Feeling balmy: 5 fragranced balms we’re obsessed by

A couple of weeks ago we experienced something of a mini heatwave in the UK, with temperatures reaching the twenties and t-shirts making an appearance… now of course we’re back in a sort of Winter/Spring with hailstorms and bright, cold sunshine the order of the day. But we’re still feeling ‘balmy’ by reaching for some of our favourite fragranced balms – something of a scent trend it seems.

Often multi-use and perfect for travel, we also love the fact a balm represents a private moment of stopping to smell the roses (or rosemary, or whatever the balms are fragranced by) – they feel extra special because we kind of annoint ourselves when using and enjoying them. Here are a few of our favourite balms we cannot urge you enough to sniff out and try for yourself…

Sometimes we just need a quick blast of wake-me-up concentration: long (dull) meetings, exams, important events when we need to concentrate, all these occasions require some extra help, though it might not be appropriate to reach for a bottle of perfume and start spraying. So we reach for this 100% natural focus balm – from an exciting new(ish) name in aromatherapy – gliding onto pulse points, it’s powered by memory-boosting rosemary, crisp peppermint (known to help with mental alertness), and clary sage which combine to help relieve mental fatigue. It’s like a shot of sudden awareness and immediately clears mental fogginess.

Psst! You can try a darling mini-size in our Feel Good Box

Scentered Focus Therapy Balm £14.50 for 5g
planetorganic.com

First created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Diptyque, this innovative solid perfume is named for their first-ever boutique – at the iconic 34 Boulevard Saint Germain. It’s the perfect transitional season scent, too, with blackcurrant leaves and moss atop warm spices and fig, it aims to recreate the scents that filled that shop floor over half a century ago, and in surely one of the most chic (and satisfyingly hefty) containers ever. We like to smooth it through the tips of dry hair, too, to get little wafts of perfume the whole day through.

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Solid Perfume £40 for 3.6g
diptyqueparis.com

A much loved, multi award-winning and multi-tasking product, this is a one-pot wonder for all skin types. With antioxidant-rich, organic wild rosehip oil and a balancing blend of organic geranium and patchouli essential oils, this cult favourite nourishes skin and enhances your skin’s radiance, for a natural glow. It’s rich in rosehip oil, featuring pro-vitamin A (a source of retinol) and vitamin E, and apart from perfectly cleansing, you can: leave it on overnight for an ultra-rich face mask, use as a lip balm, cuticle oil, hair frizz-tamer, or skin-soothing salve – all while enjoying the heavenly, rosy aroma!

Try a travel-size pot in our Feel Good Box, and we’re betting you’ll fall in love, too…

Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm Cleanser £40 for 50g
nealsyardremedies.com

There are definitely times you need to feel like a goddess, and now you can carry a cute little scented pot of balm to apply whenever you need reminding. Lush have a number of solid perfumes in balm form, but this is their most recent release (and perhaps their most lavish!) Featuring Turkish rose, jasmine and smoky sandalwood, there’s also some oudh from responsibly managed nurseries in Thailand, all on a solid jojoba oil base. It’s great to smooth on decolletége for some va-va-voom that comforts while creating confidence.

Lush Goddess Solid Perfume £9 for 6g
uk.lush.com

Encased in a weighted metal compact that’s been sculpted to perfectly fit the curve of your palm and thumb, with an addictively flippable hinged swivel. You simply swing it open, press your finger into the scented balm and glide onto skin wherever you please. Beautifully designed and so-satisfying to use, this is Glossier’s ‘your skin but better’ perfume in solid form. It’s slightly salty, lightly musky and has a powdery pink-pepper note that kept our noses coming back for more. A quiet, contemplative scent for when you just want to smell like yourself (but better).

Glossier You Solid Perfume £19 for 3g
glossier.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Help her Feel Good this Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, March 31 – and it can be emotional for many reasons. Those of us lucky enough to have a mum who’s still around can take a moment to treat her for a change, and those of us who don’t can feel rather overwhelmed by the occasion. But many of us might have a ‘mother figure’ – a strong woman we look to for advice and comfort in times of stress – so why not take the opportunity to send her some scented, feel-good vibes?

