How to choose a men’s fragrance

How to choose a men’s fragrance is something we get asked a lot – from those looking to treat the men in lives with a new scent, and from chaps’ just starting to explore the fragrant world themselves. Either way, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting – especially if you’re shopping online.

Worry not! We’ve made it easy for you. Simply follow our guide of how to start sniffing out a brave new world…

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents (you can always buy the full-size of the one he loves most, later!)

Take a look at some of the suggestions, below. But first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life (or you) still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge (especially after lockdown!) but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

Why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

Let’s change it up… So, think about:

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Character, hobbies and personal style are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) That’s why a selection of samples to try at home is the best bet. Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent ambers along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with our just-launched Men’s Must Have’s Discovery Box. This collection of male and unisex fragrances is perfect for those who wish to bush the boundaries and try uniquely bold and statement scents from some of the hottest niche names and luxe designer houses around. It features globally adored best sellers and just launched scents from THoO, Jeroboam, DSquared2, Paco Rabanne, Bentley, Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace & Initio. (Read about each scent individually, here).

Men’s Must Have’s  £15 (VIP Price £12)

If you’re after something a little more traditional in style, but with enough intriguing twists to tantilise the senses, we suggest the Suave Scents Discovery Box. Designed with men in mind (or anyone who prefers a more ‘masculine’ fragrance vibe), the line-up has fragrances for every facet of a personality, the sheer variety of styles exuding everything from outdoors-y adventurous to more classically suave, with Creed Viking Cologne, Parfums de Marly Greenley, Comme des Garçon Rouge, Floral Street Black Lotus, Bentley, Eight & Bob, JUSBOX, Mercedes Benz, Molton Brown, Paco Rabanne, Salvatore Ferragamo and Versace. We also bring you two fabulous grooming products! The divinely scented Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash (100ml), and Ultrasun Lip Protection 30spf

Suave Scents £23 (VIP Price £19)

We also have an incredible selection of other Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore. AND a great range of Brand Sets, which is the perfect way to sample a houses’ collection to get a real sense of their character.

Wherever you choose to begin, this scent adventure of trying new fragrances at home really takes away the stress of happening across ‘THE ONE’ (a concept we don’t really believe in for most people, anyway. A wardrobe of scents to match your mood / time of year / occasion are the way forward…)

Parterre’s Festival of Scent 3rd-5th September

Parterre have announced a Festival of Scent, to be held in the glorious surroundings of their HQ, at Keyneston Mill, Dorset, from 3rd-5th September 2021. And we know that fragrant fans will want to mark their diaries right now (and get their perfume samples before the festival!)

Described as ‘A celebration of all things fragrant, with a myriad of different experiences that bring scent alive’, Parterre have organised everything from immersive rooms and interactive exhibition spaces exploring their fragrances, free mini workshops and scented garden tours (where they grow an incredible variety of botanical ingredients used in the scents), and a delicious selection of food and drinks. Evenings will be filled with live Parisian Jazz, French food and even a themed outdoor cinema – so ALL your senses will be indulged…

A British niche perfume house that uniquely grow and distill many of the ingredients for their fragrances on-site, Parterre champion ‘seed to scent’ fragrances, which make use of their fantastic variety of aromatic botanicals. If you’ve been looking for something different to do, this sounds like the perfect getaway for anyone interested in fragrance – and the perfect perfumed holiday.

 

Tickets are £18 and can be booked here.

Parterre explain their Festival of Scent itinerary:

Day Ticket includes talks, tours & demonstrations, mini-workshops, exhibitions & immersive experiences.

Your day ticket will include access to all workshops, tours and exhibitions

Arrival from 10am, wander around the botanical gardens and take alfresco morning coffee.

From 10.30am drop in to a variety of mini-workshops and demonstrations running through the day. Our creative workshops explore many aspects of the world of scent.  Our programme includes topic areas such as perfume, floristry, botanical cocktails and essential oils and includes:

  • The Essence of Plants – Distillery Tour
  • A Scent for September – Blending Workshop
  • The Healing Power of Plants – Aromatherapy
  • Scented Garden Tours
  • Exploring Scent & Wellness
  • Make Your Own Diffuser
  • Yoga in the River Meadow
  • Create a Wild Scented Bouquet
  • Discover Botanical Cocktails

These simple, hands-on workshops are aimed to give you a “taster” of the full programme of workshops that Keyneston Mill offers throughout the year. Learn how to make botanical inspired cocktails using a range of scented herbs and flowers and more.

