Let Us Spray… frankincense infuses perfume’s past and fragrance’s future

Frequently thought of as one of the shoddiest Christmas presents in history, in fact, frankincense and its perfumed counterpart of myrrh were worth more than the weight of gold, also gifted to baby Jesus. Once exclusively reserved for kings and queens, frankincense has been used in burial rituals for centuries – the highly aromatic scent slathered on skin for embalming and mumification, its extraordinary protective properties preserving skin for millennia. Still burned today in Catholic and Anglican high church ceremonies, the smell of frankincense is perhaps most often associated with these religious rituals.

 

An overwhelming olfactory swoon induced by the hushed reverence of sacred spaces, or the collective evocation of flickering candlelight, gilded altars and smoke-infused pews? 

 

As a result, frankincense can be a love-it-or-hate-it ingredient, rather depending on whether you were forced to sit through endless sermons and hymns in chilly churches on Sundays, or made to confess your ‘sins’ and therefore burdened by an invisible, fragrant holy ghost of guilt whenever you smell it. Others feel excessively soothed by frankincense – a spiritual rather than religious experience which can even feel (whisper it) sensual; fragrance writer Alice du Parcq often refers to frankincense-soaked perfumes as her ‘Sexy Church’ scents. An overwhelming olfactory swoon induced by the hushed reverence of sacred spaces, or the collective evocation of flickering candlelight, gilded altars and smoke-infused pews?

 

Boswellia sacra tree

 

‘Crystal tears that taste of grief came out of the trunk and people scattered them on burning coal to turn it into pure smoke with a scent that heals the sick and with a bitter taste that grieves for lost love.’

 

Also known as olibanum, frankincense is a resin from the Boswellia sacra tree, which grows in the Dhofar area of Oman, as well as Yemen. At harvest times, gashes are slashed in the trunks, the milky, scented resin slowly oozing from the bark. Exposed to sunlight and air, frankincense dries and hardens to golden, teardrop-shaped nuggets, perhaps giving rise to the many myths surrounding its existence. Reem Al-Kamali beautifully describes one such story for Alarabiya News:

A legend has it that a girl from jinn fell in love with a human boy. Since this love was a violation of the jinn rules, they decided to punish her and transform her into something else. She cried for a long time and after they insisted that she must be punished, she chose to become a tree. Thousands of years passed by and this silent and hurt tree that’s called frankincense continued to shed tears in the form of resin that solidified into white particles which smell of musk. It is therefore a girl in the shape of a tree weeping over her beloved. Crystal tears that taste of grief came out of the trunk and people scattered them on burning coal to turn it into pure smoke with a scent that heals the sick and with a bitter taste that grieves for lost love.

There are forests of these frankincense-laden trees in northern Ethiopia – although ecologists report production could decline by half, over the next 15 years, as those forests are systematically cut down to make way for agriculture. While its impossible to precisely pin down an exact molecular composition for frankincense, explains a report in Chemical & Engineering News, ‘Because factors such as geography and climate affect plant biochemistry,’ scientists have discovered ‘frankincense contains five-ringed triterpenoids called boswellic acids, as well as an array of mono- and sesquiterpenes that contribute to its scent, including α- and β-pinene, limonene, and 4-terpineol.’

 

even if it’s not full-on Fleabag’s Hot Priest, its spirit could, rather fittingly, be present without you even knowing it.

 

Those of us who flunked chemistry classes might prefer to concentrate on the supposed pain-relieving and psychoactive porperties of frankincense, apparently due to a compound called ‘incensole acetate’, which has been shown in studies to help depression and dampen anxiety attacks, while it simultaneously ‘activates an ion channel involved in warmth perception in the skin.’ One wonders if these powers partly explain not only the proclivity for using frankincense in religious ceremonies, but also fanned the flames of the rather [ahem] warm feelings viewers devloped for Andrew Scott’s iconic portrayal of the apocryphally named character ‘Hot Priest’ in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s multi award-winning tragicomedy, Fleabag? I may have to watch all the episodes again while smelling frankincense fragrances. Y’know, for research purposes. Perhaps the aromatic triterpenoids will help dampen the agony of its ending [no spoilers, but *sob*].

