What would Santa smell like…?

Responses to the question ‘What would Santa smell like?’ have revealed a wide range of answers from children all over the world, depending on their age and where they live. Perfumer Penny Williams took the most popular answers and turned them into a fragrance that teachers can use to engage school children in discussions around their sense of smell…

Lisa Hipgrave, Director of IFRA UK, who undertook the research, says ‘We are working with a group of people across the fragrance industry to develop ways to help people understand and benefit from a greater awareness of their sense of smell. Whilst this is a lighthearted approach to get us all in the Christmas spirit which we hope people will try at home, it is part of a wider piece of the work of that group. We have created a new website called fragrancematters.org to help people find out more about the importance of their sense of smell  – from new and quirky facts, to taking a deeper dive into the world of olfaction through highlighting wider research, activities and events.’

So, what were their answers? ‘Soot and sweat’ was a popular response, while others answered ‘leather, boot polish and velvet’ and ‘pine trees, from brushing past them on his journey, and from Christmas trees as he places presents under trees in hopeful homes.’ More poetically inclined children decided he might smell of ‘nose-tingling magic and moonlight’ or ‘starry nights from his journey through the night sky’ and even ‘like space, perhaps with a little whisky’. Contributions from the USA included ‘the New York night sky just before snowfall’, and Canadadian children said ‘the first snow of winter on the pine woods’, while responses from Australia included ‘countless beach barbecues’.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, food and drink was a major theme, with cinnamon, gingerbread and mince pies appearing most often. Many children think that Santa smells of milk and biscuits, until they reach around 14 years of age, when Santa’s snacks switched to ‘sherry or brandy and mince pies’.

 

British perfumer Penny Williams, Chairperson of the IFRA UK working group, Vice Chair of the IFRA UK Technical committee and founder of Orchadia Ltd, says: ‘The human sense of smell is incredible. We take around 20,000 breaths a day and each one is an opportunity to learn about our surroundings. Inside our nose are olfactory bulbs, which are linked directly to our brain and create a memory link. That is why our sense of smell is so important to our wellbeing and feeling connected. Through our noses, we can also sense temperature and humidity. Both also affect how well we can smell – and smell is also the flavour of food. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how losing our sense of smell can make us feel disconnected. Our sense of smell isn’t just about the present, it’s about the past and can create feelings of happiness and nostalgia.’ She continues:

‘We want to bring back that innocent joy, comfort and sense of happiness to pupils in the schools we are working with. However, this is such a fun experiment for anyone of any age, so we are inviting people across the UK to spark up the discussion with family and friends. Using everyday objects and a few Christmas treats you can quickly get your olfactory sense working. Our nose is connected to a part of our nervous system which is responsible for detecting heat (chilli) and cold (menthol). So, menthol, found in peppermint and often in toothpaste, has a physical cooling effect that we can feel and mince pies might create a feeling of warmth. The different sensations and feelings evoked by our sense of smell comes from many places and somehow comes together in a wonderful way: rather like Christmas.’

Using these responses, Orchadia created a special fragrance that follows Santa’s journey with a mixture of 48 traditional and modern ingredients that have made an intriguing and bold scent. Most noticeable on first spray are smoke and ozone –using the uniquely woody smokey scent of vetiver and an ingredient that smells like fresh water. Menthol hints at snow flurries in cold air. Also featured are pine needle and davana oil, which is reminiscent of Christmas pudding. There’s even the leathery scent of reins next to reindeer fur, accompanied by earthy patchouli oil. The fresh forest notes are extended with cedar, eventually fading to vanilla and soft moss. 

Victoria Osborne, Teacher at Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, says ‘The children are going to have so much fun discussing what Santa smells like as part of their STEM learning. It is a really lovely way to get them to use their own personal experiences and memories whilst also learning about the science of smell. We are going to have a science lab that smells like Christmas has come early as we will be taking time to properly breathe in the different layers of smells in mince pies and to take time to notice if something created a warm or a cooling smell.’

Children respond amazingly and often explain smells in the most creatively imaginative ways, so if you find yourself desperate for a way to entertain the kids during the holidays, why not gather together some ingredients from your pantry (and toothpaste from the bathroom!) to create a sensory station in your own home, where children can explore their sense of smell?  Ask them to smell each ingredient and describe how it smells. you can use questions we ask people to think about at our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops:

If this was a material, would it be velvet, suede, linen, fluffy towels…?

If this was a musical instrument, which would it be?

