Chelsea Flower Show 2024: blossom & bloom with these joyful spring scents!

As flower and garden lovers we are, of course, super excited about this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show – the annual event celebrating the very best of garden design, the growers, movers and shakers in the horticultural world. And of course, it’s the season when the perfume landscape is naturally burgeoning with florals for late spring and early summer.

 

 

 

At The Perfume Society, we have rooted out some florals for you to fall for – no matter if you are lucky enough to have a ticket for Chelsea Flower Show, are looking forward to visiting some spectacular public gardens over the coming weeks, or simply enjoying your own garden or local park.

Here you will discover a whole garden of floral and seasonally sublime samples – SO brilliant for trying before you buy a full-size – with earthy tones, fruity notes and even a subtle dusting of spice. Each fragrance sample has been specially picked to form a panoramic view of all the blossoming promise a floral fragrance can bring. They’re perfect for popping in your pocket or throwing in a bag for travel, too.

 

 

We know even those who thought they didn’t like floral and scents have fallen for several of the seasonally perfect perfumes from this selection! And you can find them all handily gathered within the Seasonal Scents Box Spring Box. Which will you pick to wear first? In the box you’ve got ALL these blossoming glories to try samples of…

 

 

4160 TUESDAYS SONNET No.1 eau de parfum
Fragrance Family: FLORAL

‘We first made a limited edition of Sonnet No. 1 for the Barnes Fragrance Fair, and the aim was to blend the aroma of Shakespeare’s flowers. Shakespeare’s first sonnet mentions “beauty’s rose” hence the name. To rose – both the absolute and essential oil – we added lavender, beeswax, narcissus and hay absolutes, and evoke the aromas of lily and violet. It floats on a bed of white musks. This is the most expensive fragrance we’ve ever made…’

 

 

BRIONI ESSENTIEL eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: WOODY AMBRÉE

‘The intriguingly green opening with sparkling bergamot and bright aromatic cardamom create a play of light through tender tomato leaves. Earthy patchouli enhances the heart’s woody facets which features an exclusive tonka bean variety, used for the first time in perfumery. The enveloping amber drydown brings out two truly spiritual notes – resinous frankincense and creamy sandalwood – and reflects a sense of calm and well-being.’

 

 

CREED SPRING FLOWER eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL

‘Pretty in pink, Spring Flower is a playful and unapologetic celebration of femininity. Succulent peach extracts and soft florals blend effortlessly into notes of jasmine and white flowers, transporting you to a quintessential English garden on a perfect spring morning. Sensual ambergris and musk follow, adding depth and tranquillity to ensure every accord of this powerful female fragrance is fully savoured.’

 

 

 

GOUTAL PETITE CHERIE eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL FRUITY

‘Petite Chérie is the irresistible fragrance Annick Goutal bestowed on her daughter Camille as a gift. Petite Chérie is a bright and cheerful floral-fruity musky perfume. Beneath its soft, mischievous and carefree airs, the fragrance unveils captivating, devilishly tempting and dangerously endearing charms. It seduces firstly with its playful notes of sweet and juicy pear and freshly-cut grass then blossoms into sumptuous and sensual rose with petals as velvety-soft as skin. It is said to be reminiscent of a young girl’s cheek that you want to lovingly kiss.’

 

 

 

FLOWER BY KENZO IKEBANA eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL WOODY

‘This second fragrance in the FLOWER IKEBANA collection brings the Japanese mimosa to the fore. The Mimosa Absolute is at the heart of the scent and offers a unique floral expression close to nature. The verticality of hinoki wood supports the entire composition, with golden sesame extract resonating in a sillage of addictive comfort.’

 

 

LALIQUE SOLEIL VIBRANT eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family:  WOODY FLORAL

‘Woody, floral, with a hint of vanilla. Soleil Vibrant Lalique bottles a beaming energy whose scent is a joyful ode to femininity and wildness. A fragrance that smells as delicious as sun-kissed skin. That makes you feel as happy as a summer day.’

 

 

 

MOLTON BROWN DELICIOUS RHUBARB & ROSE eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL FRUITY

Firmly rooted in cherished childhood memories of baking with rhubarb’s unique tartness sprinkled by just enough sweetness. In this utterly addictive eau de parfum, those seeking scrumptiousness can indulge with joyfully juicy raspberry and a vivacious kick of pink pepper enhancing rhubarb’s sparkle, as luscious lychee and the tender peony showcase rose’s powdered charm, with a soothingly sensual base of cedarwood and musk swathing you in a gossamer soft trail. This is one to wear when you want to smell utterly scrumptious, and simply can’t get enough of yourself. Delicious, darling!

