Okay, we know it’s not here yet, but… it’s coming! So how about ticking lots of gifts off all in one go and getting to feel a bit smug about that? (AND even treating yourself?) Here’s our guide of the best ranges to appeal to all tastes in one (fragrant) fell swoop…
When you’re not sure exactly what scent to get them for Christmas, or are sick of giving loved ones the same old thing, our overwhelming feedback from happy customers suggests a Discovery Box is definitely the way forward. Bursting with luxurious and often hard-to-find mini, try-me size scents and decadents beauty extras, each box is specially curated around a theme or with a particular kind of perfume-lover in mind.
At The Perfume Society, we’ve something to suit everyone, no matter how picky about perfume they are! From designer name divas to scented gents about town, millennials desperate to discover what suits them best and those keen to branch out with something different – see how many gifts you can tick off your shopping list in one fell swoop (and all from the comfort of your sofa/desk/bed…)
There’s no doubt about it: gardens help us to feel renewed. If you know a gardener – or garden-lover – or simply someone who needs to explore beyond the perfumed path a little; this is the box for them (or you!) With The Garden Of Delights Discovery Box you’ll find a collection of vibrant, bright fragrances that explore the outdoors (with even a scent created in collaboration with HRH King Charles III, based on his favourite tree! AND the new cult calming scent by Kate Moss). From the green-fingered, to anyone who loves joyfully inspiring scents -they’re all the renewing and rejuvenating benefits of gardens in every spritz.
If you’ve a perfume-loving pal looking to branch out and try some fantastic new brands, as well as designer names we know they’ll love – and make sure they are always on trend and perfectly seasonally scented; this selection of fabulous fragrances (mainly female and unisex in style), will land at your door each passing season (approximately every three months) – so it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving!
You can choose a Quarterly (£18 every three months) or Yearly (£68 annual payment) plan to suit you. We keep the contents a secret so it’s a true scented surprise to receive in the post each time – think of how happy they’ll be to get that parcel rather than another bill or junk mail. (And hey, maybe you could subscribe, too, and you can compare notes with each box? If you live far away – consider setting up a regular fragrance-chatting and sniffing Zoom so you can talk about your faves…)
For the most suave and chic of your perfume-loving pals, here’s a box that swaggers with charm and sophistication. Filled with fragrances from some of Britain’s finest brands – both classic and utterly contemporary names – to help them find their new fragrant passions. Indulging in these voluptuous, classic scents and new launches all from within the UK will keep them feeling confident (and let them know how much they are loved!) Smart…sexy…elegant – this is a box that has it all, and then some, in scent appeal.
If you know a chap (or anyone preferring the more traditionally ‘masculine’ style scents) who is a little stuck and not sure where to start on a new fragrance journey – The Scented Gent collection has been specifically curated to appeal. Starting off with some classic names they’re sure to have heard of (and feel comfortable with), which have a more heritage character; then they can be ready to plunge into some scents that will gently guide them into exciting new scent arenas, from new and niche houses. All of them so-classy and easy to wear.
Microbiome-friendly skincare has become a must for many as more people seek out products that support the skin barrier’s own defences ~ formulations that care for sensitive skin and which don’t cause breakouts. ‘But what about fragrance?’ asks the apothecary ‘where science meets poetry’ of ARgENTUM…
ARgENTUM says: ‘Perfumes often contain ethanol as a base, a source of potential irritation due to its negative impact on the skin’s microbiome. Taking the same diligent approach as they have with their skincare for visibly healthier skin, ARgENTUM have spent years researching and formulating their own collection of fragrances. Using a patented process — known as Water Plant Emulsion® that excludes alcohol and solvents from the formulation — and selecting only the fi nest ingredients of natural origin, les parfums infinis does not disrupt the skin’s microbiome. This has been conclusively shown by a microbiome assessment study carried out by the Medical University of Lodz in Poland.
MICROBIOME ASSESSMENT RESULTS:
– The fragrances did not disturb the number of microorganisms present on the section of skin selected for testing, which was the neck. The fragrances preserve the presence of Staphylococcus epidermidis ~ a key species for healthy skin (recent research indicates that acne might be the result of an imbalance between Cutibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis* )
– The fragrances do not disturb the natural balance of the skin microbiome. These results support the microbiome assessment study for la potion infinie, the brand’s award-winning silver face cream, which has also been proven to be microbiome-friendly.
– Supporting the friendly bacteria which make up the microbiome is key to healthy skin that’s free from blemishes and acne. As scientific research into the delicate skin microbiome continues to develop our understanding of the body’s immune defences, ARgENTUM continues to set the benchmark for luxury skincare and fragrance that supports wellbeing at a profound level.’
