Parterre have very generously offered our readers an EXCLUSIVE 20% off discount – scroll down to find out about this incredible (and groundbreaking) British niche perfumery house, and how to claim your scented surprise; because there’s a way to make this EXTRA special and save up to 45%…!
When David and Julia Bridger decided to combine the ruling passions of their lives – art, gardens, travel and perfume – and gather a team of experts (literally) in their field, they set in motion a series of events that is poised to change the face of British fragrance forever. And put Parterre on the map.
There’s a lot to be said for following your nose on holiday – because you really do never know where serendipity might lead you.
In 2014, the Bridgers were motoring around the South of France, when Julia recalled – with affection – visiting the hillside town of Grasse, as a child. ‘I remembered the whole town smelling of roses,’ she recalls. They steered their car in the direction of the hillside town and made a bee-line for one of Grasse’s perfume museums. Later, walking through the museum’s garden – a-bloom with fragrant flowers – a seed was sown.
‘We thought: maybe this is something we could do ourselves…’
David’s family had been in farming for almost 400 years, so horticulture runs in his veins – even though most of his career had been spent in marketing. Julia, meanwhile, had wide experience in advertising, going on to run a luxury villa travel company. Together, the pair (at that point based in Hampshire) began looking around for a farm of their own to buy, before stumbling across the ‘sleeping beauty’ of Keyneston Mill. It had fields – 50 acres of them. A run-down mill house and some crumbling outbuildings. An overgrown orchard. But lots and lots of potential not only to fulfill their dream of actually growing and distilling perfume ingredients right there, in the Dorset countryside – but to show visitors how it’s done, as they’d so enjoyed in Grasse.
Embracing the concept of ‘from seed to bottle’, with Parterre, the Bridgers not only set out to to grow, harvest and distil many of their own ingredients – but they also had a longing to try growing crops that had never before been grown on British soil. Even including – astonishingly – vetiver. For Julia and David, this is about ‘reinventing perfumery by taking it back to its roots.’ Parterre‘s motto: ‘Where creative botany meets artistry and the wild spirit of adventure.’
The planting now expands into surrounding fields, with crop-scale ingredients producing incredible quality yields, which are then hand-blended by Jacques Chabert – one of the world’s leading perfumers, who works in Grasse alongside his daughter, Elsa Chabert, while his elder and equally talented perfumer daughter, Carla Chabert, runs their Paris laboratory. Meanwhile, Parterre’s creative team is headed up by Virginie Daniau, President of the British Society of Perfumers (BSP), who first introduced Jacques to Keynestone Mill’s owners.
This adventure in botany has taken over four years – but the vision has now become reality. Over 2,000 aromatic plants and flowers are now being grown just 20 minutes from Poole – including rose geranium (more of which anon), melissa, hyssop, chamomile, angelica, artemisia, clary sage, yarrow, bergamot mint and red thyme. Many of them have made it into the limited edition, numbered flacons of Parterre fragrance now on sale at spiffy Piccadilly department store Fortnum & Mason, as well as via their own website.
‘Our mission is to grow the most unusual plants we can source,’ explains Julia. ‘Each plant is then trialled, harvested and distilled on site – and this process captures the very essence of each aromatic variety.’
For Julia and David, this is about ‘reinventing perfumery by taking it back to its roots.’ Parterre‘s motto: ‘Where creative botany meets artistry and the wild spirit of adventure.’
Now you can take advantage of a fantastic 20% discount when you shop on parterrefragrances.com – simply enter the code PERFSOC20 when prompted at checkout.
Psst! It just so happens that Parterre are showcasing their fabulous home-grown vetiver scent, The Root of All Goodness, by already having discounted the 70ml & 100ml bottles by up to 25% off on their site. With our exclusive code used at checkout, it takes an extra 20% off that price, meaning Perfume Society readers will actually get 45% off The Root of All Goodness when purchasing the larger size bottles!
Those craving warmth should look no further than this golden elixir, an evocative blend of all things mellow and radiant. Even the top notes of bergamot and lemon have been enriched with the tingle of ginger, softly melding into the hazy heart of camphorous hyssop and herbaceous clary sage. The vetiver feels like a cloak of comfort – a grounding scent to help you stride forth with confidence in to the year ahead.
With the change of seasons (and all of us in desperate need of a treat), the code will be valid for THREE MONTHS. So what better time to explore these exquisite scents for yourself (and stock up on Christmas presents, perhaps…?
When fragrance ingredients become scarce, suddenly our favourite scents can be rendered obscure – something fans of Angela Flanders Aqua Alba know all too well. But those craving this perfectly seasonal, warm and smoky fragrance can now rejoice, as it’s back, baby!
Originally released as a limited edition in 2012, Angela Flanders Aqua Alba soon achieved something of a cult following – and no wonder, for this loamy swirl of amber-rich magnificence celebrates the very art of blending, distilling the distinctive flavours of whisky – translating them into a fragrance that captures the character without smelling as though you’ve had one too many. Indeed, the name Whisky stems from the Gaelic word meaning ‘water of life’, and the dark, peaty notes of Aqua Alba perfectly evoke i’ts magically restorative properties.’