From 11am Join a tours and talks to learn how plants are distilled into essential oil, with live working distillation and journey around the gardens dedicated to perfumery and scent.

There will be a range of food and drinks on offer, with delicious lunches available in The Scented Botanist Bistro (reservations essential) and flavoursome takeaways, plus ice creams, and coffees available throughout the day.

Explore the exhibitions; Nature, Art and Perfume. The relationship between scent, nature and art and how they inspire the creation of perfume. Spread across the estate, it includes the History of Perfume, and the Story of Parterre and Keyneston Mill. Artist Petra Dufkova showcases a selection of flowing watercolours, from flowers to fragrances and high fashion.  She has created illustrations for many luxury brands including Hermes, Vanity Fair and Ministry of Sound.

Between interactive workshops and scented tours we invite you to enjoy immersive experiences that bring scent alive. A collaboration with artists to create scented rooms that will change your perception of scent; from famous movies to idyllic gardens. Then visit The Scent Bar; where you can try different plants, ingredients, oils, drinks and perfumes; exploring scent in different ways.

 

Showcasing over 1000 varieties of plants in a 50-acre estate – the fragrant home of Parterre is buzzing with enthusiasm and expertise. And that ‘spirit of wild adventure’ will be yours to explore during the Festival of Scent. For those who can’t make it there in person – or if you’d like a pre-festival sniff of the scents themselves – we suggest immersing your senses in the Parterre Discovery Set. Created by Jacques Chabert – one of the world’s leading perfumers – in the set you’ll explore evocative names like ‘Run of the River‘ or ‘The Hour of Dusk & Gold‘, we can’t wait to hear which you fall in love with…

Floris – Royalty, Churchill & Marilyn Monroe loved them: here’s why YOU should, too…

Floris have scented everyone from royalty, Florence Nightingale, prime ministers and even Marilyn Monroe, but now you can dip into their incredible history (and try some their more contemporary fragrances) in their newly curated Floris Discovery Collections

The long-distinguished history of Floris first began in the dreams of one Juan Famenias Floris, who in 1730 sailed from his native Minorca to set up in London. Marrying an English girl, he settled in business as a barber on Jermyn Street within the fashionable St. James’s area, first making hair combs and then assuaging his homesickness by blending fragrant oils he’d transported from Europe. Customers soon took to ordering bespoke blends, all recorded in leather-bound ledgers, enabling Floris to re-create them should further supplies be required in the future – and thus a fragrant dynasty was born.

 

Many of those original ledgers, order forms and letters of thanks are still in existence, preserved by successive generations of the Floris family, and offering a uniquely fascinating glimpse of British fragrant taste through the ages. Their books boast orders from Admirals serving under Lord Nelson, Florence Nightingale, George IV, through to Winston Churchill. In 1820, Floris received the first of 16 Royal Warrants and retains the title: Perfumers to HM The Queen Elizabeth II and Manufacturers of Toilet Preparations to HRH The Prince of Wales.

 

 

And then there was Marilyn Monroe. The scent the world’s biggest sex-symbol always made sure to stock up on? In their extraordinary archive (some of which is on display in the rear of their Jermyn Street boutique), Floris happen to have an original form detailing Marilyn’s order for their surprisingly unisex and greenly fresh Rose Geranium. Indeed, she loved it so much she requested SIX bottles at a time be delivered to her in Beverley Hills! (NB: A far more contemporary rose is their A Rose For… in The Private Collection – an intriguingly smoky gossamer embrace).

 

 

 

The original Floris shop still stands on Jermyn Street. (A couple of generations ago, fragrances were actually manufactured two floors below street level, in a basement known as ‘the mine’.) Now beautifully refurbished, the boutique many other intriguing artefacts to discover on display, along with a wide wardrobe of perfumes to explore. Edward Bodenham – an ancestor of Juan Famenias Floris himself – is the current Perfumery Director at Floris, with fragrance clearly in his blood.

Floris Classic Collection Set £35

As he explains: ‘I feel immensely proud to be part of the family business and to have the opportunity to help introduce our perfume house to a new generation. I have such fond memories of visiting the shop from a young age, and it is very nostalgic for me to be around the fragrances that I have grown up with my whole life. They really are like old friends to me.’

