Scents of calm – fragrances to unwind, uplift spirits & soothe frazzled nerves

In this time of unprecedented stress, seeking calm or a way to boost our energy levels has become more than a moment of ‘me time’ – it’s absolutely vital to our wellbeing. Focusing on your sense of smell helps control your breathing and forces your mind to concentrate on something lovely for a change.

Our sense of smell is directly linked to our limbic system, which stores memories and emotions, so using scent to uplift, unwind or soothe is a brilliant way of dealing with anxiety. Taking time to care for yourself should not be a luxury – it helps you face the day feeling revived and ready to go.

Experiencing ‘newness’ is something everyone has been severely lacking of late, but using a fragrance or scented product and fragrancing your home can transport you somewhere lovely, and change your mood in an instant.

Here’s how to ward off an anxiety attack or lift your spirits with scent:

  • Take a few minutes to spray a fragrance on a blotter or thick piece of paper.
  • Close your eyes while smelling it and see where it takes you. Don’t try to guess all the notes (it’s almost impossible unless you’re a trained perfumer!) instead, let your imagination run wild…
  • If this fragrance was a place, where would it be?
  • Think about texture as you smell. Can you say what type of fabric it would be? Heavy velvet, soft suede, crisp cotton… or something else?
  • What occasion does the scent bring to mind, and who else would be there? Allow yourself to picture the people you’re missing and imagine yourself laughing with them, hugging them again!
  • Music and fragrance are closely linked, so what type of melody would be playing, and which instruments does the scent remind you of?

It can be difficult, at first, to think of the answers, but whatever you imagine or feel is the right answer, for you. Scent is incredibly personal, so the more you practice this technique of ‘deep smelling’, the more in-tune with your sense of smell and how it connects to your memories and emotions you will be.

This is how perfumers train – often having to commit several thousand smells to memory, so they know how to recall them and can evoke particular moods in their compositions. If you’d like to try this so-soothing technique and experience some spa-like serenity, we’ve chosen some scents that help you turn your home into a Scented Retreat.

Filled with specially curated scent samples, the entire collection of La Montaña home fragrances (which perfectly echo their matching candles, if you’ve ever wanted to try those), and sensory beauty treats, including 100ml bottle of Molton Brown Bath & Shower gel – The Scented Retreat Discovery Box allows you to relax in style at home. Here’s how…

 

Scents of Calm:

Anima Vinci Sesame Chan
Embracing the skin with ethereal light, the warmth of ginger slowly simmers to a haze of dry nuttiness – a cocooning, Cologne-esque experience, yet one that feels immediately comforting, at the same time.

Initio Rehab
Based on sweet yet smoky notes of patchouli and vanilla, this one wraps itself around you, swathing you in softness on a soothing heart of lavender and tobacco for a truly sophisticated finish that lasts all day and into the night.

Botanics Pure Essential Lavender Oil
Lavender has been shown to improve mood – add a few drops to a bath, humidifier, or for use for massage This essential oil from Botanics is bursting with all the wellness benefits of this herbaceous plant.

ånd fragrance Måd
Sustainably sourced naked vanilla in all its raw beauty is blended with violet, blackcurrant, ylang ylang, jasmine and grounding vetiver for a scent that’s like a warm hug in a bottle.

Ecooking Day Cream
This hydrating cream is formulated with 100% organic oils that are combined with the highest quality natural peptides and vitamins, specifically hyadisine, which mimics hyaluronic acid, and trylagen, to support collagen production.

La Montaña Siesta
This home scent evokes the sweet scent of neroli, rose and herbs on the warm breeze mingled with woods and resins to send you off into the most sublime sun-dappled slumber. Heaven.

La Montaña Alfredo’s Cafe
The scent of sleepy village awakening, all sun-soaked light, fresh citruses, black coffee and the incense-y smell of the church drifting through the air. Spritz your room to recall the gentle excitement of a day exploring on holiday.

La Montaña Fig Grove
Think of a green fig’s freshness, soothing musky wood enhancing earthy, bark-like qualities, with the warmth of white flowers and a little powdery piquancy from hyacinth. This is lazy, hazy, hotter-than-hot days to scent your home.

La Montaña Galán de Noche
Few smells are more seductive than that of night-blooming jasmine, the hypnotic radiance synonymous with late nights in balmy climes and the mystery of flowers that shine their brightest once the sun goes down.

La Montaña Three Kings
Spiritual contemplation for your home – a spritz of pine, woods, frankincense and myrrh with a little Balearic twist. Sweet almond nougat and a dash of brandy give a flash of brightness and warmth that, somehow, is so very Spanish.

La Montaña Sacred Roses
Combined with sweet neroli, crisply green narcissus and geranium, and dreamy lavender, spritz your bedroom (or boudoir) to float away on a bed of velvety rose petals, warm cedar and ripened, fruity davana oil. Sumptuous!

 

Scents to Uplift:

 

Histoire de Parfum 1899
Peppy, cocktail-like notes open with unbridled optimism, fizzing with a Champagne-esque effervescence as they dance off the skin. The sweetened, powdery heart then sparkles with unbridled joy.

Shay and Blue Mermaid Kisses
The light, watery honeydew melon note that first greets you is pure aquatic-juicy joy; it is holiday cocktails on the shoreline at sunset, looking out to an endless horizon and all its possibilities.

Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot Bath & Shower Gel
Zesty orange kicks off an uplifting sensory experience, heightened by mouth-watering mandarin and and gloriously sunny neroli notes that transport us to citrus groves in Seville.

Exfo-Lite Stimulating Salts For Legs
Packed with diuretic, detoxifying Himalayan pink crystals and sea salt, formulated not only to smooth the skin but to encourage better blood flow to our often-neglected lower-limbs (getting ready to bare again!)

Benamôr Alantoìne Hand Cream
The classic outdoors-y citrus scent turns a much-needed (several times) daily hand-soothing ritual into a moment of uplifting contemplation. Breathe deeply and inhale as the Portuguese beauty hero sm oothes and protects your skin barrier.