 

A scene from Fleabag, written by (and starring) Phoebe Waller-Bridge

 

Whatever your feelings, perfumers have long loved adding frankincense to their compositions – apart from fabulous lasting-powers on skin, it works brilliantly as a fixative for other ingredients: around 13% of all perfumes apparently contain at least a trace of frankincense, so even if it’s not full-on Fleabag’s Hot Priest, its spirit could, rather fittingly, be present without you even knowing it. While some frankincense-rich scents can evoke memories of Christmas past, its diverse character can be freshly herbaceous (some varieties smell similar to rosemary), remind you of frosted fir trees or be burrow-some and earthy, with a dark, honeyed throb of woodiness.

Devoutly sacred or deviantly sensual, fragrant worshipers please be seated. And now, let us spray these

 

Creed Angelique Encens
Incense traditionally smoulders, but Creed’s is surprisingly shot through with Champagne bubbles. Sheer and transparent in the opening (definitely more organza than velvet, at this stage), Angelique Encens’s warmth emerges on the skin, kindling notes of pepper, sandalwood, patchouli and cinnamon. You shall not only go to the ball wearing this, meanwhile, but perhaps find yourself partying way beyond midnight wrapped in its enduring musk, vetiver and incense embrace. (Usually a Mayfair boutique exclusive, this party’s online for a short while).
£275 for 75ml eau de parfum
creedfragrances.co.uk

 

ånd fragrance Frånk
There’s a message of hope contained within each bottle of ånd fragrance, which showcase well-known and much-loved ingredients, but in an utterly unique way. Within ‘Frånk’, as the name may suggest, it’s frankincense – but not, founder Simon Constantine pithily assures us, ‘dark, churchy dusty incense and smells of a dodgy pipe smoking priest’s frayed robes.’ Instead, it’s the fruitier, even verdant, head-clearing-ly green characteristics he explores, while ‘supporting a series of small-scale community nurseries growing hardy frankincense trees for the future.’
£69 for 50ml eau de toilette
andfragrance.com

 

 

Perfumer H GOLD
The twice-yearly unveilings of Lyn Harris’s newness are a highlight in the perfume writer’s calendar. Autumn/winter’s accomplished quintet includes Angelica, Rose Oil, White Smoke and Tobacco – all exquisite, whether or not you swing for the £200 Michael Ruh blown glass flacons in which to house them. If we could choose just one, though, it would be Gold, which contrasts shimmering, fresh citrus with smouldering patchouli and gilded frankincense, via a geranium and lavender heart.
From £110-350 for 50ml eau de parfum
At Perfumer H

 

Boujee Bougies Gilt Candle
Continuing their clever wink-wink wordplay from the brand name to those of their candles, Gilt dabbles with the double-edge sword of actual guilt, and the gilded, golden gleam that frames a candle’s flame in sacred settings. Perfumer Pia Long brilliantly evokes ‘the quiet, contemplative nature of rituals seen through smoke.’ Cold flagstone floors, ancient pews burnished with beeswax, curls of frankincense drifting through air stilled by breath anxiously held – exhaled in a grateful gust, ready to sin again.
boujeebougies.com

 

 

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

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Scented Letter magazine ‘Time to Shine’ Christmas edition has landed!

We’re delighted to launch the latest 52-page edition of The Scented Letter – and as we close the year, it’s a celebration of all things fragrant – the gifts to give, the celestial scents to spritz and the aromas of this very special season.

We’re also celebrating something VERY special: a hat-trick of Jasmine Awards in The Fragrance Foundation, with two for our stellar writer Suzy Nightingale, and a Judges’ Special Recognition Award for one entire edition of the mag, ‘A Life in Scents’, published earlier this year.

