Suits You: a made-to-measure fragrance guide for men at weddings

What fragragrance to wear at your / a wedding’ perfume guides are plentiful, but almost exclusively aimed at women (either as brides, bridesmaids or guests). This isn’t a phrase you’ll often hear me utter in life, but: ‘what about the men?‘ Sometimes they attend weddings, too. Sometimes (more frequently than ever, these days) they even like to smell nice. While the ripples of shock subside, I present for your delectation a guide that proposes [warning: other puns will follow] a selection of scent suggestions for men to wear at a summer wedding, and exactly how to go about finding the perfect one…

What are you wearing?

Yes, okay, extremely likely to be a suit if you’re in the Western hemisphere, but think about the colour and material. Our senses are complexly intertwined, so tones and texture of fabric can genuinely give you a head-start into fragrance families to look for. Silk blends suggest cool, smooth compositions perhaps with cardamom or sandalwood as notes, while light wool might suggest a drier, woody scent – something with cedar, vetiver or guiacwood in the base.

Even consider ‘matching’ the colour of your suit to the packaging or bottle a brand has put their fragrance in – they spend considerable amounts of time and money ensuring the way a fragrance looks evokes something of the way a composition smells. If your suit is black or grey, look instead at the accessories (tie / cravat / handkerchief) – dark red or plum colours could lead you to an opulent rose (yes, it works amazingly on men’s skin and features in many masculine launches of late!) or something with berries, pink pepper fruity notes.

This isn’t a strict guide, because everyone has differing opinions on what certain colours ‘smell’ like; but it’s a starting point. And when you’re suddenyl struck wide-eyed with terror at the overwhelming choice in the perfume shop aisle (before heading up the aisle to the altar), you need somewhere to start.

 

If you already love a fragrance but want to try something different

It’s a good idea to have a differing scent for a wedding – particularly if you’re the one getting married – because smell is the sense that’s most closely plugged into the section of our brain that stores memory and emotions; therefore, you can tap into those happy times again whenver you wish, simply by spraying that particular scent again. Also, we hope you’re treating yourself to a new outfit, not just whatever happens to be the cleanest and least-creased thing knocking about on the bedroom chair; so why wouldn’t you wear a new scent, too?

Have a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent you already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

Know your skin type.

Fragrance can waft fabulously on some people for hours, while that same scent might only have a mere whiff left after an hour of you wearing it. It depends, basically, on how oily your skin is naturally, and the climate you’re in. Fragrances are generally composed of oils in an alcohol base, and these evaporate at differing rates (hence Top / Heart / Base notes); so the drier your skin, the hotter the weather, the more quickly your scent will disappear.

If this is your experience, you might want to avoid a scent that’s mainly citrus-based or a very light formulation (such as Cologne) as those notes can evaporate within half an hour; though having said that, modern advances using aroma chemicals can help vastly prolong some citrus scents. See if the fragrance has an Eau de Parfum or ‘Intense’ version – these have a highter fragrance to alcohol base ratio so last much longer – or layer with matching products such as shower gel and body lotion. The more moisturised your skin, the longer the fragrance will cling to it.

Also consider carrying a pocket-sized version for on-the-go top-ups – many houses offer travel sizes, or you can buy brilliant (and very stylish) mini atomisers, such as Travalo, in which you can safely decant from your full-size bottle.

 

Travalo atomisers £28 ab-presents.co.uk

 

 

BRIONI
Brioni
Characterful, suave and assured as the perfectly tailored menswear it’s the fragrant emblem of, founded in Rome in 1945, the pared-back style is perfectly reflected in Master Perfumer Michel Almairac’s hands. Green apple studded with pink pepper feels like a cool sip of gin, while violet and Ambroxan are perfectly blended with tonka bean and musk, like a second skin. Instant classic, aisle be bound! [You were warned about the puns], and there’s two other versions – one fresher, the other an Intense – also available.
£95 for 100ml eau de parfum (60ml exclusive to retail)
brioni.com

 

PS: You can try a sample of Brioni in the Niche VI Discovery Box (along with nine other niche scents for £23 / VIPs £19)

 

 

DUNHILL
Icon Racing Red
There’s some extra pep in this engine – perhaps the sizzle of spicier notes with the warm glow of that rich amber base does it, but nonetheless we can say the red is rather racier than its somewhat sleeker (but still fabulous) Racing Blue garage-mate. Sun-filled solar notes remind us of driving, top down, ‘round winding lanes on holiday (perhaps pressaging the honeymoon?) with a carefree abandon, the zing of the citrus speeding the verdant freshness of leafy fern and geranium – a welcome reception before the nuzzle-me-closer frankincense-y infused church pews base kicks in.
£94 for 100ml eau de parfum
fenwick.co.uk

 

 

 