“The ARgENTUM philosophy is to ‘discover the beauty in balance’. This means that all our products are formulated to support the skin’s natural intelligence in retaining equilibrium. The fact that the entire collection of les parfums infinis is microbiome-friendly is an inspiring step in the right direction for luxury fragrance and for wellbeing.” – Joy Isaacs, Founder
You can find out the extraordinary full story of how (and why) ARgENTUM was founded by Joy onour page dedicated to the house, but meanwhile, we urge you to seek out the scents and see how wonderfully kind to the skin they truly are, while still being long-lasting and powerfully characterful. Now, your only quest is to discover WHICH of the fragrant archetypes YOU will feel most instinctively drawn to…
‘By embracing ourselves and the energies we attract, we can aspire to reach a beautiful balance ~ that place where opposites align and become one. Through the ARgENTUM archetypes, reveal your energy and embody your fragrance to explore this element.’
‘As an element, air encapsulates a masculine energy of thought and communication. Born at sunrise in the crisp breath of Spring ~ air is imaginative and intelligent, but without flow can become stifled and cruel. Moist and warm, air symbolises a nurturing energy that celebrates your knowledge and ideas, the beginning of something intangible and without permanent form. This brisk and exhilarating element stimulates the mind and cuts to the heart of your quest for connection.
‘Earth encapsulates a cleansing feminine energy of strength and solidity. Born at midnight in the depths of Winter ~ earth is grounded in fertility and security, but left to harden can lack vision and freedom from material things. Cold and dry, earth symbolises the physical, immersed in reality and centred in groundedness with intuitive abundance. This generous and nurturing element guides you to wisdom on your quest to find nourishment.’
‘Fire encapsulates a powerful and masculine energy. Born at midday in the blazing sun of Summer ~ fire transforms and purifies, but let loose has the power to burn and destroy. Warm and dry, fire symbolises a forceful energy that invites you to pursue your passion and ignite your creativity with strength, assertiveness, and courage. This fierce and flaming element creates change and allows you to release what you no longer need on your quest to find balance.’
‘Water encapsulates a feminine energy of fluidity and purification. Born at sunset in the tide of Autumn ~ water embodies a peaceful flow of unconditional love, but if locked can entice anger or disconnection. Moist and cold, water symbolises the power of dreams with their ability to stimulate healing and propel the journey of rejuvenation. This cleansing and life-giving element guides your emotions on your quest to feel love.’
Become: All encompassing, balancing, beginnings
Lover: Self-love, connection, balance
Jester: Sense of play, overcoming adversity, entertaining
‘Together with BECOME, our signature scent, we invite you to discover the ARgENTUM archetypes ~ CREATOR, SAGE, MAGICIAN, CAREGIVER, HERO, JESTER, INNOCENT, REBEL, EXPLORER, RULER, EVERYMAN & LOVER. Twelve symbolic images, captured in scent to reflect inherent energies common to us all.
By embracing ourselves and the energies we attract, we can aspire to reach a beautiful balance ~ that place where opposites align and become one.’
Dimitri Weber launched his house of Goldfield & Banks in 2016, showcasing for the fist time in the fragrance world the stunning native ingredients of Australia. And WHAT a wonderful treat for all fragrance lovers this proved to be…
When he started, Dimitri explained to us, nobody was talking about Australian ingredients at the various trade shows he visited, but ‘…now I notice more people are showcasing and highlighting their provenance, and the big houses like Firmenich and Givaudan are now exploring those ingredients, and that’s so wonderful!’
It was a fragrantly fateful 25 years ago Dimitri first travelled to Australia for a fragrance launch. He’d worked on fragrances in France for over twenty years before that trip that was to blow his mind and shape the course of his scented life and career. A friend suggested extending his trip, seeing as he’d flown for 24 hours to get there, to explore the wilds of the Australian landscape. While there, Dimitri says he totally fell in love with both the place and a special person, eventually moving to Australia and completely immersing himself in the wonderful ingredients he found there.
With this idea of combining the refinement of French perfumery with a hitherto under-explored palette of fragrant ingredients, he was proud to start his own brand to highlight unique materials of incredibly high quality: ‘Some of the farmers we work with are growing their ingredients in such remote locations in Australia that there’s no pollution whatsoever – they are completely pure.’
There are so many scents to adore within their collection – which you can read about along with the full founding story and inspirations of the house – in our page dedicated to Goldfield & Banks; but here we’re going to the Botanicals Series (easily distinguishable with their gilded bottles), beginning with the most recent…
Goldfield & Banks Island Lush
Perfumer: Amélie Jacquin
They say: ‘South Pacific Sandalwood; the epitome of wild tropical beauty. Carnal and bountiful, Island Lush is a sumptuous perfume with a heart of modern woods. A wind of exoticism transports you on a journey to islands beyond the horizon, where radiant spices, powdery orris, vegetal roots and luscious resins envelop smooth wood species.’
We say: This is beguilingly buttery from the get-go, a scents that seems to melt into skin, becoming one with you, as that unique quality of sandalwood – somehow green yet spicy – radiates throughout. The orris offers a powdery finish which melds the supple softness of the leather to the grassy cool of vetiver and richly unctuous resins in the base.
