Romantic panic? How to buy fragrance he’ll actually love

Valentines Day – love it or loathe it – is just around the corner, and it’s still the day that generates the most fragrance sales, peaking at 42% of all prestige beauty products sold. So if you’re thinking of splashing out on a scent for your significant other, follow our guide to ensuring success…

If you already know what he loves

Have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent grooming products like body/beard oils and shower gels or body lotions. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of fragrances (which are always useful and well-recieved).

If you don’t want to get them the same old thing, then take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent they already like, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges.

Plus, we now have a dedicated Men’s fragrance section, full of detailed descriptions we’ve sourced directly from the fragrance houses and perfumers themselves. And, because we know so many of us wear fragrances with no regard to gendering (yet so many houses still categorise them as ‘male’ or ‘female’), we’ve given you the option of choosing ‘shared‘ in your scented searches.

If you have no idea what he likes

A selection box of scents showcasing a range of fragrances with differing styles is your saviour. They can try them all at home, taking time to choose their favourites, and most likely discovering scents they had never heard of or perhaps would have walked past were they not temptingly waggled beneath their noses…

Amouage Men’s Discovery Set £50
Amouage are a luxury niche house that can never be accused of ‘following the flock’ – this stunning collection will wow whomever is lucky enough to recieve it with incredibly impactful, long-lasting and utterly unique fragrances. With this beautifully-composed collection we invite you to discover the many characters of these accomplished fragrances – a dozen ways to wear and enjoy Amouage, encompassing all the masculine fragrance families.

With its roots in the Sultanate of Oman, the very ‘cradle’ of perfumery, this is a luxury perfume house with its finger on the pulse-point of what modern fragrance-wearers want. So we are proud to introduce this truly decadent collection featuring TWELVE MEN’S AMOUAGE FRAGRANCES, allowing you to explore and delight in these creations at your leisure.

Mr. Scentastic Discovery Box £19 / £15 for VIP Club Members
For those wanting to begin (or expand) their fragrance wardrobe, we’ve put together a thrilling collection of simply the finest men’s fragrances out there. Where do we start..? Certainly with the so-modern 6ml MUGLER ALIEN MAN as well as a 30ml DEAR BARBER WITH CONFIDENCE fragrance for those who like traditional scents. But we’ve also added incredible niche fragrances from perfume houses such as Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Prosody, Hugo Boss, BulgariLalique and more.

So whether you are planning cliff-top walks, a trip away, cosy nights in or some dress-to-impress evenings, there is a fragrance for every occasion in this collection. We have also included two GROOMING EXTRAS – because Mr. Scentastic wants to look as good as you smell. Check out the fantastic travel size Jack Black Double Duty Moisturiser SPF20 and Pre & After-Shave Balm from the divine Atkinsons Grooming Collection.

Escentric Molecules Discovery Set £25
Revolutionising the fragrance industry with their now cult-favourite scents, these EIGHT fragrances take a man-made molecule that smells fantastic in its own right, and then combines them with naturals that help enhance the incredible depth found in that single molecule. These are duos to explore and fall in love with – especially good gifts for the scientifically inclined, or those who yearn to know more about the world of fragrance (and to smell utterly unique).

In each duo, the Molecule and Escentric companion allow you to experience the wonders of science and art in harmony – truly a treat for the senses, and we think you’ll be blown away by how long these last on the skin (and, of course, how fabulous he’ll smell…) For rebels, artists and scientists everywhere, why run with the pack when you can smell so delightfully different?

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush: Exclusive Q&A with perfumer

We caught up with Olivier Gillotin, the perfumer behind Ralph Lauren’s Polo Red Rush fragrance, for an exclusive Q&A and a sneak peek behind the scenes of his inspiration for creating the scent…

Q1. What was your inspiration behind POLO RED RUSH?

In designing the Polo Red Rush fragrance, I was inspired by the acceleration, elation and intensity during the very beginning of a race. I wanted to translate the rush of those never-ending first seconds into the fragrance. To achieve this vision, it needed to bring an immediate, intense freshness. Two ingredients inspired me at first: red mandarin for an impulsive, crispy start, then fresh mint for its energizing power.

Q2. How would you describe the way POLO RED RUSH smells?

