Inside the House of… Ruth Mastenbroek

As Ruth Mastenbroek puts it: ‘Very simply, my life’s work is fragrance. I am a “nose” – a perfumer, a former President of the British Society of Perfumers…’

RUTH_PORTRAITWe are head-over-heels in love with the brand new Zephr fragrance by Ruth Mastenbroek – so much, in fact, although it’s so new, we had to include it in our Best of British themed Platinum Discovery Box! (You can try it along with all the other goodies pictured below, for only £25 / £21 VIPs).

 

The fact is, over the years, Ruth has been very discreetly (read: secretly) commissioned by countless leading brands, creating stunning fragrances for men, women and for the home. Just a couple that we’re allowed to tell you about: Ruth’s worked with Kenneth Turner and Jigsaw. She’s responsible for the divine Life With a View collection, which conjures up different corners of the globe –  and for the famous Grapefruit candle for Jo Malone. (Jennifer Lopez loved that candle so much, she bought 300 for her hotel room…!)

What we’re happy to shout about from the rooftops, though, is her own portfolio of Ruth Mastenbroek signature fragrances – more on those, in a moment. ‘Our sense of smell is a powerful reminder of precious memories,’ explains Ruth.

Ruth once explained to The Perfume Society in an article for The Scented Letter that her own mother’s fragrance – Youth Dew – showed her that the choice of perfume can be such a personal statement. ‘My family had moved to America, the land of dreams, when I was small. My mother would have her hair done, once a week, and the scent of Elnett featured large… But Youth Dew can easily compete, with its spicy sweet intensity and huge power. Smelling it makes me nostalgic for a time of life that I cherish – and from childhood, I knew I wanted to be part of the world of glamour and fashion…’

Ruth later graduated from Oxford University with a degree in chemistry. Her first job? As assistant sales manager of the perfumery department at Selfridges. From there, she went on to train and work as a perfumer with Naarden International, in both the UK and the Netherlands. (It later became Quest, which is now part of the huge global perfume house Givaudan.) Ruth then worked in Grasse and in Japan before returning to England.

RM_SIGNATUREHer own company – Fragosmic Ltd. – was born the year Ruth became President of the British Society of Perfumers, in 2003, and in 2010 Ruth launched her own debut range of scented products. (Ground-breakingly, she was the first to use advanced micro-encapsulation in a scented bathrobe…!) Ruth Mastenbroek continues to create bespoke personal and home fragrances, for small and medium-sized brands – but today, you’ll see her own name on fragrances showcased in over 25 exclusive shops in the UK, as well as the Netherlands and Nigeria.

As Ruth explains, ‘Like any artist, in this case whose palette is scents, I have always sought that elixir: a unique fragrance that is a true expression of myself.’  The first, RM (her initials), was an exquisite, modern example of the Chypre family, ‘which has always been close to my heart…’ (Original packaging shown here).

What it captures, for Ruth, are ‘memories of childhood: gingerbread, fresh earth, blackberries. Memories of my life in England and abroad: Japanese jasmine, cherry blossom, lotus and green tea; Dutch lilies, narcissus, hyacinth and salt air. French orchids, roses and wild flowers… Memories of travels to exotic places: the spices and oils of Morocco, Sri Lanka and Thailand…’ To quote Ruth, ‘This palette has been my playground, my refuge, my source of inspiration. From it, I have created a scent that stands out above all others, one that I can truly call me.’

Italy Europe Rome city town Trevi Fountain July 2007 Europe tourists historical historic waterAfter a citrus-fruity overture of mandarin, blackcurrant, bergamot and pineapple (plus a twist of pink peppercorn), you’ll encounter fresh notes evoking hot afternoons in the garden. Gorgeous flowers bloom at the heart: rose, lily, jasmine – as she puts it, ‘the floral middle notes conjure up the radiant scents of the English garden, tempered by the sophistication of Japanese ikebana.’ (Which Ruth studied in Japan, NB.) The lingering base notes, of course, are a signature of Chypres: oak moss, sandalwood, patchouli. As she puts it: ‘Scent is my life. This fragrance is the essence of my art. It is my signature…’

Ruth Mastenbroek’s second fragrance is called Amorosa – and the inspiration, she explains, was falling in love… ‘In my case, it was my love affair with Italy, hence the name “Amorosa” which means “a woman in love…” The earth, the mountains and the Italian skies have been translated captured in an exquisitely scented liquid.’

A ‘green explosion’ opens the fragrance: touches of water melon, violet leaf and galbanum. At Amorosa’s heart, encounter an innovative new accord of tuberose – fresher and more modern – combined with tiaré flower, ylang ylang and jasmine, while elements of vetiver, patchouli and amber ground the fragrance and accent its sensuality. Her third creation, Oxford, was inspired by Ruth’s days as a Chemistry student at the university – capturing the essence of awakening and discovery.

 

 

Further fragrant chapters have unfolded, each capturing unique, emotionally evocative scenes in scented form, and from the simmering, smoky rose passion of Firedance to the uplifting tendrils of dawn’s first light in Dagian, the current collection of five has been joined by room diffusers and scented candles – one of which was created by Ruth’s son, Nic, who’s an apprentice ‘nose’, trained by Ruth herself (watch this space!) With daughter Claire now also part of the team, running the vital behind-the-scenes nuts and bolts of the business, Ruth Mastenbroek’s fragrance house is very much a family operation. Which is just the way she likes it. And if you don’t know her work, then it’s time you discovered this talented perfumer’s place in the fragrant universe!

ruthmastenbroek.com

Trending Now… Rhubarb!

