If you’re in a festive flap over those last-minute gifts, we will gently remind you that our last day for ordering before Christmas is this Thursday, 19th December 2019. But flap no further, as we have all your gifts sorted in a fuss-free (and fabulously fragrant!) way…
We’ve made ordering online a complete breeze, with a number of handy gift guides suitable for every age, fragrant taste and budget. Have a browse through some of them now, and get your gift list checked off at the click of a button!
How to buy fragrance at Christmas
Let’s start at the very beginning (as the song goes) – because trying to work out exactly what will suit whom best can be a bit of a headache, we know. That’s why we’ve done all the leg-work for you and curated selections of scents with particular types of people in mind, and perhaps with a little something to tempt you, too. One to point bewildered relatives at when they demand to know what you want!
When you just can’t decide which scent someone would love: Luxury Gift Boxes
If you know your loved one adores fine fragrances, and always likes trying something new, have a look at this list of ultra-luxe boxes you can buy at surprisingly affordable prices. There’s genuinely something to suit everyone here – masculine, feminine and gender-neutra – the ideal way to discover a new house, with lavish perfume gift sets from only £14! The Perfume Society’s beautiful selection of single-house perfume boxes really come into their own when you need exquisite curations, with scents to match every mood and personality. Here are some of our favourites…
Looking for that perfect fragrance gift..? Then look no further than the truly decadent and globally adored AMOUAGE. Delve into this collection of TWELVE women’s fragrances for £50 (P&P*). A perfumista’s dream…
And for every female fragrance Amouage creates, happily you will find there is a male counterpart. For £50 (+P&P*) it’s the perfect fragrance gift for Men with TWELVE AMOUAGE Men’s fragrances. There won’t be any disappointed faces (or knowingly unscented necks) this Christmas!
A fabulous gift from this ethical and unisex scent name, with EIGHT FRAGRANCES to fall in love with, you will simply swoon at the sunshine-filled scents of Sana Jardin. Just £30 (+P&P*)
A powerhouse of a brand and the original olfactory innovators, this is a great Escentric Molecules Discovery Set to explore for men and women. With EIGHT FRAGRANCES, it’s hard to pick just one favourite. Just £25 (+P&P*)
For that guy who’s always hard to buy for…
Be they a loved one related to you by blood, or a life-partner whose answer to ‘what would you like this Christmas?’ is usually ‘Oh you, know… anything will do’ (at which point you could happily draw blood!); we’ve already had the most fabulous feedback to our Mr. Scentastic Discovery Box. Whether you are planning cliff-top walks, a trip away, cosy nights in or some dress-to-impress evenings, there’s a fragrance for every occasion in this collection. From a 6ml MUGLER ALIEN MAN as well as a very generous 30ml DEAR BARBER WITH CONFIDENCE fragrance, we’ve also added incredible niche fragrances from perfume houses such as Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Prosody, Hugo Boss, Bulgari, Lalique and more. All these, and two grooming extras, for £19 (or £15 for V.I.Ps) (+P&P*)
So what are you waiting for? There’s a whole world of fragrant adventures to switch people’s noses on to – we know many people who have ordered several as gifts and then come back to order another for themslves (including one chap who emailed us to say he’d got NINE of the Mr. Scentastic boxes for his friends, and then orederd two for himself to keep!)
Advent calendars were once very humdrum affairs. In my day [adopts Monty Python-esque Yorkshire accent] they were all flimsy cardboard with inedible chocolates formed into ‘novelty’ shapes, or simply a pictures of a snowflake or somesuch. How times change!
The past few years have seen beauty companies and retailers festooning advent calendars with fragrant wares, and the trend sees no sign of stopping. Many of them seem to sell out in the blink of an eye, too; so if you see something that catches your eye (and nose) below, we suggest you get in quick…
Penhaligon’s say: ‘For those who’ve been uncommonly nice, only the Penhaligon’s Advent Calendar will do. What fun – behind each door hides a fragrant surprise! The only question: can one resist opening them all at once?’
