Fabulous Floral Street! The affordable niche house shaking the petals of the perfume world

When we first encountered Floral Street, suffice to say we were blown away by their concept – and oh boy did they deliver in the execution of the fabulous new spins on floral fragrances, and within their standalone Covent Garden store.

Our co-founder, Jo Fairley, has known Michelle Feeney for longer than either of them care to admit – back to Michelle’s time at the Estée Lauder Companies, and then at the helm of revolutionary tanning name St Tropez. So when she announced she was unveiling a fragrance line ‘built on the streets of London’, we were rather thrilled by the whole idea and the stunning reality…

Floral Street’s fragrances are as far from your granny’s florals as it’s possible to get – each created by the star perfumer Jérôme Épinette, who is known for his mastery of natural ingredients. As Floral Street put it: ‘These are bunches – not bouquets. Ingredients, not notes. And it’s about ease, modernity and joy.’ Michelle adds: ‘My mission is to bring fine fragrance to the modern female – so that she might build an entire fragrance wardrobe, which can express the many facets of who she is.’

At the heart of each fragrance is a specific flower (sourced by the legendary fragrance house Robertet) – but each creation brings an unexpected twist,   treated in a way that brilliantly ignites the senses. Take Wonderland Peony, which not only features armfuls of that flower, but pink berries and violets, Anything but cutesy, it’s given a woody-balsamic warmth by cedarwood, alongside vetiver.

London Poppy is ‘a love letter’ to the capital city, ‘a city that sees the sun through the crowds’. Bright as a sun-filled London morning, it bursts into life with Florida orange and Sicilian lemon, a marine note adding a splash of seaspray to the neroli, jasmine sambac and apricot blossom at London Poppy’s heart, before the base of hinoki woods, black amber and cedarwood ventures forth.

The fragrance which has scent critics and beauty editors most excited, perhaps, is Chypre Sublime: an utterly modern take on this sophisticated fragrance family, blending incense with Damask rose absolute, midnight violet, pink pepper and geranium, on a stunning base of benzoin, labdanum and olibanum which – as Floral Street nails it – ‘offers a resin-soaked wood table for the flowers to perch on. A fragrance for musicians, painters and poets.’

Perfumistas have recently been gravitating toward the daringly delicious Ylang Ylang Espresso: A strikingly modern and supremely wearable blend of red rose, ylang ylang and jasmine resting atop a soothing cloud of just-brewed coffee, fresh cream and Sichuan pepper – sustainably harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas. ‘A fragrance to get lost in’ they say, and oh how we love to do just that.

What’s more, all the packaging is recylable and sustainable, and the boxes have been cleverly designed to be used as seed trays, instead of being thrown away! You can read more about the ethos behind the brand on our page dedicated to Floral Street.

We could wax-lyrical about the entire collection, but the very best way is for you to try these exciting new ways to wear floral on your own skin (or to give as the perfect gifting experience). With that in mind, we’re so happy to be stocking the Floral Street Discovery Set, where you can try all 8 fragrance for just £14!


Written by Suzy Nightingale

CHANEL N°5: cloaked in red for Christmas! See 5 fabulous installations

This season, the iconic glass bottle of CHANEL N°5 donned a fiery cloak of red, and perfume lovers have been going wild collecting their favourite fragrance in this newly hued flacon.

CHANEL say: ‘A symbol of ultimate femininity and synonymous with this festive time of year, the emblematic colour evokes a dynamic sense of confidence, desire and indisputable opulence…’

Now, in celebration of this limited edition, CHANEL focus once again on Mademoiselle’s lucky number, ‘with five breathtaking red fragrance bottles lighting up locations around London in the lead up to Christmas.’ Definitely the most sophisticated take on Christmas lights we’ve ever seen!

‘Beginning with its debut in Berkeley Square on the 14th of November, the five bottles will then intermittently appear on New Bond Street, in Spitalfields and Duke of York Square, before concluding the adventure in Covent Garden.

Designed in 1921 by Mademoiselle Chanel before subtly evolving over the 20th and 21st centuries, the simple, geometric lines of the bottle and facetted stopper are as distinctive as the scent it holds. A model of minimalism and modernity, N°5 stands up to the test of time, adding to its mystery and depth each year.’

They really do have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated – we certainly welcome this sophisticated take on Christmas lights (and, of course, they’re the perfect backdrop for an ultra-stylish seasonal selfie!)

Location dates
14th – 16th Nov: Berkeley Square
16th Nov – 3rd Jan: New Bond Street Boutique
26th Nov – 27th Dec: Spitalfields
3rd – 16th Dec: Duke of York Square
9th – 23rd Dec: Covent Garden

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Thanks for the Memoize…

Scent and memory are thoroughly entwined – every time we smell something new, it’s filed away in our olfactory memory bank; and every time we smell something familiar, tiny pulses fire-up long-forgotten places, people, experiences we didn’t even know were stored so deeply within us. Niche fragrance house Memoize London took this scientifically proven ability and wove their own stories in scent: each fragrance a specific memory and emotional response, bottled…

We are thrilled to be able to introduce you to this remarkable house in the form of a Discovery Set – truly the best way to get to know any house you’re not already familiar with – or even find new favourites hidden within a collection you thought you already knew well.

