Sloane Street is smelling extra wonderful this Christmas, thanks to Diptyque’s stylish new flagship London perfume pad, which has arrive just in time for the fragrant festive season. Inspired by exquisite Parisian architecture, but as always showcasing design elements of the original building in their stores; the new boutique is divided into three distinct sections for scent fans to explore…
Devoted to fragrant gifting and the Maison’s scent services, the first area features a beautiful burl wood cash desk with a huge fresco behind it, which was drawn on-site by French artist Claire Basler. A large wooden console with painted table displays invite customers to play and discover the Diptyque collection. The second space fuses the traditional Edwardian mouldings and ceiling roses with a contemporary sculptural table and displays surrounding a large and welcoming fireplace, all framed by ombre finish walls. Finally, an intimately inviting zone of light wood panelling and another stunning work by Basler – this time, a panoramic painting – swathes an exclusive seating area and the Decoration collection.
Earlier this year, Diptyque opened a Spitalfields store, and now with this very welcome addition to Sloane Street’s shops, Diptyque will doubtless be delighting local residents and visitors alike. ‘We have a thriving community in the Chelsea neighbourhood and are very excited to have found a perfect store in the area,’ says Amanda Morgan, Diptyque’s UK managing director. ‘More than just a luxury contemporary retail space, we want to welcome and take all our guests on a journey of discovery and surprises inside our Diptyque apartment…’
Diptyque, 161 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9BT
Psst! Longing to return to in-store scent shopping? Look out for our Sniffari guide to some fabulous new fragrant retail spaces in the U.K. within the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter Magazine.
There have been some truly bizarre moments in perfume’s history (who, I’ve always wondered, was the first person to think of adding civet to a scent, or discovering ambergris could add a magical touch to a fragrance?) For your olfactory delectation, we thought we’d pull together a selection of scented snippets, covering fragrance from the dawn of perfumery to more recent history. While seeking to demystify fragrance since we first launched The Perfume Society, it’s sometimes fun simply to look back and wonder. And you truly couldn’t make these fascinating facts up…
Egyptian priests, and their Pharoahs, were entombed with fragrances – and when those tombs were opened by archaeologists, in 1897, the perfumes were discovered to have retained their original, sweet smells. Important figures in Egyptian history were buried with scented oils, to ensure their ‘olfactory needs’ were fulfilled.
Hippocrates – ‘the father of medicine’ – was big on hygiene, prescribing fumigation and the use of perfumes to help prevent disease. The Greeks embraced aromatherapy, making it practical and scientific rather than mystical. Both men and women became obsessed with ‘the cult of the body’: women, at dressing tables in their private quarters (known as the ‘gynaeceum’), men more publicly, anointing themselves at the public baths, after exercise. (A ritual that endures in today’s gym changing rooms.)
Emperor Nero was so crazy about roses, he had silver pipes installed so that his dinner guests could be spritzed with rosewater. (According to legend, he once shelled out £100,000 for a ‘waterfall’ of rosepetals which actually smothered one guest, killing him. Quite a way to go.)
When the Crusades kicked off – in the 11th Century – among the treasures brought back to Europe by Crusaders from the Middle and Far East were aromatic materials (and perfumery techniques). The celebrated Arabian physician Avicinna is said to have been the first person to have mastered the distillery of rose petals, in the 10th Century.
There has always been a natural link between leather and perfume. As Queen Catherine de Medici’s glovemaker understood, it works brilliantly to disguise the lingering smell of the tannery. And in 1656 the Corporation of Glovemakers and Perfumers – for the ‘maître-gantiers’ – master glovemakers/perfumers) was formed in France, . (Note: at that point, glovemaking was deemed more important.)
King Louis XIV (1638-1715)took the trend for perfumery to new heights, by commissioning his perfumer to create a new scent for each day of the week. He insisted on having his shirts perfumed with something called ‘Aqua Angeli’, composed of aloes-wood, nutmeg, storax, cloves and benzoin, boiled in rosewater ‘of a quantity as may cover four fingers’. It was simmered for a day and night before jasmine and orange flower water and a few grains of musk were added. Like some kind of early fabric conditioner, it was used to rinse Louis’s shirts.
Napoleon Bonaparte had a standing order with his perfumer, Chardin, to deliver 50 bottles a month. He loved its cooling qualities and after washing, would drench his shoulders and neck with it. He particularly loved the scent of rosemary, which is a key ingredient in eau de Cologne, because it flourished along the cliffs and rocky scrubland in Corsica, where he was born.
