Normally, right about now, I’d be planning my annual trip to Florence, and the fragrance fair Pitti Fragranze. A meeting place for perfumers, founders, makers, buyers, brands, olfactory artists and anyone obsessed by scent; it’s always a highlight of my year.
It’s also a wonderful opportunity to sniff the not-yet-launched fragrances, see interesting new niche houses and spot possible perfume trends for the next few years ahead. You might like to have a look at my report from last year’s Pitti Fragranze, to get a sense of the scale of the event. It’s huge! And quite overwhelming. But always wonderful.
Of course, this is not a normal year, and any such in-person events have sadly been cancelled or postponed. But while I am mourning meeting up with fragrance journalists and fragrant friends from around the world; I am heartened that Pitti Fragranze have taken to decision to still run their fair, but as a virtual, online fesitval.
Along with events, talks, special guests, and focuses on new trends (all in English), do check out the complete calendar to see which you might wish to take part in. The various events begin on Monday September 7th – Monday September 21st 2020.
Having taken a virtual trip to the flower fields with self-hypnosis and meditated with a Love-Alchemist, for the next session on Tuesday 5th May sees (and hears) sound-healer Charlotte Hastings will teach you how to ‘experience your being through the language of sound.’ All with the fragrant backdrop of the stunning scents themselves.
And we’re rather fascinated with fragrance and music, currently, as you will find in our soon-to-be-published next edition of The Scented Letter Magazine. Watch (and listen to!) this space…
Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed has created a stunning portfolio of perfumes that reflect her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. As she told The Perfume Society: ‘The scents I’d encountered on my travels over the years were enchanting to me: the pure and golden shimmer of orange blossom, the mystical, enveloping depth of sandalwood, the seduction of jasmine blooming at night. I felt I could never find that captured anywhere on a department store shelf.’
The scents in the Sana Jardin collection really are strikingly beautiful – a magic carpet ride in every bottle. And – enhancing their feel-good factor – this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house offers flacons created entirely from recycled glass, along with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations for Sana Jardin.
But don’t just take our word for it, why not explore the collection yourself, from the comfort of your home? Allow yourself to experience the bliss of a scented sanctuary…
If you’re a perfume lover (and we suppose you are, since you’re here!) then we know you’re going to love an historical Perfume Walk through London’s vibrant, heritage-rich Mayfair…
On March 21st, Perfumedaze are going to be sauntering through the world of scent, taking in the sights and smells of London’s historic fragrance houses, led by the very knowledgable Olga (who we often see at out own Perfume Society events, as she’s a long-time and very enthusiastic member!) So although we’re not organising the walk, we very much wanted to flag it up for fellow fragrance addicts.
Says Olga: ‘The perfume walk is an invite to have a glimpse of London history through perfumes, their creators and people who wore them. The tour takes about three hours during which walk we will visit heritage perfume shops and find out the exciting history of old English brands like Floris, Atkinson’s, Penhaligon’s and Grossmith. We will have access to places usually closed to public, like the Museum at Floris and the Georgian Suite at Atkinsons.
Floris offers an opportunity for a real time travel. The shop has been occupying the same premises for 290 years and is still run by the same family. Among his clients there are royals, famous people, actors and even literary characters. The visit to Floris also gives a chance to discuss what a unisex fragrance mean.
Atkinsons, meanwhile, is a real phoenix of the perfume industry connected to the king of English fashion Beau Brummell as well as Russian Royal Family, Queen Victoria and Sarah Bernard. We will also be walking on the street once famous for Turkish baths where William Penhaligon created his first fragrance. And the tour will finish in the mecca of modern perfumery, Jovoy Mayfair, where we will discover secrets of main perfume ingredients and discuss pros and cons of naturals and synthetics.’
All the details you need to know are on the Eventbrite ticket page, but the basics are that the walk is March 21st, 11am–2pm, and tickets cost £20 (non-refundable).
