Hello ’22! A fragrant new year (and new you) with a VERY special offer

New year, new you? Fragrance is the easiest way to revive your spirits or change the vibe (with no counting calories or impossible exercise routines or self-imposed ‘rules’ to follow!) A new scent can give you more confidence and energy or soothe the senses after a difficult time. It can also be your ‘shoulder pads in a bottle’ best friend – or a hug in a bottle, helping you feeling better about yourself every single day.

If you’re new here (hello!) and don’t know all the things we do, or just want to start the new year as you mean to go on; why not consider some of the fragrance-filled options below, and join us in the scented celebrations…

 

Treat yourself to something new (with 22% off*)

Now all the Christmas gifts have been exchanged, we think YOU deserve an extra present for getting through all of last year. We’re welcoming in the new year in the most fragrant way possible, by giving you 22% of ALL our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (when you spend £40 or more)!

Simply select your favourite Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (*minimum spend £40, valid on Perfume Society Discovery Boxes only, offer ends 7th January 2022) and enter the code Hello22 at checkout.

 

Take the stress out of scent shopping

Fragrance can be bewildering, and finding a new one often overwhelming – that’s exactly why we started The Perfume Society, to take the stress out of shopping for a new scent. How can you find your perfect perfume? What’s the best way to take care of it? How can you make it last longer? Where should fragrance be applied, to get the most out of every spritz? Nobody’s born knowing these things, so we’ve collated answers to dozens of the questions we’re regularly asked in our FAQ section. Simply head there and click on the question, and your answer will appear!

 

Find your next favourite fragrance

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

We have the perfect perfume solution: our genius Fragrance Finder

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

That computer program has been fully updated with key words comparing and describing hundreds of thousands of fragrances – not only the fragrance notes, but how the fragrance will make you feel, the atmosphere the perfumer has created, the character of the scent itself. All you need do is type in the name of a fragrance you already love and you’ll be given an immediate list of six scents to seek out, all at various price points and with characteristics you’re extremely likely to swoon for. Honestly, try it – they’re quite spookily accurate!

Become a V.I.P

For just just £12 per year, you can join our special VIP club and receive the following exclusive benefits for 12 months of fragrant fun…

Special Discounts:  £4 off our professionally-curated Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, you’ll hear about all the launches before anyone else. This year we will be offering even greater discounts and some fabulous 24-hour price drop opportunities exclusive to our VIPs.

Digital Subscription to The Scented Letter: You can read more about this below, but all VIPs get immediate access to our award-winning online magazine, delivered to their in-box– featuring perfumes, perfumers, ingredients and so much more devoted to all things fragrant. Psst ..we’ll send you the latest Scented Letter as soon as you sign up..!

Event Tickets: Early access to events – virtually and in real life…meeting with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world.

Exclusive Prizes: just for VIPs.

(Please note: due to shipping restrictions we cannot send our boxes to the Republic of Ireland or internationally.)

 

 

Read The Scented Letter, our multi-award-winning perfume magazine, now FREE for everyone!

Described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, we are delighted that our gorgeous and fact-packed digital magazine, The Scented Letter, is now free for everyone to read in digital format online. You can read the most recent Time to Shine issue, here. But don’t worry, if you prefer print, the magazine (and back issues) is also available to order in gorgeously printed form via our Online Shop.

Appearing FOUR times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, featuring at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more will take them ever-deeper into the scented world, via our Latest Launches round-up of the new men’s and women’s scents, exclusive interviews with the world’s best perfumers, stunning spreads devoted to the fascinating history and future-forward trends shaping the perfume world.

However you choose to celebrate in scent, we wish you a wonderful (and fabulously fragrant) year ahead for 2022!

What to do if you hate a perfume present? Tips & tricks to save your scent!

Well firstly, ‘hate’ is a very strong word. If you’ve been landed with the favourite fragrance of your current partner’s ex, we’re not going to pretend to make you suddenly adore it, so maybe re-gift that one – see tip #7 – and treat yourself to one of our Discovery Boxes of fragrant delights, and perhaps a new partner, instead?

