Clean Reserve: celebrate World Earth Day with sustainably beautiful scents at Space NK

Sustainability is a huge buzzword within the fragrance world at the moment, with customers demanding a more eco-conscious ethic to their beauty choices and some fragrance houses making sure they look after the raw materials so precious to their perfume formulas, while also ensuring a social responsibilty toward the communities of inigenous peoples who cultivate and harvest the crops.

Clean Reserve are one such responsibly-sourcing house, though striving for complete sustainability in the future; wherever possible they select raw ingredients cultivated and harvested using environmentally sound practices.

You may know them from previously having tried the original Clean range of scents and harmonious lifestyle products – and with a far more niche-inspired selection, they’re now in store and exclusive in the UK to Space NK. Having attended the press launch, we were fascinated to learn more about this collaboration with three of the world’s top fragrance houses. So, how do Clean Reserve introduce themselves…?

We’re making a choice:

To change the way you experience fragrance.

To create a collection that highlights your individuality.

To tap into our perfumers’ reserve of raw ingredients.

To actively engage in eco-conscious sustainability.

To remove the clutter, heaviness and complexity –

so all you’re left with is CLEAN.

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From the wooden caps sourced in Spain from certified sustainably managed forests, the fragrances themselves use ECOCERT materials and are manufactured in a facility using 100% solar energy. The alcohol is derived from corn – even the cellophane wrapping of the boxes is made from corn! – and the scent is incorporated with aloe for added calming and softening benefits on the skin. Of course, being super-sustainable is all very well, – and especially significant on World Earth Day – but how do they actually smell…?

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A gentle balance of sophisticated and sexy, this is not your average ‘dusty’ smelling oppulent rose – it’s sparkling with aldehydes (those bubbly ‘Champagne’-esque notes that add space and volume to a fragrance) and transparent in character. Touches of peony and jasmine with the tender rose petals seem to glisten with dew drops, freshly picked from the garden.

Clean Reserve Blonde Rose £79 for 100ml eau de parfum

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Incense and oudh are notes that many seem to shy away from, known for their sometimes overwhelming natures, but you definitely need not fear being smothered by this blend. Fusing incense oil with blue cypress, birch wood, pimento and honeysuckle, further freshness wafts across from jasmine and magnolia, resinously clear fir balsam and the intriguing sarcocaulon mossamedens (‘Bushman’s Candle’). Warm and earthy, the fluffy musk base of suede, patchouli, praline and amber snuggles on the skin.

Clean Reserve Sueded Oud £79 for 100ml eau de parfum

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An exploration of the polarity between warmth and cold, the opening is exhilarating with verbena, bamboo leaf, bergamot and juicy quince pear blending seamlessly into a heart of pure, dry cedar wrapped in cotton, peony and wild moss. Fuzzy musks balance the base with gold amber, cool vetiver and myrrh – a mineralic iciness keeping the base notes from ever being muddy, it’s the inviting earthiness of an untouched forest to get lost in.

Clean Reserve Smoked Vetiver £79 for 100ml eau de parfum

All the Clean Reserve fragrances are made especially to be linear in character – and therefore perfect to blend with each other without the notes fighting or becomming too complex and overbearing.

We had a go at layering the three outlined above, and found it immediately became a completely new smell – harmonising notes from all, but transforming into a bespoke scent with a personality all of its own. Suddenly, the dry grassiness of the vetiver was amplified and the soft suede became deeper, more woody – all buoyed by wisps of a white bouquet peeking through the forest clearing. As Sueded Oud and Blonde Rose are recommended as the perfect ‘his and hers’ fragrances for a wedding day – we think we may have introduced a new partner to this marriage and created a menage a trois!

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Clean Reserve have the distinction of being the first fragrance brand to reach the finalists of the US CEW Eco Awards this year, with the winners being announced in a couple of weeks time. With five fragrances in the collection at Space NK, you’re bound to find your own favourite combination, so why not go and explore?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Sunshine and rain: 10 new scents to put a Spring in your step, no matter what the weather’s doing…

We don’t know about you, but recently our coats, woolens and winter-weight duvets have been off and on again more times than Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Some days we truly can believe that Spring has sprung, as sunshine beams through the buxomly bursting buds of magnolia trees and even the most sullen faces twist into something resembling a smile; the next day it’s back to gale-force winds, grey skies and constant drizzle. Spring may have sprung, but it’s bouncing about all over the place!

