Happy Birthday Chanel N°22!

Incredibly, the iconic fragrance Chanel N°22 celebrates its 100th birthday this year – born one year after the legendary N°5 and creating its own enthused cult of olfactory aficionados (of which our Co-Founder, Lorna McKay is a firm member!) Sparkling with way ahead-of-its-time modernity, it seems only fitting to re-explore, and fully appreciate this so-prescient perfume once again…

The story of Chanel herself has become legend. After growing up in an orphanage, Gabrielle Chanel – born 19th August 1883, in Saumur – went on to open her first Paris boutique, selling hats, at 21 Rue Cambon in 1910. She made her name selling clothes that were not just beautiful and stylish, but comfortable, freeing women from tight corsetry through her innovative use of tweed and jersey, tailored with a nod to men’s clothing – including trousers. She’s also widely credited as first to introduce that essential in a woman’s wardrobe: ‘The Little Black Dress’.

Always an innovator, Chanel also designed costumes for plays (Cocteau’s ‘Antigone’, in 1923), and movies, including Renoir’s ‘La Règle de Jeu’. The clothes – and the fragrances – have been loved and worn by stars all over the world, and the silky effervesence of Chanel N°22 remains effortless, timelessly contemporary.

 

 

 

 

 

Chanel says: ‘Gabrielle Chanel believed in signs from the universe, symbols, and numbers. This year, 2022, CHANEL is pleased to present you with another major number: N°22, a fragrance created by Ernest Beaux and launched in 1922, one year after the legendary N°5. Though the two fragrances share the same olfactory characteristics, each one is unique in its own right.

An uncanny mirror effect that Olivier Polge, CHANEL’s In-House Perfumer-Creator, has interpreted as such: N°22 is like the surprising alter ego of N°5, so similar and yet so different at the same time. With its accord of tuberose, rose and orange blossom, N°22 is a sensual, seductive fragrance. A caressing trail, like an absolute of femininity. The singular history and craftsmanship behind the fragrance will make 2022 a year as exceptional as the last.’

Chanel N°22 £169 for 75ml eau de parfum / £300 for 200ml
chanel.com

Read more of Chanel’s remarkable history in our page dedicated to the house, here; in the meantime, we suggest those of you who already adore N°22 treat yourselves to a birthday gift in honour of the anniversary, and that those of you yet to fall in love with this legendary fragrance acquaint yourselves immediately…

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fragrances For… A Return to Happiness

We’re perhaps used to thinking of lily of the valley as a very traditional (even, whisper it, old-fashioned) perfumery ingredient, yet so many modern classics and contemporary perfumers use lily of the valley to magnificent effect in their compositions. We chose this symbolic flower – meaning ‘a return to happiness’ – eight years ago as our kind of unoffical emblem, and at our birthday launch we gave a precious beribboned posy as a gift to loved ones and fragrance industry friends.

If perhaps the stunning Guerlain Muguet 2022 we wrote about on the 1st of May was beyond your means, have a wander through these lily of the valley scents – yours to re-discover, or fall in love with afresh this spring…

 

 

 

MEMOIZE LONDON
ROSE LUXURIA
‘The essence of ultimate want and desire’ this intoxicating take on lily of the valley thrusts it betwixt a soapy rose, and creamy magnolia for skin-like sensuality, while orange flower and powder soft orris remind us of true romance. Fall in love with the floral bouquet, fall deeper for the warm, amber-rich base drizzled with benzoin, cushioned by velvety moss and rolled in precious musk and woods. Light and darkness juxtaposed to licentious yet luminescent effect!
£227 for 100ml Extrait de Parfum
perfumesociety.org

 

 

 

 

DIOR
DIORISSIMO

An eternal classic lily of the valley launched in 1956, according to Christian Dior, Diorissimo is the perfume of Edmond Roudnitska’s spirit, or, “the scented expression of his soul”. Green leaves and bergamot bring energy to the flower, while lilac adds further spring-like hopefulness. Sunlit jasmine, lily and ylang ylang beam becommingly as the gentle animalic purr of the base prevents this beauty being too cold and cut from marble.
£69 for 50ml eau de toilette
dior.com

BVLGARI
Rose Goldea Blossom Delight
Swapping out heavier scents for fresher fragrances feel like a proper escape from winter, an exuberant change in the weather here evoked by the delicacy of lily of the valley, powdery peony and a kiss of musk. This pretty bouquet is further refreshed ‘by incorporating the freshness of the rosebuds at sunrise, embraced by just-picked spring flowers.’ We’re dropping down the denier scale in olfactory form, wearing this joyous ode to spring.
£65 for 50ml eau de toilette
bvlgari.com

 

