Avon Herstory celebrates Changing Faces charity

Avon has partnered with the UK’s leading charity for people with visible differences, Changing Faces, to launch Herstory – a fragrance celebrating women all over the world.

Five powerful and inspiring women with visible differences proudly feature in the Herstory beauty campaign. This reflects Avon’s commitment to Changing Faces, wanting to give everyone with a visible difference a #PledgetoBeSeen.

Avon explain that ‘The Herstory launch coincides with Face Equality Week (18-22nd May) a time to celebrate people with visible differences and to challenge people’s perceptions,’ and wonderfully, Avon will also be donating 50% of Herstory sales to Changing Faces ‘…which will go towards funding the charity’s Support and Information Line which offers advice for people with a visible difference.

Talking about why they wanted to highlight visual diversity, Avon say that ‘Representing the scent of inspiration for all women, Herstory commends the long lineage of women who have helped shape the present. It celebrates the experience of being a woman, opening the conversation for women to share their own authentic story of the past and present, whilst coming together to write the stories of the future.’

So we know the way this campaign looks is beautifully different to the Photoshopped and unrealistic images of many adverts, but what does Herstory smell like…?

 

 

‘The bold and modern Chypre represents today’s strong and modern women, recognising each unique and empowering story of women. Herstory is built by the passion of pink pepper, the boldness and sophistication of the iris, and the personality of the patchouli.

Pink pepper stands for passion, representing the energy and stamina to fight for your dreams.

Iris for courage: At the heart of Herstory is the noble Iris flower – the emblem of fine fragrance and symbolising wisdom, courage and feminine confidence.

Patchouli Prisma reveals personality: elegant and powerfully woody, it encourages a woman who writes her own story.’

Avon Herstory RRP £11 for 50ml eau de parfum – only £8 for a limited time, so snap them up now!

Changing Faces Ambassador and Avon model, Brenda, says: ‘Having alopecia and losing my hair left me feeling very out of place – I felt I had no control. Yet since I decided to embrace it, my confidence has rocketed.

Now I work with my hair loss rather than hide away from it. By working with Avon on the Herstory launch campaign, I hope to show others that we define what beauty is and being unique is something that should be celebrated.’

 

 

‘Avon understands that beauty can be very powerful and so it’s imperative that it’s inclusive too,’ says Stephen Rendu, Marketing Director at Avon. ‘We are very proud to be working with Changing Faces again and their ambassadors to launch Herstory and inspire women with visible differences to feel included and empowered.’

Smelling great and doing good at the same time? We applaud Avon and Changing Faces for this beautiful – in every sense of the word – fragrance and campaign, and urge you to try it for yourselves…

By Suzy Nightingale

The Fragrance Room – Harvey Nichols new perfume place to be!

Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge have just opened a fabulous NEW fragrant hang-out: Exclusives and boutiques and workshops, oh my! We got the low-down on this exciting new scent space within the department store, now with a whole host of new houses to explore in DOUBLE the room…

Harvey Nichols have long had a passion for perfume – often showcasing niche brands that never dreamed of being stocked in such a world-famous store, finding the most unique names that are hard to find anywhere else along with their curated selection of the finest fragrance houses this planet has to offer perfumistas. With innovative art installations and all manner of fragrant events already under their belt, and an array of gorgeous shop-in-shop boutiques queing up to join in the fragrant fun – it was time to expand the space and really commit to a larger integral fragrant experience. Behold: The Fragrance Room

 

 

Bigger, better, bolder than ever before, this new department has now been unveiled and includes over 100 fragrance houses, including in-store boutiques from Creed, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Serge Lutens and Kilian. With a roll-out of inclusive, immersive experiences for customers, the new concept will include a sensory fragrance discovery wall – to help customers navigate the often tricky fragrance families – boutique activations, including fragrance workshops with the Fragrance Foundation to celebrate National Fragrance Week and opportunities to meet brand founders and perfumers through interactive events and partnerships.

 

 

Jo Osborne, Director of Beauty and Concessions at Harvey Nichols, said that because fragrance has been such a significant part of their business, since the 2016, they’ve taken the decision to massively expand their fragrance offering.