Why not buy mum / your mother-figure the Feel-Good Box (along with a nice bottle bottle of wine/tub of hot chocolate and bunch of flowers for full-on spoiling) – it’s our first collaboration with the Beauty Bible and packed with beautifully fragranced body and face-care treats to soothe away stress, leaving her calmer, glowing and stunningly scented.

Then, suggest she indulges in the following routine for a guaranteed feel-good / smell great treat of a day…

1. Cleanse with the iconic Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish / 30ml – the plant-based cream removes all traces of makeup, including stubborn waterproof mascara) while chamomile, rosemary, hops and eucalyptus soothe the skin (and the senses)…

2. Slather your face with the also award-winning Neal’s Yard Rose Beauty Balm / 15g –a multi-tasking product that can be left on as an ultra-nourishing face mask, dabbed on dry cutilcles/ends of hair, and used as a lip balm.

3. Run yourself a bath and add any of these generously sized options (BOTH are included!) depending if you feel…

Stressed out? Use just half a capful of the relaxing Olverum Bath Oil / 15ml – an aromatic blend of essential oils which combine to ease stress and relax tension in both mind and body. The scented steam will fill the room and the oil’s easily absorbed by the skin (no greasy residue in the bath!)

Need pampering? Try the decadently gorgeous Molton Brown Rosa Absolute Bathing Oil / 45ml – notes of rose absolute, violet leaf, blackcurrant, raspberry, geranium, sandalwood and patchouli, infused with skin-silkifying oils of argan and Italian rose, this bathing elixir will veil your skin in a deep, velvety fragrance that clings to the body for a beautiful trail, as you emerge from the scented waters.

4. After patting yourself dry with a fluffy towel, smooth the Temple Spa Peace Be Still Calming Skin Balm / 50ml all over your body. A Gold Beauty Bible Award-winner in 2019, It’s aromatherapy and skincare in one – with extracts of coriander, lemon, nutmeg, antioxidants and a fusion of relaxing Mediterranean essential oils and vitamin B5, deeply moisturising and leaving skin silky to touch.

5. After removing the Rose Beauty Balm/mask with the muslin cloth (acting as a deeply moisturising double-cleanse); warm a few drops of the Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil / 4ml in your hands, slowly massage into your face and allowing replenishing, renewing and restoring botanicals to work their magic. Including sinks-in-fast Kalahari oil, vitamin E-powered mongongo oil, firming Kigelia Africana and omega-rich, ‘buzz ingredient’ baobab oil, together with a blend of hibiscus and pomegranate to help fight free radicals.

6. Change into pyjamas, relax on the sofa with a glass of wine / hot choccy and allow the velvety smooth, rich Madagascan vanilla-ness of Green & Black’s White Chocolate / 100g to melt in your mouth. This indulgent treat features lashings of cocoa butter alongside organic whole milk, giving this white chocolate its wonderfully creamy texture.

7. While catching up with Netflix, massage the shea butter and almond oil-infused Heathcote & Ivory Gardener’s Handcream in for a mini-mani: The Original Gardeners Shea Butter Hand Cream is inspired by the vegetable patch, juicy with tomatoes and redcurrants, basil and mint. Hedgerow Hand Cream, meanwhile, delivers a luscious yet subtle berry scent, infused with tart rhubarb, blackberry and elderflower. Whichever you receive, we love them both!

8. Breathe deeply and apply This Works Stress Check Roll-On / 5ml to pulse points (we also love using it on the temple to relieve a headache). This concentrated 100% natural superblend of pure essential oils is the perfect antidote to stress overload. An invigorating, mind-cleansing, calming blend, it features refreshing eucalyptus, to combat mental fatigue, frankincense (to help you relax mentally and physically), alongside lavender oil, the most effective oil in helping hypertension, nervous tension and insomnia…

 

9. In the morning, have a fabulously scented shower with Percy & Reed Heavenly Hydrating Body Wash / 100ml – breathing in refreshing top notes of citrus and apple, heart notes of lily of the valley and rose, and comforting base notes of cedar wood, amber and musk. This nourishing formula is blended with botanical extracts to help calm and soothe the skin.

