Ultra luxe fragrance gifts for less

If you’re looking to really spoil a fragrance-lover this Christmas, you can’t go wrong with an ultra luxe fragrance gift. Perhaps they’ve hankered after a niche scent but haven’t allowed themselves to buy it yet, or they adore the finer things in life but haven’t known where to start with fragrance? Well, we’ve several suggestions for ways to treat them (or yourself!) without breaking the bank…

The joy of a luxury Discovery Set is the chance to indulge in the fragrances of ultra-luxe niche and designer houses, often giving your lucky gift recipient (or yourself, let’s face it) the opportunity to try the entire collection of a particular perfume house. Or, perhaps, allowing the luxury of sampling the scented wares from cult brands not everyone knows about yet.

Very few of us could go out and purchase full-size bottles of every brand we want to try – with these luxury gift sets, you can afford to wear every single one!

If you have someone who’s difficult to buy for, or you’re not quite sure exactly what kind of scents they like – gifting a whole range ensures they’ll fall immediately for at least one of the fragrances (and, in our experience, will come to love them all or enjoy sharing with a partner or friends).

To send to loved ones you can’t be with this year, or to treat yourself after a year of woe? Not going to lie, we shamelessly do the ‘one for you, one for me’ rule of Christmas shopping, and most especially this year. Think of the hours of bliss you’ll have! Trying all the fragrances for the first time, reading about the notes, the perfumers and history of the house (all the information you can find right here on this website, with our in-depth brand pages).

 

La Maison J.U.S Discovery Set £30

Taking their name from their motto: ‘Joyau, Unique and Sensoriel’  (a ‘unique sensory jewel’), this ultra-cool niche French house delight in doing things differently. Using vintage bottles in bold, neon colours, allowing their perfumers free-reign and with everything eco-conscious – the fragrances are just are vibrant, but oh so beautifully wearable. Appealing to artistic types who like to tread their own path, the scents are seductively unique (genuinely, we love ALL ELEVEN!) From the salted amber of Ambraser, coffee and oudh of Coffeeze, Cuirissime‘s leather, violet and iris; zesty ginger and absinthe in Gingerlise and darkly daring leathery floral of Noiressence. There’s the whole rose (petals, thorns, humid air) of Rosamonda, sensual rose oudh and vanilla in SexyCrush or powdery soft rose in Sopoudrage to explore. SpringPop is green shoots, fresh cut grass and sea air, while Superfusion‘s silvery musk shimmers intriguingly, and UltraHot crackles with sensual saffron and incense. Oh wow, it’s a fragrant journey alright – and we’re re-using our pots for makeup brushes and pens!

 

 

Ostens Discovery Set £30

Friends and business partners Christopher Yu and Laurent Delafon have been in the fragrance industry for over 20 years, founding United Perfumes, a prestigious fragrance distribution and development company, which afforded them unrivalled access to the finest ingredients and perfumers in the world, including extraordinary new extractions from LRM Naturals of ‘vetiver, rose, patchouli and more. We realised that if we loved those smells, then there were surely other people who’d feel the same way.’ And we surely do… At OSTENS they are ‘ripping up the rulebook’ – and we couldn’t be happier about it. Each creation from this dynamic fragrance house is inspired by a raw ingredient, each one developed by a master perfumer (think Dominique Ropion and Sophie Labbé, yup!), given absolute creative freedom with no budget or brief. This refreshing, and simple, approach to fragrance creation has left us in awe. Now you can try the ENTIRE COLLECTION at home, exclusive to The Perfume Society, with six creations ranging from fresh and delicious Rose Isparta to Cashmeran Velvet (based around the seductive molecule Cashmeran), and two different takes on patchouli. This is creativity unleashed – and now you can dive in for yourself…

 

 

 

Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set £35

Inspired by childhood memories of Kavala, Greece, embracing his family’s heritage in Istanbul, and the intertwining of art, history, and philosophy; Manos Gerakinis is the first niche luxury Greek perfume house, and the fragrances truly radiate the diversity and passion of their founder… From an early age, Manos Gerakinis knew that ‘…every bottle is more than a mere perfume; it is a living olfactory experience, unique and mysterious.’ This heady mix of knowledge and respect for cultural heritage would later become ‘the founding stones of the brand,’ but of course life experience is always a key ingredient, and Manos travelled from Greece to London for the prestigious role of managing Harrods luxury department. This gave him unparalleled access to designers such as Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana, and with London as his base for over a decade, he avidly explored the world as part of his job. ‘Creating my own fragrance was always in the back of my mind,’ he explains, ‘and once I was given the opportunity, I grabbed it.’ Delving further into researching and learning the technical side of the fragrance world, ‘My initial goal was to create a powerful scent that was able to captivate anyone in the room. I wanted an alluring scent, mysterious and poetic.’ He began curating a collection of exquisite essential oils and ingredients from around the world. The result? A collection as sumptuously beautiful as the artistic inspirations.

 

 

J.F. Schwarlose Discovery Set £35

Purveyors of fine perfumes since 1856, the history of heritage house J.F. Schwarzlose deserves to be captured in a movie.. From piano-maker to perfumer – selling scents beloved by the royal courts of Europe and Chinese Emperors alike – this always-innovative perfumery has survived war, inflation and changing tastes by always being one step ahead…When entrepreneurial piano-maker Johann Friedrich Schwarzlose established his own drug store at Markgrafenstrasse 29, beginning with production of perfumes, he quickly established himself. The company had been purveyor to the Court, and now the aristocracy flocked to the new fragrance shop. By 1897, Schwarzlose had taken on a business partner, Franz Köthner, and together they traded with the added title: ‘Purveyor to the Court of His Majesty the Emperor and King’. Indeed, a flacon found in a collection of Emperor Pu Yi confirms their formidable reputation had already reached as far as China. What a phoenix this fragrance house is, in 2012 enlisting brilliant perfumer Véronique Nyberg as the ‘nose’, they remain ‘in close contact with the last heir to Schwarzlose, Jutta Jank-Trabant, who is delighted to find the brand on display again. And how utterly joyous this important perfumery was saved once again! Now thriving afresh, the modern-day fragrances of J.F. Schwarzlose harness the grandeur of their heritage, and all they learned through history, but still stay true to leading the fashions rather than merely following them.

 

Clive Christian Around the World Discovery Set £150

Clive Christian Perfume creates the ‘world’s finest perfumes’ – timeless classics, made without compromise. Each perfume has an oil inclusion of 20% or above in every bottle, they are intense and complex fragrances for opulent, pure perfume pleasure. We can’t wait for you to discover these uniquely expressive, exquisite perfumes in the Around the World Discovery Set. Explore the heights of mountains, the depths of forests and the sunny warmth of tropical climates through this foray of fragrances – the ultimate globe-trotting perfume set. Here, you (or the very lucky recipient) can discover the exquisite fragrances below that will transport you around the world, via: Addictive Arts Jump up and Kiss Me Hedonistic  – an amber gourmand fragrance that opens with citrus notes of bergamot, grapefruit, neroli. Noble XXI Art Deco Cypress  – zesty bergamot and uplifting basil held by a surging heart of exotic yet warming spices. Original Collection 1872 Masculine – herbaceous and aromatic. Private Collection C Woody Leather  – a woody fragrance with a supple leather yet exotic twist. Considering each full-size fragrance is priced between £250 – £595 for 50ml eau de parfum, this beautifully packaged discovery collection is the perfect way to indulge in true luxury for far less.

Luxury fragrance gifts really are a fail-safe way of showing how much you care. Whichever of these you chose, they cannot fail to be utterly delighted – and perhaps discover a new fragrant love to explore further next year…

Fragrant gift ideas for men this Christmas

Looking for fragrant gift ideas for men but don’t know where to start? Follow our handy guide to find the perfect one…

The days are long gone when chaps wore one scent for life (possibly something sold on TV by an ex sportsman) which they were urged to ‘splash all over’, and those in their immediate vicinity likely wished they hadn’t.

Indeed, we know many of our readers and subscribers are men who love exploring the wider world of fragrances available to them now. But if you’re scent shopping for the special guy in your life – perhaps someone who’s interested but hasn’t quite figured out his personal scent style yet – it can be a tricky business thinking of something that shows you’ve been thoughtful and considered their character, but also pushes them (gently!) out of their comfort zone a little.

So, where to begin?

If you happen to know some names of fragrances they’ve loved wearing, type one in to our simple Find a Fragrance tool: the so-clever algorithm suggests six new scents with similar characters to try. Narrow down the selection by asking yourself…

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Age, character, hobbies and career are all pointers to fragrant gift ideas for men, 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 one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered a fragrant feast along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes, opulent ambers and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

However, we know not all chaps will be as open to more experiemental scents styles, so we’ve put together the ideal starting point with a selection of Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from more classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore.

Have a look at our current top picks of fragrant gift ideas for men, below…

 

 

Contemporary scents putting a modern twist on a local apothecary approach to luxury, MALIN+GOETZ have excelled with this NEW Discovery Set of SIX invigorating fragrance delights. £22

 

 

 

Music-lovers will adore these stunningly packaged, musical genre-inspired fragrances. Each of the 14 JUSBOX scents pays homage to an icon or era in music, with their own playlists on Spotify! £35

 

Paring fine fragrance with fashion-leading (cruelty free) pampering treats since 1973, iconic British brand Molton Brown built a global reputation on modern classics, with scents suit all tastes. £33

 

 

Founded in 1730, Floris create beautiful contemporary-style fragrances, as well as true classics. Still run by members of the family, heritage is taken to new levels with this niche-led collection. £35

 

 

The perfect gift for scent lovers to create their own bespoke fragrance, Emmanuelle Moeglin started Experimental Perfume Club in 2016. Now you can share & compare your layer combos! £32

Gift Guide: choosing scents to suit people’s personalities

Can we say ‘the C word’ yet? No, no that one. The other one. Okay, we’ll whisper it: Christmas… Because even though we all grumble about it getting earlier each year; this one, in particular, people seem to be prepping WAY in advance for. Understandable given last year’s sadly curtailed festivities and people’s concerns about 2021’s Big Day.

The thing about gifting fragrance (at any time of year) is that it can be difficult to know where to begin when picking out a perfume for someone else. Especially if you’re not exactly sure of their tastes, and don’t want to spoil the surprise by asking. So, here’s some really handy tips to finding the right scent for the special someone you’re thinking of…

1: If you live with the person or are visiting them soon, have a quick shifty around where they keep their current fragrances if at all possible. You may notice a theme (they’re all rose-based scents or feature leather, for example. Maybe some of them are by the same fragrance house or perfumer?)

2: Make a note of the fragrance name they wear now, then look on our genius Fragrance Finder, which will suggest six other scents they’re likely to also love.

3: If you know what hobbies and personal passions they have, this is a great clue as to their innermost personalities – as are the way they like to dress or how they choose to decorate their home! See below for our scent-matching suggestions for personality types.

4: You’ve a far better chance of striking gold with a scent-match if you gift a Discovery Box or Sample Set – a curated collection of fragrances put together around a theme or showcasing the full range of styles a particular house has to offer.

Which of these character descriptions would suit them best…?

 

Spiritual = Scented Retreat Discovery Box £23 / VIP price £19. Are they in to yoga / meditation / need to relax? Or perhaps want to be more ‘mindful’ but are far too stressed? This scented collection soothes while turning their home into a much-longed for spa-like experience where they can calm, focus and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

 

Eco-friendly & young at heart = Floral Street £14. If they’re trying to be more environmentally aware and have a fun, bubbly nature, the perfect gift would be these sustainable, vivacious and multi award-winning scents. Floral fragrances as you’ve never smelled them before, effortlessly wearable.  

Heritage lovers = Floris Classic Collection £35. Do they adore historical dramas and great literature, prefer traditional styles of furnishings and vintage clothes? This Floris set encompasses their heritage heroes – exqusite scents from crisp citrus to rich, woody creations.

 

 

Arty & modern = La Maison J.U.S. £30. Are they always off to see the latest contemporary exhibitions, love creative expression & unusual, cult names? Choose this collection of vibrant, beautifully artistic fragrances for impactful fragrant expressionism.

 

 

Characterful & unique = Olfactive O £30. If they’re in to learning more about themselves, love reading about psychology or check their horoscopes, we bet they’ll adore these from a niche house that invites people to explore their innermost soul through scents.

Really, whichever set you choose, there’s a whole range of fragrances in each to suit pretty much everyone, but we hope this gift guide has helped point you in the right perfumed direction! And fear not – in the coming weeks we’ll have even more specifically chosen guides to put you on the right perfumed present path…

Fragrances For… spectacular sunsets

The skies this time of year are ablaze with colour as the sun sets – the heavens awash with purples, reds and pinks that melt into the darkness like nature’s fireworks. And fragrances are often inspired by this spectacular display, too – perfumers creating scents that light us up even on the dullest days. Here’s five we feel so colourful wearing right now…

 

COACH
Dreams Sunset
Inspired by ‘golden hours and one-of-a-kind journeys with friends’ – which we are indeed dreaming of – this ombré bottle, echoing the colours of sunset, perfectly shows off a floriental composition crafted by the brilliant Nathalie Lorson. Refreshing pear sorbet and bergamot playfully tease the wearer, before jasmine sambac and magnolia dial up the intrigue. But what keeps this beach party rocking is the smoochy, sultry base of tonka and vanilla. We’re so there.
From £34.50 for 40ml eau de parfum
johnlewis.com

 

GHOST
Orb of Night
Setting a darker, moodier tone to the pantheon of Ghost perfumes, Night Orb glimmers with a dark cherry almond accord, kissed with mandarin before plunging deeper into a heady orange blossom, ylang ylang and freesia heart. The sandalwood base has rivulets of caramel running through it, but being rippled with a salty, slightly animalic ambergris, is rendered salty and moreish. From the rose gold bottle to the vegan certification, it impresses.
£22.95 for 30ml eau de parfum
escentual.com

 

 

BVLGARI
Omnia by Mary Katrantzou
The most glorious, iridescent sunset-esque bottle acts as a vase for Alberto Morrilas’s beautifully composed ‘maximalist bouquet’, as Bulgari describe it. A green rustle of fig leaf unfurls to billowing orange blossom and gardenia before settling to underpinnings of fluffy musk and a deeper, woody base. An exclusive collaboration with fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, this vibrant scent reflects her designs, and we can almost feel the fabric flowing around us as we wear this.
£87 for 65ml eau de parfum
bulgari.com

 

MAISON CRIVELLI
Osmanthe Kōdoshān
A sublime portrait of the apricot-y bloom, this is inspired by a trip to ‘a tropical mountain shrouded in mist.’ We sense sunsets, height and grandeur in a scent that slowly unfurls itself as it warms. Curls of fog clear to reveal a forest far below, the resinous scent of verdant vegetation and grounding woodiness rising to meet you, the osmanthus swathing your skin in a leathery embrace. Calming, mysterious, transcendentally beautiful.
From £170 for 100ml eau de parfum
harveynichols.com

 

 

PENHALIGON’S
Constantinople
On spraying this, we were immediately greeted with a highly refined, almost leathery iris – the image of an intricately carved wooden shutter suddenly flung open to welcome evening air and blazing skies, a tang of salty shores nearby carrying waves of delicate, powdered spices on the breeze. Beneath an earthy, mossy layer nestles seams of liquid vanilla, milky ripples later reflect moonlight, harbouring the expectation and tingling anticipation of tomorrow’s exotic adventures…
£178 for 100ml eau de parfum
penhaligons.com

 

5 sultry, ‘spooky’ scents for Halloween… dare you wear?

With Halloween approaching and the nights drawing in, now is the perfect time to explore the sultrier, even ‘spooky’ side of fragrance…

When the weather gets colder, there’s a particular pleasure to be found in trying something new – a scent that perhaps plunges deeper than you’re used to, invites us to wrap ourselves in a cosy blanket and sit by the fireside (maybe telling a few Gothic ghost stories as we hunker down for the night?) Because there’s a delight in challenging your preconceptions, in shivering slightly as you do so, with anticipation. The Germans use the term unheimlich, which roughly translates to the experience of something feeling weirdly familiar while remaining mysterious, slightly uncanny.

We always liken wearing a bolder, more mysterious fragrance to playing dress-up (in the most fabulously sophisticated way), because a scent is more than a nice smell – it allows you to explore other sides of your character, just as wearing a costume can bring out hidden depths that might even surprise your nearest and dearest…

These intriguing scents are best worn with a nip of frost in the air, golden sunlight softly streaming through brightly-dressed trees, and sense of delicious mystery swirling through those misty mornings and rapidly darkening nights.

We dare you to try them on for size…

 

Indulge your inner libertine with this oppulent, swagger of a scent, inspired by Cassonova himself. You can smell his favourite tipple, ‘cordial orgeat,’ through dusky cognac-infused rose and bitter orange flower, with a saffron-soaked throb of leather, hot wax, animalic cumin lashed to the darker base of amber and deep woods. (P.S: There’s a sample of this one in our Niche VII Discovery Box and in their Contradictions in Ilk Discovery Set).

Contradictions in Ilk Libertine £150 for 50ml extrait de parfum
ilkperfume.com

 

 

 

Inspired by the destructive and regenerative Australian bush fires, its smoky heart of mysterious spices is spiked with shards of fresh (surprisingly fruity) eucalyptus and citrus to create a wonderful juxtaposition of hot/cold and intriguing textures. A smouldering smoky wood accord underlines this contrast of dark and light, with the house’s signature Australian sandalwood smoothing the seared edges, wonderfully.

Map of the Heart Black Heart v.2 £150 for 90ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

 

Pythia, the mythical oracle of Delphi inspires this scent – as high priestess she delivered her oracles ‘after entering a state of delirium by inhaling the vapours emitted by the sacred chasm beneath the temple.’ A crisp apple is studded with bay leaves, the juice mingling with wafts of spiritual smokiness that richly swishes leather, amber, oud and ambergris in a cloak that surrounds, comforts and beguiles in equal measure. (Why not try this in the Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set?)

Manos Gerakinis Omen £185 for 100ml eau de parfum
shymimosa.co.uk

 

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The joy of spooky season is actually the cosiness of feeling scared but then being immediately comforted. Here’s a scent you can snuggle up by a wood fire with, eating spiced biscuits as another presence makes itself known when the scent of dried roses and lavender fill the room. From a hidden floral display, or conjured by ghost stories, shared…? Familiar in the best way, think flicking through old photos and smiling as you remember the happiest of days with people you love.

4160 Tuesdays Another Kiss By the Fireside from £25 for 15ml eau de parfum
4160tuesdays.com

 

BANANA_REPUBLIC_DARK_CHERRY_AMBER_

Black cherries are apparently perfumer Claude Dir ‘s favourite fruit, which he swags in blossom here before before lavishing them with praline and the resinous luxury of a glowing amber accord. Evoking plump, candoed fruits laced with something altogether darker, the tart juiciness swirls with an addictiveness that’s boozy and rich, but never too sweet. Trick or treat? The emphasis firmly on the latter, in the most indulgently lascivious way.

Banana Republic Dark Cherry & Amber £55 for 75ml eau de parfum (currently on offer at £22.99!) theperfumeshop.com

 

 

 

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Manos Gerakinis – the first Greek luxury niche perfume house

Manos Gerakinis is, quite incredibly, the first Greek luxury niche perfume house. With fragrances inspired by the history, art and mythology of the country, and radiating the poetry and passion of their founder – we think you’re going to love getting to know them…

Manos had an extremely prestigious career, managing the Harrods luxury department and working with designers such as Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana. His job took him around the world, seeing (and staying in) some of the most opulent places and experiencing the best of the best. A dream come true, right? But something else was pulling at the strings of his heart. From an early age, Manos says he knew that fragrance was important, that ‘…every bottle is more than a mere perfume; it is a living olfactory experience, unique and mysterious.’

Growing up in Kavala, Greece, Manos’ childhood was already infused with the tales and traditions passed down through the generations of his family, who originated from Istanbul. He speaks of being surrounded by ‘the cultivation of saffron, tobacco, labdanum and honey’ and in an interview with the Greek City Times, divulged that his maternal grandmother played a huge role in his life. ‘She was a woman of high standards and aesthetics,’ he says. ‘She introduced me to the French “Savoir-Faire”, classical music and fine arts. I am blessed in a family that provided us with the stimulus to reach our full potential.’ This potential was further encouraged to develop through art – ‘a natural talent for painting together with history, philosophy and culture’.

 

 

Imbued with those fragrant memories and a respect for the ingredients grown and harvested in Greece, and the mythology surrounding many of them, Manos took a perfumed path by learning how to create fragrances – the very first being a signature scent for himself…

‘Creating my own fragrance was always in the back of my mind,’ he explains, ‘and once I was given the opportunity, I grabbed it.’  Delving further into researching and learning the technical side of the fragrance world, ‘My initial goal was to create a powerful scent that was able to captivate anyone in the room. I wanted an alluring scent, mysterious and poetic.’

He began curating a collection of exquisite essential oils and ingredients from around the world, and it took nine months to complete the first fragrance, Sillage Royal – a warm, woody, immediately evocative scent that, perhaps understandably, is the most personally resonant for Manos, being inspired by the picturesque city of Kavala he grew up in. Part of the Egyptian-Otoman Empire for hundreds of years, it became powerful through the production of tobacco, and the rose, saffron and spices further reflect his olfactory heritage, captured in a scented snapshot. Says Manos: ‘During this process I came to realise that I had a talent for creating beautiful scents,’ and buoyed by his success, the collection inevitably grew.

Rose Poetique is the first Manos Gerakinis fragrance I had the pleasure of experiencing myself. It’s a stunning evocation of the Damask rose, which the Greek poet Sappho described as ‘the pride of plants, and queen of flowers.’ This is a rose that drapes the skin as velvet does, relecting the texture of the petals themselves. It billows from the tart, fruitier aspect of the flower with rhubarb up top, to the resinous, romantic depths of the base – beautifully balanced with smooth labdanum, cashmere wood and vanilla. One for all rose-lovers to add their collection, for sure.

 

 

There are currently seven fragrances to explore in the collection – which you can read about on our new page dedicated to Manos Gerakinis Parfums – from delicate sophistication to swaggering sensuality, simplicity to extravagance. At every stage your senses will be enthralled, and as you explore, you’ll feel Manos’ ethos reverberating in each scent. Man’s greatest heritage is the pictures he collects and his memories,’ he says. ‘That doesn’t necessarily mean he has to travel, it means that he has to be open to collect beauty and then compose it into his own palette.’ And wearing a Manos Gerakinis fragrance, we’re sure you’ll agree, …allows the true beauty of the individual to emerge.’

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrances for… luxury destinations (even if you’re stuck at home!)

We are all LONGING to get away – those luxury destinations are beckoning to our souls like never before! But with pandemic restrictions making planning rather dicey still, we’re taking respite with some of these fabulously evocative and opulent scents. From far-flung fragrant lands to precious perfume jewels, have a browse through these recent launches and see where your nose would like to lead you…

 

 

BVLGARI La Gemme Astrea .
Alberto Morillas has worked for so long with Bulgari, he once told us there’s almost a shorthand between him and this jewellery house, when it comes to understanding their vision for new fragrances. Joining the La Gemme collection, inspired by precious stones, is a scent inspired by blue aventurine, forged from natural saffron (the world’s priciest spice), jasmine sambac and a velvety honey, which delivers ‘unparalleled intensity’, in the perfumer’s words. Masterful, as we’d expect.
£268 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

 

Carolina Herrera Confidential Gold Myrrh Absolute
Myrrh has been a cornerstone of Middle Eastern perfumery – well, since Three Kings presented it to you-know-who, two millennia ago. Resinous, mysterious, it is the protagonist of Carolina Herrera’s latest exotic treasure, spiced by black pepper, rendered aromatic by immortelle and given delicious gourmand flourishes of cacao and liquorice, delectably sweetened by vanilla in the base. Proferred in the most eye-catching gilded flacon that is another gift for the senses.
£235 for 100ml eau de parfum
carolinaherrera.com

 

Ella K Rose de Pushkar
Perfumer Sonia Constant adds to her olfactory travelogue with this shareable Rajasthan-inspired offering, capturing the visual opulence of this so-colourful corner of India through armfuls of rose, swirling in a heart of oudh, sandalwood, patchouli and white cedar. It opens with saffron, black pepper, frankincense and lychee, concludes with leather, tonka and cistus absolutes, amber and musk, the juice as deliciously pink as Rajasthan’s fabled palaces. Travel in a bottle, indeed.
£175 for 70ml eau de parfum
jovoyparis.uk

 

Dunhill Signature Collection Egyptian Smoke
Smoke is snaking its way through many of this season’s scent compositions, conjured up here by Robertet’s Jérôme Épinette is an is-it-a-Chypre-is-it-an-Amber creation that surrounds classic Grasse roses with papyrus, black tea, pink pepper and ginger, segueing to patchouli, vanilla bean and curls of smoky labdanum. ‘Always surprising and vibrating, like a warm golden light on a star-covered deep blue sky,’ as the menswear brand aptly sums it up.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

Parle Moi De Parfum Haute Provence / 89
Endless vistas of Provençal lavender fields and their ‘glorious explosion of purple, mauve, lilac and blue’ were the inspiration behind this wonderfully soothing, aromatic ‘memory of France in high summer.’ Until we can wander those fields first-hand, this cool, dry and immediately nostalgic scent spirits us there with every spritz. Refreshing watermelon and hypnotic narcissus only add to the bucolic charms, and once again we praise the nose of Michel Almairac. Mais oui!
£98 for 50ml eau de parfum
lessenteurs.com

Skandinavisk – scents of freedom, bottled. Founder, Shaun Russell, explains how it began…

From a love story to a fragrance house capturing scented snapshots of one of the most richly abundant areas on Earth, Skandinavisk’s journey has been anything but average. We caught up with founder, Shaun Russell, to discover their fascinating, fragrant story.

Seeking to re-connect us with nature, evoking wide-open spaces and uplifting, mood-enhancing scents; including a sample of a Skandinavisk fragrance in the Eau So Fresh Discovery Box was obviously a must-have. Freedom to Roam has proved especially resonant during the pandemic (and its inherent lockdowns and travel restrictions). ‘Of course, that wasn’t planned,’ explains Shaun when we chatted, ‘but yes that fragrance and its name, the spirit of freedom it stands for, has been more relevant than ever.’ With its aromatic composition of heather, wild thyme, tart berries and resinous sap, this oh-so-Scandi scent bottles that landscape perfectly, giving a strikingly visceral sensation of walking through that remote wilderness.

But how did it all begin, we wondered? Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale found out…

 

 

Suzy: Did you realise what you were getting in to when starting a fragrance brand?

Shaun Russell: ‘God no, I didn’t! I mean if you take the backstory… British guy meets blonde, Scandinavian girl, when I was living in Australia. I followed her for love, [to Copenhagen, Denmark, then Stockholm, Sweden] not with a business in mind, then…’

So, how did Skandinavisk happen?

‘I travelled around the region in multinational roles, as I was the handy, neutral English man. The business language here tends to be English across borders anyway, as the Swedes don’t really understand the Danes. It’s a bit like the differences between cultures in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. In Scandinavia you get this rivalry we don’t understand from outside.

I realised what the Nordic countries do share is a common approach to life, which has translated into one of the most successful, progressive, responsible societies on Earth. I was in this weird position where I’d probably experienced more of Scandinavia than most Scandinavians. The thing that unites them – this mentality and way they live, with a dominance of nature surrounding them – was the gold they overlooked. I found a way to wrap up the rich, diverse story in a way that celebrates that and helps people from outside to find a way in. We’ve needed that more than ever with climate change, trying to balance our lives, build communities based on values and ethics. I wanted Skandinavisk to be the mouthpiece for all of that. I wondered what the vehicle was to share this story, and it seemed obvious…’

 

What was the first fragranced item you created?

‘The candles – they represent such a symbol of everyday, simplistic life. They burn more candles in Scandinavia than any other nation on earth! I used to question my wife when, in the summer at breakfast time, she’d light a candle. And it’s so bright outside! I’d say “You can’t see the flame, darling. Why are you lighting it when there’s no functional benefit to it?” But for her, it was an unconscious action all Scandinavians do. They light candles at any time, to soften the moment and create this harmony that brings people together.’

 

 

How are the fragrances inspired?

‘I needed to get into fragrance to create the candles and tell this Scandinavian story. What we learned afterwards was the fact that different fragrances allow us to tell that story in multiple ways – we can take them to the forest, the Norwegian fjords, the archipelagos. So, we made fragrances that define those moments for people to explore in their own homes. When you get to try more of them, you build a bigger picture. That’s why internally we began referring to each fragrance as a ‘chapter’ or ‘Kapitel’. Going into the eau de toilettes was another big step for us. Some of the scents are seasonal or time limited.

 

Take Kapitel 17 – it was specifically inspired by a trip me and our perfumer took to the fjords in order to get direct inspiration. The fragrance industry has never looked at Scandinavia. A French perfumer once said to me at a trade show, “Isn’t it all just pine and snow…?” That quote’s imprinted on my brain. It’s a terrible loss, given the size and wealth of nature, the diversity of flora Scandinavia has. When you think of what the region has offered the world food-wise, with that whole Nordic Food Manifesto and the huge successes, like Noma, which came from that. Those guys reinvented a new approach to sourcing and presenting local food which has transformed the global food industry in the last decade. Given they were able to achieve that, I thought: why don’t we try to do the same thing with fragrance?’

How did you find a perfumer who understood such unique inspirations?

‘I found, at a very early stage, a French guy who’s an experienced ‘nose’, been in the industry a long time, but got tired of working with brands and retailers who were always trying to look for something that was cheaper or smelled a bit like something that was already on the market. He felt the magic of perfumery had gone. Then I turned up with this idea, and I said to him, let’s just go and discover stuff!

 

 

My wife is the third member of the fragrance development team who made this happen. She’s Danish, a doctor by profession but a passionate organic gardener who grew up in Sweden, had her summers in Norway and a plot of garden since she could walk. She helped me understand the arboreal forests, rose gardening, temperate flora, in a way neither I nor even the perfumer had experience of. Putting those two together was fascinating, to see how they talked about scent, season, regions… We all work together by travelling to the places the fragrances are about, experiencing them for ourselves and saying “Okay, what IS the scent of Copenhagen” for example?’

What’s it like, having such freedom to the way you work?

‘It’s a blessing. There’s no conference room, no PowerPoint slide presentations. The perfumer has this incredible scent memory where he records places through his nose and comes back with ideas which interpret that through a mixture of natural ingredients or synthetics where you cannot capture that scent in nature. He can now do things like create the scent of orchards in blossom in fjordland – very specific scent memories. We physically go these places, we stay there, we walk around, we take pictures. I mean at that level, it’s that basic. He says he doesn’t know any other perfumers who get to do that. But it feels so right, this way we work, and the process means we end up making fragrances the world hasn’t smelled before. And that’s very exciting…!’

Try Skandinavisk Kapitel 12, Freedom to Roam for yourself in the Eau So Fresh Discovery Box – one of 14 incredible scents for you to explore and take your nose on a journey with. We also urge you to check out the brilliant Skandinavisk Voices Journal, which apart from featuring more of this stunning photography to look at, gives a really personal insight into the inspiration of each fragrance…

By Suzy Nightingale

What is niche fragrance, and where do you begin…?!

So what is niche fragrance? That word is often flung around in the fragrance world, but sometimes we don’t stop to wonder about it. So what does that term actually mean, and where should you begin your fragrance journey…?

[Psst! Scroll down to find out how you can try well over £1,000 worth of niche fragrance – if you got the full sizes – for just £19!]

‘Niche’ perfumery began by referring to fragrances made independently, so not owned by a large brand. They can also be called ‘artisanal’, and because they were privately owned, often were able to take risks that larger, more corporately-inclined companies could not.

These smaller houses sometimes had a single person behind them – acting as founder, perfumer, Creative Director and PR person (and probably chief tea-maker, too!) The founder might also be self-taught in perfumery, rather than the traditional route of studying chemistry and then training at schools such as ISIPCA.

It might be useful to think of ‘niche’ fragrance as the catwalk of the perfume world. Unique ideas are celebrated, and might seem completely wacky or out-there, but actually tend to create trends that ripple down to the high street. Suddenly the ‘shoulder pads’ of the scent world are everywhere!

As niche houses became increasingly popular, some more established, larger houses began introducing more daring fragrance collections we also term as ‘niche’ – referring to the more artistic, less traditionally commercial style of perfumery rather than the size of the house itself.

But where can you begin discovering niche fragrances? At The Perfume Society we know that not everyone happens to live near a perfumery stocking niche scents (or even a department store with a diverse selection) – and even if you do, it’s sometimes overwhelming to work out where to even begin. What’s more, because of various lockdowns meaning we couldn’t even get to the shops – and new Covid-19 health protocols meaning testers aren’t readily available to smell in-store – it can be even trickier to actually get your nose on niche fragrance!

Trying a fragrance sample at home is the best way to truly discover if you love a scent – you need to live with it on your skin for several hours. A Discovery Set means you can try the entire collection from a niche fragrance house, and our curated Discovery Boxes allow you to smell things you’d perhaps never have considered (or not heard of) before.

Because we understand you’re missing browsing, spraying and smelling, in the latest we curated a selection of some of the finest niche fragrances out there to try at home. Click here for a detailed description of each scent, and on the names of the houses to read all about their individual histories. There’s no better way to begin your discovery of niche than right here.

In the Niche Collection VI you’re getting to try well over £1,000 worth of fragrance (if you had to buy them all as separate full-sizes to try) for less than the price of your average Deliveroo! This is what’s included…

 

ånd fragrance Sånd 2ml EDP 2ml eau de parfum (full size £35 for 10ml)
Atkinsons 24 Old Bond Street 2ml eau de cologne (£99 for 100ml)
Brioni Brioni 1.8ml eau de parfum (£70 for 60ml)
Eight & Bob Annicke 1 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 30ml)
Initio Addictive Vibration1.5ml eau de parfum (£190 for 90ml)
Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 7.5ml eau de parfum (£36 for 30ml)
J.U.S Parfums Sexycrush 1.2ml eau de parfum (£165 for 100ml)
Lalique Noir Premier Plume Blanche 1901 1.8ml eau de parfum (£210 for 100ml)
Paco Rabanne Pacollection Strong Me 1.5ml eau de parfum (£65 for 62ml)
St Giles The Writer 2ml eau de parfum (£130 for 100ml)
A’Kin Cleansing Micellar Water 30ml  (£12.50 for 150ml)

The Niche Collection VI Discovery Box is priced £19 + p&p* to VIP Club Members (£23 + p&p* to everyone else) – be sure to log into your account to take advantage of the special VIP Club price.

If this is your first time trying a niche fragrance, read our tips on how best to smell a new scent. Basically, you need to give it time to develop on your skin. Often the niche fragrances can be more complex (or just very different to more everyday mainstream scents you might be used to) so they can take you on more of journey as they unfurl throughout the day.

We do hope this helps explains things about ‘niche’ fragrance a bit more. One thing’s for sure: wherever you begin your niche fragrance journey, we’ve a hunch you’re going to fall madlly in love with many of them along the way…

By Suzy Nightingale

Mihan Aromatics – redeem your code for $50 off + FREE worldwide shipping at Australia’s all-natural fragrance house

How about this for some sunshine on a rainy day –  Mihan Aromatics have given us an EXCLUSIVE code to share with Perfume Society readers. Granting you a whopping $50 AUD off 100ml parfums, and FREE worldwide shipping, it lasts 30 days. What are you waiting for? There’s so much to explore!

Code: MASOCIETY50

How to use: Go to mihanaromatics.com and use at checkout when purchasing 100ml parfum

 

Hailed as ‘the BYREDO of Australia’ by glowing press reports when they launched,, and proudly all-natural from the get-go; Josh and Julia Mihan are the so-cool couple behind the Mihan Aromatics fragrance house, having wanted to combine native floral and spices – including Australian sandalwood, now being deployed by the fragrance industry as a sustainable alternative to Indian Santalum album – alongside ingredients from further afield that are pillars of the perfumery’s art.

 

 

Although Australia has a thriving niche fragrance scene of enthusiasts, its only fairly recently we’ve witnessed actual fragrance houses beginning to blossom there, and Mihan Aromatics are a very welcome addition, as you’ll see (and smell) for yourselves when you explore their fragrant wares.

Popular Australian fragrance blog theaccords.com raved that: ‘Mihan Aromatics‘ capsule collection of nostalgia, from autumn park hangs to sweaty summer dance sessions, is pulled off to perfection. It feels authentic, intelligent, thoughtful, ernest. There’s a very clear style, here – a lightness, a dreamy character to all the fragrances… Each one is a mood and while the stories are specific, the space and softness of the scents allow plenty of projection (of your imagination, that is; these are creations that stick close to the body…)

Style-driven blog minimalissimo.com, meanwhile, enthused that Mihan Aromatics debut collection was ‘…a thing of sublime and considered beauty. Each element that comprises the Melbourne-made collection is grounded on the individual connection each of us has with scent (and the senses), through a purposed tactility. A sensory journey of discovery.’

 

 

All of the fragrances are immediately transportive – an olfactory magic trick we so sorely need our perfumes to perform right now – and will whisk you to evocative, seasonal memories captured in each bottle. The initial scents – Guilty Story, Mikado Bark and Sienna Brume – were inspired by Melbourne’s inner city suburbs of Carlton, Fitzroy and East Melbourne, during autumn months. (Which crackle with bronze and golden leaves just as they do here, and where days can be almost as crisp.) Now they’ve been joined by Petrichor Plains, conjuring the drenching of earth and rock after a storm – a specific smell regularly cited as a favourite by people all over the world; and Munlark Ash, which The Perfume Society’s own Hettie has been wearing a lot of, lately…

 

‘It’s like adding an extra layer of comfort and warmth before I leave the house, with the richness of incense, amber, vetiver and cedarwood. Yet I find it super uplifting and airy (which is exactly what we all need a little of right now!) with tangy bergamot and black pepper. A seasonal must!’

 

From cosily warm scents that wrap around you to storm-drenched verdant undergrowth, or vibrant perfumes that pulsate with the energy of a summer’s day – which will you choose, we wonder?

Want to try samples before you decide what to spend your $50 AUD off discount code (with free worldwide shipping) on? No problem! We have the Mihan Aromatics Discovery Set in stock, where you can try the FULL collection of five fragrances for £33, PLUS a sneak-peek at an ‘Untitled’ scent that’s still in devlopment. How cool is that?

Already tried them, or are immediately drawn to a particular perfume? Don’t forget, you can use your code MASOCIETY50 for 30 days at mihanaromatics.com – so let your nose travel and the sunshine in!

By Suzy Nightingale