Getting Gift Ready (For Friends, Family… and YOU!)

Okay, we know it’s not here yet, but… it’s coming! So how about ticking lots of gifts off all in one go and getting to feel a bit smug about that? (AND even treating yourself?) Here’s our guide of the best ranges to appeal to all tastes in one (fragrant) fell swoop…

 

When you’re not sure exactly what scent to get them for Christmas, or are sick of giving loved ones the same old thing, our overwhelming feedback from happy customers suggests a Discovery Box is definitely the way forward. Bursting with luxurious and often hard-to-find mini, try-me size scents and decadents beauty extras, each box is specially curated around a theme or with a particular kind of perfume-lover in mind.

At The Perfume Society, we’ve something to suit everyone, no matter how picky about perfume they are! From designer name divas to scented gents about town, millennials desperate to discover what suits them best and those keen to branch out with something different – see how many gifts you can tick off your shopping list in one fell swoop (and all from the comfort of your sofa/desk/bed…)

 

 

 

There’s no doubt about it: gardens help us to feel renewed. If you know a gardener – or garden-lover – or simply someone who needs to explore beyond the perfumed path a little; this is the box for them (or you!) With The Garden Of Delights Discovery Box you’ll find a collection of vibrant, bright fragrances that explore the outdoors (with even a scent created in collaboration with HRH King Charles III, based on his favourite tree! AND the new cult calming scent by Kate Moss). From the green-fingered, to anyone who loves joyfully inspiring scents -they’re all the renewing and rejuvenating benefits of gardens in every spritz.

The Garden of Delights Discovery Box £23 (£19 for VIPs) for 12 x fragrances & a soothing arnica gel treat

 

If you’ve a perfume-loving pal looking to branch out and try some fantastic new brands, as well as designer names we know they’ll love – and make sure they are always on trend and perfectly seasonally scented; this  selection of fabulous fragrances (mainly female and unisex in style), will land at your door each passing season (approximately every three months) – so it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving!

You can choose a Quarterly (£18 every three months) or Yearly (£68 annual payment) plan to suit you. We keep the contents a secret so it’s a true scented surprise to receive in the post each time – think of how happy they’ll be to get that parcel rather than another bill or junk mail. (And hey, maybe you could subscribe, too, and you can compare notes with each box? If you live far away – consider setting up a regular fragrance-chatting and sniffing Zoom so you can talk about your faves…)

Each Seasonal Scents Box Includes:

Seasonal Fragrances  – A collection of fragrances from 1ml – 7ml, these will be kept secret until each Seasonal Scents Box is launched, we just love the element of surprise!

Online Smelling Notes – accessible via a QR code within your box, guiding you through the fragrances and how to start smelling.

Unboxing Video –  also via the QR code, for every box our Senior Fragrance Writer and expert, Suzy Nightingale, will guide them when opening your new box.

Hints & Tips – to ensure they get the most out of your fragrances and have fun!

Check out your Seasonal Scent options here, and get ready for your whole new wardrobe of fragrances to explore, all in the comfort of their own home…

 

 

 

 

For the most suave and chic of your perfume-loving pals, here’s a box that swaggers with charm and sophistication. Filled with fragrances from some of Britain’s finest brands – both classic and utterly contemporary names – to help them find their new fragrant passions. Indulging in these voluptuous, classic scents and new launches all from within the UK will keep them feeling confident (and let them know how much they are loved!) Smart…sexy…elegant – this is a box that has it all, and then some, in scent appeal.

Platinum Discovery Box £25 (£21 for VIPs)

 

 

 

 

If you know a chap (or anyone preferring the more traditionally ‘masculine’ style scents) who is a little stuck and not sure where to start on a new fragrance journey – The Scented Gent collection has been specifically curated to appeal. Starting off with some classic names they’re sure to have heard of (and feel comfortable with), which have a more heritage character; then they can be ready to plunge into some scents that will gently guide them into exciting new scent arenas, from new and niche houses. All of them so-classy and easy to wear.

The Scented Gent £23 (or £19 for VIP Club Members)

Floris – Royalty, Churchill & Marilyn Monroe loved them: here’s why YOU should, too…

Floris have scented everyone from royalty, Florence Nightingale, prime ministers and even Marilyn Monroe, but now you can dip into their incredible history (and try some their more contemporary fragrances) in their beautifully curated Floris Discovery Collections

 

The long-distinguished history of Floris first began in the dreams of one Juan Famenias Floris, who in 1730 sailed from his native Minorca to set up in London. Marrying an English girl, he settled in business as a barber on Jermyn Street within the fashionable St. James’s area, first making hair combs and then assuaging his homesickness by blending fragrant oils he’d transported from Europe. Customers soon took to ordering bespoke blends, all recorded in leather-bound ledgers, enabling Floris to re-create them should further supplies be required in the future – and thus a fragrant dynasty was born.

 

Many of those original ledgers, order forms and letters of thanks are still in existence, preserved by successive generations of the Floris family, and offering a uniquely fascinating glimpse of British fragrant taste through the ages. Their books boast orders from Admirals serving under Lord Nelson, Florence Nightingale, George IV, through to Winston Churchill. In 1820, Floris received the first of 16 Royal Warrants, the most recent being the title: Perfumers to HM The Queen Elizabeth II and Manufacturers of Toilet Preparations to HRH The Prince of Wales. (Now, of course, King Charles!)

