Galentine’s Day – the best scented gifts to send your gal pals

Galentine’s Day – okay yes, you can be cynical and view it as yet another spin-off from ‘V Day’, but instead we’re seeing it as an opportunity to send our best gal pals a little scented something to say “I MISS you!”

Because oh, how we are all missing our friends right now. Many of us haven’t seen our dearest friends for nearly an entire year, even for a five minute chat or socially distanced walk. So yeah, it’s hitting hard, the lack of laughter, togetherness, compassion, love…

Of course we have incredible technological ways of touching base – for which we’re all very thankful – but Zoom meets and endless text messages are no substitute for actually touching, hugging, just being with our dearest friends, who despite not being around person, have most certainly kept us (mostly) sane. So what to do?

The power of perfume to lift our spirits, soothe frazzled nerves or give us a boost of confidence to get through the day has been proven, but the power of the post arriving (and getting to open a something lovely) shouldn’t be sniffed at, either! I’m not sure about you, but my postman probably thinks I want to marry him, the way I anxiously hang out the widow awaiting his arrival.

If you’ve several friends you’d like to send gifts tom why not buy a box and split the samples between them – popping a couple (well wrapped) in a card would be a joyous little extra to open!

Because there’s an awful lot of antipatory joy in that satisfying ‘thud’ (of something that obviously ISN’T a bill) on your doormat – so here’s some ideas to send a little happiness to someone you love and miss so much, for Galentine’s or any day…

 


Floral Street scentschool™ in a Box
Back to school in scented style, and the perfect way to share your love of fragrance with a friends – even a whole gang of perfume-loving pals! Ingeniously, when you buy their special discovery set, containing eight fragrances, blotters and scented ‘touch and smell’ cards, you receive a code to book your complimentary live online class (one-to-one or for a whole group of you to do it together), plus a discount on your next purchase. There’s even the option to add a voucher for a 10, 50 or 100ml fragrance for a pick-me-up treat when they’ve found their favourites.

From £24 for eight fragrances + online class
floralstreet.com 

 

La Maison J.U.S. Discovery Kit 

A gorgeous hatbox-style package of perfumed wonders to explore, with vibrant, contemporary and beautiful scents by some of the most famous ‘noses’ around: Céline EllenaFabrice PellegrinAliénor MassenetAurélien GuichardAlexandra Carlin… From fabulously sexy florals and chic, supple leather to refined seascapes and magical gardens – every taste is catered for, especially those creative, artistic friends who welcome exquisite design combined with innovation. Such a wonderful gift to receive for one special person, or might we suggest you keep the box and your favourites, and share the others with friends the fragrances remind you of…?

£30 for eleven fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

Galentine's Day gifts

Molton Brown Lily & Magnolia Blossom Gift Set
Who wouldn’t appreciate a luxurious set from Molton Brown? Revelling in fragrant baths or showers and taking time to treat your skin with a nourishing body lotion are simple ways of adding self-care into our daily routines, and so important for a mind re-set, we find. But it’s strange, isn’t it? While we may happily treat a friend to luxury items as a gift, we might deny ourselves. Ditch the guilt and treat yourself to daily bliss with this new fragrant duo – redolent of springtime buds and sparkling sunlight at last.

£48 for 300ml Bath & Body Wash + 300ml Body Lotion
moltonbrown.co.uk

Galentine's Day fragrant gifts to send your best friends

Goldfield & Banks Discovery Set
Why not travel to Australia with a group of girlfriends (via your noses!) in this exceptional exploration of materials hitherto unknown to the perfumery industry. Using indigenous ingredients beloved by founder, Dimitri Weber – such as blue boronia, finger lime and pacific rock moss – this unique collection invites a sense of freedom, the feeling of sunshine and wide, open landscapes to adventure in. From ocean-inspired freshness to the sunlit canopies of a rainforest, from velvety oppulence to enveloping woods, let your senses rein free as you encounter each scent.