Brown Oak Moss – one of the key base ingredients for Aqua Alba – suddenly became unavailable, meaning that the original formula needed to be completely re-worked from scratch. Flanders’ daughter, Kate Evans, has now painstakingly amended that original formula with new accords that still create the spirit and true character that so many fell for, which has been, she admits, ‘…quite a journey.’
Kate reminisces that ‘It was a fascinating process to watch Angela create Aqua Alba originally, inspired by her conversations with Jim Beveridge, Master Blender at Johnnie Walker Whisky; and attempting to replace the lost ingredient while remaining as true to the original as possible has been quite an olfactory challenge.’
So what did Kate discover to re-create the distinctly cosy mossiness of the first fragrance?
Angela Flanders say: ‘Distinguished, comforting and rugged, Aqua Alba draws on elements of the Scottish landscape that so imbue whisky with its distinctive flavours – peat smoke, heather, wind blasted wood, soft green mosses… Labdanum and patchouli represent the moss and earth, overlaying a heart of heather and gaiac wood, on a base of sweet amber, oudh and smoky peat.’
Says Kate, ‘With such a loyal following for this particular perfume, and a waiting list for the new iteration we are thrilled to have it ready in time for this winter season.’ Not nearly as thrilled as though of us who have waited breathlessly for it to return…
With an attention-grabbing name like Damn Rebel Bitches – a scented homage of blood orange, hazelnut, pink peppercorn, clary sage and malt, to the fearsome females of the Jacobite uprisings who were given this nickname – it’s obvious that REEK Perfume were bursting with passion to portray inspiring women in fragrant form. A proudly Scottish niche fragrance house, Molly Sheridan describes starting the brand so she could ‘…memorialise heroic, unapologetic women through scent. We want to celebrate our heroines.’ Damn right, and here at The Perfume Society, so do we!
Following hot on the fragrant heels of the Bitch, the equally flagrant Damn Rebel Witches celebrated those women who dared to be different, and were punished for it. You can read a full review in our guide to bewitching Halloween scents, but truly this is a fragrance suitable for any time of year, and whenver you feel like asserting your strangeness.
Molly says wearing REEK scents should be ‘…an everyday rebellion, a reminder of female achievement, much of which has been forgotten.’
Using unconventionally honest images (completely un-photoshopped images of women that celebrate beauty in all forms, including some of Molly herself) and deliberately provocative names to make people think a little more deeply about how women have been classified – often by their scent and the things a ‘virtuous women’ is supposed to smell of – throughout the centuries, we were already intrigued by their Instagram account, and so were thrilled to meet up with Molly and get to know her by asking for her five favourite smells…
1 – Chanel No 5: ‘The reason I’m picking this is because at every stage of my life, a lady of significance to me has worn it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have an older relative, or teacher, for example, who hasn’t worn it! It’s one of those absolute staples, a smell that everyone knows. It’s a classic – I wouldn’t wear it myself, but I love the smell of it on other people. Especially when they wear too much – I love that!’
2 – Elnett Hairspray: ‘It always reminds you of somebody or a particular time in your life when you used it. One whiff and you’re straight back there! And it’s just got this really distinctive smell – something that I can’t quite put my finger on or even describe – but it’s so evocative…’
3 – Petrol: ‘I love the smell of petrol, and I find that a lot of perfumes I like to wear has something like that in the scent for a split second – I’m not sure what it is, exactly, but something that reminds me of it and draws me to it. I want to keep smelling it to get more, more to get the petrol smell back. Weirdly I find that with both fragrances and food – the things I like most have something that reminds me of petrol.’
4 – 4160 Tuesdays Maxed Out: ‘Ohhh… it smells like chocolate limes to me. For ages this was the only perfume I wore, and I wouldn’t wear it during the day, but for some reason I like wearing it at night. Even if I’m just staying in.
5 – Bread: ‘It’s one of those smells that’s the same everywhere in the world. You can be in India or Paris and it all smells the same. Bread is one of those habitual smells that’s so comforting, and makes you hungry to smell it, even if you’re weren’t beforehand. I really like the fact that bread has such a social history, too – it’s a staple of life, we talking about “breaking bread” with people or say something’s “the best thing since sliced bread”. I went to Italy with my little sister and asked her what her favourite thing about the holiday and she said ‘The bread and butter!’ which just about sums it up for me.
Can I just say, I think these are absolutely brilliant questions to throw at someone! It’s so psychological… and I really like not having time to ruminate on the answers, otherwise you’d come up with some perfectly balanced list of things you’re supposed to say. Not like me – petrol and Elnett, haha!’