 

 

And then there was Marilyn Monroe. The scent the world’s biggest sex-symbol always made sure to stock up on? In their extraordinary archive (some of which is on display in the rear of their Jermyn Street boutique), Floris happen to have an original form detailing Marilyn’s order for their surprisingly unisex and greenly fresh Rose Geranium. Indeed, she loved it so much she requested SIX bottles at a time be delivered to her in Beverley Hills! (NB: A far more contemporary rose is their fragrance A Rose For… in The Private Collection – an intriguingly smoky gossamer embrace).

 

 

 

 

The original Floris shop still stands on Jermyn Street. (A couple of generations ago, fragrances were actually manufactured two floors below street level, in a basement known as ‘the mine’.) Now beautifully refurbished, the boutique many other intriguing artefacts to discover on display, along with a wide wardrobe of perfumes to explore. Edward Bodenham – an ancestor of Juan Famenias Floris himself – is the current Perfumery Director at Floris, with fragrance clearly in his blood.

Floris Classic Collection Set £35

As he explains: ‘I feel immensely proud to be part of the family business and to have the opportunity to help introduce our perfume house to a new generation. I have such fond memories of visiting the shop from a young age, and it is very nostalgic for me to be around the fragrances that I have grown up with my whole life. They really are like old friends to me.’

 

No matter how fascinating or notable their past, however, no perfume house could merely trade off their history. So as Edward notes – and more recent creations like sun-drenched Neroli Voyage in the Classic Collection and utterly addictive Honey Oud in Private Collection, prove – Floris are ‘always evolving. We have to be experimental and explorative when working on new fragrances – in just the same way my forefathers were in their day.’ Adding: ‘I hope that they would be proud of our creations today.’

Floris Private Collection Set £35

No question about it, in our minds. And we say: here’s to the next 300 years or so, Floris!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

I-SPY Scents: 50 Fragrances You Need to Try (Part 2)

Because we all get stuck in our scent ways sometimes, or only focus on shiny, new launches, we created a guide to Fifty Fragrances You Should Try (or at least sniff) in a lifetime.

Seeking out and smelling these scents helps build a library of scent knowledge. Some are over a century old, others created by ‘rising star’ new houses in the fragrant firmament. Among them, you’ll encounter scents that changed the course of perfume history – and you may even recognise their olfactory echoes in many newer launches you go on to try.

You can read Part One here, but if you’ve already limbered up your noses, let’s take a look at the last twenty five names on our list – and remember that list could well have been five times as long! We simply chose some to give you a great overview of the olfactory timeline and fragrant landscape you should explore…

[P.S: We’re thrilled the longer version of this article, which appeared in our 50th issue of The Scented Letter magazine, is up for a Jasmine Award!]

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Jimmy Choo £62 for 60ml eau de parfum jimmychoo.com

Feminine, empowering and instantly game-changing, in 2011 those who clamoured for the stunningly glam shoes suddenly wanted to wear Jimmy Choo on their wrists (and necks, décolletage, behind knees…) Olivier Polge leant his mastery of ingredients to creating this fruity Chypre that tempts with tiger orchid, toffee and Indonesian patchouli. One to wear while dancing on tables.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Jo Malone London Lime, Basil & Mandarin £110 for 100ml Cologne

When the now-iconic scent first whooshed its way into the perfume world in 1999, we were still in recovery from an era of powerful ‘room-rockers’. Inspiring countless Cologne-esque copies from others who’d not predicted this fragrant about-face, none can beat the original zesty, feel-good zing of just-squeezed citrus with handfuls of torn basil and thyme leaves still warm from the sun.

 

 

 

 

  1. Jovoy Psychédélique £145 for 100ml eau de parfum 

The ultimate tribute to the Sixties: an intoxicatingly intense patchouli fragrance that’s dark and smoky, twisted through with the golden gleam of amber, and a no-brainer for any patch-lovers to swoon over (as we often do). A glorious example of a ‘phoenix’ perfume house – restored way beyond its former 1920s glory, now also an indie treasure trove of shops for fellow scent obsessives.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Kenzo Flower by Kenzo from £42.99 for 30ml eau de parfum

Kenzo’s new bloom for the millennium, it’s the imagined the scent of a poppy – one of those so-elusive flowers we adore but which remain frustratingly ‘silent’ and scentless in nature. Step forward the artistry of perfumery, in the hands (and nose) of Alberto Morrillas, and this 2000-launched scent now celebrates over 20 years of powdery, violet-tinged, hawthorn-dusted beguilement.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Lalique Encre Noire £25.23 for 100ml eau de toilette

Perfumer Nathalie Lorson excelled herself in 2006 with this love song to the scent of vetiver. Smouldering, inky, bone dry, and slightly dangerous, it wraps the wearer in a cloak of woody cypress, fluffed a little at the edges by cashmere, and ruthlessly seduces with a lover’s neck caress of still-cool muskiness. We dare any sex to wear this and not cast a spell over all in its trail.

 

 

  1. Lancôme La Vie Est Belle £65 for 30ml eau de parfum 

In 2012, this free-spirited fragrance first sashayed its way on the world’s scent stage, embodied by Julia Roberts in the advertising campaign, created by a trio of top-notch noses (Anne Flipo, Dominique Ropion and Olivier Polge), and reportedly with 5000 trials in the making. Full-bodied iris is the star, swagged by radiant orange blossom and jasmine, the fruitiness shot through with praline.