Scroll down for a preview of some of the articles, which you can read online here in flickable format, recreating the sense of reading a real-life mag.

Alternatively, we are now able to take orders for a limited run of printed copies of the magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs), here. And you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letterhere

  • Heaven Scents: The Christmas 2021 Gift Guide A stellar selection for everyone on your list – that’s a tick, tick, tick!
  • In Memories, Dreams & Reflections, leading astrologer Shelley von Strunckel shares a lifetime in fragrant recollections
  • The ever-brilliant British perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek gives Suzy Nightingale the low-down on her creative working life
  • Agony uncle James Craven answers your seasonal scent-selection and present-choosing conundrums
  • Perfumers are looking to the night sky for inspiration to compose fragrances that sparkle, charm and dazzle, reports Suzy Nightingale in Celestial Scents
  • Founder of Perfume Walks London, Olga Petrouchenko, time-travels to a Russian childhood and a snowy winter holiday
  • Plus as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news – and so much more

 

 

Fragrant gift ideas for friends

While looking for fragrant gift ideas for friends, consider this Christmas as an opportunity to say thank you in scented form – for the shared memories, hope-filled future plans and laughter-filled Zoom catch-ups that got you through the last couple of years!

The best thing about these gifts is, you don’t have to plump for one perfume and hope its ‘the one’ – these gift sets include a range of fragrances with something to tempt everyone. So, instead of getting them the same old thing (which can come across as not really having put any thought in), or randomly picking a scent you’re not sure they’d like (which seems a bit impersonal); choose a set based on the type of friendship you have, and on their unique character – you probably know them best in the whole world, after all!

This Christmas looks set to be better than last year, when so many of us were estranged from loved ones; but if you’re unable to see some of your friends in-person again this year, why not send them one of these boxes of joy, gift one to yourself, too, and arrange another Zoom call (possibly with a cocktail on-hand, why not?!) and enjoy some time smelling through the scents together.

That way you’ll really get to know what they love, and it will give you gift ideas for many years to come as a bonus: genius! For friends near or far – give them one of these to say…

 

 

“Thank you for always having my back, no matter what!”

For friends that have stayed with you through good times AND bad – the ones you could call at 2am crying, and they’d listen / come and get you / can always trust. This socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house have bottles 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. A magic carpet-ride for the senses.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set: £30

 

 

“Thank you for being as ‘strange’ as me, I love you!”

For the friends you share secret in-jokes (perhaps even brains) with, and are just as wonderfully unique as you – the ones you only have to look at to know what they’re thinking, who can make you laugh across a crowded room. The quirky flair of perfumer Christophe Laudamiel is only matched by his genius skills and superior ingredients. Together with raw ingredient pioneer (Elizabeth Gaynes), and a fragrantly-obsessed supermodel (Helena Christensen!), this ultra-luxe niche collection is addictively fabulous.

Strangelove Discovery Set: £60

 

 

“Thank you for creating precious memories, and allowing me to dream!”

 

For the friends that have travelled with you: around the world, and emotionally, too – they’re by your side no matter how far apart you happen to live, and in even the darkest times you can smile at the shared memories you have. All these fragrances capture snapshots of happy memories in scent, crafted with such sophistication, a sense of refinement, true love and great attention to detail by this brilliant British perfumer and former president of The British Society of Perfumers.

Ruth Mastenbroek Discovery Set: £27.50

 

 

“Thank you for inspiring me with your love of myths / art / history / culture!”

 

 

For the friends who always recommend amazing books / art / places & films – you’re always inspired by what they’ve read or seen, places they’ve been or want to take you to. Here’s a house that takes founder Manos Gerakinis‘ family Istanbul heritage and childhood memories of Greece, and intertwines his love of art, history, classical mythology and philosophy. Scents that simmer with spices and precious ingredients, radiating diversity and passion, like friends who have you writing lists of wonderful new things to explore.

Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set: £35

 

 

“Thank you for understanding the REAL me!”


