‘After only two years in business we are thrilled that demand for a larger size has led us to launch our 100mls. We are finding that consumers often want three sizes of their favourite scents – 100m for home, 50ml for the desk and a 10ml on-the-go travel size’.
Love’s language may be talked with these
To work out choicest sentences,
No blossoms can be meeter
And, such being used in Eastern bowers
Young maids may wonder if the flowers
Or meanings be the sweeter.
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, 1806 – 1861
With our ‘Step in to the Garden‘ issue of The Scented Letter Magazine hot off the press, and more of us craving the colours, textures and (of course) scents of flowers more than ever in these uncertain times… floral inspiration is springing up all over!
Penhaligon’s have published a fascinating guide to the ancient ‘Language of Flowers‘ – the hidden meanings attached to seemingly innocent blooms, and how these could be used to send secret messages that bypassed stringent social ettiquette in the past…
What’s more, Penhaligon’s are inviting you to construct your own virtual bouquet to send to someone special, and when you sign up to their Penhaligon’s Times newsletter, both you and your friend will receive a £10 gift voucher to enjoy.
The newsletter is always packed full of interesting scented snippets, and here is their explantion of that secret scented Language of Flowers, first printed in the Penhaligon’s Times:
‘What could be more pleasurable than receiving an unexpected bunch of flowers! A bunch of bluebells to brighten a day. Lily of the Valley to celebrate a lover’s return, or a simple rose to nurture a budding romance. How much more pleasurable may be if the flowers themselves carry a hidden meaning. From ancient times flowers have been symbolic. The Romans honoured their heroes with laurel wreaths and Greek mythology tells how many flowers were created.
Poets have always extolled the virtues of flowers, and since Elizabethan times have written on their meanings. But it was the Victorians who turned flower-giving into an art. Inspired by a book entitled Le Langage de Fleurs by Madame de la Tour, the Victorians practised the new floral code with the same dedication with which they built their cities and furnished their homes.
The choice of flower was all important, but so too was the manner of presentation. If the flowers were upside down the opposite meaning was intended. Thus tulips presented with their stems uppermost meant blatant rejection from a lover. If the ribbon was tied to the left, the meaning referred to the giver, if tied to the right, to the recipient. On the other hand, one could always respond by wearing the flower in different ways – on her heart of course meant love, but worn in the hair implied caution. Both are acceptable locations for a light mist of scent.’
So now, what will your virtual bouquet say in this secret Language of Flowers, we wonder…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale
As part of our on-going Fragrance Family Friday series, today we’re taking a sniff at Floral.
Floral is the most universally popular of all families (with lots of ‘relations’ within the family). Of all the families, it’s probably the one you’ll most easily recognise at first sniff, from its bouquet of cut flowers – conjuring up June weddings, garden parties, spring blossoms…
Floral fragrances tend to be garlanded with notes like jasmine, peony, gardenia, tuberose, lily of the valley, magnolia, mimosa and so on.
Interestingly, two of the most famous (and most-loved) floral notes – jasmine and rose – have traditionally been found at the heart of almost every fragrance creation: they’re the perfume world’s foundation stones. In true florals, those notes are played up – but shimmering beneath the surface of other families, rose and jasmine are often there, too, holding the creation together, even when you can’t spot them.
It’s fascinating to note that many’unisex’, gneder fluid or ‘gender free’ fragrances – even those deliberately targeted at men, are now using more floral notes in their compositions. And really, it’s only Western fragrance tastes that have so severely divided the genders in fragrance for the last few decades. Around the world, many men happily drench themselves in luscious florals – rose being a particular favourite in the Middle East, and jasmine and orange blossom hugely popular in the warmer areas of Europe.
Florals aren’t just the sum of their parts – they can be warmed with a touch of spice or given the juiciness of fruits – and there are quite a few ‘sub-families’ in the floral family. (And the ‘Floriental’ family is a close cousin, too.) If you like a fragrance in any of these families, you can get great pleasure exploring its relations…
For a throughly modern – definitely no fuddy-duddy – take on floral notes, you must check out the British niche house of Tom Daxon.
