The 'Golden Pear' Awards come to London…

We’re rather thrilled the Art and Olfaction Awards are coming to London in April 2018! The awards (aka ‘The Golden Pears’) are a program of The Institute for Art and Olfaction, a non-profit organisation based in Los Angeles, USA.
An annual event showcasing the very best niche and artisan perfumes from around the world, independent perfumers and small-scale brands are invited to submit their fragranced wares (closing date is November 1st though, folks, so you need to get a wriggle on!) by filling in the online form, and then sending a 20ml bottle of the perfume for judging.
The rules are as follows…
‘For the 5th annual awards, we accept submissions from independent and artisan perfumers, and experimental practitioners with scent from all countries. 
Brands must be independently owned, or owned by a parent company with no more than four fine fragrance holdings in its brand portfolio. In the independent and artisan categories, we accept perfumes first released to market between January 1 and December 31, 2017. In the Sadakichi Award, we accept projects that had or will have their public début between December 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017.’


The Institute for Art and Olfaction say: ‘Awarded to just four perfumes and one experimental project a year, The Golden Pears is designed to raise interest and awareness for independent and artisan perfumers – and experimental practitioners with scent – from all countries. By shining a spotlight on perfumery’s most outstanding creators, we hope to help generate support for independent practices in perfumery as a whole.’

Submissions close: November 1st, 11:59pm PST
Physical submissions must be received on or before November 14th, 2017

Round one judging : November 14, 2017  – January 15, 2018
Round two judging: January 15 – March 1, 2018

Finalists Announcement at Esxence: April 5, 2018
5th annual Art and Olfaction Awards at The Tabernacle in London: April 21, 2018

Niche perfumery was once viewed somewhat sneeringly, but the larger brands have had to sit up and take notice in the last few years (indeed, acquiring a few of them along the way to add to their existing portfolios), because those brands have ploughed the way for new trends to emerge, a fresher breath of air that provides a barometer for the rest of the industry. Whether perfume-lovers are directly seeking out more unusual and under-the-radar brands because they ‘don’t want to smell like everyone else’, or perhaps we’re all just getting a little braver in our fragrance choices; it’s become clear that niche is the new black.
And we can’t wait to see what the awards uncover next…
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

How artist Paul Schütze began his journey from paper to perfume

Before photographer, artist and musician Paul Schütze even dreamed of designing fragrances and launching his own line, his obsession with the oft-overlooked sense of smell was already apparent the moment you stepped in to the gallery…
In 2014 Schütze exhibited Silent Surface – a collection of photographs comprising books on fire and with missing words – within the fitting surroundings of an antiquarian bookshop. A central piece of a blackened book resting atop a plinth wafted an other-worldly aroma he’d sprayed the pages with and, under the lights the fragrance diffused to fill the space. The piece was called IN LIBRO DE TENERIS, and the majority of visitors asked if they could buy this inky, woody, book-ish scent (they couldn’t, it hadn’t been created to wear on skin, just as a one-off aroma to enhance the experience of the show) but from that moment, his fragrant fate was sealed.
From then, Paul went on to immerse himself in the world of perfume, working to design his very own trio of fragrances, all borne from olfactory memories of his extensive travels and the inherent artistic sense he has of interpreting the world around him.
Cirebon is a glowing citrus swathed in Tunisian orange blossom, inspired by Paul’s memory of a ‘… Night on the island of Java: by the edge of a lake; the perfumed sounds of a court gamelan orchestra drift across the water, hovering in the air like a constellation of shimmering insects,’ while Tears of Eros is an incense like no other, weaving a scent trail that takes you to ‘…The artist’s studio: Winter; incense from Kyoto’s Sanju Sangendo, a bowl of discarded clementine peel and a night blooming hyacinth; moonlit air from the open windows: these fragrances coalesce into a narcotic, heady, living incense.’ The last of the three so far – Behind the Rain – expands the beauty of mineralic petrichor (the smell that follows a downpour) with a trip to  ‘…An island in the Aegean: a sudden violent rainstorm: as the storm ends, the warmth of the emerging sun on bruised foliage coaxes waves of resinous fragrance that wash down onto our place of shelter under a stand of conifer trees.’

