Experimental Perfume Club has always been about pushing the boundaries and trying new things within the world of fragrance, and now they’ve gone one step further – offering their unique ‘bespoke service’ online!
It’s been a tough time for retail, and perfume houses have had an extra layer of difficulty, given that we haven’t been able to smell their scents other than buyingtheir Discovery Sets and getting samples to try at home. We’ve seen a HUGE demand for our Discovery Boxes because of this, so that’s all well and good, but what about those houses offering bespoke, custom-blended fragrances?
Brilliant perfumer, and founder of Experimental Perfume Club, Emmanuelle Moeglin has managed to turn what could have been tragedy into triumph, rby eacting quickly and being one of the first in the industry to dramatically adapt her business to the ever-changing challenges.
As we reported previously, Experimental Perfume Club now offer online classes – from a free mini session to an advanced creation course, so the learning and experimenting (that was the impetus for them launching in the first place) is now available to an even larger audience who can do the classes in their own time, from the comfort of their own homes.
Now, we are thrilled to share that Experimental Perfume Club are bringing their utterly genius bespoke customisation service online, too! The Bespoke Collection and Discovery Set allows you to create and customise you very own unique fragrance online (an opportunity which was previously only available to customers in-store at Selfridges).
We happen to know this Bespoke perfume service works perfectly, as one of the first people to try it in-store when it launched was The Perfume Society’s own Co-Founder, Jo Fairley – followed shortly after by myself. We happen to have almost identical tastes in perfume, but Jo had not mentioned a single note that was in her customised blend. Lo and behold: when we compared, we found we’d both created exactly the same scent, out of the many thousands (hundreds of thoudsands?) of possible combinations! A dark, smoky amber/incense that positvely purrs with provocation, it proved to us beyond doubt their bespoke customisation service genuinely works.
How to get your bespoke-blended perfume:
The new Bespoke Collection includes twenty unique blends, carefully curated by Emmanuelle, to sample and wear at home first. Online, you can use the LAYERS formula finder’s in-house algorithm and ‘receive a shortlist of formulas that match your unique olfactory profile.’ Finally, your favourite fragrance can then be ordered in a full size, fully personalised bottle.
Scientists have discovered that certain types of bees actually create their own ‘perfumes’ in order to attract a mate. And what’s more, a niche brand has just launched a Bee fragrance that’s already creating a buzz…
A new article in Science Daily reveals that scientists at the University of California have discovered male orchid bees don’t sipmply flit among the flowers collecting pollen to make honey back at the hive – they’re also using their wings ‘…to disperse a bouquet of perfumes into the air.’ And their studies have concluded that ‘the aromatic efforts are all for the sake of attracting a mate.’
Associate Professor Santiago Ramirez, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, explained that while they already knew many animals produce pheremones, the unique factor for the orchid bee is that ‘the majority of their pheromones are actually collected from plants and other sources like fungi.’ Science Daily suggests that ‘Orchid bees are master perfumers,’ and goes on to explain that the scientists reserach suggests that ‘the perfumes males concoct are unique to their specific species’.
Ramirez,and recent Ph.D. graduate student Philipp Brand, from the Population Biology Graduate Group, have been studying the mating habits of orchid bees for some years, in the course of their studies, ‘unraveling the complex chemicals responsible for successful procreation.’ What they didn’t expext to find, though, was a brand new discovery that possibly explains the evolutionary divergence of bee species: environmental perfumes (and we’re not talking ‘clean’ or ‘green’ beauty claims here, folks!)
In the study, which was first published in Nature Communications, Brand, Ramirez and their colleagues set out their case to suggest that the evolution of sexual signaling in orchid bees can directly be linked to ‘a gene that’s been shaped by each species’ perfume preferences.’
Brand commented that, ‘Our study supports the hypothesis that in the orchid bee perfume communication system, the male perfume chemistry and the female preference for the perfume chemistry can simultaneously evolve via changes in a single receptor gene.’ And this could explain why a single species split into two distinct species that we knew were linked, but had no idea why they had diverged. Ah yes, the power of that scent sillage is strong, it seems, even for bees. But how did one bee’s perfume-making prowess suddenly woo more of the female bees to his partiular, er, honeypot?
Explains Ramirez: ‘Imagine you have an ancestral species that uses certain compounds to communicate with each other,” said Ramirez. “If you have a chemical communication channel and then that chemical communication channel splits into two separate channels, then you have the opportunity for the formation of two separate species.’
