Scenting the groove

With the Music & Perfume edition of The Scented Letter magazine hot off the press, we’re really feeling the harmony right now – and here, Amanda Carr explores the intriguing history of fragranced vinyl…

Vinyl is having something of a moment, with new record stores selling both vintage and new vinyl LPs opening in all the hippest of locations. Imagine our thrill, therefore, when we discovered that vinyl is often sold scented! From Madonna to Stevie Wonder, musicians have perfumed their vinyl grooves to enhance the listening experience.

Fragrances are often inspired by a good tune. The gorgeous Acqua di Parma Note Di Colonia collection springs to mind, with its appreciation of soaring operatic crescendos, artful preludes and glorious musical scores. On a more modern note, JUSBOX’s collection of fragrances honours musical genres: there’s Cheeky Smile, which celebrates Acid House, alongside Green Bubble, a scented ode to reggae (and yes, there are notes of marijuana in the accord). JUSBOX‘s vinyl-capped bottles can even be found for sale in an actual record shop, the delightful Olympic Studio Records in Barnes. (Disclosure: it’s owned by my husband – which is how I stumbled onto this story in the first place…)

Actually scenting the grooves is an inspired move. It’s no surprise the Queen of Pop, Madonna, dabbled with perfuming her tunes. First pressings of 1989’s ‘Like A Prayer’, were impregnated with the smell of frankincense and patchouli, reinforcing religious connections, along with song tracks such as ‘Oh Father’, and pictures of Madonna’s considerable crucifix jewellery collection. Our much-played copy of the album still carries a shadowy sillage of a rather good patchouli scent, although those earthy, incense vibes remind us more of dressing up and dancing till dawn at parties held in darkened basements rather than the cold stone and incense-heavy interiors of churches.

 

 

Stevie Wonder’s ‘Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants’, a title crying out for its own scent, was perfumed with a floral note on its release in 1979, although apparently stopped after reports that the scent – which fans of the record remember as a faint hint of rose – turned out not to be helping the quality of the sound. But technology has since improved considerably and scented vinyl continues to be pressed by modern artists. The Third Man record company, founded by uber-cool musician Jack White, bought its own vinyl factory in Detroit, where its produces top quality vinyl that is often scented. Karen Elson, ex-wife of Mr. White, released ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, in 2010, as a delicate peach coloured vinyl record which is also scented with the dewy aroma of softly sweet peach.

Less artful but still enthusiastically received by fans, the 30th anniversary ‘Ghostbusters: Stay Puft Edition’, a 12-inch double A-side single, released by Sony Music in 2014, was scented with marshmallow in tribute to the film’s giant Stay Puft marshmallow baddy. Singing along to Ray Parker Jr.’s catchy theme tune on one side and Run-DMC’s updated reboot on the other, could surely only be improved with wafts of sugary-sweet vanilla notes coming off the stylus. We can’t help thinking that other film soundtrack albums could use fragrance creatively to add to the sense of fun, for example wouldn’t ‘Mamma Mia’ be even more joyous to sing along to if it pumped out an olfactive scentscape of a sun drenched Greek island alongside the songs…?

With a different angle on the concept, Japanese fragrance house Shiseido once hired musician Hiroshi Noshimura to create a vinyl album entirely inspired by one of its fragrances as an innovative gift-with-purchase idea. The fragrance was called A.I.R (Air In Resort) so the album, which was steeped in the scent, was given the same name. The music complemented the green, forest notes of pine, earth and wood with a sound track of birdsong, the sea and field-based recordings of nature. Customers were were encouraged to listen to the record while appreciating the scent. It’s certainly a step up from the paper tester blotters we’re used to.

And artists, it seems, simply can not resist a scratch-n-sniff album cover. A quick chat on the super-informed Discogs forum, where music fans hang out to talk all things vinyl (there are many similarities between music and perfume fans) turned up a long list of album covers with scent-infused patches used to enhance the listening. The gold standard scented cover is unanimously agreed to be a 1972 release by The Raspberries, with a scratch-and-sniff sticker that smelled very convincingly of…yep, raspberries.

