Luxe for less can be done – there’s a plethora of pocket-friendly perfumes out there, that smell like a million dollars but don’t make a huge dent in your bank account.
Because let’s face it, we all know January can be hard on the pocket (and the soul!) but we’re now craving occasional treats to self like never before, and a little luxury arriving through the post can go a long way to cheering yourself up on a grim day – or simply letting someone else know you’re thinking of them, giving them something to smile about.
This is the third of our curated selection of affordable scents, having already shared some that were Thrifty but Nifty, and Indie but Not Spendy. Now we’re going Luxe for Less, and encourage you to seek these out for a fragrant hit of happiness that needn’t have you living on instant noodles to fund your perfume habits…
Lancôme Ô De Lancôme£41 for 75ml eau de toilette
A sparkling icon since 1969, spritz scented sunbeams with this whoosh of effervescent exhilaration. ‘Green’ and fresh fragrances are predicted to be a huge trend year-round, and the clean floral notes of jasmine, honeysuckle and lily of the valley are radiantly projected against a backdrop of mossy, herbaceously bracing breath of fresh air. lancome.co.uk
Kayali ELIXIR | 11 £18 for 10ml eau de parfum
May rose combined with crisply sweet red apple, rose and dreamy, decadent jasmine makes for a fragrance to spray when we want to be whisked to happier times and untainted dreams. The creamy swirl of vanillia as it warms on the skin helps to restore a sense of safety and assurance. Decadently dreamy. hudabeauty.com
Yves Saint Laurent Kouros £49 for 100ml aftershave
Another absolute classic many are reaching for right now, this aromatic ‘fougere’ (fern-like) fragrance begins aldehydic with freshly cut grass tempered with jasmine, rose, clary sage and coriander, then snuggles down to a smooth, honeyed leather on a warm, amber-rich base. A scented splash to soothe razor-burn and frazzled nerves at any time. yslbeauty.co.uk
Potion Paris Amber, Praline & Wood Seduction£35 for 2 x 10ml eau de parfum
Seductive doesn’t have to mean attracting others: you can seduce your own senses with this delicious duo. Meant as refills for the so-glam Potion Paris perfume necklace, succulent plum swoons to a heart of toffee as vanilla swirls to a warm, musky and comfortingly soft dry down. Opulence served with a reassuring hug. potionparis.com
Cacharel Noa£16.99 for 30ml eau de toilette
Created by Olivier Cresp, this is a timeless masterpiece of understated loveliness. Who doesn’t want to be wrapped in a whisper of white, soft cotton and powdery peonies? Effortless and soothingly nuanced, freesia nuzzles fuzzy peach skin, ylang ylang and a shower of sheer rose petals to a creamy incense-swathed base. theperfumeshop.com
Indulgence Discovery Box£36 (£32 for VIP Club Members) for 14 fragrances + candle
Indulge in a whole box of luxury from home with the ENTIRE CARINE ROITFELD COLLECTION, a trio of newness from Lalique, generous minis from Vines House Parfums Love Story, Floral Street Chypre Sublime, Tocca Giulietta and Versace Crystal Noir. PLUS perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek new candle – either Ancient Frankincense OR Rebel County. The Perfume Society Shop
How about this for some sunshine on a rainy day – Mihan Aromatics have given us an EXCLUSIVE code to share with Perfume Society readers. Granting you a whopping $50 AUD off 100ml parfums, and FREE worldwide shipping, it lasts 30 days. What are you waiting for? There’s so much to explore!
Hailed as ‘the BYREDO of Australia’ by glowing press reports when they launched,, and proudly all-natural from the get-go; Josh and Julia Mihan are the so-cool couple behind the Mihan Aromatics fragrance house, having wanted to combine native floral and spices – including Australian sandalwood, now being deployed by the fragrance industry as a sustainable alternative to Indian Santalum album – alongside ingredients from further afield that are pillars of the perfumery’s art.
Although Australia has a thriving niche fragrance scene of enthusiasts, its only fairly recently we’ve witnessed actual fragrance houses beginning to blossom there, and Mihan Aromatics are a very welcome addition, as you’ll see (and smell) for yourselves when you explore their fragrant wares.
Popular Australian fragrance blog theaccords.com raved that: ‘Mihan Aromatics‘ capsule collection of nostalgia, from autumn park hangs to sweaty summer dance sessions, is pulled off to perfection. It feels authentic, intelligent, thoughtful, ernest. There’s a very clear style, here – a lightness, a dreamy character to all the fragrances… Each one is a mood and while the stories are specific, the space and softness of the scents allow plenty of projection (of your imagination, that is; these are creations that stick close to the body…)’
Style-driven blog minimalissimo.com, meanwhile, enthused that Mihan Aromatics debut collection was ‘…a thing of sublime and considered beauty. Each element that comprises the Melbourne-made collection is grounded on the individual connection each of us has with scent (and the senses), through a purposed tactility. A sensory journey of discovery.’
