Moresque – get your questions in for our Instagram Live event with founder, Cindy Guillemant!

We’re so thrilled to be hosting an Instagram Live event with Cindy Guillemant from the fabulous niche fragrance house of Moresque.

Get the date in your diaries now!

July 14th 2021 5pm (U.K. time) on The Perfume Society Instagram channel

We’ll be discussing the launch of TWO new Moresque fragrances on the Instagram Live event, but meanwhile, here’s a little bit more about this wonderful house…

Moresque Parfum was born from a sheer love of the intricacy of Moorish art and the passion for elegant but opulent perfumes by founder, Cindy Guillemant.

Right from the start, she says, her work has been driven by this desire to bring together Italian taste and Arabic charm. ‘I completed my MBA in International Business in Florida and built my career between Monte Carlo, Paris, Miami and Milan. I always used perfumes, but my grandmother instilled in me a real love for fragrances and provided me with knowledge that motivated me to delve into this industry.’

 

 

That familial connection resounds still in Cindy’s work, and she finds that ‘I still rediscover my grandmother’s knowledge even today with all the scents I collect from around the world through their volatile notes, essences and the most mysterious and profound flavours.’

So, what questions would YOU like to ask Cindy – about Moresque Parfum, the stunning bottles, their inspiration, her favourite ingredients…?

Moresque Instagram Live Questions

We so look forward to you joining us on Instagram at 5pm on Wednesday July 14th at 5pm U.K. time for this exciting event. Until then, we’ll be spritzing the scents and dreaming we could travel to all the places they’re inspired by…

Fragrances for… celebrations

Fragrances for celebrations have a certain pizzazz about them – a sparkle that sets them apart from the ordinary. Whether you’re celebrating a summer sporting win, seeing your loved ones again or simply getting through the 2020 / 2021 thus far; these scents will add the POP of Champagne corks in perfume form…

GIORGIO ARMANI SÌ EAU DE PARFUM INTENSE
It isn’t every afternoon you get to hang out with Cate Blanchett on Zoom, but for the launch of this intense, super-sophisticated incarnation of Sì, the Academy Award-winning actress was joined by perfumer Julie Massé to introduce this stunning Chypre-Oriental-fruity masterpiece. Sì’s signature blackcurrant nectar is paired here with armfuls of Ispartra rose and velvety davana, imparting serious va-va-voom, before your senses are enveloped by patchouli, benzoin and sustainably-sourced vanilla. Fabulissimo!
From £60 for 30ml eau de parfum intense
armanibeauty.co.uk

 

GUERLAIN MON GUERLAIN SPARKLING BOUQUET
A jewel-like bottle, a shimmering scent: in this latest addition to the Mon Guerlain family (which is expanding fast), a pear accord in the overture has been magnified to juicy, fruity, joyful effect, to sparkle ‘like a mischievously irresistible smile’, Guerlain promise. But the resonances of the original Mon Guerlain are apparent throughout – the floral heart, with its aromatic lavender flourishes, the jasmine scampering everywhere, the vanilla and sandalwood in the so-feminine base.
£70 for 50ml eau de parfum
guerlain.com

 

JIMMY CHOO I WANT CHOO
Juicy succulence explodes in a whoosh of mandarin and velvety peach, while jasmine gets twisted with red spider lily in the heart – a flirtatious pairing that sashays all the way to a scrumptiously warm, sweet benzoin-soaked vanilla base. It’s vivacious enough to boost your spirits, and effortless enough to grant you a cloak of ‘I just woke up like this’ glam. Think of it as your fragrant filter: everything’s better with it on!
£45 for 40ml eau de parfum
theperfumeshop.com

 

LANCÔME LA VIE EST BELLE SOLEIL CRISTAL
How we love seeing soleil in the name of a fragrance: a glimmer of sunlit hope and promises of outdoor living (without the blankets and hot chocolate). A solar brightness gives a new twist to the bestseller, here, via radiant mandarin, extravagant white flowers and a trail of Madagascan vanilla and patchouli, from Bali. And oh, the bottle’s spectacular, with a shimmering, almost holographic finish that echoes the luminosity of the scent inside.
From £29 for 15ml eau de parfum
lancome.co.uk