‘…we have outgrown the current area but are fortunate enough to move to a space double the size. The new department allows us to offer some of our bestselling brands an opportunity to create their own boutique space and the rest of the department to curate unique and fine fragrances from across the world, which we know our customers will love. We are excited to work with new and existing brands to offer exclusive activities, such as expert consultations and welcome various brand founders such as Francis Kurkdjian and Geza Schoen.’

The first phase is already open, and when fully complete at the end of this month (March 2020), the space will be a whopping 1,600 sq ft – showing exactly how important fragrance is to Harvey Nichols. And that’s great news for all of us who love perfume, don’t you think?

Harvey Nichols say: ‘With a portfolio of UK exclusive brands including Maison Crivelli, 28 87 Barcelona, V Canta by Terenzi, Ormaie Paris and Ella K, the deapartment will be home to a library of fragrance brands from across the world.’

Additional fragrance houses joining Harvey Nichols for the first time include Hermessance, Nassomatto, Parfums de Marly, D.S. & Durga and Initio, among others.

We don’t know about you, but our shopping (and must-sniff) list just got a LOT longer…

By Suzy Nightingale

The weird & wonderful world of novelty fragrances

Did you know that many companies have created novelty fragrances to promote anything and everything from fast-food brands and Stilton cheese to Captain Birds Eye fish fingers? (Yes, really!)

Fragrance is such an individual choice, don’t you think? We all have completely differing reactions to certain notes or combinations – what’s one person’s yum is another’s yuck, and that can be based on anything from childhood memories and cultural or long-buried associations to the simple fact of personal preference. What’s more, there are scents that may remind us of favourite foods or sweet treats we enjoy – the Gourmand family of fragrances have held sway since the 90s.

It would take the concept of ‘niche’ to a whole new level, however, for fragrance fans to actively seek out scents that smell of fried chicken, pizzas and sprouts – no matter how much we might love munching them. Well… you’d think so, wouldn’t you? But increasingly, brands are latching on to the power of perfume to promote their products.

Have YOU tried any of these, or purchased one as a joke gift for a friend…?

 

 

Birds Eye recently offered consumers the chance to win a limited edition eau de toilette inspired by Captain Birdseye himself – played by Italian-born actor and seafarer Riccardo Acerbi, who was unveiled at the start of 2018 as part of an £8m marketing campaign for the brand. ‘We know the British public have a soft spot for our captain,’ explained Birds Eye spokeswoman Annalisa Fanali, and so they gave him his own signature scent, ‘inspired by the hypnotic and evocative power of the high seas.’

Named Ahoy! the fragrance promises top notes of grapefruit and mandarin with patchouli, thankfully nothing fishy to smell here. Fifty bottles of the scent were up for grabs in the competition, which ran on Birds Eye’s Facebook page in the run-up to Christmas. If you weren’t a lucky winner, one imagines you wont be able to pop down the shops and pick yourself up a bottle in the immediate future, which is a shame because it sounded rather appealing. Unlike some of the previous novelty fragrances, below…

 

 

In 2012, having revolutionised the pizza world with stuffed crusts, the fragrance world was perhaps not ready for Pizza Hut Perfume. What began as a joke on their Facebook page escalated to an actual scent being created, which they temptingly described as ‘boasting top notes of freshly baked, hand-tossed dough.’ The limited edition perfume was designed to commemorate Pizza Hut Canada, and only 110 bottles were produced and shared with fans. ‘Will we be seeing Pizza Hut perfume in department stores any time soon?’ their press release asked. ‘Only time will tell.’ Spoilers: nope.

 

 

Currently showcasing their vegan-friendly range, those missing their whiff of something meatier were recently offered a unique opportunity to ‘fill your home with the scent of Gravy’ in a KFC Candle. Another limited edition (no, really?) candles were limited to only 230 editions and again, used as a competition prize on social media. We cannot comment on the authenticity of the gravy scent, sadly, but certainly the wax colour looks… somewhat disturbingly… realistic.

 

 

Now this will raise eyebrows (or twitch nostrils), but I don’t think this next one’s as crazy as it perhaps sounds. Eau de Stilton was launched to promote the cheese as part of a marketing campaign all the way back in 2006, and apart from genuinely loving the bottle design, while the sound of a blue cheese-inspired scent might seem off-putting, I think certain undiluted jasmine oils smell like strong cheese – due to the huge amounts of ‘indoles’ found in the aromatic molecules, which to some noses even smells sightly fecal. It goes to show, it depends how something is described before we actually smell it. I’d have given this one a go!

