CHANEL Chance gets Eau Tendre with eau de parfum

If anything can revive flagging spirits, it’s the sniff of a new CHANEL fragrance – this time the classic Chance fragrance getting reinvigorated with a new interpretation of Chance Eau Tendre in eau de parfum form.

One glimpse of the gloriously colourful advertising campaign, and we rather think you’ll be joining us in wanting to whirl around in a pretty sugared-almond coloured skirt, while performing joyful dance moves on a velvet chair! OK, given that it’s January and we’re all still easing our way back to reality, perhaps it’s better to enjoy watching it, below, instead…

So what can you expect from this new addition to CHANEL’s scented wardrobe? Well, each evocation of Chance takes on a special character of its own, while of course adhering to the spirit of the original. So, let’s think back to when Chance was first launched back in 2002 – the name, as always was no mere chance in itself: it was chosen because, as CHANEL remind us:

‘Chance is a way of being,’ said Gabrielle Chanel, who believed in her lucky star as much as she cultivated it. With confidence and determination, Mademoiselle seized this chance throughout her whole life. Attentive to all the signs that marked her path, a woman who loved chance encounters and the unexpected, she smiled at fortune and fortune smiled on her in return.

With four current versions of that original, it’s not simply about adding power to a perfume by increasing its strength, or adding freshness to what was already there – each transition marks a new fragrant chapter in the life of the fragrance.

CHANEL say: ‘With CHANCE EAU TENDRE Eau de Parfum, perfumer-creator Olivier Polge, in cooperation with the CHANEL Laboratory of Fragrance Creation and Development, reinterprets the floral-fruity signature. More intense, more enveloping, this version expresses a radiant and confident femininity. Its oral heart accentuates the fullness of exotic jasmine absolute, enriched with an essence of rose that shines a soft light at the center of the composition.

More feminine than ever, this oral equation is draped in just the right dose of smooth and creamy white musk notes to create a clean, cottony effect. Immediately illuminated by the tangy whirl of the grapefruit-quince accord, CHANCE EAU TENDRE Eau de Parfum brings a feeling of absolute tenderness. Delicate and profoundly poetic, this new composition evokes a woman whose joy and inner glow gives her instant charm.’

To visually express this new fragrant interpretation, the gold neck takes on a silvery hue for the eau de parfum, and in many ways, wearing it feels like a whole new fragrance. The notes are beautifully rounded, like layers of tulle or the petals of a flower, enveloping you in waves of deliciousness that seem to float around you in a fragrant cloud. A softly powdered elegance follows your every step, but that opening zing of the grapefuit and quince really adds energy and lifts the composition to above and beyond, and so it never feels heavy or too swaddling to wear all day.

Really, it’s just the thing for this time of year – characterful, of course, and with a depth that feels comforting, but with enough get up and go to shake you from the doldrums. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get those pastel skirts on* and twirl to our heart’s content!

*[Though we might be adding something longer that a crop-top, while it’s still a bit chilly…]

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Acqua di Parma Barbiere – Selfridges open new male grooming experience

Acqua di Parma have long been known as the go-to for stylish gents who wish to be wonderfully fragranced, and now Selfridges add to the experience by opening a brand new Acqua di Parma Barbiere space, for an exquisitely scented grooming experience – and just in time for Christmas, too!

Located next to the Men’s Beauty Workshop in their Oxford Street store, Barbiere promises to be ‘…an intimate and refined yet relaxed space where the modern man can indulge in the ritual of a traditional Italian shave, pick up his grooming essentials, and discover the Acqua di Parma fragrant universe.’

Marrying the brand’s signature yellow in soft furnishings with luxurious woods and that innate Italian style – we think it looks distictly Wes Anderson in character – it’s a welcoming place to take a few minutes to unwind, be pampered and experience for yourself some of the wonderful (and heavenly scented) products they offer. Even better: to have someone else do all the hard work for you!

Services will include a proper Italian Traditional Shave (£45) which takes 30 minutes and involves cut-throat razors, hot towels and a soothing Colonia aftershave; a Prestige Shave (£59) for 50 minutes, with facial and eye massage, full consultation and double-shave (for ultra-smooth chops!); various hair-cutting / beard-wrangling options and any number of fabulously indulgent treat packages.

The perfect way to ease yourself into the festive season, have a pre-NYE spruce-up or to give as a thoughtful gift idea, the Acqua di Parma Barbiere experience will be open from 17 December 2018, at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London.