30ml: Halfeti Body & Hand Wash, Empressa Body & Hand Lotion, Endymion Body & Hand Wash, Luna Body & Hand Lotion, Juniper Sling Body & Hand Wash / 10ml: Cairo, Cousin Flora, Cousin Matthew, Heartless Helen, Terrible Teddy, Elisabethan Rose / Artemisia 5ml, Blenheim Bouquet 5ml, Iris Prima 5ml, Juniper Sling 5ml, Luna 5ml, Orange Blossom 5ml, Quercus 5ml, Empressa 5ml, Endymion Concentre 5ml / Rose Lip Balm 15g, Violet Lip Balm 15g, Maduro Leaf Candle 75g
Molton Brown say: ‘Count down to the Christmas cheer with our luxury advent calendar, brimming with beloved bath and body icons, home fragrances and beyond. Explore 24 decadent treats, each individually wrapped and presented in a grand Art Deco-inspired box calendar with a hand-tied grosgrain ribbon.’
3 x 75ml Festive Bauble: Bizarre Brandy, Vintage With Elderflower, Muddled Plum
2 x 50ml Body Lotion: Bizarre Brandy, Muddled Plum
3 x 7.5ml Eau de Toilette: Bizarre Brandy, Vintage With Elderflower, Muddled Plum
1 x 40ml Alba White Truffle Hand Treatment
2 x 50ml Fine Liquid Hand Wash: Re-charge Black Pepper, Fiery Pink Pepper
4 x 50ml Bath & Shower Gel: Jasmine & Sun Rose, Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel, Rosa Absolute, Vetiver & Grapefruit
3 x Mini Scented Candle: Coco & Sandalwood, Delicious Rhubarb & Rose, Russian Leather
1 x 50ml Purifying Shampoo With Indian Cress
1 x 50ml Purifying Conditioner With Indian Cress
1 x 40ml Heavenly Gingerlily Hand Cream
1 x 50ml Body Oil: Rosa Absolute
1 x 50ml Suede Orris Hair Mist
1 x 50ml Mesmerising Oudh Accord & Gold Bathing Oil
Acqua di Parma say: ‘Offering a surprise for every day of Christmas, Acqua di Parma presents its 2019 beauty advent calendar. Featuring a miniature version of the signature scent Colonia, it also includes Blu Mediterraneo, Le Nobili and Signature of the Sun miniatures. With roll-on vials, bath and body products, and a special surprise for December 25th, it will keep you invigorated this winter.’
Acqua di Parma don’t want to spoil the surprise by listing all the contents, but really, anyone who loves the house will be thrilled by the contents, we’re sure!
Diptyque say: ’25 little pleasures, and so many lucky charms to discover every day before the holidays. The 2019 Advent Calendar brings together in a colorful setting emblematic products in various sizes. It features candles, eau de toilette, eau de parfum and skincare products.’
Rituals say: ‘With The Ritual of Advent Calendar, you can enjoy a luxurious Rituals product behind every window. This is a great way to count down the last 24 days to Christmas and treat yourself or your loved ones to a special moment each day.’
The Ritual of Namaste Hydrating Ampoule, Ritual of Namasté Velvety Smooth Cleansing Foam, The Ritual of Dao Parfum d’Interieur, The Ritual of Ayurveda Body Cream, Advent Mini Candle Private Collection – Sacred Saffron, Sweet Jasmine Mini Fragrance Sticks, Amsterdam Collection Body Mist, The Ritual of Namasté Pure Face Oil 5ml, The Ritual of Dao Night Balm, The Ritual of Happy Buddha Shower Scrub.
Jo Malone London say: ‘Uncover a scented treat behind every door, including much-loved Blackberry & Bay Cologne (9ml) and English Pear & Freesia Body Crème (15ml) alongside new additions to the line-up such as Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense (9ml).’
Pitti Fragranze is one of the world’s leading fragrance trade fairs, where the industry come to see (and smell) new perfumes, spot new trends emerging and spy new houses showcasing their scents for the very first time. We took a trip to the glorious Tuscan city of Florence, our noses a-quiver in excitement, and invite you to look back with us at some of our favourite things…
Pitti is held in a huge old building that used to be a train station, an annual event that’s now celebrating its 17th year. If you can picture a space filled with hundreds of brands all competing for attention, and thousands of perfumes being sprayed in that space, you’ll get an idea of just how fragrant the whole situation can get. Add to that several thousand visitors, including press, distributors, buyers and store managers from around the world, and the odd perfumer wandering the exhibition – we spotted Betrand Duchafour, Cecile Zarokian and Pia Long – getting to have good catch-up chats with those last two – and you’ll also understand how overwhelming the experience can be!