A rising star British fragrance name,– championing grown up scents inspired by the ingredients themselves – Tom Daxon grew up around fragrance; his mother – creative director for a leading fragrance and cosmetics name for over 30 years – ‘would often give me new shower gels to try, fragrances to sniff.’ So it was no surprise that by his mid-twenties, this perfume prodigy had already launched his own signature fragrance collection – which we invite you to explore.
Each shareable fragrance is meticulously created with perfumer Jacques Chabert (who, during his career, has spent time working on scents for Chanel and Guerlain).
When Tom Daxon set out to create his own fragrance house – at the age of just 27, in 2013 – he was primarily inspired by the ingredients themselves. Elsewhere in the perfume world, cost doesn’t always allow for the use of the most precious materials. But as Tom proudly asserts, ‘At Tom Daxon we simply want to make best fragrances possible. Cost and time are never considered.’
The five incredible scents featured in the Discovery Collection One are:
Iridium – the fragrance equivalent of charcoal-coloured cashmere. All the powdery sophistication from the precious iris concrète, but with a strong silvery spine
Salvia Sclarea – takes the clary sage plant as its inspiration, from its soft green scent right down to its velvety leaves
Magnolia Heights – magnolia flower oil’s delicate, green, fruity facets are enhanced by gardenia and jasmine sambac, while ylang ylang and cedarwood recreate its cream-like petals.
Cologne Absolute – the essence of Cologne is that it should be universal – a trusted staple for anyone who simply wishes to smell good.
Crushing Bloom – a rose fragrance with darkness and weight. Green, spicy top notes partner a floral heart of rose, jasmine sambac and iris. Its base will cocoon skin with the finest musks.
This Discovery Collection features five x 4.5ml sprays (see below for details), allowing you to discover, explore and enjoy the exciting Tom Daxon range – and to smell just how modern Florals can be – at your own pace.
Tom Daxon Collection One Discovery Set £45 for 5 x 4.5ml eau de parfum
Cochine is one of those fragrance houses glossy magazine editors might talk about in hushed tones, because maybe they don’t want everyone to know their scented secrets just yet. We fell in love with Vietnam’s first luxury fragrance house a while ago, and have no such qualms about sharing them with you, which is exactly why we were so thrilled to get our hands on some of the Cochine Floral Collection Discovery Sets!
Read on to see exactly why we were so enamoured, and how Kate Crofton-Atkins created her dream fragrance house…
One of perfume’s greatest magic tricks is the ability of time travel – propelling us back to very particular moments in life as though those people, that moment in time, wwere with us, were happening right now. But perhaps the most wonderful atribute of wearing scent is the feeling it gives us of being whisked away to some other (hopefully more exotic – and warmer!) – place in the world. Cochine’s founder, Kate Crofton-Atkins was already deeply in tune with her senses. But it wasn’t until she left London (and her high-power job at L’Oréal), upped-sticks and moved to Saigon, that her life took on an entirely new direction…
Describing how she was ‘instantly struck by the city’s unique style, elegance and romance,’ Kate soon became obsessed with the streets abundantly draped with swags of jasmine intoxicating the air, and so magnificently set against the backdrop of so-chic French style architecture. At that moment, so enthralled by the scenes around her, Kate knew she had to set about capturing these in fragrant form… and so Cochine was born.
With the evocative inspiration of Saigon filling her head and leading with the idea that she wanted to create perfumes that brought to life this special place and unique moments shared there, Kate partnered with a fragrance house based in New York to bring the dream into a scented reality. Spending over a year just sourcing the essential oils harvested from plants in Vietnam, Kate and the perfumers worked hard for yet a further year, making sure they were blending the perfect combinations of these precious ingredients ‘…to reflect Saigon’s diverse flora and distinctive blend of Oriental charm.’ Furthermore, the Cochine products themselves are all made within France and Vietnam to retain the original sensorial inspiration for this perfume house.