 

 

Those fast-food chains really love their fragrances, it seems, because in 2015 we saw Japan promoting a Whopper-scented Burger King Perfume. Alas only available for one day, reportedly, it’s another meaty scent I cannot report first hand (or nose) on, and I will have to try and get over the huge disappointment of that, somehow.

While the majority (if not all) of these are novelty items – released in strictly limited editions to create a media buzz around the brand – it’s an interesting concept that engages us in a different way, and the fragrances will still have been created by a perfumer working to a brief (albeit rather more bizarre than they are used to!) Of course those highlighted above are to be taken with a pinch of salt (and vinegar, as far as the captain’s concerned), but it will be fascinating to see if any other brands pick up on the perfume buzz and create their own ‘scent of’.

What would you like to see (and smell) next…?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

This fragrance is the bee’s knees – literally!

Scientists have discovered that certain types of bees actually create their own ‘perfumes’ in order to attract a mate. And what’s more, a niche brand has just launched a Bee fragrance that’s already creating a buzz…

A new article in Science Daily reveals that scientists at the University of California have discovered male orchid bees don’t sipmply flit among the flowers collecting pollen to make honey back at the hive – they’re also using their wings ‘…to disperse a bouquet of perfumes into the air.’ And their studies have concluded that ‘the aromatic efforts are all for the sake of attracting a mate.’

Associate Professor Santiago Ramirez, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, explained that while they already knew many animals produce pheremones, the unique factor for the orchid bee is that ‘the majority of their pheromones are actually collected from plants and other sources like fungi.’ Science Daily suggests that ‘Orchid bees are master perfumers,’ and goes on to explain that the scientists reserach suggests that ‘the perfumes males concoct are unique to their specific species’.

Ramirez,and recent Ph.D. graduate student Philipp Brand, from the Population Biology Graduate Group, have been studying the mating habits of orchid bees for some years, in the course of their studies, ‘unraveling the complex chemicals responsible for successful procreation.’ What they didn’t expext to find, though, was a brand new discovery that possibly explains the evolutionary divergence of bee species: environmental perfumes (and we’re not talking ‘clean’ or ‘green’ beauty claims here, folks!)

In the study, which was first published in Nature Communications, Brand, Ramirez and their colleagues set out their case to suggest that the evolution of sexual signaling in orchid bees can directly be linked to ‘a gene that’s been shaped by each species’ perfume preferences.’

Brand commented that, ‘Our study supports the hypothesis that in the orchid bee perfume communication system, the male perfume chemistry and the female preference for the perfume chemistry can simultaneously evolve via changes in a single receptor gene.’ And this could explain why a single species split into two distinct species that we knew were linked, but had no idea why they had diverged. Ah yes, the power of that scent sillage is strong, it seems, even for bees. But how did one bee’s perfume-making prowess suddenly woo more of the female bees to his partiular, er, honeypot?

 

Green Orchid Bee

 

Explains Ramirez: ‘Imagine you have an ancestral species that uses certain compounds to communicate with each other,” said Ramirez. “If you have a chemical communication channel and then that chemical communication channel splits into two separate channels, then you have the opportunity for the formation of two separate species.’

Do make time to read the full article in Science Daily – it’s a fascingating read, and yet another notch in our understanding of the power of smell. But let’s not only focus on fragrances that makes bees feel like getting busy (buzzy?) with it; we perfume-loving humans have a brand new sweet-smelling scent to explore that’s perfectly themed – and although not inspired by the reasearch, as far as we know, happens to be perfectly timed, too. The Canadian-based niche house of Zoologist have just launched the latest in their animal-centric scents: behold Bee

Perfumer Cristiano Canali has created a perfume that showcases luxurious amounts of labdanum, dollops of honey, a leathery orange blossom dusted with powdery mimosa, delciously rounded by nutty tonka and heady heliotrope.

