The Candy Perfume Boy’s Trend Report

There are many bloggers we admire at The Perfume Society, and occasionally, we like to feature some of our favourites to share with you here. Thomas Dunckley – a.k.a. The Candy Perfume Boy – is a longtime friend, award-winning writer and fellow contributor to The Scented Letter magazine. Along with a wealth of fragrance expertise he brings a completely refreshing and totally down-to-earth voice to the perfume world, offering his opinions and providing information in a way that’s not only accesible but makes us want to rush out and try all the things he’s mentioned.

And so, get ready to add to your ‘must sniff’ list, as we look back to the most interesting scent trends The Candy Perfume Boy saw in 2017. Which of these have you tried and loved, and which, we wonder, will continue to shape the face of fragrance throughout 2018…?

‘We’re officially in quarter four of 2017 and what a year it has been. By my count there has been at least 20 million fragrance launches this year, but I do have a tendency to exaggerate. In truth it has felt like a particularly busy year, with lots of behemoth launches from equally gigantic brands. I also think it has been a phenomenally good year for perfume and I’ve fallen in love with more than a handful of wonderful fragrances already. But this post is not a retrospective of the year – you can have that at the annual Candies (my fragrance awards) in December, no this is something a little bit different.

As we’re heading towards the end of this year I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick recap of the big perfume trends we’ve seen this year. I’ve certainly noticed a handful of key themes over the last 12 months and it’s kind of fascinating to look back at them at this point in the year. So in this post you will find four trends that have populated the perfume landscape in 2017. These are just my thoughts however, and I’d be more than happy to hear about any trends you’ve identified too!


Sandalwoods

Let’s kick off by talking about sandalwoods because if there is any material I’ve seen lots of this year, it’s sandalwood. I’m used to the note being treated as a gateway to the exotic, with spicy, creamy and warm facets that lead one to think of ambrée opulence. This year however, there seems to be somewhat of a shift in the olfactory lexicon of the sandalwood, with a much more minimalistic approach that sees the more intimate, softer and fresher sides of the material showcased in all their glory.

Firstly let’s take a look at Molecule 04 and Escentric 04 by Escentric Molecules, both of which showcase the sandalwood material Javanol. In Escentric 04, the traditional fragrance composition of the pair (rather than Molecule 04 which is simply Javanol in alcohol) we see a fresh, almost metallic sandalwood paired with grapefruit and cannabis to create a sharper tone. It’s a wonderfully fresh take on a note that hasn’t really known freshness before.

This year Juliette Has a Gun created Sunny Side Up, a sunny, beachy fragrance that did not focus on aquatics or florals and instead showcased a rather sexy sandalwood note. The presentation of the note was intimate, nutty and creamy, with a salty skin-like vibe that brought out the sexier vibes of sandalwood. There was even a delightfully rosy take on sandalwood from Comme des Garçons in the form of Concrete, which felt plush yet dry and smooth at the same time.

So sandalwood definitely has been the note of the year and I hope we’ll see more intriguing takes on it in the year to come.


Androgynous not Unisex

One trend that has really piqued my interest appears to be in its infancy. So far I’ve only noticed two fragrances that have done this, but I expect that we will see more over the next year. The trend is brands referring to their fragrances as ‘androgynous’ or ‘gender fluid’. Now, if you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m all for removing gender labels on scents, because anyone can wear anything that they want to. I’m also a pretty liberal guy and I’m very much in support of gender identities that are non-binary or otherwise. So I see this all as a very good thing.

With the rise in discourse around gender identity it seems that brands are cottoning on to this and are using these terms to replace the description of unisex. Katy Perry described her latest fragrance, INDI, as being “androgynous” as opposed to unisex and Guerlain launched Lui with mention of gender fluidity in the press release and a description of a scent that is “not entirely feminine, nor truly masculine”. I’m totally here for this and hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll start to do away with gendered labels on fragrance entirely. Wishful thinking? Probably!


Decent Celebrity Scents

This trend technically started in 2016 with SJP Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker, but one scent does not a trend make – four however, do. A year or so ago there were numerous articles in the beauty press about how celebrity fragrances are dead and that consumers are no longer buying them. In that year next to no celebrities launched a new fragrance and with any kind of reality ‘star’ launching a scent, it really did feel as if we had reached ‘peak celebrity’ in terms of fragrance. Well now things are a little different and this year alone we have seen three celebrity launches that are far removed from the sickly sweet fruity florals that lead one reaching for the Gaviscon – these celebuscents are unique and actually rather good.

First off we have Shawn Mendes Signature from dreamy, put a poster of his face on your wall, singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes. Created for all of his fans, whether they be a boy or a girl, Shawn Mendes Signature is a well put together woody gourmand that feels as if it has been made with thought and links to the singer’s roots and personality. Then there’s Katy Perry’s INDI, an effortless woody musk that wears like a second skin, and finally we have Xyrena’s Scented by Willam (which I vow to review soon), a drag queen known for her acerbic wit and controversial appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Scented is really quite beautiful – a violet-tinged iris with woods and musk that channels shades of Tauer’s discontinued Pentachord White. Each of these celebrity fragrances is really good and it’s refreshing to see such care, attention and quality applied to fragrances which so often have simply been a cash cow to complete a celebrity’s brand.