Would it be loud or quiet? High or low-pitched? Fast or slow?

What colour would this smell be?

And… which of these would Santa smell of?

 

Fragrances For… feeling calmer at Christmas

Christmas can often be a stressful time for many – perhaps moreso than ever these past couple of years – so we’re turning to the scents that make us feel cosy, soothed, like wearing a hug in fragrant form. All of the below are recently launched and well worth your while seeking out for some quiet moments of bliss, just for you…

 

 

BARBOUR
For Her
Misty mornings beckon, mellow light and stillness, winter sunshine and crisp air reflected in this so-evocative scent that sings of British meadows. Picture rolling, heathered hills, spiderwebs jewelled with dew drops, invigorating citrus soon segueing to the soothing floral heart. Wisps of summer memories are married to a snuggle-me-closer tonka and orris base that is softness personified. Fresh and classic all at once, and we’re loving the on-brand hipflask-esque bottle.
£49 for 50ml eau de parfum
barbour.com

 

 


LE LABO
Thé Matcha 26

The Japanese tradition of drinking matcha tea is far more meaningful than a quick sip, and similarly Le Labo says this is ‘much more than a scent to us. It is a moment of introspection.’ Take time for yourself as the powdery tea accord embraces you with a creamy hint of fig and textural cedar in the base. There’s sweet orange to revive, a whisper of vetiver, too, providing extra grounding comfort.
£141 for 50ml
lelabofragrances.com

 

OSTENS
Cedarwood Heart
Fragrance lasts less well in the central heating system, which is drying to the body, because perfume needs oils in the skin, to cling to. So Alexis Dadier’s Cedarwood Heart eau de parfum creation for Ostens has a complementary fragrance oil, for layering on to turbo-charge this exquisite, dressed-up creation, a-swirl with ingredients from fabled LMR Naturals including galbanum, cedarwood heart, orris, ylang ylang, ambergris, moss and patchouli. What a divine duo.
£135 for 50ml eau de parfum (and matching oil)
ostens.com

 

 

INITIO
Oud for Happiness
Exploring the believed ‘psychoactive and spiritual’ facets of the world’s most precious wood, joyous bergamot greets you like a dear friend, a surge of ginger really awakening the senses before cedar smooths a path to the main feature. When the oudh hits it’s like a bear hug of harmonious happiness; this is  definitely one to spritz on sluggish mornings when the duvet refuses to release you from its plump embrace.
£280 for 90ml eau de parfum
escentual.com

 

MOLTON BROWN
LABDANUM DUSK
Of the little flurry of Molton Brown’s new launches, this rich, Ambrée-woody strikes us as the most masculine, with Nathalie Koobus honouring the traditions of Middle Eastern perfumery via sustainable oudh. ‘I imagined a Middle Eastern palace, where hazes of hookah incense drift into the sunset. This fragrance modernises fascinating labdanum, pairing it with earthy woods to celebrate its smoky facets.’ The long-lasting, leathery trail will ensure you’re noticed – and maybe followed…?
£110 for 100ml eau de parfum
moltonbrown.com

 

 

 

Stock up on these 7 scented stocking fillers (they’re little but SO lovely!)

Stocking fillers used to be novelty gifts, somewhat lacklustre confectionery goods and perhaps a satsuma – lovely to open as a child, of course, but now we’re finding adults are massively in to the nostalgia of exchanging Christmas stockings. And we require the fillers to be a little more… fabulous, let’s say.

Because let’s face it, the stocking presents were the highlight of Christmas – encapsulating the excitement of waking up and ripping off the wrapping paper with wild abandon. You may wish to rise at a rather more dignified hour, now, and perhaps begin the day with a cup of tea (or a long glass of Mimosa – well it is Christmas!)

But why not consider putting together a stocking stuffed with lovely little gifts to give a partner – or send a friend you can’t be with this year, and face time them as they open it?!

Here’s some mini sets and exciting fragrant finds we’d love to find in our stockings this year… Give them the whole box, break up a set to gift several friends (or keep some for yourself? We won’t tell…)

 

Annicke Fragrance Discovery Set £20

Love, desire and dreams: the Annicke Fragrance Discovery Set is a collection of SIX exquisite and totally feminine fragrances inspired by the woman who dazzled their creator. Each is a story, bottled, and each will take you on a journey – as only fragrance can… The story began in the early 20th Century with Albert Fouquet, a young Parisian aristocrat, who founded beloved NICHE house, Eight & Bob. Alberts’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 Fouquet’s love.