Botanicals & Essences in Island Lush:
Sandalwood South Pacific
Guaiac Wood Paraguay
Cedar Wood Texas
They say: ‘An olfactory imagination expressing the scent of aromatic fields of sunburnt lavender, where blossoms are crisped by the fierce heat of the sun. Paired with the scent of rust-coloured saddles, this sensual perfume reveals a distinctively rich and dry sillage. A contemporary and unexpected take on lavender and leather.’
We say: Intensely aromatic, this is a lavender so pure (flourishing in Tasmania’s unspoilt landscape) that we swear we feel better simply smelling it. Definitely not the dusty, fusty lavender you may have previously experienced, within Purple Suede it feels rich, luxurious, even decadent in its herbaceously surprising, oakmoss-swathed softness.
Botanicals & Essences in Purple Suede:
Pink Pepper Reunion Island
Hyssop Flowers France
They say: ‘The perfume is a more subtle, luxe and modern interpretation of agarwood (also called oud). One that is delightful to wear on any occasion and which offers a sensation of a distinctive gourmand and musky fragrance on a silky smooth skin.’
We say: If a fragrance can ever smell like liquid gold, this is it – a smooth, molten swoon of Australian sandalwood, harvested sustainably for the first time in the Daintree Rainforest in Tropical Queensland. Spiced with a tingle of saffron, swirled with smoked vanilla and the hug of tobacco leaves in the trail, it’s an all-day (and night) wrist-sniffer, for sure.
Botanicals & Essences in Silky Woods:
Agarwood Tropical Australia
Ylang Ylang Madagascar
Art and fragrance are so closely entwined – and here at The Perfume Society, we have long held that fine fragrance creation truly is an art form. We were thrilled when the Italian niche house of D’Otto launched in 2022, with their ‘liquid art’ concept blurring these boundaries even further – each exquisite fragrance forming its inspiration directly from a major modern artwork. D’Otto explains…
‘Visual artists express themselves through shape and colour, free from rigid boundaries and expectations. Musical artists express themselves through chord progressions and note expressions. Perfumers transmit emotional messages by composing fragrances with olfactory notes and accords. These approaches in both art and perfumery are inextricably linked – forms of communication and powerful sources of human emotion that speak to our inner child, bringing memories to the forefront of our minds in an instant.’
Little wonder this collection is so artistically conceived and beautifully realised, being the brainchild of talented third-generation Italian perfumer, Paolo Terenzi. An ‘unconventional storyteller and musician with a professional background including a degree in law and philosophy, studies in chemistry and physics and a lifelong passion for poetry; Paolo can trace his artistic inclinations back through his family’s bloodline, to 15th Century Rimini and ‘the nobleman Gabriele Terenzi, lover of art and alchemy, who died around 1450.
We love the way each scent is described, referencing the material the artist who inspired the fragrance worked with, the colours they used and even the types of brushstroke or their signature style. This is a much more visceral way of understanding a fragrance’s character, and how it might translate to being worn on our skin, than simply listing ingredients (many of which we might not have had the opportunity to smell in isolation or be familiar with).
Thrillingly, you can try samples of D’Otto to experience the fragrant artistry for yourself, in two of The Perfume Society’s Discovery Boxes…
“Opening with luminous transparency, 1+7 is at first smooth and bright. An explosive and uplifting citrus bouquet of Calabrian bergamot, Sorrento lemon and Sicilian grapefruit, represents the canvas and flecks of white paint used in Number 31 by Jackson Pollock.”
In the meantime, while you wait for your samples to arrive, we wonder which iconic artistic works YOU think should be translated into a fragrance. What notes would they contain and what style of perfumery would best express that artist’s work? When asking people to close their eyes and imagine a fragrance in a more abstract form, we often encourage people to think of colours, artistic materials and brushstrokes – how wonderful, then, that D’Otto uses this artistic springboard for the creation of their own scents. We can’t wait to see (and smell!) the next in their collection…
Memoize is a niche fragrance house that captures memories and bottles them for us to share – surely the very essence of that emotional connection we all for when wearing a fragrance? Which scent memories are we billowing forth this summer, and how did the founder’s own fragrant fanaticism begin? Read on to discover more…
You see, Memoize just get it – the scented significance of the personal connections we have with the perfumes we love most. Or, as they put it, ‘…the importance of creating a perfectly harmonious balance between fragrances and how they make people feel, incorporating notes that many would remember from their childhood, adolescence and beyond.’ Most importantly, they know that this fragrant memory bank is not locked away in an airtight safe – it’s something we live and breathe, and therefore can all add to, every day of our lives. So that ‘…these scents will become the basis of future memories, too.’
Sometimes it takes a lifetime to learn what seems this most simple of things – understanding and tapping in to our deepest selves – but although Holly Hutchinson founded Memoize in 2016, her fragrant memory lessons began far further back. On her seventh birthday, she was gifted her very first set of miniature perfumes. As her mother was ‘an avid collector of unusual scents’, perfumes were almost indelibly linked to scented snapshots of Holly’s childhood memories. ‘A French holiday in the sun, a ride across the waves by boat, venturing through trees in a garden of ferns and Laurels…’ The album of scent memories was filling up fast.