As you walk into the exhibition space, the question is: where to begin? And the only answer is to wander around and around, going back with a greater focus for several hours over three days, and homing in on the things that caught your eye (and nose) the most.
We were delighted to see so many houses we know so well proudly showing their scented wares, and were introduced to other really exciting brands we hope will make it to the U.K. very soon…
The Miller Harris stand was definitely the most vibrantly enticing in the whole show – if you’ve ever visited one of their boutiques, you’ll know how these guys excell at visual merchandising that makes fragrance artistically exciting and accessible for everyone. Here they were showing recent launches of the ‘Brighton Rock’ collection (including our favourite, Violet Ida (softly powdered lipstick kisses) the lovely Blousy (all luscious strawberries and rose), and a sneak peek at a forthcoming launch of Secret Gardenia (think voluptuous bouquets of dewy white flowers).
Sana Jardin had their soon-to-be-launched candles on display – a first for the house which we will certainly be filling our own homes with! Torn between the options, if forced to choose we’d plump for the Tiger By Her Side: a stunning evocation of the perfume, weaving Morocan rose and Somalian incense for an intenseley beautiful scent we couldn’t stop smelling. There was a real buzz around the stand, of people entranced by the story of the foundation they’ve set up for the women who pick the flowers – allowing them to create their own side-business making products from the rose water, for example, left over from distilling the fragrances. With lots of questions about sustainability circling the industry, here’s a house who are way ahead of the game.
Talking of candles, we couldn’t help but fall in love with the entire aesthetic of Coreterno – meaning ‘eternal heart’ in Italian – a lifestyle brand ‘conceived in Rome and born in the streets of New York’ by designers Francilla Ronchi and Michelangelo Brancato. Drawing inspiration from rock stars and rebels throughout history, they began with candles and were now showing their fragrances for the first time. We loved The Wild Passion candle and the Catharsis perfume, which smelled spicy and soothing all at once, with drifts of cardamom and transcendental woodiness.
We bumped into Olfiction Director and perfumer Pia Long at the very moment she first saw the fragrance she’d created for BeauFort London finally on display. Given a difficult brief for Terror & Magnificence to evoke the imposing structures and life of notorious architecht Hawksmoor, with all the associated brooding spaces and darkly mysterious atmospheres, Pia absolutely nailed it. We sprayed and felt a shiver of cold flagstones, echoes of hushed voices, ancient church pews infused with incense and a stunningly wearable suplle leather dry down. There’s far more magnificence than terror, and she looked rightly proud (if a little overwhelmed) holding that bottle aloft.
A new name we got excited by was the French niche house of Maison Rebatchi, founded only last year by Mohamed Rebatchi, collaborating with a stellar line-up of perfumers, including Bertrand Duchaufour, Alienor Massenet and Maurice Roucel. All seven scents are remarkably beautiful, with an assuredness and elegance reflected in the noses who made them, and the freshness of this Rose Rebatchi really blew us away – exactly like standing in the rose fields of Grasse during May. We have no doubt this house will be picked up by a U.K. stockist soon, and we’ll be forming an orderly queue…
A standout event had to be the Jean-Claude Ellena Retrospective – choosing fifteen of his fragrant compositions and discussing how and why they were created. Collated by Chandler Burr, and including a fascinating interview with the great perfumer himself, you can listen to to the English translation in full, here. It’s a must for any perfume fan, to give you greater insight into Ellena’s work, and no doubt (as we did) scurrying to find your own favourites from his collections, now smelling them again with a new understanding.
We could go on and on (and on) about the highlights we saw and smelled at Pitti this year, but are still mentally processing the many hundreds of perfumes and people, to be perfectly honest! We do hope, though, that we’ve given you a flavour of this year’s fragrance fair, and an idea of what you want to smell next…
The Jasmine Awards are the most prestigious literary awards in the UK for fragrance journalism – think of them as the Oscars for olfactory writing – and every year, The Fragrance Foundationnominate a list of finalists for the fragrant categories, and finally, announce the winners.