All of the fragrances are immediately transportive – an olfactory magic trick we so sorely need our perfumes to perform right now – and will whisk you to evocative, seasonal memories captured in each bottle. The initial scents – Guilty Story, Mikado Bark and Sienna Brume – were inspired by Melbourne’s inner city suburbs of Carlton, Fitzroy and East Melbourne, during autumn months. (Which crackle with bronze and golden leaves just as they do here, and where days can be almost as crisp.) Now they’ve been joined by Petrichor Plains, conjuring the drenching of earth and rock after a storm – a specific smell regularly cited as a favourite by people all over the world; and Munlark Ash, which The Perfume Society’s own Hettie has been wearing a lot of, lately…
‘It’s like adding an extra layer of comfort and warmth before I leave the house, with the richness of incense, amber, vetiver and cedarwood. Yet I find it super uplifting and airy (which is exactly what we all need a little of right now!) with tangy bergamot and black pepper. A seasonal must!’
From cosily warm scents that wrap around you to storm-drenched verdant undergrowth, or vibrant perfumes that pulsate with the energy of a summer’s day – which will you choose, we wonder?
Want to try samples before you decide what to spend your $50 AUD off discount code (with free worldwide shipping) on? No problem! We have the Mihan Aromatics Discovery Set in stock, where you can try the FULL collection of five fragrances for £33, PLUS a sneak-peek at an ‘Untitled’ scent that’s still in devlopment. How cool is that?
Already tried them, or are immediately drawn to a particular perfume? Don’t forget, you can use your code MASOCIETY50 for 30 days at mihanaromatics.com – so let your nose travel and the sunshine in!
Cultivating a love for niche fragrances is a thrilling exploration of what those independent houses are creating – a bit like the catwalk shows in fashion, often showcasing exciting new trends years ahead of the mainstream. But, as many of us know all too well, it can become somewhat injurious to one’s wallet if you want to try several all at once (and we always, always do!)
Last week we suggested some that were Thrifty but Nifty, while this week we focus on the ‘indie’ or more artisanal scents that could be your next guilt-free perfume purchase. Because, yes, there areniche fragrance houses with more afforable perfumes for you try. So whether it’s your first foray into the world of ‘niche’, or you’re simply looking for a treat-to-self; here’s some seriously wonderful creations that wont make a huge dent in your budget, but could become your next fragrant fixation…
Skandinavisk Kapitel 12£43.20 for 50ml eau de toilette
Celebrating the Scandinavian right of ‘freedom to roam’, let’s throw on a warm sweater and stride onwards through banks of purple heather and frosted thyme, foraging for berries and herbs nestled in hedgerows. That glorious just-snapped stalks fresh-airiness evokes leaf sap and spring just about to unfurl, a sense of freedom we so need, now. skandinavisk.com
4160 Tuesdays Amberama£32 for 15ml eau de parfum
Sometimes you might just long for a bit of frivolity in a fragrance, one that smells good but doesn’t take itself too seriously, perhaps? Presenting an 80s girl-band-inspired scent that relishes the glow and longevity of amber with a fun raspberry / iris /sandalwood heart that gets woodier and warmer as it wears, but with no bananas to be found… 4160tuesdays.com
ånd fragrance Sånd £35 for 10ml parfum
If it was bananas you were after, find them (surprisingly) within this ode to sandalwood. A strikingly modern take on the ‘old dependable’ wood of perfumery, as they put it, this wraps you in the most comforting blanket of creamy, dry, cardamom-infused deliciousness; cuddling down to a rich, resinous base. One to wear when you so want a hug it hurts. andfragrance.com
Maison Matine Warni Warni£50 for 50ml eau de parfum
Journeying through cosmopolitan cities encompassing diverse cultures, this niche French brand jofully encourage us to be ‘a bit daring every day’. Wearing this takes us somewhere warm, the smell of grass scorched by the sun and crickets chirping in the languid heat, a delicious orange-blossom breeze as you sip tea and contemplate the better things in life. harveynichols.com
Floral Street Arizona Bloom£24 for 10ml eau de parfum
Perfumer Jérôme Épinette captures a feeling of freedom – something we’ve sorely missed, lately in our now even more tech-heavy lives. Queen of the Night flower is spiced by black pepper, lush with Balinese coconut and tethered by woody oakmoss; the amber-y desert-like dryness conveyed by salted musks. Truly one to make the heart soar! floralstreet.com
Niche V Discovery Box£27 (VIP price £23) for 19 fragrances + 2 beauty extras
Because we understand you’re missing browsing, spraying and smelling, we curated a selection of some of the finest niche fragrances out there to try at home. Showcasing an incredible cross-section of what’s happening niche right now, you’ll find houses such as Trudon, Ostens, Moresque, Mihan Aromatics, Maison Matine, the entire Storie Veneziane by Valmont and Bentley Beyond collections, and always forward-thinking Molton Brown and DSQUARED2. It’s a whole niche perfumery experience from the comfort of your sofa – what’s not to love?! Buy your Niche V Discovery Box here
And if after all that you’re still up for exploring more pocket-friendly niche perfumes, do have a browse of these Brand Sets – niche fragrance collections from only £8…
There’s an ancient city that’s become known as the perfume capital of India. Roses, roses everywhere! If ever you needed an excuse to feast your eyes on beauty, these seemingly endless dull, grey days are immediately brightened by reading this fascinating report by Rachna Sachasinh for National Geographic.