YARDLEY LONDON
LILY OF THE VALLEY BODY MIST
A charming bouquet that always makes us think of traditional English picnics in the woods, here Yardley entwines the heritage of their name and these delicate yet powerfully-fragrant flowers with a surprising note of juicy pear to add a modern twist on a traditional theme. Freesia and musk add a further layer of richness to this lighter spritz of a posy, perfect for layering while maintaining your skin’s moisture levels in the most elegantly fragrant way.
£6.99 for 200ml body mist
yardleylondon.co.uk

 

 

 

EIGHT & BOB
ANNICKE 1

Perfumer Albert Fouquet’s life was turned upside down one evening in the French Alps, where he attended a high society soirée and was introduced to the strikingly beautiful Annicke. Now this collection has been created as a contemporary tribute to his love, the first fragrance marrying lily of the valley, rosy notes of peony and intoxicating jasmine. Sparkling mandarin cuts through the heart, white musk and driftwood soothing the passion.

Try a sample in the Annicke Fragrance Discovery Set: £20 for 6 x 2ml eau de parfum

 

 

COLLEZIONE PRIVATA BY VALMONT
Collezione Privata Just Bloom
For the fourth fragrance in the collection, we’re presented with a stunning bouquet of white flowers, traditionally a symbol of femininity but chicly paired back, here, allowing the blossoms to fully bloom. CEO Sophie Vann Guillon’s favourite flower happens to be lily of the valley, so joyfully evoked in the top notes, and complemented by the creamy exoticism of gardenia in the heart. Finally caressed by the ethereal woodiness of ambergris, it’s a sun-dappled delight.
£230 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

 

 

CHANEL
N°19
Sparkling and vibrant with every elegant spritz, it’s daringly green but still supremely wearable. The snapped-stalk freshness of galbanum is balanced with soft, powdery iris, heady ylang ylang tempered by a shiver of spring air in lily of the valley and luminescent rose. Exciting and immediately mood-lifting, if N°5 wasn’t for you, try this joyously energising fizz of freshness as a pick-me-up.
£107 for 100ml eau de toilette
chanel.com

Left it too late? Last-minute gift ideas

That moment of mounting panic when you suddenly realise… you’ve left it too late to present them with a gift! Uh-oh. But hey, it’s okay – whether you’ve dropped the ball for Valentines day, an anniversary, birthday or any special occasion you absolutely meant to remember: we have the scent solutions!

Here are some ideas that you can ‘gift’ your recipient with immediately, no postage required – simply write them a lovely card and explain you’ve treated them to one of the following (with fragrant swag to follow). If they love to smell great, we guarantee they’ll be delighted…

 

Simply tick the ‘this is a gift’ box and give 365 days of fabulous fragrant activities with our Perfume Society VIP Cub Subscription for only £25, and they’ll receive the following exclusive benefits:

•  Six issues a year of our online/downloadable digital magazine The Scented Letter – (virtually) the only publication in the world devoted to all things fragrant…

Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.

•  Early access to tickets for all our events – meet with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world, attend in-store events, workshops, etc. (Our VIPs are first to hear about these.)

•  A special member’s discount on our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (normally £19 – but £15 to our VIPs)

•  Plus choose a FREE Discovery Box when you sign up (so they’ll get an actual present to look forward to)

 

For people who love print (we must admit to being partial – for longer features, especially), give them a year of fragrant reading with a Scented Letter magazine Print Subscription for £75. This multi-award-winning publication has been described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, so we are delighted that in addition to our digital magazine we can now offer this print subscription of The Scented Letter, delivered to your door and starting with the current edition. (For autumn 2017, we look at Fashion, Fabric + Fragrance.)

Appearing six times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, featuring at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more is bound to take you ever-deeper into the scented world. Click here for a sneak-peak at our taster issue!

In addition, we feature all the breaking scent news, interviews with ‘noses’ and other creators, alongside fragrant features by leading fragrance writers – from Thomas Dunckley (The Perfume Candy Boy) to Persolaise, via Viola Levy and our Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale. (If you’ve signed up as a subscriber, you will continue to receive access to the complimentary e-zine version.)

NB We are able to ship The Scented Letter overseas; please contact us for prices here

 


Who doesn’t like filling out some kind of personality questionaire? There are now a great selection of Scent-matching Personality Tests you can take for FREE online or in-store, so get them to do the quiz now and offer to buy a bottle later. Genius!

Molton Brown invite you to ‘Embark on an illuminating journey to discover the ideal match for your unique self.’ The profiling system, was created in tandem with trend forecasting and innovation agency The Future Laboratory, and you instinctively choose from a series of images, at the end of which you’ll discover which ‘psychological perfume profile’ you match. Everyone we know who’s tried it has found it an incredible experience, and it’s brilliant at selecting scents you may easily have overlooked yourself.

