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

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

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

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

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

We dare you to try them on for size…

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

BANANA_REPUBLIC_DARK_CHERRY_AMBER_

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

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

 

 

 

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Scent themed podcasts we’re listening to for spring

Scent themed podcasts seem to be bursting forth like so many buds blossoming, and we’re here for it! When we began recommending perfumed podcasts to listen to a couple of years ago, there really were only a handful around. Now? A whole bunch we’re adding to our ‘subscribe’ list for spring.

Exploring our sense of smell, reviews of new launches and retrospectives with perfumers and fragrance house founders alike, here’s some more direct links to listen, grab a cuppa and some precious ‘me time’ with…

 

An Aromatic Life: Interview with Christophe Laudamiel
Exploring our sense of smell from angles including science, art, literature, movies and health, host Frauke Galia seeks to ‘…shed light on this beautiful sense and increase its profile in a culture dominated by sight and sound.’ With fascinating guests providing insight into wine smelling, aromatherapy and even ‘why we have two nostrils, not just one’, Frauke recently interviewed brilliant perfumer Christophe Laudamiel for the second part of ‘The Art of Perfumery’ (and we highly recommend listening to the first, too).

 

The Sniff: Interview with Kingdom Scotland
Fragrance blogger Nicola Thomis loves taking a deep dive in to all things fragrance and scent related, and in this episode she gets to know Imogen Russon Taylor, founder of the unique Scottish fragrance house of Kingdom Scotland. During their conversation, the two discuss the latest release ‘as well as delving into the influence that Scotland has on their perfumes’ and the intriguing role the Royal Botanic Society of Edinburgh archives have played in inspiring the brand and their scents.

 

Heston’s Journey to the Centre of Food: ‘Heston Smells’
This podcast series invites listeners to hop on board for an exciting trip ‘with the world’s most creative chef, as he explores the amazing hidden secrets within our simplest ingredients,.’ It’s well known that Heston is obsessed with smell and has worked with perfumers and scientists previously to incorporate that sense into his epic food concepts. Here he’s interviewing author Harold McGee on the launch of his new book, Nose Dive (which we recently reviewed, here). A jaw-dropping tome (and it’s a big ‘un!), it reveals the chemical components that make up familiar (and bizarre) smells that surround us.

 

 

The Smell Podcast: Interview with psychologist Dr. Kathrin Ohla
Katie Boateng is an ‘acquired anosmic’ who became anosmic ‘after suffering a post-viral infection that lasted for weeks in late 2008/early 2009.’ She explains that ‘The goal of the podcast is to spread awareness and to make sure that you know, you are not alone in your anosmia journey!’ With Covid-19 having caused a new awareness on the psychological implications of a loss of smell, there’s no better time to tune in. This latest episode being a conversatioj with psychologist, Dr. Kathrin Ohla, and an explanation of how to use ‘GCCR’s Smell & Taste Check.’

 

Every Little Thing: Skewed Smells – A Weird COVID Mystery
Another smell-related podcast in this series (and proof the pandemic is getting everyone talking about our least explored sense), this time with a caller’s personal story. ‘Leña had COVID-19 last October and temporarily lost her sense of smell. As it started to come back, she noticed something strange — fruity things smelled like burnt hair and condoms. Where are Leña’s mystery smells coming from? Rhinologist Simon Gane fills us in on COVID-related smell loss.’

 

Perfume Philosophers: Spring Forward with Floral Street
Fragrantly obsessed friends co-host a podcast ‘about all things that smell good.’ From scented candles they love to explorations of new (to them) fragrance houses and even explaining their love for the smell of marshmallows, this episode is all about their personal first impressions of the Floral Street perfumes. A British house that has recently gone stellar in the United States (thanks to being stocked at Sephora), we’re glad to see the scents from this indie house are getting worn around the world.

 

Pinot & Perfume: Kilian Vodka On the Rocks
‘Do you love perfume?’, host Sarah Chacon asks. ‘How about wine (or any alcohol bevvie)?’ (okay, you have our full attention). ‘If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE.’ Hurrah for that. Each week ‘everything relating to perfume: reviews, news headlines, trends in the industry, and even some educational tidbits (what exactly IS musk, anyway?)’ are discussed – ‘all while sipping on a little sumpin’ sumpin’.’ This time, it’s the refreshing beverage-inspired fragrance of Kilian Vodka On the Rocks that’s tickling her fancy.

