This fragrance is the bee’s knees – literally!

Scientists have discovered that certain types of bees actually create their own ‘perfumes’ in order to attract a mate. And what’s more, a niche brand has just launched a Bee fragrance that’s already creating a buzz…

A new article in Science Daily reveals that scientists at the University of California have discovered male orchid bees don’t sipmply flit among the flowers collecting pollen to make honey back at the hive – they’re also using their wings ‘…to disperse a bouquet of perfumes into the air.’ And their studies have concluded that ‘the aromatic efforts are all for the sake of attracting a mate.’

Associate Professor Santiago Ramirez, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, explained that while they already knew many animals produce pheremones, the unique factor for the orchid bee is that ‘the majority of their pheromones are actually collected from plants and other sources like fungi.’ Science Daily suggests that ‘Orchid bees are master perfumers,’ and goes on to explain that the scientists reserach suggests that ‘the perfumes males concoct are unique to their specific species’.

Ramirez,and recent Ph.D. graduate student Philipp Brand, from the Population Biology Graduate Group, have been studying the mating habits of orchid bees for some years, in the course of their studies, ‘unraveling the complex chemicals responsible for successful procreation.’ What they didn’t expext to find, though, was a brand new discovery that possibly explains the evolutionary divergence of bee species: environmental perfumes (and we’re not talking ‘clean’ or ‘green’ beauty claims here, folks!)

In the study, which was first published in Nature Communications, Brand, Ramirez and their colleagues set out their case to suggest that the evolution of sexual signaling in orchid bees can directly be linked to ‘a gene that’s been shaped by each species’ perfume preferences.’

Brand commented that, ‘Our study supports the hypothesis that in the orchid bee perfume communication system, the male perfume chemistry and the female preference for the perfume chemistry can simultaneously evolve via changes in a single receptor gene.’ And this could explain why a single species split into two distinct species that we knew were linked, but had no idea why they had diverged. Ah yes, the power of that scent sillage is strong, it seems, even for bees. But how did one bee’s perfume-making prowess suddenly woo more of the female bees to his partiular, er, honeypot?

 

Green Orchid Bee

 

Explains Ramirez: ‘Imagine you have an ancestral species that uses certain compounds to communicate with each other,” said Ramirez. “If you have a chemical communication channel and then that chemical communication channel splits into two separate channels, then you have the opportunity for the formation of two separate species.’

Do make time to read the full article in Science Daily – it’s a fascingating read, and yet another notch in our understanding of the power of smell. But let’s not only focus on fragrances that makes bees feel like getting busy (buzzy?) with it; we perfume-loving humans have a brand new sweet-smelling scent to explore that’s perfectly themed – and although not inspired by the reasearch, as far as we know, happens to be perfectly timed, too. The Canadian-based niche house of Zoologist have just launched the latest in their animal-centric scents: behold Bee

Perfumer Cristiano Canali has created a perfume that showcases luxurious amounts of labdanum, dollops of honey, a leathery orange blossom dusted with powdery mimosa, delciously rounded by nutty tonka and heady heliotrope.

Zoologist Bee, £195 for 65ml extrait de parfum (1ml samples £3)
Try it at Bloom Perfumery

So which honey-based fragrances are likely to get you buzzing? Read our page all about the history and use of honey as a fragrant ingredient, and discover other perfumes to try, for the scent perfumer Christine Nagel describes as ‘half devil, half angel…’

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Latest Launches: capture the moment