 

RUTH MASTENBROEK SIGNATURE eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: CHYPRE

‘A story of freedom…set along a winding path of wet and earthy leaves that lead to a secret garden. In Signature, fresh fruity notes of mandarin, bergamot and pineapple waltz elegantly together with rose on a stage of patchouli and oakmoss. The result is a sparkling and elegant perfume with an evolving woody base, that lives as an accolade to times gone by.’

 

 

 

SHAY & BLUE CEDARWOOD GRAPEFRUIT eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: WOODY CITRUS

They say: ‘Huck the Fipsters! This fragrance is not just for beards. Sparkling pink grapefruit will put some style in your step contrast with coffee bean for character. Finish with refreshing cedar wood for a sense of mystery.’ Discover Cedarwood Grapefruit Eau de Parfum from Shay & Blue, an uplifting scent with notes of juicy pink grapefruit, neroli, vibrant coffee bean and cedarwood. This gorgeous scent will make a refreshing addition to any perfume collection.

 

 

 

TOCCA COLETTE eau de parfum sample
Fragrance Family: FLORAL AMBRÉE

‘Colette is a heady bouquet of florals with warm, spicy edges that linger everywhere she goes. Sparkling citrus and pink peppercorn swirl around jasmine and violet, drying down to musk, vanilla, and sandalwood. Spicy. Mysterious. Seductive.’

 

So, whether you’re looking for a new signature scent, want to settle down with a Shakespearean-inspired floral, or even dream of some Parisienne armchair travel, throw open the windows as we indulge in the Spring Seasonal Scents Subscription Box

Iris – the most intriguing floral fragrances you can find…?

Oh how we adore iris – the flowers, of course, but also the fascinating fragrances conjured from what has to be one of the most unlikely-looking ingredients in perfumery (but happens to be one of the most expensive)…

Because it’s not the flowers that grant us the ingredient used in iris scents, it’s a rather unprepossessing looking root with a heavenly, suede-like aroma. You might say that curiosity combined with ingenuity altered the history of perfume forever. Who was the first person rootling around in the earth beneath the gloriously flowering iris, discovering the fleshy, creeping rootstocks (known as rhizomes) that look for all the world like the key ingredient in a fairytale’s curse, and pondering, “what if…?”

Taking those roots, putting them in a cave to age further (the older iris rhizomes get, the more pungent they become), and grinding, distilling and extracting the essence, only then does it transform into the uniquely powdery, skin-like, sometimes almost bread dough-esque scent that lingers and clings low to the skin for hours.

 

 

 

 

Lauded for centuries as a symbol of majestic power, dedicated to the goddess Juno and revered by Egyptians who placed the flowers on the brows of the Sphinx and scepters of kings – the three petals of the blossom supposedly representing faith, wisdom and valour. In both ancient Greece and Rome, orris root was already highly valued in perfumery, with fragrant unguents of iris widely used in Macedonia, Elis and Corinth, for which they became famous.

Iris fragrances can smell as sweetly innocent as freshly laundered linen, or hint at the siren call of the boudoir – lipstick, powdered skin and silken underthings that gradually take on the body scent of the wearer. This is an ingredient you’ll long to snuggle in the bosom of, and once truly appreciated you’ll never want to be without.

Intrigued? You will be by these…

 

 

MALIN + GOETZ Strawberry

Banish thoughts of any strawberry (or iris!) scent you’ve ever sniffed and imagine a freshly picked garden strawberry with stalk still attached, orris root adding soft spring floral notes with a flurry of jasmine petals and soft musks.

£86 for 50ml eau de parfum malinandgoetz.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Vyrao I Am Verdant

Sprouting acres of grass and green verges with every spritz, cyclamen joyously bursts through the undergrowth, swags of moss-bedecked ivy draping the powdery comfort of iris, and bergamot bolstering the brightness of orange flower

£135 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com (Try a sample in the Vyrao High Five Set for £79)

 

 

 

 

Prada Infusion d’Iris

Allow your mind to drift from the fragrant sensation of wearing an immaculate white shirt line-dried in spring, to crisp sheets on bare flesh: the allure of clean linen waiting to be sullied. Achingly lovely, it begs to be billowed.

