How to choose a men’s fragrance

How to choose a men’s fragrance is something we get asked a lot – from those looking to treat the men in lives with a new scent, and from chaps’ just starting to explore the fragrant world themselves. Either way, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting – especially if you’re shopping online.

Worry not! We’ve made it easy for you. Simply follow our guide of how to start sniffing out a brave new world…

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents (you can always buy the full-size of the one he loves most, later!)

Take a look at some of the suggestions, below. But first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life (or you) still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge (especially after lockdown!) but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

Why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

Let’s change it up… So, think about:

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Character, hobbies and personal style are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) That’s why a selection of samples to try at home is the best bet. Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent ambers along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with our just-launched Men’s Must Have’s Discovery Box. This collection of male and unisex fragrances is perfect for those who wish to bush the boundaries and try uniquely bold and statement scents from some of the hottest niche names and luxe designer houses around. It features globally adored best sellers and just launched scents from THoO, Jeroboam, DSquared2, Paco Rabanne, Bentley, Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace & Initio. (Read about each scent individually, here).

Men’s Must Have’s  £15 (VIP Price £12)

If you’re after something a little more traditional in style, but with enough intriguing twists to tantilise the senses, we suggest the Suave Scents Discovery Box. Designed with men in mind (or anyone who prefers a more ‘masculine’ fragrance vibe), the line-up has fragrances for every facet of a personality, the sheer variety of styles exuding everything from outdoors-y adventurous to more classically suave, with Creed Viking Cologne, Parfums de Marly Greenley, Comme des Garçon Rouge, Floral Street Black Lotus, Bentley, Eight & Bob, JUSBOX, Mercedes Benz, Molton Brown, Paco Rabanne, Salvatore Ferragamo and Versace. We also bring you two fabulous grooming products! The divinely scented Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash (100ml), and Ultrasun Lip Protection 30spf

Suave Scents £23 (VIP Price £19)

We also have an incredible selection of other Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore. AND a great range of Brand Sets, which is the perfect way to sample a houses’ collection to get a real sense of their character.

Wherever you choose to begin, this scent adventure of trying new fragrances at home really takes away the stress of happening across ‘THE ONE’ (a concept we don’t really believe in for most people, anyway. A wardrobe of scents to match your mood / time of year / occasion are the way forward…)

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance – for a gift, or for yourself. Our guide makes it easy

Our 3 top tips to choosing a fragrance take all the worry and confusing out of selecting a scent – be that a gift for someone else or as a treat for yourself.

With Father’s Day around the corner, fragrant gifts are much on our minds, but we wanted to create a guide that gets your started on your journey and, even better, can be used for any time you find yourself confused while pondering perfumes…

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

1: If you already know a fragrance they like

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 wear, 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. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

2: If you’ve no idea what they like (or want to get them something new)

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

But scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots – some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! So the absolute best solution is to buy them a Discovery Box so they can try all manner of differing fragrances in their own time. They may even surprise themselves with their favourite.

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

3: How do I know if a fragrance suits me?

Give it TIME on your skin. So many of us spray, sniff immediately (that’s just the alcohol you’re smelling, with perhaps a mere whiff of top notes) and either make a snap purchase or walk away. Those opening notes can disappear in mere minutes, you really need to let it settle for twenty minutes or more to smell the middle or ‘heart’ notes. The ‘base’ notes are made from ingredients with the heaviest molecules, so these can take several hours to warm and then evaporate on the skin.

If possible, try the fragrance on a blotter first (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these used to be available with testers on perfume counters, but because of new Covid-19 safety measures, many stores don’t allow these now. (We always tend to take our own – and include a handy pack in each of our Discovery Boxes).

Allow a few minutes for the alcohol and the top notes to subside, and then smell the blotters. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial. Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on.  You really need to smell a scent on your skin.

Don’t try more than about four or five at a time. Your nose will become overwhelmed. Just sniff a sweater or a patch of your own bare skin to ‘re-set’, or go outside and get some fresh air – smelling coffee beans is a fallacy, it’s just filling your nose with another smell!