Penhaligon’s are one of the most famous fragrance houses in the world, a proudly British brand with the most fascinating fragrant history…
Hot towels and steamily scented delights were the order of the day for customers flocking to the famous Piccadilly Turkish Baths on Jermyn Street and it was here that William Penhaligon started working as a hairdresser in the 1860s. Originally from Penzance, Cornwall, his shrewd eye for business led to him opening a rival salon just down the street a few years later. There, Penhaligon began creating his very own fragrances, lotions and potions for a most discerning clientele to enjoy.
1891 saw what was then ‘Penhaligon’s & Jeavons’ move to the even more prestigious premises of 33 St James Street and 66 Jermyn Street, with the two stores linked together at the rear. They announced to the press that not only were they the sole suppliers for the original Penhaligon’s ‘hit’ fragrance of Hammam Bouquet, but that both shops boasted a new- fangled invention of… electric lighting – still a novelty at this point in retail!
Clearly a whizz with the scissors and the scents, Penhaligon was appointed Royal Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court during Queen Victoria’s reign and by 1903 his business was granted its first Royal Warrant from Queen Alexandra. Nearly a century and a half later, Penhaligon’s has added Royal Warrants from The Prince of Wales (granted in 1988) and the Duke of Edinburgh (granted in 1956) to their regal roll call.
140+ years old they may be, but that doesn’t mean the techniques they use are stuck in a time-warp. Penhaligon’s consistently make the most of the newest fragrance technology – from CO2 extraction to Nature Print Technology and beyond – promising that ‘each bottle contains a blend of the very old and very new.’ Those distinctive bottles tap into their history, too; clear glass and brightly coloured bow-ties adorning the stoppers are a direct echo of William’s original design.
Still made and produced in England, many of the original fragrances can still be found in the current collection, including Hamman Bouquet. Lately, however, Penhaligon’s have collaborated with some of the greats noses of modern times – including Bertrand Duchaufour,Olivia Giacobetti, Olivier Cresp and Alberto Morrillas.
Lately, a whole ‘family’ has been added to their already impressive stable of fragrances, the Penhaligon’s Portraits. Displaying more than a dash of exquisite eccentricity, we’re invited to get to know the characters, like The Ruthless Countess Dorothea, who is ‘A most ferocious matriarch, known for her sharp mind, even sharper wit and a secret fondness for the company of young men and scones.’ While described in mischievously historical tones, it’s a tingling, ginger-infused shot of oppulence on a cosy, slightly boozy base. And all the Portraits fragrances have their fingers on the button of contemporary fashions – much like the house of Penhaligon’s itself.
Penhaligon’s is a treasure trove of scents to discover – rich in both heritage and modern mischieviousness – and how many perfumeries still standing (and thriving) since the 1800’s can you think of? We love the way each boutique has its own distinct personality, too, with lavishly appointed interiors uniquely themed to suit each location.
Have you been to visit the newly re-vamped Penhaligon’s Wellington Street store in Covent Garden? We rather swooned over the decor (while sniffing out all the latest scents). Whichever boutique you visit, we’re sure you’ll love getting to know the entire ‘family’ of fragrances…
Following in the footsteps of the ‘Jo Malone London Girls’ – Poppy Delevingne and Karen Elson – get ready to greet the new fragrant face and ‘Jo Malone London Gent‘: London born movie star, John Boyega.
Jean-Guillaume Trottier, Global President of Jo Malone London, explained they chose Boyega because, as a ‘…born and bred Londoner, John is intelligent, inclusive and witty. He shares our core values of generosity and creativity and is unafraid to speak his mind. His vivacity and whole-heartedness make him a wonderful fit with Jo Malone London and I am delighted to welcome him to the family.’
The boy from Peckham’s done well, that’s for sure: from recieving BAFTA’s 2016 Rising Star Award and the Chopard Trophy at Cannes, Boyega captured worldwide attention for his starring role as Finn, forst in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (which happens to be the highest-grossing US film of all time), and again in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (the highest grossing film, worldwide, of all time).
But it’s not just the big-hitters he’s known for, as Boyega has also graced indie smashhits such as Detroit and Attack the Block, now bringing his vibrancy, vigour and versatillity to the proudly homegrown brand, and along with redefining what it means to be a contempirary gent right now, Jo Malone London say he ‘mirrors our scents which always accentuate the surprising and the bold. Whilst known for being a huge presence and personality, Boyega himself values understatement and originality in scent.’
And we’re sure you’re going to want to know this gent better, so are delighted to share with you a Q&A, below, as well as a sneak peek at his first film for Jo Malone London…
What made you join the Jo Malone London Family?
John Boyega: ‘I love the creativity and storytelling element of Jo Malone London. It’s something I resonate with, it’s how I work best: with discussion, collaboration and down to earth honesty. Jo Malone London always delivers unexpected and unique ingredient choices and scents. It’s refined, but it’s surprising too. My life is the same, a subtle contradiction: my job, my profession, and then I still come home to this town, I still go to the supermarket late at night in my pyjamas. In some ways, everything’s changed, but then again nothing has.’
What is your relationship to scent?
