Pretending It’s Already Spring: how to layer floral notes in fragrance

Before spring has truly sprung, we’re excitedly looking for any hint of floral budding and blossom blooming in nature – and in the fragrances we want to wear at the moment. But sometimes the full-on floral scents we might adore a little bit later in the year don’t feel quite right for right now. So, how to transition a more winter-y feeling fragrance into something more seasonally appropriate?

Follow our guide to layering floral notes into a perfume that suddenly feels a little too stuffy

 

Why layer?

Layering fragrances used to be seen as a scent sin, but we’ve all gotten over ourselves a bit (well most of us have). You don’t have to do this to a perfume you already love on its own – why would you need to? – but there are brilliant ways of adding a brightness and fresher beauty to a perfume that perhaps now feels a bit too dark or cloying on your skin. Give it a go, because, as we always say: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!

You can either try layering over other fragrances you have in which the above notes dominate, with a single-fragranced ‘soliflore’ (one main note) fragrance oil or spray, or try layering the scent you don’t currently like so much over a differently perfumed body lotion or oil (see below or the added benefits of doing this…)

 

 

Florals need hydration!

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Nothing makes fragrance disappear more quickly, or dive to the deeper base notes more rapidly, than dry skin. To prolong brighter top notes and floral heart notes in a scent, try using a floral-scented body lotion or oil to your fragrance. Aroma molecules evaporate far slower on well-hydrated skin.

Try also spraying a floral hair mist scent into your hair, too, so it wafts around you all day. Hair doesn’t heat up as much as skin, and will absorb the smell more deeply, to waft around you in a delightful floral breeze all day.

 

 

What order to layer in? 

(You definitely don’t need to layer ALL of these – unless you’re feeling particularly decadent, and why not? – but here’s a general guide on what order your chosen layering scent should come…)

 

Scented shower / bath gel

Matching body lotion / oil / balm (or a pick out one of the notes of your chosen scent to echo that in the body product)

Eau de Cologne

Eau de toilette

Eau de parfum

Parfum

Perfume oil / attar

Fragranced hair mist (or simply spritz your scent into your hair, on to clothes (having patch-tested!)

 

 

Floral fragrances perfect for layering

The Merchant of Venice Accordi di Profumo fragrances have been designed to layer perfectly or to wear alone, if you prefer. The Neroli Marocco adds a stunning shot of sunshine floralcy to any scent, while the Rosa Turchia feels like spritzing a shower of freshly-picked rose petals into any fragrance.

 

 

[Both £65 for 30ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com]

 

The Edeniste Lifeboost Discovery Set has been created specifically as a kind of fragrant mood-altering toolkit to add on top of something else you’re wearing whenever you need it (which is an utterly genius idea, and comes backed by science having been developed with the aid of neuroscientists’ studies). Included within the set is a white floral, a floral musk, brighter, zing-ier florals and many other fragrant facets to change-up your perfume (and how you’re feeling!), and to be played with to your heart’s content.

 

[£32 for 6 x 2ml samples eau de parfum in our shop]

 

Another excellent way to test and hone your new found scent layering skills is by subscribing to the always seasonally-perfect perfumes chosen for the Seasonal Scents Subscription Boxes. And, of course, treating yourself to a Discovery Box to try all sorts of combinations – how many hundreds (or thousands?) of combos you could create by learning to layer, within each box we don’t pretend to know. But one thing we can say for sure: you’ll have a whole lot of fragrant fun!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Legends of the Narcissus Flower

As we saw in our fragrant bouquet of narcissus-infused perfume recommendations, the sunny, soul-brightening flowers have been inspiring perfumers for centuries. But do you know the full story of the intriguing myth behind the naming of the narcissus?

This fascinating tale is told beautifully on the blog of chelseaflower.co.uk:

 

‘Like many stories in Greek mythology, Narcissus was burdened early on by prophesy. A wise, blind seer by the name of Tiresias warned him that he’d live a very long time, so long as he never admired his reflection. Avoiding mirrors was difficult in an appearance-centric culture, but Narcissus managed to for a great deal of his life. However, he peered down into a pool of water as an adult, became captivated by his own reflection, and – depending on the version of the myth – he either wasted away while staring or slid into the pool and drowned. Either way, not exactly a happy ending to the story.’

 

 

 

The Flower and the Fable

‘So what does this surprisingly bleak story have to do with such a sunny flower? Daffodils, particularly wild ones, are often found at the edges of ponds, rivers, and streams, looking down into the waters below. As they age, wither, and die, the bowed head of the flower droops closer to its stem, appearing to look even more intently at the ground or the water near its roots.’

