How to buy fragrance at Christmas? Where do you even begin? Well, right here with The Perfume Society‘s everything-one-click-away guide! From nervous noses to designer divas and scented gents or even fussy family or friends.
Christmas is always the most scented season, but present-buying panic can set in (we all know the feeling), so we’ve collated a guide to help you start (and finish!) your shopping right now…
When you’re not sure exactly what scent to get them for Christmas, or are sick of giving loved ones the same old thing, our overwhelming feedback from happy customers suggests a Discovery Box is definitely the way forward. Bursting with luxurious and often hard-to-find mini, try-me size scents and decadents beauty extras, each box is specially curated around a theme or with a particular kind of perfume-lover in mind.
At The Perfume Society, we’ve something to suit everyone, no matter how picky about perfume they are! From designer name divas to scented gents about town, millennials desperate to discover what suits them best and those keen to branch out with something different – see how many gifts you can tick off your shopping list in one fell swoop (and all from the comfort of your sofa/desk/bed…)
The perfect treat or gift filled with a curated edit of those fragrances we believe men simply must have, this collection of male and unisex fragrances features globally adored best sellers and just launched scents from THoO, Jeroboam, DSquared2, Paco Rabanne, Bentley, Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace & Initio! Those wishing to expand their collection will delve and get ready to be truly addicted to their new favourite fragrance(s)….
Featuring fragrances chosen to make your gift recipient feel truly special (particularly for someone who’s had a tough time and deserves to feel their best again) this box is bursting with newness from Floral Street, Comme des Garçon & Caroline Herrera, plus the incredible artistic beauty of Sarah Baker Parfums. Let them dive into the best scents the fragrance world has to offer (and extra pampering treats for the colder weather from Skinsense and Stories Parfums).
Know someone who’s been seriously stressed? (Maybe even YOU deserve a treat?) Recent world events have left us a little off kilter, so here at Perfume Society HQ, we decided to put together the perfect gift box of fragrance to help everyone achieve a better sense of equilibrium. We’ve brought together fragrances that have been purposely designed to induce a sense of calm and help cope with all life has to throw at us, perfumes for grounding us in natural surroundings, and there are also scents for boosting inner strength. Click on the link to discover each item individually…
For the most suave and chic of your perfume-loving pals, here’s a box that swaggers with charm and sophistication. Filled with fragrances from some of Britain’s finest brands – both classic and utterly contemporary names – to help them find their new fragrant passions. Indulging in these voluptuous, classic scents and new launches all from within the UK will keep them feeling confident (and let them know how much they are loved!) Smart…sexy…elegant – this is a box that has it all, and then some, in scent appeal.
The majority of British schools have now broken up for the summer holidays, with some having even broken up earlier due to the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing here. Having worked through perhaps the most challenging few academic years in our lifetime, we can practically hear the sighs of relief from teaching staff the land over! If you’re a teacher, we think you deserve a treat far greater than an apple, so over the next few weeks we’re matching scents to teaching subjects and encourage you to explore and indulge at will. Today’s lesson is…
Scented Subject:Geography suggests earthy scents, and yes those loamy, wild-roaming fragrances can be found in this selection, but we’re thinking more laterally, with houses who are inspired by world travels, wild landscapes, and fragrant foraging.
Founder and perfumer, Sonia Constant, finds inspiration ‘From my travels – flowers, trees, arid landscapes, humid places. Everything I encounter can be an inspiration.’ For this one, we journey to ‘…an impenetrable jungle some 160 million years old’ in Thailand, ‘watered by the monsoons and the mists of the Andaman sea. Sonia continues: ‘At daybreak, the mist rises to reveal the floral, transparent freshness of the white flower-filled forest borders, and exhales moist, green and woody perfumes. Unseen in the distance, the gibbons impose their presence on this mysterious awakening with their characteristic early-morning calls.’
‘Scotland has some of the most complex geology in the world and this scent is inspired by metamorphic rock that is spectacularly woven into the landscape,’ explains founder, Imogen Russon-Taylor. It’s complex, fusing black pepper and tobacco, incense, minerals and rose absolute, metamorphosing on the skin as it’s warmed to reveal a base of amber resin and leather. And in this one, you might make out just a splash of Islay malt whisky – a nod to Imogen’s own history, here.
Inspired by her innate love for Italy, talented perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek created Amorosa as a perfumed paean to the country she so proudly declares her passion for. Literally translating as ‘a woman in love’ this is an intriguing new take on a floral that feels like a love affair with the landscape itself. Yes, the notes are classic at heart – but it’s the fascinating opening that particularly sets the senses tingling: Mouth-wateringly juicy watermelon paired with the fresh green sap-like note of galbanum and violet leaf, while the heart proffers a bouquet of white flowers and tender blossoms, beckoning you forth to the final layer of woody musks and exotic amber.
A sublime portrait of the apricot-y bloom, this is inspired by a trip to ‘a tropical mountain shrouded in mist.’ We sense sunsets, a gasp of geological height and grandeur, in a scent that very slowly unfurls itself as it warms. Curls of fog clear to reveal a forest far below, the resinous scent of verdant vegetation and grounding woodiness rising to meet you, the osmanthus swathing your skin in a leathery embrace. Calming, mysterious, transcendentally beautiful – a voyage for the senses, no matter where you are in the world.
With so many olfactive options, we had to split our Father’s Day gift guide into two parts (for the first fragrant list of suggestions, click here); this second-half focuses on curated selections that showcase the entire range from a single house, or perhaps highlight their all-time classic best-selling buys. With scents ranging from cool and contemporary to smooth and sophisticated – spanning new niche names to much-loved designer favourites – there truly is something for all tastes…
Utterly unique duos of these cult fragrances combine a man-made aroma-molecule with naturals that boost that main scent. Rebels of the perfume world, founded by maverick perfumer Geza Schoen; Escentric Molecules allow your lucky gift-recipient to share a journey of fragrant exploration via their brilliant Discovery Set. Try each of them in turn, compare the FIVE pairs, and find out why this continually innovative house are set to blow your mind…
The Escentric Molecules Discovery Set includes FIVE duos x 2ml samples.
Escentric 01 – the Iso E Super molecule features heavily, with the remaining formula using ingredients ‘designed to underscore its low-lit mood.’
Molecule 01 – the ‘partner’ to Escentric 01 contains nothing but Iso E Super – a single ingredient
Escentric 02 – vetiver, synthetic musk, Muscone plus powdery orris, elderflower extract and hedione
Molecule 02 – unadulterated Ambroxan
Escentric 03 – a tribute to the more familiar side of vetiver: its dark, slightly exotic woodiness.
Molecule 03 – Vertiveryle acetate, a refined vetiver note is celebrated at its purest
Escentric 04 – pink grapefruit, rose and pink peppercorns
Molecule 04 – a seriously room-filling sillage of smooth sandalwood
Molecule 05 – consists of the molecule Cashmeran pure and singular
Escentric 05 – dry, radiant, warm and woody with a touch of pine resin
Created in 1978 out of an intrepid travel-inspired couple’s dream, Banana Republic went on to become a GLOBAL FASHION BRAND. Now, they bring us an oh-so-cool, niche-inspired fragrance collection. Developed with perfumers such as Claude Dir and Patricia Choux, to mark significant dates and personal memories for the brand, though incredibly affordable, they certainly don’t compromise on quality, and have seriously impressed us at Perfume Society HQ!
Neroli Woods – with oodles of neroli and orange blossom, evoking holidays to the South of France (1.5mleau de parfum)
17 Oud Mosaic– a mosaic of internationally-beloved aromas
78 Vintage Green – leafy and green, it captures the fantasy of travel and freedom
90 Pure White – transparent yet sexy, with a blend of musk and lavender
Inspired by the exotic escapism of world travel and enjoying long summer evenings somewhere in the tropics, these unique fragrances capture the very essence of adventure (and the adventurous spirits of those who choose to wear their scents). Yes there are florals, but this niche house are unisex, and they’re composed with such a freshness, it’s as though the salty ocean air carries the fragrance on a scented, balmy breeze. And we happen to know they smell amazing on men’s skin!
Vanille & Tabac Noir – This alluring scent captures the magic of sunset evenings. Sensual notes of tobacco flower and vanilla blend with hints of patchouli, cardamon and basil in a scent that swirls with rich, delicate spices.
Frangipani & Neroli – A scent that will sweep you away to white, tropical sandy shores. This exotic fragrance blends smooth, honeyed notes of frangipani with the delicate freshness of neroli.
Tuberose & Wild fig – A rich, indulgent fragrance that captures soul-reviving sun-warmed evenings. Enchanting tuberose is combined with earthy notes of wild fig and hints of vetiver and cedar wood to create this inescapably romantic scent.
Tuberose Absolute & Sandalwood – This is the scent of exotic and unforgettable nights. Intriguing tuberose combines with rich leather and sandalwood in this intoxicating, utterly addictive fragrance.
White Jasmine & Gardenia – An exquisite floral fragrance that captures a feeling of joyous freedom. Soft, white petals of rich jasmine, gardenia and peony come together to create this unforgettable scent
Founded in 1730, Floris is still operating out of its original premises, run by members of that same family, creating beautiful fragrances for men and for women…We have long adored Floris at Perfume Society HQ and with creations here ranging from crisp citrus to rich and woody, we are so excited to share this Discovery Collection containing five cult classic, completely timeless fragrances he simply has to try.
Special No.127 – a refreshing citrus blend of bergamot and orange with petitgrain introduces the heart of lavender and geranium.
Limes – a vibrant burst of the lemon entwined with lime blossom, neroli, and lily of the valley, sustained by a musky base.
Cefiro – crisp lemon and lime, punctuated with bergamot and mandarin, warmed by spicy notes of cardamom and nutmeg.
Neroli Voyage – opening with a citrus burst of neroli and lemon, complemented by marine notes and enlivened by spicy notes of ginger and aromatic fennel seed.
Leather Oud – the freshness of new leather compliments the smoky aspects of the oud oil and geranium at the heart.
Co-founders Sarah Blair and Jeffrey Darling have long collaborated in writing, design and film. For them it was a natural step to take that into fragrance – a wearable art form. With full-size bottles designed by the legendary Pierre Dinand, each fragrance resembles an anatomical model of the human heart, featuring Australian sandalwood as a signature written in scent. So let him dive in – and see which fragrance draws his heart closer.
Clear Heart v.1 – Australian summer: surfing, swimming, hot days, cool breezes and the salt that hangs in the air promising more.
Black Heart v.2 – Smoky. Impolite. Dangerous. It’s smoky heart of mysterious spices is shot through with shards of fresh eucalyptus and citrus to create an impolite mix of opposites.
Red Heart v.3 – Explosive. Seductive. Addictive. A composition of feijoa, tuberose and spices with sensual notes of musk and vanilla.
Gold Heart v.4 – Nurturing. Precious. Ancient. An exotic warm breeze that wraps around to protect and nurture.
Purple Heart v.5 – Brave. Instinctive. Triumphant. Inverying the olfactory pyramid by opening darker and then brightening
Pink Heart v.6 – Mingles on the skin with the spiciness of the sumac accord and cistus absolute for a mesmerising ride.
White Heart v.7 – The ethereal and sharp opening of French lavender, aldehyde and cardamom coolly invite us into the vast landscape of love.
Our sense of the smell is the most powerful emotional link we can trigger – and Memoize London set out to create a collection of scents that did much more than simply make you smell exquisite. As they explain, when smelling a fine fragrance, ‘the merest hint of something familiar can trigger a special memory or wonderful moment in our lives that we treasure forever.’ Using scent as a journey, the Light collection is an invitation to clear the mind and enhance the soul. One for stressed-out peace-seeking chaps, perhaps…?
Castitas – The essence of purity, honesty and innocence, to remind you of your purest moments.
Industria – The essence of strength and perseverance, the tenacity to fulfil your hopes and dreams.
Caritas – The essence of generosity, charity and kindness, to remind you of the goodness held within.
Temperantia – The essence of calmness, modesty and great wisdom, reminiscent of that moment of pure calm and tolerance.
Patientia – The essence of patience and tranquillity, the endurance and resilience to stand firm and strong.
Humanitas – The essence of kindness and compassion, wraps itself around you like an old friend.
Humilitas – The essence of modesty, humility and grace, aware of your greatness, without the need to prove it to the world.
White Castitas – The essence of great honour and integrity, your body and soul are cleansed, your mind is clear.
Asking the simple question ‘how do you feel today?’ is the starting point of this personality-led, unisex perfume collection. This collection beckons him to ‘go within’ and celebrate his complexities through scent. Face up to dark and provocative thoughts or dare to daydream, using his emotions as a guide. But, say the house, we are complex beings, and we do not always feel one emotion at one time; so artistic types are especially drawn to expressing themselves by layering these intriguing fragrances.
Devious – inspired by the poisonous effect you can have on your own mind when over-indulging in dark and devious thoughts
Fantasist – a fantasia of delectable treats and mystical promises from distant and otherworldly lands
Infatuated – an ode to the all-consuming feeling and whirring thoughts of a lovelorn teenager endlessly daydreaming of unrequited love
Libertine – imagining a palazzo in Venice, home to Casanova – the most famous libertine of all time, with a note evoking his favourite exotic tipple, known as ‘cordial orgeat’
Nonchalant – inspired by Josephine Baker, the first black film star, world renowned dancer, bisexual, wartime spy and American expat living in Paris, who is still the epitome of timeless, glamorous cool
Realist – follow a monk’s journey up a mountain and capture his enlightened spirit by inhaling the smell of the crisp mountain air and forest trees
Sincere – inspired by the sincerity of a mother’s love
Virtuous – taking its inspiration from the words of Dante: ‘Beauty awakens the soul to act’
Offering close encounters of the fragrant kind, wannabe astronaut or space-mad dads will go on journeys further than they ever dreamed possible with this unique collection! Planetary Scientist, Astrobiologist and perfumer Marina Barcenilla created four transportive fragrances, combining her love for science and skills as a perfumer, each of them existing in their own scent universe. Showcasing this way of travelling the solar-system with our sense of smell, these are undeniably quirky yet utterly wearable scents that are bound to be a talking (and sniffing) point.
Ground Control – black hemlock, cedars, spruce and fir trees. The heavy smell of sap hangs in the air.
Moon Walk – the serene landscape in fragrance form – a world of sparkling dust and silvery mountains.
We are the Martians – the alien, metallic and dusty smell combined with home comforts astronauts crave.
Out of this World – from planet Earth to the heart of the Milky Way via saffron, raspberry and rum.
Hailed for their strong visual aesthetic and their portfolio of award-winning skincare formulations, MALIN+GOETZ made a natural progression into the world of fragrance via a range of hand-made candles, long-lasting perfume oils and progressive fragrances for us to enjoy on our skin. Experience the entire collection of eau de parfums in one beautifully packaged discovery set which includes the following six fragrances…
Bergamot – a citrus orchard in bloom, with the spice of bitter fruit, bell pepper and ginger, with undertones of earthy musk and woody notes.
Cannabis – rich and herbaceous, with soft, floral notes of muguet and magnolia, on a base of earthy cedarwood, patchouli and sandalwood.
Dark Rum – a refreshing dark and spicy aroma, sweetened with plum and bergamot, with notes of leather, rum and creamy milk.
Leather – a formula of muted florals with smooth leather while rustic wood notes call to mind the softness of a well-worn vintage find.
Stem – luscious notes of green hyacinth, muguet, mandarin leaves, and green elements from wild freesia, all softened by a trio of modern musk molecules.
Vetiver – a combination of fresh citrus peel twists that are warmed by savoury celery seed, amber and guaiacwood.
When describing types of fragrance, the term fougère can seem bewildering – both the meaning and how on earth to pronounce it.
French for ‘fern-like’, you say it ‘foo-jair’ (with the ‘j’ a little soft – almost ‘foo-shair’), when you think of a fern’s smell, what comes to mind? Whatever you think of, that smell memory is quite likely to have been influenced by Houbigant’s Fougère Royale – created in 1882 by Paul Parquet, and much copied by those who clamoured to achieve a measure of its success.
While we might imagine a shady-forest smell emanating from a fern, the majority aren’t fragrant to any great extent. And although the ingredients so key to Parquet’s original accord – oak moss, geranium, bergamot and (most notably) coumarin – are now collectively referred to as ‘fougère’ (often with lavender or other aromatic herbs thrown in for good effect), it’s the alchemy of the perfumer recreating that ‘natural’ smell memory: the whole woodland seemingly wafting from the bottle.
Some time before Parquet’s fragrant foragings, ‘fern mania’ was sweeping the nation, and it caused an amount of worry when women began wandering, sometimes alone or – worse! – gambolling with groups of young man in the woodlands, in search of their charms… What business had women convening with nature outside of their perfectly manicured cottage gardens? Well, ‘Pteridomania’, meaning Fern Madness or Fern Craze was the term for this frenzy, coined in 1855 by Charles Kingsley in his book Glaucus, or the ‘Wonders of the Shore’. In it he sought to reassure anxious parents:
Your daughters, perhaps, have been seized with the prevailing ‘Pteridomania‘ … and wrangling over unpronounceable names of species (which seem different in each new Fern-book that they buy) … and yet you cannot deny that they find enjoyment in it, and are more active, more cheerful, more self-forgetful over it, than they would have been over novels and gossip, crochet and Berlin-wool.
