A visit to the Sixth Floor – where the scented story continues

Over a year since it first threw open its doors, seven new boutiques have opened at Harrods prestigious Salon de Parfums, all the better to seduce your senses. So we thought it was time for an update.
Armani Prive, Penhaligon’s and Burberry have settled into luxuriously appointed spaces alongside Bond No.9Sospiro and Frédéric Malle (we loved the scent booth – what looks like a full-sized shower cubicle, in which perfume is sprayed and wafted for you!)
A worldwide exclusive sees the launch of beautifully presented, Japanese-inspired brand, Floraïku (above) – brought to you by the creators of MEMO, immersing visitors in a Japanese style tea ceremony as they learn about the fragrances and two layering scents the house call ‘shadows’ to amplify their individual characters…
Meanwhile, back at Armani Privé, you can be ushered through gilded doors to strecth out on a chaise lounge and invited to enjoy the immersive ‘Privé Experience’, relaxing as you breathe in gentle wafts of scent until you find your favourite.
Both Sospiro and Frédéric Malle will be offering personalisation and monogramming services within their boutiques, while perfumistas visiting Penhaligon’s and Bond No.9 will be able to create, to varying degrees, their own custom fragrance. Surely the ultimate gift…?
 
It may seem a bit of a marathon trek up the escalators to the Sixth Floor of the world-famous department store. (Although we’ve figured out a nifty short-cut: up to Fifth, through shoes, and up the final escalator).
But however you get there, and wherever you’re coming from, we promise you it’s worth the trip – particularly when you can browse and sniff in a completely unhurried manner (where else can you legitimately lie down and relax in a shop, without getting thrown out?!) and be treated to advice from true experts on-hand.
Harrods Salon de Parfums is on the Sixth Floor at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 
 

Missoni Parfum pour Homme (you'll want to cuddle up…)

Missoni Parfum por Homme is the first foray into male fragrance for the Maison in some years, and having had a sneaky sniff before it launched – although Missoni describe the scent as being ‘…unquestionably masculine’ – we think many ladies might feel the same as us, and not only want to cuddle up to this, but permanently ‘borrow’ it…
Missoni say: ‘The captivating freshness of the Missoni Parfum pour Homme is inspired by the Mediterranean landscape warmed by the sun. A woody frgrance both fresh and luminous, full of contrasts.’
Top notes: green lemon leaves & pulp, pink pomelo, lavender aspic
Heart notes: Mediterranean Maquis herbs, ginger, pomarose, jasmine
Base notes: patchouli, sandalwood, oakwood, birch, musk
So how does it smell? Imagine a walk through the lemon groves at dawn, dew-speckled leaves swirled with an early morning mist that precedes a scorching day to come… The unexpected mix of freshly cut ginger and aromatic lavender proves opposites definitely can attract – zingy spice meeting soothing wafts in a snuggle we want to last forever. Talking of snuggling (and we very often do), there’s a particularly cuddle-some quality to this fragrance, and a deliberate one, at that…
We note from the press release that the dry-down – smooth sandalwood melting into the musky woodieness of the base – was composed to be ‘as enveloping as a precious Missoni cardigan.’ We’re never quite sure how perfumers can translate fragrant ingredients to smell exactly like certain materials feel [shhh! See the Fashion & Fragrance edition of our Scented Letter magazine for more on this olfactory alchemy, next month!] but that’s exactly what’s happened, here. All the cosiness of borrowing your other-half’s best sweater and delighting in the comfort of the soft texture while breathing in their scent.
With the juiciness of the fruity top notes working well in the heat and the soft muskiness of the base just perfect for cooler temperatures, it’s almost enough to have us wishing for snow, so we can get super snuggly in a lavishly scented way…

Missoni Parfum pour Homme £33 for 50ml eau de parfum
Exclusive to Harrods from 7th August (nationwide, October 2017)
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

Gucci Bloom – the garden of dreams…

Imagine a garden designed by Gucci – bound to be pretty fabulous, right? When we got our noses on Gucci’s latest launch, we couldn’t wait to get in Bloom…
Master perfumer Alberto Morrilas drapes layers of luminous jasmine sambac with swags of tuberose, masterfully woven throughout with sude-soft orris root and an exclusive new accord of Chinese honeysuckle. Also known as Rangoon creeper (Combretum indicum), the vine with is laden with exquisite red flowers, native to India and bedecking the glorious packaging.
To be certain, this is a garden we’d gladly get lost in!

