What do White Lies smell of? AGONIST have come to seduce you…

Ah, the seductive allure of not quite telling the truth when it suits you far better to weave a little lie. Swedish niche brand AGONIST revel in the olfactory exploration of literary and cultural themes that play a large part in our lives, and with their latest fragrance, White Lies – which we were lucky enough to smell at Pitti Fragranze earlier this month – the truth may not always be out there…
AGONIST say: ‘Like a white lie it entices you yet holds a promise of a deeper truth. With a fresh and tempting top of lemon, rasperry and lychee, it drags you in to a heart of jasmine, tuberose and heliotrope. The deep and sensual notes of patchouli, orcanox and vanilla in the base makes the composition truly unique and impossible to forget.’
Top notes: Lemon, rasperry, lychee
Heart notes: Jasmine absolute, tuberose absolute, heliotrope
Base notes: Patchouli, orcanox, vanilla
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Founded by perfume-obsessed couple Niclas and Christine Lydeen, they share a love for fragrance, intrigued and fascinated by its power. As Niclas muses, ‘We started to think about themes and ideas. We wanted to show another side to this perception of clean Swedish design. We were more inspired by a poetic, darker and melancholic side of the Swedish culture and heritage.’
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Continuing this darker exploration of poetic themes, White Lies takes you on a journey, slowly unravelling its multi-faceted nature as it warms on your skin. Explains Niclas, ‘White lies is a joyful and playful fragrance that doesn’t reveal itself at first, just like a little lie. It is a smooth sensation that becomes stronger. We wanted to create a scent that takes you to another dimension where dreams, stories and fantasies come to life. In the end it keeps its promise and becomes a symbol of truth, yet with some intriguing shades.’
Sweet at first – an Eton Mess of meringue swirled through puffs of whipped cream and sprinkled with tart fruitiness, like the lie itself, the further it goes the deeper it gets. As the floral heart blooms, so too does the base, reaching up and grabbing the blossoms with tendrils of resinous earthiness mellowed by the darkest, most delicious vanilla beans. You might say we found it rather difficult to resist…
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AGONIST White Lies £115 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Avery Perfume Gallery
Written Suzy Nightingale

AVERY Perfume Gallery branch out at Harvey Nichols

We love it when our favourite perfumeries open off-shoots in larger stores – it gives perfumistas a new place to explore while also allowing a whole new crowd of perfume-lovers a chance to stumble across some future favourites. AVERY Perfume Gallery have a particularly diverse and fascinating range of scents with something to tempt all – from a die-hard niche lover to the just-dipping-toes-in classicist venturing into waters new… and now they’re finding a home at Harvey Nichols, London’s iconic Knightsbridge store.
AVERY Say: ‘Located on the ground floor, the AVERY Perfume Gallery space brings together some of the world’s most niche fragrances, presenting artistic perfumery at its best. The display and the setting are visually curated by Cristiano Seganfreddo (Vice President and Creative Director of Intertrade Group). It is composed of polished copper fixtures adorned with precious Italian white marble and luxurious printed textiles, which are used to customise the sofa, and also includes an original 50’s style console. Visitors can savour the fragrances and fully experience each aroma utilising classic mouth-blown olfactory boules. Exclusively designed for AVERY Perfume Gallery stores as well as a series of ceramic animals and birds entirely Made in Italy with special gold-effect plating. Every “Scent Animal” is exclusively created as a design object for the AVERY Perfume Gallery stores.’