 

VALENTINO BORN IN ROMA YELLOW DREAM FOR HIM
And we think lovely for anyone! This feels like wearing the scent of yellow for sure – a zip of zest radiating sunshine as Italian mandarin and pineapple accord awaken the senses. Lusciously juicy – actual mouth-watering will occur – a surprising gingerbread accord captures your interest in the heart, the whole composition irresistibly smoothed by creamy, black speckled vanilla bean swirled through your coffee as you saunter through Rome’s streets, perhaps? From the Italian architectural bottle inspiration to the scent: we’re so there. (PSST! You might like to get your hands (and nose) on the Seasonal Scent Subscription Box…)
£75 for 100ml eau de toilette
boots.com

 

What IS a fougère? Pteridomania & the frenzy for fern fragrances

When describing types of fragrance, the term fougère can seem bewildering – both the meaning and how on earth to pronounce it.

French for ‘fern-like’, you say it ‘foo-jair’ (with the ‘j’ a little soft – almost ‘foo-shair’), when you think of a fern’s smell, what comes to mind? Whatever you think of, that smell memory is quite likely to have been influenced by Houbigant’s Fougère Royale – created in 1882 by Paul Parquet, and much copied by those who clamoured to achieve a measure of its success.

While we might imagine a shady-forest smell emanating from a fern, the majority aren’t fragrant to any great extent. And although the ingredients so key to Parquet’s original accord – oak moss, geranium, bergamot and (most notably) coumarin – are now collectively referred to as ‘fougère’ (often with lavender or other aromatic herbs thrown in for good effect), it’s the alchemy of the perfumer recreating that ‘natural’ smell memory: the whole woodland seemingly wafting from the bottle.

“Gathering Ferns” (Helen Allingham) from The Illustrated London News, July 1871.

Some time before Parquet’s fragrant foragings, ‘fern mania’ was sweeping the nation, and it caused an amount of worry when women began wandering, sometimes alone or – worse! – gambolling with groups of young man in the woodlands, in search of their charms… What business had women convening with nature outside of their perfectly manicured cottage gardens? Well, ‘Pteridomania’, meaning Fern Madness or Fern Craze was the term for this frenzy, coined in 1855 by Charles Kingsley in his book Glaucus, or the ‘Wonders of the Shore’. In it he sought to reassure anxious parents:

Your daughters, perhaps, have been seized with the prevailing ‘Pteridomania‘ … and wrangling over unpronounceable names of species (which seem different in each new Fern-book that they buy) … and yet you cannot deny that they find enjoyment in it, and are more active, more cheerful, more self-forgetful over it, than they would have been over novels and gossip, crochet and Berlin-wool.

So – society’s nerves soothed and the morals of females intact – the time was ripe for fern fragrances to unfurl; but it took a unique olfactory discovery to kickstart that particular perfume craze.

It was the extraction of coumarin ­– one of the first synthetics to appear in perfumery – which made the fougère such a landmark scent. But how many people outside the industry would be able to describe coumarin’s smell? Not many, I’m guessing.

A plate from The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland, a book from the era of Pteridomania.

Coumarin is found in tonka beans and cinnamon, but also occurs naturally in bison grass and green tea. It’s classed as a ‘lactone’ – (milky, skin-like) – a complex molecule that’s the scent of sweet hay drying in the sunshine with a slight waft of warm horse; a cold glass of fizz sipped on newly-mown grass, a fine cigar fresh from the humidor, a warm cookie dunked in cold milk. All of these things and not one in particular: the scientist’s hand working in harmony with the artful perfumer to create a magical realism. Because the true skill of a perfumer is to take ingredients and transform them into something we think we already recognise, sparking those scent memories and creating new ones to fill the gaps.

In fact, Parquet was called the ‘greatest perfumer of his time’ by no less than Ernest Beaux, the creator of Chanel No. 5, and was the first to truly understand and appreciate the use of synthetic aroma materials in fragrance composition. Previously used as mere substitutes for naturally derived raw materials, Parquet saw a chance to deploy them as unique smells in their own right – adding structure, poetry and space within perfumes that sought not to mimic the natural world but to add to it, to improve on perfection. And so the fougère fragrance family was born.

