Scent Storage Solutions: How to Organise Your Fragrance Samples & Bottles

Once we start clearing away festive decorations, and the house can suddenly seem rather dull, now is the perfect time to sort out your scent collection, so that you can see what you’ve got and (most importantly) re-discover neglected perfumes you put away and forgot about…

Perhaps you have a collection of hundreds of bottles, or would just like to organise the few you have in a more aesthetically pleasing (and practical) way? Maybe, instead, you have completely lost track of all the gorgeous fragrance samples you’ve been collection from our Discovery Boxes, and are wondering how on earth to sort out the sample vials?

 

 

Don’t panic! Have a look at some of the ingenious storage solutions and suggestions below, and perhaps have a January re-jig of your own…

 

The first thing to ensure is that your fragrance bottles and samples aren’t going to be stored in direct sunlight or too-near a heat source (such as a radiator). Yes, we know, those stunning bottles are begging to be put on display, but just make sure they’re not right opposite a window or on top of the central heating – otherwise, your precious perfumes will evaporate far more rapidly, and even ‘turn’ (go much darker in the bottle, with some of the top and middle notes literally burned off). That’s such a waste of money, and can be utterly heartbreaking if a favourite fragrance is suddenly no longer wearable.

 

 

  • Of course the absolute dream is to have one of those walk-in dedicated fragrance storage rooms one often sees on rich influencers’ TikTok accounts, but that simply isn’t within the reach of most of us. So perhaps consider looking online or on your local charity shop or hardware store’s sale section for some shelving units (or corner shelving, to really maximise space) that could be painted and utilised for your scent bottle collection? If you want to add further shelves or units in the future – if they’re all painted the same colour you don’t need to worry about them all being from the same place or not matching!

 

 

Photo by thehappysloths.com

  • Rather than riffling through an old shoe-box, acrylic shelves and boxes allow you to store smaller sizes and decants, while seeing at a glimpse what you want to wear next. Muji always have a great selection, but do also check out Hobbycraft, stationery and art supply shops, and online sellers, too. Just search for ‘acrylic storage’ and lots of brilliant storage options should present themselves.

 

 

  • Places like charity shops, Etsy and Not on the High Street are great places to search for vintage cake stands – why not choose all those fragrances that are ‘sparking the most joy’ for you right now and arrange them on the tiers, with lighter scents on top, going down to more sultry or heavier, evening-appropriate ones on the bottom layer?

 

 

  • In the days when travelling was infinitely more glamorous, one carried one’s essentials (perfume, obvs) in specially made trunks. Look on auction sites, in second-hand shops and boots fairs for similar vintage cases. Stack them up in a corner, with the top case open, holding your chosen fragrances for the month(s) ahead.

 

Photo by lipstickandlibraries.com

 

  • Sample bottles and tiny vials can be tricky to store en-masse, so consider using lab equipment items like test-tube holders and racks, or look for bullet boxes, makeup caddies, fishing tackle boxes, and tool boxes. You can often find these on Ebay and similar sites, so when trying to store these smaller items, search for these terms and… think outside the box!

 

 

  • Spice racks used to be a feature of everyone’s 1970s kitchen, but now we’re more likely to have whole cupboards-full of exotic ingredients than a faded jar of ‘Mixed Herbs’, so you can usually find the racks cheaply in charity shops. They’re perfect for holding miniature bottles! Also search for ‘nail varnish shelves’ online, and consider the homeware section of your local £1 shop or hardware store.

 

 

  • Consider challenging yourself to trying new fragrances each week (be they samples or bottles you have but rarely use). Lay them out on a pretty tray – easily found in a charity shop, Facebook Marketplace, or jumble sale – and it will focus your attention on them, rather than falling back into the same old habits of wearing the same old thing. And if they’re not sparking joy? Swap them with friends, or treat yourself to something you’ll really love from our Discovery Box selection.

PS: Our Discovery Boxes boxes are also the perfect size to store your samples neatly – sort them alphabetically, by name of house or type of fragrance and add a label to the edge so you see this clearly when stacked on a shelf. But however you choose to arrange and array your collection, the most important thing to remember is that it’s easy to find what you want (or those you didn’t even know you had, in many cases!) that they are ready to hand (and wrist) and so you can fuse and enjoy them afresh.

Shopping your own stash is a complete joy and, often, an olfactory revelation. That sample you once sniffed a year ago and wasn’t sure was ‘you’? Well, maybe it’s right for who you are right now…?!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Desperately Seeking Sunshine? Try These Orange Blossom Scents!

Did you ever sleep in a field of orange-trees in bloom? The air which one inhales deliciously is a quintessence of perfumes. This powerful and sweet smell, as savoury as a sweetmeat, seems to penetrate one, to impregnate, to intoxicate, to induce languor, to bring about a dreamy and somnolent torpor. It is like opium prepared by fairy hands and not by chemists.

Guy de Maupassant, 88 Short Stories

Orange blossom is beloved by perfumers in light-filled ‘solar’ scents – a newly emerging category, and a word I’ve found increasingly used for fragrances which aren’t merely fresh, but attempt the alchemy of bottling sunshine. And these fragrances are more welcome than ever when the season’s change means the darkness hits early, the days seem unnaturally shortened, yet somehow endlessly grey. As such, I urge you to seek out these orange blossom scents – SO right for right now!

 

It’s the bitter orange tree we have to thank for these heady white blossoms – one of the most benificent trees in the world, for it also gives us neroli, orange flower water and petitgrain – all utterly unique in smell, from verdant to va-va-voom depending how they are distilled and the quantity used in a fragrance.

Originating from Asia, the bitter orange was introduced to North Africa by crusaders of the VIIth century, and now it’s just six villages in the Nabeul region of Tunisia that provide the majority of the world’s crop. Women do most of the harvesting, the pickers swathed in headscarves climbing treacherously high-looking ladders to reach the very tops of the trees, typically working eight hours a day and gathering around 20,000 (approximately 10kg) of flowers.

 

 

When the blossoms are hydro-distilled – soaked in water before being heated, with volatile materials carried away in the steam to condense and separate – the extracted oil is neroli, the by-product being orange flower water, while petitgrain is the essential oil steam distilled from the leaves and green twigs.

Long steeped in bridal mythology, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she chose orange blossom to decorate her dress, carried sprigs in her bouquet and even wore a circlet of the blossoms fashioned from gold leaves, white porcelain flowers and green enamelled oranges in her hair. It firmly planted the fashion for ‘blushing brides’ being associated with orange blossom – but this pretty flower can hide a naughty secret beneath its pristine petals…

 

 

While the primly perfect buds might visually convey a sign of innocence, their heady scent can, conversely, bring a lover to their knees with longing. In his novel The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa chronicles crossing an orange grove in full flower, describing ‘…the nuptial scent of the blossoms absorbed the rest as a full moon does a landscape… that Islamic perfume evoking houris [beautiful young women] and fleshly joys beyond the grave.’

 

It’s the kind of floral that might signify sunshine and gauzy gowns or veritably snarl with sensuality. Similar to the narcotic addictiveness of jasmine, with something of tuberose’s potency; orange blossom possessses none of that cold, grandiose standoffishness of some white florals: it pulsates, warmly, all the way.