 

Kierin NYC Discovery Set £15

New York is one of the most exciting cities on the planet. Now we invite you to tap into its vibe – while discovering one of the most talked-about perfume houses to emerge from that metropolis in years. Kierin NYC‘s so-stylish Discovery Set includes FOUR NICHE eau de parfum fragrances, with real staying power, capturing the love that co-founder and former international model Mona Maine de Biran feels for her city. (But wearable anywhere, we feel.) Nitro Noir is perfect for sipping a decadent cocktail, Sunday Brunch for a fabulous catch-up, Santal Sky for a Central Park stroll (or a country walk, we’re thinking.) As for 10 a.m. Flirt? We’ll leave that to you…

 

L’Orchestre Parfum Mix Tape Vol.1 £25 for six fragrances
A mix tape? It genuinely is – you simply scan the QR code to listen to tracks inspired by the fragrances (which are, in turn, inspired by musical instruments). And oh, the fragrances are stunning: carnal florals to soothing sandalwood; a fizz of electro-pop to the smoky rose throbbing with deep vibrations of a trombone. There’s something for everyone to fall for, here (particularly great for music lovers!) and we’re sure a number will strike a chord with you.

 

Alex Simone French Riviera Discovery Set £21

In the French Riviera collection, Alex Simone explores the idyllic moments of a perfect day in Monaco. This discovery set includes 2ml vial sprays of all six fragrances that make up the collection – and are all precious moments that draw the olfactory itinerary to a succession of refined and timeless snapshots and a sensory experience so… Chic! Included Fragrances: Villa Simone, Tellement Bleu, En Terrasse, Encore Un Peu, Après Vous, L’Invitation.

 

Floral Street Discovery Set £14

With creations by one of the world’s leading perfumers, the new perfume house Floral Street is going to shake up your opinions about florals with their contemporary spin on floral fragrances. Floral Street’s 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.’ Try all eight fragrances for yourself, with this must-have Discovery Set!

 

Experimental Perfume Club Discovery Set £25 for six fragrances
This fun set features fragrances to layer, explore and learn with – a brilliant gift for those wanting to become a perfumer, or hungry to explore their sense of smell. Each eau de parfum is either a TOP LAYER, MID LAYER or BASE LAYER. Wear alone, or mix them up – cards within each box offer inspirations to start to your scented experiments. Dive into the fun of discovering your own favourite combination – a unique fragrant blend that’s as close to bespoke as you can get!

Escentric Molecules M+ Discovery Set £20

Escentric Molecules have launched THREE M+ fragrances – iterations of their best-selling Molecule 01, a fragrance that showcases the artistry and depth of synthetic molecules and has become a global superstar. To say we are obsessed with M+ at The Perfume Society HQ is, quite honestly, an understatement. Now you can delve into all three M+ fragrances from the comfort of your own home with this divine Discovery Set trio encompassing Mandarin, Iris and Patchouli – ingredients set against the backdrop of the iconic Molecule 01.

Ultra luxe fragrance gifts for less

If you’re looking to really spoil a fragrance-lover this Christmas, you can’t go wrong with an ultra luxe fragrance gift. Perhaps they’ve hankered after a niche scent but haven’t allowed themselves to buy it yet, or they adore the finer things in life but haven’t known where to start with fragrance? Well, we’ve several suggestions for ways to treat them (or yourself!) without breaking the bank…

The joy of a luxury Discovery Set is the chance to indulge in the fragrances of ultra-luxe niche and designer houses, often giving your lucky gift recipient (or yourself, let’s face it) the opportunity to try the entire collection of a particular perfume house. Or, perhaps, allowing the luxury of sampling the scented wares from cult brands not everyone knows about yet.

Very few of us could go out and purchase full-size bottles of every brand we want to try – with these luxury gift sets, you can afford to wear every single one!

If you have someone who’s difficult to buy for, or you’re not quite sure exactly what kind of scents they like – gifting a whole range ensures they’ll fall immediately for at least one of the fragrances (and, in our experience, will come to love them all or enjoy sharing with a partner or friends).

To send to loved ones you can’t be with this year, or to treat yourself after a year of woe? Not going to lie, we shamelessly do the ‘one for you, one for me’ rule of Christmas shopping, and most especially this year. Think of the hours of bliss you’ll have! Trying all the fragrances for the first time, reading about the notes, the perfumers and history of the house (all the information you can find right here on this website, with our in-depth brand pages).