Traditionally seen as a scent for the chaps – possibly sporting tweed and a monocle – in fact Guerlain’s masterpiece of Jicky, launched in 1889, is a more ‘feminine’ fougère (the first unisex scent, too) which ramped up the crackle of dry lavender, adding sweetly mown hay and toasted almond-like flourishes of coumarin. More recently, we’ve seen an increasing number of gender-fluid fougères striding forth – perhaps chiming with our collective urge to ‘return to nature’ during the pandemic; or simply an urge that preceded Covid-19, a perfumed riposte to political unease?

Whatever the reason, the resurgence of the fougère is to be celebrated. Cooling on steamy days, comforing in more inclement weather, these are the type of scent to boost your spirits while patting your hand and telling you everything’s going to be okay. Wander into the woodland yourself, awhile, and try these fougères – from classical forest to contemporary fairytale…

Houbigant Fougère Royale A sprig of herbs carefully tucked into the lapel of a herringbone jacket, the olive from a dry Martini sucked in a slightly lascivious manner while they’re looking the other way. £130 for 100ml eau de parfum libertylondon.com

Guerlain Jicky Somewhere between breakfast and midnight, fog-shrouded moorland; pale wool blanket clutched close, bare feet on flagstones, forbidden hipflask swigged reading Wuthering Heights. £96 for 100ml eau de toilette houseoffraser.co.uk

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros Freshly-scrubbed and shining with smooth words and practiced simplicity, but clean sheets cannot hide the indiscretion and animal instincts of the night before. £50 for 50ml eau de toilette theperfumeshop.com

Creed Viking Cologne A bountiful burst of freshness leads to explorations of verdant landscapes re-awakening; geranium, herbs, lavender and nutmeg atop glacial lakes reflecting shinshine. £175for 50ml eau de parfum  creedfragrances.co.uk

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Milano Cento HIM A woodland wander with someone dashingly Italian (who knows not to wear sandals with socks), the citrus breeze segues to an herbaceously dappled grove and aromatic amour. £49 for 100ml eau de toilette roullierwhite.com

4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard Ferns pressed between pages of a diary, love letters tied in faded ribbons, a lipstick kiss on a foxed mirror, silk scarves with the faint tang of a gentleman’s Cologne. £55 for 30ml eau de parfum 4160tuesdays.com

Partere Run of the River A bare-foot meander through clover-strewn lawns, budding freshness in the air, lemon-thyme and clary sage encricled by a languorous caress of incense and oakmoss. £95 for 50ml eau de parfum parterrefragrances.com

By Suzy Nightingale

Perfumed Plume Awards 2021 – Winners announced!

The Perfumed Plume Awards 2021 have just been announced, and we’re popping the fizz on a school night!

These awards are an independent, annual showcase of international journalism that gives ‘an inside view of the cultural, historic, scientific and personal approaches to fragrance design and what it takes to create an evocative scent.’

The organisers said: ‘Considering the ongoing challenges even now, we applaud each and every finalist (not to forget all the writers who submitted) for their masterful writing. It is always an honor to receive so many entries.’

‘We look forward to celebrating the winners this year, whether virtually or in person, and we are happy to kick off the award festivities by announcing the finalists as below,’ comment award Co-Founders Lyn Leigh and Mary Ellen Lapsansky.

‘The creativity in both the descriptive word and the visualisation of scent in all its glory is on full display this year and is nothing short of stupendous,’ added Miranda Gordon, Vice President Fine Fragrances Marketing & Evaluation, MANE. ‘Deserving of much recognition and admiration for their talent and commitment to the art of fragrance. Please read their stories. You will be rewarded!’

We were, once again, thrilled to be shortlised as finalists – especially with regular writer for The Scented Letter Magazine, Persolaise, being our fellow finalist in the first category, below. Given the number of extremely talented entrants from around the world, we’re even prouder to say… we won an award!