‘Scent is part of my everyday style. My personal style is quite casual but I like to mix it up with interesting fits with Japanese influenced jackets, fitted trousers and chains. I like that I can change up my scent to suit my style. I’m guilty, I like to layer my fragrance. You can make some really interesting smells. If my life was a bottle of cologne it would be called: Conflicts and Success. A new Boyega line.’
What is your first memory of scent?
‘My first job was before school, I would deliver post, milk and sweets. And then I used to sell a bit at school. Sell a little bit of candies, Rockies, Haribo’s. So, my childhood smells like those old school sweets, those drumsticks, gobstoppers, spicy soup.’
What Jo Malone London products would you recommend?
‘Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense is a solid favourite. It’s a really good scent. I like to wear it on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t attract too much attention, but at the same time it gets people looking and smelling.
I also like a bit of oud; oud is a lovely smell.’
What do you look for in a script?
‘I look for a number of things in a script. But for me, the main thing is the character arc. I don’t want my character to begin and end the movie the same. I want a change, something different. Something that happens with the character, that means you have to go on an interesting journey with him.’
What’s your favourite part of being on set?
‘My favourite part about being on set is collaborating with the people. I’ve always watched films and never had clarity in my younger days on how the magic starts and is created. So, to be a part of that and witness it is the biggest rush.’
What is something you didn’t expect about being famous?
‘One thing I didn’t expect about being famous is the fact that some things don’t change. Sometimes you have to wait in the queue like everyone else and that’s fine. I mean, I guess I got told so many things about being famous I thought that everything was going to change for me. But I still go shopping late at night in my PJ’s. Nothing’s really changed.’
What wouldn’t you go a day without?
‘I won’t go a day without wearing a comfortable pair of socks. It doesn’t matter if they’re different socks because sometimes in the wash, things get confusing. But as long as they’re both comfortable. I’m cool. I also wear scent every day.’
What do you miss most about England when you’re not here?
‘Sometimes I miss the weather, because I want to put on a jacket. And not always be surrounded by blue skies and sun. I miss the moody faces, I can’t lie, there’s something about the reality and honesty that I like. I just miss London, I miss home.’
What’s the first thing you do when you get back to London?
‘The first thing I do is take a drive. I go back around South London, then drive around Crystal Palace, all the way around Dulwich, go down to Brixton. Just go for a drive, get the feel of the city, see what’s going on. Put the radio on. I just catch a vibe.’
So now, settle down, and get ready to see the Jo Malone Gent in action! (If you happen to have a bottle of Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense nearby, you could always spray that all over for some multi-sensory cinema action, as now at least we know his current favourite fragrance…)
So for his latest – scented – starring role, expect to see Boyega further ‘navigate new territory, celebrating Britishness, storytelling and fragrance as he takes on a new kind of spotlight as the first Jo Malone London Gent.’
When David and Julia Bridger decided to combine the ruling passions of their lives – art, gardens, travel and perfume – and gather a team of experts (literally) in their field, they set in motion a series of events that is poised to change the face of British fragrance forever. And put Parterre on the map…
Embracing the concept of ‘from seed to bottle’, David and Julia not only set out to to grow, harvest and distil many of their own ingredients – but they also had a longing to try growing crops that had never before been grown on British soil. Even including – astonishingly – vetiver.
FAMILY: Fougère TOP NOTES: ginger, lemon, bergamot HEART NOTES: clary sage, hyssop, blue hyssop BASE NOTES: vetiver, leather accords, amber
Those craving warmth should look no further than Parterre’s golden elixir, an evocative blend of all things radiant. Even the top notes of bergamot and lemon have been enriched with the tingle of ginger, softly melding into the hazy heart of camphorous hyssop and herbaceous clary sage.
To continue the story of this garen-centric house, the work that has gone into this project is nothing short of astounding. It begins with finding and restoring Keyneston Mill in the Dorset’s Tarrant Valley, bordered by the River Stour. There, a series of botanical gardens has been designed – hence the name, ‘Parterre’ – divided into ‘The Fougère Garden’ (with its ferns, lavender and mosses), the Padua Garden (roses, jasmine, geranium), and so on.
The planting expands into surrounding fields, with crop-scale ingredients, including rose geranium, mint, yarrow and the aforementioned vetiver. (Which we can report is incredibly smooth and pure: a vetiver lover’s dream!). For Julia and David, this is about ‘reinventing perfumery by taking it back to its roots.’ Parterre‘s motto: ‘Where creative botany meets artistry and the wild spirit of adventure.’
We think you’re going to want to explore this garden of fragrances quite thoroughly… You can vist Parterre’s Keyneston Mill gardens for a small £3 entry charge, and of course explore the Root of All Goodness in your own home, – along with twelve other fragrances – in our Niche Collection II Discovery Box!
There’s a plethora of British niche perfume houses to be excited about these days – how many have you heard of and got to try thus far…?
Niche-lovers have surely never been so well served as right now – there’s a continuing bubble of enthusiasm in the rise and rise of niche perfume brands; and thrillingly, British houses are surging in popularity, much of it spread by word-of-mouth.
