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

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

Swathes of purple patches embellishing the countryside truly lift the soul – there’s something about seeing simplicity en-masse that becomes staggeringly beautiful…
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Aesthetically pleasing we can all agree, but 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.
Recently we took a group of our VIP Subscribers to the wonderful Mitchell & Peach Lavender Farm in Kent, and everyone was enchanted by the picturesque countryside and the family’s in-depth knowledge and passion for the land and the crops they tend there.
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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 £13.50 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at bronnley.co.uk
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Made by the Cistertian monks of tiny Caldey island in south west Wales, this is humbly presented yet unexpectedly sublime – all fresh air, hazy dawns and mist-draped secret gardens. Almost slightly minty, it’s like a late Summer breeze in a bottle…
Caldey Island Lavender £17.50 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at caldey-island.co.uk
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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 £9.99 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots
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With zesty lemon, verbena and grapefruit shot through the composition of this ultra-green lavender, it’s a wakeup call for the senses. Gauzy jasmine and delicate hints of amber intrigue the cedarwood trail…
Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena and Lavender de Provence £20 for 30ml Cologne
Buy it at crabtree-evelyn.co.uk
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One of the very first flowers distilled by founder Olivier Baussan, L’Occitane uses lavender directly sourced from farmers’ cooperatives in Haute-Provence. This aromatic tribute to their homeland is the softest way there is to soothe frazzled nerves…
L’Occitane Lavender Relaxing Roll-On £12 for 10ml Cologne
Buy it at uk.loccitane.com
Do you have a favourite lavender fragrance, or have you tried one recently that really changed your mind? Do get in touch by Tweeting, posting a picture and tagging us on Instagram or e-mail us here – we’d love to hear about it!
Written by Suzy Nightingale