Abercrombie & Fitch break the mould with new men’s launch First Instinct

Abercrombie and Fitch have been a brand synonymous with gorgeous boys, polo shirts, muscly abs and horse riding, but not any more. To go with a brand new look they have in store, all slick shirts and modern cuts, they’ve released a new fougère fragrance for men, First Instinct.

Inspired by the fearless male, perfumer Phillipe Romano created First Instinct with the hopes of blending a contemporary fragrance that took the fresh facets of fougère scents and combined them with the warmth of ambrées. And what he produced does just that.

First off, it breaks the mould with an unusual top note of melon; fruity notes are uncommon in male fragrances, and with good reason, but this melon blends beautifully with a gin and tonic accord to make for a sparkling and refreshing opening. Clean and crisp on the nose.

Moving on to an inviting heart of green and slightly aqueous violet leaves, there’s a touch of citrus that adds evermore to the freshness of the whole affair, it later trails off with a spicy but soft black pepper. The base is rounded off sweetly with cashmere woods, warm and rich amber, and sueded musk.

Housed in a sleek textured glass bottle that gives the affect of rippling water, we can picture it perfectly on the neck of a sea swept and sun-kissed man. We urge you to have a sniff.

Abercrombie and Fitch First Instinct £30 for 30ml eau de toilette
At Selfridges

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Do you suppose your ‘toeses’ could be ‘posies of rosies’…? It’s a tongue-twister come true with Margaret Dabbs wild rose scented polishes (and we want them ALL!)

As children, we used to endlessly repeat tongue-twisters, one of our favourite (of course it would be flower themed) being:

“Moses supposes his toeses are roses,
but Moses supposes erroneously;
for nobody’s toeses are posies of roses,
as Moses supposes his toeses to be…”

We’re not sure from whence the rhyme originally sprang, but it was clearly from the mind of a scented beauty visionary, for now your ‘toeses’ can indeed be ‘posies of roses’. Or, well, at least they can smell like roses while being painted in an array of sumptuous nail polish shades, in a veritable bouquet (over seventy in the collection, so it’s a BIG bouquet) of rose-scented, floral-themed colours and names, by the hands-down Queen of ‘Fabulous Hands’ (and feet), Margaret Dabbs.

Margaret Dabbs says: ‘Themed around the names of English flowers, the 72 beautiful shades of polish take inspiration from the wonders of nature. The soft, light pastel tones of spring-time jasmine and apricot blossom contrast delightfully with the classic, rich winter-time reds of crimson rose and poinsettia. Vibrant summer shades such as fuchsia and gerbera daisy give the range a vivid diversity of colour, which will guarantee the perfect finish to your manicure.’

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Using a unique formula personally created by Margaret ‘to promote nail health and vitality’, vitamin E strengthen and protects the nail bed, with wild rose botanical extract not merely there to smell pretty – it reduces inflammation, helps prevent infections and (the best bit, for us) leaves the oppulent, lasting scent of wild roses on the nails long after the polish is dry. Free from potentially harmful indredients such as formaldehyde, toluene or DPB, Margaret assures the formula is so good for your nails that they’ll remain healthy – even after removing the varnish.

As you know, we’re always ready to get our noses into products that use scent in a unique way, and this summer we predict many a beach, garden or pool-side will witness scenes of people sniffing their manicures (and pedicures, if they’re flexible enough!) Instead of supposing they have heatstroke and need to be taken indoors for a glass of water and a nice lie down – now you know they’ll simply be enjoying the scent of wild roses (on their toeses)…

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Margaret Dabbs London Nail Polish £14 each

Buy them at margaretdabbs.co.uk and Margaret Dabbs London Clinics.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Culture, bottled: pants, punk and pre-Raphaelites – eight shows to see and scents to wear there

At The Perfume Society we happen to fall firmly in the camp of perfume as an art form to be celebrated in its own right – a myriad of cultural and language crossovers in the areas of music and fragrance being particularly prevalent; with top, middle and base ‘notes’, perfumer’s ‘organs’ with their raw materials arrayed as the keys of an instrument, ‘accords’ and olfactory harmonies now standard references in scent.