£26 for eight fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

 

Sana Jardin Discovery Set
This stunning portfolio of perfumes were created very much with women in mind – not that men don’t also adore the fragrances, but this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house works with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations. Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed wanted to ‘change the world, one bottle of perfume at a time’ and these seductive scents evoke golden, shimmering light, swags of heady flowers and the sensual powers of night-blooming jasmine. Simply dreamy…

£30 for eight fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

 

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 (remember those?)

– 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, which we have regularly held in London and, sometimes at independent perfumeries around the UK. We’ll be adding new dates as soon as we’re able to hold face-to-face workshops again, and plan to make a video available online.

Meanwhile, here are a few simple tips to try every day:

Spray a scent on a blotter, preferably; 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

Santa’s FREE gift… get your Secret Scent-er

By golly gosh it’s been a tough year, to put it mildl; so as a special present, Santa has a FREE gift for you all

This year, because we’d like to say a massive ‘THANK YOU!’ for your continued support – and as testament to just how important the role of fragrance has been, calming our nerves and bolstering our spirits in troubling times – Santa has decided to gift the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter magazine, FREE for you all to read.

One of the most hotly-anticipated issues each year is our bumper Christmas edition of the magazine – this year entitled Secret Scent-er – which incorporates all the usual news, reviews and in-depth features with the addition of a fabulously fragrant gift guide. Seriously drool-worthy, it’s a showcase for the very best scented gorgeousness that money can buy, from niche and indie brands to designer luxe.

We know that Christmas will be very different for many of you this year, and hope that you can find time to sit awhile, put your feet up and have your spirits lifted by all manner of glorious things arrayed in the 64 pages – normally only available to VIP Members and those who purchase the printed editions (scroll down for more info on how to get these).

Meanwhile, here are some of the perfumed highlights you can peruse in your FREE copy of The Scented Letter magazine

• In Extraits, Extraits, Read All About It!Persolaise explores the revival of perfume’s most precious form

 

• Can’t be with those you love over the holidays? Conjure them up with a spritz or a dab of scent, we suggest in Spraying Home for Christmas

 

• Like our favourite Christmas tunes, explains Viola Levy in Jingle Smells, certain fragrances never fail to deliver Christmas cheer

• I hopped on a Zoom with Santa for this issue’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections– smile as he shares centuries of fragrant recollections

 

• And of course, we’ve sniffed out the best presents, from glamorous gift sets to beautiful (scented) baubles in Your Fragrant Gift Guide 2020

• Plus as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more

If the free edition has tickled your fragrant fancies for more award-winning journalism, we can now take orders for a limited run of printed copies of all editions of our magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs). And remember: you can buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letter and also an International Online Subscription for the magazine, too!

Finally, no matter where you are, please know you’re not alone, and that the days will be lighter from now on. With much love, we’d like to wish you all a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS, and look forward to a far more peaceful (and perfume-filled) New Year, for all…

By Suzy Nightingale

Lorenzo Dante Ferro, Venetian Master Perfumer: 20% off code for Perfume Society readers!

Sumptuously beautiful (and so-seasonal) scented gifts by Lorenzo Dante Ferro, Venetian Master Perfumer with an exclusive 20% off code? Oh, take us to Venice immediately!

Much as we’d love to be jetting off to that spectacular Italian city right now, that’s sadly not possible. We can, however, transport you there with the power of perfume…

You see, there are very few people in the world who, through years of rigorous studies and many exams, earned the right to call themselves ‘Master Perfumer’. Lorenzo Dante Ferro is one of them.

Here’s that code for a 20% discount at venetianmasterperfumer.com:

PERFUMESOCIETYVIP

 

 

Having excelled at a selective aptitude test during his chemistry studies in Zurich, Switzerland, Lorenzo hot-footed it to Grasse, undertaking professional perfumer-training studies in a particular technique of perfume composition taught at Compagnie d’Argeville.