 

La Maison J.U.S Discovery Set £30

Taking their name from their motto: ‘Joyau, Unique and Sensoriel’  (a ‘unique sensory jewel’), this ultra-cool niche French house delight in doing things differently. Using vintage bottles in bold, neon colours, allowing their perfumers free-reign and with everything eco-conscious – the fragrances are just are vibrant, but oh so beautifully wearable. Appealing to artistic types who like to tread their own path, the scents are seductively unique (genuinely, we love ALL ELEVEN!) From the salted amber of Ambraser, coffee and oudh of Coffeeze, Cuirissime‘s leather, violet and iris; zesty ginger and absinthe in Gingerlise and darkly daring leathery floral of Noiressence. There’s the whole rose (petals, thorns, humid air) of Rosamonda, sensual rose oudh and vanilla in SexyCrush or powdery soft rose in Sopoudrage to explore. SpringPop is green shoots, fresh cut grass and sea air, while Superfusion‘s silvery musk shimmers intriguingly, and UltraHot crackles with sensual saffron and incense. Oh wow, it’s a fragrant journey alright – and we’re re-using our pots for makeup brushes and pens!

 

 

Ostens Discovery Set £30

Friends and business partners Christopher Yu and Laurent Delafon have been in the fragrance industry for over 20 years, founding United Perfumes, a prestigious fragrance distribution and development company, which afforded them unrivalled access to the finest ingredients and perfumers in the world, including extraordinary new extractions from LRM Naturals of ‘vetiver, rose, patchouli and more. We realised that if we loved those smells, then there were surely other people who’d feel the same way.’ And we surely do… At OSTENS they are ‘ripping up the rulebook’ – and we couldn’t be happier about it. Each creation from this dynamic fragrance house is inspired by a raw ingredient, each one developed by a master perfumer (think Dominique Ropion and Sophie Labbé, yup!), given absolute creative freedom with no budget or brief. This refreshing, and simple, approach to fragrance creation has left us in awe. Now you can try the ENTIRE COLLECTION at home, exclusive to The Perfume Society, with six creations ranging from fresh and delicious Rose Isparta to Cashmeran Velvet (based around the seductive molecule Cashmeran), and two different takes on patchouli. This is creativity unleashed – and now you can dive in for yourself…

 

 

 

Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set £35

Inspired by childhood memories of Kavala, Greece, embracing his family’s heritage in Istanbul, and the intertwining of art, history, and philosophy; Manos Gerakinis is the first niche luxury Greek perfume house, and the fragrances truly radiate the diversity and passion of their founder… From an early age, Manos Gerakinis knew that ‘…every bottle is more than a mere perfume; it is a living olfactory experience, unique and mysterious.’ This heady mix of knowledge and respect for cultural heritage would later become ‘the founding stones of the brand,’ but of course life experience is always a key ingredient, and Manos travelled from Greece to London for the prestigious role of managing Harrods luxury department. This gave him unparalleled access to designers such as Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana, and with London as his base for over a decade, he avidly explored the world as part of his job. ‘Creating my own fragrance was always in the back of my mind,’ he explains, ‘and once I was given the opportunity, I grabbed it.’ Delving further into researching and learning the technical side of the fragrance world, ‘My initial goal was to create a powerful scent that was able to captivate anyone in the room. I wanted an alluring scent, mysterious and poetic.’ He began curating a collection of exquisite essential oils and ingredients from around the world. The result? A collection as sumptuously beautiful as the artistic inspirations.

 

 

J.F. Schwarlose Discovery Set £35

Purveyors of fine perfumes since 1856, the history of heritage house J.F. Schwarzlose deserves to be captured in a movie.. From piano-maker to perfumer – selling scents beloved by the royal courts of Europe and Chinese Emperors alike – this always-innovative perfumery has survived war, inflation and changing tastes by always being one step ahead…When entrepreneurial piano-maker Johann Friedrich Schwarzlose established his own drug store at Markgrafenstrasse 29, beginning with production of perfumes, he quickly established himself. The company had been purveyor to the Court, and now the aristocracy flocked to the new fragrance shop. By 1897, Schwarzlose had taken on a business partner, Franz Köthner, and together they traded with the added title: ‘Purveyor to the Court of His Majesty the Emperor and King’. Indeed, a flacon found in a collection of Emperor Pu Yi confirms their formidable reputation had already reached as far as China. What a phoenix this fragrance house is, in 2012 enlisting brilliant perfumer Véronique Nyberg as the ‘nose’, they remain ‘in close contact with the last heir to Schwarzlose, Jutta Jank-Trabant, who is delighted to find the brand on display again. And how utterly joyous this important perfumery was saved once again! Now thriving afresh, the modern-day fragrances of J.F. Schwarzlose harness the grandeur of their heritage, and all they learned through history, but still stay true to leading the fashions rather than merely following them.

