Clive Christian – the scented history & fragrant future

We know Clive Christian today as a modern house crafting contemporary and highly inventive scents. But dig a little deeper, and fascinatingly the history and evolution of the house goes back to 1872, and the Crown Perfumery company. Crown was once a thriving fragrance house serving royalty (for which Queen Victoria granted the symbolic use of her crown) – but eventually fell on hard times. Enter Clive Christian – renowned interior designer with a passion for perfume, who then purchased Crown Perfumery in 1999.

In danger of the iconic crowned bottle design being lost forever, the bottles were saved, but rather than slavishly harking back to the past, it was decided the fragrances inside should have a finger firmly on the modern pulse while still retaining a nod to their illustrious heritage. The suitably named Clive Christian Original Collection marked the launch of their now iconic fragrance pairings – a masculine and feminine interpretation of a shared inspiration – with 1872 a fragrant handshake commemorating the brand’s Victorian heritage, X a tribute to the adventures of the silk road, and No.1 artfully blending the world’s rarest spices; famously, the precious formula was famously offered as ‘the most expensive perfume in the world.’

 

 

With a self-proclaimed ‘passion for transforming the expected into the extraordinary’, in recent years the fragrances have also seen a more unanticipated turn. Still resolutely luxurious in nature and (it could be said) retaining a regal bearing, the juices themselves can be inspired by thrillingly exotic and – in the case of the Addictive Arts series – daringly narcotic raw materials.

‘Perfumery is an art form, in the same genre as music and painting. It requires talent, expertise and most of all passion,’ observes Clive (awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2012 New Year Honours List). As Clive Christian concludes: ‘outstanding perfume creations are forever.’ And now, you are able to delve into the archives of signature and more recent releases in the form of Clive Christian Discovery Sets – hurrah!

Clive Christian Around the World Discovery Set £150
Discover the exquisite fragrances below that will transport you around the world, in generous 7.5ml sizes…

Addictive Arts Jump up and Kiss Me Hedonistic  – oriental 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.

Clive Christian 1872 Feminine Travel Set £95
The 1872 Feminine Edition citrus perfume for her contains 20% perfume concentration. A floral, fruity citrus that combines clean, crisp top notes of bergamot with the intense bouquet of Rose de Mai, one of the rarest ingredients in nature. A beautifully fresh and familiar sensation for the wearer. Despite being x 3 mini perfumes (7.5ml), it allows for around 100 sprays in each vial. 1872 Feminine combines clean, crisp top notes with the intense bouquet of Rose de Mai.

 

Clive Christian Matsukita – a fragrant history, revived

Clive Christian has been searching through the Crown Perfumery Company archives to research ‘some of the most infamous scents from this revolutionary British perfume house; loved by the aristocracy, politicians, artists and actors of the Victorian era and beyond.’

Select perfumes, we’re told, will be ‘uncovered from history, taking inspiration from a unique heritage whilst remaining true to the Clive Christian traditions of concentration, complexity and a dedication to using the finest ingredients.’

 

 

Matsukita was inspired ‘by a fabled Japanese princess who awed the Victorian royal court with her elegance and grace’ – first launched in 1892 by Crown Perfumery, and heavily advertised with lavish, hand painted illustrations.

Today, Matsukita ‘has been reimagined to capture this illusive elegance.’ A deliciously woody chypre, there’s an invigorating freshness wafting around the top notes to keep this breezy and beautiful. Green bergamot, pink pepper and intriguing nutmeg swoop to the floral, woody heart of Chinese imperial jasmine infused with with smokey black tea. The smoke dispersing to reveal an amber-rich base swathed in whisper-soft musk add further to the ‘sense of mystery and grace’ they hoped to capture of the original.

 

Clive Crown Collection Christian Matsukita £325 for 50ml eau de parfum
Available at harrods.com

 

Such a fragrance deserves a fitting presentation, and Clive Christian explain that, ‘The presentation case showcases the unique history, with an archive image hidden for discovery beneath each bottle. The symbol for this new collection is none other than the delicate motif of the Crown Perfumery Company, a symbol guarded by the perfume house as a sign of excellence and perfume quality. As with all Clive Christian perfumes each bottle is topped with our signature crown stopper, a sign of perfume prestige since 1872.’

While fragrance lovers have been swooning at the scent and its packaging, we also lost our hearts completely to the charmingly illustrated film to accompany the launch of this contemporary itteration, which we’re thrilled to share with you, below…

 

Clive Christian’s Addictive Arts duo launch at Harrods

We all know how addictive perfumes can be – that heady, giddying rush of instant love, or the febrile panic that sets in if you can’t get a hit of your favourite fragrance…  Now, Clive Christian are actively encouraging you to give in to your cravings with their latest Addictive Arts duo of forbidden perfume pairs: A Separate Reality. Fusing uniquely disilled ‘mind enhancing narcotics’ including wormwood (more commonly known for its use in Absinth); coca leaf (which they daringly describe as ‘cocaine’) and opium poppy (think Dorothy getting drowsy in The Wizard of Oz mixed with a hint of velvet-draped opium den).