 

Mary Portas: On Style: Lizzie Ostrum interview
Talking about ‘the power of style’, guru Portas waxes lyrical with the help of several guests on how to celebrate yourself (and ‘travel through space and time’) through the medium of exploring your personal style. On this episode, one iof the guests is our good friend, fragrance expert and author, Lizzie Ostrom (aka ‘Odette Toilette’) to discuss invisible style, and how ‘Scent is intrinsically linked to memory, and we examine the way it has brought us closer to the people and places we’ve missed in lockdown.’ They also look at ‘how the perfume market fared during the past 12 months, and get some tips from Lizzie on choosing a signature scent online.’

 

Outspoken Beauty: On the Scent Epidose 2
Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale is once again ‘On the Scent’ with experienced beauty broadcaster and co-host, Nicola Bonn. ‘Suzy is a fragrance expert who describes scent like no one I’ve ever met,’ Nicola says [thank you!] and during the episode they chat about ‘some of the most exciting and incredible fragrances on the market and Suzy also does a fragrance prescription service, answering all of the fragrance dilemmas that you’ve been sending…’

Fancy some more fragrant listening? Simply type ‘podcasts’ in the search bar and even more hours of scented musing will be yours to while away the hours with!

 

Nose Dive by Harold McGee – a joyous celebration of our most under-appreciated sense

There are some books that really transcend the boundaries – appealing not only to those already immersed in the subject, but to the wider public – and Nose Dive by Harold McGee is most definitely one of the best we’ve read. So wonderfully connecting the dots between the worlds of smell and taste, it’s no wonder the Sunday Times named it their 2020 Food Book of the Year, calling it ‘A joyously nerdy study of how and what we smell, the effect on our appetites and much more.’

Having worked with some of world’s most innovative chefs, including Thomas Keller and Heston Blumenthal; McGee has dedicated over a decade of his life to our most overlooked sense, and here gives us not only the facts about the chemistry of food, cooking and smells; but widens this (and encourages us to widen our nostrils) by explaining the science of everyday life and the various whiffs we may encounter along the way.

Think of this as a manual to re-connect you to your nose, heightening your enjoyment and understanding of food but, much more than that – enriching every single part of your life. Along the way, McGee introduces us to the aroma chemicals that surround us, which make up our entire world and colour the way we experience it. It’s a joyous book that should be read by cooks, perfumers, fragrance-addicts and absolutely anyone who has been struck by a smell, wondered what it was and wanted to know more.

Something we especially loved was how clearly this information is laid out – so it can be easily referred to. Each smell mentioned is laid out in a chart of its name/species, the component smells to identify it with, and the molecules that create those smells. Gleefully, some have a column respresenting ‘Also found in’, so we learn, for example, that Some Smells of Cat Urine are like blackcurrant, which is caused by methylbutyl sulfanyl formate, and can also be found in beer and coffee. More fragrantly, many flower varieties are described, along with plant pongs, animals, humans, food (raw, cooked or cured) and the scent of space itself.

Managing to be both scholarly yet immediately accessible, it’s his passion for that subject that really sporings off the page and makes you want to run out into the street and start smelling things with a new appreciation for what you might find. Whether he has you bending to smell wet pavements and marvelling at ambergris, exploring the fruit-filled Himilayan mountain ranges, literally stopping to smell the roses or cautiously approaching a durian fruit… this is a celebration of something the majority of us take so foregranted – until we have it taken away from us. Witness the huge rise in smell-related news stories, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Perhaps now the media are focussing on our sense of smell at last, and realising how important it is to our enjoyment and understanding of every day life, there will be further books like this to enjoy a wider readership than they may have previously. And maybe that will lead to proper funding for the much-needed further research we still so desperately need. Now that’s something to celebrate!

If your intrest in pongs has been piqued, perhaps you’d like to perfuse the many other books about smell and the senses we have reviewed for our Fragrant Reads bookshelf…?

By Suzy Nightingale

The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni

The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni is the scent-themed book we’re snuggled up with right now – why not make yourself a brew and get cosy while you read our review…?

 

The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni

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Any novel that contains the phrase ‘perfume is the truth’ has us whooping for joy, and in her beautiful novel, Caboni reminds us that scent has the greatest power to ignite our memories – something the main character, Elena Rossini, knows only too well.