Modern perfumery as we know and love it has its roots in the Victorian era. It was that century’s clever chemists who came up with breakthrough molecules that took perfumery to a whole new level. The new synthetics were often more reliable and stable – and sometimes enabled a perfumer to capture the smell of a flower whose own scent proves frustratingly elusive to extract naturally.
Chanel’s mother was a laundrywoman and market stall-holder, though when she died, the young Gabrielle was sent to live with Cistercian nuns at Aubazine. When it came to creating her signature scent, though, freshness was all-important. The perfumer Ernest Beaux presented a series of 10 samples to show to ‘Mademoiselle’. They were numbered one to five, and 20 to 24. She picked No. 5 – and yes, the rest is history.
Until the 50s, fragrance was something women mostly reserved for high days, holidays – and birthdays. Until one very savvy, go-getting New York beauty entrepreneur – by the name of Estée Lauder – had a brainwave. So the game-changing fragrance Youth Dew began as a bath oil (as Estée Lauder herself once told us):
‘Back then, a woman waited for her husband to give her perfume on her birthday or anniversary. No woman purchased fragrance for herself. So I decided I wouldn’t call my new launch “perfume”. I’d call it Youth Dew,’ (a name borrowed from one of her successful skin creams)…’
Smoky scents on the breeze, distant drifts of bonfires and hazy wisps of woodsmoke, eldritch mists of morning fields in autumn – as fragrance lovers, these are the sensorial delights of the season that we’re indulging ourselves with right now…
Whether it’s the whiff of roaring fires, or mellow pipesmoke evoking much-patched tweed jackets and just a hint of damp dog: truly great smoky fragrances are immediately transportive, and not always quite so comforting. In Romeo & Juliette, Shakespeare reminds us that ‘Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs,’ which can resemble the fire in your lover’s eyes, or become a ‘choking gall’. So too can smoky fragrances recall excitement in spent fireworks, waft the standoffish cigar-tinged sneer of a ‘members only’ club, or cloak you in the sanctified air of a Catholic confessional. They might recall stubbed cigarettes, boozy liasons and yesterday’s eyeliner, suggest the once-furtive fug of illicit substances, appease fickle gods or summon the most lascivious demons.
It’s hardly surprising there’s many smoke-laden scents, seeing as the word perfume itself arises from the Latin, ‘per fumum‘ – ‘through smoke’ – referring to fragrant materials burned as scented prayers. Perfumers, meanwhile, might choose to combine both naturals and synthetics to acheive their desired level of vapour; from the folksy, dried hay and tobacco or even burned rubber funk of isobutyl quinolone; pitch black tarriness of cade oil, the bitter, leathery slap of birch tar or rich, incense-like resins such as the fruity amber purr of labdanum (from the cistus plant) or the more powdery balsamic musk of opoponax.
Sprayed to rejoice in autumnal splendour or perhaps used to summon something altogether more Mephistophelian – I urge you to seek these out and smoulder forth…
Sarah Baker, Bascule
Succulent peach juice sizzles on hot leather, tobacco frottages smouldering hay while soapy lily of the valley and cut grass beckon a bath (following a torrid tumble in the stables). Ruthlessly seductive.
Swinging incense trails conjure trembling sooty fingerprints stroked on skin, a low thrum of sticky patchouli cloaking herbaceous freshness; the stolen kisses writhing in a mossy embrace.
A more subtle swathe of smokiness for those who prefer to exude sophistication; here flinty lavender swirls oodles of soft tobacco into creamy vanilla, with clouds of hay-like coumarin cushioning the wood.
Moschino, Toy Boy
Utterly beguiling from the get go, a bouquet of roses is tossed on the bonfire; dry clove crackles and peppercorns pop, the heat suddenly sliced through with a cool leather whip, soothed with cashmeran.
Ruth Mastenbroek, Firedance Only when you’re ready to ramp it up: scorching leather smooches Damask rose and deepest, darkest oudh. Think billowing bonfire-smoke clinging to your hair and cold lips burned by passionate kisses.
Taking inspiration from their unique heritage, Clive Christian recently celebrated their beautiful Matsukita fragrance in artful style at an exhibition in Mayfair’s Jovoy perfumery. We were honoured to catch up with the world-famous artist Yukako Sakakura and talk to her about creating the most stunning multi-layered painting directly inspired by smelling the scent…
Matsukita was inspired ‘by a fabled Japanese princess who awed the Victorian royal court with her elegance and grace’ and first launched in 1892 by Crown Perfumery, advertised with lavish, hand painted illustrations. Clive Christian have dipped back into this intriguing heritage to recreate some iconic fragrances with a distinctly modern feel – the meeting place of historic references and scents that have a certain classic style, but are thoroughly contemporary in character when you wear them.