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

Mmmmmmm Micallef! Get to know (and fall in love with) this luxury niche house

Maison Micallef is one of those fragrance house names on the lips of every glossy magazine and beauty editor, and perfume-lovers in-the-know – but perhaps still one of the best kept secrets of scent, simply because they don’t spend millions on advertsing, and are extremely selective about where their fragrances are sold.

We are thrilled, therefore, to be stocking their fabulous M. Micallef Discovery Collection – a chance to try eight of the fragrances for only £19! Every time we manage to get these back in stock, they sell out REALLY quickly, so scroll down to secure yours now…

So, who are Maison Micallef?

– Founded in Grasse in 1996, and now recognised for their luxurious perfumes – and for flacons unlike anything else in the world – the house brings together the talents of three individuals. First, Martine Micallef (the ‘M’ in the perfume house name): a woman born in St. Paul de Vence, in Provence, who grew up surrounded by art – and with her ‘artist’s soul’ was magnetised to the world of design, painting and sculpture. (She went on to open her own beauty salons.)

– It’s Martine who’s responsible for the extraordinary ‘look’ of Maison Micallef: beautiful and bejewelled, each flacon a work of art – produced and decorated by hand, seducing connoisseurs from around the globe, and is a favourite of some of the world’s wealthiest perfume-lovers.

– The renowned ‘nose’ responsible for what’s inside Maison Micallef‘s bottles is Jean-Claude Astier. Through his talents, Maison Micallef perfumes share a signature richness that mirrors their precious containers. There are well over a dozen fragrances, for men and for women, across many ‘families’ – faithful to the concept of French haute parfumerie but highly influenced by the exotic scents found in Arabia and the Orient.

– The third individual in the Maison Micallef trio is the visionary Geoffrey Nejman, once a ‘hardened businessman’ (as he puts it) until he was seized by a passion for the world of perfumery (and for Martine!) Together they travel the world personally selecting the rock crystals to decorate the bottles, as well as the natural essences inside. Everything’s hand-weighed, mixed, macerated and filtered by hand, too – then shipped to the world’s most famous department stores and fine perfumeries.

The perfect introduction… What’s in the box?
We bet they wont have tried these, M. Micallef is a rare and ultra-luxe house – this is your chance to give a gift allowing a loved one to try a selection of eight scents from the French perfume house – and discover for themselves the scents that make this house one of the most exciting and sumptuously luxurious in the world…

Collection Les Exclusifs: Watch
This perfume is a wonderful elixir that heightens both the scents of gourmet Bourbon vanilla and those refined of tuberose and jasmine. This delightful alliance reminds the wearer of tropical paradise, with every transporting spritz.

Collection Mon Parfum: Mon Parfum Martine Micallef
Imagined and created by Martine Micallef, Mon Parfum is a concentrate of femininity, sensuality and seduction, faithful to her personality. An utterly addictive gourmet fragrance built on orange and passion fruit, carefully accompanied by vanilla and caramel.

Collection Jewel: Ylang in Gold
A nectar of an absolute sensuality, Ylang in Gold is composed of a balanced floral bouquet warmed by sunny notes suggesting southern islands: ylang ylang, sandalwood, coconut and vanilla. On the skin, it leaves a light and delicate pearly golden dust.

Collection Jewel: Royal Muska
Sweetened by its fruity head note, imbued with sensuality of ylang ylang’s indolent flowers and the sophisticated opulence of roses, Royal Muska is exotic and infinitely feminine. The musky base note brings a velvety composition, giving it a small tropical connotation.

Collection Ananda: Ananda Dolce
Expressing the joy of living in the Provence – buds appear in the silence of February and in March, the soft and sensual scent of fresh leaves and fruity almond blossoms, together with a subtle touch of peach, captures sunlight and offers an exceptional range of colours.

Pure Extreme
Combining the finest and rarest natural essences; transparent jasmine, rose and white musk result in a fragrance of refined elegance. This delicate composition reflecting a tenderness and sensuality of exceptional quality: a balance of floralcy on ambered warmth.

Collection Les Exclusifs: Royal Rose Oud
The fruity top note of blackcurrant of Royal Rose Aoud introduces his delicate heart made of rose, from a very special essential oil of Bulgarian rose, which is intermixed to full-bodied and sensual notes of oudh, all based on patchouli, musk and sandalwood.