 

Perfumer Alberto Morillas associates the scent of orange blossom with his birthplace: ‘I’m from Seville, when I’m creating a fragrance, all my emotion goes back to my home,’ Alberto told me, talking about his inspiration for his Mizensir Solar Blossom fragrance. ‘You have the sun, the light and water – always a fountain in the middle of the square – and “solar” means your soul is being lifted upwards.’

Oh, how we need that bottled sunshine when summer fades; an almost imperceptible shifting of the light that harkens misty mornings, bejewelled spiderwebs and sudden shivers…

Why not swathe yourself in these light-filled fragrances to huddle against the Stygian gloom? I love wearing them year-round, to remind me sunny days will return, that things will be brighter, presently. I promise.

 

 

Packed full of the brightest orange blossom, swathed in a cloak of earthy moss, soft musk and smooth sandalwood – the creaminess is an addictive layer of warmth. One to swish through leaves while wearing, grinning joyously.

EAU.MG Flor Funk £95 for 50ml eau de parfum

 

 

 

 

A shimmering haze of Moroccan magic, the orange blossom diffused by dusk, a languid sigh of inner contentment that resonates for hours – soothing, weaving its way around your soul and making for a blissful beam of happiness with every spritz..

Sana Jardin Berber Blonde £95 for 100ml

 

 

 

 

 

Waves of orange blossom-infused warmth giving way to fig tea sipped beneath the shade of whispering trees, the memory of laughter, and of bare feet on sun-warmed flagstones, fingers entwined, forever dancing, giddy on sunshine.

Stories No.1 £75 for 30ml eau de parfum

 

 

 

Perfumer Chris Maurice swirls delectable butterscotch and a ripple of dark chocolate through this orange blossom soaked scent. Vibrating with an amber-oudh glow in the base, it’s a scent that will surprise and delight you throughout the dullest of days.

Sarah Baker Gold Spot £145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

 

 

Suffused with a stillness that tingles expectantly, there’s a silvered gleam of a wooden boat gliding over a lake – the orange blossom darker here, sweetened a touch with candied peel, mellow greengage segueing to a seaweed-tinged purr of myrrh.

Prosody London Whistle Moon £57 for 30ml eau de Cologne

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Getting Gift Ready (For Friends, Family… and YOU!)

Okay, we know it’s not here yet, but… it’s coming! So how about ticking lots of gifts off all in one go and getting to feel a bit smug about that? (AND even treating yourself?) Here’s our guide of the best ranges to appeal to all tastes in one (fragrant) fell swoop…

 

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

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

 

 

 

There’s no doubt about it: gardens help us to feel renewed. If you know a gardener – or garden-lover – or simply someone who needs to explore beyond the perfumed path a little; this is the box for them (or you!) With The Garden Of Delights Discovery Box you’ll find a collection of vibrant, bright fragrances that explore the outdoors (with even a scent created in collaboration with HRH King Charles III, based on his favourite tree! AND the new cult calming scent by Kate Moss). From the green-fingered, to anyone who loves joyfully inspiring scents -they’re all the renewing and rejuvenating benefits of gardens in every spritz.

The Garden of Delights Discovery Box £23 (£19 for VIPs) for 12 x fragrances & a soothing arnica gel treat

 

If you’ve a perfume-loving pal looking to branch out and try some fantastic new brands, as well as designer names we know they’ll love – and make sure they are always on trend and perfectly seasonally scented; this  selection of fabulous fragrances (mainly female and unisex in style), will land at your door each passing season (approximately every three months) – so it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving!

You can choose a Quarterly (£18 every three months) or Yearly (£68 annual payment) plan to suit you. We keep the contents a secret so it’s a true scented surprise to receive in the post each time – think of how happy they’ll be to get that parcel rather than another bill or junk mail. (And hey, maybe you could subscribe, too, and you can compare notes with each box? If you live far away – consider setting up a regular fragrance-chatting and sniffing Zoom so you can talk about your faves…)

Each Seasonal Scents Box Includes:

Seasonal Fragrances  – A collection of fragrances from 1ml – 7ml, these will be kept secret until each Seasonal Scents Box is launched, we just love the element of surprise!

Online Smelling Notes – accessible via a QR code within your box, guiding you through the fragrances and how to start smelling.

Unboxing Video –  also via the QR code, for every box our Senior Fragrance Writer and expert, Suzy Nightingale, will guide them when opening your new box.

Hints & Tips – to ensure they get the most out of your fragrances and have fun!

Check out your Seasonal Scent options here, and get ready for your whole new wardrobe of fragrances to explore, all in the comfort of their own home…

 

 

 

 

For the most suave and chic of your perfume-loving pals, here’s a box that swaggers with charm and sophistication. Filled with fragrances from some of Britain’s finest brands – both classic and utterly contemporary names – to help them find their new fragrant passions. Indulging in these voluptuous, classic scents and new launches all from within the UK will keep them feeling confident (and let them know how much they are loved!) Smart…sexy…elegant – this is a box that has it all, and then some, in scent appeal.

Platinum Discovery Box £25 (£21 for VIPs)

 

 

 

 

If you know a chap (or anyone preferring the more traditionally ‘masculine’ style scents) who is a little stuck and not sure where to start on a new fragrance journey – The Scented Gent collection has been specifically curated to appeal. Starting off with some classic names they’re sure to have heard of (and feel comfortable with), which have a more heritage character; then they can be ready to plunge into some scents that will gently guide them into exciting new scent arenas, from new and niche houses. All of them so-classy and easy to wear.

The Scented Gent £23 (or £19 for VIP Club Members)

Chanel Jasmine Harvest: From Field to Flaçon

Chanel have their own fields of jasmine in Grasse – there are actually over 200 species of jasmine, but they choose to cultivate the exquisite Jasminun grandiflorum there (it translates as ‘big-flowered jasmine’) which is sometimes simply referred to as ‘Grasse jasmine’, because it grows exceedingly well in that micro-climate.

Chanel explains: ‘Grasse jasmine. The original flower chosen by Mademoiselle, its sensual notes are the signature of N°5. A delicate flower with 5 long, chalk-white petals, jasmine has been cultivated using the same techniques and savoir-faire for generations in the fields of CHANEL in Grasse. A night-blooming flower, it comes to life at sunset to diffuse its smooth, heady scent. Jasmine is an incredibly light flower that reveals its purity and finesse in the hands of the nose of CHANEL. The essence of femininity, it is a CHANEL flower…’

‘Initiated by Jacques Polge, the partnership between the House of CHANEL and the Mul family began in 1987. “Jasmine production in Grasse was on a steady decline and we feared we would no longer have enough for our formulas,» he remembers. And so began a beautiful story of trust and cooperation. Ties of friendship were formed, ensuring a lasting future for this rare heritage in Grasse and perfect control over the transformation from flower to fragrance. “At the time, no one was concerned with replanting jasmine, so we conducted a scientific study to find a viable rootstock and bypassed the industry by controlling all of the links in the production chain, from growing the plant right through to its extraction”, Polge continues. This partnership provides a guarantee of both the olfactory quality and the quantity of flowers required for CHANEL fragrances.’

The quality of Chanel’s Grasse Jasmine is quite exceptional because they ensure the crop flourishes at every stage, as Olivier Polge, CHANEL In-House Perfumeur Creator describes:

“Our work begins at our plant in Grasse. It is not only a production and processing unit for flowers, but also a genuine laboratory where we test, compare and take the time required to continually improve the olfactory result of each harvest. The raw essences are shaped and refined to become CHANEL essences.”