It seems as if celebrities now know that they have to work a little bit harder to sell a scent. They can’t just release yet another fruity floral in a clingy bottle and call it the Emperor’s New Clothes – they actually have to make it smell good. With the continuing rise of nice and luxe, people are willing to spend more money on a bottle of perfumer, but they’re going to buy less bottles, so whatever they buy must be interesting. Celebrities have caught on to this. The biggest thing though – they actually need to be a celebrity, ain’t nobody gonna buy Eau de Tan Mom any more.


Crowd Pleasing Concoctions

What do Mon Guerlain, Gabrielle de Chanel, AURA by Mugler, Twilly d’Hermès and Scandal by Jean Paul Gaultier all have in common? Well, first and foremost they all launched in 2017 – and let’s face it, each is an absolutely massive release from some of perfumery’s biggest brands. 2017 will definitely go down in history as the year of the launch (the mainstream feminine pillar launch if we want to get specific) and these five big brands have pulled out literally every stop to make their olfactory mark on 2017. They’ve recruited big stars like Angelina Jolie (Mon Guerlain) and Kristen Stewart (Gabrielle), and have created visually stunning bottles that range from glass hearts formed in the Emerald City (AURA) to carriage lanterns topped with little bowler hats (Twilly), not to mention a pair of legs falling out of a taxi (Scandal). In the case of two of these launches, the fragrances are the first feminine pillars from their respective brands in quite some time. It has been quite the year for launches, indeed – launches that are eye catching and nose catching for many.

But the trend we’re talking about here is not the simple fact that these brands have all had big launches, no, the trend is specifically in reference to a commercial theme that has run through each and every one of them. There’s no use beating around the bush – all five of these launches are very commercial and whilst there may be some interesting work going on inside the bottles, such as the super-radiance of Gabrielle’s floral notes, the clash of smoke, vanilla and jungle greenery in AURA, and the ginger-tuberose shock of Twilly, the overarching feel of these fragrances is that they were created to appeal to a wide audience. Even MUGLER, who are renowned for their divisive compositions, could be accused of a less polarising approach with their latest output. They all smell great but they lack a sense of boldness in their signatures.

So why is this happening? Are consumers buying less? Are they moving away from mainstream to niche? If so, why aren’t these fragrances more daring? That’s a lot to answer, but I wonder whether it has something to do with the level of investment these brands have to inject into the development, marketing and visual impact of a new scent. Perhaps they are worried about their return of investment? Take Guerlain for example, they have funnelled millions into the launch of Mon Guerlain and just to be sure that the scent would resonate with consumers, they tested it as a boutique exclusive (the new discontinued Mon Exclusif) prior to its launch.

So who knows why the big brands are being commercial? They’re getting the packaging and concepts right, that’s for sure, so let’s just hope that in 2018 they will bring a little bit more innovation to our noses. I know that my nose is waiting with great anticipation.’

Originally written by, and used with permission of, Thomas Dunckley: The Candy Perfume Boy. Pictures ©Thomas Dunckley.

Your introduction to Spring’s floral fragrance trend…

It’s offical: flowers are back in the fragrance world. Perhaps you thought they never went away (indeed, they’re the backbone of practically all fragrance formulas) but we can assure you that Spring 2018’s launches point the way to fully embracing petal power in exciting and conemporary compositions – from bohemiams frolicking in wild flower meadows, to vampish vixens smouldering beguilingly: these flowers certainly aren’t granny’s knicker-draw anymore…

Probably the most easily identifiable notes in perfumery, you may recognise some florals at first-sniff – rather reassuring in these days of sometimes confusing contemporary scents – and they are perfect to indulge in wearing on days the sky’s the same colour as the pavement. But floral scents have several sub-categories, now – from the fruity to the so-called ‘floriental’ – so where does one category end and another begin, and which ones should you explore first depending on your personal preferences?

Rose has long been considered the ‘Queen’ of perfume, the two main varieties being rosa centifolia, found in the South of France, and rosa damascena (known as Damask rose) primarily from the Middle East, with a dozen exclusively grown May roses from Grasse famously within every bottle of Chanel No.5.

James Craven – the fragrance archivist of niche perfumery Les Senteurs, tells us that many customers (particularly women) come in confidently declaring they ‘hate rose fragrances,’ and he breathes deeply while subtly showing them some scents that beautifully harmonise the rose with other complimentary material. As they inevitably adore one of these, James then charmingly admits it’s simply swathed in the stuff – a strong case for always being led by your nose and not your preconceptions, we feel!

Jasmine is the second most-used, entwining its heady white blossoms within virtually every floral fragrance you care to mention – tiny though the flowers are, their scent is animalic, often called ‘indolic’ (referring to indoles also found within gardenia, honeysuckle, lilac, and tuberose), and utterly addictive. One ounce of fragrance, such as the classic Jean Patou’s Joy, can lavishly contain 10,600 jasmine flowers!