10. Take a shot of energy with Hello Day Vitality Boost / 4g – a new name in supplements, created with the help of Swiss and French health experts and doctors in micro-nutrition and phytotherapy, Vitality Boost sets out to help you feel more energetic, with stimulating and tonic properties to boost mental and physical wellbeing. Ingredients include cinnamon bark extract, to help your body feel stronger, and vitamin C to reduce tiredness and help your metabolism energy yield return to normal.

11. Before heading off to work/daily chores, glide some Scentered Focus Therapy Balm / 1.5g onto pulse points, it’s powered by memory-boosting rosemary, crisp peppermint (known to help with mental alertness), and clary sage – with its wonderfully clarifying scent – which combine to help relieve mental fatigue and promote concentration. Just what you need to carry with you through the day, for top-ups of a scented tonic!

We think you’ll agree, there’s a whole lot to explore and fall in love with in this box, and it’s the perfect gift for anyone you love who’s been feeling a bit overwhelmed or could just do with a bit of a pick-me-up… and perhaps that person is YOU? Go ahead, indulge yourself while you’re at it…

Feel Good Discovery Box £19 / £15 for VIP Club members

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Future of Fragrance: Olfiction’s Pia Long predicts…

In the current issue of our magazine, The Scented Letter, we take a look at what lies in store for the future of fragrance, and what we’re likely to be spritzing in the years to come.

Of course such crystal-ball-gazing is backed up by experts whose job it is to predict which ingredients – and relies on innovative ways of growing, harvesting, distilling and filtering fragrant natural crops, or even the creation of brand new synthetic aroma molecules… smells that cannot be captured or, perhaps, do not even exist in nature. Can you imagine the excitement if we created a new musical note previously unheard by musicians, or added a new, never before seen colour to the artist’s palette?!

We honestly could have written two volumes of a book with the amount of fascinating information we discovered, so wanted to share with you in a series of scented snapshots, the thoughts of three people we talked to with experise in varying fields of fragrance. What, we asked them, can we expect the future to smell like?

Pia Long is a perfumer and co-founder of Olfiction – a UK-based fragrance consultancy that work with suppliers, contract manufacturers, brands, retailers and fragrance industry organisations. So they can be involved with a brand right from the start, helping them create fragrances and scented products; or aiding existing fragrance houses to shape and better define themselves in the marketplace. And for Pia, education, accessibility and honesty are key factors…

‘Fragrance is currently experiencing a similar breaking down of barriers to access as we’ve seen in other trades – film and television; music. The differences are, though, that we don’t necessarily have the platforms and systems in place to democratise perfumery (though organisations such as The Perfume Society and the Institute for Art and Olfaction are heading the way in acting as a bridge between the trade and general public).

What the public currently understands as perfumery has typically been communicated by brands and marketers, rather than by perfumers and the trade, and therefore the concept of what perfumery even is, remains a little bit unclear in the public’s perception. This, combined with a general greater demand for transparency from consumers, creates an interesting scenario: if perfumers and businesses become fully transparent about how perfumes are made, are consumers ready? Would they understand? Or would the information that lands on a bed of misconceptions, in fact do harm to our trade?

Pia Long

I think for the fragrance trade to continue to thrive, we need to do far more education and allow far more access. This will help everybody. We are already seeing an increase in queries that involve full ingredient traceability, sustainability, and other considerations that touch on the growing, harvesting, supply chain or manufacturing processes.

Specific material predictions are hard to make, but the popularity of naturals as a marketing message, and for their aesthetic beauty is an ever-growing part of the trade, and all major fragrance houses have some systems in place to obtain and supply complete natural materials, as well as their own specialities. Natural materials have always had variation due to location and extraction methods, but I see the strategy of larger manufacturers ensuring ingredient loyalty as being one of creating specialist materials that are unique to that supplier.

In general, with synthetic materials, we’re likely to see more efforts to go back to some of the classic feedstocks like wood (turpentine), versus petrochemicals, and we’ll also see novel ways to replace raw materials that have fallen foul of regulators (if not 1:1 replacements, then certainly ones that can go towards creating similar accords).’