Traversing from the oldest houses still proudly proferring perfumes in the Captial, right through to exploring some of the most modern fragrances around – think of this as a way to time travel with your nose.
Fragranced candles don’t get much hotter than Jonathan Ward‘s… metaphorically speaking, of course, but we were wowed from the very first time we smelled them.
You see, British candle maker and fragrant auter, Jonathan Ward, likes to do things differently. Having begun in the fashion world and created fragrances for others, Ward crossed over to the light side with his own fragranced candle house at last, and now has perfumistas filling their own homes with his scents.
As you might imagine, we’ve had our noses on a fair few scented candles in our time. The Perfume Society offices are contstantly aglow (candle-light is so flattering to the features, don’t you think? Especially when you’ve lost that post-holiday glow!) and currently we have Halcyonic wafting its magic. Inspired by the Bright Young Things of the ‘roaring 20s’, we felt it was just the thing to have burning after watching the Downton Abbey film. And as you’ll see, below, even the wayhe describes the notes feels like the an entire world and cast of characters, captured in scent…
Steam Iron Lapel, Smoked Lipstick Kiss, Tea Rose, Amber Heart
Crab Apple, Honeysuckle, Prickle Pear, Wet Jasmine Base
Black Amber, Black Salt, Tuxedo Musks
Fragrance expert Stephan Matthews regularly cites Ward’s creations among his favourite in the whole world (and as we know, there’s a lot of candles out there!) and recently caught up with this coolest of candle makers to discover his scented heritage. We Wear Perfume, meanwhile, fell madly for the literary and mythological inspirations behind the brand, waxing lyrical (sorry, couldn’t resist) about the ‘complex and captivating stories for his artful scented candle collection that are akin to miniature novels.’
Indeed, these are no ordinary candles – Ward creates scented spaces into which we can escape at the flick of a flame. He likes to ‘…ignite the olfactory legacies bequeathed by artists, visionaries, prophets and poets—bringing fresh light to their thoughts and ideas.’
Where we think these candles excel is the fragrances have just as much complexity (and time spent on them) as a bottle of personal perfume. In fact, Ward admitted to We Wear Perfume that he sometimes dabs a bit of the fragrance oils he composes for the candles behind his ears, apparently even combing a bit through his beard! But be in no doubt: here’s a man who takes the compositions of these scents really, really seriously.
Another point of difference is the added benefit of the candles being completely clean-burning – Ward is one of the founders in the promotion of natural waxes, with the wicks attached using an artisan candle technique that fixes them without using glue or resin.
We’re not talking about pouring some already created scent into some wax and adding a wick, here. We mean blending your own custom scent using professional perfumer’s accords, then practice making your very own candle; from mixing the oils to pouring the wax it’ll be a hands-on experience (and a new life skill).
The workshop will be led by the immensely talented Jonathan Ward himself, who will undoubtedly share invaluable candle-related knowledge throughout the day. This will be an unforgettable workshop where guests will enjoy refreshments and take home their personally scented Jonathan Ward candle, along with being offered an incredibly generous and exclusive discount of 15% off Jonathan Ward products on the day.
Tickets for this unique day’s custom candle course are £65 and can be purchased here:
Saturday 5th October 2019 Times: 11.00 am – 2:00 pm Venue: Johnathan Ward Candle Studio, Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Rd, London E8 4QN
How we love a pop-up, especially when it’s got beauty and perfumes a-go-go! How exciting, then, for the duration of London Beauty Week, a Beauty Playground will pop up on Covent Garden’s East Piazza, inviting visitors to discover and experience the best of the beauty and fragrance industry.
‘Weleda Skin Food will bring their Nice Cream Van to the Beauty Playground, dishing delicious ice cream over discussions about the brand’s ethical and sustainable ethos. Miller Harris will serve up bright neon, bespoke illustrations – and ice cream via their exclusive pop up – and will reveal two new vibrant fragrances: Blousy and Brighton Rock. Floral Street Fragrance will bring magic to The Beauty Playground with a spinning prize wheel, where visitors can take a spin the wheel to discover their perfume persona. Showcasing their new Eau du Parfum range, Molton Brown will offer fragrance consultations and a bespoke Beauty Bar will also be in situ courtesy of Miami export Buns & Buns, serving up Bottled Beauty cocktails designed in partnership with Molton Brown, inspired by the brand’s classic scents and presented in their signature bottles.