To carry on regardless of the weather, we sometimes need a bit of optimistic wish-fulfillment in our scent choices – the kind of British pluck that got us through several wars, allows us to merely tut at cancelled trains and can bally well help us pretend the sun IS constantly shining and yes it IS warm enough to go outside without legs permanently encased like sausages in 200 denier tights, thank-you-very-much. Here’s our selection of scents to put the Spring back in your step: no matter what the weather’s doing, there’s something to match your mood through sunshine and showers alike…

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Ultra-talented British perfumer Lyn Harris presides over an exquisite new boutique perfumery that’s the fragrance equivalent of visiting an Haute Couture atelier. Offering bespoke, hand-blended unique perfumes alongside an ever-changing seasonal collection of ‘ready to wear’, the latest trio features this delectable concoction of ylang ylang absolue, vetiver, angelica grain and vanilla bourbon. Cool like the first drops of rain yet rounded with a fluffiness somehow; the bouquet of jasmine, orange flower and iris is fused with the fresh air top notes and a tenderly whispered amber musk of a base. The stunning hand-blown glass bottle is an investment for sure, but refills are available for £170.

Perfumer H Rain Cloud £320 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it in-store at Perfumer H

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Using ‘headspace technology’ – an ingenious contraption that’s basically a high-tech bell-jar hooked up to an incredibly powerful smell-analysing computer – Vilhelm truly capture the heady scent of a live lilac veritably humming with sunshine. In the language of flowers, lilac spells the unfurling petals of first-love that blooms into full blown passion, an affair we would definitely want to be involved with while wearing this perfume…

Vilhelm Parfumerie A Lilac a Day £145 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Liberty

Molton-Brown-Dewy-Lily-of-the-Valley-&-Star-Anise-Eau-de-Toilette_bottle_KEJ183_XLOh-so-pretty lily of the valley is blended with creamy magnolia and delicate peony to gather a dew-drop sprinkled bouquet that sparkles with a cool freshness on the greyest of days. Unusual notes of green mandarin and white tea are punctuated with flecks of star anise and a lingering softly musky sandalwood dry-down that lingers mistily. [NB: You can try a sample of this in the Molton Brown Art of Fragrance Discovery Box!]

Molton Brown Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise £39 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at John Lewis

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A celebration of Calabrian bergamot, this is truly sunshine in a bottle – we defy you not to smile at the first spritz. Continuing with their far longer-lasting versions of Cologne, the citrus tang is definitely the main story here, but with waves of jasmine, ambrette, lavender and deeper notes of vetiver and oak moss radiating joy.

Atelier Cologne Bergamot Soleil £90 for 100ml Cologne Absolute
Buy it at John Lewis

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Part of Bronnley’s Eclectic Elements collection, this pulses with life – one moment a woodland with fresh foliage licked clean from a rain-shower, then hints of sunshine peeking through the clouds with a glisten of orange flower. The leather, amber and incense base add depth to the green woodiness as you follow the trail through shady glades and patches of brightness. We’re impressed with the stylish modern packaging and pocket-friendly price, too.

Bronnley Wild Green £35 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at House of Fraser

Spring_CoralSumptuously fruity in a grown-up cocktail way, this glows likes little jewels scattered across a treasure-strewn beach. Grapefuit gets the sparkle going, buoyed by blackcurrant buds and orange blossom and shot through with bright tuberose and lemon for extra lift. Tempered by tea, gently spiced with pepper and grounded in a musky base, it’s a not-too-sweet treat to make your mouth water.

Michael Kors Coral £39 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 15.01.05Inspired by the original Marc Jacobs Splash collection, fans will be overjoyed to know that four scents are making a come-back for Spring 2016 (expected on-counter in May), including one of the most popular – Rain. Exuding the unique ‘petrichor’ smell that fills the air just after a downpour, we have freshly cut grass and flowers bathed in water drops together with strawberries and celementine and a more tropical storm of a heart with passion flower, white orchids and base of burnished teak dusted with a powdery white musk.