Let’s follow each fragrant step, as detailed by Chanel…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For another instalment of our jasmine focus this month, we look at some of the most iconic Chanel fragrances that make use of this exceptional jasmine in their compositions. Until then, we shall be dreaming of the heady scent of jasmine that must billow from the Mul family fields, through every single step, until it’s captured in the bottle. Close you eyes, now and dare to dream along…

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale [quoted extracts and images provided by Chanel]

How to Layer Fragrances

The art of layering fragrance is sometimes presented as a skill you must not attempt until you’ve fine-tuned your nose to the level of a master perfumer. Or perhaps even suggested as something you should never do. Worry not. We’re here to guide you through with some easy tips and tricks to ensure a fragrant harmony every time you spritz…

Did you know that in the Middle East, people layer up to SEVEN fragrances at a time? Sometimes more! Never be afraid to play with perfume. (The wonderful thing about fragrance is there is no right or wrong: if you like something, then it’s right. If you don’t, you can wash it off. It’s not a tattoo after all.)

 

The best way to begin layering

Start with a scent you like a lot but wish could last even longer / add more character to. Write the name of that fragrance into our clever Find a Fragrance database, and it will give you a description of the notes (individual raw materials and perfumer’s accords) that make up the composition.

Now, pick a favourite note and think which other scents you have with those notes (see if you’ve already got some of those the genius algorithm suggests, or add them to your Must Sniff List, next time you’re shopping!)

 

 

We very rarely seem to leave the house without at least a couple of scents on each arm (hey, it gets hard to choose) and after a day of sniffing and spraying various latest launches, there are occasions we have multiple fragrances vying for attention. Now, this is not the ideal way to wear them, of course – a perfume needs time space to bloom to perfection on your skin – but there are many times and differing reasons you may feel the need to stack up the scents, and here is how you should go about it:

 

 

How to layer if you want your fragrance to last longer

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Particularly in warmer climates. Nothing makes fragrance disappear more quickly than dry skin. Try using a matching body lotion or oil to your fragrance (many have matching products like shower gels as well – the more layers of the scent the better!) Aroma molecules evaporate far slower on well-hydrated skin.

Try also spraying the scent into your hair, too, so it wafts around you all day. Hair doesn’t heat up as much as skin, and will absorb the smell more deeply. Do a patch test, first, to ensure the fragrance doesn’t discolour your hair (spray on a tissue to be sure).

 

 

How to layer if your fragrance is too sweet

Look for dominant citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, mandarin, 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 described as being like Champagne bubbles).

 

How to layer & soften a scent

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. For a smoother, woodier sheen to a scent, add a sandalwood-rich or cashmere/powdery scent on top. These notes feel cocooning, adding a layer of soft comfort to spikier ingredients.

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!

[See many more suggestions for how to change-up a fragrance you’re not getting on with, here.]

 

 

How to layer if you need to change from day to evening

Consider boosting the base notes of the scent you’re wearing – these tend to be the last to linger on your skin, being made of heavier molecules, and are likely to include ingredients such as patchouli, labdanum, olibanum, vetiver, woods or musk. Or pick out a spicy note for extra sizzle! Once you’ve welcomed the darker side of your scent and allowed it to shine with extra power, your scent trail will be stronger, longer lasting and will add a little wiggle to your walk, as it were.

Also think about investing in a stronger version of your scent – an eau de parfum, if you use the eau de toilette; or a pure parfum if you can invest in it (or ask Santa!) Read about the differing scent strengths and how differently they react and project or ‘throw’ your scent, here.

 

 

What order to layer in?

 

Scented shower / bath gel

Matching body lotion / oil / balm (or a pick out one of the notes of your chosen scent to echo that in the body product)

Eau de Cologne

Eau de toilette

Eau de parfum

Parfum

Perfume oil / attar

Fragranced hair mist (or simply spritz your scent into your hair, on to clothes (having patch-tested!)

 

 

Don’t forget, the Experimental Perfume Club fragrances have been specifically designed to mix at home and layer to your heart’s content!

Another excellent way to test and hone your new found scent layering skills is by getting a Discovery Box to try all sorts of combinations – how many hundreds (or thousands?) of combos you could create by learning to layer, within each box we don’t pretend to know. But one thing we can say for sure: you’ll have a whole lot of fragrant fun!

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Sarah Baker Extrait vs Eau de Parfum (what’s the difference & where to get samples)

Sarah Baker recently ramped up the ravishing longevity of their fragrances by adding Extrait to their collection. But hang on… WHAT does ‘extrait’ mean, and how does it differ from an eau de parfum? Or, come to that, a ‘parfum’? Here, we’re de-bunking the fragrance myths, finding out how you can try sample-sizes to compare and contrast, and feast your nose on even longer-lasting, full-size fragrances…

 

Contemporary artist Sarah Baker’s photography, sculpture and films are inspired by ‘fashion, luxury and celebrity’, but little did she know that when she created a fictional fragrance house as part of her artwork, her passion for the project (and the public’s reaction to it) would result in a real-life fragrance house. Still very much artistically inspired, luckily for us they’re now ready to (actually) wear… and now these intensified, ultra-long-lasting versions of the scents are on the menu and even more voluptuously desirable!

 

 

From Colognes to extraits, ‘splashes’ to after shaves – there are SO many differing types of fragrance strength descriptions now that it can get really confusing!

Terms like Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum are used to identify the strength or concentration of oil in the carrier (or base – usually alcohol) in a fragrance composition. These concentrations can vary from fragrance to fragrance, brand to brand, depending on how that particular house like to blend their scents, but this is a very general rule of thumb (or nose!)

Extrait / Parfum – 20-30%+

Perfume – 15-25 %

Eau de Parfum  (EDP) – 8-15%

Eau de Toilette (EDT) – 4-8%

Cologne (EDC) –  2-4%

Body cream/lotion –  3-4%

After Shave/Splash  – 2-4%

Soap – 2-4%

Don’t think of higher scent strengths as simply turning up the volume, it’s rather more nuanced than that…

An extrait (often also called Parfum or ‘extract’) is generally the highest percentage of fragrance-to-base that a house creates. These differing strengths perform differently on your skin, too. An extrait will stay on your skin for far longer than an EDP, but it may not project as much, so although it might not kick open a door of a party and announce itself by shouting into the room, it will linger longer, warming with your body throughout the day and night (and into the next day!) creating a sensorial, sensual bubble of intimacy for you – and those lucky enough to be near you – to share the pleasure of.

 

Some people like to layer scent strengths throughout the day. Here’s how:

 

Begin with a refreshing splash of Cologne to get those senses revving, and then wear an Eau de Toilette for day time.

In hot temperatures, consider layering a Cologne or Eau de Toilette with a matching (or unscented) body lotion, as dry skin makes fragrance fade faster.

Try one of the many new hair perfumes – a delightful way to wear your scent, often imbued with moisturising, protective properties as a bonus when temperatures soar (and alcohol-based scents can sizzle dry hair).

As evening falls and you head out on the town, switch things up by adding a spritz of Eau de Parfum to leave a sultrier trail that will last as long your night does.

And for the boudoir – a dab of pure Parfum or Extrait will tempt until the next day (or night) but wont project as far as an Eau de Parfum. Think of them as stronger concentrations, but in a hushed form – only for you and whomever you allow to get that close to nuzzle your neck and admire…

 

 

Is your nose twitching to find out more? See our brilliant FAQ section – there to answer your questions and put the sense into scents.

Meanwhile, if you’re ready to take the extrait perfumed plunge, let’s look at Sarah Baker’s transportive, evocative (and often deliberately provocative) scents to explore, and scroll down to see the sample set of extrait fragrances for you to try

 

 

Gold Spot

‘Why be a star when you can be a legend?’ asks the always artistic, eternally glamorous Sarah Baker, introducing perfumer Chris Maurice’s enticing composition for her house. Balancing bergamot’s brightness with the honeyed headiness of orange blossom, petitgrain pierces through the sweet swirl of butterscotch and dusting of sinfully dark chocolate. Cradled in Laos oudh, Suyufi agarwood and amber, it’s the ’24 Karat glow’ of celebrity’s golden age, made manifest.

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

Tartan

This is a classic of the collection that’s been adored since the scents were first launched. Sarah Baker, the nose for this one, is better known as the founder of quirky British house 4160 Tuesdays, but here collaborated with Baker to compose this marvel. Picture it: A fire is roaring in the library. You savour a rare single malt. Warmth and heritage envelope you after a walk through mossy ruins in Scotland’s Highlands. Autumnal.

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

Loudo

Oh now this is completely addictive, we warn you… One to wear when you simply want to smell irresistible – we’ve heard tell of several glossy mag beauty editors who cannot be without this having tried it on their own skin, and having sampled it ourselves, we totally understand why. Playful and sweet with the flavours of childhood appetites, it dries down to something seriously grown-up. A beloved game encountered in the attic, realising years later it was the seed of your adult prowess; the sensual, sexy and clever you.

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

Leopard

Another from the original collection we fell in lust with at first sniff, this swaggers with glamour, it’s that ‘shoulder pads in a bottle’ scent which we all need sometimes for an instant spritz of confidence. It evokes the strength within, a purr of suggestiveness, a soap-opera bottled that could get out of control if you allow. An epic night out. Heady excess and a whiff of scandal. A big cat signifying power and the right to luxury. The only choice when good behaviour is not an option. Decadent.

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

Jungle Jezebel

Now this one will surround you in a shield of perfumed protection, but in the most audaciously fabulous way. Too much or not enough? We think it’s the perfect perfume to wear when you need to let your inner diva take the steering wheel and drive you to beyond the limits of your own imagination. Inspired by cult star Divine. A bubblegum mélange of tropical fruits, seductive flowers and predatory tones. A scandalous first impression unveils a balance of audacious combinations. Dare to walk your own path.

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

 

Greek Keys

This may well have been the first fragrance we ever smelled from this incredible niche house. Having just launched, we were blown away by the freshness, both of this breezey scent (which wafts the promise of holidays and happiness) and the inventiveness of their collection. Here, fragrance floods Aegean isles, turning fresh on crystal waters. A yacht where a famous affair plays out above and below decks.The sun glistens on your body. A drama that remains fresh forever.

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

Charade

What a scent, oh boy, you’d better be ready to fall headlong for the lustful trio of tuberose, honey and ylang ylang. It’s fragrances like this that linger so longingly on the skin – like the tingle of a passionate kiss that seemingly last forever in this strength. One to waft when you desire others to follow your trail for hours, unbidden, helplessly seeking another sniff. Ah yes. Cross and double-cross. Who’s fooling who when the stakes are high? A lingering vapour of classic silver screen sophistication. Impeccable.

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

 

Atlante

There are occasions that a scent rises above a smell and becomes a texture, a colour, a shimmering sensation that evokes so much and plunges you into an olfactive memory. Here, we find ourselves half dreaming, half remembering, waves kissing our legs, warm sun caressing the skin, a feeling of nakedness that sighs contentedly. In a mythical ocean, a sea shell gives birth to the goddess of love. Desire lingers beneath the shimmering surface. Fresh and beautiful, with an undertow. Salty.

£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum

 

Try Extrait Samples…

We’re thrilled to be able to offer you a way to try these fabulous new extraits altogether – so you don’t have to choose between them, giving each a chance to drape itself irresistibly over your skin and radiate ravishingly in turn. Only then can you truly decide which one(s) must be yours…

Sarah Baker Extraits Discovery Set £45 for 8 x 2ml extrait de parfum

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to find the ‘true you’ with fragrance…

How do find the ‘true you’ and know if a fragrance suits you? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get at PSHQ, and to be honest, it’s one of the reasons we launched (incredibly, nine years ago, now!)

One of the the best ways to really tap into that ‘true you’ and discover what you need from a fragrance on any given day is how it resonates with you – how it makes you feel, not just what it smells like.

Personal Preferences:

From childhood, we are all conditioned to have individual smell preferences, and our response is based partly on our individual genetic make-up (our DNA), and partly on our life experiences. So: that crushed tomato leaf note that reminds you of a beloved grandmother and her greenhouse – or the jasmine that was growing round a door when you were poorly on holiday, and which you can hardly stomach. Technically, we all have an ‘olfactory fingerprint’, which is unique to us: it is our life’s experiences all locked away in our smell memory. In the same way that we each respond differently to different smells, we don’t all like the same pictures, or the same music. (And wouldn’t life be boring, if we did…?)

 

 

Your DNA:

Your physical make-up can have an impact, but there are many, many exceptions… Please remember this is a very broad rule-of-thumb, and can also change with hormone levels…

  • Blondes with fair skin may find they are happiest with rich florals, as their skin may have a tendency to dryness, and subtle/citrus fragrances will evaporate quickly.
  • Brunettes / black hair often have medium/dark skin which tends to contain higher levels of natural oils, allowing scents to last longer; they may find Ambreés (deeper, more resinous) notes work well.
  • Redheads tend to have fair and delicate skin, and sometimes this turns out to be incompatible with perfumes dominated by green notes.

How to Find a Fragrance You Like:

We’ve previously published a piece on how to find a fragrance, where you will find all the tips and tricks you need to get your hands (and nose) on a selection of scents

 

 

But… Does it Suit Me?

Ask yourself this question, only, at first: Do you really like it? If so, then yes! We can never hope to please everyone with our scent choices, so our advice is, don’t even try.

Sometimes, though, when people ask this question it’s because the fragrance is out of their comfort zone. It’s completely true that some fragrances – particularly the bolder or more complex and unusual ones – can take longer to fall in love with. The most important thing is to give fragrances TIME on your skin – not just one spray on one day, then walking away if it doesn’t immediately grab you.

 

 

 

If you’ve smelled the scent on your skin on more than one occasion and you’re still not sure, make sure you check our tips to try before you write it off as a definite ‘no’.

Other times, people ask this question if they simply can’t smell a fragrance on themselves very strongly. This might be because you’re ‘anosmic’ (unable to smell) some of the notes. This can happen with large molecule notes (like musk), and amazingly, scientists currently still don’t know why we can smell some things but not others. Or, it might be because you’re so used to smelling the same ‘signature’ scent that your nose has ‘switched off’, and doesn’t register it anymore.

 

The best way to find the ‘true you’ with fragrance…

…is to try several – try scents you’d never normally consider wearing, even those that feel so different they might be a little challenging at first. That’s why we started doing our Discovery Boxes nine years ago, and so love curating them to this day!

Really get to know the new fragrance samples – and yourself – by considering what it is you do or do not like about them. It’s just as useful to learn what we dislike, at times, rather than sticking with something safe but dull. Do you wish they were brighter, lasted longer, were bolder, smoother, softer…? Now you know a little of what you need, what the ‘true you’ requires, and you can ask an assistant in store, or search for those key words online.

It’s a starting point, and the beginning of a wonderful journey. Next, you might have learned of a brand you’d like to explore more of. And then you’re already in the midst of a wonderful journey…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to Find Yourself With Fragrance

The theme of our latest issue of The Scented Letter magazine is ‘Fragrance For a New You’, chosen because, we truly believe, perfume allows us to choose who we want to be that day.

It does so invisibly – so you don’t need to don a superhero costume or dye your hair magenta (unless you want to, which we highly encourage!) Instead, perfume seems to work on our psyche, with the ability to both outwardly project our innermost personalities, or to bolster bravado, energy or playfulness we might otherwise struggle to don the mantle of amidst the ongoing daily chaos of our lives.

 

 

 

 

The truth is, since the start of the pandemic we feel, there’s been a seismic shift in the scent world. Many reported wearing more fragrance than ever during lockdown, to travel with their nose, spark scent memories or play with their perfume collection as though it were a dressing-up box. Which, we are here to tell you. it most definitely can be!) And, with many of us still working from home – something our parents would probably never have imagined – so too have we filled those dual-purpose spaces with scented candles and diffusers, as the boom in home fragrance sales proves.

Concurrently, there’s been a more gradual change in the way we wear it: a realisation that the once standard ‘Signature Scent’ was no longer up to the job of reflecting every facet of our characters (or helping mask the more tender bits of our souls on a difficult day). With the wider cultural encouragement to explore what it means to be – uniquely – ourselves, others became more familiar with the concept of layering scents to create their own ‘bespoke’ blends.

So, with the world as your olfactory oyster (though smelling rather more appealing), and with such a plethora of perfumes to choose from; where does one begin the journey to ‘find yourself through fragrance’?

Firstly, you need to get to know what you like, and more than that: how particular perfumes make you feel. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But so many of us become stuck in a bit of a scented rut, or just don’t know where to start with widening our fragrant horizons. Follow these tips to start your own ‘new you’ scent journey, here…

 

 

Where to Start?

Use our simple Find a Fragrance tool – just type the name of a fragrance you already know and love, and the so-clever algorithm suggests six new scents with similar characters to try, with prices to suit all budgets!

 

 

How to Test?

Your taste in fragrance changes over the years – just as in food preference – and depends on weather, what you’ve eaten recently, your mood and hormones. So, take your time to explore a new scent out of your comfort range.

Spray on a blotter first and come back to it at hourly intervals. Write down your initial thoughts, then re-try a few days (and weeks) later.

Many perfumers trained for more years than a heart surgeon, memorising ingredients by connecting their smell to personal scent memories and images that immediately spring to mind, unbidden.

Smell has no distinct language. If you’re struggling to describe a scent, try likening it to fabric (is it velvety, suede-like, cotton fresh, silken or fluffy?) Perhaps it reminds you of music (played on which instruments? Fast or slow?) Or you might picture a place – imagine the air temperature and scenery it evokes…

Your nose gets used to smelling the same things, so avoid wearing the same thing daily. Try layering to re-awaken your senses or branch out with exciting new discoveries!

Like all artists, perfumers tend to have a certain style. If you fall in love with one (we’re predicting several) of these, research them online: we bet you’ll fall for others.

Scent molecules are volatile and evaporate at differing rates. Citruses are lightest, often found in top notes and disappearing rapidly; florals tend to be in the heart while base notes are heavier, woody or resinous. Make these stages last FAR longer by using matching or unscented body lotion, spray into your hair or on clothes (after testing on tissue!)

Undecided? Spray on a scarf rather than skin: you can take it off and sniff again, later! Spraying on fabric (or your hair) also helps make it last far longer as the molecules don’t warm up so quickly (or evaporate) as on skin. As does…

Use an unscented (or matching) body lotion or oil. Fragrance doesn’t last long on dry skin (or in hot climates). It clings far longer to moisturised skin – so slather up, then spray.

Fragrance samples are THE best way to try new things, dive nose-first into a whole new house you’ve never tried or perhaps a differing perfume family than you’d normally go for.

 

 

 

 

Where to Get Samples?

The best idea is to get a Discovery Box of fabulous mini sizes and samples from a wide range of luxury, niche and top-end designer fragrance houses. That way you can start exploring and trying them all in the comfort of your own home, before you splash out on a full size. This way, you also get to try things you may never have picked up to try in store (indeed, may never have heard of previously!) and have proper time to try on your skin.

 

 

Want to Explore More…?

Brand Boxes are the way forward. You may know you like one scent from a particular house, and are ready to be a bit braver and see what else they do. It’s a fantastic leaping-off point, actually, as many houses offer differing styles of scents while still retaining a kind of olfactory handwriting – the same way an artist will have a certain look to their work you can recognise, or a clothing designer tends to work with shapes or tones that suit you. So, when you’ve found one you love, do explore the rest in their collection (and obvs samples are the best way to do this without breaking the bank).

 

 

Our Biggest Tip?

Give fragrance TIME. Let it settle. Try it several times (in the morning and /or evening, and when you’re in differing moods, if possible). How we’re feeling, the weather, our hormones and even the food we ate recently all have a huge effect on how scents smell on our skin. Plus, being braver can take time, too. Allow yourself the pleasure of exploration, take notes, compare with friends: have FUN finding yourself with fragrance, while finding a new fragrance for you.

You may surprise yourself with what you end up falling madly for. You know, the one that goes beyond merely smelling nice to that eyes rolling back in your head moment, emitting guttural noises of pleasure at, which people stop you in the street and beg to know the name of.

Oh. You don’t know that one? Well, you’ve just not found it yet! It’s out there. Waiting for you… whomever you feel like being today, tomorrow, and next week.

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

I-SPY Scents: 50 Fragrances You Need to Try (Part 2)

Because we all get stuck in our scent ways sometimes, or only focus on shiny, new launches, we created a guide to Fifty Fragrances You Should Try (or at least sniff) in a lifetime.

Seeking out and smelling these scents helps build a library of scent knowledge. Some are over a century old, others created by ‘rising star’ new houses in the fragrant firmament. Among them, you’ll encounter scents that changed the course of perfume history – and you may even recognise their olfactory echoes in many newer launches you go on to try.

You can read Part One here, but if you’ve already limbered up your noses, let’s take a look at the last twenty five names on our list – and remember that list could well have been five times as long! We simply chose some to give you a great overview of the olfactory timeline and fragrant landscape you should explore…

[P.S: We’re thrilled the longer version of this article, which appeared in our 50th issue of The Scented Letter magazine, is up for a Jasmine Award!]

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Jimmy Choo £62 for 60ml eau de parfum jimmychoo.com

Feminine, empowering and instantly game-changing, in 2011 those who clamoured for the stunningly glam shoes suddenly wanted to wear Jimmy Choo on their wrists (and necks, décolletage, behind knees…) Olivier Polge leant his mastery of ingredients to creating this fruity Chypre that tempts with tiger orchid, toffee and Indonesian patchouli. One to wear while dancing on tables.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Jo Malone London Lime, Basil & Mandarin £110 for 100ml Cologne

When the now-iconic scent first whooshed its way into the perfume world in 1999, we were still in recovery from an era of powerful ‘room-rockers’. Inspiring countless Cologne-esque copies from others who’d not predicted this fragrant about-face, none can beat the original zesty, feel-good zing of just-squeezed citrus with handfuls of torn basil and thyme leaves still warm from the sun.