 

Clive Christian Around the World Discovery Set £150

Clive Christian Perfume creates the ‘world’s finest perfumes’ – timeless classics, made without compromise. Each perfume has an oil inclusion of 20% or above in every bottle, they are intense and complex fragrances for opulent, pure perfume pleasure. We can’t wait for you to discover these uniquely expressive, exquisite perfumes in the Around the World Discovery Set. Explore the heights of mountains, the depths of forests and the sunny warmth of tropical climates through this foray of fragrances – the ultimate globe-trotting perfume set. Here, you (or the very lucky recipient) can discover the exquisite fragrances below that will transport you around the world, via: Addictive Arts Jump up and Kiss Me Hedonistic  – an amber gourmand fragrance that opens with citrus notes of bergamot, grapefruit, neroli. Noble XXI Art Deco Cypress  – zesty bergamot and uplifting basil held by a surging heart of exotic yet warming spices. Original Collection 1872 Masculine – herbaceous and aromatic. Private Collection C Woody Leather  – a woody fragrance with a supple leather yet exotic twist. Considering each full-size fragrance is priced between £250 – £595 for 50ml eau de parfum, this beautifully packaged discovery collection is the perfect way to indulge in true luxury for far less.

Luxury fragrance gifts really are a fail-safe way of showing how much you care. Whichever of these you chose, they cannot fail to be utterly delighted – and perhaps discover a new fragrant love to explore further next year…

The Scented Letter magazine ‘Time to Shine’ Christmas edition has landed!

We’re delighted to launch the latest 52-page edition of The Scented Letter – and as we close the year, it’s a celebration of all things fragrant – the gifts to give, the celestial scents to spritz and the aromas of this very special season.

We’re also celebrating something VERY special: a hat-trick of Jasmine Awards in The Fragrance Foundation, with two for our stellar writer Suzy Nightingale, and a Judges’ Special Recognition Award for one entire edition of the mag, ‘A Life in Scents’, published earlier this year.

Scroll down for a preview of some of the articles, which you can read online here in flickable format, recreating the sense of reading a real-life mag.

Alternatively, we are now able to take orders for a limited run of printed copies of the magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs), here. And you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letterhere

  • Heaven Scents: The Christmas 2021 Gift Guide A stellar selection for everyone on your list – that’s a tick, tick, tick!
  • In Memories, Dreams & Reflections, leading astrologer Shelley von Strunckel shares a lifetime in fragrant recollections
  • The ever-brilliant British perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek gives Suzy Nightingale the low-down on her creative working life
  • Agony uncle James Craven answers your seasonal scent-selection and present-choosing conundrums
  • Perfumers are looking to the night sky for inspiration to compose fragrances that sparkle, charm and dazzle, reports Suzy Nightingale in Celestial Scents
  • Founder of Perfume Walks London, Olga Petrouchenko, time-travels to a Russian childhood and a snowy winter holiday
  • Plus as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news – and so much more

 

 

Fragrant gift ideas for friends

While looking for fragrant gift ideas for friends, consider this Christmas as an opportunity to say thank you in scented form – for the shared memories, hope-filled future plans and laughter-filled Zoom catch-ups that got you through the last couple of years!

The best thing about these gifts is, you don’t have to plump for one perfume and hope its ‘the one’ – these gift sets include a range of fragrances with something to tempt everyone. So, instead of getting them the same old thing (which can come across as not really having put any thought in), or randomly picking a scent you’re not sure they’d like (which seems a bit impersonal); choose a set based on the type of friendship you have, and on their unique character – you probably know them best in the whole world, after all!

This Christmas looks set to be better than last year, when so many of us were estranged from loved ones; but if you’re unable to see some of your friends in-person again this year, why not send them one of these boxes of joy, gift one to yourself, too, and arrange another Zoom call (possibly with a cocktail on-hand, why not?!) and enjoy some time smelling through the scents together.

That way you’ll really get to know what they love, and it will give you gift ideas for many years to come as a bonus: genius! For friends near or far – give them one of these to say…

 

 

“Thank you for always having my back, no matter what!”