 

 

 

‘This subtle nod to Narcissus’ end caused the ancient Greeks to believe the Narcissus flower was the incarnation of the man himself, a beautiful but stark reminder to avoid vanity and stay focused on the world and people around you instead. In some versions of the myth, this cautionary hero gets a little more benefit-of-the-doubt, too: alternate versions indicate that he actually pined away missing his lost twin sister, and looked at his own reflection to see her features. This slightly sunnier version casts the bright flower in a better light: that of the enduring love for family, and the beauty of cherished memories.’

 

 

 

 

‘No matter which version of Narcissus’ tale the flower of the same name brings to mind, there’s one undeniable truth: it’s a beautiful bloom. Planted in spring gardens or presented as a fresh floral arrangement, the gorgeous mix of creamy white and yellow-red centres make a joyful bouquet for any gift-giving occasion. Plant narcissus bulbs before spring, and you’ll be able to enjoy a colourful show emerging as the snow and ice melt away…’

However you decide to celebrate this gorgeously cheering flower – wearing a fragrance that wafts the scent of it all day, or filling your home with happy-making vases of the blooms – we hope you find some sunshine that will keep us going until spring properly appears!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

It’s our NINTH birthday! Paying homage to our symbolic flower: lily of the valley…

Regarded as a lucky charm ever since its first introduction from Japan to Europe in the Middle Ages, lily of the valley has become synonymous with the month of May and ‘the return of happiness’.  One of the reasons The Perfume Society chose lily of the valley as our symbolic flower, and why we launched on May 1st – to our astonishment, that was NINE years ago, now!

For the French, May 1st traditionally represents the start of gifting bouquets of “muguet” to loved ones to signify the regard in which they’re held and as a token of prosperity for the year ahead. A tradition supposedly begun when King Charles IX was presented with a bunch of the delicate blooms, and decided to gift the ladies of his court, too.

In Europe, ‘bals de muguet’ were historically held – lily of the valley themed dances that offered the tantalising prospect for young singletons to meet without their parents’ permission.

 

 

An iconic (and ultra-chic) lily of valley fragrance was the original Dior Diorissimo, designed in 1956 by Edmond Roudnitska. Composed in homage to Christian Dior’s favorite flowe, the lily of the valley was to be found on his personal stationary, jacket lapels, printed on his fashion designs, and, on one occasion, inspired his entire 1954 spring collection.

A more recent icon is Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley, which was launched in 1976 – tapping into the fashion trend for romantic nostalgia – and which is wonderfully described as ‘Lacey leaves. Dappled light. Green, clean, wholesome. Lily of the Valley is as fresh and optimistic as the morning dew, grounded by notes of bergamot and sandalwood.’

With the young gals dressed in white gowns and the dapper chaps at those historic bals wearing lily of the valley as a buttonhole, we’re sure there was many a ‘return to happiness’ on such evenings… Now the custom is tied in with France’s Labour Day public holiday, and the tradition of giving lily of the valley to loved ones during May still holds strong.

 

lily of the valley Victorian card

 

Lily of the valley has also made its way into countless bridal bouquets (including that of Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince Willliam);  in many countries, it’s linked to this day with tenderness, love, faith, happiness and purity.

So what does lily of the valley smell like?

Almost spicy, so green and sweet, with crisp hints of lemon: that’s lily of the valley. The flowers themselves are really mean with their oil, though, and synthetics are more often used to recreate lily of the valley’s magic:  Lilial, Lyral and hydroxycitronellal are among them.

 

lily of the valley poem

 

Far from reserving this magical note for May, or thinking that it has to be ‘old-fashioned’ smelling in a scent, we love the way perfumers use lily of the valley to ‘open up’ and freshen the other floral notes in a blend. It can smell like a woodland walk just after a rainshower (so very apropos for our weather right now, in the U.K.) or add some gentle sparkles of sunlight amid more verdant or deeper, shady phases as a scent unfurls on your skin.

 

 

 

No wonder we chose this delightful, flower-filled date in the calendar to launch The Perfume Society – incredibly, NINE years ago, now – running hither and thither all over London handing sprigs of lily of the valley to fragrant friends!