True to their ethically sound heart, Cochine don’t stop at the products themselves, but spread the goodwill by supporting sustainable farming projects, such as the Agarwood Project founded by The Rainforest Project, explaining, ‘This Foundation has created a durable and commercially viable solution to the problem of over-harvested aquilaria trees, which are cut down in order to extract agar wood (oudh) oil.’
Sensuality, Saigon and sustainability are at the heart of every single Cochine fragrance, then, and it’s no wonder the first fragrance was jasmine-based, an olfactory flash-back to the first time Kate breathed in that scent when she first arrived in Saigon. And so, White Jasmine & Gardenia ‘…evokes the lush floral scents that infuse the sun-filled streets and gardens of Saigon. White petals of jasmine, gardenia and peony combine to unfold an enchanting aura that is soft yet elegant.’ Even using the decadent hand cream of the same fragrance is a sensorial delight – the delicious scent of the waxy white flowers making an everyday luxury of a daily routine.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Rose & Delentii brings to life the freshness of just-cut flowers with the dew still on their petals, combining top notes of rose and bergamot with a breath of violet, rosewood and the rare, scented orchid, delentii, indigenous to Vietnam and which flowers for only two months a year. It’s a sophisticated and utterly charming scent to wear, and this one became a go-to rose for several members of The Perfume Society who fell in love with it!
And oh my goodness, Tuberose & Wild Fig is every bit as luscious as it sounds – a truly stunning example of how heady white flowers should be handled, with the extremely costly Tuberose absolute melting into the ripe richness of fresh fig. Slightly milky, shot through with layers of citrus and delving into the cool woodiness of vetiver and cedar in the base this was inspired by an evening walk through a Saigon garden. Closing our eyes, we can almost feel the foliage brushing past, a tumble of petals at our feet, the warm caress of the heavenly scented air on our skin.
Let’s escape there, right now…!
Cochine Floral Collection Discovery Set £35 for 3 x 8ml eau de parfum
Written by Suzy Nightingale
It’s offical: flowers are back in the fragrance world. Perhaps you thought they never went away (indeed, they’re the backbone of practically all fragrance formulas) but we can assure you that Spring 2018’s launches point the way to fully embracing petal power in exciting and conemporary compositions – from bohemiams frolicking in wild flower meadows, to vampish vixens smouldering beguilingly: these flowers certainly aren’t granny’s knicker-draw anymore…
Probably the most easily identifiable notes in perfumery, you may recognise some florals at first-sniff – rather reassuring in these days of sometimes confusing contemporary scents – and they are perfect to indulge in wearing on days the sky’s the same colour as the pavement. But floral scents have several sub-categories, now – from the fruity to the so-called ‘floriental’ – so where does one category end and another begin, and which ones should you explore first depending on your personal preferences?
– Rose has long been considered the ‘Queen’ of perfume, the two main varieties being rosa centifolia, found in the South of France, and rosa damascena (known as Damask rose) primarily from the Middle East, with a dozen exclusively grown May roses from Grasse famously within every bottle of Chanel No.5.
James Craven – the fragrance archivist of niche perfumery Les Senteurs, tells us that many customers (particularly women) come in confidently declaring they ‘hate rose fragrances,’ and he breathes deeply while subtly showing them some scents that beautifully harmonise the rose with other complimentary material. As they inevitably adore one of these, James then charmingly admits it’s simply swathed in the stuff – a strong case for always being led by your nose and not your preconceptions, we feel!
– Jasmine is the second most-used, entwining its heady white blossoms within virtually every floral fragrance you care to mention – tiny though the flowers are, their scent is animalic, often called ‘indolic’ (referring to indoles also found within gardenia, honeysuckle, lilac, and tuberose), and utterly addictive. One ounce of fragrance, such as the classic Jean Patou’s Joy, can lavishly contain 10,600 jasmine flowers!
– For less va-va-voom in a scent, look for the powdered green of violet, delicacy of lily of the valley, suede-like softness in iris, waxy freshness of magnolia, and cashmere-like fluffiness of mimosa. Sprinkled with hot spices and exotic extractions (crossing into ‘Floriental’), juiced-up with fruit (becoming ‘Fruity Floral’) or buried within deeper, more mysterious creations – there truly is a floral fragrance for every one of us, with many men now delving into fragrances where floral notes are centre-stage.