Marc Jacobs Rain £38 for 100ml
Buy it at Debenhams in May.

product_9202869bBursting with just-peeled mandarin this sings from the bottle with sheer happiness – a vibrant and mood-lifting fragrance to reach for when going outside is just too grim to imagine. Energising grapefruit joins the citrus accord, and given a creamy sandalwood base on which to rest. Part of their Jardin de Vie range launched earlier this year, the fragrances are all-natural and suitable for vegans, too. [NB: Why not try this sunshine-scent at home as part of our Exquisite Essences Discovery Box?]

Weleda Agrume £19.95 for 50ml eau naturelle parfumée
Buy it at Weleda

496-3004064-LEDP13_MA sublimely cool, calm and collected infusion that surprises with a peppery opening of bergamot, coriander seed and carrot seed, it’s the orris-rich heart – complemented by a bouquet of exotic white flowers: jasmine, magnolia and osmanthus – that will fully sparkle to seduce you. The base soothes with aphrodisiac Tahitian vanilla bud wrapped up in warm amber, the smoky coolness of vetiver ensuring it never tips into over-sweetness. Enveloping yet utterly refined, the rich base retains its elegance on your skin throughout the day, in warm weather or foul. [NB: Explore a sample of this among others in our Secret Scentsations Discovery Box]

Ormonde Jayne Vanille d’Iris from £90 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Ormonde Jayne

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Philosophy are known for the prettiest bright and breezy line of fragrances and matching scented body products, and with the very latest perfume (launching April 27th), they seek to capture the true scent of those carefree, sunny days (several in a row, perhaps!) we so long for at this time of year. Notes include the fizz of bergamot, a gentle dune rose, the creaminess of sandalwood infused with rich cocoa absolute and a splash of refreshing coconut water. Solar musks give a lift to the delicious vanilla lingering in the base, and frankly we think you should spritz this with abandon, put on your coolest shades and treat yourself to an ice cream in anticipation…

Philosophy Pure Summer Grace £33 for 50ml eau de toilette
Exclusive to John Lewis from 27th April

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Cire Trudon’s new Cyrnos candle conjures the smell of Empress Eugenie’s sun-drenched villa…

‘Sunshine and showers’ seems to be the phrase most often escaping the lips of weather-forecasters of late – yes it may be fully Spring time in the UK, but sunshine is most definitely not guaranteed. Thank goodness, then, for the consistently stylish scented offerings from Cire Trudon (who know a thing or two about candle-making, having been at it since 1643) – the latest being ‘Cyrnos‘ (which translates to ‘Corsica’ in Ancient Greek), presented in the most sunshine-y yellow glass holder we think we’ve ever seen, it truly seems to glow before it’s even been shown a flame. From the vibrant colour, you may imagine it to be a highly citrus-fragranced affair, but read on, for all is not quite what it seems…

Cire Trudon say: ‘Between 1850 and 1914, the French Riviera was the place to be for the intellectual and political elite. Ruling families, intellectuals, aristocrats and artists travelled there there to enjoy the practically guaranteed sunshine during there during the winter.

Empress Eugenie, Napoleon the 3rd’s widow, fell for this small corner of paradise. In 1894, she built a villa – named Cyrnos – in Cap Martin, located near Monaco. The name was a tribute to the Bonapartes’ homeland, her late husband’s family. Drenched in sun, and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the villa is set in an idyllic stage. The limestone rock made the garden’s construction particularly difficult, only achieved through strong will, and lots of dynamite. The Empress’s ambition was to create a park that looked as though it had always been around. Cyrnos, Cire Trudon’s latest creation conjures the solar beauty, the dazzling scent, and the art of living in this truly unique place.’

With her penchant for landscapes harbouring contrasting plants and their multitudionous scents, the Empress finally achieved this vision: mature pine, olive, and palm trees fringed by wide-ranging flowerbeds full of colour amid the arid landscape typical of the region. The smell of cystus, myrtle, mastic, and rosemary fill the air, mixing with the lavender blooms carried from the garden. Though she lived mostly alone, the Empress hosted any number of prominent monarchs at the time, such as Queen Victoria, as well as avant-garde intellectuals types like Jean Cocteau.