But there are things you can try before you completely ditch a scent – we can’t tell you how many fragrance experts (ourselves included!) and even perfumers have drastically changed their minds about a fragrance by trying some of these top tips…

#1 – Seasonal changes
Did you know that the weather, your mood and even what you ate up to *two weeks ago* can dramatically alter how scent smells on your skin? Skin and climate temperature are vital to a perfume’s performance, so even your favourite fragrance will smell different based on the time of year. When perfumers test the scents they’re creating they often use climate-controlled booths to check how they smell in hot and colder conditions (depending what countries they’ll be selling in). Don’t re-gift until you’ve tried the perfume again later in the year, or even on holiday (remember those?)

– Similarly, strongly spiced foods can change how a perfume smells on your skin, and when testing fragrances under lab conditions, the ‘skin model’ volunteers they use are often specifically asked to refrain from eating such foods up to two weeks prior to testing, so the perfumers can smell a ‘true’ representation of the scent. Though sometimes the reverse is true: if a fragrance is to be mainly sold in a country where people eat lots of spicy foods, the ‘skin models’ are asked to replicate that diet to ensure the scent works efficiently.

– We now know that mood plays an important part in how we select a fragrance – try a scent when you’re feeling a particular way, and it colours how you feel about the fragrance itself. If you’re feeling stressed or upset, a bit under the weather or just overwhelmed, these are not ideal conditions for testing out something new. Wait until you’re feeling calmer, or simply have more time to really explore what you’re smelling. That’s when you can try to…

 

#2 – Improve your sense of smell
Absolutely everyone can benefit from this – we’ve had people from normal perfume-lovers, complete novices to industry professionals telling us how trying these techniques have changed the way they smell for the better (for good). This doesn’t mean suddenly gaining the ability of being able to detect every single ingredient within a bottle of perfume, but rather learning to train your nose the way a perfumer does: by deeply exploring the emotions it makes you feel, colours, textures, places and people it reminds you of.

This is why we developed our so-popular How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops, which we have regularly held in London and, sometimes at independent perfumeries around the UK. We’ll be adding new dates as soon as we’re able to hold face-to-face workshops again, and plan to make a video available online.

Meanwhile, here are a few simple tips to try every day:

Spray a scent on a blotter, preferably; close your eyes and keep sniffing for several seconds, then take the blotter away, inhale deeply, and re-sniff the blotter again. Repeat this for a minute or so, and then begin writing a few words in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be a description, and it shouldn’t ‘list’ notes – try to use words that make you think of other things. For example…

If this scent were a fabric, what would it be? What colour? If you made someone an outfit from that fabric, who would they be, where would they be going?

If it were a piece of music, what instruments would be playing? Is it classical, rock music, pop, rap or jazz?

Really attempt to get past thinking ‘I don’t like this’ and focus instead on the mood it’s creating. Is it too deep or too fresh or floral for your personal taste? Give it time and then, if needed, move on to one of the tips, below…

 

#3 – Layer up!
Layering fragrances used to be seen as a scent sin, but we’ve all gotten over ourselves a bit (well most of us have). You don’t have to do this to a perfume you already love on its own – why would you need to? – but there are brilliant ways of beefing-up a sadly flimsy fragrance, or adding a zing to something that’s a bit too dark or cloying on your skin. Give it a go, because, as we always say: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!

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

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

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

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

For layering any of these, you can either try layering over other fragrances you have in which the above notes dominate, with a single-fragranced ‘soliflore’ (one main note) fragrance oil or spray, or try layering the scent you don’t currently like over a differently perfumed body lotion or oil (see below or the added benefits of doing this…)

 

#4 – Boost the lasting-power
If the reason you don’t like a perfume is because it just seems to ‘disappear’ on your skin, you’re not alone. We often find those with dry skin have this problem, and it’s even thought genetics and things like hair colour may play a part. Scientists are still finding this out, but while they do, there are ways you can make perfume last far longer:

– Try using a body oil, rich body balm or moisturising lotion before you put any fragrance on (and even afterwards, too), as scent takes longer to evaporate on nourished skin. This helps the fragrance ‘cling’ to your skin more easily, and so you get to actually smell if for more than a few minutes without frantically re-spraying.