The personal recommendations are from hushed whispers of industry-insiders right through to fans declaring their love through social media. These houses are ‘indies’ (independently owned) and don’t have access to huge marketing budgets; so we wanted to share and celebrate just some of those our noses are currently loving…
Holly Hutchinson founded Memoize London in 2016, but her heart started beating faster for fragrance far earlier – at the age of seven, to be precise. On her birthday, she was gifted her very first set of miniature perfumes… the way many of us are reeled in to the world of fragrance fever! Following a career at a prestigious perfume house, Holly branched out to create her own niche brand, believing that perfumes should evoke memories, so drawing on her own, such as ‘a French holiday in the sun, a ride across the waves by boat, venturing through trees in a garden of ferns and Laurels…’
There’s eight fragrances, currently, from the provocative, smoky passions of Era to the lazy Sunday morning of Tristitia, cocooning you in floral and vanilla scented sheets with an amber snuggle. One of our favourites has to be Superbia – created for self-confidence, encompassing rose bushes, the smell of a leather satchel and a mother’s proud hug.
From the creative expression of one woman’s strong belief in the power of fragrance and the positive effect it can have on your heart, mind and spirit, Anima Vinci was born. That insightful and passionate founder is Nathalie Vinciguerra, and her background as creative CEO of what many consider the first true ‘niche’ house, L’Artisan Parfumeur, along with British heritage house Penhaligon’s, gave her great grounding (and the best contacts) in the business. ‘Anima Vinci is the creative expression of my strong belief in the power of fragrance,’ she says, ‘and the positive effect it can have on your heart, mind and spirit. I believe that scents have the power to immerse us in the universe’s energy and nature’s beauty.’
With Rose Prana you’re fully immersed in the rose fields of Grasse, smelling the earth below the bushes abundant with fresh, almost raspberry-scented Rose de Mai blooms, and a sense of the sky above. Jasmine Ylang is symbolic of divine hope with sandalwood and frangipani, a holiday for the soul; while Wood of Life is our go-to de-stress scent – a meditative whisper of mint atop sublimely smooth palo santo, sandalwood and vetiver. It’s truly other-worldy and totally wonderful to wear.
With a green ethos that flows through every fragrance, Prosody London take equal delight in their scents being so beautifully composed, so harmoniously sophisticated, that many people don’t even realise they are – gloriously, unashamedly – all natural and organic. Perfumer and founder Keshen Teo has worked tirelessly to ensure his scents have this aesthetic quality as well as the ethical purity they strive for. As he explains: ‘The intrinsic complexity of naturals means you have to work hard to keep things well structured and balanced,’ because it’s vital the fragrances are stunning on first sniff. ‘I like the challenge of this,’ he smiles, going on to admit: ‘We know that sometimes people buy Prosody London without even realising they’re organic and 100% natural. I’m perfectly happy with that!’
Their voluptuously feminine Jacinth Jonquil entwines hyacinth with that mesmerising jonquil itself – think daffodils in sunshine, a crispness to the air like the first breath of spring, flecked with juniper berries and nestled on a softly woody base. Mocha Muscari uniquely blends the richness of coffee with a surprisingly seductive twist of mango, jasmine and lavender on a base of black agarwood and sandalwood, and Rose Rondeaux is decadently laden with fresh raspberry and juicy blackcurrant, dusted with iris and warmed with patchouli: all of them all-natural, and all-beautiful to wear.
Angela Flanders was a fragrant phenomenon: an woman with a life-long passion for perfume, who was still working – and creating beautiful scents – into her eighth decade. Now, through her daughter, Kate Evans, Angela’s legacy endures… From her career as a television costumer designer to opening a store in the heart of the bustling Columbia Road market in 1982, the perfect restoration of a Victorian shop featured bowls of scented pot pourri made by Angela, beautiful fabrics and all manner of desirable things. The pot-pourri fragrances were so popular, customers begged her to make room scents and perfumes, and Angela’s world soon became exclusively fragrant as her perfume selection grew notoriety – Precious One, an exquisite jasmine/tuberose that softens to a green chypre – winning a Fragrance Foundation Award for Best New Independent Fragrance in 2012.
From the golden tobacco and spice of Ambre Noire to the perfect white flower wedding fragrance of Bouquet D’Amour, Angela excelled at seamlessly blending precious ingredients. Now, inspired particularly by her mother’s history with and love of fabrics, Kate uses those years spent at her side (learning the craft of perfumery and often advising) to continue their line of so-unique scents. Lawn captures the smell of crisp cotton sheets drying in a dewy floral-scented summer breeze, while the more recent Taffeta evokes decadence with heady hyacinth, soft iris and a fruity rose. What’s more, it’s up for another Fragrance Foundation award this year, so the family talent fully blooms.