Gorgeously vibrant and uplifting, the sunshine is captured in Cyrnos not through the obvious choice of citrus, but with sun-warmed herbaceous wafts of loveliness that follow you around the house all day, and have us wishing for a personal invite to that all too tempting-sounding villa itself…!

cire-trudon-cyrnos-candle-bCire Trudon Cyrnos candle £70
Buy it at John Lewis

Written by Suzy Nightingale

L’Occitane celebrate 40th anniversary with (pre-launch!) discovery of Violette & Rose De Mai

To celebrate an amazing 40 years of their existence, L’Occitane are offering you the opportunity to discover the brand new limited edition fragrance – Violette & Rose De Mai.

Fragrant fans of L’Occitane who join them in stores on Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th April (tht’s next week, folks) will be treated to a sneak-preview of the Spring-fresh new perfume before it even launches. What’s more, each customer buying any full size L’Occitane fragrance on the day will receive a gift worth over £20*. Tempting? We thought so…

Exclusively created by perfumer Violaine Callas for the Chelsea Flower Show, the scent seeks to capture ‘…the essence of Provence in a single spritz. The fragrance delicately opens with soaring notes of bergamote and rhubarb, paired with citrus orange. The heart unites the powdery violette leaves to the graceful Rose De Mai from Grasse. A warm base then rounds off this delicious scent, leaving behind a woody trail of santal and musk.’

With stores nationwide, find your nearest L’Occitane by clicking here. We wish you a happy sneaky-sniffing session and hope you enjoy!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

* Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Official launch date nationwide: 21st April

4160 Tuesdays launch IndieGoGo project – The Mystery of the Materials: Four Scented Stories

‘We do things differently, here in London W3…’ Sarah McCartney, founder of independent perfume house 4160 Tuesdays, explains. ‘All our fragrances have a story. This year we want to bring out four new editions; eaux de parfum each with its own mystery story, inspired by the classic crime novels of the 1930s.’

Having successfully reached out to the fragrance community and many long-time fans of her distinctively quirky scents, last year saw the crowd-funded Crimes of Passion collection selling out and winning awards. Crowd-funding has become popular over several online platforms recently, with small companies and independent entrepreneurs reaching out for public support to give them a much-needed initial cash investment they then use to fulfill  project they could otheriwse only dream of, with those initial investors receiving a number of bonuses or gifts in reward for their belief and support. Fragrance expert and vintage perfume aficionado Barbara Herman also used this technique to launch her Perfume X range of vintage-inspired fragrances, which were composed by Antoine Lie.


Last year, 4160 Tuesdays launched seven fragrances to evoke ‘unexpected acts of devotion’ and included Dirty Honey, which won the EauMG Best Indie Scent 2015; Maxed Out having been one of Lucky Scent’s Top 12 Perfumes of 2015 and currently in the running as one of the finalists for The Fragrance Foundation‘s 2016 award for Best New Independent Fragrance; along with yet another of the series – Midnight in the Palace Garden – also having made the final list of nominees.

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This time the collection is entitled The Mystery of the Materials: Four Scented Stories, and each will be themed around specific 30s style mysterious tales that Sarah has written, with a specific perfume and specific ingredients in mind.

The scented stories are enticingly described as follows…

The Search for Flora Psychedelica
The story: ‘A tale of botany and skullduggery.’

The scent: ‘A blend of rare flowers with intoxicating spices and herbs.’

The Mystery of the Buddhawood Box
The story: ‘Horatio Kimble had sailed for Australia to seek his fortune. Twenty years later, his lawyers invite the relatives to a meeting.’

The scent: ‘Four distinctive woods, with a note of multicoloured opalescence.’

Up the Apples & Pears
The story: ‘Cissy and Dotty Shuttleworth defend their London pub from an unscrupulous property developer.’

The scent: ‘Autumn fruit in a tiny London orchard.’

Captured by Candlelight
The story: ‘When the lights go out at Dolderbury Hall a portrait goes missing, but which one was it?’

The scent: ‘Traditional plum pudding, covered in brandy and set alight, with a background of oak panels and oil paintings.’