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb… No, we’re not practicing being an extra in a film (it’s what they traditionally mutter while appearing to chat in the background, FYI!) – rhubarb is proving a hugely popular trend in perfumery, so let’s get to the crunch of this vibrantly fruity fragrance note.
We first started seeing rhubarb making a fizz around 2015, but now the note is hugely popular and has set its own scent trend. How come? Well rhubarb is one of the happiest notes in fragrance, its bright, zippy character is distinctive, fun yet with a properly grown up poise to it – it definitely feels more sophisticated than many fruity notes in fragrance.

While providing a modern twist to classic floral or citrus bouquets, it simultaneously has more than a whiff of nostalgia about it, too – most of us have fond childhood memories of eating it baked in a crumble, or just freshly picked, raw and dipped in sugar. 

 

Despite rhubarb’s unmistakable tartness, it manages to play very nicely with other perfumery ingredients – melding wonderfully with violet, jazzing up a rose or other fruity cocktail-like notes, and adding an energising ZING of freshness that’s perhaps more intriguing than your average citrus.
Says CPL Aromas Marketing Executive Aitana López de Carrión: ‘It’s a great note for providing those green, fruity and refreshing accords. As a fruity note, it works particularly well, as its not as sweet and sticky like mango or strawberry.’
The perfect addition to a summer scent wardrobe, here’s some fragrances resplendent with rhubarb that we’re loving right now…
 

 

Celebrating ‘home is where the heart is’, Molton Brown showcase a duo of star ingredients often grown in our own gardens, much beloved by us Brits. Perfumer Vanessa Prudent conjures comforting childhood memories of baking, a sprinkle of sugar and pink pepper dusting rhubarb’s crispness, the leaves swagged by armfuls of soft pink roses. Marrying crisp fruitiness to the cedar muskiness of the base via silky cream ribbons, it’s an elegant reverie, bottled.
Molton Brown Delicious Rhubarb & Rose
£85 for 100ml eau de toilette moltonbrown.co.uk
Or try a sample in the Exquisite Essences Discovery Box

 

 

 

 

FLORAL_STREET_ELECTRIC_RHUBARB

 

Inspired by happy summer days in the garden, sipping Prosecco with your nearest and dearest, this immediately joyous scent was created in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society. The unique combination of English rhubarb and sea salt give the white floral blend a much-needed jolt into the 21st Century, and it’s the perfect instant mood-lifter, much like said Prosecco (but thankfully this one won’t leave you suffering on the sofa the next day).

Floral Street Electric Rhubarb
£64 for 50ml eau de parfum floralstreet.com

 

 

 

 

Forget where you are, close your eyes and inhale as Nathalie Feisthauer’s fragrance takes you ‘to a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at sunset, with a “chill out” cocktail in hand’. Mixing fizzing citrus and mint, capricious rhubarb and orange blossom sway to a groove that throbs over the amber wood, incense and Haitian vetiver base. Aromatic electronica, interpreted by NIID in the accompanying musical track = laidback vibes resonating into the early hours.

L’Orchestre Parfums Electro Limonade
£129 for 100ml eau de parfum ab-presents.co.uk

 

 

 

Oh we’re so enraptured by this contemporary and so-wearable take on rose – one to wear when you want to add the sense of twirling in a gauzy shocking pink gown (worn with trainers) we feel. The bright rose is entwined with sharp blackcurrant for some edge, and the sparkling, zingy rhubarb exudes throughout. Aqueous peonies add dewiness, while those blackcurrants expose its greenness. Petals, stalks and stems: this is a nose in a rosebush. Rich, jam-laced Moroccan rose absolute adds depth, for a scent that sparks a child-like joy within. Now: twirl!

Experimental Perfume Club Rose Rhubarb

£98 for 50ml eau de parfum experimentalperfumclub.com,
or try it in the Experimental Perfume Club Discovery Set

 

 

 

If you think rhubarb in scent doesn’t spell sex appeal, this now absolute modern classic will make you think again. Yes, that familiar tang is there in the top notes, backed by some red berry sweetness. But perfumer Christine Nagel gives it some irresistible French allure, pairing the tartness with animalic white musks that lend a beautiful other-worldliness. The result is a bouquet that’s just as distinct and memorable as the brand’s more famous Eaux des Merveilles. A must have!

Hermès Eau de Rhubarbe Ècarlate
£87 for 100ml eau de Cologne hermes.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The sweet smell of Jasmine Award-winning success (and your FREE magazine!)

We were thrilled to have been nominated for so many Jasmine Awards – the prestigious event held by the Fragrance Foundation as part of their annual awards ceremony – so, to win among such fragrant luminaries was an even greater joy!

Co-Founder of The Perfume Society and editor of The Scented Letter magazine, Jo Fairley, was equally surprised and delighted to win, saying ‘If you’ve ever been up for an Award, you’ll know that there’s usually a butterflies-in-the-tummy moment as they announce the winners – but not this time, because I honestly never for one moment expected to win this most glamorous of prizes against stiff competition for what was a gritty, difficult piece about a soap-making project in a Jordanian refugee camp. For me it’s a wonderful sign of how business, including the fragrance world, is changing: that they are looking to do good as well as do business, seeking to make the world a better place.’

 

 

 

 

That Literary award-winning piece was When Soap Equals Hope, which you can read in full, here. Still riding high on the sweet smell of success, we are also thrilled to be able to announce that The Scented Letter magazine is now FREE to read online, wherever you are in the world! Sign up to receive your free magazine, here. The Scented Letter is the only English-language magazine entirely devoted to fragrance, and we so hope you will love keeping your fingers on the pulse of the perfumery.