‘With a history that dates back to 1831, Harvey Nichols has always been a leader in its selection of mixed, curated and contemporary fashion since the 90’s. AVERY Perfume Gallery perfectly mirrors Harvey Nichols’ attitude: the love for beauty, quality and a contemporary shopping experience, offering a taste of olfactive and visual emotions.A Lab on Fire: is a limited production brand, encapsulating the mystery of its creator and the genius of stimulating collaborations with the most brilliant talents in the world of perfumery.’
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Among the many unique fragrances you absolutely must seek out, here’s some houses to explore further while you’re there…
Agonist: fragrances that represent the beauty of Scandinavian nature and culture. Each fragrance comes in a spray line as well as in handcrafted Swedish glass flacons.
AVERY Fragrance Collection: a collection of five perfumes (A, V, E, R and Y), devised by Celso Fadelli (President and Fragrance Curator of Intertrade Group), tracing unexpected olfactory itineraries.
Azagury: whose prét–à-couture scents and clothes are adored by the most glamorous women in the world.
Blood Concept: whose sanguine sensations run through every essence of the new 3 lines: BLACK, RED and UPSIDE DOWN.
Diane Pernet Paris: 4 one-of-a-kind fragrances from the global fashion icon Diane Pernet.
Préparation Parfumée Andrée Putman: an icon of interior design and her passions enclosed in six extraordinary scents.
Re Profumo: presenting characters from a novel as perfumes accompanied by an assortment of ceramics decorated with 24k gold.
Roads: the perfume collection by Danielle Ryan that consist of ten fragrances created in collaboration with the finest master perfumers of the United Kingdom.
Santa Eulalia: the famed fashion boutique of Barcelona created 5 fragrances that pay homage to the beauty of the Catalan’s city.
soOud: precious essences that welcome you into the world of the Orient are dedicated to the exploration of the senses.
S-Perfume: collection by former sculptor Nobi Shioya in which New York meets Japan and its traditions.

Illuminum 95%…. the delicious link between taste and smell

Illuminum are ‘pushing the boundaries of the possible’ and exploring the myriad links between between taste and scent. Ever ones to enjoy explorations in both of those areas, we set out to discover more…

Did you know that 95% of what we perceive as a taste sensation is actually constructed from our sense of smell? It sounds astonishing, but anyone who has taken part in our immersive How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops can attest to the power of that discovery [our next one is in Brighton, August 21stcome and join us!]
Indeed, anyone who has ever suffered from a cold and then attempted to eat some comforting bowl of nourishment – only to discover it tastes of almost nothing (or simply unpleasant) – will suddenly have realised the intricate connections between smell and taste…
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Illuminum London proudly straddle the worlds of art and fragrance, pushing the boundaries of how we experience scent and altering our pre-conceived perceptions of smell itself. Having collaborated with many artists, designers and architechts over the years, it seems only natural they should now be working with chefs and exploring that vital link between food and fragrance. Illuminum invited innovative chefs Jackson Boxer, Yuki Gomi and Tom Wolfe to create three distinctive fragrances that explored the interfaces of this connection, playing with our notions of what we think our nose knows.
Illuminum say: ‘Outside the world of perfume, it is chefs who use their sense of smell on a daily basis to spark or guide their imagination. For Illuminum, this cross-disciplinary collaboration with three thoughtful practitioners, each with a clear view of the role and potential of scent, is a unique opportunity to transcend the borders of experience, expectation and practice in order the fashion the new. Formulated in partnership with expert perfumers, the three new scents demonstrate the brand’s ethos of carrying a passion for perfume into fulfilling realms of shared experience, including the worlds of art and culture. For Illuminum, fragrance is an art form in its own right.’
Illuminum Bruswick House

‘Founder of the Brunswick House restaurant and bar in London’s Vauxhall, Jackson Boxer brings his individuality to bear on every facet of the guest experience. Here, within a unique architectural emporium, the antiques themselves are for sale as part of a spirited homage to good taste.’ Explains Jackson:  ‘Food and wine have long provided the framework around which I construct memory. Since I mainly perceive this through scent, the opportunity to create a fragrance with Illuminum that would not only stir me, but also represent a range of hard-to-articulate feelings about cuisine, was fascinating.’ His fragrance features labdanum, oak and cedarwood for a warmly woody Oriental to set the nose tingling…
Illuminum Yuki&bottle
‘For Yuki Gomi, master of Japanese cooking, teacher, and founder of Yuki’s Kitchen, the ‘95 Percent’ series collaboration is an opportunity to reconnect with a childhood spent in the foothills of Mount Fuji, home to all the subtlety and poetic suggestiveness of Japan’s culinary tradition.’ For Yuki‘s scent, the notes osmanthus, green tea, tangerine and vetiver are entwined to entice the senses…
Illuminum Tom Wolfe
‘London-based Tom Wolfe pioneered the fusion of food with art and product design, carving out a uniquely flamboyant niche in the capital’s culinary landscape. This collaboration with Illuminum is a chance to show off his dazzling talent for drama, story, spectacle and cultural allusion.’ Tom Wolfe #234 twists fennel infused with bergamot, geranium and neroli and a base of pine tree with amber to intrigue…
Illuminum 95% fragrances £80 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Selfridges
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Paul Schütze – a beautiful journey through art, photography, music and now… perfume