Holly Hutchinson founded Memoize London in 2016, but her heart started beating faster for fragrance far earlier – at the age of seven, to be precise. On her birthday, she was gifted her very first set of miniature perfumes. As her mother was ‘an avid collector of unusual scents’, perfumes were almost indelibly linked to scented snapshots of Holly’s childhood memories. ‘A French holiday in the sun, a ride across the waves by boat, venturing through trees in a garden of ferns and Laurels…’ The album of scent memories was filling up fast.

It was in 2011 that Holly could truly begin to follow her dream, joining a prestigious niche fragrance brand and pursuing a career in the industry. But after seven successful years, it was time to start thinking about reaching further, using her love of fragrance and design with the expert knowledge she’d gained, and finally launching her own brand. Holly says she ‘knew immediately’ what the concept should be: sharing the very memories that launched her own fragrant career, while helping perfume-lovers explore their own scented memory bank.

And now, you can share that memory bank while adding to your own scented fantasies, with the Memoize London Discovery Set!

What you get in the box:

Tristitia – The essence of calm, relaxation and pure leisure. Reminiscent of of a lazy Sunday morning, cocooning you in floral and vanilla scented sheets, no need to rise, the amber is keeping you warm…

Avaritia – The essence of insatiability, opulence and unquenchable desire. The first time you dare to think you can have exactly what you want, the need for something that is all yours.

Era – The essence of passion, provocation and power. Lose control of your emotions with this powerful fragrance; reigniting the fire within you, evoking deep seated memories within.

Superbia – The essence of self-confidence, self-love and self-worth. An overwhelming feeling of pride, joy and delight. Recalling a first day of school, the pruned rose bushes, games in the woods, the leather strap of a satchel, a mother’s proudest moment…

Luxuria – The essence of lust, seduction and intoxication. Memories of the first moment of interaction, where desire and passion consumes you. Your skin will tingle with luscious blackcurrant, tuberose and the warmth of musk will captivate you.

Gula – The essence of pleasure-seeking and self-indulgence. A fragrance of sumptuous vanilla, absorbing orange, rich clove and delicate lavender. Gula is an immeasurable mix of thought provoking scents providing unrestrained gratification for your appetites, desires, or whims.

Invidia – The essence of insatiable desire to want, to have, to be who you want to be. Envious and aspirational, your mind takes you on a sub-coconscious journey through the memories from your childhood; always wanting what you can’t have – sweet vanilla ice cream, caramels, tobacco….

Black Avaritia (Limited Edition) – The essence of indulging all of your wants and needs in abundance. Travelling through the rich and woody tones, takes you back on a journey to a foreign land. The warmth on the skin is reminiscent of the sun kissing your skin.

Try the entire collection in the Memoize London Discovery Set £57 for 8 x 2ml eau de parfum

It’s our mission at The Perfume Society to bring you as many of these try-me sizes as possible, so you can do just that: try them (for several days) in the comfort of your own home. Not only is this the recommended way of wearing a new fragrance – giving yourself time to truly experience every nuance of its character before you make up your mind – but we are also very aware that not everyone happens to live within a stone’s throw of a niche boutique or London store stocking these scents. So why not have a browse for a gift (or treat for yourself) in our Luxury Perfume House Sets…?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Creed’s sensory dinner & cocktails!

Now is the season when restaurants and cocktail menus get sparkled-up, aiming their wares at customers in the festive mood. But we’ve found something extra special for fragrance-lovers looking for something a cut above: Luxury fragrance house Creed is partnering with award-winning Kensington restaurant, Launceston Place to create a scent-inspired cocktail menu and a four-course sensory experience dinner with specially paired wines!

Available from now until 9th December 2018, mixologist Giorgio Tosato worked with Creed to create four limited-edition cocktails inspired by some of the fragrance house’s most desirable scents – Aventus, Aventus For Her, Green Irish Tweed and Royal Princess Oud.

On Monday 3rd December, the restaurant will also be hosting a Creed x Launceston Place Sensory Dinner. Fragrance expert, Eva Carlo and Head Chef, Ben Murphy will guide guests through a sensory experience including a 4 course meal and cocktail inspired by Creed Fragrances. A once-in-a-lifetime event, what an incredible gift this would be for the perfume lover in your life, or a treat for yourself…

You can purchase tickets here – there’s the option of having the specially created four-course dinner (£60.00), or plumping for the extra lavish option of the four-course dinner with wine pairing (£90.00) which we must admit would be our choice!

We’ve long been fans of mixing up the senses, and taste and smell always pair particularly well together – we rely so much on our sense of smell to taste the delicious nuances in food and drinks – so this has to be the perfect pre-Christmas treat for any perfumista/foodie and their fragrant pals. We’re drooling at the very thought of it…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

A nose around Jovoy Mayfair – niche fragrance heaven!

It’s coming up for Jovoy Mayfair‘s first birthday, so what better time to celebrate their arrival in the UK than by having a nose around, seeing what’s new, and thanking heaven for this niche haven in the heart of London…?

(PS: Our VIP Club Members are being offered a generous 15% discount at Jovoy between until 24th October 2018click here see how to claim this exclusive offer, though you’ll have to use your V.I.P. log-in to view it.