Do make time to read the full article in Science Daily – it’s a fascingating read, and yet another notch in our understanding of the power of smell. But let’s not only focus on fragrances that makes bees feel like getting busy (buzzy?) with it; we perfume-loving humans have a brand new sweet-smelling scent to explore that’s perfectly themed – and although not inspired by the reasearch, as far as we know, happens to be perfectly timed, too. The Canadian-based niche house of Zoologist have just launched the latest in their animal-centric scents: behold Bee…
Perfumer Cristiano Canali has created a perfume that showcases luxurious amounts of labdanum, dollops of honey, a leathery orange blossom dusted with powdery mimosa, delciously rounded by nutty tonka and heady heliotrope.
Zoologist Bee, £195 for 65ml extrait de parfum (1ml samples £3)
Try it at Bloom Perfumery
So which honey-based fragrances are likely to get you buzzing? Read our page all about the history and use of honey as a fragrant ingredient, and discover other perfumes to try, for the scent perfumer Christine Nagel describes as ‘half devil, half angel…’
As part of our continuing feature, Fragrance Family Friday, today we’re burrowing knee-deep in shady ferns for Fougère…
For anyone who’s wondering, you say it ‘foo-jair’ (with the ‘j’ a little soft – almost ‘foo-shair’…) – we thought we’d start with that, because not only can some of the fragrance families be a bit confusing, even pronouncing them can get the better of us at times!
Now that’s out the way, let’s go deep into the shady undergrowth of this fabulous – and still-evolving – fragrance category.
Although there are many modern variations cropping up, a fougère will invariably feature lavender, geranium, vetiver, bergamot, oakmoss and coumarin in the blend. Fougère Royale as the first of them, from Houbigant in 1882. Fougère takes its name from the French for ‘fern’ – and to understand what these ferny, green fragrances smell like, here is an absolute classic, now thankfully revived in a heart-warming way, by Milano Centro…
Milano Centro HIM was showcased first at the Beauty International show at Olympia in June 1989, by business partners and interior designers Dean Tatum and the late Matthew Bright. Inspired by ‘the classic sophistication of all things Italian’, they launched with just one fragrance – Milano Cento HIM – a fabulous evocation of a fougère that smells like a cool, shady walk through a forest.
What does it smell like? Imagine citrus luminescence sparkling in the tops notes with bergamot and peititgrain, giving way to a herbaceously dappled breeze of rosemary, lavender and basil. As it warms, you’re swathed in the musky warmth of smooth sandalwood and suavely sprinkled spicy notes of clove, cinnamon and amber atop a darkly glimmering patchouli base.
When Milano Cento – the perfect, drop-dead sexy man smell – later disappeared from the shelves (as many fragrances do, alas…) it could have been a mere scent memory, if it wasn’t for Dean Tatum’s wife Valissa and son, Jasper. They had the idea to recreate a single bottle for Dean’s 50th birthday: the ultimate journey back in time. As any perfume world insider knows, however: it’s not that simple. ‘Trying to find someone to produce for us, in the small quantities we were after, was quite a challenge. It was only after we called a few stockists, who said they remembered the brand and asked when it was coming back, that we had the idea to relaunch it.’
We’re so glad they did. This is a fougère fragrance that smells classic in a timeless way, rather than simply reminiscent of the era it originates from – it’s grown-up, insouciant, perfect for any occasion.
The London house of Ormonde Jayne take alchemical notions and conjur a trilogy of Gold-inspired fragrances, the completion of which arrives in the majestic form of White Gold. But how do you bottle gold? Or, at least, capture the shimmering beauty of precious metal in a fragrance?
The genius of fine perfumery is to take something abstract, a colour, texture or emotion, and convey this through the subtle manipulation of our senses – a message from the perfumer to the fragrance wearer that we somehow understand at once.
When we try to imagine or describe the smell of gold itself, we may well struggle. What does it smell like, other than, well… metal? And yet certain combinations of ingredients definitely smell gleamingly ‘golden’, blushing rosily or cooler, more silvered in tone.
If there’s a signature for Ormonde Jayne fragrances, it surely has to be the pink pepper. It shimmers as a temperature in White Gold, warm sunshine that lends a luminescence to everything around it, but filtered through lacey curtains, casting intricate shadows on a perfectly polished wooden floor. A luscious haze of green leafy-ness suffuses skin-soft orris butter and jasmine, dipping slightly deeper into a dry-down of lightly burnished amber, whispers of white musk, vanilla and a deliciously mossy shade.
leaf green molecule, pink pepper, mandarin, bergamot and clary sage
Madagascan vanilla, ambrette absolute, cashmeran, white musk, amber, moss, tonka, labdanum, opoponax, vetiver, cedar wood
We say: Glorious to wear in scorching heat, it billows but never becomes too much, with a magnificent and long-lasting trail that feels like streaming a gauzy tulle train behind as you walk. On cooler days the silvery-tones shine through, a rustle of white silks, an echo of laughter in a marble hall.
Because they mix and hand-pour everything themselves, Ormonde Jayne are able to be utterly lavish with their percentages: White Gold is poured at an extravagant 30% of pure oil in every bottle! That’s pretty much unheard of in perfumery. In addition to being hand-poured in their own London laboratory, Ormonde Jayne promise that their fragrance is free from Phthalates, not tested on animals and with no added colour.
Ormonde Jayne say: ‘White Gold captures the beauty of white jasmine absolute, white musk and orchids. Enter the assertiveness of Grasse jasmine absolute purring alongside white musk… Wear it as your second skin, day and night, any season and any occasion. White Gold is for you, own it and be ravishing.’
No, it isn’t ‘cheap’, but we say you’ll only need one or two sprays to last the entire day and night through (and into the next day, still relishing the scent on your hair, a scarf or perhaps the person you expressed your amorous affections to… so use with caution!) Also, you must try this on your skin, so do visit the exqusitely re-appointed boutique within the Royal Arcade, Bond Street. Or send for a sample to see how gold can shimmer on your own skin…
Meanwhile, and talking of luxury, have you seen the new ‘Gourmande Jayne‘ website? Encompassing founder Linda Pilkington‘s own passions, it explores fragrantly Gourmet recipes to try at home, sumptuous Fashion and tips for a beautiful Lifestyle. Well worth your exploring!
Our latest Discovery Box has to be the most sumptuously indulgent yet! The Velvet Collection has just launched, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share a little more about it with you, here… Prepare to sink into a state of scented bliss!
One of the most incredible powers perfume has is to make us feel swathed in luxury, as though we could reach out and stroke it. So when describing a perfume, we borrow language that evokes how they make us feel when wearing them, and most often those words are textural – suede-like, supple leather, soft cashmere, crisp cotton… and the most luxurious of all: velvet.
So how perfect to use this utterly sumptuous word in the title of our latest Discovery Box – The Velvet Collection…
In our latest curated collection of fragrances and scented goodies – nine perfume samples, two extra beauty treats AND a full-size Green & Blacks Velvet Edition chocolate bar in this one! – ‘velvet’ becomes a stepping-stone into exploring a sensuously scented world. Velvet makes us think of joyous opulence, abundant allure; richly hued and silky to the touch, but with enough of a fur-like feel to make us purr contentedly. Reassuring to wrap around you and reassuringly expensive, velvet also reflects the light with subtle nuances and complexity of character.
We’re so privileged at The Perfume Society to meet and interview some of the top perfumers in the world, and we always ask them what we can do to improve our sense of smell, to enhance the way we perceive a perfume. We feed these tips back to our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops (see Events section for news of these), and the most consistent advice is that we should try to think of textures, colours and places to envisage and ‘fix’ a scent in our mind.
And we wonder: which of these will become your second-skin, the fragrance you want to reach out and stroke as you fix the scent-sensation in your mind…? Map of the Heart Gold Heart – a warm gleam of comforting spices Avery E – frosted red fruits swathed in swags of flowers Vince Camuto Amore – frozen clementines wrapped in amber Lalique Reve d’Infini – white roses powder-dusted by a swansdown puff Connock London Andiroba – rainforest fruits discovered in lush greenery Valeur Absolue Rouge Passion – precious flowers tingling with ginger Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance – scarlet roses smouldering shamelessly Floral Street Chypre Sublime – bohemian romantics artistically cavorting Atkinsons Pirates Grand Reserve – dashing cads plundering exotic goods
PLUS: the exquisitely scented and ultra-nourishing Cochine hand lotion (in White Jasmine & Gardenia) a handy travel-size of Philosophy’s iconic Purity 3-in-one-cleanser and Green & Black’s scrumptious new Velvet Edition chocolate bar!
All of this can be yours to try in the comfort of your own home – no high-pressure, zero hassle and the time to make up your own mind, and for just £19 (VIP price £15) + P&P
So we suggest you treat yourself, close the curtains and give in to the luxurious allure of The Velvet Collection Discovery Box…
Dedicated fragrance blogger I Scent You a Day set herself the challenge of wearing a different perfume every single day of the year, without bankrupting herself by buying 365 differing bottles of scent! One of the ways she’s been able to follow this perfumed pilgramage, and write about it so entertainingly, is by regularly purchasing our Discovery Boxes of fragrance minis and samples – many of which are impossible to find elsewhere, and have led to a love for rising-stars of the niche world along with classics of the genre and even pre-launch sneak-previews.
We were absolutely thrilled to hear that in her round-up of ‘the very best of scents’ for 2016 – a.k.a The Iscents – The Perfume Society were honoured with a Fellowship Award!
Indeed, the Fellowship Award was specifically invented for us, because we ‘[defy] other categopries.’
As explained in the post describing the award categories and why the winners were chosen, ‘Not only do they provide white boxes of treasure that even the most jaded perfume palate would salivate at, but they’re a sort of Mothership that we can all turn to when we get a bit lost in the murky depths of fruity-florals-chypres-colognes-my-nose-is-confused-help! Ever had a day like that? I have. The Perfume Society Scented Letter magazine also makes me settle down with a contented sigh and think “I’ve found my tribe” as I read what other perfume obsessives are up to. Fumeheads, you are not alone.’ Blushingly, we gratefully accept this award, and are so glad to have played a significant part in I Scent You a Day’s continuing fragrant journey… and hopefully, in yours!
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Obviously we love nothing more than exploring hard-to-find perfume houses and word-of-mouth niche boutiques, but absolutely nothing fully immerses you in the style of a fragrance brand like plunging in to a tempting Discovery Set and exploring their myriad delights.
We believe that perfume is an art form, and as such these scents deserve to be savoured before you can truly decide which you adore and cannot live without a full-size of. And if this exploration can be carried out from the comfort of your sofa? All the better, surely…
So as well as our own Discovery Boxes, we are honoured to now carry a selection of Brand Boxes – discovery sets from brands we already adore, and think you will too.
So instead of trawling countless websites (and worrying about the total shipping costs if you’re tempted by several from different places!), browse the fantastic selection we have gathered for you. All helpfully located in one place, they come with FREE POSTAGE AND PACKAGING no matter how many you choose – the perfect presents for your perfume-loving friends are only a click away. (And may we suggest you throw in a treat for yourself, too?)
PS: If you’re a VIP Subscriber, don’t forget to be logged in to recieve your special price! Just-launched in our shop, this is a beautifully presented set of oppulent scents by a decadently brilliant, British niche house. Including their best-sellers and an array of fabulous fragrances for both sexes to fall in love with, we can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t succumb their charms… Ormonde Jayne Discovery Set VIP Price £43/Non-Subscribers £48 for 12 x 12ml Hand-crafted in England, created from the essences of real flowers, fruit and spices, we invite you to explore this British brand’s most-loved scents: pocket-sized and beautifully presented in their signature blue and white stripes. Shay & Blue Precious Miniatures VIP Price £55/Non-Subcribers £65 for 5 x 10ml
Discover the vivid interpretation of some of perfumery’s most precious ingredients, with scents specially created by leading perfumers in this colourful selection of bestsellers. Embodying Molton Brown’s mantra of ‘London via the World’, exotic ingredients include ylang ylang from the rainforest of Madagascar, Tahitian tamanu oil and precious oudh… Molton Brown’s The Fine Art of FragranceVIP Price £10/Non-Subscribers £12.50 for 8 x 1.5ml This incredibly cool conceptual brand – bringing together film, literature and fragrance – is expressed here via beautifully-presented trial sizes. Enclosed you’ll find a ‘fragrance menu’, inviting you to browse at leisure 10 unique scents – and looking for all the world as indulgent as a box of chocolates, but with zero guilt! Roads Luxury Kit VIP Price £70.20/Non-Subscribers £78
Breezing straight in from the beautiful Catalonian city of Barcelona we have the signature scents of Santa Eulalia, a favourite must-visit concept boutique (and one of the oldest stores in Spain). Named after the patron Saint of Barcelona, these four perfumes depict moods that effortlessly evoke the essence of the city and the spirit of the Mediterranean itself… Santa Eulalia Discovery Kit VIP Price £70.20/Non-Subscribers £78 for 4 x 10ml
The super stylish house of Agonist present the perfect selection to fully explore their house, with each scent thoughtfully created from rare ingredients and masterfully composed to refelect their artistic yet emotional inspirations. Having appeared in several of our own Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, this is your opportunity to dive fully in to this fragrant wonderland…
Agonist Discovery Kit VIP Price £55.80/Non-Subscribers £62 for 10 x 2ml eau de perfume
Whichever sets you’re seduced by, we know you’ll find a new favourite…
Swathes of purple patches embellishing the countryside truly lift the soul – there’s something about seeing simplicity en-masse that becomes staggeringly beautiful…
Aesthetically pleasing we can all agree, but many fragrance fans unfairly discount a dominant note of lavender in perfumery as being ;old-fashioned; – perhaps recalling scented drawer-sachets or bath salts that rarely use the high quality, perfume-grade lavender, and instead the far cheaper, dusty-old-drawer smelling low quality essential oil or even poorly made synthetic lavender.
Judge not, oh ye of little fragrance faith, until you have read on!
Known in Provence as ;blue gold;, the best lavender used in perfumery tends to be grown in higher altitudes, and often doesn’t at all resemble what we think we know lavender smells of. Pure lavender essential oil can be spicy, peppery, herbaceous, misty, smoky or green and many cannot identify the note when asked to sniff blind.
Recently we took a group of our VIP Subscribers to the wonderful Mitchell & Peach Lavender Farm in Kent, and everyone was enchanted by the picturesque countryside and the family’s in-depth knowledge and passion for the land and the crops they tend there.
With lavender having a resurgence as a note to rediscover in contemporary fragrances we suggested you try, it is also important to appreciate those British classics that have withstood the test of time, and fragrances that cherish it as the “hero note” – revelling in their true lavender love.
You can read more about the history of lavender’s use in perfumery on our fascinating Ingredients section of the website, but in the meantime, here’s our edit of the absolute must-try lavender scents. And every time you spray, you can keep summer alive that little bit longer…
Freshly aromatic with a twist of eucalyptus and rosemary with the traditional lavender, the heart is a tender bouquet of geranium, rose and orange flower, with an earthier base of patchouli and musk for a dusky trail… Bronnley Lavender £13.50 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at bronnley.co.uk
Made by the Cistertian monks of tiny Caldey island in south west Wales, this is humbly presented yet unexpectedly sublime – all fresh air, hazy dawns and mist-draped secret gardens. Almost slightly minty, it’s like a late Summer breeze in a bottle… Caldey Island Lavender £17.50 for 50ml eau de toilette Buy it at caldey-island.co.uk
With a green hay-like sweetness, this is Yardley London’s signature fragrance. Beautifully elegant, lavender leaves enhance the freshness on top, then the oil is infused with neroli and clary sage, geranium, sandalwood and tonka for a smooth dry-down… Yardley English Lavender £9.99 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots
With zesty lemon, verbena and grapefruit shot through the composition of this ultra-green lavender, it’s a wakeup call for the senses. Gauzy jasmine and delicate hints of amber intrigue the cedarwood trail… Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena and Lavender de Provence £20 for 30ml Cologne
Buy it at crabtree-evelyn.co.uk
One of the very first flowers distilled by founder Olivier Baussan, L’Occitane uses lavender directly sourced from farmers’ cooperatives in Haute-Provence. This aromatic tribute to their homeland is the softest way there is to soothe frazzled nerves… L’Occitane Lavender Relaxing Roll-On £12 for 10ml Cologne
Buy it at uk.loccitane.com
Do you have a favourite lavender fragrance, or have you tried one recently that really changed your mind? Do get in touch by Tweeting, posting a picture and tagging us on Instagram or e-mail us here – we’d love to hear about it!
Written by Suzy Nightingale
We are thrilled to be attending ‘the Oscars of the perfume world’ tomorrow evening – The Fragrance Foundation Awards, aka the ‘FiFis’ – a prestigious ceremony in which the créme-de-la-créme of the fragrance world gather to celebrate and pay tribute to the very best newly emerging and already established brands out there.
Having won several Jasmine awards(had we mentioned?) this year for the our Scented Letter Magazine, we were kindly invited by The Fragrance Foundation to sit on the judging panel alongside other winners for two of the categories in 2016’s FiFi Awards, and the finalists who will nervously be await their fate are as follows…
With so many incredible perfume houses up for awards in all manner of categories tomorrow evening, it makes you realise what a vibrant and exciting industry this really is – and how many incredible brands there are yet to explore. Indeed, we must admit it makes us glow with pride to be part of it all…
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