 

 

 

 

  1. Le Labo Santal 33 £157 for 50ml eau de parfum

Since 2011, whole cities have become scented by Santal 33, such has been the popularity of this creamy, dreamy, woodsy perfume story. It’s some story. Former L’Oréal executives Fabrice Penot and Eddie Roschi already had 10 scents to Le Labo’s when Santal changed everything. Starting life as a candle, perfumer Frank Voelkl made it ‘deeper, more comfortable’ and created a must-sniff cult classic.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 From £150 for 30ml eau de parfum

A modern classic, created for the 250th anniversary of the iconic crystal house in 2015. Luminous and sophisticated, Baccarat Rouge 540 lies on the skin like an amber floral and woody breeze. A poetic alchemy, the aerial notes of jasmine and tingling, warm radiance of saffron carry intriguing mineral facets of misty ambergris and woody tones of freshly cut, brown sugar-sprinkled cedar.

 

 

  1. Maison Margiela Replica By the Fireplace £55 for 30ml eau de toilette

Captured in an apothecary-style bottle, with a label echoing the designer’s clothing tags, each Replica fragrance evokes familiar scent memories and moments linked to specific locations. In 2015 we were beckoned to a French alpine fireside, delicious chestnut cocooning pink pepper and clove, contrasting with warm notes of cashmere and orange flower for cuddle-me-closer woodiness.

 

 

 

 

  1. Marc Jacobs Daisy £68 for 50ml eau de toilette

Jacobs’s playful yet sophisticated attitude is reflected in his love of fragrance and most especially this wildly successful scent of 2007. The essence of a youthful spirit, sunny, happy and free, the airy simplicity and charming bottle topped with oversized daisy cap has become iconic. With numerous international awards to its name, each new ‘spin’ on Daisy delights us afresh.

 

 

 

 

  1. MEMO Paris Irish Leather £230 for 75ml eau de parfum

Collating an olfactory album of scent memories, husband and wife founders Clara and John Molloy (via perfumer Alienor Massenet) have distilled huge charisma into this aromatic, honeyed leather, inspired by Clara’s ancestral roots. Swathing green freshness in a somewhat animalistic spirit, the chill of frosted juniper and clary sage is soon smouldered by the warmth of an open fire.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Miller Harris Scherzo £110 for 50ml eau de parfum

Tasked with creating a fragrance to conjure up F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, Mathieu Nardin’s 2018 artistic interpretation is an ode to darkness and light. Blood orange, davana and golden olibanum collide in a kaleidoscopic splash of brightness, while shadowy dark roses mingle with patchouli and oudh. Tinged with sweetness, this artistic endeavour allows your inner child to dance.

 

 

 

 

  1. Molton Brown Black Pepper £120 for 100ml eau de parfum

This iconic sizzle of a scent was ahead of its time by several decades, evolving from bodywash in the 80s to perfumer Jacques Chabert’s personal fragrance in 2001, and finally into the grateful public’s hands (and wrists). The pepper’s enhanced by lemon and ginger up top, dark green herbs in the heart – a true wake-up call to get you going any time you need a fragrant boost of energy!

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Mugler Angel From £65 for 25ml eau de parfum

An olfactory ‘shock’ when it launched in 1992, with its unashamedly unique, good-enough-to-eat candyfloss, bold berries and an unprecedentedly high concentration of 30% ultra-rich, woody patchouli. Mugler’s childhood funfair vision, brilliantly interpreted by Olivier Cresp and Yves de Chiris, will be among the stars, forever. Manfred Thierry Mugler, 1948–2022, R.I.P.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Narciso Rodriguez For Her £59 for 30ml eau de parfum

This eau de parfum version in the soft pink bottle (as opposed to the black EDT) was created by Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian in 2016. Echoing the feminine strength of Rodriguez’ empowering designs, the rose and peach melt seamlessly into a softly simmering amber and signature musk base. Seriously sexy in the most unfussy, unbuttoned way, it still makes our hearts beat faster.

 

 

 

 

  1. Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps £33.50 for 30ml eau de toilette

The first fragrance love affair for so many, it’s hard to believe this first came out in 1948, though the twin doves atop the cap (symbolising peace) make perfect sense. Perfumer Francis Fabron swathed a delicate bouquet in airy aldehydes, the clove-like spiciness of carnation and a dusting of violet and iris. Classically classy, did you know it’s worn by Clarice Starling in ‘Silence of the Lambs’?

 

 

 

  1. Ormonde Jayne Woman From £90 for 30ml eau de parfum

Socrates drank black hemlock to poison himself, but Geza Schoen used it in 2002 for a quite different effect, oodles of the absolute lending mysterious shadows to a dusky forest, otherworldly whispers amidst the verdant undergrowth, all set against the backdrop of a violet-streaked, vetiver rich, amber-tinged, sunset. It could easily conquer your heart (and anyone near).

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Penhaligon’s Halfeti £190 for 100ml eau de parfum

Inspired by a small Turkish village famed for its roses, perfumer Christian Provenzano coaxes baskets of the blooms to radiate in the hot sun. Steeped with spices, the nutmeg and oudh sweep in clouds across supple leather (and often, onto the streets, actually wafting from Penhaligon’s boutiques). That distinctive amber woodiness in the base has ensured its smash-hit status since 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Prada Infusion d’Iris £125 for 100ml eau de parfum

From the moment it launched in 2007, Daniela Andrier’s scent gained cult status. smooth and crisp all at once, cleverly reminiscent of clean linen and warm skin, neroli and mandarin make for an airy introduction to which Andrier’s fused an exquisite tapestry of elements – accenting green galbanum, cedarwood and vetiver with the almost bread-like buttery-softness of iris. Sheer genius.