Jot down a few words to describe how you feel about each fragrance. These should be emotional words or things it reminds you of (a fabric / musical instrument / colour / place / time of day). They might sound abstract, but are a true reflection of how a fragrance is melding to your personality (or otherwise). Come back to the blotters several hours later and smell again – see if those words have changed.

The best way to find a new fragrance – as a gift or for yourself – is to try several samples at home in a Discovery Box, a curated selection of scents from a large number of houses; or a Brand Discovery Set, showcasing the entire range of fragrances from a single house. With time to let them develop, zero pressure and scents you may have overlooked in-store (or never even heard of before), it’s the perfect way to find that new perfume love…

By Suzy Nightingale

Christmas gift ideas for men: fabulous, festive & fragrant…

Christmas gift ideas for men? It can be difficult, we know – and especially this year, when so many of us are apart from our loved ones. But worry not. You’ve come to the right place! We’re brimming over with scented suggestions that will have him feeling fabulous, festive, AND fragrant

 

Christmas gift ideas for men

The Super Man Discovery Box: £22 (or £18 for VIP club members!)

For super men everywhere, we’ve included independent perfume houses making their mark: recently launched ånd fragrance with sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients at the forefront, decadent Italian niche with Laboratorio Olfattivo and Jovoy with their new creation based on the Mayfair store 21 Conduit St. Also including newness from loved names including St Giles, Parfums de Marly, Ruth Mastenbroek, Floris, Caron,Initio, Atelier Des Ors, Kierin NYC and Anima Vinci. We also bring you TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (50ml), and the divinely scented beard savour WELEDA Skin Food (10ml). Up, up and a-spray…!

 

The Sharing Collection Discovery Box: £23 (or £19 for VIPs)

Yes, we know we’re using the word ‘men’ here, but some chaps perhaps aren’t as advanced in their tastes, fragrance-sharing wise, and will balk at anything not specifically marketed as ‘masculine’ scents. However, here’s a way to ease them in to the modern world – with so many fabulous ‘shareable’ creations being launched, we’ve decided to put our favourites in one beautiful box, for EVERYONE to wear. Niche perfume houses rarely categorise their creations as ‘male’ or ‘female’ – and there’s plenty here with newness from Goldfield & Banks, Kingdom Scotland, BDK Parfums, Vines House Parfum and Rook Perfumes. We also showcase classics such as Goutal Paris Eau D’Hadrien and Eight & Bob Egypt, along with fabulous discoveries from Initio and Atelier des Ors, plus two ‘unisex’ body treats. We won’t be at all surprised if he decides he DOESN’T want to share with anyone else. So maybe treat yourself to one as well?

 

Mihan Aromatics Discovery Set: £33

Mihan Aromatics are a true product of Australia – an up-and-coming perfume house from Down Under. Their luxury, all-natural scents capture the fascinating fragrance landscape of that vast country, created by uber-cool Melbourne couple Josh and Julia Mihan. (They’ve been likened to ‘the BYREDO of Australia…’) In this incredible line-up of gender-neutral fragrances, Josh and Jules combine native floral and spices – including Australian sandalwood, now being deployed by the fragrance industry as a sustainable alternative to Indian Santalum album. You can spray the ENTIRE COLLECTION in this divinely cool set, each one a very clear style; a lightness, a dreamy character, a mood. Try Mikado Bark, a mountainous arrangement of paper and unfamiliar books exude distinction and literary prowess. Or Petrichor Plains, conjuring up the drenching of earth and rock after a shower. Plus: a bonus ‘untitled’ fragrance, still in development, of which you get an exclusive sneak peek… HOW cool it that?!

Jovoy Discovery Set: £30

For chaps unashamedly into decadent scents, you can do no better than choose this collection. Jovoy has a fascinating history as a Parisian house, its customers were a ‘Who’s Who?’ of the Roaring Twenties. Then scent exporter and expert in raw ingredients, François Hénin, rediscovered and revived the fragrance house. So now we bring you this just-launched Discovery Set of FOURTEEN of Jovoy‘s fabulous, opulent fragrances. Created with master perfumers, it is bursting with OLFACTORY HERITAGE and beauty. From Ambre Premier, which layers unisex rose onto vanilla, musk and patchouli to La Liturgie des Heures, evoking the atmosphere of an old cathedral via incense, myrrh and labdanum – and with a dozen more to explore for yourself – each fragrance holds a place in time. Plus each set contains a 10% voucher redeemable against a full size Jovoy fragrance! Daring, decadent, divine: why not treat yourself or – someone close…?