PENHALIGON’S
Constantinople
One for gents that desire being veiled in something more opulent and exotic, this highly refined, almost leathery iris feels like an intricately carved wooden shutter suddenly flung open to welcome evening air and blazing skies, a tang of salty shores nearby carrying waves of delicate, powdered spices on the breeze. Beneath an earthy, mossy layer nestles seams of liquid vanilla, milky ripples later reflect moonlight, harbouring the expectation and tingling anticipation of tonight’s nuptial adventures…
£178 for 100ml eau de parfum
penhaligons.com

 

 

 

GIORGIO ARMANI
Acqua di Giò EDP
Requring the comfort of familiarity with a fresh feel? ‘An eternally iconic fragrance reinvented for the future’, this new interpretation reflects Armani’s sustainability commitment. Aromatic and luminous, the consciously-sourced ingredients fizz with the freshness of green mandarin, lightly musky, tobacco-like notes in the clary sage heart, and a sheer yet enduring patchouli essence. An instant hit when it was launched in 1996, this so-stylish contemporary and eco-conscious (refillable) update is to be celebrated again – Alberto Morillas working his magic with the planet in mind.
£98 for 125ml eau de parfum
boots.com

 

 

 

PARFUMS DE MARLY
Greenley
A distinctly greener vibe for this much-loved niche house, bringing the feeling of a contemporary Cologne but (importantly) with the benefit of far greater staying power in a concentrated eau de parfum. Bursting with citrus up top, the petitgrain grants an immediate freshness, a fruity interpretation of cashmere wood fused with crisp apple and the shady cool of violet. Amberwood ripples throughout, making this feel like a much-needed stroll through the woodlands if you’re feeling the need to escape the wedding-planning madness.
£175 for 75ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

 

Juicy mandarin is married here to the powerhouse icon that is Molecule 01 – the first fragrance that propelled this house’s perfumed fame. The sophisticated freshness just keeps on going (and helps you hang on) thanks to perfumer Geza Schoen. ‘I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness’ he explains. Then the warm-skin purr of ISO E Super sashays in: ‘That’s unusual – for a top note ingredient like Mandarin and a base note like Iso E Super to dance together naked like this, without other notes coming between them.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml or try a sample in their M+ Discovery Set £20

 

 

 

Here’s a thought – if you’re nervous about that first dance, or ‘dad dancing’ as a guest, simply spray the M+ Mandarin and imagine everyone naked. Well. Maybe not everyone, depending of course on how you feel about your in-laws. But seriously, the right fragrance truly can give you an extra boost of confidence, helping you feel stronger and energised throughout the day as well as making scent memories to last a lifetime. I so hope this little guide has given you some help to finding yours…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

How to choose fragrance as a gift (with men in mind…)

How to choose a fragrance as a gift is something we get asked a lot – from those looking to treat the men in lives with a new scent, and from people just starting to explore the fragrant world themselves. Either way, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting – especially if you’re shopping online.

With Father’s Day around the corner, fragrant gifts are much on our minds, but we wanted to create a guide that gets your started on your journey and, even better, can be used for any time you find yourself confused while pondering perfumes.

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents (you can always buy the full-size of the one he loves most, later!)

Take a look at some of the suggestions, below. But first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life (or you) still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge (especially after lockdown!) but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

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

Let’s change it up… So, think about:

 

 

 

 

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Character, hobbies and personal style are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) That’s why a selection of samples to try at home is the best bet. Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent ambers along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

1: If you already know a fragrance they like

Have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent grooming products like body/beard oils and shower gels or body lotions. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of fragrances (which are always useful and well-recieved).

If you don’t want to get them the same old thing, then take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent they already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

 

 

 

 

2: If you’ve no idea what they like / How to choose fragrance

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

But scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots – some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! So the absolute best solution is to buy them a Discovery Box so they can try all manner of differing fragrances in their own time. They may even surprise themselves with their favourite!

[Pssst! We’ve also extended our offer of 20% off Men’s Must Have, Suave Scents and Niche VI Discovery Boxes to treat your papa, a father-figure or special guy in your life to perfume for Father’s Day! Use the Code: FATHERS22 at the checkout to redeem!]

How to buy a fragrance for someone you love…

Valentines Day – love it or loathe it – is just around the corner, and here at The Perfume Society, we believe it should be about treating someone you love with a scent that’s perfect for them (and that can be anyone you care about, not only someone you’re romantically involved with!)

Have you got a friend who could do with some kindness coming their way, or a loved one you’ve not been able to see in person for some time? Follow our guide, and we’ve several suggestions to help you find some truly fabulous fragrances that will truly suit them, and which they’re bound to fall for…

 

 

 

If you already know what they love

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

 

 

Or, why not have a look at matching products available for their favourite fragrance, such as a gorgeously decadent bath oil, rich body cream or even a fragranced hair mist. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of perfumes at this time of year, or, if you really wanted to push the boat out, many fragrance houses offer engraving or other forms of personalisation for a full-size bottle.

