘an escape to a sylvan wonderland’ – hints at its power to transport you to the shade of the tranquil forest. You’ll be welcomed by the others that dwell there, and possibly made Queen…

Kingdom Scotland Portal £132 for 50ml eau de parfum  in our shop

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Happy TENTH birthday to us! Celebrating a decade of fabulously fragrant years…

Incredibly, we are celebrating our TENTH BIRTHDAY this year! We simply cannot believe it’s been a decade of fragrant fun at The Perfume Society – how quickly it has flown by, and how much has changed in that time… But did you know our co-founders Lorna McKay and Jo Fairley chose the date of May 1st for a very particular reason?

 

For the French, May 1st traditionally represents the start of gifting bouquets of “muguet” to loved ones to signify the regard in which they’re held and as a token of prosperity for the year ahead. A tradition supposedly begun when King Charles IX was presented with a bunch of the delicate blooms, and decided to gift the ladies of his court, too. Lily of the valley has also made its way into countless bridal bouquets (including that of Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince Willliam); and in many countries. Most of all, lily of the valley given on May 1st represents tenderness, love, faith, happiness, purity and a return of hope.

 

 

 

No wonder we chose this delightful, flower-filled date in the calendar to launch The Perfume Society when our team of helpers ran hither and thither all over London handing sprigs of lily of the valley to fragrant friends! Meanwhile, we were busy crafting what has become a multi-award-winning magazine: The Scented Letter – the first printed magazine in the world entirely dedicated to fragrance. And we must give a special mention to the amazing designer who has been with us from day one, and without whom the magazine couldn’t exist: Jenny Semple.

The Jasmine Awards for The Fragrance Foundation U.K. are the most prestigious in the perfume industry, and are considered the olfactory equivalent of the Oscars; while The Perfumed Plume Awards were for worldwide fragrance writing, so judged internationally. Of our many nominations for this most tricky of subjects to write about (literally communicating invisible smells, and with no specific words in the English language with which to describe them!) we simply couldn’t be more proud, or more deeply honoured, that we have won the following TWELVE awards

 

 

 

2015:

Judges Special Recognition AwardThe Scented Letter magazine team [entire issue]: Issue 1

2016:

Jasmine Independent Literary AwardSuzy Nightingale, The Scented Letter magazine: What Does Wednesday Smell Like?’ 

Jasmine Independent Soundbite AwardPersolaise, The Scented Letter. magazine: ‘Closer to Heaven

2018:

Jasmine Social Engagement AwardCarson Parkin-Fairley: #smellfie Campaign

2019:

Jasmine Practical Guide AwardThe Scented Letter Magazine team [entire issue]: The Alphabet Issue – A-Z of Fragrance

2020:

The Perfumed Plume [International] AwardJo Fairley, The Scented Letter magazine: Scents of Place: Venice

2021:

Jasmine Literary AwardSuzy Nightingale, The Scented Letter magazine: Note Perfect

Jasmine Short Piece AwardSuzy Nightingale, perfumesociety.org: Vellichor: Capturing the Scent Memories of Old Books

Jasmine Judges Special Recognition AwardThe Scented Letter magazine team [entire issue]: A Life in Scents

Perfumed Plume [International] AwardSuzy Nightingale, The Scented Letter magazine: Modern Florals, Heavy Petalling

2022:

Jasmine Literary AwardJo Fairley, The Scented Letter magazine: When Soap Equals Hope

2023:

Jasmine Practical Guide AwardSuzy Nightingale, The Scented Letter magazine: Time to Spray Your 5 a Day

 

 

 

 

You can sign up for your FREE digital copy of the magazine to be delivered to your inbox, or you may prefer to choose the option of the gloriously glossy print edition subscription. Whichever you plump for, it’s a year’s worth of fragrant reading beloved by industry insiders and the perfume-loving public, which we remain incredibly proud of the magazine team, (and our contributing writers) hard work on.

 

In this past perfumed decade, ever since the second year of The Perfume Society’s inception, we have been celebrating National Fragrance Day in the U.K. with our #smellfie campaign. This was an idea that sprang up during a team meeting at TPS Towers, when senior writer Suzy Nightingale came up with the idea of getting our followers on social media to take a selfie with their scent of the day, and tell us why they loved it, with the simple hashtag of #smellfie. Little did we know that fragrance fans across the world would take up the call, and we’ve had a joyous abundance – nearly 9,000 tags, and counting! – of perfumed photos, stories and videos from the likes of Katy Perry, Little Mix and Richard E Grant, no less, who’ve taken part in the fragrant fun for past years.