Collection Ananda: Ananda
The fragrance of Ananda is flowery and delicate, perfectly balanced. The fruity head note of plum is enriched with the floral heart note of violet, based on white musk with a touch of mimosa – an ethereal, beautiful to scent to waft around in waves of tenderness.

Maison Micallef Discovery Set £19 for 8 x 1.3ml eau de parfum

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Luxury Boxes: perfect gifts for ‘not quite sure what they like’ loved ones!

Have you got people to buy presents for this Christmas whose tastes you’re not absolutely certain of? There are always some, it seems, and we have the perfect gift idea: a selection box of sumptuous scents in Luxury Boxes!

We pride ourselves on offering a beautiful range of luxury niche and hard-to-find fragrances, each box comprising a wonderful selection of scents your loved one can try. We always say the only way to buy fragrance is to live with it a while on your skin, to see how the notes unravel as it warms with you, to explore how each one makes you feel… and the best way to do this is by having a variety of try-me sizes – a scented something for every mood!

Consider giving these gift boxes as an initial ‘taster’ present, and then asking which their favourite was, to buy the full size later on (now safe in the knowledge they’ve tried and adored it!) And of course they make fantastic standalone presents for any perfume lover, with something for every budget.

Why not tick off some more gift buying right now, from the comfort of your home, and let us do all the hard work for you? Or if you’re already done (our congratulations and sheer envy, if you are!) why not put your feet up and treat yourself for a change…?

Now this set represents a HUGE bargain, boasting a £15 voucher given with every box, to put towards a full size of your choosing. Each scent was developed by a different master perfumer – think: Fanny Bal, Thomas Fontaine, Michel Roudnitska, Christian Provenzano, Beverley Bayne and Randa Hammami – true experts and alchemists in the world of fragrance. From stunning florals to exquisitely fresh fragrances and a mystical woodiness that’s captivated everyone who’s worn it, we think you’re going to be as excited as we were to discover this collection. Learn all about this exciting new house with an explanatory leaflet and ten scent strips to fully explore and get to know the fragrances in depth – it’s ideal for those who crave something truly different, and for people just learning the delights of perfumery.
Anima Vinci Discovery Set £15

A fantastic second curation of Tom Daxon fragrances (the first one is still available, if you prefer) continues the exploration of the signature collection from this rising star of the perfume world. Five fabulous fragrances – all shareable, all delectable, a celebration of dark and mysterious scents that we think are just perfect for the colder months. Each fragrance is meticulously created with perfumer Jacques Chabert – who, during his career, has spent time working on scents for Chanel and Guerlain (and who twentysomething Tom Daxon has known since childhood).
Tom Daxon Discovery Collection Two £45

With creations by one of the world’s leading perfumers, the new perfume house Floral Street pride themselves on shaking up your opinions about floral scents, with their distinctly modern spin on a classic perfume category. Put basically, Floral Street’s fragrances are about as far from your granny’s florals as it’s possible to get – each one 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.’ Using unexpected combinations beautifully blended, they’re affordable luxuries to indulge in at any time, and especially suited to those new to exploring niche perfumery.
Floral Street Discovery Set £14

In an age where we hear a lot about conscious consumerism, Sana Jardin is looking to change the world – one utterly exquisite bottle of perfume at a time… The scents in the Sana Jardin collection are strikingly beautiful – a magic carpet ride in every bottle. And – enhancing their feel-good factor – this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house offers flacons created entirely from recycled glass, along with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations for Sana Jardin. The perfect pick for someone who’s socially conscious but still wants to smell utterly sublime!
Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30

Discover British master perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek‘s collection in one brilliant box. After years of creating scents for iconic brands like Jo Malone London and Jigsaw, Ruth set about creating her own range. Each of her perfumes is a masterpiece that takes two or three years to make, crafted using some of the best ingredients the world has to offer and seeking to capture fragments of a life well lived within each composition. Expect to find your new scent love right here, with a truly mesmerising modern take on Chypre (surely the most sophisticated fragrance family), along with luscious florals and intriguingly contemporary (and definitely sharable) scents. This selection (with lovely travel-friendly sprays) is a must-try for anyone who has a love of perfume – or would make a great gift for someone wanting to discover, explore and enjoy a unique perfume house.
Ruth Mastenbroek Discovery Set £17.95