I like to describe Polo Red Rush as an energetic red water – a fresh water tinted with crisp, energizing red notes. The citrus top notes (red mandarin, red grapefruit, lemon and pineapple) complement the spearmint mid note for an immediate fresh effect. The scent evolves on the skin with facets of red saffron while orange flower adds a masculine watery fluidity. Finally, a vibrant burst of roasted red coffee is streamlined with Cedarwood, bringing a new sleekness and elevating the background with an enamoring trail of woody musk.

Q3. How does POLO RED RUSH fit into the POLO RED franchise?

Polo Red Rush takes the franchise to the next level, capturing the sensations of speed, seduction and freedom. With its fresh, invigorating and surprising association of citrusy mint and cedarwood, Polo Red Rush perfectly rounds out the Polo Red portfolio.

Q4. What are the main differences between POLO RED, POLO RED EXTREME AND POLO RED RUSH?

Polo Red Rush is a crisp, energetic new interpretation of the original Polo Red. It elevates a spiced, cool watery freshness and bold red citrus profile. Spearmint from Morocco joins as a new bracing and dynamic element. Coffee notes play a supporting role to enhance a sleekly sensual dry-down with cedarwood and musk.

Q5. How did you choose the key notes for POLO RED RUSH? What makes the olfactive structure so intriguing?

Polo Red Rush masters a high proportion of saffron that is paired up with citrusy mint. I chose to elevate saffron for its unique and vibrant character able to unveil a fascinating fresh-spicy facet. Mint – saffron is an unusual and surprising association that creates a fresh yet intense and refined energy. Both ingredients fit perfectly well and complement each other.

Q6. Were there any special techniques or stand-out ingredients used to achieve your vision for POLO RED RUSH?

The creation process has been a construction – deconstruction “game”. My original intention was to design the ultimate experience of fresh energy for the Polo Red thrill-seeker. After translating this idea into fragrance, I deconstructed the formula to clearly identify and highlight its best facets – crisp and citrusy mint, cedarwood, saffron. I then removed all unnecessary ingredients to maintain the most relevant ones and to develop the fragrance in a fresh, unique and refined way.

Q7. What makes POLO RED RUSH so crisp and energizing?

Polo Red Rush has everything of a fresh water putting the emphasis on citrus and mint. In addition to that, I highly elevated saffron, as a powerful red spice imbued with fresh intensity and a key ingredient for the franchise. The combination of citrusy mint and saffron create this unique crisp and energizing freshness.

Q8. You’ve often described how the color red inspires you. How did you channel that inspiration into an entirely different olfactive experience for POLO RED RUSH?

For each Polo Red fragrance, I ensured that the smell brought to mind the color red. Polo Red and Polo Red Extreme respectively focused on the symbolic of seduction and power. With Polo Red Rush, I wanted to explore another strong and explicit meaning: energy. It inspired me to design a red water acting like a booster. This red water needed to be olfactively infused with the positive and stimulating energy of the color to be able to master a never ending rush.

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush £55 for 75ml eau de toilette
Try it at debenhams.com

Fragrance Family Friday: Fougère

As part of our continuing feature, Fragrance Family Friday, today we’re burrowing knee-deep in shady ferns for Fougère

For anyone who’s wondering, you say it ‘foo-jair’ (with the ‘j’ a little soft – almost ‘foo-shair’…) – we thought we’d start with that, because not only can some of the fragrance families be a bit confusing, even pronouncing them can get the better of us at times!

Now that’s out the way, let’s go deep into the shady undergrowth of this fabulous – and still-evolving – fragrance category.

Although there are many modern variations cropping up, a fougère will invariably feature lavender, geranium, vetiver, bergamot, oakmoss and coumarin in the blend. Fougère Royale as the first of them, from Houbigant in 1882. Fougère takes its name from the French for ‘fern’ – and to understand what these ferny, green fragrances smell like, here is an absolute classic, now thankfully revived in a heart-warming way, by Milano Centro

Milano Centro HIM was showcased first at the Beauty International show at Olympia in June 1989, by business partners and interior designers Dean Tatum and the late Matthew Bright. Inspired by ‘the classic sophistication of all things Italian’, they launched with just one fragrance – Milano Cento HIM – a fabulous evocation of a fougère that smells like a cool, shady walk through a forest.