 

 

 

If you have no idea what they like (or they want to try something new)

The best idea is to get a Discovery Box of fabulous mini sizes and samples from a wide range of luxury, niche and top-end designer fragrance houses. That way they can start exploring and trying them all in the comfort of their own home, and most importantly, in their own time. Each box is carefully curated to include something for all tastes, and once they’ve found ‘the one’ (or perhaps several) you can then buy a full size, safe in the knowledge they’ve already tried it on their skin. It’s a particularly brilliant way to get people trying fragrances they’ve perhaps never heard of, or wouldn’t have thought about spraying in a shop. We know SO many people who’ve discovered their all-time scent loves this way!

 

 

 

 

How to know if a fragrance will suit them?

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

Once you’ve narrowed it down – either by using the Fragrance Finder or perhaps finding them a new scent from a house they’re already drawn to – the best solution is to buy them a Brand Set: these showcase a wide selection of scents from the same house, and chances are if they already like one, they could swoon for another in that range.

Remember – scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots, some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! They may even surprise themselves with their favourite. And really the best thing is that thrill of exploration while discovering their new scent love is a gift that keeps on giving (and showing how much you love them) for years to come…

 

Hello ’22! A fragrant new year (and new you) with a VERY special offer

New year, new you? Fragrance is the easiest way to revive your spirits or change the vibe (with no counting calories or impossible exercise routines or self-imposed ‘rules’ to follow!) A new scent can give you more confidence and energy or soothe the senses after a difficult time. It can also be your ‘shoulder pads in a bottle’ best friend – or a hug in a bottle, helping you feeling better about yourself every single day.

If you’re new here (hello!) and don’t know all the things we do, or just want to start the new year as you mean to go on; why not consider some of the fragrance-filled options below, and join us in the scented celebrations…

 

Treat yourself to something new (with 22% off*)

Now all the Christmas gifts have been exchanged, we think YOU deserve an extra present for getting through all of last year. We’re welcoming in the new year in the most fragrant way possible, by giving you 22% of ALL our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (when you spend £40 or more)!

Simply select your favourite Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (*minimum spend £40, valid on Perfume Society Discovery Boxes only, offer ends 7th January 2022) and enter the code Hello22 at checkout.

 

Take the stress out of scent shopping

Fragrance can be bewildering, and finding a new one often overwhelming – that’s exactly why we started The Perfume Society, to take the stress out of shopping for a new scent. How can you find your perfect perfume? What’s the best way to take care of it? How can you make it last longer? Where should fragrance be applied, to get the most out of every spritz? Nobody’s born knowing these things, so we’ve collated answers to dozens of the questions we’re regularly asked in our FAQ section. Simply head there and click on the question, and your answer will appear!

 

Find your next favourite fragrance

How can you find the perfect scent to suit you? It’s a question we’re asked more than any other, and can be somewhat overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. And that’s at the best of times – let alone trying to navigate buying a new scent from your sofa, without sniffing beforehand!

We have the perfect perfume solution: our genius Fragrance Finder

You’re simply asked to type in the name of a fragrance you like already, and the so-clever algorithm does all the work for you. This is a computer system that was first set up decades ago, when our clever Co-Founder Lorna McKay had an idea how to help customers of Liberty’s perfumery seek out their next scents.

That computer program has been fully updated with key words comparing and describing hundreds of thousands of fragrances – not only the fragrance notes, but how the fragrance will make you feel, the atmosphere the perfumer has created, the character of the scent itself. All you need do is type in the name of a fragrance you already love 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 likely to swoon for. Honestly, try it – they’re quite spookily accurate!

Become a V.I.P

For just just £12 per year, you can join our special VIP club and receive the following exclusive benefits for 12 months of fragrant fun…

Special Discounts:  £4 off our professionally-curated Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, you’ll hear about all the launches before anyone else. This year we will be offering even greater discounts and some fabulous 24-hour price drop opportunities exclusive to our VIPs.

Digital Subscription to The Scented Letter: You can read more about this below, but all VIPs get immediate access to our award-winning online magazine, delivered to their in-box– featuring perfumes, perfumers, ingredients and so much more devoted to all things fragrant. Psst ..we’ll send you the latest Scented Letter as soon as you sign up..!

Event Tickets: Early access to events – virtually and in real life…meeting with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world.

Exclusive Prizes: just for VIPs.

(Please note: due to shipping restrictions we cannot send our boxes to the Republic of Ireland or internationally.)

 

 

Read The Scented Letter, our multi-award-winning perfume magazine, now FREE for everyone!

Described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, we are delighted that our gorgeous and fact-packed digital magazine, The Scented Letter, is now free for everyone to read in digital format online. You can read the most recent Time to Shine issue, here. But don’t worry, if you prefer print, the magazine (and back issues) is also available to order in gorgeously printed form via our Online Shop.

Appearing FOUR times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, featuring at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more will take them ever-deeper into the scented world, via our Latest Launches round-up of the new men’s and women’s scents, exclusive interviews with the world’s best perfumers, stunning spreads devoted to the fascinating history and future-forward trends shaping the perfume world.

However you choose to celebrate in scent, we wish you a wonderful (and fabulously fragrant) year ahead for 2022!

What to do if you hate a perfume present? Tips & tricks to save your scent!