£135 for 100ml eau de parfum prada.com

 

 

 

JULIETTE_HAS_A_GUN_LIPSTICK_FEVER

 

Juliette Has a Gun Lipstick Fever

Capturing ‘mummy’s handbag’ in fragrant form a slash of iris, violet absolute and raspberry softening to the woodsiness of patchouli and cedar-swathed vanilla. Echoing the scent of vintage makeup amidst leather, it’s simply mwah, mwah!
From £130 for 100ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com

 

 

 

 

MAISON_CRIVELLI_IRIS_MALIKHAN

 

Maison Crivelli Iris Malikhân

Iris’ innocence unfurls into something altogether more sinful, the opening a gentle stroke via galbanum and cypress, then a tickle of incense, a hint of skin. The heart purrs, powdery iris then the throb of the mimosa-infused leather. Oh my.

£175 for 100ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Magnolia: History, Scented Myths & the Science of Lust

This month, among other spring blooms that have inspired perfumers, we’re focusing on the stop-in-your-tracks beauty of magnolia. From our initial edit of some favourite magnolia-centric scents we simply can’t get enough of right now, to later features exploring the differing delicate (and sometimes surprising) aroma facets that can be coaxed from those magnificent blooms; today’s topic takes a look at some of the fascinating myths and history that surround this ancient flower…

 

Named after a renowned French botanist, Pierre Magnol, who first came up with the ingenious concept of classifying flora into ‘plant families’, the flowering of the magnolia tree has to be one of the most outrageous shows in nature – those fat fists of buds suddenly bursting and producing saucer-sized, chalice-like blooms that have so often stopped me in my tracks to gasp at their audacity.

Originating in both Asia and the Americas, there are around 200 different species, and they’re thought to be one of the most ancient flowering plants, dating back to prehistoric times: as we noted in our first magnolia feature, it’s kind of mind-blowing to realise that dinosaurs could have sniffed their blooms – though not yet been able to daub themselves in the scent, poor things.

 

 

The secret of a magnolia’s aroma is found in their thick, waxy ‘tepals’ (a primitive combination of petals and sepals), where chemical scent compounds including the citrus-y smelling linalool (a naturally occurring terpene alcohol) are exuded. As Judith Adam exclaims in the blog gardenmaking.com, ‘Creamy magnolia blossoms in the crisp spring air are the fulfilment of a gardener’s winter dream,’ and the very temperature of the air can dramatically alter the aroma of a magnolia’s blossom. ‘Consequently,’ she explains, ‘magnolias can smell like sweet candy, spicy verbena, tart lemon, citrus-honey or dusty violets.’

In ancient China, magnolias were symbolic of womanly beauty and gentleness, of nobility and dignity, and an Emperor might graciously deign to gift you a magnolia as a sign of great respect; while in the American South, bridal bouquets often contained magnolias, thought to emphasise the bride’s purity. But this innocent side of magnolia’s charm is juxtaposed by their more potently sensual charms…

The beauty of the magnolia blooms has historically been a popular image for artists to attempt to capture, and pioneer photographer Imogen Cunningham became famous (one might even say infamous) in the early 1920s for her close-up images of magnolias – her work often tut-tutted at over teatime gossip that her floral photos were overtly sexual, focusing as they did on the rather phallic arrangement of stamen and petals, and receiving the same criticism levelled at painter Geogie O’Keefe, whose exotic floral studies were thought to be rather, ahem, labial in nature.

 

Imogen Cunningham Magnolia Blossom c.1925

 

The multi-faceted magnolia is one of those white floral ingredients that perfumers (and perfume lovers) just adore, and there may be a scientific reason we’re so enraptured by their scent. And innocence has nothing to do with it.

Researchers at the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum in Germany have shown that the lining of the human nose has a specific type of receptor called VN1R1. So when we stand under a magnolia tree and inhale, methyl dihydrojasmonate [an airborne compound released by magnolia flowers] directly binds to that nasal receptor, triggering an area of the brain linked with motivation and memory.

 

 

Collaborating with a research team at the University Hospital Dresden, the scientific team also discovered magnolia activates the hypothalmus, which regulates hormone levels. According to the article ‘Sensual Scents – How Magnolias Turn on the Human Brain’ in The BioPhiles blog, ‘The effect seems specific to magnolias and jasmine,’ as further tests with other floral compounds had no effect on that receptor. ‘It seems magnolias are in fact producing the scent of romance – or at least lust,’ the piece concludes.