Granted a rare gift of a superior sense of smell, Elena’s passion for perfume has been passed down through generations of her family; but it’s a power that can all too often overwhelm her, as this ability means painful memories about her mother are carried on the breeze, and so she can never truly escape her past. When a betrayal destroys her dreams, fragrant events are set in motion when Elena’s best friend invites her to Paris, and she grabs at the chance to start afresh.

Lured by the promise of  immersing herself in the world of scent once again, the ancient art of composing perfume beckons our protagonist. Searching for a secret recipe within her family’s historic archives, Elena’s new goal becomes the replication of a composition noone in her family managed to master. Having met a man who’s harbouring his own clandestine past; before long, she’s following the scent trail toall manner of mysterious discoveries. Because, as she was told all those years ago:

Remember Elena, perfume is the truth. The only thing that really counts. Perfume never lies, perfume is what we are, it’s our true essence…’

From the landscape of Florence to the sun-drenched lavender fields, this a book to delight all perfume-lovers – a novel that you’ll dive in to, nose first.

Buy it from Penguin U.K. (BLack Swan imprint, 2016)

In the mood for some more perfume-related books? We have a whole scented bookshelf of Fragrant Reads – from non-fiction historical explorations to contemporary criticism, with a plethora of perfume-related reading you can get your nose stuck in, right now!

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrant reads we recommend: Nose Dive by Catherine Haley Epstein

This week we’re diving in nose-first to Catherine Haley Epstein‘s Nose Dive – a brilliant book for adventurous noses. We have a whole scented bookshelf of Fragrant Reads we recommend, so do please feel free to browse at your leisure, from literary to scientific and everything in-between.

Meanwhile, let’s get up close and personal with our sense of smell, and re-connect our sense of wonder as we read…

On the back of the book, author, artist and scent-maker, Catherine Haley Epstein, introduces her book in a way that intrigued and delighted us immediately. Describing it as a handbook for taking ‘…Adventures for your nose in art, anthropology, and science, the book Nose Dive is a broad introduction to olfactory culture meant for artists or anyone curious about the power of scent.’ Well that’s pretty much a checklist of our intersts, so we were eager to learn more, and Epstein contnues: ‘Something is in the air with respect to our most powerful and least regarded sense. This book demystifies the world of scent, provides springboards for further study, and presents exercises for shifting gears with your nose. A must-read for anyone intrigued by the superpower right under our noses.’ Consider us sold!

Epstein was lovely enough to send us a first-edition copy of her book with a letter, saying further that she wrote it because she wanted ‘…to invite dialogue from the different aspects of the scent arena.’ And also explaining the cover of the book is ‘Tiffany blue… not for the reason you might think – it’s actually the colour of my favourite smell, a pool toy.’

You know what they say about finding kindred spirits? We think she’s definitely one of us

Reading Nose Dive is an absolute must for anyone of us who’s wanted to dive deeper than merely smelling nice by spraying something beautiful, deeper still than having a particular memory connected to smell – Epstein manages to express both a childish glee at this super-power right under (and in) our noses, while explaining some complex theories and inviting the reader to explore. There are short, easily digestible chapters on Art, the science of smelling, things to consider when making a perfume and on extolling the utter joy that our sense of smell can bring. On that first thorny issue of art, and in answer to the on-going debate as to whether perfume ‘deserves’ to be classed as such, Epstein puts it perfectly by saying, simply, that ‘Art is translation. Art is a human-specific activity for translating our experiences, using whatever mediums we can.’

Along with theoretical discussions, pondering on her own years of research and development, Epstein also offers some practical exercises for those interested in making their own fragrances, or things to think about, study and and enjoy in your own time. Half the joy of Nose Dive, in fact, is that it doesn’t pretend to have all the answers or place itself on a pedestal to preach about perfume to the already converted. Neither does it simply re-hash historical references and methods of making fragrance or only focus on new, exciting niche houses. This is a well-considered work that manages to pack in some powerful topics and truly thoughtful themes into such a slim volume, you can practically feel the waves of excitement about perfume and smell pulsating from every page. Not only to read and enjoy for yourself, we suggest this is one to press into the hands of everyone who’s ever asked you why you’re so obsessed with scent… Spread the love!

Nose Dive by Catherine Haley Epstein, $25 catherinehaleyepstein.com

By Suzy Nightingale

A nose around Jovoy Mayfair – niche fragrance heaven!