– For less va-va-voom in a scent, look for the powdered green of violet, delicacy of lily of the valley, suede-like softness in iris, waxy freshness of magnolia, and cashmere-like fluffiness of mimosa. Sprinkled with hot spices and exotic extractions (crossing into ‘Floriental’), juiced-up with fruit (becoming ‘Fruity Floral’) or buried within deeper, more mysterious creations – there truly is a floral fragrance for every one of us, with many men now delving into fragrances where floral notes are centre-stage.

Ready to get petal-powered? Discover some of the specially curated Brand Discovery Boxes we’ve chosen, in which the characters of florals have been fully explored – from the vampish divas to more softly swooning – there truly is a bouquet for everyone to adore…

Cochine is Vietnam’s first luxury fragrance brand – and one that we are totally obsessed with! Created to inspire you, Cochine’s collection captures the romance of a sun-warmed exotic garden as its enchanting florals unfold into the evening air. Specially selected from their portfolio of unique botanical scents, you’ll find yourself enraptured by roses, jasmine, gardenia and the newest fragrance – Tuberose & Wild Fig.
Cochine Floral Collection £35

Discover Molton Brown‘s interpretation of some of perfumery’s most precious ingredients with this colourful selection of their best-selling scents, from delicate floral Blossoming Honeysuckle & White Tea to dreaming of dozing beneath fragrant canopies of flowers with the exotic Ylang Ylang, and many floral facets in-between…
Molton Brown’s Art of Fragrance £12.50

Hand-crafted in England, created from the essences of real flowers, fruit and spices, Shay & Blue‘s invite you to explore their most-loved scents. Pocket-sized and beautifully presented in their signature blue and white stripes, the set also boasts Framboise Noire – a mesmerising floriental of cassis berries, jasmine and patchouli.
Shay & Blue Precious Miniatures £65

This limited edition collectible box has been designed especially to showcase Les Infusions de Prada in six of the most adorable and desirable 8ml miniature eau de parfum bottles… Featuring notes of iris, orange blossom, heliotrope and the often overlooked carnation (think spicy and hot yet dry and fascinating) it’s a perfectly refined way to get your nose around floral ingredients.
Prada Parfums Les Infusions de Prada £36

Written by Suzy Nightingale

6 of the sexiest leather scents you should try…

Reminding us of our beloved leather jacket, a stack of books or the wood-panelled, boozily infused surroundings of a members’ only club, leather fragrances are generally not for the scent-shy. Scintillatingly smoky, they evoke a particularly voracious and luxurious sensuality, favouring deep base notes that linger the whole day long.

Russian leather fragrances have a long heritage, recently enjoying something of a revival as we crave perfumes that are bigger, badder and bolder than before, and it’s the intense, relentless smokiness of birch that’s the vital scent ingredient giving Russian leather it’s characteristic smell.

In order to process birch for perfumery, the bark of the tree is peeled off in papery strips and soaked in a water/alcohol mixture until it forms a ‘liquor’, which is then evaporated to leave the oil behind. Perfumers can use any number of ingredients along with birch to compose a ‘leather accord’ – echoing the history of the leather trade and tanning process itself, when animal hides are treated with strong-smelling oils to mask their naturally foul odours.

Over time, the smell of ‘Russian leather’ became shorthand for luxury goods and an exoticism lusted over by wealthy travellers who wanted to waft forth their fortunes in scent form, too. And this eventually led to a piece of that history being present in practically every bathroom in the UK, including, perhaps, your own…?

 

The Russian soap-opera in your bathroom…

Cussons’ Imperial Leather soap has been a staple of British bathrooms since 1938, but you might well wonder where it gained the name. According to their heritage story, ‘In the 1700s Bayleys of Bond Street were challenged by Count Orlof to create a perfume which embodied the distinctive aroma of the Russian court, and as a result they developed the scent of Imperial Leather.’

In 1921 Bayleys was acquired by Cussons Sons & Co, and it wasn’t until 1938 that Cussons conceived the idea of launching a soap based on their archive scent, initially called ‘Imperiale Russian Leather’, but soon renamed to ‘Imperial Leather’.

During the 40s, soap was heavily rationed in Britain, so Imperial Leather was marketed as being the best choice because it lasted far longer than other brands, with the world’s tallest man apparently being a fan, presumably because, well, he got through a lot of soap!

In 1975 the Cussons Group was acquired by Paterson Zochonis, now renamed PZ Cussons – currently boasting an extraordinary range of fragranced body products (along with the ever-popular Imperial Leather), including soaps and shower gels scented like sherbet lemons and even cherry Bakewells, for perfume-lovers of a certain age, the name of Cussons will forever evoke the comforting smell of Imperial Leather.