Many congratulations to all finalists, and winners, whom we’ve highlighted in bold type. We so hope we can all meet in person next year! Meanwhile, please do go and read these stories, linked below: you’re in for a fragrant treat…

 

 

PERFUME STORIES IN MAINSTREAM MEDIA – PRINT – MAGAZINES & NEWSPAPERS

The criteria for judging: quality of editorial content; originality & creativity; accuracy & depth of information:

Modern Florals (Heavy Petalling)
WINNER: Suzy Nightingale – The Scented Letter
The Changing Face of Fragrance
Persolaise – The Scented Letter 

PERFUME STORIES IN MAINSTREAM MEDIA – DIGITAL – MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS, BLOG POSTINGS, WEBZINES

The criteria for judging: quality of editorial content; originality & creativity; accuracy & depth of information:

 

 

SHORT ‘N SWEET PERFUME STORIES – PRINT OR DIGITAL

The criteria for judging: quality of editorial content; originality & creativity; accuracy & depth of information:

 

 

VISUALISATION OF PERFUME STORIES – PRINT & DIGITAL

The criteria for judging: design concept; how design relates to content:

 

 

INSTApost – PERFUME STORIES ON INSTAGRAM

The criteria for judging: originality/creativity of visual element(s); quality of the post content:

FRAGRANCE BOOK OF THE YEAR

Winner determined by the Perfumed Plume Consulting Committee:

Zaza’s Scent-sational Super Power
SPECIAL AWARD: Alexis Wintrob and Illustrator Shera Serrulha

Escentric Molecules M+ – why more is MORE (and how the cult house continue their scent revolution)

Escentric Molecules M+ fragrances are a trio that’s once again revolutionising the world of scent. It all began with the cult Molecule 01 – the iconic scent that can be said to have kickstarted the obsession with niche fragrance, and of course made us more aware of the genius behind aroma molecules and why ‘synthetic’ isn’t a dirty word.

If you’re new to the Escentric Molecules world, you might like to start by reading exactly how they started (and why Geza was so dedicated to trying something new – and quite shockingly brave at the time!) in our page dedicated to everything Escentric Molecules.

TL;DR: Schoen shook up the perfume world by creating a scent with one ingredient – an aroma-molecule non-existent in nature, called Iso E Super. Ultra-smooth, swoon-inducing, gently musky and vanilla-like, the synthesised ingredient had already been used since 1973 by perfumers in small doses – though it remained an industry secret: that special something that made a fragrance utterly irresistible.

Now it’s time to discover how more can be even more, and why you need these in your life, because as perfumer Geza Schoen himself puts it:

‘Molecule 01 is an exceptional molecule: radiant, velvety, cocooning. It’s mysteriously effective on its own, but I started to wonder if there might be another way to play with it. What if I could take the molecule and add just one other beautiful ingredient and see how they danced together in the bottle?’

Molecule 01 + Patchouli – has a cool, rather aloof woodiness to it.

Molecule 01 + Iris – iris is luxury, with a creamy powderiness.

Molecule 01 + Mandarin – radiates off the skin, with a citrus zing.

You could begin your fragrant journey with the M+ Discovery Set, where for only £20 you can explore each of these new fragrances at home. A brilliant gift idea to treat someone else, too! But when you’ve smelled them, we know you’re going to swoon for at least one, and then there’s nothing else for it but to decide which full-size bottle you’ll treat yourself to. We’re absolutely thrilled that not only did Escentric Molecules ask us to help launch their fragrances, but you can now buy the full-size M+ collection in our Perfume Society shop.Escentric Molecules M+ Patchouli £95 for 100ml

Geza says: ‘Patchouli is a unique natural. Unlike 99% of perfume ingredients we associate it with a particular period, with the sixties and seventies and that bohemian spirit. It has a cool, rather aloof woodiness to it. I love it for its moody beauty.

I’ve used two qualities of patchouli here. The biggest chunk is Patchouli Coeur which is a very clean, soft patchouli oil fraction with the camphor-like topnote removed. I have also included a patchouli oil from Indonesia to round it out with a little bit of a topnote.

The result is a sophisticated, clean patchouli that pairs fantastically well with Molecule 01.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Iris £95 for 100ml

Geza says: ‘It’s not easy to describe iris’ smell as such, but if you smell a fragrance without it, and then with it, you understand immediately what it does. It adds a creamy powderiness. It brings a physical dimension to a fragrance.

