Sloane Street is smelling extra wonderful this Christmas, thanks to Diptyque’s stylish new flagship London perfume pad, which has arrive just in time for the fragrant festive season. Inspired by exquisite Parisian architecture, but as always showcasing design elements of the original building in their stores; the new boutique is divided into three distinct sections for scent fans to explore…
Devoted to fragrant gifting and the Maison’s scent services, the first area features a beautiful burl wood cash desk with a huge fresco behind it, which was drawn on-site by French artist Claire Basler. A large wooden console with painted table displays invite customers to play and discover the Diptyque collection. The second space fuses the traditional Edwardian mouldings and ceiling roses with a contemporary sculptural table and displays surrounding a large and welcoming fireplace, all framed by ombre finish walls. Finally, an intimately inviting zone of light wood panelling and another stunning work by Basler – this time, a panoramic painting – swathes an exclusive seating area and the Decoration collection.
Earlier this year, Diptyque opened a Spitalfields store, and now with this very welcome addition to Sloane Street’s shops, Diptyque will doubtless be delighting local residents and visitors alike. ‘We have a thriving community in the Chelsea neighbourhood and are very excited to have found a perfect store in the area,’ says Amanda Morgan, Diptyque’s UK managing director. ‘More than just a luxury contemporary retail space, we want to welcome and take all our guests on a journey of discovery and surprises inside our Diptyque apartment…’
Diptyque, 161 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9BT
Psst! Longing to return to in-store scent shopping? Look out for our Sniffari guide to some fabulous new fragrant retail spaces in the U.K. within the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter Magazine.
The stars are aligned for the new Ordre Cosmique fragrance from To the Fairest – cosmically inspired it sparkles with freshness while glimmering enticingly of hope. But before we delve into this latest star scent, let’s take a look at the childhood scent memories and a chance encounter that provided the ‘big bang’ of the house being formed…
Sitting on a stool in her mother’s greenhouse, young Rebecca Rose would take in all the wonderful smells that surrounded her – the crisp green of stroking fuzzy tomato leaves, clean, damp earth and sun-warmed jasmine flowers. A little later, the olfactory tuition became more pronounced, because, as Rebecca recounted during an interview with velvetmag.co.uk, when she got older ‘…my grandmother would bring me sample vials back from her shopping trips and it was always the most exciting thing.’
Clearly carrying these olfactory memories with her during her studies at Cambridge, career as an art historian and then dealer of vintage clothing; a chance encounter with Lizzie Ostrom– a.k.a. Odette Toilette, a fragrance expert, author of Perfume: A Century of Scents and long-time friend of The Perfume Society – led to Rebecca being encouraged to launch her own house in 2019. Working with independent perfumer Penny Williams, Rebecca recalls how important her childhood fascination with fragrance had been: ‘I was exploring a whole new world’ she explains. ‘Scent can trigger emotions; take us to different times, different places.’ And so, ‘Developing my own fragrance brand was a dream.’
But as we know, 2020 was a tough year for retail – particularly fragrance, and even more keenly for indie brands – so having previously been stocked in a London boutique that was forced to close, Rebecca had to move quickly to save her business, transferring to the fairest to online selling platforms such as Shopify, and using WhatsApp and Instagram in savvy ways.
She has drawn on her other passions for history and communication that so informed her studies in Modern Languages. So that mythical golden apple from the garden of the Hesperides, which inspired the name of the house, ‘Represented beauty, knowledge and power,’ Rebecca points out, which were ‘qualities claimed by the goddesses.’ This classical motif, she says, ‘celebrates woman as muse – embodying the arts, imparting wisdom and inspiring creation.’
‘Inspired by the magic and connectivity of the cosmos’, this latest launch by the house, Ordre Cosmique is completely gender neutral – a scented star for all to enjoy – and opens with unusual notes of cool, silvery cardamom and calming water lily. Shimmering like the night sky, the sparkle hushes to a warmer base of soothing sandalwood, rippled through with the addictive nature of the chocolate cosmos flower. Gourmand-shunners need not worry, this is no ‘foodie’ type concoction – it feels far more sophisticated; a subtle addiction, if you will, that invisible pull of wanting more. Finally, the hypnotic trail of musk sprinkles stardust in your wake, the perfect ending to a scent that wraps you in mystery, the kind of fragrance that makes you fall in love with the world (and your imagination beyond it) a little more.
To wear the fragrances of To the Fairest is to re-connect with your own simmering passions, those emotional scent memories that form part of your personality and reignite, somehow, when you wear a perfume that resonates with them. We love the way that this independent, niche British perfume house is expanding their range – with matching candles and body oils to surround yourself with the scents. As for the future? For To the Fairest, the sky’s clearly not the limit!
Wonderful news for fragranct fans of Angela Flanders – they’re re-opening with a surprise pop-up exhibition and limited edition fragrance…
With there still being so much doom and gloom around in this strangest of years, we react to each piece of good news with the urge to pop the Champagne corks – and here’s something we definitely want to celebrate. The much-beloved London-based niche fragrance house, now with Angela’s daughter, Kate, at the helm, is staging a perfumed pop-up entitled ‘Bleu Anglais.’
Featuring a display of the gorgeous textiles Angela so loved (and began stocking in the original shop, even before she’d made her first perfume), it’s part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle Festival, which runs from the 12th – 20th September 2020.
Angela Flanders perfumery say:
BLEU DE CHINE PERFUME
BLEU ANGLAIS TEXTILES
‘We re – open our Spitalfields shop with launch of a limited-edition fragrance Bleu de Chine and a pop – up with antique and vintage Chinese indigo textiles from Bleu Anglais.
Bleu de Chine is a sophisticated scent inspired by the vintage Chinese indigo paste resist textiles, sourced by textile expert Noel Chapman of Bleu Anglais.
The perfume, created by Angela Flanders in 2014, includes notes of bergamot, lavender and patchouli. These last two ingredients, when perfectly blended together, create a third, indefinable scent which is a perfect match for these individual textiles.
This cool and aromatic scent features top notes of invigorating bergamot, soothing lavender, and a base of mature patchouli aged for richness and depth, with a heart of bois de rose which lends its spicy woody, floral beauty.
Bleu de Chine creates a soothing yet exotic atmosphere in the home either as a diffuser or a perfumed candle, and is also available in eau de toilette or eau de parfum.’
With small and independent businesses needing our help more than ever, if you can go and visit, do go and gaze at the fabulous fabrics and, of course, make sure to try the stunning Bleu de Chine scent. It’s exactly the kind of artistically-inspired pick me up we need right now…
What’s fragrance shopping in ‘the new normal‘ like right now?
If – like us – you’ve been a touch cautious about returning to the high street to shop for fragrance in an actual store, we’ve some reassuring news: Our roving reporter (and co-founder of We Wear Perfume) Amanda Carr, visited central London this week and found it was not just safe, but surprisingly enjoyable…
‘Sat on an empty tube, masked-up and slightly anxious is not how I usually approach fragrance shopping, but this pandemic has turned everything upside down. What would my first foray into scent stores be like? How would I inhale fragrance through my home-made, Liberty print face mask? I clutched my portable hand sanitiser – Perfumer H, Orange Leaf Hand First Aid, since you’re asking – and nervously headed out.
My first stop was Les Senteurs in stylish Elizabeth Street, and there’s a polite notice on the door explaining the ‘two guest’ policy for socially distanced shopping. Using the hand sanitiser as you enter is a must and masks must be worn, but your nose can peek out to allow you to inhale. All done, according to manager Clair Wills, to keep you safe while sniffing.
But oh what a joy to be back in a store!
On the central display was the newly launched Tauer fragrance Phtaloblue, exclusive to Les Senteurs. Trying it felt like a reward for just being there, as a new Andy Tauer fragrance is always a treat, Phtaloblue is like a cool, sea breeze, lightly tinged with orange blossom and geranium, with smudges of herby notes as if you were on a cliffside walk.
Although closed during the pandemic, Les Senteurs has remained busy selling fragrance from its website due partly, Clair claims, to the weekly e-newsletter the store continued to send out and its free-post service. ‘I think people slowed down a lot during lockdown and had time to properly read about and consider the fragrances we featured,’ she told us. ‘We do a good tester services so customers had the time to order samples and consider them at home, then they treated themselves.’
Store visitors experience a similarly ‘slowed down’ shopping experience, I had the store to myself, since foot traffic in the area is still low, and the staff seemed delighted to see a real-life customer, so it all felt quite special. I browsed happily through fragrances from Cloon Keen, a charming Irish brand I’d been meaning to properly try, again exclusive to Les Senteurs, including the delicious new tuberose-heavy candle Étaín candle. I almost didn’t want to leave.
But with a new skip in my step, I continued my tour, including a brief trip across the road to the wonderfully air conditioned Jo Loves, where it’s business as usual, albeit it at a masked-up and quieter pace, and where I caught an energising spritz of the new Mango Thai Lime fragrance, another winner during the heat.
Over at Jovoy on Conduit Street, the store has spaced out its many fragrance collections and displays to allow up to two groups at a time to navigate the shop floor. Visitors also get their own pot of blotters and a pencil to take round with them, which is such a good idea – I hope this continues when we get back to normal – and there are vinyl gloves to wear for when you pick up the fragrance bottles to spray.
There have been a number of new launches at the store since lockdown including a wonderfully cheering medley of song-inspired fragrances from Musicology, a brand that stimulates the senses, memories and vibrations via music. Anyone who has read the recent Music & Perfume edition of The Scented Letter will feel slightly smug at already knowing the strong connection between sound and scent. I tried ‘Caus I’m Happy, a veritable rhythm of grapefruit, orange and bergamot citrus, and found myself humming Pharrell’s catchy tune of the same name for the rest of the day.
The store is also trialling a pre-selling service (a bit like stores would create a waiting list for an ‘it’ bag, although doesn’t that seem and age ago now?) for highly anticipated fragrances suffering from postponed lockdown launches.
For example, store visitors can get an exclusive sniff of Widian’s Limited Edition 71 Intense, and put down an order before its autumn launch, grabbing one of the never-to-be-repeated bottles. Store manager Ines Serracino explained that they hope to do more pre-selling as the team has noticed an increased demand for hard to get fragrances.
Watch out fashion, it looks like fragrance is now the hot item creating wish lists…’
We continue Amanda’s ‘new normal’ scent discovery shopping trip TOMORROW. So come back then to have your senses further temted back in store…
(Text and pictures by Amanda Carr, edited by Suzy Nightingale).
Earl of East‘s ‘Scents of Normality‘ just-launched candles have the tagline ‘Buy for charity. Burn for Normality.’ They promise to evoke the ‘places we miss the most during lockdown’ – and you just HAVE to read the so-witty descriptions!
This limited-edition series sees Earl of East partnering with Uncommon Creative Studio to create an exclusive range of candles, with ALL proceeds from sales of the candles donated to the charity, Hospitality Action. And Earl of East say they chose the charity because, ‘While the impact of Covid-19 continues to affect many businesses across the UK, the hospitality industry faces a particularly uncertain future, having sustained lasting impact from the pandemic including widespread closures, job losses, reduced hours and reduction in pay. We are honoured to be able to lend our support in collaboration with Uncommon Creative Studio to help support these workers who are suddenly facing hardship‘
Available in three evocative scents, ‘reflecting some of the nation’s favourite hangouts’ – The Local, The Cinema and The Festival‘ – we love the colourful imagery, by a group of artists collaborating together around the world, but we have to admit falling particularly hard for the hilarious tongue-in-cheek descriptions of each candle…
‘Scent has a unique way of conjuring memories and transporting us to places we’d love to be. From the cobbled streets of Copenhagen to the Onsen baths of Japan, our scented candles are all inspired by travel. Whilst we can still dream about these far flung destinations it’s actually the places closer to home that we miss the most.
Having the opportunity to recreate the essence of these familiar haunts whilst also supporting an industry that has been hit so hard by the crisis is a real honour.’
Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge have just opened a fabulous NEW fragrant hang-out: Exclusives and boutiques and workshops, oh my! We got the low-down on this exciting new scent space within the department store, now with a whole host of new houses to explore in DOUBLE the room…
Harvey Nichols have long had a passion for perfume – often showcasing niche brands that never dreamed of being stocked in such a world-famous store, finding the most unique names that are hard to find anywhere else along with their curated selection of the finest fragrance houses this planet has to offer perfumistas. With innovative art installations and all manner of fragrant events already under their belt, and an array of gorgeous shop-in-shop boutiques queing up to join in the fragrant fun – it was time to expand the space and really commit to a larger integral fragrant experience. Behold: The Fragrance Room…
Bigger, better, bolder than ever before, this new department has now been unveiled and includes over 100 fragrance houses, including in-store boutiques from Creed, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Serge Lutens and Kilian. With a roll-out of inclusive, immersive experiences for customers, the new concept will include a sensory fragrance discovery wall – to help customers navigate the often tricky fragrance families – boutique activations, including fragrance workshops with the Fragrance Foundation to celebrate National Fragrance Week and opportunities to meet brand founders and perfumers through interactive events and partnerships.
Jo Osborne, Director of Beauty and Concessions at Harvey Nichols, said that because fragrance has been such a significant part of their business, since the 2016, they’ve taken the decision to massively expand their fragrance offering.
‘…we have outgrown the current area but are fortunate enough to move to a space double the size. The new department allows us to offer some of our bestselling brands an opportunity to create their own boutique space and the rest of the department to curate unique and fine fragrances from across the world, which we know our customers will love. We are excited to work with new and existing brands to offer exclusive activities, such as expert consultations and welcome various brand founders such as Francis Kurkdjian and Geza Schoen.’
The first phase is already open, and when fully complete at the end of this month (March 2020), the space will be a whopping 1,600 sq ft – showing exactly how important fragrance is to Harvey Nichols. And that’s great news for all of us who love perfume, don’t you think?
Harvey Nichols say: ‘With a portfolio of UK exclusive brands including Maison Crivelli, 28 87 Barcelona, V Canta by Terenzi, Ormaie Paris and Ella K, the deapartment will be home to a library of fragrance brands from across the world.’
Additional fragrance houses joining Harvey Nichols for the first time include Hermessance, Nassomatto, Parfums de Marly, D.S. & Durga and Initio, among others.
We don’t know about you, but our shopping (and must-sniff) list just got a LOT longer…
Experimental Perfume Club have launched a LAYERS pop-up lab at Selfridges, London, where customers can now design their own bespoke fragrance from almost endless combinations and have it blended instore, just for them! It’s one space, but with two scent experiences – and it’s shaping the future of fragrance as we know it…
The Formula Library
How it works: ‘Create individual blends using our six LAYERS Eau de Parfums in multiple combinations, you can compose over 50,000 unique, personalised fragrances. Our LAYERS App features an in-house algorithm which enables us to understand your personal tastes, before recommending 3 possible formulae that match your unique olfactory profile. You can either choose your favourite blend from the shortlisted selection or customise the fragrance further with the help of our Fragrance Curator. Once you choose your final blend, our Fragrance Curator will formulate your unique fragrance in front of you. And, for the ultimate bespoke touch, you can choose a name for your fragrance and a personalised label for your 50ml bottle.’
The Refill Fountain
How it works: ‘Being eco-conscious has always been at the heart of what we do and we strive to source and manufacture responsibly. Our goal is to reduce unnecessary packaging and waste and enable loyal consumers to reuse their packaging again and again. Our first refill service will be available exclusively at the LAYERS lab at Selfridges, London. A place where you can reduce your carbon footprint by bringing back a bottle of your empty 50ml fragrance to be refilled for a reduced price. Looking after both your pennies and the planet.’
Emmanuelle Moeglin, founder and perfumer of Experimental Perfume Club, said: ‘We love to provide unique olfactory experiences for consumers who are becoming more and more invested in what goes into their products. The LAYERS pop-up lab will take our bespoke perfumery offering to the next level with more formula choice than ever before where customers will be guided in creating their own bespoke fragrance. We are also proud to be a company striving for sustainability with our perfume refills, and are one of only a few perfume brands offering this eco-friendly service.’
If you can’t make it to Selfridges to experience the fragrant fun first-hand, don’t fear! You can get the feel for layering up the fragrances in your own home by trying the Experimental Perfume Club Blending Boxes for £90 – fine fragrances to wear alone or blend at home to your own bespoke formula, with all ingredients and instructions included.
‘A set of three pocket fragrances and a personal blending bottle. Choose three fragrances from across the collections to customise your own fragrance; one Top, one Mid, one Base eau de parfum. Follow one of the suggested blends or let your imagination run fly!’
Connock London have just won GOLD for Best Niche Fragrance at the Pure Beauty Awards, and what’s more, they’ve popped up with a perfumed treatment space at Westfield London – the perfect place to explore their range of award-winning niche fragrances, candles, body-care luxuries and more. But fear not if you can’t make it there in person, for we have a wonderful suggestion for you to try samples of their scents without even having to leave your sofa…
At the very heart of this wonderful British brand is family. Amanda Connock inherited her passion for scent through her father, mesmerised by the wonderfully exotic and natural essences he would bring from his travels as an ingredient supplier to the fragrance world. Today her brand, Connock London, is a best-kept perfume secret – but one that’s shared by those-in-the-know, inspired by the love of and respect for nature, native folklore and travels.
Connock London Vittaveli is the fragrance that won Gold for Best Niche Fragrance at the 2019 Pure Beauty Awards. And we can see why. Inspired by the tropical beauty of the Vittaveli island located in the sparkling turquoise waters of the Maldives, it’s another fragrant destination we’re dreaming of escapin to by wearing the perfume. Elegant top notes of frankincense, geranium, spicy pepper berries and bergamot blend into a leafy green note reminiscent of the fruit of the Banyan Tree. A radiant floral heart of jasmine, pink rose, frangipani and gibiscus is warmed by a sultry base of sandalwood, vanilla orchid and delicate oudh notes.
Kukui Eau de Parfum is the signature fragrance of Connock London – and with a fascinating story. When customers fell in love with the scent of Connock London’s bodycare, they pleaded for it to be offered as a perfume – and thus, Kukui Eau de Parfum was born, to keep them happy. (And they are, they are!)
Beautifully blended to reflect the soul and beauty of the Hawaiian islands from which Connock London’s signature kukui oil is sourced, this elegant floriental is built around the gardenia flower and is complimented by ‘scent-sational’ floral notes of Moroccan rose, white jasmine and calla lily. The scent is further enriched with sandalwood, vetiver, white amber and layers of cashmere and sheer musks, completed with the rich bitter chocolate sweetness of vanilla absolute and tonka bean.
For further refreshing, you can’t do better than douse yourself lavishly in the gorgeously green Connock London Andiroba – here we travel to the mysterious natural beauty of the tropical Amazonian Rainforest. It opens with lush, leafy top notes which are enlivened with citrus accords of bergamot, lemon and Brazilian orange. A rich floral heart of iris and violet sits on a deep, earthy base of sandalwood, cedar and musk with a touch of lavender and Peruvian pink pepper.
We have a way for you to embrace the sunshine spirit of true luxury this house embodies – and no passport (or even train ticket) is required! Why not try for yourself at home, today?
The Niche Collection Three Discovery Box (£19 / £15 for V.I.P. Club Members) includes perhaps THE most raved about cult perfume: Kukui. Here, lavish amounts of that rose, jasmine, bergamot, lily and – most importantly – the waxy, dreamy magnificence of gardenia swirl into an immediate and bountiful floral bouquet that hits you as soon as you spray, seeking to to recreate the sense-delighting experience of visiting the island of Hawaii. We can practically feel the white sand between our toes when we wear this, so vivid is the sensation – and how wonderful to be able to wear something mood-lifting and life-enhancing in these often dark and dreary months.
Meanwhile, you can go to our page dedicated Connock London to read more about their history and inspirations, or pop along to their website to explore the full range. However you choose to try them, we feel sure you’ll fall under the scented spell, too, and will be joining those in the nose in your fragrant ravings!
Fragrance and art often go hand in paint-stained gloved, but at Dorothy Circus Gallery in London, you can get your fix of both. Now we must admit a penchant for visiting the gift shops of various galleries, but add some perfume and well, we’re heading there first, quite frankly!
A dream of opening a gallery was realised by art enthusiast, Alexandra Mazzanti – a niece of the Princess Alexandra Hercolani of Bologna, who was lucky enough to inherit some beautiful artworks from her grandmother. A fortunate beginning that was encouraged and imbued with the spirit for collecting by her mother, a classical pianist with a taste for 19th century paintings won at the many auctions they visited together.
An independent gallery dedicated to the art of surrealism, the Dorothy Circus space is an unsually intriguing place to put on your fragrfant map of the capital, with a spotlight on the Pop Surrealism movement that means the installations are ever-changing, and always worth a look. Originally, Mazzanti opened the first gallery in Rome in 2007, affirming the space as a must-visit hub of all that’s happening on the Italian art and cultural scene. Skip forward ten years, on the anniversary of their opening, and a charming little branch of this culturual window on the art world arrived as a pop-up in Notting Hill, before later moving to a permanent location in Marble Arch in 2018.
Alexandra clearly has a passion for perfume, as well as art – originally collaborating with master perfumer Lorenzo Dante Ferro for a perfume inspired by an artwork, but now their shop offers a small selection of niche fragrances, candles and room sprays by such scented luminaries as the brilliant (and often extremely hard to find) Maria Candida Gentile and Oriza L. Legrand. With perfumes often displayed on plinths, it’s certain Alexandra views them as art works in their own right (a debate that often rages throughout the fragrance community), but whatever your opinion, how wonderful to sniff out some new scents in such an unexpected setting…
Penhaligon’s are one of the most famous fragrance houses in the world, a proudly British brand with the most fascinating fragrant history…
Hot towels and steamily scented delights were the order of the day for customers flocking to the famous Piccadilly Turkish Baths on Jermyn Street and it was here that William Penhaligon started working as a hairdresser in the 1860s. Originally from Penzance, Cornwall, his shrewd eye for business led to him opening a rival salon just down the street a few years later. There, Penhaligon began creating his very own fragrances, lotions and potions for a most discerning clientele to enjoy.
1891 saw what was then ‘Penhaligon’s & Jeavons’ move to the even more prestigious premises of 33 St James Street and 66 Jermyn Street, with the two stores linked together at the rear. They announced to the press that not only were they the sole suppliers for the original Penhaligon’s ‘hit’ fragrance of Hammam Bouquet, but that both shops boasted a new- fangled invention of… electric lighting – still a novelty at this point in retail!
Clearly a whizz with the scissors and the scents, Penhaligon was appointed Royal Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court during Queen Victoria’s reign and by 1903 his business was granted its first Royal Warrant from Queen Alexandra. Nearly a century and a half later, Penhaligon’s has added Royal Warrants from The Prince of Wales (granted in 1988) and the Duke of Edinburgh (granted in 1956) to their regal roll call.
140+ years old they may be, but that doesn’t mean the techniques they use are stuck in a time-warp. Penhaligon’s consistently make the most of the newest fragrance technology – from CO2 extraction to Nature Print Technology and beyond – promising that ‘each bottle contains a blend of the very old and very new.’ Those distinctive bottles tap into their history, too; clear glass and brightly coloured bow-ties adorning the stoppers are a direct echo of William’s original design.
Still made and produced in England, many of the original fragrances can still be found in the current collection, including Hamman Bouquet. Lately, however, Penhaligon’s have collaborated with some of the greats noses of modern times – including Bertrand Duchaufour,Olivia Giacobetti, Olivier Cresp and Alberto Morrillas.
Lately, a whole ‘family’ has been added to their already impressive stable of fragrances, the Penhaligon’s Portraits. Displaying more than a dash of exquisite eccentricity, we’re invited to get to know the characters, like The Ruthless Countess Dorothea, who is ‘A most ferocious matriarch, known for her sharp mind, even sharper wit and a secret fondness for the company of young men and scones.’ While described in mischievously historical tones, it’s a tingling, ginger-infused shot of oppulence on a cosy, slightly boozy base. And all the Portraits fragrances have their fingers on the button of contemporary fashions – much like the house of Penhaligon’s itself.
Penhaligon’s is a treasure trove of scents to discover – rich in both heritage and modern mischieviousness – and how many perfumeries still standing (and thriving) since the 1800’s can you think of? We love the way each boutique has its own distinct personality, too, with lavishly appointed interiors uniquely themed to suit each location.
Have you been to visit the newly re-vamped Penhaligon’s Wellington Street store in Covent Garden? We rather swooned over the decor (while sniffing out all the latest scents). Whichever boutique you visit, we’re sure you’ll love getting to know the entire ‘family’ of fragrances…