For friends that see right through to your soul, somehow, and always know when you’re upset or need some extra hugs – these ones just ‘get’ you (the real you) and you never have to explain: they just know. Personality types are integral to choosing the perfect perfume because it’s such an emotional connection. So, each of these fragrances is formed around a distinct character profile, allowing the person choosing to have a strong idea of where to begin. A beautifully thoughtful collection, brilliantly explained.

Olfactive O Discovery Set: £30

You’re invited to an exclusive shopping evening with us at JOVOY Mayfair

We are so, so delighted to be able to welcome you back for a wonderful, celebratory ‘in real life’ shopping event at JOVOY’s flagship Mayfair store.

Date: 18th November 2021

Time: 6-8pm

Ticket price: £25 (redeemable against purchase)

When it comes to choosing perfume – for ourselves or as a gift – there is nothing like spritzing and sniffing in person. JOVOY Mayfair is the perfect place for this: a stunning, spacious store showcasing many of the most exciting fragrance names around, from Fragrance du Bois through to BDK Parfums, Eight & Bob to Clive Christian, Ella K to Jovoy’s own divine creations. (Everything crossed – as per usual, in these times – we’re HOPING to have founders of some of those brands present on the night.)

But oh, do we have some treats in store at this special evening…

• A gorgeous goodie bag to take home to include an 80g Jovoy candle and Sarah Colton’s book Bad Girls Perfume: Tips and Tales

• Exclusive gifts with purchase from some of the fragrance names

• Be first to smell JUST-LAUNCHED fragrances from Jovoy and Jeroboam

• Experience the exciting immersive fragrance exhibition, ‘The Perfumus Affair’, now installed at Jovoy

In order to keep the experience intimate and safe, we will be limiting numbers to just 40 over the evening – so be sure to book your space FAST as we know this event will be super-popular.

NB We are asking guests to take a lateral flow test not more than 24 hours before the event, as indication of negative COVID status. Please upload the results to the NHS website or app.

Just click below to book via Eventbrite – or click here

 

 

 

 

Spice Up Your Life – the history of spiced scents (and what to wear now)

At this time of year we’re suddenly surrounded by spices – precious ingredients once so rare and expensive they were kept in locked wooden boxes, and have been beloved by perfumers for thousands of years. And ‘noses’ today still love weaving these warmly tingling, simmeringly sensual ingredients into their compositions. So, why are we so attracted to spices, and which fragrances are the best to wear today?

Over the next few weeks we’ll trace them in turn, starting with…

Cinnamon

Even 2000 years ago the Egyptians were using cinnamon in perfumes and incense burned to send scented prayers to the gods (though it probably originates way before that, in China).

Cinnamomum verum is thought to have been an ingredient in the original holy ‘anointing oil’, mentioned in the Bible. The Greeks and Romans used it too, often with its near-relation cassia.  It’s long been considered to have aphrodisiac properties, when eaten – though if spicy scents turn you on, maybe when dabbed onto pulse-points, too.

Cinnamon bark oil ihas to be used very sparingly in a scent – it’s a sensitiser, and as such, you may see ‘cinnamates’ on perfume packaging, as a warning. Where natural cinnamon’s used, it’s likely to have been distilled from the leaves and twigs. But it’s often also synthesised, adding a spicy warmth to amber scents.

Here’s renowned niche perfumer Andy Tauer on the restrictions on using cinnamon, which he shared with The Perfume Society – and why he loves to use it, all the same:

Andy Tauer: ‘Ah… a forbidden fruit. Sensitising cinnamal, potential allergen. So warm, metallic almost, spicy of course, gourmand, hitting the nose with memories of rice pudding with cinnamon sugar, and making your saliva flow. I love to cook with cinnamon. It brings out the flavors of ginger, onions, adds warmth to the cocktail of exotic flavors from clove, pepper, cumin, fenugreek. In my perfumes, I love it – like a synthetic aldehyde – as it switches the light on, brings out the colours and contrasts. One fine day, in perfumery heaven, we will all smell and enjoy cinnamon in heavy doses: Until then, we have to live life with the regulations that we have…’

