Let there be light – scenting the summer solstice

With the dawning light of the summer solstice comes a seasonal welcoming of midsummer (actually the begining of true, astronomical summer) and the longest day. More than the Earth tilting its face fully toward the sun, for Wiccans and other nature-based faiths it’s a reminder to seek inner growth and, along with celebrating the power of the sun, also to nurture the light within.

The light forms fragrant inspiration for perfumers, too, capturing the sunshine (and moonbeams), bottling gradients of luminescence in solar scents like some kind of fairytale’s miracle made spritz-able reality.

  

 

In a fragrance, ‘solar’ is a term that’s gained popularity recently in the descriptions houses have given, even being placed in the names of perfumes themselves. It denotes a feeling of sunshine, of course, but with it a physical feeling of being uplifted, of turning our own faces toward the light source, a languidly perfumed purr of warm-cat contentedness. Citrus notes are vital, as you might expect, but in this new genre they’re often mellowed by breezy blossoms, dappled with cooler herbs or touched with a tingle of spices and warm woods, depending on the time of the day or the place they’re attempting to conjure.

 

Because the light source illuminating perfumer’s imaginations isn’t limited to the ‘rosy-fingered dawn’ of Homer’s Odyssey, or a sunlit beach-scene in scented form – there are fragrances that capture the ‘mad dogs and English men’ intensity of late afternoon or a blissfully dappled shade; scents evoking spectacular sunsets, the ‘blue hour’, forest nymphs bathed in moonlight, midnight’s velvety caress and even particular qualities of light from specific locations around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Why are these light-filled fragrances so popular right now?  As Louisa May Alcott puts it in Little Women, ‘Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow.’ And quite frankly, with all we’ve gone through and the state of the world at the moment, even an ex-goth like me has grown somewhat weary of shadows.

So, with the spirit of the summer solstice and welcoming whatever new beginnings you wish, use these scents as an olfactive sundial, to form your own fragrant ecliptic – the invisible path the sun follows across the sky – and bring on the light, whenever you need it most…

 

 

 

To the Fairest Aubine £85 for 50ml eau de parfum tothefairest.com
Sun-kissed softness celebrates new beginnings, orange blossom strengthening a honeyed hopefulness.

 

 

 

Ruth Mastenbroek Dagian £70 for 30ml eau de parfum ruthmastenbroek.com
Grapefruit’s gleam pierces Stygian clouds, a shaft of amber warmth the olfactory embodiment of optimism.

 

 

 

 Björk & Berries Solstice £85 for 50ml eau de parfum  gb.bjorkandberries.com
Dazzling neroli and deep amber celebrate ‘the never ending light’ while swathed by soft cashmere’s nuzzle.

 

 

 

 

 

JUSBOX Good Morning £125 for 78ml eau de parfum selfridges.com
Tangerine-tinged sea breeze a scented snapshot of the second sunlight peaks the snow-capped mountain.

 

 

 

 

 

Lalique Soleil £100 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com
Pale gold fingers of light stroke pearly skin, a sip of coffee, a moment of peace, a hushed sigh of satisfaction.

 

 

Parle Moi de Parfum Wake Up World £98 for 50ml eau de parfum  johnlewis.com
Nurturing soul and spirit, bursts of citrus mellow to a hug of warm woodiness, a reminder to be kinder.

 

 

 

 

AKRO Awake £140 for 100ml eau de parfum  fenwick.co.uk
The bewitiching allure of a cosy coffee shop on a dull day – lemon-washed steamy windows, bitter luxury.

 

 

 

 

Tom Ford Eau de Soleil Blanc £178 for 50ml eau de parfum  tomford.co.uk
A shiver of sunshine refracted through dewdrops, the glitter of sunlight on cresting waves.

 

 

 

 

Goutal Un Matin d’Orage £119 for 100ml eau de parfum  johnlewis.com
Sunlight scatters the clinging mist of a storm’s wake, a phosphorescent unfurling as the garden awakes.

 

 

 

 

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Cloon Keen Lá Bealtaine £120 for 100ml eau de parfum lessenteurs.com
A celebration of bright citrus craves heat-bloomed flowers, floaty sundresses, lemon sorbets, drowsy dreams.

 

 

Elie Saab Le Parfum Lumière £45 for 30ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com
Amidst orange blossom’s blizzard the tulle swirl of a white gown, dancing barefoot on sun-warmed stone.

 

 

 

Fragonard Soleil £39 for 50ml eau de parfum  marksandspencer.com
Drowsy afternoon’s opulence on velvet cushions, a Provençal garden glimpsed through half-closed eyes.

