Left it too late? Last-minute gift ideas

That moment of mounting panic when you suddenly realise… you’ve left it too late to present them with a gift! Uh-oh. But hey, it’s okay – whether you’ve dropped the ball for Valentines day, an anniversary, birthday or any special occasion you absolutely meant to remember: we have the scent solutions!

Here are some ideas that you can ‘gift’ your recipient with immediately, no postage required – simply write them a lovely card and explain you’ve treated them to one of the following (with fragrant swag to follow). If they love to smell great, we guarantee they’ll be delighted…

 

Simply tick the ‘this is a gift’ box and give 365 days of fabulous fragrant activities with our Perfume Society VIP Cub Subscription for only £25, and they’ll receive the following exclusive benefits:

•  Six issues a year of our online/downloadable digital magazine The Scented Letter – (virtually) the only publication in the world devoted to all things fragrant…

Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.

•  Early access to tickets for all our events – meet with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world, attend in-store events, workshops, etc. (Our VIPs are first to hear about these.)

•  A special member’s discount on our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (normally £19 – but £15 to our VIPs)

•  Plus choose a FREE Discovery Box when you sign up (so they’ll get an actual present to look forward to)

 

For people who love print (we must admit to being partial – for longer features, especially), give them a year of fragrant reading with a Scented Letter magazine Print Subscription for £75. This multi-award-winning publication has been described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, so we are delighted that in addition to our digital magazine we can now offer this print subscription of The Scented Letter, delivered to your door and starting with the current edition. (For autumn 2017, we look at Fashion, Fabric + Fragrance.)

Appearing six times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, featuring at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more is bound to take you ever-deeper into the scented world. Click here for a sneak-peak at our taster issue!

In addition, we feature all the breaking scent news, interviews with ‘noses’ and other creators, alongside fragrant features by leading fragrance writers – from Thomas Dunckley (The Perfume Candy Boy) to Persolaise, via Viola Levy and our Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale. (If you’ve signed up as a subscriber, you will continue to receive access to the complimentary e-zine version.)

NB We are able to ship The Scented Letter overseas; please contact us for prices here

 


Who doesn’t like filling out some kind of personality questionaire? There are now a great selection of Scent-matching Personality Tests you can take for FREE online or in-store, so get them to do the quiz now and offer to buy a bottle later. Genius!

Molton Brown invite you to ‘Embark on an illuminating journey to discover the ideal match for your unique self.’ The profiling system, was created in tandem with trend forecasting and innovation agency The Future Laboratory, and you instinctively choose from a series of images, at the end of which you’ll discover which ‘psychological perfume profile’ you match. Everyone we know who’s tried it has found it an incredible experience, and it’s brilliant at selecting scents you may easily have overlooked yourself.

Penhaligon’s offer a visual feast to explore while answering simple questions, all illustrated in their delightfully quirky and so-iconic way, with prompts to choose between textures, places to visit and favourite thirst-quenchers. It’s fun and quick to answer the test, and somehow they really do expertly pinpoint your perfume personality type. At the end you’ll be presented with a selection of samples to choose from, which you can either purchase online or pop into a store to smell, before splashing out for a full bottle.

Experimental Perfume Club are brilliant at taking the worry out of picking a new perfume, and their recently launched LAYERS Lab in Selfridges features a fantastically acurate in-store app that allows you to create your own bespoke perfume! We wrote about the concept in more detail here, but basically, the LAYERS App asks questions before recommending 3 possible formulae. You can either choose from the selection or customise the fragrance further with the help of their Fragrance Curator. Once you choose your final blend, your unique fragrance is created in front of you. And, for the ultimate bespoke touch, you can choose a name for your fragrance and a personalised label for your 50ml bottle.

 

If they are really into perfume and want to learn more, we’re pretty sure they’d love to have a go at making their own on a Perfume Making Workshop. It really gives you an insight into how a perfumer works, and a new appreciation for their creations, and a number of courses offer differing experiences that make perfume perfume-lover’s gifts.

4160 Tuesdays offer a number of options for perfume lovers who want to go that step further and have a guided session of making their own, from an afternoon or full day workshops, right through to five day workshops for the really serious, and more technical courses for the more experienced and those who want to start their own house. They can travel to you if there’s a large enough group (great idea for a party), or you can visit their beautiful new studio in London.