Here we travel to the land of Assam via the richly resonant aromas of the East. Cinnamon leaf oil and nutmeg make for a lively opening that tingles all the way to wonderfully exotic citrus-fresh elemi oil. Black tea accord marks our fragrant journey with its smoky tendrils slowly opening to the deeper base and that sweet, wet earthiness and smooth wood played out with notes of oudh and vetiver. Honey is drizzled to sweeten the mix but never becomes sickly, the stunningly smooth tobacco accord putting us in mind of freshly-rolled cigars and dense canopies of greenery outlined against mountains beyond.

Molton Brown Mesmerising Oudh & Gold Accord £120 for 100ml eau de parfum
Molton Brown

One of those unforgettable ‘sexy church’ scents, the cinnamon here infused into wafts of sheer smokiness, all shot through with a surprising, champagne-like airiness. Transparent in the opening (definitely more organza than velvet, at this stage), Angelique Encens’s warmth emerges on the skin, kindling notes of pepper, sandalwood, patchouli and oodles of smoothly simmering cinnamon. You shall not only go to the ball wearing this, meanwhile, but perhaps find yourself partying way beyond midnight wrapped in its enduring musk, vetiver and incense embrace.

Creed Angelique Encens £275 for 75ml eau de parfum
creedfragrances.co.uk

This fresher take on cinnamon is inspired by ‘mountain of paper, autumnal hues of corduroy… thoughtful parting words and a reminiscence of dry oil paint.’ It’s golden light on crunchy leaves, rich fabrics in earthy colours gleaming in the honeyed light, a cool, herbaceous breeze of rosemary and basil just sing with the fizz of green peppercorns in the top notes – the cinnamon all the while a link to the deep thrum of oudh, earthiness and smooth woods in the base. One to wear while wrapped up for a country walk, breathing glad lungfuls of air and exalting nature.

Mihan Aromatics Mikado Bark £123 for 100ml extrait de parfum
mihanaromatics.com

Lapped by milk, snuggled by soft blooms of immortelle flower, the cinnamon in this is neck-nuzzle-worthy – you’ll definitely want to move closer to the person wearing it. Inspired by Manos Gerakinis’s Greek heritage, the immortelle is a yellow flower found in Greece, its story dating back to the Trojan war. In myth, during Helen’s capture, she asked Paris to validate her beauty against Venus. Paris replied: “Do you not see this flower? Your hair shares the same golden colour and your body smells like the flower while your skin is as soft as its petals. Your beauty will be everlasting.’ The resonant warmth the cinnamon affords sizzles for hours, beautiful indeed..

Manos Gerakinis Immortelle £145 for 100ml eau de parfum
shymimosa.co.uk

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Fragrances For… spectacular sunsets

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

We dare you to try them on for size…

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

.

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

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

 

BANANA_REPUBLIC_DARK_CHERRY_AMBER_

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

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

 

 

 

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

GIVEAWAY – Atkinsons Mint & Tonic x 2 for you and a friend (worth over £200!)

Atkinsons Mint & Tonic is the perfect celebration scent for the months of festivity ahead, and we have a very special GIVEAWAY of not one but TWO bottles – one for you, and one to give to a friend. See below for details of how to enter…

 

Capturing an English country potager garden of herbaceous greenness, Atkinsons Mint & Tonic might remind you of idyllic summer days, but we urge you to try it in cooler weather too, when the leaves seem sprinkled with frost, the spiced mandarin and tingle of ginger warm to the woody base of cedar, musk and vetiver. Altogether, at this time of year the scent seems to conjure a Mojito (or three), enjoyed in excellent and flirtatious company. Cheers!

 

We love Mint & Tonic so much, we made sure to include a sample in our Niche VII Discovery Box, along with nine other fabulous fragrances and two pampering treats. Try them all here for only £23, or £19 for VIP Club Members.

 

 

✨GIVEAWAY! ✨ We are delighted to be giving you AND a friend a full-size bottle of Atkinsons Mint & Tonic each!

PRIZE INCLUDES:⁠ 2 x Atkinsons Mint & Tonic 100ml Worth over £200!! To enter, all you have to do is…

Follow us on Instagram

Like the Atkinsons Mint & Tonic giveaway post⁠

Tag a friend in the comments⁠ who would love this fragrance

– Make sure both you & your tagged friend are following The Perfume Society

The competition closes at midnight Friday 29th October GMT. One winner and their tagged friend will be chosen at random and contacted via our The Perfume Society account only. We will not contact winners before the closing date via any external accounts. Please do not accept accounts claiming to be us. The competition is for UK residents only.

Good luck!⁠

Fragrances For… celebrations!

Our Fragrances For series continues with a look at perfumes we think are perfect to celebrate with. We must admit the theme was inspired by our recent trio of Jasmine Award wins, but let’s take time to celebrate the every-day wins, too. Scents have soothes frazzled nerves, reminded us of happy holidays and people we love, and they can add much-needed razzle-dazzle to the dullest of days. Now, what do YOU deserve to celebrate with…?

 

 

CAROLINA HERRERA
212 VIP Wins Woman
Symrise perfumer Emilie Coppermann definitely evokes the vibrant green of the bottle in her verdant composition. Can a fragrance smell ‘shiny’, too? Somehow this does ­– the bracing chlorophyl of the top notes freshened further by a squeeze of mandarin’s juiciness. Luscious pomegranate marries perfectly with a fruity rose, while the fizzy delight of the heart mellows to a smooth base as it warms to a trail of musk and silky woods.
£89 for 80ml eau de parfum
carolinaherrera.com

 

 

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
So Scandal!
Unapologetically naughty: a scandalous interlude conducted on silky raspberry velvet, the milkiness of warm, bare skin caressed by softness and ‘a threesome of white flowers.’ Oh, my! Bright orange blossom, opulent jasmine and heady tuberose are dusted in powder, a feeling of feathers exploding from the tussle of a pillow-fight. Most of all this is fun, fun, FUN – and gosh, how we’ve needed frivolity, granted by perfumers Daphne Bugey and Fabrice Pellegrin.
£68.50 for 50ml eau de parfum
boots.com

 

 

MUGLER
Angel Iced Star
Housed in what is possibly Mugler’s most stunning, kaleidoscopically colourful flacon yet, this latest twist offers up a cocktail of mouth-watering deliciousness from the get-go. Imagine celebrations by a pool (oh, HOW we imagine!), sipping a cool concoction of coconut water and juicy pineapple. The praline base feels suitably icy – a freshly-scooped gelato, perhaps, and not over-sweet – and we’re sure the many Angel collectors will be snapping this up, pronto!
£50 for 50ml eau de toilette
escentual.com

 

PACO RABANNE
Lady Million Fabulous Intense
Perfume Anne Flipo goes deeper and darker with this iteration of the golden scented success story. Pink pepper-flecked mandarin and orange fizzes appealingly to the addictive note of tuberose. Jasmine is again described as ‘solar’, its luminescence draped in the liquid, languid glam of ylang ylang. Toasty tonka bean and vanilla are finally swathed in moss as the base swoons on warm skin. One for the roof-top parties and VIP areas.
£87.50 for 80ml eau de parfum
pacorabanne.com

 

 

BVLGARI
La Gemme Azaran
The polished-in-every way counterpoint to La Gemme Astrea, this celebratory creation is by none other than Jacques Cavallier – more usually to be found pursuing his craft elsewhere in the LVMH empire, nowadays, for Louis Vuitton. Taking fiery aventurine as his mineral muse, this eau de parfum showcases leather, precious saffron and red cedarwood, to create (in Cavallier’s own words) ‘a sophisticated and powerful fragrance leaving a luxurious woody signature in its trail.’
£268 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

The Fragrance Foundation UK Awards 2021 – one, two, THREE reasons we’re celebrating!