So it seems the future is smelling distinctly woody… and with perfumers looking for ways that we can still enjoy those ingredients that end up on the ‘naughty’ list (due to concerns about allergens and skin irritants), while manufacturers further explore how to make naturals smell unique. And at The Perfume Society we share Pia’s hope that more organisations and fragrance houses will open their doors and let the light in on what continues to be a subject that excites us every day.

There’s absolutely no doubt that fragrance lovers want (and deserve) more information about how their perfumes are made; how and where the materials are being sourced and hearing directly from the perfumer’s themselves. Just ask anyone who’s attended one of our many exciting events – visiting the archives of heritage houses, seeing ingredients distilled in front of them, smelling raw materials, hearing perfumers talk about their scientific and creative process and founders discuss why they bravely – some may say madly – wanted to launch their own fragrance house in the first place.

Or, indeed, from authors who’ve written about their enduring love-affair with perfume – such as the launch of Neil Chapman’s book, Perfume – In Search of Your Signature Scent. So why not join us on Thursday 28th March 2019 to find out more?

We think there’s a buzz about perfumery, alongside the developments in technologies and public hunger for reliable information, that’s perhaps where the food industry or wine business was twenty years ago. A widening of the world of ingredients we have access to, and want to know more about – and ultimately, a hunger to smell and wear even more exciting things. Better make room on that scent shelf, then, because we’ve sniffed the future, and it’s shaping up to be fabulous…

Written by Suzy Nightingale, with many thanks to Pia Long of Olfiction for her insights.

How to Feel Good with Fragrance

Increasingly, people are turning to aromatherapy and using smell to soothe stress, add a sense of comfort or revive their spirits. There’s a whole feel-good festival with this in mind, and we’re thrilled to be taking part in Live Well London from 1-3 March 2019 – which you can read all about here – where we’ll be bringing our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshop and exploring how scent truly can have a deeply emotional effect, every day.

In fact, we’re pre-conditioned to have smell preferences, and our response is based partly on our individual genetic make-up (our DNA), and partly on our life experiences. So: that crushed tomato leaf note that reminds you of a beloved grandmother and her greenhouse – or the jasmine that was growing round a door when you were poorly on holiday, and which you can now hardly stomach.

Many people use fragrance as a boost for their spirits, perhaps without realising they’re doing so, and there is even a name for the science behind this: ‘aromachology’.

It’s been scientifically proven that different aromas can impact on mood and emotions – not just personally, but affecting those around you. Bergamot is a feel-good ingredient, peppermint makes you perkier and more alert, and grapefruit – believe it or not – apparently makes others believe you’re younger than you are!

This is one reason so many people now have a ‘wardrobe’ of fragrances, rather than just one signature scent: a perfume to make them feel romantic, after a hard day staring at a computer screen; to give them a relaxed, weekend feel on Saturdays and Sundays – or simply something that they spritz on for work, in the morning, which makes them feel focused and professional, in the same way as a smart suit or a crisp white shirt.

We’re huge believers in using scent every day as a way to – literally – take a breather, and for the first time, Beauty Bible and The Perfume Society have teamed up to collate the Feel Good Discovery Box, filled with fragrant award-winning goodies you can use and enjoy on a daily basis.

If you love the smell of a product, you’re far more likely to use it regualrly and see the benefits of adding it into your beauty routine, but it’s also time to consider allowing yourself the luxury of a few minutes each day: inhaling the aromas and treating yourself to a mini-spa experience by focusing on the smell alone.

It’s genuinely life-changing.

If your spirits could do with a boost, read more about wellness scents to try, or why not indulge yourself (or treat a friend who’s been going through a hard time) to a whole box of fragrant, feel-good delights….?

Feel Good Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

So how do you use fragrance to make you feel better, stronger, calmer or self-assured? Are there perfumes you find yourself reaching for in certain situations, and how do they make you feel? Live Well London would love to hear from you about whatever makes you feel better – and we sure many of our readers will already be using scent to boost their spirits on a daily basis – so do get involved in the discussion by using #yourlivewell in social media…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Mandy Aftel & The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table Selects podcast indulges in ‘conversations that inspire us to cook in creative ways’, so we were thrilled to hear one of our favourite perfumers, Mandy Aftel, was a recent guest!