And my, how our friends have grown in this short time! With a readership that stretches around the globe and our Instagram followers now topping 67.8K, we have been delighted with some of the truly beautiful pictures some of our followers have been sharing there. Just feast your eyes on the stunning pictures we’ve sprinkled throughout this post…

 

 

With your help we’ve come so far. We wish we could come and give every single one of you a sprig of lily of the valley to show our heartfelt appreciation for all your support, but for now, accept this symbol of love and luck, from us to all of you

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Floral Street supersizes: go BIG (and go to Harrods!)

Floral Street have already thrilled us with their Discovery Set samples and pocket-size scents, but die-hard fans will squeal at this news: they have also ‘GONE BIG’! with the launch of their NEW 100ml sizes!
During August, Harrods customer can experience these exclusively as they discover ‘who will I be today’? And because there’s expected to be a rush for these supersize-me scents, they will then roll out into stores nationwide from September.
Of course we always love trying sample sizes and minis before we commit to a full-size – and it’s something we have always championed at The Perfume Society. There’s nothing like being able to explore the full range of a house’s fragrances from from the comfort of you own hme, and deciding which of them makes your eyes roll back into your head with pleasure. And when you know, you know you’re going to need more, more, more…
That’s when you want a bumper bottle, to spritz with abandon (espcially duing this heatwave, we’re finding!) And it’s something customers have been calling out for. Michelle Feeney, the founder of Floral Street, and a passionate perfume aficionado herself, explains that:
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’. 
Take two bottles… No, actually, we will take all three!
If you’re yet to try these incredible fragrances – each of them a stunning and so-modern take on a floral theme – we suggest you start small, with that brilliant Floral Street Discovery Set, but please know that you WILL be falling hard for at least one of these florals, and then you know what to do: supersize that scent and maximise your perfume pleasure.
Floral Street 100ml bottles, £98 exclusively at harrods.com
By Suzy Nightingale

Little lucky charms – Six lovely Lily of the Valley scents to spritz this May Day

Now, for the fragrant noses out there that don’t know, in France, May Day is known as Fête du Muguet. It is tradition on this day, to give Lily of the Valley to your loved ones and people who inspire you, to wish them happiness and good luck.

It all began in 1561 on May 1st when King Charles IX received a Lily of the Valley as a lucky charm. He decided then to offer a flower each year to the ladies of the court.

And so at the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a definitive symbol of springtime, to your loved ones. It was commonplace for peasants to go out to the fields to pick many flowers and then hand-tie them to sell on May Day. In fact, now, because of this, the government still permits people to sell them tax-free.

Now, if you love the sweet springtime scent of Lily of the Valley, but just don’t want it to fade like a bunch of the innocent flowers will, here’s a list of our favourite Muguet fragrances for you to keep a little bit of that May Day feeling all year round.

penhaligons
Sweet, fresh and graceful, Penhaligon’s offering is akin to walking into a blooming field of muguet. Accents of jasmine and bergamot keep it fresh, whilst sandalwood in the base ensures a creamy trail on the skin.

Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley £67 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Penhaligon’s

molton b
Dewy white flowers steal the show in this meadow-like scent from Molton Brown. Silky ylang-ylang, sandalwood and a soft, sensual white musk linger for a tender, enduring finish.

Molton Brown Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise £39 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Molton Brown

Annick_Goutal_Le_Muguet_Eau_de_Toilette_Spray_100ml_1403081186
Paired with red berries and rose, Annick Goutal’s Soliflore is a tender and airy floral and leaves the skin with traces of a warm, sweet benzoin.

Annick Goutal Le Muguet £74 for 100ml eau de toilette
At Selfridges

o.22058
This gentle scent from Fragonard accentuates the lily of the valley at the heart by surrounding it with other similarly delicate flowers; jasmine, neroli and freesia. Secret spring garden walks bottled.

Fragonard Muguet £18 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Marks and Spencer

guerlain
Guerlain’s newest incarnation of the dainty flower is greener, pinker and even more cheerful than previous offerings. Dewy roses and subtly sensual jasmine make Thierry Wasser’s creation oh-so-wearable.

Guerlain Muguet Limited Edition of 1,872 £370 for 100ml eau de parfum
In store at Selfridges

robbie honey
The scent of the tiny white bell-like flower is captured in its truest form here in a Robbie Honey candle. Burn it for a touch of springtime in the home.

Robbie Honey Muguet Des Bois Scented Candle £42 for 190g – 60 hours burn time
At Fortnum & Mason

Happy May Day to one and all!
By Carson Parkin-Fairley