We’re still reeling from the dreamlike evening that was The Fragrance Foundation UK Awards 2021. Quite apart from the overwhelming emotion of seeing everyone (in the flesh!) again, and celebrating the continued success of fragrance – at a time it became more important to our everyday lives than some could ever have imagined; at The Perfume Society, we had not one, not two, but THREE very particular reasons to pop the Champagne corks…

The Fragrance Foundation say: ‘Known as the ‘Oscars’ of the fragrance industry, the 29th annual Fragrance Foundation UK Awards 2021 took place at The Brewery in the City of London. With a room full of fragrance lovers, it was a wonderful celebration after the unprecedented of times of the last 18 months.

 

 

The event was hosted by TV Presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, Chairman of The Fragrance Foundation UK Annalise Fard, and its CEO Linda Key Jackson. During the evening recognitions were given for the astounding support given during the global pandemic, from producing hand sanitisers, face masks, or donating to charities. With quick thinking and acts of kindness we have all come together.’

And come together we did, dressed in our finery (and footwear other than slippers or trainers), many seeing colleagues and friends for the first time outside of a Zoom call since the start of the pandemic. It’s difficult to express the outpouring of emotion, the buzz of energy and pure joy that coursed through the venue. A glow that grew stronger still when the entertainment began and internationally acclaimed act Björn Again had people up and dancing, whole tables standing together and swaying, arms in the air, smiling and singing.

 

 

Emotions bubbled to the fore again when Chairman Annalise Fard gave a heartfelt speech to the memory of Jim Jackson, who sadly died earlier this year. Jim founded Aspects Beauty with his wife, Jill, and Annalise spoke fondly of his wit, hard work and commitment to the industry. As the entire room raised a glass in his tribute, there wasn’t a dry eye (or wine glass, which he would have approved of) to be found.

The event now encompasses The Jasmine Awards – often likened to the Oscars, but perhaps more accurately ‘The Pulitzer Prize of perfume writing.’ We’d already been thrilled to be finalists with six pieces shortlisted in four categories. Imagine the WHOOPS that went up, then, on discovering we’d won two of those four categories, AND a Special Recognition Award for an entire issue of The Scented Letter MagazineA Life in Scents!

This was a really important issue of the magazine for us, which we dedicated to everyone who’s lucky enough to work in fragrance – or who dreams of doing so. There’s so much that goes into taking a perfume from the spark of an idea, into the bottle and beyond. So for this edition we interviewed everyone from perfumers to distributors to the sales consultants  who slip our purchase into a carrier bag for us to enjoy. We were extremely moved by Head Judge, Catherine Mitchell, saying how vital The Scented Letter Magazine is for industry in siders and perfume-lovers alike, and how she wanted every career’s advisor in the land to read it. We agree! So, we’re making it available for you to read in full.

Click the link or picture, below, to read the entire issue for free, and then click the pictures to read each of the other award-winning pieces

 

 

HUGE congratulations, too, for our friends and colleagues who are the creatives behind the scenes in these incredible fragrance houses: perfumers, designers, marketing teams and retailers who went home clutching statuettes (Lalique, darling!) too. We raise a glass to each and every one of them, and urge you to seek out the scents behind their well-deserved wins…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loudest whoops of the evening (apart from our own) we think were on the Floral Street table, and no wonder – the continued blooming of this innovative and, so importantly, eco-conscious independent British fragrance house is wonderful to see (and smell!) We were so proud, too, for Thomas Dunckley‘s sixth (!) award, and of Nafia Guljar, whose beautiful piece she wrote for The Scented Letter magazine on the scent of night blooming jasmine, and the precious memories it holds of her late father, was also shortlisted.

The Champagne may no longer be fizzing, but you can be sure our joy – and that of all the winners and worthy finalists – will be bubbling over for some time…