‘For centuries Kannauj (pronounced kunh-nowj), in northeast India’s Ganges belt, has been crafting oil-based botanical perfumes called attar using the world’s oldest known distillation methods,’ the piece begins, and as you gaze in wonder at the carpet of pink blossoms – and imagine with great longing the glorious scent in the air – it’s not hard to understand how the fragrances produced from the Rosa damascena shrubs planted there were soon ‘Sought after by both Mughal royals and everyday folk in ancient India’s fragrance-obsessed culture’, so that the ‘Kannauj attar scented everything from wrists to food, fountains to homes.’
We are thrilled to see the region showcased in the national media, now, for their utterly wonderful roses and fragrances produced from them, because Amanda Carr had already travelled to the city of roses, and last year wrote an exclusive report on The Scents of India for our magazine, The Scented Letter, for which she was nominated for a Jasmine Award, and which you can read in full, here!
It’s worth reminding ourselves that rose fragrances have been worn by both genders for centuries, too – it’s only Western and European cultures who more recently classed rose as ‘female’, and something the fragrance industry has begun to overturn (thank goodness!) by introducing many more rose-centric scents marketed at men or classed as ‘unisex’. We’ve said it many times before but we’ll go on saying it: smells do not have a gender – they’re for everyone who wants to wear them!
Indeed, the more recent National Geographic feature goes on to describe how the rose fragrances produced in Kannauj have proved ‘Equally alluring to men and women,’ because the ‘attars have an androgynous quality. They strike intense floral, woodsy, musky, smoky, green, or grassy notes. Trotted out by season, attars can be both warm (cloves, cardamom, saffron, oud) and cooling (jasmine, pandan, vetiver, marigold).’
I am lucky enough to have a little bottle of the Gulab (Indian Rose) attar from the Saini Blends distillery she visited, and which Amanda very kindly gave me when she returned from her travels. I cannot tell you the utter bliss it has been to wear it – a soft but fully enveloping cloud of powdery, fruity petals that almost smells like Turkish Delight sprinkled with icing sugar. Sheer joy, and a constant comfort to sniff and be reminded not only of our friendship, but of the wider world, of places I want to travel to, of beauty itself.
If you are interested in learning more about attars, I cannot urge you enough to read Amanda’s feature in full – there’s even a section on how to tell the attars apart, and how to order directly from Saini Blends themselves. It’s vital we not only celebrate this ancient art (and the fact that rose fragrances did not bloom unbidden from Grasse, originally) but support those who still work there. Because, as Amanda reported for us, ‘the attar industry in Kannauj has fallen to around 100 artisan makers today, from over 700 at its peak…’
We’ve scoured the internet for this Fragrant Film Club – a curation of some of our favourite perfume-themed movies, documentaries and TV series to watch right now.
So, if you’re about done with Christmas and need a way to fill the weird hinterland between festive or new year celebrations and the return to (whatever will be) ‘normality’ – here’s a scented selection box of fragrant treasures…
‘With his incredible talent for discerning scents, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) is one of 18th-century France’s finest perfumers. He becomes obsessed with capturing an elusive aroma: the scent of young womanhood. His search takes a deadly turn, and when the bodies of 12 young females are found, panic breaks out, with families rushing to lock up their daughters.’
Based on the best-selling, and now infamous, novel by Patrick Süskind, this is one every fragrance-lover should watch. It’s remarkable not only for being filmed at all (many said the book could never be made in to a screen drama), but for changing the way fragrance was talked about in the media. Stunningly shot, utterly gripping, we of course urge you to read the book first, but do then see this and marvel.