 

 

From Duran Duran’s limited edition ‘Perfect Day’ 7-inch single with its strawberry scented ice cream cone cover, to Spinal Tap’s The Majesty Of Rock album, with its scratch-and-sniff sleeve scented with Ye Olde Roast Beef Flavour, via Melanie’s ‘Garden In The City’ – where listeners were encouraged to rub the sticker to ‘release the magic of Melanie’s Garden’ – musicians clearly love to scent their songs.

We say: that makes for a great-smelling record collection. And we’d like to see more of this, please…!

By Amanda Carr

 

 

To get even further in the groove and explorethe links between music and scent, have a look at our print copy of the just-published Music & Perfume issue of The Scented Letter Magazine

• In Hitting All The Right Notes (above), Viola Levy looks at ways that modern perfumers use music to inspire their creations

• Ofactory consultant Pierre Aulas – who chose perfumery over a career as an opera singer – shares the secrets of his creative days in A Working Nose

• Scent gets social with Smellfie Day 2020, our celebration of International Fragrance Day – which had quite a different message in this strange year

Suzy Nightingale invites us to enjoy A Scented Symphony, discovering a perfume house with works with instruments, artisans and musicians

• And why note create your own scented playlist? In Listening to Scent, Persolaise invites us to sit back, relax, hit ‘play’

And of course, as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more!

 

We are now able to take orders for a limited run of printed copies of the magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs). And remember: you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letter (six issues), here

(NB Print copies are sent out approximately 10 days after each new issue of The Scented Letter appears on the website, so please bear with us. We work right up to the wire to make sure everything is truly newsworthy!)

And all that jazz… Fragrance writer’s musical talents raising money for charity

Stephan Matthews, is a fragrance writer and long-time friend of The Perfume Society, and of course a man who’s been obsessed with scent for many years, and he has revealed another talent: music!

Stephan got in touch with us after he saw the theme of our just-published Scented Letter magazine: Music & Perfume, commenting that there must be something musical and fragrant wafting in the air, as ‘…the timing of this is a little spooky! I’ve just rereleased my Jazz album from 2006 to raise money for NHS Charities Together.’

Stephan explains: ‘We’re all trying our best to support each other during these challenging times, but one of the areas that is still under so much pressure is the NHS. We have so much to thank them for, so I wanted to help in some small way.

Back in 2006, I released a successful jazz album called Call Me Irresponsible. It was only available as a CD (remember those?) and went out of print in 2010. I changed career and went back to my real name, swapping the acting business for the perfume industry, and the recording was archived.

 

 

Spending so much time at home recently gave me the chance to finally go through the last few boxes that were never opened when we moved and, in one of them, I found all of the original paperwork and masters.

So, after fourteen years and with the help of my original producer Richard Niles, Call Me Irresponsible is available to download and stream with all of the profits going to NHS Charities Together. It’s been great fun to revisit these recordings, and I can’t believe it was fourteen years ago!’

The recordings are now available to download or stream on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify.

We were hugely impressed, on listening, and with music and fragrance definitely filling the airwaves right now, it’s a great way to support NHS Charities Together – and the way this fragrance writer is helping – in such a toe-tapping, enjoyable way…

By Suzy Nightingale

Avon Herstory celebrates Changing Faces charity

Avon has partnered with the UK’s leading charity for people with visible differences, Changing Faces, to launch Herstory – a fragrance celebrating women all over the world.

Five powerful and inspiring women with visible differences proudly feature in the Herstory beauty campaign. This reflects Avon’s commitment to Changing Faces, wanting to give everyone with a visible difference a #PledgetoBeSeen.

Avon explain that ‘The Herstory launch coincides with Face Equality Week (18-22nd May) a time to celebrate people with visible differences and to challenge people’s perceptions,’ and wonderfully, Avon will also be donating 50% of Herstory sales to Changing Faces ‘…which will go towards funding the charity’s Support and Information Line which offers advice for people with a visible difference.

Talking about why they wanted to highlight visual diversity, Avon say that ‘Representing the scent of inspiration for all women, Herstory commends the long lineage of women who have helped shape the present. It celebrates the experience of being a woman, opening the conversation for women to share their own authentic story of the past and present, whilst coming together to write the stories of the future.’

So we know the way this campaign looks is beautifully different to the Photoshopped and unrealistic images of many adverts, but what does Herstory smell like…?

 

 

‘The bold and modern Chypre represents today’s strong and modern women, recognising each unique and empowering story of women. Herstory is built by the passion of pink pepper, the boldness and sophistication of the iris, and the personality of the patchouli.