La Montaña First Light
In the morning, fill your room with the luminosity of a sun-filled new dawn, captured with wild fennel and orange, supported by energising mountain pepper, warm amber-y notes of rockrose and aromatic rosemary.

La Montaña Cloudburst
That moment when the sun breaks through the clouds in perfect shafts of light; all the scents of a herb garden, a citrus grove zinging to life against the backdrop of a mountain steaming in the sun, releasing wild, mineral-like vapours.

La Montaña Winter Oranges
One of their best-selling home fragrances, the orange here is both uplifting – a memory of high summer, devoured while juciy or adorning glasses – and calming, grounded here in aromatic spices that smoulder as they warm the soul.

 

You can try every single one of these scents to calm or uplift in The Scented Retreat Discovery Box – £23 or just £19 for VIP Club members. Why not get yours home and help change your olfactory outlook for the better, today…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrance consultations online: discover your perfume personality

Fragrance consultations have moved out of the perfumery and on to our laptops, with many notable houses now offering free ways to discover your next new scent online – via so-clever ‘perfume personality’ quizzes, one-to-one Zoom experiences and even group ‘scent school’ classes you and your friends can take together.

With the beauty counters still closed in most places (and the fragrance testers removed from all others) it’s been extremely challenging to actually get your nose on a new scent, if you didn’t want to ‘blind buy’ a full-size and pray to the olfactory gods that it suited your skin.

Many of you have been delighting in our Discovery Boxes and Brand Sets of samples and mini ‘try me’ sizes for just that reason (the perfect way to explore new perfumes from the comfort of your home). And of course you’ve been taking to our Fragrance Finder, which brilliantly uses algorithms based on your preferences to suggest six new scents for you try.

But we’ve been so happy to see that many fragrance houses have also stepped up their innovation game and made it far easier to navigate your way through their collections.

Whether a fun multiple-choice fragrance quiz to take in your tea break or an in-depth consultation with an expert, think of them as a scented stepping-off point to exploring and be ‘matched’ with your perfect perfumes online….

 

 

Molton Brown Fragrance Finder – free (online quiz)

Created in tandem with trend forecasting and innovation agency The Future Laboratory, in this quick and easy profiling quiz, you’re invited instinctively to choose from a series of images that represent textures, interior design styles and note-inspired pictures, and at the end you’ll discover which ‘psychological perfume profile’ you match. It’s spookily accurate [NB: both our Senior Writer and Editor have very similar tastes in scent, and sure enough, this matched them both with the same one] and an insightful start to your fragrance journey.

 

Floral Street scentschool™ in a Box from £24 for eight fragrances + online class

When you buy this special discovery set of eight fragrances, blotters and scented ‘touch and smell’ cards, you also receive a code to book a complimentary live online class to delve deeper into the fragrance notes and help you find your faves, plus there’s a discount on your next purchase. You can do this one-to-one, or there’s even the option for a whole group of friends to do this together. Such a fun activity (and it will make a change from Zoom quizzes!)

 

Shay & Blue 15 minute Fragrance Consultationfree (online chat)

When you hop on the Shay & Blue website, an online chat box opens up, inviting you to schedule a free 15 minute consultation. They explain that it’s been designed to combine ‘…the best of the convenience of shopping online with the personal touch of human conversation. We spend 15 minutes getting to know you and your perfume choices and we are then able to select what we think will make you smile.’ Ultimately, they say ‘the more information you can give us the better,’ and then you can be guided to ‘the one’ (or several) for you to try.

 

 

The Merchant of Venice Personal Shopperfree (online consultation appointment)

To aid your navigation of their website, The Merchant of Venice tell us you can ‘interact with specialists in a sophisticated presentation of the collections’ that will guide you in your choice of the perfect perfumes for you to try. So, from your home, you can ‘take advantage of a private, tailor-made and highly professional service as in The Merchant of Venice boutiques.’ Personal shopper Christian Waas will be your scent-presenter, and you can make a free appointment by emailing: [email protected]

 

 

 

Penhaligon’s Live Video Consultation£15 for 1 hour + 5 fragrance samples

Penhaligon’s now warmly invite you ‘…to try our new video appointments and enjoy a personalised consultation with our obliging team. Answer a short questionnaire aimed to discover a little about your likes and dislikes and a selection of 5 fragrance samples will then arrive through the post to assist in your nasal education. The cost of the appointment is ‘fully redeemable after your session with our sommelier either online or in-store,’ so peace of mind while you’re helped to peruse their perfumes. Alternatively…

 

Penhaligon’s Online Profilingfree (online quiz)

If time is of the essence, the free online profiling quiz is jolly good fun (as you’d expect from Penhaligon’s) and only takes about a minute to complete. Choosing from categores such as the time of day you’d like to wear it and how it should make you feel, your most suitable fragramce is then revealed (with the option to purchase a sample and a selection of others you may like).

 

Creed Fragrances Ask a Scent Expertfree (online chat / video)

As you can’t currently take advantage of their fragrance advice at the Marylebone boutique, Creed are offering the opportunity for an online chat via a message box that pops up on their website as you browse. Alternatively, you can request to be connected via a video chat if that’s easier for you, and you’d prefer to actually see the expert you’re chatting to! Afterwards, if still not sure, you could always buy yourself a pack of the samples, either ‘Men’s’, ‘Women’s, ‘Univerdal’ or ‘Royal’ to try at home.

 

Guerlain Fragrance Consultationfree (online quiz)

Designed to help you choose ‘a perfume for yourself or a loved one… Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s Master Perfumer, and Guerlain Perfumer Delphine Jelk select the rarest and noblest raw materials to create exceptional fragrances.’ Taking the overall atmosphere and main notes of the fragrances as choices, you’re then presented with either one or several scents that should fit the bill. It doesn’t beat being in-store and revelling in the glamour of sniffing be-ribboned glass stoppers, but really, nothing does… and this is a good starting point if you’ve no idea where to begin.