The very first of their fragrances to have been entirely conceptulised by their creative director, Alessandro Michele, Edgar Huber, president of Coty Luxury at Coty Inc., explained Gucci Bloom as being ‘…very much inspired by Alessandro himself.’ A new perfumed pillar in the brand’s exisiting wardrobe of scents, and will stand alongside Guilty, Bamboo, Flora and Gucci by Gucci.

I wanted a rich white floral fragrance, a courageous scent that transports you to a vast garden filled with many flowers and plants, a bouquet of abundance. The garden is as beautiful as women are; colorful, wild, diverse, where there is everything.’ – Alessandro Michele, Gucci Creative Director

Effortlessly sophisticated with a style all of its own, don’t bother comparing Gucci Bloom to other white florals you may already be familiar with. In fact, we think even those who normally shun white florals altogether should give their noses a roam around this garden…
Do go and explore the scent for yourself – and enjoy the stunning window installation at Harrods!

Gucci Bloom from £52 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Harrods' fragrance hero shares his five favourite smells

Vesa Kalho‘s success story would inspire just about anyone.
15 years ago, this charming Finn began working on the shop floor at Harrods – where he’s risen to the role of Perfumery & Cosmetics Buyer. Today Vesa Kalho is the all-powerful man who decides the destiny of rising star brands, niche names – and fights for the right to exclusives on all the latest blockbusters, which have perfumistas beating a path to the Black Hall, White Hall and, on the Sixth Floor, the Salon de Parfums.
As a result, Harrods has scooped Best Retailer in the Fragrance Foundation Awards for the past two years – and recently, the Salon de Parfums been extended, with new boutiques for Penhaligon’s and Burberry, and more excitement to come.
During his tenure, we’ve had our nostrils delighted by countless exciting perfumes that Vesa has sleuthed out for the Knightsbridge department store. We’re always delighted to bump into him at launches (he gets around almost as much as we did) – and not long ago cornered Vesa as the latest interview in our revealing ‘Five Favourite Smells’ series.
Here’s what pushes his buttons…
1. A mixture of cinnamon and cardamom – those are the spices my mum always used when baking traditional Scandinavian buns. I’m a kid again when I smell those.
2. A sea breeze – living in Helsinki, the sea air is part of life. When I smell the sea, I always think of home – and that first ozonic blast after I land in Helsinki tells me I’ve really arrived. I love how clean it is, at the same time – a sea breeze washes away everything.
3. Freshly-cut lawn – again, this brings back summers spent in the countryside in Finland, outside Helsinki. Another very nostalgic smell. I am starting to sound homesick, which most of the time I’m not – I love living in London!
4. Orris/iris – definitely my favourite perfume ingredient, although I don’t like it on my own skin; it somehow doesn’t work on me, although I might burn an iris candle. But it’s still my No. 1 perfume note and I’m drawn to it very strongly.
5. New leather – I love the smell of leather; when you buy a new bag and open it up, and get that sweet but animals scent. Just wonderful.
Harrods Salon de Parfums, Sixth Floor, Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL

So First by Van Cleef & Arpels – it's time for the second coming…

‘Every woman deserves to be First…’ was the slightly racy tag-line for the fragrance created for the prestigious French jewellery house of Van Cleef & Arpels founded by Alfred Van Cleef, Charles and Julien Arpels. Debuting way back in 1976 (if you can believe it was that long) the perfume took the world by storm – the iconic floral aldehyde becoming legendary – and secured its way into many a fragrance fan’s heart. So… what better time than the 40th anniversary of the original scent than to celebrate the second-coming with the launch of So First?
Composed by ultra talented perfumer Nathalie Lorson, So First is described as a scent ‘…to wear around your neck, like an invisible jewel.’