Pink pepper stands for passion, representing the energy and stamina to fight for your dreams.

Iris for courage: At the heart of Herstory is the noble Iris flower – the emblem of fine fragrance and symbolising wisdom, courage and feminine confidence.

Patchouli Prisma reveals personality: elegant and powerfully woody, it encourages a woman who writes her own story.’

Avon Herstory RRP £11 for 50ml eau de parfum – only £8 for a limited time, so snap them up now!

Changing Faces Ambassador and Avon model, Brenda, says: ‘Having alopecia and losing my hair left me feeling very out of place – I felt I had no control. Yet since I decided to embrace it, my confidence has rocketed.

Now I work with my hair loss rather than hide away from it. By working with Avon on the Herstory launch campaign, I hope to show others that we define what beauty is and being unique is something that should be celebrated.’

 

 

‘Avon understands that beauty can be very powerful and so it’s imperative that it’s inclusive too,’ says Stephen Rendu, Marketing Director at Avon. ‘We are very proud to be working with Changing Faces again and their ambassadors to launch Herstory and inspire women with visible differences to feel included and empowered.’

Smelling great and doing good at the same time? We applaud Avon and Changing Faces for this beautiful – in every sense of the word – fragrance and campaign, and urge you to try it for yourselves…

By Suzy Nightingale

Chanel perfumer Olivier Polge shares his musical passion

Chanel Perfumer, Olivier Polge, is a man imbued with many artistic passions. Perfumery, of course, but his first true love was actually music, and in an intriguing film we find out how he came to realise they shared the same language…

In the utterly gorgeous film, entitled ‘I am a Nose’, on Chanel’s official YouTube channel, perfumer Olivier Polge describes his childhood, and the passions his parents passed down to him.

Polge’s parents had met and fallen in love at perfumery school, and ‘I was four when my father became the nose of Chanel,’ Polge says, his words overlapping footage of him working, now the ‘nose’ of Chanel himself, and grainy, atmospheric and incredibly personal archive family films.

 

 

Describing the smells that dominate his childhood memories, above all else, it’s ‘the smell of turpentine in their friends’ studios.’ Enthusiastic artists, it might be expected that painting would transfer to young Olivier, along with the love of perfume, ‘but above fragrance and painting, music was my first passion,’ he admits.

Olivier came to realise that music and fragrance were two loves that entwined, without his even having made the connection. ‘When I was 20, I started learning the craft,’ he explains, ‘and I discovered that music and fragrance spoke the same language. I would have to compose and write formulas made of notes and accords.’

Watch the film right here and be carried away by the memories and music, yourself…

 

 

One can only imagine how nervous he must have been on being asked, as the ‘nose’ of Chanel, to ‘rewrite a contemporary version of No5…’ A sensation akin to a musician being asked to whip up a new version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, perhaps? Whatever his feelings were, for me No.5 L’Eau is a mellifluous mingling of those aldehydes, now with a cedar and sandalwood hum in the base. It feels familiar but new all at once – a harmony of modernity and homage…

Chanel N°5 L’Eau, £113 for 100ml eau de toilette
Sun-drenched, thirst-quenching and filled filled with freshness, this is a beautiful modern play on the classic, with a fizz of aldehydes dancing on lemon, mandarin and orange atop a honeyed shimmer of jasmine and luminescent ylang ylang. As the opening chords drift away and the floral heart warms on the skin, a thrum of warm cedar and vetiver mellow to a harmonious trail of soft white musks. Quite simply: a virtuoso performance…
chanel.com

 

With the Music & Fragrance edition of The Scented Letter magazine hot off the press, we’re really feeling the harmony right now – click below to get your print edition here. VIP Club members, meanwhile, can download or read their digital edition online, absolutely free. International Digital Subscriptions are also available, so never fear if you’re overseas!

Whichever way you choose, we hope you’ll take some time to indulge your senses, and wish you a wonderfully fragrant musical journey…

By Suzy Nightingale

Digital Scent Festival explores senses online

A six-week long celebration of scent and the senses, the Digital Scent Festival is bringing the world of fragrance online in very exciting ways…

A co-production between Yosh Han of Eau de Yosh, and Aroma Village – an international collective of independent perfumers and artists – they are offering a ‘…rockstar list of olfactive talent’ with a number of  ‘illuminating conversations with VIP access from the comfort of your own personal device.

 

 

Digital Scent Festival was born out of a need to connect during the pandemic and create a space where our noses remain curious and active. We will broadcast a limited series of events and encourage soulful connections through olfactive unity.’ The events are split into two main arenas, with new guests and events being added all the time (so keep an eye on their Facebook Page for the latest news!)

 

 

  • Tuesdays on Instagram (follow the Instagram accounts to be alerted when they go live)

May 19 – Scent + Au Courant 4pm BST @wewearperfumes

May 19 – Scent + Gold Country Hydrosols @mikmoisf with fre(hens)

May 19 – Scent + Botanicals  @laromatica + @firnfragrance

May 26 – Scent + Transformation @jazmin saraï + sanae intoxicants

May 26 – Scent + Plant Queendom @ayalamoriel + @velvetandsweetpeaspurrfumery

May 26 – Scent + Wisdom @hopegillerman + @ixchelleigh

 

  • Thursdays on zoom with panel discussions (register on Eventbrite to receive a direct link):

May 14 – Scent + Manufacturing
Sarah Horowitz – Sarah Horowitz Parfums
Danielle Fleming – Olfactif & Noteology
Travis McIntosh – Scent Trunk & Perfumer’s Apprentice

May 21 –  Indie to Industry
Miriam L VareldzisPalette Naturals
Olivia Jan – Fragrance with Benefits
Antonia Kohl – Ministry of Scent & Tigerlily

May 21 –  Scent + Alchemy + Cacao Ceremony
The Metamorfosis
Mooncloth Designs
Cacao Laboratory

May 28 – Scent + Future 
Olivia Jezler The Future of Smell
Celestine Johnson – Boom Capital
Caro Verbeek
Christophe Laudamiel – Dream Air
Rachelle Ornan – aerospace designer

May 31 Scent + Startups
A juried micro pitchfest within a festival – 7 brands will share their narrative in front of judges (including our dear friends Amanda Carr & Tamara Fulton from We Wear Perfume!)  Ilk Perfume, Lee Cuthbert, Scent U/X, Maya Njie, Aquilouds, Florescent, Coalition of Sustainable Perfumery

May 31 Closing Ceremony
Group Virtual Scent

Yosh describes the virtual coming-together as a way ‘…to bring insight and awareness to complementary subjects relating to scent from their unique perspectives,’ adding that ‘In addition to being professional Noses, our mult-faceted perfumers are musicians, designers, architects, writers, healers, herbalists, aromatherapists, yoga teachers, TV producers, manufacturers and teachers.’

What intially caught our interest was seeing their Scent + Music event advertised on Instagram. Something is clearly in the air (and we’re on the same wavelength) as we were just putting the finishing touches to our (now just-published) Music & Perfume edition of The Scented Letter Magazine!

As we so wanted to share their event with you, Yosh very kindly recorded the Scent + Music session especially for The Perfume Society – which you can watch in full below; and has since gone on to create a YouTube Channel where future events will also be uploaded to watch whenever you wish: a case of see you now and smell you later…

 

 

With the Music & Fragrance edition of The Scented Letter magazine hot off the press, we’re really feeling the harmony right now – click the link to get your glossy print edition. VIP Club members, meanwhile, can download or read their digital edition online, absolutely free. International Digital Subscriptions are also available, so never fear if you’re overseas!

 

What a wonderfully creative  coming-together this is, and bringing a real sense of community in these strange times, when perhaps we have felt most alone. Do check out our regular Instagram Live sessions, too – a weekly event we’ve been enjoying doing since the week after #Lockdown first began.

The feedback, and continuing enthusiasm for all these kinds of virtual get-togethers, really shows how deeply fragrance and smell can touch us, no matter where we are in the world… Long may the innovation continue!

By Suzy Nightingale

 

How to find SIX perfect scents to suit you – from your sofa!

How can you find the perfect scent to suit you? It’s a question we’re asked more than any other, and can be somewhat overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. And that’s at the best of times – let alone trying to navigate buying a new scent from your sofa, without sniffing beforehand!