Six Russian Leather scents we love:

We think winter is the perfect time to explore this fascinating fragrance family, and we’re certainly not short of recently released scents to try. Read on to see how the many moods of Russian leather can go from the masculine to feminine, from the softest caress to the sizzlingly opulent…

Curls of smoke swirl through a Siberian pine forest, leather-bound books infused with a campfire’s glowing ember scent.

Molton Brown Russian Leather £45 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at moltonbrown.co.uk

Butter-soft leather liberally dusted with baby powder, the comfort of warm skin embraced with an open heart.

Evody Cuir Blanc £84 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at houseoffraser.co.uk

Chic aldehydes bely smoky scandal insinuated beneath – supple leather waited for with baited breath.

Les Exclusifs de Chanel Cuir de Russie £140 for 75ml eau de parfum
Buy it at chanel.com

Violet leather ballet shoes, cinnamon-dusted bon-bons eaten at Nijinsky’s performance while writing love-letters.

Le Jardin Retrouvé Cuir de Russie from €35 for 15ml eau de parfum
Buy it at lejardinretrouve.com

Frosty air tinged with lavender, frozen herbs gathered at dusk in a fur-lined leather coat, ice-crystals on eyelashes.

MEMO Paris Russian Leather £205 for 75ml eau de parfum
Buy it at harveynichols.com

A buxom bouquet thrust forcefully into a leather-gloved clasp, hot coffee clutched to warm the fingers, a woodland romp to warm the soul.

Zoologist Civet £135 for 60ml eau de parfum
Buy it at bloomperfume.co.uk

Written by Suzy Nightingale

3 steps to finding your perfect perfume…

Shopping for a new scent – for yourself or as a gift for a loved one – can be a bit of a headache, in more ways than one. Just as the season’s change has us hankering for snuggly jumpers and fabulous new coats, so too do we need a change of fragrance to lift our moods occasionally. But with literally thousands of new launches every year, even we can’t get our noses around all of them!
So, where to begin?
At The Perfume Society, we’re here to make finding your next ‘new favourite’ fragrance a complete doddle. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be off on a fragrant journey of discovery…

1: Let FR.eD be your guide
Short for ‘Fragrance Editor’, FR.eD is our completely genius virtual assistant. All you need do is type in the name of a scent you already adore (or one you know your beloved currntly wears) and you’ll be given an immediate list of six scents to seek out, all at various price points and with characteristics you’re extremely like to swoon for. Honestly, try it – they’re quite spookily accurate!

2: Give yourself time
Now clutching your shopping list of scents to try, we cannot urge you strongly enough to allow yourself the time to live with them on your skin a while before making a snap decision either way. First sniff? That’s the top notes – generally something citrus-y and ephemeral – which can disappear within the first few minutes of spraying because the ingredients evaporate more quickly.
We find an hour is enough to give you a proper sense of what the perfume smells like on you. And if you don’t want to douse yourself head-to-toe (why on earth not? But each to their own) then spray on a blotter or ‘spill’ (long paper strip) to get an idea. But remember – it will only be an idea of the final scent. They were made to be warmed and worn on your skin, not paper, so will often smell very different (and better) on you. And your mood/the weather/food can all drastically alter how a scent smells on you, so ideally, come back and try each one a couple of times.
3: Make note(s)
It’s incredible where your mind can take you when sniffing something gorgeous. Perfumes are created to carry us away to somewhere, so where are your six scents taking you? Close your eyes, inhale deeply and then ask yourself questions such as:

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

These are all questions we ask people at our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell workshops (click the link to find when the next one near you is being held), and are based on techniques shared with us by the world’s top perfumers, but the more you make yourself think along these lines, the greater connection you’ll have to any fragrance you try.
If you follow these three simple steps, we’re pretty confident you’ll have found a brand new fragrance to fall in love with – or the perfect gift for that fussy friend.

The Perfume Society's Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance Discovery Box, a collection of fragrances that brings together niche and popular scents, each evoking textiles...
Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance Discovery Box, a collection of fragrances that brings together niche and popular scents, each evoking textiles…

Why not treat yourself to several new fragrances to sniff, today? We curate collections of try-at-home samples and mini/travel sizes, along with some other gorgeous scented treats and instructive postcards to help you follow the trail of each fragrance. Our latest Discovery Box is the just-launched Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance (bursting at the scented seams with designer names) but there are lots of others to get your nose in to: have a sniff around our shop and find your favourites…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Perfume your papa! A fragrant feast of ideas for Father's Day…

We’re banishing all dated ideas of fuddy-duddy fathers’ here at The Perfume Society, with a carefully curated selection of scents to present to your dear ol’ dad. From the vibrantly refreshing to the downright delicious – we absolutely guarantee one of these scents will garner you more ‘perfect offspring’ points than a basic pair of socks… plus, read on for how to WIN a whole swag bag of scented goodies for your dad, courtesy of Kenneth Cole!
Ormonde Man just exudes exoticism, including notes of black hemlock , vetiver, cardamom and juniper berries resting on a resinously musky base. Infused with a touch of oud oil, it’s definitely one for creative chaps with their minds on higher things. A mystical miasma that’s full of charm – if your dad’s an armchair philosopher, let him waft through the library on a wave of sophisticated ambience.

