Cultivating a love for niche fragrances is a thrilling exploration of what those independent houses are creating – a bit like the catwalk shows in fashion, often showcasing exciting new trends years ahead of the mainstream. But, as many of us know all too well, it can become somewhat injurious to one’s wallet if you want to try several all at once (and we always, always do!)
Last week we suggested some that were Thrifty but Nifty, while this week we focus on the ‘indie’ or more artisanal scents that could be your next guilt-free perfume purchase. Because, yes, there areniche fragrance houses with more afforable perfumes for you try. So whether it’s your first foray into the world of ‘niche’, or you’re simply looking for a treat-to-self; here’s some seriously wonderful creations that wont make a huge dent in your budget, but could become your next fragrant fixation…
Skandinavisk Kapitel 12£43.20 for 50ml eau de toilette
Celebrating the Scandinavian right of ‘freedom to roam’, let’s throw on a warm sweater and stride onwards through banks of purple heather and frosted thyme, foraging for berries and herbs nestled in hedgerows. That glorious just-snapped stalks fresh-airiness evokes leaf sap and spring just about to unfurl, a sense of freedom we so need, now. skandinavisk.com
4160 Tuesdays Amberama£32 for 15ml eau de parfum
Sometimes you might just long for a bit of frivolity in a fragrance, one that smells good but doesn’t take itself too seriously, perhaps? Presenting an 80s girl-band-inspired scent that relishes the glow and longevity of amber with a fun raspberry / iris /sandalwood heart that gets woodier and warmer as it wears, but with no bananas to be found… 4160tuesdays.com
ånd fragrance Sånd £35 for 10ml parfum
If it was bananas you were after, find them (surprisingly) within this ode to sandalwood. A strikingly modern take on the ‘old dependable’ wood of perfumery, as they put it, this wraps you in the most comforting blanket of creamy, dry, cardamom-infused deliciousness; cuddling down to a rich, resinous base. One to wear when you so want a hug it hurts. andfragrance.com
Maison Matine Warni Warni£50 for 50ml eau de parfum
Journeying through cosmopolitan cities encompassing diverse cultures, this niche French brand jofully encourage us to be ‘a bit daring every day’. Wearing this takes us somewhere warm, the smell of grass scorched by the sun and crickets chirping in the languid heat, a delicious orange-blossom breeze as you sip tea and contemplate the better things in life. harveynichols.com
Floral Street Arizona Bloom£24 for 10ml eau de parfum
Perfumer Jérôme Épinette captures a feeling of freedom – something we’ve sorely missed, lately in our now even more tech-heavy lives. Queen of the Night flower is spiced by black pepper, lush with Balinese coconut and tethered by woody oakmoss; the amber-y desert-like dryness conveyed by salted musks. Truly one to make the heart soar! floralstreet.com
Niche V Discovery Box£27 (VIP price £23) for 19 fragrances + 2 beauty extras
Because we understand you’re missing browsing, spraying and smelling, we curated a selection of some of the finest niche fragrances out there to try at home. Showcasing an incredible cross-section of what’s happening niche right now, you’ll find houses such as Trudon, Ostens, Moresque, Mihan Aromatics, Maison Matine, the entire Storie Veneziane by Valmont and Bentley Beyond collections, and always forward-thinking Molton Brown and DSQUARED2. It’s a whole niche perfumery experience from the comfort of your sofa – what’s not to love?! Buy your Niche V Discovery Box here
And if after all that you’re still up for exploring more pocket-friendly niche perfumes, do have a browse of these Brand Sets – niche fragrance collections from only £8…
We were absolutely thrilled to recently host the creative duo behind Goutal fragrances – Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen – in what was the most recent in our series of Instagram Lives. One of the only up-sides to all this *gestures broadly* has been the way people have reached out over the internet – disparate communities creating moments of togetherness online – and if you weren’t able to join us for the event live, we’re now so happy to share the video with you!
This truly was a wonderful conversation with two such talented women – we heard the pair talk about post-pandemic perfume, working as a team, and keeping alive the flame of creativity that first inspired Annick Goutal, Camille’s mother, when she founded the fragrance house. And of course, we invited YOUR questions, just some of the topics we explored being…
• What is the creative process for the pair, working together – and how did that work during lockdown?
• What is the spirit behind Goutal, and is it still easy to tap into that in the perfume house’s fourth decade?
• What exciting plans does Goutal have for 2021 – a new year, with (we’re hoping) lots of scented excitement?
This was latest in a series of Instagram Live interviews we’ve had over the last year, with some of the world’s leading fragrance names – check out previous interviews on our YouTube channel, here…
Now those advent calendars are in the recycling already, why not treat yourself AND a superhero you know to the Super Man Discovery Box – a different scent to look forward to trying each day. Compare notes via texts or even a Zoom sniff-along!
Allow us a bit of ‘silly season’ scented musing time, here, folks, as we ponder the important question of what we might scent some of the superheroes with. The matches are predominantly male, only because we curated this selection with men and more ‘masculine’ scents in mind, but of course they can be worn by anyone.
Oh it’s okay, we know you might not be feeling particularly heroic right now – the only superhero I currently resemble could be ‘Cheesewoman’ or ‘Gin Girl’ and I don’t think they exist (they should!) But hey, having got through last year and ploughing onwards (and upwards) in the continuing face of uncertainty is heroism to be celebrated nonetheless, non?
Get your geek on…
[All original comic book images copyright of respective artists & publishers, credited individually.]
Gamora: ånd fragrance Frånk
The green-skinned alien is the last of her species (mirroring ånd fragrance’s fund-raising effort to protect frankincense) and no stranger to balancing awesome blade-wielding skills with a sharp wit. So we’ve matched her with a fragrance that celebrates the fruitier side of frankincense, where the foresty freshness zings with restless energy, a mischevious melding of citrus and banana-esque ylang ylang shot through with luscious mango, resinous myrrh and silky seams of vanilla folded in for good measure.