But as a special treat, we’d like to make the entire award-winning issue available for you to read:
Simply click on the picture above, make yourself a cuppa and lose yourself in the wonders of fragrance history, design and innovation… we tried to cover everything fragrant from A-Z, and it was a huge effort to research, write and put together, so we really couldn’t be more pleased to have won this award.
Continuing with the celebrations, we are jumping for joy for all the winners this year, and wanted to share them with you. Do make time to go and have a look at their work – in each case, you’re in for a treat…
We were especially thrilled for Viola’s piece winning an award, written after joining us at one of our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops – and highlighting the importance of this, our most neglected of senses.
Congratulations, again, to everyone involved and all of the finalists – we don’t envy the judges having to make the final decisions from such a wealth of creative talent!
It’s easy to get stuck in a bit of a scented rut sometimes – something we’re all guilty of! But we’ve decided now is the perfect time to blow away the cobwebs and start thinking about things we’re looking forward to trying, seeing and (of course) smelling this year. Which of these have you tried already, and what are you most looking forward to in 2019…?
1: Get social with scent
The internet is, obviously, a wonderful thing (hello, we’re on it right now!) but it’s also good to remember to get our from behind our desks and away from a screen to actually interact with human beings occasionally. There’s absolutely nothing like discovering a group of people who share your passion, meeting up with them and realising you’re not alone. This is genuinely one of the greatest bits of our job – meeting all of you lovely people, and watching you form your own groups and friendships around our common love of fragrance! If you join our VIP Club, we promise you an entire year filled with fragrant opportunities…
– Exclusive perfume events – meeting top perfumers and founders of niche houses, exploring the history of a house with the very people who created it. Learning about ingredients, getting previews of new fragrances or simply finding out about new names our noses need to know…
– How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops – sharing the top tips we’ve learned from the world’s best noses, changing the way we think about scent and discovering deep emotional connections. These workshops are some of the highlights of our year: fun, informative, down-to-earth and genuinely life-changing for everyone who attends!
– Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.
– An exclusive monthly ‘insider offer’ – just for our VIPs.
If you keep an eye on our Events page, we also list many other perfume events and pop-ups taking place around the country, so whey not make a pact to attend at least one this year and see how exciting they can be? You can make new friends, discover new scents to love and most of all, have fun with fragrance!
2: Be braver!
There are very few people we know (apart from professional ‘noses’ really) who don’t have preconceived ideas about what suits them, and certain ingredients they tend to avoid. Even we can be guilty of it! It’s a slippery slope when you avoid things becuase you ‘know’ they don’t work for you. Taste change – ALL the time – as we get older (or wiser), and the more things you try, the more you become accustomed to liking and the more your fragrance palate expands.
Think you hate rose? It completely depends which type of rose is being used – fruity, fresh and honeyed, or deep, dusty and velvety – how it’s been harvested, where it’s used in the composition and what other ingredients surround it. The same goes for any ingredient you care to name – the new fractionated patchouli, for example, removes the ‘dirty’ earthiness that many naysayers associate with ‘hippies’ and kept them at arm’s length all these years.
We double dare you to seek out notes, fragrances and houses you assume you don’t like, and to just try them (again or for the first time) with a new nose and fresh attitude…
It’s not only about trying things you thought you disliked, but expanding your fragrant horizon at your own pace. How about branching out just a little bit – but still within your comfort zone – by seeing what six fragrances are ‘matched’ to one you already own and love? There’s suggestions for every budget, from niche and high-end luxury, through all-time classics and highstreet-friendly names you may have overlooked. Try our Fragrance Finder, get out there and give them a try. You might find a brand new fragrant love…
3: Change it up
We know there are some of you who still feel a bit odd about fragrance layering, but honestly, what have you got to lose? If there’s a Cologne you love that sits gathering dust during the colder months, bring it out and combine with a deeper fragrance to ring the changes and bring some freshness to your scented habits. We’ve several features dedicated to the art of fragrance layering (simply type into our search box to see more), but here’s the basics for nervous noses…
Always remember: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!