– Spray pulse-points you might not usually think of. Behind your knees is a good example – it’s a warm spot that, once spritzed, will mean you leave a fragrant trail…

– Spritz the perfume at the nape of your neck, even into your hair and on clothes – BUT do check by spraying a tissue first that it isn’t going to mark your hair or fabric a strange colour, or leave an oily residue! We adore this way of wearing perfume, as hair and fabric are porous without heating up as much as your skin, allowing the perfume to stay all day.

Spraying a fragrance on to a scarf is a particularly good idea if you want…

#5 – A part-time perfume
There are days we feel the need to try something completely different, but perhaps don’t want to be stuck with that scent all day, so what to do?

– Consider spraying a scarf (preferably not silk or a light colour, unless you’ve patch-tested it as above, first!) with this perfume you’re unsure of, that way if it gets a bit ‘too much’ or you want to wear something different, you can simply take the scarf off and you’re not stuck with it on your skin all day.

Nope? Tried all that and still struggling? All is not lost, don’t give up yet…

 

#6 – Scent up your life
We all have certain scents or fragrant ingredients that, for one reason or another, we might not wish to wear but do like to smell if it’s scenting something else.

– Why not try spraying off-cuts of pretty wrapping paper or tissue paper, and using this to line your lingerie or sweater drawers?

– Or, how about being utterly fabulous by spraying your note paper and insides of envelopes (the fancy ones lined with tissue paper are particularly good for this), and writing a few actual letters or thank you cards to loved-ones you’ve not seen for a while. Everyone loves getting proper post!

– The truly decadent could try scenting table linen – again, PLEASE patch test, as above – for lavish dinner parties to rival Marie Antoinette – spraying on cotton wool and putting inside a deocrative ceramic or pottery vase, on wooden ornaments or ceramic discs you hang over radiators to scent the whole room as they heat.

We so hope you can find a way to try this poor perfume again and give it some love, but if all else fails and you still can’t bring yourself to use it, well at least you tried! Why not…

#7 – Have a perfume-swapping party / re-gift
Um, remembering not to invite the one who gave you that particular perfume… otherwise, major awks. Or, if you’re looking to re-gift, have a look at our brilliant Fragrance Finder.

Simply put the name of the fragrance into the search box, and it’ll suggest six scents that are similar in character and style, or share a number of significant notes – this way you can see if anyone you know already has one of these, and it means they’ll very likely love to receive this one from you.

Genius!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

What would Santa smell like…?

Responses to the question ‘What would Santa smell like?’ have revealed a wide range of answers from children all over the world, depending on their age and where they live. Perfumer Penny Williams took the most popular answers and turned them into a fragrance that teachers can use to engage school children in discussions around their sense of smell…

Lisa Hipgrave, Director of IFRA UK, who undertook the research, says ‘We are working with a group of people across the fragrance industry to develop ways to help people understand and benefit from a greater awareness of their sense of smell. Whilst this is a lighthearted approach to get us all in the Christmas spirit which we hope people will try at home, it is part of a wider piece of the work of that group. We have created a new website called fragrancematters.org to help people find out more about the importance of their sense of smell  – from new and quirky facts, to taking a deeper dive into the world of olfaction through highlighting wider research, activities and events.’

So, what were their answers? ‘Soot and sweat’ was a popular response, while others answered ‘leather, boot polish and velvet’ and ‘pine trees, from brushing past them on his journey, and from Christmas trees as he places presents under trees in hopeful homes.’ More poetically inclined children decided he might smell of ‘nose-tingling magic and moonlight’ or ‘starry nights from his journey through the night sky’ and even ‘like space, perhaps with a little whisky’. Contributions from the USA included ‘the New York night sky just before snowfall’, and Canadadian children said ‘the first snow of winter on the pine woods’, while responses from Australia included ‘countless beach barbecues’.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, food and drink was a major theme, with cinnamon, gingerbread and mince pies appearing most often. Many children think that Santa smells of milk and biscuits, until they reach around 14 years of age, when Santa’s snacks switched to ‘sherry or brandy and mince pies’.

 

British perfumer Penny Williams, Chairperson of the IFRA UK working group, Vice Chair of the IFRA UK Technical committee and founder of Orchadia Ltd, says: ‘The human sense of smell is incredible. We take around 20,000 breaths a day and each one is an opportunity to learn about our surroundings. Inside our nose are olfactory bulbs, which are linked directly to our brain and create a memory link. That is why our sense of smell is so important to our wellbeing and feeling connected. Through our noses, we can also sense temperature and humidity. Both also affect how well we can smell – and smell is also the flavour of food. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how losing our sense of smell can make us feel disconnected. Our sense of smell isn’t just about the present, it’s about the past and can create feelings of happiness and nostalgia.’ She continues:

‘We want to bring back that innocent joy, comfort and sense of happiness to pupils in the schools we are working with. However, this is such a fun experiment for anyone of any age, so we are inviting people across the UK to spark up the discussion with family and friends. Using everyday objects and a few Christmas treats you can quickly get your olfactory sense working. Our nose is connected to a part of our nervous system which is responsible for detecting heat (chilli) and cold (menthol). So, menthol, found in peppermint and often in toothpaste, has a physical cooling effect that we can feel and mince pies might create a feeling of warmth. The different sensations and feelings evoked by our sense of smell comes from many places and somehow comes together in a wonderful way: rather like Christmas.’

Using these responses, Orchadia created a special fragrance that follows Santa’s journey with a mixture of 48 traditional and modern ingredients that have made an intriguing and bold scent. Most noticeable on first spray are smoke and ozone –using the uniquely woody smokey scent of vetiver and an ingredient that smells like fresh water. Menthol hints at snow flurries in cold air. Also featured are pine needle and davana oil, which is reminiscent of Christmas pudding. There’s even the leathery scent of reins next to reindeer fur, accompanied by earthy patchouli oil. The fresh forest notes are extended with cedar, eventually fading to vanilla and soft moss. 

Victoria Osborne, Teacher at Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, says ‘The children are going to have so much fun discussing what Santa smells like as part of their STEM learning. It is a really lovely way to get them to use their own personal experiences and memories whilst also learning about the science of smell. We are going to have a science lab that smells like Christmas has come early as we will be taking time to properly breathe in the different layers of smells in mince pies and to take time to notice if something created a warm or a cooling smell.’

Children respond amazingly and often explain smells in the most creatively imaginative ways, so if you find yourself desperate for a way to entertain the kids during the holidays, why not gather together some ingredients from your pantry (and toothpaste from the bathroom!) to create a sensory station in your own home, where children can explore their sense of smell?  Ask them to smell each ingredient and describe how it smells. you can use questions we ask people to think about at our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops:

If this was a material, would it be velvet, suede, linen, fluffy towels…?

If this was a musical instrument, which would it be?

Would it be loud or quiet? High or low-pitched? Fast or slow?

What colour would this smell be?

And… which of these would Santa smell of?

 

Fragrances For… feeling calmer at Christmas

Christmas can often be a stressful time for many – perhaps moreso than ever these past couple of years – so we’re turning to the scents that make us feel cosy, soothed, like wearing a hug in fragrant form. All of the below are recently launched and well worth your while seeking out for some quiet moments of bliss, just for you…

 

 

BARBOUR
For Her
Misty mornings beckon, mellow light and stillness, winter sunshine and crisp air reflected in this so-evocative scent that sings of British meadows. Picture rolling, heathered hills, spiderwebs jewelled with dew drops, invigorating citrus soon segueing to the soothing floral heart. Wisps of summer memories are married to a snuggle-me-closer tonka and orris base that is softness personified. Fresh and classic all at once, and we’re loving the on-brand hipflask-esque bottle.
£49 for 50ml eau de parfum
barbour.com

 

 


LE LABO
Thé Matcha 26

The Japanese tradition of drinking matcha tea is far more meaningful than a quick sip, and similarly Le Labo says this is ‘much more than a scent to us. It is a moment of introspection.’ Take time for yourself as the powdery tea accord embraces you with a creamy hint of fig and textural cedar in the base. There’s sweet orange to revive, a whisper of vetiver, too, providing extra grounding comfort.
£141 for 50ml
lelabofragrances.com