Nothing captures a memory quite like scent, so indulge yourself with this week’s collection of latest launches. Give your heart to Louis Vuitton Coeur Battante and succumb to the beauty of Gucci Memoire d’une Odeur. Along the way enjoy Siclian lemons,  Springtime in a Park and the vivid green of Floris Vert Fougère. Sheer bliss!
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AERIN_LIMONE_DI_SICILIAAERIN
LIMONE DI SICILIA
Beaming us right back to summer, bare legs, chilled drinks and crystal clear seas, Limone di Sicilia squeezes the shimmering radiance of the Mediterranean into a rope-capped bottle. But as you’d expect from Aerin Lauder, this is way  more sophisticated than a typical citrus, a sea breeze laden with bergamot, Italian mandarin, lemon primofiore rippling petals of muguet, Egyptian jasmine and Centifolia rose, with Ambrox and oakmoss adding pashmina-like warmth at its conclusion.
From £150 for 50ml eau de parfum
esteelauder.co.ukgucci-meoire-dune-odeurGUCCI
MÉMOIRE D’UNE ODEUR
Roman chamomile punctured by bitter almond, whispers of honeyed jasmine, grey clouds of hushed musk and woods – the warm skin smoothness of sandalwood, the cold, dry pencil shavings of cedar. It smells faintly familiar, but not quite like anything else; bone dry, salty as a licked tear, soothing but ethereally so. Alberto Morillas has made a quiet masterpiece, designed to be shared. We’re warning you: there will be tussles in the bathroom, over this.
£53.50 for 40ml eau de parfum
johnlewis.comLOUIS_VUITTON_COEUR_BATTANTLOUIS VUITTON
COEUR BATTANTE
Be still our beating hearts, for there is a new offering from Louis Vuitton’s masterful perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, which plays with ‘the constant contrast between darkness and light, freshness and sensuality. In the light corner, radiant and almost humid Egyptian jasmine and green narcissus, alongside crisp and juicy pear and aquatic Cascalone. But venture into the shadows and you’ll discover the fragrance’s dark Chypré character, expressed via moss and patchouli. Ravissante.
£185.00 for 100ml eau de parfum
louisvuitton.com
MAISON MARGIELA
SPRINGTIME IN A PARK
You’re walking through the streets of Shanghai, where a cool breeze shakes the cherry blossom on the trees. Dappled light shines through the branches and warms you a little. Springtime in the Park is like a perfectly crisp day; pears, bergamots and black currants drip onto aqueous blooms, lily of the valley and dewy roses, musks soften a woody trail and hint of vanilla adds sunshine. We’re fantasising of spring already.
£96 for 100ml eaux de toilette
harveynichols.comfloris-vert-fougere
FLORIS
VERT FOUGÈRE
An imagining of a fern in an English garden at twilight, Vert Fougère combines lavender and patchouli with galbanum for a green, damp, earthy beginning. Lingering sunlight is evoked via a bitter-citrus accord of bergamot, neroli and grapefruit, the encroaching darkness cut through with a sparkle of ginger. Finally, grounded with smoky cedar woods and soft cashmeres. Combining classic and modern elements, this is a verdant fougère to delight in.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
florislondon.com

You’ll love, love, love the Tiffany & Love video

We love falling for a new fragrance, and were delighted to have two to get up close and personal with in the just-launched duo for Him & Her, Tiffany & Love – two complimenary fragrances that honour their legacy of celebrating love and commitment.

A first exploration for Tiffany & Co. into the dual fragrance category – and the very men’s fragrance – they represent a fresh chapter for the house under the newly appointed creative direction of Reed Krakoff as Chief Artistic Officer.

Sharing the concept that two hearts (and noses) are often better than one, the scents were also composed by a duo of perfumers for each – Sophie Labbé and Nicolas Beaulieu of IFF with Tiffany & Love for Him, Honorine Blanc and Marie Salamagne of Firmenich for Tiffany & Love for Her. Each scent has a unique structure, but they both hero the unusual ingredient of blue sequoia, which if you’ve not experienced it before is majestically woody and long-lasting, with a foresty freshness.

For Him amplifies the aromatic aspect of sequoia, boosted by crisp juniper-cypress (a blend that’s an exclusive co-distillation for Tiffany) infused with ginger, mandarin and cardamom and some creamiy sandalwood and shady vetiver in the base. For Her unfurls from the opening of blue basil (another note developed exclusively for Tiffany), shot through with zingy grapefruit, softened by the sunshine of neroli and the sequoia married to the dryness of cedar and vetiver in the softly woody trail.

Tiffany & Love for Him £54 for 50ml eau de toilette / Tiffany & Love for Her £75 for 50ml eau de parfum

Try them at johnlewis.com

Inspired by Krakoff’s creative vision, the beautiful campaign was shot in the streets of New York by legendary photographer, director and artist Cass Bird – a stunning black & white homage capturing tender moments between real couples to celebrate this feeling of ‘commitment, acceptance and togetherness.’ Accompanying the campaign, Tiffany & Co. selected Grammy® award-winning music producer Mark Ronson and singer-songwriter King Princess to re-record The Turtles’ song “Happy Together,”  as an ode to love.