It’s coming up for Jovoy Mayfair‘s first birthday, so what better time to celebrate their arrival in the UK than by having a nose around, seeing what’s new, and thanking heaven for this niche haven in the heart of London…?

(PS: Our VIP Club Members are being offered a generous 15% discount at Jovoy between until 24th October 2018click here see how to claim this exclusive offer, though you’ll have to use your V.I.P. log-in to view it.

The opening of Jovoy on Mayfair’s Conduit Street in 2017 was definitely a cause for corks popping. Those of you lucky enough to go scent shopping in Paris will surely have come across Jovoy there – it opened in 2006 on the rue Castiglione – where it proved a game-changer in fragrance retail: a destination for perfumistas (from around the world, nowadays) showcasing perfume houses which had, until then, been largely unavailable.

Jovoy was the ‘baby’ of François Hénin, who previously worked exploring the olfactive riches of Vietnam, distilling raw ingredients for the perfume trade. François had his finger on the quickening pulse of the fragrance world, sensing a shift away from the ‘signature scents’ and more traditional, classic houses Parisians had tended to wear in the past.

One of the things we love best about Jovoy Mayfair is the ‘staff picks’ wall – think of it a little like those windows and display shelves in bookshops where the knowledgable staff pick out new and unusual things they think you’ll love. It’s such a great place to start sniffing, especially if you’re a little nervous about walking into a niche boutique for the first time (or simply don’t know where to begin!)

Jovoy are also happy to decant some of your favourite new finds into small sample bottles, so you can try them at home and properly get to know them – a fantastic service that we’re sure means many come back to buy the full size.

Here’s a few new scents you may find there, currently…

Jovoy say: ‘The latest perfume from Arte Profumi explores vetiver. Itself a highly prized and valuable raw material, Sine Tempore uses two different vetiver extractions (Haiti and Java) along with subtle does of lime and cardamom to shoot the root through with an insistent and citric, green note.’

Arte Profumi Sine Tempore £215 for 100l eau de parfum

 

Jovoy say: ‘Hoja de Cuba is another in Berdoues’ series of Grand Crus perfumes, one that takes its cues (as the title insists) from the streets of Havana, the tobacco fields and the Cuban cigars so synonymous with them. A blend of tobacco from Turkey, allspice from Jamaica and vetiver from Haiti.’

Berdoues Hoja de Cuba £67 for 100ml eau de parfum

Jovoy say: ‘Rock ‘N’ Rouge is a game of looks exchanged between a ballerina and a member of the audience. Temptation pierces through the gloom in the theatre and Eros shoots his keenest arrow. Desire cuts across the stage and rolls like a thousand fiery marbles out towards the theatre stalls. There, in the glare of the first change in the lights, the star’s eyes set fire to those of the man who observes. And, as though by magic, all the rest of the audience disappears. He and she are the only ones who remain, without knowing each other, without ever touching. United by seduction, they are unconscious protagonists of a feline pas de deux, charged with electricity.’

THoO Rock ‘n’ Rouge £220 for 75ml eau de parfum

Did you know Jovoy also have their own amaaaazing candles (presented in glass domes within a scarlet red vintage style hatbox affair? Well now you can also get them in a customisable box: choose four fragrances (making 64 possible combinations). ‘Create your own candle set choosing one or several fragrances among the four classic candles by Jovoy: Ambre 1er, Datcha, Gardez-Moi and Marron. Each black coffret case is populated of four 80g red candles, each with approx 20 hours of diffusion. The hardest part will be to choose how many of each.’

Jovoy Custom Candle Set £80 for 4 x 80g

While we touched on the subject of nerves earlier, let’s be real about this. Not everyone feels confident about striding in to a ritzy scent shop. We’ve spoken to lots of our loyal readers and even VIP Club Members who still can feel a bit dubious about going in any fragrance shop alone.

Rest assured, Jovoy Mayfair excel at making you feel comfortable – there’s zero pressure, they’re happy to let you browse or give advice where required, and there are pots of blotters and pencils dotted all over the place, to encourage spitzing (and of course writing the name of the fragrance on the blotter so you don’t shove it in your bag and forget which it was, later… You all do this, don’t you? *waggles eyebrows*)

Downstairs, there’s a comfy sofa for relaxed wrist-sniffing situations, and a more private ‘frgarance fitting’ experience should you wish, as well as a fragrance dispensing machine and exhibits of rare (and sometimes priceless!) perfumes to make your jaw drop.

We’ve hosted several events at Jovoy since they opened, including a remarkable alcohol and fragrance pairing evening (which was every bit as wonderful as that sounds) and, most recently, our co-founder Jo Fairley interviewing maverick perfumer Geza Schoen about his Beautiful Mind Series fragrances. Sp, do keep an eye on our Events page to join us on another occasion.

Incidently, Jovoy have their very own Private Label fragrance range – for Jovoy is actually a revived and re-imagined fragrance house that once scented the bohemian A-List of 1920s Parisian bohemians. You can read about the history of Jovoy on our page dedicated to them.

In the meantime, we encourage you to venture forth into independent fragrance retailers and see an array of scents you’d never even dreamed existed! rom Neela Vermeire to Atelier Flou, L’Essence du Bois to Olfactive Studio, Jacques Fath to Perfumer du Monde, via Volnay, Jeroboam, Aedes de Venustus, Eight & Bob, Masque Milano and so many more (with a growing number of store exclusives, too).

Jovoy Mayfair 21 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XP

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Beautiful Mind Series

The Beautiful Mind Series celebrates women for their intelligence and creativity – indeed, when creating the house, perfumer Geza Schoen (perhaps best known for his best-selling Escentic Molecules fragrances) wanted this concept to inspire the very fragrances themselves.

We still see photographs of beautiful women used everywhere in advertising, to sell everything from salads to scents, but how refreshing that The Beautiful Mind Series actually bothers to dig far deeper than superficial looks.

During our recent event at Jovoy Mayfair with Geza Schoen and one of his muses – the astonishing Memory Grandmaster, Christiane Stenger – our Perfume Society VIP Club Members got to hear first-hand how they collaborated to create a fragrance that celebrated brain power and women’s strength and particular talents (more of which, below). But The Beautiful Mind Series wanted to dig deeper still, interviewing a number of other thought-provoking and successful women from various backgrounds, and have just published a series of blogs with a thought-provoking series of successful women drawn from various backgrounds and disciplines.

Subjects include the Anglo-American actress, Lucy Boynton (playing Freddie Mercury’s love interest in the upcoming biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody), a talented tatoo artist called Saira Hunjen, Liv Little – the guiding force behind brilliant magazine by and for women and non binary people of colour, gal-dem; and Zowie Broach, Head of Fashion at the Royal College of Art.

The Beautiful Mind Series explain that the series of blogs ‘…aims to highlight achievements of a broad spectrum of quite simply brilliant women who aim to have a profound impact on modern society. Artists, scientists, costume designers, film makers, feminist activists, photographers, poets and playwrights are just some of our subjects.’ And the blogs are put together by a female duo of writer, Susan Irvine, and photographer, Susannah Baker-Smith.

Accompanied by tender, intimate portraits of the women they interviewed, we’re utterly thrilled that fragrance houses are just starting to see the potential for celebrating fascinating – and real – women we can all relate to or be inspired by: an exciting subject we explore at length in the latest just-published Fashion, Fragrance & Feminism issue of our magazine, The Scented Letter.

As for the The Beautiful Mind Series fragrances? Well of course they are beautiful, but a nuanced story-telling depth of complexity that’s a distinct move away from the more minimalist tendenacies of Escentric Molecules…

Volume 1: Intelligence & Fantasy is the first of the series – a fabulously vibrant floral that boasts a heady heart of tiaré absolute – the dreamily exotic, waxy Tahitian gardenia, celebrated as the flower of affection and adored for its intoxicating aroma. Think of a balmy summer breeze as you stand and gaze at the setting sun, skin still warm from the heat of the day, your whole body relaxed but your mind focused and alert to every aspect of your surroundings.

Grand Master of Memory Christiane Stenger was the muse for Schoen here – a voluptuously decadent fragrance dedicated to women gifted with exceptional skills. Magnolia bud, bergamot, mandarin, and Schinus molle (pink pepper) co-exist with freesia and apricot-like osmanthus. Rose oil melds into addictive hedione with oodles of that tiara absolute slowly drifting to a woody, cashmeran base.

Inspired by Russian ballerina Polina Semionova, Volume 2: Precision & Grace is the second of the series – ‘I was fascinated by what goes on in the mind of a great dancer while she’s dancing,’ explains Schoen, ‘in the precision she must have to express the grace.’

