Santa’s FREE gift… get your Secret Scent-er

By golly gosh it’s been a tough year, to put it mildl; so as a special present, Santa has a FREE gift for you all

This year, because we’d like to say a massive ‘THANK YOU!’ for your continued support – and as testament to just how important the role of fragrance has been, calming our nerves and bolstering our spirits in troubling times – Santa has decided to gift the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter magazine, FREE for you all to read.

One of the most hotly-anticipated issues each year is our bumper Christmas edition of the magazine – this year entitled Secret Scent-er – which incorporates all the usual news, reviews and in-depth features with the addition of a fabulously fragrant gift guide. Seriously drool-worthy, it’s a showcase for the very best scented gorgeousness that money can buy, from niche and indie brands to designer luxe.

We know that Christmas will be very different for many of you this year, and hope that you can find time to sit awhile, put your feet up and have your spirits lifted by all manner of glorious things arrayed in the 64 pages – normally only available to VIP Members and those who purchase the printed editions (scroll down for more info on how to get these).

Meanwhile, here are some of the perfumed highlights you can peruse in your FREE copy of The Scented Letter magazine

• In Extraits, Extraits, Read All About It!Persolaise explores the revival of perfume’s most precious form

 

• Can’t be with those you love over the holidays? Conjure them up with a spritz or a dab of scent, we suggest in Spraying Home for Christmas

 

• Like our favourite Christmas tunes, explains Viola Levy in Jingle Smells, certain fragrances never fail to deliver Christmas cheer

• I hopped on a Zoom with Santa for this issue’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections– smile as he shares centuries of fragrant recollections

 

• And of course, we’ve sniffed out the best presents, from glamorous gift sets to beautiful (scented) baubles in Your Fragrant Gift Guide 2020

• Plus as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more

If the free edition has tickled your fragrant fancies for more award-winning journalism, we can now take orders for a limited run of printed copies of all editions of our magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs). And remember: you can buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letter and also an International Online Subscription for the magazine, too!

Finally, no matter where you are, please know you’re not alone, and that the days will be lighter from now on. With much love, we’d like to wish you all a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS, and look forward to a far more peaceful (and perfume-filled) New Year, for all…

By Suzy Nightingale

Kingdom Scotland launch seasonal scent events online

Kingdom Scotland are launching a series of seasonal scent events online, and invite you to join the virtual party

Party season is upon us once again, but of course this year the festivities will have to be somewhat different. But we’re not letting that stop us! Perhaps more important now than ever before, it’s a great time to connect – to reach out and join in rather than feeling secluded and lonely, or like you’re missing out. So with this in mind, the brilliant niche fragrance house Kingdom Scotland have a whole host of magically transportive fragrantly themed activities for you this month. And they describe a rather tantalising roll call:

‘…perfumed journeys, whisky, gin & Champagne tastings, daring magic, Scottish pipers, Kilt & Sword dressing, historical storytelling and a diamond masterclass!’

The worlds of whisky and fragrance have much in common, founder of Kingdom Scotland, Imogen Russon-Taylor has always believed. And she should know: after a distinguished career in the aromatic world of Scotch whisky, Imogen went on to create her own fragrance house – the very first to be based north of the border. ‘Both whisky and perfume are produced by traditional distillation methods,’ she explains. Both evoke a complex sensory experience and both rely upon the innovative use of ingredients or flavours to distinguish themselves from competitors.’

 

 

Indeed, Kingdom Scotland excell at creating stunningly evocative moments in scent – using perfume to share old narratives in new ways, tapping into the rich stories associated with perfume and natural ingredients in Scotland. So sharing these online – at a time when many of us feel isolated by #lockdowns, Tier systems or otherwise – is particualarly pertinent.

For the fragrant festivities to be something everyine can join in, no matter where you are in the world, Kingdom Scotland have partnered with the luxury experience experts Beyond Curated and Scotland’s leading whisky-focused travel company, Maclean & Bruce.

To find out more and book your place, simply email [email protected]

By Suzy Nightingale

Pitti Fragranze goes virtual – here’s how to watch the fragrance festival online…

Normally, right about now, I’d be planning my annual trip to Florence, and the fragrance fair Pitti Fragranze. A meeting place for perfumers, founders, makers, buyers, brands, olfactory artists and anyone obsessed by scent; it’s always a highlight of my year.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity to sniff the not-yet-launched fragrances, see interesting new niche houses and spot possible perfume trends for the next few years ahead. You might like to have a look at my report from last year’s Pitti Fragranze, to get a sense of the scale of the event. It’s huge! And quite overwhelming. But always wonderful.