No matter how fascinating or notable their past, however, no perfume house could merely trade off their history. So as Edward notes – and more recent creations like sun-drenched Neroli Voyage in the Classic Collection and utterly addictive Honey Oud in Private Collection, prove – Floris are ‘always evolving. We have to be experimental and explorative when working on new fragrances – in just the same way my forefathers were in their day.’ Adding: ‘I hope that they would be proud of our creations today.’

Floris Private Collection Set £35

No question about it, in our minds. And we say: here’s to the next 300 years or so, Floris!

Don’t sweat it – how to wear fragrance in hot weather

In hot weather, you may find some fragrances seems ‘stronger’ or more overpowering, or that your perfume simply ‘disappears’ on your skin when the temperatures soar. How can you help your scent survive the heat…?

Personally, at The Perfume Society,  we enjoy switching to brighter, airier perfumes for the warmer months, because fragrance can almost feel textural. So, just as we’ve long since cast off our opaque tights and cardis, so too do we crave something that feels sheer, gauzy and less stuffy.

Often you’ll find brands offer lighter versions of bestselling scents, for the summer. Of course some people still enjoy wearing the heavier more full-bodied, comforting, almost ‘cocooning’ scents throughout the year – but again, this is individual and depends on how you want a fragrance to make you feel. Whatever style you reach for, there’s no doubt hot heather can make a scent behave differently on your skin. So, why is this and how can you prevent a favourite from disappearing so quickly?

 

 

Hot Weather Perfume Problem #1 – Your scent doesn’t last as long

The weather can dramatically alter how long a scent lasts, and even how it smells on your skin. Skin and climate temperature are vital to a perfume’s performance, so even your favourite fragrance will smell different based on the time of year. When perfumers test the scents they’re creating they often use climate-controlled booths to check how they smell in hot and colder conditions (depending what countries they’ll be selling in). Though we tend to reach for brighter, citrus fresh scents in summer, these molecules are lighter, so can evaporate even more rapidly in high temperatures.

Solution:

– Try using a body oil, rich body balm or moisturising lotion before you put any fragrance on (and even afterwards, too), as scent takes longer to evaporate on nourished skin. This helps the fragrance ‘cling’ to your skin more easily, and so you get to actually smell if for more than a few minutes without frantically re-spraying.

– Spray pulse-points you might not usually think of. Behind your knees is a good example – it’s a warm spot that, once spritzed, will mean you leave a fragrant trail…

– Spritz the perfume at the nape of your neck, even into your hair and on clothes – BUT do check by spraying a tissue first that it isn’t going to mark your hair or fabric a strange colour, or leave an oily residue! We adore this way of wearing perfume, as hair and fabric are porous without heating up as much as your skin, allowing the perfume to stay all day.

 

 

Hot Weather Perfume Problem #2 – Your favourite fragrances now smell too ‘heavy’

Layering fragrances used to be seen as a scent sin, but we’ve all gotten over ourselves a bit (well most of us have). You don’t have to do this to a perfume you already love on its own, but if it’s suddenly feeling smothering rather than sensual or bulky instead of beautiful, there are brilliant ways of beefing-up a sadly flimsy fragrance, or adding a zing to something that’s a bit too dark or cloying on your skin. Give it a go, because, as we always say: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!

Solution:

Add freshness by layering with citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).

 – Spray on a lightweight scarf that way if it gets a bit ‘too much’ or you want to wear something different, you can simply take the scarf off and you’re not stuck with it on your skin all day. Do test on a tissue first, to make sure it wont stain the fabric, but also consider typing a scented scarf to your bag if you want to carry around a beautiful scent all day without having it on your skin.

 

Hot Weather Perfume Problem #3 – Nothing you’ve got seems to smell right in the heat

We empathise, because you’re definitely not alone! Just as weather can dramatically alter our mood, our mood plays a huge part in how we perceice a perfume – even if it’s something you’ve adored wearing for years but suddenly just don’t feel like wearing anymore.

Solution:

Have a think about exactly what you’re looking for in a scent – is it to boost flagging energy levels, to comfort and help you feel protected, or to give you immediate mood-lifting feeling of trying something new? We’ve all be craving change these past few months, so why not treat yourself to a brand new selection of scents with the just-launched Eau So Fresh Discovery Box? Each fragrance has been especially curated to work well in hot weather, because we believe everyone’s olfactory wardrobe deserves a fresh start. Priced at just £19 for VIP Club Members, and £23 RRP, this could be the ‘newness’ your nose needs right now!