Top Notes: Bergamot, magnolia

Heart Notes: Freesia, jasmine, frangipani

Base notes: Vanilla, sandalwood

An harmonious balance of a whisper-soft floral bouquet – an echo of the original, with a sparkle of bergamot twinkling in the top notes – enhanced by a distinctly modern touch of gourmand sweetness. As the waxy magnolia, jasmine and freesia give way to exotically creamy frangipani, we get a subtle yet completely addictive white chocolate-like note that deepens in the dry down of smooth sandalwood and vanilla. Most definitely a wrist-sniffer!
With a streamlined flacon that nods to the heritage of the past while remaining resolutely contemporary, we think it’s set to be the ‘first’ fragrance love of a whole new generation…
So Firest Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels So First from £32 for 30ml eau de parfum
Available now exclusively in Harrods (nationwide, September 12th)
Written by Suzy Nightingale

So First by Van Cleef & Arpels – it's time for the second coming…

‘Every woman deserves to be First…’ was the slightly racy tag-line for the fragrance created for the prestigious French jewellery house of Van Cleef & Arpels founded by Alfred Van Cleef, Charles and Julien Arpels. Debuting way back in 1976 (if you can believe it was that long) the perfume took the world by storm – the iconic floral aldehyde becoming legendary – and secured its way into many a fragrance fan’s heart. So… what better time than the 40th anniversary of the original scent than to celebrate the second-coming with the launch of So First?
Composed by ultra talented perfumer Nathalie Lorson, So First is described as a scent ‘…to wear around your neck, like an invisible jewel.’

Top Notes: Bergamot, magnolia

Heart Notes: Freesia, jasmine, frangipani

Base notes: Vanilla, sandalwood

An harmonious balance of a whisper-soft floral bouquet – an echo of the original, with a sparkle of bergamot twinkling in the top notes – enhanced by a distinctly modern touch of gourmand sweetness. As the waxy magnolia, jasmine and freesia give way to exotically creamy frangipani, we get a subtle yet completely addictive white chocolate-like note that deepens in the dry down of smooth sandalwood and vanilla. Most definitely a wrist-sniffer!
With a streamlined flacon that nods to the heritage of the past while remaining resolutely contemporary, we think it’s set to be the ‘first’ fragrance love of a whole new generation…
So Firest Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels So First from £32 for 30ml eau de parfum
Available now exclusively in Harrods (nationwide, September 12th)
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Clive Christian launch Noble VII duo at Harrods – inspired by the magnificent Queen Anne gardens of his home…

The fragrance world have long known the name of Clive Christian, but perhaps not so much about the man, and we were lucky enough to be treated to an intimate afternoon tea in Clive Christian’s staggeringly beautiful Mayfair office, hosted by the brand’s ambassador; Clive’s daughter, Victoria Christian, and with a visit from the man himself. Over glasses of Champagne and the most elegant sandwiches and pastries, we took a deeper look into the brand’s story – and a unique sniffing session inspired by the rituals of the brand’s historic and royal roots…
02-grid1-1
Having rescued the historic Crown Perfumery from ruin and restored its former glory, Clive Christian’s signature fragrance 1872 commemorates the brand’s Victorian heritage – and today the perfume house remains a testament to the artisanal practices of centuries past while still forging ever forwards and creating contemporary fragrances that stand the test of time. The bottle designs and sumptuously heavy crown tops echo that heritage, and the house proudly retains a royal seal of approval to this day.

We were particularly fascinated to learn that the pairs of fragrances are couples in more than name alone – when layered, the masculine with the feminine, if so desired – create your own bespoke blend and harness the interplay of notes between them as they settle on your skin. We tried this ourselves and the results are outstanding. We urge you to play!
Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 13.04.48
We’re cannot, sadly, re-create the amazing sensation of sitting with your eyes closed and having Victoria waft the scents across a room to you with a large fan [Shhh! VIP Subscribers: do watch our Events page as we are so hoping to make this happen…]
During the talk, Clive Christian spoke of the contentment he finds in tending the magnificent gardens of his Queen Anne house, and the incredible inspiration he’s gained by restoring them to their former glory with a planting scheme that echoes the history of the place. Inspiration that now blossoms fully in the two latest fragrances to be launched…

Noble VII Cosmos Flower

  • Top notes: Pink pepper, rum, mandarin, apple
  • Middle notes: Plum, ylang-ylang, jasmine, osmanthus, cosmos flower
  • Base notes: Benzoin, cocoa, amber, caramel

A delicious forray into a Michelin-grade gourmand, Cosmos Flower exudes all the overt decadence of that magnificent bloom. Mouth-watering fruits get the olfactive tastebuds tingling before melding into a richer plum and and perfectly balanced floral heart, with the peachy delicacy of the osmanthus really showcasing the cosmos flower’s depth. The cocoa of the base is beautifully dry, with smooth benzoin swooning into a bitter caramel that makes for a truly complex and properly grown-up ‘foodie’ fragranced banquet. As a pure perfume, this gave us many happy hours of totally addictive wrist-sniffing…
5361622
Clive Christian Noble VII Cosmos Flower £350 for 50ml pure perfume
At Harrods