If you’ve already seen the film, have a gander at the made for TV drama loosely based on the premis of the novel, but in a modern-day setting: Perfume (series) Netflix
Telling the story of a preparatory school student who woefully takes a job as an assistant to an irritable, blind, medically retired Army officer, Frank, (magnificently played by Al Paccino) this is one of those films that helped highlight the importance of our sense of smell. In one memorable scene, Frank approaches the table where a woman sits alone, waiting for date. ‘You know, I detect a fragrance in the air,’ he says, ‘Don’t tell me what it is… Ogleby Sisters Soap?’ So, although not a movie about perfume per se, it’s a fantastic performance, and fun to look out for some well-known fragrance names he also detects along his adventures…
Perfumes (Les Parfums) Amazon Prime: rent for £4.49
We reviewed this charming film in full, here, but basically it’s the story of a reclusive, once-feared French perfumer and her new chauffeur. Though a gentle comedy, Les Parfums takes a serious (and very well presented) look at the life of a perfumer, and now this subtitled film has a wider release with Amazon, we hope many more of you will be able to see it. Certainly it’s a treat for the senses, and sadly such a rarity to see perfumery explored on screen in this manner. We particularly loved the scene in which Guillaume, the chauffeur, is discovering his newly-acquired appreciation for smell – in the supermarket, sniffing various shower gels, under the watchful gaze of a bemused security guard. ‘Something quite mellow…’ he says, as the guard shuffles closer, clearly unused to such behaviour in Aisle 5. Delightful from start to finish.
‘After a perfumer’s death, his daughter works to meet the production deadline for his company’s latest scent, which is complicated by the lack of an elusive ingredient.‘ Now we should really start by saying this a Hallmark movie, and as such has a certain look and feel to it that previous viewers of their oeuvre will recognise. That being said, this is the kind of whimsical film that one can happily curl up on the sofa with while eating your way through an entire tub of ice cream. Just don’t expect Süskind levels of olfactory detail, accept that everyone wears pastel and has perfect hair, and all will be fine.
We must admit to not having watched this one yet, but it certainly sounds like an antidote to excessive Christmas schmaltz, if that’s what you’re looking for. ‘After her mother dies, a chemist begins to have strange visions of a mysterious woman in black applying perfume in a mirror, and of strangers who follow her everywhere.’ That’s the synopsis in brief, but further reviews reveal that it’s a surrealistic film, also described as an ‘incoherent and inconsistent slice of psychological horror.’ Nonetheless, it’s a plot that sounds intriguing enough to capture our interest, and we very much we get to find out what the mysterious woman in black’s perfume actually is!
‘Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) can’t believe her husband’s having an affair with salesgirl Crystal (Joan Crawford). But when Sylvia (Rosalind Russell) and Edith (Phyllis Povah) deliver the gossip firsthand, Mary heads to Reno for a divorce. En route she meets Countess de Lave (Mary Boland) and Miriam (Paulette Goddard), who coincidentally is having an affair with Sylvia’s husband. Once in Reno, the Countess finds another beau, Sylvia shows up for a divorce and Mary plots to win back her man.’
Even though this really only has one perfume-related scene, we’re recommending this one mainly because it’s one of our favourite films EVER. And what a scent scene that is – set in the fragrance department of a classy department store, and featuring magnificently catty lines with Crawford as the predatory perfume counter gal. A stellar cast – made up entirely of women (practically unheard of even today, let alone in the 1930s!) – magnificent costumes and a gasp-inducing sudden switch to full-colour film during the fashion show sequence, make this more than worth your watching (on repeat).
Some years ago, the BBC made a fascinating doccumentary series about the perfume business, taking a deep dive into the creation of a fragrance, the revival of a perfume house (Grossmith) and interviewing perfume personalities such as Roja Dove and perfumers including Guerlain’s Thierry Wasser. Sadly the episiodes are no longer available on the BBC iPlayer website, though they are now available to watch on YouTube: Perfume (BBC Documentary series).
Following a rather gauche… sorry. A ‘driven twenty-something American woman from Chicago, who moves to Paris for an unexpected job opportunity.’ Emily in Paris has seen equal parts love and hate in the many reviews that followed its release earlier this year. Whichever camp you fall in, it’s a lovesong to Paris and HOW we yearn to get that back there as soon as we’re able. And you know what? It’s actually not a bad look at the creation and marketing of a perfume, as we follow Emily’s hapless adventures as she’s ‘tasked with bringing an American point of view to a venerable French marketing firm.’