Lorenzo then went on to create the Venetian Master Perfumer perfume house, confecting bespoke blends for a diverse group of private clients – from luxury hotels to notable estates, all hungry for the opulence and historic traditions he so effortlessly evokes.And now, with a full fragrance wardrobe of personal perfumes and fragranced products to offer, we are all able to dress ourselves in Venetian Master Perfumer fragrances, which are stunningly wearable in any era – they feel timeless yet contemporary somehow.

You can read all about the history of the house in our page dedicated to Lorenzo Dante Ferro – but for now, let’s delight in anticipation, as we take a look at some of the gorgeous (and so gift-worthy) items that caught our eyes (and noses!)

 

Firstly, and with practicality in mind, we love the brand new Soluzione 22 (RRP £18 for 110ml) – a beautifully perfumed hand santiser which Lorenzo Dante Ferro tell us ‘is used by doctors in Italy,’ and is ‘much more than just perfumed hand sanitiser, it is an “aromatherapy hand sanitiser” containing 22 ingredients with sanitising properties and 86% Alcohol.’ Highly protective AND gorgeously scented? We’re stocking up.

 

Launching ourselves fully into the festive spirit, we couldn’t resist these lovely Christmas Home Fragrances Gift Sets, (RRP £70).

ARANCIA DI SICILIA – (SWEET ORANGES) The fresh and tangy sweetness of freshly squeezed Sicilian oranges. 100ml Fragrance Spray.

PINO SCOZZESE – (SCOTTISH PINE) The fresh and revitalising notes of lush forest vegetation. 250ml Cylinder Home Fragrance Diffuser with Reed sticks.

PAN PEPATO – (GINGERBREAD) Freshly baked gingerbread, a traditional and heart warming way to say ‘Welcome’. 100ml Fragrance Spray.

 

As for perfuming ourselves, we’re reaching for the so-pretty Fior di Panna Christmas gift set (RRP £99), comprising 50ml eau de parfum of Fior di Panna – a delicately powdery floral that evokes warm skin, tenderly kissed – with matching 110ml Home Fragrance Spray and a cute Heart Shaped Fragranced Soap.

‘We have a code we will like to share with you…’ they told us. Explaining that, (INCREDIBLY generously) ‘This will never expire.’ Never! So, they’re giving Perfume Society readers 20% off across the site, FOREVER! We may swoon with delight.

So, here’s that code for a 20% discount at venetianmasterperfumer.com: PERFUMESOCIETYVIP

We wonder: what will you use it on first…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Luxury fragrance gifts to indulge with this Christmas – at pocket-friendly prices!

Luxury fragrance gifts needn’t break the bankDiscovery Sets are the way forward! Stunningly presented, ordered at the click of a button, easy to wrap at home or have sent straight to the lucky recipient: these boxes are the perfect presents for perfume-lovers

The joy of a luxury Discovery Set is the chance to indulge in the fragrances of ultra-luxe niche and designer houses, often giving your lucky gift recipient (or yourself, let’s face it) the opportunity to try the entire collection of a particular perfume house. Or, perhaps, allowing the luxury of sampling the scented wares from cult brands not everyone knows about yet.

Very few of us could go out and purchase full-size bottles of every brand we want to try – with these luxury gift sets, you can afford to wear every single one!

If you have someone who’s difficult to buy for, or you’re not quite sure exactly what kind of scents they like – gifting a whole range ensures they’ll fall immediately for at least one of the fragrances (and, in our experience, will come to love them all or enjoy sharing with a partner or friends).

To send to loved ones you can’t be with this year, or to treat yourself after a year of woe? Not going to lie, we shamelessly do the ‘one for you, one for me’ rule of Christmas shopping, and most especially this year. Think of the hours of bliss you’ll have! Trying all the fragrances for the first time, reading about the notes, the perfumers and history of the house (all the information you can find right here on this website, with our in-depth brand pages).

Luxury fragrance gifts are a fail-safe way of showing how much you care. Whichever of these you chose, they cannot fail to be utterly delighted…

Harvey Nichols & The Perfume Society Discovery Box £45
Your personal perfume shopping experince – without having to leave your sofa!

Harvey Nichols boasts one of the best fragrance halls in the world, and in the last few years have tirelessly worked to bring in many more niche and exciting artisanal houses. We were thrilled to be asked again to curate a box of some of our favourites with them! Twelve luxury fragrances from six houses in this one, showcasing the hotly anticipated UK launch of Atelier Materi and Maison Crivelli, alongside classically adored fragrances from Creed, you can explore THREE fragrances from EACH of these beautiful perfume houses. We’ve added generous MINIATURES with just-launched Juliette Has A Gun Lipstick Fever (5ml) AND Maison Francis Kurkdjian L’Homme À La Rose (5ml)! And lest we forget, the pièce de resistance is Ramon Monegal Flamenco (10ml) swathed in a golden fabric pouch for an extra hit of luxe.

 

The Indulgence Discovery Box £36 (or £32 if you become a VIP!)
Squeal-worthy miniature bottles & indulgence, bottled – for someone who deserves a treat.

Don’t you think you deserve to indulge in this gorgeous box of delights? It’s simply brimming with fragrant fabulousness, from the ENTIRE CARINE ROITFELD COLLECTION (former editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue, dontcha know, based on seven cities and seven imaginary lovers), to a trio of newness from Lalique, inspired by precious metals, we’re going crazy for. We’ve also included generous MINIATURES – inhale DEEP! – from our latest perfume house crush, Vines House Parfums Love Story (7.5ml), together with the so-modern beauty editor’s fave, Floral Street Chypre Sublime (10ml), the dinkiest darling bottle of the delightful Tocca Giulietta (5ml) and for some seasonal va-va-voom, the perfumista’s favourite: Versace Crystal Noir (5ml). PLUS new home fragrance from perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek, whose new candles we’re showcasing – you’ll receive either Ancient Frankincense OR Rebel County, and trust us, you won’t even WANT to leave the house…

 

Amouage Secret Garden Discovery Set £35
Say ‘I love you’ to a floral-lover, with a truly beautiful gift from one of the world’s top luxury fragrance houses…

AMOUAGE have been drawing on the ancient, alchemistic traditions of perfume-making, creating perfumes that are loved all over the world for over 35 years. This is a luxury perfume house with its finger on the pulse-point of what modern men and women want, so we are delighted to introduce the truly magical SECRET GARDEN DISCOVERY SET featuring FOUR NICHE FRAGRANCES inspired by the floral haze of secret gardens. Spray away the darkness with a joyful leap in to Spring (oh, yes please!) with every spray from Blossom Love, Lilac Love, Love Mimosa and Love Tuberose – each fragrance crafted using the finest oils and essences sourced from around the world. Dare we say: it’s better than a real bouquet and therefore makes a truly WONDERFUL GIFT either for yourself, or someone special. If they like glorious gardens, gasp at flowers and adore floral fragrances – they’ll love you forever.

 

La Maison J.U.S Discovery Set £30
Stylish, cool and so-unique: THE gift for artistic, eco-conscious fashion-lovers in your life!

Taking their name from their motto: ‘Joyau, Unique and Sensoriel’  (a ‘unique sensory jewel’), this ultra-cool niche French house delight in doing things differently. Using vintage bottles in bold, neon colours, allowing their perfumers free-reign and with everything eco-conscious – the fragrances are just are vibrant, but oh so beautifully wearable. Appealing to artistic types who like to tread their own path, the scents are seductively unique (genuinely, we love ALL ELEVEN!) From the salted amber of Ambraser, coffee and oudh of Coffeeze, Cuirissime‘s leather, violet and iris; zesty ginger and absinthe in Gingerlise and darkly daring leathery floral of Noiressence. There’s the whole rose (petals, thorns, humid air) of Rosamonda, sensual rose oudh and vanilla in SexyCrush or powdery soft rose in Sopoudrage to explore. SpringPop is green shoots, fresh cut grass and sea air, while Superfusion‘s silvery musk shimmers intriguingly, and UltraHot crackles with sensual saffron and incense. Oh wow, it’s a fragrant journey alright – and we’re re-using our pots for makeup brushes and pens!

