Coming Up Roses – the rise & rise of rose in contemporary perfumery

Roses are having such a fragrant resurgence: but why right now? Read on for our take on this rise (and rise) of rose perfumes we’ve seen launched lately – and our guide of which roses to wear right now…

There’s been a serious blooming of rose in perfumery the last couple of years – and we aren’t talking ‘chorus line’ rose notes, but fragrances which put rose front and centre in the scented spotlight, in an utterly modern style. Never have we seen so many new overtly rose-centric scents released in such a flurry, with Tom Ford and Jo Malone London launching whole collections of rose-themed perfumes, persuading us this is more than a passing fragrant fancy, and leading us to confidently declare: this is the Year of the Rose. Indeed, according to Google, rose is the most-searched fragrance ingredient in the past year, with over 50,000 searches each month.

 

 

 

 

There is, of course, an incredibly long tradition of using rose in perfumery – we’re talking millennia, not mere centuries. In his book Smell and the Ancient Senses (Ed. Mark Bradley, 2015), David Potter, the Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History at the University of Michigan, reminds us that by 116BC, ‘Roman aristocrats… were already treating roses as a cash crop.’ And you can read even more on the quite extraordinary history Romans had with the rose in our fragrant history section.

 

 

 

But meanwhile: why now this renewed desire for ultra-modern rose-powered perfumes?

Roses today in perfumery are a glorious quantum leap from those which gathered dust on dressing tables of old. In 2022, there is a rose fragrance for everyone, whether your leanings are towards easy-to-wear sun-filled scents or the more velvety, smoulderingly smoochy essences we’re reaching for now autumn’s here. And gender doesn’t come into it, either: many, many of the ‘new roses’ are gloriously shareable (we’re very glad to say!) and we urge all ages, all genders to dive into these particular rose perfumes with a fragrant abandon…

 

 

Molton Brown Rose Dunes EDP – Sultry desert air. £120 for 100ml eau de parfum Molton Brown

 

 

 

Atelier Materi Rose Ardoise – Urban petrichor pavements. £195 for 100ml eau de parfum Harvey Nichols

 

 

 

Manos Gerakinis Rose Poétique – Mysterious Sapphic jubilation. £165 for 100ml eau de parfum Shy Mimosa

 

 

 

Parfums de Marly Delina La Rosée – Aristocratically powdered passion. £200 for 75ml eau de parfum Selfridges

 

 

 

 

SANA_JARDIN_INCENSE_WATER

Sana Jardin Incense Water – Soothingly meditative meanderings. £95 for 50ml eau de parfum Sana Jardin

 

 

 

 

INITIO Atomic Rose – Rambunctiously robust eruptions. £215 for 90ml eau de parfum Fenwick

 

 

 

 

 

Narciso Rodriguez Musc Noir Rose for Her – Intimately addictive sensuality. £55 for 30ml eau de parfum The Perfume Shop

 

 

Electimuss Rhodanthe – Vibrantly voluptuous intoxication. £175 for 100ml extrait de parfum Electimuss

 

 

 

 

Parle Moi de Parfum Une Tonne de Roses / 8 – Frivolous olfactory festival. £98 for 50ml eau de parfum Les Senteurs

 

 

 

 

 

Coach Wild Rose – Daringly delicate gracefulness. £37 for 30ml eau de parfum Escentual

 

 

 

 

Obvious Une Rose – Sunshine-bathed captivation. £95 for 100ml eau de parfum Flannels

 

 

 

 

Moschino Toy Boy – Spicy leather shenanigans. £45 for 30ml eau de parfum Fragrance Direct

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Celebrating Yorkshire Day in Scent

Yorkshire Day is an annual celebration of the British county, held on August 1st, and of course we’re using it for an olfactory celebration – this time focussing on fragrant ingredients the region is famed for. Think white roses, rhubarb, tea and biscuits (hey, we can’t think of a brew, even fragrantly, without biscuits!)

If you’re wondering the signifigance of the date, The Yorkshire Society explains: ‘The date alludes to the regimental anniversary of the Battle of Minden on 1st August and the wearing of roses in the headdress on that day. In the case of the Light Infantry, successors to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, a white rose. The date is also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, for which a Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce, campaigned.’