The Merchant of Venice invites you on an enchanting journey through the different olfactory families to discover their Murano Collection. A unique set that reinterprets the art of Venetian Perfumery, it is inspired by its craftsmanship and age-old trade with the Orient. Encompassing the exotic ingredients that Venice traded, the perfumes and packaging evoke the rich traditions and history on which this noble city was founded. It’s an incredible collection with each fragrance encompassing a fascinating story and a snapshot of historic influneces composed with the contemporary fragrance-wearer in mind. Did you know The Merchant of Venice found a unique rose in the grounds of a Venetian palace, and used this for one of their scents? For travel, history and scent-lovers alike…
The Merchant of Venice Discovery Set £30

Cochine is Vietnam’s first luxury fragrance brand – and one that we are totally obsessed with! Created to inspire you, Cochine’s collection of eaux de parfum captures the romance of a sun-warmed garden as its enchanting scents unfold into the evening air. The Cochine Floral Collection has been specially selected from Cochine’s portfolio of unique botanical scents, including the newest fragrance, Tuberose & Wild Fig. To wear these is to be transported to exotic climes and a heavenly scented, balmy air. The fragrances are presented in sizes that mean they’re great to have for spritzing at home, popping in your handbag or even taking on holiday – completely perfect for that unashamed floral lover in your life.
Cochine Floral Collection £35

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

Cochine’s sumptuous scents from Saigon

Cochine is one of those fragrance houses glossy magazine editors might talk about in hushed tones, because maybe they don’t want everyone to know their scented secrets just yet. We fell in love with Vietnam’s first luxury fragrance house a while ago, and have no such qualms about sharing them with you, which is exactly why we were so thrilled to get our hands on some of the Cochine Floral Collection Discovery Sets!

Read on to see exactly why we were so enamoured, and how Kate Crofton-Atkins created her dream fragrance house…

One of perfume’s greatest magic tricks is the ability of time travel – propelling us back to very particular moments in life as though those people, that moment in time, wwere with us, were happening right now. But perhaps the most wonderful atribute of wearing scent is the feeling it gives us of being whisked away to some other (hopefully more exotic – and warmer!)  – place in the world. Cochine’s founder, Kate Crofton-Atkins was already deeply in tune with her senses. But it wasn’t until she left London (and her high-power job at L’Oréal), upped-sticks and moved to Saigon, that her life took on an entirely new direction…

Describing how she was ‘instantly struck by the city’s unique style, elegance and romance,’ Kate soon became obsessed with the streets abundantly draped with swags of jasmine intoxicating the air, and so magnificently set against the backdrop of so-chic French style architecture. At that moment, so enthralled by the scenes around her, Kate knew she had to set about capturing these in fragrant form… and so Cochine was born.

With the evocative inspiration of Saigon filling her head and leading with the idea that she wanted to create perfumes that brought to life this special place and unique moments shared there, Kate partnered with a fragrance house based in New York to bring the dream into a scented reality. Spending over a year just sourcing the essential oils harvested from plants in Vietnam, Kate and the perfumers worked hard for yet a further year, making sure they were blending the perfect combinations of these precious ingredients ‘…to reflect Saigon’s diverse flora and distinctive blend of Oriental charm.’ Furthermore, the Cochine products themselves are all made within France and Vietnam to retain the original sensorial inspiration for this perfume house.

True to their ethically sound heart, Cochine don’t stop at the products themselves, but spread the goodwill by supporting sustainable farming projects, such as the Agarwood Project founded by The Rainforest Project, explaining, ‘This Foundation has created a durable and commercially viable solution to the problem of over-harvested aquilaria trees, which are cut down in order to extract agar wood (oudh) oil.’

Sensuality, Saigon and sustainability are at the heart of every single Cochine fragrance, then, and it’s no wonder the first fragrance was jasmine-based, an olfactory flash-back to the first time Kate breathed in that scent when she first arrived in Saigon. And so, White Jasmine & Gardenia ‘…evokes the lush floral scents that infuse the sun-filled streets and gardens of Saigon. White petals of jasmine, gardenia and peony combine to unfold an enchanting aura that is soft yet elegant.’ Even using the decadent hand cream of the same fragrance is a sensorial delight – the delicious scent of the waxy white flowers making an everyday luxury of a daily routine.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese Rose & Delentii brings to life the freshness of just-cut flowers with the dew still on their petals, combining top notes of rose and bergamot with a breath of violet, rosewood and the rare, scented orchid, delentii, indigenous to Vietnam and which flowers for only two months a year. It’s a sophisticated and utterly charming scent to wear, and this one became a go-to rose for several members of The Perfume Society who fell in love with it!