Fascinated to learn more of Paul’s fragrant travels, we asked him to guide us through the most evocative, his personal favourites, and the scents that always inspire him…
What is your first ‘scent memory’?
Chlorine: I have loved swimming in pools since I can remember. I do my best thinking while plowing up and down the lanes letting the world slip away. The huge pleasure of it is inextricably bound to the smell of chlorine. The faintest whiff and I’m transported
When did you decide you wanted to design your own perfume?
I’d always wanted to but it was only four years ago that I realised it might be possible.
What are your five favourite smells in the world?
Well, chlorine – obviously, the interior of the Sanju Sangendo in Kyoto, the flesh of a perfect white peach, our dog Gilbert’s head smells delicious and finally the epicenter of Queen Mary’s Rose Garden (Regent’s Park) in the middle of Summer: the most dizzying, hallucinatory storm of perfumes imaginable.
What’s the worst thing you ever smelled. (Honestly!)
Red Bull: utterly nauseating! I have moved decks on the bus to avoid it.
What is the fragrance you wish you’d created?
Sycomore from Chanel’s Les Exclusives series
Do you feel (like us) that this is one of the most exciting times in fragrance history, because of the creativity being expressed by perfumers? Why do you think that is?
I think we are in a time of intense activity both in commercial perfumery and in the outer edges of experiment (Sisal Tolas and Peter De Cupere). Also because people are realizing that the classical way is not the only way. I think there are parallels with the birth of contemporary music and with visual abstraction.
If you could have created a fragrance for a historical figure, who would it be?
If I might be allowed a fictional historical figure then Des Esseintes the protagonist in Huysmans À rebours.
What’s the first fragrance you bought. And the first bought for you…?
The very first fragrance I bought was Grey Flannel. The first bought for me was Tabac Blonde.
Do you have a favourite bottle design?

I recently made a unique, triple strength version of Cirebon for my partner Chris’s 50th Birthday. I gave it to him in a very beautiful antique, stoppered bottle with a hinged gold cap. It sits in a leather sarcophagus-like case (see photo, below.)


How many perfumes might you be working on, at one time?
Depends, I prefer to work on only one but if I have commissions then it can be three or four at a time.
Does your nose ever ‘switch off’?
It does. Then I know to turn my attentions elsewhere. You can’t force things.
How long, roughly, does it take to create one of your fragrances?
The fastest was a single day the longest so far has been a little over a year.
Is designing a fragrance ‘visual’ for you, as well as something that happens in the nose/brain of the perfumer? If so, in what way…? Is a mood-board helpful?
No, barely visual at all. Very musical though. I often find myself confusing sounds and smells. I listen to music while I work and it is chosen with infinite care. I find time spent in certain architectural spaces hugely helpful in getting a bead on the “right” feel for a fragrance.
What can each of us do to enhance our appreciation of fragrance?
Smell everything. Stop deciding how things smell by merely looking at them. Grab things and burry your face in them. That goes for people too!
What is your best tip for improving a person’s sense of smell?
Again, just smell things: never buy food without taking the time to smell it extravagantly. Never begin to eat until you have savored the aromas of your food. If you find yourself in a lift, close your eyes and imagine the other people from the aromas surrounding you. Open windows and inhale. Never walk past plants, flowering or otherwise without taking the time to sniff them. Never, never worry about how nuts all this makes you seem!
If you had one fragrance note that you love above all others, what would that be?
Vetiver.
We couldn’t leave it there, because we particularly wanted to know about two unusual notes used in the fragrances, and so Paul explained why they are used.

  • Green Incense: I’m obsessed with incense both as a ritual item and as a family of smells. I love the idea of an incense which is living, green, not-yet-burnt.
  • Tamarind: Wonderful aroma which hits you in the taste buds as much as the nose. I can’t smell it without my mouth watering. It has a phenomenological impact on the body which I find really seductive.