YouTube is a treasure trove for archival fragrance adverts and wonderful little gems like this Pathé documentary on how fragrance is made. We might chuckle at the Stiff Upper Lip ‘Received Pronunciation’ of the voiceover, but it makes for a still very interesting look at Grasse, French perfumery and the technical side of perfumery still not often shown in such detail to this day. Click above to watch it now!
Another still on our ‘to watch’ list, this series certainly sounds like it ticks many (perfume) boxes for us… ‘During the Republican era, a family empire famous for making the best fragrances and incense must guard against those who are out to steal their secret recipes. Ning Zhi Yuan is the sweet young master of his family’s fragrance empire. An Le Yan is a determined young woman who is out for revenge against the Ning family. Zhi Yuan falls in love with Le Yan, but she only wants to infiltrate Zhi Yuan’s family to steal a valuable perfume formula. Le Yan’s true heart is drawn toward An Yi Chen, an inspector. But Xiao Hui, the daughter of a Japanese imperialist, is determined to capture Yi Chen’s heart at all costs. Can Zhi Yuan protect his family’s livelihood and his own heart?‘
Something for the little ones – perhaps inspiring a new ‘nose’ in your family? – this cheeky little cartoon follows the story of Mo, who is ‘…upset when Tee accidentally breaks her favourite perfume.’ And indeed she might might be upset! ‘Tee is now determined to cheer her up by making her some new perfume from ingredients found around the house. Lucky Mo!’ Hmm. Well we’re sure that’s all whimsically delightful, but if Tee tried whipping up a batch of vintage Mitsouko from stuff he found around our house, we’re very much afraid he’d be out on his ear (having replaced the bottle and cleaned the carpet, thank you very much!)
At the time of writing, the new BBC drama series of The Black Narcissus have not yet aired, but you can watch them here when they do (starting Sunday, 27th December in the U.K. at 9pm, with the following two episodes airing in the same slot over the next two nights – Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th December 2020). Based on the aponymous Powell and Pressburger classic 1947 film, Black Narcissus, named after the iconic Caron fragrance and following the intense sensual awakening of a nun who dabbles with such vices as perfume and lipstick; this 2020 version stars the late Diana Rigg (in her last role) among an incredible cast; and promises to be an absolute must-watch.
Fancy even more fragrant viewing? A little while ago, I took a look at some vintage perfume adverts, in which a surprising number of movie stars made their televisual debuts. Or, for those seeking some scented chuckles, why not gawk at these hilarious retro men’s fragrance ads – featuring chaps being spoon-fed in restaurants, a hang-gliding man in danger of being whipped by his own moustache and an impromptu musical set outside a greengrocer’s. Ah, they don’t make ’em like that anymore.
We hope this Fragrant Film Club list provides a fragrant escape for those of you desperately searching for something new to watch – and a chance to re-watch some old faves for those of you who’ve already seen them. Whichever you choose, we suggest snuggling up, staying safe and perhaps locking the door for some blessed moments of me-time…
By golly gosh it’s been a tough year, to put it mildl; so as a special present, Santa has a FREE gift for you all…
This year, because we’d like to say a massive ‘THANK YOU!’ for your continued support – and as testament to just how important the role of fragrance has been, calming our nerves and bolstering our spirits in troubling times – Santa has decided to gift the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter magazine,FREE for you all to read.
One of the most hotly-anticipated issues each year is our bumper Christmas edition of the magazine – this year entitled Secret Scent-er – which incorporates all the usual news, reviews and in-depth features with the addition of a fabulously fragrant gift guide. Seriously drool-worthy, it’s a showcase for the very best scented gorgeousness that money can buy, from niche and indie brands to designer luxe.
We know that Christmas will be very different for many of you this year, and hope that you can find time to sit awhile, put your feet up and have your spirits lifted by all manner of glorious things arrayed in the 64 pages – normally only available to VIP Members and those who purchase the printed editions (scroll down for more info on how to get these).
• In Extraits, Extraits, Read All About It!, Persolaise explores the revival of perfume’s most precious form
• Can’t be with those you love over the holidays? Conjure them up with a spritz or a dab of scent, we suggest in Spraying Home for Christmas
• Like our favourite Christmas tunes, explains Viola Levy in Jingle Smells, certain fragrances never fail to deliver Christmas cheer
• I hopped on a Zoom with Santa for this issue’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections– smile as he shares centuries of fragrant recollections
• And of course, we’ve sniffed out the best presents, from glamorous gift sets to beautiful (scented) baubles in Your Fragrant Gift Guide 2020
• Plus as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more
If the free edition has tickled your fragrant fancies for more award-winning journalism, we can now take orders for a limited run of printed copies of all editions of our magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs). And remember: you can buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letter and also an International Online Subscription for the magazine, too!