The full list of Fragrance Foundation Award winners can be found here – including the winners of Perfume Extraordinaire (which we had the pleasure of judging – smelling blind as part of a panel of fellow fragrance-writing judges), and the latest inductee into the fragrant Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

It truly was an incredible evening of scented celebration which will live on in our memories for months to come. Meanwhile, we’re counting down the days until next year’s fragrant get-together…

Scenting Wimbledon – new bottles, please!

As sure a sign of summer as your neighbour who seemingly mows their lawn thrice a day, Wimbledon is a welcome signal to pop the corks, open the starwberries and (for us at PSHQ) to don the whites while shouting “New bottles, please!” So, with such fragrant fun in mind, we present our whimsical scenting of the Wimbledon games to come…

 

 

 

 

MALIN + GOETZ
Strawberry
Forget overly sweet or boring: this is a contemporary strawberry ‘reimagined’ by the artistic team at Malin + Goetz. They ‘deconstructed’ and reinterpret the garden strawberry, invoking its luscious freshness via bright shafts of pink pepper and bergamot, given a floral flourish by orris root, jasmine petals and warm musks. ‘A dynamic scent that challenges the conceptions around the strawberry,’ they promise. What the fruit has in common with this, however, is a decided moreishness.
£78 for 50ml eau de parfum
malinandgoetz.co.uk

 

 

Maison Margiela
When the Rain Stops
There comes a moment during Wimbledon when, inevitably, the heavens open. Much banter ensues, British sense of humour to the fore. But at least we can revel in the scent of ‘petrichor’ after the rain stops, so beautifully evoked here in another of this so-clever niche fragrance house’s scent memories. Think nose-tingling pink pepper awakening dewy leaves, encouraging Isparta roses and jasmine to bloom. Damp, earthy moss, rain-washed air: the storm clouds, parted – a moment of joy captured forever.
£49 for 30ml eau de toilette
theperfumeshop.com

 

 

 

 

MENS_LACOSTE_MATCH_POINT.LACOSTE
Match Point
Never mind Match Point, this is game, set and match to Lacoste for a thrillingly fresh aromatic creation that pitches two poised accords against each other. In the opening game, enjoy the green, exhilarating energy of basil and gentian, with an intriguing yet subtle bitter edge. But ultimately, as with all fragrances, it’s the base notes which win through – here, the composed, calm elegance of vetiver, smoothed by Cashmeran.
From £35 for 30ml eau de toilette
Lookfantastic.com

 

 

CONTRADICTIONS IN ILK
Nonchalant
Inviting you to dip ripe berries into the frothing fizz of a Champagne cocktail coupe, this is one for the so-chic bystander, probably clad in vintage couture but wearing it with tennis shoes, who doesn’t really care who wins the game, as long as she gets the prize… Always perfectly powdered and ultra-cool, there are hints of spicy drama amidst the devil-may-care attitude – a sense of the swans down puff thrown in temper across a dressing room, lipstick kisses on popped corks, and countless heady bouquets from admirers filling the air.
£150 for 50ml extrait de parfum
Buy it here

 

 

 

PACO RABANNE
Invictus Platinum
There is a cool feel to the metal platinum, which is echoed here by the freshness of this new interpretation of super-successful Invictus, in a flacon that somehow looks more than ever like a fabulous trophy. Awarded with this, the wearer will be invigorated and energised by a complex, powerful fusion of absinthe, grapefruit, mint, lavender, patchouli, cypress and oakmoss, powered out of the bottle by a crush of mint. Über-masculine, mega-wearable.
From £57 for 50ml eau de parfum
theperfumeshop.com

Let there be light – scenting the summer solstice

With the dawning light of the summer solstice comes a seasonal welcoming of midsummer (actually the begining of true, astronomical summer) and the longest day. More than the Earth tilting its face fully toward the sun, for Wiccans and other nature-based faiths it’s a reminder to seek inner growth and, along with celebrating the power of the sun, also to nurture the light within.

The light forms fragrant inspiration for perfumers, too, capturing the sunshine (and moonbeams), bottling gradients of luminescence in solar scents like some kind of fairytale’s miracle made spritz-able reality.

  

 

In a fragrance, ‘solar’ is a term that’s gained popularity recently in the descriptions houses have given, even being placed in the names of perfumes themselves. It denotes a feeling of sunshine, of course, but with it a physical feeling of being uplifted, of turning our own faces toward the light source, a languidly perfumed purr of warm-cat contentedness. Citrus notes are vital, as you might expect, but in this new genre they’re often mellowed by breezy blossoms, dappled with cooler herbs or touched with a tingle of spices and warm woods, depending on the time of the day or the place they’re attempting to conjure.

 

Because the light source illuminating perfumer’s imaginations isn’t limited to the ‘rosy-fingered dawn’ of Homer’s Odyssey, or a sunlit beach-scene in scented form – there are fragrances that capture the ‘mad dogs and English men’ intensity of late afternoon or a blissfully dappled shade; scents evoking spectacular sunsets, the ‘blue hour’, forest nymphs bathed in moonlight, midnight’s velvety caress and even particular qualities of light from specific locations around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Why are these light-filled fragrances so popular right now?  As Louisa May Alcott puts it in Little Women, ‘Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow.’ And quite frankly, with all we’ve gone through and the state of the world at the moment, even an ex-goth like me has grown somewhat weary of shadows.

So, with the spirit of the summer solstice and welcoming whatever new beginnings you wish, use these scents as an olfactive sundial, to form your own fragrant ecliptic – the invisible path the sun follows across the sky – and bring on the light, whenever you need it most…

 

 

 

To the Fairest Aubine £85 for 50ml eau de parfum tothefairest.com
Sun-kissed softness celebrates new beginnings, orange blossom strengthening a honeyed hopefulness.