I have had a long-standing love affair with iris. Every Escentric fragrance has an iris note somewhere in there. To me, iris is luxury. The iris pallida absolue I’ve used here is one of the most expensive ingredients in perfumery. You can find iris extracts for way less than that. But they do not have the great and subtle beauty of this absolue. It’s radical to put this much in a fragrance. The sillage is fantastic. This is a bomb, but a subtle bomb.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml

Geza says: ‘Mandarin is all about the instant hit. It’s so alive, the way it radiates off the skin with that citrus zestiness. But there’s more to mandarin, it’s very fruity and aromatic as well. It’s a beautiful ingredient. Its transparency means that it vanishes quickly. I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness. Then as it begins to fade, Molecule 01 syncs in, bringing a warm, erogenous feeling to play with that zinging freshness. That’s unusual – for a topnote ingredient like Mandarin and a base note like Iso E Super to dance together naked like this, without other notes coming between them. And then the mandarin is almost gone and you are left with the elevated simplicity of Molecule 01.

That’s what I love about Molecule 01 + Mandarin – it may be a dance of two but the story changes completely from beginning to middle to end.’

So, the only thing to do for this journey or Escentric Molecules M+ discovery is to put that first foot (nose?) forward, and find out which molecular pairing ‘dances naked together’ best on your own skin…

We’re going on The Scent Trail – A Journey of the Senses

As we’re still not able to travel very far physically, so many of us have turned more than ever to fragrance as a way to ‘travel with our nose.’ Today we are traversing time and space with Celia Lyttelton‘s  beautifully written and so-evocative book, The Scent Trail, that follows her journey to discover the secret of scent…

Penguin say: ‘When Celia Lyttelton visited a bespoke perfumers, she realised a long-held ambition: to have a scent created solely for her. Entering this heady, exotic world of oils and essences, she was transported from a leafy London square to a place of long-forgotten memories and sensory experiences. And once drawn into this world, she felt compelled to trace the origins, history and culture of the many ingredients that made up her unique perfume…

And so began a magical journey of the senses that took Celia from Grasse, the cradle of perfume, to Morocco; from the rose-growing region of Isparta in Turkey, to the Tuscan hills where the iris grows wild. And after journeying to Sri Lanka, the home of the heavenly scented jasmine, Celia ventured to India, the Yemen and finally to the ‘Island of Bliss’, Socotra. Here she traced the rarest and most mysterious agent in perfumery, ambergris, which is found in the bellies of whales and is said to have powerful aphrodisiac qualities.

 

From the peasants and farmers growing their own crops, and the traders who sell to the great perfume houses, to the ‘noses’ who create the scents and the marketing kings who rule this powerful billion-dollar industry, Celia Lyttelton paints a mystical, sensual landscape of sights, sounds and aromas as she recalls the extraordinary people and places she encountered on her unique Scent Trail.’

We say: While on the quest for ‘the perfect perfume’, author Celia Lyttelton had a bespoke fragrance made by Anastasia Brozler in London, an encounter that set Lyttelton off on a tour of the world to trace the history and provenence of the ingredients used. From a collection of precious oils contained in an old wooden box to the growing, harvesting and distilling of the materials and exploring cultural responses and mythological beliefs surroung scent, this book is a must-have for anyone who wonders where, exactly their perfume originated. And what a tour to take! With new scent adventures beginning with sentences such as: ‘We arrived on a plateau of dragons’ blood trees and desert roses…’ you will doubtless be Googling far flung fragrant climes, just as we did, while reading this (and now knowing exactly what you’d do following a Lottery win!) Movingly written, and full of the insightful, utterly fascinating pieces of fragrant history that she collected along the way, this book is a deep-dive into perfume ingredients that will satiate your travel-lust until such time we may pack our bags and set off into the scented sunset…

 

 

Celia Lyttelton The Scent Trail: A Journey of the Senses, Bantam Books amazon.co.uk

Looking for a gift or just the next thing you need to get your nose in to? Have a browse of our ever-expanding selection of favourite books – some are exclusively about perfume, others are more scholarly tomes on the history and scientific advancements of smell and the senses; while others still follow a path of examining fragrant ingredients in poetic, funny or awe-inspiring ways. Every page is a journey in itself. What are you waiting for…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Subscription boxes are booming: here’s why (and how to get your scent samples sent to your home!)

