We’re thrilled that Maïa Lernout, French Senior Perfumer at Takasago, joined us recently for our Instagram Live series – and you can watch the interview with Jo Fairley, below. (It’s on our YouTube channel with the other insightful perfumer interviews, with names like Geza Schoen, Sonia Constant and more).
Maïa has created for many designer names including Elie Saab, Burberry and Kenzo – but her latest, sun-filled creation is the absolutely stunning Molton Brown Flora Luminare (Maïa is part of Molton Brown‘s Perfume Collective) – and we talked solar scents, sustainable ingredients and how she’s been creating during lockdown…
The Perfume Society’s Victoria Evans goes behind the scenes at the (fragrance) museum…
We’ve all walked past a LUSH – it’s hard to ignore the fragranced fizzing of exploding bath bombs and perfumed wafts of delectable soaps. (Just don’t lick them, though – they don’t taste as delicious as they smell, we are embarrassed to report!) But whether you rush in or stroll on by, you’ll be interested to know that fragrance has always been at the heart – and is the continuing focus – of this now-global bath and skincare brand. So when The Perfume Society was invited to LUSH’s first stand-alone Perfume Library, a concept boutique in Florence – the birthplace of modern perfumery, no less – we jumped at the chance to investigate. Note: LUSH formerly offered their scent creations under the brand Gorilla Perfumes – but now all scents are under this The Perfume Library umbrella.)
On entering this temple to perfume on the Via dei Calzaiuoli, in the heart of this ancient city, deep fragrance notes drift towards you while bird song fills the air, in a room filled with impressive stacks of books dedicated to the alchemy of fragrance. (Think Neil Chapman, Roja Dove and reference books covering the Renaissance fascination with scent). It is, in essence, a cosy and intimate space decorated with dark woods, healthy emerald green plants and with cushioned cubbyholes you can sink into, whilst exploring LUSH‘s scents and brushing up on your fragrance knowledge.
You can then slip through a clear dividing curtain into the ‘LUSH Lab’, to explore a conveyor belt of their best-loved fragrances in body spray form. This also features ‘fragrance showers’ (in true fun LUSH style), where you can literally be enveloped by your scent of choice, while being played the song or songs which inspired the creation of the scent. All fragrances, it turns out, are created at LUSH while listening to an inspiring playlist – and these showers showcase that beautifully. You almost feel as though you are part of the process.
The birdsong mentioned is a fusing of founder Mark Constantine’s bird watching passion-slash-obsession, and a nod to the Renaissance belief that such sounds balanced and calmed the spirt. It is that fusing of LUSH values and Renaissance inspiration that makes this concept store so unique and thrilling to explore. Inspired by such legends as Catherine de Medici, who brought perfumery to new heights under her sphere of influence during the 16th Century, Lush wanted to place their Perfume Library in this wonderful city to pay tribute to the birth of modern perfumery.
When speaking to Mark (quite the Renaissance man himself, actually), he revealed that LUSH itself actually came to fruition (in 1995) because of his impulse to create fragrance. ‘I realised I could express myself much more effectively through fragrance than I could music, literature, poetry, whatever…”. With this deep sentiment for fragrance and Florence, The Perfume Liberary have also developed five new exclusive fragrances for the ‘concept store’ (like you need more of an excuse to plan a visit…): Nero, Fresh As, Sappho, Frangipani and Confetti, created by perfumer Emma Dick.
Nero is inspired by Princess Nerola, who was said to have fragranced her gloves and baths with the happy scent of neroli. It is bright and uplifting and develops on the skin to reveal woody tones. Then there’s Frangipani, already the bestseller in the store, filled with tuberose, almond oil and frangipani. It takes its name from the story of a wealthy 16th Century Italian family who in a time of famine gave bread to the poor, which happens to be where the word Frangipani actually comes from: frangi (break) and pani (bread).
We also adored Confetti, a deeply romantic scent with coffee, pear, rose and violet. LUSH co-founder Rowena felt is smelt like sugared almonds, and therefore this celebratory confectioneary, traditionally enjoyed at weddings (and also popular in Italy) gave this fragrance its name. Sappho was coined after the famous Greek poet Sappho, a heavy iris-based fragrance that is a homage to this very Florentine flower. Heavy, powdery and filled with tonka absolute, vanilla absolute and tobacco absolute, it is an almost deep dangerous fragrance, that has real staying power on the skin.
But they didn’t stop drawing on the Renaissance tradition there. You can experience fragrance profiling based on your temperament and bodily state, taken its lead from the Renaissance belief in the Greek physician Hippocrates’s four ‘humours’: blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm (!), and their influence on the body and its emotions. So when you sit down for your profiling, you may both decide that a bright, hot and dry fragrance is best suited if your ‘humour’ is phlegmatic (that’s grumpy, wet, sad or irritable!)