Colours and painting, too, have their scent story to tell, with any number of world-famous noses experiencing the multiple layering of senses (people who ‘smell’ colours and musical notes, for example) known as synaesthesia – a subject we have previously explored in great depth within our Scented Letter magazine, indeed devoting an entire issue to the subject.

We’re blessed with a rich tapestry of diverse cultural events around the UK, and this summer promises a spectacular line-up of shows, festivals and arty comings-together with a little bit of something for everyone. As any ‘fume-head’s nose knows, one must always scent appropriately for the occasion (indeed, many of us pick our perfumes before we get dressed in the morning), and this set us wondering which perfumes would be best for culture vultures to wear at the panopoly of entertainment on offer in the months ahead….

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Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones – 5 April-4 September 2016, Saatchi Gallery

Their musical cavortings now – incredibly – span 54 years, and this lively exhibition reflects on the vitality the Stones have brought to the music scene at large. Purporting to be ‘the most comprehensive insight into the group’ ever seen, it’s even got a sensory depth to plunge in to – should you wish…  the scent supposedly evokes the ‘revolting digs’ the band lived in before becoming famous. A heady blend of Tandori chicken (Mick’s dish of choice, apparently) and fish & chips (the other members’ preference) along with the distinctive scent of unwashed socks and – well, all manner of things, one supposes – it’s likely even die-hard fans wouldn’t want to splash that all over. Maybe go for a stylish take on nostalgia with this old-school perfume oil, instead? Not the headlong dive into a hippie shop one might expect, it’s the resinously smoky birch tar that takes centre-stage, here; joined by vanilla on in the base (on the bass?) to further soothe animal insticts.

Le Labo Patchouli 24 £95 for 30ml perfume oil
Buy it at Liberty

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Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear – 16 April 2016-12 March 2017, V&A.

Exoloring ‘the intimate relationship between underwear and fashion and its role in moulding the body to a fashionable ideal’, this major new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum proves an eye-popping extravaganza of all things racy and lacey. From historical under-crackers that could raise more than titter, to some of the finest examples of scanties ever seen, we could think of nothing more appropriate than the designer who made it okay to show-off your underwear as outerwear – breathe in and plump for this latest, lighter version of JPG’s powdery orange blossom and musk-laden perfumed paean to the powerful curves a corset can bring.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Eau Fraiche £67 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

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Scented Swimming at the Also Festival – 17-19 June 2016, Warwickshire

With a plethora of fascinating talks, banquets and ‘happenings’ lined up, including a Mini Beast Safari, Wine and Philosophy tastings, talks about trans-humanism, and cream teas in the orangery, there was already a lot to tempt us here. Add a perfumed book club over afternoon gin cocktails with our fragrant pal Odette Toilette, the rather lavish sounding promise of a ‘Scented Swim in Compton Verney’s stunning lake to the soundtrack of live classical piano’, AND one of Sarah McCartney’s perfume making workshops – we were sold. Of course you could eventually be weaing a scent you create yourself, but if you can’t bear to go bare, drench yourself with this British take on the Ambrée – a bright mix of citrus, jasmine, vanilla and cedarwood, it’s the scent of sun-kissed skin and happiness.

4160 Tuesdays Sunshine & Pancakes £90 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Roullier White

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Missoni Art Colour – 6 May-4 September 2016, Fashion & Textile Museum

Founded in 1953 by Ottavio Missoni and his wife, Rosita, they actually began by knitting tracksuits for the Italian’s 1948 Olympic team – a rather incongruous start for what went on to become an iconic fashion house noted for their flair for colour, patterns and intricately woven fabrics; but all becomes clear in this wide-ranging exhibition when you discover Ottavio was also a former Olymic athlete. Featuring a stunning central pyramid of fashion mannequins, and with abstract artworks and home furnishings, it’s a feast for the eyes. What else to wear than the colourful new Missoni scent, designed to be the finishing touch to any stylish outfit it’s a distinctly Italian confident concotion of bergamot, pear, jasmine and tonka bean with a woody, soft musk trail.

Missoni Missoni £42 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at The Fragrance Shop

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Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion – until 5 June 2016, Liverpool

Having graced many a student’s walls, don’t make do with the dog-eared blu-tacked posters – go and see the real red-heads and wanly pouting beauties in person. With over 120 major works by the masters including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the significance of being exhibited in Liverpool is explored with the history of the city’s Autumn Exhibitions – a tradition that allowed this most overtly poetic and literary inspired movements to flourish. To complete the picture? A spellbindingly beautiful re-working of rose (perfumer Dominic Ropion using an unprecedented concentration, here) with broad brush strokes of refined patchouli, powdered bezoin, a sprinkle of cinnamon, smooth sandalwood and a glistening bunch of ripe berries fresh for the plucking.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady £145 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges

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Bees (And the Odd Wasp) in My Bonnet – 18 March-29 September 2016, Oxford

Not merely vital as pollinators for the thousands of flowers and other naturally sourced materials the majority of fragrances still rely on, but for the survival of the human race itself, artist Kurt Jackson has long been obsessed with the litle buzzers. Ever since he first enrolled as a student of Zoology at the University of Oxford, Jackson has focused on bees, wasps and other pollinating insects as his main source of inspiration; and together with his various canvases, sculptures and prints, the university have loaned some of their extensive archival collection to support this exhibition, and highlight the true importance of these creatures we cannot take foregranted. It had to be honey-laden scent, of course, and bolstered by the darkly glimmering magnificence of oudh and a delightfully tempered, lightly musky dry down – this one has it in oodles.

Floris Honey Oud £160 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Floris

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Glastonbury Festival – 22-26 June 2016, Somerset

The day after legendary musician Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, the idea for the first Glastonbury Festival was born – the date of the (originally free) musical shin-dig was moved to coincide with the Summer Solstice, and 1971 saw an estimated crowd of 12,000 enjoy performances by Hawkwind, David Bowie, Joan Baez and Fairport Convention among others. It’s fair to say the numbers have increased somewhat since those days, but it’s still an absolute British institution on the live music scene, and with Adele, Muse, New Order, Coldplay and ZZ Top announced for 2016 so far, it’s set to be a record-breaking year. Another British institution is the almost inevitable torrential rain an ensuing mud-bath. We say, be ahead of the crowds and drench yourself in this before the heavens open, with cool ‘petrichor’ notes – that unique smell straight after a downpour – somehow captured in scent; it’s sure to refresh even under extreme circumstances.

Library of Fragrance Rain £15 for 30ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots

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Punk.London May 13-September 19 2016, London

We bet you’ll be joining us in stocking up on safety pins and sprinkling your rubber trousers with talc for this year-long celebration of perhaps the most subversive – and influential – youth-led cultural movement in living history. Showcasing fashions, music and art that were all integral to making punk so iconic, and images of rainbow-coloured mohawked teens as synonymous with the image of London around the world as a red bus; it’s a joyfully exuberant yet important doccumentation of a genre that continues to break boundaries. With the BFI Southbank screening a selection of contemporary films starring, among others, the now Grand Dame of punk, Vivienne Westwood and Ari Up, lead singer of The Slits; it might be that you Boudoir-it-up with one of Westwood’s fragrance collection. However, for a scent that really embodies the shake it up and shock ’em nature of the scene; we tentatively suggest this adrenaline-infused fragrance. Never a house to pull back from the edge, it’s a blend of arousal-inspired accords on a bed of orris, opoponax, coconut and musk. Devisive as the spirit of punk itself, it’s a love or hate you’ll not forget in a hurry…

Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques £70 for 50ml eau de parfums
Buy it from Les Senteurs

Written by Suzy Nightingale

BeauFort London continue the intrepid scent adventure with Lignum Vitae…

BeauFort London are one of the most intriguing brands we’ve seen in a long time, so imagine our excitement on discovering they’ve just released their latest fragrance – Lignum Vitae – into the wild blue yonder of the perfume world.

Having first encountered them before they’d even properly launched, sometimes you get a sixth-sense tingle the passion behind the perfume will carry a new fragrance house way further than they’d perhaps ever have imagined. This was certainly the case when we first got our noses around the unique triptych of fragrances that began their story – really, quite unlike anything else around, the ‘fume-heads, bloggers and fragrance-buying public agreed; with 1805 Tonnerre (featured in our Secret Sensations Discovery Box) subsequently chosen by Jo Fairley as the Most Exciting New Brand of 2015 in her Telegraph Online column; praised by big-name glossies and highly respected tomes such as the Financial Times, alike.

Although perhaps not entirely smooth sailing (what new company’s launch is?) appropriately enough, these firecely independent, historically inspired yet utterly contemporary fragrances – named for the famous Beaufort Scale of measuring wind strengths – are themed around the turbulent history and intrepid spirit of the British isles, maritime history and notoriously shady characters who have shaped them. It was clear this niche line had quite an adventure ahead of them – indeed they have recently been lauded by critic Luca Turin as one to watch – and with the brand new fragrance Lignum Vitae just launched, it’s another exciting scent trail we were keen to explore…

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BeauFort London Say: ‘Inspired by the innovative use of materials that allowed 18th Century clockmakers to construct the first truly accurate marine chronometers, Lignum Vitae combines elements of wood, metal and salt to produce a truly unique, transportive fragrance.

In combining unexpected and exotic raw materials, BeauFort London celebrates the innovative spirit which brought to an end the search for lost time, and permitted the safe passage of ships across the world.’

Discussing the various inspirations behind any BeauFort fragrance is like a masterclass in maritime history, literary appreciation and a philosophy 101 with a smattering of art criticism for good measure – but fascinating as these influences are, it’s important as ever to not forget the most important thing of all – what it smells like on your skin! Complex, perhaps even slightly unsettling (because of their singularity) to some, BeauFort are not about one size fits all crowd-pleasing sniff-alikes that put you in mind of such-and-such a scent you used to wear. So what does Lignum Vitae actually smell of…?

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An immediate tang of salty air melts mistily to the scent of madeleines still warm from the oven – a Proustian almost-but-not-quite gourmand sense that feels as though it’s going to get huge, but within a while segues seamlessly to a citrus-tinged, freshly-felled woodiness and the silvered glint of cold metal that keeps the whole concoction bouyantly uplifted. Tenacious in perhaps a more tender way than its predecessors, Lignum Vitae is one of those true ‘scent journeys’ on the skin as it warms and settles. Having sprayed this in the early afternoon we could still smell it the next morning, where now it had dried down to a close, warm skin scent that was comforting but with a wonderful whiff of weirdness to it that you cannot exactly place. It seems to constantly fold back on itself, somehow – you think you have the measure of it and then it switches again, still retaining an image of its former self but with a new layer to explore. There’s a point about an hour in, when all the various threads seem to mingle into an intricate knot – you can trace each one, yet they have transmogrified into a new creation…

Were we to draw a map of this fragrance’s journey, we could cite the salt on the breeze, sweetness wrapped within a shady forest, misty darkness, warm skin huddled close against cool, mossy wood and the ever-present, slightly melancholy but ultimately intensely comforting echo of sweetness, wood and salt that carry you onwards to the trail’s end.

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BeauFort London Lignum Vitae £95 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at beaufortlondon.com (or see their website for other stockists)

Written by Suzy Nightingale

New balls, please! Library of Fragrance launch Wimbledon-themed scents (including one inspired by the smell of tennis balls. Yes, really…)

Few things are more quintessentially British than the onset of Wimbledon season and a sudden glut of strawberries on the supermarket shelves. Along with the inevitable rain stopping play, crowds of super-fans on Henman Hill and a fleeting resurgence of faith in British sporting hopes, the scents of summer are definitely entwined with this great tradition.

Launching a limited edition trio of perfumes that capture all the excitement of Wimbledon, The Library of Fragrance announce that you, too, can now smell of Strawberries & Cream, Grass Court and even – hold on to your straw boaters – New Balls.

Oh yes indeed, never ones to shy away from olfactory oddities these champions of the unusual, literal or never-before-bottled notes are offering the whole experience as a spritz-able phenomenon. While New Balls may be a bit of a Marmite divider of opinion (but worth it even for the snigger-inducing name alone, or as a gift for a tennis-fan, we say); the other two do exactly what they say on the bottle – as with so much of this range – and are utterly wearable.

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New Balls
‘Celebrating the distinctive fresh-out-of-the can scent of new tennis balls, this cologne is perhaps best-reserved for die-hard match fans. Wear it on Henman Hill to feel closer to the action…’
£15 for 30ml Cologne

Strawberries & Cream
‘Fresh strawberries and a generous pour of double cream are the order of the day for this sweet, cool cologne’.
£15 for 3oml Cologne

Grass Court
‘Capturing the just-mown scent of the grass court, this happy, reviving scent is Wimbledon, bottled’.
£15 for 30ml Cologne

Available as limited editions for Wimbledon from Library of Fragrance.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Love to Smell? Nick & Pia launch new YouTube perfume channel, watch their teaser episode here…

Two of our favourite perfume people – fragrance expert Nick Gilbert [formerly Ambassador for Penhaligon’s and now freelance consultant] and Pia Long [perfumer, fragrance marketer and now freelance writer with monthly column in Perfume & Flavorist magazine] – are launching a brand new YouTube channel dedicated to all things fragrant, and have released a teaser-trailer to give a us a sniff of what’s in store.

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Appropriately enough, the channel is named Love to Smell, and the weekly show will encompass a plethora of perfume-related news, reviews, tips and tricks of the trade. Laid-back and totally approachable, their chatty style is immediately recognisable to anyone who’s met them before – and we love the fact they will only focusing on things they (again, so appropriately) love to smell. Have a peek of the show, below…

You can read a bit more about Love to Smell and why these two scent-obsessed friends have set it up: A knowledgable but friendly way to find out about new things to try – or remind you of favourites that have long been neglected – we loved this sample-sized trailer of what’s to come, and can’t wait to see the first full episode when it launches!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fragrance Foundation Awards: all the scents, winners and stars!

The 24th annual Fragrance Foundation Awards 2016 took place last night the garden-party themed Brewery in the City of London – and we had the very great pleasure of being there to see it all!

Hundreds of industry guests packed the venue in great anticipation for this prestigious event, so admirably hosted by Natasha Kaplinsky (who was also on this year’s judging panel for the Jasmine Awards). A host of celebrities including Callum Best, Oliver Cheshire, Sali Hughes, Jenny Packham, Laura Predalska, Lilah Parsons & were there to hand out the beautiful Lalique statuettes or simply to soak up the atmosphere and celebrate the incredible UK talent we should be so proud of in the perfume world. With a fabulous meal, Champagne flowing and entertainment provided by Kevin Simm – recent winner of BBC’s The Voice and ex member of Liberty X – it really was a night to remember, and that’s even before the awards were finally announced!

There were twenty award categories in all, with a great range of fragrance houses, both well established and newly emerging, being showcased – and to ALL the finalists in these hotly-contested and highly prized awards we send our heartfelt congratulations: it was an honour to be in a room with such diverse and equally inspiring brands and the hard-working people behind them.

Read on to find out who won a coveted Lalique Fragrance Foundation Award in each category…

Best New Female Print Campaign: Alaïa Paris

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Best New Male Print Campaign: John Varvatos Dark Rebel

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Best New Female Commercial Fragrance: Chanel Chance Eau Vive

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Best New Male Commercial Fragrance: Guerlain l’homme Ideal Eau De Cologne

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Best New Female Fragrance Design & Packaging: Alaïa Paris

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Best New Male Fragrance Design & Packaging: Alfred Dunhill Icon

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Best New Home Fragrance: By Kilian French Boudoir

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Best New Female Fragrance in Limited Distribution: Tom Ford Fleur de Portofino

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Best New Male Fragrance in Limited Distribution: Tom Ford Private Blend Venetian Bergamot

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Best New Independent Fragrance: The Perfume Garden India

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Perfume Extraordinaire: Armani Privé Sable d’Or

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Readers’ Choice Awards for Women: Leighton Denny Light & Dark Desire

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Men’s Health Magazine Readers’ Choice for Men: Dior Sauvage

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Best New Celebrity Fragrance: Rosie for Autograph Marks & Spencer

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Boots UK People’s Choice For Women: Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium

Boots UK People’s Choice for Men: Paco Rabanne One Million

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Retailer of the Year: Harrods

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Best New Male Fragrance: Dior Sauvage

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Best New Female Frgrance Marc Jacobs Decadence

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Ultimate Launch Award: Dior Sauvage

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…Phew!

Once again, massive congratulations to all the amazing nominees who made it that far – it sounds a tad clichéd, but we swear we mean this: you’re all winners in our eyes; and to the Fragrance Foundation for organising another wonderful event that was so enjoyed by all who attended. We can’t wait to see who’ll be up for nominations next year…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Penhaligon’s launch Luna – the new Goddess scent accompanying a deeper, darker Endymion for a moonlit romance…

Inspired by the mythical Goddess of the Moon, the latest fragrance from the proudly British heritage perfume house of Penhaligon’s is an Homeric ode to a silvery, moonlit romance.

Luna is an enchantingly mysterious floral that opens with freshness and then reminds us of sunsets slowly sinking into warmly misty nights sprinkled with twinkling stars, a glowing warmth to offset the cool, inky depth – oh yes, this moon has a dark side, too…

The Goddess is not alone, for her mythically inspired fragrance partner, Endymion, has been around for a while, but Penhaligon’s have ramped up the intensity to make him positively smouldering – how can Luna (or we?) resist?

Penhaligon’s say:Endymion is a firmly established part of the Penhaligon’s collection, and now we have launched a concentrated new version, an intense eau de parfum. Endymion Concentré is a luxurious interpretation of a classic, still a fragrance of contrasts, bright and sensual, light and dark, grounded by leathery suede; distinctly masculine and deeply romantic.

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“In ancient Greek mythology, Endymion, the most handsome son of Zeus, was placed into a perpetual slumber by the Goddess of the Moon so that she could gaze upon him forever, his stunning face unmarked by the passage of time. The wishes of the Goddess were granted, and Endymion slept on for all eternity, his smile everlasting. And no wonder, for he spent his life forever dreaming that he held the moon, Luna, gently in his arms.”

So to partner Endymion we created Luna, a new fresh floral offers a feminine counterpart to the woody leather notes of Endymion Concentré.  Inspired by the light of a magnificent crescent moon that brightens one’s dreams, this luxurious new fragrance captures the intoxicating spirit of the mythical Goddess of the Moon. Hypnotic and sensual, Luna shines up from the dark water, illuminating the ink-coloured night sky.  Opening with the bitter freshness of orange bigarade, the heart unfolds with the crisp lightness of juniper berry, rounded off with the sensuality of a dark woody base.’

A romance that we hope continues for years to come, this star-struck duo are stunningly packaged, too…

Luna £128 for 100ml eau de toilette and Endymion Concentré £120 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Penhaligon’s

Jean Paul Gaultier gets eau fraiche with Popeye & Betty Boop!

Every year, fans of Jean Paul Gaultier‘s Le Male and Classique fragrances are treated to a new incarnation of the iconic bottles – always dressed to impress and collected by ‘fume-heads the world over, we think the comic-book inspired duo of Popeye and Betty Boop bottles may be the cutest yet, and with a tonque-in-cheek advertising campaign to match!

From a sassy comic book called Spinach & Stockings to flick through online, to adorable downloadable postcards, we totally heart the high spirits of it all – so in tune with Gaultier’s own wink-wink humour and a paean to the originality and way-ahead-of-their time nature of the scents themselves, now getting eau fraiche with extra ingredients added to the juice for the (hopefully) warmer months ahead…

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‘A sexy fabric softener. A fragrance built on fabric softener accord; clean and fresh like an immaculate tank top ready to slip into. Created by perfumer Nathalie Gracia-Cetto. Neroli flower and mint enrich the base. Sage, a welcome and gentle gustatory ripple marries the Tonka bean, sandalwood and vanilla, the sensual base notes because a tank top is always sexy.’

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Mâle Eau Fraiche £54 for 125 ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

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‘A torrid, sugar syrup. An unusual blend assembled around white flowers created by perfumer Daphné Bugey. Ginger, indivisible from Classique, is found as an overdose of gourmand: crystalline, reminiscent of a lemon sorbet; sharp, yes, but sweetened with sugar cane juice. Sugar cane, with a sensual edge from the Labdanum Neo. Vanilla is also present. But musk has the final word and rushes to let the brain know we’ll be back for more.’

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Eau Fraiche £67 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Chelsea Fringe: Free fragrant talks, from Georgian perfume to the scented room and beyond…

Perhaps seen as a floral equivalent of the Edinburgh Fringe, The Chelsea Fringe Festival is actually entirely independent of The Chelsea Flower Show, though acts with its full support. Intended to extend the enjoyment of gardens and all things verdant to well beyond a show ground setting, there are all manner of events taking place around the UK (and beyond) to celebrate this year.

We were particularly excited to hear about a series of talks focusing on perfume, with subjects ranging from Georgian and 19th Century perfume, the scented room, and the simulation of nature in 20th Century perfume (the last in that list being hosted by our very dear friend, Lizzie Ostrom -aka Odette Toilette!)

Chelsea Fringe say:Stephen Nelson is a plantsman and perfumer who specialises in re-creating historic fragrances. As part of the Chelsea Fringe, Town House will host talks by Stephen Nelson, centred around the English garden and its direct link to perfume over the past four centuries.’

Stephen has been commissioned to create everything from historically accurate pomander beads to perfumed leather from the 16th century, an 18th century spicy pot pourri and a handkerchief scent from the 19th century.

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Working extensively within horticulture and running his own nursery, Stephen breeds a number of fragrant plants including pinks, lilacs and lavender – some of which have been featured in planting schemes at the official Chelsea Flower Show.

What’s more, Stephen personally cultivates many of the ingredients used in his historical perfume re-creations – including damask roses, patchouli, orris, verbena, lavender and many more – putting him in the unusual position of seeing the fragrance through from seed to finished scent.

Have a look at the full range of events happening around the country, as there’s bound to be one near you!

A number of the talks are taking place at the historic Town House in London’s East End, and the series there has been dubbed ‘Garden Extracts’. Here’s the scent-centric talks that we’ll be writing in our diaries – and we can’t wait to get (our noses) stuck in…

TUE 31 MAY, 14:30pm: Free
Perfume in Georgian London – talk by Stephen Nelson.

THU 2 JUN, 14:30pm: Free
The Scented Room – talk by Stephen Nelson.

SUN 5 JUN, 14:30: Free
20th Century Perfume and the Simulation of Nature – talk by Lizzie Ostrom.

Written by Suzy Nightingale