Left it too late? Last-minute gift ideas

That moment of mounting panic when you suddenly realise… you’ve left it too late to present them with a gift! Uh-oh. But hey, it’s okay – whether you’ve dropped the ball for Valentines day, an anniversary, birthday or any special occasion you absolutely meant to remember: we have the scent solutions!

Here are some ideas that you can ‘gift’ your recipient with immediately, no postage required – simply write them a lovely card and explain you’ve treated them to one of the following (with fragrant swag to follow). If they love to smell great, we guarantee they’ll be delighted…

 

Simply tick the ‘this is a gift’ box and give 365 days of fabulous fragrant activities with our Perfume Society VIP Cub Subscription for only £25, and they’ll receive the following exclusive benefits:

•  Six issues a year of our online/downloadable digital magazine The Scented Letter – (virtually) the only publication in the world devoted to all things fragrant…

Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.

•  Early access to tickets for all our events – meet with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world, attend in-store events, workshops, etc. (Our VIPs are first to hear about these.)

•  A special member’s discount on our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (normally £19 – but £15 to our VIPs)

•  Plus choose a FREE Discovery Box when you sign up (so they’ll get an actual present to look forward to)

 

For people who love print (we must admit to being partial – for longer features, especially), give them a year of fragrant reading with a Scented Letter magazine Print Subscription for £75. This multi-award-winning publication has been described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, so we are delighted that in addition to our digital magazine we can now offer this print subscription of The Scented Letter, delivered to your door and starting with the current edition. (For autumn 2017, we look at Fashion, Fabric + Fragrance.)

Appearing six times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, featuring at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more is bound to take you ever-deeper into the scented world. Click here for a sneak-peak at our taster issue!

In addition, we feature all the breaking scent news, interviews with ‘noses’ and other creators, alongside fragrant features by leading fragrance writers – from Thomas Dunckley (The Perfume Candy Boy) to Persolaise, via Viola Levy and our Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale. (If you’ve signed up as a subscriber, you will continue to receive access to the complimentary e-zine version.)

NB We are able to ship The Scented Letter overseas; please contact us for prices here

 


Who doesn’t like filling out some kind of personality questionaire? There are now a great selection of Scent-matching Personality Tests you can take for FREE online or in-store, so get them to do the quiz now and offer to buy a bottle later. Genius!

Molton Brown invite you to ‘Embark on an illuminating journey to discover the ideal match for your unique self.’ The profiling system, was created in tandem with trend forecasting and innovation agency The Future Laboratory, and you instinctively choose from a series of images, at the end of which you’ll discover which ‘psychological perfume profile’ you match. Everyone we know who’s tried it has found it an incredible experience, and it’s brilliant at selecting scents you may easily have overlooked yourself.

Penhaligon’s offer a visual feast to explore while answering simple questions, all illustrated in their delightfully quirky and so-iconic way, with prompts to choose between textures, places to visit and favourite thirst-quenchers. It’s fun and quick to answer the test, and somehow they really do expertly pinpoint your perfume personality type. At the end you’ll be presented with a selection of samples to choose from, which you can either purchase online or pop into a store to smell, before splashing out for a full bottle.

Experimental Perfume Club are brilliant at taking the worry out of picking a new perfume, and their recently launched LAYERS Lab in Selfridges features a fantastically acurate in-store app that allows you to create your own bespoke perfume! We wrote about the concept in more detail here, but basically, the LAYERS App asks questions before recommending 3 possible formulae. You can either choose from the selection or customise the fragrance further with the help of their Fragrance Curator. Once you choose your final blend, your unique fragrance is created in front of you. And, for the ultimate bespoke touch, you can choose a name for your fragrance and a personalised label for your 50ml bottle.

 

If they are really into perfume and want to learn more, we’re pretty sure they’d love to have a go at making their own on a Perfume Making Workshop. It really gives you an insight into how a perfumer works, and a new appreciation for their creations, and a number of courses offer differing experiences that make perfume perfume-lover’s gifts.

4160 Tuesdays offer a number of options for perfume lovers who want to go that step further and have a guided session of making their own, from an afternoon or full day workshops, right through to five day workshops for the really serious, and more technical courses for the more experienced and those who want to start their own house. They can travel to you if there’s a large enough group (great idea for a party), or you can visit their beautiful new studio in London.

Karen Gilbert is a perfumer who offers online workshops, live presentations and studio based courses for anyone interested in creating fine fragrances, natural perfumes or developing your own range of scented bath and body products. Signing up to her newsletter also gives you access to top tips on where to buy the best ingredients and materials you’ll need, and there are even free online taster sessions to get those creative juices flowing.

Cotswold Perfumery have been making perfume for over 50 years, run by chief perfumer John Stephens, who now invites the fragrance obsessed to indulge their passions in various courses and one-day workshops. Running throughout the year in a dedicated teaching room/laboratory at the Cotswold Perfumery in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water; ‘as well as learning the skills involved in developing and making your own perfume (to take home with you), you’ll get a unique insight into the life and work of John, one of only six independent perfumers in the UK.’

Whichever of these last-minute gift options you choose, it’s bound to be appriated by any perfume lover. Why not print out an I.O.U voucher to put in the card, as a reminder they will get an actual gift later on? Or you know, gussy up some lovely word to write in their card, add a bunch of flowers and put the date one week ahead in your diary for next year?

By Suzy Nightingale

Isn’t it time to ‘treat yourself?’

Listen, the signs and suggestions for V-Day have been in the shops the moment they cleared the tinsel and trees away, but if you’re not in a conventional romantic relationship – through choice or otherwise – we know you can start to feel sick of it all well before the box of half-price chocolates are opened.

So we say: don’t wait – why not treat yourself to some scented goodies this year? We have no doubt there are all sorts of reasons you should be kind to yourself, and things you deserve to celebrate. Managed to get through January without murdering anyone? That’s a win!

Here’s our edit of some fabulously fragrant ways to indulge

 

 

The Anima Vinci Discovery Set invites you to take a breath and re-connect, with scents showcasing ingredients designed to help you seek inner strength, peace and joyfulness – literally a monent to stop and smell the roses (or jasmine, ylang ylang, sesame, palo santo…). The creative expression of founder and industry expert, Nathalie Vinciguerra‘s strong belief in the power of fragrance and the positive effect it can have on your heart, mind and spirit, these perfumes have been created in collaboration with the world’s top ‘noses’. Think: Fanny BalThomas Fontaine, Michel Roudnitska, Christian Provenzano, Beverley Bayne and Randa Hammami – true experts and alchemists in the world of fragrance. Which one will you connect with first…?

Lime Spirit — Lime acts as a stimulating tonic for the mind and body. Lime pacifies your mood and boost brain power. It is a powerful ancient remedy for cleansing the aura and restoring self-confidence

Rose Prana — It benefits the heart chakra that is responsible for love, spiritual wisdom and mental clarity. Influences the central nervous system, boosts self-confidence, self – esteem and positive feeling. Strengthens the aura and stimulate the body

Jasmine Yang — Tonic and relaxant, it generates a positive reaction in the mind, enhances self-confidence, helps to change the mood and increase spiritual well being

Wood of Life — This elevating, soft, uplifting and sweet woody scent has been used for thousands of years for attaining illumination of mind, awaking self-love

Oud Delight — Illuminates the mind and fortifies the power of thinking. Increase the sense of strength, bringing in tranquillity, increasing cerebral functioning and strengthening the nervous system.

Tudo Azul — The potion to put a smile on your face.

Neroli Wisdom — A relaxing potion.

Sesame Chān — A potion to provide a zen state of mind.

Anima Vinci Discovery Set £20

Perfumer Emmanuelle Moeglin first developed workshops for frag heads to create their own fragrances in her open-source lab – then went on to conjure the Experimental Perfume Club Discovery Set, so scent lovers can now mix, layer or personalise their own bespoke blends at home . Genius! If you have ever wanted to ‘tweak’ a scent or are intrigued by making something unique to you – this is the perfect starting point. Each fragrance can be worn alone, or layered (with guidance) to get something completely new for you. Featuring SIX NICHE FRAGRANCES to layer, explore and learn, what a great gift to yourself to emark on an exciting fragrant journey…

Bergamot / Incense – Top Layer – citrus and exotic spices are brought together in this bright fragrance with Eastern influence.

Fig / Neroli – Top Layer  – the crunch of fresh herbs in a Mediterranean garden in bloom.

Jasmine / Osmanthus – Mid Layer – a tribute to white flowers growing on hot sand. Radiant, floral and exotic.

Rose / Rhubarb – Mid Layer – imagine rose bushes growing from a rhubarb patch.

Amber / Iris – Base Layer – an amber wrapped in powdery notes; dark yet soft.

Sandalwood / Musk – Base Layer – mineral sandalwood met with leather and musks. Mineral, woody and addictive.

Experimental Perfume Club Discovery Set £25

 

 

Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed created a stunning portfolio of perfumes reflecting her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. Created by renowned perfumer Carlos Benaïm, Amy’s collection – the Sana Jardin Discovery Set – offers sensuous, strong women-led scents with sustainability (currently a ‘buzzword’ in perfumery) at the heart of everything they do. We now invite you to delight your senses with the SEVEN very special fragrances in the line-up:

Savage Jasmine Night-blooming jasmine, wrapped around intoxicating musk. 

Sandalwood Temple Moroccan neroli oil, enveloped it in Atlas cedarwood, Haitian vetiver, creamy vanilla and East Indian sandalwood.

Tiger By Her Side Showcases Moroccan rose alongside Somalian incense and Indonesian patchouli.

Berber Blonde Filled with the light of Sana Jardin’s signature orange blossom, alongside Moroccan neroli oil and musk.

Celestial Patchouli Exotic aromas of patchouli, leather, cinnamon bark and Australian Sandalwood give way to the abundant warmth of rose, jasmine, osmanthus and Moroccan orris.

Nubian Musk A sensuously inviting blend of musk and vanilla, rose, jasmine, Moroccan grapefruit flower, Haitian vetiver and Australian sandalwood.

Revolution de la Fleur This is a sultry, sun-filled melody of Madagascan ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani, rose, vanilla and sandalwood.

Jaipur Chant Heady & Seductive Tuberose. Indian tuberose, the goddess of flowers, blooms in the still of night.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30

Vouchers to spend or fancy a change? How to find your new favourite fragrance…

If you have vouchers or Christmas cash gifts burning a hole in your pocket, or perhaps have been thinking about stepping outside your comfort zone and changing up your scent game for 2020, we have three simple steps to follow to find your perfect new fragrance.

With literally thousands of new launches every year, even we can’t get our noses around all of them! So, where to begin…?

At The Perfume Society, we’re here to make finding your next ‘new favourite’ fragrance a complete doddle. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be off on a fragrant journey of discovery…

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

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

2: Give yourself time
Now clutching your shopping list of scents to try, we cannot urge you strongly enough to allow yourself the time to live with them on your skin a while before making a snap decision either way. First sniff? That’s the top notes – generally something citrus-y and ephemeral – which can disappear within the first few minutes of spraying because the ingredients evaporate more quickly.

We find an hour is enough to give you a proper sense of what the perfume smells like on you. And if you don’t want to douse yourself head-to-toe (why on earth not? But each to their own) then spray on a blotter or ‘spill’ (long paper strip) to get an idea. But remember – it will only be an idea of the final scent. They were made to be warmed and worn on your skin, not paper, so will often smell very different (and better) on you. And your mood/the weather/food can all drastically alter how a scent smells on you, so ideally, come back and try each one a couple of times.

 

3: Make note(s)
It’s incredible where your mind can take you when sniffing something gorgeous. Perfumes are created to carry us away to somewhere, so where are your six scents taking you? Close your eyes, inhale deeply and then ask yourself questions such as:

  • If this scent were a fabric, would it be velvet, suede, leather or linen?
  • What colour does the fragrance remind you of?
  • If the fragrance were a piece of music, what instrument would be playing?
  • How does it make you feel? Happy, excited, relaxed, romantic…?

These are all questions we ask people at our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell workshops (keep an eye on these, we shall be adding new workshops for 2020 as soon as we can), and are based on techniques shared with us by the world’s top perfumers; but the more you make yourself think along these lines, the greater connection you’ll have to any fragrance you try.

Of course we’re aware that not everyone happens to live near a perfumery with a wide selection of names available, and sometimes it’s good to go for something entirely new – a fragrance you might have walked on by and never sniffed, believing it ‘just wasn’t your type of thing.’ We cannot tell you how many fabulous new fragrances we’ve found this way. And that’s why we offer The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes – curated collections of try-at-home samples and mini/travel sizes, along with some other gorgeous scented treats – all with links to instructive descriptions of the fragrances to help you follow the trail of each one you’re smelling. What’s more, we dedicate pages to each fragrance house, detailing their history, the faces behind the fragrances and their inspirations, so you can choose to explore more from them if you wish.

A great place to start is with our Launches we Love Discovery Box. We’re always asked: ‘Which new fragrances are you most excited about, and where can I go to smell them?’ We’ve put in the nose-work for you, gathering together the latest Launches We Love – with OVER A DOZEN FRAGRANCES to discover, there is truly something for everyone to fall for…

As well as our hand-picked selections, we also offer an ever-expanding range of Brand Boxes – try-me sets of samples that some of our favourite houses have put together, so that you can explore and experience several (or sometimes all!) the fragrances they produce. This gives you a great idea of their house style, and along with all of these tips, will give you a place to start narrowing down your search for that new scent – a perfume that’s truly perfect for you

Written by Suzy Nightingale

What to do…if you hate your perfume present? 7 tips to try before you cry!

Well firstly, ‘hate’ is a very strong word. If you’ve been landed with the favourite fragrance of your current partner’s ex, we’re not going to pretend to make you suddenly adore it, so maybe re-gift that one – see tip #7 – and treat yourself to one of our Discovery Boxes of fragrant delights, and perhaps a new partner, instead?

But there are things you can try before you completely ditch a scent – we can’t tell you how many fragrance experts (ourselves included!) and even perfumers have drastically changed their minds about a fragrance by trying some of these top tips…

#1 – Seasonal changes
Did you know that the weather, your mood and even what you ate up to *two weeks ago* can dramatically alter how scent smells on your skin? Skin and climate temperature are vital to a perfume’s performance, so even your favourite fragrance will smell different based on the time of year. When perfumers test the scents they’re creating they often use climate-controlled booths to check how they smell in hot and colder conditions (depending what countries they’ll be selling in). Don’t re-gift until you’ve tried the perfume again later in the year, or even on holiday – you can easily decant some into one of the wonderful Travalo bottles we sell, just for this purpose!

– Similarly, strongly spiced foods can change how a perfume smells on your skin, and when testing fragrances under lab conditions, the ‘skin model’ volunteers they use are often specifically asked to refrain from eating such foods up to two weeks prior to testing, so the perfumers can smell a ‘true’ representation of the scent. Though sometimes the reverse is true: if a fragrance is to be mainly sold in a country where people eat lots of spicy foods, the ‘skin models’ are asked to replicate that diet to ensure the scent works efficiently.

– We now know that mood plays an important part in how we select a fragrance – try a scent when you’re feeling a particular way, and it colours how you feel about the fragrance itself. If you’re feeling stressed or upset, a bit under the weather or just overwhelmed, these are not ideal conditions for testing out something new. Wait until you’re feeling calmer, or simply have more time to really explore what you’re smelling. That’s when you can try to…

#2 – Improve your sense of smell
Absolutely everyone can benefit from this – we’ve had people from normal perfume-lovers, complete novices to industry professionals telling us how trying these techniques have changed the way they smell for the better (for good). This doesn’t mean suddenly gaining the ability of being able to detect every single ingredient within a bottle of perfume, but rather learning to train your nose the way a perfumer does: by deeply exploring the emotions it makes you feel, colours, textures, places and people it reminds you of.

This is why we developed our so-popular How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops, regularly held in London and, sometimes at independent perfumeries around the UK (let us know if you’d like one near you!) We’ll be adding new dates soon, but if you can’t make it to one of these fun and fascinating afternoons, here are a few simple tips to try every day:

– Spray a scent on a blotter, preferably (you can buy books of blotters in our shop, if you need), close your eyes and keep sniffing for several seconds, then take the blotter away, inhale deeply, and re-sniff the blotter again. Repeat this for a minute or so, and then begin writing a few words in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be a description, and it shouldn’t ‘list’ notes – try to use words that make you think of other things. For example…

– If this scent were a fabric, what would it be? What colour? If you made someone an outfit from that fabric, who would they be, where would they be going?

– If it were a piece of music, what instruments would be playing? Is it classical, rock music, pop, rap or jazz?

Really attempt to get past thinking ‘I don’t like this’ and focus instead on the mood it’s creating. Is it too deep or too fresh or floral for your personal taste? Give it time and then, if needed, move on to one of the tips, below…

#3 – Layer up!
Layering fragrances used to be seen as a scent sin, but we’ve all gotten over ourselves a bit (well most of us have). You don’t have to do this to a perfume you already love on its own – why would you need to? – but there are brilliant ways of beefing-up a sadly flimsy fragrance, or adding a zing to something that’s a bit too dark or cloying on your skin. Give it a go, because, as we always say: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!

Add power: ramp it up by adding more base notes like patchouli, labdanum, vetiver, woods or musk.

Add freshness: look for citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).

Add beauty: find a scent too ‘harsh’ or clinical? Look to layer it with decadently velvety or lusciously fruity rose oils, the sunshine-bottled scent of orange flower, a heady glamour of tuberose or a luminescent jasmine; try an apricot-like osmanthus flower, the fluffiness of mimosa or the powdery elegance of iris/orris.

Add sweetness: vanilla and tonka bean can ’round’ a perfume, making it swoon on your skin (and addictive to smell), as can touches of synthetic notes described as ‘caramel’ or ‘dulce de leche’, ripe fruits, chocolate or even candy floss. Try to add less than you think you need, as adding more is always easier than taking away, and a little of these can go a long way!

For layering any of these, you can either try layering over other fragrances you have in which the above notes dominate, with a single-fragranced ‘soliflore’ (one main note) fragrance oil or spray, or try layering the scent you don’t currently like over a differently perfumed body lotion or oil (see below or the added benefits of doing this…)

#4 – Boost the lasting-power
If the reason you don’t like a perfume is because it just seems to ‘disappear’ on your skin, you’re not alone. We often find those with dry skin have this problem, and it’s even thought genetics and things like hair colour may play a part. Scientists are still finding this out, but while they do, there are ways you can make perfume last far longer:

– Try using a body oil, rich body balm or moisturising lotion before you put any fragrance on (and even afterwards, too), as scent takes longer to evaporate on nourished skin. This helps the fragrance ‘cling’ to your skin more easily, and so you get to actually smell if for more than a few minutes without frantically re-spraying.

– Spray pulse-points you might not usually think of. Behind your knees is a good example – it’s a warm spot that, once spritzed, will mean you leave a fragrant trail…

– Spritz the perfume at the nape of your neck, even into your hair and on clothes – BUT do check by spraying a tissue first that it isn’t going to mark your hair or fabric a strange colour, or leave an oily residue! We adore this way of wearing perfume, as hair and fabric are porous without heating up as much as your skin, allowing the perfume to stay all day.

Spraying a fragrance on to a scarf is a particularly good idea if you want…

#5 – A part-time perfume
There are days we feel the need to try something completely different, but perhaps don’t want to be stuck with that scent all day, so what to do?

– Consider spraying a scarf (preferably not silk or a light colour, unless you’ve patch-tested it as above, first!) with this perfume you’re unsure of, that way if it gets a bit ‘too much’ or you want to wear something different, you can simply take the scarf off and you’re not stuck with it on your skin all day.

Nope? Tried all that and still struggling? All is not lost, don’t give up yet…

#6 – Scent up your life
We all have certain scents or fragrant ingredients that, for one reason or another, we might not wish to wear but do like to smell if it’s scenting something else.

– Why not try spraying off-cuts of pretty wrapping paper or tissue paper, and using this to line your lingerie or sweater drawers?

– Or, how about being utterly fabulous by spraying your note paper and insides of envelopes (the fancy ones lined with tissue paper are particularly good for this), and writing a few actual letters or thank you cards to loved-ones you’ve not seen for a while. Everyone loves getting proper post!

– The truly decadent could try scenting table linen – again, PLEASE patch test, as above – for lavish dinner parties to rival Marie Antoinette – spraying on cotton wool and putting inside a deocrative ceramic or pottery vase, on wooden ornaments or ceramic discs you hang over radiators to scent the whole room as they heat.

We so hope you can find a way to try this poor perfume again and give it some love, but if all else fails and you still can’t bring yourself to use it, well at least you tried! Why not…

#7 – Have a perfume-swapping party / re-gift
Um, remembering not to invite the one who gave you that particular perfume… otherwise, major awks. Or, if you’re looking to re-gift, have a look at our brilliant Fragrance Finder. Simply put the name of the fragrance into the search box, and it’ll suggest six scents that are similar in character and style, or share a number of significant notes – this way you can see if anyone you know already has one of these, and it means they’ll very likely love to receive this one from you. Genius!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fragrant Reads we recommend: The Scent of You by Maggie Alderson

Writing about perfume, and smells in general, is one of the greatest challenges for a journalist/author: how to evoke scents, with words…? But over the years, quite a few have done so very, very successfully. And if you want to build a ‘perfume bookshelf’, to deepen your knowledge of perfumery, start here

As you become ever-more-obsessed (and we know how that feels), you may want to add to your collection – and of course, we’ll add to this section whenever new releases catch our eye. However, today we are wondering about gifts to give perfume-lovers when you’re not sure exactly what they own, but want to get them something you know they’ll enjoy. Or perhaps you’re looking to snuggle up with a good book yourself, to escape the madness of the season?

This week we have our noses stuck in the wonderful novel, The Scent of You

I experience the world through smell – I always have.’ So begins the perfume-inspired story by Maggie Alderson, and we couldn’t agree more. Maggie was actually inspired to write this novel by spending time in our own Perfume Society office, attending launches and meeting perfumers, learning the history of perfume and developing a burning passion for it along the way.

Central character, Polly, is a perfume blogger who loses herself in the world of fragrance while her own world falls to pieces around her – something many of us can empathise with. We love the fact Maggie was inspired to name her after falling madly for Vilhelm’s perfume, Dear Polly, and that she even created a blog and Instagram account for Polly to share her perfume reviews. Polly, having grown up surrounded by the beautiful perfume bottles of her ultra glam (ex-model) mother, and learning to explore the world by sniffing ‘…everything!’ she is now distracting herself with, among other things, ‘Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer.’ We’re rather wondering who this may have been based on, as that description doesn’t sufficiently narrow it down… Completely gripping, the story of a life in crisis and wonderfully observed, it’s a perfect holiday read for anyone who also experiences the world through smell (that’ll be most of you, then!)

Publisher: Harper Collins
At waterstones.com

We’d always prefer you support an independent bookstore rather than One-Clicking on Amazon – these indie stores can happily order most in-print books. However, in a super-busy world, we know it isn’t always practical. (And if you’re happy to buy secondhand – most titles are available via Amazon – this does often support smaller bookstores.)

Looking for out-of-print perfume titles in secondhand bookstores can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, meanwhile. If you’re in a hurry, we generally recommend abebooks.com, which links thousands of secondhand bookstores around the world, while Amazon can be a source for remaindered books.

Our Christmas gift for you: a FREE copy of The Scented Letter Magazine!

‘Tis the season and all that, so we would love to brighten up your winter days by giving everyone a FREE gift of our multi award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter!

The Perfume Society‘s The Scented Letter features our annual 19-page scented gift extravaganza, with a beautiful Venetian theme. In fact, we travelled to that city to research its fascinating scented heritage, from 1,000 years ago to today. Because despite being almost written out of the perfume history books, this unique city is once again reclaiming its rightful place in the fragrant universe.

For this 60-page issue of our Jasmine Award-winning magazine The Scented Letter we travelled to Venice to explore its fascinating scented heritage. Almost written out of the perfume history books, this unique city is once again reclaiming its rightful place in the fragrant universe. And is there a more romantic place to go scent-shopping, at Christmas or indeed any other time of year…? We think not.

Scroll down for a preview, or click here to read your full copy of A Venetian Christmas right away…!

• Bellissima! This seasonal edition also features our annual perfume gift guide extravaganza. Across 19 pages, we hand-picked perfect scented gifts for everyone on your list, whatever your budget

• For our cover story, Venice’s Perfumed Past, Jo Fairley follows Venice’s spice routes back in time – from 1,000 years ago, right up to today

• We also lead you by the nose for the latest in our occasional series, Scents of Place: Venice – your ultimate scented shopping guide to ‘La Serenissima’

• Sharing her aromatic life in Memories, Dreams & Reflections this edition is superstar make-up artist Ruby Hammer

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

Why not make yourself a cup of something soothing, put your feet up and bury your nose in a festively fragrant magazine for a while…?

(NB The Scented Letter is always free online for our VIP Club members – we send you a link to download or in flickable format to read online as soon as it’s published. OR, after much demand, you can order gorgeously glossy print copies, (which are sent out approximately 10 days after each new issue of The Scented Letter appears on the website. We work right up to the wire to make sure everything is truly newsworthy!)

 

 

Scented christmas trees & more from Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Maison Francis Kurkdjian has pulled out all the stops this season, offering new and exciting ways to scent your home (and yourself!) From fragrant Christmas trees, scented caligraphy cards and the most goregous candle, there’s also excellent news for fans of a certain best-selling fragrance who’d believe in going big or going home…

There’s no doubt that perfumer Francis Kurkdjian is one of the most stylish people we know. From the exquisite fine fragrances and accessories that have made him world famous, to his personal flair when designing the so-chic boutiques and decorating his own (of course ultra fabulous) Parisian apartment. Borrowing a little of that effortless élan for some French contemporary style, Maison Francis Kurkdjian invite you to come inside and ‘…plunge into a unique universe where the art and pleasure of giving become one. Fragrances and candles wait patiently by the Christmas tree, the theme chosen by Francis Kurkdjian, as the quiet and elegantly dressed witnesses of the season’s celebrations.’

‘O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how lovely is thy fragrance…’

Mon beau Sapin, the iconic holiday candle by Maison Francis Kurkdjian, now comes in a dark green colour adorned with a fir bough decorated in white and gold. Its generous, characteristic smell of a balsam fir, slightly resinous, slowly guides us towards a reassuring forest. This candle, with its specific wintery enveloping fragrance brings the finishing touch to the joyful holiday mood and memories past.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Mon Beau Sapin Candle £55 for 190 g, at Selfridges new MFK counter

 

If you’re one of the many (many!) fragrant fans of the iconic Baccarat Rouge 540 extrait de parfum, or you know someone who is, get ready to squeal quite a lot. A whopping great supersize-me version of the fragrance has been created especially for Christmas, standing proud at 200ml, and definitely subscribing to the belief that bigger is better.

‘Baccarat Rouge 540 was born of the encounter five years ago between Baccarat and Maison Francis Kurkdjian, two luxury houses with a shared passion for know-how. Baccarat Rouge 540 tells the story of how gold is magically transformed into red, a process whose secret is known only by Baccarat. Blended with 24-karat gold dust and gradually fused until it reaches precisely 540 degrees, Baccarat’s transparent crystal slowly dons a dazzling red hue.’

This fragrance has been a world-wide best-seller for a reason: it smells incredible – we know exactly where a certain member of The Perfume Society team has been because she trails this everywhere she goes. It’s available as an eau de parfum in the clear crystal bottle and as an extrait de parfum in a deep, ruby red bottle; and if this is a present for someone you love, it’s certainly not only Santa that’s getting snogged under the mistletoe this year!

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 extrait de parfum £590 for 200ml at Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, John Lewis, Les Senteurs, Harrods & franciskurkdjian.com

Thursday to Sunday there will be caligraphy on specially scented Christmas cards at the new Maison Francis Kurkdjian Selfridges counter. And they are also offering a mini Mon Beau Sapin candle as a free gift with purchase. (We absolutely will not judge you if you decide to keep this for yourself. The person you’re buying the gift for will never know, right? Right. And we’ll be doing the same, so…)

Finally, if you needed another reason to pop across to France (with the car, we think, for this one…) before Christmas, then look no further than the wonder that is a scented Maison Francis Kurkdjian Christmas tree! Sadly these are not available in the U.K. this year, but those seeking the ultimate in festive fragrance can delight in them at the following stores:

Perfumed and fireproofed Nordmann Tree, 100/120 cm:
Green natural tree from 145 euros*
Flocked tree with natural dusting from 185 euros*
Flocked integral white tree from 205 euros*
*(Suggested retail price excluding delivery)

Order from Parisian shops Maison Francis Kurkdjian:
Boutique Saint Honoré – 5 rue d’Alger, Paris 1er – +33 1 42 60 07 07
Boutique Marais – 7 rue des Blancs-Manteaux, Paris 4ème – +33 1 42 71 76 76

The mere descriptions, let alone gawping at these pictures, makes us feel instantly more stylish; and we find that theme of the Holiday tree on all accompanying boxes, gift sets, tissue paper and bags – illustrations and images drawn by Kurkdjian himself and created by his design team. So if you’re searching for that perfect present for someone special, hankering after treating yourself for a change, or heavily hinting to loved ones (we find choosing the Print Screen option and circling the ones you want in red while mouthing ‘THOSE PLEASE’ works really well); you’ll find that ‘…everything at Maison Francis Kurkdjian comes together to create a wintry harmony where an eye for detail lies at the heart of the creative process.’ Naturellement!

By Suzy Nightingale

Tatty Devine perfume bottle collection: you’ll want them all!

Renowned for their quirky jewellery and accessory designs, Tatty Devine are coming for us fragrance fans with their latest House of Tatty Devine collection. ‘This is the best email we’ve ever scent…’ their email header teased. And they weren’t kidding: we want them ALL!

Tatty Devine Vintage Perfume Bottle Earrings £40

Themed around vintage style perfume bottles, the collection comprises earrings, a brooch and two types of necklaces – all in their glossy, laser-cut, glitz-tastic style. Each vintage style perfume bottle piece includes the finishing touch of a beautiful pearlescent label, ‘etched and hand-inked to bear our logo, just like all the finest perfume houses.’

Tatty Devine Vintage Perfume Bottle Brooch £80

Attention to details like this are what sets Tatty Devine apart, and if you’re anything like us, we bet many of you are adding to your Christmas Lists right this very second! We will even forgive the ‘Ho-ho eau!’ pun on their website (mainly because we wished we’d thought of it first).

Tatty Devine Vintage Perfume Bottle Necklace £35

Alright, we must admit to swooning over any perfume-related accessories (see the Couture issue of The Scented Letter Magazine for more perfume-themed pieces) but there’s something super cute about the vintage style bottles rendered in an almost Pop Art kind of realism, don’t you think? The chunkier version of the necklace (below) also features the laser cut mirrors in yellow, blue, silver and shimmering micro glitter acrylic.

Tatty Devine Vintage Perfume Bottle Necklace £95

We also loved having a read of their accompanying blog, Making Scents with Rosie & Harriet, going behind the scenes with Co-Founders, Creative Director Harriet Vine and Managing Director Rosie Wolfenden, revealing the inspiration behind this unusual festive collection. Probing into their perfume habits and personal scent memories, it was fascinating to learn what Harriet and Rosie thought the House of Tatty Devine perfume would actually smell like, if it truly existed.

For Harriet, ‘There’s a real nostalgia: my attic, old photo albums, my Mum’s old dressing up clothes… You’ve got to get some classic Yardley Violet and Lily of The Valley in there too, my nan’s scent of choice. Oh, and geraniums growing in a greenhouse.’ While Rosie revealed she would add ‘…floral notes from violets in the garden and Ventnor Botanic Gardens’ big Magnolia and Mimosa trees! I was brought up in a hotel on the Isle of Wight and so there are accents of herbs and nutmegs from the kitchen, with a hint of Sherbert Dib Dabs after school.’

Many of us at Perfume Society Towers can already be be seen toting the Gin water bottle and Gin necklace (you can see where our interests lie) among others, but this new perfume bottle collection just got our hearts beating all the faster. You can bet we’re going to be accessorising Christmas outifts with these little pieces of wearable art – be that a little black dress for a ‘do’ or (let’s face it) our comfy pyjamas. Eau yeah!

By Suzy Nightingale

How to buy perfume as a present – for friends, family, and yourself!

The C word. No not that one. Okay well, sometimes it is that one (especially at this time of year) when suddenly the Halloween decorations have been torn down and now you’re supposed to hurl yourself into crowds of equally stressed shoppers, frantically trying to buy ‘The Perfect Present.’ What FUN! Well worry not, because we suggest you start here and do at least some of it from the comfort of your sofa/desk/bed…

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 fashionably scented gents, we’ve got something to suit everyone – and a way for yout to treat yourself, guilt-free, too!


If you already know what they love:
Great! Well done you. Why not have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent bath oil, rich body cream or even a fragranced hair mist. Or how about a special limited edition bottle of their all-time favourite? [Psst! We have a stunning selection to show you in our soon-to-be-published Christmas edition of The Scented Letter magazine, so watch this space…] It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of perfumes at this time of year, and if you really wanted to push the boat out – how wonderful it would be to book a night in a nice hotel or day spa trip, and add the ticket/voucher to the box of mini sizes in a golden envelope!