Taste also plays a big part in the Renaissance fragrance prescriptions; it was common to create sweets that acted as medicines filled with essential oils and herbs to cure you. LUSH expands on this, prescribing a sweet and flavoured sugar cube which turns into a (quite frankly delicious) tea, with dry ice for fun and dramatic effect. It is enjoyed while fragrances are personally selected for you from the collection, based on your preferences and needs.
This in itself is a very fun and surprisingly revealing experience, My own fragrance prescription was cult classic LUSH fragrance Cocktail, to dampen my choleric nature (those humours again!), in the hope of achieving more balance. It is a very modern approach to selecting fragrance, and a fun way to draw on ancient traditions to arrive at a fragrance partly chosen to delight the senses, partly chosen to promote wellbeing. A thoroughly inspiring way to choose fragrance, in a whole new way.
The LUSH Perfume Library is a treasure trove of fragrance – and actually rather hard to leave. Dedicated to LUSH’s longstanding mission to inject fun and magic into smell and the senses, we know it will spark joy into anyone who passes through its doors. And if you are lucky enough to be in Florence, make sure you explore this Library. Jump into a fragrance shower, peruse the fragrance conveyor belt – because no one does a fragrance experience quite like LUSH!
Fragranced candles don’t get much hotter than Jonathan Ward‘s… metaphorically speaking, of course, but we were wowed from the very first time we smelled them.
You see, British candle maker and fragrant auter, Jonathan Ward, likes to do things differently. Having begun in the fashion world and created fragrances for others, Ward crossed over to the light side with his own fragranced candle house at last, and now has perfumistas filling their own homes with his scents.
As you might imagine, we’ve had our noses on a fair few scented candles in our time. The Perfume Society offices are contstantly aglow (candle-light is so flattering to the features, don’t you think? Especially when you’ve lost that post-holiday glow!) and currently we have Halcyonic wafting its magic. Inspired by the Bright Young Things of the ‘roaring 20s’, we felt it was just the thing to have burning after watching the Downton Abbey film. And as you’ll see, below, even the wayhe describes the notes feels like the an entire world and cast of characters, captured in scent…
Steam Iron Lapel, Smoked Lipstick Kiss, Tea Rose, Amber Heart
Crab Apple, Honeysuckle, Prickle Pear, Wet Jasmine Base
Black Amber, Black Salt, Tuxedo Musks
Fragrance expert Stephan Matthews regularly cites Ward’s creations among his favourite in the whole world (and as we know, there’s a lot of candles out there!) and recently caught up with this coolest of candle makers to discover his scented heritage. We Wear Perfume, meanwhile, fell madly for the literary and mythological inspirations behind the brand, waxing lyrical (sorry, couldn’t resist) about the ‘complex and captivating stories for his artful scented candle collection that are akin to miniature novels.’
Indeed, these are no ordinary candles – Ward creates scented spaces into which we can escape at the flick of a flame. He likes to ‘…ignite the olfactory legacies bequeathed by artists, visionaries, prophets and poets—bringing fresh light to their thoughts and ideas.’
Where we think these candles excel is the fragrances have just as much complexity (and time spent on them) as a bottle of personal perfume. In fact, Ward admitted to We Wear Perfume that he sometimes dabs a bit of the fragrance oils he composes for the candles behind his ears, apparently even combing a bit through his beard! But be in no doubt: here’s a man who takes the compositions of these scents really, really seriously.
Another point of difference is the added benefit of the candles being completely clean-burning – Ward is one of the founders in the promotion of natural waxes, with the wicks attached using an artisan candle technique that fixes them without using glue or resin.
We’re not talking about pouring some already created scent into some wax and adding a wick, here. We mean blending your own custom scent using professional perfumer’s accords, then practice making your very own candle; from mixing the oils to pouring the wax it’ll be a hands-on experience (and a new life skill).
The workshop will be led by the immensely talented Jonathan Ward himself, who will undoubtedly share invaluable candle-related knowledge throughout the day. This will be an unforgettable workshop where guests will enjoy refreshments and take home their personally scented Jonathan Ward candle, along with being offered an incredibly generous and exclusive discount of 15% off Jonathan Ward products on the day.
Tickets for this unique day’s custom candle course are £65 and can be purchased here:
Saturday 5th October 2019 Times: 11.00 am – 2:00 pm Venue: Johnathan Ward Candle Studio, Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Rd, London E8 4QN
We thought our wishlist was complete until we discovered these five new perfume launches…!