Karen Gilbert is a perfumer who offers online workshops, live presentations and studio based courses for anyone interested in creating fine fragrances, natural perfumes or developing your own range of scented bath and body products. Signing up to her newsletter also gives you access to top tips on where to buy the best ingredients and materials you’ll need, and there are even free online taster sessions to get those creative juices flowing.

Cotswold Perfumery have been making perfume for over 50 years, run by chief perfumer John Stephens, who now invites the fragrance obsessed to indulge their passions in various courses and one-day workshops. Running throughout the year in a dedicated teaching room/laboratory at the Cotswold Perfumery in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water; ‘as well as learning the skills involved in developing and making your own perfume (to take home with you), you’ll get a unique insight into the life and work of John, one of only six independent perfumers in the UK.’

Whichever of these last-minute gift options you choose, it’s bound to be appriated by any perfume lover. Why not print out an I.O.U voucher to put in the card, as a reminder they will get an actual gift later on? Or you know, gussy up some lovely word to write in their card, add a bunch of flowers and put the date one week ahead in your diary for next year?

By Suzy Nightingale

5 fragrant New Year’s resolutions: new things to smell / see / do for 2019

It’s easy to get stuck in a bit of a scented rut sometimes – something we’re all guilty of! But we’ve decided now is the perfect time to blow away the cobwebs and start thinking about things we’re looking forward to trying, seeing and (of course) smelling this year. Which of these have you tried already, and what are you most looking forward to in 2019…?

1: Get social with scent
The internet is, obviously, a wonderful thing (hello, we’re on it right now!) but it’s also good to remember to get our from behind our desks and away from a screen to actually interact with human beings occasionally. There’s absolutely nothing like discovering a group of people who share your passion, meeting up with them and realising you’re not alone. This is genuinely one of the greatest bits of our job – meeting all of you lovely people, and watching you form your own groups and friendships around our common love of fragrance! If you join our VIP Club, we promise you an entire year filled with fragrant opportunities…

– Exclusive perfume events – meeting top perfumers and founders of niche houses, exploring the history of a house with the very people who created it. Learning about ingredients, getting previews of new fragrances or simply finding out about new names our noses need to know…

– How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops – sharing the top tips we’ve learned from the world’s best noses, changing the way we think about scent and discovering deep emotional connections. These workshops are some of the highlights of our year: fun, informative, down-to-earth and genuinely life-changing for everyone who attends!

Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.

An exclusive monthly ‘insider offer’ – just for our VIPs.

If you keep an eye on our Events page, we also list many other perfume events and pop-ups taking place around the country, so whey not make a pact to attend at least one this year and see how exciting they can be? You can make new friends, discover new scents to love and most of all, have fun with fragrance!

2: Be braver!
There are very few people we know (apart from professional ‘noses’ really) who don’t have preconceived ideas about what suits them, and certain ingredients they tend to avoid. Even we can be guilty of it! It’s a slippery slope when you avoid things becuase you ‘know’ they don’t work for you. Taste change – ALL the time – as we get older (or wiser), and the more things you try, the more you become accustomed to liking and the more your fragrance palate expands.

Think you hate rose? It completely depends which type of rose is being used – fruity, fresh and honeyed, or deep, dusty and velvety – how it’s been harvested, where it’s used in the composition and what other ingredients surround it. The same goes for any ingredient you care to name – the new fractionated patchouli, for example, removes the ‘dirty’ earthiness that many naysayers associate with ‘hippies’ and kept them at arm’s length all these years.

We double dare you to seek out notes, fragrances and houses you assume you don’t like, and to just try them (again or for the first time) with a new nose and fresh attitude…

It’s not only about trying things you thought you disliked, but expanding your fragrant horizon at your own pace. How about branching out just a little bit – but still within your comfort zone – by seeing what six fragrances are ‘matched’ to one you already own and love? There’s suggestions for every budget, from niche and high-end luxury, through all-time classics and highstreet-friendly names you may have overlooked. Try our Fragrance Finder, get out there and give them a try. You might find a brand new fragrant love…

 

3: Change it up
We know there are some of you who still feel a bit odd about fragrance layering, but honestly, what have you got to lose? If there’s a Cologne you love that sits gathering dust during the colder months, bring it out and combine with a deeper fragrance to ring the changes and bring some freshness to your scented habits. We’ve several features dedicated to the art of fragrance layering (simply type into our search box to see more), but here’s the basics for nervous noses…

Always remember: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!