Ready to get petal-powered? Discover some of the specially curated Brand Discovery Boxes we’ve chosen, in which the characters of florals have been fully explored – from the vampish divas to more softly swooning – there truly is a bouquet for everyone to adore…
Cochine is Vietnam’s first luxury fragrance brand – and one that we are totally obsessed with! Created to inspire you, Cochine’s collection captures the romance of a sun-warmed exotic garden as its enchanting florals unfold into the evening air. Specially selected from their portfolio of unique botanical scents, you’ll find yourself enraptured by roses, jasmine, gardenia and the newest fragrance – Tuberose & Wild Fig.
Cochine Floral Collection £35
Discover Molton Brown‘s interpretation of some of perfumery’s most precious ingredients with this colourful selection of their best-selling scents, from delicate floral Blossoming Honeysuckle & White Tea to dreaming of dozing beneath fragrant canopies of flowers with the exotic Ylang Ylang, and many floral facets in-between…
Molton Brown’s Art of Fragrance £12.50
Hand-crafted in England, created from the essences of real flowers, fruit and spices, Shay & Blue‘s invite you to explore their most-loved scents. Pocket-sized and beautifully presented in their signature blue and white stripes, the set also boasts Framboise Noire – a mesmerising floriental of cassis berries, jasmine and patchouli.
Shay & Blue Precious Miniatures £65
This limited edition collectible box has been designed especially to showcase Les Infusions de Prada in six of the most adorable and desirable 8ml miniature eau de parfum bottles… Featuring notes of iris, orange blossom, heliotrope and the often overlooked carnation (think spicy and hot yet dry and fascinating) it’s a perfectly refined way to get your nose around floral ingredients.
Prada Parfums Les Infusions de Prada £36
Written by Suzy Nightingale
As the nights draw in and we shiver in to the colder months ahead, those bright florals don’t seem quite so suitable, somehow. Just as we might choose to layer a pretty dress with a more seasonable sweater, so to can we layer our fragrances to better suit our moods…
With this in mind, British perfume house Angela Flanders have helpfully launched Dark Flowers Duos, ‘four seductive duos of flowers and woods. Wear each one individually or layer them to create a unique scent.’ In fact, you can create three scents with each duo, by choosing to wear alone or combine them both for a deeper plunge. As Angela Flanders suggest, ‘Why not transition your scent from day to night? Start by wearing the floral fragrance on its own during the day. Follow by later spraying on the woody fragrance to intensify your scent and give it more staying power.’
Four Dark Flowers Duos are currently available, each comprising a floral and a complimenting fragrance to perfectly enhance the other, but of course if you maximise the pleasure by purchasing them all, your scent-combination options become endless! Which layering options would you choose?
Mimosa & Sandalwood
Soft sun-drenched notes of mimosa blend seamlessly with warm and smooth sandalwood.
Jasmine & Vetiver
Sultry jasmine and grassy vetiver… This sensual blend is a marriage made in heaven.
Tuberose & Patchouli
Deep and earthy patchouli combines beautifully with creamy and heady tuberose.
Lily of the Valley & Hungary Water
Lift your mood by layering green and dewy notes of lily of the valley with invigorating Hungary water.
Angela Flanders Dark Flowers Duos £50 for 2 x 10ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Angela Flanders
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Imagine a garden designed by Gucci – bound to be pretty fabulous, right? When we got our noses on Gucci’s latest launch, we couldn’t wait to get in Bloom…
Master perfumer Alberto Morrilas drapes layers of luminous jasmine sambac with swags of tuberose, masterfully woven throughout with sude-soft orris root and an exclusive new accord of Chinese honeysuckle. Also known as Rangoon creeper (Combretum indicum), the vine with is laden with exquisite red flowers, native to India and bedecking the glorious packaging.
To be certain, this is a garden we’d gladly get lost in!