 

 

 

Ruth Mastenbroek Dagian £70 for 30ml eau de parfum ruthmastenbroek.com
Grapefruit’s gleam pierces Stygian clouds, a shaft of amber warmth the olfactory embodiment of optimism.

 

 

 

 Björk & Berries Solstice £85 for 50ml eau de parfum  gb.bjorkandberries.com
Dazzling neroli and deep amber celebrate ‘the never ending light’ while swathed by soft cashmere’s nuzzle.

 

 

 

 

 

JUSBOX Good Morning £125 for 78ml eau de parfum selfridges.com
Tangerine-tinged sea breeze a scented snapshot of the second sunlight peaks the snow-capped mountain.

 

 

 

 

 

Lalique Soleil £100 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com
Pale gold fingers of light stroke pearly skin, a sip of coffee, a moment of peace, a hushed sigh of satisfaction.

 

 

Parle Moi de Parfum Wake Up World £98 for 50ml eau de parfum  johnlewis.com
Nurturing soul and spirit, bursts of citrus mellow to a hug of warm woodiness, a reminder to be kinder.

 

 

 

 

AKRO Awake £140 for 100ml eau de parfum  fenwick.co.uk
The bewitiching allure of a cosy coffee shop on a dull day – lemon-washed steamy windows, bitter luxury.

 

 

 

 

Tom Ford Eau de Soleil Blanc £178 for 50ml eau de parfum  tomford.co.uk
A shiver of sunshine refracted through dewdrops, the glitter of sunlight on cresting waves.

 

 

 

 

Goutal Un Matin d’Orage £119 for 100ml eau de parfum  johnlewis.com
Sunlight scatters the clinging mist of a storm’s wake, a phosphorescent unfurling as the garden awakes.

 

 

 

 

CLOON_KEEN_LA_BEALTAINE.jpg

 

Cloon Keen Lá Bealtaine £120 for 100ml eau de parfum lessenteurs.com
A celebration of bright citrus craves heat-bloomed flowers, floaty sundresses, lemon sorbets, drowsy dreams.

 

 

Elie Saab Le Parfum Lumière £45 for 30ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com
Amidst orange blossom’s blizzard the tulle swirl of a white gown, dancing barefoot on sun-warmed stone.

 

 

 

Fragonard Soleil £39 for 50ml eau de parfum  marksandspencer.com
Drowsy afternoon’s opulence on velvet cushions, a Provençal garden glimpsed through half-closed eyes.

 

 

 

 

Roja Dove A Midsummer Dream from £45 for 7.5ml eau de parfum rojaparfums.com
A warm Chypré fever-dream drapes the zing of grapefuit in a silken spiced cloak with a secret mossy lining.

 

 

 Lalique Soleil Vibrant £72 for 50ml eau de parfum lalique.com
Safari big cat energy via ginger-spiked jasmine, orange blossom’s meridian headiness radiating happiness.

 

 

 

Tom Ford Soleil Brulant £240 for 50ml eau de parfum tomford.co.uk
A sizzle of honeyed seduction in the gilded high noon sun, somewhere ridiculously fabulous.

 

 

 

 

Parfums de Marly Cassili £210 for 75ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com
Peach-blushed skyline viewed atop a romantic rooftop, flushed face turned expectantly toward another kiss.

 

 

 

 

Coach Dreams Sunset £37.00 for 40ml eau de parfum escentual.com
Inspired by ‘golden hours and one-of-a-kind journeys with friends’, pear sorbet teases twilit jasmine.

 

 

 

 

Guerlain L’Heure Bleue £109 for 75ml eau de parfum  guerlain.com
A heartstoppingly romantic harmony of powdered pensiveness, heliotrope prolonging the suspended hour.

 

 

 

Moresque Midnight London £310 for 50ml eau de parfum harrods.com
Rebellious rhubarb sashays in leather trousers to an incense-infused club so cool you’ll never know about it.

 

 

 

 

Prada Olfactories Mirages Midnight Train £230 for 100ml eau de parfum (in Prada stores exclusive)
Chilled ebony chocolate sucked lasciviously within the wood-panelled seclusion of a night train’s affair.

 

 

 

Penhaligon’s Luna £152 for 100ml eau de toilette  penhaligons.com
Moon-bathed goddess slinks her way in a silver robe through a jasmine-swagged fairytale forest.

 

 

 

 AromAtom Moon Walk (try it in their Discovery Set, £69 / £65 VIPs)
Serene landscape in fragrance form – a world of sparkling dust and silvery mountains.

 

 

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Suits You: a made-to-measure fragrance guide for men at weddings

What fragragrance to wear at your / a wedding’ perfume guides are plentiful, but almost exclusively aimed at women (either as brides, bridesmaids or guests). This isn’t a phrase you’ll often hear me utter in life, but: ‘what about the men?‘ Sometimes they attend weddings, too. Sometimes (more frequently than ever, these days) they even like to smell nice. While the ripples of shock subside, I present for your delectation a guide that proposes [warning: other puns will follow] a selection of scent suggestions for men to wear at a summer wedding, and exactly how to go about finding the perfect one…

What are you wearing?

Yes, okay, extremely likely to be a suit if you’re in the Western hemisphere, but think about the colour and material. Our senses are complexly intertwined, so tones and texture of fabric can genuinely give you a head-start into fragrance families to look for. Silk blends suggest cool, smooth compositions perhaps with cardamom or sandalwood as notes, while light wool might suggest a drier, woody scent – something with cedar, vetiver or guiacwood in the base.

Even consider ‘matching’ the colour of your suit to the packaging or bottle a brand has put their fragrance in – they spend considerable amounts of time and money ensuring the way a fragrance looks evokes something of the way a composition smells. If your suit is black or grey, look instead at the accessories (tie / cravat / handkerchief) – dark red or plum colours could lead you to an opulent rose (yes, it works amazingly on men’s skin and features in many masculine launches of late!) or something with berries, pink pepper fruity notes.