For friends that have stayed with you through good times AND bad – the ones you could call at 2am crying, and they’d listen / come and get you / can always trust. This socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house have bottles created entirely from recycled glass, along with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations. A magic carpet-ride for the senses.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set: £30

 

 

“Thank you for being as ‘strange’ as me, I love you!”

For the friends you share secret in-jokes (perhaps even brains) with, and are just as wonderfully unique as you – the ones you only have to look at to know what they’re thinking, who can make you laugh across a crowded room. The quirky flair of perfumer Christophe Laudamiel is only matched by his genius skills and superior ingredients. Together with raw ingredient pioneer (Elizabeth Gaynes), and a fragrantly-obsessed supermodel (Helena Christensen!), this ultra-luxe niche collection is addictively fabulous.

Strangelove Discovery Set: £60

 

 

“Thank you for creating precious memories, and allowing me to dream!”

 

For the friends that have travelled with you: around the world, and emotionally, too – they’re by your side no matter how far apart you happen to live, and in even the darkest times you can smile at the shared memories you have. All these fragrances capture snapshots of happy memories in scent, crafted with such sophistication, a sense of refinement, true love and great attention to detail by this brilliant British perfumer and former president of The British Society of Perfumers.

Ruth Mastenbroek Discovery Set: £27.50

 

 

“Thank you for inspiring me with your love of myths / art / history / culture!”

 

 

For the friends who always recommend amazing books / art / places & films – you’re always inspired by what they’ve read or seen, places they’ve been or want to take you to. Here’s a house that takes founder Manos Gerakinis‘ family Istanbul heritage and childhood memories of Greece, and intertwines his love of art, history, classical mythology and philosophy. Scents that simmer with spices and precious ingredients, radiating diversity and passion, like friends who have you writing lists of wonderful new things to explore.

Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set: £35

 

 

“Thank you for understanding the REAL me!”


For friends that see right through to your soul, somehow, and always know when you’re upset or need some extra hugs – these ones just ‘get’ you (the real you) and you never have to explain: they just know. Personality types are integral to choosing the perfect perfume because it’s such an emotional connection. So, each of these fragrances is formed around a distinct character profile, allowing the person choosing to have a strong idea of where to begin. A beautifully thoughtful collection, brilliantly explained.

Olfactive O Discovery Set: £30

Fragrant gift ideas for men this Christmas

Looking for fragrant gift ideas for men but don’t know where to start? Follow our handy guide to find the perfect one…

The days are long gone when chaps wore one scent for life (possibly something sold on TV by an ex sportsman) which they were urged to ‘splash all over’, and those in their immediate vicinity likely wished they hadn’t.

Indeed, we know many of our readers and subscribers are men who love exploring the wider world of fragrances available to them now. But if you’re scent shopping for the special guy in your life – perhaps someone who’s interested but hasn’t quite figured out his personal scent style yet – it can be a tricky business thinking of something that shows you’ve been thoughtful and considered their character, but also pushes them (gently!) out of their comfort zone a little.

So, where to begin?

If you happen to know some names of fragrances they’ve loved wearing, type one in to our simple Find a Fragrance tool: the so-clever algorithm suggests six new scents with similar characters to try. Narrow down the selection by asking yourself…

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Age, character, hobbies and career are all pointers to fragrant gift ideas for men, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered a fragrant feast along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes, opulent ambers and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

However, we know not all chaps will be as open to more experiemental scents styles, so we’ve put together the ideal starting point with a selection of Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from more classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore.

Have a look at our current top picks of fragrant gift ideas for men, below…

 

 

Contemporary scents putting a modern twist on a local apothecary approach to luxury, MALIN+GOETZ have excelled with this NEW Discovery Set of SIX invigorating fragrance delights. £22

 

 

 

Music-lovers will adore these stunningly packaged, musical genre-inspired fragrances. Each of the 14 JUSBOX scents pays homage to an icon or era in music, with their own playlists on Spotify! £35

 

Paring fine fragrance with fashion-leading (cruelty free) pampering treats since 1973, iconic British brand Molton Brown built a global reputation on modern classics, with scents suit all tastes. £33

 

 

Founded in 1730, Floris create beautiful contemporary-style fragrances, as well as true classics. Still run by members of the family, heritage is taken to new levels with this niche-led collection. £35

 

 

The perfect gift for scent lovers to create their own bespoke fragrance, Emmanuelle Moeglin started Experimental Perfume Club in 2016. Now you can share & compare your layer combos! £32

Gift Guide: choosing scents to suit people’s personalities

Can we say ‘the C word’ yet? No, no that one. The other one. Okay, we’ll whisper it: Christmas… Because even though we all grumble about it getting earlier each year; this one, in particular, people seem to be prepping WAY in advance for. Understandable given last year’s sadly curtailed festivities and people’s concerns about 2021’s Big Day.