Wolverine: Anima Vinci Wood of Life
There’s something to be said for learning to harness one’s rage, but we really think James could do with a nice sit down and some deep breaths, bless him. This fragrance is immediately grounding and provides a soothing space for mindfulness – palo santo has been used for centuries in spiritual ceremonies, to ‘cleanse’ negative energies and promote clarity of vision. In combination with sandalwood, spices and vanilla it’s an olfactory moment of ‘OM…..’ Now put those knives away, dear, and chill.
Iron Man: Atelier Des Ors Cuir Sacré
Always an admirer of exquisite design, billionaire Tony Stark would surely fall for the gilded charms of this leather-rich fragrance. Imbued with perfectly blended hints of berries and spices, perhaps he’d forget to be grumpy and mellow into reveries of sauntering at sunset on a balmy evening while wearing a velvet smoking jacket. And if he gets stressed, he can shake the bottle to see the flakes of real gold swirl (a grown-up snow-globe, if you will) as the cedar, incense and saffron swoon to the intriguingly cool base.
The Human Torch: Caron Aimez-Moi Comme Je Suis
Smouldering ginger recalls heat and positively sizzles when the zing of grapefruit meets the unexpected pairing of hazelnut and vetiver. The wearer must be used to the fiery sensations, so who better than Johnny Storm? A founding member of The Fantastic Four, he’s used to overcoming adversity while literally aflame – talk about leaving a trail! Spritzing this to soften his edges a little (not while actually alight: health and safety first, Mr. Storm), its warm and woody aroma create an irresistibly addictive character.
Batman: Floris London Vert Fougère
Vert Fougère is moody – perfect for the sometimes sulky Batman – and embraces its mossy heritage by adding sparkling modernity. And he could do with a bit of sparkle. A bittersweet blend of grapefruit, bergamot and neroli entwine ginger and lavender for added freshness while patchouli, cedarwood and smooth cashmere in the base ensure a lasting legacy. Traditional enough to tempt the wary, exciting enough to add a sashay; we see the latest Batman portrayer, Robert Pattinson, wearing this with aplomb.
Professor X: Initio Side Effect
With his exceptional powers of telepathy and mind-control, we feel Charles Francis Xavier would appreciate the hypnotic inspiration behind this scent. An irresistible combination of rum, leather and tobacco is sprinkled with a sweet frisson of vanilla and a tingle of warming cinnamon – the effect quite spellbinding. The woodiness and smooth hints of booze are perfectly appropriate for a study-dwelling genius, while the rich spiciness instills confidence and daring. The overall impression? Those who follow your fragrant trail will be left enchanted…
Spider-Man: Jimmy Choo Man
Peter Parker always appealed to the younger comic fans first, and there’s something effortlessly youthful and effervescent about this fragrance. Aromatic and woody up top, an accord of lavender and mandarin is softened by deliciously succulent notes of honeydew melon. In the heart, pink pepper and geranium are mixed with pineapple leaf, as a sign of originality. Finally the fragrance unveils a web of patchouli, suede and ambery woods – joyfully uplifting and one for cheekily charming urban chaps on-the-go.
Captain Britain:Jovoy 21 Conduit Street
Brian Braddock very rarely gets a look-in when superheroes are discussed, (the name doesn’t help, huh?) so we wanted to give him a moment with this fragrance. Revisiting an often overlooked classic of English perfumery while giving it a decidedly modern twist; the real secret of 21 Conduit St is the richness of its dual lavender – the radiantly aromatic essential oil further enhanced with an absolute. Rippled through rhubarb, almond and fir balsam to a woody base, it feels aristocratic yet complex, much like Brian himself…
Catwoman: Kierin NYC Santal Sky
Fabulously milky, this comfort blanket of cardamom-flecked sandalwood will have all villainous feline types putting their claws away awhile, as the soothing, creamy notes of fig swirl into decadent orchid and saffron-speckled vetiver as a final twitch of the tail. There’s a sophistication to this scent but it truly feels effortless for any occasion. Rendering any gender instantly languorous, your only real problem will be getting anything done, as you’ll want to curl up and revel in how purr-fect you smell.
Wonder Woman: Laboratorio Olfattivo Tonkade
Sumptuous waves of dried fruits and a perfectly choreographed dance between resonant sweetness and powerful clouds of amber-rich mystery, this is a regal fragrance fit for a superhero whose backstory now highlights her Amazonian heritage, and explains she’s the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta. But ‘Wonder Men’ can equally get on board with this – a stunner for anyone who should never to be underestimated: a powerhouse of potent accords that should immediately be lassoed into your own collection.
Spaceboy: Parfums de Marly Sedley
Hailing from the Umbrella Academy, Luther Hargreeves was the youngest person to become an astronaut, and struggles with his extreme physical strength (accident involving a ‘Martian space chimp’. Don’t ask) which masks his extremely sensitive nature. This feels uplifting – a sparkle of citrus awakening the power of mint, while Hivernal® Neo is a hyper-realistic reinvention of how water smells. Liquid silver, cool Sedley encapsulates a balance of opposites, where noble materials and futurist molecules collide.
Black Panther: Ruth Mastenbroek Oxford
T’Challa is one of few superoes who boast a degree, having earned his PhD in Physics from Oxford, so this fragrant memory is entirely perfect for him. Those ‘dreaming spires’ are conjured through magestic composition, from smoky, shadowy layers juxtaposed by this scent’s more luminescent jasmine and comfortingly cashmere notes. At its heart, Oxford’s bold oudh and amber offsets the softer vanilla and vetiver for a daring fragrance that’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. A perfume for the panther that stalks your soul…
Klaus Hargreeves: St Giles The Stylist
Another member of the Umbrella Academy, Klaus swaggers with the confidence and dress-sense of a rockstar, has the ability to talk to the dead while utterly beguiling the living – to the point where he accidentally becomes a cult leader and prophet (easily done). His sensual nature and natural style will thrill to the flashbulb of aldehydes and bitter orange up top, while the smooth rum, mango and triple-dose of silky vanilla cream help smother his inner demons all the way down to the base of tobacco absolute and oakmoss. Irresistible.