With such instantly evocative and unique fragrances to launch the range, we can’t wait to see (and sniff) where Paul Schütze will take us next…
Paul Schütze parfums £135 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Liberty
Written by Suzy Nightingale

A visit to the Sixth Floor – where the scented story continues

Over a year since it first threw open its doors, seven new boutiques have opened at Harrods prestigious Salon de Parfums, all the better to seduce your senses. So we thought it was time for an update.
Armani Prive, Penhaligon’s and Burberry have settled into luxuriously appointed spaces alongside Bond No.9Sospiro and Frédéric Malle (we loved the scent booth – what looks like a full-sized shower cubicle, in which perfume is sprayed and wafted for you!)
A worldwide exclusive sees the launch of beautifully presented, Japanese-inspired brand, Floraïku (above) – brought to you by the creators of MEMO, immersing visitors in a Japanese style tea ceremony as they learn about the fragrances and two layering scents the house call ‘shadows’ to amplify their individual characters…
Meanwhile, back at Armani Privé, you can be ushered through gilded doors to strecth out on a chaise lounge and invited to enjoy the immersive ‘Privé Experience’, relaxing as you breathe in gentle wafts of scent until you find your favourite.
Both Sospiro and Frédéric Malle will be offering personalisation and monogramming services within their boutiques, while perfumistas visiting Penhaligon’s and Bond No.9 will be able to create, to varying degrees, their own custom fragrance. Surely the ultimate gift…?
 
It may seem a bit of a marathon trek up the escalators to the Sixth Floor of the world-famous department store. (Although we’ve figured out a nifty short-cut: up to Fifth, through shoes, and up the final escalator).
But however you get there, and wherever you’re coming from, we promise you it’s worth the trip – particularly when you can browse and sniff in a completely unhurried manner (where else can you legitimately lie down and relax in a shop, without getting thrown out?!) and be treated to advice from true experts on-hand.
Harrods Salon de Parfums is on the Sixth Floor at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 
 

Scent in stone: Comme des Garçons get CONCRETE

What comes to mind when you picture concrete? Urban cityscapes are bound to be involved, but for design-led style leaders, Comme des Garçons, they always like to play with traditional expectations, and their latest fragrance is anything but conventional (but oh-so wearable, we’re glad to report!)
We had the pleasure of being present at the press presentation of CONCRETE – the new CDG scent launching today and exclusively first available at Selfridges. ‘A versatile material finds an unpredictable form’, they say, and from the pleasingly tactile concrete-clad bottle that will age as flagstones do – leaving a part of yourself imprinted every time you touch it – to the intriguingly soft juice inside (as we said: unexpected!) we have to concur…

So what does CONCRETE smell like? Well there’s the CDG signature of peppery notes, though this time very much white pepper, we’re thinking… then a mineral-ic waft of slightly metallic mistiness, but the framework here is bound to the rich, soothingly creamy essence of sandalwood and the most transparent rose, created by synthetic rose oxide – a molecule that turns old-fashioned rose on its head and adds acres of crystaline lightness and air to the mix.
CDG say that ‘…layers of resinous warmth are lacquered with metallic seams’ – by which we understand that the scent smells somehow both warm and cold at the same time. And it really does! We’re super-impressed and see this as a totally sharable fragrance you could easily wear every day.
CDG are renowned for collaborating with ground-breaking contemporary artists and Graham Hudson has been working with the house for 10 years, this time creating an exclusive installation in the Beauty Hall (and window) of Selfridges, Bond Street.

Comme des Garçons CONCRETE has been imagined as a kind of love story in scent and its artistic expression through all the senses. Music plays on records as sculpted figures and textural shapes abound. The installation is only up for a week, so do pop along and see it while you have the chance!

Comme des Garçons CONCRETE £115 for 80ml eau de parfum
Exclusively at Selfridges until 25/09/07
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Literary meditations in fragrant form with Walden Natural Perfumes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BeauFort London fly the flag for British fragrance as Art and Olfaction Awards announced…

The fourth annual Art and Olfaction Awards were announced on May 6, and with a heady melange of strong candidates in the running as finalists, we were so thrilled and proud to see that BeauFort London won for their outstanding fragrance Fathom V in the Independent Category. In fact, though the awards ceremony were held in Berlin this year, we’re pretty sure you could have heard us whooping all the way from the UK!
Based in Los Angeles, the The Art and Olfaction Awards are designed to ‘…raise interest and awareness for independent and artisan perfumers – and experimental practitioners with scent – from all countries.’ More than simple recognition for the immense hours of hard work undertaken by these small and proudly independent fragrance houses, the award founders explain that, ‘by shining a spotlight on perfumery’s most outstanding creators, we hope to help generate support for independent practices in perfumery as a whole.’