 

 

 

 

Roja Dove A Midsummer Dream from £45 for 7.5ml eau de parfum rojaparfums.com
A warm Chypré fever-dream drapes the zing of grapefuit in a silken spiced cloak with a secret mossy lining.

 

 

 Lalique Soleil Vibrant £72 for 50ml eau de parfum lalique.com
Safari big cat energy via ginger-spiked jasmine, orange blossom’s meridian headiness radiating happiness.

 

 

 

Tom Ford Soleil Brulant £240 for 50ml eau de parfum tomford.co.uk
A sizzle of honeyed seduction in the gilded high noon sun, somewhere ridiculously fabulous.

 

 

 

 

Parfums de Marly Cassili £210 for 75ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com
Peach-blushed skyline viewed atop a romantic rooftop, flushed face turned expectantly toward another kiss.

 

 

 

 

Coach Dreams Sunset £37.00 for 40ml eau de parfum escentual.com
Inspired by ‘golden hours and one-of-a-kind journeys with friends’, pear sorbet teases twilit jasmine.

 

 

 

 

Guerlain L’Heure Bleue £109 for 75ml eau de parfum  guerlain.com
A heartstoppingly romantic harmony of powdered pensiveness, heliotrope prolonging the suspended hour.

 

 

 

Moresque Midnight London £310 for 50ml eau de parfum harrods.com
Rebellious rhubarb sashays in leather trousers to an incense-infused club so cool you’ll never know about it.

 

 

 

 

Prada Olfactories Mirages Midnight Train £230 for 100ml eau de parfum (in Prada stores exclusive)
Chilled ebony chocolate sucked lasciviously within the wood-panelled seclusion of a night train’s affair.

 

 

 

Penhaligon’s Luna £152 for 100ml eau de toilette  penhaligons.com
Moon-bathed goddess slinks her way in a silver robe through a jasmine-swagged fairytale forest.

 

 

 

 AromAtom Moon Walk (try it in their Discovery Set, £69 / £65 VIPs)
Serene landscape in fragrance form – a world of sparkling dust and silvery mountains.

 

 

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Little lucky charms – Six lovely Lily of the Valley scents to spritz this May Day

Now, for the fragrant noses out there that don’t know, in France, May Day is known as Fête du Muguet. It is tradition on this day, to give Lily of the Valley to your loved ones and people who inspire you, to wish them happiness and good luck.

It all began in 1561 on May 1st when King Charles IX received a Lily of the Valley as a lucky charm. He decided then to offer a flower each year to the ladies of the court.

And so at the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a definitive symbol of springtime, to your loved ones. It was commonplace for peasants to go out to the fields to pick many flowers and then hand-tie them to sell on May Day. In fact, now, because of this, the government still permits people to sell them tax-free.

Now, if you love the sweet springtime scent of Lily of the Valley, but just don’t want it to fade like a bunch of the innocent flowers will, here’s a list of our favourite Muguet fragrances for you to keep a little bit of that May Day feeling all year round.

penhaligons
Sweet, fresh and graceful, Penhaligon’s offering is akin to walking into a blooming field of muguet. Accents of jasmine and bergamot keep it fresh, whilst sandalwood in the base ensures a creamy trail on the skin.

Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley £67 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Penhaligon’s

molton b
Dewy white flowers steal the show in this meadow-like scent from Molton Brown. Silky ylang-ylang, sandalwood and a soft, sensual white musk linger for a tender, enduring finish.

Molton Brown Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise £39 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Molton Brown

Annick_Goutal_Le_Muguet_Eau_de_Toilette_Spray_100ml_1403081186
Paired with red berries and rose, Annick Goutal’s Soliflore is a tender and airy floral and leaves the skin with traces of a warm, sweet benzoin.

Annick Goutal Le Muguet £74 for 100ml eau de toilette
At Selfridges

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This gentle scent from Fragonard accentuates the lily of the valley at the heart by surrounding it with other similarly delicate flowers; jasmine, neroli and freesia. Secret spring garden walks bottled.

Fragonard Muguet £18 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Marks and Spencer

guerlain
Guerlain’s newest incarnation of the dainty flower is greener, pinker and even more cheerful than previous offerings. Dewy roses and subtly sensual jasmine make Thierry Wasser’s creation oh-so-wearable.

Guerlain Muguet Limited Edition of 1,872 £370 for 100ml eau de parfum
In store at Selfridges

robbie honey
The scent of the tiny white bell-like flower is captured in its truest form here in a Robbie Honey candle. Burn it for a touch of springtime in the home.

Robbie Honey Muguet Des Bois Scented Candle £42 for 190g – 60 hours burn time
At Fortnum & Mason

Happy May Day to one and all!
By Carson Parkin-Fairley