Those who invest in the scheme can contribute from as little as £5, with a range of benefits and bonuses available varying from a signed, bound book of the stories, a specially reduced price of the perfume, and sample sets of the finished scents.

Talking about the sliding scale structure of investment in such schemes, Sarah said:

‘We’re starting with a very affordable dip of the financial toe, right down to a deep plunge of a bespoke service, story and scent. Perfume is an unusual thing to buy before trying, so we’re doing sample sets to reduce your risk, but there are great incentives to take a chance on buying before you try them.We’d love to invest in more amazing materials which you don’t find in big brand fragrances; we’re a tiny company so crowdfunding makes it possible. If some of these scents sound exciting to you, join in! We’d love your help to invest in interesting materials and to use them to create something marvellous…’

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Sarah’s ‘wish list’ of ingredients:

Australian Buddhawood
Boronia flower absolute
Granny Smith apple creation
Colombian enfleurage lily and gardenia
Natural pear creation
Brandy CO2 extract
Absinthe essential oil
Artemisia essential oil
Davana essential oil
Hemlock essential oil
Broom absolute
Hazelnut CO2 extract
Oakwood CO2 extract

If you’re crossing your fingers and hoping it all goes ahead so your favourite-sounding scent gets made, never fear. Says Sarah: ‘We shall definitely be making the perfumes, no matter how many people join in; but the more supporters we have, the more of these lovely materials we can acquire, and the more beautiful our story books will be. We’re also planning a rather interesting launch event…’

We’re duly intrigued and shall be keeping an eye on further crowdfunding schemes in fragrance world – a fascinating way that fans of smaller, independent perfume houses can directly invest in the purveyors of their perfumed delights.

If you’d like to get involved or find out more, visit 4160 Tuesdays IndieGoGo page.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

For National Perfume Day, show off your ‘shelfies’ to The Perfume Shop… we’ve shown them ours, now let’s see yours!

In celebration of National Perfume Day on Thursday 14th April, The Perfume Shop are urging fragrance fans to show off their ‘shelfies’ – photos of their scent collections – by posting images on Twitter, mentioning @theperfumeshop and using the hashtag #wherewillittakeyou.

We know many of you have cabinets simply groaning with the weight of your collections (some of whom we feature in our #ShareMyStash section of our award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter!) or perhaps are begining to build up a more moderate, carefully curated perfume wardrobe and still want to show that off, too.

Well of course we wanted to get involved and took a snapshot of our very own in-office ‘shelfie’ to post them – something we add to and update constantly as we never know what mood our noses will be in on any given day. Fancy a sneak-peek? See below…

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Having shown you ours, we’d love to see what you share with them – and please do get in touch if you think we’d like to come and sniff out your very own scent collection – we’re always on the look out for more to feature in the magazine!

The Perfume Shop will be celebrating National Perfume Day with in store activities, a 10% discount in store all day and a fragrance giveaway for the best shelfie with the hashtag #wherewillittakeyou.

For more information, visit The Perfume Shop, on Twitter @ThePerfumeShop, or via their Scents blog.

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Written by Suzy Nightingale

Etro to weave a touch of luxury with Shantung at Liberty

Etro are one of those word-of-mouth fragrance ranges doing marvellous things under the radar – interesting perfumes beautifully packaged, but whispering about their charms rather than shouting from the rooftops.

Inspired by and named for exotic regions, traditional patterns and luxurious fabrics, they are whimsically unique poetic perfumes and fit perfectly into the brand’s fashion-led history of delicately intricate yet impactful designs.

Etro say: ‘A textile of words, a landscape of colours, a whisper of iconic style in each perfume. Each essence evokes a new place, a new frame of mind, the rediscovery of forgotten myths and memories… a treasure trove of associations, words, colours, moments and memorable places. Abandon convention, the challenge is rediscovery: the sensuality of a floral bouquet, the nocturnal notes of wood and spice, and, above all, the unique nuances that speak to individual style. This originality and unconventionality has characterised the entire Etro perfume collection for a quarter of a century.’