We’ve man-y (sorry) many more fragrant sets with which to entice your senses, simply explore our shop for more ideas (and let us do the sending to save you going to the post office, if you prefer). No matter your budget or the man in your life’s tastes, we have Christmas, fragrantly covered

By Suzy Nightingale

WIN £300 of Mediterranean-inspired fragrance for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day fast-approaching, our thoughts turn to finding a special treat for our dads – and father-figures or special men in our lives. And we have TWO bundles of fragrances worth over £300 to giveaway!

Each of these fragrances effortlessly evokes the balmy air and blue seas of much-loved destinations we’re desperately missing right now. Oh we can practically feel the sun on our skin and the sand beneath our toes just imagining smelling these – fragrance truly is the most incredible way to travel with your nose…

‘Versace Dylan Blue is a highly distinctive fougere with a fragrant woody aroma based on the unique olfactory properties of precious natural ingredients and the latest generation of molecules. Natural citrus notes of bergamot and grapefruit combine with modern hints of fig leaf to give an incisive Mediterranean freshness while aquatic notes lend depth and round off the citrus tang. Woody notes of ambrox, papyrus and organic patchouli form the perfume’s powerful, pulsating heart.’

‘For a thoroughly modern take on the Mediterranean theme DSquared2 Wood For Him, opens with the freshness of Calabrian bergamot, mandarin and lemon from Sicily, enriched with ginger, violet and cardamom. Ambrox and a modern blend of white woods intensify the elegance of vetiver, resulting in a scent that is strong, sturdy, unique and inimitable!’

‘Our fathers are our heroes and Versace Eros is the stuff of legend! So take a journey to ancient Greece with the intense and vibrant freshness of mint leaves, lemon zest and green apple. Enveloping notes of tonka bean,
Ambroxan (Amber), geranium flower and Vanilla open into a medley of woods including cedarwood from Atlas and Virginia,vetiver and oak moss. Intense and unforgettable!’

‘For a warmer, spicier alternative the delightfully vivacious Versace Eros Flameis full of fresh, juicy Italian hesperidic fruits such as lemon, tangerine and bitter orange warmed with notes of black pepper from Madagascar and enveloped in aromatic wild rosemary. The base resonates with notes of precious woods such as Texas cedar, patchouli coeur, Haitian vetiver, mountain oak moss accord and sandalwood subtly blended with the tonka bean and vanilla.’

How to enter: All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning ALL of these fragrances, is head to our Instagram account and tag TWO people who you think deserve this wonderful scented surprise. Imagine how thrilled they’ll be when you tell them! And even if we can’t travel with loved ones somewhere wonderful, at least we can plan for the future and send them a fragrant reminder of Mediterranean dreaming…

Prize draw closes on Sunday 21st June 2020 T&Cs: Due to shipping restrictions we are only able to accept entries on the UK mainland and in Northern Ireland.

Father’s Day’s not far away: send the perfect present, even if you’re apart

Around the world, people are working out how best to celebrate Father’s Day – be that with a birth father, stepdad or any special man in their lives – in a safe, socially-distanced or ‘virtual’ way.

We have ideas for the perfect gifts to show how much you care, with no gift-wrapping or travelling to the post office to worry about – all available at the click of a button – and no matter what his age/personality/preferences may be!

So, do book in a Zoom meeting, catch up with a phone call, or even safely wave from the bottom of a garden (heartbreaking though that can be) if you’re able; but how about a scented treat to boost his spirits and (let’s face it) perhaps nudge him away from that years-old bottle of fragrance he’s had festering away on a bathroom shelf for years. So is he…

Not sure what he likes? This is the answer!