 

 

With sharing the love of scent at our very heart, let us not also forget that The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes were the first cross-brand curated selections of perfume samples (from luxury, designer and niche names to newly emerging indie houses) offered anywhere in the world. We’ve had so many thousands of you tell us you found your next new fragrant loves thanks to trying samples and minis in these boxes, and for being matched with your perfect perfumes to go and sniff out via our groundbreaking (way ahead of its time) Find a Fragrance Search Engine (originally developed by Lorna McKay).

 

 

 

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

 

The Scented Story of 4160 Tuesdays Tokyo Spring Blossom

Sarah McCartney, perfumer-founder of 4160 Tuesdays, has featured her scent Tokyo Spring Blossom from the time she launched her perfume house, in 2011. It’s the most beautiful essence of spring, and though it feels so effortless to wear, the story of how Sarah actually captures that blossom-y blooming sensation is quite another matter…

 

In the spring issue of our Scented Letter magazine – sign up to get your FREE digital copy delivered to your inbox! – Jo Fairley focussed on blossoms in her joy-filled fragrance feature for the season, and Sarah revealed the complications of capturing that airy, cheery, breezy scent in a bottle, explaining: ‘I’ve attempted to capture a few blossoms in my time. The technical way is headspace analysis, capturing the air around the flowers and identifying all the different molecules they emit, then reassembling the aroma from its components. But artisan perfumers like me do it by nose and experiment, so we might arrive at the aroma by a completely different route.’

 

 

For Tokyo Spring Blossom, which remains a much-loved fragrance in her line-up, Sarah explains, ‘I wanted a general impression of walking through a park in cherry blossom time, and used a touch of rose geranium with raspberry leaf, violet and balsam for the effect.’ And the intricacies of the perfumer’s art to create these textures, feelings of light and colour, of spaciousness, are not something we might even consider the scientific skills behind (as quite rightly, we’re caught up in the beauty of wearing the scent itself!) However, it’s fascinating to know just how it’s achieved. Says Sarah:

 

 

 

 

‘Essential oils and absolutes very rarely represent the exact scent which blossom wafts out, when we bury our noses in it. The extraction processes lose volatile molecules along the way, so we add synthetic materials to restore the impression of living flowers. Ironically, when someone comments that a blend smells fresh, light and natural, it’s because I added Hedione – or Methyl dihydrojasmonate, to give it its chemical name.’

 

 

 

Tokyo Spring Blossom is one of 4160 Tuesdays’ earliest fragrances, first made in 2011 for a charity fundraising event in a tiny Tokyo cafe. We made it for our friend Urura, whose name means “the breeze through spring blossom”. It is one of those fragrances which  is so unusual that people have to spend a while deciding whether they adore it or are afraid of it. It is built around oppoponax, cabrueva and tolu, with soft violetty ionones, with pink peppercorn, rose, tangerine, geranium and grapefruit, with Ambrox and raspberry leaf absolute at the base. Imagine the breeze through spring blossom, but in another universe.’

 

 

Tokyo Spring Blossom £65 for 50ml eau de parfum in our shop

 

Purchase your stunning glossy print copy of The Scented Letter Magazine featuring the full blossom-scentric feature, £15 / £12.50 for VIPs.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Iris – the most intriguing floral fragrances you can find…?

Oh how we adore iris – the flowers, of course, but also the fascinating fragrances conjured from what has to be one of the most unlikely-looking ingredients in perfumery (but happens to be one of the most expensive)…

Because it’s not the flowers that grant us the ingredient used in iris scents, it’s a rather unprepossessing looking root with a heavenly, suede-like aroma. You might say that curiosity combined with ingenuity altered the history of perfume forever. Who was the first person rootling around in the earth beneath the gloriously flowering iris, discovering the fleshy, creeping rootstocks (known as rhizomes) that look for all the world like the key ingredient in a fairytale’s curse, and pondering, “what if…?”

Taking those roots, putting them in a cave to age further (the older iris rhizomes get, the more pungent they become), and grinding, distilling and extracting the essence, only then does it transform into the uniquely powdery, skin-like, sometimes almost bread dough-esque scent that lingers and clings low to the skin for hours.

 

 

 

 

Lauded for centuries as a symbol of majestic power, dedicated to the goddess Juno and revered by Egyptians who placed the flowers on the brows of the Sphinx and scepters of kings – the three petals of the blossom supposedly representing faith, wisdom and valour. In both ancient Greece and Rome, orris root was already highly valued in perfumery, with fragrant unguents of iris widely used in Macedonia, Elis and Corinth, for which they became famous.

Iris fragrances can smell as sweetly innocent as freshly laundered linen, or hint at the siren call of the boudoir – lipstick, powdered skin and silken underthings that gradually take on the body scent of the wearer. This is an ingredient you’ll long to snuggle in the bosom of, and once truly appreciated you’ll never want to be without.