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Founded by Gimmo Etro in 1968, the house is built on a lifestyle concept with exquisite materials being their mainstay, and perhaps most widely known for their use of the paisley pattern – since 1981 a motif the brand has cleaved to and made their symbol.

The latest to join the expanding fragrance collection (now burgeoning with over 25 fragrances) will be  Shantung – a symbiotic relationship with the scent being exclusive to Liberty in the UK – a store known for their love of luxurious fabrics. Inspired by the beautifully rich yet flowing silk, Etro give the scent a kind of sub-heading of ‘Fairie Flowers’ – a reference to the gossamer-light touch of peony woven through with a sheer rose, fresh mandarin, blackcurrant and cedar with the whole composition kissed by the softness of cashmere woodiness in the dry-down. Launching in the coming weeks at Liberty, we think this will be a fragrance to transition you through from Spring and right through the warmer months of Summer ahead…

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Etro Shantung £118 for 100ml eau de parfum
Exclusively in-store at Liberty

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Mr Burberry – new fragrance by Francis Kurkdjian lifts the fog with steamy film directed by Steve McQueen

The Burberry raincoat is an iconic British fashion piece that’s stood the test of time – and with good reason in our intemperate climate prone to ‘April showers’ the whole year ‘round. The scent of rain (termed petrichor, fact fans) has been done before, but for the brand new Mr Burberry launch the so-called ‘enfant terrible’ of perfumery and in-house nose for the brand, Francis Kurkdjian, has captured another weather element…

‘It’s fog,’ he explains of the scent he created in conjunction with Burberry Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey; ‘a London fog in which nothing is defined, everything is blurred, and you can see only the shapes of things. It’s unexpected, an energy that embraces the skin of the man who wears it.’

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We refuse to trot out the threadbare phrase of ‘modern classic’ but with a gasp of grapefruit tempered by soapy clean cardamom and herbaceous tarragon, the opening certainly smacks of traditional style gentlemen’s Colognes, before plunging into a smokier heart of birch leaf, nutmeg and cedar with a final fling of vetiver, sandalwood and guaiac wood.

With one of the greatest living perfumers on board to bottle perhaps one of the best-known luxury clothing brands in the world, it was only fitting for the director of the ad campaign to be something special, too. And so Burberry rolled out the red carpet to welcome Oscar-winning director of 21 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen, for his advert directorial debut.

Click the video below to see for yourself why this fragrant film starring actor and musician Josh Whitehouse and model and actress Amber Anderson is getting viewers a little hot-under-the-collar…

Portraying the fragrance and embodying the brand itself in his short film shot in London (some of the steamier scenes in a suite we recognised from another fragrance launch we’d attended at the Cafe Royal), McQueen states, ‘I wanted to convey the idea of two people who are passionately in love… It’s that moment in a relationship where all you are thinking about is each other, and all you want is to be with each other.’ We were so happy to see some truly tender moments in the film – sadly not something often witnessed in men’s fragrance adverts when it’s all about thrusting adrenaline-fuelled adventures – so bravo to Burberry and Steve McQueen for that, too.

MrBurberry-fragranceMr Burberry launches later this month, from £48 for 50ml eau de toilette
Available at Burberry concessions and Burberry.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Adventurer & inspirational guest speaker for Davidoff Horizon, Levison Wood shares his five favourite smells (NOT including bush rat…)

A full-time explorer and writer who served for ten years in the British Army and led expeditions over five continents, Levison Wood could have been forgiven for putting his feet up and giving in to the lure of the sofa. Instead, he began a quest to travel on foot through some of the most extreme and remote terrains in the world – encountering tigers, poisonous snakes, plunging several hundred feet off a cliff into the jungle and a cannibalistic monk along the way!

With two successful TV series dogging his every step – Walking the Nile and Walking the Himalayas – and books to accompany those series, Levison now dedicates his life to photographing and documenting ordinary (and extraordinary) people and cultures around the world, and constantly challenging himself, pushing himself ever onward to further adrenalin-fuelled adventures.