We have long known and celebrated the importance of niche fragrance houses and the great influence they now carry for the designer brands and the trickle-down effect they have for the mainstream market. Those mega brands now showcasing “unisex” scents in paired-down bottles across the range, florals for men and unusual note combinations? All these trends began long ago in the niche world – think of them as catwalk couture influencing eventual high street styles.

Of course, before BeauFort London had even officially launched, we were championing the house based on love at first sniff of their historically inspired yet ultra contemporary scents, and you can read our interview with founder Leo Crabtree, here.
Read our page dedicated to the BeauFort London to find out more about their inspirations and our thoughts on some of the fragrances themselves, but for those of you who haven’t yet tried the (now award-winning!) Fathom V – get ready to have your senses beguiled. It’s one of the most incredible shared fragrances we’ve smelled for some time – a humongously green, tousled bouquet of flowers tossed into roiling waves as guns fire a salute, sinking in to salty, opaque waters cloaking hidden treasures in the shdowy depths… And you can try it for yourself at home in our Precious Perfumes Discovery Box.
We would like to extend our congratulations to all the finalists in this hotly contested year, and are busily reading up on some of the more artisinal houses we’ve not yet had the pleasure of exploring. So really, think of the entire list of finalists as your must-sniff guide to all that’s uber-cool right now in the perfume world.
And for 2017, the winners are…
ARTISAN CATEGORY WINNERS
Bruise Violet
by Sixteen92 (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Claire Baxter
Presented by judge Luca Turin
Mélodie de l’Amour
by Parfums Dusita (France)
CD/ Perfumer: Pissara Umavijani
Presented by 2014 winner Tanja Bochnig
INDEPENDENT CATEGORY WINNERS
Altruist
by J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin (Germany)
CD: Lutz Herrmann / Perfumer: Véronique Nyberg
Presented by judge Matthias Janke
Fathom V
by BeauFort London (UK)
CD: Leo Crabtree / Perfumer: Julie Marlowe
Presented by judge Antonio Gardoni
SADAKICHI AWARD WINNER
Osmodrama Berlin / Smeller 2.0
by Wolfgang Georgsdorf (Germany)
Perfumer: Geza Schön
Presented by judge Ashraf Osman
CONTRIBUTION TO SCENT CULTURE AWARD WINNER
Christophe Laudamiel
Presented by founder Saskia Wilson-Brown
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Luxury Perfume House Collections: immerse yourself in glorious scented stories (with FREE postage & packing!)

Obviously we love nothing more than exploring hard-to-find perfume houses and word-of-mouth niche boutiques, but absolutely nothing fully immerses you in the style of a fragrance brand like plunging in to a tempting Discovery Set and exploring their myriad delights.
We believe that perfume is an art form, and as such these scents deserve to be savoured before you can truly decide which you adore and cannot live without a full-size of. And if this exploration can be carried out from the comfort of your sofa? All the better, surely…
So as well as our own Discovery Boxes, we are honoured to now carry a selection of Brand Boxes – discovery sets from brands we already adore, and think you will too.
So instead of trawling countless websites (and worrying about the total shipping costs if you’re tempted by several from different places!), browse the fantastic selection we have gathered for you. All helpfully located in one place, they come with FREE POSTAGE AND PACKAGING no matter how many you choose – the perfect presents for your perfume-loving friends are only a click away. (And may we suggest you throw in a treat for yourself, too?)
PS: If you’re a VIP Subscriber, don’t forget to be logged in to recieve your special price!
ormondeboxshopawJust-launched in our shop, this is a beautifully presented set of oppulent scents by a decadently brilliant, British niche house. Including their best-sellers and an array of fabulous fragrances for both sexes to fall in love with, we can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t succumb their charms…
Ormonde Jayne Discovery Set VIP Price £43/Non-Subscribers £48 for 12 x 12ml
shayblushopwidgetawHand-crafted in England, created from the essences of real flowers, fruit and spices, we invite you to explore this British brand’s most-loved scents: pocket-sized and beautifully presented in their signature blue and white stripes.
Shay & Blue Precious Miniatures VIP Price £55/Non-Subcribers £65 for 5 x 10ml
moltonbrownshopaw2
Discover the vivid interpretation of some of perfumery’s most precious ingredients, with scents specially created by leading perfumers in this colourful selection of bestsellers. Embodying Molton Brown’s mantra of ‘London via the World’, exotic ingredients include ylang ylang from the rainforest of Madagascar, Tahitian tamanu oil and precious oudh…
Molton Brown’s The Fine Art of Fragrance VIP Price £10/Non-Subscribers £12.50 for 8 x 1.5ml
roadsshopwidgetaw
This incredibly cool conceptual brand – bringing together film, literature and fragrance – is expressed here via beautifully-presented trial sizes. Enclosed you’ll find a ‘fragrance menu’, inviting you to browse at leisure 10 unique scents – and looking for all the world as indulgent as a box of chocolates, but with zero guilt!
Roads Luxury Kit VIP Price £70.20/Non-Subscribers £78
santaeulaliashopwidgetaw-copy
Breezing straight in from the beautiful Catalonian city of Barcelona we have the signature scents of Santa Eulalia, a favourite must-visit concept boutique (and one of the oldest stores in Spain). Named after the patron Saint of Barcelona, these four perfumes depict moods that effortlessly evoke the essence of the city and the spirit of the Mediterranean itself…
Santa Eulalia Discovery Kit VIP Price £70.20/Non-Subscribers £78 for 4 x 10ml
agonistshopwidgetaw-copy
The super stylish house of Agonist present the perfect selection to fully explore their house, with each scent thoughtfully created from rare ingredients and masterfully composed to refelect their artistic yet emotional inspirations. Having appeared in several of our own Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, this is your opportunity to dive fully in to this fragrant wonderland…

Agonist Discovery Kit VIP Price £55.80/Non-Subscribers £62 for 10 x 2ml eau de perfume
Whichever sets you’re seduced by, we know you’ll find a new favourite…

Alford & Hoff No. 3 – the 'every day sexy' niche scent inspired by cranial cement (yes, really!) and Barry Alford's five favourite smells…

The story of Alford & Hoff follows two athlete chums who met at college in America who happened to share a passion for scent and skin care – even though they were mercilessly teased for it in the locker roms – through their incarnation as business entrepreneurs and onto launching their own incredibly successful skin care, luxury fashion and accessories and now fragrance line. Barry Alford told us how their latest scent, No. 3, is ‘every day sexy’, and inspired by a unique (and rather bizarre!) industrial product. Intrigued? We certainly were, and wanted to know his five favourite scents, too. It soon became clear: Alford & Hoff are not your average fragrance house…
As Barry explained, ‘Alford & Hoff is basically a brand that’s about two buddies who were at college together and wanted to start their own gig. We didn’t know what we wanted to do, but we wanted to work together. Eventually we decided on a men’s skincare brand. I know that might seem unlikely, but we were the only two guys in our collegiate football team who were doing all the grooming and getting all the flack. As soon as I saw he had the same fragrances as me – I’m talking Drakkar and Farenheight, here – I knew I was going to be friends with him. I thought, finally, someone else who understands’
Super-savvy, they talked about starting a business together, but ‘…Jefferson [Hoff] went into the financial market on Wall Street. And when we gained success we were both spending more on our products – we just loved them. We still had these dreams of starting a business together, and knew it had to be something we were passionate about. Through my medical contacts I met a plastic surgeon and he helped us brand a male skincare line backed by his expertise and we got into Neiman Marcus on the back of that’
The male grooming market may have moved on in leaps and bounds these days, but Alford & Hoff were way ahead of their time, and that led them into the world of fragrance. ‘I think we were successful because we were two former athletes that were making it okay for guys to take care of themselves. We wanted to venture further and decided to launch a fragrance – which we were always so in to and still were! – and that became our Signature fragrance. It actually started to out perform our skincare line, and when in 2009 the economy crashed we decided to pull back and focus on that. It carried us through. We’ve done a lot of work but now are proud to say in many stores our fragrances are on the shelves next to Tom Ford and John Varvatos, not because of some borrowed glory off the back of another line, but because they’re great fragrances.’
Discussing the fact that for years, men have been under catered-for in fragrance, Barry agreed, saying he felt ‘guys are becoming way more sophisticated, they want more than just a sports splash, a deodorant or something their mom gave them, they want to choose it themselves and they’re hungry for knowledge! And the feedback we get is that more men are after fragrances that not everyone else is wearing. I mean let me give you some statistics. We’re in the top twenty five percent of fragrance brands in stores at the moment based on sales. That’s pretty major for a small, niche company like us!’
rodrigo_flores-roux2
Choosing the right ‘nose’ is essential for any fragrance house, but Barry and Jefferson wanted someone they could have a really close working relationship with. ‘Rodrigo Flores-Roux has done all of our fragrances. We knew how good he was, that he’d worked on so many great brands, but didn’t choose him just for his reputation. We really hit it off, and to have that first fragrance be FiFi nominated in the first year just proved how well it worked! No. 2 was lighter and fresher I guess, perhaps more traditional, more towards the sportier end of the market. But this third one is something really different.’
You can say that again. Having sniffed it – a soaring medley of citrus that quickly deepens to something altogether deeper and sexier – we were astonished to hear that ‘…it’s inspired by days selling medical equipment. I know that sounds completely bizarre but please stay with me!’
alford-no3grouping
 
‘I used to spend a lot of time in the operating room, consulting with surgeons during a procedure. 80% of my business was craniotomies, meaning I’d be working with neurosurgeons, and one product in particular was a cranial bone cement. And this putty, when you mix the sodium solution with the powder, it just makes the most beautiful smell. And everyone in every operating theatre I’ve ever been in says the same thing, for over ten years. “Oh my god I love the smell of this stuff!” I mean they gather ’round to smell it. So that’s what we tried to do with this fragrance – tied to metallics and aldehydes and a blend of vetivers’
‘Rodrigo got this bang on, first go. He delivered a masterpiece I think. I know he was just so inspired to be working from such a bizarre inspiration and it really triggered his creativity. I mean, I know industrial has been done in the niche world, but I don’t think anyone has done craniotomal cement before!’
Having learned of their unique inspirations and varied backgrounds, we could only guess that Barry’s five favourite smells (something we’re always intrigued to ask perfume people about) would be equally ecclectic. And we weren’t far wrong…
1. Gasoline – When my mom would go to pump gas I’d stick my head out the window of the car and love the smell! It does something to my throat, but I compare it to what they call the “drag” in fragrance. You know when you get this dry smell and just can’t stop inhaling?
2. Fresh cut grass – It reminds me of my football days, the peak of the season, being surrounded by people I love and having fun.
3. Halloween costumes straight from the packet – Another bizarre one, I know! But it’s just a fantastic smell, freshly unwrapped from the plastic.
4. Scotch tape – Its so unique and different, I’d recognise it anywhere and I guess those kinds of smells are comforting somehow. I think I have a really heightened sense of smell – I pick up on things others don’t.
5. The monsoon season in Arizona – When its rains in late summer after its been so hot in the desert. It’s unbelievable, and it’s sweet. I really want to use that in a fragrance. It’s gorgeous. I guess I’ll have to get Rodrigo out there to smell it for himself!
no3fragrancebottle_efb1f88c-9592-49cb-8770-00192aad4d8c
 
Alford & Hoff No. 3 £75 for 100ml eau de toilette
Exclusively at Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Ormonde Jayne's limited edition candle for Halloween is THE most glamorous 'Witches' Brew' ever!

When you think of a ‘witches’ brew’, we’re betting your mind conjures picures of warty hags from an am-dram production of Macbeth, gathered around a steaming cauldron and tossing in gnarled fistfuls of twigs with perhaps a sprinkling of eyes, tongues and livers of various woebegotten creatures thrown in for good luck? In fact, here’s that very recipe, should you wish to whip something up for supper…
    In the poison’d entrails throw.—
    Toad, that under cold stone,
    Days and nights has thirty-one;
    Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
    Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the caldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
All well and good on stage, but not, perhaps, something you’d want in a room scent. Never fear – Ormonde Jayne will save us from any hint of slime!
p2895_p_v8_aa
Luckily for those of us requiring something rather more sophisticated to scent our homes with this Halloween, the British perfume house of Ormonde Jayne have released an ultra limited-edition (only available until the end of this month!) Witches’ Brew candle that’s altogether more glam.
‘A spell-binding potion, conjured with notes of Winter white flowers, herbs, bluebells and hyacinths,’ think Veronica Lake in the 1942 movie, I Married a Witch or the charming nose-twitching Samantha in the classic 60s sitcom Bewitched, rather than your stereotypical cackling crone.
witchesbrew_400x500_3
Available as a cute Mini (90g), Standard with Gold Lid (290g) and Set of 4 x Mini (360g), with prices strating from £20 including complimentary worldwide shipping; you’d best get on your brooms fast to snap these up, as this exclusive scent will only be available until October 31, 2016!
Get them at Ormonde Jayne.
We suggest donning your most elegant robe, snuggling up on the sofa while burning the Witches’ Brew candle and listening to The Boswell Sisters sing The Heebie Jeebies for a truly magical evening…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

BeauFort London continue the intrepid scent adventure with Lignum Vitae…

BeauFort London are one of the most intriguing brands we’ve seen in a long time, so imagine our excitement on discovering they’ve just released their latest fragrance – Lignum Vitae – into the wild blue yonder of the perfume world.

Having first encountered them before they’d even properly launched, sometimes you get a sixth-sense tingle the passion behind the perfume will carry a new fragrance house way further than they’d perhaps ever have imagined. This was certainly the case when we first got our noses around the unique triptych of fragrances that began their story – really, quite unlike anything else around, the ‘fume-heads, bloggers and fragrance-buying public agreed; with 1805 Tonnerre (featured in our Secret Sensations Discovery Box) subsequently chosen by Jo Fairley as the Most Exciting New Brand of 2015 in her Telegraph Online column; praised by big-name glossies and highly respected tomes such as the Financial Times, alike.

Although perhaps not entirely smooth sailing (what new company’s launch is?) appropriately enough, these firecely independent, historically inspired yet utterly contemporary fragrances – named for the famous Beaufort Scale of measuring wind strengths – are themed around the turbulent history and intrepid spirit of the British isles, maritime history and notoriously shady characters who have shaped them. It was clear this niche line had quite an adventure ahead of them – indeed they have recently been lauded by critic Luca Turin as one to watch – and with the brand new fragrance Lignum Vitae just launched, it’s another exciting scent trail we were keen to explore…

Beaufort_LV_lifestyle

BeauFort London Say: ‘Inspired by the innovative use of materials that allowed 18th Century clockmakers to construct the first truly accurate marine chronometers, Lignum Vitae combines elements of wood, metal and salt to produce a truly unique, transportive fragrance.

In combining unexpected and exotic raw materials, BeauFort London celebrates the innovative spirit which brought to an end the search for lost time, and permitted the safe passage of ships across the world.’

Discussing the various inspirations behind any BeauFort fragrance is like a masterclass in maritime history, literary appreciation and a philosophy 101 with a smattering of art criticism for good measure – but fascinating as these influences are, it’s important as ever to not forget the most important thing of all – what it smells like on your skin! Complex, perhaps even slightly unsettling (because of their singularity) to some, BeauFort are not about one size fits all crowd-pleasing sniff-alikes that put you in mind of such-and-such a scent you used to wear. So what does Lignum Vitae actually smell of…?

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 17.00.09

An immediate tang of salty air melts mistily to the scent of madeleines still warm from the oven – a Proustian almost-but-not-quite gourmand sense that feels as though it’s going to get huge, but within a while segues seamlessly to a citrus-tinged, freshly-felled woodiness and the silvered glint of cold metal that keeps the whole concoction bouyantly uplifted. Tenacious in perhaps a more tender way than its predecessors, Lignum Vitae is one of those true ‘scent journeys’ on the skin as it warms and settles. Having sprayed this in the early afternoon we could still smell it the next morning, where now it had dried down to a close, warm skin scent that was comforting but with a wonderful whiff of weirdness to it that you cannot exactly place. It seems to constantly fold back on itself, somehow – you think you have the measure of it and then it switches again, still retaining an image of its former self but with a new layer to explore. There’s a point about an hour in, when all the various threads seem to mingle into an intricate knot – you can trace each one, yet they have transmogrified into a new creation…

Were we to draw a map of this fragrance’s journey, we could cite the salt on the breeze, sweetness wrapped within a shady forest, misty darkness, warm skin huddled close against cool, mossy wood and the ever-present, slightly melancholy but ultimately intensely comforting echo of sweetness, wood and salt that carry you onwards to the trail’s end.

Beaufort_LV_Bottle_and_Box

BeauFort London Lignum Vitae £95 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at beaufortlondon.com (or see their website for other stockists)

Written by Suzy Nightingale