Chelsea Fringe: Free fragrant talks, from Georgian perfume to the scented room and beyond…

Perhaps seen as a floral equivalent of the Edinburgh Fringe, The Chelsea Fringe Festival is actually entirely independent of The Chelsea Flower Show, though acts with its full support. Intended to extend the enjoyment of gardens and all things verdant to well beyond a show ground setting, there are all manner of events taking place around the UK (and beyond) to celebrate this year.
We were particularly excited to hear about a series of talks focusing on perfume, with subjects ranging from Georgian and 19th Century perfume, the scented room, and the simulation of nature in 20th Century perfume (the last in that list being hosted by our very dear friend, Lizzie Ostrom -aka Odette Toilette!)
Chelsea Fringe say:Stephen Nelson is a plantsman and perfumer who specialises in re-creating historic fragrances. As part of the Chelsea Fringe, Town House will host talks by Stephen Nelson, centred around the English garden and its direct link to perfume over the past four centuries.’
Stephen has been commissioned to create everything from historically accurate pomander beads to perfumed leather from the 16th century, an 18th century spicy pot pourri and a handkerchief scent from the 19th century.
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Working extensively within horticulture and running his own nursery, Stephen breeds a number of fragrant plants including pinks, lilacs and lavender – some of which have been featured in planting schemes at the official Chelsea Flower Show.
What’s more, Stephen personally cultivates many of the ingredients used in his historical perfume re-creations – including damask roses, patchouli, orris, verbena, lavender and many more – putting him in the unusual position of seeing the fragrance through from seed to finished scent.
Have a look at the full range of events happening around the country, as there’s bound to be one near you!
A number of the talks are taking place at the historic Town House in London’s East End, and the series there has been dubbed ‘Garden Extracts’. Here’s the scent-centric talks that we’ll be writing in our diaries – and we can’t wait to get (our noses) stuck in…
TUE 31 MAY, 14:30pm: Free
Perfume in Georgian London – talk by Stephen Nelson.
THU 2 JUN, 14:30pm: Free
The Scented Room – talk by Stephen Nelson.
SUN 5 JUN, 14:30: Free
20th Century Perfume and the Simulation of Nature – talk by Lizzie Ostrom.
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Häagen-Dazs limited edition floral-themed ice creams at Liberty London (well we HAD to try them, for research, didn't we…?)

We’re well known for supporting innovative ways of incorporating scent into our everyday lives – with perfume (obvs) but also frgrancing our homes and enjoying perfume in all its myriad ways of enriching our experiences of almost anything. So of course when we heard about Häagen-Dazs releasing a limited edition Spring collection of ‘floral-themed’ ice creams exclsuive to Liberty, we just had to go and taste for ourselves. It’s reasearch, darling! Also our offices are right next door, and it’s nice to make time to go and see your neighbours, right?
Häagen-Dazs say: ‘Häagen-Dazs Lychee Raspberry Rose is a fragrant delight that is a perfect balance of aromatic rose, sweet lychee and intense raspberry, whilst Apricot Lavender is a delightful combination of fruit and aroma, blended to refresh and relax. In keeping with the Häagen-Dazs quality gold standard, both varieties are made from a base of only four kitchen-friendly ingredients: fresh cream, real milk, sugar and free-range eggs.’
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Having taken over the iconic Carnaby Street window of Liberty’s (see main picture) with a stunning floral display designed by Rebecca Louise Law, a bespoke flower-installation artist based in London’s Columbia Road – a bevvy of blossoms entice floral fans within to celebrate the launch, and we were willing to be enticed, let’s admit it.
Attention to detail is everything with both brands, and so the union of Liberty and Häagen-Dazs resulted in really pretty illustrted tubs being specially comissioned and designed by Jardins de Babylone – a team of botanical artists from Paris – so they make a perfect match for their salubrious surroundings.
What did our research reaveal…? Well, we’re pleased to report the floral notes are subtle enough to be distinctive without at all tasting like you’re ‘eating perfume’ – it’s a whispered hint on the palate and perfectly balanced by the creaminess and cleansing slivers of fresh fruit. After extensive testing, the office team are slightly favouring the Apricot/Lavender combination; though we may have to test again, just to be really sure which our favourite is…
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The Häagen-Dazs Little Gardens range is available exclusively at Liberty London (Regent Street, W1B 5AH) at an RRP of £5.95. They’re available for the next couple of weeks only while stocks last – but we suggest you get your [ice-cream] skates on, for as you may imagine, they’re proving very popular…
To find out more, visit Häagen-Dazs.co.uk
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

Did they 'pop the question' this Valentine's, or are YOU planning to this Leap Year? Deco London pair couples to their perfect scent match…

Did you know 2016 is a Leap Year – traditionally the time when it was deemed socially acceptable for women to ‘pop the question’, and specifically that February 29th will mark the ‘Leap Day’ of the Gregorian calendar – a date that occurs in most years divisible by 4, (so: 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, and 2024)? For those who hold to such conventions (and really, ladies, where is your spirit and pluck if you limit yourselves that way?) 2020 is maybe holding off that little bit too long – so have those questions at the ready.
Once the deed has been done (and hopefully accepted with a positive answer!) we say forget the dress and focus on the perfect scent for the big day. To the non-initiated that may sound slightly crazy, but we genuinely know many a perfumista who began panicking about the perfume they and their partner should wear before considering anything else. Wherever perfume fits on your forthcoming wedding’s priority list, it is an important consideration at any time – nothing worse than jarring scents fighting each other to the altar and beyond.
Now, some fragrance companies are catching on to this requirement of ‘scent pairing’ and Sophia Fannon-Howell is leading the way with her Deco London range having specifically imagined characters for each fragrance – inspired by the Bright Young Things of the roaring twenties but with idiosyncrasies appropriate for any era, creating contemporary fragrances with a historical twist and bringing nostalgia, glamour and sophistication to the fore.
Creative Director Sophia says: ‘People spend years planning their dream wedding, down to the very last detail, but many forget to
consider what fragrance they want lingering in the air. Perfumes help preserve memories, you should have a scent that sets the mood and will forever remind you of the happiest day of your life…’
Launching last year with six fragrances – designed to encompass genres to suit every mood and personality – Sophia wanted to give perfume-lovers a starting point in a bewildering marketplace. The characters are there as a guide, gently nudging people to recognise something of themselves or their loved ones in the descriptions, and therefore more likely to be drawn to the fragrance itself than a completely abstract description that only lists main notes. Explains Sophia:
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‘We looked at similar ingredients and notes, things that would compliment each other without dominating, but still held their own personality. We haven’t tried layering them, I mean you could of course, but they weren’t designed that way. They’re all little people to me – they each have their own persona, and I wanted people to be able to wear them as personalities as well as perfumes that would naturally be attracted to each other, and to the wearer themselves.’
Of course people can mix and match to their heart’s delights – and sometimes opposites attract – but Sophia suggests the perfect wedding couple in her fragrance world would be as follows…
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Ernest, ever the gentleman, offers a blend of exotic amber, vanilla, woods and leather, giving the perfume a distinct masculine aroma, with an added burst of citrus – known to help lower stress levels.’
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‘His female match, Millicent, epitomises the charm and charisma of the 1920s dame, opening with bergamot and mandarin, a heart of classic wedding flowers expertly fused with woods and musk, which gives the fragrance its strong character.’
Deco London Ernest and Millicent, £75 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Deco London
Have you met your fragrance match? Do let us know what you both wore (or plan to wear) for your big day, we’d love to collect your wedding scent stories for a later issue of The Scented Letter magazine…
Written by Suzy Nightingale