What does it smell like? Imagine citrus luminescence sparkling in the tops notes with bergamot and peititgrain, giving way to a herbaceously dappled breeze of rosemary, lavender and basil. As it warms, you’re swathed in the musky warmth of smooth sandalwood and suavely sprinkled spicy notes of clove, cinnamon and amber atop a darkly glimmering patchouli base.

When Milano Cento – the perfect, drop-dead sexy man smell – later disappeared from the shelves (as many fragrances do, alas…) it could have been a mere scent memory, if it wasn’t for Dean Tatum’s wife Valissa and son, Jasper. They had the idea to recreate a single bottle for Dean’s 50th birthday: the ultimate journey back in time. As any perfume world insider knows, however: it’s not that simple. ‘Trying to find someone to produce for us, in the small quantities we were after, was quite a challenge. It was only after we called a few stockists, who said they remembered the brand and asked when it was coming back, that we had the idea to relaunch it.’

We’re so glad they did. This is a fougère fragrance that smells classic in a timeless way, rather than simply reminiscent of the era it originates from – it’s grown-up, insouciant, perfect for any occasion.

Want to try it for yourself? Find Milano Centro HIM in our Explorer Men’s Discovery Box – along with SIXTEEN other fragrances to explore!

The Explorer Men’s Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

By Suzy Nightingale

Retro men’s fragrance ads to make you smile

In our semi-regular series looking back fondly to fragrance ads of yore, we’re concentrating today on a batch that are even more (mostly unintentially) hilarious than previous selections. With a fascinating look at what men should smell like, and how they should behave, we feel these serve as public information films, and should possibly be studied in history lessons while a teacher writes ‘What WERE they Thinking?!’ on a white board…

 

There’s something rather ironic about the voiceover saying ‘…for men who aren’t kids anymore’ just as a woman is shown spoon-feeding her man-child partner in a restaurant, don’t you think? Immediately after asserting how grown up and un-kid-like the man who wears this fragrance definitely is, they ask ‘Would Canoe suit you? Ask a woman…’ while she’s now shown cutting his hair. We don’t get to see her rock him to sleep or read him a bedtime story or even talc his bottom with matching powder, but the inference is surely there. The people who made this Dana Canoe advert in the 60s HAD to be trolling the chaps, right? We’re down for it.

 

‘He believes in the same things his father believes in’ – wearing all white outfits while gazing wistfully from windows in all white rooms, apparently. Then, because he’s ‘strong and dependable’ he pops down to the beach to help two fishermen haul a boat out to sea (NB: they were doing perfectly well before he stepped in, but we’re sure they praised his name to the sky). Actually, we’re big fans of the Old Spice fragrance, here at The Perfume Society. It’s a proper masculine classic, and if you haven’t smelled it for a while, quit your sniggering and have a sniff. But do feel free to snigger at the old adverts, all the same.

 

#moustachegoals for miles as our hero is seen splashing on Blue Statos Cologne one minute, and hurling himself into a hang-glider the next. We hope he waxed that ‘tache or he could give himself whiplash. And who’d have thought it? It turns out hang-gliding is the perfect sport to take up if you want to make eye-contact with female drivers – not something we’d have thought Health & Safety regs would approve of, but still. She can get a whiff of his Cologne even as he whisks through the air above her car (like a fragrant falcon), and they immediately decide to live together in a glorified wooden shack. We love happy endings.

 

The Hai Karate adverts were always firmly tongue-in-cheek – ready to take the proverbial out of themselves, and presented in the manner of camp Carry On style films of the era. There’s something a bit weird about watching them now, though – a genuine sense of unsettling danger of women uleashed from their senses by getting a mere sniff of the Cologne. Here, a female nurse adds injury to injury by ruthlessly persuing a patient across a hospital ward. Apparently the brand put ‘instruction for self defence with every bottle’ because it smelled so good, men who wore it were in constant danger. Or something.

 

Shopping for men while picking up their vegetables for the week, two women perform an improptu musical outside a greengrocer’s, discussing what, exactly, constitutes ‘something about an Aqua Velva man.’ I’m not sure we ever quite get to the bottom of it, only that they must be ‘manly’ and ‘last all day’. With packaging that at first glance might be mistaken for men’s hair dye – or a devastatingly attractive fake Moustache In a Box – we can only guess how ‘fresh’ and/or ‘provocative’ the duo of fragrances actually smelled. Or perhaps it’s of secondary importance to the freshness of the veg?

By Suzy Nightingale

Father’s Day – stage a scent intervention with these fragrant gifts

Dad, it’s time to step away from the Cologne Auntie Brenda gave you when you were 19: we’re staging a scent intervention for Father’s Day…

Today, June 11, is our last cut-off day for posting before Father’s Day on June 16 – but you can use these tips whenever you’re buying a fragrant gift!

Buying a fragrance for your father – or the father-figure in your life – can be tricky. You want to gently ease them away from the one they’ve been drenching themselves in for decades because the scented landscape has (mercifully) changed; but where to begin on their new fragrant adventure?

We specially curate a selection of our Discovery Boxes with men in mind (or anyone who prefers more traditionally ‘masculine’ leaning fragrances), as well as stocking a superb selection of Brand Boxes from new niche houses and the more unusual, already established names.

Discovery Boxes/sets really are the best gifts: you’re not imposing your own taste or guessing at theirs, and with a plethora of perfumed delights to explore, the chances of scented success are greatly increased!

Choosing a new fragrance deserves time and space to properly see how they develop on your skin, and something we know you love is the chance to try things you’d perhaps never heard of before. When given as a gift, these boxes also represent the chance to gently move someone you love out of a fragrant rut…

Bringing brand new releases, much-loved classics and niche perfume houses, with an unprecedented SEVENTEEN FRAGRANCES to explore, there’s something for all to fall for in this bumper selection! Including FIVE fragrances from the Elements of Man line-up by ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, a zing for your step from TOM DAXON Sicilian Wood, the power of the just-launched CREED Aventus Cologne – alongside classic ACQUA DI PARMA Colonia, inviting you to dip your toe in summer waters… We’ve also thrown in TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! The evocative Milano Cento Body Wash 30ml, to pair with the same fragrance in the box, along with Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturiser SPF20.

And if you buy this box before 28th June, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a full-sized fragrance or grooming product. Which you can choose to give as a second gift, or well, *cough* just keep for yourself.

The Explorer Men’s Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

If he’s something of a rebel or always up for trying the latest technology – we’d steer him toward the incredible, ground-breaking fragrances of Escentric Molecules. Creating unique duos that combine a man-made aroma-molecule with naturals, try each of them in turn, compare the four pairs, and find out why this continually innovative house are set to blow your mind. What’s more, feedback tells us these fragrances last the whole day through, and smell utterly unique.

The Escentric Molecules Discovery Set includes four duos x 2ml samples.

Escentric 01 – the Iso E Super molecule features heavily, with the remaining formula using ingredients ‘designed to underscore its low-lit mood.’

Molecule 01 – the ‘partner’ to Escentric 01 contains nothing but Iso E Super – a single ingredient.

Escentric 02 – vetiver, synthetic musk, Muscone plus powdery orris, elderflower extract and hedione

Molecule 02 – unadulterated Ambroxan

Escentric 03 – a tribute to the more familiar side of vetiver: its dark, slightly exotic woodiness.

Molecule 03 – Vertiveryle acetate, a refined vetiver note is celebrated at its purest

Escentric 04 – pink grapefruit, rose and pink peppercorns

Molecule 04 – a seriously room-filling sillage of smooth sandalwood

Escentric Molecules Discovery Set £25

It’s time to switch up their scent game and move from heavier fragrances to a fresher wardrobe. We curated this selection especially for chaps looking to find something new, so there’s something for every man (and plenty of ‘borrowable’ finds) – including Bentley, Parfums de MarlyCristiano Ronaldo and TWO duos from cult brands – Escentric Molecule and Clive Christian – among others. This is a thrilling collection to sniff your way through, and with two added extras from Penhaligon’s and Aromatherapy Associates, this box is worth over £40 to begin with, and priceless when you help them discover a new favourite…

The Men’s Edit Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

Not all dads and father figures are fuddy-duddy, and if yours is more hipster than has-been, this box is the way to go. Featuring 14 truly exclusive niche fragrances, there are an incredible THREE LUXURY-SIZE SAMPLES perfect for travelling – the new addictive Anima Vinci Sesame Chān (7ml), fabulously fresh Tom Daxon Laconia (4.5ml) and the exotic Merchant of Venice Blue Tea (5ml). Showcasing scents from very exciting perfume houses – including decadence from Juliette Has a Gun and exquisite naturals from Prosody and Parterre – he’ll be among the first to smell BDK Parfums with the so-French Rouge Smoking and Parle Moi De Parfum’s delectable celebration of rose. And yes, men smell utterly fabulous in florals – take it from us. All of these fragrances are totally sharable and higly desirable for those who want something more unique.

