Your introduction to Spring’s floral fragrance trend…

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

Angela Flanders Dark Flowers Duos

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

Gucci Bloom – the garden of dreams…

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!

The very first of their fragrances to have been entirely conceptulised by their creative director, Alessandro Michele, Edgar Huber, president of Coty Luxury at Coty Inc., explained Gucci Bloom as being ‘…very much inspired by Alessandro himself.’ A new perfumed pillar in the brand’s exisiting wardrobe of scents, and will stand alongside Guilty, Bamboo, Flora and Gucci by Gucci.

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

Fragrance families: do you know your 'chypre' from your 'fougere'?

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.’
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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…?
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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
 

Häagen-Dazs limited edition floral-themed ice creams at Liberty London (well we HAD to try them, for research, didn't we…?)

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.’
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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…
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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.uk
Written by Suzy Nightingale