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Who better, then, to appear as an inspirational speaker at the launch of the brand new Davidoff fragrance for men – Davidoff Horizon? The stunningly shot marketing campaign features deserts, sandstorms, swooping eagles, mountains and close-ups of Italian model Simone Bredariol looking picturesquely sweaty. The fragrance itself is as earthy as Cool Water was aquatic, with airy top notes of grapefruit, rosemary and zesty ginger before plunging recklessly into the heart and base of vetiver, patchouli and a rich cocoa absolute cocooning the blend like a reassuring hug.

Levison is surely the epitome of a modern-day adventurer who manages to be ruggedly handsome (Levison squirms with embarrassment if this is ever mentioned, and it’s mentioned quite a bit as you can imagine…) and bristling with vitality, while also being incredibly funny and down to earth. We were delighted when he agreed to talk to The Perfume Society about his five favourite smells – an interesting mixture of the rugged and sublime, as we discovered.

Levison Wood: my five favourite smells are…

1: Frankincense – Definitely my favourite. It reminds me of travelling the Middle East. Whenever I go there I pick some up to bring back with me, it’s so reminiscent of the places I’ve been, and I never get tired of it.

2: Jasmine – I’m a big jasmine fan, love the stuff. Especially when you see (and smell) it growing in the wild. Just gorgeous.

3: Freshly cut grass – A nice English answer, that, isn’t it?! It reminds me of Spring, and playing cricket at school, that sort of happy memory.

4: Campfire – The wood smoke, that feeling of sitting around the campfire at the end of a long day, sharing stories and laughing. Whisky essential!

5: Toast – Obviously. It’s that morning smell! I have it just with butter, or perhaps with Marmite if I’m feeling really indulgent. Better than Bush rat with maggots any day…

Davidoff_-_Horizon_-_125ML_-_AED_360_-_with_packagingDavidoff Horizon from £34 for 40ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Charlie & The Chocolate Olfactory – 7 Easter scents for cocoa addicts

We could have begun by saying ‘instead of an Easter egg this year, why not treat yourself to a new fragrance…?’ But sod that, life is too short: buy the choccy egg AND the perfume. For those of us who not only enjoy the softly yielding slide of chocolate as it melts in our mouths, but would quite frankly like to bathe in the stuff, it is to the Gourmand family we turn – pulses quickening, pupils dilated and ready for the dose of dopamine (a pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter released by the brain when we eat – or perhaps even smell – chocolate).

Indeed, scientific researchers have concluded that chocolate doesn’t have to be eaten to stimulate that hit of happiness and promote a sense of wellbeing – it seems the mere whiff of chocolate alone may lead us by the noses to react favourably to a situation. A team of scientists led by Lieve Doucé at Hasselt University in Belgium conducted a study that involved releasing the scent of chocolate in selected bookstores, and noting particular changes in their customers purchasing habits. The scent was subtle yet strong enough to be noticeable, and dispersed for half of the shop’s opening hours. Apparently customers not only spent longer browsing the shelves, on average, but spoke to the staff more frequently, too. Published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, their conclusions were that ‘…customers were 2.22 times more likely to closely examine multiple books when the chocolate scent was present in store, compared with the control condition.’ Sales of books related to food and drink along with romantic novels reportedly increased by a whopping forty percent, suggesting a sniff of chocolate had a direct influence on the genre of books they were buying, too.

It seems that smelling of a chocolate-like fragrance could well have you perusing bookstores and being more loquaciously friendly, while also being more romantically inclined – a win-win-win situation if we ever heard it. Though perhaps make time to eat some chocolate, as well. Just to be doubly sure, you know…

 

10014163Inspired by Mugler‘s childhood memories of fairground smells, this candy floss, caramel and chocolate concoction was groundbreaking when first launched in 1992 – often cited as the first true ‘gourmand’ – and retains that power to this very day. Once sniffed, never forgotten, it’s the much copied mixture of berries and patchouli that cuts through the sweetness and swaggers onwards for hours, years, miles…

Thierry Mugler Angel £50 for 25ml eau de parfum
At Boots

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Originally released as a limited edition for Valentines Day it quickly sold-out, and when chocoholics across the pond began demanding it from American perfume retailer Luckyscent, indie-perfumer Sarah McCartney took the hint. Made with an intense dose of pure cocoa absolute mixed with a touch of strawberry, the sugar’s cut through with a tart tingle of bergamot. It’s the next best thing to writhing around in a huge box full of reassuringly expensive chocolates while being dusted with cocoa powder, but don’t let us stop you trying that, too.

