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…