Our Everyman Discovery Box was put together with men in mind (though we know many female friends who love the more ‘masculine’ vibe of these scents!) and it’s the perfect way to gently introduce a whole new wardrobe of options into your special guy’s life.

There’s independent perfume houses making their mark: Goldfield & Banks from Australia, decadent French niche with Atelier Des Ors, and Kierin NYC fresh from the streets of New York. Also more loved names and newness from Jimmy Choo, Montblanc, Eight & Bob, Yardley (18ml!), Salvatore Ferragamo, Banana Republic, JUSBOX and Lalique. And: TWO FULL SIZE GROOMING PRODUCTS! Fish Soho Original Fish Shape Texturising Cream (100ml) – just in case their at-home haircut didn’t go to plan – and the fab, pampering, Super Facialist for Men Vitamin B3 Deep Cleanse Face Mask (125ml).

Everyman Discovery Box £19 / or £15 for VIP Club Members

A sophisticated chap? Get classy & practical!

Treat him to something classy and practical with this fab ‘twist and spray’ travel set (we’re sure he’ll appreciate the irony of ‘travel’ right now – but hey, a trip to the supermarket is travelling, right?!) He’s sure to fall in love with the immaculately blended dry cedar and warm sandalwood shot through with aromatic citrus (and with two back-up bottles included, hey maybe you could ‘borrow’ one…?)

Chanel Bleu de Chanel Travel Spray £69 for 60ml (3 x 20ml) eau de toilette
johnlewis.com

Leather jacket-wearing indie-loving dad? Nostalgic perfection!

Such a unique, yet instantly memorable, fragrance this one. Overlapping shades and textures of leather and suede are rendered in scented form, shot through with a trio of citrus – tangerine, mandarin and elemi – then softened by powdery iris and a snuggle of cashmere with the wet earth coolness of vetiver misted over smoky drifts of birch and incense for a touch of ‘grunge bar chic’.

 

Miller Harris Étui Noir £80 for 50ml eau de parfum
millerharris.com

Intellectual dad? This one’s ideal for deep-thinkers!

Inspired by classical Greek myth, this surprisingly complex take on mint swirls herbs into the dappled shade of a traditional fougère structure, then infused with a contemporary edge of thorny rose oxide. Cool as a long cold drink on a hot day, crisp asfrost on green leaves, the verdant notes swoon to skin-warmed whispers of soft muskiness that intrigue the whole day through.

 

Diptyque Eau de Minthé £120 for 75ml
diptyqueparis.com

Wishes he was Italian? Get him groomed & smelling good!

If his #LockdownBeard has got a bit out of control, why not hint with this super-stylish kit that he’ll be positively flaunting in the bathroom? Containing a shaving brush, the Shaving Cream and the Aftershave Emulsion in 40ml size, for us it’s all about that iconic Colonia in a dinky 20ml size (suave freshness personified – as worn by Cary Grant!)

Acqua di Parma Prestige Shaving Kit £135
acquadiparma.com

‘Embracing modernity’ kinda dude? Update his scent style with this!

Now look, we know all dads aren’t fuddy-duddy and some don’t need any style tips whatsoever… while others could perhaps do with dusting down and bringing into the light. Either way, this charismatic take on Mediterranean charm fuses blood orange and Sicillian lemon with green herbs, fiery pimento and cool woods will boost his spirits.

 

Dolce&Gabbana K £55 for 50ml eau de toilette
boots.com

A gift to make him chuckle (that genuinely smells lovely!)

Now here’s something to put a smile on their faces (and relief all-round in the family home, perhaps?) with a ‘before you go’ spray of pure eucalyptus and spearmint natural oils, ‘that helps eliminate bathroom odours before they begin’, as they tastefully put it. And you know what? It really works! Think of it as your present to whomever has to live with him…

 

Poo Pourri Royal Flush £11.99 for 118ml
poopourri.co.uk

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

How to shop for men’s fragrances? Spread the love this Valentine’s Day (and beyond)

Are you looking to treat the man in your life with a new fragrance for Valentine’s Day, or a chap who’s just exploring the fragrant world for himself, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting. Follow our guide of how to start sniffing out a brave new world…

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Better to tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents – take a look at some of the suggestions, below. And first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge, but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

Why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Age, character, hobbies and career are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent orientals along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with a selection of Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore.