Superman: Versace Dylan Blue Homme
A fragrance for both ‘the man of steel’ and his everyday alter-ego of Clark Kent; the masculinity wafts forth with bold Ambroxan, refreshed with zesty hits of bergamot and grapefruit. The earthiness is zipped up with a punch of black pepper and papyrus wood before being enveloped by an intense cloak of incense, mineral musk, tonka beans and warming, spicy notes of saffron. Equal parts athletic and intelligent, it’s bound to become your go-to when you’ve no idea what to wear. No need to quick-change in a phone booth, either – always a bonus.
Samples of ALL of these fragrances are available to try at home in our Super Man Discovery Box for only £18 if you’re a VIP Club Member, (£22 to everyone else) and it also features these grooming extras…Weleda Skin Food (Thing from The Fantastic Four needs to incorporate this into his daily routine ASAP) and FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (which Aquaman could definitely do with).
No matter if it’s a thank you gift for a superhero you know, or a gift to yourself for just getting through all this *gestures broadly* – here’s to feeling infinitely more ‘super’ with every spritz: up, up and a spray! (Sorry).
We’ve scoured the internet for this Fragrant Film Club – a curation of some of our favourite perfume-themed movies, documentaries and TV series to watch right now.
So, if you’re about done with Christmas and need a way to fill the weird hinterland between festive or new year celebrations and the return to (whatever will be) ‘normality’ – here’s a scented selection box of fragrant treasures…
‘With his incredible talent for discerning scents, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) is one of 18th-century France’s finest perfumers. He becomes obsessed with capturing an elusive aroma: the scent of young womanhood. His search takes a deadly turn, and when the bodies of 12 young females are found, panic breaks out, with families rushing to lock up their daughters.’
Based on the best-selling, and now infamous, novel by Patrick Süskind, this is one every fragrance-lover should watch. It’s remarkable not only for being filmed at all (many said the book could never be made in to a screen drama), but for changing the way fragrance was talked about in the media. Stunningly shot, utterly gripping, we of course urge you to read the book first, but do then see this and marvel.
If you’ve already seen the film, have a gander at the made for TV drama loosely based on the premis of the novel, but in a modern-day setting: Perfume (series) Netflix
Telling the story of a preparatory school student who woefully takes a job as an assistant to an irritable, blind, medically retired Army officer, Frank, (magnificently played by Al Paccino) this is one of those films that helped highlight the importance of our sense of smell. In one memorable scene, Frank approaches the table where a woman sits alone, waiting for date. ‘You know, I detect a fragrance in the air,’ he says, ‘Don’t tell me what it is… Ogleby Sisters Soap?’ So, although not a movie about perfume per se, it’s a fantastic performance, and fun to look out for some well-known fragrance names he also detects along his adventures…
Perfumes (Les Parfums) Amazon Prime: rent for £4.49
We reviewed this charming film in full, here, but basically it’s the story of a reclusive, once-feared French perfumer and her new chauffeur. Though a gentle comedy, Les Parfums takes a serious (and very well presented) look at the life of a perfumer, and now this subtitled film has a wider release with Amazon, we hope many more of you will be able to see it. Certainly it’s a treat for the senses, and sadly such a rarity to see perfumery explored on screen in this manner. We particularly loved the scene in which Guillaume, the chauffeur, is discovering his newly-acquired appreciation for smell – in the supermarket, sniffing various shower gels, under the watchful gaze of a bemused security guard. ‘Something quite mellow…’ he says, as the guard shuffles closer, clearly unused to such behaviour in Aisle 5. Delightful from start to finish.
‘After a perfumer’s death, his daughter works to meet the production deadline for his company’s latest scent, which is complicated by the lack of an elusive ingredient.‘ Now we should really start by saying this a Hallmark movie, and as such has a certain look and feel to it that previous viewers of their oeuvre will recognise. That being said, this is the kind of whimsical film that one can happily curl up on the sofa with while eating your way through an entire tub of ice cream. Just don’t expect Süskind levels of olfactory detail, accept that everyone wears pastel and has perfect hair, and all will be fine.
We must admit to not having watched this one yet, but it certainly sounds like an antidote to excessive Christmas schmaltz, if that’s what you’re looking for. ‘After her mother dies, a chemist begins to have strange visions of a mysterious woman in black applying perfume in a mirror, and of strangers who follow her everywhere.’ That’s the synopsis in brief, but further reviews reveal that it’s a surrealistic film, also described as an ‘incoherent and inconsistent slice of psychological horror.’ Nonetheless, it’s a plot that sounds intriguing enough to capture our interest, and we very much we get to find out what the mysterious woman in black’s perfume actually is!
‘Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) can’t believe her husband’s having an affair with salesgirl Crystal (Joan Crawford). But when Sylvia (Rosalind Russell) and Edith (Phyllis Povah) deliver the gossip firsthand, Mary heads to Reno for a divorce. En route she meets Countess de Lave (Mary Boland) and Miriam (Paulette Goddard), who coincidentally is having an affair with Sylvia’s husband. Once in Reno, the Countess finds another beau, Sylvia shows up for a divorce and Mary plots to win back her man.’
Even though this really only has one perfume-related scene, we’re recommending this one mainly because it’s one of our favourite films EVER. And what a scent scene that is – set in the fragrance department of a classy department store, and featuring magnificently catty lines with Crawford as the predatory perfume counter gal. A stellar cast – made up entirely of women (practically unheard of even today, let alone in the 1930s!) – magnificent costumes and a gasp-inducing sudden switch to full-colour film during the fashion show sequence, make this more than worth your watching (on repeat).