 

OSTENS
Cedarwood Heart
Fragrance lasts less well in the central heating system, which is drying to the body, because perfume needs oils in the skin, to cling to. So Alexis Dadier’s Cedarwood Heart eau de parfum creation for Ostens has a complementary fragrance oil, for layering on to turbo-charge this exquisite, dressed-up creation, a-swirl with ingredients from fabled LMR Naturals including galbanum, cedarwood heart, orris, ylang ylang, ambergris, moss and patchouli. What a divine duo.
£135 for 50ml eau de parfum (and matching oil)
ostens.com

 

 

INITIO
Oud for Happiness
Exploring the believed ‘psychoactive and spiritual’ facets of the world’s most precious wood, joyous bergamot greets you like a dear friend, a surge of ginger really awakening the senses before cedar smooths a path to the main feature. When the oudh hits it’s like a bear hug of harmonious happiness; this is  definitely one to spritz on sluggish mornings when the duvet refuses to release you from its plump embrace.
£280 for 90ml eau de parfum
escentual.com

 

MOLTON BROWN
LABDANUM DUSK
Of the little flurry of Molton Brown’s new launches, this rich, Ambrée-woody strikes us as the most masculine, with Nathalie Koobus honouring the traditions of Middle Eastern perfumery via sustainable oudh. ‘I imagined a Middle Eastern palace, where hazes of hookah incense drift into the sunset. This fragrance modernises fascinating labdanum, pairing it with earthy woods to celebrate its smoky facets.’ The long-lasting, leathery trail will ensure you’re noticed – and maybe followed…?
£110 for 100ml eau de parfum
moltonbrown.com

 

 

 

Kingdom Scotland whiskey and perfume pairings for festive, fragrant fun

What could be better than whisky and perfume pairings? We’re here for them! And who better than Scotland’s first niche fragrance house, Kingdom Scotland, to bring some festive fun (and their expert knowledge) to exploring the fascinating relationship between the two?

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) wanted to treat their members to a sensorially immersive way of bringing together the aromatic worlds of whisky and fragrance, so they reached out to Kingdom Scotland’s founder, Imogen Russon-Taylor. No better person in the world, in fact, to offer her advice, because it was only after a distinguished career in the world of Scotch whisky, that Imogen went on to create her own fragrance house – the very first to be based north of the border.

‘Both whisky and perfume are produced by traditional distillation methods,’ she explains. Both evoke a complex sensory experience and both rely upon the innovative use of ingredients or flavours to distinguish themselves from competitors.’

The Kingdom Scotland scents chosen were Metamorphic and Portal – each of them expertly paired with SMWS Flavour Profiles of Lightly Peated and Juicy Oak & Vanilla, and the Society hopes ‘The collaboration will bring to life Society guests’ olfactory systems, igniting the senses at Society venues across the UK this festive season.’

 

 

METAMORPHIC paired with LIGHTLY PEATED – Inspired by metamorphic rock, Metamorphic fuses black pepper and tobacco, incense, minerals and rose absolute. As it’s warmed on the skin, the scent reveals a base of amber resin and leather. A natural fit for the Lightly Peated Flavour Profile, the scent was matched with bottling ‘Peat fire tales on Orkney’.

Metamorphic. ‘Scotland has some of the most complex geology in the world and this scent is inspired by metamorphic rock that is spectacularly woven into the landscape,’ explains Imogen. The complex, fusing black pepper and tobacco, incense, minerals and rose absolute, metamorphosing on the skin as it’s warmed to reveal a base of amber resin and leather. And in this one, you might make out just a splash of Islay malt whisky – a nod to Imogen’s own history, here.

 

PORTAL paired with JUICY OAK & VANILLA – Portal evokes a fresh, outdoorsy, gusting nose with herbaceous botanicals and bergamot, resting on a veritable forest floor of vetiver and Scots pine. Sampled & sprayed with ‘Summer garden curiosity’, a match made in heaven for Juicy Oak & Vanilla.