Well firstly, ‘hate’ is a very strong word. If you’ve been landed with the favourite fragrance of your current partner’s ex, we’re not going to pretend to make you suddenly adore it, so maybe re-gift that one – see tip #7 – and treat yourself to one of our Discovery Boxes of fragrant delights, and perhaps a new partner, instead?

But there are things you can try before you completely ditch a scent – we can’t tell you how many fragrance experts (ourselves included!) and even perfumers have drastically changed their minds about a fragrance by trying some of these top tips…

#1 – Seasonal changes
Did you know that the weather, your mood and even what you ate up to *two weeks ago* can dramatically alter how scent smells on your skin? Skin and climate temperature are vital to a perfume’s performance, so even your favourite fragrance will smell different based on the time of year. When perfumers test the scents they’re creating they often use climate-controlled booths to check how they smell in hot and colder conditions (depending what countries they’ll be selling in). Don’t re-gift until you’ve tried the perfume again later in the year, or even on holiday (remember those?)

– Similarly, strongly spiced foods can change how a perfume smells on your skin, and when testing fragrances under lab conditions, the ‘skin model’ volunteers they use are often specifically asked to refrain from eating such foods up to two weeks prior to testing, so the perfumers can smell a ‘true’ representation of the scent. Though sometimes the reverse is true: if a fragrance is to be mainly sold in a country where people eat lots of spicy foods, the ‘skin models’ are asked to replicate that diet to ensure the scent works efficiently.

– We now know that mood plays an important part in how we select a fragrance – try a scent when you’re feeling a particular way, and it colours how you feel about the fragrance itself. If you’re feeling stressed or upset, a bit under the weather or just overwhelmed, these are not ideal conditions for testing out something new. Wait until you’re feeling calmer, or simply have more time to really explore what you’re smelling. That’s when you can try to…

 

#2 – Improve your sense of smell
Absolutely everyone can benefit from this – we’ve had people from normal perfume-lovers, complete novices to industry professionals telling us how trying these techniques have changed the way they smell for the better (for good). This doesn’t mean suddenly gaining the ability of being able to detect every single ingredient within a bottle of perfume, but rather learning to train your nose the way a perfumer does: by deeply exploring the emotions it makes you feel, colours, textures, places and people it reminds you of.

This is why we developed our so-popular How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops, which we have regularly held in London and, sometimes at independent perfumeries around the UK. We’ll be adding new dates as soon as we’re able to hold face-to-face workshops again, and plan to make a video available online.

Meanwhile, here are a few simple tips to try every day:

Spray a scent on a blotter, preferably; close your eyes and keep sniffing for several seconds, then take the blotter away, inhale deeply, and re-sniff the blotter again. Repeat this for a minute or so, and then begin writing a few words in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be a description, and it shouldn’t ‘list’ notes – try to use words that make you think of other things. For example…

If this scent were a fabric, what would it be? What colour? If you made someone an outfit from that fabric, who would they be, where would they be going?

If it were a piece of music, what instruments would be playing? Is it classical, rock music, pop, rap or jazz?

Really attempt to get past thinking ‘I don’t like this’ and focus instead on the mood it’s creating. Is it too deep or too fresh or floral for your personal taste? Give it time and then, if needed, move on to one of the tips, below…

 

#3 – Layer up!
Layering fragrances used to be seen as a scent sin, but we’ve all gotten over ourselves a bit (well most of us have). You don’t have to do this to a perfume you already love on its own – why would you need to? – but there are brilliant ways of beefing-up a sadly flimsy fragrance, or adding a zing to something that’s a bit too dark or cloying on your skin. Give it a go, because, as we always say: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!

Add power: ramp it up by adding more base notes like patchouli, labdanum, vetiver, woods or musk.

Add freshness: look for citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).

Add beauty: find a scent too ‘harsh’ or clinical? Look to layer it with decadently velvety or lusciously fruity rose oils, the sunshine-bottled scent of orange flower, a heady glamour of tuberose or a luminescent jasmine; try an apricot-like osmanthus flower, the fluffiness of mimosa or the powdery elegance of iris/orris.

Add sweetness: vanilla and tonka bean can ’round’ a perfume, making it swoon on your skin (and addictive to smell), as can touches of synthetic notes described as ‘caramel’ or ‘dulce de leche’, ripe fruits, chocolate or even candy floss. Try to add less than you think you need, as adding more is always easier than taking away, and a little of these can go a long way!

For layering any of these, you can either try layering over other fragrances you have in which the above notes dominate, with a single-fragranced ‘soliflore’ (one main note) fragrance oil or spray, or try layering the scent you don’t currently like over a differently perfumed body lotion or oil (see below or the added benefits of doing this…)

 

#4 – Boost the lasting-power
If the reason you don’t like a perfume is because it just seems to ‘disappear’ on your skin, you’re not alone. We often find those with dry skin have this problem, and it’s even thought genetics and things like hair colour may play a part. Scientists are still finding this out, but while they do, there are ways you can make perfume last far longer:

– Try using a body oil, rich body balm or moisturising lotion before you put any fragrance on (and even afterwards, too), as scent takes longer to evaporate on nourished skin. This helps the fragrance ‘cling’ to your skin more easily, and so you get to actually smell if for more than a few minutes without frantically re-spraying.

– Spray pulse-points you might not usually think of. Behind your knees is a good example – it’s a warm spot that, once spritzed, will mean you leave a fragrant trail…

– Spritz the perfume at the nape of your neck, even into your hair and on clothes – BUT do check by spraying a tissue first that it isn’t going to mark your hair or fabric a strange colour, or leave an oily residue! We adore this way of wearing perfume, as hair and fabric are porous without heating up as much as your skin, allowing the perfume to stay all day.

Spraying a fragrance on to a scarf is a particularly good idea if you want…

#5 – A part-time perfume
There are days we feel the need to try something completely different, but perhaps don’t want to be stuck with that scent all day, so what to do?

– Consider spraying a scarf (preferably not silk or a light colour, unless you’ve patch-tested it as above, first!) with this perfume you’re unsure of, that way if it gets a bit ‘too much’ or you want to wear something different, you can simply take the scarf off and you’re not stuck with it on your skin all day.

Nope? Tried all that and still struggling? All is not lost, don’t give up yet…

 

#6 – Scent up your life
We all have certain scents or fragrant ingredients that, for one reason or another, we might not wish to wear but do like to smell if it’s scenting something else.

– Why not try spraying off-cuts of pretty wrapping paper or tissue paper, and using this to line your lingerie or sweater drawers?

– Or, how about being utterly fabulous by spraying your note paper and insides of envelopes (the fancy ones lined with tissue paper are particularly good for this), and writing a few actual letters or thank you cards to loved-ones you’ve not seen for a while. Everyone loves getting proper post!

– The truly decadent could try scenting table linen – again, PLEASE patch test, as above – for lavish dinner parties to rival Marie Antoinette – spraying on cotton wool and putting inside a deocrative ceramic or pottery vase, on wooden ornaments or ceramic discs you hang over radiators to scent the whole room as they heat.

We so hope you can find a way to try this poor perfume again and give it some love, but if all else fails and you still can’t bring yourself to use it, well at least you tried! Why not…

#7 – Have a perfume-swapping party / re-gift
Um, remembering not to invite the one who gave you that particular perfume… otherwise, major awks. Or, if you’re looking to re-gift, have a look at our brilliant Fragrance Finder.

Simply put the name of the fragrance into the search box, and it’ll suggest six scents that are similar in character and style, or share a number of significant notes – this way you can see if anyone you know already has one of these, and it means they’ll very likely love to receive this one from you.

Genius!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to choose a men’s fragrance

How to choose a men’s fragrance is something we get asked a lot – from those looking to treat the men in lives with a new scent, and from chaps’ just starting to explore the fragrant world themselves. Either way, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting – especially if you’re shopping online.

Worry not! We’ve made it easy for you. Simply follow our guide of how to start sniffing out a brave new world…

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents (you can always buy the full-size of the one he loves most, later!)

Take a look at some of the suggestions, below. But first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life (or you) still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge (especially after lockdown!) but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

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

Let’s change it up… So, think about:

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Character, hobbies and personal style are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) That’s why a selection of samples to try at home is the best bet. Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent ambers along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with our just-launched Men’s Must Have’s Discovery Box. This collection of male and unisex fragrances is perfect for those who wish to bush the boundaries and try uniquely bold and statement scents from some of the hottest niche names and luxe designer houses around. It features globally adored best sellers and just launched scents from THoO, Jeroboam, DSquared2, Paco Rabanne, Bentley, Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace & Initio. (Read about each scent individually, here).

Men’s Must Have’s  £15 (VIP Price £12)

If you’re after something a little more traditional in style, but with enough intriguing twists to tantilise the senses, we suggest the Suave Scents Discovery Box. Designed with men in mind (or anyone who prefers a more ‘masculine’ fragrance vibe), the line-up has fragrances for every facet of a personality, the sheer variety of styles exuding everything from outdoors-y adventurous to more classically suave, with Creed Viking Cologne, Parfums de Marly Greenley, Comme des Garçon Rouge, Floral Street Black Lotus, Bentley, Eight & Bob, JUSBOX, Mercedes Benz, Molton Brown, Paco Rabanne, Salvatore Ferragamo and Versace. We also bring you two fabulous grooming products! The divinely scented Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash (100ml), and Ultrasun Lip Protection 30spf

Suave Scents £23 (VIP Price £19)

We also have an incredible selection of other Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore. AND a great range of Brand Sets, which is the perfect way to sample a houses’ collection to get a real sense of their character.

Wherever you choose to begin, this scent adventure of trying new fragrances at home really takes away the stress of happening across ‘THE ONE’ (a concept we don’t really believe in for most people, anyway. A wardrobe of scents to match your mood / time of year / occasion are the way forward…)

The scent of wellness – when perfumes are more than just pretty

Perfumes can be far more than merely ‘pretty’ – certain scents can truly impart a feeling of wellness, uplift our moods and remind us of happy memories.

