Fragrant reads as festive gifts? Snuggle by the fireside and enjoy five of our favourites…

Is there anything as satisfying in these cold, dreary days, as settling by the fireside, reclining on a chaise lounge (or lounging on the sofa in your favourite old pyjamas – however the mood takes you!) while sipping a cup of hot chocolate (or, y’know, gin) and getting your nose stuck in a good book? When the tome you’ve chosen is all about fragrance, all the better – and a great add-on gift for your fellow ‘fumeheads, too.
You can find an entire library in the Fragrant Reads section of the website – but these top this booklist of our seasonal, perfume-themed recommendations. (Click on the blue book titles to find them on-line.)
 

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Perfume: A Century of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom

Under the premise of ‘every perfume has a tale to tell’ the wonderful olfactive adventurer, Lizzie Ostrom, explores signature scents and long-lost masterpieces while waxing lyrical about the often wildly wacky characters and campaigns that launched them. Lizzie tells each tale with her trademark wit, yet filled with fascinating facts. We were glued to the pages from the moment we first held a copy, and this completely charming, totally accessible book is a real treasure trove of memories to savour.
 

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Essence & Alchemy by Mandy Aftel

More than a history of fragrance, this book brilliantly looks behind the scenes at the evolution of fragrance-making, and packs plenty of info about essential oils and their attributes.  A ‘natural’ perfumer herself, working only with botanical essences (and with her own fragrance line, based in California – Aftelier – and in the closing chapters it segues into a how-to book that’s a good place to start if you want to become your own ‘perfume mixologist’, and deepen your understanding and love of perfumery by having a go at making fragrance yourself…
 

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A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman

This one can be difficult to get hold of, but is often available on Amazon’s second-hand marketplace. Do find it if you can – Ackerman’s writing is exquisite – we’d call it poetic, actually – exploring and explaining not just the sense of smell, but all the senses.  In the first chapter – Smell – she looks at scent and memory, at roses, at sneezing, at the way our health (and what we eat) impacts on our body odour.  You’ll learn answers to questions you never knew you had, and though this book is over 20 years old, it’s timeless…

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The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Perfumer by Jean-Claude Ellena

A quiet and thoughtful man who works in his own hilltop atelier well away from the hustle and bustle of the commercial perfumery world, this chronicles Jean-Claude Ellena’s thoughts, inspirations and global travels while working on new launches.  Most fascinating to us is the short section at the back in which Jean-Claude shares some of the harmonies and accords he’s perfected over the years:  his aim is to create a specific scent with the minimum of notes.  Who knew that you could conjure up the scent of sugared almonds with just vanillin, benzoin and benzaldehyde…?

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British Perfumery – A Fragrant History

Dedicated to the fascinating history of British Fragrance (dating back to the 16th Century), this stunning book takes you on a journey through the esteemed heritage of The British Society of Perfumers, their famous clients (including royalty) and follows the scented trail right through to the great British houses carrying the fragrance flag today, and in to the future.

Formed in 1963, the British Society of Perfumers came together as a way of helping individual perfumers improve their status and deserved recognition as leading lights of the creative output this country offers the world. Celebrating the profession past and present while marking their own 50th anniversary, the book was conceived by their President – John Bailey – working with contributors Helen Hill, Yvonne Hockey and Matthew Williams. Beautiful, packed full of facts and endlessly delve-in-able, we think it’s definitely one to place on a coffee-table to have your guests swooning…

Writing about perfume really is an art all of its own. (If we do say so ourselves!) So from these fragrant reads. we are sure you’ll find something to set your senses alive – something to gift to a fragrance loving friend or to keep for yourself.

What other scent-centered books have you been getting your nose stuck into, lately? Do get in touch by emailing  [email protected] and let us know if there’s anything missing from our ever-expanding bookshelves…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 
 

The Perfume Society Gift Guide: your one-stop shop for a scented extravaganza…

From a gift that lasts the whole year through to a fragrant read and scented treats for the pickiest of people… we have solved your shopping woes with a one-stop shop for all your scent-loving friends, family and colleagues.
Shopping for others isn’t always so easy. But our Perfume Society themed guide to which-box-for-who can help you make all the right choices. With the mere click of a button, it’s your Christmas list, sorted…
 

screenshot-2016-11-29-12-24-04  A VIP Subscription £25

The Perfume Society is the go-to authority on fragrance choosing, wearing, ‘after-care’, history, news, ‘noses’ and much, much more. So why not gift someone a VIP subscription so they can join our ranks?