Zoologist Bee, £195 for 65ml extrait de parfum (1ml samples £3)
Try it at Bloom Perfumery

So which honey-based fragrances are likely to get you buzzing? Read our page all about the history and use of honey as a fragrant ingredient, and discover other perfumes to try, for the scent perfumer Christine Nagel describes as ‘half devil, half angel…’

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Tatty Devine perfume bottle collection: you’ll want them all!

Renowned for their quirky jewellery and accessory designs, Tatty Devine are coming for us fragrance fans with their latest House of Tatty Devine collection. ‘This is the best email we’ve ever scent…’ their email header teased. And they weren’t kidding: we want them ALL!

Tatty Devine Vintage Perfume Bottle Earrings £40

Themed around vintage style perfume bottles, the collection comprises earrings, a brooch and two types of necklaces – all in their glossy, laser-cut, glitz-tastic style. Each vintage style perfume bottle piece includes the finishing touch of a beautiful pearlescent label, ‘etched and hand-inked to bear our logo, just like all the finest perfume houses.’

Tatty Devine Vintage Perfume Bottle Brooch £80

Attention to details like this are what sets Tatty Devine apart, and if you’re anything like us, we bet many of you are adding to your Christmas Lists right this very second! We will even forgive the ‘Ho-ho eau!’ pun on their website (mainly because we wished we’d thought of it first).

Tatty Devine Vintage Perfume Bottle Necklace £35

Alright, we must admit to swooning over any perfume-related accessories (see the Couture issue of The Scented Letter Magazine for more perfume-themed pieces) but there’s something super cute about the vintage style bottles rendered in an almost Pop Art kind of realism, don’t you think? The chunkier version of the necklace (below) also features the laser cut mirrors in yellow, blue, silver and shimmering micro glitter acrylic.

Tatty Devine Vintage Perfume Bottle Necklace £95

We also loved having a read of their accompanying blog, Making Scents with Rosie & Harriet, going behind the scenes with Co-Founders, Creative Director Harriet Vine and Managing Director Rosie Wolfenden, revealing the inspiration behind this unusual festive collection. Probing into their perfume habits and personal scent memories, it was fascinating to learn what Harriet and Rosie thought the House of Tatty Devine perfume would actually smell like, if it truly existed.

For Harriet, ‘There’s a real nostalgia: my attic, old photo albums, my Mum’s old dressing up clothes… You’ve got to get some classic Yardley Violet and Lily of The Valley in there too, my nan’s scent of choice. Oh, and geraniums growing in a greenhouse.’ While Rosie revealed she would add ‘…floral notes from violets in the garden and Ventnor Botanic Gardens’ big Magnolia and Mimosa trees! I was brought up in a hotel on the Isle of Wight and so there are accents of herbs and nutmegs from the kitchen, with a hint of Sherbert Dib Dabs after school.’

Many of us at Perfume Society Towers can already be be seen toting the Gin water bottle and Gin necklace (you can see where our interests lie) among others, but this new perfume bottle collection just got our hearts beating all the faster. You can bet we’re going to be accessorising Christmas outifts with these little pieces of wearable art – be that a little black dress for a ‘do’ or (let’s face it) our comfy pyjamas. Eau yeah!

By Suzy Nightingale

REEK founder Molly reveals her five favourite smells…

With an attention-grabbing name like Damn Rebel Bitches – a scented homage of blood orange, hazelnut, pink peppercorn, clary sage and malt, to the fearsome females of the Jacobite uprisings who were given this nickname – it’s obvious that REEK Perfume were bursting with passion to portray inspiring women in fragrant form. A proudly Scottish niche fragrance house, Molly Sheridan describes starting the brand so she could ‘…memorialise heroic, unapologetic women through scent. We want to celebrate our heroines.’ Damn right, and here at The Perfume Society, so do we!

Following hot on the fragrant heels of the Bitch, the equally flagrant Damn Rebel Witches celebrated those women who dared to be different, and were punished for it. You can read a full review in our guide to bewitching Halloween scents, but truly this is a fragrance suitable for any time of year, and whenver you feel like asserting your strangeness.

Molly says wearing REEK scents should be ‘…an everyday rebellion, a reminder of female achievement, much of which has been forgotten.’

Using unconventionally honest images (completely un-photoshopped images of women that celebrate beauty in all forms, including some of Molly herself) and deliberately provocative names to make people think a little more deeply about how women have been classified  – often by their scent and the things a ‘virtuous women’ is supposed to smell of – throughout the centuries, we were already intrigued by their Instagram account, and so were thrilled to meet up with Molly and get to know her by asking for her five favourite smells…

1 – Chanel No 5: ‘The reason I’m picking this is because at every stage of my life, a lady of significance to me has worn it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have an older relative, or teacher, for example, who hasn’t worn it! It’s one of those absolute staples, a smell that everyone knows. It’s a classic – I wouldn’t wear it myself, but I love the smell of it on other people. Especially when they wear too much – I love that!’

2 – Elnett Hairspray: ‘It always reminds you of somebody or a particular time in your life when you used it. One whiff and you’re straight back there! And it’s just got this really distinctive smell – something that I can’t quite put my finger on or even describe – but it’s so evocative…’

3 – Petrol: ‘I love the smell of petrol, and I find that a lot of perfumes I like to wear has something like that in the scent for a split second – I’m not sure what it is, exactly, but something that reminds me of it and draws me to it. I want to keep smelling it to get more, more to get the petrol smell back. Weirdly I find that with both fragrances and food – the things I like most have something that reminds me of petrol.’

4 – 4160 Tuesdays Maxed Out: ‘Ohhh… it smells like chocolate limes to me. For ages this was the only perfume I wore, and I wouldn’t wear it during the day, but for some reason I like wearing it at night. Even if I’m just staying in.

5 – Bread: ‘It’s one of those smells that’s the same everywhere in the world. You can be in India or Paris and it all smells the same. Bread is one of those habitual smells that’s so comforting, and makes you hungry to smell it, even if you’re weren’t beforehand. I really like the fact that bread has such a social history, too – it’s a staple of life, we talking about “breaking bread” with people or say something’s “the best thing since sliced bread”. I went to Italy with my little sister and asked her what her favourite thing about the holiday and she said ‘The bread and butter!’ which just about sums it up for me.

Can I just say, I think these are absolutely brilliant questions to throw at someone! It’s so psychological… and I really like not having time to ruminate on the answers, otherwise you’d come up with some perfectly balanced list of things you’re supposed to say. Not like me – petrol and Elnett, haha!’

Molly interviewed by Suzy Nightingale

Latest Launches: capture the moment

Nothing captures a memory quite like scent, so indulge yourself with this week’s collection of latest launches. Give your heart to Louis Vuitton Coeur Battante and succumb to the beauty of Gucci Memoire d’une Odeur. Along the way enjoy Siclian lemons,  Springtime in a Park and the vivid green of Floris Vert Fougère. Sheer bliss!
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AERIN_LIMONE_DI_SICILIAAERIN
LIMONE DI SICILIA
Beaming us right back to summer, bare legs, chilled drinks and crystal clear seas, Limone di Sicilia squeezes the shimmering radiance of the Mediterranean into a rope-capped bottle. But as you’d expect from Aerin Lauder, this is way  more sophisticated than a typical citrus, a sea breeze laden with bergamot, Italian mandarin, lemon primofiore rippling petals of muguet, Egyptian jasmine and Centifolia rose, with Ambrox and oakmoss adding pashmina-like warmth at its conclusion.
From £150 for 50ml eau de parfum
esteelauder.co.ukgucci-meoire-dune-odeurGUCCI
MÉMOIRE D’UNE ODEUR
Roman chamomile punctured by bitter almond, whispers of honeyed jasmine, grey clouds of hushed musk and woods – the warm skin smoothness of sandalwood, the cold, dry pencil shavings of cedar. It smells faintly familiar, but not quite like anything else; bone dry, salty as a licked tear, soothing but ethereally so. Alberto Morillas has made a quiet masterpiece, designed to be shared. We’re warning you: there will be tussles in the bathroom, over this.
£53.50 for 40ml eau de parfum
johnlewis.comLOUIS_VUITTON_COEUR_BATTANTLOUIS VUITTON
COEUR BATTANTE
Be still our beating hearts, for there is a new offering from Louis Vuitton’s masterful perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, which plays with ‘the constant contrast between darkness and light, freshness and sensuality. In the light corner, radiant and almost humid Egyptian jasmine and green narcissus, alongside crisp and juicy pear and aquatic Cascalone. But venture into the shadows and you’ll discover the fragrance’s dark Chypré character, expressed via moss and patchouli. Ravissante.
£185.00 for 100ml eau de parfum
louisvuitton.com
MAISON MARGIELA
SPRINGTIME IN A PARK
You’re walking through the streets of Shanghai, where a cool breeze shakes the cherry blossom on the trees. Dappled light shines through the branches and warms you a little. Springtime in the Park is like a perfectly crisp day; pears, bergamots and black currants drip onto aqueous blooms, lily of the valley and dewy roses, musks soften a woody trail and hint of vanilla adds sunshine. We’re fantasising of spring already.
£96 for 100ml eaux de toilette
harveynichols.comfloris-vert-fougere
FLORIS
VERT FOUGÈRE
An imagining of a fern in an English garden at twilight, Vert Fougère combines lavender and patchouli with galbanum for a green, damp, earthy beginning. Lingering sunlight is evoked via a bitter-citrus accord of bergamot, neroli and grapefruit, the encroaching darkness cut through with a sparkle of ginger. Finally, grounded with smoky cedar woods and soft cashmeres. Combining classic and modern elements, this is a verdant fougère to delight in.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
florislondon.com

You’ll love, love, love the Tiffany & Love video

We love falling for a new fragrance, and were delighted to have two to get up close and personal with in the just-launched duo for Him & Her, Tiffany & Love – two complimenary fragrances that honour their legacy of celebrating love and commitment.

A first exploration for Tiffany & Co. into the dual fragrance category – and the very men’s fragrance – they represent a fresh chapter for the house under the newly appointed creative direction of Reed Krakoff as Chief Artistic Officer.

Sharing the concept that two hearts (and noses) are often better than one, the scents were also composed by a duo of perfumers for each – Sophie Labbé and Nicolas Beaulieu of IFF with Tiffany & Love for Him, Honorine Blanc and Marie Salamagne of Firmenich for Tiffany & Love for Her. Each scent has a unique structure, but they both hero the unusual ingredient of blue sequoia, which if you’ve not experienced it before is majestically woody and long-lasting, with a foresty freshness.

For Him amplifies the aromatic aspect of sequoia, boosted by crisp juniper-cypress (a blend that’s an exclusive co-distillation for Tiffany) infused with ginger, mandarin and cardamom and some creamiy sandalwood and shady vetiver in the base. For Her unfurls from the opening of blue basil (another note developed exclusively for Tiffany), shot through with zingy grapefruit, softened by the sunshine of neroli and the sequoia married to the dryness of cedar and vetiver in the softly woody trail.

Tiffany & Love for Him £54 for 50ml eau de toilette / Tiffany & Love for Her £75 for 50ml eau de parfum

Try them at johnlewis.com

Inspired by Krakoff’s creative vision, the beautiful campaign was shot in the streets of New York by legendary photographer, director and artist Cass Bird – a stunning black & white homage capturing tender moments between real couples to celebrate this feeling of ‘commitment, acceptance and togetherness.’ Accompanying the campaign, Tiffany & Co. selected Grammy® award-winning music producer Mark Ronson and singer-songwriter King Princess to re-record The Turtles’ song “Happy Together,”  as an ode to love.

Now, watch the video below, and get ready to fall in love, yourself…

By Suzy Nightingale

So you think you hate… vanilla?

Love it or loathe it vanilla is everywhere. Touted as the aroma found most universally pleasing, there are many who reel back in disgust at the mere mention of the ingredient. But vanilla doesn’t just smell like an explosion in a cake shop:  it’s kind of magic, in flavour and perfume terms.

When we smell or taste anything, our ‘receptors’ constantly wipe those fleeting encounters to prepare for the next flavour or a smell.  But when vanilla is added to food or fragrance, naturally-present vanillin (and other vanilloids, which we’ll talk about in a moment) work to ‘hold open’ our vanilloid receptors, slowing down this wiping process – which in turn gives us more time to perceive, experience and enjoy both scents and flavours. (Vanilloids are also found in cocoa, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and hot peppers – which partly explains why they’re all such ‘taste sensations’.)

Vanilla comes from the seeds of a dried pod from a climbing orchid-like plant which flourishes especially well in Madagascar;  the very best quality of vanilla comes from the Île Bourbon, now known as Réunion. It gets its name from the Spanish word ‘vaina’ (meaning sheath or pod, and translates simply as ‘little pod’.  (Strangely, the flower itself is scent-less.)

Perhaps because vanilla is the second priciest spice in the world, after saffron, the vanilla you smell in many perfumes today is synthetic vanillin:  clever chemists have worked to mimic the real thing – although the most gifted noses will probably tell you that real vanilla is earthier, with touches of treacle and a touch of ‘booziness’.

We love this legend about vanilla which we found on the excellent Perfume Shrine blog. ‘According to the Australian Orchid Society, “Old Totonac lore has it that Xanat, the young daughter of the Mexican fertility goddess, loved a Totonac youth. Unable to marry him due to her divine nature, she transformed herself into a plant that would provide pleasure and happiness – that plant was the Vanilla vine. This reputation was much enhanced in 1762 when a German study found that a medication based on vanilla extract cured impotence — all 342 smiling subjects claimed they were cured.”’

Vanilla’s reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac endures, and it’s often present in ‘sexy’, come-hither fragrances, especially Orientals and gourmand fragrances, as well as ‘girly’, ‘younger’ creations (and perhaps why vanilla naysayers have come to shun it).

Times have changed, and vanilla is used in all sorts of interesting, innovative ways within fragrances, now. I guarantee that none of these smell like cupcakes, so come on: it’s time to challenge your own perfumed preconceptions once again…

JULIETTE HAS A GUN
VANILLA VIBES
This vanilla’s sliced through with a healthy sprinkle of sea salt, plunging us immediately to childhood memories of the beach, sandy picnics and sticky fingers hastily licked as ice cream melts. Natural vanilla absolute is noticeable in the opening, but take a while to drip fully to the orchid-laden heart – and all the while a transparency completely prevents the sweetness from overtaking, it’s the salt on centre stage: a tremulous sunshine-filled daydream that shivers in the breeze.
£110 for 100ml eau de parfum
harveynichols.com

PERFUMER H
DUST
You need to move fast to catch this intimate and intriguing take on vanilla, for twice a year, like the scent couturier that she is, Lyn Harris unveils her seasonal offering of (mostly) new fragrances. Spring/Summer 2018 sees citrus Petit Grain, floral Suede, fougère Pink Pepper and woody-as-it-sounds Indian Wood in the collection. But the compulsive wrist-sniffer this time, for us, is this exquisite Oriental – a gentle, powdery miasma of iris, raspberry leaf and orange flower, benzoin resin, opopanax, sweet musk and that deliciously dry vanilla.
£130/£350 for 100ml
At Perfumer H

ANNA SUI
FANTASIA MERMAID
Like the sparkling light reflections that shimmer on the sea, Fantasia Mermaid weaves radiant ingredients together. Blood orange, mandarin and cooling cardamom make for an effervescent start. Aqueous blooms float together in the heart of this scent, with peony, jasmine and watery lychee. An incredibly uplifting floriental, soft wisps of spices are woven throughout, and the vanilla is a cushion for the other ingredients, not a smothering blanket.
£40 for 50ml eau de toilette
qvcuk.com

[You can try BOTH the Juliette Has a Gun and Anna Sui scents in our Globetrotter Discovery Box, £19 / £15 for VIP members, part of ELEVEN fragrances to try at home with extra beauty treats – perfect to take on you travels…]

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
COLLECTION EXTRAORDINAIRE RÊVE DE YLANG
Concocted around one of perfumery’s most noble ingredients, the ‘flower of flowers’, here we see how vanilla can whisper to a flower, and Rêve de Ylang captures the heady, exotic, intoxicating and spicy aroma of the ylang ylang flower being softly seduced. Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin used an invigorating cardamom and a whisper of saffron to enhance the opulent spiciness and warmth of ylang ylang, while an aromatic vanilla and rich patchouli add depth. The result is a fabulous, ultra-luxe floral nectar, pierced with light.
£260 for 125ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

GIORGIO ARMANI
SÌ EAU DE PARFUM FIORI
The gifted Julie Massé reinterprets Sì’s so-classic Chypre theme in a fragrance that bursts into life with sparkling green mandarin and blackcurrant – the familiar twin signatures of this contemporary classic – before white floral neroli unfurls its lush petals. As the temperature rises, prepare for an encounter with the vanilla – all diaphonous gown barely concealing the va-va-voom, leaving with a trail of white musk.
From £54 for 30ml eau de parfum
Armanibeauty.co.uk

Perhaps you’re thinking that, apart from the name of the first fragrance suggested, here, there’s no overt focus on vanilla, but that was the whole point of this post – to show just a fraction of the ways vanilla can surprise, cosset, whisper or seduce. To put it another way: we didn’t want to ram vanilla down your throat. But, we have to say, if you try some of these, we feel you’ll be reaching vanilla again and again – there’s a reason it has a reputation for being addictive, you know…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Latest Launches: Scents with Style

From the glacial cool of Montblanc to the stylish simplicity of Perfumer H and L’Artisan Parfumeur, we think you’ll be super (Cloon) Keen to try this week’s latest launches. It’s time to spoil yourself!

CLOON_KEEN_LA_BEALTAINE.jpgCLOON KEEN
LÁ BEALTAINE
Named for the day spring moves into summer, this latest from the Irish artisanal house is a flurry of petals borne aloft on a balmy breeze. Bursting with a giggle of bergamot, mandarin and neroli, the luminescence never dims – quite remarkable staying power on the skin for an almost Cologne-like opening. Woozy shadows filter the heat-bloomed flowers to a languid haze of honeyed amber, leaving us breathless for sundresses, lemon sorbets and drowsy dreams.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
lessenteurs.com

L’ARTISAN PARFUMEUR
BANA BANANA
Céline Ellena sought to create something intriguing and whimsical here, taking an unusual note of banana flower and placing it alongside jasmine, iris and violet flower, which she overlaid with nutmeg, ‘raw and biting, to create the sensation of the banana skin’. Tonka bean, musk and amber create a marvelously memorable trail – and this is one you need to get out there and smell, perfumistas.
£115 for 100ml eau de parfum
lartisanparfumeur.comMICHAEL_KORS_SPARKLING_BLUSH.jpgMICHAEL KORS
SPARKLING BLUSH
Pretty as a picture is this soft pink Oriental-floral-woody, in its dazzlingly faceted bottle. We know full well how fragrance can boost confidence – and that’s just what Mr. Kors apparently in mind with this spirit-lifting, stand-taller, feel-a-bit-more-beautiful Oriental-woody-floral fusion of pink pepper, cassis, bergamot, lychee, swags of rose petals, jasmine, frangipani and lily. What remains on the skin are the lovely, soft underpinnings of amber, vanilla, vetiver and sandalwood.
From £29.99 for 30ml eau de parfum
theperfumeshop.comMICHAEL_KORS_SPARKLING_BLUSH.jpgPERFUMER H
DUST
Twice a year, like the scent couturier that she is, Lyn Harris unveils her seasonal offering of (mostly) new fragrances. Spring/Summer 2018 sees citrus Petit Grain, floral Suede, fougère Pink Pepper and woody-as-it-sounds Indian Wood in the collection. But the compulsive wrist-sniffer this time, for us, is this exquisite Oriental – a gentle, powdery miasma of iris, raspberry leaf and orange flower, benzoin resin, opopanax, sweet musk and vanilla, at once intimate and intriguing.
£130/£350 for 100ml
At Perfumer HLL_MENS_MONTBLANC_EXPLORER.jpgMONTBLANC
EXPLORER
Sending a fragrant (no-doubt beautifully written) invitation to scent adventurers, Montblanc offer an unconventional olfactory experience that flickers between woody, green and leather. Italian bergamot provides sparkle – a sip of champagne before the explorer sets off, perhaps – contrasted by Haitian vetiver that thrums earthily and feels grounding. Resinous patchouli adds great depth with the cold leather of the base. Yes, cold – this explorer’s halfway up a glacier, yet still so stylish.
£33 for 30ml eau de parfum
theperfumeshop.com