Increasingly, people are turning to aromatherapy and using smell to soothe stress, add a sense of comfort or revive their spirits. But fragrances you wear have the benefit of being emotionally restorative all day.

In fact, we’re pre-conditioned to have smell preferences, and our response is based partly on our individual genetic make-up (our DNA), and partly on our life experiences. So: that crushed tomato leaf note that reminds you of a beloved grandmother and her greenhouse – or the jasmine that was growing round a door when you were poorly on holiday, and which you can now hardly stomach.

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

 

 

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

Understanding the way differing notes in a fragrance can make us feel is one reason so many of us have a ‘wardrobe’ of fragrances, rather than just one signature scent: a perfume to make us feel ready to wind down, after a hard day staring at a computer screen; a scent to give us a weekend vibe – or simply something that we spritz on for work, in the morning, which makes us feel more focused and professional, in the same way as a smart suit or a crisp white shirt.

If you love the smell of a fragrance, allow yourself the luxury of a few minutes each day: inhaling the changing aromas as they warm on your skin and focusing on the smell alone.

 

 

Spray a scent on a blotter, preferably; close your eyes and keep sniffing for several seconds, then take the blotter away, inhale deeply, and re-sniff the blotter again. Repeat this for a minute or so, and then begin writing a few words in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be a description, and it shouldn’t ‘list’ notes – try to use words that make you think of other things. For example…

If this scent were a fabric, what would it be? What colour? If you made someone an outfit from that fabric, who would they be, where would they be going?

If it were a piece of music, what instruments would be playing? Is it classical, rock music, pop, rap or jazz?

When you’re smelling a fragrance this way, attempt to get past thinking ‘I do / don’t like this’ and focus instead on the mood it’s creating, the place or person it reminds you of. Lock a happy image in your mind, and whenever you wear that fragrance – or even think of it again – the joy of that memory or daydream will be yours to relish in, forever.

It’s genuinely life-changing!

To aid your fragrant wellness explorations, we recommend trying samples of several differing scents – even ones you wouldn’t perhaps be normally drawn to. Diversifying the range of fragrances you try will actively improve your sense of smell over time – just as eating a wider range of foods expands your palate.

 

 

Grab the opportunity to try this hand-picked selection of fragrances before they sell out – some of our very favourites for their mood-boosting effects – in the Launches We Love Discovery Box. £23 (£19 for VIPs). There’s 12 fabuoulous fragrances to try, including…

Contradictions in Ilk, Virtuous: Inspired by purity, specifically monks living in cloisters in the Tuscan hills – close your eyes and you can feel yourself walking through a fresh and cleansing herb garden, the aromatic plants offering up their therapeutic benefits as you pass them by. You then reach the cool stone walls of the monastery, catching the trailing vapours of old leather and incense coming from within, as a serene stillness settles over you.

Shay & Blue, Tallulah’s Camellia: The second you spritz this fragrance, you get an immediate sense of its personality, of who Tallulah might be – a rebellious, dancing and twirling through a woodland carpeted with bluebells, with bewitching heart notes of white florals, bringing to mind sheer, floaty dresses worn with hair untamed; a girl beholden to no-one as these soft, gauzy, dreamy notes take hold. The only thing that grounds her? A warm yet strong base of woods and white tea, entirely at one with nature and somehow, through that, very grounding.

Ahhh… now isn’t that better?

What IS a fougère? Pteridomania & the frenzy for fern fragrances

When describing types of fragrance, the term fougère can seem bewildering – both the meaning and how on earth to pronounce it.

French for ‘fern-like’, you say it ‘foo-jair’ (with the ‘j’ a little soft – almost ‘foo-shair’), when you think of a fern’s smell, what comes to mind? Whatever you think of, that smell memory is quite likely to have been influenced by Houbigant’s Fougère Royale – created in 1882 by Paul Parquet, and much copied by those who clamoured to achieve a measure of its success.

While we might imagine a shady-forest smell emanating from a fern, the majority aren’t fragrant to any great extent. And although the ingredients so key to Parquet’s original accord – oak moss, geranium, bergamot and (most notably) coumarin – are now collectively referred to as ‘fougère’ (often with lavender or other aromatic herbs thrown in for good effect), it’s the alchemy of the perfumer recreating that ‘natural’ smell memory: the whole woodland seemingly wafting from the bottle.

“Gathering Ferns” (Helen Allingham) from The Illustrated London News, July 1871.

Some time before Parquet’s fragrant foragings, ‘fern mania’ was sweeping the nation, and it caused an amount of worry when women began wandering, sometimes alone or – worse! – gambolling with groups of young man in the woodlands, in search of their charms… What business had women convening with nature outside of their perfectly manicured cottage gardens? Well, ‘Pteridomania’, meaning Fern Madness or Fern Craze was the term for this frenzy, coined in 1855 by Charles Kingsley in his book Glaucus, or the ‘Wonders of the Shore’. In it he sought to reassure anxious parents:

Your daughters, perhaps, have been seized with the prevailing ‘Pteridomania‘ … and wrangling over unpronounceable names of species (which seem different in each new Fern-book that they buy) … and yet you cannot deny that they find enjoyment in it, and are more active, more cheerful, more self-forgetful over it, than they would have been over novels and gossip, crochet and Berlin-wool.

So – society’s nerves soothed and the morals of females intact – the time was ripe for fern fragrances to unfurl; but it took a unique olfactory discovery to kickstart that particular perfume craze.

It was the extraction of coumarin ­– one of the first synthetics to appear in perfumery – which made the fougère such a landmark scent. But how many people outside the industry would be able to describe coumarin’s smell? Not many, I’m guessing.

A plate from The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland, a book from the era of Pteridomania.

Coumarin is found in tonka beans and cinnamon, but also occurs naturally in bison grass and green tea. It’s classed as a ‘lactone’ – (milky, skin-like) – a complex molecule that’s the scent of sweet hay drying in the sunshine with a slight waft of warm horse; a cold glass of fizz sipped on newly-mown grass, a fine cigar fresh from the humidor, a warm cookie dunked in cold milk. All of these things and not one in particular: the scientist’s hand working in harmony with the artful perfumer to create a magical realism. Because the true skill of a perfumer is to take ingredients and transform them into something we think we already recognise, sparking those scent memories and creating new ones to fill the gaps.

In fact, Parquet was called the ‘greatest perfumer of his time’ by no less than Ernest Beaux, the creator of Chanel No. 5, and was the first to truly understand and appreciate the use of synthetic aroma materials in fragrance composition. Previously used as mere substitutes for naturally derived raw materials, Parquet saw a chance to deploy them as unique smells in their own right – adding structure, poetry and space within perfumes that sought not to mimic the natural world but to add to it, to improve on perfection. And so the fougère fragrance family was born.

Traditionally seen as a scent for the chaps – possibly sporting tweed and a monocle – in fact Guerlain’s masterpiece of Jicky, launched in 1889, is a more ‘feminine’ fougère (the first unisex scent, too) which ramped up the crackle of dry lavender, adding sweetly mown hay and toasted almond-like flourishes of coumarin. More recently, we’ve seen an increasing number of gender-fluid fougères striding forth – perhaps chiming with our collective urge to ‘return to nature’ during the pandemic; or simply an urge that preceded Covid-19, a perfumed riposte to political unease?

Whatever the reason, the resurgence of the fougère is to be celebrated. Cooling on steamy days, comforing in more inclement weather, these are the type of scent to boost your spirits while patting your hand and telling you everything’s going to be okay. Wander into the woodland yourself, awhile, and try these fougères – from classical forest to contemporary fairytale…

Houbigant Fougère Royale A sprig of herbs carefully tucked into the lapel of a herringbone jacket, the olive from a dry Martini sucked in a slightly lascivious manner while they’re looking the other way. £130 for 100ml eau de parfum libertylondon.com

Guerlain Jicky Somewhere between breakfast and midnight, fog-shrouded moorland; pale wool blanket clutched close, bare feet on flagstones, forbidden hipflask swigged reading Wuthering Heights. £96 for 100ml eau de toilette houseoffraser.co.uk

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros Freshly-scrubbed and shining with smooth words and practiced simplicity, but clean sheets cannot hide the indiscretion and animal instincts of the night before. £50 for 50ml eau de toilette theperfumeshop.com

Creed Viking Cologne A bountiful burst of freshness leads to explorations of verdant landscapes re-awakening; geranium, herbs, lavender and nutmeg atop glacial lakes reflecting shinshine. £175for 50ml eau de parfum  creedfragrances.co.uk

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Milano Cento HIM A woodland wander with someone dashingly Italian (who knows not to wear sandals with socks), the citrus breeze segues to an herbaceously dappled grove and aromatic amour. £49 for 100ml eau de toilette roullierwhite.com

4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard Ferns pressed between pages of a diary, love letters tied in faded ribbons, a lipstick kiss on a foxed mirror, silk scarves with the faint tang of a gentleman’s Cologne. £55 for 30ml eau de parfum 4160tuesdays.com

Partere Run of the River A bare-foot meander through clover-strewn lawns, budding freshness in the air, lemon-thyme and clary sage encricled by a languorous caress of incense and oakmoss. £95 for 50ml eau de parfum parterrefragrances.com

By Suzy Nightingale

Choosing a fragrance for Fathers Day (or whenever!) Male scents we’re swooning over

Choosing a fragrance for Fathers Day (or, you know, whenever) can seem overwhelming, but the best way to match a particular chap to a certain scent is think about their personalities. So, ditch the old-fashioned ‘pipe and slippers’ image still portrayed on many a Fathers Day card and consider his character. Is he…

 

Timelessly Stylish?