Modernist Fragrance founder, John Evans, entered higher education, as he says, ‘late and non-traditionally’. Embarking on what he calls ‘an accidental corporate career’, trying his hand as a successful novelist before finally settling on his sense of smell to guide him. ‘My dad installed and restored wooden floors,’ John recalls, ‘early memories of fresh cut pine and newly sanded mahogany. Somewhere along the way these merge with the smells of church, incense especially, when I was an altar boy – capped off by a six week spell in hospital when I was five years old and all sorts of odours pervaded my life.’ Travelling to Grasse, he immersed himself in the techniques of fine perfumery, painstakingly experimenting with building his own irreverantly mischevious compositions.
Designed to be genderless, they’re inescapably memorable but never allow the integrity of the wearer’s character to be compromised. So for The Modernist, expect succulent citrus, then greenness dripping with juice, freesia , a hazy flicker of dry frankincense and labdanum before a smoothly woody base. In Nihilism, get ready for a majestically bombastic rose that’s up close and personal with icy aldehydes and a definite sense of a furry embrace in the bezoin base; and for Geist, lemon freshness is suffused by a seamless blend of honeysuckle, musk and gentle amber. Transformative and complex, utterly intriguing, these will all keep your nose hooked all day.
For the founder of Stories by Eliza Grace, Tonya Kidd-Beggs, being born into the heart of Northern Ireland’s ‘troubles’, and struggling to come to terms with thinking about the future for her children, curated each blend’s inspiration as a personal testament to the power of fragrance in her own life. And Tonya’s own appreciation of fragrance began early. As she recalls: ‘My grandmother’s pearl necklace hung on my tiny neck and I rubbed one of her furs across my cheek. It was laced with Chanel No.5. I breathed in the scent of a woman I would never know. A courageous businessperson who paved the way for Northern Irish women to succeed in a male-dominated market place.’ Named for her twin children (Eliza and Grace), inspired by precious memories, the fragrances feel remarkably like part of your own life as soon as you wear them.
Stories No.1 is all luminescence: bergamot, grapefruit and orange blossom leading to the deep, warm embrace of cedarwood, with delicate touches of jasmine, heliotrope and a fig-tea accord along the way. Ultimately, snugglesome amber swaddles sandalwood and the earthy cool of the so-grounding vetiver. For Stories No.2 Tonya drew on childhood memories of her grandparents’ garden, and it evokes the exuberance of running barefoot on dew-flecked grass, exploring flowers face-first, curls of tobacco smoke exuding from a steamy greenhouse. So special, and so personally evocative to experience.
The worlds of whisky and fragrance have much in common, believes founder of Kingdom Scotland, Imogen Russon-Taylor. After a distinguished career in the aromatic world of Scotch whisky, Imogen has now gone on to create her own fragrance house – incredibly, the very first to be based in Scotland. Both whisky and perfume are produced by traditional distillation methods,’ she explains. Both evoke a complex sensory experience and both rely upon the innovative use of ingredients or flavours to distinguish themselves from competitors.’ And thus was born her vision to ‘bottle Scotland’ – using perfume to share old narratives in brave new ways, tapping into the rich stories associated with perfume and natural ingredients in Scotland.
Composed in a thoughtfully contemporary way, they unfurl as fragrant tales alive with possibility. Gusting with outdoorsy botanicals and fresh bergamot, in Portal verdant florals rest on a forest floor of shady vetiver and soul-soothing aromatic pine; while for Albaura the landscape’s conjured through the freshness of snow and ice, blended with berries and botanicals in a scent that is bold, fresh and independent in spirit. Metamorphic‘s geology is composed by black pepper, tobacco, incense, minerals and rose absolute infused with a splash of whisky and amber-rich leather. Before long, Kingdom Scotland will be a fragrance name on the lips of perfumistas-in-the-know, far beyond that country’s borders…
We like to offer as many opportunities to try new niche brands as possible, and are aware that (unless you live within walking distance of a niche perfumery) it can be really difficult to try samples for yourself. That’s why we offer the chance to explore these houses through their own Discovery Sets in our online shop, – a selection of niche brands we think deserve to be celebrated and available for everyone to try.
If you love niche, here’s a teaser to keep your eyes peeled and your nostrils primed, as we have a VERY exciting and ultra-exclusive Limited Edition Niche Discovery Box worth OVER £75 (but costing you FAR less!) coming your way TOMORROW (Friday 26 April)… It’s expected to sell-out quickly, so do be sure to grab yours ASAP.
Floris have released River Dawn, a limited edition fragrance of only 200 hand-poured bottles. Invoking shady streams and woodland walks, it’s definitely making us spring-ready…
Venturing out to explore the River Avon for their inspiration, the Floris perfumery team followed its meandering course as it begins in the beautiful, golden-stoned Cotswolds and as various tributaries merge, finalling flowing through Wiltshire on its way to the sea.