Subscription boxes are so popular right now, and a recent consumer survey has discovered why. Quite apart from their findings, which we’ll report on below; we know this true as we’ve seen a HUGE rise in our own Perfume Society Discovery Boxes in the last year. Even more excitingly, we have launched our very own Seasonal Scent Subscription Box, for the many (many, MANY!) of you who’ve begged us to bring this out for years…

We all know the joy of getting a parcel in the post – mosty especially during various stages of #lockdown dreariness during the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant many of us relying on shopping online for our scent thrills. Even now, with stores having re-opened across the U.K. – purchasing a new perfume presents a particular set of problems:

– There are rarely any testers on display anymore, thanks to possible cross-contamination safety measures

– Even if you can get to an assistant to spray a scent on you, it’s not always great to make an instant decision in-store

– Although we think fragrance IS essential (obvs), if you’re worried about ‘non essential’ socialising, it can be intimidating to be shopping in crowded spaces again

– Where do you even begin if you’re not exactly sure which perfume to try next?Subscription box

With all these worries in mind, we launched our own Seasonal Scent Subscription Box. The perfect way to try a selection of scents appropriate for each season! There’s two options available – a flexible Quarterly Subcription: £18 a box, sent every three months, the ability to cancel at anytime; or an Annual Subscription: £68 a year with FREE postage and the ability to spread the cost. So now, what did the consumer survey find…?

‘According to a survey by Cosmetics Business, in partnership with Your Beauty Club, since the pandemic hit, 31.7% of customers who had previously bought a subscription service signed up to one during the pandemic; while 70% of those who said they had not bought a subscription beauty box before said they would now consider buying one.

Some 69% of shoppers agreed the culture towards subscription boxes has shifted since the Covid-19 pandemic began, which consequently shut most beauty retailers for many months, making it harder for customers to shop for their beauty staples.

The findings also uncovered that more than 74.2% of respondents believe buying a subscription box makes it easier to consume beauty products and 42.4% want a subscription box that offers a selection of products from different categories.

The main driver for signing up to a subscription service among consumers was for the thrill of receiving new products (55%), while 33.8% said they wanted to discover new beauty items.

 

Subscription boxes are booming (image via Canva.com)

Following that, 8% said they found a subscription service to be cheaper than buying beauty products individually, and the findings showed consumers were not willing to part with much cash for a subscription box.

Almost half of respondents said they would be willing to spend between £10 and £25 on a subscription box, with 37.6% only likely to pay up to £10.

Some shoppers, however, (12.6%) were prepared to pay between £25 and £50, and just 1.6% and 1.4% would spend between £50 and £75, and £75 to £100, respectively.’

We’re not at all surprised at these findings – even before the pandemic, we wanted to make it easier to get your hands (and noses!) on fragrances to try at home. It takes the pressure off, and more than that: actually living with a scent on your skin for several hours is the ONLY way to truly tell if if it suits you. Also, not everyone happens to live near an independent perfumery or a store that has a great selection of fragrance house.

So we say: why not sit back and let the perfume magic get posted to you at the click of a Scent Subscription Box button…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Ask Uncle James – Perfume problems? Our agony uncle has all the answers…

We’re so happy to have Uncle James (a.k.a professional fragrance consultant and expert, James Craven) on board with The Perfume Society. He’s the ‘agony uncle’ here to answer all your perfume problems and solve your scent woes…

In the first part of his answers to your queries, James explained where to spray fragrance to make it last longer and radiate on your skin, and how to go about choosing a ‘seasonal scent’. This time he’s been tapping away at his typewriter to help with questions about allergies and what fragrances might be best to start a budding 15 year old perfumista with.

Don’t forget you can ask your questions using the form below (scroll down) and they might get featured in the next edition of The Scented Letter Magazine. But for now, Uncle James, it’s over to you!

Uncle James Craven

I think I’m allergic to some fragrances as I get a rash on my skin and some make me sneeze. How do I find out what’s causing this, and any suggestions for how I can still enjoy fragrance? 