Well. We’re sure that description has grabbed your attention, but if you’re worrying you’ll be floating around the ceiling with eyes wide open, fear not, for apart from Manic, you’ve been given a safe landing with the woozy slumber of Soporific.

Describing what they refer to as the ‘AddictiveFusion™’ technology used for the fragrances, Clive Christian go on to explain they achieved the evocation by combining headspace technology, ‘capturing the elusive scents of mood and mind enhancing narcotics,’ with a molecular blend of ‘bespoke natural ingredients, honed to perfection, untraceable under analysis and impossible to imitate – each perfume’s heart is flagrantly dark and exotic and their profile enigmatic and unforgettable.’

Capturing ‘the craven rush and brazen thrill of twisted hedonism’ (gosh, hold on to your hats – it’s not even the weekend!) each Addictive Arts perfume promises to ‘…take perfume lovers on a unique trip to scent pharmacology, transcending all normality with a new fragrance genus.’ So if you’re ready, let’s dive on in to the magical mystery tour of excess and libertine pleasures…

For Manic, a substantial base of sandalwood is swathed in supple leather and smoke, but dew-sprinkled earthy moss is the first note to greet our noses, a sexy fougere that might induce running through the woods and whooping it up on  bed of ferns. Reeled in by a seriously dark vanilla swirled with brazen musks we plunge into a surprisingly green heart of radint lentisque, surrounded by herbaceous coriander leaf and a subtle haze of incense infused red berries. With lavender perhps more expected of the twin to this fragrance, it makes sense when it’s the peppery, spiky-green kind and particularly peps you up when comibined with a subtle chill of mint.

Clive Christian Manic £525 for 75ml parfum

There’s something rather decadently déshabillé about Soporific, it’s the kind of scent to make you want to sprawl, scantily clad, on a chaise lounge while eating grapes and nonchalantly listening to an avid lover reciting bad poetry – you can practically smell the paper scrolls they’re written on. No in-your-face sensuality, the gauzy muskiness and soft stroke of fir balsam sighs against tendrils of smoky myrrh, lazily snaking their way around rose de mai, translucent jasmine and a plumptious amber base. Silky green lentisque smells a little like Champagne laced with hedione, flecked with saffron and a delicate scattering of Roman chamomile.

Clive Christian Soporific £525 for 75ml parfum
Exclusively at Harrods

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Clive Christian's Addictive Arts duo launch at Harrods

We all know how addictive perfumes can be – that heady, giddying rush of instant love, or the febrile panic that sets in if you can’t get a hit of your favourite fragrance…  Now, Clive Christian are actively encouraging you to give in to your cravings with their latest Addictive Arts duo of forbidden perfume pairs: A Separate Reality. Fusing uniquely disilled ‘mind enhancing narcotics’ including wormwood (more commonly known for its use in Absinth); coca leaf (which they daringly describe as ‘cocaine’) and opium poppy (think Dorothy getting drowsy in The Wizard of Oz mixed with a hint of velvet-draped opium den).
Well. We’re sure that description has grabbed your attention, but if you’re worrying you’ll be floating around the ceiling with eyes wide open, fear not, for apart from Manic, you’ve been given a safe landing with the woozy slumber of Soporific.
Describing what they refer to as the ‘AddictiveFusion™’ technology used for the fragrances, Clive Christian go on to explain they achieved the evocation by combining headspace technology, ‘capturing the elusive scents of mood and mind enhancing narcotics,’ with a molecular blend of ‘bespoke natural ingredients, honed to perfection, untraceable under analysis and impossible to imitate – each perfume’s heart is flagrantly dark and exotic and their profile enigmatic and unforgettable.’
Capturing ‘the craven rush and brazen thrill of twisted hedonism’ (gosh, hold on to your hats – it’s not even the weekend!) each Addictive Arts perfume promises to ‘…take perfume lovers on a unique trip to scent pharmacology, transcending all normality with a new fragrance genus.’ So if you’re ready, let’s dive on in to the magical mystery tour of excess and libertine pleasures…

For Manic, a substantial base of sandalwood is swathed in supple leather and smoke, but dew-sprinkled earthy moss is the first note to greet our noses, a sexy fougere that might induce running through the woods and whooping it up on  bed of ferns. Reeled in by a seriously dark vanilla swirled with brazen musks we plunge into a surprisingly green heart of radint lentisque, surrounded by herbaceous coriander leaf and a subtle haze of incense infused red berries. With lavender perhps more expected of the twin to this fragrance, it makes sense when it’s the peppery, spiky-green kind and particularly peps you up when comibined with a subtle chill of mint.
Clive Christian Manic £525 for 75ml parfum