 

 

Of course, this is not a normal year, and any such in-person events have sadly been cancelled or postponed. But while I am mourning meeting up with fragrance journalists and fragrant friends from around the world; I am heartened that Pitti Fragranze have taken to decision to still run their fair, but as a virtual, online fesitval.

Along with events, talks, special guests, and focuses on new trends (all in English), do check out the complete calendar to see which you might wish to take part in. The various events begin on Monday September 7th  – Monday September 21st 2020.

 

 

Included in the lineup are Chandler Burr talking to Laura Tonatto, and again, discussing the art of incense with Hiro Nakayama; the evolution of the ‘wellness’ concept in fragrances with MANE, and a talk about the new defininition of what ‘green’ actually means.

Being held online has the added benefit that perfume-lovers around the world can watch and join in the fragrant fun, so I suppose we must look to (scented) silver linings.

 

 

I will miss the gelato, though. There’s nothing that can console me; only hoping that I may return next year…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Floral Instagrammers we love to follow…

Floral Instagrammers are on the rise – and no wonder, with all of us desperately seeking solace in gardens (if we’re lucky enough to have them) and open spaces, of late. Scroll down for some of the *most* exquisite flower-filled feeds we love to follow, and think you will, too…

Once upon a time, Instagram seemed full of pictures of avocado toast and cats, but it’s the floral Instagrammers really making it their own, right now. If you search for the hashtag #garden, it currently has over 56.4m posts attributed to it, while #flowers has 190m. And there are so many more, similarly floral-themed hashtags, each with several million posts (and counting).

So why are we seeing such a floral show on Instagram (and oither social media) right now? Well, it’s been proven that even looking at pictures of nature and open spaces can dramatically lower your blood pressure and improve your mental health. But more than that, we think people are just craving nice things to focus on for a while each day. We certainly are!

 

 

That’s why we devoted our latest issue of The Scented Letter magazine to all things bright and beautiful, inviting you to Step In To the Garden and explore with us, which you can do for free online if you’re a VIP, or in print if you want a glossy, gorgeous magazine to sit in your own garden with.

Meanwhile, here are just a handful of the brilliant floral Instagrammers we follow, and if you scroll through their feeds you’ll see exactly why we’re so in love…

 

@cultivatedbychristin
Christin Geall is enormously talented and here shares her beguiling ideas on design, nature, culture, horticulture. The kind of floral feed that makes you want to immediately dance barefoot into a meadow and turns floral arrangements into a pure art form.

 

@cnliziqi
These stunning (and so relaxing) IGTV films follow Li Ziqi’s adventures as she strolls through flower-filled meadows, picking blossoms to cook with, to arrange into stunning, so-simple floral arrangements, and even make her own floral hydrolates with a copper still in her garden.

 

@honeysuckle_and_hilda
A florist, writer and brilliant teacher based in Oxfordshire, Claire Victoria Bowen taught our own Co-Founder, Jo Fairley, how to create the most beautiful (yet seemingly effortless) bouquets. Truly inspirational, you’ll never look at your plants in the same way: here, everything in the garden is beautiful.

 

@goldfinchelson
Looking for all the world as though you’ve stumbled across some undiscovered Vermeer paintings, the work of artist and photographer Tracy Goldfinch Elson is filled with ethereal light, love and touches of great humour. We’re regularly stopped in our tracks by their other-worldly beauty.

 

@kristengvy
Head judge on the Netflix series, The Big Flower Fight (which we’ve binge-watched with joy), named one of the world’s top florists by Harpers Bazzar; Kristen Griffith VanderYacht’s feed is filled with the exuberance and artistry he’s become (rightly) famed for.

 

@swallowsanddamsons
A patchwork quilt of quintessence, Sheffield-based florist Anna Potter’s account is a glory of colour and style, featuring just the kind of artfully rumpled and ‘undone’ arrangements we favour, and providing a wealth of inspiration to brighten up your every day. How we revel in it.

 


@her_dark_materials
Cotswold-based Ros is one of those photographers who conjures magic from every subject she turns her camera to. From gorgeously swooning bouquets to simply capturing the cracking of an egg or pasta drying, draped nonchalantly over the back of a chair: flowers seem to glow in the gloom for her.

 

@tangleandthyme
A floral design studio, eco-florist (with gift subscriptions available) and cutting garden in North Essex, we marvel at the skill of show here – and how much fun they seem to be having! Also, absolutely any feed showing donkeys (and humans) wearing floral crowns gets our vote. Instantly smile-inducing!