 

Atelier des Ors Discovery Set £25
All that glimmers IS gold with this oppulent olfactory gift, exploring ‘haute parfumerie with poetry…’

This one’s a Perfume Society EXCLUSIVE (so you can guarantee they wont have this!) Atelier des Ors Discovery Set is truly a majestic perfume house: think decadent scents for perfume-loving grown-ups, created from the best quality ingredients the world can offer. (And the full-size bottles are like snow globes for grown-ups, a-sparkle with flecks of real gold.) Atelier des Ors will fan the flames of your fragrant desires, as Jean-Phillipe Clermont, founder of Atelier des Ors, explains: ‘In every civilisation, gold symbolises the pursuit of perfection and the quest of absolute.’ Get spraying for yourself and explore FIVE NICHE fragrances in this divine set, which you won’t find anywhere else. Aube Rubis is crisp, woody, inspired by the dawn, while Lune Féline captures the brilliance of the night sky and the moon in the most creamy, dreamy vanilla. Musc Immortel sparkles with grapefruit, iris and clary sage and Nuda Veritas swathes the skin in an airy, fresh and pure floral creation. Rose Omeyyade, meanwhile, is a breath-takingly sensual rose and oudh perfume that will make you sigh. We’ve swooned, many times, over all of these…

 

Ostens Discovery Set £30
The créme de la créme of ingredients + the world’s top perfumers = a luxury niche house of refined elegance.

Friends and business partners Christopher Yu and Laurent Delafon have been in the fragrance industry for over 20 years, founding United Perfumes (a prestigious fragrance distribution and development company) which afforded them unrivalled access to the finest ingredients and perfumers in the world, including extraordinary new extractions from LRM Naturals of ‘vetiver, rose, patchouli and more. We realised that if we loved those smells, then there were surely other people who’d feel the same way.’ Everyone in the fragrance world raves about these scents, and your recipient definitely will fall for…. Cashmeran Velvet cocooning with smoky woodiness, Cedarwood Heart grounding, while unexpectedly creamy and Jasmine Absolute – addictively heady, just-bloomed jasmine on a sultry day. Two patchoulis explore the note’s diversity: Patchouli Heart No.I a softer, warmer, and a more modern interpretation of the classic, while Patchouli Heart No.II  is fresher, aromatic and timelessly elegant. And, oh! Rose Oil Isparta – A rose is a rose…or so we thought until we smelt the unique scent of the Rosa Damascena from Turkey. Love at first sniff…

Why not buy the same box for you and a best friend you’re missing terribly? That way, you can schedule a Zoom meeting, get the wine in and some snacks on the go, and have a live smell-along together!

By Suzy Nightingale

 

 

Fragrant advent calendars – #lockdown countdown, or daily treats ‘just because’!

Fragrant advent calendars (or at least, advent calendars featuring a number of scented offerings) are the way we’re going this year. Because goodness, it’s been quite a year, hasn’t it?

Although many of the beauty calendars sell out literally within hours, there are still some fabulously fragrant ones around. And whether you’re using the calendars as a countdown to the end (we hope!) of #lockdown2, or simply as a way of treating yourself a little every single day: you and/or someone you love but can’t be with, deserve one… or maybe, well, several!

 

 

Diptyque Limited-edition Advent Calendar £320

Selfridges says: ‘The lead-up to Christmas is always an exciting time, but it becomes even more thrilling with this limited-edition advent calendar from Diptyque. A festive treat in hand-illustrated packaging by none other than Ugo Gattoni, it’s home to this year’s seasonal signatures – the Moonlit Fir candle and yuletide decorations – and a selection of the brand’s most coveted candles, fragrances, body creams and scrubs. Hint: dream for a spritz of Eau Capitale or Do Son and you might just get it.’

We say: Who wouldn’t just adore this bumper offering by Diptyque?! Yes, it’s spendy, but it’s exclusive to Selfridges and you know you’ll love everything. The Eau Capitale was one of our favourite launches of late – the first Chypre for the house, and oh so worth waiting for…

 

Harrods of London Beauty Advent Calendar £250

Harrods says: ‘Delight in the Christmas countdown – all while feeling your very best self – with the Harrods Beauty Advent Calendar for 2020. Bringing together some of the most popular skincare, make-up and fragrance products from our hallowed Beauty Halls, each day will unveil a new surprise, with a mix of full-sized and mini offerings worth over £700 in total.’

We say: Of course our eyes (and noses) went straight to the dinky 6ml of iconic Acqua di Parma Colonia, and the stunning Maison Francis Kurkdijan Baccarat Rouge 540 Mini Candle 35g; but oh goodness what a treasure trove of luxurious treats awaits you!

 

 

Molton Brown 2020 Luxury Advent Calendar £120

Molton Brown says: ‘Celebrate in style this year and count down to the joyful Christmas day with our sensational luxury advent calendar, filled with intriguing new fragrances, bathing classics and much more. Inspired by the liberating glamour of the Roaring Twenties, this elegant calendar shimmers with holographic foil to evoke a 1920s chandelier. With a striking new design, it’s secured by a hidden magnet and opens from the side to reveal your 24 stellar indulgences.’

We say: Wow, what a sophisticated selection of gifts, worth £259. The new Juniper Jazz, Geranium Nefertum and classic Black Pepper fragrances amidst a fragrant flurry of candles, body and bath oils and pampering treats, oh my! A perfect one to ‘share’ (or at least pretend to) with a partner, we feel…

Psst! Are you interested in WINNING this Molton Brown Advent Calendar for yourself? Keep your eyes peeled for our competion on Saturday

 

 

L’OCCITANE Hand Illustrated Reusable Advent Calendar £160 (web exclusive)

L’OCCITANE Says: ‘Created in collaboration with UK illustrator Isla Simpson, this hand illustrated Advent Calendar is made from recycled cotton and reusable for years to come. Inspired by nature and the magic of Provence, each pocket unveils a luxury size product.’

We Say: Worth a whopping £230 we love the saving, but even more the fact you can re-use this and stuff with your own scented treats for years to come. The floral illustrations are simply goregous, and inside you’ll find the herbaceously fresh 5ml Herbae par L’OCCITANE Eau de Parfum.

If you prefer to make your own calendars, why not fill some days with fragrant frivolity by adding minis and samples from our own Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, or the luxurious niche Brand Sets we have in store?

Maybe make one for yourself and one for a best friend who you’re missing – you can compare smelling notes each day of December! Fragrantly counting down the days ’til freedom, or simply scenting each day, was never more needed…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Ostens – meet the fragrance house ‘ripping up the rule book’

Ostens is a fragrance house celebrating the finest ingredients they could get their hands on, and ‘ripping up the rule book’ of perfumery along the way…

Friends and business partners Christopher Yu and Laurent Delafon have been in the fragrance industry for over 20 years – they’ve worked alongside such notable names as Francis Kurkdjian, Olivier Polge, Lyn Harris, Sophie Labbé and Dominique Ropion – and fortuitously enough, first met in the Liberty perfumery department.

Laurent had a role in perfume distribution for Diptyque. Chris, though a self-confessed ‘fragrance nut’, was then ‘in computers.’ They got chatting, and not long after that meeting, took the plunge to go into business together, founding United Perfumes, where Christopher took on the role as Managing Director, and Laurent became the CEO.

As part of their jobs, they regularly travelled to Grasse, and one day heard tell of name well known by industry insiders, but practically unheard of in the wider public: LMR Naturals: Laboratoire Monique Rémy.

‘We loved the sort of secrecy about them, this idea that nobody outside the perfume world knew about LMR Naturals,’ Christopher confesses.

Viiting their HQ and smelling the incredible LMR ingredients, at that moment the duo decided they must get these under the noses of perfume lovers – to celebrate the materials themselves. And so (some years later, it must be said – a fragrance house isn’t buiilt overnight!) Ostens was born – raw ingredients made magical.

Those fragrances are found in two forms: for each hero ingredient, there is a fragrance ‘Preparation Oil’ and an eaux de parfumImpression.’ Ostens use the term ‘Impressions’, because each fragrance takes an LMR ‘hero ingredient’ as the creative jumping off point – cedarwood, patchouli heart, rose Isparta, jasmine absolute and Cashmeran Velvet. And while sometimes that ingredient is the central focus, in others ‘it is more akin to a spice, used sparingly yet dramatically,’ explains Chris.

 

 

You can read their full story in our page dedicated to Ostens; but we are now so thrilled to be able to bring these fabulous fragrances directly to your noses, via their exquisite Ostens Discovery Set.

Inside the beautifully bound (and very book-like) slip case, you’ll find a whole library of olfactory wonders to explore…

Cashmeran Velvet – Cashmeran Velvet is a synthetic molecule which mimics the scent of warm, comforting woods with a slightly charred and smoky quality.

Cedarwood Heart – Cedarwood Heart leaves a dry, almost pencil-shavings scent on the skin that’s then softened by an unexpected, slightly creamy and almost vanilla like quality.

Jasmine AbsoluteOstens selected jasminum grandiflora grown in Egypt, for its fresh, natural, almost stem-like scent.

Patchouli Heart No.I – Patchouli Heart from Indonesia softer, warmer, and a more modern interpretation of the classic patchouli.

Patchouli Heart No.II  – Patchouli Heart from Indonesia is a softer, warmer, and more modern interpretation of the classic patchouli – another spin on the highly versatile ingredient.

Rose Oil Isparta – A rose is a rose…or so we thought until we smelt the unique scent of the Rosa Damascena from Turkey.

 

Ostens Discovery Set £30 for 6 x 2ml eau de parfum

Kept for yourself or sent to a scent-loving friend, ‘We realised that if we loved those smells, then there were surely other people who’d feel the same way’ Ostens told us.

Well, we fell head over heels for them, and feel sure you will, too…

By Suzy Nightingale

Vintage perfume posters (to purchase & swoon over…)

Vintage perfume posters are currently making us consider papering entire rooms with them, and these are particularly swoon-worthy versions…

In these uncertain times, sales of classic fragrances are, appparently soaring.

And no wonder. We’re crying out for a bit of soothing scented nostalgia to wallow in, and so although actual vintage versions of these fragrances would set you back a pretty penny (well-preserved bottles and rare examples can go for anything from a couple of hundred quid to several hundred thousand!) it’s rather tempting to purchase several of these gorgeous advertising poster prints, non?

 

Ahoy! Recognise the shape of the bottle this sailor’s snuggling up to in the Schiaparelli Perfumes1945 ‘Shocking Sailor’ image by artist Marcel Vertès?

 

The HP Prints website we came across has THOUSANDS to choose from when you type ‘perfume’ as a key-word search (which we spend most of the day doing online, tbh…)

But where to begin?!

 

Bourjois 1944 Mais Oui, Leonard. ‘Frankly flirtatious’? We’ll take the largest bottle you have, thank you.

 

Well, we’ve picked some favourites for you – each of which can be purchased as a print (if in stock) or, for a fee, downloaded as a high quality image file to use as you please, sans the watermarks of course.

 

Guerlain (Perfumes) 1959 J. Charnotet, Mitsouko. Would v much like a cutting from this tree, please.

 

We’re thinking ahead to (shhh!) Christmas, and birthday presents, or perhaps just to send to fragrance-loving friends we can’t meet up with right now. As well as, you know, papering every wall we can find…

 

Nina Ricci (Perfumes) 1971 L’Air du Temps (Version B). Such a classic – and a first scent love for so many.