Finally, no matter where you are, please know you’re not alone, and that the days will be lighter from now on. With much love, we’d like to wish you all a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS, and look forward to a far more peaceful (and perfume-filled) New Year, for all…
Christmas is always the most scented season, but this year the perfumes we spray have taken on an extra poignancy – many of us deeply missing mloved ones we cannot be this year because of the continuing pandemic, or who have passed away.
Fragrance can be a great comfort – and a way of connecting us, if only we chose the scent to spray that immediately evokes someone we’re so wishing we could be with right now.
For the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter magazine, we asked a number of our favourite perfumers, journalists and fragrance experts which scents they would be spraying this year, and who they’re missing most. We were so overwhelmed by the lovely – and often very emotional – reponses, that we didn’t have room for them all in the printed pages!
That’s why we want to share these beautiful scent memories with you, now; and wonder: whom would YOU most love to conjure with a single spritz right now, and what fragrance would you need to spray…?
Alice du Parcq – writer for Glamour U.K. / Space NK:
‘This Christmas I’ll be in a fume-cloud of Maison Margiela Replica By The Fireplace. It is the scent of roasting chestnuts on a roaring fire in a Chamonix ski lodge in 1971, so think toasted embers, plumes of silky sooty smoky, wood polish and the creamy, vanilla-spiked, nutty flesh of charred chestnuts. We did this as kids every winter at my parents’ house (which incidentally still looks like a 70s ski chalet) and watched my dad roll those glossy globes around a skillet until they crackled and split. My sister and I had scalded fingertips all season from the impatient peeling of the blackened chestnuts that were still too hot to touch. The fire was wild, ferocious and mesmerising, and the whole house smelt like fireworks and bonfires. I remember it vividly, and since we can’t all be together this year I’ll honour that memory with a daily spray of this magnificent and curious perfume.’
Sarah McCartney – perfumer & founder 4160 Tuesdays:
‘Usually we head north to York to see a collection of family and friends, play music and swap presents. I’m always delighted when my nephews put in a request for one of my fragrances at Christmas and their favourite is Invisible Ben. This is a blend of sandalwood, oranges, cognac absolute, musks and Ambrox, so it mingles with the atmosphere, a definite presence but not shouting for attention. It’s just like the lads themselves.’
Nicola Bonn – Outspoken Beauty podcast:
‘One of my best friends wears Chanel Chance. Smelling it and her never fails to make me happy. I always meet her at this time of year for drinks and celebrations and not being with her is so very sad. I’ll spritz this and have a virtual cocktail with her.’
Marcus Jaye, beauty & fragrance blogger / author a.k.a The Chic Geek:
‘This will date my childhood, but mine is Giorgio Beverly Hills. This is pure Pretty Woman, back-combed mum of the 1980s. Chuck in a soupçon of Elnett and I’m there.’
Olivia Jezler – fragrance innovation & technical design specialist, Future of Smell:
‘Both my parents always change their perfumes so its less about their signature scent… but the scent in their home over Christmas is always the NEST Holiday candle. I love it and for me that’s the smell of Christmas…combined with the pine of the Christmas tree!’
Professor Charles Spence – experimental psychologist / head of Crossmodal Research Group, Oxford University:
‘It would have to be smell of nardo – the flower that my (now) wife would always bring to airport when I arrived in Colombia… Which the web says is “Polianthes means “many flowers” in Greek. In Mexican Spanish, the flower is called nardo or vara de San José, which means “St. Joseph’s staff”. This plant is called as rajanigandha in India, which means ‘fragrant at night’. I didn’t realise it was a night-blooming one, but have since become very interested in night-flowering scented plants, so night flowering jasmine, which would have to be my second choice.’
Whomever you are missing, and whatever their favourite fragrance was, we hope you’ll be able to find great comfort and bring them home with your own personal scent memories, whenever you need them most…
Scented candles have helped us stay (mostly) sane this year. A bold statement, but when we’ve spent more time than ever at home – working, raising families, interacting with partners or house-mates on a 24 hour basis or simply trying to get through the day alone – it’s been an easy way to instantly change a space, a vibe, with fragrance.
And it seems we’re not alone in this perfumed passion. Sales of fragranced candles, along with ‘premium food’ have been one of the mood-markers of 2020.