Penhaligon’s offer a visual feast to explore while answering simple questions, all illustrated in their delightfully quirky and so-iconic way, with prompts to choose between textures, places to visit and favourite thirst-quenchers. It’s fun and quick to answer the test, and somehow they really do expertly pinpoint your perfume personality type. At the end you’ll be presented with a selection of samples to choose from, which you can either purchase online or pop into a store to smell, before splashing out for a full bottle.

Experimental Perfume Club are brilliant at taking the worry out of picking a new perfume, and their recently launched LAYERS Lab in Selfridges features a fantastically acurate in-store app that allows you to create your own bespoke perfume! We wrote about the concept in more detail here, but basically, the LAYERS App asks questions before recommending 3 possible formulae. You can either choose from the selection or customise the fragrance further with the help of their Fragrance Curator. Once you choose your final blend, your unique fragrance is created in front of you. And, for the ultimate bespoke touch, you can choose a name for your fragrance and a personalised label for your 50ml bottle.

 

If they are really into perfume and want to learn more, we’re pretty sure they’d love to have a go at making their own on a Perfume Making Workshop. It really gives you an insight into how a perfumer works, and a new appreciation for their creations, and a number of courses offer differing experiences that make perfume perfume-lover’s gifts.

4160 Tuesdays offer a number of options for perfume lovers who want to go that step further and have a guided session of making their own, from an afternoon or full day workshops, right through to five day workshops for the really serious, and more technical courses for the more experienced and those who want to start their own house. They can travel to you if there’s a large enough group (great idea for a party), or you can visit their beautiful new studio in London.

Karen Gilbert is a perfumer who offers online workshops, live presentations and studio based courses for anyone interested in creating fine fragrances, natural perfumes or developing your own range of scented bath and body products. Signing up to her newsletter also gives you access to top tips on where to buy the best ingredients and materials you’ll need, and there are even free online taster sessions to get those creative juices flowing.

Cotswold Perfumery have been making perfume for over 50 years, run by chief perfumer John Stephens, who now invites the fragrance obsessed to indulge their passions in various courses and one-day workshops. Running throughout the year in a dedicated teaching room/laboratory at the Cotswold Perfumery in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water; ‘as well as learning the skills involved in developing and making your own perfume (to take home with you), you’ll get a unique insight into the life and work of John, one of only six independent perfumers in the UK.’

Whichever of these last-minute gift options you choose, it’s bound to be appriated by any perfume lover. Why not print out an I.O.U voucher to put in the card, as a reminder they will get an actual gift later on? Or you know, gussy up some lovely word to write in their card, add a bunch of flowers and put the date one week ahead in your diary for next year?

By Suzy Nightingale

In frantic need of a fragrant gift? Last-minute help is at hand!

Forgotten a special occasion, when a previously-planned fragrant gift would have saved the day? Be it a birthday or anniversary, Valentine’s or simply a little something to say ‘I love you, thanks for being around’ – we’ve all done it. Either dithering at the counter or leaving a tab open on the computer insteading of clicking Add to Basket, it’s easy to be too late…

But we’re here to tell you that all is not lost! Addle-headed last-minute gifters, we have some timely suggestions to get you out of hot water, and in to their scented good books.

Let them know how important they are to you by making them a member of our Perfume Society VIP Club. For only £25 for a full year, it’s the present that keeps on giving. When you sign them up, they’ll enjoy all of these fragrant benefits:

•  Six issues a year of our award-winning online/downloadable digital magazine The Scented Letter – (virtually) the only publication in the world devoted to all things fragrant…

Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.

An exclusive monthly ‘insider offer’ – just for our VIPs.

•  Early access to tickets for all our events – meet with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world, attend in-store events, workshops, etc. (Our VIPs are first to hear about these.)

•  A special member’s discount on any Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (normally £19 – but only £15 to our VIPs)

•  Plus choose a FREE Discovery Box from the many tempting optionswe’ve arrayed, encompassing all tastes from new niche to designer classic.

The fragrantly obsessed will ADORE an anual subscription to The Scented Letter, our beautiful, multiple award-winning magazine. For £75, they’ll get to delve in to what’s been described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, we are delighted that in addition to our digital magazine we can now offer this print subscription of The Scented Letter, delivered to their door and starting with the current edition.

Appearing six times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, with at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more, this is bound to take them ever-deeper into the scented world. Click here for a sneak-peak at our taster issue!

And if they’re not in the UK? We’re overjoyed we can now offer overseas subscribers an International Subscription to our digital downloadable magazine, The Scented Letter. (Alas, we still can’t ship our boxes overseas – and we’re as gutted as you are about it!) For only £20 a year, the subscription gives them six 60-page ONLINE editions a year of this beautiful, multi-Jasmine Award-winning magazine: the only one of its kind for perfume-lovers.