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

A new season is approaching – and this is time for any man to switch heavier winter scents to a new fragrance 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 is priceless when you discover that new favourite…

 

Niche Collection II Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

Our first Niche Collection sold out in record time, so we’ve chosen even more scents this time, including a 7.5ml of Anima Vinci Neroli Wisdom. 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 added skin-loving treats for chaps who know that pampering is self-love they can take part in, too. Keep your face glowing with the recent GOLD AWARD winning skinSense Overnight Leave on Mask (WORTH £8.50) – and ensure your hands smell and feel wonderful with the bestselling Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (WORTH £10).

Miller Harris La Collection Voyage Pour Lui – was £70 NOW £35!

A versatile selection of Miller Harris’ best selling male scents, what an opportunity to try something from this always wonderful British fragrance house. Inspired by dreamy journeys conjured with every spritz, each of the three fragrances come in luxurious 14ml travel sizes, and are presented in precious miniature versions of their full size bottles. Miller Harris Étui Noir – suede-like leather is supported by the woods and powder of iris. Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent – bergamot and cardamom is balanced against black pepper and balsamic elemi. Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac – an addictive blend of rich woods, honeyed tobacco leaves and hot spices.

If you’re treating yourself:

It’s best to try a whole range of differing fragrances – that way you can narrow down exactly what it is your nose is loving best. With each of our boxes, some of which you can explore above, we’ve created Smelling Notes to guide you through the process, but here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

– Try the fragrance on a blotter (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these should be available on perfume counters – and when you buy a Discovery Box from this site, you’ll find a handy pack of blotters already inside.

– Write the name of the fragrance on the blotter, otherwise you’ll definitely forget it, later (and chances are, that one’s bound to be the best!)

– Wait a few minutes for the initial alcohol and the top notes to subside – a lot of people take huge whiffs immediately and then complain ‘it smells of alcohol/hairspray!’ Let it dry a little, first. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial.

– You really need to smell a scent on your skin! Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on. We’ve lost count of the number of scents that didn’t particularly appeal at first-sniff, but which a few minutes/hours later we realised we adored. Fragrances are made to be worn on and warmed by skin, not paper…

– Ideally, try no more than two at a time on the skin – one on each wrist. We don’t believe fragrance-shopping should be rushed, but we all live busy lives. You can try one more, on the inside of an elbow – the elbows also happen to be good pulse-points.

– Try to live with a fragrance for several hours, or better still, a whole day/evening) before you part with your cash. That might mean getting a sample, if it’s available in store (or exploring the Fragrance Discovery Boxes). Try to wear the scent more than once if you’re properly testing it: mood, weather and what you’ve eaten can all seriously change how a fragrance works on your skin, and how you feel about it.

– Spray a darker-coloured scarf or inside of a jacket lining, too, and sniff it later. That way, it still warms with your body heat, but you’re not everwhelmed by it. And you can take it off!

Book a fragrance consultation if you’d really like to make a special occasion of it. Many fragrance houses and department stores now offer this service, some of them are completely free and others you have to pay for (but it’s usually redeemable against purchase). Have a look at our round-up of some of these services; we originally wrote it for people wanting wedding fragrance consultations, but it applies whatever the occasion!

When you’ve fallen in love, only then go back and make your purchase – or flag-up to loved ones which ones you liked most, so they know for future gift-worthy occasions…

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

Follow our step-by-step sniff-along!

Socks. Cufflinks. Slippers. Perhaps a ‘novelty tie’. The options for Father’s Day presents haven’t exactly kept apace with the vast array of gifts for Mother’s Day, so maybe you’d like to consider giving something really special this year? A fragrant gift that will keep on giving…?

It can be difficult enough to select a new perfume for yourslf to wear, but when it’s a gifting occasion, where do you begin?!