James says: Keep calm. Make a list of all the perfumes that you think have caused adverse reactions. Establish what notes they have in common by reading up on them online (I would of course point you in the direction of The Perfume Society), then by process of trial and error try to discover the ‘joker’ in the pack. The help of an experienced sales assistant in a sympathetic perfumery can be very useful here – and hopefully before very long at all, we will once again be able to venture into stores. Talking it over often clarifies matters no end and sudden enlightenment dawns.

Allergies come and go, often abruptly. Don’t automatically blame chemicals and synthetics: natural organic oils are now recognised as equally liable to be allergenic. Meanwhile you might still enjoy perfume as our ancestors did – anywhere but on the skin, so instead on scarves, the linings of coats, soft furnishings… And remember, sublime fragrances are all around us, not just confined to bottles.

Uncle James Craven

What styles of fragrance might be suitable for a 15-year-old who’s just starting to get into perfume? And how can I tell her to wear it so that it doesn’t overwhelm those around her? 

James says: Your young friend is lucky to have you. Most 15-year-olds love analysing themselves so encourage this young woman to do just that. Ask her to define her personality in her own mind, and then introduce her to the most empathetic sales consultant at your favourite perfumery. This maven – if worth her salt – will assist the young person in interpreting and expressing herself via a fragrance that fits like a handmade glove.

Youth is best showcased by light, subtle – but not necessarily naive –scents. We are all allowed a few garish fragrance mistakes as we develop our tastes, and perfume picking should always be fun. But I have found that most teenagers naturally actually tend to shyness and restraint when it comes to choosing and spraying fragrance.

I hope I have not grown cynical with the years – but the surest way to ensure an ingenue will NOT do something is to beg her to do that very thing. So maybe pass her the Giorgio and the Poison!

What questions have you always wanted to ask an expert? Put your perfume problems to Uncle James and he’ll get thinking…

Ask James Craven (The 'Perfume Agony Uncle')

Your questions for James Craven, The Perfume Society's 'Perfume Agony Uncle'
  • Could it be 'how do I know when a fragrance suits me?' or 'How can I make scent last longer on my skin?' or even 'Which fragrance should I wear to make me feel invincible?!'
  • (You can remain 'anonymous' if you wish, but please make up a nom de plume so we can separate questioners!)

Retro fragrance ads – moustaches, pot plants & lasers: oh my!

Retro fragrance ads have a certain nostaligic charm – we might remember them from our childhood – or occasionally downright hilarious (let’s just say that some age better than others…)

While some houses or perfumes slip through the mists of time and become names we forget altogether or perhaps spot at vintage fairs, others remain firm favourites and become scents that stood the test of time. Here’s a list of some of our favourites you can sit back and chuckle at if you will, or be propelled back into vivid scent memories via the magic of perfume’s ability to whisk us through time and space.

Prepare yourselves for moustaches, pot plants & lasers: oh my!

 

#moustachegoals for miles as our hero is seen splashing on Blue Statos Cologne one minute, and hurling himself into a hang-glider the next. We hope he waxed that ‘tache or he could give himself whiplash. And who’d have thought it? It turns out hang-gliding is the perfect sport to take up if you want to make eye-contact with female drivers – not something we’d have thought Health & Safety regs would approve of, but still. She can get a whiff of his Cologne even as he whisks through the air above her car (like a fragrant falcon), and they immediately decide to live together in a glorified wooden shack. We love happy endings.

 

Spying someone gorgeous at a party, trying to subtly flirt across a crowded room, has always been a situation fraught with danger. But it’s all going so well for this woman – she’s chic, fun and poised with dignity – until she applies Tigress, quick-changes into a catsuit, spends several minutes fighting her way through the potted plants and breathes on her ‘prey’ in a quite unpleasant and off-putting manner. And this is why we should all have that friend who says, ‘Yes, Susan. There is such a thing as “too many cocktails” and you’ve had them. I’m calling us a taxi.’