The Splendid Table say: ‘Mandy Aftel is an artisan perfumer with a deep knowledge of natural essential oils. Her book Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scentco-authored by chef Daniel Patterson, features scent-crafting skills and perfume ingredients in cooking to highlight the difference just one drop of essential oil can make in a dish. Splendid Table contributor Jennifer 8 Lee met up with Aftel to talk about cooking with five particularly powerful aromas: cinnamon, mint, frankincense, ambergris and jasmine. Check out Mandy’s recipes for Rose and Ginger Soufflé and Fragrant Raspberry Bubbly.’

Have a listen to the episode here.

Mandy has long been a friend of The Perfume Society, and we have been delighted, in the past, to have thrown a Scented Supper in her honour, hosted and prepared by the brilliant chef Pratap Chahal, who was inspired by Mandy to use fragrant notes in his own cooking.

How wonderful that flavour and fragrance are finally being entwined in the public consciousness, and that perfumers are being interviewed about subjects outside of the usual ‘how do you make a perfume’ type questions. Could it be that our sense of smell will eventually be taken as seriously in the mainstream media…? We can but spray and pray.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz & the renaissance of natural perfumers

Finding her way to fragrance through the art of painting, natural perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is a leading light in the niche fragrance world with a devoted following of fragrance fans. From working at Boston’s renowned ESSENSE Perfumery, Dawn developed a particular talent for creating perfumes based on her fine art principles, and took the plunge to launch her own label, DSH Perfumes.

Anyone who has smelled Dawn’s scents can attest to the fact that they’re taking natural perfumery to another level – a subject we explore in-depth in the latest edition of The Scented Letter Magazine: Flower Power – now available online for International Subscriptions and in glorious print for those of you who prefer to be hands-on…

From the first time we got to smell DSH Perfumes for ourselves – and to meet the very engaging Dawn – during the Art & Olfaction gathering earlier this year, we have been haunted by their other-worldliness, the way that Dawn somehow transforms notoriously tricky (and often ‘muddy’ smelling) materials into something truly artful. But we wanted to catch up with Dawn to find out exactly how she crafts her fragrances so beautifully, and the challenges she faces when working with all-natural ingredients…

– Why do you love natural fragrance materials so much, and when did this love really begin?

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz: ‘I have loved natural materials from the very first; from the moment that I began working with perfumery materials (both natural and synthetic) I was immediately attracted to the incredible beauty/strangeness, depth, complexity, and intrinsic ‘quality’ of the naturals.  You can feel the energy of the place that the materials were grown in and with each distillation method, some new facets come out from the plant itself.  It’s almost like they speak to you if you want to listen.  Of course, I love the beautiful things like Bulgarian rose, or jasmine sambac, neroli, santalum album, and so many others but I really love the strange, hard to use, and exotic naturals like choya nahk, cumin, seaweed absolute, or hyraceum, too.’

– Do you have a favourite natural fragrance material, or something you’re particularly enjoying using at the moment?

DSH: ‘That is a very, very difficult question to answer… kind of like choosing a favorite child.  Oakmoss absolute was one of my absolute favorites from the very beginning and I’ve become a connoisseur of various oakmoss absolute materials over the years.  There’s a surprising amount of variation with oakmoss.  Natural sandalwood is also a long time favorite material but you know there are so many WONDERFUL naturals coming out on the market these days that it’s hard to choose a current favorite. The fact that natural ambergris tincture is now widely available is like a miracle to my younger self just starting out in perfumery, and it’s a truly lovely material to work with. OK, perhaps if I had to chose, in this very moment, I would have to say that tomato leaf absolute is rocking my world.  I get a buzz each and every time I get a whiff of the stuff.’

– Do you think the public perception of natural fragrances is changing… have preconceptions and snobbery disappeared?

DSH: ‘I think that interest in natural perfumery is growing; for many reasons.  Some people are more concerned with the materials used in their fragrances than the overall aesthetic or design of the perfume.  Others actually find natural perfumes much more appealing, in a general way, than commercial perfume designs, which they find overwhelming.  For the perfume lovers or aficionados, who are well versed in traditional perfume styles, many natural perfumes seem too dense, opaque, or muddy in comparison to the transparency that synthetics can provide in a design.  The design challenges that working in an all natural palette presents is either in making very streamlined perfumes with perfect transitions from one note to another that is done using unusual materials choices or by interweaving a very intricate structure to make perfumes that feel complete and complex, but not opaque.  Either way, the challenges are great and (fascinatingly) difficult, which is part of why I love the all natural palette.

Pictured above is the divine Mata Hari fragrance – one whiff of which and we were transported to a shimmering golden world of seduction by Chypre. The list of ingredients is huge, but it still retains the lightness of touch and a certain luminesence rarely seen without the use of synthetics, and which will surely turn natural naysayers into true believers at first sniff… Continues Dawn, ‘Having said all of that, there are many natural perfumes and perfumers who are creating clever, interesting, and unique fragrances that have the structural integrity and completeness to change many minds.  I don’t think that preconceptions have disappeared but I do think that the plethora of new materials available to the natural perfumer should open many doors to encourage the ‘naysayers’ to come and try the genre again.  They might be pleasantly surprised..’

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Meet the chef who's cooking with scent in Soho…

Food and fragrance have long been linked – anyone who’s had a cold will attest to the fact that even the most delicious dish becomes less appetising, because your sense of smell is impaired. But for Michelin-trained chef Pratap Chahal, having already worked with some of the greatest names around, including Gordon Ramsey; it was reading natural perfumer Mandy Aftel‘s books that truly inspired him to delve further into the world of fragrant ingredients.

It was a natural fit to collaborate with us at The Perfume Society to create exclusive Scented Suppers for our subscribers – including one for Mandy herself, when she visited the UK last year, and oh, how those fragrantly inspired dishes will linger long in the minds of all who attended. But now, both Pratap and Mandy are taking their scented adventures even further…

Launching in September 2017 in the heart of Soho, Pratap’s finally opening the restaurant he’s always dreamed of – the rather vividly named, ‘Flavour Bastard‘ is to be a journey of flavours, using all the techniques he’s spent years researching and perfecting.

The restaurant, located on Frith Street, is founded by renowned restaurateur Vic Singh collaborating with Pratap, and we predict it will be seducing the senses and blowing the minds of foodies, if the menus are anything to go by. Have a napkin handy, as we are literally drooling just reading them…

Featuring a wide selection of ‘tiny’ and ‘small’ plates designed to be shared (tapas style) or doubled-up to ‘large’ for a main – everything sounds delectable, and so reasonably priced, too! Tiny plates – all under £5 – will include a white lentil, chorizo and pecorino doughnut and steamed rice cake with house kimchi, sesame and assam. Small plates – under £8 – have such delights as miso and mango glazed aubergine with peanut crumble; a ‘clouds of curds’ with pickled chilli; steak tartare with tamarind, chilli and garlic; and tandoori fried chicken. The restaurant’s large plate menu – everything under £15 – offers diners the option of super-sizing any of the smaller plates.

Pratap’s star is definitely rising – he’s recently been featured on the BBC series, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, with Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain visiting Pratap at home to talk about cooking with ‘perfume’ and tasting some of his fabulous creations.

Meanwhile, Mandy Aftel has just published her latest book – The Art of Flavor – and is set to inspire even more home-cooks and chefs around the world with her groundbreaking use of uniquely delicious ingredients and game-changing techniques of extracting every drop of flavour in your food.

Mandy says: ‘I wrote The Art of Flavor with my dear friend the 2-Michelin-star chef Daniel Patterson. We teach cooks at all levels how to rely on their senses–not recipes–when making a meal, arguably making this the last cookbook you’ll ever need. From historical examples to the scientific underpinnings to pragmatic rules & phrases, we help home cooks understand better how to achieve the flavours they want.’

We cannot wait to taste for ourselves – both the menu at Pratap’s new restaurant, and the recipes in Mandy’s new book. Scent so good… you can eat it? Tuck in!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Aesop home fragrances: formulated to stir the senses…

Aesop have fragrance at their heart, but always linked to the efficacy and wellbeing benefits of their produtcs. Never a brand to slap a nice smelling scent in for the sake of it, they’ve now launched a trio of home fragrances created by perfumer, Barnabé Fillion, with the premise that Istros, Cythera and Olous will ‘…transform the home, redefining the physical space that surrounds us.’
Each of the room sprays has been commissioned with a bespoke musical track composed to evoke the notes of the scents themselves, and with such a connection between music and perfume – we speak of musical and fragrance ‘accords’, the ‘notes’ of a scent, a perfumer arranging their ingredients on an ‘organ’ – it’s an harmonious match, indeed.

Aesop say: ‘Just as each Aromatique Room Spray unfurls in a melody of top, heart and base notes, composer and musician Jesse Paris Smith has created three distinctive tracks to narrate the shifting journey.’
Istros
A union of enlivening florals and smoky tobacco, underscored by the embrace of sandalwood.
Istros is a scent of what has been left behind: a street baked by heat during the day, cooled at night; tendrils of tobacco smoke long dispersed; bazaars that bear the etchings of commerce, commotion and carnival. But more than this, it is a communion with the creative spirits who have journeyed through – an energy distilled from their traces.
Cythera
A veil of geranium and incense, lent symmetry by woody patchouli and the warmth of myrrh.
Cythera conjures a moonlit garden as vespertine flowers relax their petals and nocturnal animals emerge from sleep. Drawing us into the present, an atmosphere of reverence is stirred as darkness returns. The air in this space holds a delicate aroma woven with the memory of the day, and the promise of the evening ahead.
Olus
A blend of citrus botanicals, balanced by breaking waves of cedar and the refreshing spice of cardamom.
Just as words are born of our breath, Olous rouses an exhalation of clipped, green aroma. Boundless as it is, nature makes its presence felt inside the home – stillness ensues. The environment is redefined to an elemental time, when life was all silence – pleasantly devoid of the babble of phone chatter, or the burring hum of the mechanical.
You can listen to the soundtracks on the Aesop website, and we highly recommend taking a few minutes to sit down, spritz and chill to the scents…

Aesop Aromatique Room Sprays, £37 for 200ml
Buy them at Aesop
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

Literary meditations in fragrant form with Walden Natural Perfumes…

Fragrant inspirations are diverse as the perfumes composed for them, but we’ve noticed a particular leaning toward the arts – literature, painting and music – in recent years.  Walden Perfumes are no exception, the house being named after Henry David Thoreau’s seminal work and the fragrances themselves inspired by certain passages within it.

Walden was written partly as a guide for meditation, and can be seen as a handbook ‘…for simple living in natural surroundings.’ Fittingly, the fragrances are 100% natural, and each carries a quote on the back of the box, a creative whisper of suggestion as to the perfume inside. And we couldn’t wait to browse their fragrant library…
Soaringly beautiful, a mega-hit of ylang ylang swoons into a buxom bouquet of iris and jasmine garlanded in swags around amyris and oodles of tonka bean. Finalist for ‘Best Natural Beauty Product’, Natural & Organic Awards Europe 2017, this is a creamy, dreamy, romantic delight.

A Little Star Dust, £40 for 50ml eau de parfum
An intriguing melange of the freshly zesty and totally tropical, citrus bursts forth with all the sparkle of a just-poured cocktail, exotic flowers dancing in the breeze with cool, herbaceous lavender. Like a joyous celebration of the sunshine and the shade, this twirls exuberantly.

Castles in the Air, £40 for 50ml eau de parfum
A frolic through a forest of wild flowers, roses climb and tumble through boughs of trees as jasmine entwines the branches and iris goes native in the shady nooks. Sliced through with shards of bergamot citrus like sunlight appearing through the verdant canopy above, it’s perfect for summer.
Two Eternities, £60 for 50ml eau de parfum
Capturing that petrichor scent of just-after-the-rain freshness when the world seems to pause and breathe a sigh of relief, the sharpness of petitgrain is followed by a cool heart of earthy vetiver and a whisper of patchouli swirled amongst the creaminess of amyris.

The Solid Earth, £50 for 50ml eau de parfum
Opening with a spicy kick of black pepper, this is woody all the way up to 11 with warm amber tingling the senses in the heart of cedarwood followed by a smooth flourish of resinous amyris segueing to freshly sharpened pencil-ness of sandalwood. Vigorous yet comforting.

A Different Drummer, £50 for 50ml eau de parfum
Walden Natural Perfumes are available at lovelula.com

Perhaps literary-inspired perfumes highlight our need to not necessarily simply escape to a wonderland in troubled times, but to use artistic measures to put them in context and reflect? Whatever the aim, we cannot help but be thrilled that finally, perfumery is being seen once again as an art form to rejoice in!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Lavender true… five scents to make your heart sigh for an everlasting summer

Swathes of purple patches embellishing the countryside truly lift the soul – there’s something about seeing simplicity en-masse that becomes staggeringly beautiful…
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Aesthetically pleasing we can all agree, but many fragrance fans unfairly discount a dominant note of lavender in perfumery as being ;old-fashioned; – perhaps recalling scented drawer-sachets or bath salts that rarely use the high quality, perfume-grade lavender, and instead the far cheaper, dusty-old-drawer smelling low quality essential oil or even poorly made synthetic lavender.
Judge not, oh ye of little fragrance faith, until you have read on!
Known in Provence as ;blue gold;, the best lavender used in perfumery tends to be grown in higher altitudes, and often doesn’t at all resemble what we think we know lavender smells of. Pure lavender essential oil can be spicy, peppery, herbaceous, misty, smoky or green and many cannot identify the note when asked to sniff blind.
Recently we took a group of our VIP Subscribers to the wonderful Mitchell & Peach Lavender Farm in Kent, and everyone was enchanted by the picturesque countryside and the family’s in-depth knowledge and passion for the land and the crops they tend there.
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With lavender having a resurgence as a note to rediscover in contemporary fragrances we suggested you try, it is also important to appreciate those British classics that have withstood the test of time, and fragrances that cherish it as the “hero note” – revelling in their true lavender love.
You can read more about the history of lavender’s use in perfumery on our fascinating Ingredients section of the website, but in the meantime, here’s our edit of the absolute must-try lavender scents. And every time you spray, you can keep summer alive that little bit longer…
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Freshly aromatic with a twist of eucalyptus and rosemary with the traditional lavender, the heart is a tender bouquet of geranium, rose and orange flower, with an earthier base of patchouli and musk for a dusky trail…
Bronnley Lavender £13.50 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at bronnley.co.uk
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Made by the Cistertian monks of tiny Caldey island in south west Wales, this is humbly presented yet unexpectedly sublime – all fresh air, hazy dawns and mist-draped secret gardens. Almost slightly minty, it’s like a late Summer breeze in a bottle…
Caldey Island Lavender £17.50 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at caldey-island.co.uk
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With a green hay-like sweetness, this is Yardley London’s signature fragrance. Beautifully elegant, lavender leaves enhance the freshness on top, then the oil is infused with neroli and clary sage, geranium,  sandalwood and tonka for a smooth dry-down…
Yardley English Lavender £9.99 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots
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With zesty lemon, verbena and grapefruit shot through the composition of this ultra-green lavender, it’s a wakeup call for the senses. Gauzy jasmine and delicate hints of amber intrigue the cedarwood trail…
Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena and Lavender de Provence £20 for 30ml Cologne
Buy it at crabtree-evelyn.co.uk
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One of the very first flowers distilled by founder Olivier Baussan, L’Occitane uses lavender directly sourced from farmers’ cooperatives in Haute-Provence. This aromatic tribute to their homeland is the softest way there is to soothe frazzled nerves…
L’Occitane Lavender Relaxing Roll-On £12 for 10ml Cologne
Buy it at uk.loccitane.com
Do you have a favourite lavender fragrance, or have you tried one recently that really changed your mind? Do get in touch by Tweeting, posting a picture and tagging us on Instagram or e-mail us here – we’d love to hear about it!
Written by Suzy Nightingale