Because of the way our system works, when you click Add to Cart it will send us an e-mail – and we’ll follow up for payment. (If you buy this as a gift; please let us know in your e-mail to us if it’s for someone else.)

So you see? All is not lost for those of us who are, despite trying, still forgetful. We do it ourselves all the time, so no judgement, here. And we guarantee, any of the above will be far more welcome than a drooping garage-forecourt bouquet, any day of the week.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fancy a second helping…? We chose three favourite fragrant features to celebrate our birthday

As part of the continuing celebrations for our third birthday (already – can you believe it?!) we’d love to share with you three of our favourite posts from over those momentous years.
We cover everything from just-launched fragrances to the history of perfume itself, with exclusive interviews and those ever-insightful (dare we say psychologically revealing?) chats in which the world’s top noses reveal their ‘five favourite smells’ and we delve deep in to the psyche of a perfumer’s imagination.
With an ever-growing features list that spans an encylopaedia of scented ingredients, a stack of fragrant reads and a worldwide perfume shopping guide – our archive is teaming with thousands (millions?) of words, so we can hardly blame you if you missed them the first time around!
We sadly can’t supply birthday cake for all, but might we suggest you treat yourself to a slice of something delicious and settle down with a cuppa for an evocatively fragrant catch-up of some of our favourite moments…?

Year One: that time we won an award that we weren’t even nominated for…
‘It’s not every day you get to say ‘today, as we breakfasted at BAFTA…’ but this morning, that’s exactly what we did while attending The Jasmine Awards – the premier awards for journalists writing on the subject of fragrance, and ‘The Oscars’ of the perfume world…

And (believe it or not), we were actually rendered speechless for quite some seconds – for at The Perfume Society, we were utterly thrilled/flabbergasted/over-the-moon (insert your own synonyms for giddy happiness, we’re still thinking of them!)…’
What got us so giddy? Read on to find out!

Year Two: that time we ate a scented supper created by a Michelin-trained chef…

‘American author, writer and pioneer natural perfumer Mandy Aftel is a force of nature, an inspiration to many and a good friend of The Perfume Society. So when she recently announced she’d be making a rare trip to our shores, we leapt at the chance chance to welcome her. And more than that, to introduce her to the brilliant chef behind our Scented Suppers – Pratap Chahal – who was, himself, inspired to explore the world of fragrant cooking through reading Mandy’s books…’

How can you eat perfume ingredients? Get set to drool

Year Three: that time we found out what makes Guerlain’s Thierry Wasser tick…

‘We’re proud to say that he has not only become a friend to The Perfume Society, over the years – but proudly carries a Perfume Society VIP Subscriber card, number 001, in his wallet. We caught up with Thierry on his travels – and he found some time to share the answers to our ‘nose’ questionnaire…’

Thierry’s tip for improving your own sense of smell? Find it, here
So what’s in store for the next few years? Well, we don’t need a crystal ball to tell you we’ve some fantastically exciting events coming up, a wealth of intriguing Discovery Boxes for you to delve in to and all manner of finger-on-the-pulse perfume news and exclusive features in our award-winning magazine.
And just like you, we’re always hungry for more…
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

It's our THIRD birthday! To begin the celebrations, we pay homage to our symbolic flower: lily of the valley…

Regarded as a lucky charm ever since its first introduction from Japan to Europe in the Middle Ages, lily of the valley has become synonymous with the month of May and ‘the return of happiness’. For the French, May 1st traditionally represents the start of gifting bouquets of “muguet” to loved ones to signify the regard in which they’re held and as a token of prosperity for the year ahead. A tradition supposedly begun when King Charles IX was presented with a bunch of the delicate blooms, and decided to gift the ladies of his court, too.

In Europe, ‘bals de muguet’ were historically held – lily of the valley themed dances that offered the tantalising prospect for young singletons to meet without their parents’ permission.

With the young gals dressed in white gowns and the dapper chaps wearing lily of the valley as a buttonhole, we’re sure there was many a ‘return to happiness’ on such evenings… Now the custom is tied in with France’s Labour Day public holiday, and the tradition of giving lily of the valley to loved ones during May still holds strong.

No wonder that three years ago, we chose this delightful, flower-filled date in the calendar to launch The Perfume Society – running hither and thither all over London handing sprigs of lily of the valley to fragrant friends.

And my, how our friends have grown in this short time! With a readership that stretches around the globe and our Instagram followers now topping 21K, we have been delighted with some of the truly beautiful pictures some of our followers have been sharing there. Just feast your eyes on the stunning pictures we’ve sprinkled throughout this post…

With your help we’ve come so far already, and we have so many more exciting things to share with you in the weeks and months ahead. We wish we could come and give every single one of you a sprig of lily of the valley to show our heartfelt appreciation for all your support, but for now, accept this symbol of love and luck, from us to all of you…

Written by Suzy Nightingale