 

 

 

 

  1. Robert Piguet Fracas £175 for 100ml eau de parfum

Created in 1948 by the indomitable Germaine Cellier, this remains the tuberose against which all others must be measured. Emphatically voluptuous with a heady coolness, this deliberately divisive, Baroque floral has apparently been beloved, among others, by Rita Hayworth, Brigitte Bardot, Courtney Love and Isabella Blow. In other words: shrinking flowers need not apply.

 

 

 

  1. Ruth Mastenbroek Signature From £70 for 30ml eau de parfum

British perfumer Ruth’s own memories of her life in England and her exciting travels abroad formed the basis for her first scent, fittingly named Signature for the way it so perfectly becomes part of you. A distinctively timeless Chypre that’s laced with luscious pineapple, the oakmoss and patchouli base become a warm sunshine-infused hug whenever required.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois £110 for 50ml eau de parfum

Originally launched by Shiseido in 1992, during his creative tenure there, this fragrance came with him for the launch of his own ground-breaking niche perfume house, HQ-ed in Paris’s Palais-Royal, just a few years later. The genderless woody fruit accord gives us a forest of dry cedar swathing a superbly spiced plummy, lipstick-y violet.

 

 

 

 

  1. Tom Ford Black Orchid £140 for 50ml eau de parfum

An instant cult classic from its 2006 launch, famed for the seductive black truffle-infused orchid, rum soaked plums, gleaming, burnished ylang ylang and the silky, lingerie-like stroke of sandalwood and vanilla in the base. Darkly delish, devilishly moreish, Tom Ford smoothly bridged the gap between out-there edgy niche and luxe designer dreaminess. We’re still here for it.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb £65 for 30ml eau de parfum

In 2005 Viktor & Rolf veritably exploded onto the scent scene, with this immediate blockbuster putting the edgy and rule-breaking Dutch design duo firmly on the fragrance map. Traditional note structures were cast aside by Carlos Benaïm, Olivier Polge and Domitille Bertier; instead, overlapping floralcy entwined with a milky muskiness. Still the bomb.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. YSL Opium £65 for 30ml eau de parfum

In 1977 the world was seduced by this audaciously named fragrance; still controversial today, back then it caused a scandal. The opulent swathe of ambrée vanilla, by perfumers Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac, was still shocking us in 2000, when Sophie Dahl’s infamous naked ad saw portrayed her experiencing an Opium-induced olfactory ecstasy. (As well she might.)

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

I-SPY Scents – 50 fragrances everyone should sniff

From bestsellers to treasures from niche names, Suzy Nightingale suggests 50 fragrances we think you should be sure to sniff out – and what better time to begin than in National Fragrance Week?

 

Those of us who love fragrance are always seeking out the new, the exciting, the just-launched. But it’s sometimes easy to overlook the exquisite creations that are right under our noses. Think of the following as akin to one of those i-SPY books we loved as kids, in which we’d patiently check off lists of ‘must-see’ birds, cathedrals, native shrubs or whatever fuelled our childhood passions.

In The Scented Letter Magazine, issue 50, we published a longer article called ‘50 Fragrant Icons‘, which we are THRILLED to say has made the shortlist of finalists for a Jasmine Award!

[PSST! Sign up here so you get every copy of the magazine sent to your inbox for free!]

Here, we present the first half of those 50 fragrances we believe you simply must seek out (we’ll be sharing the second half of the scent list next week) with direct links so you can explore and find out more. Now, get those blotters ready (and note down those you like the sound of so you can tick off your own 50 fragrances I-Spy list…

 

 

  1. 4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent On the Planet Ever (IMHO) £55 for 100ml eau de parfum 

Founder and perfumer Sarah McCartney created this in 2013 as a bespoke fragrance for a VIP event, with a journalist present declaring it to be ‘the sexiest scent ever!’ And thus, a star fragrance was born. Hints of citrus, smooth vanilla, soft woodiness and musky ambergris form an unassuming but undeniably addictive blend that will have you exuding the sensuality of its name.

 

  1. Acqua di Parma Colonia £58 for 20ml eau de Cologne

A timeless symbol of Italian chic, Colonia dates from 1916 and was first used to scent gentlemen’s handkerchiefs. With fragrant fans including Cary Grant, David Niven, and Audrey Hepburn, it’s as if you’ve wandered into an Italian sunlit idyll. Sicilian citrus, bergamot, lemon, sweet and bitter oranges infuse your soul with golden sunshine, the warm base cashmere soft. Bliss, bottled.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Angela Flanders Precious One from £32 for 10ml eau de parfum

Awarded Best New Independent Fragrance 2012 by the Fragrance Foundation UK, this was London-based perfumer Angela Flanders’s homage to her daughter, Kate. An even more special tribute given Angela’s passing, and Kate taking on the role of perfumer. The exquisite floral accord rests on a base of softest oakmoss, layers of smoky vetiver unfurling their classically cool, deeply intriguing charms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert £81 for 75ml eau de Cologne

Setting the trend for green tea-infused scents, this chicly refreshing fragrance launched in 1992. The pared-back elegance of cool herbaceousness (cardamom atop citrus and coriander) is down to master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. An olfactory haiku, the citrus segues seamlessly to the lucent lily of the valley, jasmine and rose heart, the tea effortlessly steamed in musky woods. Genius.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Byredo Flowerhead £135 for 50ml eau de parfum

Although this made its debut in 2014, founder Ben Gorham had the idea six years previously ‘when I gave my cousin away at her Indian wedding.’ Capturing the vision of an Indian bride’s hair covered in floral decorations, perfumer Jérôme Épinette’s creation pulses with tuberose, wild jasmine, rose petals, Scandinavian lingonberry and Sicilian lemon on a suede-wrapped amber base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Calvin Klein CK ONE £48 for 100ml eau de toilette 

