How to build your Fragrance Wardrobe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to shop for men’s fragrances

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

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

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

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

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

But where to begin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

How to choose your perfect wedding fragrance…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Savage Jasmine Night-blooming jasmine, wrapped around intoxicating musk. 

Sandalwood Temple Moroccan neroli oil, enveloped it in Atlas cedarwood, Haitian vetiver, creamy vanilla and East Indian sandalwood.

Tiger By Her Side Showcases Moroccan rose alongside Somalian incense and Indonesian patchouli.

Berber Blonde Filled with the light of Sana Jardin’s signature orange blossom, alongside Moroccan neroli oil and musk.

Celestial Patchouli Exotic aromas of patchouli, leather, cinnamon bark and Australian Sandalwood give way to the abundant warmth of rose, jasmine, osmanthus and Moroccan orris.

Nubian Musk A sensuously inviting blend of musk and vanilla, rose, jasmine, Moroccan grapefruit flower, Haitian vetiver and Australian sandalwood.

Revolution de la Fleur This is a sultry, sun-filled melody of Madagascan ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani, rose, vanilla and sandalwood.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valeur Absolue Deluxe Coffret £112

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

Written by Suzy Nightingale

7 wedding fragrance consultations: in-store & online

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

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

But where to begin?

Firstly, here are some questions to ask yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atkinsons Wedding Fragrance Consultations 

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

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

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

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

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

atkinsons1799.com

Ormonde Jayne Made-to-Measure service

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

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

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

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

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

ormondejayne.com

Penhaligon’s Fragrance Profiling Session

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

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

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

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

penhaligons.com

Floris London ‘Together’ Bespoke Fragrance Service

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

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

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

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

florislondon.com

Creed Fragrance Consultation

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

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

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

creedfragrances.co.uk

Atelier Cologne Experience

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

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

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

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

ateliercologne.com

Experimental Perfume Club Bespoke Workshop

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

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

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

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

experimentalperfumeclub.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale and Carson Parkin-Fairley

6 cocktail-inspired scent trends you have to try

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Suzy Nightingale

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

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

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

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

Which perfume matches your personality for Valentine’s Day…?

Valentine’s day remains one of the hottest dates for the fragrance world – it’s the perfect time to be exchanging scented gifts with those we love – but with so many to choose from, where to begin?

Fragrances create life-long scent memories – the emotional response we feel way kicking in way before logic has time to register what we’re smelling – and so asking for your beloved to gift you a new scent when you’re in a relationship can be something of a rocky road. Ideally it needs to be something new to both of you. Have you (like us) ever rejected a potential date based on the love-interest favouring an ex’s scent. Or worse, a parent’s? *shudder*

The burning question is, though, do you ask for a specific scent (which can seem somewhat brazen if you’re not feeling that brave), hint your way to a hopeful present of ‘the right one’, or just cross your fingers and leave it to the Gods of fragrance fate?

Worry ye not, dear reader. We’ve got your back. Forward the potential gift-giver the link to this page (okay it’s not subtle, but since when did subtlety get you anywhere?) and ask the question: ‘which of these descriptions do you think sounds most like me…?’ You can put a winking emoji if you’re that way inclined – the somewhat less romantic modern equivalent of flirting with a flick of your lace fan. We’ll leave that up to you.

Oh and, spoilers: we happen to think all of these are pretty fabulous, so no matter which you’re given, it’s bound to please both of you…

A contemporary art-lover with an eye for style, you’re secretly (at heart) a romantic soul. Let yourself give in to the narcotic pleasures of indolic white flowers at play in this perfume – the heady narcissus and jasmine are beautifully blended and we just know you’ll want to keep breathing deeper and deeper until your nose can’t get enough. As for your lover…? They’re bound to be addicted, too. And when you’re not gazing gooily at each other and admiring the, um, base (the dry down’s an intriguing mixture of sumac and pipe tobacco), you can gaze in marvel at the gallery-esque bottle.

Map of the Heart Pink Heart £150 for 90ml eau de parfum
Buy it at harrods.com

Carefree and a bit of a bohemian, you’re generally positive, can charm the birds from the trees and probably love a bit of bunting. Given half the chance you’d be twirling barefoot through a garden at sunset in a gauzy gown, no matter the weather. Pretty as a picture, and smelling far more high-end than the price tag might suggest, this perfume from the Sweet Treats collection features a delicious lemon-drop top note, pepped up with ripe raspberry and blackcurrant atop a finger-lickingly good base of patchouli and golden amber.

Ted Baker Mia £18 for 30ml eau de toilette
Buy it at tedbaker.com/uk

Unapologetically a girly-girl, you may be dreamy with your head in the clouds, but your feet are firmly planted on the ground. Young at heart no matter your age, we feel you’ll adore this tribute to one of our favourite flowers of all time: the shamelessly blowsy and short-lived peony, allowed to linger the whole day through, here perfectly blended with Sicilian lemon, pink berries, pink guava, and a softly powdered violet. Raspberry flower snuggles with creamy vanilla beans, pink cotton candy entwines itself around cedarwood, and laconic vetiver sits back and makes us swoon.

Floral Street Wonderland Peony £55 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at floralstreet.com

Sophisticated and refined but never ever prissy, you’re slightly obsessed with the natural world but wouldn’t ever call yourself a hippie (bit old-hat, darling.) Marking an incredible 20 years of Liz Earle goodies, the house collaborated with Grasse-based perfumer Domitille Bertier for a Damask rose-rich celebration in a bottle. Infused with a sparkle of pink pepper, bergamot and mandarin, it’s the intriguing carrot seed heart with jasmine and an amyris/sandalwood dry down that pulls you in for more and more… 87% derived from natural ingredients, too.
Plus Liz Earle have a wonderful offer on right now, when you purchase a 50ml fragrance from the range, you receive a complimentary 10ml fragrance of Botanical Essence Number 01, 15 or 09. 

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No.20 £54 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at lizearle.com

Strong-willed and totally sensual, everything is an adventure for you – the world is your playground and you intend to live life to the full, perhaps with a love of classic movies, torch-songs and vintage chic. The ‘Edith’ in question here is right up your street – none other than the Parisian chanteuse herself: Édith Piaf. The fragrance itself pays homage to her sultry sophistication and the daring liveliness of the era, featuring rose, geranium (grown in their own British fields and a remarkably fabulous one, we must say!) you’ll thrill at the unexpected touch of lightly camphorous yarrow and dark patchouli for the smoothest kind of hip-wiggle in scent form…

Parterre A Tribute to Edith £120 for 50ml eau de pafum
Buy it at parterrekeynestonmill.com

Bookish but never boring, you’re tantalised by literary worlds you can escape to, drawn to the poetic side of life and the dramatically beguiling. Two perfumers created fragrances based on the the novel Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mathieu Nardin’s Scherzo an ode to the contrast between dark and light. Blood orange, davana and golden olibanum collide in a kaleidoscopic splash of wild, bright colour, while dark rose mingles in the shadows with patchouli and oudh. Bertrand Duchaufour offers ink swirled through leather, saffron and geranium on a flickering, amber-ish base. But it’s held aloft by the fizz of a pink pepper C02 extraction alongside aldehydes and the most incredible green hyacinth opening, shimmering to cyclamen, incense and a drily metallic base.

Miller Harris Tender/Scherzo £120 each for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at millerharris.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

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

They got you the ‘wrong perfume’? – Use our scent survival guide!

There is an etiquette to receiving a gift you’re really not sure about. Rule one is probably not to look them square in the eye and scream ‘WHAT were you THINKING?!’

But how to survive a present of The Wrong Perfume…? Save your screams and follow our guide before you ditch it or cause a scene!

1: Are you sure you don’t like it?

This might sound like a silly question, but please don’t make any hasty decisons. Is it simply not your ‘usual’? The idea of a Signature Scent is a wee bit dated these days, plus did you know that after a while, your nose can get ‘used to’ a scent, and you won’t get that fragrant hit you once adored if you wear it every day.

A fragrance takes several hours to fully ‘develop’ on your skin: so many of us immediately discard them after the very first sniff! How about giving it a go on a few differing occasions, tracking its progress throughout the day? It’s only fair…

2: Layer up

It used to be considered a cardinal sin of the scent world, but in the past few years it’s a huge trend we’ve seen fully blossom. Try layering the scent with a differing fragranced body lotion (Top Tip: this also makes any fragrance last longer, as perfume disappears far faster on dry skin), or with one (or more!) other scents you already like.

You might create your own ‘bespoke’ blend and be pleasantly surprised…

3: Wear it well

The heat of your skin can drastically change the way a perfume smells, which is partly why not all scents smell the same on everyone, but how about wearing it a different way?

Spraying perfume on a scarf, or even in your hair, is a wonderful way of trying something new. Also, this tends to prolong the top and heart notes of a perfume, so if it’s the base or ‘dry down’ that’s putting you off, you’re on to a win-win…

4: Changes, changes

Are you aware the weather (along with our mood and even what we’ve eaten several days previous to trying a scent) can hugely alter the way we perceive a perfume?

Cold weather will prolong the top and heart notes on your skin, with warmer days meaning the fragrance will ‘bloom’ (journey through all the notes) on your skin much more quickly. We’re always thrilled to discover something we thought we didn’t like in winter becomes the hit of the summer. There’s still hope…

5: Do some research… and treat yourself!

If all else fails, look up your favourite fragrance on our genius Fragrance Editor, known as FR.eD for short, and you’ll be given several suggestions of other perfumes you’re bound to like. We’re sorry your gift-giver didn’t get it right, but life is too short for perfumes to be gathering dust!

Perhaps treat yourself to something new – and check out our fantastic sale to explore a whole wardrobe of perfumes from the comfort of your own home…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Cologne to Parfum: your easy guide to the strengths of scent

From Colognes to extraits, splashes to after shaves – there are so many differing types of fragrance categories now that it can be hard to tell one from another and where to begin. Read our handy guide, below, and get your nose in the know!
Descriptions like eau de toilette or eau de parfum are used to identify the strength or concentration of oil in a fragrance composition. These concentrations can vary from fragrance to fragrance (depending on how that particular brand like to blend their scents), but this is an average guide.

Extract/extrait/solid perfume – 20-30%

Perfume – 15-25 %

Eau de Parfum  (EDP) – 8-15%

Eau de Toilette (EDT) – 4-8%

Cologne (EDC) –  2-4%

Body cream/lotion –  3-4%

After Shave/Splash  – 2-4%

Soap – 2-4%

In general, the higher the percentage, the longer it will last on your skin, and therefore, the higher the price – but do be aware that different concentrations (Perfume, or Eau de Toilette, etc.) may sometimes have differing notes in them, and not simply be weaker or stronger. So when you like a fragrance, we suggest you explore it in all its different concentrations before you find your favourite…

Some people like to layer their scent types throughout the day – try starting with a refreshing splash of Cologne to get thoses senses revving, and then wear an eau de toilette for day time. As evening falls and you head out on the town, switch things up by adding a spritz of eau de parfum to leave a sultrier trail that will last as long your night does…
Is your nose twitching to find out more? See our brilliant FAQ section – there to answer your questions and set the scents out in plain English.
Written by Suzy Nightingale