Edward Bodenham, Perfumery Director at Floris, spoke about their fragrant journey:
‘Historically we always launch our hand poured collection in late January, when winter is setting in but nature provides a few early signs of spring, particularly on our river banks. I love this time of year and whilst working on the ‘River Dawn’ scent with our team, it became clear that I wasn’t alone. Our rivers drive us on, providing tranquillity and uplifting our spirits, even in the harshest coldest winter, as the sun rises on a new day, they continue to shape our land, our geology, our industry and trade. They are a constant source of inspiration.
I recently walked along the banks of the Avon near Bradford Upon Avon. It’s a part of the world that for me encapsulates a huge amount of the beauty of our country. Interestingly our perfumer, Penny Ellis, who worked with me in creating this fragrance is a keen river swimmer who has swam sections of the Avon during these colder months which gave her huge inspiration when composing the scent.
We wanted to reflect the vibrant yet reflective tranquillity of flowing, shimmering water. How it feels to be in that raw environment. The natural beauty of the cold river bank, signs that spring is on its way as tea olives force through the cold, and snow drops appear in the shade of wooded forests, never far from the water. Most of all, we wanted to portray that emotion felt when rising before the dawn to see these landscapes completely unspoilt, before the world awakes. The river dwellers, fishermen, swimmers, rowers and those who still earn a living, working in harmony with its flow.’
Love at first sniff?
From the first spray, you’ll be transported to those gurgling tributaries with a crisp, galbanum freshness that speaks of green shoots bravely poking their heads above ground. Think fats buds just about to blossom, spiderwebs bejewelled with dewdrops, the cheering sight of snowdrops and hyacinths and a drift of spring’s first apple blossom in the air. Grounded with soothing sandalwood and delicately dusted with orris, this is the perect thing to wear when you want to celebrate that subtle shift in the seasons – not quite the end of winter, but good lord it’s almost in sight. A lightening of days and spirits, then, that make this a must-have (and a beautiful choice for any spring brides, we say).
When we first encountered Floral Street, suffice to say we were blown away by their concept – and oh boy did they deliver in the execution of the fabulous new spins on floral fragrances, and within their standalone Covent Garden store.
Our co-founder, Jo Fairley, has known Michelle Feeney for longer than either of them care to admit – back to Michelle’s time at the Estée Lauder Companies, and then at the helm of revolutionary tanning name St Tropez. So when she announced she was unveiling a fragrance line ‘built on the streets of London’, we were rather thrilled by the whole idea and the stunning reality…
Floral Street’s fragrances are as far from your granny’s florals as it’s possible to get – each created by the star perfumer Jérôme Épinette, who is known for his mastery of natural ingredients. As Floral Street put it: ‘These are bunches – not bouquets. Ingredients, not notes. And it’s about ease, modernity and joy.’ Michelle adds: ‘My mission is to bring fine fragrance to the modern female – so that she might build an entire fragrance wardrobe, which can express the many facets of who she is.’
At the heart of each fragrance is a specific flower (sourced by the legendary fragrance house Robertet) – but each creation brings an unexpected twist, treated in a way that brilliantly ignites the senses. Take Wonderland Peony, which not only features armfuls of that flower, but pink berries and violets, Anything but cutesy, it’s given a woody-balsamic warmth by cedarwood, alongside vetiver.
London Poppy is ‘a love letter’ to the capital city, ‘a city that sees the sun through the crowds’. Bright as a sun-filled London morning, it bursts into life with Florida orange and Sicilian lemon, a marine note adding a splash of seaspray to the neroli, jasmine sambac and apricot blossom at London Poppy’s heart, before the base of hinoki woods, black amber and cedarwood ventures forth.
The fragrance which has scent critics and beauty editors most excited, perhaps, is Chypre Sublime: an utterly modern take on this sophisticated fragrance family, blending incense with Damask rose absolute, midnight violet, pink pepper and geranium, on a stunning base of benzoin, labdanum and olibanum which – as Floral Street nails it – ‘offers a resin-soaked wood table for the flowers to perch on. A fragrance for musicians, painters and poets.’
Perfumistas have recently been gravitating toward the daringly delicious Ylang Ylang Espresso: A strikingly modern and supremely wearable blend of red rose, ylang ylang and jasmine resting atop a soothing cloud of just-brewed coffee, fresh cream and Sichuan pepper – sustainably harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas. ‘A fragrance to get lost in’ they say, and oh how we love to do just that.
What’s more, all the packaging is recylable and sustainable, and the boxes have been cleverly designed to be used as seed trays, instead of being thrown away! You can read more about the ethos behind the brand on our page dedicated to Floral Street.
We could wax-lyrical about the entire collection, but the very best way is for you to try these exciting new ways to wear floral on your own skin (or to give as the perfect gifting experience). With that in mind, we’re so happy to be stocking the Floral Street Discovery Set, where you can try all 8 fragrance for just £14!