It was in 2011 that Holly could truly begin to follow her dream, joining a prestigious niche fragrance brand and pursuing a career in the industry. But after seven successful years, it was time to start thinking about reaching further, using her love of fragrance and design with the expert knowledge she’d gained, and finally launching her own brand. Holly says she ‘knew immediately’ what the concept should be: sharing the very memories that launched her own fragrant career, while helping perfume-lovers explore their own scented memory bank. So, shall we take a scented wallow in those memories…?
Losing yourself to the intoxication of seduction is the name of the game with the particular scent memories of Luxuria. Think of joyous summer picking wild berries with a loved one, of that moment when your mouth waters just prior to biting into a lusciously juicy blackberry – well, that’s what’s bottled here. Shot through with luminescent tuberose, muguet (lily of the valley) and ylang ylang, its dry-down dips you deeper to a base of vanilla-infused suede.
This best-selling scent became so beloved it was turned into an extended scent memory with Rose Luxuria – this time an airier, fresher caress of deliciously sparkling top notes of bergamot, lemon and orange that deepen to the juicy delights of tropical fruits. The heart proffers a bouquet of airy, almost soapy rose, the delicacy of lily of the valley, magnolia and orange flower dusted with orris on a throbbingly deeper base of amber, benzoin, moss, precious musk and woody undertones. So, so beautiful!
More recently we’ve been enamoured with the scented self-reflection of Ego as an olfactory wake-up call. The green freshness of fig leaf is followed by the piquancy of cassis. Together, these notes somehow feel like the familiarity of softly crushed tomato leaves, along with a mellowing lap of cool, coconut milkiness that caresses, silkily and cardamom speckled rose petals wrapped around ambered, tonka woodiness. Likening the development on your skin to the blooming of your soul, it’s a scented symbiosis.
Luxury and niche fragrances are always lusted after, but of course can become somewhat injurious to one’s wallet if you want to try several all at once (and we always, always do!)
The problem is, this often leads people to try ‘dupe‘ fragrances (a nice word for ‘copy’ or ‘rip off’) when we are bombarded by companies aggressively advertising these copies on social media, which promise to be ‘as good as the real thing’ or saying ‘you’ll never know the difference’. It’s understandable some are (literally) duped this way – it sounds too good to be true…
And it is.
Luxury copies are often completely unregulated, using untraceable, unsustainable and inferior materials they can be made in unsanitary, sweat shop conditions, in huge vats of copycat smell-alikes, which may not have been fully safety tested, or have been adulterated with rogue ingredients and then passed off as being a ‘bargain’. Presented in such a way these companies suggest they are somehow doing you a favour, in fact, it’s daylight robbery – a theft of artistic ideas (often pretending to be the real thing by copying names and labels). And we have never once, in our combined decades of professional experience, found anyone, with any knowledge of fragrance, who has smelled the real thing and a knock-off dupe and not IMMEDIATELY been able to tell the difference. Fact.
Those in the know have found the way forward when we’re on a smaller budget. Luxury Discovery Boxes are the chance to indulge in the fragrances of niche and designer houses, often giving you the opportunity to try the scented wares from cult brands you’ve not heard of, or not everyone knows about yet. And, of course, not everyone happens to live near a niche perfumery (or feels brave enough to go in, even if you do). Very few of us could go out and purchase full-size bottles of every brand we want to try. Luxury boxes allow you to afford to wear every single one… and get to experience the real deal, made by perfumers, not thieves.
Where to Get Samples?
The best idea is to get a Discovery Box of fabulous mini sizes and samples from a wide range of luxury, niche and top-end designer fragrance houses. That way you can start exploring and trying them all in the comfort of your own home, before you splash out on a full size. This way, you also get to try things you may never have picked up to try in store (indeed, may never have heard of previously!) and have proper time to try on your skin.
Want to Explore More…?
Luxury Brand Boxes are the way forward. You may know you like one scent from a particular house, and are ready to be a bit braver and see what else they do. It’s a fantastic leaping-off point, actually, as many houses offer differing styles of scents while still retaining a kind of olfactory handwriting – the same way an artist will have a certain look to their work you can recognise, or a clothing designer tends to work with shapes or tones that suit you. So, when you’ve found one you love, do explore the rest in their collection (and obvs samples are the best way to do this without breaking the bank).
In the recent Esxence fragrance fair in Milan, one of the highlights was smelling the aptly-named Abundance – a new fragrance by Australian perfume house, Map of the Heart.
We’ve long been huge fans of this always-artistic fragrance house, and love the way their scents imbue a sense of the landscapes they are inspired by. Indeed, many of the ingredients are indigenous to Australia and brilliant perfumer Jacques Huclier collaborated with Amelie Jacquin for this latest launch.