– Add power: ramp it up by adding more base notes like patchouli, labdanum, vetiver, woods or musk.
– Add freshness: look for citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).
– Add beauty: find a scent too ‘harsh’ or clinical? Look to layer it with decadently velvety or lusciously fruity rose oils, the sunshine-bottled scent of orange flower, a heady glamour of tuberose or a luminescent jasmine; try an apricot-like osmanthus flower, the fluffiness of mimosa or the powdery elegance of iris/orris.
– Add sweetness: vanilla and tonka bean can ’round’ a perfume, making it swoon on your skin (and addictive to smell), as can touches of synthetic notes described as ‘caramel’ or ‘dulce de leche’, ripe fruits, chocolate or even candy floss. Try to add less than you think you need, as adding more is always easier than taking away, and a little of these can go a long way!
4: Keep a fragrance journal
Writing down your thoughts about a new smell every day is surprisingly revolutionary – especially when noting your feelings at several points through the year about the same fragrance. It’s amazing how weather, mood and even what we’ve been eating can change the way we consider how something smells! This is homework we give attendees of our so-fun How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops (see above), and even if you just jot down a few words about a new thing you smell (perfume, cooking ingredient, handcream, flower, bath gel… anything!) it gets your mind and your nose symbiotically linked, and truly helps ‘fix’ smells in your mind. Try it and see!
We love the scented notelets and journals available at Floral Street – a favourite being their Wonderland Peony Notepad / £12 (above) which makes every page a fragrant delight to fill in…
5: Make your own
Nothing gives you a greater appreciation for a perfumer’s skill than having a go at making your own. Sound simple, right? Just take all your favourite ingredients, mix them up and hey-presto! Well, uh, no. Much like mixing all your favourite colours results in a brown sludge rather than the rainbow you’d imagined as a child, it’s fascinating to attempt to try and balance notes, or to enhance them… a true art form and a kind of modern alchemy we’re in awe of. But it is possible to have a go at making your own under the watchful eye of a professional who can help guide you – and oh so satisfying to come away with a little bottle of a scent you made yourself.
The following perfumers run sessions we’ve personally attended and rate highly, and each of them offer differing workshops based on your experience – from complete beginner to something more skilled. Go on, you know you’ve always wanted to… Make 2019 the year you made your own!
Trained at the perfumery school of ISPICA, Emmanuelle Moeglin worked as a Scent Design Manager for global fragrance brands, alongside some of the biggest perfumers in the world, and now works as an independent perfumer in London. In 2015, wanting to open fragrance up to the consumer and demistify the world of perfumery, she started the Experimental Perfume Club. Choosing some of the most enjoyable elements of her training, she developed workshops to help people understand scent better – exploring the smells of individual ingredients, harmonious combinations, understanding the magic and science of fusing scents. There’s workshops available from Apprentice, through Expert Masterclass to Corporate levels, in a really down-to-earth and friendly atmosphere that encourages you to learn more.
Sarah McCartney – 4160 Tuesdays perfumer offer fun and more professional days, along with afternoon tea and a chance to get your hands on Sarah’s extensive personal collection of perfumes to smell, in her truly astounding Wall of Scent. 4160 Tuesdays are in the process of moving their HQ at the moment, but do get in touch with Sarah to ask when the next dates are, and they can also come to you if you’ve some friends or colleagues who are interested in joining in…
Those wanting to launch their own fragrance should seek out Karen Gilbert, who now runs a series of specialised courses – including making skincare products – for those wanting to learn more about this intriguing yet technically challenging world. She explains that ‘…it came out of years of students coming to my live classes where we make an alcohol based EDT, who really wanted to create for their own product line.’ With courses varying from online Masterclasses – perfect for those who find it difficult to travel – days of natural perfumery and intensive 5-day professional courses, there’s something for all levels of interest.
Don’t you think there are things you could change about your fragrant habits – even if it’s just getting out there and sharing your excitement with a friend, showing them around your favourite perfumery or letting them sniff your own collection of fragrances? Whatever you choose to do, there’s a whole year of perfume excitement to look forward to, and we certainly can’t wait to share it with all of you…