Some years ago, the BBC made a fascinating doccumentary series about the perfume business, taking a deep dive into the creation of a fragrance, the revival of a perfume house (Grossmith) and interviewing perfume personalities such as Roja Dove and perfumers including Guerlain’s Thierry Wasser. Sadly the episiodes are no longer available on the BBC iPlayer website, though they are now available to watch on YouTube: Perfume (BBC Documentary series).
Following a rather gauche… sorry. A ‘driven twenty-something American woman from Chicago, who moves to Paris for an unexpected job opportunity.’ Emily in Paris has seen equal parts love and hate in the many reviews that followed its release earlier this year. Whichever camp you fall in, it’s a lovesong to Paris and HOW we yearn to get that back there as soon as we’re able. And you know what? It’s actually not a bad look at the creation and marketing of a perfume, as we follow Emily’s hapless adventures as she’s ‘tasked with bringing an American point of view to a venerable French marketing firm.’
YouTube is a treasure trove for archival fragrance adverts and wonderful little gems like this Pathé documentary on how fragrance is made. We might chuckle at the Stiff Upper Lip ‘Received Pronunciation’ of the voiceover, but it makes for a still very interesting look at Grasse, French perfumery and the technical side of perfumery still not often shown in such detail to this day. Click above to watch it now!
Another still on our ‘to watch’ list, this series certainly sounds like it ticks many (perfume) boxes for us… ‘During the Republican era, a family empire famous for making the best fragrances and incense must guard against those who are out to steal their secret recipes. Ning Zhi Yuan is the sweet young master of his family’s fragrance empire. An Le Yan is a determined young woman who is out for revenge against the Ning family. Zhi Yuan falls in love with Le Yan, but she only wants to infiltrate Zhi Yuan’s family to steal a valuable perfume formula. Le Yan’s true heart is drawn toward An Yi Chen, an inspector. But Xiao Hui, the daughter of a Japanese imperialist, is determined to capture Yi Chen’s heart at all costs. Can Zhi Yuan protect his family’s livelihood and his own heart?‘
Something for the little ones – perhaps inspiring a new ‘nose’ in your family? – this cheeky little cartoon follows the story of Mo, who is ‘…upset when Tee accidentally breaks her favourite perfume.’ And indeed she might might be upset! ‘Tee is now determined to cheer her up by making her some new perfume from ingredients found around the house. Lucky Mo!’ Hmm. Well we’re sure that’s all whimsically delightful, but if Tee tried whipping up a batch of vintage Mitsouko from stuff he found around our house, we’re very much afraid he’d be out on his ear (having replaced the bottle and cleaned the carpet, thank you very much!)
At the time of writing, the new BBC drama series of The Black Narcissus have not yet aired, but you can watch them here when they do (starting Sunday, 27th December in the U.K. at 9pm, with the following two episodes airing in the same slot over the next two nights – Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th December 2020). Based on the aponymous Powell and Pressburger classic 1947 film, Black Narcissus, named after the iconic Caron fragrance and following the intense sensual awakening of a nun who dabbles with such vices as perfume and lipstick; this 2020 version stars the late Diana Rigg (in her last role) among an incredible cast; and promises to be an absolute must-watch.
Fancy even more fragrant viewing? A little while ago, I took a look at some vintage perfume adverts, in which a surprising number of movie stars made their televisual debuts. Or, for those seeking some scented chuckles, why not gawk at these hilarious retro men’s fragrance ads – featuring chaps being spoon-fed in restaurants, a hang-gliding man in danger of being whipped by his own moustache and an impromptu musical set outside a greengrocer’s. Ah, they don’t make ’em like that anymore.
We hope this Fragrant Film Club list provides a fragrant escape for those of you desperately searching for something new to watch – and a chance to re-watch some old faves for those of you who’ve already seen them. Whichever you choose, we suggest snuggling up, staying safe and perhaps locking the door for some blessed moments of me-time…
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).
• 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…
Last-minute Christmas ideas are all very well, but what if you’ve left it so late (yes, we’re looking at you!) that you’ve already missed the last post?
Here are two thoughtful gift ideas for fragrance lovers that need no desperate scurrying for leftover crumpled scraps of wrapping paper – no wrapping or queuing at the Post Office required at all, in fact. What’s more, they last for an entire YEAR, and one of them can be sent to anyone, no matter where they are in the world. Hallelujah!
Seriously the best gift you can give anyone who loves fragrance – after purchasing, simply contact [email protected] with the recipient’s details and we’ll do the rest!
As a member of The Perfume Society VIP Club, they will receive the following exclusive benefits…
• Six issues a year of our online/downloadable digital magazineThe Scented Letter – (virtually) the only publication in the world devoted to all things fragrant. For more info on which, please scroll down…
• Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.
• Early access to tickets for all our events (when we can do these in-person again) – meeting with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world, attending 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 (see options in the drop-down menu, here)
Described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, and after so many asked for a printed edition, we also offer a print subscription to our multi award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter. Filled to bursting each issue with in-depth interviews with the world’s top perfumers, as well as news, hundreds of fragrance reviews and behind-the-scenes scented secrets, alongside features by leading fragrance writers – from Thomas Dunckley (The Perfume Candy Boy) to Persolaise, via Viola Levy and our Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale.
We’re overjoyed that we can now offer overseas subscribers an International Subscription to our digital downloadable magazine, The Scented Letter. (Alas, we still can’t ship our boxes overseas – and we’re as gutted as you are about that!)
Your subscription gives you six 60-page ONLINE editions a year of this beautiful, multi-Jasmine Award-winning magazine: the only one of its kind for perfume-lovers.