And oh my goodness, Tuberose & Wild Fig is every bit as luscious as it sounds – a truly stunning example of how heady white flowers should be handled, with the extremely costly Tuberose absolute melting into the ripe richness of fresh fig. Slightly milky, shot through with layers of citrus and delving into the cool woodiness of vetiver and cedar in the base this was inspired by an evening walk through a Saigon garden. Closing our eyes, we can almost feel the foliage brushing past, a tumble of petals at our feet, the warm caress of the heavenly scented air on our skin.

Let’s escape there, right now…!

Cochine Floral Collection Discovery Set £35 for 3 x 8ml eau de parfum

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]

Spotlight on: Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent was a ground-breaking designer who delighted in shaking up the mainstream, always in his  stylish and undeniably sexy way, with this ethos effortlessly transferring from fashion to fine fragrance.

Producing several of the best-selling perfumes of all time, with stunning bottles that have become collectors items in their own right; not many fragrance houses can claim to have a founder who dared pose naked for his own fragrance advertising campaign, because ‘perfume is worn on the skin, so why hide the body…?’

It all began at the tender age of seven years old, when Yves Saint Laurent began designing clothes for his sister’s dolls, expressing a natural talent and indulging a dream of a career in the glamorous world of fashion design. A deacde later, and he’d enrolled on a graduate fashion course at college, winning both 1st and 3rd prize in the prestigious International Wool Design competition at only 18 years old. His talent was showcased to the world and a young Saint Laurent was offered the role of haute couture designer for the House of Dior. A dazzling debut, interrupted by a brief period of national service in the army, led Saint Laurent to opening his very own couture house, still aged just 21, and enabling him to truly express his fashion expertise.

1962 saw the dawn of the Yves Saint Laurent brand and his masterful couture creations for the rich and famous. But clothing was never the only way Yves Saint Laurent wanted to dress women – in 1964 he created his first fragrance, Y, a collaboration with perfumer Jean Amic. It was an olfactory expression of the elegance and luxury of his couture fashion – a fragrance tailored for the beautiful women he dressed. In its original packaging, the green chypre juice was housed in a bottle cut to reflect the silhouette of a woman’s head and shoulders. The letter ‘Y’ cleverly placed to represent the neckline on her dress.

In 1971 Yves Saint Laurent continued to shock when he launched his first fragrance for men, Pour Homme – posing nude for the visual, in stark representation of the values of the Yves Saint Laurent House, comfort and sophistication coupled with modernity and audacity. In the same year, he created a fragrance for the independent, free-spirited woman who shopped at his new boutique: Rive Gauche. At a time when fragrances were presented in classically feminine bottles, best stored on the dressing table at home, it was the first fragrance to be launched packaged in a tin can!

 

In 1977 Yves Saint Laurent wanted to glorify another facet of YSL femininity; sensuality and seductiveness – and women the world over were seduced by YSL’s Opium . An opulent swathe of oriental ambers and vanilla by perfumers Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac, this audaciously-named fragrance sparked immediate controversy. As the scandal and the hype grew so did demand. Global press took straight to the newsstands to criticise Yves Saint Laurent’s determination to shock, but scandal only served to fuel desire; testers were stolen, posters were ripped down and stores sold out of stock in a matter of hours on the launch date.

Fast-forward to  2014, when the latest reinvention of the YSL woman was launched in the form of Black Opium, composed by four master perfumers (Marie Salamagne, Nathalie Lorson, Olivier Cresp and Honorine Blanc), with an overdose of black coffee accord to instantly invigorate the senses, contrasting with voluptuous white floral heart notes and a gourmand vanilla base.

The following year, Black Opium scooped Best New Fragrance for Women in the UK’s prestigious Fragrance Foundation Awards – and since then, the fragrance has acquired countless ‘collectors’, thrilled by limited editions and new ‘spins’ on this smouldering scent.

There are few people who’ve not owned and loved an Yves Saint Laurent fragrance, or who don’t have one of these – classics and modern must-haves alike – in their collection. We’d be hard-pushed to pick a favourite… so, we wonder, what would yours be? And while you’re pondering which perfume to choose, you can read all about their history in more detail on our page dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent