Are you 'Messy Sexy Just Rolled Out of Bed'? Read the Marilyn-inspired poem & revel in the scent…

A mysterious perfume house run by a reclusive man, a fragrance inspired by Marilyn Monroe‘s minx-ishly tousled photo shoot alluringly wrapped in sheets and immortalized by Douglas Kirkland in 1961, composed by one of this century’s greatest perfumers – Dominique Ropion. The elements of intrigue are all there, and this latest launch by A Lab On Fire doesn’t disappoint. With a cheekily suggestive name like Messy Sexy Just Rolled Out of Bed, well, how could we resist a sniff…?
A Lab On Fire is a niche brand that delights in being shrouded in mystery, asking some of the most brilliant noses in the world to create the fragrances they have always dreamed of making, letting their imaginations and talents run wild. Founded by a chap called Carlos Kusubayashi, we are told he was born in São Paulo, Brazil, grew up in Japan, and now lives in Texas; that he’s variously worked in a car factory, as an apprentice to a ‘Master Kyoji’ in calligraphy, and contributed toward bringing Asian art to the Parisian art scene. But quite why he turned to perfume remains quite the mystery.
Clearly exploring his own creativity, though, he released an accompanying poem to evoke the spirit of Sexy Messy Just Rolled Out of Bed. How fitting to read it on National Poetry Day

Simple, clean sunlight. Warmth from the sheets wrapped between my legs. Warmth from you lingers on my skin. I just rolled out of bed. The rest of the day, the night—what we can do together—depends on how the sun warms my body, how close I allow you to get, how we touch.

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Kusubayashi adds ‘The pictures of Marilyn are the quintessence of being sexy, a way of entering into the intimacy of the great diva full of hopeful innocence. There is something magically vulnerable in these photos, the light, the atmosphere… And this is the initial inspiration which I asked the nose Dominique Ropion to capture in a bottle’.
And so how does this ‘morning after the night before’ scent unfold on the skin? The opening is a slowly unfurling blossom, an indulgently joyous yawn into the warm skin-like softness of rose petals and peach fuzz underpinned by smooth woods, milky musks and something suggesting the reason those sheets are rumpled…
It’s the olfactory embodiment of ‘I woke up like this’ déshabillé diva that looks effortless in a photo shoot, but in our experience is somewhat harder to attain! At least now we can keep this by the bed to spritz on some instant glamour…
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Messy Sexy Just Rolled Out of Bed £90 for 60ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Avery Perfume Gallery
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Love to Smell review our Scent of a Man Discovery Box – so full they had to sniff it twice!

We already loved Love to Smell – the YouTube channel set up by fragrance experts and friends Pia Long and Nick Gilbert to make perfume reviews both fun and informative. But when they had to split their latest review – all about our Scent of a Man Discovery Box – into two parts because there’s so bloomin’ much in the box, we fell in love all over again…
You can watch the video yourselves, below, but we thought it worth a recap of some of the amazing things in store if you haven’t already explored. Firstly, let’s just accept that size sometimes matters and the Scent of a Man Discovery Box is a whopper, featuring 13 fragrances in all, plus luxurious grooming additions (worth £40.25 alone!). We think you might have to agree, it’s just the best gift for a male scent-lover, ever…
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So what’s in the box? *Deep breath* It’s quite a list…
Penhaligon’s No 33 eau de Cologne, 1.5ml eau de Cologne
Lalique Encre Noir à L’Extrême, 1.8ml eau de parfum
Paul Smith Essential, 1.2ml eau de toilette
• Carven L’Eau Intense, 1.2ml eau de toilette
Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme, 0.8ml eau de toilette
• Eight & Bob Original, 1.5ml eau de parfum
• Illuminum Piper Leather, 2ml eau de parfum
• Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent, 2ml eau de parfum
 Prada Luna Rossa Eau Sport, 1.5ml eau de toilette
• Yardley 1770, 1ml eau de toilette
• Beaufort London Coeur de Noir, 2ml eau de parfum
• Gruhme for Him, 5ml eau de toilette
• Montblanc Legend Spirit, 1.2ml eau de toilette
Elemis Ice Cool Foaming Shave Gel, 100ml
Penhaligon’s No 33 Beard Scrub, 5ml
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream for Men, 15ml
Phew. You can see why they couldn’t fit it all into one episode!
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Pia makes a really good point at the start of the video, saying if you’re a woman who happens to prefer fresh or less obviously ‘feminine’ fragrances, then you should also get the box for yourself. We happily wear several of the ‘male’ orientated scents in the box, but called it ‘Scent of a Man’ because this was the first ever perfume box curated for the chaps. In a world where everything can now be seen as ‘shared’ or ‘unisex’ we kind of wanted to point out this was created with them in mind (but nothing to stop us gals from helping ourselves, too!)
So if your appetite has been whetted you can watch part one of the video review below, and then pop here to buy the box – only £15 for VIP Subscribers or £19 otherwise.
Or, if you have the box already, why not join Nick and Pia in a sniffalong as you watch the video?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Juliette Karagueuzoglo reveals her five favourite smells… the secret scents perfumers can't resist!

Juliette Karagueuzoglo is a brilliant perfumer who worked with mentor, Anne Flipo on creating the brand new Coach fragrance. We recently met up with Juliette for an exclusive interview about the creative process behind the scenes, but we always like to delve deeper and ask the deceptively simple question of ‘what are your five favourite smells…?’
1 – One of the smells that’s really important to me is when I go on vacation to the south west [of France]. You have the smell of the pine trees, and the sea coming through, so you have the sense of the ocean mixing with the heat. When it’s hot the Pine trees have this sweet smell… I go back to this place each year, and I open the window as soon as I arrive and for me it’s such a pleasure just to breathe the air there.
2 – The smell of people I love. My kids, it’s so special, unique, you can’t beat it. I don’t even think I can put it into words. Then there’s my aunt, she used to wear Cabouchard and Magie Noire, so it got me into Chypre at an early age because I just loved the way she smelled!
3Patchouli is a very important smell for me, I love using this material in so many ways, it’s vital for me.
4 – Oh, iris!  I discovered this plant we have in Lozere where we have the orris drying for six to nine months of the year in a heated room. When you enter you have this powdery feeling coming to you – just the smell of the rhizomes drying and nothing else, it’s completely amazing.
5 – I love all nature smells, but especially the ground just after it’s rained. The “petrichor“. It’s that special time when it’s rained but the ground’s drying and it’s hot, humid, dusty but at the same time you get this feeling of lushness. In big cities like Paris and New York after a big storm you can suddenly smell greenness even if you can’t see it. Nature reminding you it’s there…

What do White Lies smell of? AGONIST have come to seduce you…

Ah, the seductive allure of not quite telling the truth when it suits you far better to weave a little lie. Swedish niche brand AGONIST revel in the olfactory exploration of literary and cultural themes that play a large part in our lives, and with their latest fragrance, White Lies – which we were lucky enough to smell at Pitti Fragranze earlier this month – the truth may not always be out there…
AGONIST say: ‘Like a white lie it entices you yet holds a promise of a deeper truth. With a fresh and tempting top of lemon, rasperry and lychee, it drags you in to a heart of jasmine, tuberose and heliotrope. The deep and sensual notes of patchouli, orcanox and vanilla in the base makes the composition truly unique and impossible to forget.’
Top notes: Lemon, rasperry, lychee
Heart notes: Jasmine absolute, tuberose absolute, heliotrope
Base notes: Patchouli, orcanox, vanilla
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Founded by perfume-obsessed couple Niclas and Christine Lydeen, they share a love for fragrance, intrigued and fascinated by its power. As Niclas muses, ‘We started to think about themes and ideas. We wanted to show another side to this perception of clean Swedish design. We were more inspired by a poetic, darker and melancholic side of the Swedish culture and heritage.’
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Continuing this darker exploration of poetic themes, White Lies takes you on a journey, slowly unravelling its multi-faceted nature as it warms on your skin. Explains Niclas, ‘White lies is a joyful and playful fragrance that doesn’t reveal itself at first, just like a little lie. It is a smooth sensation that becomes stronger. We wanted to create a scent that takes you to another dimension where dreams, stories and fantasies come to life. In the end it keeps its promise and becomes a symbol of truth, yet with some intriguing shades.’
Sweet at first – an Eton Mess of meringue swirled through puffs of whipped cream and sprinkled with tart fruitiness, like the lie itself, the further it goes the deeper it gets. As the floral heart blooms, so too does the base, reaching up and grabbing the blossoms with tendrils of resinous earthiness mellowed by the darkest, most delicious vanilla beans. You might say we found it rather difficult to resist…
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AGONIST White Lies £115 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Avery Perfume Gallery
Written Suzy Nightingale

Spin-cycle scents: which perfumes evoke one of life's simplest pleasures…?

What do you think is top of the list of those “simple pleasures” that make people happy? Well, according to a survey BUPA carried out in 2015, a whopping 62% of the British public agreed that slipping into freshly cleaned sheets was their greatest instant mood-booster.
For the just-published Fashion & Fragrance edition of our magazine, The Scented Letter, we travelled to a network of laboratories in the heart of Holland to investigate the secretive world of scented laundry products, tracing the links between fabric conditioners and fine fragrance. Did you know that some of the world’s best perfumers have made detergents, scented your shampoo and kept you shower-fresh in deodorants as well as working on your favourite designer perfume..?
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There’s no doubt about it, the smell of clean fabric is a sensorial joy – from hanging washing in a sunny garden to burying your nose in the sweater of a loved one – the slightly soapy, steamily clean, aldehedic-sparkle of a laundry scent is pretty much guaranteed to soothe the soul. The perfume world has ‘cottoned on’ and now you can spritz that sunshine-y happiness the whole day long. The Library of Fragrance always have their fingers on the pulse of creating wearable, layerable true-to-life scents evoking some of our all-time favourite smells, so of course they have a duo of sumptuously fresh fabric-scented Colognes that somehow manage to bottle not only the exact smell of clean laundry, but the ‘texture’ of the fabric itself. Genius!
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‘This is simply the cleanest, most comfortable scent imaginable. Our Fresh Laundry fragrance captures that moment when just-washed bed sheets are pulled straight from the tumble dryer and you just can’t resist hugging them right up to your nose, and breathing in their warm aroma. As with those moments, this scent is like a reassuring hug that reminds you of home…’

The Library of Fragrance Fresh Laundy £15 for 30ml Cologne
Buy it at Boots
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The Library of Fragrance Clean Sheets £15 for 30ml Cologne
Buy it at Boots
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Coach are on a roll with their sublimely sueded rose. How did brilliant 'nose', Juliette Karagueuzoglo capture the scent of their style…?

Encapsulating the entire essence of a fashion brand within a bottle of perfume is a challenge for any perfumer, but one talented nose Juliette Karagueuzoglo was more than equipped for, working with veteran perfumer Anne Flipo – also her mentor – Coach manages to be both infinitely wearable and flirtily feminine, and we were thrilled to catch up with Juliette for a behind-the-scenes sniff at the creation of a uniquely vibrant, sueded rose…
But where does a perfumer even begin on an important project like building the Coach fragrance? ‘I knew I wanted to start from the rose and the suede.’ Juliette explains, ‘because to me we have this feeling with the colours and materials Coach use, and I wanted to evoke a rose that wasn’t dusty – something more energetic, open, bright, younger and having the right balance with the suede to create a sense of texture and contrast.’
When composing the distinctive smell of “leather”, perfumers must create their own accord, some of the materials being similar to previous leather notes used in fragrances, but for Juliette it’s important to start from scratch each time she needs to create a leather effect.
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Explains Juliette, ‘There are so many ways of creating something that smells like leather, you have many materials to express that leather, so it depends entirely what mood you’re going for and what the brief calls for. They might be asking for a “light suede” or a “darker suede” or a more animalic, woody or even metallic leather. So many expressions of the same thing. It’s like a rose. You ask ten perfumers to do a rose and you won’t get the same result twice! But that’s the beauty of it, that’s where the magic is. As a perfumer we get to express our personality and as a client that’s where you get the point of difference.’
Just as in the world of fashion a particular colour or combination is suddenly deemed ‘a thing’ and ‘so now’; in fragrance too this cycle of trends comes and goes – an ingredient or note long out of favour or previously thought of as old-fashioned will rise like a perfumed Phoenix once again. We wondered why there was this sudden resurgence of rose as a note in fragrances, and why younger people are now exploring it now that contemporary perfumers are exploring it in new ways?
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Juliette muses, ‘Well a lot of that is technology driven I think, we find new ways of getting the very best from an ingredient, better ways of harvesting, and it makes it fresh and exciting again. There are some rose fragrances that are beautiful but very much of their time. Like YSL’s original Paris. I mean I love it, but that’s not the rose of today and so now it almost smells vintage.’
And what else did Juliette balance against the rose and suede/leather notes for Coach? ‘We used raspberry leaves in the top for freshness and patchouli with soft woods. I think that combination just works, it’s rounded, never obvious, there’s a feeling of sophistication but it’s still fun and youthful.’
Juliette explains that ‘…although there are still preconceptions of what rose smells like in a perfume, I think things have changed dramatically. Rose can be anything you want! It’s all about the balance.’

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Coach the Fragrance from £35 for 30ml eau de parfum natural spray
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Zadig & Voltaire's fashion-forward fragrances have just one rule: be yourself, completely…

Parisians do that chic-but-edgy rock ‘n roll thing so insouciantly it must be in their very DNA, and the Paris-based fashion house of uber cool Zadig & Voltaire embody the concept of easy luxury every single day. And now you can, too, with the brand’s This is Her! and This is Him! fragrances enticing you to embrace modernity and break the mould – and if all that sounds like a lot of hard work, then we say simply relax while smelling distinctively sublime…
French designer Thierry Gillier was inspired by the iconic revolutionary philosopher of the Enlightenment, Voltaire, and his protagonist hero Zadig, to create his grunge-chic label, and being a scent obsessive it seemed only natural to have that ethos embodied in fragrant form. Explains Gillier:
‘I can’t imagine a life without fragrance. I like when it leaves a trail, asserts a personality. It’s an alchemy between you and someone else…’
Watch the ad campaign right here – read our review (below) and then run to sniff for yourselves. You can thank us later…

With arty looking bottles seemingly hewn from granite, the ‘jagged’ edges actually fit together in perfect harmony. And the scents? This is Her! imagines a free-spirited punk princess dressed in sensuous silk and cashmere, the woody-gourmand notes of chestnut and sandalwood buoyed by a burst of pink pepper in the top notes and sweet jasmine sighing softly at the heart.
We must admit that we swooned quite a bit over This is Him! While perhaps not being the target market of “…a powerful gentleman of rock, complete with a leather look”, we urge other women to try this on their skin, too, as the pepper and grapefruit zip almost immediately into an irresistible swirl of soft incense and salty vanilla – a definite wrist-sniffer, and the boys can go sulk because we’re not sharing this one, either.
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Zadig & Voltaire This is Her! from £38 for 30ml eau de parfum
Zadig & Voltaire This is Him! from £36 for 30ml eau de toilette
Buy them at Debenhams
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Pitti Fragranze 2016 – our fragrant journey to the Florentine perfume trade fair…

An annual affair dedicted to showcasing artistic and artisinal fragrance houses to buyers, distributors and press from around the world, it’s always an eye (and nostril!) opening experience to visit glorious Florence and the Stazione Leopolda – an old train station repurposed as a huge and atmospheric conference and event venue.