The opening of Jovoy on Mayfair’s Conduit Street in 2017 was definitely a cause for corks popping. Those of you lucky enough to go scent shopping in Paris will surely have come across Jovoy there – it opened in 2006 on the rue Castiglione – where it proved a game-changer in fragrance retail: a destination for perfumistas (from around the world, nowadays) showcasing perfume houses which had, until then, been largely unavailable.

Jovoy was the ‘baby’ of François Hénin, who previously worked exploring the olfactive riches of Vietnam, distilling raw ingredients for the perfume trade. François had his finger on the quickening pulse of the fragrance world, sensing a shift away from the ‘signature scents’ and more traditional, classic houses Parisians had tended to wear in the past.

One of the things we love best about Jovoy Mayfair is the ‘staff picks’ wall – think of it a little like those windows and display shelves in bookshops where the knowledgable staff pick out new and unusual things they think you’ll love. It’s such a great place to start sniffing, especially if you’re a little nervous about walking into a niche boutique for the first time (or simply don’t know where to begin!)

Jovoy are also happy to decant some of your favourite new finds into small sample bottles, so you can try them at home and properly get to know them – a fantastic service that we’re sure means many come back to buy the full size.

Here’s a few new scents you may find there, currently…

Jovoy say: ‘The latest perfume from Arte Profumi explores vetiver. Itself a highly prized and valuable raw material, Sine Tempore uses two different vetiver extractions (Haiti and Java) along with subtle does of lime and cardamom to shoot the root through with an insistent and citric, green note.’

Arte Profumi Sine Tempore £215 for 100l eau de parfum

 

Jovoy say: ‘Hoja de Cuba is another in Berdoues’ series of Grand Crus perfumes, one that takes its cues (as the title insists) from the streets of Havana, the tobacco fields and the Cuban cigars so synonymous with them. A blend of tobacco from Turkey, allspice from Jamaica and vetiver from Haiti.’

Berdoues Hoja de Cuba £67 for 100ml eau de parfum

Jovoy say: ‘Rock ‘N’ Rouge is a game of looks exchanged between a ballerina and a member of the audience. Temptation pierces through the gloom in the theatre and Eros shoots his keenest arrow. Desire cuts across the stage and rolls like a thousand fiery marbles out towards the theatre stalls. There, in the glare of the first change in the lights, the star’s eyes set fire to those of the man who observes. And, as though by magic, all the rest of the audience disappears. He and she are the only ones who remain, without knowing each other, without ever touching. United by seduction, they are unconscious protagonists of a feline pas de deux, charged with electricity.’

THoO Rock ‘n’ Rouge £220 for 75ml eau de parfum

Did you know Jovoy also have their own amaaaazing candles (presented in glass domes within a scarlet red vintage style hatbox affair? Well now you can also get them in a customisable box: choose four fragrances (making 64 possible combinations). ‘Create your own candle set choosing one or several fragrances among the four classic candles by Jovoy: Ambre 1er, Datcha, Gardez-Moi and Marron. Each black coffret case is populated of four 80g red candles, each with approx 20 hours of diffusion. The hardest part will be to choose how many of each.’

Jovoy Custom Candle Set £80 for 4 x 80g

While we touched on the subject of nerves earlier, let’s be real about this. Not everyone feels confident about striding in to a ritzy scent shop. We’ve spoken to lots of our loyal readers and even VIP Club Members who still can feel a bit dubious about going in any fragrance shop alone.

Rest assured, Jovoy Mayfair excel at making you feel comfortable – there’s zero pressure, they’re happy to let you browse or give advice where required, and there are pots of blotters and pencils dotted all over the place, to encourage spitzing (and of course writing the name of the fragrance on the blotter so you don’t shove it in your bag and forget which it was, later… You all do this, don’t you? *waggles eyebrows*)

Downstairs, there’s a comfy sofa for relaxed wrist-sniffing situations, and a more private ‘frgarance fitting’ experience should you wish, as well as a fragrance dispensing machine and exhibits of rare (and sometimes priceless!) perfumes to make your jaw drop.

We’ve hosted several events at Jovoy since they opened, including a remarkable alcohol and fragrance pairing evening (which was every bit as wonderful as that sounds) and, most recently, our co-founder Jo Fairley interviewing maverick perfumer Geza Schoen about his Beautiful Mind Series fragrances. Sp, do keep an eye on our Events page to join us on another occasion.

Incidently, Jovoy have their very own Private Label fragrance range – for Jovoy is actually a revived and re-imagined fragrance house that once scented the bohemian A-List of 1920s Parisian bohemians. You can read about the history of Jovoy on our page dedicated to them.

In the meantime, we encourage you to venture forth into independent fragrance retailers and see an array of scents you’d never even dreamed existed! rom Neela Vermeire to Atelier Flou, L’Essence du Bois to Olfactive Studio, Jacques Fath to Perfumer du Monde, via Volnay, Jeroboam, Aedes de Venustus, Eight & Bob, Masque Milano and so many more (with a growing number of store exclusives, too).

Jovoy Mayfair 21 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XP

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Floris, fashion & fragrance with Alex Schulman & Amber Butchart

For the launch earlier this year of their so-sophisticated 1927 fragrance, Floris gathered together a curated group of guests to 89 Jermyn Street to celebrate the inspiration for the latest in their Fragrance Journal series, with two very special women discussing the rich and intertwined histories of fashion and fragrance… and we were thrilled to be present!