Now, watch the video below, and get ready to fall in love, yourself…

By Suzy Nightingale

CHANEL Chance gets Eau Tendre with eau de parfum

If anything can revive flagging spirits, it’s the sniff of a new CHANEL fragrance – this time the classic Chance fragrance getting reinvigorated with a new interpretation of Chance Eau Tendre in eau de parfum form.

One glimpse of the gloriously colourful advertising campaign, and we rather think you’ll be joining us in wanting to whirl around in a pretty sugared-almond coloured skirt, while performing joyful dance moves on a velvet chair! OK, given that it’s January and we’re all still easing our way back to reality, perhaps it’s better to enjoy watching it, below, instead…

So what can you expect from this new addition to CHANEL’s scented wardrobe? Well, each evocation of Chance takes on a special character of its own, while of course adhering to the spirit of the original. So, let’s think back to when Chance was first launched back in 2002 – the name, as always was no mere chance in itself: it was chosen because, as CHANEL remind us:

‘Chance is a way of being,’ said Gabrielle Chanel, who believed in her lucky star as much as she cultivated it. With confidence and determination, Mademoiselle seized this chance throughout her whole life. Attentive to all the signs that marked her path, a woman who loved chance encounters and the unexpected, she smiled at fortune and fortune smiled on her in return.

With four current versions of that original, it’s not simply about adding power to a perfume by increasing its strength, or adding freshness to what was already there – each transition marks a new fragrant chapter in the life of the fragrance.

CHANEL say: ‘With CHANCE EAU TENDRE Eau de Parfum, perfumer-creator Olivier Polge, in cooperation with the CHANEL Laboratory of Fragrance Creation and Development, reinterprets the floral-fruity signature. More intense, more enveloping, this version expresses a radiant and confident femininity. Its oral heart accentuates the fullness of exotic jasmine absolute, enriched with an essence of rose that shines a soft light at the center of the composition.

More feminine than ever, this oral equation is draped in just the right dose of smooth and creamy white musk notes to create a clean, cottony effect. Immediately illuminated by the tangy whirl of the grapefruit-quince accord, CHANCE EAU TENDRE Eau de Parfum brings a feeling of absolute tenderness. Delicate and profoundly poetic, this new composition evokes a woman whose joy and inner glow gives her instant charm.’

To visually express this new fragrant interpretation, the gold neck takes on a silvery hue for the eau de parfum, and in many ways, wearing it feels like a whole new fragrance. The notes are beautifully rounded, like layers of tulle or the petals of a flower, enveloping you in waves of deliciousness that seem to float around you in a fragrant cloud. A softly powdered elegance follows your every step, but that opening zing of the grapefuit and quince really adds energy and lifts the composition to above and beyond, and so it never feels heavy or too swaddling to wear all day.

Really, it’s just the thing for this time of year – characterful, of course, and with a depth that feels comforting, but with enough get up and go to shake you from the doldrums. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get those pastel skirts on* and twirl to our heart’s content!

*[Though we might be adding something longer that a crop-top, while it’s still a bit chilly…]

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Explore your Fragrance Wardrobe

What to wear?! We curated an extra special selection of scents for our Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box – eleven (count ’em!) perfumes to shake you out of the doldrums and get you excited to explore fragrances you perhaps hadn’t thought about trying before!

We all get stuck in a rut sometimes, constantly reaching for the same or very similar things – from a clothing stash or Fragrance Wardrobe – by means of habit rather than active choice. But you wouldn’t want to wear the same outfit every single day, even if you loved it. The idea of a ‘signature scent’ is a bit old hat nowadays, plus your nose gets used to fragrances if you wear them 24/7, so it’s good to change up your style and try something new.

Here’s a tempting selection we bet you wont have tried all of, from just-launched designer names and new niche to a revived classic we’re totally swooning over.

In the Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box, try these olfactory outfits on for size…

 

EFFORTLESS CHIC:

Cartier Carat – Luminescent modern floral with a dazzling fresh bouquet of violet, lily, hyacinth and honeysuckle
Calvin Klein Women – Sparkling floriental hugging green eucalyptus with soft magnolia petals atop reassuringly soft white musk
Elizabeth Arden My Fifth Avenue – Stylish floral radiating crisp citrus, violet leaves and amber-warmed woods

LAIDBACK COOL:

Tory Burch – Unfussy (almost tomboy-ish) floral, a lush bouquet shot through with soothingly cool vetiver
Juliette Has a Gun Moscow Mule – Fresh cocktail with a kick of ginger, lime and apple on an unexpectedly sexy, woody base
Thierry Mugler Aura – Thrillingly original oriental, hibiscus seeds, Tiger LianaTM, and iris for tropical leafyness infused with mist
Marc Jacobs Daisy Love – Radiant gourmand floating on crystalised cloudberries, swathed in cosy cashmere

GOING ‘OUT’ OUT:

La Perla Classic – Seriously sensual chypre throbbing with Indian carnation and spiced roses on an oakmoss base
Jimmy Choo Fever – Lusciously juicy floriential with black plum, vanilla orchid, jasmine and heliotrope
Anna Sui Fantasia – Delicious gourmand swirling cassis and pink pomelo with raspberry praline and cedarwood

BIG DAY/SPECIAL OCCASION:

Oscar De La Renta Bella Blanca – Succulent white floral freshened with pear juice, gauzy layers of jasmine and peachy musk

There’s also two fabulous beauty extras: a STUDIO 10 Lip Perfecting Balm Gloss in a lustrously blushed coral together with a gorgeously modern chypre in the form of Molton Brown Jasmine & Sunrose Shower Gel (30ml). So get building that wardrobe!

For a mere £19 (£15 for VIP Club Members), you can consider wearing something different and exciting, comfortingly cool or fabulously opulent every single day (or night) for nearly two weeks!

PLUS! Anyone who buys The Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box is entered into a prize draw to win a full-size version of one of the fragrances featured! 

We think this would be a great gift for a fashionista friend, or someone who’s nervous about branching out of their fragrance comfort zone, along with hardened perfume lovers already anxious to delve into this bumper box of delights, of course.

So now, the question wont so much be ‘what can I wear?’ but more ‘what can I wear NEXT?!’

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

French Connection Femme/Homme: we’re hooked!

We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the French Connection Femme & Homme fragrances last week, and were seriously impressed at their sophisticated (yet pocket-friendly) duo…

French Connection’s in-house team worked on the project with renowned perfumers Philippe Romano and Corinne Cachen as the noses, and flipping their roles so that Philippe worked on Femme and Corinne on Homme – resulting in a dynamic, contemporary take on a ‘male’ and ‘female’ pairing.

Quite frankly, we’d be happy to wear them both. Seek them out in-store at French Connection now, and also at Boots nationwide.

So… how do they smell?

French Connection Woman/Femme is all come hither creamy jasmine with a lusciously juicy mandarin and crisp apple up front with hints of luminescent neroli, then a dry-down that gets all smoochy with soft musk and warm amber. Impressive staying-power, too – we could still smell this wafting in our hair the following day!

French Connection Femme from £14.99 for 30ml eau de toilette
Try it at Boots

French Connection Man/Homme is dark and moody, a contemporary fougère that’s cool and shady with frosted sage, green violet leaves and lavender mossy-ness. The base is smothered in sandalwood with an addictively gourmand touch of tonka bean that’s sure to prove an all-day wrist-sniffer (or neck snuggler).

French Connection Homme from £14.99 for 30ml eau de toilette
Try it at Boots

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Shay & Blue launch Kings Wood…

Shay & Blue have been exciting fragrance lovers since 2012, founder Dom De Vetta’s previous roles being Senior Vice President at Chanel and Global General Manager of Jo Malone London, joining with talented Grasse perfumer, Julie Massé, to create his very own fragrance house.

We were thrilled to get the opportunity to exclusively preview their latest – Kings Wood – in our New Man Discovery Box, and now the fragrance has officially launched, we’re able to fully celebrate. Scroll down to watch our Unboxing review of the fragrance…

Shay & Blue say: ‘Kings Wood is a unique men’s fragrance. Different and distinctive it is a real statement of confidence. Bursts of fresh pineapple are blended with the natural aromatic of fearn leaves to create layers of freshness with an intriguing depth. The base notes of fine leather and English oak leave an impression of classic masculine refinement.’

We’ve noticed a resurgence of heritage woods being used in contemporary fragrances – and here, English oak is showcased in all its majestic glory, and the pineapple makes for welcome change to those who prefer something a little more adventurous than citrus in the opening notes. Crisply green fern leaves are enhanced by a sprinkle of warm pepper on a luxuriously smooth and reassuringly solid base, and the supple leather in the dry-down just makes us want to snuggle up for a deeper sniff…

We filmed an Unboxing session live on our Instagram channel, and have now uploaded this to YouTube so everyone can enjoy – watch it, below! We get sniffing Shay & Blue Kings Wood around 23:50 on this video if you want to skip straight to it, and Part 1 of the Unboxing is also available on our channel if you want to sniff-along with all the scents.

We’re absolutely loving the pineapple in Kingswood, it’s a different kind of fruity – lusciously juicy but with a spikiness that cuts through the smoother, richer notes. But did you know that pineapples were once a symbol of wealth and welcoming, being so expensive they could be rented (at extortionate prices!) for hosts anxious to prove their importance, and still adored for their thirst-quenching exoticism?

If you want to try a sample of Kings Wood along with our other carefully curated fragrance selection, you can buy The New Man Discovery Box here. And we know those of you who’ve already got in touch to tell us how much you love Kings Wood will be anxiously counting the hours until it officially launches on 1st September, so you can finally get your hands on a full-size bottle in-store.

Shay & Blue Kings Wood £85 for 100ml natural spray
Buy it at shayandblue.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Calvin Klein Women: who are yours?

Mothers, sisters, teachers, friends – or simply women you look up to. Whoever inspires you, supports you – or simply that woman who has your back on a daily basis – to celebrate the launch of the new fragrance, Calvin Klein Women want to know: who are your women?

Calvin Klein Women marks Chief Creative Officer Raf Simmons’ first ever fragrance for the fashion house, and so they wanted an advertising campaign that not only reflects the proudly strong modern woman, but showcases the other strong women in our lives who’ve helped us get to where we are now.

For the advertising campaign, Calvin Klein chose Luptia Nyong’o and Saoirse Ronan, because they are ‘award-winning actors and voices of their generation, universally reconised for their unique talent, creativity, intelligence and strength of character.’ The television campaign will air worldwide later this summer, and was directed by Anne Collier with creative direction from Lloyd & Co. Featuring Luptia and Saoirse surrounded by past icons of femininity who continue to inspire them, they feature alongside images of Eartha Kitt, Katherine Hepburn, Sissey Spacek and Nina Simone.

Calvin Klein Women say: ‘By using #IAMWOMEN, women all around the world can pay homage to the females in their lives, who helped make them the individuals they are today by simply sharing a picture of those who inspired them.’ A celebration of women individually, but also as a collective – the strength of togetherness. Explains Raf Simmons:

‘With this fragrance, we wanted to put the concept of plurality center stage. The campaign is an exploration of femininity – a group of women bonded by a common thread; the desire to have the power to create their own identity, and to support and lead the way for those that come after them.’

But what does Calvin Klein Women actually smell like? Well don’t think the concept of strength implies shouting from the rooftops, here – this is scent for women who are comfortable in their own skin, and who don’t feel the need for a perfume to enter the room before they do. The surprisingly green fresh fruitiness of eucalyptus with sparkling lemon and luminescent jasmine settles to reassuring woodiness, with an acorn accord atop Alaskan cedarwood and the sheer delicacy of orange flower. In the base, there’s olibanum to soothe the senses, cut through with a twist of black pepper to add a little pep to the proceedings…

And so, we wonder, who are those women you couldn’t do without? We look forward to following your #IAMWOMEN resonses on social media!

Calvin Klein Women £78 for 100ml eau de parfum
Try it at harveynichols.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Gucci Bloom – the garden of dreams…

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

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

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

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

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