Portal is described as ‘a gateway to the ancient Caledonian forests of Scotland.’ It’s fresh, outdoorsy, gusting with herbaceous botanicals and bergamot, notes chosen to evoke verdant florals, resting on a veritable forest floor of vetiver and Scots pine. Kingdom Scotland’s descrition – ‘an escape to a sylvan wonderland’ – hints at its power to transport you to the shade of the tranquil forest.

Commenting on the collaboration, Imogen Russon-Taylor said: ‘I’m delighted to be working with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. My background is in luxury whisky, so to be working with such a well-respected organisation is a dream. Your sense of smell is an incredible thing. It possesses the same characteristics as a dram, especially a Society dram, by transporting you away to great memories and special places.’ Click here to take part in this truly unique sensory journey this festive season…

Creed’s luxury leather collection launches

Taking Christmas gifting to the next level, Creed‘s luxury leather collection is one for serious scent-lovers to lust over! Think the Creed-obsessive in your life has it all? Think again, with this exquisitely hand-crafted range encompassing travel bottle holders to ornate leather trunks, Creed’s luxury leather collection has you covered no matter if you’re cruising the scented seas, traversing the globe or merely staying at home and travelling via your nose (and the sense of smell, of course).

Creed says: ‘Inspired by his father’s oceanic travels, Olivier Creed looked to the design of the trunks that boarded the Empress of Canada from Vancouver to Kobe to develop this unique collection. After seeing photographs of his father next to the stacked trunks and delicate vanity cases, Olivier knew this would be the perfect way to store some of Creed’s most treasured fragrances with exquisite objets d’art. A repeat pattern that is reminiscent of the elegant styling of the time is prominent as these exquisite hand-crafted Italian leather accessories become the perfect travelling companion.’

 

‘The first trunk fits two 100ml fragrances, the second is designed to fit three 75ml Royale Exclusive bottles and the third, an ode to travel, fits two 250ml from the Heritage and Royale Exclusives collection, including a Creed leather travel-friendly atomiser. Beautifully crafted candles are available in three formats 220g, 650g and 1680g, in the delicate scents of Birmanie Oud and Vanisia.’

 

 

‘Inspired by Olivier Creed’s travels around the globe, they are presented in a brand-new glass vessel and dressed in burgundy leather for the medium and large size formats. A sublime leather perfume sleeve completes the collection and is the perfect travel companion for a 100ml fragrance or best-selling female fragrance, Aventus for Her (75ml) – adding an extra special thought to seasonal gifting.’

Creed’s luxury leather collection is priced between £150 for the 75ml fragrance sleeve (fragrance to be chosen by you and purchased separately), to the ‘Santa, I’ve been VERY good’ heights of £1,900 for the largest of the leather trunks (which fits two 250ml fragrances of your choice purchased separately) – which are available from the Creed Boutique: 99 Mount Street, Mayfair, W1K 2TF.

Ultra luxe fragrance gifts for less

If you’re looking to really spoil a fragrance-lover this Christmas, you can’t go wrong with an ultra luxe fragrance gift. Perhaps they’ve hankered after a niche scent but haven’t allowed themselves to buy it yet, or they adore the finer things in life but haven’t known where to start with fragrance? Well, we’ve several suggestions for ways to treat them (or yourself!) without breaking the bank…

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).

 

La Maison J.U.S Discovery Set £30

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!

 

 

Ostens Discovery Set £30

Friends and business partners Christopher 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.’ And we surely do… At OSTENS they are ‘ripping up the rulebook’ – and we couldn’t be happier about it. Each creation from this dynamic fragrance house is inspired by a raw ingredient, each one developed by a master perfumer (think Dominique Ropion and Sophie Labbé, yup!), given absolute creative freedom with no budget or brief. This refreshing, and simple, approach to fragrance creation has left us in awe. Now you can try the ENTIRE COLLECTION at home, exclusive to The Perfume Society, with six creations ranging from fresh and delicious Rose Isparta to Cashmeran Velvet (based around the seductive molecule Cashmeran), and two different takes on patchouli. This is creativity unleashed – and now you can dive in for yourself…