From evoking purity to provoking carnal lust, is it any wonder modern floral fragrances are still waxing lyrical about this creamy, dreamy scent…?

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Mimosa Focus: A Festival of Fragrance

Mimosa. Acacia. Cassie.  All names for the same plant, with those fabulous yellow pom-pom flowers which look delicate, but fill a room with their dreamy sweetness in minutes. The bark, roots and resin are all still used to create incense for rituals, in Nepal, India and China (including Tibet – and acacia/mimosa’s used in mainstream perfumery, too:  the scent has a warm, honey, iris-like, powdery airiness, which enriches the complexity of fragrances. Mimosa has a long tradition in perfumery:  it was first used in making incense, and symbolised resurrection and immortality: Egyptian mythology linked the acacia tree with the tree of life, described in the Myth of Osiris and Isis.  

 

 

 

 

Mimosas are pod-bearing shrubs and trees now native mostly to Australia and the Pacific, though they put on a pretty spectacular show around the heartland of perfumery in Grasse, too, in the south of France. For centuries, aside from perfumery, the mimosa tree has been used for many different purposes from medicinal to ornamental. The seeds and fruit are edible and used in many cuisines and soft drinks, the bark produces a gum that is used as a stabiliser (gum Arabic) and in the production for printing and ink; and the timber is used in furniture making.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, in France, at this time every year in February the fluffy yellow pom-pom blooms are celebrated for their beauty and vibrancy – adding a much-needed splash of yellow brightness to these often dreary days. As the blog thegoodlifefrance.com describes:

“…the velvety yellow blooms of the locally grown mimosa flowers will fill the streets of Mandelieu-La Napoule for a large and very popular festival. The festivities last for 10 days with the main attraction being the famed gloriously yellow floral floats during both weekends.”

“The evening starts at the “Notre Dame des Mimosas”, the Mimosa Queen is elected; the streets of the town centre ring to the sound of marching bands, street orchestras and the floats which parade, covered in locally grown mimosa.  Each Sunday, the battle of the flowers takes place and when the floral floats are finished the winners go home laden with mimosa. This is a festival for everyone and children love it, the bright colours, the joyful atmosphere – its impossible not to be happy at this event and to feel that spring is just around the corner.”

To celebrate in fragrant form, why not seek out some mimosa-fluffed scents such as these…

 

 

 

GOLDFIELD_BANKS_VELVET_SPLENDOUR.jpg

 

 

GOLDFIELD & BANKS VELVET SPLENDOUR

Sumptuousness personified with a flirtatiously fluffy Australian mimosa snuggled up to decadently waxy orange blossom and luminous jasmine against a leathery, resinous backdrop of intriguing complexity. Drowsily splendid, this unfurls for hours on the skin as it warms, telling the story of a day spent in bed with your lover – a decadent plushness to sink into and sigh at the heliotropine-drenched dry-down, as you sip tea and eat buttered toast, while warming your feet on theirs…

£135 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIPTYQUE L’EAU PAPIER

What is the scent of paper? That’s how every Diptyque creation begins: a blank sheet, a pen, ink, ideas. Fabrice Pellegrin was tasked here with conjuring up diluted ink and artistic brushstrokes. The perfect textural softness of mimosa and white musks are mistily ethereal, with a rice steam accord adding to the sense of paperiness and roasted sesame for the inkiness. Alex Waline’s pointillist label completes a modern masterpiece that couldn’t be more Diptyque if it tried.

From £90 for 50ml eau de parfum diptyqueparis.com

 

 

 

 

MAISON_CRIVELLI_IRIS_MALIKHAN

 

 

MAISON CRIVELLI IRIS MALIKHÂN

If what you need now is a massive hug, there are two ingredient that enfold you in their arms, and both are included here. Iris wraps its arms around cypress, leather, amber, musks, vanilla and a surprisingly animalic but still soothing purr of mimosa, confected to create ‘the mind-blowing discovery of iris fields on the edge of a desert.’ (Imaginary, but we’re right there, thanks to this shimmering mirage of a scent, from this exciting, new-to-the-UK perfume name.)