Because of the way our system works, when you click Add to Cart it will send us an e-mail – and we’ll follow up for payment. To buy this as a gift; please let us know in your e-mail to us if it’s for someone else.)
So now you can gift an entire year of reading to a fragrance-lover you know, no matter where they live. And from the feedback we receive from overseas fans, we know they’ll be utterly thrilled!
So, it’s really NOT too late to send them something to show you care, to cheer up a fragrant friend you’ve perhaps not been able to see for so long – and these are perfumed presents that last a full 365 days ahead. Now that’s truly a gift that keeps on giving…
Scented candles have helped us stay (mostly) sane this year. A bold statement, but when we’ve spent more time than ever at home – working, raising families, interacting with partners or house-mates on a 24 hour basis or simply trying to get through the day alone – it’s been an easy way to instantly change a space, a vibe, with fragrance.
And it seems we’re not alone in this perfumed passion. Sales of fragranced candles, along with ‘premium food’ have been one of the mood-markers of 2020.
As The Guardian newspaper recently commented, ‘cold weather and coronavirus restrictions encourage Britons to hunker down for winter,’ reporting that what we’re been turning to are ways of making ourselves feels better, hence: ‘Sales of scented candles, potpourri and essential oils for diffusers jumped 29% in October, according to the research group Kantar.’
It makes sense. Candles can help us feel calm – not only for the scent, but focusing on the flickering flame awhile. They bring a feeling of warmth and comfort, a cosiness that’s been sorely needed as the temperatures in the U.K. plummeted and the darkness drew in. We’ve gone from tropical exoticism in the bathroom to torrid sensuality in the bedroom (or the kitchen, why not?). We’re using zingy scents to get us going in the morning, soothing smells to help us wind down of an evening, and traversing the world through our noses all the many, many hours in-between.
Because good grief, how we’ve longed for ‘newness’ – and the act of lighting a scented candle can genuinely shake you out of the doldrums!
Quite apart from how fabulous some of the containers look, and how good quality candles can contiunue to scent a room even unlit; they also make thoughtful gifts. But personally, we’re doing the ‘one for you, one for me’ rule with the following selection of some of our favourites to stock up on. Which will you give, and which are you coveting for yourself, we wonder…?
Ruth Mastenbroek Ancient Frankincense £55 for
Cosy as toasting your toes by a roaring fire, this is one to light, snuggle up on the sofa and read something unashamedly soothing with. Or kick back with a frivolously festive film. The warmth of frankincense, precious resins of myrrh and labdanum are tickled by pink pepper up top and swaddled in rich patchouli in the base. Aromatic notes of cypress and pine, meanwhile, remind us of walks through the woods – wrapped up in your favourite coat, savouring the frosty freshness of the air. Sublime!
(PS: Get your hands on a mini size of either Ancient Frankincense or the Rebel County candle as part of our sumptuous Indulgence Discovery Box, for £36 / £32 for VIPs)
Boujee Bougies Queen Jam £55 for 220g
Outrageously jam-y, this sashays up with bucket loads of berries – raspberries and bilberries, to be precise – and oodles of rose petals; that unctious stickiness shot through with flashes of tart green to prevent it being sickly. Olfiction perfumer Pia Long has created a stunning evocation of a Finnish preserve that feels equal parts grown up glam and giggle-inducing frolics. Check out their entire range via the super cute mini candles for £25 (buy one of each and you’ll get one free as part of their launch offer, while stocks last!)
Floral Street Sunshine Bloom £28 for 200g
A welcome shaft of sunlight for the duller days, this scented candle keeping the memory of summer vibes alive with luminescent notes of jasmine, creamy fig leaf (which smells like being on holiday – close your eyes and you can almost feel the sunshine, hear the waves…). Meanwhile, wild orchid, black pepper, incense and salted musks manage to be both delicious and vibrant. This is a solar scent that truly sparkles and recalibrates: a fragrant re-set for the mind, if you will.
La Montaña Siesta: £39 for 220g
We don’t know about you, but getting absolutely anything done right now seems to sap twice the amount of energy as usual. We could all dearly do with a daily siesta, but not all of us can make that space in our day. This candle cossets with lavender, juniper and thyme – an herbaceous breeze from a garden as you ‘close your eyes and imagine yourself drowsing on a hot afternoon, gently swinging in a hammock in the shade of a tree, with the crickets chirruping, and the sun-baked fragrances of the countryside lulling you to sleep.’ Oh we’re SO there…
Tom Daxon White Narcissus: £25 for 185g
A winter’s walk captured in fragrant form, here, with a bouquet of white flowers – gloriously heady narcissus and hyacinth – and the snapped-stalked freshness of galbanum and green violet leaf, which manages to temper the otherwise fabulously blowsy floralcy. Tendrils of cardamom-infused smoke drift drowsily through the cold, still air as gaiac wood and cedar smoulder on the shady vetiver base. One to gift those who are about done with cinnamon and eggnog and are checking the weather forecast, hourly, for the first signs of spring. That’d be us, then.
Fragrant gifts for fussy ‘hard to buy for’ relatives and friends are even trickier to navigate this year – with perfume testers not available, and more of us opting to shop from home than ever. Fear not! These fabulous fragrant sets ensure even the fussiest person will have loads to choose from…
Every family has one. An aunt whose lips curl disdainfully like Emu’s on receiving your carefully-chosen present, or a parent who helpfully says they have no idea what they want – ‘I don’t need anything, really…’ – but you know if you actually got them nothing, there’d be hell to pay for months to come.
Even if the person you’re buying for isn’t fussy, exactly, but just doesn’t feel confident about buying themselves a new scent; or perhaps you’re not sure where to start when suggesting something new: ready-curated sets are your scented saviours!