 

 

 

The Yorkshire Post tell us that ‘the white rose came to prominence again during the Seven Years War, when the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry fought at the Battle of Minden in Prussia. They picked white roses from bushes on the battlefields as a tribute to their fallen comrades, and wore them in their buttonholes.’ Floris’ fragrance was a favourite of Florence Nightingale, no less – velvety roses dusted with soft iris, swathed in warm amber and grounded with earthy musk. At once strikingly elegant and wonderfully confident.

Floris White Rose From £17 for 10ml eau de toilette

 

 

Molton Brown are right on the trend for good-enough-to-eat fragrances, firmly rooted in cherished childhood memories of baking with rhubarb’s unique tartness sprinkled by just enough sweetness. In the eau de parfum, those seeking scrumptiousness can indulge with joyfully juicy raspberry and a vivacious kick of pink pepper enhancing rhubarb’s sparkle, as luscious lychee and the tender peony showcase rose’s powdered charm, with a soothingly sensual base of cedarwood and musk swathing you in a gossamer soft trail.

Molton Brown Delicious Rhubarb & Rose £120 for 100ml eau de parfum

 

 

 

 

An article on the BBC’s website explains the fascinating history of Yorkshire’s association with licorice. Dating back to 1760, when George Dunhill, an apothecary chemist in Pontefract, added sugar to liquorice (then used as medicine) creating ‘a chewable non-medicinal lozenge, inventing the sweet as we know it today.’ In fragrance, licorice adds an aromatic yet resinous stickiness, adding the ‘noir’ when used in wonderful juxtaposition against billowing gardenia, luminous jasmine and creamy almond.

Bvlgari Splendida Jasmin Noir £79 for 50ml eau de parfum

 

 

 

When perfumer and founder of 4160 Tuesdays, Sarah McCartney, moved her studio to Hammersmith, ‘she made Tea & Biscuits as a symbol of the British way of making friends and getting through a crisis’ – The biscuit-y notes feature wholemeal bran, lemon and ginger with toasted hazelnuts, while the tea is taken ‘black, with oat milk.’ Eyebrows might be raised at that by Yorkshire traditionalists, but we think they’ll be swayed by the sheer comforting deliciousness of the scent. It’s utterly addictive all year ’round.

4160 Tuesdays Hammersmith Tea & Biscuits from £25 for 15ml eau de parfum

 

 

We know how seriously people from Yorkshire take their tea, and we couldn’t agree more, but what if you fancy a little tot of something more bracing in your brew? The resinous warmth of oak-casked whisky is laced through this most potent blend of their black tea, rose and juniper aromatic sensation, and harks back to the heritage of this cheekily eccentric, British brand. Named for their original address of their flagship store, it’s the kind of scent that imbues you with a uniquely winsome character.

Atkinsons 24 Old Bond Street £99 for 100ml eau de Cologne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a moment to smell the roses – in a seriously affordable luxury scent!

How do you fancy looking out over the rose fields of Grasse and enjoying some seriously affordable luxury? Stephan Matthews, a self-confessed Francophile, fragrance expert and long-time friend of The Perfume Society, lets us in on his latest scented obsession…

Trésors Publics is a boutique that I’ve written about in the past for The Perfume Society, and is also one that holds many happy memories for me. It’s in the heart of Nice, which before recent events was my regular place to escape to, and they specialise in products that are solely made in France. Just walking through their large red doors is guaranteed to make even the most hardened heart swoon. In amongst the rustic glass and traditional Provençal fashions there is a carefully curated selection of scents, and it’s just got a little bigger.

When the company were looking to create their own fragrance they were clear that it had to fit into their artisan style, but they also didn’t want to overcomplicate it. Many ingredients can be thought of as a fragrance in themselves, made up of a multitude of facets, and so the decision was taken to launch a singular floral water. Now there are many of these already on the market which meant that the actual company behind the production was going to be a big part of its success. Well, they aimed high and managed to enlist the help of the Mul family.

 

Stop and smell the roses Eau de Rose

 

You might not recognise the name but you’ve definitely worn one of their ingredients. The Mul family famously produce some of the most exquisite flowers in the world and, since 1987, many of them have been solely destined to end up in your bottle of Chanel perfume. The family began farming in the 1840s and have weathered many storms, including the very real threat that was posed from flower imports in the seventies. Their way to fight back was to form their own extraction and distillation facility, and this is where the beautiful rosewater comes from for Trésors Publics.