 

If he fancies himself as rather dapper and wouldn’t dream of stepping outside the house in joggers and an old t-shirt, we think he’s likely to favour a classic but characterful fragrance. This collection was designed with such men in mind, but here at Perfume Society HQ we implore everyone to explore this divine collection and discover the timeless aromas loved by the stars of old Hollywood.

Created by Albert Fouquet, a member of the French aristocracy, who would surprise his loved ones with exquisite homemade perfumes, blended lovingly with the help of his family butler, Philippe. One evening in 1937, Albert met an American student named John F. K. mesmerised by Albert’s scent, John persuaded him to leave him a sample. The rest, as they say, is history…

Now you can get set to feel truly special by spritzing these timeless and decadent scents, six true icons in fragrant history ready for you explore.

Eight & Bob Iconic Discovery Set £20 for six fragrances

 

Eclectically Heroic?

Okay so he might not exactly be a caped crusader but he tries his best, and he’s your hero. If his taste mightbbe described as ‘changeable’ or he’s not really sure which style of fragrances he likes, this discovery box is your scent saviour! Filled to the brim with something to suit all, it’s for super men everywhere.

We’ve included independent perfume houses making their mark: recently launched ånd fragrance with sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients at the forefront, decadent Italian niche with Laboratorio Olfattivo and Jovoy with their new creation based on the Mayfair store 21 Conduit St. Also including newness from loved names including St Giles, Parfums de Marly, Ruth Mastenbroek, Floris, Caron,Initio, Atelier Des Ors, Kierin NYC and Anima Vinci.

We also bring you TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (50ml), and the divinely scented beard savour WELEDA Skin Food (10ml). Up, up and a-spray…!

The Super Man Discovery Box £22 / £18 VIP price for 14 fragrances + two extra gifts

 

Rebellious Rocker?

 

If he’s still firmly attached to his skinny jeans and faded band-t-shirts (or can sometimes be lost for hours playing along to vinyl rarities) chances are he’s not going to want to smell hum-drum and ordinary. Offering a true sense of olfactory rebellion, dance into this so-sassy collection, all of which should be worn with a devil-may-care attitude.

ROOK PERFUMES are the perfect meeting place between art and science – with more than a little rock ‘n roll in their DNA. They were launched by a frontline doctor/actor (yes, really), Nadeem Crowe, who became enraptured with the world of perfumery, who says ‘I feel totally comfortable with pipettes, beakers and weighing scales. The outcome, though, is a piece of art.’

Discover ALL THREE UNISEX FRAGRANCES, Undergrowth, Forest and ROOK. The latter was created by Nadeem for himself, inspired by his Middle Eastern roots, and described as a ‘diplomat dressed up as a punk rocker’. Nadeem loves to hear the stories of how his fragrances transport others – so let us know which transported you…? 

Rook Perfumes Discovery Set £15 for three fragrances

 

Modern Maverick?

If he’s slightly eccentric, obsessed by science or futuristic technology and always ahead of his time, he’s bound to appreciate the loving fragrance nerd-ery behind this iconic cult house. Perfumer and founder Geza Schoen is, himself, a bit of a maverick. If you’re new to the Escentric Molecules world, you should know that Geza was dedicated to trying something new – and it was seen quite shockingly brave, but caused a scent storm of interest.

The reason? Schoen shook up the perfume world by creating a scent with one ingredient – an aroma-molecule non-existent in nature, called Iso E Super. Now this molecule has been expertly blended with other ingredients to really ramp up the individuality.

Geza says: ‘I’ve used two qualities of patchouli here. The biggest chunk is Patchouli Coeur which is a very clean, soft patchouli oil fraction with the camphor-like topnote removed. I have also included a patchouli oil from Indonesia to round it out with a little bit of a topnote. The result is a sophisticated, clean patchouli that pairs fantastically well with Molecule 01.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Patchouli £95 for 100ml

Geza says: ‘Mandarin is all about the instant hit. It’s so alive, the way it radiates off the skin with that citrus zestiness. But there’s more to mandarin, it’s very fruity and aromatic as well. It’s a beautiful ingredient. Its transparency means that it vanishes quickly. I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml

How to find a new fragrance – tips & tricks to try before you buy

We’ve learned all manner of tips and tricks at The Perfume Society, which we’re thrilled to share with you, here. We’ve been privileged to meet some of the world’s best perfumers and foremost fragrance experts over the last seven years we’ve been going, and want to share their advice with you, below.

If you want a fabulous new fragrance to try, need tips on how to smell it as a perfumer does or how to describe what you’re smelling, consider some of these most useful fragrant facts to help you enjoy your fragrances even more…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t know what to try next? Use our simple Find a Fragrance tool: just type the name of a fragrance you already know and love, and the so-clever algorithm suggests six new scents with similar characters to try.

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

We know that a full bottle can be a big investment and not everyone happens to live near a shop with a great selection. That’s why we put together carefully curated Discovery Boxes. Our Launches We Love Discovery Box is a stunning selection of new names, with gorgeous mini bottles and generous samples from niche and luxury houses we know you’re going to love as much as we do…

By Suzy Nightingale