Indeed, all of the quizzes, while great fun to take online, can of course only guide you so far. Some perhaps work best for those who already have an inkling as to which fragrance notes or main families they prefer, but need a little bit of help to guide them through the virtual shelves.

So what to do if you need some more in-depth or specialised help, but can’t book a video consultation (or don’t feel comfortable with that)?

 

Our new Perfume Agony Uncle, James Craven, says that ‘Helping a client to find the perfect scent requires the combined skills of a psychologist, palmist and priest’, and often talks about the expertise a skilled fragrance consultant will pick up over the years; learning to do ‘a cold read’ when someone walks through the door and, as well as listening to what they say, picking up on their reactions – sometimes what you don’t say can be just as revealling!

Luckily, James is going to be answering some of your fragrance questions in The Scented Letter magazine, so if you’re still struggling to find the right scent, ask your questions, here

By Suzy Nightingale

 

A fine romance – classic perfumes every fragrance lover should try

Is it time for you to re-discover classic perfumes – or perhaps fall in love with one for the first time? Fragrances classed as ‘iconic’ have often been overlooked in the insatiable search for ‘newness’, but during this pandemic, an emerging trend has been the sudden up-swing in people reuniting with these fragrant first-loves.

The reason we’re feeling so nostalgic is two-fold, I believe. Covid-19, and the varying ways those in power have responded (or otherwise) to the crisis, has caused the majority of us to live in a state of near permanent anxiety, so we’ve all been desperately seeking those things that swathe us in comfort. While baking banana bread has helped some, it’s inner-calm we really need, and using familiar fragrances that remind us of happier times, places and people we miss can instantly dispel #lockdown blues.

 

 

The rapid spread of the virus has also shrink-wrapped the world around us and therefore, the possibilities for experiencing new things. Gone are the days when you could saunter in to a shop and spray yourself with ten perfumes at a time. When shops were allowed to be open, the scent shelves and beauty counters were swept clean of tester bottles and samples, so it was impossible to smell new fragrances without stumping up for a full bottle – unless you got scent savvy and had a Discovery Box sent to your home, of course (one of the reasons we’ve seen sales soar!) And then, a third lockdown in the U.K. meant most shops were closed again anyway.

The solution? To reach for something that’s stood the test of time, we already knew, or understood was deemed a ‘classic’ so a safer bet than a blind-buy.

 

 

When in-store sales declined, voguebusiness.com reported, ‘One way around this [was] to shelve, or reduce the number of, new launches and focus on sales of classics that customers know and love…’ Patrice Patrice Béliard, global brand president for Aramis & Designer Fragrances, Kilian Paris, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, and Lab Series, agreed, commenting, ‘Consumers want reassuring, calming and optimistic scents. I foresee a resurgence of classic nostalgic scents during these times.’

Don’t be put-off by the term ‘classic’, it does not mean ‘old fashioned’. These fragrances were considered groundbreaking – shocking, even – when they first launched, and have stood the test of time over the eras for good reason.

If you’re wanting to pop into a shop (or order online) for a gift this year – for a loved one, or for yourself (good lord, we all deserve a little treat); why not consider one of these…?

 

Five classic perfumes everyone should try at least once:

 

Guerlain Shalimar £83 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

A silky pair of 1920s cocktail pyjamas worn as daywear – uplifting lemon and bergamot swirled with honeyed, night-blooming flowers of heliotrope and jasmine, rounded by powdery iris and cocooned in a comforting, vanilla-plumped base of patchouli, benzoin, ambergris, tonka bean, incense, vetiver, sandalwood and musk. The ultimate gesture of romance, it’s a masterpiece that’s effortlessly glam.

 

 

Chanel N°19 £95 for 100ml eau de toilette chanel.com

Sparkling and vibrant with every elegant spritz, it’s daringly green but still supremely wearable. The snapped-stalk freshness of galbanum is balanced with soft, powdery iris, heady ylang ylang tempered by a shiver of spring air in lily of the valley and luminescent rose. Exciting and immediately mood-lifting, if N°5 wasn’t for you, try this joyously energising fizz of freshness as a pick-me-up.

 

 

Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet £110 for 100ml eau de toilette penhaligons.co.uk

Inspired by the steamy scents that would have wafted from the Turkish Baths William Penhaligon set up on Jermyn Street, Piccadilly; this is a timeless fragrance (from 1872!) that’s redolent of freshly soaped naked flesh and a shimmering heat. Unmistakably dusky Turkish rose gets up close and personal with heady jasmine, clean lavender, woods, fluffy musk and powdery orris. Scrumptious.

 

 

 

Lanvin Arpège £29.99 for 100ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com

Although imbued with a melody of florals – rose, iris, lily, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang ylang , camellia and geranium – the lasting impression is of being lovingly wrapped in warm, white, supremely fluffy towels. A veritable hug in a bottle, this feels classic yet completely timeless, a comforting yet spirited scent that you wont tire of, and somehow always feels ‘right’ for any occasion.

 

 

 

Rochas Femme £29.75 for 100ml eau de toilette allbeauty.com

Billowing, hip-swivelling sensuality with a playful side, to be worn by someone who sucks the plum stone clean of succulent flesh. Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska created the original as a fragrant tribute for his wife, Hélène (who must have been quite a woman) with the bottle an ode to Mae West’s va-va-voom figure; it’s velvety, spiced fruit laced with a giggle of booziness and a whole lotta fun.

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Galentine’s Day – the best scented gifts to send your gal pals

Galentine’s Day – okay yes, you can be cynical and view it as yet another spin-off from ‘V Day’, but instead we’re seeing it as an opportunity to send our best gal pals a little scented something to say “I MISS you!”

Because oh, how we are all missing our friends right now. Many of us haven’t seen our dearest friends for nearly an entire year, even for a five minute chat or socially distanced walk. So yeah, it’s hitting hard, the lack of laughter, togetherness, compassion, love…

Of course we have incredible technological ways of touching base – for which we’re all very thankful – but Zoom meets and endless text messages are no substitute for actually touching, hugging, just being with our dearest friends, who despite not being around person, have most certainly kept us (mostly) sane. So what to do?

The power of perfume to lift our spirits, soothe frazzled nerves or give us a boost of confidence to get through the day has been proven, but the power of the post arriving (and getting to open a something lovely) shouldn’t be sniffed at, either! I’m not sure about you, but my postman probably thinks I want to marry him, the way I anxiously hang out the widow awaiting his arrival.

If you’ve several friends you’d like to send gifts tom why not buy a box and split the samples between them – popping a couple (well wrapped) in a card would be a joyous little extra to open!

Because there’s an awful lot of antipatory joy in that satisfying ‘thud’ (of something that obviously ISN’T a bill) on your doormat – so here’s some ideas to send a little happiness to someone you love and miss so much, for Galentine’s or any day…

 


Floral Street scentschool™ in a Box
Back to school in scented style, and the perfect way to share your love of fragrance with a friends – even a whole gang of perfume-loving pals! Ingeniously, when you buy their special discovery set, containing eight fragrances, blotters and scented ‘touch and smell’ cards, you receive a code to book your complimentary live online class (one-to-one or for a whole group of you to do it together), plus a discount on your next purchase. There’s even the option to add a voucher for a 10, 50 or 100ml fragrance for a pick-me-up treat when they’ve found their favourites.

From £24 for eight fragrances + online class
floralstreet.com 

 

La Maison J.U.S. Discovery Kit 

A gorgeous hatbox-style package of perfumed wonders to explore, with vibrant, contemporary and beautiful scents by some of the most famous ‘noses’ around: Céline EllenaFabrice PellegrinAliénor MassenetAurélien GuichardAlexandra Carlin… From fabulously sexy florals and chic, supple leather to refined seascapes and magical gardens – every taste is catered for, especially those creative, artistic friends who welcome exquisite design combined with innovation. Such a wonderful gift to receive for one special person, or might we suggest you keep the box and your favourites, and share the others with friends the fragrances remind you of…?

£30 for eleven fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

Galentine's Day gifts

Molton Brown Lily & Magnolia Blossom Gift Set
Who wouldn’t appreciate a luxurious set from Molton Brown? Revelling in fragrant baths or showers and taking time to treat your skin with a nourishing body lotion are simple ways of adding self-care into our daily routines, and so important for a mind re-set, we find. But it’s strange, isn’t it? While we may happily treat a friend to luxury items as a gift, we might deny ourselves. Ditch the guilt and treat yourself to daily bliss with this new fragrant duo – redolent of springtime buds and sparkling sunlight at last.

£48 for 300ml Bath & Body Wash + 300ml Body Lotion
moltonbrown.co.uk

Galentine's Day fragrant gifts to send your best friends

Goldfield & Banks Discovery Set
Why not travel to Australia with a group of girlfriends (via your noses!) in this exceptional exploration of materials hitherto unknown to the perfumery industry. Using indigenous ingredients beloved by founder, Dimitri Weber – such as blue boronia, finger lime and pacific rock moss – this unique collection invites a sense of freedom, the feeling of sunshine and wide, open landscapes to adventure in. From ocean-inspired freshness to the sunlit canopies of a rainforest, from velvety oppulence to enveloping woods, let your senses rein free as you encounter each scent.

£26 for eight fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

 

Sana Jardin Discovery Set
This stunning portfolio of perfumes were created very much with women in mind – not that men don’t also adore the fragrances, but this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house works with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations. Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed wanted to ‘change the world, one bottle of perfume at a time’ and these seductive scents evoke golden, shimmering light, swags of heady flowers and the sensual powers of night-blooming jasmine. Simply dreamy…

£30 for eight fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Luxe for less – pocket-friendly perfumes

Luxe for less can be done – there’s a plethora of pocket-friendly perfumes out there, that smell like a million dollars but don’t make a huge dent in your bank account.

Because let’s face it, we all know January can be hard on the pocket (and the soul!) but we’re now craving occasional treats to self like never before, and a little luxury arriving through the post can go a long way to cheering yourself up on a grim day – or simply letting someone else know you’re thinking of them, giving them something to smile about.

This is the third of our curated selection of affordable scents, having already shared some that were Thrifty but Nifty, and Indie but Not Spendy. Now we’re going Luxe for Less, and encourage you to seek these out for a fragrant hit of happiness that needn’t have you living on instant noodles to fund your perfume habits…

 

Lancôme Ô De Lancôme £41 for 75ml eau de toilette
A sparkling icon since 1969, spritz scented sunbeams with this whoosh of effervescent exhilaration. ‘Green’ and fresh fragrances are predicted to be a huge trend year-round, and the clean floral notes of jasmine, honeysuckle and lily of the valley are radiantly projected against a backdrop of mossy, herbaceously bracing breath of fresh air.
lancome.co.uk

 

 

Kayali ELIXIR | 11 £18 for 10ml eau de parfum
May rose combined with crisply sweet red apple, rose and dreamy, decadent jasmine makes for a fragrance to spray when we want to be whisked to happier times and untainted dreams. The creamy swirl of vanillia as it warms on the skin helps to restore a sense of safety and assurance. Decadently dreamy.
hudabeauty.com

 

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros £49 for 100ml aftershave
Another absolute classic many are reaching for right now, this aromatic ‘fougere’ (fern-like) fragrance begins aldehydic with freshly cut grass tempered with jasmine, rose, clary sage and coriander, then snuggles down to a smooth, honeyed leather on a warm, amber-rich base. A scented splash to soothe razor-burn and frazzled nerves at any time.
yslbeauty.co.uk

 

Potion Paris Amber, Praline & Wood Seduction £35 for 2 x 10ml eau de parfum
Seductive doesn’t have to mean attracting others: you can seduce your own senses with this delicious duo. Meant as refills for the so-glam Potion Paris perfume necklace, succulent plum swoons to a heart of toffee as vanilla swirls to a warm, musky and comfortingly soft dry down. Opulence served with a reassuring hug.
potionparis.com

 

 

Cacharel Noa £16.99 for 30ml eau de toilette
Created by Olivier Cresp, this is a timeless masterpiece of understated loveliness. Who doesn’t want to be wrapped in a whisper of white, soft cotton and powdery peonies? Effortless and soothingly nuanced, freesia nuzzles fuzzy peach skin, ylang ylang and a shower of sheer rose petals to a creamy incense-swathed base.
theperfumeshop.com

 

Indulgence Discovery Box £36 (£32 for VIP Club Members) for 14 fragrances + candle
Indulge in a whole box of luxury from home with the ENTIRE CARINE ROITFELD COLLECTION, a trio of newness from Lalique, generous minis from Vines House Parfums Love Story, Floral Street Chypre Sublime, Tocca Giulietta and Versace Crystal Noir. PLUS perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek new candle – either Ancient Frankincense OR Rebel County.
The Perfume Society Shop

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Niche fragrances for £50 and under! Indie (not spendy)

Cultivating a love for niche fragrances is a thrilling exploration of what those independent houses are creating – a bit like the catwalk shows in fashion, often showcasing exciting new trends years ahead of the mainstream. But, as many of us know all too well, it can become somewhat injurious to one’s wallet if you want to try several all at once (and we always, always do!)

Last week we suggested some that were Thrifty but Nifty, while this week we focus on the ‘indie’ or more artisanal scents that could be your next guilt-free perfume purchase. Because, yes, there are niche fragrance houses with more afforable perfumes for you try. So whether it’s your first foray into the world of ‘niche’, or you’re simply looking for a treat-to-self; here’s some seriously wonderful creations that wont make a huge dent in your budget, but could become your next fragrant fixation…

 

Skandinavisk Kapitel 12 £43.20 for 50ml eau de toilette
Celebrating the Scandinavian right of ‘freedom to roam’, let’s throw on a warm sweater and stride onwards through banks of purple heather and frosted thyme, foraging for berries and herbs nestled in hedgerows. That glorious just-snapped stalks fresh-airiness evokes leaf sap and spring just about to unfurl, a sense of freedom we so need, now.
skandinavisk.com

 

4160 Tuesdays Amberama £32 for 15ml eau de parfum
Sometimes you might just long for a bit of frivolity in a fragrance, one that smells good but doesn’t take itself too seriously, perhaps? Presenting an 80s girl-band-inspired scent that relishes the glow and longevity of amber with a fun raspberry / iris /sandalwood heart that gets woodier and warmer as it wears, but with no bananas to be found…
4160tuesdays.com

 

ånd fragrance Sånd £35 for 10ml parfum
If it was bananas you were after, find them (surprisingly) within this ode to sandalwood. A strikingly modern take on the ‘old dependable’ wood of perfumery, as they put it, this wraps you in the most comforting blanket of creamy, dry, cardamom-infused deliciousness; cuddling down to a rich, resinous base. One to wear when you so want a hug it hurts.
andfragrance.com

 

Maison Matine Warni Warni £50 for 50ml eau de parfum
Journeying through cosmopolitan cities encompassing diverse cultures, this niche French brand jofully encourage us to be ‘a bit daring every day’. Wearing this takes us somewhere warm, the smell of grass scorched by the sun and crickets chirping in the languid heat, a delicious orange-blossom breeze as you sip tea and contemplate the better things in life.
harveynichols.com

 

Floral Street Arizona Bloom £24 for 10ml eau de parfum
Perfumer Jérôme Épinette captures a feeling of freedom – something we’ve sorely missed, lately in our now even more tech-heavy lives. Queen of the Night flower is spiced by black pepper, lush with Balinese coconut and tethered by woody oakmoss; the amber-y desert-like dryness conveyed by salted musks. Truly one to make the heart soar!
floralstreet.com

 

Niche V Discovery Box £27 (VIP price £23) for 19 fragrances + 2 beauty extras
Because we understand you’re missing browsing, spraying and smelling, we curated a selection of some of the finest niche fragrances out there to try at home. Showcasing an incredible cross-section of what’s happening niche right now, you’ll find houses such as Trudon, Ostens, Moresque, Mihan Aromatics, Maison Matine, the entire Storie Veneziane by Valmont and Bentley Beyond collections, and always forward-thinking Molton Brown and DSQUARED2. It’s a whole niche perfumery experience from the comfort of your sofa – what’s not to love?!
Buy your Niche V Discovery Box here

And if after all that you’re still up for exploring more pocket-friendly niche perfumes, do have a browse of these Brand Setsniche fragrance collections from only £8

By Suzy Nightingale

Thrifty but nifty – pocket friendly perfumes that smell amazing

Looking for pocket friendly perfumes that smell fabulous but won’t break the bank? They’re the holy grail at any time, but most especially in January – the bleakest time of year – when we most need a little something to perk ourselves up.

Perfume has come to mean so much to so many more people these last few months – we can use it revive flagging spirits or grant us some courage when we need it most. A quick spritz can swathe you in comfort and soothe frazzled nerves, transport you instantaneously to somewhere else in the world or reanimate a long-forgotten memory of happier days.

But perhaps you’re like us and have just paid your tax bill (hello reality) and though you’re not feeling flush, still really, truly, desperately need SOMETHING NICE to look forward to?

Never fear! We have selected some of our favourite fragrant treats – perfumed pick-me-ups that wont break the bank but still smell utterly wonderful. There’s nothing over £50 here, but you’ll still smell – and feel – like a million dollars…

 

Berdoues Avoine & Coquelicot £25 for 100ml eau de toilette
The cool intrigue of cardamom is warmed with a tingle of saffron and the soothing softness of oats before the fresh bouquet of poppy, jasmine, lily of the valley and violet peek through – a heralding of spring. Sublimely powdery heliotrope swirls with creamy almond, a glimmer of amber and delicate white musk: comforting as cashmere.
Dsquared2 Green Wood Gift Set RRP £44, currently £35 for 30ml eau de toilette
Invigorating lemon and aromatic santolina are sprinkled with spicy bourbon pepper, while suave cedarwood and vetiver ripple to the verdant breeze of cypriol; the base resonates with deeply warming notes of ambrox and musk. Although marketed as a ‘masculine’, this is for anyone who wants to feel like they’ve been for a head-clearing walk in the forest.
Miller Harris Lumière Dorée RRP £14, currently £9 for 9ml eau de parfum
Neroli has to be one of our all-time favourite notes – it feels like wearing sunshine – here celebrated with the golden fizz of bergamot, a luminescent jasmine and delicously honeyed orange flower. Luminous amber and reasuringly clean musks makes this a sheer delight, in every sense oif the word, and a so-welcome burst of happiness, bottled.
Yardley Daisy Sapphire RRP £20, currently £16.00 for 50ml eau de toilette
Close your eyes and remember what summer felt like – waking up to blue skies, leaving the house without worrying about an umbrella or a coat… Now let the delightful flurry of green leaves and apple flutter to the heart of hyacinth and white rose before drying down to snuggle of sandalwood and musk in the base. Instantly cheering on the dullest days.

yardleylondon.co.uk

Coach Dreams £35 for 40ml eau de parfum

Perfumer Antoine Maisondieu invites you on a sunny road trip through the American West. Along the imaginary open road, with the roof down, you’ll encounter notes of bitter orange, juicy pear, cactus flower and gardenia, concluding your journey with notes of Joshua tree and musky Ambroxan. And we adore the apothecary-inspired new bottle!
4711 Original Eau de Cologne £6 for 25ml

No round-up of pocket friendly perfumes would be complete without the iconic 4711 – it’s often reached for on hot days, but don’t wait ’til summer to experience the mood-enhancing whoosh! Colognes take on a new aspect in the cooler months; the classic lemon, rosemary, lavender and neroli notes feel like sunlight filtered through unfurling leaves.
escentual.com

If you’re hungry for more, we’ll be doing another round-up next week, with the emphasis on incredible niche fragrances you can try for £50 and under. In the meantime, why not have a browse of our Discovery Boxes – the perfect way to try to try perfume at home, from only £19 – £36!

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Scenting the superheroes: get your geek on!

Now those advent calendars are in the recycling already, why not treat yourself AND a superhero you know to the Super Man Discovery Box – a different scent to look forward to trying each day. Compare notes via texts or even a Zoom sniff-along!

Allow us a bit of ‘silly season’ scented musing time, here, folks, as we ponder the important question of what we might scent some of the superheroes with. The matches are predominantly male, only because we curated this selection with men and more ‘masculine’ scents in mind, but of course they can be worn by anyone.

Oh it’s okay, we know you might not be feeling particularly heroic right now – the only superhero I currently resemble could be ‘Cheesewoman’ or ‘Gin Girl’ and I don’t think they exist (they should!) But hey, having got through last year and ploughing onwards (and upwards) in the continuing face of uncertainty is heroism to be celebrated nonetheless, non?

Get your geek on…

[All original comic book images copyright of respective artists & publishers, credited individually.]

 

Gamora: ånd fragrance Frånk
The green-skinned alien is the last of her species (mirroring ånd fragrance’s fund-raising effort to protect frankincense) and no stranger to balancing awesome blade-wielding skills with a sharp wit. So we’ve matched her with a fragrance that celebrates the fruitier side of frankincense, where the foresty freshness zings with restless energy, a mischevious melding of citrus and banana-esque ylang ylang shot through with luscious mango, resinous myrrh and silky seams of vanilla folded in for good measure.

 

Wolverine: Anima Vinci Wood of Life
There’s something to be said for learning to harness one’s rage, but we really think James could do with a nice sit down and some deep breaths, bless him. This fragrance is immediately grounding and provides a soothing space for mindfulness – palo santo has been used for centuries in spiritual ceremonies, to ‘cleanse’ negative energies and promote clarity of vision. In combination with sandalwood, spices and vanilla it’s an olfactory moment of ‘OM…..’ Now put those knives away, dear, and chill.

 

Iron Man: Atelier Des Ors Cuir Sacré
Always an admirer of exquisite design, billionaire Tony Stark would surely fall for the gilded charms of this leather-rich fragrance. Imbued with perfectly blended hints of berries and spices, perhaps he’d forget to be grumpy and mellow into reveries of sauntering at sunset on a balmy evening while wearing a velvet smoking jacket. And if he gets stressed, he can shake the bottle to see the flakes of real gold swirl (a grown-up snow-globe, if you will) as the cedar, incense and saffron swoon to the intriguingly cool base.

 

The Human Torch: Caron Aimez-Moi Comme Je Suis
Smouldering ginger recalls heat and positively sizzles when the zing of grapefruit meets the unexpected pairing of hazelnut and vetiver. The wearer must be used to the fiery sensations, so who better than Johnny Storm? A founding member of The Fantastic Four, he’s used to overcoming adversity while literally aflame – talk about leaving a trail! Spritzing this to soften his edges a little (not while actually alight: health and safety first, Mr. Storm), its warm and woody aroma create an irresistibly addictive character.

 

Batman: Floris London Vert Fougère
Vert Fougère is moody – perfect for the sometimes sulky Batman – and embraces its mossy heritage by adding sparkling modernity. And he could do with a bit of sparkle. A bittersweet blend of grapefruit, bergamot and neroli entwine ginger and lavender for added freshness while patchouli, cedarwood and smooth cashmere in the base ensure a lasting legacy. Traditional enough to tempt the wary, exciting enough to add a sashay; we see the latest Batman portrayer, Robert Pattinson, wearing this with aplomb.

 

Professor X: Initio Side Effect
With his exceptional powers of telepathy and mind-control, we feel Charles Francis Xavier would appreciate the hypnotic inspiration behind this scent. An irresistible combination of rum, leather and tobacco is sprinkled with a sweet frisson of vanilla and a tingle of warming cinnamon – the effect quite spellbinding. The woodiness and smooth hints of booze are perfectly appropriate for a study-dwelling genius, while the rich spiciness instills confidence and daring. The overall impression? Those who follow your fragrant trail will be left enchanted…

 

Spider-Man: Jimmy Choo Man
Peter Parker always appealed to the younger comic fans first, and there’s something effortlessly youthful and effervescent about this fragrance. Aromatic and woody up top, an accord of lavender and mandarin is softened by deliciously succulent notes of honeydew melon. In the heart, pink pepper and geranium are mixed with pineapple leaf, as a sign of originality. Finally the fragrance unveils a web of patchouli, suede and ambery woods – joyfully uplifting and one for cheekily charming urban chaps on-the-go.

 

Captain Britain: Jovoy 21 Conduit Street
Brian Braddock very rarely gets a look-in when superheroes are discussed, (the name doesn’t help, huh?) so we wanted to give him a moment with this fragrance. Revisiting an often overlooked classic of English perfumery while giving it a decidedly modern twist; the real secret of 21 Conduit St is the richness of its dual lavender – the radiantly aromatic essential oil further enhanced with an absolute. Rippled through rhubarb, almond and fir balsam to a woody base, it feels aristocratic yet complex, much like Brian himself…

 

Catwoman: Kierin NYC Santal Sky
Fabulously milky, this comfort blanket of cardamom-flecked sandalwood will have all villainous feline types putting their claws away awhile, as the soothing, creamy notes of fig swirl into decadent orchid and saffron-speckled vetiver as a final twitch of the tail. There’s a sophistication to this scent but it truly feels effortless for any occasion. Rendering any gender instantly languorous, your only real problem will be getting anything done, as you’ll want to curl up and revel in how purr-fect you smell.

 

Wonder Woman: Laboratorio Olfattivo Tonkade
Sumptuous waves of dried fruits and a perfectly choreographed dance between resonant sweetness and powerful clouds of amber-rich mystery, this is a regal fragrance fit for a superhero whose backstory now highlights her Amazonian heritage, and explains she’s the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta. But ‘Wonder Men’ can equally get on board with this – a stunner for anyone who should never to be underestimated: a powerhouse of potent accords that should immediately be lassoed into your own collection.

 

Spaceboy: Parfums de Marly Sedley
Hailing from the Umbrella Academy, Luther Hargreeves was the youngest person to become an astronaut, and struggles with his extreme physical strength (accident involving a ‘Martian space chimp’. Don’t ask) which masks his extremely sensitive nature. This feels uplifting – a sparkle of citrus awakening the power of mint, while Hivernal® Neo is a hyper-realistic reinvention of how water smells. Liquid silver, cool Sedley encapsulates a balance of opposites, where noble materials and futurist molecules collide.

 

Black Panther: Ruth Mastenbroek Oxford
T’Challa is one of few superoes who boast a degree, having earned his PhD in Physics from Oxford, so this fragrant memory is entirely perfect for him. Those ‘dreaming spires’ are conjured through magestic composition, from smoky, shadowy layers juxtaposed by this scent’s more luminescent jasmine and comfortingly cashmere notes. At its heart, Oxford’s bold oudh and amber offsets the softer vanilla and vetiver for a daring fragrance that’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. A perfume for the panther that stalks your soul…

 

Klaus Hargreeves: St Giles The Stylist
Another member of the Umbrella Academy, Klaus swaggers with the confidence and dress-sense of a rockstar, has the ability to talk to the dead while utterly beguiling the living – to the point where he accidentally becomes a cult leader and prophet (easily done). His sensual nature and natural style will thrill to the flashbulb of aldehydes and bitter orange up top, while the smooth rum, mango and triple-dose of silky vanilla cream help smother his inner demons all the way down to the base of tobacco absolute and oakmoss. Irresistible.

 

Superman: Versace Dylan Blue Homme
A fragrance for both ‘the man of steel’ and his everyday alter-ego of Clark Kent; the masculinity wafts forth with bold Ambroxan, refreshed with zesty hits of bergamot and grapefruit. The earthiness is zipped up with a punch of black pepper and papyrus wood before being enveloped by an intense cloak of incense, mineral musk, tonka beans and warming, spicy notes of saffron. Equal parts athletic and intelligent, it’s bound to become your go-to when you’ve no idea what to wear. No need to quick-change in a phone booth, either – always a bonus.

 

Samples of ALL of these fragrances are available to try at home in our Super Man Discovery Box for only £18 if you’re a VIP Club Member, (£22 to everyone else) and it also features these grooming extras…Weleda Skin Food (Thing from The Fantastic Four needs to incorporate this into his daily routine ASAP) and FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (which Aquaman could definitely do with).

No matter if it’s a thank you gift for a superhero you know, or a gift to yourself for just getting through all this *gestures broadly* – here’s to feeling infinitely more ‘super’ with every spritz: up, up and a spray! (Sorry).

By Suzy Nightingale

Last-minute Christmas gifts (that DON’T need posting!)

Last-minute Christmas ideas are all very well, but what if you’ve left it so late (yes, we’re looking at you!) that you’ve already missed the last post?

Here are two thoughtful gift ideas for fragrance lovers that need no desperate scurrying for leftover crumpled scraps of wrapping paper – no wrapping or queuing at the Post Office required at all, in fact. What’s more, they last for an entire YEAR, and one of them can be sent to anyone, no matter where they are in the world. Hallelujah!

Perfume Society VIP Club Membership: £25 for an entire year

Seriously the best gift you can give anyone who loves fragrance – after purchasing, simply contact [email protected] with the recipient’s details and we’ll do the rest!

As a member of The Perfume Society VIP Club, they will receive the following exclusive benefits…

•  Six issues a year of our online/downloadable digital magazine The Scented Letter – (virtually) the only publication in the world devoted to all things fragrant. For more info on which, please scroll down…

Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.

•  Early access to tickets for all our events (when we can do these in-person again) – meeting with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world, attending in-store events, workshops, etc. (Our VIPs are first to hear about these.)

•  A special member’s discount on our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (normally £19 – but £15 to our VIPs)

•  Plus choose a FREE Discovery Box when you sign up (see options in the drop-down menu, here)

 

Print Subscription to The Scented Letter Magazine: £75 per year

Described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, and after so many asked for a printed edition, we also offer a print subscription to our multi award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter. Filled to bursting each issue with in-depth interviews with the world’s top perfumers, as well as news, hundreds of fragrance reviews and behind-the-scenes scented secrets, alongside features by leading fragrance writers – from Thomas Dunckley (The Perfume Candy Boy) to Persolaise, via Viola Levy and our Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale.

 

 

The Scented Letter print edition will be delivered to their door for an entire year of fragrant reading ahead, all without you having to lift another finger!

 

International Subscription to The Scented Letter Magazine: £20 for a year

We’re overjoyed that we can now offer overseas subscribers an International Subscription to our digital downloadable magazine, The Scented Letter. (Alas, we still can’t ship our boxes overseas – and we’re as gutted as you are about that!)

Your subscription gives you six 60-page ONLINE editions a year of this beautiful, multi-Jasmine Award-winning magazine: the only one of its kind for perfume-lovers.

Because of the way our system works, when you click Add to Cart it will send us an e-mail – and we’ll follow up for payment. To buy this as a gift; please let us know in your e-mail to us if it’s for someone else.)

So now you can gift an entire year of reading to a fragrance-lover you know, no matter where they live. And from the feedback we receive from overseas fans, we know they’ll be utterly thrilled!

So, it’s really NOT too late to send them something to show you care, to cheer up a fragrant friend you’ve perhaps not been able to see for so long – and these are perfumed presents that last a full 365 days ahead. Now that’s truly a gift that keeps on giving

Christmas gift ideas for men: fabulous, festive & fragrant…

Christmas gift ideas for men? It can be difficult, we know – and especially this year, when so many of us are apart from our loved ones. But worry not. You’ve come to the right place! We’re brimming over with scented suggestions that will have him feeling fabulous, festive, AND fragrant

 

Christmas gift ideas for men

The Super Man Discovery Box: £22 (or £18 for VIP club members!)

For super men everywhere, we’ve included independent perfume houses making their mark: recently launched ånd fragrance with sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients at the forefront, decadent Italian niche with Laboratorio Olfattivo and Jovoy with their new creation based on the Mayfair store 21 Conduit St. Also including newness from loved names including St Giles, Parfums de Marly, Ruth Mastenbroek, Floris, Caron,Initio, Atelier Des Ors, Kierin NYC and Anima Vinci. We also bring you TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (50ml), and the divinely scented beard savour WELEDA Skin Food (10ml). Up, up and a-spray…!

 

The Sharing Collection Discovery Box: £23 (or £19 for VIPs)

Yes, we know we’re using the word ‘men’ here, but some chaps perhaps aren’t as advanced in their tastes, fragrance-sharing wise, and will balk at anything not specifically marketed as ‘masculine’ scents. However, here’s a way to ease them in to the modern world – with so many fabulous ‘shareable’ creations being launched, we’ve decided to put our favourites in one beautiful box, for EVERYONE to wear. Niche perfume houses rarely categorise their creations as ‘male’ or ‘female’ – and there’s plenty here with newness from Goldfield & Banks, Kingdom Scotland, BDK Parfums, Vines House Parfum and Rook Perfumes. We also showcase classics such as Goutal Paris Eau D’Hadrien and Eight & Bob Egypt, along with fabulous discoveries from Initio and Atelier des Ors, plus two ‘unisex’ body treats. We won’t be at all surprised if he decides he DOESN’T want to share with anyone else. So maybe treat yourself to one as well?

 

Mihan Aromatics Discovery Set: £33

Mihan Aromatics are a true product of Australia – an up-and-coming perfume house from Down Under. Their luxury, all-natural scents capture the fascinating fragrance landscape of that vast country, created by uber-cool Melbourne couple Josh and Julia Mihan. (They’ve been likened to ‘the BYREDO of Australia…’) In this incredible line-up of gender-neutral fragrances, Josh and Jules combine native floral and spices – including Australian sandalwood, now being deployed by the fragrance industry as a sustainable alternative to Indian Santalum album. You can spray the ENTIRE COLLECTION in this divinely cool set, each one a very clear style; a lightness, a dreamy character, a mood. Try Mikado Bark, a mountainous arrangement of paper and unfamiliar books exude distinction and literary prowess. Or Petrichor Plains, conjuring up the drenching of earth and rock after a shower. Plus: a bonus ‘untitled’ fragrance, still in development, of which you get an exclusive sneak peek… HOW cool it that?!

Jovoy Discovery Set: £30

For chaps unashamedly into decadent scents, you can do no better than choose this collection. Jovoy has a fascinating history as a Parisian house, its customers were a ‘Who’s Who?’ of the Roaring Twenties. Then scent exporter and expert in raw ingredients, François Hénin, rediscovered and revived the fragrance house. So now we bring you this just-launched Discovery Set of FOURTEEN of Jovoy‘s fabulous, opulent fragrances. Created with master perfumers, it is bursting with OLFACTORY HERITAGE and beauty. From Ambre Premier, which layers unisex rose onto vanilla, musk and patchouli to La Liturgie des Heures, evoking the atmosphere of an old cathedral via incense, myrrh and labdanum – and with a dozen more to explore for yourself – each fragrance holds a place in time. Plus each set contains a 10% voucher redeemable against a full size Jovoy fragrance! Daring, decadent, divine: why not treat yourself or – someone close…?

We’ve man-y (sorry) many more fragrant sets with which to entice your senses, simply explore our shop for more ideas (and let us do the sending to save you going to the post office, if you prefer). No matter your budget or the man in your life’s tastes, we have Christmas, fragrantly covered

By Suzy Nightingale