 

 

 

 

  1. Jovoy Psychédélique £145 for 100ml eau de parfum 

The ultimate tribute to the Sixties: an intoxicatingly intense patchouli fragrance that’s dark and smoky, twisted through with the golden gleam of amber, and a no-brainer for any patch-lovers to swoon over (as we often do). A glorious example of a ‘phoenix’ perfume house – restored way beyond its former 1920s glory, now also an indie treasure trove of shops for fellow scent obsessives.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Kenzo Flower by Kenzo from £42.99 for 30ml eau de parfum

Kenzo’s new bloom for the millennium, it’s the imagined the scent of a poppy – one of those so-elusive flowers we adore but which remain frustratingly ‘silent’ and scentless in nature. Step forward the artistry of perfumery, in the hands (and nose) of Alberto Morrillas, and this 2000-launched scent now celebrates over 20 years of powdery, violet-tinged, hawthorn-dusted beguilement.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Lalique Encre Noire £25.23 for 100ml eau de toilette

Perfumer Nathalie Lorson excelled herself in 2006 with this love song to the scent of vetiver. Smouldering, inky, bone dry, and slightly dangerous, it wraps the wearer in a cloak of woody cypress, fluffed a little at the edges by cashmere, and ruthlessly seduces with a lover’s neck caress of still-cool muskiness. We dare any sex to wear this and not cast a spell over all in its trail.

 

 

  1. Lancôme La Vie Est Belle £65 for 30ml eau de parfum 

In 2012, this free-spirited fragrance first sashayed its way on the world’s scent stage, embodied by Julia Roberts in the advertising campaign, created by a trio of top-notch noses (Anne Flipo, Dominique Ropion and Olivier Polge), and reportedly with 5000 trials in the making. Full-bodied iris is the star, swagged by radiant orange blossom and jasmine, the fruitiness shot through with praline.

 

 

 

 

  1. Le Labo Santal 33 £157 for 50ml eau de parfum

Since 2011, whole cities have become scented by Santal 33, such has been the popularity of this creamy, dreamy, woodsy perfume story. It’s some story. Former L’Oréal executives Fabrice Penot and Eddie Roschi already had 10 scents to Le Labo’s when Santal changed everything. Starting life as a candle, perfumer Frank Voelkl made it ‘deeper, more comfortable’ and created a must-sniff cult classic.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 From £150 for 30ml eau de parfum

A modern classic, created for the 250th anniversary of the iconic crystal house in 2015. Luminous and sophisticated, Baccarat Rouge 540 lies on the skin like an amber floral and woody breeze. A poetic alchemy, the aerial notes of jasmine and tingling, warm radiance of saffron carry intriguing mineral facets of misty ambergris and woody tones of freshly cut, brown sugar-sprinkled cedar.

 

 

  1. Maison Margiela Replica By the Fireplace £55 for 30ml eau de toilette

Captured in an apothecary-style bottle, with a label echoing the designer’s clothing tags, each Replica fragrance evokes familiar scent memories and moments linked to specific locations. In 2015 we were beckoned to a French alpine fireside, delicious chestnut cocooning pink pepper and clove, contrasting with warm notes of cashmere and orange flower for cuddle-me-closer woodiness.

 

 

 

 

  1. Marc Jacobs Daisy £68 for 50ml eau de toilette

Jacobs’s playful yet sophisticated attitude is reflected in his love of fragrance and most especially this wildly successful scent of 2007. The essence of a youthful spirit, sunny, happy and free, the airy simplicity and charming bottle topped with oversized daisy cap has become iconic. With numerous international awards to its name, each new ‘spin’ on Daisy delights us afresh.

 

 

 

 

  1. MEMO Paris Irish Leather £230 for 75ml eau de parfum

Collating an olfactory album of scent memories, husband and wife founders Clara and John Molloy (via perfumer Alienor Massenet) have distilled huge charisma into this aromatic, honeyed leather, inspired by Clara’s ancestral roots. Swathing green freshness in a somewhat animalistic spirit, the chill of frosted juniper and clary sage is soon smouldered by the warmth of an open fire.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Miller Harris Scherzo £110 for 50ml eau de parfum

Tasked with creating a fragrance to conjure up F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, Mathieu Nardin’s 2018 artistic interpretation is an ode to darkness and light. Blood orange, davana and golden olibanum collide in a kaleidoscopic splash of brightness, while shadowy dark roses mingle with patchouli and oudh. Tinged with sweetness, this artistic endeavour allows your inner child to dance.

 

 

 

 

  1. Molton Brown Black Pepper £120 for 100ml eau de parfum

This iconic sizzle of a scent was ahead of its time by several decades, evolving from bodywash in the 80s to perfumer Jacques Chabert’s personal fragrance in 2001, and finally into the grateful public’s hands (and wrists). The pepper’s enhanced by lemon and ginger up top, dark green herbs in the heart – a true wake-up call to get you going any time you need a fragrant boost of energy!

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Mugler Angel From £65 for 25ml eau de parfum

An olfactory ‘shock’ when it launched in 1992, with its unashamedly unique, good-enough-to-eat candyfloss, bold berries and an unprecedentedly high concentration of 30% ultra-rich, woody patchouli. Mugler’s childhood funfair vision, brilliantly interpreted by Olivier Cresp and Yves de Chiris, will be among the stars, forever. Manfred Thierry Mugler, 1948–2022, R.I.P.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Narciso Rodriguez For Her £59 for 30ml eau de parfum

This eau de parfum version in the soft pink bottle (as opposed to the black EDT) was created by Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian in 2016. Echoing the feminine strength of Rodriguez’ empowering designs, the rose and peach melt seamlessly into a softly simmering amber and signature musk base. Seriously sexy in the most unfussy, unbuttoned way, it still makes our hearts beat faster.

 

 

 

 

  1. Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps £33.50 for 30ml eau de toilette

The first fragrance love affair for so many, it’s hard to believe this first came out in 1948, though the twin doves atop the cap (symbolising peace) make perfect sense. Perfumer Francis Fabron swathed a delicate bouquet in airy aldehydes, the clove-like spiciness of carnation and a dusting of violet and iris. Classically classy, did you know it’s worn by Clarice Starling in ‘Silence of the Lambs’?

 

 

 

  1. Ormonde Jayne Woman From £90 for 30ml eau de parfum

Socrates drank black hemlock to poison himself, but Geza Schoen used it in 2002 for a quite different effect, oodles of the absolute lending mysterious shadows to a dusky forest, otherworldly whispers amidst the verdant undergrowth, all set against the backdrop of a violet-streaked, vetiver rich, amber-tinged, sunset. It could easily conquer your heart (and anyone near).

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Penhaligon’s Halfeti £190 for 100ml eau de parfum

Inspired by a small Turkish village famed for its roses, perfumer Christian Provenzano coaxes baskets of the blooms to radiate in the hot sun. Steeped with spices, the nutmeg and oudh sweep in clouds across supple leather (and often, onto the streets, actually wafting from Penhaligon’s boutiques). That distinctive amber woodiness in the base has ensured its smash-hit status since 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Prada Infusion d’Iris £125 for 100ml eau de parfum

From the moment it launched in 2007, Daniela Andrier’s scent gained cult status. smooth and crisp all at once, cleverly reminiscent of clean linen and warm skin, neroli and mandarin make for an airy introduction to which Andrier’s fused an exquisite tapestry of elements – accenting green galbanum, cedarwood and vetiver with the almost bread-like buttery-softness of iris. Sheer genius.

 

 

 

 

  1. Robert Piguet Fracas £175 for 100ml eau de parfum

Created in 1948 by the indomitable Germaine Cellier, this remains the tuberose against which all others must be measured. Emphatically voluptuous with a heady coolness, this deliberately divisive, Baroque floral has apparently been beloved, among others, by Rita Hayworth, Brigitte Bardot, Courtney Love and Isabella Blow. In other words: shrinking flowers need not apply.

 

 

 

  1. Ruth Mastenbroek Signature From £70 for 30ml eau de parfum

British perfumer Ruth’s own memories of her life in England and her exciting travels abroad formed the basis for her first scent, fittingly named Signature for the way it so perfectly becomes part of you. A distinctively timeless Chypre that’s laced with luscious pineapple, the oakmoss and patchouli base become a warm sunshine-infused hug whenever required.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois £110 for 50ml eau de parfum

Originally launched by Shiseido in 1992, during his creative tenure there, this fragrance came with him for the launch of his own ground-breaking niche perfume house, HQ-ed in Paris’s Palais-Royal, just a few years later. The genderless woody fruit accord gives us a forest of dry cedar swathing a superbly spiced plummy, lipstick-y violet.

 

 

 

 

  1. Tom Ford Black Orchid £140 for 50ml eau de parfum

An instant cult classic from its 2006 launch, famed for the seductive black truffle-infused orchid, rum soaked plums, gleaming, burnished ylang ylang and the silky, lingerie-like stroke of sandalwood and vanilla in the base. Darkly delish, devilishly moreish, Tom Ford smoothly bridged the gap between out-there edgy niche and luxe designer dreaminess. We’re still here for it.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb £65 for 30ml eau de parfum

In 2005 Viktor & Rolf veritably exploded onto the scent scene, with this immediate blockbuster putting the edgy and rule-breaking Dutch design duo firmly on the fragrance map. Traditional note structures were cast aside by Carlos Benaïm, Olivier Polge and Domitille Bertier; instead, overlapping floralcy entwined with a milky muskiness. Still the bomb.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. YSL Opium £65 for 30ml eau de parfum

In 1977 the world was seduced by this audaciously named fragrance; still controversial today, back then it caused a scandal. The opulent swathe of ambrée vanilla, by perfumers Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac, was still shocking us in 2000, when Sophie Dahl’s infamous naked ad saw portrayed her experiencing an Opium-induced olfactory ecstasy. (As well she might.)

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

I-SPY Scents – 50 fragrances everyone should sniff

From bestsellers to treasures from niche names, Suzy Nightingale suggests 50 fragrances we think you should be sure to sniff out – and what better time to begin than in National Fragrance Week?

 

Those of us who love fragrance are always seeking out the new, the exciting, the just-launched. But it’s sometimes easy to overlook the exquisite creations that are right under our noses. Think of the following as akin to one of those i-SPY books we loved as kids, in which we’d patiently check off lists of ‘must-see’ birds, cathedrals, native shrubs or whatever fuelled our childhood passions.

In The Scented Letter Magazine, issue 50, we published a longer article called ‘50 Fragrant Icons‘, which we are THRILLED to say has made the shortlist of finalists for a Jasmine Award!

[PSST! Sign up here so you get every copy of the magazine sent to your inbox for free!]

Here, we present the first half of those 50 fragrances we believe you simply must seek out (we’ll be sharing the second half of the scent list next week) with direct links so you can explore and find out more. Now, get those blotters ready (and note down those you like the sound of so you can tick off your own 50 fragrances I-Spy list…

 

 

  1. 4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent On the Planet Ever (IMHO) £55 for 100ml eau de parfum 

Founder and perfumer Sarah McCartney created this in 2013 as a bespoke fragrance for a VIP event, with a journalist present declaring it to be ‘the sexiest scent ever!’ And thus, a star fragrance was born. Hints of citrus, smooth vanilla, soft woodiness and musky ambergris form an unassuming but undeniably addictive blend that will have you exuding the sensuality of its name.

 

  1. Acqua di Parma Colonia £58 for 20ml eau de Cologne

A timeless symbol of Italian chic, Colonia dates from 1916 and was first used to scent gentlemen’s handkerchiefs. With fragrant fans including Cary Grant, David Niven, and Audrey Hepburn, it’s as if you’ve wandered into an Italian sunlit idyll. Sicilian citrus, bergamot, lemon, sweet and bitter oranges infuse your soul with golden sunshine, the warm base cashmere soft. Bliss, bottled.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Angela Flanders Precious One from £32 for 10ml eau de parfum

Awarded Best New Independent Fragrance 2012 by the Fragrance Foundation UK, this was London-based perfumer Angela Flanders’s homage to her daughter, Kate. An even more special tribute given Angela’s passing, and Kate taking on the role of perfumer. The exquisite floral accord rests on a base of softest oakmoss, layers of smoky vetiver unfurling their classically cool, deeply intriguing charms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert £81 for 75ml eau de Cologne

Setting the trend for green tea-infused scents, this chicly refreshing fragrance launched in 1992. The pared-back elegance of cool herbaceousness (cardamom atop citrus and coriander) is down to master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. An olfactory haiku, the citrus segues seamlessly to the lucent lily of the valley, jasmine and rose heart, the tea effortlessly steamed in musky woods. Genius.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Byredo Flowerhead £135 for 50ml eau de parfum

Although this made its debut in 2014, founder Ben Gorham had the idea six years previously ‘when I gave my cousin away at her Indian wedding.’ Capturing the vision of an Indian bride’s hair covered in floral decorations, perfumer Jérôme Épinette’s creation pulses with tuberose, wild jasmine, rose petals, Scandinavian lingonberry and Sicilian lemon on a suede-wrapped amber base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Calvin Klein CK ONE £48 for 100ml eau de toilette 

The world’s love for Calvin Klein clothing, accessories and fragrances was at its peak in the 90s, the revolutionary fragrance hitting the shelves in 1994 and immediately making its mark, with $60 million global sales in three months. Ultra-fresh, a first-of-its kind unisex eau de toilette, the Steven Meisel ads starring Kate Moss perfectly evoked its insouciant, aromatic aquatic sexiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Carolina Herrera 212 NYC £49 for 30ml eau de toilette

Carolina Herrera de Báez (Carolina Jr) joined her mother’s empire in 1996, just one year later launching this ‘spirit of New York, bottled’ scent, having grown up amidst an artistic landscape of impeccable style and a ‘language of aromas.’ Alberto Morillas wove a youthful exuberance into airy gardenia and jasmine, the soft, musky sandalwood dry-down a testament to vibrant, urban modernity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Cartier La Panthère £62 for 35ml eau de parfum

Brilliant in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent is everyone’s girl-crush: a woman’s woman who suffuses the house’s heritage with so-cool yet achievable stylishness. Embracing tart fruitiness with gardenia, rose and ylang ylang atop an animalistic purr of patchouli, oakmoss and leather, this gracefully rebellious ‘symbol of freedom’ was a modern classic the moment it first miaowed in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Chanel No5 £65 for 35ml eau de parfum

Recognisable the world over by bottle alone, this iconic fragrance celebrated its 100th birthday last year. Back in 1921 (and ever since), what really set No5 apart was its abstract construction. Legend has it that perfumer Ernest Beaux put an ‘overdose’ of aldehydes (sparkling, Champagne-like notes) in the bottle; while we’ll never know if that was true, the rest is fragrance history – and its future!

 

 

 

  1. Chloe £84 for 50ml eau de parfum

Already known for their flirty, feminine womenswear, Chloe’s debut scent launched in 1975 under the umbrella of Karl Lagerfeld. When time came to create a signature for a new generation, it needed to embody the fresh, confident femininity that’s in Chloé‘s DNA. Thus in 2008, Amandine Clerc-Marie and Michel Almairac dappled delicate peony with a cool, dewy fruitiness for a fluidly graceful go-to.

 

  1. Clarins Eau Dynamisante £39 for 100ml spray

Long before today’s natural beauty trend, Clarins pioneered the use of aromatics and botanicals in skincare; their Eau Dynamisante was the first eau de toilette combining principles of aromatherapy and phytotherapy (plant therapy) in fragrant form, back in 1987. Hydrating, toning, and revivifying via essential oils of lemon, patchouli, petitgrain, ginseng and white tea, it’s immediately mood-lifting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Creed Aventus £210 for 50ml eau de parfum

CREED‘s most celebrated fragrance became a true sensation on its launch in 2010, an unusual pairing of succulent pineapple and smoky birch with further fragrant juxtapositions of blackcurrant and rose, apple and jasmine. Inspired by the dramatic life of Napoleon, it’s become (and remained) a blockbuster for its inventive, unapologetic drama and unconventional boldness of spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Dior Eau Sauvage £69 for 50ml eau de toilette

Christian Dior’s scented legacy has endured long beyond his too-short lifetime. To follow legendary Miss Dior and Diorissimo, in 1966 Edmond Roudnitska was entrusted with this zingy yet ethereal, utterly enthralling cologne-style creation. His clarity of composition – bright, crisp lemon and verdant herbs up top, balanced by a handsomely dry vetiver base – remains a wardrobe must-have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Diptyque Philosykos £125 for 100ml eau de toilette 

Making fig fabulously fashionable in 1996, Olivia Giacobetti lapped the crunchy, vegetal nature of fig leaf with a silky milkiness that spoke of humid exoticism and fragrant escapes. Rippled with coconut, comforted by the pencil-shavings note of cedar’s woodiness as it warms, we know many a perfumista who reached for this during lockdowns, and will be wearing for decades to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Escentric Molecule 01 £50 for 30ml eau de parfum

In 2006, the idea of having a fragrance containing but a single, synthetic ingredient was startling. Maverick perfumer and founder Geza Schoen admits he thought, ‘This one will appeal only to the artists, the freaks, the outsiders.’ He was wrong; the world went crazy for the ISO E Super – that warm, fuzzy comfort of nuzzling your lover’s neck and leaning in for more, more, more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Estée Lauder Youth Dew £55 for 67ml eau de parfum

Launched in 1953, this had a clever dual-purpose: ‘…a bath oil that doubled as a skin perfume.’ Because although it was then considered déclassé for a woman to buy her own fragrance, as Esteé Lauder herself once said, ‘it was feminine, all-American, very girl-next-door to take baths…’ This spicy floral simmers with incense and rich (almost cola-esque) resins: the scent of subversiveness!

 

 

 

 

FLORAL_STREET_ELECTRIC_RHUBARB

 

 

 

  1. Floral Street Electric Rhubarb from £28 for 10ml eau de parfum

This British fragrance house has blown us away with their fun, modern take on fragrances, the charmingly luminous effervescence of Electric Rhubarb a case in point. Perfumer Jérôme Épinette [the nose for all their scents] created this in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society. Think summer days sipping Prosecco – rhubarb’s fizz, sea salt and white flowers an enlivening, joyous jolt.

 

 

  1. Floris Chypress from £17 for 10ml eau de parfum

Chypre is one of the most classic fragrance families, but in 2017, Floris gave it a swoon-worthy twist, with sunshine-filled neroli dancing with the soapy brightness of bergamot, lemon and sweet orange until the heart proffers a floral bouquet. Then, as the lights dim and flicker, a va-va-voom yet never cloying vanilla, transparent muskiness, amber and patchouli are chicly revealed.

 

 

 

 

Frederic Malle's Portrait of a Lady perfume

 

 

 

 

  1. Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady from £138 for 30ml eau de parfum

Once Monsieur Malle took the step of putting perfumer’s names on the bottles, these once-hidden noses became olfactory rock stars. Dominique Ropion had crafted iconic fragrances for years, but with the overtly sensual, dark rose, berries and sinuous patchouli of 2010’s ‘POAL’ (as it’s oft known), he created the decadent scent trail of many a perfumista, and Malle’s bestseller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Giorgio Armani Si £65 for 30ml eau de parfum

Giorgio Armani describes as ‘my tribute to modern femininity, an irresistible combination of grace, strength and independent spirit.’ It’s a masterful ‘reinvention’ of that so-classic Chypre family for a contemporary new audience. Captivating the senses with its three accords – fruity cassis nectar, a modern Chypre accord, and light musky woods – it’s sophisticated yet utterly unfussy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Goutal Eau d’Hadrien £143 for 100ml eau de parfum

If there was an award for ‘Most Mentioned Signature Fragrance by Celebrities’, Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien would probably win the gold medal – and with good reason. In a timelessly intriguing, deceptively simple take on freshness, mouth-watering citrus, ylang ylang and sparkling, soapy aldehydes evoke Annick’s beloved Italian garden. Way ahead of its time in 1981, it’s just as relevant now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Guerlain Shalimar £69 for 30ml eau de parfum

Incredibly over 100 years old. Its creator Jacques Guerlain’s reign lasted 65 fragrance-filled years and included many a masterpiece (Mitsouko, how we adore thee!) Imagine here a silky pair of 1920s pyjamas worn with heels to a party, citrus swirled with honeyed, night-blooming flowers, powdery iris on a vanilla-plumped base, incense on the breeze: the perfect perfumed romance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Hermès Terre d’Hermès £71 for 50ml eau de toilette

Master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena’s back catalogue could likely fill a list of ‘50 fragrances you should try’ in its own right, but the standout success of this when it launched in 2006 has shown no signs of slowing. Why? It’s the so-structured woodiness that’s riven with vivacious grapefruit, the sheer spices enlivened by a suavely handsome, distinctly flinty vetiver. Sublime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey £46 for 20ml eau de toilette

Reinventing the scent of water to become chicly covetable, as only Issey Miyake truly could. The beautiful transparency of lotus flower and freesia is rippled through with lightly handled lily, rose and carnation; perfumer Jacques Cavallier then delicately dusted peony petals and rested the composition on a smoothly woody base tickled by a swirl of white musk. It still whispers, beguilingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male £42.50 for 40ml eau de toilette

Created by now well-known fragrant maestro Francis Kurkdjian while fresh out of perfumery school, it was quite the olfactory debut in 1995. Taking the outlines of a traditional fougére, the lavender and mint are salt-licked and distinctly salacious, while vanilla, almond-like tonka bean and orange-blossom are positively addictive, and the cumin naughtily skin-like. Ahoy there!