 

Shopping for men while picking up their vegetables for the week, two women perform an improptu musical outside a greengrocer’s, discussing what, exactly, constitutes ‘something about an Aqua Velva man.’ I’m not sure we ever quite get to the bottom of it, only that they must be ‘manly’ and ‘last all day’. With packaging that at first glance might be mistaken for men’s hair dye – or a devastatingly attractive fake Moustache In a Box – we can only guess how ‘fresh’ and/or ‘provocative’ the duo of fragrances actually smelled. Or perhaps it’s of secondary importance to the freshness of the veg?

 

On what looks to be the set of a 1960s Hammer Horror film, and wearing a nightdress that only adds to the impression, we are given life advice by a really quite terrifying woman who declares in a breathy, faintly sinister way, that her men must wear ‘English Leather, or nothing at all.’ We’d be straight on the phone to the police, to be honest, advising them to check under her patio for those who refused either option…

 

Lasers, leotards, smoke machines… could this be the dawn of the 1980s by any chance? This couldn’t be more thrillingly of its it time (1981 to be precise) if it tried, and we even have SCIENCE (along with some nifty robotic dance moves, which I’m pretty sure we’ll all be breaking out down the club this weekend) to back up their claims of ‘pheremones’ in every bottle of Jovan Andron, that are ‘guaranteed to attract.’ Attract what, we’re not quite sure. Stifled laughter?

In the mood for more retro fragrance vibes? Take a look at our feature in which we invited author Maggie Alderson to browse through the adverts of more recent years and see how men’s fragrance advertising has changed

By Suzy Nightingale

Colourful fragrance feeds to follow

Colourful fragrance feeds on Instagram are lighting up our life right now – most especially as we’ve just published the latest edition of The Scented Letter magazine with the theme of ‘Perfume’s Bright Future.’

 

 

Because fragrance truly has been brightening the darkness of the last year for so many of us – both literally and metaphorically – and we now know that colour, emotions and scent are not only metaphorically linked, but scientifically proven. Changing the colour of the bottle, packaging or juice inside can drastically alter our perception of how a perfume smells to us. And, as you will discover in this biggest ever issue: fragrance designers have mapped out your mood, sometimes long before the first drop of an ingredient has been added to the composition.

But really it all comes down to that immediate uplifting appeal that bright colours and the right fragrance can have – a whizz, bang, pop! of rainbows bursting forth from our phone screens just make everything seem jollier, somehow. And how we’ve needed that of late.

Here are some of our favourite multi-hued, must-follow fragrance feeds on Instagram, for whenever you need to smell in full colour...

dr.elle.perfume
A perfume collector based in the U.K., Dr. Elle’s account is a brilliantly curated glimpse at her incredible collection – displayed in a rainbow of colours. Fascinating to see the colours en-masse, to spot rare bottles and be entranced by her impeccably arranged flatlays!

 

anillustratednose
In her ‘spare time ‘from working in science, Nafia is a talented artist who renders some favourite fragrances in hand-drawn illustrations. Often surrounded not only by their literal colours, but those the scent evokes for her, adding another sense to seeing them on screen.

 

yura_perfume_collection
A perfume collection of dreams, we wonder how many bottles Yura has in total, with snippets such as ‘Photos of a few months ago. And have collected 300 bottles more after that…’ Exquisite flacons, usually arrayed by house, showing their full scent spectrum.

 

suzys__niche_fragrance_reviews
No not my collection (I wish!) but this Suzy shows her ‘passion for fine fragrance expressed through reviews and photos.’ Wonderfully evocative and so-colourful backdrops give another vibe to her really great descriptions of how the particular perfumes make her feel.

 

markus.ebrahim
Anyone who keeps fragrance bottles in a cocktail cabinet is right up our street, and Markus describes himself as a ‘perfume extremist’, whose Instagram also serves as a scent diary. A rapid response nurse for the NHS, his feed is full of color, wit and personal reflections.

 

fragrance.obsession
Exploring both niche and more mainstream designer houses, colourful flowers and themed layouts are often employed to accompany her lovely reviews (sometimes even matched with nail polish too!) We love her trays of monthly scent sellections as well: so organised!

 

alltheperfume
Sarah has an extraordinary collection we’ve previously shared in The Scented Letter magazine’s #ShareMyStash feature, having visited her home and seen the beautiful bottles for ourselves! Gorgeous photos and thoughtful reviews of often more affordable houses.

By Suzy Nightingale