£90 for 30ml eau de parfum johnlewis.com

 

 

LOUIS VUITTON HEURES D’ABSENCE

If ever there were further proof needed that florals have been modernised, it is here, in this pale mauve juice: a profusion of fresh flowers harvested in Grasse, still a hub of perfume creativity, where Vuitton’s Jacques Cavallier Belletrud was born and works today. Add the gloriously green, powdery mimosa from the Tanneron forest, touches of sandalwood and soft musks, and you have the prettiest of sheer summer scents – contemporary, luminous and understatedly elegant.

£255 for 100ml eau de parfum louisvuitton.com

 

 

 

 

PENHALIGONS_THE_FAVOURITE

 

PENHALIGON’S THE FAVOURITE

This floral-musky triumph is named after Queen Anne’s best friend – Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, as immortalised by Rachel Weisz in the film that also starred Oscar-winner Olivia Colman. As prettily-packaged as any scent we’ve seen in a while, it’s a juice to match, swirling with that gloriously powdery mimosa, freesia, violet and mandarin, becoming positively boudoir-esque as the musk and Indian sandalwood drift in. Spritz lavishly and waft in a negligé to do it justice.

£85 for 30ml eau de parfum penhaligons.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Guerlain Sakura Cherry Blossom Limited Edition – ‘When spring is reborn’

Since the year 2000, every spring the limited edition Guerlain Sakura Cherry Blossom is a breathtaking moment to pause and immerse ourselves in beauty, and oh how welcome that chance can be. Just as Japanese rituals around cherry blossom have taken place for centuries, Guerlain’s annual celebration of scent, exquisite artisan craftsmanship and nature combine in the most breathtaking way…

Says Guerlain: ‘For the House, this is the perfect opportunity to combine original artistic collaboration with the most virtuosic creators of artistic crafts. This year is an especially outstanding occasion, as it marks the 170th anniversary of the iconic Bee Bottle.

For its precious 2023 Millésime, Guerlain has asked the Ateliers Vermont, a prestigious Parisian embroidery house, to create the magical adornment of its Bee Bottle. A delicate cherry tree branch in blossom, nestled on a grosgrain bow, which expresses both the peerless expertise of French Haute Couture and the timeless poetry of the most moving of Japanese traditions.

 

 

To celebrate a poetic ritual the Japanese call hanami (literally “flower viewing”), friends and families get together to admire sakuras. Under the cherry trees, the delicate blooms fall without wilting, “flower rafts” float on streams, and petals flutter in the breeze like delicate butterflies.’

The bottles are snapped up by collectors, each of them hand-adorned and art pieces to treasure forever, and each year we think: oh, this is the most beautiful version yet! Of course, the fragrance itself must reflect the ethereal, life-affirming beauty of the cherry blossom spectacle itself:

‘Perfumers must therefore invent a fragrance which can express both the infinite grace of its flower-laden branches and the emotion of those who gaze at them,’ Guerlain explain.

 

 

‘First, bergamot, an olfactory signature of the House, sheds its golden light on the fragrance. A fresh, subtle green tea accord recalls another of Japan’s ancient rituals, while threading the luminous overture with the heart of the fragrance through its floral tones. In the heart notes, the Guerlain Perfumers, artisans of the sublime, have embroidered the delicate petals of the sakura blossom one by one onto the precious olfactory materials of their palette… Tender facets of almond, cherry, and powdery lilac, enhanced by a pearl-white jasmine, conjure their airy corollas. Carried by a breeze of white musks, these flowers fluttering on slender branches herald the rebirth of spring with the most delicate of fragrances.’

 

Guerlain Sakura Cherry Blossoms is priced at €700 in Guerlain boutiques

 

Penhaligon’s Language of Flowers

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 Gardenissue 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

We’ve found the most relaxing, flower-filled films ever…

You can practically feel your blood-pressure drop as you watch these short but so-exquisite flower-filled films on Instagram – but can looking at pretty pictures of nature ACTUALLY (scientifically, not merely anecdotally) lower your stress levels? Apparently so…

A dear friend of mine recently posted on Facebook to say she’d been suffering panic attacks, but that watching these films had really helped her relax, to focus on something lovely for a while and just help her to breathe out again.

I’d been feeling similarly wobbly, to tell the truth, so immediately clicked and scrolled, and actually found myself sighing out-loud with how beautiful they are.