 

Le Galion (Perfumes) 1959 Lily of the Valley, Lovers, Maurel. Stunning, and slightly sinister fairytale-esque: we approve.

 

Elizabeth Arden (Perfumes) 1941 It’s You. (We wish it was – say yes to that dress!)

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Yardley London launch ‘Fragrance Diagnostic Tool’ to find your new fave (plus a discount!)

It can often be tricky navigating your way through a range of new fragrances, so Yardley London has launched a Fragrance Diagnostic Tool online, to provide personalised fragrance recommendations (AND a discount code!) via your favourite ingredients, and a signpost to your perfect scent…

Celebrating their 250th anniversary (an incredible heritage you can read all about on our page dedicated to their history), Yardley London’s Fragrance Diagnostic Tool is a quick and simple way to guide you to your new favourite fragrance. All you need to do is pick some of your favourite notes from a list, and the fragrances that most closely match your taste will be presented to you.

I got matched to April Violets, which shows it works, as that’s one of my all-time favourites – all powdery/pretty with verdant violet leaf adding shade) –  and Blossom & Peach, which I must admit to not knowing so well, but it sounds utterly perfect for me. Blackcurrant, rose, peach, lilac and geranium with woody notes, patchouli and musk? Yes please! So that’s on my must-try list.

Even better: Once the diagnostic has been completed, customers receive a 10% off discount code valid on the Yardley range of eau de toilettes. So maybe my ‘must try‘ list is suddenly ‘must buy right NOW’…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Penhaligon’s Language of Flowers

Love’s language may be talked with these
To work out choicest sentences,
No blossoms can be meeter
And, such being used in Eastern bowers
Young maids may wonder if the flowers
Or meanings be the sweeter.

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, 1806 – 1861 

 

With our ‘Step in to the Gardenissue of The Scented Letter Magazine hot off the press, and more of us craving the colours, textures and (of course) scents of flowers more than ever in these uncertain times… floral inspiration is springing up all over!

Penhaligon’s have published a fascinating guide to the ancient ‘Language of Flowers‘ – the hidden meanings attached to seemingly innocent blooms, and how these could be used to send secret messages that bypassed stringent social ettiquette in the past…

What’s more, Penhaligon’s are inviting you to construct your own virtual bouquet to send to someone special, and when you sign up to their Penhaligon’s Times newsletter, both you and your friend will receive a £10 gift voucher to enjoy.

 

 

The newsletter is always packed full of interesting scented snippets, and here is their explantion of that secret scented Language of Flowers, first printed in the Penhaligon’s Times:

‘What could be more pleasurable than receiving an unexpected bunch of flowers! A bunch of bluebells to brighten a day. Lily of the Valley to celebrate a lover’s return, or a simple rose to nurture a budding romance. How much more pleasurable may be if the flowers themselves carry a hidden meaning. From ancient times flowers have been symbolic. The Romans honoured their heroes with laurel wreaths and Greek mythology tells how many flowers were created.

Poets have always extolled the virtues of flowers, and since Elizabethan times have written on their meanings. But it was the Victorians who turned flower-giving into an art. Inspired by a book entitled Le Langage de Fleurs by Madame de la Tour, the Victorians practised the new floral code with the same dedication with which they built their cities and furnished their homes.

The choice of flower was all important, but so too was the manner of presentation. If the flowers were upside down the opposite meaning was intended. Thus tulips presented with their stems uppermost meant blatant rejection from a lover. If the ribbon was tied to the left, the meaning referred to the giver, if tied to the right, to the recipient. On the other hand, one could always respond by wearing the flower in different ways – on her heart of course meant love, but worn in the hair implied caution. Both are acceptable locations for a light mist of scent.’

 

 

So now, what will your virtual bouquet say in this secret Language of Flowers, we wonder…?

Written by Suzy Nightingale