We have the perfect perfume solution: our genius Fragrance Finder

You’re simply asked to type in the name of a fragrance you like already, and the so-clever algorithm does all the work for you. This is a computer system that was first set up decades ago, when our Co-Founder Lorna McKay had an idea how to help customers of Liberty’s perfumery seek out their next scents.

That computer program has been fully updated with key words comparing and describing hundreds of thousands of fragrances – not only the fragrance notes, but how the fragrance will make you feel, the atmosphere the perfumer has created.

Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be off on a fragrant journey of discovery…

1: Start with what you love
Instead of plunging wildly into the dark and trying every random fragrance you see, it’s a good idea to base your sniff list on something you already know you love. Our Fragrance Finder is completely genius at this, and has been recommended by fragrance experts and Fume Chat podcast hosts Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley as the best place to start when looking for a new fragrance to suit you.

 

All you need do is type in the name of a scent you already love (or one you know your beloved currently wears) and you’ll be given an immediate list of six scents to seek out, all at various price points and with characteristics you’re extremely likely to swoon for. Honestly, try it – they’re quite spookily accurate!

 

 

2: Give yourself time
Now clutching your online-shopping list of scents to try, after purchasing we cannot urge you strongly enough to allow yourself the time to live with them on your skin a while before making a snap decision either way.

– First sniff? That’s the top notes – generally something citrus-y and ephemeral – which can disappear within the first few minutes of spraying because the ingredients evaporate more quickly.

– We find an hour is enough to give you a proper sense of what the perfume smells like on you. And if you don’t want to douse yourself head-to-toe (why on earth not? But each to their own) then spray on a blotter or ‘spill’ (long paper strip) to get an idea.

– Remember – it will only be an idea of the final scent. They were made to be warmed and worn on your skin, not paper, so will often smell very different (and better) on you. And your mood/the weather/food can all drastically alter how a scent smells on you, so ideally, try each one a couple of times.

A lot of fragrance houses are now, thankfully, offering samples of their scents to try before you buy a full size – we stock an incredible selection of Brand Discovery Sets in our shop, as well as our own curated Perfume Society Discovery Boxes for you to try at home.

 

Join in Sana Jardin’s calming & empowering online workshops

Sana Jardin are bringing ‘scents & sensibility’ in a series of calming, strength-giving and empowering online workshops, via their Instagram scent sessions – to watch live or later, in their stories, at your leisure.

Having taken a virtual trip to the flower fields with self-hypnosis and meditated with a Love-Alchemist, for the next session on Tuesday 5th May sees (and hears) sound-healer Charlotte Hastings will teach you how to ‘experience your being through the language of sound.’ All with the fragrant backdrop of the stunning scents themselves.

And we’re rather fascinated with fragrance and music, currently, as you will find in our soon-to-be-published next edition of The Scented Letter Magazine. Watch (and listen to!) this space…

Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed has created a stunning portfolio of perfumes that reflect her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. As she told The Perfume Society: ‘The scents I’d encountered on my travels over the years were enchanting to me: the pure and golden shimmer of orange blossom, the mystical, enveloping depth of sandalwood, the seduction of jasmine blooming at night. I felt I could never find that captured anywhere on a department store shelf.’

 

 

The scents in the Sana Jardin collection really are strikingly beautiful – a magic carpet ride in every bottle. And – enhancing their feel-good factor – this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house offers flacons created entirely from recycled glass, along with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations for Sana Jardin.

But don’t just take our word for it, why not explore the collection yourself, from the comfort of your home? Allow yourself to experience the bliss of a scented sanctuary…

 

Try the full Sana Jardin collection for only £30 – seek your scented sanctuary and smell-along while you watch!

 

The hand soap revival (and five of our fragrant faves)

Bars of hand soap are having a massive revival right now – firstly because many of us are trying to find plastic free ways to live, and secondly, because of worldwide concerns over hand hygiene following the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

It’s also a great time to take a look back at the fascinating history of Colognes – and why we refer to fragrances as eau de toilette – scroll down for more…

We think bars of soap were well due a revival, anyway – they are an economical (they last way longer) and far more environmentally friendly way to wash, still recommended by the NHS as the best way to thoroughly clean your hands, and there are so many fabulously fragranced ones out there to choose from! Did you know many of your beloved perfumes have matching fragranced soaps, too?