There’s something rather decadently déshabillé about Soporific, it’s the kind of scent to make you want to sprawl, scantily clad, on a chaise lounge while eating grapes and nonchalantly listening to an avid lover reciting bad poetry – you can practically smell the paper scrolls they’re written on. No in-your-face sensuality, the gauzy muskiness and soft stroke of fir balsam sighs against tendrils of smoky myrrh, lazily snaking their way around rose de mai, translucent jasmine and a plumptious amber base. Silky green lentisque smells a little like Champagne laced with hedione, flecked with saffron and a delicate scattering of Roman chamomile.
Clive Christian Soporific £525 for 75ml parfum
Exclusively at Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Clive Christian launch Noble VII duo at Harrods – inspired by the magnificent Queen Anne gardens of his home…

The fragrance world have long known the name of Clive Christian, but perhaps not so much about the man, and we were lucky enough to be treated to an intimate afternoon tea in Clive Christian’s staggeringly beautiful Mayfair office, hosted by the brand’s ambassador; Clive’s daughter, Victoria Christian, and with a visit from the man himself. Over glasses of Champagne and the most elegant sandwiches and pastries, we took a deeper look into the brand’s story – and a unique sniffing session inspired by the rituals of the brand’s historic and royal roots…
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Having rescued the historic Crown Perfumery from ruin and restored its former glory, Clive Christian’s signature fragrance 1872 commemorates the brand’s Victorian heritage – and today the perfume house remains a testament to the artisanal practices of centuries past while still forging ever forwards and creating contemporary fragrances that stand the test of time. The bottle designs and sumptuously heavy crown tops echo that heritage, and the house proudly retains a royal seal of approval to this day.

We were particularly fascinated to learn that the pairs of fragrances are couples in more than name alone – when layered, the masculine with the feminine, if so desired – create your own bespoke blend and harness the interplay of notes between them as they settle on your skin. We tried this ourselves and the results are outstanding. We urge you to play!
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We’re cannot, sadly, re-create the amazing sensation of sitting with your eyes closed and having Victoria waft the scents across a room to you with a large fan [Shhh! VIP Subscribers: do watch our Events page as we are so hoping to make this happen…]
During the talk, Clive Christian spoke of the contentment he finds in tending the magnificent gardens of his Queen Anne house, and the incredible inspiration he’s gained by restoring them to their former glory with a planting scheme that echoes the history of the place. Inspiration that now blossoms fully in the two latest fragrances to be launched…

Noble VII Cosmos Flower

  • Top notes: Pink pepper, rum, mandarin, apple
  • Middle notes: Plum, ylang-ylang, jasmine, osmanthus, cosmos flower
  • Base notes: Benzoin, cocoa, amber, caramel

A delicious forray into a Michelin-grade gourmand, Cosmos Flower exudes all the overt decadence of that magnificent bloom. Mouth-watering fruits get the olfactive tastebuds tingling before melding into a richer plum and and perfectly balanced floral heart, with the peachy delicacy of the osmanthus really showcasing the cosmos flower’s depth. The cocoa of the base is beautifully dry, with smooth benzoin swooning into a bitter caramel that makes for a truly complex and properly grown-up ‘foodie’ fragranced banquet. As a pure perfume, this gave us many happy hours of totally addictive wrist-sniffing…
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Clive Christian Noble VII Cosmos Flower £350 for 50ml pure perfume
At Harrods

Noble VII Rock Rose

  • Top notes: Citrus, bergamot, black pepper, neroli
  • Middle notes: Lavender, violet, herbs, rock rose
  • Base notes: Cocoa, patchouli, amber, vetiver

A classically styled and mistily refined fougére with a surprisingly modern edge, here we find citrus, bergamot and neroli sprinkled with black pepper in the opening, while the heart is composed of superbly dry lavender, violet and the intriguing scent of rock rose. With a base of the darkest cocoa, patchouli and amber, the vetiver seems to sparkle as a cyclical return to the airily fresh beginning. A fragrant journey we’d happily share with any gentleman we deem worthy (if they can wrest it from our grasp!)
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Clive Christian Noble VII Rock Rose £350 for 50ml pure perfume
At Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale

For our VIP Subscribers only: win a copy of Clive Christian's perfume book – signed by Clive himself

As lavish as the Clive Christian fragrances themselves, this coffee table book traces the history of this 15-year-old perfume house – founded by designer Clive Christian and loved by perfumistas around the world.
And it’s priceless: not only is the glossy, coffee table book only available privately, but this particular copy has been signed by Clive Christian to offer to one lucky Perfume Society VIP Subscriber.
The lavish book looks at bottle design, fragrance creation, even heraldry – and the artisan crafts which have played an important part in establishing the so-British reputation of this fine fragrance name – renowned for offering what’s renowned as ‘The World’s Most Expensive Perfume’.
To enter, simply fill in the form below – and keep your fingers crossed…
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