Scroll down to watch part of their fascinating conversation, and read our review of this stunning scent…

Dissecting nearly 100 years of social history in London, fashion historian, TV presenter and author Amber Butchart, former Vogue editor, author and journalist Alexandra Shulman, Floris Perfumery Director Edward Bodenham and Head of Marketing Alex Oprey explored how to bottle a moment in time. And now, Floris have released a video so you can watch along.

As part of their Fragrance Journals series, Floris created a very special time capsule, but exlained they wanted to make sure it smelled current and totally wearable for today – these are no museum pieces, but living homages to eras that have changed our world forever. The end of the 1920’s marked revolutionary new fashion movements, especially for women – cutting their hair short, smoking, dancing, partying all night and wearing loose-fitting, calf-length or shorter dresses that flirted with scandal.

Floris say: ‘The Fragrance Journals are a series of unique Eau de Parfums, capturing the heart and soul of London throughout the decades of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and most recently the 1920s.

Each fragrance weaves and knits its way through the fabric of a key moment, district, and culture of the time, bringing out a true reflection of a city which has the ability to both adapt to change, yet remain rooted in its identity. A love letter to London, its social fabric and its people.’

Read on for our fragrant review…

Floris 1927
1927 kicks off with a swing as aldehydes burst like champagne bubbles into bergamot, and we can almost hear the giggles as cocktails are carried to the drawing room. Bright Young Things in barely-there bias-cut silks swing their pearls, violet, ylang ylang, narcissus and mimosa sashay their way to dancing on the tables – and an oakmoss-like, vanilla-musk base adds to sophisticated high-jinks.
£140 for 100ml eau de parfum
florislondon.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Gourmande Jayne: Ormonde Jayne get figgy with it

Linda Pilkington, founder and CEO of London-based niche perfumery Ormonde Jayne, is never one for sitting still. Whenever we meet her, she’s dashing back and forth at 100 miles an hour, always brimming with creativity and new ideas, the latest being Gourmande Jayne

‘Gourmande Jayne’ is a natural extension of Linda’s scented world –  a blog ‘defining scent and good eating’ that features lifestyle tips, fashion and beauty, advice for gardeners, travel diaries as Linda hunts for new fragrance ingredients, how-to videos and deliciously scented recipes she’s constantly inspired by – showing the world how to bring fragrance into every area of life, to enhance to joy of every day. Quite frankly, we’re not sure how she find the time, but we’re awfully glad she does!

We’re especially loving the recipe for Baked Figs with Goat’s Cheese (and the serving suggestion – ‘serve warm with a glass of wine!’) which we first got to taste at the wonderful Ormonde Jayne Christmas Showcase (watch out for our Christmas issue of The Scented Letter Magazine for more new on the fragrant goodies in store!)

See the recipe, below, and watch Linda prepare hers by visiting the Gourmet section of the blog. We promise you it taste (and smells!) amazing, and it’s just the thing for warming your cockles when the wether’s a bit cooler, but you don’t feel quite ready for rib-sticking stews just yet. We’re holding off the donning of tights for a while, and holding on to thoughts of summer holidays by eating these, and quaffing wine while we’re at it. Only because it’s suggested, of course…

Gourmande Jayne Baked Figs with Goat’s Cheese

Ingredients:
Medium size figs
Soft goats cheese
Chopped walnuts
Chopped fresh sage
Clear honey
Salt and pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 200 C – Cut off fig stems and cut an X at the top of fig half way down.
Using a teaspoon, stuff soft goats cheese into the fig. Sprinkle with the fresh fine chopped sage and chopped walnuts.
Drizzle with a little honey and small amount of add salt and pepper to taste.
Place in a baking dish.
Place in oven for about 5 minutes.
Serve warm with a glass of wine!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

[Recipe and photos by Linda Pilkington]

Ormonde Jayne White Gold

The London house of Ormonde Jayne take alchemical notions and conjur a trilogy of Gold-inspired fragrances, the completion of which arrives in the majestic form of White Gold. But how do you bottle gold? Or, at least, capture the shimmering beauty of precious metal in a fragrance?

The genius of fine perfumery is to take something abstract, a colour, texture or emotion, and convey this through the subtle manipulation of our senses – a message from the perfumer to the fragrance wearer that we somehow understand at once.

When we try to imagine or describe the smell of gold itself, we may well struggle. What does it smell like, other than, well… metal? And yet certain combinations of ingredients definitely smell gleamingly ‘golden’, blushing rosily or cooler, more silvered in tone.

If there’s a signature for Ormonde Jayne fragrances, it surely has to be the pink pepper. It shimmers as a temperature in White Gold, warm sunshine that lends a luminescence to everything around it, but filtered through lacey curtains, casting intricate shadows on a perfectly polished wooden floor. A luscious haze of green leafy-ness suffuses skin-soft orris butter and jasmine, dipping slightly deeper into a dry-down of lightly burnished amber, whispers of white musk, vanilla and a deliciously mossy shade.