 

 

Available to watch on Li Ziqi’s Instagram, the IGTV films follow her adventures as she strolles through flower-filled meadows, picking blossoms to cook with, to arrange into stunning, so-simple floral arrangements, and even make her own floral hydrolates with a copper still in her garden. A Chinese food and country-life vlogger from Pingwu in Mianyang, Sichuan, Li has become something of an Internet celebrity within China, and is fast gaining popularity around the world as stressed-out viewers tune in to drop out for a while.

 

 

And oh! That garden! Filled with rambling roses, herbs and vegetables of all description, kittens and puppies frolic and her grandmother chuckles in what are almost overwhelmingly charming and bucolic scenes, as Li Ziqi wanders further into the forest and welcomes spring by picking magnolia flowers, celebrates ‘peach blossom day’ and makes all manner of utterly delicious (and sometimes bewildering, if you don’t happen to be familiar with them) floral-themed dishes.

 

 

Satisfyingly, every single part of the plants seems to be used, in meals, for homemade fabric dyes or in glorious floral arrangements in huge vases. There’s something very ASMR about it all – Auto Sensory Meridian Response: a tingling, relaxing sensation some people feel while watching or listening to pleasing audio – with the wind rustling the rose bushes as she meticulously chops and prepares the food, windchimes tinkling in the background.

 

 

If you’re stuck indoors and feel trapped, as I do (self-isolating while looking after two elderly, at-risk parents) watching these short films feels almost as good as running through the forests in gauzy gowns yourself… And you know, the calm that washes over you isn’t just make-believe. Scientists have proved that even just looking at pictures of trees and greenery for a few minutes a day can actually help reduce stress and depression.

 

 

Dubious? Have a read of this fascinating article in Psychology Today, which asserts that ‘the sight of trees allows the parasympathetic nervous system to gain an edge, calming the entire body and making us more relaxed. That’s a good thing given how many of us live in concrete, urban environments. A recent NIH study [2] found that in urban surroundings, “contact with real or simulated green settings as opposed to [manmade] settings has positive effects on mood, self-esteem and self-reported feelings of stress and depression.” The Japanese have longed practiced Shirin-yoku, taking in the forest atmosphere or “forest bathing,” to alleviate stress, aggression, fatigue, and feelings of depression.’

 

 

So there you have it: if we can’t find freedom for now, or if you don’t have access to a garden of your own (let alone a flower-filled forest to frolic in), you can at least tune in and switch down your stress levels awhile.

Wishing you safe and well, until we meet again fragrant friends…

By Suzy Nightingale

Anthropologie Floral Diffusers

We love an effortless scented solution, and most especially when they’re as attractive as Anthropologie‘s new Floral Diffusers. Forget all images of dusty old sticks in a vase, for these will be diffusers you’ll gladly display, front and centre…

Anthropologie have collaborated with a company called Herb Family for this range of stunning scented display pieces, the house starting life as DongSung Herb Farm in Korea herb farm back in 1987, which has now grown into a leading manufacturer of home fragrance products.

Anthropologie say: ‘Inspired by a floral bouquet, we have developed 5 floral bouquet in 4 fragrances that allows you to mix and match any of the four fragrances with the floral bouquet of your choice.’ And having had a look, we must say, quite fancy one for each room, really.

Chosing from Pussy Willow, Red Wheat, Baby Breath, Classic Wheat or Eucalyptus Pods, whichever you plump for, we think these would make great gifts for any home fragrance and interiors devotee – or for any friend that isn’t blessed with green fingers, and somehow manages to kill any living plant within a ten-metre radius. A fab option for your desk at work, too, we think – zero maintenance, fuss-free and they really radiate the scent around the whole house.

These Floral Diffusers are sold separate to the fragrance oils – available in the following options…

Fresh Cut Bouquet: Blend of fresh florals with soft hints of citrus and sandalwood

Mulled Cider: Blend of crisp apple, fresh mulled spices and a touch of orange and musk

Amber Woods: Blend of wood notes with white cedar, amber and sandalwood enveloped by a sweet vanilla touch

Autumn Spice: Blend of sweet pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon and creamy vanilla

But we think it’s a bit of a bonus, as it means you can use any home fragrance oil you currently have, or re-fill with something else entirely of your choice!

Anthropologie Floral Diffuser £32, Floral Diffuser Oil £8 for 4.5 fl. oz.

By Suzy Nightingale

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