With this juxtaposition in mind, today Matsukita ‘has been reimagined to capture this illusive elegance.’ A deliciously woody chypre, there’s an invigorating freshness wafting around the top notes to keep this breezy and simply beautiful. Green bergamot, pink pepper and flecks of nutmeg swoop to the floral, woody heart of Chinese imperial jasmine infused with refined notes of black tea. The smoke dispersing to reveal an amber-rich base swathed in whisper-soft musk add further to the ‘sense of mystery and grace’ they hoped to capture of the original.
Further expressing their heritage in modern ways, Clive Christian has long heralded contemporary artists, and they were delighted to partner with artist Yukako for a sensory collaboration around the scent of Matsukita, the experience of smelling which formed the inspiration for her extraordinary painting, ‘You Close Your Eyes to See Our Spring.’ Yukako explains: ‘I’ve always liked painting natural elements, because flowers link with emotions. In Japan we use these natural elements in art a lot, so it therefore feels quite natural for me to use these symbols to express feelings.’
‘I love to use layers within my work, so many I sometimes lose count! It’s usually 50 plus layers, anyway. I finish my flowers first and paint over the whole surface, then I change the shape of the flowers with further layers. If I didn’t have the layers, everything looks too flat to me, it’s not wavy enough! I want to make sure all the flowers are kind of singing the same song, it’s a way of breathing life into the landscape; so, I just paint over and over again until it feels like all the flowers are breathing with the same rhythm. To gauge when it’s finished, I must sit in front of the painting for ages, sometimes five hours (with a cup of coffee), looking closely and making sure everything is doing the right thing.’
‘I smelled the fragrance first, and then wore it as I painted, it helped feed my imagination and it’s as though I felt the energy of the scent go down my arm into the paintbrush. I know that might sound strange to some, but I started learning calligraphy at the age of three, and that’s all about imagination, getting to know what kind of brush marks you can make…’
‘In calligraphy, you learn that before you make a single mark on the page you have to spend time imagining it all in your head, and then you join those energies of thought and process. For my Matsukita painting, it was all about smelling the fragrance and connecting to the emotions it gave me, then translating these into images, and they flow from my brain to the brush. You know, I did all my studying about art in U.K. I’ve not done any art studies in Japan, and I find that when I’m in the mood for 100% concentration, I speak English, even in my head.’
‘I find I talk to colours [Yukako giggles] and I have changing relationships with them. For instance, I used to hate yellow years ago, and it would creep into my paintings sometimes and I’d get angry with it for spoiling them and tell it to go away, but now I absolutely love yellow! I knew I wanted yellow in this as soon as I smelled Matsukita. I must explain that I don’t talk to the colours out loud. It’s all in my head – it’s part of the way I communicate with the world and translate my feelings to the canvas. Again, while smelling the scent I knew the roses must dance first in the painting. I don’t let anyone in my studio when I’m painting because it’s disrupting to my conversation with the painting itself! My family all think I’m very weird, but it’s the way I work…’
What an incredible privilege it was to meet this visionary artist and see her work in the flesh – for seeing pictures of the paintings really cannot convey their extraordinary depth of feeling and movement. You really can sense the ‘sway’ and ‘dance’ of the flowers and petals in the breeze, standing in front of the picture itself. And isn’t that the way of fragrance itself, too? Talking about individual notes can only bring you so far – to really know a fragrance and feel its emotional connection, you must wear it on your skin. And we urge you try Matsukita this way, to truly feel the character of the scent yourself…
There’s nothing quite like the soft, enveloping snuggle of cashmere – more than simply a wool to keep you warm, it’s become synonymous with supreme luxury, and fragrances that borrow the fluffy feeling of this material are the perfect comfort scent.
What does ‘cashmere’ mean in fragrant form, though? Perfumers aren’t extracting the wool itself into a scent; instead, they may use Cashmeran™, a trademarked synthetic material sometimes also called Cashmir (or Kashmir) Wood.
There’s no cashmeran bush, or tree, or root, though: this is a synthetic ‘fantasy ingredient, also sometimes referred to as ‘blonde woods’ on perfume note ‘pyramids’. (Cashmeran™ is a trademarked ingredient from the perfumer supplier International Flavours and Fragrances, or IFF.) It’s a-little-bit-musky, a-little-bit-spicy, a-little-bit-powdery qualities become even more versatile in the hands of perfumers: they know how Cashmeran™ almost ‘melts’ into many types of ingredients to add an extra, almost tactile sensuality to perfumes within a wide range of fragrance families.
Cashmeran™ also works to ‘expand’ and diffuse floral ingredients. (Lots of perfume notes work ‘synergistically’ in this way, which is why perfumery is such a complex art.) You may also be familiar with it from body products and even fabric conditioners: Cashmeran™ ‘clings’, and doesn’t rinse out well, leaving traces of its sensuality on the skin after showering, or your bedlinen after laundry day.
So now, do you need something to spritz as an extra ‘layer’ of protection (but that’s not too overwhelming), to conjure that feeling of hitting ‘snooze’ and staying in bed awhile longer; or perhaps a perfume for those occasions you could really do with a hug in a bottle? Read on, wrap up, and let’s get cosy in cashmere…
Guerlain Les Matières Confidentielles Eau de Cashmere
Intimately personal and part of a collection made to be spritzed on the skin ‘or over one’s favourite materials’, the Eau de Cashmere is whisper-soft, a creamy concoction of powdered iris and freshly plumped pillow-like lavender, with a breezy background of aerated woody and musky notes as it warms on the skin. It’s one of those ‘I don’t know what to wear’ go-to scents, and ‘Misted also over a jumper or across the entire wardrobe,’ says Guerlain, ‘it provides a pleasure of incomparable softness.’ We couldn’t agree more!
Perfumer Nathalie Gracia Cetto unfurls a ruffled citrus breeze that blooms into freesia and voluptuous orange blossom. The signature woody white musk is woven throughout the composition, making it unmistakably a Narciso creation, but with a crystalline gleam that sparkles enticingly. Wrapped in a whisper of cashmere-swathed warmth, think sunshine diffused by fluffy clouds, a soft stole worn insouciantly draped over tanned shoulders. One that fans will want to add to their collection.
From mother and daughter duo Chantal and Alex Roos, a fragrance which is almost literally light at the end of the seasonal tunnel, evoking ‘springtime, blue sky – a perfume blowing a gentle breeze into your heart.’ En route, it’s ruffling notes of blackcurrant bud, iris, rose, tonka, supremely cool cashmere wood that billows becommingly amidst vetiver and sandalwood. And we wonder: is the name a coincidence, or was it chosen because creator Chantal has the bluest eyes of almost anyone we know…?
An imagining of a fern in an English garden at twilight, Vert Fougère combines lavender and patchouli with galbanum for a green, damp, earthy beginning. A cool lingering of tempered sunlight is evoked via a bitter-citrus accord of bergamot, neroli and grapefruit, the encroaching darkness cut through with a sparkle of ginger. Finally, grounded with smoky cedar woods and soft cashmeres. Combining classic and modern elements, this is a verdant fougère to delight in.
A fragrance to ride with us amidst changeable moods, maybe? ‘The most popular of the gods, Mercury was adored for his irresistible charm and wit and the inspiration for this sensuous and seductive scent.’ With an alluring character, the cloud of cardamom-flecked iris swirls to the buttered warmth of tonka and amber touched by cashmere’s creamy caress. Especially good at granting you backbone and strength, we say: wear this fluffy, irresistiable scent and feel better for every possible perfumed mood-swing!
With Oktoberfest soon to begin, the boozy celebrations needn’t always be searched for at the bottom of a glass – that warming swirl of unctious softness and comfort, together with succulent fruitiness, oak-smoked woodiness and even the sparkle of ice cracking in a cool tumbler of something lovely can be found in fragrant form. Settle down for a scented session with these…
4160 Tuesdays Captured By Candlelight
Always a perfumer with a story to tell, Sarah McCartney weaves a mysteriously evocative tale in uniquely fragrant form with flaming brandy-soaked fruits, a wood-panelled dining room, softly dripping wax candles and the tingling sense of anticipation that precedes a country house party. If you order the 100ml bottle size from the 4160 Tuesdays website, they’ll even send you an accompanying story written especially for the scent – a feast for all the senses
Kilian Angels’ Share
Founder Kilian Hennessy maintains that he is introducing a new fragrance family here – which he should label ‘boozy’, as a reflection of its intoxicating qualities (inspired by his own family heritage). Perfumer Benoist Lapouza takes a jigger of cognac essence, adds oak absolute (an echo of the barrels themselves), spiced by cinnamon essence, tonka bean, praline and vanilla. Family-wise, we’d still position this hovering between Ambrée and gourmand – but we’re certain of its irresistibility.
Dunhill Icon Elite
Appealing to his bohemian spirit, this tobacco-laden scent speaks of long liquid lunches in smoky French brasseries padded with faded leather and panelled in dark wood. Musky Cuban cascarilla oil is pierced by the piquancy of pimento berries and a cool shot of pine needles with herbaceously aromatic sage. The gently smouldering base of Malaysian patchouli gets comfortable with a boozy cherry-like sweetness of the toasty tonka beans – perfect for the dad who rather fancies himself as an undiscovered artist.
Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling
A sparkling, tall glass of gin that cracks as the ice succumbs to the fresh piquancy of juniper (gin’s ‘signature’ aromatic), then there’s cool measures of angelica and brandy plus the deeper throb of and a beating libertine’s heart in heat-tingled flecks of black pepper popping in the background. Evoking the ‘bright young things’ of the 1920’s, it’s become a modern classic go-to for effervesent, effortless day-wear with oodles of character and a refreshingly different presence that you’ll simply never tire of.
Indulge your inner libertine with this oppulent, swagger of a scent, inspired by Cassonova himself. You can smell his favourite tipple, ‘cordial orgeat,’ through dusky cognac-infused rose and bitter orange flower, with a saffron-soaked throb of leather, hot wax, animalic cumin lashed to the darker base of amber and deep woods.Fanning the flames of passion with that boozy swirl of pure licentiousness it’s one of those scents that draws people to you, intrigued yet perhaps slightly in trepedation of your swaggering sexiness!
Feel Good Fragrances are very much on our minds right now, what with the current state of the world and the stresses we’ve all experienced these last few years. It can feel easier to cope in the summer, sometimes, can’t it? Those lighter, brighter for longer days can really help make things seem better; but we know the incredible power our sense of smell has to help, too, even on the greyest, coldest days. That’s why The Perfume Society have curated an extra-special Feel Good Fragrances Discovery Box…
Priced at just £23 / £19 for VIP Club members, the Feel Good Fragrances Discovery Box has been put together to boost feelings of peace, inner-calm, strength, resilience and simply a sense of well-being (which goodness knows, we could all certainly do with right now). Here’s how…
Cochine Tuberose & Wild Fig
An evening walk in a garden in Saigon was the inspiration, and puts one in mind of moonlight reflected on water – a silvery, cool sigh of relaxation that segues to a white floral heart and vetiver base. Inviting us to take a moment and breath deeper, this multi-layered scent is light yet has a lasting depth.
edeniste Vétiver Imaginaire
Invigorating yet grounding, this incredible woody citrus scent is backed by neuroscience for its effectiveness. With natural nuances of citrus, flint, wood, smoke, and earth, it compels quietude, contemplation, and contains a unique ‘Destress’ accord proven by neuroscientists to enhance a feeling of safety and well-being.
Electimuss Mercurial Cashmere
A fragrance to ride with us amidst changeable moods, maybe? ‘The most popular of the gods, Mercury was adored for his irresistible charm and wit and the inspiration for this sensuous and seductive scent.’ We say: wear this fluffy, irresistiable scent and feel better for every possible perfumed mood-swing!
Elementals Tong Ren
Based on wisdom of the I Ching, ‘Tong Ren speaks of how humanity has traversed a time of darkness’ and urges us via spiced citrus and exquisite Egyptian jasmine and apricot-like osmanthus ‘to come together in harmony and a spirit of equality to promote peace and create something new and beautiful.’ Yes please!
Maison Crivelli Ambre Chromatique
A vertiable mood-board for an ultra modern take on amber, we’re instantly transported: ‘Rainbow jungle, a spicy trek, vanilla vines, cut multicoloured bark: a golden resin. Pointed flowers, a davana pigment, sunlike feathers, an akigala leaf. An amber colorama.’ Incense-infused, sheer yet characterful, it’s a must-sniff.
Parle Moi de Parfum Wake Up World
Encouraging us to ‘feel more alert, alive and to acknowledge the wonders of the world around us,’ this invigorating scent fuses the brightness of bergamot and lime, a fusion of green apple and Turkish rose with enveloping warmth of a vanilla / tonka rich base. It’s a wake up call followed by a hug – the best kind.
Ruth Mastenbroek Gaia
Happy memories inspire every one of this brilliant British perfumer’s scents, and thinking about where each fragrance takes you, allowing yourself to escape, is such bliss. Inspired by the zen-like tranquility of the Norfolk Broads, soothing chamomile, grown in Norfolk, a sense of calm and contentment is assured.
Sarah Baker Loudo
Mischievous, flirty and fun, this is a scent to wear for an instant confidence-boost, and encourages us to enjoy ourselves a while. A pun on ‘ouhd’, one of its key ingredients, and the Latin word for ‘play’ or ‘a game’, the delicious mix of cherry, white chocolate and orange blossom on a woody musky base is simply addictive!
To the Fairest London Élan Vital
This restorative new scent is an earthy and utterly unique vetiver, paying homage to the thrill of connecting with the natural world around us. Élan Vital – ‘life force’ – is so grounding, so right for right now, the vetiver ultimately taking you by the hand and leading you to secluded, shady forest-y notes as it warms on your skin.
Freedom to be yourself, explore your more sensual side and, ultimately, take the time to reconnect with yourself, dare to imagine: ‘A mysterious poet, Colette dares to ask and to be asked love’s most challenging questions. Her notes of sandalwood and incense are as spicy and seductive as they are alluring.’ Ooh-la-la!
Scentered Sleep Well Aromatherapy Balm
A sophisticated floral lavender, with added therapeutic benefits of soothing chamomile, palmarosa and ho wood, bois de rose and geranium. With a modern yet gentle patchouli, clove and ylang ylang heart, it’s time to switch-off, unwind and give yourself permission to relax – whenever and wherever you need it most.
Weleda Skin Food Body Butter
This FULL SIZE cult item is adored by beauty editors – it imbues your skin with a unique combination of botanical extracts while gently scenting with sweet orange, lavender and scrumptious, resinous benzoin. Fast-absorbing, the butter leaves skin petal-soft and ready to scent with whichever you require from the above.
Read more about the fragrances by clicking of each of the pictures in the Shop page – but we hope, whatever your need, you’ll find some blissful moments with this incredible collection of Feel Good Fragrances. Know a friend or loved one who’s been through a lot lately? Why not treat, them, too…?
Considering the colder, grey days and longer, darker nights (not to mention the current state of the world at large) we reckon it’s time to fully embrace the spirit of World Smile Day. Started by Harvey Ball, a business craftsman from Worcester in Massachusetts; he was best known as the creator of the now iconic ‘Smiley Face‘ symbol in 1963. In 1999 the first ‘World Smile Day’ was held and has since become an annual tradition. Perhaps right now we’re needing smiles more than ever? Thus, we present an array of perfumes that make us smile every time we wear them, and encourage you to seek these out – or perhaps bring a smile to someone else’s face and treat them to one of these…?
Happy Paul Bright Spice
Crafted to trigger a little happy from the outside in,’ this immediately mood-lifting fragrance was ‘conceived by a not-so-happy Paul…’ who’s lived with depression. Bright bergamot and lemon sparkle with a frost of spearmint leaves and almost fruity/fresh eucalptus. A tingle of pink pepper and cinnamon bark segue to contemplative heart of frankincense and rosemary, all resting on a woody base. 20% of the profits from sales go to mental health charity YoungMinds – so you smell good while doing good.
Bath House Climbing Trees
A collaboration with British perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek, the name alone conjures wonderful images, while the scent doesn’t disappoint. Memories of carefree childhood summers and fields of sun-scorched grass are evoked through vetiver, cedar and amber representing the woodland floor. Clambering effortlessly through canopies of aromatic green leaves, sweet bergamot and radiant jasmine sparkle like dappled sunshine, while lemon and rosemary feel like smiling in crisp countryside air. Basically, the scent of freedom, bottled!
Valentino Born in Roma Yellow Dream
Celebrating ‘a new beginning, full of life, hope and optimism’ (YES please!) we’re imagining a golden sunrise over Rome – lemon coloured blossom carpets the pavement as a confident woman strides forth to greet the new day. Floral yet fruity (in the most grown up, effervescent way), this gives us vibes of just-washed hair gleaming in the sun, a vibrant yellow dress, heels kicked off, a musky trail followed in bare feet on sun-warmed cobbles, smiles all the way.
SKANDINAVISK Kapitel 12 Freedom To Roam
We’ve come to love the great outdoors more than ever these past few years – catching up with our Scandinavian contemporaries, here, Skandinavisk capture the joyful spirit of wilderness with Freedom to Roam. Eliciting smiles at the mere thought of escaping to the forest and leaving everyday stresses behind, the scent reflects an ancient Scandinavian law which invites exploration and adventure, imagining heather-line trails above the tree line via notes of wild berries, herbs and woods. Simply glorious.
MOSCHINO Toy 2 Bubblegum
Continuing their teddy bear’s picnic of perfumes, Moschino’s creative director, Jeremy Scott, was in full-on fun and flirty mode with this one. Outrageously cute, the pink bottle (and name) is immediately apparent with wafts of childhood nostalgia, and the smiles they bring. But it quickly moves from the playground to a surprisingly sophisticated Bulgarian rose shot through with blackcurrant and peach on a lightly spiced, polished wood base. Cheeky and playful, but actually really pretty and very werable beyond those smiles.
Roses are having such a fragrant resurgence: but why right now? Read on for our take on this rise (and rise) of rose perfumes we’ve seen launched lately – and our guide of which roses to wear right now…
There’s been a serious blooming of rose in perfumery the last couple of years – and we aren’t talking ‘chorus line’ rose notes, but fragrances which put rose front and centre in the scented spotlight, in an utterly modern style. Never have we seen so many new overtly rose-centric scents released in such a flurry, with Tom Ford and Jo Malone London launching whole collections of rose-themed perfumes, persuading us this is more than a passing fragrant fancy, and leading us to confidently declare: this is the Year of the Rose. Indeed, according to Google, rose is the most-searched fragrance ingredient in the past year, with over 50,000 searches each month.
There is, of course, an incredibly long tradition of using rose in perfumery – we’re talking millennia, not mere centuries. In his book Smell and the Ancient Senses (Ed. Mark Bradley, 2015), David Potter, the Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History at the University of Michigan, reminds us that by 116BC, ‘Roman aristocrats… were already treating roses as a cash crop.’ And you can read even more on the quite extraordinary history Romans had with the rose in our fragrant history section.
But meanwhile: why now this renewed desire for ultra-modern rose-powered perfumes?
Roses today in perfumery are a glorious quantum leap from those which gathered dust on dressing tables of old. In 2022, there is a rose fragrance for everyone, whether your leanings are towards easy-to-wear sun-filled scents or the more velvety, smoulderingly smoochy essences we’re reaching for now autumn’s here. And gender doesn’t come into it, either: many, many of the ‘new roses’ are gloriously shareable (we’re very glad to say!) and we urge all ages, all genders to dive into these particular rose perfumes with a fragrant abandon…
Molton Brown Rose Dunes EDP – Sultry desert air. £120 for 100ml eau de parfumMolton Brown
Atelier Materi Rose Ardoise – Urban petrichor pavements. £195 for 100ml eau de parfumHarvey Nichols
Manos Gerakinis Rose Poétique – Mysterious Sapphic jubilation. £165 for 100ml eau de parfumShy Mimosa
Parfums de Marly Delina La Rosée – Aristocratically powdered passion. £200 for 75ml eau de parfumSelfridges
Sana Jardin Incense Water – Soothingly meditative meanderings. £95 for 50ml eau de parfumSana Jardin
INITIO Atomic Rose – Rambunctiously robust eruptions. £215 for 90ml eau de parfumFenwick
Narciso Rodriguez Musc Noir Rose for Her – Intimately addictive sensuality. £55 for 30ml eau de parfumThe Perfume Shop
Electimuss Rhodanthe – Vibrantly voluptuous intoxication. £175 for 100ml extrait de parfumElectimuss
Parle Moi de Parfum Une Tonne de Roses / 8 – Frivolous olfactory festival. £98 for 50ml eau de parfumLes Senteurs
Coach Wild Rose – Daringly delicate gracefulness. £37 for 30ml eau de parfumEscentual
Obvious Une Rose – Sunshine-bathed captivation. £95 for 100ml eau de parfumFlannels
Moschino Toy Boy – Spicy leather shenanigans. £45 for 30ml eau de parfum Fragrance Direct
At times of trouble, people have always turned to ritual for consolation. Which explains, perhaps, why many of us have found ourselves over the past year and a half drawn to quietly contemplative scents, at the polar opposite end of the perfume spectrum from shoulderpads-in-a-bottle or va-va-voom, ready-to-party fragrances. These blends – in the form of perfume oils – instead offer moments of meditation that stay close to the skin. This style of perfumery dates back to the 1500s and the Mughal emperors of India.
These are intense and concentrated scents – but you’d be wrong to assume that these will announce your presence at 20 paces. ‘Attars don’t necessarily land on the skin with an impactful whomp, as an eau de parfum might,’ says perfumer Nancy Meiland, whose recently-launched GAIA attar has proved a huge hit. ‘They tend to be worn closely and mingle on your skin in warm “nuzzles” that you pick up throughout the day.’ The diffusion of these scents is hushed, whispering intriguingly yet also lingering for longer. ‘They tend to be worn closely and mingle on your skin, giving off warm “nuzzles” that you pick up throughout the day.’
As trend forecaster and fragrance writer for wewerperfume.com Amanda Carr observes, though we’re only just (re)discovering them here, attars are still used in very practical ways in India:
‘Attars are used by the Muslim population in India a little like a wellness boost, and the perfumeries I visited were bustling with families buying their season scents to uplift their health and emotional happiness, also unlike an eau de parfum there is no alcohol to worry about. There are traditional guidelines as to when you wear particular botanicals, cooling vetiver for the hot summer days, along with jasmine and rose, with saffron used during the chiller months for its warming properties. The instore perfumers often gave advice – a bit like a pharmacist – as to which botanical attar could help with a particular malaise.’
Nancy explains that she felt ‘intuitively drawn’ to creating her first attar during the early days of the pandemic. ‘GAIA’s ultra-soothing concentrated blend of Calabrian bergamot, nutmeg and jasmine sambac is centred around blue lotus absolute, which traditionally is seen as “a flower that can open your mind and is powerfully protective during times of transformation.”’
So why now this plethora of perfume oils and attars making their way onto centre stage for the Western market, you may wonder? Nancy asserts it’s quite simple, really; saying [in troubled times]:
‘…we want more magic not less. It’s about working closely with the plants and flower essences and getting to know their properties and benefits. Then combining them so that they don’t crush each other while enhancing each other’s odour profile – the individual notes should sing out in their fullness and create a harmony of scent. There is an alchemy to an attar that works with nature…’
Looking for other perfume oils and attars to have a play with this season? Try some of these sumptuous examples, below: we feel sure that once you discover the delights (and definite mood-enhancing abilities) of attars, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Priced from pocket-friendly to the ultra lust-worthy treat, there’s something to suit everyone…
If your scents suddenly lack depth, add interest with this deliciously fragrant oil. An unexpected mix of spice-infused bergamot and plum with a ‘your-skin-but-so-much-better’, creamy leather dry-down, the warm tingle of amber then simmers for hours. The roller-ball bottle makes this especially useful for travelling (if you’re lucky enough!) or touching up your scent on the go.
Oud du Bois fuse ancient Arabic traditions with Parisian style in their clickable ‘perfume pen’, and stroking on a fragrant OdB balm is a wonderfully sensual way to ‘paint’ the skin with scent. Here, oudh adds a beguiling richness to a bustle of white flowers and lavender atop the patchouli, cedarwood, nutmeg and cardamom fragrance fusion in the base. A daring and vibrant oudh to wear for a boost of immediate confidence.
Fragrance du Bois London Oud Fragrance Pen£39 for 3ml eau de parfum ab-presents.co.uk
Christopher Yu and Laurent Delafon were inspired to create their Ostens collection by the incredible portfolio of naturals from LMR Naturals. Each eau de parfum comes with a ‘Préparation Oil’ which you can layer or enjoy alone. Any and every fragrance in the Ostens portfolio of scents is gorgeous in its own right, but when layered in this way, become eat-your-own-arm divine.
Ostens Rose Oil Isparta£175 for 50ml eau de parfum + complimentary perfume oil ostens.com
Strangelove – from the creative trio of perfumer Christophe Laudamiel, supermodel Helena Christensen and naturals expert Elizabeth Gaynes – put thoroughly sophisticated (and utterly addictive) fragrance oils at the very heart of their collection. We urge you to nuzzle into this hypnotically delicious blend of oudh, stimulating mandarin, purified ginger, deeply magnetic sandalwood and luscious dark chocolate for a sultry scent ritual, with the necklace a nod to traditional ways of carrying precious perfume about the body. (PS: You can also try the entire range of Strangelove fragrances eau de parfum for £60 in our shop!)
Strangelove meltmyheart Perfume Oil Necklace£195 for 1.25ml harrods.com
The LilaNur attars’ prices reflects the meticulous effort to process the precious flowers immediately after harvesting – they’re placed in oil beside the fields they’ve been grown in. Suggesting annointing the palms of your hands and breathing in before applying, it honestly feels like a divine experience – as though your feet have lifted from the ground and angels are singing. A purity and depth we’re unused to, with those few drops carrying you throughout the day.
LilaNur Jasmin Attar Absolu Perfume Oil£340 for 30mlharrods.com
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