As a VIP (a Very Important Perfumista), they receive a welcome Perfume Society Discovery Box of samples, accompanied by our exclusive ‘smelling notes’, designed to introduce the key fragrance families – plus Perfume Society sampling blotters and a bespoke notebook for their fragrant thoughts.
They’ll have priority access to exclusive Perfume Society events through the year, and will receive eight digital editions of our award-winning online magazine The Scented Letter. And with their VIP Subscriber card they’ll be entitled to special privileges and exclsuive discounts at stores including Penhaligon’s and Miller Harris, among many other treats. It’s the win-win choice and don’t forget – this gift will last for twelve whole months, so you’ll be in their good books for an entire year…!

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Discovery Boxes from £12.50 for VIPs (£17.50 non-VIPs)

Our Discovery Boxes can be a great gift for someone who is passionate about perfume or a complete novice. Each box is carefully curated and scent-fully themed – we use our fantastic perfume world contacts to bring you an array of well known, niche and latest launches.

Why give just one scent, when you can introduce them to a whole wardrobe of fragrance?! We include expertly written smelling notes, so the wearer can impress with their new-found knowledge when people say ‘you smell amaaazing! What perfume are you wearing…?’
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 The Perfume Bible £16.25 for VIPs (£25 non-VIPs)

Written by The Perfume Society‘s Founders, Jo Fairley and Lorna McKayThe Perfume Bible is must for every fragrance-lover. 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 – it brings together their combined years of experience and wealth of knowledge. 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 and much more in 192 pages of invaluable expertise.

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Luxury Perfume House Boxes from £10 for VIPs (from £12.50 non-VIPs)

Alongside The Perfume Society’s own selections, you’ll now find scented boxes from fabled and ‘rising star’ perfumery names including Shay & Blue, Santa Eulalia, Molton Brown, Ormonde Jayne and more with exciting new discoveries added all the time. There’s a box for every budget, with prices from £12.50 – £78 – and The Perfume Society Subscribers can take advantage of special prices: from as little as £10
 

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Gift Vouchers from £15 – £50

The fuss-free solution for those uncertain about what to buy that perfume-loving special someone…
The Perfume Society Gift Card is available in £15, £25 and £50 options and can be redeemed across any item in the shop section of our website – our magazine or copies of The Perfume Bible, VIP Subscription, Discovery Boxes and more!
We hope this has given you a good start to your seasonal shopping – but do look out for our forthcoming posts explaining in-depth how you can make a fragrance lover’s year with whatever gift you choose…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Gift with purchase: our three favourite words! Here's a scented selection…

Yes, yes, we know ’tis the season to be stocking up on gifts for our nearest and dearest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find a little time to treat ourselves, right?
Three of our favourite words have to be ‘gift with purchase’ and luckily, at this time of year, there’s a veritable flurry of fragrant offerings. Your only real question should be: shall I gift it as an extra surprise, or, well, y’know. One for you, one for me?
Santa must think you’ve been very good this year at Estée Lauder, with a gi-norm-ous Blockbuster Set that includes…
236613064• Deluxe Palette with 16 EyeShadows, 3 Pure Color Envy Blushes
• 2 Pure Color Envy Lipsticks (full-size)
• 2 Pure Color Envy Lip Glosses (full-size)
• Sumptuous Extreme Mascara (full-size)
• Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II (30ml)
• Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam, 50ml
• Revitalizing Supreme + Cell Power Creme, 15ml
• Modern Muse Le Rouge Eau de Parfum Spray, 4ml
• Travel Case
Phew!
Okay this isn’t actually ‘free’ – but you can purchase it for £58 when buying any Estée Lauder fragrance. But, BUT – it’s worth a spectacular £339! We’d plump for adding it to the Modern Muse Set and having a double-dose of Muses for your money…
Estée Lauder Modern Muse 30ml Set with Makeup Artist Collection (worth £399 alone…) £93.60
Buy it at John Lewis
The following sublimely scented add-ons are available in flagship stores when you purchase the full-size fragrance in a 50ml size or above. Only one purchase per customer, they’re up for grabs whilst stocks last (so get your skates on!)
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A dichotomy of hot and cold, the interplay of cool, mineralic stone and the warmth of skin make for a fascinating scent to surprise – particularly good when layered-up (and even longer-lasting) we found.
Alaia Body Lotion & Showel Gel set, 50ml each
Buy it at House of Fraser
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Utterly, unashamedly feminine with a snuggly warm powdery lightness that radiates the whole day through. And who doesn’t love a miniature size that you can pop about your person for emergency spritzing?
Narciso Poudrée purse spray 10ml eau de parfum free with 50ml purchase £58.50
Buy it at thefragranceshop.co.uk
 
Narciso body lotion 75ml
Or, if stylishly branded scent accessories are more your thing, why not pick up an umbrella, tote or makeup bag for your travels…?
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There’s something about having a super-smart brolly that makes us care less about the rain, and this one is perfect for eitheir sex, too (read that as: we’re nicking it from him. Sorry!) Montblanc Black Umbrella – available nationwide when purchasing any Legend or Emblem fragrance, 50ml or above.
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Sassy, stylish and oh-so-useful there’s a huge Michael Kors tote bag free with any purchase of a 50ml sized Michael Kors fragrance at Boots. We say: get this and fill it with other gifts for a guilt-free eco-shopping trip!
 
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Loving the chic-punk vibes from this Balmain Make up Pouch and Weekend Bag – it’s a House of Fraser exclusive when purchasing Balmain Fragrance 60ml and above. Ditch the shabby bag of shame you’re currently carting around and face the world afresh!
And if the thought of lugging yourself and your purchases around the shops is all rather too much to take – why not browse our SHOP section, just bursting with perfect picks available at the click of a button…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Say it with flowers – 5 coded messages to send with scent

For thousands of years, coded messages have been attributed to flowers, and the cultural or social settings in which they’re given as tokens or displayed. The Victorians were particularly fond of this sentimental ‘Language of Flowers‘, with a number of books and pamphlets devoted to the subject – informing the reader how they may go about creating their own secret message  or decoding what that bouquet from a loved one actually meant.

With one of the biggest floral gift-buying times of the year mere days away, let’s explore a way you could add extra heartfelt meaning to your scented Mother’s Day offerings, be they bottles of perfume or fragrant bouquets…

Bluebell – Humility
Sometimes, mums do know best. We surely all have occasions when mother has proffered some timely advice, at which we’ve rolled our eyes, and has later been proved entirely correct. Sorry for doubting you, ma!

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Penhaligon’s Bluebell £67 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Penhaligon’s

Carnation (pink) – I’ll never forget you:
Unforgettable, that’s what you are… Before we break into song (inadvisable) let’s pay homage to the eccentric mums out there, who do things we may cringe at in youth but come to admire as adults. Maybe. Try a mini of this one in our gorgeous Les Infusions de Prada Discovery Box, too!

Oeillet-Les-Infusions-De-PradaPrada Les Infusions de Prada Oeillet £90 for 100ml eau de parfum.
Buy it at Selfridges

Iris – Your friendship means so much to me
As we get older, it’s lovely to be able to treasure time spent with our mums as friends, rather than the sometimes fraught parent/child relationships we can all struggle with over the years. Perhaps make some time to get your know your mum as a person, too?

496-3004064-LEDP13_MOrmonde Jayne Vanille d’Iris £110 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Ormonde Jayne

Rose (dark pink) – Thankfulness
Everyone likes being told ‘thank you’ every now and again – even if you think they should know you’re thankful by now, it’s still always nice to actually hear it expressed. Why not let her try a sample of this in our Jet Set Discovery Box…?

rose_p_fd929931e9L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée from £77 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at L’Artisan Parfumeur  

Violet – I’ll always be true
We’re taking this to mean family loyalty rather than always telling the absolute truth to our mums, because… yeah. Blood being thicker than water in emotional ties, we may hve been through the wars with our mums, but if we’re lucky enough to still be on speaking terms and have them in our lives, it’s good to have a hug and let them know you’re always there…

YardleyViolets2Yardley April Violets £6.66 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots

Written by Suzy Nightingale