We first met the artist Paul Schütze some years ago, during his Silent Surface exhibition – a gallery of works exploring banned books and the power of words. The centrepiece was a magnificent tome on a plinth, the pages entirely blackened as though burned, and from which the most incredible aroma wafted – the more instense the closer you got. A scent evoking old libraries, dusty pages and fresh ink filled the room, and apparently many visitors asked if they could buy the fragrance itself. Having never seen the exercise as a commercial venture – the aroma as much an artwork as those on the walls – Paul hadn’t really considered such a thing, back then. But how things change…
Fascinated by the ability of aroma to provoke distinct emotions and long-distant memories, Paul began working even more closely with the concept of integrating artworks and instillations with our innate sense of smell – an unseen hand of the artist. Last year, Paul collaborated with Sir John Soane’s Museum on a candlelit tour devoted to exploring the sensorial heritage of the house, with Paul using aromas to evoke the sense of the family having just left the room – olfactory time-travel, if you will.
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While still working on his music and stunning photography (seriously, have a look at his Instagram account for a taste of the visual treats), Paul worked extensively on creating exquisite formulas, himself  – transforming his fragrance dreams into a reality, while slowly traversing the tricky areas of perfume regulations.
Now, the trio of fragrances have been realised – each of them chosen to describe a moment in time recalled by the artist ‘for it’s unique particularity’. And there’s no doubting these fragrances are unique.
Behind The RainBehind the Rain: black pepper, conifer, olibanum, grapefruit, lentisque, linden, moss, patchouli, sweet fennel, vetiver.
The moment of being caught in a Monsoon-like downpour – sheltering beneath a tree on some exotic island’s beach, the petrichor scent of the rain istelf, drenched foliage and sweetly sodden earth, then plants blooming as heat returns and the liquid steams…
CirebonCirebon: bergamot, bigarade, cedar, cyclamen, magnolia, pettigrain, sandalwood, Tunisian orange flower, vetiver.
An hallucinogenic evocation of one sultry night in Java – the memories of an orchestra playing, their music drifting across the water on the scented breeze; a synaesthetic merging of the senses as sound and smell become one as they swirl around you…
Tears of ErosTears of Eros: ambergris, benzoin, cardamom, cedar, incense, green clementine, guaiac wood, hyacinth, labdanum, orris, pink pepper.
A rememberance of the artist working in his Parisian studio – the smouldering embers of incense from Sanju Sangendo, Kyoto, among discarded clementine skins, the heat releasing the sharp pithy notes along with the juicy freshness of the skin; a potted hyacinth on the window ledge blurring the cool air of the city beyond…
Strikingly characterful and bold, yet hauntingly ethereal, they seem almost to recall the manual method of developing photographic prints themselves – an image deepening with details, shadows emerging as they warm on the skin. Like his artworks, there’s an avant garde starkness shot through with a stately elegance – a way to transcend through scent.
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Paul Schütze perfumes £135 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Roullier White
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Selfridges launch Fragrance & Candle Space scent-destination for perfumistas – and we hosted the opening party!

We were utterly thrilled when Selfridges London asked The Perfume Society to host the prestigious opening party to celebrate their brand new Fragrance & Candle Space. Located on the ground floor of the department store, it’s a brave new sensorial world of scent exploration, offering a unique space in which to discover all manner of exciting brands, and some houses that were even new to us! Tickets had been eagerly snapped up – and with 100% turnout on the evening, clearly we weren’t the only ones anxious to experience this new olfactory arena…

Selfridges Fragrance and Candle Space main
The new department is spacious, elegantly modern in design and is set to expand even further later in the year when the back of the department is fully opened up. Currently housing the candle and home fragrance collection of Lola James Harper – one of our favourites ever since we first visited their press launch earlier this year and soon with their incredibly evocative fine fragrances to follow; we also spied the exquisitely revamped L’Artisan Parfumeur, the intriguing, music-inspired Justbox, the oft’ swooned over (and we certainly sniffed out why) The Fragrance Kitchen (their Spike Odyssey scent is a world exclusive) and So Oud. But seriously, you need to head there pronto to check out the full range of fabulousness.

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As glasses clinked and bubbles sipped, our Co-Founder Jo Fairley gave an introductory speech welcoming our VIP Subscribers to the event, and we led groups around key stands in the venue whose founders and brand representatives had honoured us by travelling to Selfridges especially for the party, talking about how they began, what their fragrances are inspired by and behind-the-scenes info of their processes.

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From Linda Pilkington (who began Ormonde Jayne literally at her kitchen table), to one of the iconic (arguably first ever heroes of niche) Frederic Malle team; from the charming and so-talented founder of Lola James Harper, Rami Mekdachi; and onwards to the ever-wonderful Diptyque (complete with a travelling trunk of fragrant goods we lusted over for some time…)

Of course there was plenty of sniffing, and our groups were reluctant to tear themselves away from each stand – it’s staggering to see (and smell) the hundreds of hard-to-find fragrances on offer there. On leaving, guests were handed the incredibly generous goody bag – honestly, it had to be seen to be believed. We heard gasps of delight as people opened theirs – provided by brands mentioned, above, for our party, containing a number of fragrant treats to check out at home. But as we left, the tills were still ringing with ticket-holders snapping up their scents of choice – a prospect made all the more agreeable by the £25 gift voucher also included in the goody bag!

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If you’re reading this and feeling slightly sick that you couldn’t make it or hadn’t been quick enough to secure a ticket, may we suggest you take some time out to saunter down to Selfridges and sniff out the new Fragrance & Candle Space for yourselves? You’re bound to come away with a list of must-have perfumes to lust over, at the very least.

Want to join us at future scented soirées? Why not become a VIP Subscriber – or gift a subscription to a fellow scent-lover? Only £25 for a full year, not only will you be invited to equally fabulous and exclusive events and in-depth workshops – you get a complimentary introductory Discovery Box of scents to explore (plus any others you decide to buy will be available at our special VIP rate); on-going special offers and discounts in some of your favourite stores and access to the downloadable version of our award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter, too! It’s kind of win-win-win-win…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Miller Harris invite you to join their scent trail with Treasure Hunt across London for two new perfumes!

We all love a scent trail, but most particularly when it’s a clue-strewn walking trail with possible prizes of Miller Harris perfume!
In an exciting-sounding event this coming Saturday, 4 June; Miller Harris will celebrate next week’s launch of two brand new fragrances – Lumière Dorée and Étui Noir – by staging a Treasure Hunt across London.
Starting in Covent Garden Market, perfumed participants will receive a special map and instructions for tasks across London, with the final destination being Bruton Street. Miller Harris state that you’ll need to take photos along your journey to take part – sharing them on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #MHShadowsAndLight
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Those taking part are to receive rewards at each ‘check point’ when showing their photos to the Miller Harris store teams. And what’s more – the first ten people to fully complete the treasure hunt will win a 50ml fragrance of both Lumière Dorée and Étui Noir, before they have even launched!
PrintMiller Harris say: ‘Comfortably androgynous, one is a reflection, the other is its mirror image. Lumière Dorée is the golden aura that every morning enfolds the night. Etui Noir is the magic shadow that each night sets free the day.’
Print‘Etui Noir and Lumiere Dorée are two sides of the same person: night and day, and dark and light. They work beautifully individually or layered as a pair, where they reveal new shadows and facets.’
We are always on the hunt for new fragrances, and love this idea of actually following a scent trail across London! Do let us know if you’re lucky enough to win, and of course what you think of the new perfumes. Indeed, we can’t wait to sniff them out ourselves…
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Miller Harris Lumière Dorée and Étui Noir will be launching on June 2nd at millerharris.com and at Miller Harris in-store.
Written by Suzy Nightingale

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.’

PINT LRR_3DHaving 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…

PINT AL_3DThe 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.u

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:

‘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…

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.’

‘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