How to buy fragrance at Christmas?!

How to buy fragrance at Christmas? Where do you even begin? Well, right here with The Perfume Society‘s everything-one-click-away guide! From nervous noses to designer divas and scented gents, we’ve even got the perfect gift for overseas friends. Start (and finish!) your shopping right now…

When you’re not sure exactly what scent to get, or are sick of giving loved ones the same old thing, our overwhelming feedback from happy customers suggests a Discovery Box is definitely the way forward. Bursting with luxurious and often hard-to-find mini, try-me size scents and decadents beauty extras, each box is specially curated around a theme or with a particular kind of perfume-lover in mind.

At The Perfume Society, we’ve something to suit pretty much everyone, no matter how picky about perfume they are! From designer name divas to scented gents about town, millenials desperate to discover what suits them best and those keen to branch out with something different – get those pens ready and see how many gifts you can tick off your shopping list in one fell swoop (and all from the comfort of your sofa/desk/bed!)

Packed with even more new niche scents, there’s an incredible 13 fragrances curated, including a stunning 7.5ml of Anima Vinci Neroli Wisdom. Alongside treasured houses such as Amouage and Atkinsons we’ve included exciting newness from Parterre, fragrantly evocative Stories by Eliza Grace, Memoize, perfumed provacteurs The Modernist, and the brilliant UK niche house of Tom Daxon. But it doesn’t stop there… Keep their complexions glowing (no matter how many nights were spent partying) with the recent GOLD AWARD winning skinSense ANTI-AGING Overnight Leave on Mask (WORTH £8.50) – and ensure their hands smell and feel wonderful with the bestselling Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (WORTH £10). If you don’t know these names, we’re betting you AND your fragrance loving friends would love to discover them…

Niche Collection II Discovery Box £19 /£15 for VIPs

If you’re not sure what fragrances are currently in their collection, plump for some perfumes that only came out recently. With that in mind, we curated a selection of the newest and most exciting fragrances we’ve seen and smelled this year. It includes sunlit AERIN Hibiscus Palm, whisk-you-to-the-Riviera Tory Burch Bel Azur, and so-pretty Philosophy Amazing Grace Ballet Rose. If they prefer their scents darker and with more intrigue, they’ll love the Clive Christian duo – Chypre ‘L’ for Women and Oriental-woody ‘L’ for Men. And they can also enjoy the sophisticated Lalique Noir Premier Illusion Captive, Shay & Blue Black Tulip, together with the new KENZO WORLD.

Latest Launches Discovery Box £19 /£15 for VIPs

Know someone who’s stressed, had a horrible year or just deserves some scented pampering? Invite them to take some time and indulge their senses with the glorious scents in this box. The perfume houses range from Amouage to Sana Jardin, Estée Lauder to Fragonard, together with duos from an exciting niche house called The Beautiful Mind Series and the ever-fabulous Miller Harris. We have also included some indulgent little extras to help them really unwind: a sumptuous Heathcote & Ivory Lavender Fields Hand Cream and from Aromatherapy Associates, Deep Relax and Support Breathe Bath & Shower Oils.

Treat Yourself Discovery Box £19 /£15 for VIPs

Is there a male in your life who’s stuck in a rut, and really needs to get their fragrance game together? Give them our most generous men’s collection to date, with sensational scents including Creed Viking (winner of The Fragrance Foundation‘s Best Male Fragrance 2018!), niche offerings from Nejma, Floris and Jack (Richard E. Grant’s fragrance line) and the new Shay & Blue King’s Wood, among this divine selection. Plus as a special treat, we are throwing in a FULL-SIZE Escentric Molecules 03 Body Wash (worth £20 alone!). With so many incredible fragrances to choose from, anyone will feel like a new man…

The New Man Discovery Box £19 /£15 for VIPs

Alas, due to postal restrictions (don’t get us started) we can’t ship our boxes overseas – and we’re as gutted as you are about it. BUT that doesn’t mean fragrance loving friends and family living outside the UK should miss out. We can now offer International Subscriptions to our multi-award-winning digital downloadable magazine, The Scented Letter.

We take full advantage of our privileged access to all the leading ‘noses’, perfume houses, latest launches, news, exclusive interviews and more to ensure The Scented Letter is your finger on the pulse-point of everything that’s happening in the scented world!

The Scented Letter Magazine International Subscription £20 for a full year

If they’re obsessed by fragrance and very possibly will need new shelving units from Santa, just to hold the scents they already own, why not welcome them to our world?! As a member of The Perfume Society VIP Club, 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.

An exclusive monthly ‘insider offer’ – special offers from top-name fragrance houses, and ONLY for our VIPs.

•  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 them a FREE Discovery Box when you sign them up, from a number of options…

It’s the fragrant gift that keeps on giving for an entire year!

VIP Club Membership £25 for a full year

Still don’t know what to get them? Well, if you happen to know a fragrance they already like, type that name into our Fragrance Finder and you’ll be given suggestions of six other scents we think they’ll absolutely adore, with something for every budget… It’s sheer (almost spooky) genius!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Ruth Mastenbroek: A Working Nose

‘Scent is my life.’  Says perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek. Quite simply, she explains that ‘The fragrance is the essence of my art.  It is my signature…’

Ruth Mastenbroek was born in England and graduated with a Chemistry degree from Oxford University. Having trained in the late 70s and then worked as a perfumer in the UK and Netherlands with Naarden International (who later became Quest and is now Givaudan – one of the largest perfume suppliers in the world); Ruth worked in Japan and in the perfume capital Grasse before returning to England to work for a small compan. There she created fragrances for up-and-coming brands like Kenneth Turner and Jo Malone – including her now infamously successful Grapefruit candle. But finally Ruth knew she wanted to set up her own perfumery company, Fragosmic Ltd., in 2003 – the year she became president of The British Society of Perfumers.

In 2010 Ruth launched her capsule collection of scented products featuring her signature fragrance – RM – and also became the first to use the ground-breaking micro-encapsulation technology… in a scented bathrobe!

Ruth launched her second fragrance, Amorosa, in May 2012 at Les Senteurs in London. Her range is now sold in more than 25 exclusive shops in the UK, as well as in the Netherlands and Nigeria. Her fragrances are astonishingly well composed, but more than smelling beaituful, they capture whole worlds and stories in every bottle.

We’re thrilled to be stocking this incredible discovery set of fragrances in the Ruth Mastenbroek Collection for you to try at home. From the smoulderingly sensual to the classically chic, with sunshine, smoky green unisex to travel memories and joyous moments captured in every bottle, we truly believe there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Why not treat yourself (or a loved one) to a whole new world of exploration…?

Ruth Mastenbroek Collection £17.95 for 4 x 2ml eau de parfum

Ruth has long been a friend of The Perfume Society, so we thought it was about time we caught up with her and found out exactly how she goes about making her fragrances, as part of our series of exclusive interviews with perfumers, called The Working Nose

Is there any such thing as an average day for you? What’s your routine?

Ruth Mastenbroek: It’s not quite as rigid as that. What tends to happen is that I get ideas overnight, and then I can try them out in the lab the next morning. I do enjoy writing out my formulas then, and feeling that then I’ve got the rest of the day to work through them. The way that I like to work has evolved over time. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make a chypre, and the basic structure, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it – there was a lot of trial and error and going back and forth between versions, but eventually I did get there with Signature.

With Amorosa, I knew I wanted to create a tuberose fragrance, because it was so incredibly different from what I’d done, so I wanted to explore. But it had to have something else, which became the ambery woody part of it. With Oxford and Firedance I had a starting point, but then I’d take a chunk out and try something else, to see how that affected the performance and character. It’s not as though I know exactly what’s going to happen when I put two things together. Obviously after forty years I know a lot, I have the experience, but you can never absolutely be sure until it’s done!

Do you keep a notebook with you to collect ideas – how do you keep a track of everything you imagine?

Well it honestly tends to be all in my head, the ideas are very vivid and I like to start working on them immediately, but over the years I’ve made so many different formulas, it’s all written down and I keep a note of every single addition or subtraction I experiment with. That way you have this back catalogue of things that you might not have a use for immediately, but which you know will prove vital at some point! My daughter thinks it’s hilarious that I still write everything down by hand. I still make a note of everything on the computer, but I prefer writing by hand. I do tend to have a lot of Postit notes around, scraps of paper with things that have occurred to me – an unusual combination that worked surprisingly well.

Are you inspired by pictures, textures or sounds at all?

For me it’s a very visual thing – I know some perfumers are synaesthetic and also inspired by sounds, and I can imagine that being very creative working with music, but I see them visually. I think of them texturally, too – very touchy-feely. When I think about my fragrances this way I can then sense what else I need to add to extend that feeling.

Do you need to work in complete quiet – do you shut yourself away when you’re working?

I very much prefer to be alone. I love working and creating on my own. Working from home a lot of the time I can do that. If you’re in a bigger office it’s much harder to do that, but I will always go and find a room where I can go and have some solitude. Otherwise there are too many distractions. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to be distracted, but I like to work methodically through something and just get it done.

When you’re composing a fragrance, are you strict about keeping everything very neutral around you? So not wearing any scented products at all?

Oh yes, you have to really. I mean you end up trying them on your skin of course, because you need to know how they perform, but other scents are very intrusive. Actually, I had one moment that really awkward – I was working for a company where they invited several perfumers to on a day trip to a bluebell wood, with the idea that each perfumer would then create a fragrance based on their personal impressions of it. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of wearing a sweater I’d worn previously had perfume on it. I just didn’t think. But when everything else is un-fragranced (and everyone else there!), boy do you become hyper aware of it. I learned my lesson that day.

What do you think of the rise in self-taught niche perfumers? Do you think it’s a shame they aren’t being trained in that strict way you were?

I think it opens up other routes. But, from what I understand, those who are self-taught are learning about ingredients they can get hold of. And actually that becomes a very limited palette. Whereas, because I had the great fortune to work for a big company, I had access to thousands of materials and had to learn them inside out. On the other hand, Im sure it’s making them really consider what they’re using and how they use it, because they don’t have that luxury. I am a great believer in training, but there just aren’t the places or opportunities for everyone to train the way I did. I guess I’m just glad I did it, you know, a hundred-million years ago, and so I can now rely on that breadth of knowledge and experience. Because in the end, that’s what colours every single fragrance I create…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to build your Fragrance Wardrobe

The elusive search for a ‘signature scent’ has befuddled many an otherwise perfectly level-headed person; that one true love who will supposedly meet your every need, match your every mood and mark you out as uniquely ‘you’ wherever you go.

I am here to tell you the existence of such a perfume is poppycock, and that unless you’re a tomcat you really shouldn’t require one smell to identify yourself to those around you.

Nowadays it’s far more acceptable to acquire a wardrobe of fragrances catering to your many moods (hopefully you have more than one) and the multitude occasions that make up your busy life. Just as jeans and a white shirt are a great fashion basic, but may not be deemed acceptable for a high-powered meeting or a glitzy cocktail party; one solitary perfume is unlikely to express every facet of your personality. Moreover, perfume should be fun – a hushed whisper of intriguing hints rather than a name tag sewn to a uniform.

Casting off the shackles of feeling enslaved to your comfy old favourite is quite another matter, of course, and like any wardrobe worth having, it takes a bit of self-reflection, a lot of research and above all else, time. But the best place to start is by smelling a range of differing perfumes from the various ‘families’ (types) of fragrance.

Have a read of the tips below, and let the hunt begin…

Do a bit of research online and find out name of the nose who designed some perfumes you already like – this is an excellent starting point in your quest for tentatively branching out. Just as top chefs and fashion designers have a signature style or cut, many perfumers stamp their mark in the scents they create.

Never imagine you know exactly which notes you love and hate, though. For many years I laboured under the misapprehension that I simply could not abide rose and lavender in any form; now several of my favourites contain those very ingredients – it all depends on the quality, quantity and how they are used.

When trying something completely new, allow yourself to fall under the spell of the smell alone, without heeding the notes at all. Focus, instead, on how it makes you feel, the images it conjures in your mind. Think of the roles you play, at work, as a friend, a mother, a lover – the infinitesimal masks you wear or perhaps would like to try on for size.

Throw a Bring a Bottle perfume party for your friends, get everyone to bring all their perfumes – especially ones they were given as gifts and are currently languishing on dusty shelves. Try them, swap them, critique them – surprise yourselves. Be brave!

With all this in mind, we curated a perfect starting point for anyone wishing to expand their perfumed horizon with the Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box – eleven scents spanning florals, chypre, oriental, fresh and gourmand, to give you a taste for something new and exciting to wear. From designer names to new niche and with a fabulous classic we’re swooning about all over again, it’s a great introduction for those of you nervous to splash out on scents before getting to know what you like – and therefore need in your Fragrance Wardrobe…

Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club Members)

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to shop for men’s fragrances

Can your father still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge, but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so. With this in mind, why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

We’ll be live un-boxing a brand new, specially curated selection of fragrances aimed at men today at 3pm GMT on Instagram. Join us for all sorts of ideas, tips and scented discussion, or catch-up later by watching our Insta Stories, saved for the next 24 hours. Until then (or afterwards, of course), read on for our guide to shopping for men’s fragrances…

It’s entirely wrong to stereotype, of course, and we happen to know many men voraciously read-up on and try all the latest launches, and are comfortable with owning a wardrobe of scent choices for every olfactory whim. But we’re not talking about them. We’re reaching out to the partners and loved ones of gentlemen who are firmly stuck in a fragrance rut. How do you drag [sorry, ease…] them out of it?

If you’re a bit lost and don’t know where to begin, follow our handy tips when fragrance shopping for a man (who perhaps doesn’t even know he needs to be fragrance-shopped-for).

First of all, what type of a chap are you buying for? Age, character, hobbies and career are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘masculine’ and ‘gender fluid’ fragrances that fit all the fragrance family categories, and so men are offered opulent orientals along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

But where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with a selection of Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of masculine fragrances. Our latest, The New Man Discovery Box, is a mere £19 (VIP price £15) for the biggest bumper-load yet: thirteen new, niche, designer and classic-house fragrance samples, PLUS a full-size scented shower gel (worth £20 alone!) and a generous fragranced shave gel.

So, why not get him The New Man Discovery Box as an initial gift, and offer to buy the full-size fragrance he most likes? You could even make an afternoon of it, going through the steps, below, with him (or point him at this page) until he finds that new favourite…

And if you’re a chap who wants to delve into the world of fragrance more deeply, why leave it to chance? Treat yourself!

– Try the fragrance on a blotter (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these should be available on perfume counters – and when you buy a Discovery Box from this site, you’ll find a handy pack of blotters already inside.

– Write the name of the fragrance on the blotter, otherwise you’ll definitely forget it, later (and chances are, that one’s bound to be the best!)

– Wait a few minutes for the initial alcohol and the top notes to subside – a lot of people take huge whiffs immediately and then complain ‘it smells of alcohol/hairspray!’ Let it dry a little, first. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial.

– You really need to smell a scent on your skin! Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on. We’ve lost count of the number of scents that didn’t particularly appeal at first-sniff, but which a few minutes/hours later we realised we adored. Fragrances are made to be worn on and warmed by skin, not paper…

– Ideally, try no more than two at a time on the skin – one on each wrist. We don’t believe fragrance-shopping should be rushed, but we all live busy lives. You can try one more, on the inside of an elbow – the elbows also happen to be good pulse-points.

– Try to live with a fragrance for several hours, or better still, a whole day/evening) before you part with your cash. That might mean getting a sample, if it’s available in store (or exploring the Fragrance Discovery Boxes). Try to wear the scent more than once if you’re properly testing it: mood, weather and what you’ve eaten can all seriously change how a fragrance works on your skin, and how you feel about it.

– Spray a darker-coloured scarf or inside of a jacket lining, too, and sniff it later. That way, it still warms with your body heat, but you’re not everwhelmed by it. And you can take it off!

Book a fragrance consultation if you’d really like to make a special occasion of it. Many fragrance houses and department stores now offer this service, some of them are completely free and others you have to pay for (but it’s usually redeemable against purchase). Have a look at our round-up of some of these services; we originally wrote it for people wanting wedding fragrance consultations, but it applies whatever the occasion!

When you’ve fallen in love, only then go back and make your purchase – or flag-up to loved ones which ones you liked most, so they know for future gift-worthy occasions…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

How to choose your perfect wedding fragrance…

The flags are flying, excitement is mounting, and everyone in the fragrance world is wondering which fragrances HRH Harry and (soon-to-be HRH) Meghan have chosen for their wedding…

But a more pertient question is to ask: how on earth should you go about choosing the perfect scent for your ‘big day’ (or any special occasion) anyway?

Follow our guide to choosing his and/or her scents to create an olfactory memory that will last a lifetime…

– It’s vital to live with a fragrance for several hours (better still – an entire day) on your skin. That scent you spritz and immediately fall for may turn into something less than loveable as the notes develop.

– The very best way to try is in the comfort of your own home, with zero pressure, scroll down to our hand-picked selection of samples for you try, below (they’re perfect for bridesmaids gifts and wedding favours, too!)

– Try not to test more than a few fragrances at one time, because too many at once = a muddle (and you’ll likely forget which is which, anyway!)

– Following on from the previous point, when testing a fragrance, be sure to write down the name of it on a blotter or jot down on your phone. By the time you get home a pile of random bits of scented paper will mean nothing to you!

Scared to branch out? Type the name of a fragrance you already know you love into our Fragrance Finder, and we’ll immediately suggest six new scents we think you’ll fall for!

Don’t know where to start? Book a bespoke fragrance consultation as a couple (or on your own if you prefer) – we’ve listed seven scent sittings for you try, and many are completely free, so what do you have to lose?

– When you find a fragrance you love, consider following the fragrant theme through to your floral arrangements, colours, mini-versions (to give as bridesmaid gifts or wedding favours), and matching scented candles to use for table decorations…

If you can’t indulge yourself while choosing a wedding scent, when can you? Take time to sit back and explore these fabulous fragrance selections we’ve specially curated – bringing you an extensive range from cult niche houses to luxury designer, with iconic classics and a few scented treats to enjoy along the journey…

The whispered breeze of Amouage Beach Hut is perfect for seaside weddings, while Sana Jardin Berber Blonde will whisk you to more exotic shores.

Fragonard Verveine will sparkle the whole day through and Estée Lauder Modern Muse Nuit is ideal to smoulder softly as dusk falls.

The Beautiful Mind Series duo celebrate intelligent, creative and inspirational women, as two perfumers for Miller Harris Tender and Scherzo uniquely interpret F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.

Indulgent are here to help de-stress with : a sumptuous Heathcote & Ivory Lavender Fields Hand Cream (don’t forget those hands will be photographed close-up and on show all day, so pop this perfectly sized nourishing and relaxing cream in your pocket!) and from Aromatherapy Associates, Deep Relax and Support Breathe Bath & Shower Oils. Much needed, we sense…

Treat Yourself Discovery Box £19 (VIP price £15)

An utterly delectable range of new fragrances, recently launched by founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed, this stunning portfolio of perfumes reflect her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. A box of delights to discover for nomads, free-spirits and all those who love clasically composed yet contemporary scents. Close your eyes and bask in these…

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.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30

An entire wardrobe of masculine fragrances for him to try before he buys (and for you to approve, perhaps?) there’s a wealth of choices from fresh and reviving, crisply stylish, designer favourites to ultra-luxe new houses to discover, and a FULL-SIZE face wash by cult male grooming brand, Heath! Also great for gifting to the Best Man or splitting in to wedding favours for hard-to-buy-for male guests…

Cartier L’Envol Sunshine diffused through golden droplets of amber, a canopy of forest trees with resinous, woody depth. Perfect for outdoorsy types and nature-lovers.

Cristiano Ronaldo CR7 Not only for football fans, a spritz echoing that first sip of whiskey, or sinking gladly into your favourite leather armchair in a gentleman’s club.

Coach For Men Thirst-quenchingly green with citrus enhanced by a herbaceous waft of coriander, sensuous geranium, fragrant cardamom and softly suede dry-down.

Dunhill Racing A nod to heritage gentlemen’s fragrances: citrus, lavender, pepper and musk, but a juicy twist of grapefruit, orange blossom and guaiac wood set this scent apart.

Ferrari Man in Red Thrill-seekers with a softer side should reach for a fruity-spiced opening, golden plum entwined with orange blossom and soothed by lavender.

Jaguar Black Chromite A flash of just-peeled mandarin, crisp tartness of green apple and a background of incense and patchouli add mystery and sophistication to the journey.

Jovoy Private Label Originally made for a client who just happened to be an Arabian prince, this one will have all and sundry swooning when they smell the woody, musky trail…

Kenneth Cole Mankind Nuzzle-up to succulently juicy fresh pineapple warmed by ginger and cardamom, tarragon and cinnamon enveloping vetiver on a greenly mossy base.

Missoni Parfum Pour Homme Head-clearing lemon leaves and pomelo dress up fougère notes of lavender, jasmine and herbs to a stylishly snugglish finish. A new go-to. (With matching shave balm & shower gel!)

Vince Camuto Homme Citrus and juniper = G&T, with Italian fennel, blue cypress and balmy lavender to soothe the nerves while taking a walk in the cool of the spruce trees.

For Him Discovery Box £19 (VIP price £15)

For the ultimate in luxurious was to try a selection of fragrances – these don’t just look pretty (perfectly presented in a vintage hatbox-style gift box), all the Valeur Absolue scents were created specifically to evoke particular feelings. Featuring an incredible seven 14ml bottles, each flacon has semi-precious gems to further enhance the perfume’s emotion. And if you can’t quite stretch to the full collection, we suggest putting this on your Wedding List to enjoy exploring together long after the confetti has blown away!

Harmonie Takes you to a safe and invigorating place, serene and welcoming: a world of absolute harmony.

Confiance Offers intense and comforting aromas, from the tones of Bourbon vanilla and cedarwood.

Vitalité Develops around citrus and acerola: bold and resolutely optimistic.

Joie-Éclat Gets it spirit-uplifting power from essential oils of Florida grapefruit and Haitian vetiver.

Sérénitude Creates the essence of an empty beach, via floral and woody tones.

Sensualité Embodies the sensuality of a serene, beautiful and self-assured woman.

Rouge Passion Is a floriental with enchanting tonalities – alive, seductive and radiant.

Valeur Absolue Deluxe Coffret £112

Whichever fragrances you plump for, we wish you all the best of luck and a lifetime of happiness with The One (your other-half and the scents you fell for), and hope our guide has helped settle any scent-choosing anxieties!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

7 wedding fragrance consultations: in-store & online

Picking a new perfume can be difficult enough at the best of times, but for your wedding day? That’s piling on the pressure!

Whichever scent you select, this will forever remind you of the day, a scented memory to treasure forever, and we know many couples don’t just want to wear the same ol’ fragrance they wear every day. After all, you’re unlikely to be rocking up to the chapel in whatever outfit you happened to find on the floor that day (we hope!) so why would your scent be a second thought?

But where to begin?

Firstly, here are some questions to ask yourself

What’s the style of your dress and theme of the wedding? Relaxed, formal, opulent, casual, classic, modern…? The style of your fragrance should fit comfortably with the occasion.

Is there an overall colour-theme for the wedding and celebrations afterwards? Colour can be a great guide to which fragrances you might be drawn to. Pale feature colours are unlikely to fit with a decadent, oriental style scent and vice-versa.

What flowers will be in your bouquet or decorating the venue, and are they fragranced or unscented? A strongly scented set of floral arrangements could fight with a fragrance that’s wildly different (and we definitely don’t want fights on a wedding day!)

Are there types of fragrances you already love? Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to branch out – take our Find Your Next Fragrance test online to see where to begin looking. All you need to know is the name of a fragrance you already love, and we’ll suggest six other fragrances that you’re bound to find something wonderful within…

We’ll be suggesting some ideal scents for brides and grooms to try later in the week, but for now we’ve rounded-up a selection of some of the best fragrance profiling sessions around, so read on to see which sounds best for you (or try them all!)

These are specialised boutiques that offer an expert consultant to help guide you through the myriad of scents of offer, who will sit with you, ask a number of questions and help you work out exactly which one is best for you. A fantastic service at any time, for a big occasion it’s a life-saver, giving you the time and space to really find that special day’s perfect scent…

Atkinsons Wedding Fragrance Consultations 

If the newlywed Queen Victoria was honoured by Atkinsons with her very own Nuptial Bouquet*, then why not embrace your inner highness with an equally majestic scent for your wedding day? Atkinsons London welcomes brides and grooms-to-be in store for a range of fabulous services.

Their flagship team at their incredibly beautiful 41 Burlington Arcade boutique, will firstly take you through a bespoke experience to match you with your ideal perfume for your perfect day. We’re told this results in a fragrance for life. Their perfume profiling is a truly memorable experience; thorough, in-depth and one that speaks to the soul – it comes highly recommended.

The service can further continue downstairs in their salon with a wedding day hair consultation from their uber-talented hairdresser, Umberto.

By appointment, please call 0207 998 6166 to book or email store@atkinsons1799.com

*Pictured – the original Atkinsons order form from Queen Victoria for her wedding day scent Nuptial Bouquet

atkinsons1799.com

Ormonde Jayne Made-to-Measure service

For those wanting to have a personal twist on the scent for their special day, we introduce to you; Ormonde Jayne’s Made to Measure service. A luxurious service offered in their newly refurbished, and rather beautiful, boutique in The Royal Arcade, off Old Bond Street.

The Made to Measure service allows brides-to-be to choose their favourite scent from the Ormonde Jayne collection, (you’ll be taken through them by one of their impeccably trained staff) and then have it re-poured with your desired oil concentration, allowing up to 42% (the average eau de parfum is between 15-25%). Expect impressive, powerful results and a scent that will last til the very end of your special day.

This is personalised even further by the option to engrave one’s initials, and perhaps the wedding date – a lovely touch – onto the cap or bottle. Followed finally by a beautiful gift-wrapping service.

And while you wait? Graze on heavenly chocolates (courtesy of their delicious neighbours Charbonnel & Walker), sip on champagne and daydream about what will be the most magical, memorable, day of your life.

By appointment only, call 0207 499 1100 to book. Ormonde Jayne, 12 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London, W1S 4SL

ormondejayne.com

Penhaligon’s Fragrance Profiling Session

Penhaligon’s offer this complimentary service in some of their standalone stores, which begin with being ushered into a private area and, over a refreshing tea (or perhaps some more-refreshing fizz) the consultant asking you some carefully thought-out questions by which to guide them into recommending several pairs of their fragrances to try.

Then, judging from your reaction (with both verbal and non-verbal cues, such as smiling, or paying attention to your eyebrows!) they discover the direction to explore together. A quick water break after five pairs of fragrances, to help cleanse the palate, options are refined down to finding the perfect perfume. Can’t make it to one of their boutiques? No problem, for Penhaligon’s have cleverly come up with online Profiling, and will even send you two samples from the selection of six selected as best for you (the cost of which they’ll deduct if you then go on to purchase a 100ml bottle).

Those who’ve taken part report that before the session, they thought they didn’t have any strong ideas about particular types of scents they were looking for, but by the end had formed a much clearer idea as to the best ones to look out for – so a service that’s helpful for the rest of your life, not only for a wedding day!

To book your own complimentary Fragrance Profiling consultation call your nearest Penhaligon’s store.

penhaligons.com

Floris London ‘Together’ Bespoke Fragrance Service

As part of their in-house bespoke perfumery service, ‘Together’ is a 3-hour appointment perfect for couples searching for truly unique scents, speacially composed with a Floris perfumer at at their flagship Floris boutique. Upon ordering online, ahead of the session you receive a beautifully presented gift box, including two bottles already engraved with your initials, as well as a guide to prepare you for your appointment.

Your session begins with a welcome from a member of the Floris family themselves, who will give you both a short overview of the company. Then, while you enjoy your glasses of champagne, your bespoke perfumer asks you to choose from a wide selection of fine fragrance bases, and throughout the appointment as you learn about fragrance creation (from the oldest privately owned family perfumers in the world), you will craft your scents with the introduction of new accords to complement your taste, until both your unique tailored fragrances are complete.

For peace of mind, your private record will be securely archived in the Floris ledgers for you and your future generations to reorder when required (which is completely delightful, don’t you think?) and repeat orders of 100ml bespoke fragrance can be ordered for £160 each.

£800 for 2 x 100ml bespoke fragrances. By appointment at Floris London, – order your engraved bottles online, and your session will take place at 89, Jermyn Street.

florislondon.com

Creed Fragrance Consultation

Offering you the chance to completely ‘immerse yourself in a world of unrivalled fragrance, coveted candles and rich bath and body care’ at the Creed Boutique, here you could find not only your perfect wedding fragrances, but matching scented products to give as bridesmaids gits or even to scent the tabels at your reception to continue the sensory theme.

Their exquisite lower ground floor offers a private and restful environment where guests can experience luxurious and bespoke fragrance consultations, uncovering their perfect signature scent for any occasion. The boutique’s team of highly-trained experts can accommodate almost any fragrance need, guiding guests through an impressive journey of scent discovery whilst enjoying a glass of Champagne. How civilised!

To book your bespoke consultation please contact The Creed Boutique, 99 Mount St, London W1K 2TF, call 0207 495 1795 or email enquiries@creedboutiquemayfair.com

creedfragrances.co.uk

Atelier Cologne Experience

At their utterly stunning (and so-colourful) Covent Garden boutique, Atelier Cologne offer an experience of a privileged moment for each client. Beginning with a bespoke perfume consultation, you’ll be introduced to each of the collections’ bestsellers, and from that discover your own personal ‘perfume wardrobe’. While spraying, the Perfume Artists tell the story that inspired the Cologne Absolue. ‘It is through this storytelling that customers’ imagination, memories and emotions are triggered, helping them make a final choice perfectly matching their personality and individual story.’

At the Atelier, the unique engraving workshop offers long-lasting Cologne lovers the chance to personalise their ‘keepsake’ travel spray. Clients can choose from more than 15 different colours of leather cases and have their name, initials or a short message engraved on the leather.

This bespoke customisation service is performed in front of each client by the Perfume Artists, in less than five minutes, using custom-made engraving machines. A perfect keepsake for your special day, something to keep forever and have re-filled time and again, and perhaps you can choose mini scents as bridesmaid gifts or the Groom’s Best Man while you’re at it?

The Atelier Cologne Experience is available at 11 The Market Building, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RB.

ateliercologne.com

Experimental Perfume Club Bespoke Workshop

During a three-hour session, you’ll create and perfect your own fragrance with one-to-one expert consultation along the way – exploring in detail a selection of 40 perfumery ingredients, you will be free to browse over two hundred from our lab to achieve your perfect blend.

Along the way, after answering a variety of insightful questions, you’ll find your ‘nose’ and leave with a stronger understanding of fragrance composition, what you like and you dislike and an enriched descriptive vocabulary for your sense of smell. This is a hands-on workshop where the full session is one-to-one with the perfumer at EPC, perfectly suitable for any level of experience and ideal for individuals, couples or private groups. They will tailor the workshop to whatever your needs are, so just ask!

After the workshop you’ll leave that day with a truly signature scent in the form of a 15ml lab bottle of your bespoke fragrance, as well as your perfume formula for future orders and a complimentary 50 ml Eau de Toilette, sent to you within 2 weeks.

£450 for one / £220 for additional participants (includes the first 50ml bottle of your fragrance, delivered two weeks after your workshop). To book, fill in the appointment request form online.

experimentalperfumeclub.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale and Carson Parkin-Fairley

6 cocktail-inspired scent trends you have to try

Sitting in the sunshine and sipping a glass (or three) of something thirst-quenching is just the thing – and perfumers seem similarly inclined. If you’re planning a holiday, or simply enjoying our own (currently clement!) weather, this is definitely the time to change-up your fragrance game and perhaps consider one of these cocktail-inspired scents…

We might as well start as we mean to go on, so fancy something fruity? Zara have added three new fragrances with a Cocktail Collection (how apropos), encompassing three favourite tipples: Cherry Sling, Peach Margarita and Sweet Daiquiri. Peony, peach and pear; melon, rose and musk or nashi pear, bamboo and lotus: whichever you choose, these are joyfully exuberant (and very pocket-friendly!) ways to wear the trend.

Zara Cocktail Collection £9.99 for 200ml eau de toilette
Buy them at zara.com

For those who prefer their snifters a bit more straight-up, the cool, clear crackle of ice in a crystal tumbler is wonderfully evoked by perfumer Sidonie Lancesseur. A side order of chilled cardamom and coriander fizz pleasingly with aldehydes as bitter rhubarb accord, a splash of clear rose and lily of the valley swirl with leather, sandalwood and oakmoss. Distinctly dashing.

By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks £215 for 100ml eau de parfum
At bykilian.co.uk

Peach schnapps with lychee and crystalised rose petals? Lalique‘s Rêve d’Infini sees us sipping iced martinis in a fabulous Art-Nouveau hotel. Love a drop of rum? Swashbuckler’s should head for the exotic Atkinsons Pirates Grand Reserve, while those more clasically inclined may wish to wear a Chambord and Champagne-like mix in Vince Camuto‘s Amore. Explore all of these (and many more) in this unashamedly decadent Discovery Box…

The Velvet Collection £19 (£15 for VIP Subscribers)
At our shop

Many perfume-lovers seem to share a love for gin – perhaps it’s the wonderful array of botanicals that are now being used to infuse various small-batch brands, so reminiscent of the way fragrances are made? For fellow gin-lovers, this is now an absolute classic – a crisply refined cocktail on a pleasingly debauched base of black cherry, soft leather, crytalised brown sugar and exotic amber. To be splashed with abandon and relished at leisure.

Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling £100 for 50ml eau de toilette
At penhaligons.com

Visiting the Kilchoman distillery on their beautiful remote island inspired a scent that captures not only the rich flavours of the golden liquor, but hints of hedgerows and the windswept, rugged mosslands for which they’re famed. Galbanum brings to mind bright yellow gorse flowers, bergamot and orris mirror the citrus-floral notes found in the whiskey itself, while a cade oil and patchouli create a peaty accord that’s reassuringly (and literally) grounding.

Floris Islay £180 for 100ml eau de parfum
At florislondon.com

Thirst-qunching Watermelons with the freshness of green mandarin, notes of green tea and cooling vetiver; Blood Oranges bursting with vibrant, long-lasting citrus, and Framboise Noire succulent with black raspberries and ripe forest berries with a deep undertone like that of an ultra-smooth red wine… Fruit punch, claret, gourmand liqours, watermelon martinis? Allow yourself to be utterly transported by all in this deliciously curated collection.

Shay & Blue Precious Miniatures £65 (VIP price £55) for 5 x 10ml eau de parfum
At our shop

Pssst! Had your cocktail curiousity piqued? Our Subscribers were the first to be invited to our exclusive Sip & Sniff evening at Jovoy Mayfair (so you’ll need to be signed in to view this invite) on June 20th – where experts will be pairing six scents with matching drinks. But we’ll be giving you more details about this tomorrow, so watch our Events section for news!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Contemporary fragrance houses flying the flag

Who can lay claim to being ‘the birthplace of perfumery’? France and Italy regularly duke it out for the title, but British scents have been going strong since 1730 – with whispers of Yardley London‘s heritage in fact going all the way back to the reign of King Charles I, supplying royalty with lavender-scented soaps. Sadly, these records were lost in 1666’s Great Fire of London, but many British houses have archives bursting not only with records of their fragrant wares, but the customers who bought them – including royalty, film stars and prime ministers along with the many millions who flocked to their historic doors.
We chose to dedicate the latest issue of our award-winning online magazine, The Scented Letter, to these Best of British. (It’s available digitally to V.I.P. Club Members as a membership benefit as well as in print form.)
The emphasis is on heritage houses who have made our name and are still some of our favourites to this very day, with a selection of newer houses mentioned – including Miller Harris, Angela Flanders, Ormonde Jayne and Floral Street – all of whom have their own boutiques, where you can visit to stock-up on their perfumes, both historic and ground-breakingly new. The streets of London may not be paved in gold, but they’re filled with delicious perfumes…
To be frank, the feature was practically an entire book’s worth of material, and we still didn’t have room for every single one we’d have like to mention – which goes to show how many we have to be proud of. Also, we are thrilled that so many contemporary houses are continuing to fly that fragrant flag, being sold online and stocked in independent perfumeries that stretch the entire globe.
What better time, then, to continue our celebration of the diversity, ingenuity and creativity British fragrance houses display, and share with you a list of some contemporary houses your nose should definitely get to know…?

Ruth Mastenbroek

Born in England, graduating with a Chemistry degree from Oxford University, Ruth trained and worked as a perfumer in the 70s – both in the UK and Netherlands with Naarden International (which later became Quest and is now Givaudan – one of the largest perfume suppliers in the world…) Ruth then went to work in Japan and the perfume capital Grasse before returning to England to work for a small company, where she created fragrances for up-and-coming brands like Kenneth Turner and Jo Malone – including her Grapefruit candle. Setting up her own perfumery company, Fragosmic Ltd., in 2003 – the year she became president of The British Society of Perfumers, it was in 2010 that Ruth launched a capsule collection of scented products featuring her signature fragrance – RM – the first to use advanced micro-encapsulation technology in a scented bathrobe…!

Still creating bespoke fragrances for brands, Ruth’s own fragrances allow her to bottle memories, she says, ‘…of childhood in England and America – chocolate cookies, fresh earth, blackberries… Of Holland – lilies, narcissus, hyacinth and salty sea air… Of France – orchids, roses and wild herbs… Of Japan – cherry blossom, lotus and green tea…’ Believing that fragrance can uniquely move us, and with a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips; Ruth distills olfactory flash-backs into perfumes that everyone can enjoy and form their own, highly personal connections with. And with her latest, the sulty, smoking rose of Firedance, shortlisted for Global Pure Beauty and Fragrance Foundation Awards this year, we suggest you allow yourself the pleasure of connecting with them, too…

Quintessential scents Just launched, you can now indulge in a newly-chic box of emotionally uplifting scents. From the sparkling secret-garden fruitiness of Signature, through the romantic, rolling landscape of Umbria captured in Amorosa. A furtively-smoked Sobranie with notes of jasmine and cashmere evoke the dreaming spires of Oxford, while a classic rose is transformed with hot leather in Firedance, to become quite swaggeringly swoon-worthy. Have a chaise-lounge at the ready…
Ruth Mastenbroek Discovery Set £17.95 for 4 x 2ml eaux de parfum
Available now in our shop

4160 Tuesdays

If we live till we’re 80, we have 4,160 tuesdays to fill, and so the philosophy of copywriter-turned-perfumer Sarah McCartney is: better make the most of every single one of them. Having spent years writing copy for other people’s products, and writing for LUSH for 14 years, Sarah wrote a novel about imagined perfumes that make people happy, with such evocative descriptions that readers began asking her to make them. Ever the type to roll up her sleeves and take on a new challenge, Sarah explains she’d ‘…tried to find perfumes that matched what I was describing, and they still weren’t right, so I set off on my quest to make them myself. I became a perfumer!’
Proudly extolling British eccentricity, the ever-increasing fragrances include Sunshine & Pancakes, which Sarah made to evoke a typical 1970s British seaside family vacation, opening with a burst of sunny citrus, with jasmine to represent sun-warmed skin – alongside honey and vanilla (the pancakes element). The Dark Heart of Old Havana is based on a 1998 trip to Cuba: brown sugar, tobacco, rich coffee, fruit, warm bodies, ‘alcohol, exuberance and recklessness,’ as she puts it. Maxed Out and Midnight in the Palace Garden were both shortlisted for the coveted Fragrance Foundation Awards 2016 in the ‘Best Indie Scent’ category, and an army of devotees now relish every day, scented suitably eccentrically.
Quintessential scent  Named for a comment made by a Tatler beauty editor who smelled it, a dash of bergamot, a soft hint of creamy vanilla, velvety smooth woods, musk and ambergris make for a dreamily decadent ‘your skin but oh, so much better’ affair. Like wearing a magical potion made of lemon meringue pie and fancy pants, if they don’t fall at your feet after a whiff of this, they aren’t worth knowing.
4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent on the Planet Ever (IMHO) £40 for 30ml
Buy it at 4160tuesdays.com
Pssst! Breaking news: Fans of 4160 Tuesdays are a passionate lot, and kept asking Sarah when her next crowd-funded fragrance would be available, and so she’s teamed up with James Skinner, founder and designer at Dalliance & Noble, to make a matching scarf and perfume.
The fragrance is a soft, rich, lavish blend of iris, hay, honey, apricot, tobacco, vanilla, lily, almond, sandalwood and bergamot, and as we love scenting our scarves with perfume, we cannot wait to try this one!
They met in 2017 at the artisan trade show Best of Britannia in Brick Lane, then regrouped in Sarah’s 4160Tuesday’s West London studio to choose natural and synthetic materials. The result was a collection of aromas which Sarah took as inspiration for the fragrance, and she named it Truth Beauty Freedom Love, the rallying cry of the 19th Century Bohemian movement or artists, writers and free thinkers.
James illustrated the plants which the natural essential oils came from, and the wildlife they support. In the corners of the scarf he’s placed the aroma molecules which cast a perfumer’s spell on the blend to transform it from just a mixture of materials into an elegant, wearable fragrance. He designed the scarf in two colourways, and named it Eden’s Garden – a haven for fruit, flowers and wildlife.
Crowdfunding prices:
100ml eau de parfum and silk scarf £175 (will be £300)
100ml eau de parfum £75 (will be £150)
30ml eau de parfum £40 (will be £75)
Get in on the action here – but hurry, there’s only twenty days left to secure these special prices!

Nancy Meiland Parfums

Nancy’s background as a bespoke perfumer began with her apprenticeship to one of the UK’s experts in custom perfumery, creating signature scents for those coveting ‘something highly individual and special…’ Before launching Nancy Meiland Parfums, her decade-long journey through fragrance had already included co-running the former School of Perfumery, acting as a consultant for independent perfume houses, working on collaborations with Miller Harris, and speaking on the subject of fragrance at events nationwide.
Now dividing her time between town and country (Nancy’s based in East Sussex), she explains that ‘the creative process of gathering sensory impressions and honing them into a formula is a vital one. Once a blank canvas, the formula sheet acts as a metaphor – and gradually emerges essentially as a kind of poem, with body, light and shade and a life of its own.’ It amuses Nancy, looking back, that she often had school essays returned to her emblazoned in red pen for being “too flowery”. ‘It figures!,’ she says. Thank goodness, say her extensive base of fragrance fans, in love with these portrayals of often traditional ingredients, composed with elegant modernity and beautiful harmony.
Quintessential scent  Definitely not your grandma’s drawer-liner, this is a rose in all its glory, with the entire plant evoked – pink pepper, for the thorns, stalky green galbanum for the leaves; geranium, jasmine, white pear and violet delicately sketching the tender bud. As Nancy observes: ‘I wanted to depict both the light and the dark shades of it, as opposed to this pretty, twee and girly rose that’s become slightly old-fashioned.” Rambling roses entwined with brambles, if this scent surrounded Sleeping Beauty, she’d never forgive that meddlesome prince for cutting it down…

Nancy Meiland Parfums Rosier £62.50 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at nancymeiland.com

Marina Barcenilla Parfums

A rising star of perfumery, Marina Barcenilla is one of the talented ‘noses’ driving the strong trend towards natural perfumery. As the name may suggest, her birthplace may not have been in the UK – in fact she was born in Spain – but it’s where Marina chose to make her home, and to set up her now thriving perfume business. Marina recalls being intrigued by the aromatic notes in the Herbíssimo fragrances and in her grandmother’s lavender water.
Having always been fascinated and inspired by scent – when the chance came to branch out from her aromatherapy roots into the world of perfume, Marina rose beautifully to the challenge. In 2016 Marina won the coveted Fragrance Foundation (FiFi) Award for Best New Independent Fragrance with India. Against incredibly stiff competition, judged blind by Jasmine Award-winning journalists and bloggers, this prompted her to take the next step on her journey; her company – formerly known as The Perfume Garden – became Marina Barcenilla Parfums. But although the name had changed, the ethos remained the same – ‘to create the finest fragrances, using what nature has to offer.’ More awards followed, including a Beauty Shortlist Award for Patchouli Clouds, an International Natural Beauty Award, and the Eluxe Award for Best Natural Perfume Brand.
In 2017, for the second consecutive year, Marina won Best New Independent Fragrance for the opulent Black Osmanthus – which truly put her on the radar of journalists and perfumistas. From sourcing rare and precious aromatic essences from around the world to blending fragrances by hand in her own perfume studio, after years of study, Marina’s long-awaited olfactory journey to ‘rediscover the soul of perfume’ is off to a rousing start – and all from the suitably mystical base of Glastonbury. More than simply reaching for the stars, parallel to her perfumery career she’s also studying to become a Planetary Scientist and Astrobiologist, at the University of London; recently combining her twin passions by creating AromAtom – creating the imagined scents of space as a way to make space science more engaging for children – which Marina regularly tours through schools. What else can we say for this exciting house, but ‘up, up and away…!?’
Quintessential scent  Silky-smooth sandalwood is enticingly laced with flecks of fragrant cardamom, dotted with coriander, huge armfulls of rose and woven with incense for an all-natural scent that’s soothingly spiced, earthily grounding and yet erotically tempting; so you’ll be wanting to dance barefoot (perhaps comletely bare) and wrap yourself around a Maypole, have no doubt…
Marina Barcenilla Parfums India £130 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at mbparfums.com

St Giles

Rarely do founders of fragrance houses come with such experience, passion and dedication to the industry as Michael Donovan. With a career thus far helping stock the shelves of such cult fragrance-shopping destinations as Roullier White, running his own PR company, representing such luminaries as Fréderic Malle – every time we’ve met Michael, he’s been bubbling with enthusiasm about a perfume we ‘…absolutely must smell!’ or a nose who’s ‘a complete genius!’ And you know what? He’s always been right.
He’d been badgered for years by fragrance experts and enthusiasts alike to launch his own range, but the idea had tickled his brain for some decades before being fully explored as a reality. As Michael explains, the concept he just couldn’t let go of was to have a collection that truly represented ‘scents as complex as you are.’ And so, the St Giles fragrances have ‘…been created to stimulate and amplify the many different aspects of our character. This wardrobe of fragrances celebrates the parts that make us who we are, fusing the reality and the fantasy.’
And the nose he sought out to compose them just happens to be one of the greatest of our time. ‘The perfumes are made in collaboration with Master Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, whose vision I have long admired and whose friendship I cherish.’ Having spent many years working alongside Bertrand, but always in regard to his work for other houses, Michael admits he was ‘…extremely nervous’ about approaching him, but it turns out Bertrand was more than enthusiastic in his acceptance. The only question you need ask, now, is which fragrant character you want to embody, today…
Quintessential scent  Rosemary absolute – now proven to stimulate memory performance – adds an aromatic, drily green note while fresh ginger warmly fizzes alongside Champagne-like aldehydes, herbaceous clary sage and the uplifting, fruity zing of rhubarb. There’s a sigh of soft leather and frankincense at the heart, slowly sinking to the inky-tinged base of castoreum absolute, sandalwood, Atlas cedarwood and a salty tang of driftwood. Absolutely unique, you’ll want to cover yourself in it while seeking your muse, perhaps while enjoying a sip or three of something refreshing, wearing nothing else but a velvet smoking jacket and an enigmatic smile…
St Giles The Writer £130 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at stgilesfragrance.com

 

Tom Daxon

Recalling his childhood and growing up ‘in fragrant surroundings,’ Tom Daxon rather understates how perfume practically ran in his blood. Lucky enough to have a mother who was creative director at Molton Brown for over 30 years, and therefore ‘would often give me new shower gels to try, fragrances to sniff’ his scented destiny was sealed by frequently accompanying his mother on her business trips to Grasse.
There he met the father-daughter duo of Jacques and Carla Chabert, who’d variously worked for Chanel, Guerlain and L’Oréal, with Jacques the nose behind Molton Brown’s ground-breaking Black Pepper and Carla creating the hit follow-up, Pink Peppercorn. Having esteemed perfumers in his life from such an early age was a connection that would bravely – still in his twenties – lead Tom to launch a brand new British fragrance house. Clearly a chap who doesn’t like to hang around when he’s got a bee in his bonnet, by the end of that same year, he was already being stocked in Liberty.
Not a bad start, all things considered, and describing the impetus behind him starting his own line of fragrances, Tom says ‘I wouldn’t have bothered if I thought I couldn’t offer something a bit different.’ Uniquely intriguing, the entire range celebrates a luxurious kind of British modernity in their pared back, clean lines, the oils being macerated and matured in England for at least six weeks before they’re bottled here. Harnessing Tom’s Grasse connections but remaining resolutely British in their spirit, it’s just the beginning for this exciting house.
Quintessential scent Lushly narcotic, it’s a hyper-realistic big-hitter – like sticking your entire face in a buxom bouquet, the better to get another dose of its lascivious charms. Using traditional, headily feminine notes like lily of the valley, carnation, rose and oakmoss might have become ‘vintage’ or even a bit old-fashioned smelling in the wrong hands, but the Chaberts and Tom vividly evoke just-bruised, silky petals with a futuristic drama that never fails to shake you out of the doldrums.

Tom Daxon Crushing Bloom £105 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at tomdaxon.com
With a strong heritage behind us, and many of those houses still not only surviving but thriving, it seems British perfumery is once again blooming with a fresh crop of forward-thinking (and often self-taught) perfumers shaking up the scent scene. No fuddy-duddy fragrances, these, they’re flying the flag not only for British niche perfumery, but for the art of fragrance itself. Hoist the bunting!

For further reading, we suggest getting your hands on a copy of British Perfumery: A Fragrant History by The British Society of Perfumers/£30 including UK delivery.
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fifth Sense seek 'top tips' for their smell disorder survey

Our sense of smell remains the least explored and perhaps still most misunderstood of all our senses, despite being so important to our every day lives. Smell isn’t simply a pleasure, it makes up a huge percentage of how we taste, helps us navigate our understanding of the world we live in and form connections and relationships with those closest to us.
When people lose their sense of smell – through injury, illness or because of the medication they’re taking – it can be a life-changing and deeply disorientating time, and we refer to this as experiencing ‘anosmia’. Fifth Sense is a UK charity specifically for people affected by smell and taste disorders, and they’ve launched a nationwide survey collecting tips and experiences to develop what will be (remarkably) the first-ever exchange of coping strategies and ideas for better living.
The ‘Top Tips’ survey will be circulated amongst Fifth Sense’s 2000+ members, but they’re reaching out to the wider smell and taste disorder community, and the tips they’re putting together will cover medical, psychological and lifestyle categories, such as:

  • Getting advice from the medical profession
  • Coping with the emotional impact of smell and taste impairments
  • Eating, drinking and cooking
  • Smell training
  • Top rants – what frustrates you the most about having a smell or taste disorder?

Fifth Sense founder and Chair, Duncan Boak, who lost his sense of smell and taste following a head injury in 2005, explained why he thought this was so important, saying ‘This is a great opportunity for the smell and taste disorder community to share ways they have found of coping with specific aspects of their condition. A key part of Fifth Sense’s work is creating opportunities for people to share their experiences and support each other, and our Top Tips survey is an important next step in this.’
The results of the survey will be shared via social media and published on the charity’s website  as a series of downloadable information sheets, and will continue to serve as an ever-evolving resource for those seeking advice and tactics for living well, and – equally important, as Boak points out – a place where the smell and taste disorder community can share experiences of what it’s really like to live with an impaired sense of smell or taste.
Have you had a smell disorder, live with someone who does or simply want to find out more? Get in touch with Fifth Sense and join in the discussion!
fifthsense.org.uk
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Gorgeous perfume boxes to gift this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day comes early this year – Sunday, 11 March in the UK, so don’t miss the chance to treat your mama to some of the most stunning luxury Discovery Sets around, presented in gorgeously gift-worthy boxes.

Fragrance needs to be worn for several hours to truly get the feel of its character, and what could be more glorious than giving your mum – or any woman in your life who deserves a treat – weeks worth of blissful scent contemplation?

Don’t worry, we’ve got Mother’s Day wrapped.

Here at The Perfume Society, we believe the best way to properly try perfumes is to indulge your senses from the comfort of your home, that’s why we like collecting some of the most fabulous Discovery Boxes around, from niche and designer houses we already adore and know she’s going to be excited to explore…

For an extra treat, when your mum’s gift arrives why not take a cake, pop round for a cup of tea and try out some of the scents together? We love hearing the stories of people having Discovery Box sniffing sessions with their mums, for a special moment of sharing scented memories that last forever.

All you need do is choose which of these would best reflect your mum’s character, order and await the outpouring of thanks!

Does your mum dream of travelling the world to exotic locations? Perhaps she’s also the caring, sharing and socially-conscious type? Well this luxury fragrance house works with a sustainability program specifically set up to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations. With seven exquisite scents to explore, she can escape with a spritz whenever the mood takes her…

Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30 for 7 x 2ml eau de parfum

If your mother loves staying in luxury hotels and the finer things in life, we’re betting she’s already a fan of Molton Brown’s opulent body products (they were one of the first ever fragrance houses to understand we like a little luxury every day) but may not yet have indulged herself with their perfumes. Embodying their ‘London via the World’ approach, they source the rarest ingredients and give them a little contemporary twist – eight of their best-selling fragrances are featured here – and when she decides her favourites, you’ll know exactly which matching body products and home fragrance gifts you can lavish her with on other occasions!

Molton Brown Art of Fragrance £12.50 for 8 x 1.5ml eau de toilette

If you’d really like to spoil a mum who’s been going through a difficult time, this really has the WOW factor, with seven eau de parfum housed in a keepsake hatbox style set. Besides looking pretty, the fragrances are thoughtfully composed with wellness in mind. Each bottle contains semi-precious stones which enhance the richness of the formula and embody the perfume’s emotion (they’re also beautiful to display and satisfyingly stress-relieving to rattle, we found!) The addition of natural active ingredients helps to encourage the feeling of wellbeing, and the generous travel-sizes are perfect to pop in a handbag for on-the-go de-frazzling. Go on: she’s worth it.

Valeur Absolue Deluxe Coffret £112 for 7 x 14ml eau de parfum

For ladies who like to make an impression, might we suggest the luxe collection of twelve (yes, twelve!) personality-full perfumes by the London-based niche house of Ormonde Jayne? An utterly swoon-worthy set, it comprises some of founder Linda Pilkington’s most lusted-after fragrances, each one a memorable journey to exotic lands and with a signature sense of style that’s once sniffed, never forgotten. Long-lasting and heady florals are offest by richly decadent woods, spices and uniquely distilled ingredients that cannot fail to tempt. We truly believe there’s something for everyone within this collection, beautifully boxed and ready to dive on in…

Ormonde Jayne Discovery Set £49 for 12 x 2ml eau de parfum

For mothers who exude classic style and yearn for traditionally made scents that still smell very ‘now’, choose from three differently themed trilogies – each box containing three precious bottles of perfume tied with silk ribbons. The sumptuous Columbia Rose Trilogy showcases three beautiful expressions of the rose – an ingredient at which the London perfumer Angela Flanders excelled, the Noire Trilogy explores the deep, dark and mysterious side of perfumery and the White Florals Trilogy embraces the ultra feminine, seductively sunshine-infused flowers beloved by so many. Whichever you select, she’ll be thanking you for lighting up her life for months to come.

Angela Flanders Trilogy Gift Boxes £65 for 3 x 12ml eau de parfum

Still stuck for ideas?

We continually seek out the most exciting and sumptuous perfumes and scented treats for our own Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, with carefully curated selections to tempt every taste. Have a look and find the one that’s perfect for your mum…

Written by Suzy Nightingale