The thing about gifting fragrance (at any time of year) is that it can be difficult to know where to begin when picking out a perfume for someone else. Especially if you’re not exactly sure of their tastes, and don’t want to spoil the surprise by asking. So, here’s some really handy tips to finding the right scent for the special someone you’re thinking of…

1: If you live with the person or are visiting them soon, have a quick shifty around where they keep their current fragrances if at all possible. You may notice a theme (they’re all rose-based scents or feature leather, for example. Maybe some of them are by the same fragrance house or perfumer?)

2: Make a note of the fragrance name they wear now, then look on our genius Fragrance Finder, which will suggest six other scents they’re likely to also love.

3: If you know what hobbies and personal passions they have, this is a great clue as to their innermost personalities – as are the way they like to dress or how they choose to decorate their home! See below for our scent-matching suggestions for personality types.

4: You’ve a far better chance of striking gold with a scent-match if you gift a Discovery Box or Sample Set – a curated collection of fragrances put together around a theme or showcasing the full range of styles a particular house has to offer.

Which of these character descriptions would suit them best…?

 

Spiritual = Scented Retreat Discovery Box £23 / VIP price £19. Are they in to yoga / meditation / need to relax? Or perhaps want to be more ‘mindful’ but are far too stressed? This scented collection soothes while turning their home into a much-longed for spa-like experience where they can calm, focus and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

 

Eco-friendly & young at heart = Floral Street £14. If they’re trying to be more environmentally aware and have a fun, bubbly nature, the perfect gift would be these sustainable, vivacious and multi award-winning scents. Floral fragrances as you’ve never smelled them before, effortlessly wearable.  

Heritage lovers = Floris Classic Collection £35. Do they adore historical dramas and great literature, prefer traditional styles of furnishings and vintage clothes? This Floris set encompasses their heritage heroes – exqusite scents from crisp citrus to rich, woody creations.

 

 

Arty & modern = La Maison J.U.S. £30. Are they always off to see the latest contemporary exhibitions, love creative expression & unusual, cult names? Choose this collection of vibrant, beautifully artistic fragrances for impactful fragrant expressionism.

 

 

Characterful & unique = Olfactive O £30. If they’re in to learning more about themselves, love reading about psychology or check their horoscopes, we bet they’ll adore these from a niche house that invites people to explore their innermost soul through scents.

Really, whichever set you choose, there’s a whole range of fragrances in each to suit pretty much everyone, but we hope this gift guide has helped point you in the right perfumed direction! And fear not – in the coming weeks we’ll have even more specifically chosen guides to put you on the right perfumed present path…

Santa’s FREE gift… get your Secret Scent-er

By golly gosh it’s been a tough year, to put it mildl; so as a special present, Santa has a FREE gift for you all

This year, because we’d like to say a massive ‘THANK YOU!’ for your continued support – and as testament to just how important the role of fragrance has been, calming our nerves and bolstering our spirits in troubling times – Santa has decided to gift the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter magazine, FREE for you all to read.

One of the most hotly-anticipated issues each year is our bumper Christmas edition of the magazine – this year entitled Secret Scent-er – which incorporates all the usual news, reviews and in-depth features with the addition of a fabulously fragrant gift guide. Seriously drool-worthy, it’s a showcase for the very best scented gorgeousness that money can buy, from niche and indie brands to designer luxe.

We know that Christmas will be very different for many of you this year, and hope that you can find time to sit awhile, put your feet up and have your spirits lifted by all manner of glorious things arrayed in the 64 pages – normally only available to VIP Members and those who purchase the printed editions (scroll down for more info on how to get these).

Meanwhile, here are some of the perfumed highlights you can peruse in your FREE copy of The Scented Letter magazine

• In Extraits, Extraits, Read All About It!Persolaise explores the revival of perfume’s most precious form

 

• Can’t be with those you love over the holidays? Conjure them up with a spritz or a dab of scent, we suggest in Spraying Home for Christmas

 

• Like our favourite Christmas tunes, explains Viola Levy in Jingle Smells, certain fragrances never fail to deliver Christmas cheer

• I hopped on a Zoom with Santa for this issue’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections– smile as he shares centuries of fragrant recollections

 

• And of course, we’ve sniffed out the best presents, from glamorous gift sets to beautiful (scented) baubles in Your Fragrant Gift Guide 2020

• Plus as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more

If the free edition has tickled your fragrant fancies for more award-winning journalism, we can now take orders for a limited run of printed copies of all editions of our magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs). And remember: you can buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letter and also an International Online Subscription for the magazine, too!