‘Scent is my life.’ Says perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek. Quite simply, she explains that ‘The fragrance is the essence of my art. It is my signature…’
Ruth Mastenbroek was born in England and graduated with a Chemistry degree from Oxford University. Having trained in the late 70s and then worked as a perfumer in the UK and Netherlands with Naarden International (who later became Quest and is now Givaudan – one of the largest perfume suppliers in the world); Ruth worked in Japan and in the perfume capital Grasse before returning to England to work for a small compan. There she created fragrances for up-and-coming brands like Kenneth Turner and Jo Malone – including her now infamously successful Grapefruit candle. But finally Ruth knew she wanted to set up her own perfumery company, Fragosmic Ltd., in 2003 – the year she became president of The British Society of Perfumers.
In 2010 Ruth launched her capsule collection of scented products featuring her signature fragrance – RM – and also became the first to use the ground-breaking micro-encapsulation technology… in a scented bathrobe!
Ruth launched her second fragrance, Amorosa, in May 2012 at Les Senteurs in London. Her range is now sold in more than 25 exclusive shops in the UK, as well as in the Netherlands and Nigeria. Her fragrances are astonishingly well composed, but more than smelling beaituful, they capture whole worlds and stories in every bottle.
We’re thrilled to be stocking this incredible discovery set of fragrances in the Ruth Mastenbroek Collection for you to try at home. From the smoulderingly sensual to the classically chic, with sunshine, smoky green unisex to travel memories and joyous moments captured in every bottle, we truly believe there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Why not treat yourself (or a loved one) to a whole new world of exploration…?
Ruth has long been a friend of The Perfume Society, so we thought it was about time we caught up with her and found out exactly how she goes about making her fragrances, as part of our series of exclusive interviews with perfumers, called The Working Nose…
Is there any such thing as an average day for you? What’s your routine?
Ruth Mastenbroek: It’s not quite as rigid as that. What tends to happen is that I get ideas overnight, and then I can try them out in the lab the next morning. I do enjoy writing out my formulas then, and feeling that then I’ve got the rest of the day to work through them. The way that I like to work has evolved over time. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make a chypre, and the basic structure, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it – there was a lot of trial and error and going back and forth between versions, but eventually I did get there with Signature.
With Amorosa, I knew I wanted to create a tuberose fragrance, because it was so incredibly different from what I’d done, so I wanted to explore. But it had to have something else, which became the ambery woody part of it. With Oxford and Firedance I had a starting point, but then I’d take a chunk out and try something else, to see how that affected the performance and character. It’s not as though I know exactly what’s going to happen when I put two things together. Obviously after forty years I know a lot, I have the experience, but you can never absolutely be sure until it’s done!
Do you keep a notebook with you to collect ideas – how do you keep a track of everything you imagine?
Well it honestly tends to be all in my head, the ideas are very vivid and I like to start working on them immediately, but over the years I’ve made so many different formulas, it’s all written down and I keep a note of every single addition or subtraction I experiment with. That way you have this back catalogue of things that you might not have a use for immediately, but which you know will prove vital at some point! My daughter thinks it’s hilarious that I still write everything down by hand. I still make a note of everything on the computer, but I prefer writing by hand. I do tend to have a lot of Postit notes around, scraps of paper with things that have occurred to me – an unusual combination that worked surprisingly well.
Are you inspired by pictures, textures or sounds at all?
For me it’s a very visual thing – I know some perfumers are synaesthetic and also inspired by sounds, and I can imagine that being very creative working with music, but I see them visually. I think of them texturally, too – very touchy-feely. When I think about my fragrances this way I can then sense what else I need to add to extend that feeling.
Do you need to work in complete quiet – do you shut yourself away when you’re working?
I very much prefer to be alone. I love working and creating on my own. Working from home a lot of the time I can do that. If you’re in a bigger office it’s much harder to do that, but I will always go and find a room where I can go and have some solitude. Otherwise there are too many distractions. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to be distracted, but I like to work methodically through something and just get it done.
When you’re composing a fragrance, are you strict about keeping everything very neutral around you? So not wearing any scented products at all?
Oh yes, you have to really. I mean you end up trying them on your skin of course, because you need to know how they perform, but other scents are very intrusive. Actually, I had one moment that really awkward – I was working for a company where they invited several perfumers to on a day trip to a bluebell wood, with the idea that each perfumer would then create a fragrance based on their personal impressions of it. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of wearing a sweater I’d worn previously had perfume on it. I just didn’t think. But when everything else is un-fragranced (and everyone else there!), boy do you become hyper aware of it. I learned my lesson that day.
What do you think of the rise in self-taught niche perfumers? Do you think it’s a shame they aren’t being trained in that strict way you were?
I think it opens up other routes. But, from what I understand, those who are self-taught are learning about ingredients they can get hold of. And actually that becomes a very limited palette. Whereas, because I had the great fortune to work for a big company, I had access to thousands of materials and had to learn them inside out. On the other hand, Im sure it’s making them really consider what they’re using and how they use it, because they don’t have that luxury. I am a great believer in training, but there just aren’t the places or opportunities for everyone to train the way I did. I guess I’m just glad I did it, you know, a hundred-million years ago, and so I can now rely on that breadth of knowledge and experience. Because in the end, that’s what colours every single fragrance I create…
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