‘I wanted a rich white floral fragrance, a courageous scent that transports you to a vast garden filled with many flowers and plants, a bouquet of abundance. The garden is as beautiful as women are; colorful, wild, diverse, where there is everything.’ – Alessandro Michele, Gucci Creative Director
Effortlessly sophisticated with a style all of its own, don’t bother comparing Gucci Bloom to other white florals you may already be familiar with. In fact, we think even those who normally shun white florals altogether should give their noses a roam around this garden…
Do go and explore the scent for yourself – and enjoy the stunning window installation at Harrods!
Gucci Bloom from £52 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale
What the giddy aunt is a ‘chypre‘?
Not exactly the most immediately evocative word to get your head around when describing a type of fragrance, but that’s what we’ve been landed with and so that’s what we continue to say. But how many people outside the world of perfumery could tell you what it actually means?
When touring the country talking to perfume lovers across the UK, our co-founders Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay asked this very question just to see, and out of the many hundreds who came to see them, only a couple of people put their hand up to venture an answer. Explains Jo, ‘…chypre is widely acknowledged as the most sophisticated (and beautiful) of fragrance families – and it’s a term the perfume world certainly believes is understood by all and sundry.’
In fact, we dedicated an entire feature in our magazine, The Scented Letter, just to explaining the mysteries surrounding this scent category – so clearly something is amiss and requires further explanation. Indeed, there are all sorts of terms bandied about in perfumery that baffle the best of us at times. And what’s more – nobody entirely agrees on the ‘rules’ of which perfumes belong in which fragrance family at all.
What about Fougere, Oriental or Gourmand, Woody and Floriental – where to begin…?
Well, we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the most frequently used fragrance families, with a brief history of their evolution and some iconic examples of perfumes to try in those categories, to see which family you are most frequently drawn to and perhaps discover some new ones to try. So why not get your nose stuck in and give it a go?
Written by Suzy Nightingale
We’re well known for supporting innovative ways of incorporating scent into our everyday lives – with perfume (obvs) but also frgrancing our homes and enjoying perfume in all its myriad ways of enriching our experiences of almost anything. So of course when we heard about Häagen-Dazs releasing a limited edition Spring collection of ‘floral-themed’ ice creams exclsuive to Liberty, we just had to go and taste for ourselves. It’s reasearch, darling! Also our offices are right next door, and it’s nice to make time to go and see your neighbours, right?
Häagen-Dazs say: ‘Häagen-Dazs Lychee Raspberry Rose is a fragrant delight that is a perfect balance of aromatic rose, sweet lychee and intense raspberry, whilst Apricot Lavender is a delightful combination of fruit and aroma, blended to refresh and relax. In keeping with the Häagen-Dazs quality gold standard, both varieties are made from a base of only four kitchen-friendly ingredients: fresh cream, real milk, sugar and free-range eggs.’
Having taken over the iconic Carnaby Street window of Liberty’s (see main picture) with a stunning floral display designed by Rebecca Louise Law, a bespoke flower-installation artist based in London’s Columbia Road – a bevvy of blossoms entice floral fans within to celebrate the launch, and we were willing to be enticed, let’s admit it.
Attention to detail is everything with both brands, and so the union of Liberty and Häagen-Dazs resulted in really pretty illustrted tubs being specially comissioned and designed by Jardins de Babylone – a team of botanical artists from Paris – so they make a perfect match for their salubrious surroundings.
What did our research reaveal…? Well, we’re pleased to report the floral notes are subtle enough to be distinctive without at all tasting like you’re ‘eating perfume’ – it’s a whispered hint on the palate and perfectly balanced by the creaminess and cleansing slivers of fresh fruit. After extensive testing, the office team are slightly favouring the Apricot/Lavender combination; though we may have to test again, just to be really sure which our favourite is…
The Häagen-Dazs Little Gardens range is available exclusively at Liberty London (Regent Street, W1B 5AH) at an RRP of £5.95. They’re available for the next couple of weeks only while stocks last – but we suggest you get your [ice-cream] skates on, for as you may imagine, they’re proving very popular…
To find out more, visit Häagen-Dazs.co.u
Written by Suzy Nightingale