We specially curated The New Man Discovery Box to be a starting point to exploring fragrances. Choosing a wardrobe of scent styles, with something to please every age and occasion, there are thirteen in all to explore, plus a full-size scented shower gel and generous travel-size shave gel. Each fragrance has a web page devoted to describing it in greater detail, giving some of the notes you might smell and an idea of the inspiration behind it.

But we didn’t just want to leave you there. Oh no. How about following us on a step-by-step sniff-along? On our Instagram channel, we filmed two live ‘Unboxing’ videos, to show you exactly what you’re getting and try and answer some of your questions about buying fragrance for men. Infact, there were so many scents to sniff, we had to split the videos in two parts, otherwise we could have been there all day!

Unboxing Part One

Unboxing Part Two

There are so many things to consider when buying fragrance as a gift, particularly if you don’t just want to keep on getting them the same ol’ thing every year. So, here are some of our thoughts about the fragrances, as we explored them during filming…

– A great fragrance we thought would be perfect for a chap who doesn’t like anything too overpowering is Issey Miyake L’Eau Mjeure D’Issey – slightly salty, softly balanced with smooth woods and one of those ‘lean closer for another sniff’ type scents, the bottle is stunning, too.

– Others may like a more ‘punchy’ scent, and Creed Viking certainly hits that spot, with warm spices and mint coursing through the composition to get those senses tingling. We loved the quote from fragrance expert James Craven at the launch: when someone asked if this could be worn for work, he replied, ‘This isn;t for the man who feels he has to ask…’

– There are times you can’t pick out a single note at a time in a scent, as they’re so well blended and harmoniously balanced. Jimmy Choo Man Blue, we decided, gave the overall impression of a ‘sexy man smell’ that’s somehow quite classic and yet modern all at once.

– It’s really important to smell the fragrance on the skin, and live with it for some hours, to get a real feel for its character. Shay & Blue Kings Wood was a case in point: it smells so much more juicy and playful on the skin, and really takes you on a journey through the ingredients. The wood used, here, is (unusually) English oak – strong, smooth and wonderfully dry to smell.

– The ingredients need your body heat to develop and bloom to their best. We particularly loved the sweetness underpinning Mugler Alien Man, for example, which doesn’t come through as much on the blotter, but on the skin is incredibly addictive! This one definitely needs time to appreciate the unusual subtleties.

– Suave, sophisticated and traditional-smelling at first, Dunhill Racing Green takes an unexpected path with a twist of seductively heady orange flower and a healthy dose of black pepper. With a bottle that just won a Fragrance Foundation award for best packaging, the scent inside is sure to be a winner for many gents, too.

– Lists of notes aren’t always useful when considering a fragrance. Someone who says ‘I hate patchouli’ would be surprised how many fragrances use that ingredient, and you may never even know it’s there! In  Jack Piccadilly ’69 it has a leathery, rounded smokiness that feels like you’re in an illicit gentlemen’s club (and with a touch of Earl Grey tea) – certainly not the stereotyped ‘hippie’ smell many still associate with that ingredient. And can you guess which famous actor is behind this house…?

– We loved the collaboration between a traditional men’s tailoring company and the oldest perfumery in the UK, Floris Turnbull & Asser 71/72 smells like a freshly ironed, immaculately made men’s cotton shirt, we felt; an aromatic steaminess with a G&T on the side and a stunningly luminous jasmine in the heart.

– Many people ask which types of fragrances are best for hot weather, and we felt Goutal Bois d’Hadrien would be one that’s ideal: cool, crisp but still with a characterful complexity beneath, it’s like a walk in a pine forest beside a sun-warmed lemon grove. Divine.

– Looking for a fragrance that transitions effortlessly from day to night? We felt Michael Kors Extreme Speed did just that, suitably fresh enough to wear to the office without filling the room, but with a great depth as the fragrance develops.

– Men’s fragrances have come on leaps and bounds, now offering a more diverse array of choices (rather than simply ‘sporty fresh’). Floral notes in fragrances smell incredible on a man’s skin – we thought Mont Blanc Legend Night was stunningly soft, powdered with woodsy violet, snuggly smelling in the best possible way.

– Cologne is a traditional favourite, now updated and with a touch of Turkish barbershop exoticism in Ted Baker Grooming Room Cologne. Ultra green petitgrain sparkles on the top as the heart nestles geranium against leather and saffron, and we loved the rich dry-down of frankincense, amber and musk.

– The majority of niche and high-end designer scents say they are ‘unisex’ or even ‘genderless’ these days. We urge you to put aside preconceptions and just smell… if you like it, you should buy and wear it! Although this is presented as a ‘masculine’ scent, we both enjoyed wearing Nejma KoEptYs, which has a deliciously silky coconut milk note balanced by vanilla, tolu, warm spices, and smells fantastic no matter who wears it.

– When searching for any fragrance gift (or treating yourself!) our Find Your Next Fragrance section is here to help. Simply type in the name of a scent you know they (or you) already like, and our clever database will present you with six new fragrance options to try with several budgets in mind.

The New Man Discovery Box £19 (VIP price £15)

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Explore the 'lost' archives of Calvin Klein's Kate Moss photos

Few contemporary fragrances have shaken up the scent world in quite the way Calvin Klein‘s Obsession did in 1985. Youthfully warm, spicy yet layered with waves of freshness, it evoked the heady joy of first love in a style that suggested to the under 30s – this is a perfume for YOU!
Celebrating the reinvention of this contemporary classic in the form of Calvin Klein’s Obsessed, the fragrance has been reinterpreted for both men and women, with a billowing softness of violet leaf, lavender and purple sage for her; grapefruit, pepper and cardamom for him. Both leave intriguing trails of vanilla-y ambrox in the dry-down that we can’t get enough of.

And what better true celebration for the new campaign than to dig through the archives and discover lost footage and the most dreamily beautiful shots of Kate Moss from the original? As Raf Simmons, Chief Creative Officer for Calvin Klein explains, ‘I suppose you could say we were obsessed by Obsession. If one thing summed up Calvin Klein for us visually, it was Mario Sorrenti’s Obsession campaign with Kate Moss. It lived in our heads for so many years and became a touchstone of sensuality… We thought about a scent that could reflect such an idea of memory and desire for today. Of male and female, of the memory of somebody else on your skin.’

A revealing interview with the equally ground-breaking photographer of Obsession, Mario Sorrenti, shows tenderness, passion and talent combined to make not only the scent itself, but the adversiting aesthetic for it, utterly iconic…
What was the creative process like for OBSESSION?
‘It was very natural and instinctive, just Kate and me going off and making pictures. I had a Bolex and my Pentax, and even though we were sent there to work, it felt like we were on vacation. It was personal and intimate.’
What was it like working with Kate at that time? How would you describe your relationship?
‘It was great. We were young and in love and I loved photographing her. When we did Obsession she was 18 and I was 20, just starting out in our lives with no pressure about anything. We were just going off and having fun.’

Why do you think Obsession became such an iconic campaign?
‘I have no idea! I don’t know why it became iconic, it just did. I didn’t really approach it with the intention of taking iconic pictures. We didn’t know what we were going to do. We were just going to make something intimate and beautiful and simple. Looking back, maybe it became iconic because it was honest.
All of a sudden people were going crazy about it. It became very controversial. Some loved it and others hated it. Maybe it was too personal for some. The ones that loved it were mostly our age. It was very intense.’

What is the concept for the Obsessed campaign?
‘It’s about revisiting those pictures and bringing them back as memories. There was a lot of material that hadn’t been used and had never been seen. Hours of 16mm footage. It’s about the old prints, that archive of work, going through old contact sheets, re-editing, discovering new images, you know, reliving that time and those photographs and films.’
How has your creative process changed from then to today?
‘It’s changed a lot. Well, I have more people helping me now—that’s amazing—and it’s much more focused. Back then it was very instinctive. I was still learning a lot about photography, you know, about the art and the craft of it. I was very naïve. I think today I’m much more aware of what I’m doing…’

Calvin Klein Obsessed for Women £35 for 30ml eau de parfum, Calvin Klein Obsessed for Men £45 for 75ml eau de toilette
Buy them at The Perfume Shop
Written by Suzy Nightingale