This isn’t a strict guide, because everyone has differing opinions on what certain colours ‘smell’ like; but it’s a starting point. And when you’re suddenyl struck wide-eyed with terror at the overwhelming choice in the perfume shop aisle (before heading up the aisle to the altar), you need somewhere to start.

 

If you already love a fragrance but want to try something different

It’s a good idea to have a differing scent for a wedding – particularly if you’re the one getting married – because smell is the sense that’s most closely plugged into the section of our brain that stores memory and emotions; therefore, you can tap into those happy times again whenver you wish, simply by spraying that particular scent again. Also, we hope you’re treating yourself to a new outfit, not just whatever happens to be the cleanest and least-creased thing knocking about on the bedroom chair; so why wouldn’t you wear a new scent, too?

Have a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent you already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

Know your skin type.

Fragrance can waft fabulously on some people for hours, while that same scent might only have a mere whiff left after an hour of you wearing it. It depends, basically, on how oily your skin is naturally, and the climate you’re in. Fragrances are generally composed of oils in an alcohol base, and these evaporate at differing rates (hence Top / Heart / Base notes); so the drier your skin, the hotter the weather, the more quickly your scent will disappear.

If this is your experience, you might want to avoid a scent that’s mainly citrus-based or a very light formulation (such as Cologne) as those notes can evaporate within half an hour; though having said that, modern advances using aroma chemicals can help vastly prolong some citrus scents. See if the fragrance has an Eau de Parfum or ‘Intense’ version – these have a highter fragrance to alcohol base ratio so last much longer – or layer with matching products such as shower gel and body lotion. The more moisturised your skin, the longer the fragrance will cling to it.

Also consider carrying a pocket-sized version for on-the-go top-ups – many houses offer travel sizes, or you can buy brilliant (and very stylish) mini atomisers, such as Travalo, in which you can safely decant from your full-size bottle.

 

Travalo atomisers £28 ab-presents.co.uk

 

 

BRIONI
Brioni
Characterful, suave and assured as the perfectly tailored menswear it’s the fragrant emblem of, founded in Rome in 1945, the pared-back style is perfectly reflected in Master Perfumer Michel Almairac’s hands. Green apple studded with pink pepper feels like a cool sip of gin, while violet and Ambroxan are perfectly blended with tonka bean and musk, like a second skin. Instant classic, aisle be bound! [You were warned about the puns], and there’s two other versions – one fresher, the other an Intense – also available.
£95 for 100ml eau de parfum (60ml exclusive to retail)
brioni.com

 

PS: You can try a sample of Brioni in the Niche VI Discovery Box (along with nine other niche scents for £23 / VIPs £19)

 

 

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 rather racier than its somewhat sleeker (but still fabulous) Racing Blue garage-mate. Sun-filled solar notes remind us of driving, top down, ‘round winding lanes on holiday (perhaps pressaging the honeymoon?) with a carefree abandon, the zing of the citrus speeding the verdant freshness of leafy fern and geranium – a welcome reception before the nuzzle-me-closer frankincense-y infused church pews base kicks in.
£94 for 100ml eau de parfum
fenwick.co.uk

 

 

 

PENHALIGON’S
Constantinople
One for gents that desire being veiled in something more opulent and exotic, this highly refined, almost leathery iris feels like an intricately carved wooden shutter suddenly flung open to welcome evening air and blazing skies, a tang of salty shores nearby carrying waves of delicate, powdered spices on the breeze. Beneath an earthy, mossy layer nestles seams of liquid vanilla, milky ripples later reflect moonlight, harbouring the expectation and tingling anticipation of tonight’s nuptial adventures…
£178 for 100ml eau de parfum
penhaligons.com

 

 

 

GIORGIO ARMANI
Acqua di Giò EDP
Requring the comfort of familiarity with a fresh feel? ‘An eternally iconic fragrance reinvented for the future’, this new interpretation reflects Armani’s sustainability commitment. Aromatic and luminous, the consciously-sourced ingredients fizz with the freshness of green mandarin, lightly musky, tobacco-like notes in the clary sage heart, and a sheer yet enduring patchouli essence. An instant hit when it was launched in 1996, this so-stylish contemporary and eco-conscious (refillable) update is to be celebrated again – Alberto Morillas working his magic with the planet in mind.
£98 for 125ml eau de parfum
boots.com

 

 

 

PARFUMS DE MARLY
Greenley
A distinctly greener vibe for this much-loved niche house, bringing the feeling of a contemporary Cologne but (importantly) with the benefit of far greater staying power in a concentrated eau de parfum. Bursting with citrus up top, the petitgrain grants an immediate freshness, a fruity interpretation of cashmere wood fused with crisp apple and the shady cool of violet. Amberwood ripples throughout, making this feel like a much-needed stroll through the woodlands if you’re feeling the need to escape the wedding-planning madness.
£175 for 75ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

 

Juicy mandarin is married here to the powerhouse icon that is Molecule 01 – the first fragrance that propelled this house’s perfumed fame. The sophisticated freshness just keeps on going (and helps you hang on) thanks to perfumer Geza Schoen. ‘I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness’ he explains. Then the warm-skin purr of ISO E Super sashays in: ‘That’s unusual – for a top note ingredient like Mandarin and a base note like Iso E Super to dance together naked like this, without other notes coming between them.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml or try a sample in their M+ Discovery Set £20

 

 

 

Here’s a thought – if you’re nervous about that first dance, or ‘dad dancing’ as a guest, simply spray the M+ Mandarin and imagine everyone naked. Well. Maybe not everyone, depending of course on how you feel about your in-laws. But seriously, the right fragrance truly can give you an extra boost of confidence, helping you feel stronger and energised throughout the day as well as making scent memories to last a lifetime. I so hope this little guide has given you some help to finding yours…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

Oud for Eid Competition

We’ve set a fragrantly themed trail of clues to lead you around our website to a lovely perfumed prize – simply follow your noses, find the hidden lambs and one lucky winner will receive a beautiful scent from the fragrance house, THoO

One lucky winner will win 1 x 75ml bottle fragrance: EMPATHY. A floral, fruity, musky fragrance which takes us on a journey between dream and reality. The delicate bouquet of pear blossom raspberry flower and davana envelops a sensual heart of fruity tobacco and a juicy infusion of raspberry. The base is brightened up by the notes of transparent musk that penetrate the notes of the Iranian oud and the white fir. A wonderfully festive fragrance that celebrates the purest sensations of wonder, enthusiasm and openness to the others – which is what Eid is all about!

How to Enter:

Simply read the clues and set off in search for all the little lambs pictured below (FIVE in total) hidden around our website, then enter your details below telling us the location of each lamb to get the chance to win this fabulous prize. Closing date: Sunday 3rd July 2022 Midnight GMT. Good luck!

Oud for Eid 2022

  • We only use your phone number to contact you in the event of you being a winner.

Clues to the Little Lambs Locations (all to be found on our website)

1. A page to visit for fragrant fans keen to find out more about this intriguingly woody ingredient…

2. This book follows author Celia Lyttelton on a ‘journey of the senses’…

3. The family to which most oudh fragrances belong…

4. An historic era in which perfumes began crusading to a renaissance…

5. This house specialise in the ingredient reflected in their name – their founder, Andrea Casotti, an oudh-aficionado!

 

The competition closes midnight Sunday 3rd July 2022 GMT. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email through The Perfume Society. We will not contact winners before the closing date via any external accounts. Please do not accept accounts claiming to be us. The winner will receive The House of Oud’s (THoO) EMPATHY 75ml. Due to postal restrictions, the competition is for UK residents only.

Terms & Conditions:
By entering this competition you are agreeing to our terms and conditions and are giving consent for the Perfume Society to contact you by email for marketing purposes. You can unsubscribe at any time by using the link at the foot of any email. Please see our Privacy Policy for how we care for your information.

How to choose fragrance as a gift (with men in mind…)

How to choose a fragrance as a gift is something we get asked a lot – from those looking to treat the men in lives with a new scent, and from people just starting to explore the fragrant world themselves. Either way, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting – especially if you’re shopping online.

With Father’s Day around the corner, fragrant gifts are much on our minds, but we wanted to create a guide that gets your started on your journey and, even better, can be used for any time you find yourself confused while pondering perfumes.

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents (you can always buy the full-size of the one he loves most, later!)

Take a look at some of the suggestions, below. But first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life (or you) still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge (especially after lockdown!) but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

Why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

Let’s change it up… So, think about:

 

 

 

 

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Character, hobbies and personal style are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) That’s why a selection of samples to try at home is the best bet. Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent ambers along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

1: If you already know a fragrance they like

Have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent grooming products like body/beard oils and shower gels or body lotions. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of fragrances (which are always useful and well-recieved).

If you don’t want to get them the same old thing, then take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent they already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

 

 

 

 

2: If you’ve no idea what they like / How to choose fragrance

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

But scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots – some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! So the absolute best solution is to buy them a Discovery Box so they can try all manner of differing fragrances in their own time. They may even surprise themselves with their favourite!

[Pssst! We’ve also extended our offer of 20% off Men’s Must Have, Suave Scents and Niche VI Discovery Boxes to treat your papa, a father-figure or special guy in your life to perfume for Father’s Day! Use the Code: FATHERS22 at the checkout to redeem!]

Father’s Day Gift Guide – fragrance ideas for all!

With so many olfactive options, we had to split our Father’s Day gift guide into two parts (for the first fragrant list of suggestions, click here); this second-half focuses on curated selections that showcase the entire range from a single house, or perhaps highlight their all-time classic best-selling buys. With scents ranging from cool and contemporary to smooth and sophisticated – spanning new niche names to much-loved designer favourites – there truly is something for all tastes…

[Pssst! We’ve also extended our offer of 20% off Men’s Must Have, Suave Scents and Niche VI Discovery Boxes to treat your papa, a father-figure or special guy in your life to perfume for Father’s Day! Use the Code: FATHERS22 at the checkout to redeem!]

 

 

 

Escentric Molecules Discovery Set: £25

Utterly unique duos of these cult fragrances combine a man-made aroma-molecule with naturals that boost that main scent. Rebels of the perfume world, founded by maverick perfumer Geza Schoen; Escentric Molecules allow your lucky gift-recipient to share a journey of fragrant exploration via their brilliant Discovery Set. Try each of them in turn, compare the FIVE pairs, and find out why this continually innovative house are set to blow your mind…

The Escentric Molecules Discovery Set includes FIVE duos x 2ml samples. 

Escentric 01 – the Iso E Super molecule features heavily, with the remaining formula using ingredients ‘designed to underscore its low-lit mood.’

Molecule 01 – the ‘partner’ to Escentric 01 contains nothing but Iso E Super – a single ingredient

Escentric 02 – vetiver, synthetic musk, Muscone plus powdery orris, elderflower extract and hedione

Molecule 02 – unadulterated Ambroxan

Escentric 03 – a tribute to the more familiar side of vetiver: its dark, slightly exotic woodiness.

Molecule 03 – Vertiveryle acetate, a refined vetiver note is celebrated at its purest

Escentric 04 – pink grapefruit, rose and pink peppercorns

Molecule 04 – a seriously room-filling sillage of smooth sandalwood

Molecule 05  – consists of the molecule Cashmeran pure and singular

Escentric 05 – dry, radiant, warm and woody with a touch of pine resin

 

 

 

 

Banana Republic: £8

Created in 1978 out of an intrepid travel-inspired couple’s dream, Banana Republic went on to become a GLOBAL FASHION BRAND. Now, they bring us an oh-so-cool, niche-inspired fragrance collection. Developed with perfumers such as Claude Dir and Patricia Choux, to mark significant dates and personal memories for the brand, though incredibly affordable, they certainly don’t compromise on quality, and have seriously impressed us at Perfume Society HQ!

Neroli Woods – with oodles of neroli and orange blossom, evoking holidays to the South of France (1.5ml eau de parfum)

17 Oud Mosaic – a mosaic of internationally-beloved aromas

78 Vintage Green – leafy and green, it captures the fantasy of travel and freedom

90 Pure White – transparent yet sexy, with a blend of musk and lavender

 

 

 

Cochine: £20 / VIPs £16

Inspired by the exotic escapism of world travel and enjoying long summer evenings somewhere in the tropics, these unique fragrances capture the very essence of adventure (and the adventurous spirits of those who choose to wear their scents). Yes there are florals, but this niche house are unisex, and they’re composed with such a freshness, it’s as though the salty ocean air carries the fragrance on a scented, balmy breeze. And we happen to know they smell amazing on men’s skin!

Vanille & Tabac Noir – This alluring scent captures the magic of sunset evenings. Sensual notes of tobacco flower and vanilla blend with hints of patchouli, cardamon and basil in a scent that swirls with rich, delicate spices.

Frangipani & Neroli – A scent that will sweep you away to white, tropical sandy shores. This exotic fragrance blends smooth, honeyed notes of frangipani with the delicate freshness of neroli.

Tuberose & Wild fig – A rich, indulgent fragrance that captures soul-reviving sun-warmed evenings. Enchanting tuberose is combined with earthy notes of wild fig and hints of vetiver and cedar wood to create this inescapably romantic scent.

Tuberose Absolute & Sandalwood – This is the scent of exotic and unforgettable nights. Intriguing tuberose combines with rich leather and sandalwood in this intoxicating, utterly addictive fragrance.

White Jasmine & Gardenia – An exquisite floral fragrance that captures a feeling of joyous freedom. Soft, white petals of rich jasmine, gardenia and peony come together to create this unforgettable scent

 

 

Floris Classic: £35

Founded in 1730, Floris is still operating out of its original premises, run by members of that same family, creating beautiful fragrances for men and for women…We have long adored Floris at Perfume Society HQ and with creations here ranging from crisp citrus to rich and woody, we are so excited to share this Discovery Collection containing five cult classic, completely timeless fragrances he simply has to try.

Special No.127 – a refreshing citrus blend of bergamot and orange with petitgrain introduces the heart of lavender and geranium.

Limes – a vibrant burst of the lemon entwined with lime blossom, neroli, and lily of the valley, sustained by a musky base.

Cefiro – crisp lemon and lime, punctuated with bergamot and mandarin, warmed by spicy notes of cardamom and nutmeg.

Neroli Voyage – opening with a citrus burst of neroli and lemon, complemented by marine notes and enlivened by spicy notes of ginger and aromatic fennel seed.

Leather Oud – the freshness of new leather compliments the smoky aspects of the oud oil and geranium at the heart.

 

 

 

 

Map of the Heart: £35

Co-founders Sarah Blair and Jeffrey Darling have long collaborated in writing, design and film. For them it was a natural step to take that into fragrance – a wearable art form. With full-size bottles designed by the legendary Pierre Dinand, each fragrance resembles an anatomical model of the human heart, featuring Australian sandalwood as a signature written in scent. So let him dive in – and see which fragrance draws his heart closer.

Clear Heart v.1 – Australian summer: surfing, swimming, hot days, cool breezes and the salt that hangs in the air promising more.

Black Heart v.2 – Smoky. Impolite. Dangerous. It’s smoky heart of mysterious spices is shot through with shards of fresh eucalyptus and citrus to create an impolite mix of opposites.

Red Heart v.3 – Explosive. Seductive. Addictive. A composition of feijoa, tuberose and spices with sensual notes of musk and vanilla.

Gold Heart v.4 – Nurturing. Precious. Ancient. An exotic warm breeze that wraps around to protect and nurture.

Purple Heart v.5 – Brave. Instinctive. Triumphant. Inverying the olfactory pyramid by opening darker and then brightening

Pink Heart v.6 – Mingles on the skin with the spiciness of the sumac accord and cistus absolute for a mesmerising ride.

White Heart v.7 – The ethereal and sharp opening of French lavender, aldehyde and cardamom coolly invite us into the vast landscape of love.

 

 

 

Memoize: £57

Our sense of the smell is the most powerful emotional link we can trigger – and Memoize London set out to create a collection of scents that did much more than simply make you smell exquisite. As they explain, when smelling a fine fragrance, ‘the merest hint of something familiar can trigger a special memory or wonderful moment in our lives that we treasure forever.’ Using scent as a journey, the Light collection is an invitation to clear the mind and enhance the soul. One for stressed-out peace-seeking chaps, perhaps…?

Castitas – The essence of purity, honesty and innocence, to remind you of your purest moments.

Industria – The essence of strength and perseverance, the tenacity to fulfil your hopes and dreams.

Caritas – The essence of generosity, charity and kindness, to remind you of the goodness held within.

Temperantia – The essence of calmness, modesty and great wisdom, reminiscent of that moment of pure calm and tolerance.