The world’s love for Calvin Klein clothing, accessories and fragrances was at its peak in the 90s, the revolutionary fragrance hitting the shelves in 1994 and immediately making its mark, with $60 million global sales in three months. Ultra-fresh, a first-of-its kind unisex eau de toilette, the Steven Meisel ads starring Kate Moss perfectly evoked its insouciant, aromatic aquatic sexiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Carolina Herrera 212 NYC £49 for 30ml eau de toilette

Carolina Herrera de Báez (Carolina Jr) joined her mother’s empire in 1996, just one year later launching this ‘spirit of New York, bottled’ scent, having grown up amidst an artistic landscape of impeccable style and a ‘language of aromas.’ Alberto Morillas wove a youthful exuberance into airy gardenia and jasmine, the soft, musky sandalwood dry-down a testament to vibrant, urban modernity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Cartier La Panthère £62 for 35ml eau de parfum

Brilliant in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent is everyone’s girl-crush: a woman’s woman who suffuses the house’s heritage with so-cool yet achievable stylishness. Embracing tart fruitiness with gardenia, rose and ylang ylang atop an animalistic purr of patchouli, oakmoss and leather, this gracefully rebellious ‘symbol of freedom’ was a modern classic the moment it first miaowed in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Chanel No5 £65 for 35ml eau de parfum

Recognisable the world over by bottle alone, this iconic fragrance celebrated its 100th birthday last year. Back in 1921 (and ever since), what really set No5 apart was its abstract construction. Legend has it that perfumer Ernest Beaux put an ‘overdose’ of aldehydes (sparkling, Champagne-like notes) in the bottle; while we’ll never know if that was true, the rest is fragrance history – and its future!

 

 

 

  1. Chloe £84 for 50ml eau de parfum

Already known for their flirty, feminine womenswear, Chloe’s debut scent launched in 1975 under the umbrella of Karl Lagerfeld. When time came to create a signature for a new generation, it needed to embody the fresh, confident femininity that’s in Chloé‘s DNA. Thus in 2008, Amandine Clerc-Marie and Michel Almairac dappled delicate peony with a cool, dewy fruitiness for a fluidly graceful go-to.

 

  1. Clarins Eau Dynamisante £39 for 100ml spray

Long before today’s natural beauty trend, Clarins pioneered the use of aromatics and botanicals in skincare; their Eau Dynamisante was the first eau de toilette combining principles of aromatherapy and phytotherapy (plant therapy) in fragrant form, back in 1987. Hydrating, toning, and revivifying via essential oils of lemon, patchouli, petitgrain, ginseng and white tea, it’s immediately mood-lifting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Creed Aventus £210 for 50ml eau de parfum

CREED‘s most celebrated fragrance became a true sensation on its launch in 2010, an unusual pairing of succulent pineapple and smoky birch with further fragrant juxtapositions of blackcurrant and rose, apple and jasmine. Inspired by the dramatic life of Napoleon, it’s become (and remained) a blockbuster for its inventive, unapologetic drama and unconventional boldness of spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Dior Eau Sauvage £69 for 50ml eau de toilette

Christian Dior’s scented legacy has endured long beyond his too-short lifetime. To follow legendary Miss Dior and Diorissimo, in 1966 Edmond Roudnitska was entrusted with this zingy yet ethereal, utterly enthralling cologne-style creation. His clarity of composition – bright, crisp lemon and verdant herbs up top, balanced by a handsomely dry vetiver base – remains a wardrobe must-have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Diptyque Philosykos £125 for 100ml eau de toilette 

Making fig fabulously fashionable in 1996, Olivia Giacobetti lapped the crunchy, vegetal nature of fig leaf with a silky milkiness that spoke of humid exoticism and fragrant escapes. Rippled with coconut, comforted by the pencil-shavings note of cedar’s woodiness as it warms, we know many a perfumista who reached for this during lockdowns, and will be wearing for decades to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Escentric Molecule 01 £50 for 30ml eau de parfum

In 2006, the idea of having a fragrance containing but a single, synthetic ingredient was startling. Maverick perfumer and founder Geza Schoen admits he thought, ‘This one will appeal only to the artists, the freaks, the outsiders.’ He was wrong; the world went crazy for the ISO E Super – that warm, fuzzy comfort of nuzzling your lover’s neck and leaning in for more, more, more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Estée Lauder Youth Dew £55 for 67ml eau de parfum

Launched in 1953, this had a clever dual-purpose: ‘…a bath oil that doubled as a skin perfume.’ Because although it was then considered déclassé for a woman to buy her own fragrance, as Esteé Lauder herself once said, ‘it was feminine, all-American, very girl-next-door to take baths…’ This spicy floral simmers with incense and rich (almost cola-esque) resins: the scent of subversiveness!

 

 

 

 

FLORAL_STREET_ELECTRIC_RHUBARB

 

 

 

  1. Floral Street Electric Rhubarb from £28 for 10ml eau de parfum

This British fragrance house has blown us away with their fun, modern take on fragrances, the charmingly luminous effervescence of Electric Rhubarb a case in point. Perfumer Jérôme Épinette [the nose for all their scents] created this in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society. Think summer days sipping Prosecco – rhubarb’s fizz, sea salt and white flowers an enlivening, joyous jolt.

 

 

  1. Floris Chypress from £17 for 10ml eau de parfum

Chypre is one of the most classic fragrance families, but in 2017, Floris gave it a swoon-worthy twist, with sunshine-filled neroli dancing with the soapy brightness of bergamot, lemon and sweet orange until the heart proffers a floral bouquet. Then, as the lights dim and flicker, a va-va-voom yet never cloying vanilla, transparent muskiness, amber and patchouli are chicly revealed.

 

 

 

 

Frederic Malle's Portrait of a Lady perfume

 

 

 

 

  1. Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady from £138 for 30ml eau de parfum

Once Monsieur Malle took the step of putting perfumer’s names on the bottles, these once-hidden noses became olfactory rock stars. Dominique Ropion had crafted iconic fragrances for years, but with the overtly sensual, dark rose, berries and sinuous patchouli of 2010’s ‘POAL’ (as it’s oft known), he created the decadent scent trail of many a perfumista, and Malle’s bestseller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Giorgio Armani Si £65 for 30ml eau de parfum

Giorgio Armani describes as ‘my tribute to modern femininity, an irresistible combination of grace, strength and independent spirit.’ It’s a masterful ‘reinvention’ of that so-classic Chypre family for a contemporary new audience. Captivating the senses with its three accords – fruity cassis nectar, a modern Chypre accord, and light musky woods – it’s sophisticated yet utterly unfussy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Goutal Eau d’Hadrien £143 for 100ml eau de parfum

If there was an award for ‘Most Mentioned Signature Fragrance by Celebrities’, Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien would probably win the gold medal – and with good reason. In a timelessly intriguing, deceptively simple take on freshness, mouth-watering citrus, ylang ylang and sparkling, soapy aldehydes evoke Annick’s beloved Italian garden. Way ahead of its time in 1981, it’s just as relevant now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Guerlain Shalimar £69 for 30ml eau de parfum

Incredibly over 100 years old. Its creator Jacques Guerlain’s reign lasted 65 fragrance-filled years and included many a masterpiece (Mitsouko, how we adore thee!) Imagine here a silky pair of 1920s pyjamas worn with heels to a party, citrus swirled with honeyed, night-blooming flowers, powdery iris on a vanilla-plumped base, incense on the breeze: the perfect perfumed romance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Hermès Terre d’Hermès £71 for 50ml eau de toilette

Master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena’s back catalogue could likely fill a list of ‘50 fragrances you should try’ in its own right, but the standout success of this when it launched in 2006 has shown no signs of slowing. Why? It’s the so-structured woodiness that’s riven with vivacious grapefruit, the sheer spices enlivened by a suavely handsome, distinctly flinty vetiver. Sublime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey £46 for 20ml eau de toilette

Reinventing the scent of water to become chicly covetable, as only Issey Miyake truly could. The beautiful transparency of lotus flower and freesia is rippled through with lightly handled lily, rose and carnation; perfumer Jacques Cavallier then delicately dusted peony petals and rested the composition on a smoothly woody base tickled by a swirl of white musk. It still whispers, beguilingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male £42.50 for 40ml eau de toilette

Created by now well-known fragrant maestro Francis Kurkdjian while fresh out of perfumery school, it was quite the olfactory debut in 1995. Taking the outlines of a traditional fougére, the lavender and mint are salt-licked and distinctly salacious, while vanilla, almond-like tonka bean and orange-blossom are positively addictive, and the cumin naughtily skin-like. Ahoy there!

 

Perfumes for Goodwood Revival – vintage fragrances still just as fab today!

When you think of ‘vintage fragrances’, what do you imagine? If it’s anything musty, dusty and a little bit fusty or, god forbid, that completely hideous (and totally sexist / ageist) phrase ‘old woman-like’ you can banish such sinful thoughts from your mind immediately. What we now think of as classics were once, in their day, utterly shocking – the punk rock of perfumes, totally overthrowing olfactory conventions. Given time (something not all fragrances, sadly, are granted today); these scents became part of our perfumed surroundings, something we all became somewhat familiar with. If we’ve not worn them personally we know people who have, or we recognise the bottles and names at the very least.

There are so many vintage fragrances still around today and going just as strong, that with the annual Goodwood Revival vintage festival about to get into full swing, we felt it was the perfect time to reflect on some of these incredible perfumes, and urge you to seek them out to try on your own skin – all of these launched first in the 1920s and are still (fabulously) appropriate to wear in 2022. Think you know vintage? Think again…

 

 

Chanel No.5 – launched 1921
Coco Chanel wanted to launch a scent for the new, modern woman she embodied. She loved the scent of soap and freshly-scrubbed skin; Chanel’s mother was a laundrywoman and market stall-holder, though when she died, the young Gabrielle was sent to live with Cistercian nuns at Aubazine. When it came to creating her signature scent, though, freshness was all-important. While holidaying with her lover, Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich, she heard tell of a Grasse-based perfumer called Ernest Beaux, who’d been the perfumer darling of the Russian royal family. Over several months, he produced a series of 10 samples to show to ‘Mademoiselle’. They were numbered one to five, and 20 to 24. She picked No. 5 – and yes, the rest is history.

Why it’s still wearable:
After that infamous Champagne-like aldehydic rush, notes of jasmine, rose, vanilla and sandalwood calm the froth, but it still smells incredibly ‘abstract’ with no dominant note the wearer can really make out. It’s timeless, clean but sexy in a so-French way. Perhaps this will be the year you succumb to its charms?

From £65 for 35ml eau de parfum chanel.com

 

 

Molinard Habanita – launched 1921
Molinard say that Habanita was the first women’s fragrance to strongly feature vetiver as an ingredient – something hitherto reserved for men, commenting that ‘Habanita’s innovative style was eagerly embraced by the garçonnes – France’s flappers – and soon became Molinard’s runaway success and an icon in the history of French perfume.’ Originaly conceived as a scent for cigarettes – inserted via glass rods or to sprinkle from a sachet – women had begun sprinkling themselves with it instead, and Molinard eventually released it as a personal fragrance.

Why it’s still wearable:
Honeyed tobacco notes and the aforementioned vetiver along with a supremely supple leather manage to distinctly butch up the orange blossom and fruits of the opening, with a floral heart that further ruffles the feathers of gender stereotypes – jasmine and heliotrope saucily winking atop a softly powdered amber base. Truly delightful and thrillingly illicit, it’s a crime not to have tried this at least once in your life, no matter your gender.

£85 for 75ml eau de parfum bloomperfume.co.uk

 

 

Lanvin Arpège – launched 1924
Jeanne Lanvin was a contemporary of Chanel’s, and – like her – began as a milliner and seamstress, founding her own millinery fashion house at Rue du Marché Saint-Honoré. Lanvin’s daughter was her inspiration for the fragrance Arpège.It was conceived for the 30th birthday of her daughter Marie-Blanche, and took its musical reference name from a comment Marie-Blanche made on being shown the first sample, created by perfumers André Fraysse and Paul Vacher: ‘It smells like an arpeggio would’. The spherical black-and-gold bottle was a nod to their love, too, with its silhouette of a mother dressing her daughter (designed by Paul Iribe) is still so recognisable – and covetable – today.

Why it’s still wearable:
A melody of florals – rose, iris, lily, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang ylang , camellia and geranium – the lasting impression is of being wrapped in warm, white, fluffy towels, a veritable hug in a bottle. As blogger The Candy Perfume Boy observes: The truth is that Arpège has aged rather well and its supple aldehydic floral tones feel strikingly genderless today, making for a throwback floral that would feel perfectly comfortable on any perfume lover (male or female) who may be looking for something with a bit of a vintage edge.’

£27.60 for 100ml eau de parfum allbeauty.com

 

 

Guerlain Shalimar  – first launched 1921, re-launched 1925
The Champs-Élysées-based perfume house had continued their tradition of launching rich, sumptous fragrances with this now legendary perfume from Jacques Guerlain, complete with lashings of the newly-popular synthetic vanillin. (It prompted Ernest Beaux himself to comment: ‘When I do vanilla, I get crème Anglaise; when Guerlain does it, he gets Shalimar!’) Said to be inspired by the Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar, part of which was laid out by the lovesick Emperor Shah Jehan, in 1619, for the delight of his wife Mumtaz Mahal (meaning ‘Jewel of the Palace’). When she died in childbirth, three years after Shah Jehan took the throne, he build the Taj Mahal in her honour, in Agra. Re-launched in 1925 at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts, it harkened to a growing passion for romanticised exoticism in fashion, home decor and fragrance.

Why it’s still wearable:
Oodles of uplifting lemon and bergamot are swirled with night-blooming flowers of heliotrope and jasmine and iris over other famously velvety base notes, including patchouli, benzoin, ambergris, tonka bean, incense, vetiver, sandalwood and musk. Jacques passed that love on to his great-grandson Jean-Paul Guerlain, who’s said:  ‘He taught me how to love vanilla, as it adds something wonderfully erotic to a perfume. It turned Shalimar into an evening gown with an outrageously plunging neckline.’ To wear it, at any time, is to add some serious va-va-voom to your presence.

£87 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

 

 

Coty L’aimant – launched 1927
First created by Master Perfumer François Coty in 1927, apparently inspired by the love of his life, Coty L’Aimant (meaning ‘magnet’ in French) has remained popular through the decades for its distinctive, timeless and delicate fragrance combining rose, orchid and golden jasmin softly embraced with sandalwood and vanilla. Fragrance Blogger Sam from I Scent You a Day describes L’aimant as ‘peachy and soapy, with the neroli providing a hint of heady white flowers,’ with ‘a creamy and warm finish and a flourish of powder puff.’

Why it’s still wearable:
It definitely smells delightfully retro, but somehow those aldehydes just keep on fizzing through the ages and refuse to become fusty. As Sam comments, ‘What never ceases to amaze me is that a long lasting perfume of this calibre can still be had for a song,’ while lamenting that ‘It’s a perfume that I would love to smell more people wearing.’ And for that price, you cannot go wrong. Let’s say it’s not quite you… simply spray all your writing paper (or the boudoir curtains) with it – fabulous, dah-ling!

Coty L’aimant £9.99 for 50ml parfum de toilette boots.com

At the time of writing, half the world seems to be on fire or flooding, and the political climate remains turbulent, so it’s hardly surprising increasing numbers of fragrance lovers are turning toward retro smells with misty eyes. But they don’t all have to be whimsical museum pieces, as these definitely wearable scents certainly prove. We’d love to see more men exploring what used to be considered ‘female’ fragrances, too – fragrant ingredients do not have a gender, and these should be worn by bright young (or older) things again, as we head toward 2023, stockings rolled down or otherwise…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Lavender true… scents to make your heart sigh for an everlasting summer

Those beautiful swathes of purple lavender patches that swathed the countryside might be gone – the plants are all harvested during August, the best to capture their fragrant oils – but we’ve some suggestions for true lavender scents to revive the sesnes and keep that feeling of late Summer going, year-round…

 

While lavender’s almost universally accepted as aesthetically pleasing and, of course, soothing to the senses; many fragrance fans unfairly discount a dominant note of lavender in perfumery as being ‘old-fashioned’ perhaps recalling scented drawer-sachets or bath salts that rarely use the high quality, perfume-grade lavender, and instead the far cheaper, dusty-old-drawer smelling low quality essential oil or even poorly made synthetic lavender. Judge not, oh ye of little fragrance faith, until you have read on!

Known in Provence as ‘blue gold’, the best lavender used in perfumery tends to be grown in higher altitudes, and often doesn’t at all resemble what we think we know lavender smells of. Pure lavender essential oil can be spicy, peppery, herbaceous, misty, smoky or green and many cannot identify the note when asked to sniff blind.

With lavender having a resurgence as a note to rediscover in contemporary fragrances we suggested you try, it is also important to appreciate those British classics that have withstood the test of time, and fragrances that cherish it as the “hero note” – revelling in their true lavender love.

You can read more about the history of lavender’s use in perfumery on our fascinating Ingredients section of the website, but in the meantime, here’s our edit of the absolute must-try lavender scents. And every time you spray, you can keep summer alive that little bit longer…

 

 

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Freshly aromatic with a twist of eucalyptus and rosemary with the traditional lavender, the heart is a tender bouquet of geranium, rose and orange flower, with an earthier base of patchouli and musk for a dusky trail…
Bronnley Lavender £17.25 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at bronnley.co.uk

 

 


Atkinsons Lavender On the Rocks
We love the typically English eccentricity of Atkinsons, who play up to their heritage with a nod and a wink from the styling of their bottles to the fragrances themselves. True to the cocktail-esque name, this one has a double-shot of lavender to tickle your fancy. From the bracingly fresh opening with geranium and basil to the honeyed hay-like dry down with almond, guaiac wood and saffron, every facet of lavender’s complex character is allowed to shine.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
At atkinsons1799.com

 


Yardley-English-Lavender
With a green hay-like sweetness, this is Yardley London’s signature fragrance. Beautifully elegant, lavender leaves enhance the freshness on top, then the oil is infused with neroli and clary sage, geranium,  sandalwood and tonka for a smooth dry-down…
Yardley English Lavender £15.99 for 125ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots

One of the very first flowers distilled by founder Olivier Baussan, L’Occitane uses lavender directly sourced from farmers’ cooperatives in Haute-Provence. This new aromatic tribute to their homeland is the softest way there is to soothe frazzled nerves, being further grounded by sandalwood and white musk. Simply beautiful!
L’Occitane White Lavender Limited Edition £54 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at uk.loccitane.com

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

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

Celebrating 100 years of Shalimar (and why we still love it)

It’s really quite incredible to think that Shalimar is 100 years old – having been first launched in 1921 – and that Guerlain‘s most romantic fragrance is still worn and adored to this day. If you’re already a fan of the fragrance you’ll know how special it is, but if you’ve never tried it… oh, you’re in for in a treat!

 

Jacques Guerlain – Guerlain Perfumer 1890-1955

‘A good perfume is one whose scent corresponds to an initial dream.’

 

 

The History: The most prolific of the Guerlain perfumers, Jacques’ rein lasted for an astonishing 65 years. He took over from his uncle Aimé in 1890 and was responsible for creating the ultimate signature of Guerlain, the ‘Guerlianade’: an accord which blends vanilla, bergamot, balsams, tonka bean, iris, rose and jasmine, and has been at the heart of (almost) every fragrance since the early 1920s. His most celebrated creations include L’Heure Bleu, Mitsouko and of course, the astonishing Shalimar, launched in 1921, which remains one of the bestselling fragrances in the world.

 

 

 

The flacon for Shalimar is almost as fascinating as the fragrance inside. Sometimes described as the ‘bat’ bottle (we hadn’t until now quite realised it resembled outstretched wings!), it is also said to resemble a basin that could be admired in the Mughal gardens in India, and was designed by another talented Guerlain, Raymond, with a dark blue stopper chosen to evoke Indian starry nights. The bottle won first prize at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts and Modern Industry in 1925.

 

 

Why perfumers love Shalimar: When we interview perfumers, we often ask which classic fragrance they wish they’d created or most admire. One of the most frequent answers? Shalimar, of course. Carlos Benaïm told us, ‘My grandmother used to wear Shalimar. It is magnificent, absolutely wonderful, with that mossiness – not just oakmoss, but the other mosses which we’re restricted from using so much these days…’ And Alberto Morillas – another nose often cited as one of the most talented perfumers working today – explained, ‘If you ask me what is the greatest fragrance ever created, I’d say Guerlain Shalimar. Some might imagine it’s old-fashioned but it’s also very modern. There are all sorts of contrasts inside it – but it works so well.’

 

Guerlain Shalimar £83 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

Why we love wearing Shalimar: Imagine a silky pair of 1920s pyjamas worn as daywear (or with heels, to a cocktail party) as uplifting lemon and bergamot swirl with honeyed, night-blooming flowers of heliotrope and jasmine. Beautifully rounded by powdery iris and cocooned in a comforting, vanilla-plumped base of patchouli, benzoin, ambergris, tonka bean, incense, vetiver, sandalwood and musk. To wear Shalimar is still the ultimate gesture of olfactive romance.

Quite simply, it’s a masterpiece that’s effortlessly glam. And it’s one of those perfumes that people will still be wearing and talking about in another 100 years, we reckon.

Many Happy Returns, Shalimar!

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Angela Flanders Aqua Alba returns!

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…

Angela Flanders Aqua Alba £79 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at angelaflanders.com

By Suzy Nightingale