Rosa centifolia, also known as Rose de Mai, is just one of the flowers that Mul grows for Chanel. When they extract the oil, and remember that it takes 60,000 roses to obtain a single ounce, they also produce a lot of rosewater. This often ends up in skincare or delicious pastries, and some perfumers like Jessica Buchanan even add a touch to their formulas, but it is spectacular spritzed on its own. When we think how complex many fragrances are, a pure burst of that green faceted honey rose transports you immediately to those acres of petaled hillsides.

 

 

With overseas travel looking unlikely this year, and with Nice once again in the midst of yet another lockdown, getting to try products from independent overseas companies like Trésors Publics is difficult… but not impossible. Christian Estrosi, the Mayor of Nice, has tried very hard to support local businesses and one way was to encourage them to embrace selling online. He told me, We’ve made €1200 available to businesses to allow them to create a virtual presence, and so provide an alternative to the giants of e-commerce.” France has always encouraged artisans, which is why it’s so wonderful to see Christian continuing to champion this.

If you want to stop and smell the roses – and try a little bit of the magic of the Rose de Mai without the usual price-tag – Eau de Rose is available from the Trésors Publics website priced at €9 for 100ml, although I guarantee you’ll be tempted by more than just perfume.

By Stephan Matthews

 

City of roses – the perfume capital of India

There’s an ancient city that’s become known as the perfume capital of India. Roses, roses everywhere! If ever you needed an excuse to feast your eyes on beauty, these seemingly endless dull, grey days are immediately brightened by reading this fascinating report by Rachna Sachasinh for National Geographic.

‘For centuries Kannauj (pronounced kunh-nowj), in northeast India’s Ganges belt, has been crafting oil-based botanical perfumes called attar using the world’s oldest known distillation methods,’ the piece begins, and as you gaze in wonder at the carpet of pink blossoms – and imagine with great longing the glorious scent in the air – it’s not hard to understand how the fragrances produced from the Rosa damascena shrubs planted there were soon ‘Sought after by both Mughal royals and everyday folk in ancient India’s fragrance-obsessed culture’, so that the ‘Kannauj attar scented everything from wrists to food, fountains to homes.’

We are thrilled to see the region showcased in the national media, now, for their utterly wonderful roses and fragrances produced from them, because Amanda Carr had already travelled to the city of roses, and last year wrote an exclusive report on The Scents of India for our magazine, The Scented Letter, for which she was nominated for a Jasmine Award, and which you can read in full, here!

 

It’s worth reminding ourselves that rose fragrances have been worn by both genders for centuries, too – it’s only Western and European cultures who more recently classed rose as ‘female’, and something the fragrance industry has begun to overturn (thank goodness!) by introducing many more rose-centric scents marketed at men or classed as ‘unisex’. We’ve said it many times before but we’ll go on saying it: smells do not have a gender – they’re for everyone who wants to wear them!

 

Indeed, the more recent National Geographic feature goes on to describe how the rose fragrances produced in Kannauj have proved ‘Equally alluring to men and women,’ because the ‘attars have an androgynous quality. They strike intense floral, woodsy, musky, smoky, green, or grassy notes. Trotted out by season, attars can be both warm (cloves, cardamom, saffron, oud) and cooling (jasmine, pandan, vetiver, marigold).’

I am lucky enough to have a little bottle of the Gulab (Indian Rose) attar from the Saini Blends distillery she visited, and which Amanda very kindly gave me when she returned from her travels. I cannot tell you the utter bliss it has been to wear it – a soft but fully enveloping cloud of powdery, fruity petals that almost smells like Turkish Delight sprinkled with icing sugar. Sheer joy, and a constant comfort to sniff and be reminded not only of our friendship, but of the wider world, of places I want to travel to, of beauty itself.

If you are interested in learning more about attars, I cannot urge you enough to read Amanda’s feature in full – there’s even a section on how to tell the attars apart, and how to order directly from Saini Blends themselves. It’s vital we not only celebrate this ancient art (and the fact that rose fragrances did not bloom unbidden from Grasse, originally) but support those who still work there. Because, as Amanda reported for us, ‘the attar industry in Kannauj has fallen to around 100 artisan makers today, from over 700 at its peak…’

By Suzy Nightingale

So you think you hate… rose?

There will be those of you will be clutching your pearls at the mere mention that others entertain the notion of hating rose, I know. While ‘the Queen of flowers’ reigns supreme for some, other people refuse to even sniff a scent that’s proferred before them if they know it has rose in it…

Of course it’s completely okay to dislike something on your skin – and if your friend loves wearing rose but you would rather snuggle a skunk than wear it yourself; well we all have our own olfactory forms of Kryptonite, so don’t yuck their yum. But I bet you’re thinking of old fashioned roses (again, beloved by some) of the dusty, slightly musty kind, most often found in drawer-liners and grandma’s dressing table.

The fact is, roses are said to feature in at least 75% of modern feminine fragrances, and at least 10% of all men’s perfumes – and they might not even be listed in the notes described. Chances are, even if you think you hate rose, many of your favourite fragrances could have it tucked away inside.

For perfumers, they’re an absolute cornerstone of perfumery – sometimes powdery, yes, but also fresh, raspberry-like, woody, musky, myrrh-y, almost glassily modern or just blowsily feminine.  In classical myths, the rose was linked both with the Greek goddess Aphrodite and her Roman counterpart, Venus.  When Cleopatra welcomed Mark Antony to her boudoir, her bed was said to be strewn with these aphrodisiac blooms and the floor hidden under a foot and a half of fresh-picked petals. Who could resist rolling around in that?

The roses most commonly used in perfumery are the Turkish rose, the Damask (or Damascene rose) and Rosa Centifolia (the ‘hundred-leafed rose’), which is grown around Grasse in the south of France, and generally considered to produce the highest quality rose absolute. This rose is also known as Rose de Mai, because it generally blooms in the month of May, and  – romantically – ‘the painter’s rose’, because it features in many works of the old masters.

Around 70% of the rose oil in the world comes from Bulgaria;  other significant producers are Turkey, Iran and Morocco, and precious, limited quantities from Grasse. The task of the rose-picker is to pick the dew-drenched blooms before 10 a.m. at the latest, when the sun evaporates their exquisite magic. So fast does the rose fade, in fact, that some farmers in Turkey and Bulgaria transport their own copper stills to the fields, heating them on the spot over wood fires to distill the precious Damask Rose oil, which separates from the water when heated in only the tiniest of quantities: 170 rose flowers are said to relinquish a single drop of absolute.

Given that rose is very likely already found in some of your favourite scents, and with modern noses and advanced techniques meaning rose can smell incredibly unique – completely unrecognisable in some respects – depending on the quality, provenence, how much and where it’s used within the perfumer’s formula… Don’t you think it’s time you revisted the rose?

Molton Brown Rosa Absoluta
Sultry red rose gets up close and personal with warmly spiced patchouli and ripe fruits. Wrapped in violet leaf, the seductiveness is barely tamed, but the overlasting impression is an overtly modern attitude with a nod to vintage va-va-voom. Think vintage velvet smoking jacket worn with jeans, or couture gown with biker boots and a devil-may-care attitude.
£45 for 50ml eau de toilette
moltonbrown.co.uk

Ella K Mémoire de Daisen In
Oh this is a veritable cocktail of fabulousness – a fizz of zesty citrus freshness shot through with the tartness of kumquat. Then velvety soft rose, powdery peony, and hypnotic hedione shimmering through nutmeg-spiced black tea. Plum’s succulent fleshiness becomes suffused in a lullaby of comfort: a whisper of white musk, Iso E Super, and delicate violet cradling a deliciously warm woodiness.

Try an 8ml mini (along with nine other fragrances!) in our Harvey Nichols & The Perfume Society Discovery Box for only £45

The Modernist Nihilism
A rabble-rouser by name, it’s actually icily sophisticated – like Tilda Swinton in scented form. Citrus-infused aldehydes feel like a Champagne bottle smashed against a wall, then soothed by the cashmere soft benzoin caress of the base. A contemporary and surprising take on rose that may end up seducing you, too…
£150 for 50ml eau de parfum
modernistfragrance.com

Prosody Rose Rondeaux
Delightfully decadent, seductively fruity and woody, the top notes of luxurious iris, bergamot and raspberry gradually reveal a delicate rosy heart ruffled with patchouli warmth, and a shapely base of blackcurrant and musky sandalwood. Romantic and radiant, it’s incredible to discover how sophisticated this all-natural and organic fragrance really is on the skin.

Try a sample, along with ALL their fragrances, in the Prosody Discovery Set for £28

Parfums de Marly Delina
Despite being in one of the most swoon-worthy bottles we’ve seen, we know it’s all about the scent inside, and luckily this one more than lives up. Quentin Bisch uses armfulls of Turkish roses, peonies and lily of the valley, but it’s the heart of succulently fruity lychee, rhubarb and bergamot that sets this apart (and juices flowing). Offset with nutmeg and vanilla, swathed in white musk and cashmeran, it has converted many a naysayer to the ways of the rose.
£190 for 75ml eau de parfum
selfridges.com


Fragrance du Bois Oud Rose Intense
A heady scent capturing the excitement and intrigue of a romantic rendezvous – from chaste kisses to rumpled sheets. Fresh bergamot forms a complex, aromatic and suitably fruity beginning, succumbing to essence of rose and woody geranium, sighing into smooth sandalwood and amber, with the all the purring nuances of 100% organic and sustainable oudh (aka ‘liquid gold’) in the gasp-worthy base.

Try a sample (with four other stunning fragrances) in the Fragrance du Bois Discovery Set for £20

Angela Flanders Taffeta
Capturing that time when dusk falls, Taffeta embodies mysterious light, chilled air – one’s senses alive with possibility. Dewy hyacinth is speckled with the hushed rasp of peppery lavender, adding a dry rustle to the beautifully powdered iris and lipstick rose in the heart. Smoky tendrils of vetiver flicker between the shadows and surprising freshness of the base.
£69 for 30ml eau de parfum
angelaflanders-perfumer.com

By Suzy Nightingale

Your introduction to Spring’s floral fragrance trend…

It’s offical: flowers are back in the fragrance world. Perhaps you thought they never went away (indeed, they’re the backbone of practically all fragrance formulas) but we can assure you that Spring 2018’s launches point the way to fully embracing petal power in exciting and conemporary compositions – from bohemiams frolicking in wild flower meadows, to vampish vixens smouldering beguilingly: these flowers certainly aren’t granny’s knicker-draw anymore…

Probably the most easily identifiable notes in perfumery, you may recognise some florals at first-sniff – rather reassuring in these days of sometimes confusing contemporary scents – and they are perfect to indulge in wearing on days the sky’s the same colour as the pavement. But floral scents have several sub-categories, now – from the fruity to the so-called ‘floriental’ – so where does one category end and another begin, and which ones should you explore first depending on your personal preferences?

Rose has long been considered the ‘Queen’ of perfume, the two main varieties being rosa centifolia, found in the South of France, and rosa damascena (known as Damask rose) primarily from the Middle East, with a dozen exclusively grown May roses from Grasse famously within every bottle of Chanel No.5.

James Craven – the fragrance archivist of niche perfumery Les Senteurs, tells us that many customers (particularly women) come in confidently declaring they ‘hate rose fragrances,’ and he breathes deeply while subtly showing them some scents that beautifully harmonise the rose with other complimentary material. As they inevitably adore one of these, James then charmingly admits it’s simply swathed in the stuff – a strong case for always being led by your nose and not your preconceptions, we feel!

Jasmine is the second most-used, entwining its heady white blossoms within virtually every floral fragrance you care to mention – tiny though the flowers are, their scent is animalic, often called ‘indolic’ (referring to indoles also found within gardenia, honeysuckle, lilac, and tuberose), and utterly addictive. One ounce of fragrance, such as the classic Jean Patou’s Joy, can lavishly contain 10,600 jasmine flowers!

– For less va-va-voom in a scent, look for the powdered green of violet, delicacy of lily of the valley, suede-like softness in iris, waxy freshness of magnolia, and cashmere-like fluffiness of mimosa. Sprinkled with hot spices and exotic extractions (crossing into ‘Floriental’), juiced-up with fruit (becoming ‘Fruity Floral’) or buried within deeper, more mysterious creations – there truly is a floral fragrance for every one of us, with many men now delving into fragrances where floral notes are centre-stage.

Ready to get petal-powered? Discover some of the specially curated Brand Discovery Boxes we’ve chosen, in which the characters of florals have been fully explored – from the vampish divas to more softly swooning – there truly is a bouquet for everyone to adore…

Cochine is Vietnam’s first luxury fragrance brand – and one that we are totally obsessed with! Created to inspire you, Cochine’s collection captures the romance of a sun-warmed exotic garden as its enchanting florals unfold into the evening air. Specially selected from their portfolio of unique botanical scents, you’ll find yourself enraptured by roses, jasmine, gardenia and the newest fragrance – Tuberose & Wild Fig.
Cochine Floral Collection £35

Discover Molton Brown‘s interpretation of some of perfumery’s most precious ingredients with this colourful selection of their best-selling scents, from delicate floral Blossoming Honeysuckle & White Tea to dreaming of dozing beneath fragrant canopies of flowers with the exotic Ylang Ylang, and many floral facets in-between…
Molton Brown’s Art of Fragrance £12.50

Hand-crafted in England, created from the essences of real flowers, fruit and spices, Shay & Blue‘s invite you to explore their most-loved scents. Pocket-sized and beautifully presented in their signature blue and white stripes, the set also boasts Framboise Noire – a mesmerising floriental of cassis berries, jasmine and patchouli.
Shay & Blue Precious Miniatures £65

This limited edition collectible box has been designed especially to showcase Les Infusions de Prada in six of the most adorable and desirable 8ml miniature eau de parfum bottles… Featuring notes of iris, orange blossom, heliotrope and the often overlooked carnation (think spicy and hot yet dry and fascinating) it’s a perfectly refined way to get your nose around floral ingredients.
Prada Parfums Les Infusions de Prada £36

Written by Suzy Nightingale

War of the Roses: Jo Fairley judges a fragrant Fume Chat 'fight' between Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunckley…

Fume Chat is one of our favourite podcasts (for the uninitiated, think of podcasts as online radio shows you can subscribe to and download to listen later), from the offset aiming ‘…to have fun with fragrance – after all, it’s just perfume, so why it take it so seriously?’ Regular hosts Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunckley (a.k.a. fragrance blogger The Candy Perfume Boy) may be perfume experts in their own right, but they genuinely bring a sense of the joy of discovery along with down-to-earth accessible information to their weekly show.
Most episodes sees the fragrant twosome sniffing exciting new scents both old and new or discussing topics relevant to the world of perfumery – a brilliant recent episode was dedicated to Aroma Chemicals (or Synthetics) and exploring what the giddy hell they actually are and where best to sniff them out.
Our favourite episodes have to be the ‘Battles’, in which Nick and Thomas each bring to the table their favourite examples of a particular perfume genre. Often they’ll get a guest to decide the outcome (and overall winner of the battle!) and the latest – The War of the Roses –featured none other than our very own co-founder and editor, Jo Fairley as the judge. We wont spoil the surprise, but suffice to say it was a close battle and you’ll be wanting to scatter rose petals at the feet of the victor…

 
Do go and have a listen by clicking the Fume Chat logo, above – who do YOU think will win? – and have a pad handy, because the way Nick and Thomas so breathlessly describe their favourites makes us want to go and sniff (and douse ourselves in) them immediately…
(If you’re not an Apple user, you can find the Fume Chat RSS feed here).
Written by Suzy Nightingle
 

Which are the most fragrant roses on earth? Read our guide to a heavenly scented garden…

Is anything more disappointing than spotting a voluptuously gorgeous rose, cupping it gently in your hands and going in for the sniff… only to discover it’s completely without scent? Obviously we adore fragrance here at The Perfume Society, and roses just have to be in our Top Three Flowers Ever – so as part of our on-going celebrations we’d love to share with you a particularly fragrant feature on the very best scented roses you can grow, to make your garden smell like heaven on earth…
Written for us by Country Living Gardens editor, Stephanie Donaldson, The Most Fragrant Roses on Earth was previously an exclusive feature in our award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter… From interviews with the world’s top perfumers, a round-up of the latest launches you absolutely must sniff right now and a plethora of perfumed features – we have our finger firmly on the pulse to bring you all the news your nose should know.
Available in flickable-format online to subscribers, so many of you told us you were laboriously printing it out at home, page by page, that we listened and also made it available in a gorgeously glossy print version to satiate your scent-reading lusts (and save your printer cartridges!) In fact, we’re honoured to have readers worldwide, with the launch of our International Subscription, and now you can join the ever-growing throng to see the sort of thing you’ve been missing out on so far.
So, settle back with a cuppa and breathe in the heady scent of possibility for the rose garden of your dreams…




 
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Coach are on a roll with their sublimely sueded rose. How did brilliant 'nose', Juliette Karagueuzoglo capture the scent of their style…?

Encapsulating the entire essence of a fashion brand within a bottle of perfume is a challenge for any perfumer, but one talented nose Juliette Karagueuzoglo was more than equipped for, working with veteran perfumer Anne Flipo – also her mentor – Coach manages to be both infinitely wearable and flirtily feminine, and we were thrilled to catch up with Juliette for a behind-the-scenes sniff at the creation of a uniquely vibrant, sueded rose…
But where does a perfumer even begin on an important project like building the Coach fragrance? ‘I knew I wanted to start from the rose and the suede.’ Juliette explains, ‘because to me we have this feeling with the colours and materials Coach use, and I wanted to evoke a rose that wasn’t dusty – something more energetic, open, bright, younger and having the right balance with the suede to create a sense of texture and contrast.’
When composing the distinctive smell of “leather”, perfumers must create their own accord, some of the materials being similar to previous leather notes used in fragrances, but for Juliette it’s important to start from scratch each time she needs to create a leather effect.
juliette_kara-250x333
 
Explains Juliette, ‘There are so many ways of creating something that smells like leather, you have many materials to express that leather, so it depends entirely what mood you’re going for and what the brief calls for. They might be asking for a “light suede” or a “darker suede” or a more animalic, woody or even metallic leather. So many expressions of the same thing. It’s like a rose. You ask ten perfumers to do a rose and you won’t get the same result twice! But that’s the beauty of it, that’s where the magic is. As a perfumer we get to express our personality and as a client that’s where you get the point of difference.’
Just as in the world of fashion a particular colour or combination is suddenly deemed ‘a thing’ and ‘so now’; in fragrance too this cycle of trends comes and goes – an ingredient or note long out of favour or previously thought of as old-fashioned will rise like a perfumed Phoenix once again. We wondered why there was this sudden resurgence of rose as a note in fragrances, and why younger people are now exploring it now that contemporary perfumers are exploring it in new ways?
coach
Juliette muses, ‘Well a lot of that is technology driven I think, we find new ways of getting the very best from an ingredient, better ways of harvesting, and it makes it fresh and exciting again. There are some rose fragrances that are beautiful but very much of their time. Like YSL’s original Paris. I mean I love it, but that’s not the rose of today and so now it almost smells vintage.’
And what else did Juliette balance against the rose and suede/leather notes for Coach? ‘We used raspberry leaves in the top for freshness and patchouli with soft woods. I think that combination just works, it’s rounded, never obvious, there’s a feeling of sophistication but it’s still fun and youthful.’
Juliette explains that ‘…although there are still preconceptions of what rose smells like in a perfume, I think things have changed dramatically. Rose can be anything you want! It’s all about the balance.’

COACH_FRAGRANCE_AND_BOX

Coach the Fragrance from £35 for 30ml eau de parfum natural spray
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Merchant of Venice Rosa Moceniga – our fragrant voyage to the city of romance…

Imagine how thrilled we were to be invited to a prestigious gathering of press, buyers and distributors from around the world on an enchanting voyage with The Merchant of Venice – to celebrate the birthplace of fine perfumery and the launch of their most recent perfume: Rosa Moceniga – a scent with an intriguing tale of rediscovering the lost rose of Joséphine Bonaparte. Join us – and swoon at the pictures! – as we recount our journey…
Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and birthplace to perhaps the earliest commercial appreciation of fine perfume – the moment when Catherine de Medici married King Henry II was a turning point in modern culture. Travelling to France with her huge retinue, she imported the taste for previously unheard of Italian luxuries: perfume (and Royal perfumers from her court), a fork for eating with, ballet and extravagant Italian fashions.

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Best taxi ride ever…

With turquoise canals casting shimmering reflections on golden buildings of sun-bleached grandeur, everywhere seems softly lit, as though by candlelight. Arriving at Marco Polo airport and travelling to the city, you’re immediately on the water in a Vaporetto (taxi boat) and living La Dolce Vita. It’s impossible not to be overcome with the incredible romance of it all – surrounded on all sides by history, feeling as though you have stepped straight in to a Canaletto painting.
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The fragrance house put on a special production of The Merchant of Venice in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice – to celebrate #shakespeare400 and their 30th anniversary

Venetians are fiercely proud of their heritage as a great trade route – the destination and meeting point of merchants from all over the new world, desperate to attain shipfuls of oppulence to carry back and trade within their own lands. As such, it’s the perfect home for the perfume house fittingly named The Merchant of Venice. Trading, themselves, not only on the heritage of perfumery but turning that love into exquisitely presented and diverse, contemporary scents.
The magnificent Palazzo Mocenigo

Owned by the passionately perfume-obsessed Vidal family, the brand is one of several distributed by Mavive – established in 1986 by Massimo Vidal, and currently under the careful stewardship of the third and fourth generation of the Vidal family. With their headquarters in Venice, Mavive is intimately connected with this truly unique city – and for us, they threw open the doors to celebrate their 30th anniversary while proudly showing us their fragrant wares.
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Historic perfume-making materials at the Museo del Profumo within the Palazzo

One of the many culturally significant projects the Vidal family have concerned themselves with is the careful preservation of the largest collections of perfume flacons (dating back before Christ!), perfume-making equipment and related materials in existence.
Taking on ownership of the magnificent Palazzo Mocenigo in the heart of Venice, they turned what was once a slightly crumbling textile museum into the Museo del Profumo – displaying perfume bottles, raw materials and ancient manuscripts in themed settings around the palace – most of them on full public view rather than shut away in cabinets.
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Fabulous flacons on display

Touring the Palazzo with the eloquent son of the family, Marco Vidal, was like stepping back in time, with each fabulously evocative room scented as they would have been, with distinctive perfumes made to ancient recipes diffusing the atmosphere with clouds of fragrance.
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An historic diffusing jar for scenting one’s palace…

So significant is this collection, students from ISIPCA – the famous perfume accademy in France – travel to the Palazzo to complete their final studies in the history of perfumery. As do textile students – the Vidal family have maintained and added to the costume collection, with over 35,000 pieces – and makeup historians, for yet another floor is dedicated to cosmetics. Truly a must-visit for any fragrance (or costume/makeup) fantatic!
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Marco Vidal shows us around the museum

After our mind-blowing tour of the luxuriously and sympathetically refurbished rooms, we finally got to hear the story behind their latest launch – Rosa Moceniga. Marco introduced Andrea di Robilant, author of Chasing the Rose, framed by an archway of rambling roses amidst the main hallway of the Palazzo and eager to tell us his part in this intriguing tale…
chasing-1-w960h672Andrea explained that while rummaging through his family’s papers for research during his autobiography of his great-great-great-great grandmother, Lucia Mocenigo, he found genuine treasure: a description of a once-lost rose that smelled of peach and raspberries – symbol of a deep friendship between Lucia and Joséphine Bonapart, the precious cutting a gift to a fellow rose-lover.
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Author, Andrea di Robilant

What began as a light-hearted search for the bloom led to years of further research and finally, stumbling across that very rose in the now completely wild and overgrown gardens in Venice. A chance meeting with Marco Vidal led to the realisation their stories were now intimately connected – the Vidals owned the Palazzo the rose was named for, and not only that – they made perfumes. Their fragrant future was sealed, and now Rosa Moceniga blooms once more with every spritz of this beautiful scent…
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And what does the final perfume smell like? Romantically nodding to the past but with its head firmly in the present, this lush flower bouquet is sheer as the finest silk scarf with fresh Sicilian lime and blackcurrant leaves garlanding the main event – that delicately fruity, luminous rose. Definite notes of peach and raspberry entwine with softly powdered cedar and amber for a magnificently elegant dry down. Venetian history infused with that golden sunlight and bottled.
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Murano glass smelling vessels

The final day included a trip to the stunning flagship store of The Merchant of Venice. Wood-panelled and with historic books and perfume materials dotted around the walls, the perfumes are presented not merely with paper blotters – oh no. Hand-blown Murano glass sniffing jars are proffered, allowing the notes to blossom as they would on skin and offering a more realistic smelling experience.
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The Merchant of Venice flagship store

In the breathtaking surroundings of Teatro La Fenice – the Venetian Opera House – we were shown films on the history of the Vidal family’s involvement with perfume and the many fragrance houses they are custodians of, before the family themselves took to the stage to give thanks to their many supporters for celebrating their anniversary.
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Teatro La Fenice

The evening concluded with an olfactory themed banquet in a private room upstairs, saffron sprinkled throughout the courses with abandon and floral cocktails quaffed.
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The olfactory dinner

We left in no doubt of the huge significance Venice holds in the heart of perfume history, the great care and attention the Vidal family place on preserving this heritage for future generations to enjoy while greatly expanding their diverse fragrance wardrobes, and the fact that we would most definitely be returning to this incredible city drenched in the culture of scent as soon as we possibly could.
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The Vidal family – perfume obsessives, every one…

Until then? We’ll be spraying Rosa Moceniga and sighing dreamily at the memories…
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The Merchant of Venice Rosa Moceniga £120 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it exclusively at House of Fraser
Written by Suzy Nightingale