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Man, £110 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at ormondejayne.com
Nuit de Issey Bleu Astral offers a whole new meaning to ‘night light’ with a fragrance that shoots for the stars.  Lime and coriander shimmer celestially in the top notes as soft leather meets the aromatic sweet woodiness of gentian. With a darkly glimmering base of warm amber and cool vetiver, it’s a whole galaxy of other-worldliness, bottled. We think dads who appreciate something that’s classically inspired but with a classy, contemporary twist will be reaching for this and thanking you for aeons.

Issey Miyake Nuit de Issey Bleu Astral, £43 for 75ml eau de toilette
Buy it at johnlewis.com
M03 is composed entirely of one ingredient – an aroma-chemical named vetiveryle acetate – that somehow conveys every single facet of the vetiver root. Sparkling sunshine swoops to newly mown lawns and welcome shade. Digging deeper we get earthiness, lush undergrowth fresh from a monsoon and a final soft balminess that feels like a long, cold glass of gin and tonic after a long day. Why not try this alongside its scent ‘twin’, E03, in our fantastic Men’s Edit box of carefully curated scents (and two grooming goodies – one of them full-size!) so he’s really spoilt for choice…?

Escentric Molecules M03, £72 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at libertylondon.com

The Black Rose (yes – roses for men are definitely a thing. Get with-it, grandpa!) is a stunning evocation of the mountains of Saudi Arabia. Composed by perfumer Pierre Constantin Gueros, think shimmering mirages in steamy air scented with oppulent Taif roses and sprinkled with pink pepper. Warmly ambrée in the base, it’s a trail of vanilla, musk and patchouli-infused amber, for a journey he’ll definitely want to follow.

Trussardi The Black Rose, £77.50 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at harrods.com
Silver Mountain Water is a soothingly composed cool breeze of a scent, hand-picked by our fragrant friend, The Rare Tea Lady, who described it as having ‘…a milky sweetness on the skin – so it needs something elegant, smokey and masculine behind it. There’s actually a smoke note in Mountain Silver Water, but to bring it out I’d suggest a Keemun tea.’ So how about paring it with a pot of that delicious Rare Tea Company Keemun brew for a gift that really keeps on giving?

Creed Silver Mountain Water, £108 for 75ml eau de parfum  Buy it at selfridges.com

Musc Impèrial is directly inspired by the Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona and the suites “impériales” in which Atelier Cologne founders Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel stayed, coupled with the vibrancy of the Catalan capital. Effervescently intriguing, it pairs herbaceously smoky clary sage with bergamot and a warm waft of musk for a father who likes to travel in the most elegant way.

Atelier Cologne Musc Impèrial, £110 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Atelier Cologne
Black Bold is inspired by the characteristic ‘boldness of New York life,’ featuring a chilly blast of cedar leaves and nutmeg with a complex background breeze of lotus flowers and a hint of incense being burned in a loft appartment. Smoothly balanced woodiness harmonises violet leaves and misty ambergris on a softly sueded base – for the metropolitan man-about-town who’s at home wherever he leaves his hat…


Kenneth Cole Black Bold £40 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at houseoffraser.co.uk
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Who's the daddy? Help him hit all the right fragrance notes this Father's Day…

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so they say, but let’s push the positivity and imagine there was a way to gently guide your papa (or perhaps any man in your life) toward a whole new era of perfumed wonders…
Though some fathers’ are doubtless swanking about in all the latest scents, we have to face facts here and accept that, occasionally, stereotypes exist for a reason, and one of those is that dads of a certain age like to cling, comfort-blanket like, to jeans that no longer fit them and fragrances that make them feel like they’re starring in a 70s cop show – all hairy chests, gold medallions and witty one-liners.

It’s time to tell him (subtly, let’s be nice) that he’s not going to be sliding across the bonnet of a Dodge Charger any time soon (especially not in those jeans), take him by the hand and nudge him toward trying something new.
Now, with our carefully curated selection in the Men’s Edit he’ll get to try absolutely everything you see here; so instead of ‘who’s the daddy?’ perhaps the question should be, ‘which daddy does he want to be, today…?’
Dandified
Crisp apple top notes studded with peppercorns are freshened further by bergamot as waves of mandarin meld in to the smoky lavender of a suitably masculine floral heart. Violet, jasmine and geranium entwine with comfortingly creamy base notes of guaiac wood and vanilla – like a corsage worn in the button-hole of an immaculately tailored suit hiding a charmingly quirky lining.
Parfums de Marly Layton 1.2ml eau de parfum (normally £145 for 75ml)
Fastidious
With the marmalade tang of bitter orange switching to the sauna-like steaminess of cardamom and black pepper, there’s a particularly intriguing tingle of warm spices added to the laid-back aloofness of the sandalwood and vetiver. A fragrance for the gentleman who’s naturally nonchalant but with a keen eye for the small details, everything just feels effortlessly laconic and refined – so, even if his dressing gown’s frayed, he’ll feel like James Bond in this.
Dunhill Icon Elite 1.5ml eau de parfum (£95 for 100ml)
Free-spirited
Appealing to his bohemian spirit, this tobacco-laden scent speaks of long liquid lunches in smoky French brasseries padded with faded leather and panelled in dark wood. Musky Cuban cascarilla oil is pierced by the piquancy of pimento berries and a cool shot of pine needles with herbaceously aromatic sage. The gently smouldering base of Malaysian patchouli gets comfortable with a boozy cherry-like sweetness of the toasty tonka beans – perfect for the dad who rather fancies himself as an undiscovered artist.

Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac 7.5ml eau de parfum (£95 for 100ml)
Genius
Composed entirely of one ingredient – an aroma-chemical named vetiveryle acetate – this somehow conveys every single character that vetiver can transform in to. Starting high it’s all airy, sparkling sunshine, before swooping apace to newly mown lawns and welcome shade. Digging deeper we get earthiness, lush undergrowth fresh from a monsoon and a final soft balminess that feels like a long, cold glass of gin and tonic after a long day of thinking too much.
Escentric Molecules M 03 2ml eau de parfum (£72 for 100ml)
Adventurer
A tropical journey to the darker side of vetiver’s nature, here we follow the trail of the aroma chemical vetiveryle acetate (used in isolation in the M 03 version, above) as it meets the fizzy warmth of freshly peeled ginger shot through with lime. Think jasmine tea incongrously sipped in the shade of a wooden hut, the tanned skin warmth of amber mingling with smooth sandalwood and a cracked leather muskiness that’ll make him feel like the Indiana Jones of his dreams.
Escentric Molecules E 03 2ml eau de parfum (£72 for 100ml)
Artistic
Taking its inspiration from one of the Rococo period’s most loved stylistic icons, the magnolia here is beautifully clean and waxy, while infusing with it the softness of a dry, mossy rose. If your dad’s a ‘man’s man’ and would shy away, get him to try it at least before (perhaps) permanently ‘borrowing’ this one for yourself. Not your fault if he misses out on the sense of frivolity and freshness of sweetpea while zippingly juicy bergamot, cassis and mandarin give a green tanginess and the cinnamon, clove and sandalwood of the dry down leave a trail of spiciness that hints of exoticism.
Clive Christian Nobile VIII Magnolia 1.5ml eau de parfum (£350 for 50ml)
Charmer
Infused with the infamous ‘everlasting flower’, there’s a definite snuggly fuzziness imbued with woody undertones of calming papyrus, warm amber and the tender coolness of vetiver. Elegant and as pleasingly long-lasting as the name might suggest, this is at once characterful and noble. Not the kind of fragrance that loudly declares itself and enters the room before you – it’s noticable all the same (and for all the right reasons). Doesn’t your dad deserve some understated luxury for a change?
Clive Christian Nobile VIII Immortelle 1.5ml eau de parfum (£350 for 50ml)
Cool
Crystal clear limoncello slowly poured over ice cubes until you hear them begin to crackle, droplets of cold water forming on the glass as humidity hits, a distant buzz of traffic fusing with the hum of bees – we’re somewhere on the Amalfi coast in your dad’s head, in a villa he happens to own but doesn’t make a fuss about. Lagubriously lounging in the shade it’s all easy-breeziness as the sun sets and the earthiness of patchouli rises to meet the warmth of ambroxan. Just make sure he loans you the keys to the villa sometimes, eh?

Jimmy Choo MAN ICE 2ml eau de toilette (from £30 for 30ml)
Lothario
Yes, yes, we know it’s uncomfortable to think about, but chances are your dad still retains something of his youthful swagger and would very much like to be thought of as the dashing cad (rather than the slipper-wearing dad). Let’s just say this is jam-packed with musk all the way through – from highly refined, eyebrow-waggling mischievousness to the rugged wolfishness of the dry down – and let him be.
Initio Parfums Magnetic Blend 7 1.2ml eau de parfum (£154 for 90ml)
CEO
He might not be able to drive the real thing, but at least he can wear it and dream with this cleverly composed fragrance that somehow evokes contrasting textures and terrains. Zesty bergamot suggests speed and excitement before a cool – almost metallic sheen – of violet leaf segues from saltiness through misty undergrowth to a highly refined heart of suave sandalwood, and the luxurious softness of cashmere and nestled in moss.

Bentley Momentum 1.8ml eau de toilette (£59 for 100ml)
Athletic
A hint of soda-fizziness in the opening notes could be a cheeky nod to the half-time refreshment of the legendary football hero behind this brand. Indeed, your father opening a can of fizzy pop might be the only connection he has with Ronaldo (in reality), but wearing this flamboyant yet assuredly rugged scent will be at least one step closer to the real thing. We’re particularly loving the floral notes of peony and violet here – not what you might expect from a sporting scent, but wonderfully soapy and clean on a man’s skin.
Cristiano Ronaldo Legacy 2ml eau de toilette (£29 for 30ml)

As though this wardrobe of fragrant personalities weren’t enough, there’s two generous additional gifts of the (full-size and worth £31 alone!) Aromatherapy Associates Refinery Eye Gel to refresh his peepers and wonderfully soothing Penhaligon’s No. 33 Moisturiser 5ml (normally £38 for 75ml) – so we think you’ll agree, The Men’s Edit is a gift that will keep on giving long beyond Father’s Day…

Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

New Year, new you? If you're stuck in a scent rut, here's how to break free…

We’ve all done it. Clung like a limpet to a favourite fragrance because a loved one told us we smelled wonderful, or we happened to be wearing it on a particularly auspicious day and have come to believe it was blessed by the gods – but would you wear your favourite outfit every single day, whether rushing to work, attending a glamorous party or travelling to an exotic location in?  You might adore a particular food, but would you want to eat the same meal for the rest of your life?
There’s nothing wrong in having a ‘signature scent’ per se – something you’re known for wearing and family members can smile as they smell – but constantly wearing the same fragrance can mean you get so used to it that you actually stop smelling it properly. Your nose becomes so attuned to that same old scent that it ‘skips’ over those once-glorious notes and moves on to more exciting things in your environment.
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Perhaps you’re a little nervous about what to try – the choice these days can be completely overwhelming (even for us!) so you have our sympathy. But never fear. We have an ingenious way of gently nudging you out of your comfort zone and in to a whole new world of fragrant discoveries…
There’s no need to ditch that favourite altogether – simply type the name of it in to our Fragrance Editor program (named FR.eD for short) and it will whizz through thousands of possibilities to pick six new perfumes for you try!
The really clever thing is, these aren’t merely based on similar notes to your favourite fragrance, but emotions and words used in the briefs perfumers were given when creating them.
There’s a brand new favourite – maybe even several scents – out there with your name on it, just waiting for you to take the first spritz…
Whatever you choose, everyone here at The Perfume Society wishes you a very Happy New Year!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fragrance families: do you know your 'chypre' from your 'fougere'?

What the giddy aunt is a ‘chypre‘?
Not exactly the most immediately evocative word to get your head around when describing a type of fragrance, but that’s what we’ve been landed with and so that’s what we continue to say. But how many people outside the world of perfumery could tell you what it actually means?
When touring the country talking to perfume lovers across the UK, our co-founders Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay asked this very question just to see, and out of the many hundreds who came to see them, only a couple of people put their hand up to venture an answer. Explains Jo, ‘…chypre is widely acknowledged as the most sophisticated (and beautiful) of fragrance families – and it’s a term the perfume world certainly believes is understood by all and sundry.’
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In fact, we dedicated an entire feature in our magazine, The Scented Letter, just to explaining the mysteries surrounding this scent category – so clearly something is amiss and requires further explanation. Indeed, there are all sorts of terms bandied about in perfumery that baffle the best of us at times. And what’s more – nobody entirely agrees on the ‘rules’ of which perfumes belong in which fragrance family at all.
What about Fougere, Ambrée or Gourmand, Woody and Floriental – where to begin…?
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Well, we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the most frequently used fragrance families, with a brief history of their evolution and some iconic examples of perfumes to try in those categories, to see which family you are most frequently drawn to and perhaps discover some new ones to try. So why not get your nose stuck in and give it a go?
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

The Perfume Society Gift Guide: your one-stop shop for a scented extravaganza…

From a gift that lasts the whole year through to a fragrant read and scented treats for the pickiest of people… we have solved your shopping woes with a one-stop shop for all your scent-loving friends, family and colleagues.
Shopping for others isn’t always so easy. But our Perfume Society themed guide to which-box-for-who can help you make all the right choices. With the mere click of a button, it’s your Christmas list, sorted…
 

screenshot-2016-11-29-12-24-04  A VIP Subscription £25

The Perfume Society is the go-to authority on fragrance choosing, wearing, ‘after-care’, history, news, ‘noses’ and much, much more. So why not gift someone a VIP subscription so they can join our ranks?

As a VIP (a Very Important Perfumista), they receive a welcome Perfume Society Discovery Box of samples, accompanied by our exclusive ‘smelling notes’, designed to introduce the key fragrance families – plus Perfume Society sampling blotters and a bespoke notebook for their fragrant thoughts.
They’ll have priority access to exclusive Perfume Society events through the year, and will receive eight digital editions of our award-winning online magazine The Scented Letter. And with their VIP Subscriber card they’ll be entitled to special privileges and exclsuive discounts at stores including Penhaligon’s and Miller Harris, among many other treats. It’s the win-win choice and don’t forget – this gift will last for twelve whole months, so you’ll be in their good books for an entire year…!

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Discovery Boxes from £12.50 for VIPs (£17.50 non-VIPs)

Our Discovery Boxes can be a great gift for someone who is passionate about perfume or a complete novice. Each box is carefully curated and scent-fully themed – we use our fantastic perfume world contacts to bring you an array of well known, niche and latest launches.