Noble VII Rock Rose

  • Top notes: Citrus, bergamot, black pepper, neroli
  • Middle notes: Lavender, violet, herbs, rock rose
  • Base notes: Cocoa, patchouli, amber, vetiver

A classically styled and mistily refined fougére with a surprisingly modern edge, here we find citrus, bergamot and neroli sprinkled with black pepper in the opening, while the heart is composed of superbly dry lavender, violet and the intriguing scent of rock rose. With a base of the darkest cocoa, patchouli and amber, the vetiver seems to sparkle as a cyclical return to the airily fresh beginning. A fragrant journey we’d happily share with any gentleman we deem worthy (if they can wrest it from our grasp!)
5359698
Clive Christian Noble VII Rock Rose £350 for 50ml pure perfume
At Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Juliette Has a Gun launch Into the Void – let's get deeper… our exclusive interview with Romano Ricci

Into the Void is the latest addition to the Luxury Collection of the ever-quirkily named and uniquely inspired Juliette Has a Gun – scented brainchild of self-taught perfumer Romano Ricci (great-grandson of the iconic Nina Ricci) and now at the helm of one of the original ‘niche’ houses that changed the face of the fragrance world.
Humorously titled they may be, but these are wonderfully wearable perfumes that invite you to explore all sorts of character facets…
Launching exclusively in Harrods, the intriguing Into the Void is… ‘Inspired by space, black holes, gravity and forces beyond our control, it is a perfume of dark energy.’
‘The harmony opens with an ultra woody cocktail, essence of guaiac wood, papyrus, cedar, norlimbanol, ambroxan, patchouli, to name but a few. Partly eclipsed behind this devastating veil, the black orchid absolute is yet vital to the balance blending with the Tonka bean and an infusion of liquorice, all its sensuality is brought forth into the composition. A cosmic fluid with golden reflections. Once released it hangs in the air like star dust in space, diffusing its gravitational power, invisible and yet so ravishing…’
Ravishing is the word. This is a deeply intense swirl of vivacious smokiness that beguiled us from the second we sprayed. We were lucky enough to be invited to the press launch, and there we caught up with the flamboyant Romano Ricci himself – firstly to ask about Into the Void, and then to plunge deeper…
cms_Brand_Romano
Romano Ricci: ‘We call them ‘black holes’ and ‘dark matter’ because we are the ones in the dark, not knowing much about them, grasping for information. It’s all so elusive, but we can feel the effects of these forces, we can see them, but we don’t know exactly how to define them. I’m just fascinated with these mysterious things, and that’s why I wanted to use that inspiration for Into the Void. It’s something that lurks deep within us all… wanting to know more.’
Tell us about your first smell memory?
‘I guess it was really one of Nina Ricci’s creations, which my grandfather wore. I’m not sure if it was a fragrance called Phileas, or my Grandfather wearing Signore Ricci – his house was full of the stuff, the soap the shower gel, the whole collection. It’s smelled really good, but I guess it can’t have been a best seller. It’s discontinued now. But I loved the smell of it.’
phileas_cologne+deodorant
When did you first become interested in working in the perfume industry?
‘Actually, I swore, myself that I would not go into perfumery, seeing the disaster it can make of family relationships – my father and grandfather were always shouting at each other! When you mix business and family it can be very dangerous, I think… But then the more I escaped it, the stronger it came back. The harder you try to get away the more violently you’re attracted to the thing you run away from, sometimes.’
What’s your favourite (and worst!) thing to smell right now?
‘It depends entirely on the time. If you’re asking me right now, the best at the moment, I’m very much into tuberose. I used to be a lot about Chypre, patchouli, then musk, transparency and now I’m so into tuberose. The three last luxury collections are about tuberose, the white flowers in Gentlewoman I adored… As for the worst, I really hate the smell of grapefruit. I think it’s just terrible, to me grapefruit essence smells like sweat.’
juliette-has-a-gun-gentlewoman-eau-de-parfum-for-women___2Is there one fragrance you wish you had created?
‘I have one fragrance I really love and keep coming back to. The original Narcisso Rodriguez, the first one. I have a weakness for it. It’s one of the very rare interesting mainstream compositions.’
It’s the 10th Anniversary of Juliette Has a Gun, what has changed in the perfume world since then…?
‘A lot. The whole world in fact. When I first started there were maybe four or five niche brands or in total ten brands that could be considered niche. Now there are, what, hundreds, even thousands? It’s incredible. I’m always looking at how we can expand but stay true to ourselves. It’s exciting. Challenging, exhausting… but it makes us stay on our toes. It means now that we employ a number of people and are larger than I thought we’d be, really – I think it’s a real challenge to be in charge of so many people, not only working for yourself. But it’s a challenge that drives me, too.
We have a humour about us at Juliette Has a Gun. I hate that seriousness of people who lack humour in this industry, it’s so boring! Perfume should express your personality, and hopefully the people who wear ours have a real fun side to them!’