Top Notes
leaf green molecule, pink pepper, mandarin, bergamot and clary sage

Heart notes
jasmine absolute, carnation absolute, orris butter, orchids and freesia

Base notes
Madagascan vanilla, ambrette absolute, cashmeran, white musk, amber, moss, tonka, labdanum, opoponax, vetiver, cedar wood

We say: Glorious to wear in scorching heat, it billows but never becomes too much, with a magnificent and long-lasting trail that feels like streaming a gauzy tulle train behind as you walk. On cooler days the silvery-tones shine through, a rustle of white silks, an echo of laughter in a marble hall.

Because they mix and hand-pour everything themselves, Ormonde Jayne are able to be utterly lavish with their percentages: White Gold is poured at an extravagant 30% of pure oil in every bottle! That’s pretty much unheard of in perfumery. In addition to being hand-poured in their own London laboratory, Ormonde Jayne promise that their fragrance is free from Phthalates, not tested on animals and with no added colour.

Ormonde Jayne say: ‘White Gold captures the beauty of white jasmine absolute, white musk and orchids. Enter the assertiveness of Grasse jasmine absolute purring alongside white musk… Wear it as your second skin, day and night, any season and any occasion. White Gold is for you, own it and be ravishing.’

No, it isn’t ‘cheap’, but we say you’ll only need one or two sprays to last the entire day and night through (and into the next day, still relishing the scent on your hair, a scarf or perhaps the person you expressed your amorous affections to… so use with caution!) Also, you must try this on your skin, so do visit the exqusitely re-appointed boutique within the Royal Arcade, Bond Street. Or send for a sample to see how gold can shimmer on your own skin…

Ormonde Jayne White Gold £375 for 120ml parfum.

Meanwhile, and talking of luxury, have you seen the new ‘Gourmande Jayne‘ website? Encompassing founder Linda Pilkington‘s own passions, it explores fragrantly Gourmet recipes to try at home, sumptuous Fashion and tips for a beautiful Lifestyle. Well worth your exploring!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Fragrance – a conversation through design

We often liken a fragrance to texture – ‘velvety’, ‘smooth’, ‘suede’ – or colours, temperatures and emotions. With so few words in our language dedicated to smell alone, we must reach out with our other senses and make a connection between them and what we are smelling.

Arun Sispal is an artist and designer who sought to explore these connections in a tangible way, translating them into fragrant form with the help of British indie perfume house 4160 Tuesdays. You can now experience the results at his exhibition within the Royal College of Art – which is FREE but ends 1st July 2018, so we urge you to make haste before you miss it!

Scroll down for full details of how to get there, but for now we caught up with Arun, and asked him to explain the concept in his own words…

Arun Sispal: ‘The sentence I use to summarise what the work is about is -“If you were unable to experience the qualities of fragrance through the olfactory system, how could you experience its qualities through senses of touch and sight?”

Essentially, this project is to be viewed as a ‘conversation’ and ‘enquiry’, as opposed to a design piece with a final end outcome. The work discusses notions of ‘Interpretation’ and ‘blended senses’, and how the senses can influence one another. The conversation is made up of 3 stages:

Stage 1– I created a bespoke scent
Stage 2– I responded to the scent created through design and material creation
Stage 3– The design work was taken to 4160 Tuesdays, where Sarah McCartney created a fragrance response to the design work.

Stage 1– I created a scent at 4160 Tuesdays with a perfumer named Harry. We had several attempts and I described the type of scent I wanted. I needed the scent to have body and definition, as opposed to being something that was very silent and undefined – this was to allow for a successful material interpretation of the scent; because if it was quiet and did not have many facets, I don’t feel the design response would have been engaging or understandable.

In the end, we created a super heavy, dark and dusty scent, with a veil of Dorinia rose that glistens on tops, eventually drying down to something quite powdery. It is a scent than keeps changing, and shows new sides, and that is what I wanted- for it to fleet between these quite dramatic moments.

Stage 2– I then spent time responding to the scent. Thinking about the colours it evokes, the journey of the scent and how it develops over time, its weight, texture etc. (all of these elements that are both tangible and intangible, but once sprayed and in liquid form, this sense of physicality is no longer present). I also got those around me to tell me what the scent evoked for them and any memories, and the responses were so varied and unexpected- depending on their age, location etc.

In terms of the colours… Initially these super dark charcoals and blacks, quite scratched on surface, as the scent isn’t forgiving or a wallflower, but it shouts, and these tones reflected the intensity of the smoke. Also, a refined selection of bitten pink and metallic blush, reflecting the Rose when it is both shrouded in smoke and at its most brightest, clean stage. An abundance of mid tones that do not necessarily sit under the ‘pink’ or ‘grey’ heading, but instead are quite unsure of their identity, and shift between the 2, reflecting the transiency and ephemerality of the scent, and how it develops so much.

And in terms of the materials, using heavy wool felts in super flat, monotone charcoal and gunmetal coloured metal aspects, to reinforce the weight of notes like the agarwood, karmawood and white birch, and then contrasting this with delicate degrades of embroidery in metallic pink that shimmer on the surface, like the softness of the rose.

Stage 3– The design work was then taken to Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays, who spent time understanding and looking and touching the materials, and trying to create a connection between their physicality, and the array of ‘ingredients’ at the facility. One of the most prominent and interesting elements that Sarah picked up on was the use of gunmetal coloured wire that lay on top of the wool felt in a regimented, slightly aggressive way, and how its edges ‘poked’ out of the surface.