Upliftingly fruity with a juicy, crisp freshness that makes the mouth water, the Williams pear and plum notes are a direct reference to the dancer’s childhood childhood memories of the Russian countryside, with a heady embrace of jasmine blossoms, sandalwood and pink pepper twirling throughout. Resting on a softly, musky base, we think it’s wearable year-round – making even the most serious-minded perfume-lover imagine donning a gauzy gown and joyfully pirouetting through a flower-strewn orchard at dusk.

The Beautiful Mind Series Volumes 1 & 2 £95 for 100ml eau de parfum
Try them at Jovoy Mayfair

Excuse us while we find our ballet shoes and go memorise every book in the library – while happening to smell incredible, of course…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

French Connection Femme/Homme: we’re hooked!

We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the French Connection Femme & Homme fragrances last week, and were seriously impressed at their sophisticated (yet pocket-friendly) duo…

French Connection’s in-house team worked on the project with renowned perfumers Philippe Romano and Corinne Cachen as the noses, and flipping their roles so that Philippe worked on Femme and Corinne on Homme – resulting in a dynamic, contemporary take on a ‘male’ and ‘female’ pairing.

Quite frankly, we’d be happy to wear them both. Seek them out in-store at French Connection now, and also at Boots nationwide.

So… how do they smell?

French Connection Woman/Femme is all come hither creamy jasmine with a lusciously juicy mandarin and crisp apple up front with hints of luminescent neroli, then a dry-down that gets all smoochy with soft musk and warm amber. Impressive staying-power, too – we could still smell this wafting in our hair the following day!

French Connection Femme from £14.99 for 30ml eau de toilette
Try it at Boots

French Connection Man/Homme is dark and moody, a contemporary fougère that’s cool and shady with frosted sage, green violet leaves and lavender mossy-ness. The base is smothered in sandalwood with an addictively gourmand touch of tonka bean that’s sure to prove an all-day wrist-sniffer (or neck snuggler).

French Connection Homme from £14.99 for 30ml eau de toilette
Try it at Boots

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Calvin Klein Women: who are yours?

Mothers, sisters, teachers, friends – or simply women you look up to. Whoever inspires you, supports you – or simply that woman who has your back on a daily basis – to celebrate the launch of the new fragrance, Calvin Klein Women want to know: who are your women?

Calvin Klein Women marks Chief Creative Officer Raf Simmons’ first ever fragrance for the fashion house, and so they wanted an advertising campaign that not only reflects the proudly strong modern woman, but showcases the other strong women in our lives who’ve helped us get to where we are now.

For the advertising campaign, Calvin Klein chose Luptia Nyong’o and Saoirse Ronan, because they are ‘award-winning actors and voices of their generation, universally reconised for their unique talent, creativity, intelligence and strength of character.’ The television campaign will air worldwide later this summer, and was directed by Anne Collier with creative direction from Lloyd & Co. Featuring Luptia and Saoirse surrounded by past icons of femininity who continue to inspire them, they feature alongside images of Eartha Kitt, Katherine Hepburn, Sissey Spacek and Nina Simone.

Calvin Klein Women say: ‘By using #IAMWOMEN, women all around the world can pay homage to the females in their lives, who helped make them the individuals they are today by simply sharing a picture of those who inspired them.’ A celebration of women individually, but also as a collective – the strength of togetherness. Explains Raf Simmons:

‘With this fragrance, we wanted to put the concept of plurality center stage. The campaign is an exploration of femininity – a group of women bonded by a common thread; the desire to have the power to create their own identity, and to support and lead the way for those that come after them.’

But what does Calvin Klein Women actually smell like? Well don’t think the concept of strength implies shouting from the rooftops, here – this is scent for women who are comfortable in their own skin, and who don’t feel the need for a perfume to enter the room before they do. The surprisingly green fresh fruitiness of eucalyptus with sparkling lemon and luminescent jasmine settles to reassuring woodiness, with an acorn accord atop Alaskan cedarwood and the sheer delicacy of orange flower. In the base, there’s olibanum to soothe the senses, cut through with a twist of black pepper to add a little pep to the proceedings…

And so, we wonder, who are those women you couldn’t do without? We look forward to following your #IAMWOMEN resonses on social media!

Calvin Klein Women £78 for 100ml eau de parfum
Try it at harveynichols.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale