With crowds witnessing the Queen’s spectacular Platinum Jubilee procession, and thousands busily preparing trestle tables filled with homemade food for street parties around the country for Her Majesty’s incredible 70 years as monarch – we’re scenting our Jubilee celebrations with two quintessentially British (fragrant) flavours as inspiration…
Served in sandwiches (crusts cut off, obvs) or popped in a refreshing G&T, the choice is yours– but do seek out these deliciously cool cucumber-infused scents.
4160 Tuesdays Scenthusiasm
Originally created for a private gin company’s event, fragrant inspiration fizzes via orris butter, rose absolute, lemon and orange, cucumber extract, juniper absolute and coriander, boosted with musk for longevity. From £40 for 15ml eau de parfum 4160tuesdays.com
Kilian Roses on Ice
‘Anyone for notes of gin, distilled with rose and cucumber?’ Kilian ask. A rhetorical question, as we enjoy the icy freshness of juniper berries, contrasting with the velvety warmth of rosa Centifolia, sandalwood and musk. Chin, chin! From £165 for 50ml parfum bykilian.co.uk
Perfumer H Cucumber
Opening with a gust of juicy greenness: a touch of galbanum and sea moss, alongside notes of watermelon, bergamot and lemon rind. A breeze of cedarwood and vetiver in the base is wrapped in a shrug of warm musks. From £110 for 50ml eau de parfum PerfumerH
Slathered on Victoria sponges, enjoyed in a bowl of Eton Mess or stirred in a jug of Pimms, the piquant pop of fruitiness is a delight to wear in fragrant form, too.
Christian Louboutin Loubidoo
Daphné Bugey’s fruity, feminine strawberry, rose and cedar blend beckons good (fragrant) fortune being finished with a lucky cat symbol. They say it ‘Tip-toes on velvet paws…‘ We say: Mischievously moreish! £235 for 90ml eau de parfum selfridges.com
Juliette Has a Gun Lipstick Fever
Raspberry, iris, and violet absolute evoke the comforting scent of a precious leather handbag, before the addictive sweetness of vanilla slowly emerges on the skin. As for the suitably scarlet flacon? Mwah, mwah! £120 for 100ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com
Maison Margiela Replica Springtime in a Park
Dappled light through branches, a crisp breeze, pink cherry blossom tumbling on pears, bergamots and black currants; aqueous blooms, lily of the valley and dewy roses – a perfect perfumed portrait of happiness. From £49 for 30ml eau de toilette selfridges.com
Picking a new perfume can be difficult enough at the best of times, but for your wedding day? That’s piling on the pressure!
Whichever scent you select, this will forever remind you of the day, a scented memory to treasure forever, and we know many couples don’t just want to wear the same ol’ fragrance they wear every day. After all, you’re unlikely to be rocking up to the chapel in whatever outfit you happened to find on the floor that day (we hope!) so why would your scent be a second thought?
But where to begin?
Firstly, here are some questions to ask yourself…
What’s the style of your dress and theme of the wedding? Relaxed, formal, opulent, casual, classic, modern…? The style of your fragrance should fit comfortably with the occasion.
Is there an overall colour-theme for the wedding and celebrations afterwards? Colour can be a great guide to which fragrances you might be drawn to. Pale feature colours are unlikely to fit with a decadent, ambrée style scent and vice-versa.
What flowers will be in your bouquet or decorating the venue, and are they fragranced or unscented? A strongly scented set of floral arrangements could fight with a fragrance that’s wildly different (and we definitely don’t want fights on a wedding day!)
Are there types of fragrances you already love? Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to branch out – take our Find Your Next Fragrance test online to see where to begin looking. All you need to know is the name of a fragrance you already love, and we’ll suggest six other fragrances that you’re bound to find something wonderful within…
We’ll be suggesting some ideal scents for brides and grooms to try later in the week, but for now we’ve rounded-up a selection of some of the best fragrance profiling sessions around, so read on to see which sounds best for you (or try them all!)
These are specialised boutiques that offer an expert consultant to help guide you through the myriad of scents of offer, who will sit with you, ask a number of questions and help you work out exactly which one is best for you. A fantastic service at any time, for a big occasion it’s a life-saver, giving you the time and space to really find that special day’s perfect scent…
Atkinsons Wedding Fragrance Consultations
If the newlywed Queen Victoria was honoured by Atkinsons with her very own Nuptial Bouquet*, then why not embrace your inner highness with an equally majestic scent for your wedding day? Atkinsons London welcomes brides and grooms-to-be in store for a range of fabulous services.
Their flagship team at their incredibly beautiful 41 Burlington Arcade boutique,will firstly take you through a bespoke experience to match you with your ideal perfume for your perfect day. We’re told this results in a fragrance for life. Their perfume profiling is a truly memorable experience; thorough, in-depth and one that speaks to the soul – it comes highly recommended.
The service can further continue downstairs in their salon with a wedding day hair consultation from their uber-talented hairdresser, Umberto.
For those wanting to have a personal twist on the scent for their special day, we introduce to you; Ormonde Jayne’s Made to Measure service. A luxurious service offered in their newly refurbished, and rather beautiful, boutique in The Royal Arcade, off Old Bond Street.
The Made to Measure service allows brides-to-be to choose their favourite scent from the Ormonde Jayne collection, (you’ll be taken through them by one of their impeccably trained staff) and then have it re-poured with your desired oil concentration, allowing up to 42% (the average eau de parfum is between 15-25%). Expect impressive, powerful results and a scent that will last til the very end of your special day.
This is personalised even further by the option to engrave one’s initials, and perhaps the wedding date – a lovely touch – onto the cap or bottle. Followed finally by a beautiful gift-wrapping service.
And while you wait? Graze on heavenly chocolates (courtesy of their delicious neighbours Charbonnel & Walker), sip on champagne and daydream about what will be the most magical, memorable, day of your life.
By appointment only, call 0207 499 1100 to book. Ormonde Jayne, 12 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London, W1S 4SL
Penhaligon’s offer this complimentary service in some of their standalone stores, which begin with being ushered into a private area and, over a refreshing tea (or perhaps some more-refreshing fizz) the consultant asking you some carefully thought-out questions by which to guide them into recommending several pairs of their fragrances to try.
Then, judging from your reaction (with both verbal and non-verbal cues, such as smiling, or paying attention to your eyebrows!) they discover the direction to explore together. A quick water break after five pairs of fragrances, to help cleanse the palate, options are refined down to finding the perfect perfume. Can’t make it to one of their boutiques? No problem, for Penhaligon’s have cleverly come up with online Profiling, and will even send you two samples from the selection of six selected as best for you (the cost of which they’ll deduct if you then go on to purchase a 100ml bottle).
Those who’ve taken part report that before the session, they thought they didn’t have any strong ideas about particular types of scents they were looking for, but by the end had formed a much clearer idea as to the best ones to look out for – so a service that’s helpful for the rest of your life, not only for a wedding day!
Floris London ‘Together’ Bespoke Fragrance Service
As part of their in-house bespoke perfumery service, ‘Together’ is a 3-hour appointment perfect for couples searching for truly unique scents, speacially composed with a Floris perfumer at at their flagship Floris boutique. Upon ordering online, ahead of the session you receive a beautifully presented gift box, including two bottles already engraved with your initials, as well as a guide to prepare you for your appointment.
Your session begins with a welcome from a member of the Floris family themselves, who will give you both a short overview of the company. Then, while you enjoy your glasses of champagne, your bespoke perfumer asks you to choose from a wide selection of fine fragrance bases, and throughout the appointment as you learn about fragrance creation (from the oldest privately owned family perfumers in the world), you will craft your scents with the introduction of new accords to complement your taste, until both your unique tailored fragrances are complete.
For peace of mind, your private record will be securely archived in the Floris ledgers for you and your future generations to reorder when required (which is completely delightful, don’t you think?) and repeat orders of 100ml bespoke fragrance can be ordered for £160 each.
£800 for 2 x 100ml bespoke fragrances. By appointment at Floris London, – order your engraved bottles online, and your session will take place at 89, Jermyn Street.
Offering you the chance to completely ‘immerse yourself in a world of unrivalled fragrance, coveted candles and rich bath and body care’ at the Creed Boutique, here you could find not only your perfect wedding fragrances, but matching scented products to give as bridesmaids gits or even to scent the tabels at your reception to continue the sensory theme.
Their exquisite lower ground floor offers a private and restful environment where guests can experience luxurious and bespoke fragrance consultations, uncovering their perfect signature scent for any occasion. The boutique’s team of highly-trained experts can accommodate almost any fragrance need, guiding guests through an impressive journey of scent discovery whilst enjoying a glass of Champagne. How civilised!
To book your bespoke consultation please contact The Creed Boutique, 99 Mount St, London W1K2TF, call 0207 495 1795 or email [email protected]
At their utterly stunning (and so-colourful) Covent Garden boutique, Atelier Cologne offer an experience of a privileged moment for each client. Beginning with a bespoke perfume consultation, you’ll be introduced to each of the collections’ bestsellers, and from that discover your own personal ‘perfume wardrobe’. While spraying, the Perfume Artists tell the story that inspired the Cologne Absolue. ‘It is through this storytelling that customers’ imagination, memories and emotions are triggered, helping them make a final choice perfectly matching their personality and individual story.’
At the Atelier, the unique engraving workshop offers long-lasting Cologne lovers the chance to personalise their ‘keepsake’ travel spray. Clients can choose from more than 15 different colours of leather cases and have their name, initials or a short message engraved on the leather.
This bespoke customisation service is performed in front of each client by the Perfume Artists, in less than five minutes, using custom-made engraving machines. A perfect keepsake for your special day, something to keep forever and have re-filled time and again, and perhaps you can choose mini scents as bridesmaid gifts or the Groom’s Best Man while you’re at it?
The Atelier Cologne Experience is available at 11 The Market Building, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RB.
During a three-hour session, you’ll create and perfect your own fragrance with one-to-one expert consultation along the way – exploring in detail a selection of 40 perfumery ingredients, you will be free to browse over two hundred from our lab to achieve your perfect blend.
Along the way, after answering a variety of insightful questions, you’ll find your ‘nose’ and leave with a stronger understanding of fragrance composition, what you like and you dislike and an enriched descriptive vocabulary for your sense of smell. This is a hands-on workshop where the full session is one-to-one with the perfumer at EPC, perfectly suitable for any level of experience and ideal for individuals, couples or private groups. They will tailor the workshop to whatever your needs are, so just ask!
After the workshop you’ll leave that day with a truly signature scent in the form of a 15ml lab bottle of your bespoke fragrance, as well as your perfume formula for future orders and a complimentary 50 ml Eau de Toilette, sent to you within 2 weeks.
£450 for one / £220 for additional participants (includes the first 50ml bottle of your fragrance, delivered two weeks after your workshop). To book, fill in the appointment request form online.
The fascinating recent BBC documentary delving behind-the-scenes of the Queen’s Coronation on June 2, 1953, held a scented secret for sharp-eyed fragrance fans… did you spot it?
While discussing the ancient rituals of the act of anointing the monarch, our eyes were drawn to the oil itself – rather incongruously kept nestled in a battered old box and bottle of Guerlain‘s Mitsouko!
May we admit experiencing a momentary thrill that the BBC had uncovered our Queen as a secret perfumista, who’d insisted on being anointed with a fabulous Chypre? We’d definitely consider being baptised in Mitsouko, but it turned out it was just the bottle and box. Oh well. No matter, for the story of the oil’s recipe was rather deliciously revealed…
The oil was made from a secret mixture in sesame and olive oil, containing ambergris, civet, orange flowers, roses, jasmine, cinnamon, musk and benzoin– actually sounding rather Ambrée in its composition – and must surely have smelled glorious.
The anointing ritual is always hidden from view – a private moment for the monarch to reflect on their duties and the significance of being touched by that oil – and so a canopy was held over the Queen by four Knights of the Garter, and the televison cameras turned respectfully away, as the Archbishop anointed her with the fragrant holy oil on her hands, breast and head.
Quite a scent memory.
In fact, the phial containing the original oil had been destroyed in a bombing raid on the Deanery in May 1941. The firm of chemists who’d mixed the last known anointing oil had gone bust, so a new company, Savory and Moore Ltd, was asked by the Surgeon-Apothecary to mix a new supply, based on the ancient recipe, for the Coronation. We’d quite like them to whip up a batch for us, too.
During the ritual, the highly scented oil was poured from Charles II’s Ampulla (the eagle-shaped vessel shown above) into a 12th-century spoon. One imagines the Archbishop’s hands must have shook just a little during this procedure – thank goodness for that canopy. Meanwhile, the choir sang one of the most thrillingly dramatic songs in history: “Zadok the Priest”. The words are taken from the first Book of Kings, and have been sung at every coronation since King Edgar’s in 973, but the anointment ritual is even older, going back to King Solomon supposedly being anointed by Zadok himself in the 10th century BC.
Of course the rest of the Coronation was an extraordinary display of magnificent jewels and robes and the peculiarities of historical traditions played out ‘like a ballet’, as the programme described, but our minds kept returning to the mysteries of the anointing oil, what the Queen must have thought as she smelled it (was it the first time she’d smelled the oil?) and how it’s still, charmingly, kept in that tatty old bottle and box of Mitsouko.
Now then, to whom did that bottle once belong? For whomever they were, we congratulate them on their taste…
Those of you who missed the documentary can watch it while it’s still on BBC iPlayer.
To commemorate the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee year, Penhaligon’s have released an exquisite, highly limited edition version of their classic Lily of the Valley perfume. Only 65 of the crystal bottles have been produced – one to mark each year since the Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952.
The bows on every single bottle have been hand embroidered with a number, and the crystal bottle itself was created especially for Penhaligon’s by British manufacturer Silver Tree Crystal. A perfume fit for a Queen of course comes at a suitably rich price, but a percentage of the proceeds from this product will go towards QEST (the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust), the charity of the Royal Warrant Holders Association. QEST provides funds for the education of talented and aspiring craftspeople, thus sustaining traditional British craftsmanship. Penhaligon’s Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee Lily of the Valley £650 for 225ml.
Available in select Penhaligon’s boutiquesand concessions.
Too rich for your (non-blue) blood? You could always pick up a regular bottle of the beautiful originalLily of Valley, which is available for the more pocket-friendly price of £97. Penhaligon’s say: ‘The sweetness of this soliflore is first of all one of character. With the gentility (of experience) and the innocence (of youth) here is a flower that hangs its bells coyly, that delicately shares its perfume. But a soliflore made from a fine orchestration of notes. The opening is as fresh as May and as optimistic as Spring, geranium brings composure and stature to this citrus. As this imagined and romanticised creamy white flower continues to open its petals, rose, ylang ylang and jasmine release their scent. And because discretion is a virtue; one could almost be unaware of the sandalwood and oakmoss that give Lily of the Valley a timeless and forever finale. Royal wedding posies have taken note.’
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Imagine the excitement of smelling spices for the very first time, and then realising you could waft fragrantly (and flamboyantly – these were hugely expensive and kept in locked chests) smelling of success and radiating your wealth… The Elizabethan era saw an influx of exotic goods arriving from all over the world – including luxurious, never before seen perfumery ingredients – the valiant explorers bringing a bewitching treasure trove of scented materials to Europe. Men like think Vasco de Gama (1469-1524), Magellan (1480-1521) and Columbus (1451-1506) brought vanilla, pepper, Peru balsam, cardamom, sandalwood, clove, cocoa… Many were used for flavouring, but also found their way intro fragrant creations.
A growing trade with the East resulted in the transportation of living plants, too: orange trees (producing not just fruit, but that most romantic and innocent of fragrant blossoms), jasmine and rose. With perfect timing, the distillers were getting ever-more-expert: essential oils could soon be distilled from frankincense, pine, cedarwood, cardamom, fennel, nutmeg, agarwood (‘oud’ as we know it today), sweet flag, anise and more.
Mostly, though, it is supposed that perfumes were still used to mask awful odours – which made lingeringly heady scents like tuberose, jasmine and musk particularly popular. Queen Elizabeth I beckoned Venetian traders to Southampton to offer their scented wares: it became fashionable to wear musk and rose scented pomanders and sachets, in particular.
Here’s another charming snippet from an Elizabethan recipe – remember, most of these fragrances would be made at home, and such recipes were often found in household books along with food and medicine recipes. Could you follow the instructions now, do you think? And more importantly – would you wear it if you could?
Perhaps our noses are more atuned to complex aromas these days, with modern innovations meaning we can combine the best of nature with purer extractions and headspace technology (digitally analysing the scent of pretty much anything and allowing scientists to recreate the smell synthetically), but isn’t it fascinating how we can time-travel with our noses?
Now, why not continue your fragrant journey by exploring another fragrant era in our section devoted to the history of perfumery…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale
The fragrance world have long known the name of Clive Christian, but perhaps not so much about the man, and we were lucky enough to be treated to an intimate afternoon tea in Clive Christian’s staggeringly beautiful Mayfair office, hosted by the brand’s ambassador; Clive’s daughter, Victoria Christian, and with a visit from the man himself. Over glasses of Champagne and the most elegant sandwiches and pastries, we took a deeper look into the brand’s story – and a unique sniffing session inspired by the rituals of the brand’s historic and royal roots…
Having rescued the historic Crown Perfumery from ruin and restored its former glory, Clive Christian’s signature fragrance 1872 commemorates the brand’s Victorian heritage – and today the perfume house remains a testament to the artisanal practices of centuries past while still forging ever forwards and creating contemporary fragrances that stand the test of time. The bottle designs and sumptuously heavy crown tops echo that heritage, and the house proudly retains a royal seal of approval to this day.
We were particularly fascinated to learn that the pairs of fragrances are couples in more than name alone – when layered, the masculine with the feminine, if so desired – create your own bespoke blend and harness the interplay of notes between them as they settle on your skin. We tried this ourselves and the results are outstanding. We urge you to play!
We’re cannot, sadly, re-create the amazing sensation of sitting with your eyes closed and having Victoria waft the scents across a room to you with a large fan [Shhh! VIP Subscribers: do watch our Events page as we are so hoping to make this happen…]
During the talk, Clive Christian spoke of the contentment he finds in tending the magnificent gardens of his Queen Anne house, and the incredible inspiration he’s gained by restoring them to their former glory with a planting scheme that echoes the history of the place. Inspiration that now blossoms fully in the two latest fragrances to be launched…
A delicious forray into a Michelin-grade gourmand, Cosmos Flower exudes all the overt decadence of that magnificent bloom. Mouth-watering fruits get the olfactive tastebuds tingling before melding into a richer plum and and perfectly balanced floral heart, with the peachy delicacy of the osmanthus really showcasing the cosmos flower’s depth. The cocoa of the base is beautifully dry, with smooth benzoin swooning into a bitter caramel that makes for a truly complex and properly grown-up ‘foodie’ fragranced banquet. As a pure perfume, this gave us many happy hours of totally addictive wrist-sniffing…
Clive Christian Noble VII Cosmos Flower £350 for 50ml pure perfume
Noble VII Rock Rose
Top notes: Citrus, bergamot, black pepper, neroli
Middle notes: Lavender, violet, herbs, rock rose
Base notes: Cocoa, patchouli, amber, vetiver
A classically styled and mistily refined fougére with a surprisingly modern edge, here we find citrus, bergamot and neroli sprinkled with black pepper in the opening, while the heart is composed of superbly dry lavender, violet and the intriguing scent of rock rose. With a base of the darkest cocoa, patchouli and amber, the vetiver seems to sparkle as a cyclical return to the airily fresh beginning. A fragrant journey we’d happily share with any gentleman we deem worthy (if they can wrest it from our grasp!)
Clive Christian Noble VII Rock Rose £350 for 50ml pure perfume
Written by Suzy Nightingale
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