Charlotte Tilbury's top secret scent is unveiled today – and we snuck behind the scenes at the launch

Charlotte Tilbury is unquestionably the hottest thing to happen in make-up for a decade or more. Never seen without lipstick, high heels, voluptuous in a va-va-voom frock, this life-enhancing (also: cheekbone-enhancing) dynamo hurtles through life leaving lesser mortals trailing in her wake – who will soon be enjoying her debut scent, as they do so. (It launches on 15th August, but the news embargo lifts today.)

Beckoned by a cascade of flowers into the inner sanctum at Charlotte’s launch

Knowing Charlotte (and we have, for longer than we care to mention), her signature scent was never going to be ‘ordinary’. It is, Charlotte explained to a most definitely spellbound audience at the ICA Galleries, ‘magic’ – created via working with ‘visionary experts within the fields of neuroscience and fragrance.’ (And it was certainly the first fragrance launch we’ve been to where an expert in sacred geometry (Dr. Christina Oakley-Harrington) was seated alongside a leading scientist working with the sense of smell (Dr. Andreas Schaefer).
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François Robert, left, with UCL olfactory scientist Dr. Andreas Schaefer, right

The perfumer behind this floral-Chypre creation is François Robert, who has applied his own magic to creating perfumes for Hermès, Missoni, Lanvin, and Paris’s Les Parfums de Rosine. Perfume, rather than blood, may indeed flow in François’s veins: his great-uncle Henri Robert was the man responsible for creating Chanel No.19, while François’s father was responsible for Hermès Calèche and Madame Rochas.
For Charlotte – probably the most relentlessly positive person we know – the fragrance he created always had to be ‘mood-enhancing’ as well as downright beautiful. So she’s broken the traditional ‘pyramid’ down into ‘The Joy Notes’, to create a confidence-boosting aura (lemon, peach, black pepper, mandarin, bergamot and saffron), ‘The Fleurotic Notes’, to ‘trigger love’ (tuberose, frankincense, violet, patchouli, muguet, orange flower, rose oil, tea rose, magnolia and green ivy), and ‘The Psycho Active Notes’, which Charlotte maintains are akin to a pheromone, stimulating desire (precious woods, amber, cistus Iso E Super, hedione, Ambrosian and fire tree). And with all that going on, what else could she call it but ‘A Scent of Attraction…’?
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A chandelier of ‘sacred’ bottles at the ICA

The bottle was then interpreted by the expert in sacred geometry for the assembled audience. An octahedron lid, representing air. Pointy-topped (it’s technically ‘The Spire’, in shape), it aspires to your highest and purest spiritual state of mind. The starburst of never-ending lines, meanwhile, represents reaching your dreams. And circular in shape, it is deemed to be associated with the beginning of the universe, ‘helping to realise your dreams, rebirth and love’.
The meaning of the bottle design, according to sacred geometry

So far, so New Age. But what does it actually smell like? Well, gorgeous, actually. Quite ‘intimate’: more of a come-closer skin scent than one with the sort of 80s ‘room-rocker’ sillage that we were confidently expecting. The patchouli note – ‘the scent I grew up with, having hippie parents, which made it an absolute must-have for me’ – is downplayed though definitely present, while the florals wrap you in a veil: more organza than velvet, airy rather than heady. But yes, it lasts on the skin: still there next morning, the scent equivalent of a smudged smokey eye you’ve naughtily slept in.
The bottle – based on ‘sacred geometry’ – in a florabundant setting

After Charlotte’s mile-a-minute presentation, we were ushered out of the beautiful launch room overlooking the Mall to look at the Christmas goodies she was unveiling in an adjacent room. But by special permission (and after all but signing our names in blood not to break any embargoes), The Perfume Society was exclusively allowed back to take pictures, which we thought we’d share with you here.
Meanwhile, the clock’s ticking. The ‘magic hour’ approaches.  And when the scent launches mid-August, we’ll be sharing the really rather stupendous ad., starring Charlotte’s friend Kate Moss.
We assure you it’s worth the wait – and with Charlotte waving her magic wand over the project, destined to
Scent of a Dream from £49 for 30ml
Find it from 15th August 2016 at and Charlotte Tilbury stores, together with Selfridges and Brown Thomas
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For the ICA Galleries launch, archives were plundered for scent-making memorabilia

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The sort of perfume shelf we probably all long for (and an Instagrammer’s dream)

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Up close with some of the ‘archive’ bottles which only The Perfume Society got to photograph