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Pitti Fragranze 2016 took place last weekend and marked the 14th successive year of the trade fair, with visitor and exhibitor numbers greater than ever, and we plunged into the seehing crowd with noses twitching to discover what was on offer this year…
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We were thrilled to see many of our fragrance friends there, bumping into 4160 Tuesdays floral-bedecked founder and perfumer Sarah McCartney spritzing her Mystery of the Materials (scents with a story to tell) into teacups (how wonderfully British) for eager sniffers to discover, and causing much swooning by revealing the photograph of her much-admired helper Arthur McBain – an actor when not helping out at her Ealing studios, and currently starring as the model in her just-shot advertising photos. Sarah says customers have been known to write him fan-letters and apparently come over all peculiar when they receive a package with a note in from him. We couldn’t possibly comment…
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Just around the corner, ‘fiercely independent’ Beaufort London were causing something of a buzz – appropriate given the honeycomb-themed decoration of the area – with their five uniquely maritime-inspired fragrances, including the latest launch, Fathom V – a fantastically other-worldly salty, ultra-green scent that puts us in mind of a Pre-Raphaelite Ophelia surrounded by flowers and giving herself up to the embrace of the icy depths…
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In the same golden-hued area was dear friend to The Perfume Society, Andy Tauer, on great form as ever and here showing two new fragrances: Tuberose Flash (an iridescent and totally sparkling tuberose with zero screechiness) and the much-anticipated Au Coeur du Désert (think bestselling Air du Désert Marocain in extrait beauty!)
It was also a joy to bump into the lovely Atelier Des Ors founder and Artistic Director, Jean-Phillipe Clermont – you may recall we were rather excited when they launched in the UK – and sniff the exqusite new Iris Fauve – softly suede-y with a distinctly addictive edge.
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We thought it was really interesting seeing a Japanese natural fragrance brand showing at the fair – Di Ser – not a culture historically known for their perfume brands, this one uses unsual oils and essences from around the world blended with fabulous quality native natural ingredients, thoughtfully composed and beautifully presented. Interesting, too, to learn that Japanese ladies have long scented their kimonos with delicate fragrances – as Middle Eastern cultures have wafted their robes with highly scented smoke…
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Intertrade‘s room is always a must-visit, with their fingers on the perfume pulse of cool, edgy and just beautifully curated brands that carry genuinely interesting but always totally wearable fragrances, available at Avery Perfume Gallery. With the theme of ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ they laid a huge table with coloured glasses and ‘place settings’ for each fragrance house. There we saw, and sniffed, new launches – some standouts being Blood Concept‘s gender-bending David Bowie-inspired XX and XY, AGONIST‘s incredibly evocative (and intriguingly named!) White Lies (so-new the bottles weren’t ready yet, but we snapped their previously released, soothingly smoky Hope), and the ravishingly sexy A Lab on Fire‘s cheekily named Messy Sexy Just Rolled Out of Bed
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You see absolutely everyone at Pitti, no matter where you are – and we met the marvellous Barbara Herman – vintage perfume expert and author of the book Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Subversive Perfumes, in the cafe of all places! The perfect excuse for a quick sniffing session of Eris Parfums – a trio of frgrances Barbara worked with a perfumer to create, all based on interpretations of animalic ‘beasts’ (with huge glugs of beauty to balance). Irreverently opulent, glamorously modern with echoes of vintage va-va-voom. And we got a sneaky sniff of the 4th, equally show-stopping scent.
Perfume, a Certain Tradition film
An real treat for cinephiles and fragrance fanatics alike was the private viewing of Perfume, a Certain Tradition – a film by Amsterdam-based Short Notes Portraits offering in-depth portraits of some of the greatest living perfumers – including infamously reclusive or seldom interviewed figures such as Pierre Bourdon, Michel Roudnitska, Frédéric Malle, Mark Buxton, uber perfume-collector George Stam (seriously jaw-dropping pieces!) and the iconically irreverent Serge Lutens… a roll-call of noses and creators that would intimidate many but which the Amsterdam-based company clearly relished the challenge of. A charming, witty and fascinating film, you can watch it on their website and we will be sure to keep you up to date with when the film is released on DVD – so watch this space.
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With so much to see and smell, it’s really quite an overwhelming experience – and nigh on impossible to see absolutely everything – but though we were exhausted at the end, we managed to fit in a quit flit to Florence’s wonderful Sunday-morning vintage market. And – ever nosing around for interesting things – we came across a stall laden with vintage parfums, including the most humungous bottle of Lanvin‘s Arpege – sadly our of our pocket, but We Wear Perfume‘s Amanda Carr [NB watch out for the imminent issue of our magazine, The Scented Letter, featuring Amanda’s scent memories] snapped up the Bvlgari scented pencils.
Until next year, dear Firenze
Written by Suzy Nightingale

So First by Van Cleef & Arpels – it's time for the second coming…

‘Every woman deserves to be First…’ was the slightly racy tag-line for the fragrance created for the prestigious French jewellery house of Van Cleef & Arpels founded by Alfred Van Cleef, Charles and Julien Arpels. Debuting way back in 1976 (if you can believe it was that long) the perfume took the world by storm – the iconic floral aldehyde becoming legendary – and secured its way into many a fragrance fan’s heart. So… what better time than the 40th anniversary of the original scent than to celebrate the second-coming with the launch of So First?
Composed by ultra talented perfumer Nathalie Lorson, So First is described as a scent ‘…to wear around your neck, like an invisible jewel.’

Top Notes: Bergamot, magnolia

Heart Notes: Freesia, jasmine, frangipani

Base notes: Vanilla, sandalwood

An harmonious balance of a whisper-soft floral bouquet – an echo of the original, with a sparkle of bergamot twinkling in the top notes – enhanced by a distinctly modern touch of gourmand sweetness. As the waxy magnolia, jasmine and freesia give way to exotically creamy frangipani, we get a subtle yet completely addictive white chocolate-like note that deepens in the dry down of smooth sandalwood and vanilla. Most definitely a wrist-sniffer!
With a streamlined flacon that nods to the heritage of the past while remaining resolutely contemporary, we think it’s set to be the ‘first’ fragrance love of a whole new generation…
So Firest Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels So First from £32 for 30ml eau de parfum
Available now exclusively in Harrods (nationwide, September 12th)
Written by Suzy Nightingale

So First by Van Cleef & Arpels – it's time for the second coming…

‘Every woman deserves to be First…’ was the slightly racy tag-line for the fragrance created for the prestigious French jewellery house of Van Cleef & Arpels founded by Alfred Van Cleef, Charles and Julien Arpels. Debuting way back in 1976 (if you can believe it was that long) the perfume took the world by storm – the iconic floral aldehyde becoming legendary – and secured its way into many a fragrance fan’s heart. So… what better time than the 40th anniversary of the original scent than to celebrate the second-coming with the launch of So First?
Composed by ultra talented perfumer Nathalie Lorson, So First is described as a scent ‘…to wear around your neck, like an invisible jewel.’

Top Notes: Bergamot, magnolia

Heart Notes: Freesia, jasmine, frangipani

Base notes: Vanilla, sandalwood

An harmonious balance of a whisper-soft floral bouquet – an echo of the original, with a sparkle of bergamot twinkling in the top notes – enhanced by a distinctly modern touch of gourmand sweetness. As the waxy magnolia, jasmine and freesia give way to exotically creamy frangipani, we get a subtle yet completely addictive white chocolate-like note that deepens in the dry down of smooth sandalwood and vanilla. Most definitely a wrist-sniffer!
With a streamlined flacon that nods to the heritage of the past while remaining resolutely contemporary, we think it’s set to be the ‘first’ fragrance love of a whole new generation…
So Firest Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels So First from £32 for 30ml eau de parfum
Available now exclusively in Harrods (nationwide, September 12th)
Written by Suzy Nightingale