Intrigued? You will be by these…

 

 

MALIN + GOETZ Strawberry

Banish thoughts of any strawberry (or iris!) scent you’ve ever sniffed and imagine a freshly picked garden strawberry with stalk still attached, orris root adding soft spring floral notes with a flurry of jasmine petals and soft musks.

£86 for 50ml eau de parfum malinandgoetz.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Vyrao I Am Verdant

Sprouting acres of grass and green verges with every spritz, cyclamen joyously bursts through the undergrowth, swags of moss-bedecked ivy draping the powdery comfort of iris, and bergamot bolstering the brightness of orange flower

£135 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com (Try a sample in the Vyrao High Five Set for £79)

 

 

 

 

Prada Infusion d’Iris

Allow your mind to drift from the fragrant sensation of wearing an immaculate white shirt line-dried in spring, to crisp sheets on bare flesh: the allure of clean linen waiting to be sullied. Achingly lovely, it begs to be billowed.

£135 for 100ml eau de parfum prada.com

 

 

 

JULIETTE_HAS_A_GUN_LIPSTICK_FEVER

 

Juliette Has a Gun Lipstick Fever

Capturing ‘mummy’s handbag’ in fragrant form a slash of iris, violet absolute and raspberry softening to the woodsiness of patchouli and cedar-swathed vanilla. Echoing the scent of vintage makeup amidst leather, it’s simply mwah, mwah!
From £130 for 100ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com

 

 

 

 

MAISON_CRIVELLI_IRIS_MALIKHAN

 

Maison Crivelli Iris Malikhân

Iris’ innocence unfurls into something altogether more sinful, the opening a gentle stroke via galbanum and cypress, then a tickle of incense, a hint of skin. The heart purrs, powdery iris then the throb of the mimosa-infused leather. Oh my.

£175 for 100ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Secret Language of Spring Flowers… (and matching scents)

Spring is a time of joyfully watching the flowers bloom and the gardens come to life again, and of course it’s also a season for gathering bouquets; but did you know there are many ways you can send a secret message via the flowers you select – and perhaps one you might play with in the fragrances you wear (or gift)…?

 

For thousands of years, secret coded ‘messages’ have been attributed to flowers, and the cultural or social settings in which they’re given as tokens or displayed. The Victorians were particularly fond of this sentimental ‘Language of Flowers‘, with a number of books and pamphlets devoted to the subject – informing the reader how they may go about creating their own secret message via the flowers they gift a loved one, or decoding what that bouquet from an admirer actually meant. Think of it as the far more aesthetically (and sensorially) pleasing alternative to emoji’s sent in today’s text messages, or shared on social media!

 

 

Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Langauge of Flowers by Jessica Roux – read our review, here.

 

We rather love the idea of making a bouquet or floral fragrance gift extra special by sending one of the various modern interpretations or reprints of charming ‘Language of Flowers’ books alongside – or simply smiling secretly as you wear your own favourite floral scent while billowing a message only those in the know (or nose? Sorry) might recognise. Meanwhile, to get you started, here’s some Spring flower’s possible meanings and suggestions of accompanying scents you might like to furtively waft forth…

Bluebell = Humility

‘If you go down to the woods today… a fragrant carpet of bluebells awaits. Breathe deep. Citrus, hyacinth, clove. An eau de toilette reminiscent of childhood escapades in the fresh, dewy spring.’

Penhaligon’s Bluebell £135 for 100ml eau de toilette 

 

 

 

 

Lily of the Valley = A Return of Happiness

‘As bright as a spring morning, this romantic floral bouquet blossoms with the freshness of lily-of-the-valley, Christian Dior’s lucky flower and the emblem of Dior Couture.’

Dior Diorissimo £82 for 50ml eau de toilette

 

 

 

 

Violet = Hidden Virtues 

The cool and green undertones of April Violets are enhanced by beautiful mimosa and the zing of citrus, a speckle of powdery orris, the creaminess of vanilla and a perfectly, smoothly-rounded sandalwood in the base.

Yardley April Violets £17.50 for 125ml eau de toilette

 

 

 

 

Lilac = First Feelings of Love

‘A stroll down a country lane where lilacs dance in the spring breeze, casting their lush fragrance into the fresh air. Elegant notes of privet blend with the delicate scent of orange flower and lilac, a dreamy memory of a long weekend.’

Aerin Lilac Path £105 for 50ml eau de parfum

 

 

Shay & Blue Black Tulip 100ml

Snowdrops = Hope, Love & Compassion

Contrasts abound as smooth white chocolate swathes gently spiced plum, bright snowdrops and creamy cyclamen hugged by drifts of fresh wood shavings, curls of chocolate falling like spring snowflakes melting in welcome sunshine.

Shay & Blue Black Tulip From £25 for 10ml eau de parfum

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale