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

Forgot the card? Panic over, as Penhaligon's invite you to create a virtual Valentine's bouquet!

That sickening moment you realise it’s all too late: you’ve forgotten the Valentine’s card and now you’re going to be in the dog house…
Oh dear.
But fear not, forgetful ones! Penhaligon’s have created a brilliant (and gorgeously realised) way to present a virtual bouquet, and it’s all to do with the “Language of Flowers.”

‘Thank Heavens for floriography’ they say. ‘A mysterious language of love. Cryptic communications, hidden revelations and coded declarations!’
On Penhaligon’s website, you beging by choosing from a number of flowers, having read their individual “coded” meanings. They vary wildly, so be very careful how you choose, and even more careful who you send that coded message to…
When you’ve selected three flowers, you are guided to the next page where your virtual bouquet is assembled, ready for you to present via email. Ta-da!
We just love the dreamy vintage-style illustrations – and that you get to learn a little of this “secret language” (so beloved by the Victorians, in particular) of flowers and their possible hidden messages.

Even better – everyone who sends one of these virtual bouquets will be entered in with a chance to win the Penhaligon’s Portraits Collection. And once you have sighed in contentment (and relief) at having saved the day, you can see which of the Penhaligon’s perfumes would best be suited to the flowers you chose for the bouquet.
Far from a lost opportunity, and depending on how well the recipient receives your e-card, it might turn out that your forgetfulness might end in a fragrantly wonderful win/win!
Now then, we wonder: who will you be sending yours to…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Ormonde Jayne's limited edition candle for Halloween is THE most glamorous 'Witches' Brew' ever!

When you think of a ‘witches’ brew’, we’re betting your mind conjures picures of warty hags from an am-dram production of Macbeth, gathered around a steaming cauldron and tossing in gnarled fistfuls of twigs with perhaps a sprinkling of eyes, tongues and livers of various woebegotten creatures thrown in for good luck? In fact, here’s that very recipe, should you wish to whip something up for supper…
    In the poison’d entrails throw.—
    Toad, that under cold stone,
    Days and nights has thirty-one;
    Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
    Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the caldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
All well and good on stage, but not, perhaps, something you’d want in a room scent. Never fear – Ormonde Jayne will save us from any hint of slime!
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Luckily for those of us requiring something rather more sophisticated to scent our homes with this Halloween, the British perfume house of Ormonde Jayne have released an ultra limited-edition (only available until the end of this month!) Witches’ Brew candle that’s altogether more glam.
‘A spell-binding potion, conjured with notes of Winter white flowers, herbs, bluebells and hyacinths,’ think Veronica Lake in the 1942 movie, I Married a Witch or the charming nose-twitching Samantha in the classic 60s sitcom Bewitched, rather than your stereotypical cackling crone.
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Available as a cute Mini (90g), Standard with Gold Lid (290g) and Set of 4 x Mini (360g), with prices strating from £20 including complimentary worldwide shipping; you’d best get on your brooms fast to snap these up, as this exclusive scent will only be available until October 31, 2016!
Get them at Ormonde Jayne.
We suggest donning your most elegant robe, snuggling up on the sofa while burning the Witches’ Brew candle and listening to The Boswell Sisters sing The Heebie Jeebies for a truly magical evening…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Say it with flowers – 5 coded messages to send with scent

For thousands of years, coded messages have been attributed to flowers, and the cultural or social settings in which they’re given as tokens or displayed. The Victorians were particularly fond of this sentimental ‘Language of Flowers‘, with a number of books and pamphlets devoted to the subject – informing the reader how they may go about creating their own secret message  or decoding what that bouquet from a loved one actually meant.
With one of the biggest floral gift-buying times of the year mere days away, let’s explore a way you could add extra heartfelt meaning to your scented Mother’s Day offerings, be they bottles of perfume or fragrant bouquets…
Bluebell – Humility
Sometimes, mums do know best. We surely all have occasions when mother has proffered some timely advice, at which we’ve rolled our eyes, and has later been proved entirely correct. Sorry for doubting you, ma!
BLUEBELLEAUDETOILETTE
Penhaligon’s Bluebell £67 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Penhaligon’s
Carnation (pink) – I’ll never forget you:
Unforgettable, that’s what you are… Before we break into song (inadvisable) let’s pay homage to the eccentric mums out there, who do things we may cringe at in youth but come to admire as adults. Maybe. Try a mini of this one in our gorgeous Les Infusions de Prada Discovery Box, too!
Oeillet-Les-Infusions-De-PradaPrada Les Infusions de Prada Oeillet £90 for 100ml eau de parfum.
Buy it at Selfridges
Iris – Your friendship means so much to me
As we get older, it’s lovely to be able to treasure time spent with our mums as friends, rather than the sometimes fraught parent/child relationships we can all struggle with over the years. Perhaps make some time to get your know your mum as a person, too?
496-3004064-LEDP13_MOrmonde Jayne Vanille d’Iris £110 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Ormonde Jayne
Rose (dark pink) – Thankfulness
Everyone likes being told ‘thank you’ every now and again – even if you think they should know you’re thankful by now, it’s still always nice to actually hear it expressed. Why not let her try a sample of this in our Jet Set Discovery Box…?
rose_p_fd929931e9L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée from £77 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at L’Artisan Parfumeur  
Violet – I’ll always be true
We’re taking this to mean family loyalty rather than always telling the absolute truth to our mums, because… yeah. Blood being thicker than water in emotional ties, we may hve been through the wars with our mums, but if we’re lucky enough to still be on speaking terms and have them in our lives, it’s good to have a hug and let them know you’re always there…
YardleyViolets2Yardley April Violets £6.66 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

Mid-week hump? We guarantee this will cheer you up! Man plants scent garden for blind wife, to make her smile again…

Tissues at the ready, because this is all just too lovely…
After his wife lost her sight at the age of 52 within just a week, following complications from diabetes, Mr Kuroki wondered what to do to make his beloved smile again. Locking herself away and living a life of seclusion after going blind, Mrs Kuroki was utterly distressed not to be able to enjoy the outdoor life she was so used to – the couple were dairy farmers in Shintomi Town, Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan, married since 1956 and working hard every day – a life that seemed lost to her, now.
Her husband thought that if he could perhaps tempt her outside again, if perhaps a few visitors might come every day, that her life would be improved. Little could he have known what a huge and lasing impact his next decision could have on both their lives…
husband-plants-flowers-blind-wife-kuroki-shintomi-2
Vowing to connect his wife to the nature she so loved, Mr Kuroki set about picking a highly fragrant plant that she could enjoy smelling even though she couldn’t see the flowers anymore. With this in mind he began clearing the land, a process that took two years in all, eventually creating the perfect environment to grow a huge carpet of tiny pink flowers called ‘shibazakura’ in Japan, or more commonly known as phlox to us.
Scentgarden
As the buds began to bloom, word spread of their touching love story and the mass of colour and scent it inspired, ‘a few’ visitors has now, more than a decade after the first phlox was planted, become a must-see (and smell!) destination for up to an incredible 7,000 people on any one day, during the peak season of late March to April. What once were the cow sheds have now been transformed into an information building to house pictures of the couple and their story, and of some notable local dignitaries who have visited them. The couple often receive the visitors in person, and from the pictures, it certainly seems as though his wish came true: Mrs Kuroki has a lot to smile about, now.
scentedgarden
Do have a look at the official website for more stunning pictures of this unashamedly heart-warming story – the text is all Japanese, and though we know of several readers who are fluent, here’s the all important address details for those of you who aren’t, and are planning a trip to Japan:
Miyazaki-ken, Koyu District, Shintomi, Nyuuta 17180-1
One teeny word of warning for people wishing to recreate this carpet of colour is that the scent of phlox is apparently quite similar to that of the cannabis plant – read more here – so we may be playing safe and enjoy looking at the pictures, or hopefully one day visiting in person, instead.
Written by Suzy Nightingale