Subscription-based beauty brand Glossybox will delight beauty fans with an exclusive beauty treasure hunt around the estate. Those who find the hidden golden tickets on the Piazza on Wednesday 11th September and Thursday 12thSeptember will be taken to a beauty store within Covent Garden’s Beauty Quarter to collect one of ten exciting prizes. Prizes will be worth £100 or more from brands including NARS, Miller Harris, Atelier Cologne and more.
London Beauty Week is on a mission to discover Next British Beauty Brand and is hosting a competition to offer start-up beauty companies the chance to win expert beauty business mentoring and a central London retail space. The judging panel includes some of the most influential names in the UK beauty industry including senior executives from The British Beauty Council, Covent Garden, WGSN, Harvey Nichols and Felix Capital. The winner will receive mentoring from two British Beauty Council trustees, a pop up store in Covent Garden – London’s Beauty Quarter, a listing in Harvey Nichols Beyond Beauty, financial mentoring from Felix Capital and a year’s subscription to WGSN Beauty – the world’s leading trend forecaster. Participants can visit BritishBeautyCouncil.com to sign up, ahead of the judging panel which will take place on Friday 13th September.
Brands across Covent Garden will join the celebrations and offer late night shopping and exclusive events for Londoners and visitors for the duration of London Beauty Week. Beauty lovers can pop into Aesop’s stunning King Street store, which will be adorned with fresh flower arrangements, for a bespoke skincare consultation, or visit Chanel on Friday 13thSeptember or Saturday 14th September where illustrator Melissa Bailey will be on-hand to capture the results of the brand’s incredible express services. Jo Malone London will host an exclusive cocktail evening on Thursday 12thSeptember and a special Poppy & Barley Flower Arranging Masterclass, led by expert florist Wild Things, over London Beauty Week weekend. Those who love the glamour of the runway should reserve a space at Tom Ford who will be serving Metallique inspired cocktails to an intimate group and providing a demonstration on how to achieve Tom Ford catwalk looks.
Additional in-store events, experiences and installations can be enjoyed across Covent Garden beauty brand favourites, including Atelier Cologne, Miller Harris, Molton Brown, Ted Baker and Trevor Sorbie and The Alkemistry. Covent Garden is home to London’s best beauty brands and experiences, further including Dior, NARS, Deciem, Penhaligon’s, Aesop and more, making it the perfect destination to host London’s inaugural London Beauty Week.’
Be still our beating hearts. Ice cream and perfume and prizes, you say? We’ll be there faster than you can shake a stick (of rock!)
Jorum Laboratories are Scotland’s first fragrance-creation house, and excitingly announced the launch of their own eponymous perfume brand, Jorum Studio, showcasing scents in a pop-up perfumery at the iconic Edinburgh department store, Jenners, during the Edinburgh Festival.
Having already worked with leading brands including Penhaligon’s London, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Miller Harris and NEOM Organics, amongst many others, Jorum Studio – run by talented perfumer Euan McCall and partner, Chloe Mullen – was first established in Edinburgh in 2010, giving them a way to explore a more truly artisanal approach to fragrance creation. And also, allowing further collaboration between fellow artists and craftspeople, with local photographers, writers and even glass-blowers getting involved.
Now, because of the Jenners pop-up, the public will can sniff out these modern olfactory expressions for themselves, with six fragrances from the brand’s original Progressive Botany collection, showcased alongside three from the Psychoterratica range. And in addition, Jorum Studio say there will be samples and special offers available for customers throughout the duration of the pop-up.
With the launch of each new fragrance, Jorum Studio will be progressing the current conversation around fragrance as a craft and/or artform in itself. The debut collection, Progressive Botany Vol.1, launched earlier this year, and in the autumn, a collaborative heirloom art-work will be presented by glass artist Juli Bolaños-Durman.
Along with other contemporary Scottish businesses, it’s a chance to celebrate a new image of Scotland, because, as Euan comments, ‘Jorum Studio is a vision of contemporary Scotland, showing that our country is about far more than tartan, whisky and shortbread,’ an ethos reflected in this homegrown, artisan brand. So from now until 26 August 2019, Jorum Studio will be taking up residence in a standalone area of the world-famous store, showing visitors what contemporary niche perfumery has to offer.
The myriad links between the arts and perfumery are growing with each house and event that highlights the connections, and we are thrilled whenever retailers take this seriously – investing time and space to help showcase indie brands who are leading the way for the future of fragrance. If you’re in Edinburgh before the end of the month, make sure you stop by and try the Jorum Studio scents for yourself – and keep an eye on the exciting artistic collaborations they have planned…
The Jorum Studio pop-up perfumery at Jenners Department Store in Edinburgh is accessed via the entrance on Rose Street. The pop-up will be open from 9.30am daily until 26 August 2019.
Fragrance as art was a concept often (if you’ll pardon the pun) sniffed at, but it seems that scent – and our sense of smell – is gradually working its way into the public consciousness as a valid subject to be displayed and discussed.
British designer Tim Simpson and Dutch designer Sarah van Gameren formed their London-based studio, Glithero, to produce installations that ‘capture and present the beauty in the moment things are made,’ and are excited to be part of a current fragrantly-themed exhibition in Switzerland, which runs until June…
Glithero say: ‘We have designed the complete scenography for an exhibition about perfumery. The exhibition, ‘Nez-à-Nez, Contemporary perfumers‘ at the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne (MUDAC) consists of 6 bespoke installations that we have designed over 6 rooms. Each room presents a different theme of tendency from the world of contemporary perfume making that have been identified by the curators in collaboration with the olfactory magazine Nez.
Mudac called upon us to create poetic and immersive installations displaying 39 fragrances from 13 of the best contemporary perfumers such as Jean-Claude Elena, Fabrice Pellegrin, Olivia Giacobetti,Dominique Ropion and Isabelle Doyen. Our challenge of this exhibition was to make the immateriality of the perfumes tangible within a museological context where the visual input is often given centre stage. We chose to present the fragrances in ways that surprise and intrigue the visitor but that don’t colour in or adulterate the evocative impressions of the perfumes.
We’re looking forward to show you the result of this adventure. See you there!’
Date: Friday 15 February – Sunday 16 June 2019 Location: Mudac, Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains
Place de la Cathédrale 6, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 11.00 to 18.00 (Closed on Mondays)
Givaudan say: ‘It took the perfumer’s skill and collector’s passion of Leon Givaudan to assemble, in the years from 1924 to 1930, this unusually homogeneous collection of 18th Century toilet accessories. Composed of about a hundred items, manufactured from costly materials and lavishly decorated, the Givaudan collection is one of the most important of its kind in Europe: crystal perfume bottles set in gold mounts, bottles in fish scale and tortoiseshell for smelling salts, Vernis Martin étuis, enamelled vinaigrettes, bronze or ceramic bottle cases, patch boxes in ivory or mother-of-pearl.
To view the Givaudan collection is a rare treat for all those who value both the artistry that went into the making of these precious objects and the stories they tell about the history of perfumery and its place in our society.’
Hillwood Museum say: ‘Perfume & Seduction will trace the form and function of perfume bottles, explore a variety of shapes and materials and the process of making perfume, and examine the evolution of forms during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, highlighting examples from Hillwood’s collection.’
A section of 64 items from Givaudan’s private collection will be showcased in ‘Perfume & Seduction’ at the Hillwood Museum in Washington DC, from February to June 2019.