Basically, you’re spreading your bet – not putting all your eggs in one basket. Given as gifts, these look super thoughtful and deluxe, but are far more cost-effective than splurging all on one bottle. We can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love these fragrance choices, frankly…
Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer London Discovery Set: £27.50
Each scent from this collection – which was a sell-out on this site and has now been smartly re-packaged with lovely, high-quality 2ml sprays – is deeply inspired by Ruth’s memories and experiences. All of the fragrances are incredibly personal, crafted with great attention and care by this master perfumer and former president of The British Society of Perfumers. Here’s what you’ll enjoy…
Firedance (2ml) – a story of celebration… rejoicing in each moment of contentment in life. A modern interpretation of the classic rose perfume, with exotic leather and Damask rose, set against a warming backdrop of oudh and patchouli. Signature (2ml) – Inspired by the ‘scents of my life’s journey’, as Ruth describes it. Featuring an eclectic mix of bergamot, blackcurrant, pineapple and mandarin, with rose, lily and jasmine making up the heart, oakmoss and patchouli creating the sublime Chypre base. Oxford (2ml) – captures the essence of discovery – being exposed to things you have never come across before. Featuring an inspiring mix of bergamot, galbanum, basil and rosemary and jasmine, on a heady base of amber, vanilla, vetiver and oudh. Amorosa (2ml) – the inspiration for Amorosa is falling in love – and this fragrance opens with a stunning, fresh watermelon note surrounded by green leaves. A powerful woody-ambery accord brings strength and depth to the gorgeous white flowers at the heart of Amorosa. Dagian (2ml) – Dagian is the feeling of optimism that breaks at dawn, the exhilarating hope of a fresh start. As the sun rises, a breeze of lime and mint shimmers over notes of orange blossom and rum.
Sana Jardin Discovery Set: £30
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.’ Created by renowned perfumer Carlos Benaïm, Amy’s collection – Sana Jardin – offers that and more, with sustainability (currently a ‘buzzword’ in perfumery) at the heart of everything they do.
Savage Jasmine Night-blooming jasmine, wrapped around intoxicating musk. Sandalwood Temple Moroccan neroli oil, enveloped it in Atlas cedarwood, Haitian vetiver, creamy vanilla and East Indian sandalwood. Tiger By Her Side Showcases Moroccan rose alongside Somalian incense and Indonesian patchouli. Berber Blonde Filled with the light of Sana Jardin’s signature orange blossom, alongside Moroccan neroli oil and musk. Celestial Patchouli Exotic aromas of patchouli, leather, cinnamon bark and Australian Sandalwood give way to the abundant warmth of rose, jasmine, osmanthus and Moroccan orris. Nubian Musk A sensuously inviting blend of musk and vanilla, rose, jasmine, Moroccan grapefruit flower, Haitian vetiver and Australian sandalwood. Revolution de la Fleur This is a sultry, sun-filled melody of Madagascan ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani, rose, vanilla and sandalwood. Jaipur Chant Heady & Seductive Tuberose. Indian tuberose, the goddess of flowers, blooms in the still of night.
Strangelove Discovery Set: £60
Built around a subtle base of precious oudh [also spelled ‘oud‘], carefully blended with other precious ingredients gathered from all over the world, this is a house that refuses to compromise on quality, and with the very best (meticulously, sustainably sourced) materials at their fingertips. Christophe Laudamiel, punk rock star of the scent world, has created all the fragrances – so read on to delve deeper into each beguiling scent (which are £105 for full-size bottles of 15ml eau de parfum)
deadofnight – empowers its devotees to take risks and dive into their desires. fallintostars – propels a mystical experience of boundless wonder, as lovers transcend time and space to journey into a parallel universe. lostinflowers – evokes the thrill of new love, capturing that electric moment of discovery when two destined wanderers finally collide: lost in time, lost in romance, lostinflowers. meltmyheart – inspires romance and indulgence for devoted lovers. silencethesea – captures the intimacy of the lover’s gaze: soundless, eternal, profound.
The Niche Collection V Discovery Box: £27 (or £23 for VIPs)
For those who are missing browsing, spraying and smelling, The NICHE COLLECTION V Discovery Box is one of our BIGGEST collections EVER, showcasing 19 NICHE FRAGRANCES (plus two divine ‘extras’). In this scent-packed line-up, first explore a box-within-a-box with the ENTIRE COLLECTION from Maison Matine – modern French perfumery we are besotted with. Then swoon over more niche from Trudon, Ostens, Moresque, Mihan Aromatics, Molton Brown and DSQUARED2. Plus, three luscious creations from Bentley The Beyond Collection, and one from each of the opulent Storie Veneziane by Valmont collections. Gift true fragrance exploration to someone you love – or simply get spraying to your heart’s content…
Bentley Beyond The Collection Mellow Heliotrope 1.8ml eau de parfum (£165 for 100ml) Bentley Beyond The Collection Radiant Osmanthus 1.8ml eau de parfum (£165 for 100ml) Bentley Beyond The Collection Vibrant Hibiscus1.8ml eau de parfum (£165 for 100ml) DSQUARED2 Green Wood 1ml eau de toilette (£44 for 30ml) DSQUARED2 Red Wood 1ml eau de toilette (£44 for 30ml) Maison Matine Avant l’Orage2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml) Maison Matine Bain de Midi2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml) Maison Matine Esprit de Contradiction2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml) Maison Matine Hasard Bazar2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml) Maison Matine Into The Wild2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml) Maison Matine Warni Warni 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml) Mihan AromaticsGuilty Story3ml extrait de parfum(AUD $90 for 30ml) Molton Brown Juniper Jazz1.5mleau de toilette (£60 for 50ml) Moresque Lady Tubereuse2ml eau de parfum(€130 for 75ml) Ostens Cashmeran Velvet2ml eau de parfum(£105 for 50ml) Storie Veneziane by Valmont Collezione Privata Collection Lady Code 2ml eau de parfum (£230 for 100ml) Storie Veneziane by Valmont Palazzo Nobile Collection Casanova 2161 2ml eau de toilette (£136 for 100ml) Storie Veneziane by Valmont Verde Erba I 2ml extrait de parfum (£173 for 8.5ml) Trudon Elae2ml eau de parfum (£180 for 100ml)
The Niche Collection V Discovery Box also features these divinely fragranced luxury extras…
OLVERUM Bath Oil 15ml (£36.50 for 125ml) Weleda Pomegranate Firming Day Cream 7ml (£28.95 for 30ml)
If you’re still not sure what to get, may we humbly suggest this book? It’s perfect for perfume-lovers of any age and experience, and may help them choose with confidence for next year!
The Perfume Bible: £25 (VIP price £16.25)
Co-written by The Perfume Society‘s Founders, Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay, The Perfume Bible is must for every fragrance-lover (and a fabulous gift). It’s an encyclopaedia of all things fragrant – from how to build a perfume ‘wardrobe’ to a line-up of the 100 perfumes to try before you die.
You’ll discover the journey of ingredients from field to flacon, a run-down of the best perfume shops in the world, the history of scent, how to build a perfume ‘wardrobe’ and the all-important line-up of ‘100 Perfumes To Try Before You Die’ – 192 pages, in all…
Luxury fragrance gifts needn’t break the bank – Discovery Sets are the way forward! Stunningly presented, ordered at the click of a button, easy to wrap at home or have sent straight to the lucky recipient: these boxes are the perfect presents for perfume-lovers…
The joy of a luxury Discovery Set is the chance to indulge in the fragrances of ultra-luxe niche and designer houses, often giving your lucky gift recipient (or yourself, let’s face it) the opportunity to try the entire collection of a particular perfume house. Or, perhaps, allowing the luxury of sampling the scented wares from cult brands not everyone knows about yet.
Very few of us could go out and purchase full-size bottles of every brand we want to try – with these luxury gift sets, you can afford to wear every single one!
If you have someone who’s difficult to buy for, or you’re not quite sure exactly what kind of scents they like – gifting a whole range ensures they’ll fall immediately for at least one of the fragrances (and, in our experience, will come to love them all or enjoy sharing with a partner or friends).
To send to loved ones you can’t be with this year, or to treat yourself after a year of woe? Not going to lie, we shamelessly do the ‘one for you, one for me’ rule of Christmas shopping, and most especially this year. Think of the hours of bliss you’ll have! Trying all the fragrances for the first time, reading about the notes, the perfumers and history of the house (all the information you can find right here on this website, with our in-depth brand pages).
Luxury fragrance gifts are a fail-safe way of showing how much you care. Whichever of these you chose, they cannot fail to be utterly delighted…
Harvey Nichols boasts one of the best fragrance halls in the world, and in the last few years have tirelessly worked to bring in many more niche and exciting artisanal houses. We were thrilled to be asked again to curate a box of some of our favourites with them! Twelve luxury fragrances from six houses in this one, showcasing the hotly anticipated UK launch of Atelier Materi and Maison Crivelli, alongside classically adored fragrances from Creed, you can explore THREE fragrances from EACH of these beautiful perfume houses. We’ve added generous MINIATURES with just-launched Juliette Has A Gun Lipstick Fever (5ml) AND Maison Francis Kurkdjian L’Homme À La Rose (5ml)! And lest we forget, the pièce de resistance is Ramon Monegal Flamenco (10ml) swathed in a golden fabric pouch for an extra hit of luxe.
The Indulgence Discovery Box £36 (or £32 if you become a VIP!) Squeal-worthy miniature bottles & indulgence, bottled – for someone who deserves a treat.
Don’t you think you deserve to indulge in this gorgeous box of delights? It’s simply brimming with fragrant fabulousness, from the ENTIRE CARINE ROITFELD COLLECTION (former editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue, dontcha know, based on seven cities and seven imaginary lovers), to a trio of newness from Lalique, inspired by precious metals, we’re going crazy for. We’ve also included generous MINIATURES – inhale DEEP! – from our latest perfume house crush, Vines House Parfums Love Story (7.5ml), together with the so-modern beauty editor’s fave, Floral Street Chypre Sublime (10ml), the dinkiest darling bottle of the delightful Tocca Giulietta (5ml) and for some seasonal va-va-voom, the perfumista’s favourite: Versace Crystal Noir (5ml). PLUS new home fragrance from perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek, whose new candles we’re showcasing – you’ll receive either Ancient Frankincense OR Rebel County, and trust us, you won’t even WANT to leave the house…
AMOUAGEhave been drawing on the ancient, alchemistic traditions of perfume-making, creating perfumes that are loved all over the world for over 35 years. This is a luxury perfume house with its finger on the pulse-point of what modern men and women want, so we are delighted to introduce the truly magical SECRET GARDEN DISCOVERY SET featuringFOUR NICHE FRAGRANCES inspired by the floral haze of secret gardens. Spray away the darkness with a joyful leap in to Spring (oh, yes please!) with every spray from Blossom Love, Lilac Love, Love Mimosa and Love Tuberose – each fragrance crafted using the finest oils and essences sourced from around the world. Dare we say: it’sbetter than a real bouquet and therefore makes a truly WONDERFUL GIFT either for yourself, or someone special. If they like glorious gardens, gasp at flowers and adore floral fragrances – they’ll love you forever.
Taking their name from their motto: ‘Joyau, Unique and Sensoriel’ (a ‘unique sensory jewel’), this ultra-cool niche French house delight in doing things differently. Using vintage bottles in bold, neon colours, allowing their perfumers free-reign and with everything eco-conscious – the fragrances are just are vibrant, but oh so beautifully wearable. Appealing to artistic types who like to tread their own path, the scents are seductively unique (genuinely, we love ALL ELEVEN!) From the salted amber of Ambraser, coffee and oudh of Coffeeze, Cuirissime‘s leather, violet and iris; zesty ginger and absinthe in Gingerlise and darkly daring leathery floral of Noiressence. There’s the whole rose (petals, thorns, humid air) of Rosamonda, sensual rose oudh and vanilla in SexyCrush or powdery soft rose in Sopoudrage to explore. SpringPop is green shoots, fresh cut grass and sea air, while Superfusion‘s silvery musk shimmers intriguingly, and UltraHot crackles with sensual saffron and incense. Oh wow, it’s a fragrant journey alright – and we’re re-using our pots for makeup brushes and pens!
This one’s a Perfume Society EXCLUSIVE (so you can guarantee they wont have this!) Atelier des Ors Discovery Set is truly a majestic perfume house: think decadent scents for perfume-loving grown-ups, created from the best quality ingredients the world can offer. (And the full-size bottles are like snow globes for grown-ups, a-sparkle with flecks of real gold.) Atelier des Ors will fan the flames of your fragrant desires, as Jean-Phillipe Clermont, founder of Atelier des Ors, explains: ‘In every civilisation, gold symbolises the pursuit of perfection and the quest of absolute.’ Get spraying for yourself and explore FIVE NICHE fragrances in this divine set, which you won’t find anywhere else. Aube Rubis is crisp, woody, inspired by the dawn, while Lune Féline captures the brilliance of the night sky and the moon in the most creamy, dreamy vanilla. Musc Immortel sparkles with grapefruit, iris and clary sage and Nuda Veritas swathes the skin in an airy, fresh and pure floral creation. Rose Omeyyade, meanwhile, is a breath-takingly sensual rose and oudh perfume that will make you sigh. We’ve swooned, many times, over all of these…
Ostens Discovery Set £30 The créme de la créme of ingredients + the world’s top perfumers = a luxury niche house of refined elegance.
Friends and business partnersChristopher Yu and Laurent Delafon have been in the fragrance industry for over 20 years, founding United Perfumes (a prestigious fragrance distribution and development company) which afforded them unrivalled access to the finest ingredients and perfumers in the world, including extraordinary new extractions from LRM Naturals of ‘vetiver, rose, patchouli and more. We realised that if we loved those smells, then there were surely other people who’d feel the same way.’ Everyone in the fragrance world raves about these scents, and your recipient definitely will fall for…. Cashmeran Velvet cocooning with smoky woodiness, Cedarwood Heart grounding, while unexpectedly creamy and Jasmine Absolute – addictively heady, just-bloomed jasmine on a sultry day. Two patchoulis explore the note’s diversity: Patchouli Heart No.I a softer, warmer, and a more modern interpretation of the classic, while Patchouli Heart No.II is fresher, aromatic and timelessly elegant. And, oh! Rose Oil Isparta – A rose is a rose…or so we thought until we smelt the unique scent of the Rosa Damascena from Turkey. Love at first sniff…
Why not buy the same box for you and a best friend you’re missing terribly? That way, you can schedule a Zoom meeting, get the wine in and some snacks on the go, and have a live smell-along together!
The smell of fresh laundry regularly tops the lists of people’s favourite smells, and recently, 4160 Tuesdays founder and perfumer, Sarah McCartney, was asked to create a fragrance for Samsung, for which they produced a series of spoof ads starring Olympic gold medallist, Max Whitlock.
Samsung questioned 2000 British adults to reveal the nation’s favourite smells. The results, they announced, ‘…positioned fresh laundry at the top of the pile, closely followed by clean bedsheets, cakes baking in the oven, the seaside air and freshly cut grass.’
The new ‘Freshly Laundered – Eco Edition’ fragrance was recently made available to customers who purchased a new ecobubbleTM washing machine from Samsung KX, an experience space in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. But what is it, exactly, that makes us love the smell of fresh laundry so much?
It’s a question that continues to provoke much research, the answer being worth billions – not only in the ‘functional fragrance’ market, but worked into many fine fragrances, home scents and body care products. Earlier this year, we reported on a scientific study that finally revealed exactly what makes fresh laundry smell so good; and out of three possible options Sarah McCartney presented to them, the final fragrance Samsung chose contained, ‘… four musks which evoke the smell of a fresh garden and fresh water, paired with aromas of lily of the valley.’
The series of adverts for the perfume put an amusing ‘spin’ (sorry, couldn’t resist) on classic fragrance ads, by paying reference to some famous examples. Says Samsung:
‘The launch video pays homage to Brad Pitt’s infamous commercials for Chanel No.5 – with our greatest young Olympian in philosophical and moody mode as he ponders the mysteries of life and laundry. The Team GB Olympian sends up some of the industry’s clichés by seductively running his hand over the edge of a washing machine and spraying himself with perfume before sniffing a Union Jack flag. Max can also be seen putting his spin on well-loved and celebrated ads such as Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue commercial (originally starring David Gandy) and Versace’s 2014 advert for Eros.’
While you can’t go out and buy the Samsung Freshly Laundered fragrance separately, it’s fascinating to see that we still cling to familiar scents – perhaps moreso now than ever, in these troubled times – when asked about our favourite smells. How many, from the official list, would make your personal list…?
Full Top 20 best loved smells according to British Adults:
Save your cart?
We save your email and cart so we can send you reminders - don't email me.
Join The Perfume Society mailing list and be the first to know about all things fragrant.
We take your privacy seriously. We will only use your details to keep you informed about The Perfume Society. We do not pass personal information to any other organisation. You can unsubscribe at any time.
By browsing our site or closing this message, you agree to store Cookies by us and third-party partners. Cookies enable certain functions on our site, let you access your account, place orders, allow us to analyse website traffic and usage, and personalise content. We also share certain information about your usage of our site with analytics partners. Find out more.