 

@jamjar_flowers
A riot of colour and creativity, Jam Jar Flowers create the most jaw-dropping floral instillations, seasonal floral arran gements and dress gorgeously glam events. We dream of re-creating their coloured glass bottle-filled window (though kind of dread the dusting, so might just gaze in wonder, instead…)

 

@my_botanical_heart
Dianna Jazwinski is a professional garden photographer based in Sussex, and oh my gosh, her work is laden with the kind of imagery that makes our faces turn into the heart-eyed emoji. Ravishingly laid out and perfectly captured, flowers look so perfect in her hands you’d swear they were crafted by angels.

 

@everdandysilverfox
Alex Musgrave combines two of our favourite things – lovely reviews of fragrances, often thoughtfully themed around poetry and art, and simply beautiful pictures of flowers in various settings. Our favouites are those captured as they become blowsily over-bloomed. Always a treat to read and see.

 

@commonfarmflowers
Delivering across the U.K. – ‘Our dream is that everybody should assume that they can buy exceptional quality, British grown flowers year round, that ‘grown not flown flowers’ should be the norm,’ say husband and wife team, flower farmer and author Georgie Newbery, and artist Fabrizio Bocca. Bravo!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Yardley London launch ‘Fragrance Diagnostic Tool’ to find your new fave (plus a discount!)

It can often be tricky navigating your way through a range of new fragrances, so Yardley London has launched a Fragrance Diagnostic Tool online, to provide personalised fragrance recommendations (AND a discount code!) via your favourite ingredients, and a signpost to your perfect scent…

Celebrating their 250th anniversary (an incredible heritage you can read all about on our page dedicated to their history), Yardley London’s Fragrance Diagnostic Tool is a quick and simple way to guide you to your new favourite fragrance. All you need to do is pick some of your favourite notes from a list, and the fragrances that most closely match your taste will be presented to you.

I got matched to April Violets, which shows it works, as that’s one of my all-time favourites – all powdery/pretty with verdant violet leaf adding shade) –  and Blossom & Peach, which I must admit to not knowing so well, but it sounds utterly perfect for me. Blackcurrant, rose, peach, lilac and geranium with woody notes, patchouli and musk? Yes please! So that’s on my must-try list.

Even better: Once the diagnostic has been completed, customers receive a 10% off discount code valid on the Yardley range of eau de toilettes. So maybe my ‘must try‘ list is suddenly ‘must buy right NOW’…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Perfume Bottles Auction 2020: WOW! We love these (and you can now bid online to win!)

From Mae West’s signature scent stored in a cigarette packet, bejewelled bottles from the 1800’s to novelty perfumed powder puffs chaped like 1920’s flapper girls… the Perfume Bottles Auction will delight and tempt every fragrance fiend…

The annual Perfume Bottles Auction really is a date in the diary of serious scent collectors – with the most stunning examples of artistic and rare fragrance flaçons you wever will see (outside of a museum, anyway).

Since 1979, organiser and founder of The Perfume Bottles Auction, Ken Leach, has been working ‘to create public and corporate awareness of the artistry to be found in vintage perfume presentation.’ His antique shop’s show-stopping merchandise ‘has served as a source of inspiration for glass companies, package designers, and celebrity perfumers, before ultimately entering the collections of perfume bottle enthusiasts around the globe.’

This year, because of the on-going global pandemic, it has presented something of a challenge to the organisers, but happily the entire catalogue is now online for you to view (and gasp outloud at!) with the auction to take place via live stream on Sat, Jul 11, 2020 8:00 PM BST.

What’s more, in response to the global crisis, the LiveAuctioneers website is dontaing to COVID causes such as Meals on Wheels COVID Response Fund and global relief efforts, with over $50,000 already donated.

Here’s just some of what we’d be bidding on (and would be gracing the dressing table of our dreams…) in this year’s incredible collection of lots…

 

How completely wonderful is this novelty ‘cigarette packet’ style packaging for what was Mae West’s signature scent? Made in 1933, the box is covered in iconic quotes from the bombshell movie star, and the lot includes five ad cards and a counter display. A case of ‘come up and smell me sometime…?’
Estimated price: $2,000-3,000

 

In 1937, Pinaud trademarked the name ‘Scarlett’, releasing the ‘Flirt’ perfume in 1939, with a matching Clark Gable ‘Bittersweet’ scent when the film premiered that year. The bottles were available with a choice of scents, including Apple Blossom, Maghnolia and Honeysuckle, and came with an autographed photo.
Estimated price: $1,000-$2,000

 

Lalique were instrumental in revolutionising perfume bottle design and production, and we love their contemporary fragrances (and the way they incorporate their heritage into bottle production today), but this 1929 bottle for Lucien Lelong in frosted glass with enamelled swags and silvered metal case is just exquisite!
Estimated price: $7,000-8,000

 

Our co-founder, Jo Fairley, loves Schiaparelli Shocking perfume so much she wore it on her wedding day – and did you know the pink for the box was designed by Schiaparelli herself, and gave name to what we still call ‘shocking pink’ to this day? Dating from the 1930s, the auction includes 3 figural soaps, a 1938 ‘Shock in the Box’ perfume, a Salvador Dali-designed face powder and scented boy lotion bottle. Truly, our heart’s desire!
Estimated prices from $200-600 per item

 

Fragranced dusting powders were all the rage once, and we don’t think we’ve ever seen a more fabulous version than this 1920’s Goebel glazed porcelain powder dish. Imagine being a movie starlet or ballet dancer and reaching for this to dust away shine with puffs of perfumed powder – it’s enough to make us swoon with delight!
Estimated price: $600-$800

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Experimental Perfume Club launch online bespoke service!

Experimental Perfume Club has always been about pushing the boundaries and trying new things within the world of fragrance, and now they’ve gone one step further – offering their unique ‘bespoke service’ online!
It’s been a tough time for retail, and perfume houses have had an extra layer of difficulty, given that we haven’t been able to smell their scents other than buyingtheir Discovery Sets and getting samples to try at home. We’ve seen a HUGE demand for our Discovery Boxes because of this, so that’s all well and good, but what about those houses offering bespoke, custom-blended fragrances?

 

Brilliant perfumer, and founder of Experimental Perfume Club, Emmanuelle Moeglin has managed to turn what could have been tragedy into triumph, rby eacting quickly and being one of the first in the industry to dramatically adapt her business to the ever-changing challenges.

As we reported previously, Experimental Perfume Club now offer online classes – from a free mini session to an advanced creation course, so the learning and experimenting (that was the impetus for them launching in the first place) is now available to an even larger audience who can do the classes in their own time, from the comfort of their own homes.
Now, we are thrilled to share that Experimental Perfume Club are bringing their utterly genius bespoke customisation service online, too! The Bespoke Collection and Discovery Set allows you to create and customise you very own unique fragrance online (an opportunity which was previously only available to customers in-store at Selfridges).
We happen to know this Bespoke perfume service works perfectly, as one of the first people to try it in-store when it launched was The Perfume Society’s own Co-Founder, Jo Fairley – followed shortly after by myself. We happen to have almost identical tastes in perfume, but Jo had not mentioned a single note that was in her customised blend. Lo and behold: when we compared, we found we’d both created exactly the same scent, out of the many thousands (hundreds of thoudsands?) of possible combinations! A dark, smoky amber/incense that positvely purrs with provocation, it proved to us beyond doubt their bespoke customisation service genuinely works.
How to get your bespoke-blended perfume:
The new Bespoke Collection includes twenty unique blends, carefully curated by Emmanuelle, to sample and wear at home first. Online, you can use the LAYERS formula finder’s in-house algorithm and ‘receive a shortlist of formulas that match your unique olfactory profile.’ Finally, your favourite fragrance can then be ordered in a full size, fully personalised bottle.
Experimental Perfume Club Bespoke Collection £50
Bespoke Perfume £110 for 50ml eau de parfum
Bespoke Collection + Full-size Bespoke Perfume £150
Refill Service for 50ml Bespoke Perfume £65

Perfume War – watch this fascinating documentary…

The highly acclaimed, multi-award-winning documentary, Perfume War, asks the question: can perfume prevent war? One woman made it her mission to find out..

Perfume War is about two friends and their unstoppable fight for world peace. Captain Trevor Greene’s mission in Afghanistan ends violently with a Taliban axe in his head. Miraculously, he survives to see his best friend Barb Stegemann, a single mom, carry on his peace mission with a new strategy – perfume.

In an Art of War maneuver she takes what the enemy loves most, the poppy crop, by purchasing rose and orange blossom oils, which pay Afghan farmers twice the income over illegal poppy. Scientists marvel at Greene’s recovery as he rebuilds his brain, while Stegemann helps rebuild in Afghanistan and Rwanda.

Barb fights a retail war in stores while working to keep her company financially afloat. In a world that monetizes war, Barb needs a cavalry of business to take up her retail activist charge. A global beauty giant shows interest, but is her essential oil good enough? Will she run out of money? Will she win her perfume war?’

 

 

You can find out for yourself, as the full documentary film has now been made available to watch for FREE online!

Explaining why she wanted to make the film free free to watch during this period of #lockdown, Barb says ‘I was thinking about how I could send you all a gift. So here it is…’

Barb had previously used her go-getting attitude to build a socially-minded fragrance empire in the Canadian niche house of 7 Virtues, and it’s fitting the film of this incredible journey has now been made. She’d launched her brand after discovering an Afghan activist who was encouraging farmers to grow orange blossoms and roses, as an alternative to the poppy trade that was fuelling such unrest in the region.

Can perfume truly stop war? As Steggemann says, we spend a lot of money funding violence all over the world, so surely it’s worth trying to fund peace with perfume…?

By Suzy Nightingale

How to find SIX perfect scents to suit you – from your sofa!

How can you find the perfect scent to suit you? It’s a question we’re asked more than any other, and can be somewhat overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. And that’s at the best of times – let alone trying to navigate buying a new scent from your sofa, without sniffing beforehand!

We have the perfect perfume solution: our genius Fragrance Finder

You’re simply asked to type in the name of a fragrance you like already, and the so-clever algorithm does all the work for you. This is a computer system that was first set up decades ago, when our Co-Founder Lorna McKay had an idea how to help customers of Liberty’s perfumery seek out their next scents.

That computer program has been fully updated with key words comparing and describing hundreds of thousands of fragrances – not only the fragrance notes, but how the fragrance will make you feel, the atmosphere the perfumer has created.

Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be off on a fragrant journey of discovery…

1: Start with what you love
Instead of plunging wildly into the dark and trying every random fragrance you see, it’s a good idea to base your sniff list on something you already know you love. Our Fragrance Finder is completely genius at this, and has been recommended by fragrance experts and Fume Chat podcast hosts Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley as the best place to start when looking for a new fragrance to suit you.

 

All you need do is type in the name of a scent you already love (or one you know your beloved currently wears) and you’ll be given an immediate list of six scents to seek out, all at various price points and with characteristics you’re extremely likely to swoon for. Honestly, try it – they’re quite spookily accurate!

 

 

2: Give yourself time
Now clutching your online-shopping list of scents to try, after purchasing we cannot urge you strongly enough to allow yourself the time to live with them on your skin a while before making a snap decision either way.

– First sniff? That’s the top notes – generally something citrus-y and ephemeral – which can disappear within the first few minutes of spraying because the ingredients evaporate more quickly.

– We find an hour is enough to give you a proper sense of what the perfume smells like on you. And if you don’t want to douse yourself head-to-toe (why on earth not? But each to their own) then spray on a blotter or ‘spill’ (long paper strip) to get an idea.

– Remember – it will only be an idea of the final scent. They were made to be warmed and worn on your skin, not paper, so will often smell very different (and better) on you. And your mood/the weather/food can all drastically alter how a scent smells on you, so ideally, try each one a couple of times.

A lot of fragrance houses are now, thankfully, offering samples of their scents to try before you buy a full size – we stock an incredible selection of Brand Discovery Sets in our shop, as well as our own curated Perfume Society Discovery Boxes for you to try at home.

 

Join in Sana Jardin’s calming & empowering online workshops

Sana Jardin are bringing ‘scents & sensibility’ in a series of calming, strength-giving and empowering online workshops, via their Instagram scent sessions – to watch live or later, in their stories, at your leisure.

Having taken a virtual trip to the flower fields with self-hypnosis and meditated with a Love-Alchemist, for the next session on Tuesday 5th May sees (and hears) sound-healer Charlotte Hastings will teach you how to ‘experience your being through the language of sound.’ All with the fragrant backdrop of the stunning scents themselves.

And we’re rather fascinated with fragrance and music, currently, as you will find in our soon-to-be-published next edition of The Scented Letter Magazine. Watch (and listen to!) this space…

Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed has created a stunning portfolio of perfumes that reflect her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. As she told The Perfume Society: ‘The scents I’d encountered on my travels over the years were enchanting to me: the pure and golden shimmer of orange blossom, the mystical, enveloping depth of sandalwood, the seduction of jasmine blooming at night. I felt I could never find that captured anywhere on a department store shelf.’

 

 

The scents in the Sana Jardin collection really are strikingly beautiful – a magic carpet ride in every bottle. And – enhancing their feel-good factor – this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house offers flacons created entirely from recycled glass, along with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations for Sana Jardin.

But don’t just take our word for it, why not explore the collection yourself, from the comfort of your home? Allow yourself to experience the bliss of a scented sanctuary…

 

Try the full Sana Jardin collection for only £30 – seek your scented sanctuary and smell-along while you watch!