Patientia – The essence of patience and tranquillity, the endurance and resilience to stand firm and strong.

Humanitas – The essence of kindness and compassion, wraps itself around you like an old friend.

Humilitas – The essence of modesty, humility and grace, aware of your greatness, without the need to prove it to the world.

White Castitas – The essence of great honour and integrity, your body and soul are cleansed, your mind is clear.

 

 

 

Contradictions in ILK: £48

Asking the simple question ‘how do you feel today?’ is the starting point of this personality-led, unisex perfume collection. This collection beckons him to ‘go within’ and celebrate his complexities through scent. Face up to dark and provocative thoughts or dare to daydream, using his emotions as a guide. But, say the house, we are complex beings, and we do not always feel one emotion at one time; so artistic types are especially drawn to expressing themselves by layering these intriguing fragrances.

Devious – inspired by the poisonous effect you can have on your own mind when over-indulging in dark and devious thoughts

Fantasist – a fantasia of delectable treats and mystical promises from distant and otherworldly lands

Infatuated – an ode to the all-consuming feeling and whirring thoughts of a lovelorn teenager endlessly daydreaming of unrequited love

Libertine – imagining a palazzo in Venice, home to Casanova – the most famous libertine of all time, with a note evoking his favourite exotic tipple, known as ‘cordial orgeat’

Nonchalant – inspired by Josephine Baker, the first black film star, world renowned dancer, bisexual, wartime spy and American expat living in Paris, who is still the epitome of timeless, glamorous cool

Realist – follow a monk’s journey up a mountain and capture his enlightened spirit by inhaling the smell of the crisp mountain air and forest trees

Sincere – inspired by the sincerity of a mother’s love

Virtuous – taking its inspiration from the words of Dante: ‘Beauty awakens the soul to act’

 

 

 

 

AromAtom: £69 / VIPs £65

Offering close encounters of the fragrant kind,  wannabe astronaut or space-mad dads will go on journeys further than they ever dreamed possible with this unique collection! Planetary Scientist, Astrobiologist and perfumer Marina Barcenilla created four transportive fragrances, combining her love for science and skills as a perfumer, each of them existing in their own scent universe. Showcasing this way of travelling the solar-system with our sense of smell, these are undeniably quirky yet utterly wearable scents that are bound to be a talking (and sniffing) point.

Ground Control – black hemlock, cedars, spruce and fir trees. The heavy smell of sap hangs in the air.

Moon Walk  – the serene landscape in fragrance form – a world of sparkling dust and silvery mountains.

We are the Martians  – the alien, metallic and dusty smell combined with home comforts astronauts crave.

Out of this World – from planet Earth to the heart of the Milky Way via saffron, raspberry and rum.

 

 

 

 

MALIN+GOETZ: £22

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.

 

Scents of Occasion: Jubilee street-party perfumes

With crowds witnessing the Queen’s spectacular Platinum Jubilee procession, and thousands busily preparing trestle tables filled with homemade food for street parties around the country for Her Majesty’s incredible 70 years as monarch – we’re scenting our Jubilee celebrations with two quintessentially British (fragrant) flavours as inspiration…

 

 

 

 

Cucumber:

Served in sandwiches (crusts cut off, obvs) or popped in a refreshing G&T, the choice is yours  – but do seek out these deliciously cool cucumber-infused scents.

  

4160 Tuesdays Scenthusiasm

4160 Tuesdays Scenthusiasm
Originally created for a private gin company’s event, fragrant inspiration fizzes via orris butter, rose absolute, lemon and orange, cucumber extract, juniper absolute and coriander, boosted with musk for longevity.
From £40 for 15ml eau de parfum
4160tuesdays.com

 

 

 KILIAN_ROSES_ON_ICE

 

Kilian Roses on Ice
‘Anyone for notes of gin, distilled with rose and cucumber?’ Kilian ask. A rhetorical question, as we enjoy the icy freshness of juniper berries, contrasting with the velvety warmth of rosa Centifolia, sandalwood and musk. Chin, chin!
From £165 for 50ml parfum
bykilian.co.uk

 

 

 PERFUMERH_CUCUMBER

 

Perfumer H Cucumber
Opening with a gust of juicy greenness: a touch of galbanum and sea moss, alongside notes of watermelon, bergamot and lemon rind. A breeze of cedarwood and vetiver in the base is wrapped in a shrug of warm musks.
From £110 for 50ml eau de parfum
PerfumerH

 

Garden Fruits:

Slathered on Victoria sponges, enjoyed in a bowl of Eton Mess or stirred in a jug of Pimms, the piquant pop of fruitiness is a delight to wear in fragrant form, too.

 

 

Christian Louboutin Loubidoo
Daphné Bugey’s fruity, feminine strawberry, rose and cedar blend beckons good (fragrant) fortune being finished with a lucky cat symbol. They say it ‘Tip-toes on velvet paws…‘ We say: Mischievously moreish!
£235 for 90ml eau de parfum
selfridges.com

 

 


Juliette Has a Gun Lipstick Fever

Raspberry, iris, and violet absolute evoke the comforting scent of a precious leather handbag, before the addictive sweetness of vanilla slowly emerges on the skin. As for the suitably scarlet flacon? Mwah, mwah!
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
harveynichols.com

 

 

MAISON_MARGIELA_REPLICA_SPRINGTIME_IN_A_PARK


Maison Margiela Replica Springtime in a Park

Dappled light through branches, a crisp breeze, pink cherry blossom tumbling on pears, bergamots and black currants; aqueous blooms, lily of the valley and dewy roses  – a perfect perfumed portrait of happiness.
From £49 for 30ml eau de toilette

selfridges.com