If you can’t make it to Switzerland or Washington before June and are pining for beautiful perfume bottles to look at, might we suggest a trip to the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, currently at the V&A? We rather breathlessly reported from the press day of this fabulous show – of which the fragrance bottles play a small but vital part – and cannot urge you enough to go and see it for yourself, if you’re able to get tickets.
In the meantime, might we also urge more galleries and museums to be brave enough to use fragrance and smell as part of their exhibitions and experiences? Smell remains the least scientifically and culturally explored of our senses, yet it has been proved to be the sense that links most directly – and emotionally – to the brain. Shows and installations that encompass all the senses and excite us beyond merely viewing, to being part of the exhibition ourselves, are definitely the way forward. And with this in mind, our magazine, The Scented Letter, will be decoting an entire issue to fragrance and culture later this year, so get ready to be olfactorily obsessed…
When you’ve been obsessed by fragrance for some time, you might think you have a good idea about how ingredients smell. I reckon I’d know a patchouli or pepper from a few yards away, for example. But suddenly, presented with an array of natural ingredients in the form of a ‘Speed Sniffing‘ game, my sense of smell was turned upside down. And I wasn’t alone…
In the august surroundings of Burlington House in Piccadilly, the British Society of Perfumers met at the Royal Society of Chemistry, where we’d been invited for an evening of exploring fragrance ingredients by IFF-LMR Naturals. The LMR refrers to Laboratoire Monique Rémy, which IFF (International Flavors & Fragrance) took over in 2000, continuing and evolving the incredible, groundbreaking work Monique began. Indeed, the company have recently rebranded with the slogan Pioneering Nature – a phrase that encompasses their ethos of always pushing the boundaries of what we can expect from natural ingredients: the way they are grown, harvested and processed; the wellfare of the those who produce them, and sustainability of the environment at large.
These natural ingredients go on to be used by the world’s top perfumers and flavourists, in every major and niche fragrance house you care to name, and there’s no doubt you’ll own many scents and have eaten all manner of foods that include them.
Esteemed members of the BSP mingled with representatives of IFF-LMR and fragrance-loving members of the public alike, and we were led into a room of eight tables for the fun to begin. Think of it as a combination between speed dating and an intense gym workout for your nose.
In groups, we moved our way around the room, being given only five minutes at each table – a bell ringing when time was up – and with an expert from IFF-LMR in place to guide us through what we were smelling. My group began at the ‘New Ingredient‘ table, and we first had to solve a word puzzle to make up the names. These were Pepper Sichuan Absolute Extract LMR and Cocoa Extract 12% PG. We might think of pepper as being punchy, up in your face and almost aggressive in character, but here we smelled something more reminiscent of citrus, with a vibrant, fruity/floral facet that astonished us all – and remember, there were professional ‘noses’ at this table, equally enthralled by what we were smelling. It was a tickle to the senses, and unlike any pepper I’ve previously experienced. The cocoa, too, was a revelation. Usually used in the flavour industry, this one is silky, nutty, warm and dry rather than overly sweet and sickly.
Resisting the urge to suck the blotter, we moved on to smelling fragrances – one without the central ingredient, one with, and this process was repeated at each table we visited. How fascinating to explore the way even a minute amount can utterly alter a finished fragrance – adding complexity and elegance, boosting the surrounding aromas or softening the edges for a comforting snuggle of a scent. I can only liken it to the difference between a landscape painting completed in oils or watercolour – the scene might be the same, but the translation, mood and emotional response has changed.
At the beginning of the Speed Sniffing we’d been given a bag containing a notebook to jot down our thoughts, along with collecting specially designed playing cards at each stage of our fragrant journey, each card explaining the IFF-LMR ingredient and what makes it so special. So here, briefly, were my thoughts on what I found to be some of the most exciting ingredients we sniffed…
Organic Notes: Ginger Oil Fresh Madagascar ORG
Produced by hyrdodistillation, this smelled of all the piquant freshness of ginger root, without any of the earthiness or almost rubbery notes that can sometimes accompany this ingredient. Their secret? A far shorter time between harvesting and distilling.