She wanted to use a note that had the same ‘pokey’ feeling – eventually opting for pink and black peppercorn- due to their instant ‘hit’ that knocks your head back when you smell it. This was such an exciting part of the project, as it was great to see the way that a professional perfumer is able to interpret the visual and aesthetic, which is the job of a designer.

The work was an experiment that had materials at the heart, how to tell a story in a multisensory way. It is about sensitivity, and it is also quite romantic…’

Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, Kensington, London, SW7 2EU
12-6pm, 28th June- 1st July (closed 29th June)
Located in ‘Textiles’

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Contemporary fragrance houses flying the flag

Who can lay claim to being ‘the birthplace of perfumery’? France and Italy regularly duke it out for the title, but British scents have been going strong since 1730 – with whispers of Yardley London‘s heritage in fact going all the way back to the reign of King Charles I, supplying royalty with lavender-scented soaps. Sadly, these records were lost in 1666’s Great Fire of London, but many British houses have archives bursting not only with records of their fragrant wares, but the customers who bought them – including royalty, film stars and prime ministers along with the many millions who flocked to their historic doors.
We chose to dedicate the latest issue of our award-winning online magazine, The Scented Letter, to these Best of British. (It’s available digitally to V.I.P. Club Members as a membership benefit as well as in print form.)
The emphasis is on heritage houses who have made our name and are still some of our favourites to this very day, with a selection of newer houses mentioned – including Miller Harris, Angela Flanders, Ormonde Jayne and Floral Street – all of whom have their own boutiques, where you can visit to stock-up on their perfumes, both historic and ground-breakingly new. The streets of London may not be paved in gold, but they’re filled with delicious perfumes…
To be frank, the feature was practically an entire book’s worth of material, and we still didn’t have room for every single one we’d have like to mention – which goes to show how many we have to be proud of. Also, we are thrilled that so many contemporary houses are continuing to fly that fragrant flag, being sold online and stocked in independent perfumeries that stretch the entire globe.
What better time, then, to continue our celebration of the diversity, ingenuity and creativity British fragrance houses display, and share with you a list of some contemporary houses your nose should definitely get to know…?

Ruth Mastenbroek

Born in England, graduating with a Chemistry degree from Oxford University, Ruth trained and worked as a perfumer in the 70s – both in the UK and Netherlands with Naarden International (which later became Quest and is now Givaudan – one of the largest perfume suppliers in the world…) Ruth then went to work in Japan and the perfume capital Grasse before returning to England to work for a small company, where she created fragrances for up-and-coming brands like Kenneth Turner and Jo Malone – including her Grapefruit candle. Setting up her own perfumery company, Fragosmic Ltd., in 2003 – the year she became president of The British Society of Perfumers, it was in 2010 that Ruth launched a capsule collection of scented products featuring her signature fragrance – RM – the first to use advanced micro-encapsulation technology in a scented bathrobe…!

Still creating bespoke fragrances for brands, Ruth’s own fragrances allow her to bottle memories, she says, ‘…of childhood in England and America – chocolate cookies, fresh earth, blackberries… Of Holland – lilies, narcissus, hyacinth and salty sea air… Of France – orchids, roses and wild herbs… Of Japan – cherry blossom, lotus and green tea…’ Believing that fragrance can uniquely move us, and with a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips; Ruth distills olfactory flash-backs into perfumes that everyone can enjoy and form their own, highly personal connections with. And with her latest, the sulty, smoking rose of Firedance, shortlisted for Global Pure Beauty and Fragrance Foundation Awards this year, we suggest you allow yourself the pleasure of connecting with them, too…

Quintessential scents Just launched, you can now indulge in a newly-chic box of emotionally uplifting scents. From the sparkling secret-garden fruitiness of Signature, through the romantic, rolling landscape of Umbria captured in Amorosa. A furtively-smoked Sobranie with notes of jasmine and cashmere evoke the dreaming spires of Oxford, while a classic rose is transformed with hot leather in Firedance, to become quite swaggeringly swoon-worthy. Have a chaise-lounge at the ready…
Ruth Mastenbroek Discovery Set £17.95 for 4 x 2ml eaux de parfum
Available now in our shop

4160 Tuesdays

If we live till we’re 80, we have 4,160 tuesdays to fill, and so the philosophy of copywriter-turned-perfumer Sarah McCartney is: better make the most of every single one of them. Having spent years writing copy for other people’s products, and writing for LUSH for 14 years, Sarah wrote a novel about imagined perfumes that make people happy, with such evocative descriptions that readers began asking her to make them. Ever the type to roll up her sleeves and take on a new challenge, Sarah explains she’d ‘…tried to find perfumes that matched what I was describing, and they still weren’t right, so I set off on my quest to make them myself. I became a perfumer!’
Proudly extolling British eccentricity, the ever-increasing fragrances include Sunshine & Pancakes, which Sarah made to evoke a typical 1970s British seaside family vacation, opening with a burst of sunny citrus, with jasmine to represent sun-warmed skin – alongside honey and vanilla (the pancakes element). The Dark Heart of Old Havana is based on a 1998 trip to Cuba: brown sugar, tobacco, rich coffee, fruit, warm bodies, ‘alcohol, exuberance and recklessness,’ as she puts it. Maxed Out and Midnight in the Palace Garden were both shortlisted for the coveted Fragrance Foundation Awards 2016 in the ‘Best Indie Scent’ category, and an army of devotees now relish every day, scented suitably eccentrically.
Quintessential scent  Named for a comment made by a Tatler beauty editor who smelled it, a dash of bergamot, a soft hint of creamy vanilla, velvety smooth woods, musk and ambergris make for a dreamily decadent ‘your skin but oh, so much better’ affair. Like wearing a magical potion made of lemon meringue pie and fancy pants, if they don’t fall at your feet after a whiff of this, they aren’t worth knowing.
4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent on the Planet Ever (IMHO) £40 for 30ml
Buy it at 4160tuesdays.com
Pssst! Breaking news: Fans of 4160 Tuesdays are a passionate lot, and kept asking Sarah when her next crowd-funded fragrance would be available, and so she’s teamed up with James Skinner, founder and designer at Dalliance & Noble, to make a matching scarf and perfume.
The fragrance is a soft, rich, lavish blend of iris, hay, honey, apricot, tobacco, vanilla, lily, almond, sandalwood and bergamot, and as we love scenting our scarves with perfume, we cannot wait to try this one!
They met in 2017 at the artisan trade show Best of Britannia in Brick Lane, then regrouped in Sarah’s 4160Tuesday’s West London studio to choose natural and synthetic materials. The result was a collection of aromas which Sarah took as inspiration for the fragrance, and she named it Truth Beauty Freedom Love, the rallying cry of the 19th Century Bohemian movement or artists, writers and free thinkers.
James illustrated the plants which the natural essential oils came from, and the wildlife they support. In the corners of the scarf he’s placed the aroma molecules which cast a perfumer’s spell on the blend to transform it from just a mixture of materials into an elegant, wearable fragrance. He designed the scarf in two colourways, and named it Eden’s Garden – a haven for fruit, flowers and wildlife.
Crowdfunding prices:
100ml eau de parfum and silk scarf £175 (will be £300)
100ml eau de parfum £75 (will be £150)
30ml eau de parfum £40 (will be £75)
Get in on the action here – but hurry, there’s only twenty days left to secure these special prices!

Nancy Meiland Parfums

Nancy’s background as a bespoke perfumer began with her apprenticeship to one of the UK’s experts in custom perfumery, creating signature scents for those coveting ‘something highly individual and special…’ Before launching Nancy Meiland Parfums, her decade-long journey through fragrance had already included co-running the former School of Perfumery, acting as a consultant for independent perfume houses, working on collaborations with Miller Harris, and speaking on the subject of fragrance at events nationwide.
Now dividing her time between town and country (Nancy’s based in East Sussex), she explains that ‘the creative process of gathering sensory impressions and honing them into a formula is a vital one. Once a blank canvas, the formula sheet acts as a metaphor – and gradually emerges essentially as a kind of poem, with body, light and shade and a life of its own.’ It amuses Nancy, looking back, that she often had school essays returned to her emblazoned in red pen for being “too flowery”. ‘It figures!,’ she says. Thank goodness, say her extensive base of fragrance fans, in love with these portrayals of often traditional ingredients, composed with elegant modernity and beautiful harmony.
Quintessential scent  Definitely not your grandma’s drawer-liner, this is a rose in all its glory, with the entire plant evoked – pink pepper, for the thorns, stalky green galbanum for the leaves; geranium, jasmine, white pear and violet delicately sketching the tender bud. As Nancy observes: ‘I wanted to depict both the light and the dark shades of it, as opposed to this pretty, twee and girly rose that’s become slightly old-fashioned.” Rambling roses entwined with brambles, if this scent surrounded Sleeping Beauty, she’d never forgive that meddlesome prince for cutting it down…

Nancy Meiland Parfums Rosier £62.50 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at nancymeiland.com

Marina Barcenilla Parfums

A rising star of perfumery, Marina Barcenilla is one of the talented ‘noses’ driving the strong trend towards natural perfumery. As the name may suggest, her birthplace may not have been in the UK – in fact she was born in Spain – but it’s where Marina chose to make her home, and to set up her now thriving perfume business. Marina recalls being intrigued by the aromatic notes in the Herbíssimo fragrances and in her grandmother’s lavender water.
Having always been fascinated and inspired by scent – when the chance came to branch out from her aromatherapy roots into the world of perfume, Marina rose beautifully to the challenge. In 2016 Marina won the coveted Fragrance Foundation (FiFi) Award for Best New Independent Fragrance with India. Against incredibly stiff competition, judged blind by Jasmine Award-winning journalists and bloggers, this prompted her to take the next step on her journey; her company – formerly known as The Perfume Garden – became Marina Barcenilla Parfums. But although the name had changed, the ethos remained the same – ‘to create the finest fragrances, using what nature has to offer.’ More awards followed, including a Beauty Shortlist Award for Patchouli Clouds, an International Natural Beauty Award, and the Eluxe Award for Best Natural Perfume Brand.
In 2017, for the second consecutive year, Marina won Best New Independent Fragrance for the opulent Black Osmanthus – which truly put her on the radar of journalists and perfumistas. From sourcing rare and precious aromatic essences from around the world to blending fragrances by hand in her own perfume studio, after years of study, Marina’s long-awaited olfactory journey to ‘rediscover the soul of perfume’ is off to a rousing start – and all from the suitably mystical base of Glastonbury. More than simply reaching for the stars, parallel to her perfumery career she’s also studying to become a Planetary Scientist and Astrobiologist, at the University of London; recently combining her twin passions by creating AromAtom – creating the imagined scents of space as a way to make space science more engaging for children – which Marina regularly tours through schools. What else can we say for this exciting house, but ‘up, up and away…!?’
Quintessential scent  Silky-smooth sandalwood is enticingly laced with flecks of fragrant cardamom, dotted with coriander, huge armfulls of rose and woven with incense for an all-natural scent that’s soothingly spiced, earthily grounding and yet erotically tempting; so you’ll be wanting to dance barefoot (perhaps comletely bare) and wrap yourself around a Maypole, have no doubt…
Marina Barcenilla Parfums India £130 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at mbparfums.com

St Giles

Rarely do founders of fragrance houses come with such experience, passion and dedication to the industry as Michael Donovan. With a career thus far helping stock the shelves of such cult fragrance-shopping destinations as Roullier White, running his own PR company, representing such luminaries as Fréderic Malle – every time we’ve met Michael, he’s been bubbling with enthusiasm about a perfume we ‘…absolutely must smell!’ or a nose who’s ‘a complete genius!’ And you know what? He’s always been right.
He’d been badgered for years by fragrance experts and enthusiasts alike to launch his own range, but the idea had tickled his brain for some decades before being fully explored as a reality. As Michael explains, the concept he just couldn’t let go of was to have a collection that truly represented ‘scents as complex as you are.’ And so, the St Giles fragrances have ‘…been created to stimulate and amplify the many different aspects of our character. This wardrobe of fragrances celebrates the parts that make us who we are, fusing the reality and the fantasy.’
And the nose he sought out to compose them just happens to be one of the greatest of our time. ‘The perfumes are made in collaboration with Master Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, whose vision I have long admired and whose friendship I cherish.’ Having spent many years working alongside Bertrand, but always in regard to his work for other houses, Michael admits he was ‘…extremely nervous’ about approaching him, but it turns out Bertrand was more than enthusiastic in his acceptance. The only question you need ask, now, is which fragrant character you want to embody, today…
Quintessential scent  Rosemary absolute – now proven to stimulate memory performance – adds an aromatic, drily green note while fresh ginger warmly fizzes alongside Champagne-like aldehydes, herbaceous clary sage and the uplifting, fruity zing of rhubarb. There’s a sigh of soft leather and frankincense at the heart, slowly sinking to the inky-tinged base of castoreum absolute, sandalwood, Atlas cedarwood and a salty tang of driftwood. Absolutely unique, you’ll want to cover yourself in it while seeking your muse, perhaps while enjoying a sip or three of something refreshing, wearing nothing else but a velvet smoking jacket and an enigmatic smile…
St Giles The Writer £130 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at stgilesfragrance.com

 

Tom Daxon

Recalling his childhood and growing up ‘in fragrant surroundings,’ Tom Daxon rather understates how perfume practically ran in his blood. Lucky enough to have a mother who was creative director at Molton Brown for over 30 years, and therefore ‘would often give me new shower gels to try, fragrances to sniff’ his scented destiny was sealed by frequently accompanying his mother on her business trips to Grasse.
There he met the father-daughter duo of Jacques and Carla Chabert, who’d variously worked for Chanel, Guerlain and L’Oréal, with Jacques the nose behind Molton Brown’s ground-breaking Black Pepper and Carla creating the hit follow-up, Pink Peppercorn. Having esteemed perfumers in his life from such an early age was a connection that would bravely – still in his twenties – lead Tom to launch a brand new British fragrance house. Clearly a chap who doesn’t like to hang around when he’s got a bee in his bonnet, by the end of that same year, he was already being stocked in Liberty.
Not a bad start, all things considered, and describing the impetus behind him starting his own line of fragrances, Tom says ‘I wouldn’t have bothered if I thought I couldn’t offer something a bit different.’ Uniquely intriguing, the entire range celebrates a luxurious kind of British modernity in their pared back, clean lines, the oils being macerated and matured in England for at least six weeks before they’re bottled here. Harnessing Tom’s Grasse connections but remaining resolutely British in their spirit, it’s just the beginning for this exciting house.
Quintessential scent Lushly narcotic, it’s a hyper-realistic big-hitter – like sticking your entire face in a buxom bouquet, the better to get another dose of its lascivious charms. Using traditional, headily feminine notes like lily of the valley, carnation, rose and oakmoss might have become ‘vintage’ or even a bit old-fashioned smelling in the wrong hands, but the Chaberts and Tom vividly evoke just-bruised, silky petals with a futuristic drama that never fails to shake you out of the doldrums.

Tom Daxon Crushing Bloom £105 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at tomdaxon.com
With a strong heritage behind us, and many of those houses still not only surviving but thriving, it seems British perfumery is once again blooming with a fresh crop of forward-thinking (and often self-taught) perfumers shaking up the scent scene. No fuddy-duddy fragrances, these, they’re flying the flag not only for British niche perfumery, but for the art of fragrance itself. Hoist the bunting!

For further reading, we suggest getting your hands on a copy of British Perfumery: A Fragrant History by The British Society of Perfumers/£30 including UK delivery.
Written by Suzy Nightingale