For V.8 Abundance, the verdancy and freshness billows forth from the first spritz – it was composed during Lockdown in Australia, so co-founder Sarah explained to us, and was borne of a sense of longing for nature and wildness that we all seemed to experience, no matter where we were based in the world.
Bitter orange fizzes with pops of pink pepper, a mellow drift of incense on the breeze suggesting adventure, exploration. The intriguing note of Christmas Tree or ‘Flame Tree’ is in the heart, but cast aside thoughts of yuletide celebrations and instead think of wide open vistas clustered by vast forests, shady places, an ancient place of sanctuary. As with all Map of the Heart fragrances, seams of Australian Sandalwood ripple throughout, here, joined by White Sandalwood, deep rivulets of Akigalawood and resinous benzoin, adding to the sacred nature of the scent as it warms on your skin.
This is a sneak-peek, because Abundance isn’t yet available on their website, but you may be sure when it is, there will be a rush of fragrant fans clamouring to own it – either in the heart bottles which made them so famous (and look for all the world as though they belong in an art gallery); or the more conventional bottles they now also produce.
Intrigued? You should be! We are thrilled to say the Map of the Heart Discovery Sets are now back in stock in our shop, and there you may try the rest of the collection to date. The only questions is where will you begin your Map of the Heart journey…?
Clear Heart v.1 – Australian summer: surfing, swimming, hot days, cool breezes and the salt that hangs in the air promising more.
Black Heart v.2 – Smoky. Impolite. Dangerous. It’s smoky heart of mysterious spices is shot through with shards of fresh eucalyptus and citrus to create an impolite mix of opposites.
Red Heart v.3 – Explosive. Seductive. Addictive. A composition of feijoa, tuberose and spices with sensual notes of musk and vanilla.
Gold Heart v.4 – Nurturing. Precious. Ancient. An exotic warm breeze that wraps around to protect and nurture.
Purple Heart v.5 – Brave. Instinctive. Triumphant. Inverying the olfactory pyramid by opening darker and then brightening
Pink Heart v.6 – Mingles on the skin with the spiciness of the sumac accord and cistus absolute for a mesmerising ride.
White Heart v.7 – The ethereal and sharp opening of French lavender, aldehyde and cardamom coolly invite us into the vast landscape of love.
From bestsellers to treasures from niche names, Suzy Nightingale suggests 50 fragrances we think you should be sure to sniff out – and what better time to begin than in National Fragrance Week?
Those of us who love fragrance are always seeking out the new, the exciting, the just-launched. But it’s sometimes easy to overlook the exquisite creations that are right under our noses. Think of the following as akin to one of those i-SPY books we loved as kids, in which we’d patiently check off lists of ‘must-see’ birds, cathedrals, native shrubs or whatever fuelled our childhood passions.
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Here, we present the first half of those 50 fragrances we believe you simply must seek out (we’ll be sharing the second half of the scent list next week) with direct links so you can explore and find out more. Now, get those blotters ready (and note down those you like the sound of so you can tick off your own 50 fragrances I-Spy list…
Founder and perfumer Sarah McCartney created this in 2013 as a bespoke fragrance for a VIP event, with a journalist present declaring it to be ‘the sexiest scent ever!’ And thus, a star fragrance was born. Hints of citrus, smooth vanilla, soft woodiness and musky ambergris form an unassuming but undeniably addictive blend that will have you exuding the sensuality of its name.
A timeless symbol of Italian chic, Colonia dates from 1916 and was first used to scent gentlemen’s handkerchiefs. With fragrant fans including Cary Grant, David Niven, and Audrey Hepburn, it’s as if you’ve wandered into an Italian sunlit idyll. Sicilian citrus, bergamot, lemon, sweet and bitter oranges infuse your soul with golden sunshine, the warm base cashmere soft. Bliss, bottled.
Awarded Best New Independent Fragrance 2012 by the Fragrance Foundation UK, this was London-based perfumer Angela Flanders’s homage to her daughter, Kate. An even more special tribute given Angela’s passing, and Kate taking on the role of perfumer. The exquisite floral accord rests on a base of softest oakmoss, layers of smoky vetiver unfurling their classically cool, deeply intriguing charms.
Setting the trend for green tea-infused scents, this chicly refreshing fragrance launched in 1992. The pared-back elegance of cool herbaceousness (cardamom atop citrus and coriander) is down to master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. An olfactory haiku, the citrus segues seamlessly to the lucent lily of the valley, jasmine and rose heart, the tea effortlessly steamed in musky woods. Genius.
Although this made its debut in 2014, founder Ben Gorham had the idea six years previously ‘when I gave my cousin away at her Indian wedding.’ Capturing the vision of an Indian bride’s hair covered in floral decorations, perfumer Jérôme Épinette’s creation pulses with tuberose, wild jasmine, rose petals, Scandinavian lingonberry and Sicilian lemon on a suede-wrapped amber base.
The world’s love for Calvin Klein clothing, accessories and fragrances was at its peak in the 90s, the revolutionary fragrance hitting the shelves in 1994 and immediately making its mark, with $60 million global sales in three months. Ultra-fresh, a first-of-its kind unisex eau de toilette, the Steven Meisel ads starring Kate Moss perfectly evoked its insouciant, aromatic aquatic sexiness.
Carolina Herrera de Báez (Carolina Jr) joined her mother’s empire in 1996, just one year later launching this ‘spirit of New York, bottled’ scent, having grown up amidst an artistic landscape of impeccable style and a ‘language of aromas.’ Alberto Morillas wove a youthful exuberance into airy gardenia and jasmine, the soft, musky sandalwood dry-down a testament to vibrant, urban modernity.
Brilliant in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent is everyone’s girl-crush: a woman’s woman who suffuses the house’s heritage with so-cool yet achievable stylishness. Embracing tart fruitiness with gardenia, rose and ylang ylang atop an animalistic purr of patchouli, oakmoss and leather, this gracefully rebellious ‘symbol of freedom’ was a modern classic the moment it first miaowed in 2014.
Recognisable the world over by bottle alone, this iconic fragrance celebrated its 100th birthday last year. Back in 1921 (and ever since), what really set No5 apart was its abstract construction. Legend has it that perfumer Ernest Beaux put an ‘overdose’ of aldehydes (sparkling, Champagne-like notes) in the bottle; while we’ll never know if that was true, the rest is fragrance history – and its future!
Already known for their flirty, feminine womenswear, Chloe’s debut scent launched in 1975 under the umbrella of Karl Lagerfeld. When time came to create a signature for a new generation, it needed to embody the fresh, confident femininity that’s in Chloé‘s DNA. Thus in 2008, Amandine Clerc-Marie and Michel Almairac dappled delicate peony with a cool, dewy fruitiness for a fluidly graceful go-to.
Long before today’s natural beauty trend, Clarins pioneered the use of aromatics and botanicals in skincare; their Eau Dynamisante was the first eau de toilette combining principles of aromatherapy and phytotherapy (plant therapy) in fragrant form, back in 1987. Hydrating, toning, and revivifying via essential oils of lemon, patchouli, petitgrain, ginseng and white tea, it’s immediately mood-lifting.
CREED‘s most celebrated fragrance became a true sensation on its launch in 2010, an unusual pairing of succulent pineapple and smoky birch with further fragrant juxtapositions of blackcurrant and rose, apple and jasmine. Inspired by the dramatic life of Napoleon, it’s become (and remained) a blockbuster for its inventive, unapologetic drama and unconventional boldness of spirit.
Christian Dior’s scented legacy has endured long beyond his too-short lifetime. To follow legendary Miss Dior and Diorissimo, in 1966 Edmond Roudnitska was entrusted with this zingy yet ethereal, utterly enthralling cologne-style creation. His clarity of composition – bright, crisp lemon and verdant herbs up top, balanced by a handsomely dry vetiver base – remains a wardrobe must-have.
Making fig fabulously fashionable in 1996, Olivia Giacobetti lapped the crunchy, vegetal nature of fig leaf with a silky milkiness that spoke of humid exoticism and fragrant escapes. Rippled with coconut, comforted by the pencil-shavings note of cedar’s woodiness as it warms, we know many a perfumista who reached for this during lockdowns, and will be wearing for decades to come!
In 2006, the idea of having a fragrance containing but a single, synthetic ingredient was startling. Maverick perfumer and founder Geza Schoen admits he thought, ‘This one will appeal only to the artists, the freaks, the outsiders.’ He was wrong; the world went crazy for the ISO E Super – that warm, fuzzy comfort of nuzzling your lover’s neck and leaning in for more, more, more.
Launched in 1953, this had a clever dual-purpose: ‘…a bath oil that doubled as a skin perfume.’ Because although it was then considered déclassé for a woman to buy her own fragrance, as Esteé Lauder herself once said, ‘it was feminine, all-American, very girl-next-door to take baths…’ This spicy floral simmers with incense and rich (almost cola-esque) resins: the scent of subversiveness!
This British fragrance house has blown us away with their fun, modern take on fragrances, the charmingly luminous effervescence of Electric Rhubarb a case in point. Perfumer Jérôme Épinette [the nose for all their scents] created this in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society. Think summer days sipping Prosecco – rhubarb’s fizz, sea salt and white flowers an enlivening, joyous jolt.
Chypre is one of the most classic fragrance families, but in 2017, Floris gave it a swoon-worthy twist, with sunshine-filled neroli dancing with the soapy brightness of bergamot, lemon and sweet orange until the heart proffers a floral bouquet. Then, as the lights dim and flicker, a va-va-voom yet never cloying vanilla, transparent muskiness, amber and patchouli are chicly revealed.
Once Monsieur Malle took the step of putting perfumer’s names on the bottles, these once-hidden noses became olfactory rock stars. Dominique Ropion had crafted iconic fragrances for years, but with the overtly sensual, dark rose, berries and sinuous patchouli of 2010’s ‘POAL’ (as it’s oft known), he created the decadent scent trail of many a perfumista, and Malle’s bestseller.
Giorgio Armani describes as ‘my tribute to modern femininity, an irresistible combination of grace, strength and independent spirit.’ It’s a masterful ‘reinvention’ of that so-classic Chypre family for a contemporary new audience. Captivating the senses with its three accords – fruity cassis nectar, a modern Chypre accord, and light musky woods – it’s sophisticated yet utterly unfussy.
If there was an award for ‘Most Mentioned Signature Fragrance by Celebrities’, Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien would probably win the gold medal – and with good reason. In a timelessly intriguing, deceptively simple take on freshness, mouth-watering citrus, ylang ylang and sparkling, soapy aldehydes evoke Annick’s beloved Italian garden. Way ahead of its time in 1981, it’s just as relevant now.
Incredibly over 100 years old. Its creator Jacques Guerlain’s reign lasted 65 fragrance-filled years and included many a masterpiece (Mitsouko, how we adore thee!) Imagine here a silky pair of 1920s pyjamas worn with heels to a party, citrus swirled with honeyed, night-blooming flowers, powdery iris on a vanilla-plumped base, incense on the breeze: the perfect perfumed romance.
Master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena’s back catalogue could likely fill a list of ‘50 fragrances you should try’ in its own right, but the standout success of this when it launched in 2006 has shown no signs of slowing. Why? It’s the so-structured woodiness that’s riven with vivacious grapefruit, the sheer spices enlivened by a suavely handsome, distinctly flinty vetiver. Sublime.
Reinventing the scent of water to become chicly covetable, as only Issey Miyake truly could. The beautiful transparency of lotus flower and freesia is rippled through with lightly handled lily, rose and carnation; perfumer Jacques Cavallier then delicately dusted peony petals and rested the composition on a smoothly woody base tickled by a swirl of white musk. It still whispers, beguilingly.
Created by now well-known fragrant maestro Francis Kurkdjian while fresh out of perfumery school, it was quite the olfactory debut in 1995. Taking the outlines of a traditional fougére, the lavender and mint are salt-licked and distinctly salacious, while vanilla, almond-like tonka bean and orange-blossom are positively addictive, and the cumin naughtily skin-like. Ahoy there!
For International Women’s Day this year, we’re celebrating some of the incredible women who are not only perfumers, but who’ve founded their own independent houses; who haven’t merely survived one of the most difficult times in living memory for small businesses, but are, quite frankly, thriving!
There’s no doubt things have changed a lot in recent years.
There are reportedly more women now joining the famous French perfumery school, ISIPCA, than men – an about-face for the time women in the perfume industry were either not employed at all, or remained somewhat faceless behind-the-scenes as their male peers were lauded as genius perfumers in gleaming white lab coats, then the respectable (and respected) face of fragrance.
The perfume world – and all fragrance fans – have many pioneering women to thank for the centuries they spent, tirelessly working their way to the top. So, for International Women’s Day, here are just a few strong, creative, amazing women we’d like to put our hands together for – and whom we should all celebrate, not just today, but every single time we spritz…
Maya Njie (pronounced ‘Maia N-Jai’) has diverse familial and artistic roots, having been born in Västerås Sweden, with a West African heritage, and moving to London in her teens where she went in to study at the University of the Arts. Weaving together these threads via the medium of the senses, Maya began experimenting with smell alongside the the visual mediums of colour and photography. Gaining global fans around the world, and offering Pocket Size perfumes, we are thrilled to welcome Maya Njie at The Perfume Society, and know you’ll adore exploring her creations.
Ruth was born in England, spent some of her childhood in America, and graduated with a Chemistry degree from Oxford University. Having been classically trained in Grasse, she’d studied alongside brilliant perfumers such as Olivier Cresp, who created Angel, and Jacques Cavallier who created the Jean Paul Gaultier ‘Classique’ fragrance. Having travelled extensively, and been president of The British Society of Perfumers; Ruth launched a capsule collection of scented products before weaving scent memories we could all wear. Ruth’s perfumes are shamelessly romantic, but still with a contemporary edge, and we’re always thrilled (and proud!) to wear them.
Completing her extensive training at the French perfumery school of ISIPCA, Emanuelle worked as a Scent Design Manager for various global fragrance brands, then become an independent perfumer based in London. Wanting to make the fragrance world more inclusive, she runs incredibly popular workshops which led to her own expending line of so-clever, utterly wearable (alone, or to mix your own signature) exceptionally exciting scents; and now (since lockdown) opened the world out further by crafting perfume courses online, suited to every level of experience.
I didn’t want to make perfume as a child; I wanted to be a witch,’ says Sarah McCartney, founder and perfumer of the gloriously unconventional 4160 Tuesdays. Having written a novel about perfumes, readers asked if she could create the scents she’d invented, ‘This turned out to be impossible – and pretty expensive – because no one was making exactly what I wanted, so I started another quest to see of I could make them instead.’ And so she rolled up her sleeves and did just that. Always inventive, collaborating with artists, appearing at festivals – here energy and creative output is astounding.
Apprenticed to one of the UK’s experts in custom perfumery, Nancy began her career training with that esteemed perfumer and creating bespoke fragrances for private clients. Many might have stuck to that path, but Nancy dared to chase her dream and make it reality – all the while, dividing her time between town and country and raising a family. Now with her own exquisite artisanal line, and a beautiful boutique in Brighton, she has the knack of conjuring emotional responses with lyrical fragrances that are contemplative yet so effortlessly sophisticated. And yes, she still makes custom fragrances for clients, too!
Sarah Baker Parfums are ramping up the ravishing longevity by adding Extrait to their collection; read all about their turned-up-to-eleven appeal, find out how to try sample-sizes and feast your nose on full-size fragrances, here…
Who is Sarah Baker?
Contemporary artist Sarah Baker’s photography, sculpture and films are inspired by ‘fashion, luxury and celebrity’, but little did she know that when she created a fictional fragrance house as part of her artwork, her passion for the project (and the public’s reaction to it) would result in a real-life fragrance house. Still very much artistically inspired, luckily for us they’re now ready to (actually) wear… and these intensified, ultra-long-lasting versions of the scents are even more voluptuously desirable!
‘Why be a star when you can be a legend?’ asks the always artistic, eternally glamorous Sarah Baker, introducing perfumer Chris Maurice’s enticing composition for her house. Balancing bergamot’s brightness with the honeyed headiness of orange blossom, petitgrain pierces through the sweet swirl of butterscotch and dusting of sinfully dark chocolate. Cradled in Laos oudh, Suyufi agarwood and amber, it’s the ’24 Karat glow’ of celebrity’s golden age, made manifest.
This is a classic of the collection that’s been adored since the scents were first launched. Sarah Baker, the nose for this one, is better known as the founder of quirky British house 4160 Tuesdays, but here collaborated with Baker to compose this marvel. Picture it: A fire is roaring in the library. You savour a rare single malt. Warmth and heritage envelope you after a walk through mossy ruins in Scotland’s Highlands. Autumnal.
Oh now this is completely addictive, we warn you… One to wear when you simply want to smell irresistible – we’ve heard tell of several glossy mag beauty editors who cannot be without this having tried it on their own skin, and having sampled it ourselves, we totally understand why. Playful and sweet with the flavours of childhood appetites, it dries down to something seriously grown-up. A beloved game encountered in the attic, realising years later it was the seed of your adult prowess; the sensual, sexy and clever you.
Another from the original collection we fell in lust with at first sniff, this swaggers with glamour, it’s that ‘shoulder pads in a bottle’ scent which we all need sometimes for an instant spritz of confidence. It evokes the strength within, a purr of suggestiveness, a soap-opera bottled that could get out of control if you allow. An epic night out. Heady excess and a whiff of scandal. A big cat signifying power and the right to luxury. The only choice when good behaviour is not an option. Decadent.
Now this one will surround you in a shield of perfumed protection, but in the most audaciously fabulous way. Too much or not enough? We think it’s the perfect perfume to wear when you need to let your inner diva take the steering wheel and drive you to beyond the limits of your own imagination. Inspired by cult star Divine. A bubblegum mélange of tropical fruits, seductive flowers and predatory tones. A scandalous first impression unveils a balance of audacious combinations. Dare to walk your own path.
This may well have been the first fragrance we ever smelled from this incredible niche house. Having just launched, we were blown away by the freshness, both of this breezey scent (which wafts the promise of holidays and happiness) and the inventiveness of their collection. Here, fragrance floods Aegean isles, turning fresh on crystal waters. A yacht where a famous affair plays out above and below decks.The sun glistens on your body. A drama that remains fresh forever.
What a scent, oh boy, you’d better be ready to fall headlong for the lustful trio of tuberose, honey and ylang ylang. It’s fragrances like this that linger so longingly on the skin – like the tingle of a passionate kiss that seemingly last forever in this strength. One to waft when you desire others to follow your trail for hours, unbidden, helplessly seeking another sniff. Ah yes. Cross and double-cross. Who’s fooling who when the stakes are high? A lingering vapour of classic silver screen sophistication. Impeccable.
There are occasions that a scent rises above a smell and becomes a texture, a colour, a shimmering sensation that evokes so much and plunges you into an olfactive memory. Here, we find ourselves half dreaming, half remembering, waves kissing our legs, warm sun caressing the skin, a feeling of nakedness that sighs contentedly. In a mythical ocean, a sea shell gives birth to the goddess of love. Desire lingers beneath the shimmering surface. Fresh and beautiful, with an undertow. Salty.
£145 for 50ml extrait de parfum
How can you try samples?
We’re thrilled to be able to offer you a way to try these fabulous new extraits altogether – so you don’t have to choose between them, giving each a chance to drape itself irresistibly over your skin and radiate ravishingly in turn. Only then can you truly decide which one(s) must be yours…