 

 

 

Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set £35

Inspired by childhood memories of Kavala, Greece, embracing his family’s heritage in Istanbul, and the intertwining of art, history, and philosophy; Manos Gerakinis is the first niche luxury Greek perfume house, and the fragrances truly radiate the diversity and passion of their founder… From an early age, Manos Gerakinis knew that ‘…every bottle is more than a mere perfume; it is a living olfactory experience, unique and mysterious.’ This heady mix of knowledge and respect for cultural heritage would later become ‘the founding stones of the brand,’ but of course life experience is always a key ingredient, and Manos travelled from Greece to London for the prestigious role of managing Harrods luxury department. This gave him unparalleled access to designers such as Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana, and with London as his base for over a decade, he avidly explored the world as part of his job. ‘Creating my own fragrance was always in the back of my mind,’ he explains, ‘and once I was given the opportunity, I grabbed it.’ Delving further into researching and learning the technical side of the fragrance world, ‘My initial goal was to create a powerful scent that was able to captivate anyone in the room. I wanted an alluring scent, mysterious and poetic.’ He began curating a collection of exquisite essential oils and ingredients from around the world. The result? A collection as sumptuously beautiful as the artistic inspirations.

 

 

J.F. Schwarlose Discovery Set £35

Purveyors of fine perfumes since 1856, the history of heritage house J.F. Schwarzlose deserves to be captured in a movie.. From piano-maker to perfumer – selling scents beloved by the royal courts of Europe and Chinese Emperors alike – this always-innovative perfumery has survived war, inflation and changing tastes by always being one step ahead…When entrepreneurial piano-maker Johann Friedrich Schwarzlose established his own drug store at Markgrafenstrasse 29, beginning with production of perfumes, he quickly established himself. The company had been purveyor to the Court, and now the aristocracy flocked to the new fragrance shop. By 1897, Schwarzlose had taken on a business partner, Franz Köthner, and together they traded with the added title: ‘Purveyor to the Court of His Majesty the Emperor and King’. Indeed, a flacon found in a collection of Emperor Pu Yi confirms their formidable reputation had already reached as far as China. What a phoenix this fragrance house is, in 2012 enlisting brilliant perfumer Véronique Nyberg as the ‘nose’, they remain ‘in close contact with the last heir to Schwarzlose, Jutta Jank-Trabant, who is delighted to find the brand on display again. And how utterly joyous this important perfumery was saved once again! Now thriving afresh, the modern-day fragrances of J.F. Schwarzlose harness the grandeur of their heritage, and all they learned through history, but still stay true to leading the fashions rather than merely following them.

 

Clive Christian Around the World Discovery Set £150

Clive Christian Perfume creates the ‘world’s finest perfumes’ – timeless classics, made without compromise. Each perfume has an oil inclusion of 20% or above in every bottle, they are intense and complex fragrances for opulent, pure perfume pleasure. We can’t wait for you to discover these uniquely expressive, exquisite perfumes in the Around the World Discovery Set. Explore the heights of mountains, the depths of forests and the sunny warmth of tropical climates through this foray of fragrances – the ultimate globe-trotting perfume set. Here, you (or the very lucky recipient) can discover the exquisite fragrances below that will transport you around the world, via: Addictive Arts Jump up and Kiss Me Hedonistic  – an amber gourmand fragrance that opens with citrus notes of bergamot, grapefruit, neroli. Noble XXI Art Deco Cypress  – zesty bergamot and uplifting basil held by a surging heart of exotic yet warming spices. Original Collection 1872 Masculine – herbaceous and aromatic. Private Collection C Woody Leather  – a woody fragrance with a supple leather yet exotic twist. Considering each full-size fragrance is priced between £250 – £595 for 50ml eau de parfum, this beautifully packaged discovery collection is the perfect way to indulge in true luxury for far less.

Luxury fragrance gifts really are a fail-safe way of showing how much you care. Whichever of these you chose, they cannot fail to be utterly delighted – and perhaps discover a new fragrant love to explore further next year…

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