DIOR J’ADORE ABSOLU
When creating this new twist on Dior’s iconic J’adore, perfumer François Demachy recounts: ‘I wanted the full intensity of jasmine to shine through. It is animalic, fruity and brimming with sunshine.’ So he fused jasmine sambac with sun-drenched Grasse jasmine, garlanding the duo of white flowers in in orange flower and rose, for ‘more nectar-like, lush accents’, adding a whisper of magnolia absolute. (Do watch out for the fah-bu-lous Charlize Theron ad, too.) £81 for 50ml eau de parfum dior.com
ESTEE LAUDER BEAUTIFUL BELLE Beautiful Belle is ‘inspired by today’s modern bride, who challenges tradition, making her own rules in love and life.’ We’d say the first rule to break is that you need to be a bride to plight your troth to this addictive floral Oriental, effervescing with lychee, rose petals, pear blossom, mimosa, orange flower and gardenia, closed by layers of Ambrox, orris absolute, a blush suede accord and an unexpected twist in the tail of marzipan musk. From £52 for 30ml eau de parfum esteelauder.co.uk
TIFFANY EAU DE PARFUM INTENSE
This is a richer – and yes, more va-va-voom – version of 2017’s long-awaited Tiffany launch, now a global bestseller. In the same diamond-faceted flacon, it echoes the original with notes of green mandarin, pink peppercorn and fields of iris, summoning its strength from the pulsing sensuality of benzoin and amber which underpins the construction. What else makes this special – and seasonally perfect – is the option to personalise the bottle with custom engraving, exclusively on the Tiffany website. £57 for 30ml eau de parfum intense tiffany.co.uk
VALEUR ABSOLUE HARMONIE ESSENTIELLE
Inspired by cherished memories of childhood, this sways around the joyous central note of neroli, an ingredient renowned for its simultaneous ability to soothe and uplift the senses, harmoniously blended with bergamot and a deeply addictive vanilla. Harnessing the belief in the beneficial properties of amethyst stones to further calm the soul, fans of Valeur Absolue’s vegan scent collection will be thrilled to learn the new Valeur Absolue trio – in which this features – is organically-certified, too. £66 for 50ml eau de parfum valeurabsolue.com
ÉDITIIONS DE PARFUMS FRÉDÉRIC MALLE DAWN
The counterpoint to Frédéric Malle‘s Night – which was first unveiled exclusively in the Middle East, where its oudh-iness went down a storm – Carlos Benaïm now turns his attention to the start of the day, again using that traditional Arabic note as the pivot point. The signature agarwood heart is ‘orbited’ by pink pepper, cedar, labdanum and frankincense, with a sea of Turkish rose offering ‘an ode to dawn’s rich colours’. £550 for 50ml eau de parfum At Harrods
We’re over the moon that The Perfume Society just notched up 40,000 fragrant followers on Instagram. (Above, see some of our most-liked posts.) And we’d like to celebrate with you with a very special offer!
For 40 hours (from 1 p.m. on Wednesday 7th November to 7 a.m. on Friday 9th November), when you spend £40 on perfumesociety.org, you can take advantage of a 15% discount on anything you buy – our own Discovery Boxes, our portfolio of boxes from fabulous fragrance houses, print copies of The Scented Letter and more.
We also invite you to join our band of #Insta followers, if you aren’t already one of them – find us @theperfumesociety, or just click here.
As Collection One has been so well-loved, we couldn’t resist bringing you a second set of the wonderful Tom Daxon fragrances. This time, it celebrates the woody and darker fragrances that we think are perfect for the colder months.
Tom Daxon is a rising star in British fragrance, championing scents inspired by the ingredients themselves. Tom grew up around fragrance; his mother – creative director for a leading fragrance and cosmetics name for over 30 years – ‘would often give me new shower gels to try, fragrances to sniff.’ So it was no surprise that by his mid-twenties, this perfume prodigy had already launched his own signature fragrance collection – which we invite you to explore.
This Discovery Collection features five x generous 4.5ml sprays (see below for details), allowing you to discover, explore and enjoy the exciting second instalment of the Tom Daxon range at your own pace.The five incredible scents featured in the Discovery Collection Two are:
VSOP – VSOP recreates an impossibly seductive setting in which cognac is being drunk, via a green citrus top note which melts into a simmering warm base of spices, woods, musks and a cognac accord.
Riven Oak – layers of smooth woods. A heart of oakwood absolute – rich, sophisticated – is lifted with bergamot and pimento berries and refined with rum, amber, and vetiver.
Vachetta – all the notes of leather; amplified. A Lapsang Souchong accord – smoky, dark and delicately spiced – combines with a bright heart of jasmine for floral lightness.
Sicilian Wood – a citrus grove warming in the sun. An effervescent, hyper-real citrus top note settles into a base of seductive woods.
Resin Sacra – constructed around the captivating frankincense: the only ingredient that smells both sensual and ecclesiastical at the same time. In addition to embracing its resinous nature with benzoin and cistus, a suede accord was added for heightened tactility.
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