4160 Tuesdays Silk, Lace & Chocolate RRP £40 for 30ml eau de parfum (currently on offer at £24)
At 4160 Tuesday

anima-dulcis-arquiste_1024x1024Redolent of dipping just-cooked cinnamon-dusted churros into an unctuously glossy pot of chilli-spiced chocolate sauce, wearing this perfume conjures colourful Mexican festivals and sultry dances that sashay long into dawn. The unmistakably carnal tang of hot-body-like cumin and night blooming jasmine lend a distinctly animalic edge that could well lead to other dopamine-inducing activities, we feel duty bound to warn you.

Arquiste Anima Dulcis £125 for 55ml eau de parfum
At Bloom

photo 4There are times when one wishes to smell as though you have glided straight from a couture catwalk – an immaculately put together, properly grown-up lady with clicky heels, a perfect coiffure and very likely carrying one of those handbags that snaps shut with a terrifying metal clasp. I’m not going to lie to you – this is not the scent for that occasion. But yet there are also times when one wishes to smell like a Bourbon biscuit (yes there are, be quiet ye snobs) and revel in childhood memories of licking the spoon clean of cake batter and then skipping giddily around the garden dressed as a fairy on a sugar high. And this is my incredibly pocket-friendly guilty pleasure for exactly those kind of days.

Al-Rehab Chocomusk £1 for 3ml perfume oil
At Al-Rehab

photo 1Milk chocolate aficionados are sure to love the cocoa absolute mixed here with meltingly creamy Brazillian Cumaru wood, infused with marzipan-esque tonka bean, smoothed with comforting vanilla, gently warmed by an amber accord and wrapped in a silver foil-like white musk. A sophisticated way to enjoy your favourite treat, we suggest informing the family they can cook their own flippin’ Easter banquet if they want it, and ramping up the pleasure of freedom while wearing this, retiring to a velvet chaise lounge with a good book and a bar of chocolate, the better to indulge your frivolous side. And don’t forget to lock the door.

Parfumerie Générale Musc Maori £81.50 for 50ml eau de parfum
At Les Senteurs

Dark-Chocolate-LOF-Hero.jpg_1024x1024Sometimes you need a scent that simply does what it says on the tin (or, well, bottle) and The Library of Fragrance excel in this, with a huge selection of perfumes made to be worn alone or layered-up to create your own bespoke blend. Perfect for those who wouldn’t dream of purchasing a bar that doesn’t scream 80%, shudder at the mere mention of white chocolate and raise an eyebrow while silently judging those who prefer the milky blends; here’s a hit of satisfyingly chocolate noir. You needn’t fear an overdose, either, as the formula’s subtle enough that it can be re-sprayed whenever the need arises. Layering suggestions include trying it with their Musk scent for a crisp white sheet freshness, or with the Fig for a fruity finish; but a favourite combo is dousing with Frankincense for a smoky incense wallow in chocolate as a spiritual awakening.

The Library of Fragrance Dark Chocolate £15 for 30ml eau de toilette
At Bootsphoto 2If you have ever experienced lifting the gilded lid of a beautifully packaged box of Charbonnel et Walker‘s Sea Salt Caramel Truffles, you’ll know the smell can immediately transport you to a world of soon-to-be satiated lust. Chocolatiers to the Queen, no less, we imagine HRH doesn’t leave these hanging about the place too long, and bet they don’t make it to a Tupperware container, either. Nothing is more disappointing than lifting that lid only to find the sad rustle of empty paper casings because some blaggard has beaten you to it, so huzzah for Shay & Blue founder Dom De Vetta for enticing perfumer Julie Massé to create this photo-realistic longer-lasting fragrant interpretation of the addictive cocoa confection. Caramel and bourbon vanilla rock on the precipice of sweetness before being dashed through with a hint of freshly-hewn sandalwood and an ultra-intriguing definite note of the salt crystals to set your taste buds salivating.

Shay & Blue Salt Caramel £30 for 30ml eau de parfum
At John Lewis

Written by Suzy Nightingale