Fragrance Family Friday: Floriental

What exactly is a ‘floriental‘ fragrance, and how can we tell them apart from an oriental or floral? What’s more – where should your nose be seeking out perfume samples to explore this style of scent at home? We have all the answers…

Fragrance Families‘ – the classification of what they smell like, based on the main ingredients – can be a bit baffling to work out (and so many of them are fusing these days), so we have an entire section dedicated to explaining them, and suggesting fragrances to try, giving you a head (well, nose) start. You can read more here about how to identify all the differing fragrant family members, but each week we’ve decided to take you through a particular perfume genre, and suggest a couple of scents to explore at home.

If you scroll down, you will find a review of two floriental fragrances we think you’ll love, with links to buy samples. But for now, let’s sort out what a Floriental is…

Well, the name for this family does most of the work for us: florientals are a sophisticated fusion of floral and oriental notes, and so many fragrances now fall into this category that it’s a real family in its own right. Florientals blend flowers – including gardenia, jasmine, freesia, orange flower – with spices, warm woods and resins. The result? Fragrances that are sensual and often sweetly seductive, but generally airier and lighter in character than true orientals.

Many people who adore orientals like trying florientals in warmer weather, or when travelling, for a still characterful experience, but with a bit of added breeziness. Similarly, those who enjoy florals might like to venture forth into something a little more nuanced, or simply less heady to wear in summer temperatures.

Floris A Rose For…

FAMILY: FLORIENTAL
TOP NOTES: Darjeeling tea, incense, cassis
HEART NOTES: red rose, orris, oudh
BASE NOTES: sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, amber

Intriguingly smoky, velvety wine-dark petals unfurl in the heart of this fragrance. Revealing a sophisticated sprinkling of powdered iris root (orris) and a wisp of carnality with the rich seam of smooth oudh. The amber-y base swathes you in vanilla’s gossamer embrace – that makes you feel is the way your skin should always smell.

After visiting the rose fields of Morocco, Edward Bodenham – director of Floris, and continuing the tradition of perfumery in their presigious family history – became obsessed with the idea of re-interpreting this Queen of flowers. Exploring what has tended to be seen as a ‘classic’ (and therefore trifle old-fashioned) note in perfumery, and looking at ways of marrying the intoxicatingly exotic warmth with the elegant beauty, the resulting floriental is a stunning version of rose – a contemporary twist on the dusty, fustiness we are sometimes still guilty of associating it with.

Mugler Alien Fusion For Her

FAMILY: FLORIENTAL
TOP NOTES: ginger, cinnamon
HEART NOTES: tuberose, orange blossom
BASE NOTES: tonka bean absolute, white musks

Flickering between the heat of ginger and cinnamon with the silvered coolness of tuberose and an aquatic orange blossom in the heart, the warmth returns again as the scent acclimatises to your skin’s temperature, white amber radiating like sunbeams on volcanic stone.

One minute it’s hot, the next it’s cool. (Well, strictly, Alien is always cool.) A new addition to the Alien universe, its futuristic, talismanic bottle reinvented in fiery, translucent ruby red, this sets out to bring us ‘the power of an eclipse, captured in a bottle’, via radiant sambac jasmine and orange blossom, ablaze with ginger and cinnamon, with carnal tuberose igniting the heart before white amber and Madagascan vanilla make their presence known.

These two floriental perfume samples are both included in the Launches We Love Discovery Box, where you’ll find THIRTEEN fragrances in all, with a variety of families to explore.

From that contemporary rose floriental celebration by Floris and ultra-modern Mugler floriental style to tantalise your senses, you’ll also get to try a ground-breaking Gentle Fluidity duo by Francis Kurkdjian. Or delight in the lipstick-and-leather-handbag sauciness of Miller Harris Violet Ida and explore their homage to urban foraging in Lost. Live you ultimate glamorous fantasies with Cartier’s best-seller for summer, and surrender to an evocation of succulent White Peaches by Shay & Blue. Then, why not immerse yourself in a trio of blooms by Yardley and revel in the oh-so-Parisian Mademoiselle Rochas Couture?

Oh yes, and in addition we’re giving you a stunning new nail polish by Nails Inc. (worth £15 alone!) and two travel-size body washes by I LOVE Cosmetics.

Compare and contrast the floriental fragrances with other families represented in the box, with our famous Smelling Notes to guide you along with each spritz.

Launches We Love Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

By Suzy Nightingale

Father’s Day – stage a scent intervention with these fragrant gifts

Dad, it’s time to step away from the Cologne Auntie Brenda gave you when you were 19: we’re staging a scent intervention for Father’s Day…

Today, June 11, is our last cut-off day for posting before Father’s Day on June 16 – but you can use these tips whenever you’re buying a fragrant gift!

Buying a fragrance for your father – or the father-figure in your life – can be tricky. You want to gently ease them away from the one they’ve been drenching themselves in for decades because the scented landscape has (mercifully) changed; but where to begin on their new fragrant adventure?

We specially curate a selection of our Discovery Boxes with men in mind (or anyone who prefers more traditionally ‘masculine’ leaning fragrances), as well as stocking a superb selection of Brand Boxes from new niche houses and the more unusual, already established names.

Discovery Boxes/sets really are the best gifts: you’re not imposing your own taste or guessing at theirs, and with a plethora of perfumed delights to explore, the chances of scented success are greatly increased!

Choosing a new fragrance deserves time and space to properly see how they develop on your skin, and something we know you love is the chance to try things you’d perhaps never heard of before. When given as a gift, these boxes also represent the chance to gently move someone you love out of a fragrant rut…

Bringing brand new releases, much-loved classics and niche perfume houses, with an unprecedented SEVENTEEN FRAGRANCES to explore, there’s something for all to fall for in this bumper selection! Including FIVE fragrances from the Elements of Man line-up by ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, a zing for your step from TOM DAXON Sicilian Wood, the power of the just-launched CREED Aventus Cologne – alongside classic ACQUA DI PARMA Colonia, inviting you to dip your toe in summer waters… We’ve also thrown in TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! The evocative Milano Cento Body Wash 30ml, to pair with the same fragrance in the box, along with Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturiser SPF20.

And if you buy this box before 28th June, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a full-sized fragrance or grooming product. Which you can choose to give as a second gift, or well, *cough* just keep for yourself.

The Explorer Men’s Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

If he’s something of a rebel or always up for trying the latest technology – we’d steer him toward the incredible, ground-breaking fragrances of Escentric Molecules. Creating unique duos that combine a man-made aroma-molecule with naturals, try each of them in turn, compare the four pairs, and find out why this continually innovative house are set to blow your mind. What’s more, feedback tells us these fragrances last the whole day through, and smell utterly unique.

The Escentric Molecules Discovery Set includes four duos x 2ml samples.

Escentric 01 – the Iso E Super molecule features heavily, with the remaining formula using ingredients ‘designed to underscore its low-lit mood.’

Molecule 01 – the ‘partner’ to Escentric 01 contains nothing but Iso E Super – a single ingredient.

Escentric 02 – vetiver, synthetic musk, Muscone plus powdery orris, elderflower extract and hedione

Molecule 02 – unadulterated Ambroxan

Escentric 03 – a tribute to the more familiar side of vetiver: its dark, slightly exotic woodiness.

Molecule 03 – Vertiveryle acetate, a refined vetiver note is celebrated at its purest

Escentric 04 – pink grapefruit, rose and pink peppercorns

Molecule 04 – a seriously room-filling sillage of smooth sandalwood

Escentric Molecules Discovery Set £25

It’s time to switch up their scent game and move from heavier fragrances to a fresher wardrobe. We curated this selection especially for chaps looking to find something new, so there’s something for every man (and plenty of ‘borrowable’ finds) – including Bentley, Parfums de MarlyCristiano Ronaldo and TWO duos from cult brands – Escentric Molecule and Clive Christian – among others. This is a thrilling collection to sniff your way through, and with two added extras from Penhaligon’s and Aromatherapy Associates, this box is worth over £40 to begin with, and priceless when you help them discover a new favourite…

The Men’s Edit Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

Not all dads and father figures are fuddy-duddy, and if yours is more hipster than has-been, this box is the way to go. Featuring 14 truly exclusive niche fragrances, there are an incredible THREE LUXURY-SIZE SAMPLES perfect for travelling – the new addictive Anima Vinci Sesame Chān (7ml), fabulously fresh Tom Daxon Laconia (4.5ml) and the exotic Merchant of Venice Blue Tea (5ml). Showcasing scents from very exciting perfume houses – including decadence from Juliette Has a Gun and exquisite naturals from Prosody and Parterre – he’ll be among the first to smell BDK Parfums with the so-French Rouge Smoking and Parle Moi De Parfum’s delectable celebration of rose. And yes, men smell utterly fabulous in florals – take it from us. All of these fragrances are totally sharable and higly desirable for those who want something more unique.

Limited Edition Niche Discovery Box £23 (£19 for VIP Club members)

If he wants ultra luxury and something we’re sure none of his contemporaries will already have, we’re delighted to introduce a very exciting new brand – Memoize London – and invite you to delve into this treasure trove Discovery Set, which includes eight wonderful new fragrances. Memoize celebrates the importance of creating a harmonious balance between fragrance and emotion.

Tristitia – the essence of calm, relaxation and pure leisure. Reminiscent of of a lazy Sunday morning, cocooning you in floral and vanilla scented sheets, no need to rise, the amber is keeping you warm…

Avaritia – the essence of insatiability, opulence and unquenchable desire. The first time you dare to think you can have exactly what you want, the need for something that is all yours.

Era – the essence of passion, provocation and power. Lose control of your emotions with this powerful fragrance; reigniting the fire within you, evoking deep seated memories within.

Luxuria – the essence of lust, seduction and intoxication. Memories of the first moment of interaction, where desire and passion consumes you. Your skin will tingle with luscious blackcurrant, tuberose and the warmth of musk will captivate you.

Superbia – the essence of self-confidence, self-love and self-worth. An overwhelming feeling of pride, joy and delight. Recalling a first day of school, the pruned rose bushes, games in the woods, the leather strap of a satchel, a mother’s proudest moment…

Gula – the essence of pleasure-seeking and self-indulgence. A fragrance of sumptuous vanilla, absorbing orange, rich clove and delicate lavender. Gula is an immeasurable mix of thought provoking scents providing unrestrained gratification for your appetites, desires, or whims.

Invidia – the essence of insatiable desire to want, to have, to be who you want to be. Envious and aspirational, your mind takes you on a sub-coconscious journey through the memories from your childhood; always wanting what you can’t have – sweet vanilla ice cream, caramels, tobacco….

Black Avaritia (Limited Edition) – the essence of indulging all of your wants and needs in abundance. Travelling through the rich and woody tones, takes you back on a journey to a foreign land. The warmth on the skin is reminiscent of the sun kissing your skin.

Memoize London Discovery Set £57

Knowing a lot of niche-loving chaps who want to look their best are out there, may we also suggest the second Niche box – it includes a 7.5ml of Anima Vinci Neroli Wisdom which basically smells like a Moroccan summer in a bottle. Alongside treasured houses such as Amouage and Atkinsons we’ve included exciting newness from Parterre, Stories by Eliza Grace, Memoize, The Modernist, Tom Daxon. But it doesn’t stop there… WE’VE ALSO ADDED SOME SKIN LOVING TREATS! Yes, dads need pampering, too. Keep his face glowing with the recent GOLD AWARD winning skinSense ANTI-AGING Overnight Leave on Mask (WORTH £8.50) which he can slap on overnight for minimum fuss – and ensure his hands are looked after with the wonderful bestselling Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (WORTH £10). When you consider the value of the two grooming items alone is worth £18.50 – you’re basically getting the rest free!

Niche Collection II Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

 

Fragrance Family Friday: what is ‘Fresh’?

The perfume universe is divided into ‘families’. but what does this terminolgy actually mean to someone searching for a new fragrance to wear? We know it can be baffling to work out, so are here to help guide you with a new feature decoding and exploring the main fragrance families, and choosing an example we think your nose should get to know…

What are fragrance families?
Technically, ‘fragrance families’ are a classification system the perfume industry has used for years, to place individual perfumes into olfactory ‘groups’, based on their dominant characteristics. It’s part of the language of scent.

A true family, of course, has lots of members – and so it is with fragrance. Most of the eight main fragrance families will have some variations on their theme, particularly these days, as increasing numbers of fragrance houses describe their scents as ‘fresh woody floriental’ and suchlike, which is rather confusing for everyone! Here. we’ll try to break down the characters of the main families so you can discover which you’re most drawn to.

Will I only suit fragrances from one family?
Not necessarily – but it all depends on personal taste, the time of year, your mood and even what you’ve eaten recently (spicy food can mask the more subtle notes and alter how others smell on your skin for up to two weeks, for example).

In reality, very few of us have a completely jumbled wardrobe of scents from lots of different families: often without even realising, we tend to fall for one main family time and again. Just as you might open your wardrobe and find that a certain colour dominates. Instinctively, we prefer scents from some fragrance families and dislike others – although we may tend towards one particular family for colder weather, another for sunny times (or moods).

What is ‘fresh’?
Uplifting, zesty, cooling: most eau de Colognes fall into this family. They feature a whoosh of notes like lemon, bergamot, orange, grapefruit, mandarin. (These notes are also slightly randomly referred to as being ‘hesperidic’ – after the Hesperides, the nymphs from Greek mythology!)

Fresh fragrances usually smell clean, and often come in the eau de toilette and Cologne versions, though now we’re finding longer-lasting eau de parfum fragrances evoking that zingy Cologne style. These are the best of both worlds, because many citrus-based scents disappear more quickly on the skin – the oils are the lightest in perfumery so evaporate more rapidly, particularly if you have dry skin. Stronger concentrations (like Aventus Cologne – see below) allow the freshness to give you jolt of energising enjoyment for several hours – hurrah!

Ideal for splashing, and generally more suited to summer, some conjure up a sea breeze, while others smell like bottled sunshine. Many people find fresh fragrances give them a ‘lift’ – a bit of a perfumed kick up the proverbial when you’re feeling drained or in need of a quick hit of happiness.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at a brand new fresh fragrance we feel exudes the very best of this family’s characteristics…

Aventus Cologne
FAMILY: FREsh
TOP NOTES: ginger, mandarin, pink peppercorn
HEART NOTES: patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver
BASE NOTES: styrax, birch, musk, tonka bean

How does it smell?
Lusciously juicy mandarin fizzes with a rasp of freshly grated ginger, a gentle spicy heat enhanced by the addition of pounded pink peppercorns. Just as your nose is getting used to the sunshine warmed top notes, a supremely smooth patchouli swathes creamy sandalwood and cooling vetiver for an interplay of textures and temperatures that continues to intrigue. Finally, the resinous base pulses in a throb of almond-like tonka beans amidst soft drifts of smoky musk that demands to be nuzzled…

The original Aventus is a best-selling fragrance around the world, and most particularly known for the iconic pineapple top note. Wanting to create a more summery alternative, instead of just weakening the strength and turning it into an eau de toilette, perfumer Olivier Creed – sixth generation master perfumer for the house – crafted a luminous, utterly radiant fragrance that feels like a younger (more tanned) sibling of the original. It’s uplifting and vibrant, but still carries itself confidently for hours of perfumed pleasure!

Try a sample of Aventus Cologne
You can try a sample of the just-launched Aventus Cologne at home – it’s one of an incredible SEVENTEEN fragrances we put together in The Explorer Discovery Box of more masculine-styled scents for you to wear and explore your feelings for. Will you fall for this fresh example…?

The Explorer Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

PS: Don’t forget to order for Father’s Day on June 16th – our last posting day is the 11th to make sure it arrives in time!

By Suzy Nightingale

Splurge vs Save: fragrance bloggers choose

Could you ever splurge on an all-time lust list fragrance, or save the cash by buying more pocket-friendly (but still utterly fabulous) ‘fumes? We all have fantasties of winning the lottery and suddenly having access to the rarest scents in the world… But when reality hits and more attainable scents are the name of the game, what, I wondered, would some of our favourite social media fragrance commentators choose…?

Persolaise
Splurge: If money were no object, I’d love a full bottle of vintage Diorissimo extrait (price… priceless?) in the famous, gold-topped Baccarat flacon. Actually, I’d be happy with some vintage Diorissimo in ANY bottle, but if we’re dreaming, let’s throw in the Baccarat. I could probably write a whole dissertation on why I love the perfume so much, but if I had to sum up my feelings, I suppose I’d say that, for me, it is THE most perfect example of a perfumer both reflecting nature and putting his own personality on it. Roudnitska’s nose was being guided by the scented gods when he made it. It is an absolute masterpiece.

NB: You can see this very Baccarat bottle at the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition in the V&A.

Save: I might go for Gorilla Perfume Kerbside Violet £29 for 30ml eau de parfum from Lush: a modern, uniquely urban take on florals, mixing that strange, green, lung-filling ‘openness’ of violet leaf with smoke, concrete and exhaust fumes. Genius.

Viola Levy, Scents & the City
Splurge: If money were no object, I would go for a dazzling bottle as much as the fragrance itself – and for stunning perfume bottles, you can’t go wrong with Lalique (they pretty much invented the concept!) Their limited edition Crystal Collectible Bottle in Naïade €1,200.00 is a miniature work of art, featuring a mermaid-like Art Deco figurine as the stopper, while the fragrance inside: ‘Lalique de Lalique‘ ticks all the boxes when it comes to my favourite perfume notes (jasmine, rose, blackcurrant and sandalwood). I like to think of this scent as the equivalent of an off-the-shoulder cashmere cardi – old-school elegance with subtle sex appeal. Plus you can never go wrong with a mermaid, can you?

Save: Coty‘s L’Aimant,£14.49 at Boots for 50ml eau de toilette, would be a no-brainer. Created by François Coty (dubbed ‘the father of the modern perfume industry’) it was launched in 1927 at the Galleries Lafayette in Paris and is an incredibly romantic concoction. The backdrop was the Roaring Twenties – of girls emboldened by their contribution to the war efforts and the greater freedoms this had allowed them – which lead to the perfume being promoted as ‘the pure essence of Modernism – vivacious, warm and magnetic – the passionate woman’s perfume.’ Certainly it’s similar to No.5 in its composition: sparkly aldehydes, rose and jasmine (always a winning combination for classic scents), but it’s got a lighter spring in its step and a certain sparkle all of its own.

Sarah Gallogly
Splurge: If money were not an issue I would blind-buy Mendittorosa Osang. It has a lot of my favourite notes in it such as honey, frankincense, myrhh, labdanum and sandalwood and Mendittorosa is a perfume house I would really love to explore further. I recently tried a sample of Le Mat and it’s straight up beautiful! I can only imagine how spectacular Osang is…

Save: For a fragrance under £40 I believe you can’t beat Lush and I would reach for I’m Home £25 for 30ml eau de parfum, or Cardamom Coffee £39 for 30ml eau de parfum– both wonderful and with sweet, resinous depth. Lush make excellent and creative perfumes for such an affordable price, and I’m a big fan.


Sam Scriven, I Scent You a Day
Splurge: My fantasy bottle would be Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium £210 for 100ml eau de parfum, without a doubt. The first time I smelled it, I got emotional. That’s happened about twice in my life, and as a blogger, I’ve smelled thousands of scents. Pelargonium is a woody floral, but so seamlessly blended it’s like a cloak of iridescent fairy wings merging into each other. It’s mainly geranium, but it’s also musk, oakmoss, spices and smooth orris. Just perfection.

Save: There’s a huge choice of great value fragrances at the other end of the spectrum, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d go for Lanvin Arpège £29.99 for 100ml eau de parfum.  It’s a classic aldehydic chypre created in Paris in 1927 and it makes me feel like a grown-up sophisticated lady even when I’m in pyjamas. Trust me, that’s powerful. Because my pyjamas don’t even match.

 

Viola Cserkuti
Splurge: If money wouldn’t matter, I’d possibly get a lot of raw materials and make something, or rather experiment with my favourite notes: say, a kilo of Iris butter? I’d be pretty over the moon if I could go into Fortnum & Mason and buy a super fancy Caron bottle and get it filled with Farnesiana from one of those glass samovars (price on request!)

Save: I’m a big fan of discovering affordable scents in unexpected places. I love &Other Stories’s Sardonyx Fire £28 for 50ml eau de toilette, it’s very on-trend with a lot of iso-e super and ambroxan, metallic and musky with sweet florals in the background.

Blueberry Chicks
Splurge: The first perfume I’d choose is unavailable today, but if somebody had a sealed version I would have spent my (imaginary) thousands on La Rose Jacqueminot by Coty. I love rose and it is a legendary perfume. It was used by one of the last Romanoff princesses! For a modern perfume, it would be Puredistance White £455 for 100ml eau de parfum – because it smells like diamonds! I have never met a fragrance that’s so deliciously ‘posh’ and yet fresh. The first thing that comes to my mind when I smell it is a sumptuous ballroom full of finely dressed ladies.

Save: Jennifer Lopez Deseo £10.95 for 50ml eau de parfum, on the contrary,  is a recollection of a tropical holidays on the beach. A sweet memory doing nothing all day, with a pina colada in one hand and a book in the other.

Having salivated at the thought of the luscious lottery-win type fragrances mentioned above, and added many of the budget-friendly options to my own shopping basket, of course I couldn’t resist throwing my own scented suggestions into the ring…

Splurge: Oh go on, then, I’ll have a bottle of the original Guerlain Mitsouko, from when it was first released in 1919. Can you imagine? The thing is, I’d want to time-travel back and buy it myself, dressed to the nines in a velvet Opera coat by Elsa Schiparelli, with an ebony cigarette holder and scarlet lips, being shockingly daring yet romantic – presaging the turn of the century and those Bright Young Things to come. One spritz of this (well actually, as money is no object, several lavish applications) and I could snuggle in the cinnamon infused, milk-lapped plump peach skin and oakmoss for hours. In reality, the current reformulation by Thierry Wasser is as close as we’ll get, thanks to oakmoss restrictions, and it still smells *expletive* wonderful.

Save: If you’re looking for something with a sassy swagger, which smells about ten times more expensive than it is, consider unleashing your inner Diva with Emanuel Ungaro‘s much-overlooked masterpiece. First released in 1983, it’s a pleasingly buxom affair of softly powdered rose and iris with a purr of ylang ylang and sandalwood. And the perfumer? None other than Jacques Polge, darlings. Yes, he of the many, many Chanel fragrances. But this can be snapped up at £29.95 for 100ml eau de parfum. I know. You’re welcome.

By Suzy Nightingale

How to Feel Good with Fragrance

Increasingly, people are turning to aromatherapy and using smell to soothe stress, add a sense of comfort or revive their spirits. There’s a whole feel-good festival with this in mind, and we’re thrilled to be taking part in Live Well London from 1-3 March 2019 – which you can read all about here – where we’ll be bringing our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshop and exploring how scent truly can have a deeply emotional effect, every day.

In fact, we’re pre-conditioned to have 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 now hardly stomach.

Many people use fragrance as a boost for their spirits, perhaps without realising they’re doing so, and there is even a name for the science behind this: ‘aromachology’.

It’s been scientifically proven that different aromas can impact on mood and emotions – not just personally, but affecting those around you. Bergamot is a feel-good ingredient, peppermint makes you perkier and more alert, and grapefruit – believe it or not – apparently makes others believe you’re younger than you are!

This is one reason so many people now have a ‘wardrobe’ of fragrances, rather than just one signature scent: a perfume to make them feel romantic, after a hard day staring at a computer screen; to give them a relaxed, weekend feel on Saturdays and Sundays – or simply something that they spritz on for work, in the morning, which makes them feel focused and professional, in the same way as a smart suit or a crisp white shirt.

We’re huge believers in using scent every day as a way to – literally – take a breather, and for the first time, Beauty Bible and The Perfume Society have teamed up to collate the Feel Good Discovery Box, filled with fragrant award-winning goodies you can use and enjoy on a daily basis.

If you love the smell of a product, you’re far more likely to use it regualrly and see the benefits of adding it into your beauty routine, but it’s also time to consider allowing yourself the luxury of a few minutes each day: inhaling the aromas and treating yourself to a mini-spa experience by focusing on the smell alone.

It’s genuinely life-changing.

If your spirits could do with a boost, read more about wellness scents to try, or why not indulge yourself (or treat a friend who’s been going through a hard time) to a whole box of fragrant, feel-good delights….?

Feel Good Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

So how do you use fragrance to make you feel better, stronger, calmer or self-assured? Are there perfumes you find yourself reaching for in certain situations, and how do they make you feel? Live Well London would love to hear from you about whatever makes you feel better – and we sure many of our readers will already be using scent to boost their spirits on a daily basis – so do get involved in the discussion by using #yourlivewell in social media…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

In frantic need of a fragrant gift? Last-minute help is at hand!

Forgotten a special occasion, when a previously-planned fragrant gift would have saved the day? Be it a birthday or anniversary, Valentine’s or simply a little something to say ‘I love you, thanks for being around’ – we’ve all done it. Either dithering at the counter or leaving a tab open on the computer insteading of clicking Add to Basket, it’s easy to be too late…

But we’re here to tell you that all is not lost! Addle-headed last-minute gifters, we have some timely suggestions to get you out of hot water, and in to their scented good books.

Let them know how important they are to you by making them a member of our Perfume Society VIP Club. For only £25 for a full year, it’s the present that keeps on giving. When you sign them up, they’ll enjoy all of these fragrant benefits:

•  Six issues a year of our award-winning 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’ – just 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 any Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (normally £19 – but only £15 to our VIPs)

•  Plus choose a FREE Discovery Box from the many tempting optionswe’ve arrayed, encompassing all tastes from new niche to designer classic.

The fragrantly obsessed will ADORE an anual subscription to The Scented Letter, our beautiful, multiple award-winning magazine. For £75, they’ll get to delve in to what’s been described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, we are delighted that in addition to our digital magazine we can now offer this print subscription of The Scented Letter, delivered to their door and starting with the current edition.

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

And if they’re not in the UK? We’re overjoyed we can now offer overseas subscribers an International Subscription to our digital downloadable magazine, The Scented Letter. (Alas, we still can’t ship our boxes overseas – and we’re as gutted as you are about it!) For only £20 a year, the subscription gives them six 60-page ONLINE editions a year of this beautiful, multi-Jasmine Award-winning magazine: the only one of its kind for perfume-lovers.

Because of the way our system works, when you click Add to Cart it will send us an e-mail – and we’ll follow up for payment. (If you buy this as a gift; please let us know in your e-mail to us if it’s for someone else.)

So you see? All is not lost for those of us who are, despite trying, still forgetful. We do it ourselves all the time, so no judgement, here. And we guarantee, any of the above will be far more welcome than a drooping garage-forecourt bouquet, any day of the week.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to shop for men’s fragrances? Spread the love this Valentine’s Day (and beyond)

Are you looking to treat the man in your life with a new fragrance for Valentine’s Day, or a chap who’s just exploring the fragrant world for himself, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting. Follow our guide of how to start sniffing out a brave new world…

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Better to tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents – take a look at some of the suggestions, below. And first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life 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.

Why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

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 ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and 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.

Where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with a selection of Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore.

The Men’s Edit Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

A new season is approaching – and this is time for any man to switch heavier winter scents to a new fragrance wardrobe. We curated this selection especially for chaps looking to find something new, so there’s something for every man (and plenty of ‘borrowable’ finds) – including Bentley, Parfums de MarlyCristiano Ronaldo and TWO duos from cult brands – Escentric Molecule and Clive Christian – among others. This is a thrilling collection to sniff your way through, and with two added extras from Penhaligon’s and Aromatherapy Associates, this box is worth over £40 to begin with, and is priceless when you discover that new favourite…

 

Niche Collection II Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

Our first Niche Collection sold out in record time, so we’ve chosen even more scents this time, including a 7.5ml of Anima Vinci Neroli Wisdom. Alongside treasured houses such as Amouage and Atkinsons we’ve included exciting newness from Parterre, Stories by Eliza Grace, Memoize, The Modernist, Tom Daxon. But it doesn’t stop there… We added skin-loving treats for chaps who know that pampering is self-love they can take part in, too. Keep your face glowing with the recent GOLD AWARD winning skinSense Overnight Leave on Mask (WORTH £8.50) – and ensure your hands smell and feel wonderful with the bestselling Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (WORTH £10).

Miller Harris La Collection Voyage Pour Lui – was £70 NOW £35!

A versatile selection of Miller Harris’ best selling male scents, what an opportunity to try something from this always wonderful British fragrance house. Inspired by dreamy journeys conjured with every spritz, each of the three fragrances come in luxurious 14ml travel sizes, and are presented in precious miniature versions of their full size bottles. Miller Harris Étui Noir – suede-like leather is supported by the woods and powder of iris. Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent – bergamot and cardamom is balanced against black pepper and balsamic elemi. Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac – an addictive blend of rich woods, honeyed tobacco leaves and hot spices.

If you’re treating yourself:

It’s best to try a whole range of differing fragrances – that way you can narrow down exactly what it is your nose is loving best. With each of our boxes, some of which you can explore above, we’ve created Smelling Notes to guide you through the process, but here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

– 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 buy a fragrance for Valentines Day? Tips & tricks to make sure it’s one they’ll love

Valentines Day – love it or loathe it – is just around the corner, and it’s still the day that generates the most fragrance sales, peaking at 42% of all prestige beauty products sold. So if you’re thinking of splashing out on a scent for your significant other, follow our guide to ensuring success…

If you already know what they love

Great! Well done you. Why not have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent bath oil, rich body cream or even a fragranced hair mist. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of perfumes at this time of year, and if you really wanted to push the boat out – how wonderful it would be to book a couple of nights in a nice hotel or day spa trip, and add the ticket to the box of mini sizes in a golden envelope!

If you have no idea what they like

A pre-chosen selection box of scents showcasing a range of fragrances with differing styles is your saviour. First, think about their personality, their hobbies, the kind of books they see and films they love to watch.Then have a look at the list below and decide which category they most resemble. Then they can try them all home, taking time to choose their favourites from these stunningly packaged sets…

Are they more classic – all about the costumes dramas, historical biopics and adore touring museums? Choose Fragonard 10 x Eauc de Toilette Discovery Set £29

Are they arty & modern – always wanting to see the latest contemporary exhibitions and staying ahead of the fashion scene? Choose Tom Daxon Discovery Collection One £45

Are they a yoga lover – in to excercise as mindfulness, long walks or simply seeking inner peace and spirituality? Choose the Anima Vinci Discovery Set £15 (PS: It comes with a £15 voucher to buy a full size favourite!)

Are they a travel addict – keen to explore exotic climes, always seeking the sunshine and interested in sustainability? Choose the Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30

If you know what they usually wear, but they’d like something new

Well you’re off to a good start! Now all you need to do is type the name of that scent into our genius Fragrance Finder, and the clever algorithm – based on information we source directly from the fragrance houses and perfumers themselves – will suggest six new fragrances that, while different from the original you typed, share a similar mood, character or key ingredients.It really works!

If you just have no idea where to start

The best idea is to get a Discovery Box of fabulous mini sizes and samples from a wide range of fragrance houses, that way they can start exploring and trying them all in the comfort of their own home, and most importantly, in their own time. Each box is carefully curated to include something for all tastes – so they’re bound to fall for one of these!

Once they’ve found ‘the one’ (or perhaps several) you can then buy a full size, safe in the knowledge they’ve already fallen for it. And we’ve something to suit everyone:

The Velvet Collection £12 comes with a full size chocolate bar from Green & Blacks (so you’re alreadyon to a winner), and features a sumptuously seductive range of new, niche and ‘indie’ scents to try.

The Day & Night Discovery Box £19 includes luminescent, sunshine-filled and lighter style fragrances suitable for any day, and a number of deeper, darker scents to spritz for romantic meals or a night on the town.

The Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box £19 is a bumper selection of fragrances from designer fashion houses and cult brands, with a stunning suits-all lipgloss and lovely Molton Brown mini included as extra surprises.

The Treat Yourself Discovery £19 lovingly soothes and delights with body-care treats from Aromatherapy Associates, and whole host of wonderful fragrances, with something from classic houses to new niche.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fern: 5 modern fougères forging the way

When science meets art, fireworks happen, and so it is in fragrance, with the question of ‘what should a man smell like?’ seemingly answered by perfumer Paul Parquet for Houbigant in 1882. The conclusion? A fern. Now, this once traditionally masculine smell is a hot topic in fragrances marketed to women or perceived as ‘gender fluid’, for those leafy ferns have come a long way…

The problem for Parquet was, ferns don’t exactly smell of anything much. His technological developments created a whole new fragrance family – fougère roughly translates to ‘fern-like’ – say it ‘foo-jair’, with the ‘j’ a little soft, almost ‘foo-shair’.

When you think of a fern, what smell comes to mind? Misty woodlands, verdant undergrowth still wet with morning dew, a sense of stillness and contemplation, leafy green shoots pushing their way through a forest floor? Whatever you imagine, that smell memory was originally encapsulated by Houbigant’s Fougère Royale – created in 1882 and much copied by those who clamoured to achieve a measure of its success.

Called the ‘greatest perfumer of his time’ by no less than Ernest Beaux, the creator of Chanel No. 5, Parquet can be said to have been the first perfumer to truly understand and appreciate the use of synthetic aroma materials in fragrance composition. First used as mere substitutes for naturally derived raw materials, Parquet saw a chance to use them as unique smells in their own right – alchemically poetic creations that sought not to mimic the natural world but to add to it – to improve on perfection. He was a fragrant revolutionary, and that revolution continues to this day.

So what did the traditional fougère consist of? Oak moss, geranium, bergamot, sometimes lavender and amber, and (most notably) synthetic coumarin form the main structure. But how many outside the industry would be able to describe coumarin’s smell?

Found in natural sources such as the toasted almond-esque tonka beans, the essential oils derived from cinnamon bark and the spicy cassia plant; coumarin cannot really said to be a sum of those parts. So what does it smell like?

Complexly layered, imagine the scent of sweet hay drying in the sunshine with a slight waft of warm horse; a cold glass of fizz sipped on newly mown grass, a fine cigar fresh from the humidor, even an unadulterated cookie dunked in warm milk – all of these things and not one in particular, truly something ‘other’ – the scientist’s hand working in harmony with the artful perfumer to amplify the magical realism in its synthetic form. The skill of the perfumer is to take these ingredients and transform them into something we think we already recognise – a swathe of leafy green ferns in a woodland setting, in this case – sparking scent memories and creating new ones to fill the gaps.

If you haven’t yet explored this fragrance family, now is the perfect time to begin. This in-between time of seasons, when we crave some freshness but still require depth and interest to the scents we choose, is ideal for seeking out something new to try, and that traditional structure has some interesting notes added for contemporary interest.

Here’s a selection of some more modern fougères – regardless of gender – to get your noses in touch with. Let your fragrant fougère journey begin…

Although classified as a leather (the clue’s in the name) MEMO actually describe this as ‘a frozen fougère’, and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s minus the oak moss (many moderns are) but features a whole host of frosted herbaceous greeness, with basil, rosemary, clary sage and mint amidst snow-covered drifts of ferns, pine needles, tonka bean and a deliciously dry, woody-leathered base.

Memo Paris Russian Leather £205 for 75ml eau de parfum
harveynichols.com

In this 100% natural perfume, Simone de Beauvoir’s novel is brought to life; the lingering scent of a questioning glance that shakes your soul, warm as a cat curling bare legs, shivering as the fur tickles. A composition of contrasts, we have geranium, basil and lemon rubbing up against Indonesian clove and nutmeg; a sticky patchouli slinking into the cool dryness of vetiver, with a lick of amber rich labdanum nuzzling oak moss and cedar to finish

Timothy Han Edition Perfumes She Came to Stay £120 for 60ml eau de parfum
timothyhanedition.com

Reminiscent of rifling through a forgotten cove of personal treasures, leather-bound diaries reveal sketches of ferns and dried flowers pressed between the pages, bundles of love letters are tied in faded silk ribbons, a lipstick kiss on a foxed mirror, silk scarves with a mingled scent of powder and the faint tang of a gentleman’s Cologne. Mint, lavender, juniper berries and black pepper are swathed in layers of rose and ylang ylang; curls of tobacco expiring into vanilla and cocoa.

4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard from £50 for 30ml eau de parfum
4160tuesdays.com

Inspired by the river that runs through the heart of Keyneston Mill, where this UK house uniquely grow and distil many of the ingredients they use; this is a bare-foot meander through clover-strewn lawns, a budding freshness in the air signifying Spring. Squeezes of lemon and lime shot through with bergamot, mint and lemon-thyme are layered on herbaceously dry clary sage and soft orange flower, as an aromatically dreamy wisp of incense encircles oak moss in the langourous base.

Partere Run of the River £95 for 50ml eau de parfum
parterreatkeynestonmill.com

A bright young thing, in a gown too sheer to be decent, dances the night away at a discreetly riotous nightclub. Surrounded by velvet ropes, garlanded by blossoms, she sleeps until noon. Based on the traditional composition, it’s far from historic smelling – the geranium, oak moss, coumarin and bergamot are naughtily nudged in the ribs by a rather wanton orange blossom, given a shot of luminescent freshness with neroli and snuggled in a bosomy amber.

Mugler Fougère Furieuse £140 for 80ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

By Suzy Nightingale

Marie Kondo-up your collection – scent storage solutions

If you haven’t seen the show already, you’ll definitely have heard about it, because – love it or hate it – Tidying Up With Marie Kondo seems to have got the entire Internet talking.

Lifestyle guru Kondo helps people tackle clutter that she feels is holding them back. And for Kondo, choosing what to keep all comes down to one question: does it spark joy?

It seems in some quarters her philosophy has sparked controversy and even anger, with memes quoting her out of context, suggesting she wants everyone to throw their books away, for example (she doesn’t). But if we all calm down a litte bit and focus on that central ethos, perhaps we can all have a good sort-out of our collections and therefore get even more pleasure from those perfumes that are often hidden away or forgotten about.

To get a sense of what the series is all about, have a look at the official trailer, below.

Now let’s suppose that, seeing as you’re here, perfume sparks a lot of joy for you. 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? Have a look at some of the ingenious storage solutions and suggestions below, and perhaps have a January re-jig of your own…

Photo by thehappysloths.com

Muji 3 Tier Display £14.99

  • 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 check out Hobbycraft and stationery shops, too.

  • Places like 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, fishing tackle boxes, and tool boxes. You can often find these on Ebay and similar sites, so when trying to store these smaller items – 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 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 sale selection.

PS: Our boxes are the perfect size to store your samples neatly – sort them alphabetically, by name of house or type of fragrance – but most importantly, make sure you use and enjoy them!

By Suzy Nightingale