Limited Edition Niche Discovery Box £23 (£19 for VIP Club members)

If he wants ultra luxury and something we’re sure none of his contemporaries will already have, we’re delighted to introduce a very exciting new brand – Memoize London – and invite you to delve into this treasure trove Discovery Set, which includes eight wonderful new fragrances. Memoize celebrates the importance of creating a harmonious balance between fragrance and emotion.

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.

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.

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…

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.

Memoize London Discovery Set £57

Knowing a lot of niche-loving chaps who want to look their best are out there, may we also suggest the second Niche box – it includes a 7.5ml of Anima Vinci Neroli Wisdom which basically smells like a Moroccan summer in a bottle. Alongside treasured houses such as Amouage and Atkinsons we’ve included exciting newness from Parterre, Stories by Eliza Grace, Memoize, The Modernist, Tom Daxon. But it doesn’t stop there… WE’VE ALSO ADDED SOME SKIN LOVING TREATS! Yes, dads need pampering, too. Keep his face glowing with the recent GOLD AWARD winning skinSense ANTI-AGING Overnight Leave on Mask (WORTH £8.50) which he can slap on overnight for minimum fuss – and ensure his hands are looked after with the wonderful bestselling Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (WORTH £10). When you consider the value of the two grooming items alone is worth £18.50 – you’re basically getting the rest free!

Niche Collection II Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

 

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

French Connection Femme/Homme: we’re hooked!

We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the French Connection Femme & Homme fragrances last week, and were seriously impressed at their sophisticated (yet pocket-friendly) duo…

French Connection’s in-house team worked on the project with renowned perfumers Philippe Romano and Corinne Cachen as the noses, and flipping their roles so that Philippe worked on Femme and Corinne on Homme – resulting in a dynamic, contemporary take on a ‘male’ and ‘female’ pairing.

Quite frankly, we’d be happy to wear them both. Seek them out in-store at French Connection now, and also at Boots nationwide.

So… how do they smell?

French Connection Woman/Femme is all come hither creamy jasmine with a lusciously juicy mandarin and crisp apple up front with hints of luminescent neroli, then a dry-down that gets all smoochy with soft musk and warm amber. Impressive staying-power, too – we could still smell this wafting in our hair the following day!

French Connection Femme from £14.99 for 30ml eau de toilette
Try it at Boots

French Connection Man/Homme is dark and moody, a contemporary fougère that’s cool and shady with frosted sage, green violet leaves and lavender mossy-ness. The base is smothered in sandalwood with an addictively gourmand touch of tonka bean that’s sure to prove an all-day wrist-sniffer (or neck snuggler).

French Connection Homme from £14.99 for 30ml eau de toilette
Try it at Boots

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Shay & Blue launch Kings Wood…

Shay & Blue have been exciting fragrance lovers since 2012, founder Dom De Vetta’s previous roles being Senior Vice President at Chanel and Global General Manager of Jo Malone London, joining with talented Grasse perfumer, Julie Massé, to create his very own fragrance house.

We were thrilled to get the opportunity to exclusively preview their latest – Kings Wood – in our New Man Discovery Box, and now the fragrance has officially launched, we’re able to fully celebrate. Scroll down to watch our Unboxing review of the fragrance…

Shay & Blue say: ‘Kings Wood is a unique men’s fragrance. Different and distinctive it is a real statement of confidence. Bursts of fresh pineapple are blended with the natural aromatic of fearn leaves to create layers of freshness with an intriguing depth. The base notes of fine leather and English oak leave an impression of classic masculine refinement.’

We’ve noticed a resurgence of heritage woods being used in contemporary fragrances – and here, English oak is showcased in all its majestic glory, and the pineapple makes for welcome change to those who prefer something a little more adventurous than citrus in the opening notes. Crisply green fern leaves are enhanced by a sprinkle of warm pepper on a luxuriously smooth and reassuringly solid base, and the supple leather in the dry-down just makes us want to snuggle up for a deeper sniff…

We filmed an Unboxing session live on our Instagram channel, and have now uploaded this to YouTube so everyone can enjoy – watch it, below! We get sniffing Shay & Blue Kings Wood around 23:50 on this video if you want to skip straight to it, and Part 1 of the Unboxing is also available on our channel if you want to sniff-along with all the scents.

We’re absolutely loving the pineapple in Kingswood, it’s a different kind of fruity – lusciously juicy but with a spikiness that cuts through the smoother, richer notes. But did you know that pineapples were once a symbol of wealth and welcoming, being so expensive they could be rented (at extortionate prices!) for hosts anxious to prove their importance, and still adored for their thirst-quenching exoticism?

If you want to try a sample of Kings Wood along with our other carefully curated fragrance selection, you can buy The New Man Discovery Box here. And we know those of you who’ve already got in touch to tell us how much you love Kings Wood will be anxiously counting the hours until it officially launches on 1st September, so you can finally get your hands on a full-size bottle in-store.

Shay & Blue Kings Wood £85 for 100ml natural spray
Buy it at shayandblue.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Candy Perfume Boy’s Trend Report

There are many bloggers we admire at The Perfume Society, and occasionally, we like to feature some of our favourites to share with you here. Thomas Dunckley – a.k.a. The Candy Perfume Boy – is a longtime friend, award-winning writer and fellow contributor to The Scented Letter magazine. Along with a wealth of fragrance expertise he brings a completely refreshing and totally down-to-earth voice to the perfume world, offering his opinions and providing information in a way that’s not only accesible but makes us want to rush out and try all the things he’s mentioned.

And so, get ready to add to your ‘must sniff’ list, as we look back to the most interesting scent trends The Candy Perfume Boy saw in 2017. Which of these have you tried and loved, and which, we wonder, will continue to shape the face of fragrance throughout 2018…?

‘We’re officially in quarter four of 2017 and what a year it has been. By my count there has been at least 20 million fragrance launches this year, but I do have a tendency to exaggerate. In truth it has felt like a particularly busy year, with lots of behemoth launches from equally gigantic brands. I also think it has been a phenomenally good year for perfume and I’ve fallen in love with more than a handful of wonderful fragrances already. But this post is not a retrospective of the year – you can have that at the annual Candies (my fragrance awards) in December, no this is something a little bit different.

As we’re heading towards the end of this year I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick recap of the big perfume trends we’ve seen this year. I’ve certainly noticed a handful of key themes over the last 12 months and it’s kind of fascinating to look back at them at this point in the year. So in this post you will find four trends that have populated the perfume landscape in 2017. These are just my thoughts however, and I’d be more than happy to hear about any trends you’ve identified too!


Sandalwoods

Let’s kick off by talking about sandalwoods because if there is any material I’ve seen lots of this year, it’s sandalwood. I’m used to the note being treated as a gateway to the exotic, with spicy, creamy and warm facets that lead one to think of oriental opulence. This year however, there seems to be somewhat of a shift in the olfactory lexicon of the sandalwood, with a much more minimalistic approach that sees the more intimate, softer and fresher sides of the material showcased in all their glory.

Firstly let’s take a look at Molecule 04 and Escentric 04 by Escentric Molecules, both of which showcase the sandalwood material Javanol. In Escentric 04, the traditional fragrance composition of the pair (rather than Molecule 04 which is simply Javanol in alcohol) we see a fresh, almost metallic sandalwood paired with grapefruit and cannabis to create a sharper tone. It’s a wonderfully fresh take on a note that hasn’t really known freshness before.

This year Juliette Has a Gun created Sunny Side Up, a sunny, beachy fragrance that did not focus on aquatics or florals and instead showcased a rather sexy sandalwood note. The presentation of the note was intimate, nutty and creamy, with a salty skin-like vibe that brought out the sexier vibes of sandalwood. There was even a delightfully rosy take on sandalwood from Comme des Garçons in the form of Concrete, which felt plush yet dry and smooth at the same time.

So sandalwood definitely has been the note of the year and I hope we’ll see more intriguing takes on it in the year to come.


Androgynous not Unisex

One trend that has really piqued my interest appears to be in its infancy. So far I’ve only noticed two fragrances that have done this, but I expect that we will see more over the next year. The trend is brands referring to their fragrances as ‘androgynous’ or ‘gender fluid’. Now, if you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m all for removing gender labels on scents, because anyone can wear anything that they want to. I’m also a pretty liberal guy and I’m very much in support of gender identities that are non-binary or otherwise. So I see this all as a very good thing.

With the rise in discourse around gender identity it seems that brands are cottoning on to this and are using these terms to replace the description of unisex. Katy Perry described her latest fragrance, INDI, as being “androgynous” as opposed to unisex and Guerlain launched Lui with mention of gender fluidity in the press release and a description of a scent that is “not entirely feminine, nor truly masculine”. I’m totally here for this and hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll start to do away with gendered labels on fragrance entirely. Wishful thinking? Probably!


Decent Celebrity Scents

This trend technically started in 2016 with SJP Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker, but one scent does not a trend make – four however, do. A year or so ago there were numerous articles in the beauty press about how celebrity fragrances are dead and that consumers are no longer buying them. In that year next to no celebrities launched a new fragrance and with any kind of reality ‘star’ launching a scent, it really did feel as if we had reached ‘peak celebrity’ in terms of fragrance. Well now things are a little different and this year alone we have seen three celebrity launches that are far removed from the sickly sweet fruity florals that lead one reaching for the Gaviscon – these celebuscents are unique and actually rather good.

First off we have Shawn Mendes Signature from dreamy, put a poster of his face on your wall, singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes. Created for all of his fans, whether they be a boy or a girl, Shawn Mendes Signature is a well put together woody gourmand that feels as if it has been made with thought and links to the singer’s roots and personality. Then there’s Katy Perry’s INDI, an effortless woody musk that wears like a second skin, and finally we have Xyrena’s Scented by Willam (which I vow to review soon), a drag queen known for her acerbic wit and controversial appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Scented is really quite beautiful – a violet-tinged iris with woods and musk that channels shades of Tauer’s discontinued Pentachord White. Each of these celebrity fragrances is really good and it’s refreshing to see such care, attention and quality applied to fragrances which so often have simply been a cash cow to complete a celebrity’s brand.

It seems as if celebrities now know that they have to work a little bit harder to sell a scent. They can’t just release yet another fruity floral in a clingy bottle and call it the Emperor’s New Clothes – they actually have to make it smell good. With the continuing rise of nice and luxe, people are willing to spend more money on a bottle of perfumer, but they’re going to buy less bottles, so whatever they buy must be interesting. Celebrities have caught on to this. The biggest thing though – they actually need to be a celebrity, ain’t nobody gonna buy Eau de Tan Mom any more.


Crowd Pleasing Concoctions

What do Mon Guerlain, Gabrielle de Chanel, AURA by Mugler, Twilly d’Hermès and Scandal by Jean Paul Gaultier all have in common? Well, first and foremost they all launched in 2017 – and let’s face it, each is an absolutely massive release from some of perfumery’s biggest brands. 2017 will definitely go down in history as the year of the launch (the mainstream feminine pillar launch if we want to get specific) and these five big brands have pulled out literally every stop to make their olfactory mark on 2017. They’ve recruited big stars like Angelina Jolie (Mon Guerlain) and Kristen Stewart (Gabrielle), and have created visually stunning bottles that range from glass hearts formed in the Emerald City (AURA) to carriage lanterns topped with little bowler hats (Twilly), not to mention a pair of legs falling out of a taxi (Scandal). In the case of two of these launches, the fragrances are the first feminine pillars from their respective brands in quite some time. It has been quite the year for launches, indeed – launches that are eye catching and nose catching for many.

But the trend we’re talking about here is not the simple fact that these brands have all had big launches, no, the trend is specifically in reference to a commercial theme that has run through each and every one of them. There’s no use beating around the bush – all five of these launches are very commercial and whilst there may be some interesting work going on inside the bottles, such as the super-radiance of Gabrielle’s floral notes, the clash of smoke, vanilla and jungle greenery in AURA, and the ginger-tuberose shock of Twilly, the overarching feel of these fragrances is that they were created to appeal to a wide audience. Even MUGLER, who are renowned for their divisive compositions, could be accused of a less polarising approach with their latest output. They all smell great but they lack a sense of boldness in their signatures.

So why is this happening? Are consumers buying less? Are they moving away from mainstream to niche? If so, why aren’t these fragrances more daring? That’s a lot to answer, but I wonder whether it has something to do with the level of investment these brands have to inject into the development, marketing and visual impact of a new scent. Perhaps they are worried about their return of investment? Take Guerlain for example, they have funnelled millions into the launch of Mon Guerlain and just to be sure that the scent would resonate with consumers, they tested it as a boutique exclusive (the new discontinued Mon Exclusif) prior to its launch.

So who knows why the big brands are being commercial? They’re getting the packaging and concepts right, that’s for sure, so let’s just hope that in 2018 they will bring a little bit more innovation to our noses. I know that my nose is waiting with great anticipation.’

Originally written by, and used with permission of, Thomas Dunckley: The Candy Perfume Boy. Pictures ©Thomas Dunckley.

Murdock London & Silent Pool’s scented gin fling

We know that many are striving for a ‘dry January’, but to be honest, we’re far preferring the ‘Ginuary’ approach to this month… and as such were excited to hear that gentlemen’s grooming aficionados, Murdock London, have teamed up with Surrey-based gin connoisseurs, Silent Pool, for a fragrant gin cocktail experience based on Murdock’s best-selling Cologne.

Watch the beautiful short film below and read on for details of how you can get your hands on some…

Style-seeking chaps who spend £75 or more during their visit to Murdock London salons in Soho, Covent Garden or Shoreditch can now look forward to a bespoke gin made by Silent Pool – based on the intriguingly smoky yet vibrantly citrusy Murdock London fragrance, Black Tea.

Part of Silent Pool’s ‘Intricately Realised‘ series of collaborations, in which they hook-up with suitably sophisticated companies who inspire limited edition infusions of their artisanal gin, we spoke to Stu Bale, Head of Innovation at the Silent Pool distillery, to find out more…

Stu explained their approach to the Murdock London drink was slightly different to previous Intricately Realised versions, built as a fragrance can be composed, so he ‘…started with the base notes, which were black tea, nutmeg and pepper,’ trying many differing kinds he eventually settled on Tasmanian pepper, ‘which gave a great warmth without having overpowering spiciness.’

We were thrilled to hear that long-time friend of The Perfume Society, Henrietta Lovell‘s Rare Tea was the one selected with which to flavour the gin. ‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best in the world,’ Says Stu, going on to describe how he infused this, along with nutmeg in the same alcohol they use to macerate the botanicals in Silent Pool gin. Another link to the fragrance world, as perfume compositions must be macerated (allowed time to develop) before they are ready to wear.

Layering the materials by ‘constantly referring [to the fragrance] and working systematically from the base notes through to the top notes,’ Stu then added small amounts of sandalwood and cedar to echo the ‘woody, mysterious oriental vibe’ of the Cologne. Finally he added neroli and pettigrain – classic top notes to a traditional Cologne, and the final mixture is served with tonic water to add the ‘oomph’ of a spritzed scent. Having tirelessly researched the taste of this Cologne-inspired cocktail, we can report that it’s silky smooth with a definite tang of gentle spice-infused tea, and goes down a treat.

Have a look at the short film they made…

We also took the opportunity to douse ourselves in the Black Tea fragrance, which is equal measures of refreshing and riveting – a darker, spicier Cologne than most and all the more intriguing (especially at this time of year). Definitely a scent that can also be enjoyed by women, we might have to buy this as a Valentine’s gift (perhaps with a certificate for one of Murdock London’s many grooming services) and, um, ‘borrow’ it for ourselves…

Murdock London Black Tea £70 for 100ml Cologne
Buy it at murdocklondon.com

Silent Pool’s bespoke #IntricatelyRealised gin is currently a gift when spending £75 or more at Murdock London’s Soho, Covent Garden and Shoreditch branches. While stocks last, so hurry!

Written by Suzy Nightingale