So – society’s nerves soothed and the morals of females intact – the time was ripe for fern fragrances to unfurl; but it took a unique olfactory discovery to kickstart that particular perfume craze.
It was the extraction of coumarin – one of the first synthetics to appear in perfumery – which made the fougère such a landmark scent. But how many people outside the industry would be able to describe coumarin’s smell? Not many, I’m guessing.
Coumarin is found in tonka beans and cinnamon, but also occurs naturally in bison grass and green tea. It’s classed as a ‘lactone’ – (milky, skin-like) – a complex molecule that’s the scent of sweet hay drying in the sunshine with a slight waft of warm horse; a cold glass of fizz sipped on newly-mown grass, a fine cigar fresh from the humidor, a warm cookie dunked in cold milk. All of these things and not one in particular: the scientist’s hand working in harmony with the artful perfumer to create a magical realism. Because the true skill of a perfumer is to take ingredients and transform them into something we think we already recognise, sparking those scent memories and creating new ones to fill the gaps.
In fact, Parquet was called the ‘greatest perfumer of his time’ by no less than Ernest Beaux, the creator of Chanel No. 5, and was the first to truly understand and appreciate the use of synthetic aroma materials in fragrance composition. Previously used as mere substitutes for naturally derived raw materials, Parquet saw a chance to deploy them as unique smells in their own right – adding structure, poetry and space within perfumes that sought not to mimic the natural world but to add to it, to improve on perfection. And so the fougère fragrance family was born.
Traditionally seen as a scent for the chaps – possibly sporting tweed and a monocle – in fact Guerlain’s masterpiece of Jicky, launched in 1889, is a more ‘feminine’ fougère (the first unisex scent, too) which ramped up the crackle of dry lavender, adding sweetly mown hay and toasted almond-like flourishes of coumarin. More recently, we’ve seen an increasing number of gender-fluid fougères striding forth – perhaps chiming with our collective urge to ‘return to nature’ during the pandemic; or simply an urge that preceded Covid-19, a perfumed riposte to political unease?
Whatever the reason, the resurgence of the fougère is to be celebrated. Cooling on steamy days, comforing in more inclement weather, these are the type of scent to boost your spirits while patting your hand and telling you everything’s going to be okay. Wander into the woodland yourself, awhile, and try these fougères – from classical forest to contemporary fairytale…
Houbigant Fougère Royale A sprig of herbs carefully tucked into the lapel of a herringbone jacket, the olive from a dry Martini sucked in a slightly lascivious manner while they’re looking the other way. £130 for 100ml eau de parfumlibertylondon.com
Guerlain Jicky Somewhere between breakfast and midnight, fog-shrouded moorland; pale wool blanket clutched close, bare feet on flagstones, forbidden hipflask swigged reading Wuthering Heights. £96 for 100ml eau de toilettehouseoffraser.co.uk
Yves Saint Laurent Kouros Freshly-scrubbed and shining with smooth words and practiced simplicity, but clean sheets cannot hide the indiscretion and animal instincts of the night before. £50 for 50ml eau de toilettetheperfumeshop.com
Creed Viking Cologne A bountiful burst of freshness leads to explorations of verdant landscapes re-awakening; geranium, herbs, lavender and nutmeg atop glacial lakes reflecting shinshine. £175for 50ml eau de parfum creedfragrances.co.uk
Milano Cento HIM A woodland wander with someone dashingly Italian (who knows not to wear sandals with socks), the citrus breeze segues to an herbaceously dappled grove and aromatic amour. £49 for 100ml eau de toiletteroullierwhite.com
4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard Ferns pressed between pages of a diary, love letters tied in faded ribbons, a lipstick kiss on a foxed mirror, silk scarves with the faint tang of a gentleman’s Cologne. £55 for 30ml eau de parfum 4160tuesdays.com
Partere Run of the River A bare-foot meander through clover-strewn lawns, budding freshness in the air, lemon-thyme and clary sage encricled by a languorous caress of incense and oakmoss. £95 for 50ml eau de parfumparterrefragrances.com