9-26
Photo by stylepocketbook.com

How many perfumes do you work on at any one time?
‘I find it’s usually good to work on two, side by side, which is also how we tend to release them. Because if you get too much into something you can lose perspective, wheras if you switch from one to another, you gain perspective on both. Your inner critic is the engine of the creation.’
Does your nose ever switch off?
‘No no, it’s always there. You know when I’m in the lab, I’m like a child in a toyroom. What’s next?! What can I do with this?’
When you’re creating a fragrance, how do you go about it? Do you use a mood board?
‘No it’s all about the smell, I don’t use visual stimulants for inspiration, it’s always the smell, and I know exactly how I want it to be, it’s just about getting there. There’s fifty ingredients I love the most, and I know very well how they combine, but I discover new ones all the time. It took me fifteen years to reach the stage where I just knew how the differing combinations would smell in my head, it takes time, but then the fun begins…
How can each of us go about improving our sense of smell?
‘It’s a lot about training. Even I re-smell all the ingredients all the time. And still I cannot tell you exactly if you make me smell a fragrance, what are all the ingredients in here? I’ll know some of them, but not all. You know, people should go and buy fifteen, twenty raw ingredients and just smell, smell, smell. Memorise them. Once it’s locked into your head it stays, but you can’t rush it, there’s no shortcut. It’s all about the training. Composing is another matter altogether, of course, but you can train yourself to memorise them at least.’
o.41465
Juliette Has a Gun Into the Void £200 for 75ml eau de parfum
Buy it exclusively at Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Bentley feel the force of ‘luxury infused with adrenalin’ for Infinite Rush

Even non petrol-heads get rather excited at the mention of Bentley, it seems – a brand long synonymous with style, and who have recently added a range of fragrant offerings to their luxurious repertoire. Dedicated to those incredibly daring types who push themselves to the limits, are captivated by extreme situations and are always looking for a ‘rush’, it’s the next level of a fragrant adventure in this line of Intense scent experiences…

In describing the man the fragrance has been created for, Bentley Say: ‘In keeping with the high performance of Bentley motorcars, Infinite Rush has been created for the adventurer. Calm and confident, he is regularly exploring new horizons, captivated by extreme scenarios like driving a 4×4 in the open desert. Always intent on getting the most out of life, going further, seeking out dizzying new heights… While staying focused, relaxed and ready for the next challenge. His motto is cultivating curiosity, surprising himself and never choosing the easy option. The Infinite Rush fragrance has been created in his image: striving for the very best and exceeding expectations, with the contrast of a breath-taking, spicy freshness and a warm, woody base heralding the strong sensuality of this hero of modern times.’

Clearly a go-getting daredevil, this gentleman, his life sounds utterly exhausting! So maybe invest in a little me-time, instead, with a spritz-able sense of adventure they have captured in the bottle… The opening is wonderfully spicy yet fresh and really sets the mood for the ‘rush’ ahead – vetiver adds that always welcome earthiness to the dry cedar, the heart of elemi being the standout note for us – an exotic and complex note that’s head and shoulders above yet another citrus-y scent for gents, we’re very glad to say! The dry down is suitably refined, we could see this being popular with any age, and indeed why limit it to the male sex alone

We know many ladies who enjoy wearing ‘mens’ scents and this is enticingly up-beat if you fancy a fragrant change.

Top notes: Pink berries, rosemary, mandarin
Heart notes: vetiver, cedar, elemi
Base notes: moss, amber wood, musk

Bentley Infinite Rush £43 for 60ml eau de toilette
Exclusively at Harrods

Written by Suzy Nightingale