If they want to try something new:
There are times when one tires of always having the same fragrance, though, so if they’ve expressed an interest in branching out, take a look at our genius Find a Fragrance online tool. We were thrilled to get a shout-out on Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley‘s Fume Chat Podcast, recently, in which they suggested our Find a Fragrance as THE best way to choose a new scent to suit you. completely free to use, and will guide you with six (SO acurate) suggestions of what to try next. The fragrances suggested will have a similar character or style to the ‘old favourite’, perhaps share some similar notes or even the same perfumer. And it *really* works.

When you’re not sure what they like:
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, with a particular kind of perfume-lover in mind, or simply showcases some of our favourite fragrant launches. There’s also an amazing array of Brand Boxes, where each house has put together some of their best-sellers for you to try. We have overwhelming feedback that so many of you have already found something completely new – and scents you’d never heard of – in these boxes, and many people go on to get themselves a full-size bottle having fallen in love by happenstance.

Take a look at just some of the scented selections we have on offer – and as we currently have an amazing limited-time offer of a FREE La Montaña Winter Orangess candle for any two boxes you buy, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself, too, isn’t it…?

Are they uniquely bohemian? Here are cult names and iconic new launches from the best niche houses around… Niche Collection Three Discovery Box £19 / £15 for V.I.P Club members.

Fashion-forward and on the look out for the latest trends? This has thirteen new fragrances to try, plus beauty treats! #FROW Discovery Box £19 / £15 for V.I.Ps

 

Are they more classic – all about the costumes dramas, historical biopics and adore museums? Try Fragonard 5 x Eau de Toilette Discovery Set £20

Are they arty & modern – always off to see the latest contemporary exhibitions and stylishly attired? Choose Tom Daxon Discovery Collection One £45

Adventurous types and sun-seekers will love this ready-to-go holiday kit of must-try travel size fragrances. Globetrotter Discovery Box £19 / £15 for V.I.Ps

For someone who’s had a tough year, and everyone who needs to de-stress, give them The Feel Good Box £19 / £15 for V.I.Ps

Bright young things who don’t want to smell like everyone else will fall for this brilliant British house in the Floral Street Discovery Set £14

Those party-goers and socialites will want one of these to make an entrance at their next big ‘do’, so gift The Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box £19 / £15 for V.I.Ps

Cool urbanites with their own sense of style will warm to this great niche house that everyone’s been talking about. Kierien NYC Discovery Set £15

We have so much more in our shop to tempt you, and over the next few weeks will be bringing you more guides of How To Buy for particular people, but hopefully this little peek at possible perfumed gifts will get you thinking – and solving some of those present-buying woes right now…

By Suzy Nightingale

We adore this A-Z of Perfume print – how many have *you* tried?

We fell in love with artist Mary Darch’s designs on Instagram, and when we saw she was working on an A-Z of Perfume print, we just had to alert our fellow perfume-lovers immediately!

Mary is clearly a lady after our own hearts, describing her greatest loves as ‘books, gin and perfume,’ and having previously been successful with her A-Z of Gin poster, the fragrance one seemed a natural next theme because, says Mary, ‘I love a little tot of Mother’s ruin, and a good read, and am perfume lover myself. Coming from a fashion/textile design background, I just adore the bottles and all the design detail that goes into to the packaging of perfume, and I love the alchemy involved in creating all the different scents.’

Although the perfume print was far trickier to finish (as the bottles as such hugely varying shapes and sizes), Mary says that she rather relished the challenge, even though it proved so fiddly, taking ‘at least 200 hours to complete,’ Mary explained, because ‘each perfume is drawn individually in mostly A4 size. I had some input from a fellow perfume lover who is a chemist to finalise the list and what should go in for each letter.’

A–Z of Perfume print by Marcy Darch

The final list was necessarily ‘determined by shape of bottle and colour, to create the most pleasing composition. Fortuitously Kenzo’s Flowers was just the right shape to slip in on the second line as 26 perfumes and 5 lines don’t mathematically compute!’ And Mary had some extra support from her son, who ‘helped out with the tech part of reducing all my images, and getting them just so! He deserves a medal for his patience as it was a trial and error exercise to finalise it to my satisfaction.’

All that work was so worthwhile, we think you’ll agree, and as soon as we received our print it took pride of place on The Perfume Society office wall (see below!)

 

For perfumistas with a particular favourite – fear not, Mary has you covered, too. Individual bottle prints are also available, and if your all-time love isn’t represented, you’ll be happy to hear that Mary also accepts personal commissions.

So what, we wondered, would Mary’s own choice be? ‘My favourite perfume is Angel,’ she revealed,’ I wear it every day and it feels like my secret armour I spray on each morning to face the world!’

We all know that feeling (hopefully. Read my previous feature on how to find your fragrant armour if you’ve not yet discovered yours).

We can see this print gracing many people’s Christmas gift wish lists – and perfume boutiques and all fragrance lover’s walls – can’t you? And in the meantime, if you haven’t read our own Scented Alphabet edition of The Scented Letter Magazine (for which we were thrilled to win a Jasmine Award for journalism, earlier this year), be prepared to for a whistle-stop tour of all things fragrantly fascinating, from A – Z…

By Suzy Nightingale