As The Guardian newspaper recently commented, ‘cold weather and coronavirus restrictions encourage Britons to hunker down for winter,’ reporting that what we’re been turning to are ways of making ourselves feels better, hence: ‘Sales of scented candles, potpourri and essential oils for diffusers jumped 29% in October, according to the research group Kantar.’
It makes sense. Candles can help us feel calm – not only for the scent, but focusing on the flickering flame awhile. They bring a feeling of warmth and comfort, a cosiness that’s been sorely needed as the temperatures in the U.K. plummeted and the darkness drew in. We’ve gone from tropical exoticism in the bathroom to torrid sensuality in the bedroom (or the kitchen, why not?). We’re using zingy scents to get us going in the morning, soothing smells to help us wind down of an evening, and traversing the world through our noses all the many, many hours in-between.
Because good grief, how we’ve longed for ‘newness’ – and the act of lighting a scented candle can genuinely shake you out of the doldrums!
Quite apart from how fabulous some of the containers look, and how good quality candles can contiunue to scent a room even unlit; they also make thoughtful gifts. But personally, we’re doing the ‘one for you, one for me’ rule with the following selection of some of our favourites to stock up on. Which will you give, and which are you coveting for yourself, we wonder…?
Ruth Mastenbroek Ancient Frankincense £55 for
Cosy as toasting your toes by a roaring fire, this is one to light, snuggle up on the sofa and read something unashamedly soothing with. Or kick back with a frivolously festive film. The warmth of frankincense, precious resins of myrrh and labdanum are tickled by pink pepper up top and swaddled in rich patchouli in the base. Aromatic notes of cypress and pine, meanwhile, remind us of walks through the woods – wrapped up in your favourite coat, savouring the frosty freshness of the air. Sublime!
(PS: Get your hands on a mini size of either Ancient Frankincense or the Rebel County candle as part of our sumptuous Indulgence Discovery Box, for £36 / £32 for VIPs)
Boujee Bougies Queen Jam £55 for 220g
Outrageously jam-y, this sashays up with bucket loads of berries – raspberries and bilberries, to be precise – and oodles of rose petals; that unctious stickiness shot through with flashes of tart green to prevent it being sickly. Olfiction perfumer Pia Long has created a stunning evocation of a Finnish preserve that feels equal parts grown up glam and giggle-inducing frolics. Check out their entire range via the super cute mini candles for £25 (buy one of each and you’ll get one free as part of their launch offer, while stocks last!)
Floral Street Sunshine Bloom £28 for 200g
A welcome shaft of sunlight for the duller days, this scented candle keeping the memory of summer vibes alive with luminescent notes of jasmine, creamy fig leaf (which smells like being on holiday – close your eyes and you can almost feel the sunshine, hear the waves…). Meanwhile, wild orchid, black pepper, incense and salted musks manage to be both delicious and vibrant. This is a solar scent that truly sparkles and recalibrates: a fragrant re-set for the mind, if you will.
La Montaña Siesta: £39 for 220g
We don’t know about you, but getting absolutely anything done right now seems to sap twice the amount of energy as usual. We could all dearly do with a daily siesta, but not all of us can make that space in our day. This candle cossets with lavender, juniper and thyme – an herbaceous breeze from a garden as you ‘close your eyes and imagine yourself drowsing on a hot afternoon, gently swinging in a hammock in the shade of a tree, with the crickets chirruping, and the sun-baked fragrances of the countryside lulling you to sleep.’ Oh we’re SO there…
Tom Daxon White Narcissus: £25 for 185g
A winter’s walk captured in fragrant form, here, with a bouquet of white flowers – gloriously heady narcissus and hyacinth – and the snapped-stalked freshness of galbanum and green violet leaf, which manages to temper the otherwise fabulously blowsy floralcy. Tendrils of cardamom-infused smoke drift drowsily through the cold, still air as gaiac wood and cedar smoulder on the shady vetiver base. One to gift those who are about done with cinnamon and eggnog and are checking the weather forecast, hourly, for the first signs of spring. That’d be us, then.
Christmas gift ideas for men? It can be difficult, we know – and especially this year, when so many of us are apart from our loved ones. But worry not. You’ve come to the right place! We’re brimming over with scented suggestions that will have him feeling fabulous, festive, AND fragrant…
For super men everywhere, we’ve included independent perfume houses making their mark: recently launched ånd fragrance with sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients at the forefront, decadent Italian niche with Laboratorio Olfattivo and Jovoy with their new creation based on the Mayfair store 21 Conduit St. Also including newness from loved names including St Giles, Parfums de Marly, Ruth Mastenbroek, Floris, Caron,Initio, Atelier Des Ors, Kierin NYC and Anima Vinci. We also bring you TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (50ml), and the divinely scented beard savour WELEDA Skin Food (10ml). Up, up and a-spray…!