By Suzy Nightingale

Scent wellness tips for summer – Why changing your fragrance is good for your soul

Can you re-set your mood and enhance wellness with scent? Scientists say… yes!

Because changing your fragrance for something fresher when the warmer weather (finally!) comes around is not only a way of reinvigorating your scent wardrobe, but a way to actively improve your mental wellbeing, says Alfredo Fontanini, MD, PhD:

‘Each perfume is associated with different recollections and experiences. As you form new memories, older ones and emotions tend to fade. When you try a new perfume, you are trying an odor that has no associations, so it gives you the possibility to make new ones and write new memories.’

According to the neuroscientist, who’s chair of the department of neurobiology and behavior at Stony Brook University, and a co-director of its Neurosciences Institute; using a completely new scent helps us mentally draw a line under past experiences and start afresh.

In an interview with Elle magazine, olfactory expert Dawn Goldworm agreed, and spoke of people using fragrance to provoke memories – something we know first hand so many of you have been doing during the pandemic. Says Dawn:

‘Later in life, when you smell something, you are brought back to a specific moment or event. You remember how you feel.’ And she gives the advice that now is a good time to re-access your scent collection (even deodorants, shampoos and shower gels). ‘If it makes you feel good, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you change it,’ she suggests.

It makes complete sense. Because when you take a deep breath and inhale aroma molecules, they’re detected by the olfactory receptors in your nose and immediately stimulate some of the deepest, oldest parts of the brain – in ways that we’re only just starting to understand.

‘This process produces nerve impulses which travel to the limbic system, the part of the brain which is most concerned with survival, instincts and emotions. It’s thought by scientists the activity of the nerve signal passing through this region causes mood change by altering brain chemistry,’ says Christina Salcedas, of Aromatherapy Associates London. Our ability to smell ‘…is a window into parts of the brain related to core functions, like pleasure, emotion, and memory,’ agrees Jayant Pinto, MD, author of the study, an otolaryngologist (try saying that three times!) and head and neck surgeon at University of Chicago Medicine.

It turns out reaching for a fresher (and new to you) fragrance is more than simply pleasurable – it’s genuinely good for your mental health and wellness. We can get on board with that…

If you’re looking for a whole new summer scent wardrobe, the Seasonal Scent Subscription Box for Summer is your effortless, ready-curated collection. Lighter, brighter, filled with sunshine and allowing you to ‘travel with your nose’, these scents offer a chance to revel in the bliss of luminescent, uplifting fragrances.

If you already love a particular perfume but want to explore more, try our genius Fragrance Finder: simply type in the name and it’ll offer SIX new scent suggestions for you to try.

If you’re looking for something completely different, delve into one of our Discovery Boxesto find niche, luxury and new names.

It really doesn’t matter where you choose to begin – wiping the slate clean and starting afresh with a new scent for summer is one of the best (and easiest!) ways to re-set your mood and focus on wellness through fragrance…

By Suzy Nightingale

Choosing a fragrance for Fathers Day (or whenever!) Male scents we’re swooning over

Choosing a fragrance for Fathers Day (or, you know, whenever) can seem overwhelming, but the best way to match a particular chap to a certain scent is think about their personalities. So, ditch the old-fashioned ‘pipe and slippers’ image still portrayed on many a Fathers Day card and consider his character. Is he…

 

Timelessly Stylish?

 

If he fancies himself as rather dapper and wouldn’t dream of stepping outside the house in joggers and an old t-shirt, we think he’s likely to favour a classic but characterful fragrance. This collection was designed with such men in mind, but here at Perfume Society HQ we implore everyone to explore this divine collection and discover the timeless aromas loved by the stars of old Hollywood.

Created by Albert Fouquet, a member of the French aristocracy, who would surprise his loved ones with exquisite homemade perfumes, blended lovingly with the help of his family butler, Philippe. One evening in 1937, Albert met an American student named John F. K. mesmerised by Albert’s scent, John persuaded him to leave him a sample. The rest, as they say, is history…

Now you can get set to feel truly special by spritzing these timeless and decadent scents, six true icons in fragrant history ready for you explore.

Eight & Bob Iconic Discovery Set £20 for six fragrances

 

Eclectically Heroic?

Okay so he might not exactly be a caped crusader but he tries his best, and he’s your hero. If his taste mightbbe described as ‘changeable’ or he’s not really sure which style of fragrances he likes, this discovery box is your scent saviour! Filled to the brim with something to suit all, it’s 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 Super Man Discovery Box £22 / £18 VIP price for 14 fragrances + two extra gifts

 

Rebellious Rocker?

 

If he’s still firmly attached to his skinny jeans and faded band-t-shirts (or can sometimes be lost for hours playing along to vinyl rarities) chances are he’s not going to want to smell hum-drum and ordinary. Offering a true sense of olfactory rebellion, dance into this so-sassy collection, all of which should be worn with a devil-may-care attitude.

ROOK PERFUMES are the perfect meeting place between art and science – with more than a little rock ‘n roll in their DNA. They were launched by a frontline doctor/actor (yes, really), Nadeem Crowe, who became enraptured with the world of perfumery, who says ‘I feel totally comfortable with pipettes, beakers and weighing scales. The outcome, though, is a piece of art.’

Discover ALL THREE UNISEX FRAGRANCES, Undergrowth, Forest and ROOK. The latter was created by Nadeem for himself, inspired by his Middle Eastern roots, and described as a ‘diplomat dressed up as a punk rocker’. Nadeem loves to hear the stories of how his fragrances transport others – so let us know which transported you…? 

Rook Perfumes Discovery Set £15 for three fragrances

 

Modern Maverick?

If he’s slightly eccentric, obsessed by science or futuristic technology and always ahead of his time, he’s bound to appreciate the loving fragrance nerd-ery behind this iconic cult house. Perfumer and founder Geza Schoen is, himself, a bit of a maverick. If you’re new to the Escentric Molecules world, you should know that Geza was dedicated to trying something new – and it was seen quite shockingly brave, but caused a scent storm of interest.

The reason? Schoen shook up the perfume world by creating a scent with one ingredient – an aroma-molecule non-existent in nature, called Iso E Super. Now this molecule has been expertly blended with other ingredients to really ramp up the individuality.

Geza says: ‘I’ve used two qualities of patchouli here. The biggest chunk is Patchouli Coeur which is a very clean, soft patchouli oil fraction with the camphor-like topnote removed. I have also included a patchouli oil from Indonesia to round it out with a little bit of a topnote. The result is a sophisticated, clean patchouli that pairs fantastically well with Molecule 01.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Patchouli £95 for 100ml

Geza says: ‘Mandarin is all about the instant hit. It’s so alive, the way it radiates off the skin with that citrus zestiness. But there’s more to mandarin, it’s very fruity and aromatic as well. It’s a beautiful ingredient. Its transparency means that it vanishes quickly. I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance – for a gift, or for yourself. Our guide makes it easy

Our 3 top tips to choosing a fragrance take all the worry and confusing out of selecting a scent – be that a gift for someone else or as a treat for yourself.

With Father’s Day around the corner, fragrant gifts are much on our minds, but we wanted to create a guide that gets your started on your journey and, even better, can be used for any time you find yourself confused while pondering perfumes…

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

1: If you already know a fragrance they like

Have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent grooming products like body/beard oils and shower gels or body lotions. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of fragrances (which are always useful and well-recieved).

If you don’t want to get them the same old thing, then take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent they already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

2: If you’ve no idea what they like (or want to get them something new)

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

But scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots – some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! So the absolute best solution is to buy them a Discovery Box so they can try all manner of differing fragrances in their own time. They may even surprise themselves with their favourite.

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

3: How do I know if a fragrance suits me?

Give it TIME on your skin. So many of us spray, sniff immediately (that’s just the alcohol you’re smelling, with perhaps a mere whiff of top notes) and either make a snap purchase or walk away. Those opening notes can disappear in mere minutes, you really need to let it settle for twenty minutes or more to smell the middle or ‘heart’ notes. The ‘base’ notes are made from ingredients with the heaviest molecules, so these can take several hours to warm and then evaporate on the skin.

If possible, try the fragrance on a blotter first (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these used to be available with testers on perfume counters, but because of new Covid-19 safety measures, many stores don’t allow these now. (We always tend to take our own – and include a handy pack in each of our Discovery Boxes).

Allow a few minutes for the alcohol and the top notes to subside, and then smell the blotters. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial. Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on.  You really need to smell a scent on your skin.

Don’t try more than about four or five at a time. Your nose will become overwhelmed. Just sniff a sweater or a patch of your own bare skin to ‘re-set’, or go outside and get some fresh air – smelling coffee beans is a fallacy, it’s just filling your nose with another smell!

Jot down a few words to describe how you feel about each fragrance. These should be emotional words or things it reminds you of (a fabric / musical instrument / colour / place / time of day). They might sound abstract, but are a true reflection of how a fragrance is melding to your personality (or otherwise). Come back to the blotters several hours later and smell again – see if those words have changed.

The best way to find a new fragrance – as a gift or for yourself – is to try several samples at home in a Discovery Box, a curated selection of scents from a large number of houses; or a Brand Discovery Set, showcasing the entire range of fragrances from a single house. With time to let them develop, zero pressure and scents you may have overlooked in-store (or never even heard of before), it’s the perfect way to find that new perfume love…

By Suzy Nightingale

What is niche fragrance, and where do you begin…?!

So what is niche fragrance? That word is often flung around in the fragrance world, but sometimes we don’t stop to wonder about it. So what does that term actually mean, and where should you begin your fragrance journey…?

[Psst! Scroll down to find out how you can try well over £1,000 worth of niche fragrance – if you got the full sizes – for just £19!]

‘Niche’ perfumery began by referring to fragrances made independently, so not owned by a large brand. They can also be called ‘artisanal’, and because they were privately owned, often were able to take risks that larger, more corporately-inclined companies could not.

These smaller houses sometimes had a single person behind them – acting as founder, perfumer, Creative Director and PR person (and probably chief tea-maker, too!) The founder might also be self-taught in perfumery, rather than the traditional route of studying chemistry and then training at schools such as ISIPCA.

It might be useful to think of ‘niche’ fragrance as the catwalk of the perfume world. Unique ideas are celebrated, and might seem completely wacky or out-there, but actually tend to create trends that ripple down to the high street. Suddenly the ‘shoulder pads’ of the scent world are everywhere!

As niche houses became increasingly popular, some more established, larger houses began introducing more daring fragrance collections we also term as ‘niche’ – referring to the more artistic, less traditionally commercial style of perfumery rather than the size of the house itself.

But where can you begin discovering niche fragrances? At The Perfume Society we know that not everyone happens to live near a perfumery stocking niche scents (or even a department store with a diverse selection) – and even if you do, it’s sometimes overwhelming to work out where to even begin. What’s more, because of various lockdowns meaning we couldn’t even get to the shops – and new Covid-19 health protocols meaning testers aren’t readily available to smell in-store – it can be even trickier to actually get your nose on niche fragrance!

Trying a fragrance sample at home is the best way to truly discover if you love a scent – you need to live with it on your skin for several hours. A Discovery Set means you can try the entire collection from a niche fragrance house, and our curated Discovery Boxes allow you to smell things you’d perhaps never have considered (or not heard of) before.

Because we understand you’re missing browsing, spraying and smelling, in the latest we curated a selection of some of the finest niche fragrances out there to try at home. Click here for a detailed description of each scent, and on the names of the houses to read all about their individual histories. There’s no better way to begin your discovery of niche than right here.

In the Niche Collection VI you’re getting to try well over £1,000 worth of fragrance (if you had to buy them all as separate full-sizes to try) for less than the price of your average Deliveroo! This is what’s included…

 

ånd fragrance Sånd 2ml EDP 2ml eau de parfum (full size £35 for 10ml)
Atkinsons 24 Old Bond Street 2ml eau de cologne (£99 for 100ml)
Brioni Brioni 1.8ml eau de parfum (£70 for 60ml)
Eight & Bob Annicke 1 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 30ml)
Initio Addictive Vibration1.5ml eau de parfum (£190 for 90ml)
Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 7.5ml eau de parfum (£36 for 30ml)
J.U.S Parfums Sexycrush 1.2ml eau de parfum (£165 for 100ml)
Lalique Noir Premier Plume Blanche 1901 1.8ml eau de parfum (£210 for 100ml)
Paco Rabanne Pacollection Strong Me 1.5ml eau de parfum (£65 for 62ml)
St Giles The Writer 2ml eau de parfum (£130 for 100ml)
A’Kin Cleansing Micellar Water 30ml  (£12.50 for 150ml)

The Niche Collection VI Discovery Box is priced £19 + p&p* to VIP Club Members (£23 + p&p* to everyone else) – be sure to log into your account to take advantage of the special VIP Club price.

If this is your first time trying a niche fragrance, read our tips on how best to smell a new scent. Basically, you need to give it time to develop on your skin. Often the niche fragrances can be more complex (or just very different to more everyday mainstream scents you might be used to) so they can take you on more of journey as they unfurl throughout the day.

We do hope this helps explains things about ‘niche’ fragrance a bit more. One thing’s for sure: wherever you begin your niche fragrance journey, we’ve a hunch you’re going to fall madlly in love with many of them along the way…

By Suzy Nightingale

Eight & Bob – the scented story of the socialite, the president, his brother & a muse

The remarkable story behind Eight & Bob brings together a dashing perfume-lover, a president, his brother and now we’re introduced to a stunning 1930s society muse named Annicke. Settle down and grab a cuppa as you learn the secrets behind the founding of this extraordinary niche house, and the stories which continue to inspre the creation of its contemporary, so-wearable scents..

We begin with the tale of how Eight & Bob got its name: One night during the summer of 1937, so we’re told, in the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Albert Fouquet, a young socialite and perfume connoisseur (who loved to blend his own essences), met an American student who was touring France: John F. Kennedy. Within minutes of being introduced, the vain JFK was captivated by the essence that Albert wore. John’s charm and congeniality persuaded Albert to leave him a sample of his cologne with a note at his hotel the following morning:

 

In this bottle, you will find the dash of French glamour that your American personality lacks.’

The shade of it all! Rather daring to address one of the Kennedys in such a manner, but we guess if you were a particular kind of socialite, you could get away with such cutting remarks.

Eight & Bob continue the story by describing how, on returning from vacation, ‘Albert received a letter from JFK thanking him for the fragrance and informing him of its success amongst his friends. He requested that Albert send him eight samples, “and if your production allows, another one for Bob”. (‘Bob’ being Robert Kennedy). And so, the legend of the house begat its name. You can read all the details in our page dedicated to the history of Eight & Bob.

The Eight & Bob Iconic Discovery Set is just £20 to delve into six timeless scents, including (of course) the original signature of JFK. The others are scented snapshopts, if you like, that dive deeper into the era and the characters at play, and you can click on the link to read the notes and full reviews of each.

Though initially put together by the house with men in mind, here at Perfume Society HQ we implore everyone to explore this divine collection and discover the timeless aromas loved by the stars of old Hollywood. We enjoy weraing many of these scents ourselves, so be sure to keep them safely locked away, chaps, if you want to keep them for yourselves!

Cap d’Antibes  – a fragrance that captures the essence of  long summer days

Champs de Provence  – an exquisite fragrance, inspired by the beauty of Provence

Egypt – based on Albert Fouquet’s fascination of ancient Egyptian culture

Eight & Bob Original –  the fragrance that was a great success with both JFK and his friends

Mémoires de Mustique – capturing the magic of this unique Caribbean island

Nuit de Megève – based on mountain air, the smell of wood smoke and elegance.

Now the Eight & Bob history unfurls a little further with the telling of founder Albert Fouquet‘s own tale – or rather, that of the woman who turned his life upside down. One evening in the French Alps, he attended a high society soirée (it seems he was paiting the town varying shades of scarlet almost every night) and at this particular party was introduced to the strikingly beautiful Annicke.

The Annicke Fragrance Discovery Set is also just £20 to explore all six scents, and has been created as a contemporary tribute to Fouquet’s love. The exquisite fragrances are inspired by that single, muse in the 1930s, but the love story lives on today in this line-up of six numbered scents – each exploring a differing facet of her personality. Because yes, Albert, a woman can be drop dead gorgeous but SO much more, as he found out…

Annicke 1 – an ode to the extraordinary beauty and elegance of a woman with feminine floral aromas of lily of the valley, peony and jasmine

Annicke 2 – deliberately sensual and irresistible with harmonious notes of fruity fig and mandarin that uplift the senses, and hazelnut that brings a delicate touch of sugar

Annicke 3 – inspired by the sophisticated and glamorous charm of the early 1920s as white rose unfurls an air of vintage femininity across a dancefloor

Annicke 4 – inspired by an enchanted forest with woody and earthy undertones of Cashmeran and oakmoss, with spring-like floral notes of rose, ylang ylang and jasmine

Annicke 5 – discover the art of seduction via rich notes of full-bodied plum, golden honey with a dash of spicy rum and a base of sensual patchouli

Annicke 6 – personifying the complex dimensions of a woman, through juxtaposing notes of Sichuan pepper, bergamot and carnation.

Whichever scent you first fall for – the iconic original, the world-tour of scented snaphots or the six scented love letters to Albert’s muse – we’re sure you’ll enjoy trying all of the president’s scents…

By Suzy Nightingale

Escentric Molecules M+ – why more is MORE (and how the cult house continue their scent revolution)

Escentric Molecules M+ fragrances are a trio that’s once again revolutionising the world of scent. It all began with the cult Molecule 01 – the iconic scent that can be said to have kickstarted the obsession with niche fragrance, and of course made us more aware of the genius behind aroma molecules and why ‘synthetic’ isn’t a dirty word.

If you’re new to the Escentric Molecules world, you might like to start by reading exactly how they started (and why Geza was so dedicated to trying something new – and quite shockingly brave at the time!) in our page dedicated to everything Escentric Molecules.

TL;DR: Schoen shook up the perfume world by creating a scent with one ingredient – an aroma-molecule non-existent in nature, called Iso E Super. Ultra-smooth, swoon-inducing, gently musky and vanilla-like, the synthesised ingredient had already been used since 1973 by perfumers in small doses – though it remained an industry secret: that special something that made a fragrance utterly irresistible.

Now it’s time to discover how more can be even more, and why you need these in your life, because as perfumer Geza Schoen himself puts it:

‘Molecule 01 is an exceptional molecule: radiant, velvety, cocooning. It’s mysteriously effective on its own, but I started to wonder if there might be another way to play with it. What if I could take the molecule and add just one other beautiful ingredient and see how they danced together in the bottle?’

Molecule 01 + Patchouli – has a cool, rather aloof woodiness to it.

Molecule 01 + Iris – iris is luxury, with a creamy powderiness.

Molecule 01 + Mandarin – radiates off the skin, with a citrus zing.

You could begin your fragrant journey with the M+ Discovery Set, where for only £20 you can explore each of these new fragrances at home. A brilliant gift idea to treat someone else, too! But when you’ve smelled them, we know you’re going to swoon for at least one, and then there’s nothing else for it but to decide which full-size bottle you’ll treat yourself to. We’re absolutely thrilled that not only did Escentric Molecules ask us to help launch their fragrances, but you can now buy the full-size M+ collection in our Perfume Society shop.Escentric Molecules M+ Patchouli £95 for 100ml

Geza says: ‘Patchouli is a unique natural. Unlike 99% of perfume ingredients we associate it with a particular period, with the sixties and seventies and that bohemian spirit. It has a cool, rather aloof woodiness to it. I love it for its moody beauty.

I’ve used two qualities of patchouli here. The biggest chunk is Patchouli Coeur which is a very clean, soft patchouli oil fraction with the camphor-like topnote removed. I have also included a patchouli oil from Indonesia to round it out with a little bit of a topnote.

The result is a sophisticated, clean patchouli that pairs fantastically well with Molecule 01.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Iris £95 for 100ml

Geza says: ‘It’s not easy to describe iris’ smell as such, but if you smell a fragrance without it, and then with it, you understand immediately what it does. It adds a creamy powderiness. It brings a physical dimension to a fragrance.

I have had a long-standing love affair with iris. Every Escentric fragrance has an iris note somewhere in there. To me, iris is luxury. The iris pallida absolue I’ve used here is one of the most expensive ingredients in perfumery. You can find iris extracts for way less than that. But they do not have the great and subtle beauty of this absolue. It’s radical to put this much in a fragrance. The sillage is fantastic. This is a bomb, but a subtle bomb.’

Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml

Geza says: ‘Mandarin is all about the instant hit. It’s so alive, the way it radiates off the skin with that citrus zestiness. But there’s more to mandarin, it’s very fruity and aromatic as well. It’s a beautiful ingredient. Its transparency means that it vanishes quickly. I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness. Then as it begins to fade, Molecule 01 syncs in, bringing a warm, erogenous feeling to play with that zinging freshness. That’s unusual – for a topnote ingredient like Mandarin and a base note like Iso E Super to dance together naked like this, without other notes coming between them. And then the mandarin is almost gone and you are left with the elevated simplicity of Molecule 01.

That’s what I love about Molecule 01 + Mandarin – it may be a dance of two but the story changes completely from beginning to middle to end.’

So, the only thing to do for this journey or Escentric Molecules M+ discovery is to put that first foot (nose?) forward, and find out which molecular pairing ‘dances naked together’ best on your own skin…