Add power: ramp it up by adding more base notes like patchouli, labdanum, vetiver, woods or musk.

Add freshness: look for citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).

Add beauty: find a scent too ‘harsh’ or clinical? Look to layer it with decadently velvety or lusciously fruity rose oils, the sunshine-bottled scent of orange flower, a heady glamour of tuberose or a luminescent jasmine; try an apricot-like osmanthus flower, the fluffiness of mimosa or the powdery elegance of iris/orris.

Add sweetness: vanilla and tonka bean can ’round’ a perfume, making it swoon on your skin (and addictive to smell), as can touches of synthetic notes described as ‘caramel’ or ‘dulce de leche’, ripe fruits, chocolate or even candy floss. Try to add less than you think you need, as adding more is always easier than taking away, and a little of these can go a long way!

4: Keep a fragrance journal
Writing down your thoughts about a new smell every day is surprisingly revolutionary – especially when noting your feelings at several points through the year about the same fragrance. It’s amazing how weather, mood and even what we’ve been eating can change the way we consider how something smells! This is homework we give attendees of our so-fun How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops (see above), and even if you just jot down a few words about a new thing you smell (perfume, cooking ingredient, handcream, flower, bath gel… anything!) it gets your mind and your nose symbiotically linked, and truly helps ‘fix’ smells in your mind. Try it and see!

We love the scented notelets and journals available at Floral Street – a favourite being their Wonderland Peony Notepad / £12 (above) which makes every page a fragrant delight to fill in…

5: Make your own
Nothing gives you a greater appreciation for a perfumer’s skill than having a go at making your own. Sound simple, right? Just take all your favourite ingredients, mix them up and hey-presto! Well, uh, no. Much like mixing all your favourite colours results in a brown sludge rather than the rainbow you’d imagined as a child, it’s fascinating to attempt to try and balance notes, or to enhance them… a true art form and a kind of modern alchemy we’re in awe of. But it is possible to have a go at making your own under the watchful eye of a professional who can help guide you – and oh so satisfying to come away with a little bottle of a scent you made yourself.

The following perfumers run sessions we’ve personally attended and rate highly, and each of them offer differing workshops based on your experience – from complete beginner to something more skilled. Go on, you know you’ve always wanted to… Make 2019 the year you made your own!

 

Trained at the perfumery school of ISPICA, Emmanuelle Moeglin worked as a Scent Design Manager for global fragrance brands, alongside some of the biggest perfumers in the world, and now works as an independent perfumer in London. In 2015, wanting to open fragrance up to the consumer and demistify the world of perfumery, she started the Experimental Perfume Club. Choosing some of the most enjoyable elements of her training, she developed workshops to help people understand scent better – exploring the smells of individual ingredients, harmonious combinations, understanding the magic and science of fusing scents. There’s workshops available from Apprentice, through Expert Masterclass to Corporate levels, in a really down-to-earth and friendly atmosphere that encourages you to learn more.

Sarah McCartney – 4160 Tuesdays perfumer offer fun and more professional days, along with afternoon tea and a chance to get your hands on Sarah’s extensive personal collection of perfumes to smell, in her truly astounding Wall of Scent. 4160 Tuesdays are in the process of moving their HQ at the moment, but do get in touch with Sarah to ask when the next dates are, and they can also come to you if you’ve some friends or colleagues who are interested in joining in…

Those wanting to launch their own fragrance should seek out Karen Gilbert, who now runs a series of specialised courses – including making skincare products – for those wanting to learn more about this intriguing yet technically challenging world. She explains that ‘…it came out of years of students coming to my live classes where we make an alcohol based EDT, who really wanted to create for their own product line.’ With courses varying from online Masterclasses – perfect for those who find it difficult to travel – days of natural perfumery and intensive 5-day professional courses, there’s something for all levels of interest.

Don’t you think there are things you could change about your fragrant habits – even if it’s just getting out there and sharing your excitement with a friend, showing them around your favourite perfumery or letting them sniff your own collection of fragrances? Whatever you choose to do, there’s a whole year of perfume excitement to look forward to, and we certainly can’t wait to share it with all of you…

Written by Suzy Nightingale