The Scented Letter magazine ‘Time to Shine’ Christmas edition has landed!

We’re delighted to launch the latest 52-page edition of The Scented Letter – and as we close the year, it’s a celebration of all things fragrant – the gifts to give, the celestial scents to spritz and the aromas of this very special season.

We’re also celebrating something VERY special: a hat-trick of Jasmine Awards in The Fragrance Foundation, with two for our stellar writer Suzy Nightingale, and a Judges’ Special Recognition Award for one entire edition of the mag, ‘A Life in Scents’, published earlier this year.

Scroll down for a preview of some of the articles, which you can read online here in flickable format, recreating the sense of reading a real-life mag.

Alternatively, we are now able to take orders for a limited run of printed copies of the magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs), here. And you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letterhere

  • Heaven Scents: The Christmas 2021 Gift Guide A stellar selection for everyone on your list – that’s a tick, tick, tick!
  • In Memories, Dreams & Reflections, leading astrologer Shelley von Strunckel shares a lifetime in fragrant recollections
  • The ever-brilliant British perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek gives Suzy Nightingale the low-down on her creative working life
  • Agony uncle James Craven answers your seasonal scent-selection and present-choosing conundrums
  • Perfumers are looking to the night sky for inspiration to compose fragrances that sparkle, charm and dazzle, reports Suzy Nightingale in Celestial Scents
  • Founder of Perfume Walks London, Olga Petrouchenko, time-travels to a Russian childhood and a snowy winter holiday
  • Plus as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news – and so much more

 

 

Happy 1st May! We want this to be the most fragrant day in the calendar…

In France on 1st May, there is a wonderful tradition of offering lily of the valley to those you love and admire. We can’t think of anything nicer – which is why from today, The Perfume Society has introduced this tradition in England. We hope it spreads and spreads. (A little like these wonderfully fragrant nodding flowers do in your garden, if you let them.)

So today, we are ‘flowerbombing’ all sorts of women we like and respect – from Sandi Toksvig to Fearne Cotton, Kate Moss to Marjorie Scardino, Mary McCartney to Emma Freud – with posies of lily of the valley, in the run-up to the Society’s full launch on 18th May.

If you’re not on the list this year (sorry!), then we thought you might enjoy this posting from James Craven, Perfume Archivist at Les Senteurs London on the subject of this very special flower…
‘… Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Always productive and fascinating to smell perfume oils and then return to the original source – the flower which inspired them. The fascination for me lies in discovering how the flower actually smells in the raw, often remarkably different from what we imagined or remembered.

The radiance of the lily of the valley has inspired mankind for centuries. Modern sources sometimes claim it originated in Asia, though Nicolson’s exhaustive 1886 Gardening Dictionary describes it as native to Britain and at that period still to be seen growing profusely (imagine!) in English woods. Medicinal and spiritual qualities (the warding off of evil spirits) are attributed to it, and an extensive folk lore is not the least of its charms. The flower is said to represent Our Lady’s Tears at the Crucifixion; and sometimes named Jacob’s Ladder or Ladders to Heaven – from the Patriarch’s dream of angels, ascending and descending the Divine staircase.

I have a plant before me now: exquisite in form and colour, both the flowers and foliage. With its vivid green silky spear-shaped leaves and pure white bell-like flowers (one of its French names is Clochettes d’Amour) it was a definitive corsage for Edwardian ladies,fashionably pinned to furs or lapels with a diamond clip. As the sun or the heat of the body warm the blossoms, the sweet,fragile yet pungent fragrance arouses almost unbearable nostalgia.

Inhaling it now, the scent is unexpectedly musky,very expensively soapy, verging on the powdery; with delicate hints of jasmine, orange blossom, even rose. Remarkably sophisticated, with a subtle suggestion of spice rather in the style of an old-fashioned clove carnation; complex and bewitching, unmistakable yet paradoxical.

For lily of the valley defies perfumers to extract oil from the plant: it has to be synthesised from other floral oils in combination or reproduced chemically. A conjuring trick of the highest order but you can see from the other flowers that it references, even from a pot on my kitchen table, how it can be pulled off, if very rarely. Dior’s Diorissimo is one such example: it was the designer’s favourite flower. His funeral took place in a bower, a cascade of lilies. Caron‘s Muguet de Bonheur catches the waxy muskiness of the flower: a salute to the Parisian chic of Claudette Colbert who wore it; and a souvenir of the French custom of offering lilies of the valley as a token of love on May Day. If you are after for the green,airy, spring-like quality try Malle’s Lys Mediterranée – a gorgeously fresh garden of white flowers with lily of the valley nestling discreetly but sweetly at the heart.

‘They toil not, neither do they spin’… lilies of the valley earn their place in creation just by being.’
There. Hope you love that as much as we do. And Happy May Day, from The Perfume Society

Written by Jo