Peru Balsam Oil MD
This is harvested from wild grown plants, and was the first to achieve ‘Fair Wild’ certification. For this, they must adhere to strict standards of sustainability criteria, ensuring the continued use and long-term survival of wild species, while supporting the livelihoods of all stakeholders and respecting their cultures. To me, it smelled of heaven. Soft, creamy, comforting and cocooning – if there was a vat of it, I’d have jumped in (though this could upset their certified status, so probably best for all concerned the opportunity wasn’t presented).
This is patchouli with 99% of patchoulol (an alcohol found within patchouli, and one of the organic compounds responsible for the smell). But it’s not the patchouli you’d recognise – banish any lingering horrors of “hippie” scents, for this was an ethereal, wraith-like smell, a whisper of woodiness without the funk.
LMR Hearts: Patchouli Heart No.3
IFF-LMR’s best selling Patchouli Heart note, and it’s easy to smell why. There’s a silvery clarity that smells like bliss personified, with a touch more earthiness that the Healingwood, but it’s still not muddy. Think of a forest floor during a light Spring shower, water diffused through greenery, a shimmering transparency that’s used to ‘…bring differentiation and personality to any formulas.’
‘Blockchain’ Notes: Vetiver Heart
A Blockchain guarantees transparency throughout the supply chain, with every single step of a process being virtually stored. This way, an ingredient can be traced from being grown, harvested and processed from start to finish, with the information visible for all (other companies buying the product, right through to consumers buying a fragrance that ingredient has been used in). The Vetiver Heart we smelled was a revelation – fruity, highly complex, it was practically a perfume in its own right. Because of that complexity, if a perfumer uses this within their formula, it makes the finished fragrance far harder to copy. Win-win.
New Platforms: Sandalwood Oil New Caledonia
By ‘Platforms’, they mean new places in the world they’re now sourcing materials. Sandalwood has traditionally been sourced from Australia and India, where illegal distilling plants, smuggling and unsustainable usage have caused huge problems for the fragrance industry, and the legal growers and producers in those cultures. By using this astonishingly smooth sandalwood from New Caledonia, IFF-LMR offer a delightful new ingredient for perfumers to incorporate in their fragrances – the one we smelled had an almost milky, gourmand aspect to it.
There are many more ingredients I could mention and swoon over at length, but suffice to say, we were all left with a buzz of excitement about the future for the naturals it’s now possible to use in fragrance, and with minds officially blown. What an honour to have smelled ingredients only the noses of major perfume houses usually get to play with. Speed Sniffing with IFF-LMR resulted in my relationship status with naturals being firmly reinstated.
Interested to smell more? The BSP offer a number of exciting events each year, so make sure you check the website for other fragrant happenings.
Wish you could have been there? Then you must join us at our Perfume Society Ostens Eventon 12th February! Using IFF-LMR Ingredients, this future-forward house are revolutionising the perfume industry by offering some of these incredible materials in their highest allowable, singular form within an oil Preparation, or as hypnotically enticing eaux de parfums created by some of the world’s top perfumers around that central, natural ingredient. We’ll be smelling the ingredients, learning how they’re processed and sniffing the divine results…
It’s easy to get stuck in a bit of a scented rut sometimes – something we’re all guilty of! But we’ve decided now is the perfect time to blow away the cobwebs and start thinking about things we’re looking forward to trying, seeing and (of course) smelling this year. Which of these have you tried already, and what are you most looking forward to in 2019…?
1: Get social with scent
The internet is, obviously, a wonderful thing (hello, we’re on it right now!) but it’s also good to remember to get our from behind our desks and away from a screen to actually interact with human beings occasionally. There’s absolutely nothing like discovering a group of people who share your passion, meeting up with them and realising you’re not alone. This is genuinely one of the greatest bits of our job – meeting all of you lovely people, and watching you form your own groups and friendships around our common love of fragrance! If you join our VIP Club, we promise you an entire year filled with fragrant opportunities…
– Exclusive perfume events – meeting top perfumers and founders of niche houses, exploring the history of a house with the very people who created it. Learning about ingredients, getting previews of new fragrances or simply finding out about new names our noses need to know…
– How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops – sharing the top tips we’ve learned from the world’s best noses, changing the way we think about scent and discovering deep emotional connections. These workshops are some of the highlights of our year: fun, informative, down-to-earth and genuinely life-changing for everyone who attends!
– Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.
– An exclusive monthly ‘insider offer’ – just for our VIPs.
If you keep an eye on our Events page, we also list many other perfume events and pop-ups taking place around the country, so whey not make a pact to attend at least one this year and see how exciting they can be? You can make new friends, discover new scents to love and most of all, have fun with fragrance!
2: Be braver!
There are very few people we know (apart from professional ‘noses’ really) who don’t have preconceived ideas about what suits them, and certain ingredients they tend to avoid. Even we can be guilty of it! It’s a slippery slope when you avoid things becuase you ‘know’ they don’t work for you. Taste change – ALL the time – as we get older (or wiser), and the more things you try, the more you become accustomed to liking and the more your fragrance palate expands.
Think you hate rose? It completely depends which type of rose is being used – fruity, fresh and honeyed, or deep, dusty and velvety – how it’s been harvested, where it’s used in the composition and what other ingredients surround it. The same goes for any ingredient you care to name – the new fractionated patchouli, for example, removes the ‘dirty’ earthiness that many naysayers associate with ‘hippies’ and kept them at arm’s length all these years.
We double dare you to seek out notes, fragrances and houses you assume you don’t like, and to just try them (again or for the first time) with a new nose and fresh attitude…
It’s not only about trying things you thought you disliked, but expanding your fragrant horizon at your own pace. How about branching out just a little bit – but still within your comfort zone – by seeing what six fragrances are ‘matched’ to one you already own and love? There’s suggestions for every budget, from niche and high-end luxury, through all-time classics and highstreet-friendly names you may have overlooked. Try our Fragrance Finder, get out there and give them a try. You might find a brand new fragrant love…
3: Change it up
We know there are some of you who still feel a bit odd about fragrance layering, but honestly, what have you got to lose? If there’s a Cologne you love that sits gathering dust during the colder months, bring it out and combine with a deeper fragrance to ring the changes and bring some freshness to your scented habits. We’ve several features dedicated to the art of fragrance layering (simply type into our search box to see more), but here’s the basics for nervous noses…
Always remember: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!
– Add power: ramp it up by adding more base notes like patchouli, labdanum, vetiver, woods or musk.
– Add freshness: look for citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).
– Add beauty: find a scent too ‘harsh’ or clinical? Look to layer it with decadently velvety or lusciously fruity rose oils, the sunshine-bottled scent of orange flower, a heady glamour of tuberose or a luminescent jasmine; try an apricot-like osmanthus flower, the fluffiness of mimosa or the powdery elegance of iris/orris.
– Add sweetness: vanilla and tonka bean can ’round’ a perfume, making it swoon on your skin (and addictive to smell), as can touches of synthetic notes described as ‘caramel’ or ‘dulce de leche’, ripe fruits, chocolate or even candy floss. Try to add less than you think you need, as adding more is always easier than taking away, and a little of these can go a long way!
4: Keep a fragrance journal
Writing down your thoughts about a new smell every day is surprisingly revolutionary – especially when noting your feelings at several points through the year about the same fragrance. It’s amazing how weather, mood and even what we’ve been eating can change the way we consider how something smells! This is homework we give attendees of our so-fun How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops (see above), and even if you just jot down a few words about a new thing you smell (perfume, cooking ingredient, handcream, flower, bath gel… anything!) it gets your mind and your nose symbiotically linked, and truly helps ‘fix’ smells in your mind. Try it and see!
We love the scented notelets and journals available at Floral Street – a favourite being their Wonderland Peony Notepad / £12 (above) which makes every page a fragrant delight to fill in…
5: Make your own
Nothing gives you a greater appreciation for a perfumer’s skill than having a go at making your own. Sound simple, right? Just take all your favourite ingredients, mix them up and hey-presto! Well, uh, no. Much like mixing all your favourite colours results in a brown sludge rather than the rainbow you’d imagined as a child, it’s fascinating to attempt to try and balance notes, or to enhance them… a true art form and a kind of modern alchemy we’re in awe of. But it is possible to have a go at making your own under the watchful eye of a professional who can help guide you – and oh so satisfying to come away with a little bottle of a scent you made yourself.
The following perfumers run sessions we’ve personally attended and rate highly, and each of them offer differing workshops based on your experience – from complete beginner to something more skilled. Go on, you know you’ve always wanted to… Make 2019 the year you made your own!
Trained at the perfumery school of ISPICA, Emmanuelle Moeglin worked as a Scent Design Manager for global fragrance brands, alongside some of the biggest perfumers in the world, and now works as an independent perfumer in London. In 2015, wanting to open fragrance up to the consumer and demistify the world of perfumery, she started the Experimental Perfume Club. Choosing some of the most enjoyable elements of her training, she developed workshops to help people understand scent better – exploring the smells of individual ingredients, harmonious combinations, understanding the magic and science of fusing scents. There’s workshops available from Apprentice, through Expert Masterclass to Corporate levels, in a really down-to-earth and friendly atmosphere that encourages you to learn more.
Sarah McCartney – 4160 Tuesdays perfumer offer fun and more professional days, along with afternoon tea and a chance to get your hands on Sarah’s extensive personal collection of perfumes to smell, in her truly astounding Wall of Scent. 4160 Tuesdays are in the process of moving their HQ at the moment, but do get in touch with Sarah to ask when the next dates are, and they can also come to you if you’ve some friends or colleagues who are interested in joining in…
Those wanting to launch their own fragrance should seek out Karen Gilbert, who now runs a series of specialised courses – including making skincare products – for those wanting to learn more about this intriguing yet technically challenging world. She explains that ‘…it came out of years of students coming to my live classes where we make an alcohol based EDT, who really wanted to create for their own product line.’ With courses varying from online Masterclasses – perfect for those who find it difficult to travel – days of natural perfumery and intensive 5-day professional courses, there’s something for all levels of interest.
Don’t you think there are things you could change about your fragrant habits – even if it’s just getting out there and sharing your excitement with a friend, showing them around your favourite perfumery or letting them sniff your own collection of fragrances? Whatever you choose to do, there’s a whole year of perfume excitement to look forward to, and we certainly can’t wait to share it with all of you…
We love a christmas market, but one dedicated to perfume sounds even better, right? Well hold on to your bobble hats, because Paco Rabanne fragrances are staging the first ever fragrance inspired Christmas Market, which will pop up in four key locations across the nation over the festive shopping period.
Scroll down to see the locations and dates – and put them in your diary now!
‘A golden feast for all the senses, house of Paco Rabanne will be opening its festive doors to the Art of Gifting with a multi-sensory Christmas Market experience, offering shoppers the chance to immerse themselves in the Paco Rabanne universe.
Dedicated to bringing a fragrant universe to life unlike ever before the Paco Rabanne Christmas Market will run in conjunction with an integrated digital campaign that has been inspired by the craftmanship of the metal worker; a nod to the iconic laser discs fashioned in metal by the House of Paco Rabanne.’
We can’t wait to wrap up in something cosy, grab a mulled wine and get our noses ready to be full-immersed in fragrances. What a brilliant idea – we so hope this becomes a permanent fixture on the festive fragrance calendar!
Locations / dates:
MANCHESTER PICADILLY GARDENS 30TH NOVEMBER – 2ND DECEMBER
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