Yes, we know we’re using the word ‘men’ here, but some chaps perhaps aren’t as advanced in their tastes, fragrance-sharing wise, and will balk at anything not specifically marketed as ‘masculine’ scents. However, here’s a way to ease them in to the modern world – with so many fabulous ‘shareable’ creations being launched, we’ve decided to put our favourites in one beautiful box, for EVERYONE to wear. Niche perfume houses rarely categorise their creations as ‘male’ or ‘female’ – and there’s plenty here with newness from Goldfield & Banks, Kingdom Scotland, BDK Parfums, Vines House Parfum and Rook Perfumes. We also showcase classics such as Goutal Paris Eau D’Hadrien and Eight & Bob Egypt, along with fabulous discoveries from Initio and Atelier des Ors, plus two ‘unisex’ body treats. We won’t be at all surprised if he decides he DOESN’T want to share with anyone else. So maybe treat yourself to one as well?
Mihan Aromatics are a true product of Australia – an up-and-coming perfume house from Down Under. Their luxury, all-natural scents capture the fascinating fragrance landscape of that vast country, created by uber-cool Melbourne couple Josh and Julia Mihan. (They’ve been likened to ‘the BYREDO of Australia…’) In this incredible line-up of gender-neutral fragrances, Josh and Jules combine native floral and spices – including Australian sandalwood, now being deployed by the fragrance industry as a sustainable alternative to Indian Santalum album. You can spray the ENTIRE COLLECTION in this divinely cool set, each one a very clear style; a lightness, a dreamy character, a mood. Try Mikado Bark, a mountainous arrangement of paper and unfamiliar books exude distinction and literary prowess. Or Petrichor Plains, conjuring up the drenching of earth and rock after a shower. Plus: a bonus ‘untitled’ fragrance, still in development, of which you get an exclusive sneak peek… HOW cool it that?!
For chaps unashamedly into decadent scents, you can do no better than choose this collection. Jovoy has a fascinating history as a Parisian house, its customers were a ‘Who’s Who?’ of the Roaring Twenties. Then scent exporter and expert in raw ingredients, FrançoisHénin, rediscovered and revived the fragrance house. So now we bring you this just-launched Discovery Set of FOURTEEN of Jovoy‘s fabulous, opulent fragrances. Created with master perfumers, it is bursting with OLFACTORY HERITAGE and beauty. From Ambre Premier, which layers unisex rose onto vanilla, musk and patchouli to La Liturgie des Heures, evoking the atmosphere of an old cathedral via incense, myrrh and labdanum – and with a dozen more to explore for yourself – each fragrance holds a place in time. Plus each set contains a 10% voucher redeemable against a full size Jovoy fragrance! Daring, decadent, divine: why not treat yourself or – someone close…?
We’ve man-y (sorry) many more fragrant sets with which to entice your senses, simply explore our shop for more ideas (and let us do the sending to save you going to the post office, if you prefer). No matter your budget or the man in your life’s tastes, we have Christmas, fragrantly covered…
Kingdom Scotland are launching a series of seasonal scent events online, and invite you to join the virtual party…
Party season is upon us once again, but of course this year the festivities will have to be somewhat different. But we’re not letting that stop us! Perhaps more important now than ever before, it’s a great time to connect – to reach out and join in rather than feeling secluded and lonely, or like you’re missing out. So with this in mind, the brilliant niche fragrance house Kingdom Scotland have a whole host of magically transportive fragrantly themed activities for you this month. And they describe a rather tantalising roll call:
The worlds of whisky and fragrance have much in common, founder of Kingdom Scotland, Imogen Russon-Taylor has always believed. And she should know: after a distinguished career in the aromatic world of Scotch whisky, Imogen went on to create her own fragrance house – the very first to be based north of the border. ‘Both whisky and perfume are produced by traditional distillation methods,’ she explains. Both evoke a complex sensory experience and both rely upon the innovative use of ingredients or flavours to distinguish themselves from competitors.’
Indeed, Kingdom Scotland excell at creating stunningly evocative moments in scent – using perfume to share old narratives in new ways, tapping into the rich stories associated with perfume and natural ingredients in Scotland. So sharing these online – at a time when many of us feel isolated by #lockdowns, Tier systems or otherwise – is particualarly pertinent.
For the fragrant festivities to be something everyine can join in, no matter where you are in the world, Kingdom Scotland have partnered with the luxury experience experts Beyond Curated and Scotland’s leading whisky-focused travel company, Maclean & Bruce.
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