 

 

Making handwashing a call to arms (well, hands), we love the retro style of this newly produced, limited edition soap. Available in twelve emblematic scents – you’re in for an olfactory surprise, as they’ll choose for you. Knowing Buly, each will be equally wonderful. The soda-free, pH-neutral soap is beautifully softening, and all profits are being donated to charity, which softened our hearts…

Buly 1803 Socially Conscious Savon Superfin, €15
buly1803.com

 

The stunning Floris soap design dates back to the 1800s, and we love using this for guest bathrooms or simply for enjoying ourselves, and the scent is an absolute classic, too. Lily of the valley with soft accents of jasmine, rose and tuberose atop base notes of powdery musk, triple-milled with shea butter for a satisfyingly creamy, long-lasting lather.

Floris Lily of the Valley Luxury Soaps £23 for 3
florislondon.com

 

Beautifully boxed (they make a great gift) these Penhaligon’s soaps are fragranced in honour of their matching fragrance – both dedicated to the Moon Goddess they are named for. Moonlit cool wafts of orange blossom, jasmine petals, fir balsam and soft rose make this a dreamy encounter every time you wash your hands.

Penhaligon’s Lunar Soaps £30 for 3
penhaligons.com

We absolutely love the Kukui perfume, and were thrilled when Connock London added a matching fragranced soap to their line. The signature Kukui scent – waxy gardenia, fresh bergamot, Moroccan rose, white jasmine and calla lily atop woody amber, deliciously chocolate-y vanilla absolute and tonka bean – is infused with the highly moisturising blend of Kukui oil and Shea Butter.

Connock London Kukui Oil Soap
connocklondon.co.uk

 

Yardley London‘s soap-purveying heritage goes all the way back to the reign of King Charles I, and a number of their heritage fragrances are available in perfectly formed hand soaps to scent your every day with. A perennial favourite is their lavender soap, also fragranced with neroli and clary sage, geranium, sandalwood and tonka bean.

Yardley London English Lavender Soap £5.33 for 3
yardleylondon.co.uk

With all of us washing our hands more frequently than ever, these wonderful soaps are a way to keep your hands beautifully moisturised and smelling fabulous – and more than that, to turn a hum-drum exercise into a fabulously fragrant ritual to enjoy.

Indeed, the very term Eau de Toilette stems from the historic practice of washing in one’s bedroom or boudoir (before the onset of en-suites and running water). The act of of draping a cloth signified the transformation of a humble table to a dressing table. The cloth was known as the toile, then toilette and, eventually, Eau de Toilette: the very scent of a boudoir’s ablutions. Home-made soaps would have been used, but the use of Colognes were extremely popular – used for centuries as another way to keep clean and sweet-smelling (true Colognes tend to be over 70% alcohol in volume, so more beneficial to wash yourself with than un-purified water, back then).

 

 

Traditionally made with a spirit infused with a variety of herbs, usually including rosemary, Colognes are named for the hometown of perfumer Giovanni Maria Farina and date back to 1709, and were originally drunk as medicinal health-giving tonics as well as being splashed all over the body. We have a whole section of the website dedicated to delving into such fascinating historical fragrant stories, with a page revealling why Napolean ordered 162 bottles of Cologne at a time   – why not saunter there now and have a scented meander?

By Suzy Nightingale

Make your home a fragrant haven

What with the continuing global pandemic and all, we’re spending so much extra time at home, now, trying to find little nooks to transform into sudden workplaces, and perhaps even somewhere to relax and wind-down awhile (wouldn’t that be nice?) We’re here to help, with ideas of how to use fragrance to make your home a fragrant haven…

You may not be aware of it, but scent plays an important, subliminal part in how we define a space. On a large scale, you’ll have noticed that supermarkets pump out fresh baking smells to entice you to the back of the shop, and spas smell gloriously relaxing the moment you step inside; but you can use the same principles to shape your own home into individually fragranced areas.

Have a look at some of these ideas to keep you alert, refreshed, comforted and soothed….

 

 

Tip: Use uplifting scents in your designated work-space – be that the spare room, a corner of the siting room with a fold-out table or even with your laptop balanced on your knees (which is less than ideal, we know!) Keep them fresh, invigorating and aromatically stimulating to keep you alert.

Try: Diffusing rosemary oil in an aromatherapy oil burner, or soaking a ceramic disc (or cotton wool, inside a pomander) and tying with a ribbon to your radiator, or near where you’re working. Far from being ‘an old wive’s tale’, rosemary has now been scientifically proven to aid memory retention and clarity of mind. Something we could all do with right now, eh?

Buy: La Montaña First Light Candle, £36
An immediately mood-altering scent gently welcomes you to a new day, while herbaceous mountain breezes get to work on un-beffudling (is that a word? It is now) your brain. Much needed at Nightingale Towers, I can tell you! Plus £5 from every sale will be donated to the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal.

La Montaña founder, Cassandra Hall, explains why she chose rosemary as inspiration for their first candle:  ‘On our mountain, at first light, there’s a heavenly fragrance in the air. Before anyone starts an engine, or lights a fire, the air is clear, and still, and silent. The first breath of the day carries the perfume of wild mountain herbs: fennel, rosemary, mountain pepper and intoxicating rock rose. The alchemy of the fragrances, blended naturally on the breeze, weaves a magical spell.’

 

 

Tip: Transform your kitchen into a more intimate setting – if you’re lucky enough to have room for a table, or are finding yourself in there far more these days (cooking up a storm with leftovers, maybe whipping up a cocktail or three…), banish the clincal cleaning-product smells or foodie wafts, and pretend you’re in a romantic restaurant. (Do take the bins out, though.)

Try: Growing fragrant herbs in pretty pots on the windowsill, or bringing in some fresh flowers to enjoy their scent while you toil over the stove. Do make sure they’re strongly scented enough to smell over the competing scent of cooking, though. Or simply cook a cake with vanilla and spices to ensure hours of ‘Mmmm!’ (Added bonus: cake.)

 

Buy: Miller Harris Rendezvous Tabac Candle, £45
You might not think of a ‘tobacco’ scented candle as an obvious choice for the kitchen, but bear with me. This one’s inspired by the romantic brasseries of Saint-Germain, and makes your kitchen (or anywhere!) feel cosy, welcoming, somewhere to willingly linger, not *have* to be.

The Cuban cascarilla oil and pimento berries tingle their way to a heart of velvety sage and cool drifts of pine against the cosiest background of creamy tonka bean and Malay patchouli. Even if it’s once a week, treat yourself to a proper tablecloth, linen napkins, ‘the best’ china or glasses and polished silverware. It feels extra fancy, so maybe even consider wearing your best pyjamas while planning your next meal out-out.

 

 

Tip: Turn your living room into a place of scented sanctuary with opulent florals – somewhere to chill out in style while binge-watching your favourite shows, to browse your favourite magazines (including The Scented Letter, obvs) or catch-up with friends on a phone call.

Try: Find local flower deliveries at flowersfromthefarm.co.uk and fill a vase with deeply-scented flowers to cheer you (and anyone who walks past your house) up every time you see and smell them, or using a vintage jug for a fragrant display, surrounded by candles, in the fireplace.

 

 

Buy: Sana Jardin Jaipur Chant candle, £48
Opulent with real Indian tuberose essential oil, Moroccan jasmine and French narcisse with a twist of Italian lemon, this exquisite scent is redolent of exotic climes and will absolutely fill your space with floral beauty (even if you can’t get any flowers delivered, or want something longer-lasting).

Sana Jardin founder, founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed, was inspired to create this scent after taking part in a Hindu devotional ceremony, where tuberose flower garlands are exchanged and play a symbolic role, connoting love, deep emotion and sensitivity. In this fragrance, the flower is given added vibrancy with Morroccan jasmine, narcisse and musk, resulting in a stunning sunshine-filled scent that will enhance your home at any time of year (and whatever the weather is doing outside).

 

 

Tip: Taking a candlelit bath with a fragrant oil while listening to soothing music is self-care you deserve. It’s difficult enough to unwind at the end of the day, when your muscles are knotted with tension from, you know, worrying about the global pandemic on top of everything else…

Try: Using a muscle-relaxing bath essence that also scents your entire house with gorgeously aromatic wafts. Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil is a best-seller for a reason: it works. Soothing sandalwood, camomile and grounding vetivert will sort you out.

Buy: diptyque Paris En Fleur small candle, £30
Petite enough to be placed bath-side while you soak, this is an evocative scent to carry you away with dreams of being impossibly Parisian chic. The first Chypre for the house, a flurry of fruity rose petals merge with deeply resinous patchouli – relaxing and quite a lot sexy, all at once…

For this celebration of Paris, diptyque drew its creative inspiration from the rose and its thousand scents, such as the roses of the Bagatelle gardens or the Marché aux fleurs. To adorn the scent, they worked with the artist and friend of diptyque, Pierre Marie. Together, they created a decoration inspired by Art Nouveau, like a lattice bedecked with flowers on which roses intertwine with metallised foliage.

 

 

Tip: If you’re likely to nod off, a lit candle’s not ideal for the bedroom, but there’s a fabulous range of fragranced reed-diffusers available now. Why not change up your sleeping space with a luxurious scent and pretend you’re in a hotel (maybe change the sheets, too…)

Try: Not everyone loves lavender (yes it’s beautifully soothing, but only if you like the smell!) so surround yourself in bed with scents you adore – something that makes you stop a moment to breathe in and appreciate it better. You’ll actually feel your shoulders drop as you close your eyes.

Buy: Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance Diffuser, £30
We absolutely love this for the bedroom (or boudoir) because it feels like a 5-star scent even if your space doesn’t quite live up. It’s incredibly long-lasting (so excellent value – we’re talking months of scented contentment, here) and smells utterly unique. Divinely smoky rose smoulders beguilingly on the rich, woody base, and if your bedtime routine’s not exactly petal-scattered sheets and romance, you can dare to dream!

Rejoicing in a moment of true contentment was perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek’s muse for this so-sultry modern interpretation of the classic rose perfume, as exotic leather dances in surprise harmony with the main character – smouldering Damask rose. Set against a warming backdrop of oudh and patchouli, a shining amber note radiates in this scent which is perfect for anywhere in the home (especially anywhere you’d like to smoulder, yourself…)

However you’re coping (or otherwise) with re-arranging your house/routine/life in this current climate of uncertainty, while filling your home with designated scented spaces might not magically make everything better – I absolutely guarantee that it WILL help.

If you don’t happen to live in a mansion with a wing for every member of the household, or spare rooms that can be converted into handy separate office spaces – it’s essential to divide up what space you do have into areas that feel like passing from one phase of the day into another, that split up the many roles you may be juggling – for your own sanity, not merely a pleasant perfume to smell. And home fragrance is the easiest way of doing that, subliminally. It genuinely can change an atmosphere instantly, and, therefore, your mood/how your day rolls out.

We’re living through times we’d never imagined, that nobody knows how ‘best’ to deal with. So treating yourself to a little scented luxury is important – perhaps more now than ever before. You’re worth looking after, too, you know…

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrant escapism… read each of our Jasmine-Award nominated pieces!

In the flurry of everything that’s happened over the last few weeks with a global pandemic, though we shouted our happiness on our social media channels at the time, we must admit this had escaped our minds to post about. But as we’re clinging on to every good news piece we can, right now, we hope you’ll forgive us for re-living the joy we felt because of the news…

For this year’s Fragrance Foundation Jasmine Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the fragrance world – we have an incredible SIX nominations!

We wanted to give you a chance to take a look over each of the pieces we’re nominated for – a form of fragrant escapism, if you wish, amidst the worry that’s all around. So sit back and take some time to unwind, and read about something nice for a change…

Finalist: Literary AwardPerfuming a Part, by Suzy Nightingale

Finalist: Literary AwardScents of India, by Amanda Carr

Finalist: Practical GuideScents of Place: Venice, by Jo Fairley

Finalist: Practical GuideThe Future of Fragrance, by The Perfume Society Scented Letter Magazine team

Finalist: Short PieceOrange Blossom, How to Bottle Sunshine, by Suzy Nightingale

Finalist: Short PieceScented Inks & Inky Scents, by Suzy Nightingale

Do make time to have a look at the full list of finalists and their work – we are thrilled to among such a pool of perfumed talent, of names we know well as friends, and those new to our noses. We’re crossing our fingers for even more good news when the winners are announced (a lot of fingers to be crossed, with our nominations for Perfumed Plume Awards this year, too!)

Until then, we hope that you’ll enjoy this list of lovely things to read, and wish you all sunshine, health and happiness…