Finally, no matter where you are, please know you’re not alone, and that the days will be lighter from now on. With much love, we’d like to wish you all a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS, and look forward to a far more peaceful (and perfume-filled) New Year, for all…

By Suzy Nightingale

Spraying Home for Christmas… scents we’re using to evoke loved ones

Christmas is always the most scented season, but this year the perfumes we spray have taken on an extra poignancy – many of us deeply missing mloved ones we cannot be this year because of the continuing pandemic, or who have passed away.

Fragrance can be a great comfort – and a way of connecting us, if only we chose the scent to spray that immediately evokes someone we’re so wishing we could be with right now.

For the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter magazine, we asked a number of our favourite perfumers, journalists and fragrance experts which scents they would be spraying this year, and who they’re missing most. We were so overwhelmed by the lovely – and often very emotional – reponses, that we didn’t have room for them all in the printed pages!

 

 

That’s why we want to share these beautiful scent memories with you, now; and wonder: whom would YOU most love to conjure with a single spritz right now, and what fragrance would you need to spray…?

 

Alice du Parcq – writer for Glamour U.K. / Space NK:
‘This Christmas I’ll be in a fume-cloud of Maison Margiela Replica By The Fireplace. It is the scent of roasting chestnuts on a roaring fire in a Chamonix ski lodge in 1971, so think toasted embers, plumes of silky sooty smoky, wood polish and the creamy, vanilla-spiked, nutty flesh of charred chestnuts. We did this as kids every winter at my parents’ house (which incidentally still looks like a 70s ski chalet) and watched my dad roll those glossy globes around a skillet until they crackled and split. My sister and I had scalded fingertips all season from the impatient peeling of the blackened chestnuts that were still too hot to touch. The fire was wild, ferocious and mesmerising, and the whole house smelt like fireworks and bonfires. I remember it vividly, and since we can’t all be together this year I’ll honour that memory with a daily spray of this magnificent and curious perfume.’

 

Sarah McCartney – perfumer & founder 4160 Tuesdays:
‘Usually we head north to York to see a collection of family and friends, play music and swap presents. I’m always delighted when my nephews put in a request for one of my fragrances at Christmas and their favourite is Invisible Ben. This is a blend of sandalwood, oranges, cognac absolute, musks and Ambrox, so it mingles with the atmosphere, a definite presence but not shouting for attention. It’s just like the lads themselves.’

 

Nicola Bonn – Outspoken Beauty podcast:
‘One of my best friends wears Chanel Chance. Smelling it and her never fails to make me happy. I always meet her at this time of year for drinks and celebrations and not being with her is so very sad. I’ll spritz this and have a virtual cocktail with her.’

 

Marcus Jaye, beauty & fragrance blogger / author a.k.a The Chic Geek:
‘This will date my childhood, but mine is Giorgio Beverly Hills. This is pure Pretty Woman, back-combed mum of the 1980s. Chuck in a soupçon of Elnett and I’m there.’

 

 

Olivia Jezler – fragrance innovation & technical design specialist, Future of Smell:
‘Both my parents always change their perfumes so its less about their signature scent… but the scent in their home over Christmas is always the NEST Holiday candle. I love it and for me that’s the smell of Christmas…combined with the pine of the Christmas tree!’

 

Professor Charles Spence – experimental psychologist / head of Crossmodal Research Group, Oxford University:
‘It would have to be smell of nardo – the flower that my (now) wife would always bring to airport when I arrived in Colombia… Which the web says is “Polianthes means “many flowers” in Greek. In Mexican Spanish, the flower is called nardo or vara de San José, which means “St. Joseph’s staff”. This plant is called as rajanigandha in India, which means ‘fragrant at night’. I didn’t realise it was a night-blooming one, but have since become very interested in night-flowering scented plants, so night flowering jasmine, which would have to be my second choice.’

Whomever you are missing, and whatever their favourite fragrance was, we hope you’ll be able to find great comfort and bring them home with your own personal scent memories, whenever you need them most…

By Suzy Nightingale