Why give just one scent, when you can introduce them to a whole wardrobe of fragrance?! We include expertly written smelling notes, so the wearer can impress with their new-found knowledge when people say ‘you smell amaaazing! What perfume are you wearing…?’
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 The Perfume Bible £16.25 for VIPs (£25 non-VIPs)

Written by The Perfume Society‘s Founders, Jo Fairley and Lorna McKayThe Perfume Bible is must for every fragrance-lover. An encyclopaedia of all things fragrant – from how to build a perfume ‘wardrobe’ to a line-up of the 100 perfumes to try before you die – it brings together their combined years of experience and wealth of knowledge. You’ll discover the journey of ingredients from field to flacon, a run-down of the best perfume shops in the world, the history of scent and much more in 192 pages of invaluable expertise.

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Luxury Perfume House Boxes from £10 for VIPs (from £12.50 non-VIPs)

Alongside The Perfume Society’s own selections, you’ll now find scented boxes from fabled and ‘rising star’ perfumery names including Shay & Blue, Santa Eulalia, Molton Brown, Ormonde Jayne and more with exciting new discoveries added all the time. There’s a box for every budget, with prices from £12.50 – £78 – and The Perfume Society Subscribers can take advantage of special prices: from as little as £10
 

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Gift Vouchers from £15 – £50

The fuss-free solution for those uncertain about what to buy that perfume-loving special someone…
The Perfume Society Gift Card is available in £15, £25 and £50 options and can be redeemed across any item in the shop section of our website – our magazine or copies of The Perfume Bible, VIP Subscription, Discovery Boxes and more!
We hope this has given you a good start to your seasonal shopping – but do look out for our forthcoming posts explaining in-depth how you can make a fragrance lover’s year with whatever gift you choose…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Gift with purchase: our three favourite words! Here's a scented selection…

Yes, yes, we know ’tis the season to be stocking up on gifts for our nearest and dearest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find a little time to treat ourselves, right?
Three of our favourite words have to be ‘gift with purchase’ and luckily, at this time of year, there’s a veritable flurry of fragrant offerings. Your only real question should be: shall I gift it as an extra surprise, or, well, y’know. One for you, one for me?
Santa must think you’ve been very good this year at Estée Lauder, with a gi-norm-ous Blockbuster Set that includes…
236613064• Deluxe Palette with 16 EyeShadows, 3 Pure Color Envy Blushes
• 2 Pure Color Envy Lipsticks (full-size)
• 2 Pure Color Envy Lip Glosses (full-size)
• Sumptuous Extreme Mascara (full-size)
• Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II (30ml)
• Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam, 50ml
• Revitalizing Supreme + Cell Power Creme, 15ml
• Modern Muse Le Rouge Eau de Parfum Spray, 4ml
• Travel Case
Phew!
Okay this isn’t actually ‘free’ – but you can purchase it for £58 when buying any Estée Lauder fragrance. But, BUT – it’s worth a spectacular £339! We’d plump for adding it to the Modern Muse Set and having a double-dose of Muses for your money…
Estée Lauder Modern Muse 30ml Set with Makeup Artist Collection (worth £399 alone…) £93.60
Buy it at John Lewis
The following sublimely scented add-ons are available in flagship stores when you purchase the full-size fragrance in a 50ml size or above. Only one purchase per customer, they’re up for grabs whilst stocks last (so get your skates on!)
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A dichotomy of hot and cold, the interplay of cool, mineralic stone and the warmth of skin make for a fascinating scent to surprise – particularly good when layered-up (and even longer-lasting) we found.
Alaia Body Lotion & Showel Gel set, 50ml each
Buy it at House of Fraser
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Utterly, unashamedly feminine with a snuggly warm powdery lightness that radiates the whole day through. And who doesn’t love a miniature size that you can pop about your person for emergency spritzing?
Narciso Poudrée purse spray 10ml eau de parfum free with 50ml purchase £58.50
Buy it at thefragranceshop.co.uk
 
Narciso body lotion 75ml
Or, if stylishly branded scent accessories are more your thing, why not pick up an umbrella, tote or makeup bag for your travels…?
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There’s something about having a super-smart brolly that makes us care less about the rain, and this one is perfect for eitheir sex, too (read that as: we’re nicking it from him. Sorry!) Montblanc Black Umbrella – available nationwide when purchasing any Legend or Emblem fragrance, 50ml or above.
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Sassy, stylish and oh-so-useful there’s a huge Michael Kors tote bag free with any purchase of a 50ml sized Michael Kors fragrance at Boots. We say: get this and fill it with other gifts for a guilt-free eco-shopping trip!
 
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Loving the chic-punk vibes from this Balmain Make up Pouch and Weekend Bag – it’s a House of Fraser exclusive when purchasing Balmain Fragrance 60ml and above. Ditch the shabby bag of shame you’re currently carting around and face the world afresh!
And if the thought of lugging yourself and your purchases around the shops is all rather too much to take – why not browse our SHOP section, just bursting with perfect picks available at the click of a button…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale