Looking for pocket friendly perfumes that smell fabulous but won’t break the bank? They’re the holy grail at any time, but most especially in January – the bleakest time of year – when we most need a little something to perk ourselves up.
Perfume has come to mean so much to so many more people these last few months – we can use it revive flagging spirits or grant us some courage when we need it most. A quick spritz can swathe you in comfort and soothe frazzled nerves, transport you instantaneously to somewhere else in the world or reanimate a long-forgotten memory of happier days.
But perhaps you’re like us and have just paid your tax bill (hello reality) and though you’re not feeling flush, still really, truly, desperately need SOMETHING NICE to look forward to?
Never fear! We have selected some of our favourite fragrant treats – perfumed pick-me-ups that wont break the bank but still smell utterly wonderful. There’s nothing over £50 here, but you’ll still smell – and feel – like a million dollars…
Berdoues Avoine & Coquelicot£25 for 100ml eau de toilette
The cool intrigue of cardamom is warmed with a tingle of saffron and the soothing softness of oats before the fresh bouquet of poppy, jasmine, lily of the valley and violet peek through – a heralding of spring. Sublimely powdery heliotrope swirls with creamy almond, a glimmer of amber and delicate white musk: comforting as cashmere.
Dsquared2 Green WoodGift Set RRP £44, currently £35 for 30ml eau de toilette
Invigorating lemon and aromatic santolina are sprinkled with spicy bourbon pepper, while suave cedarwood and vetiver ripple to the verdant breeze of cypriol; the base resonates with deeply warming notes of ambrox and musk. Although marketed as a ‘masculine’, this is for anyone who wants to feel like they’ve been for a head-clearing walk in the forest.
Miller Harris Lumière DoréeRRP £14, currently £9 for 9ml eau de parfum
Neroli has to be one of our all-time favourite notes – it feels like wearing sunshine – here celebrated with the golden fizz of bergamot, a luminescent jasmine and delicously honeyed orange flower. Luminous amber and reasuringly clean musks makes this a sheer delight, in every sense oif the word, and a so-welcome burst of happiness, bottled.
Yardley Daisy SapphireRRP £20, currently £16.00 for 50ml eau de toilette
Close your eyes and remember what summer felt like – waking up to blue skies, leaving the house without worrying about an umbrella or a coat… Now let the delightful flurry of green leaves and apple flutter to the heart of hyacinth and white rose before drying down to snuggle of sandalwood and musk in the base. Instantly cheering on the dullest days.
Perfumer Antoine Maisondieu invites you on a sunny road trip through the American West. Along the imaginary open road, with the roof down, you’ll encounter notes of bitter orange, juicy pear, cactus flower and gardenia, concluding your journey with notes of Joshua tree and musky Ambroxan. And we adore the apothecary-inspired new bottle!
No round-up of pocket friendly perfumes would be complete without the iconic 4711 – it’s often reached for on hot days, but don’t wait ’til summer to experience the mood-enhancing whoosh! Colognes take on a new aspect in the cooler months; the classic lemon, rosemary, lavender and neroli notes feel like sunlight filtered through unfurling leaves. escentual.com
I think I’m thoroughly sick of the phrase ‘staycation’ being bandied about, aren’t you?
Yes, yes, we’re all making do and mending while (hoping) the sun shines, but if you’re pining for a cancelled holiday and considering your local (likely overcrowded) beach with a jaded eye, I’m here to tell you that now is the time fragrance can lift your spirits, and I’ve chosen five favourite ‘holiday vibe’ perfumes to wear in warmer weather…
In the U.K. we’re been having what the newspapers refer to as ‘a scorcher’. This means three consecutive days when it didn’t rain, and the temperature goes from cardigan-wearing weather to blast-oven blistering in hours. While our interpretation of the word ‘hot’ may cause scorn, please understand: few places here have air-conditioning, and it’s the kind of humidity that makes you want to clamber naked into a supermarket freezer and have done with it. Also, a sudden hot spell can play havoc with one’s scent choices, and the way they perform.
When temperatures soar, what you might normally wear can behave in a strange way. Suddenly, phantom notes can waft forth from your fragrance, or people across the rooms might catch a drift as aroma molecules travel further in hotter weather. As physicscentral.com explain, ‘Just as the kinetic theory of gases would suggest, scents are susceptible to the whims of temperature, flying high in warmer climes and hunkering down when it gets cold.’
Whether you’re making the best of socially distant picnics in the park or cursing over those ‘easily inflatable’ paddling pools in the garden, here are five fragrances to transport you somewhere infinitely more exotic in a flash…
Van Cleef Arpels Neroli Amara
Lip-smackingly juicy from the get-go, radiating wave after wave of gloriously bitter orange in a transparent wash of instant gratification (that happily lasts many hours). £130 for 75ml eau de parfum selfridges.com
Escentric Molecules Escentric 05
A walk from the sea through a shady pine forest, personified. Green figs lap bergamot, salty freshness trailing through the delicious cool, camphoraceous quietude of cypress and resinous Cashmeran. £35 for 30ml eau de parfum From The Perfume Society shop
Molton Brown Flora Luminare
So crisply green the air around you seems to shiver, this luminescent white floral begins with bitter almond, then gently bathes orange blossom’s sunshine in tiaré absolute’s luscious, creamy embrace. £60 for 50ml eau de toilette moltonbrown.co.uk
Parterre The Hour of Dusk & Gold
Lean in to the balminess with this languid sunset of a scent. Verdant angelica root and a powdered glow of spiciness from wild Persian carrot seed sparkle like fire reflected in the crest of an iridescent wave. £160 for 100ml eau de parfum bloomperfume.co.uk
Elizabeth Arden White Tea Mandarin Blossom
Think sunlit skin, crisp sheets, a good book, the day’s first sip of tea – sheer bliss, but we’re in a Sicilian citrus grove (all the better). Energising, then soothing in its apricot and musky wood dry down: succumb. From £36 for 100ml eau de toilette elizabetharden.co.uk
We asked some of our favourite fragrance bloggers which scents they’ll be reaching for throughout the summer. Do you automatically switch up your scent game when the season changes, or are there some fragrances you reserve only for the most sultry of days (or to use on holiday?) Let’s have a rifle through their checked luggage…
‘This summer I’ve been obsessed with the zesty, tart and refreshing note of ginger because it’s an unconventional way to cool down on a hot day. My two go to picks are Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Ginger Piccante, which is soapy and spicy, with a hint of rose, and Mizernsir’s Eau de Gingembre – an ice cold eau de cologne with an invigorating blast of freshly sliced ginger.
On the hottest of days, when I can’t take the heat and I need some olfactory refreshment, I’ll usually reach for Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine because it’s like diving into a swimming pool filled with juicy oranges. Who wouldn’t want to do that?’
‘I am no sun-seeker, preferring climates that need a summer coat rather than shorts and sandals, so as it gets hotter I reach for perfumes that evoke cool shadows rather than tropical beaches. I’ll retreat to the old stones, incense, and clear air of Oriza L. LegrandReve d’Ossian, or hide in the chilly crypt of Serges Lutens Iris Silver Mist and the dark, smoky underworlds of Papillon’s Anubis. Or Chris Rusak’s 33, where the balance of vetiver, orris, and angelica feels like sitting by an open window in the shady corner of an old library.
I do love the way some lusher scents bloom with warm skin and humid air, though. I am smitten by the heady florals of the night gardens conjured up by St Clair Scents’ Casblanca, and while I’d not inflict it on the sweaty confines of the London Underground, the spiced rose and ambergris of Encens Mythique is amazing, if a little antisocial, on a hot day.
If all else fails, Guerlain Vetiver, or vintage Dior Eau Fraiche give the illusion of ironed linen even when I’m a crumpled sweaty mess.’
‘I go one of two ways with summer scents: either light, breezy and carefree, or dark and dangerous. When the temperatures rise, it’s easy to pick a stereotypically summery scent – like Pierre Guillaume’s Sunsuality. This to me epitomises the joyful vibe of sunny holidays, and it’s a great pick-me-up for when the British summer isn’t quite going as planned.
At the other end of the spectrum, I also like darker and more smoky scents when it’s hot. I enjoy the way that increased temperatures reveal new facets and dimensions to the fragrances and they often have the extra oomph and staying power needed. This comes in handy during the summer months when I live under a constant sheen of SPF. I’ve been reaching for Embers, by Rouge Bunny Rouge to satisfy that craving a lot recently, and Nanban by Arquiste.’
‘As a freckly redhead, the only thing I like about heatwaves is that my beloved green mossy chypres really come into their own. You’ll find me in Chanel Cristalle and 4160 Tuesdays Paris 1948 most days. I also like to keep a few fragrances in the fridge in this weather and in my opinion, 4711 or Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass are hard to beat when sprayed on a hot cleavage. Speaking of all things blue, I’ve just discovered Merchant of Venice Blue Tea and it’s utterly divine for summer. It makes me feel freshly showered with a hint of butterflies.’
It doesn’t always strictly feel like ‘summer’ in the UK at times, and of course there are places where it definitely isn’t summer at this time of year. So let’s jet to Australia and see what they’re wearing in winter…
‘June in the southern hemisphere equates to single digit overnight temperatures, and the shortest day of the year. What have I been favouring? Two masculine classics, both firmly entrenched into my all-time favourites: Dior’s (2012) Eau Sauvage Parfum and Guerlain’s Heritage eau de toilette.
The beauty of these two is that with some thoughtful application, and timing, they work wonderfully well in the summer too. Well on my skin anyway. Each have significant depth to chisel through the icy air, and enough fizz, sparkle, and spice for hazy summer evenings.’
New research shows car scents could even play a role in keeping drivers alert and preventing accidents…
Anyone who’s stepped into an Uber with a particularly pungent smell – either thanks to the novelty-shaped air freshener dangling from the mirror, or perhaps the previous occupant’s on-the-go lunch or personal hygiene regime – will be aware how imporant car smells can be: for passenger and driver alike. Now, a new study shows those car scents could, in fact, help save lives.
Experts at the University of Sussex exposed drivers during the test to rose, lemon, and civet – measuring their responses to each. The experiment was performed in a simulated driving rig, with scientists having connected a spraying device to the center of the steering wheel, which released a fragrance when the test vehicle approached any danger, such as an unpredictable driver on the road, or cyclist ahead of them.
Apparently, the study revealed that a waft of rose reduced simulated car crashes by an incredible 64 percent, and the musky smell of civet was also found to reduce the number of accidents, this time by 46 percent. All in-car scents can help keep drivers alert to dangers around them, but these two proved the most effective by far – something to keep in mind when choosing your next car-diffusing fragrance, perhaps?
Luckily, when reaching for a scent to keep your car fresh (and your senses awake) times have moved on from the inevitable traffic-light and tree-shaped mirror swingers – now fine fragrance brands have produced fabulous looking diffusers that more resemble ornaments than functional items: you’ll definitely want to keep these on display and topped-up with your favourite fragrances…
The Un Air de Diptyque car diffuser looks resembles an Art Deco radio, using an innovative system of cold diffusion to waft your chosen fragrance. Simply attach to the car ventilation to diffuse one of seven iconic scents: Baies, Ambre, Figuier, Roses, Orange Blossom, Ginger and 34.
Looking for all the world like heirloom pocket watches, these stunningly engineered diffusers have interchangeable scents to be paired with the pomanders and mood (and journey) dictates. ‘Along the Plain of Castelluccio’ whisks you ‘Alongside a mosaic of flowering ochre, violet and vermilion, no Grand Tourer of Italy can remain immune to the bouquet of cypress and spring meadow lavender that rises up from the roadside…’
DS & Durga now create niche fragrances for your travels – Big Sur After Rain incites freshness with ‘rain water in eucalyptus groves off Highway 1,’ Portable Fireplace invites cosy, homely vibes with birch tar, cedar and pine, while Holy Ficus invokes ‘the revered fig tree of Siddhartha’ with cardamom, fig and saffron. Each fragranced card comes in a scratch-and-sniff envelope, so feel free to scent your luggage, wardrobe and life in general.
Life is a journey, enjoy the ride with this car perfume based on the energising scent of sweet orange and cedarwood. The fragrance lasts up to 6-8 weeks and is activated by the air flow from your car’s fan. The car perfume comes with a stylish wooden holder that can be reused when you purchase a perfume refill.
We’ve all heard of influencers, but did you know that ‘cleanfluencers’ are a thing? Oh yes. There are several hundred hours of YouTube videos, blogs and even new glossy magazines dedicated to making cleaning fun – or at least, watching other people cleaning.
It all follows on from the recent Marie Kondo craze of tidying up (and how to de-clutter your life), but this one got us interested because now many brands are making household cleaning products less hum-drum, and something we aspire to buy, rather than merely functional items.
With packaging that’s cute or cool and scents that (thank heavens!) don’t put you in mind of public rest rooms, their perfumes have moved way beyond pine. Here’s some of our favourites that might even persuade us to get the mop out…
The cult company of Yope are a Polish brand that began with handwash and haven’t looked back. Housed in cool, cartoon-ish illustration covered bottles that we’d actively want to be seen, the French Lavender Floor Cleaner smells good enough to make us feel we’re in Provence (if we close our eyes anyway).
Yope French Lavender Floor Cleaner £5.99 for 1000ml
Buy it at Waitrose
Some might chuckle at the idea of such a luxurious laundry detergent, but perfumer Francis Kurkdjian wanted his clothes to smell as good as his scents, making one of his best-sellers – the sparkling luminescence of Aqua Universalis – the base of this. There’s also a version available for dark colours, along with a matching fabric softener.
Fragranced with blue chamomile, white cedarwood and sweet musk, Cotton Poplin smells like an expensive hotel room and crisp white sheets that have dried in summer sunshine. It’s a more ‘considered purchase’, as they say, but we’d be inclined to spritz this on scarves and jacket-linings (first checking it doesn’t leave marks by spraying on a tissue), as well as scenting our rooms.
Byredo Cotton Poplin Room Spray £85 for 250ml
Buy it at byredo.co.uk
British perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek’s fragrances are now available in a range of room diffusers, which, she says, ‘will create a freshly scented room for hours.’ We happen to know from experience these scents fill the room for MONTHS, making every time you walk in your home a perfumed pleasure. Amorosa is inspired by Umbrian vineyards, sunlight and olive trees – just divine.
A rather lush-looking washing up liquid if ever did see one, this is part of Method’s on-trend Rose Gold Collection, and smells of lemon zest, juicy pomelo, freesia, amber and pink peppercorns. It won’t do the washing up for you, but at least your hands will smell gorgeous, afterwards, and it’s naturally derived and biodegradable, too.
This zesty blend of natural ingredients has been specially formulated to clean and add sheen to all your wooden work surfaces – including any bowls you have dotted around the place that could do with a bit of a buff. Added to smelling great, it promises to provide long lasting protection against scuffs, spills and woodworm. Which is more than your average perfume offers!
Town Talk Wooden Surface Wax £8.99 for 150ml
Buy it at johnlewis.com
For each year of marriage, a gift based on differing materials is traditionally given – we all know diamond and ruby celebrations, but did you know the third year is symbolised by leather, which has come to represent the durability of marriage?
We’re actually celebrating our third birthday all month, here at The Perfume Society, but we’re certainly wedded to our love of fragrance and in any case it’s a marvellous excuse to lust over our favourite leather scents. Of course leather and perfumery go way back together ç hand in scented glove, you may say…
The links are rooted in the tradition of the ‘gantier parfumeurs’, a guild of glove-makers in Paris who fashioned gloves for royalty and the aristocracy as far back as the 15th Century. The whole tanning process smells utterly repulsive, though, so leathers were treated with oils, musk, civet and ambergris, to mask the smell of the animals’ skins. The very first ‘leather’ scent, so far as records show, was worn by King George III: Creed’s Royal English Leather. He was so taken with the smell of scented gloves that he asked Creed to make it into a fragrance, and thus a whole fragrance family was born.
Fragrances can be ‘leathery’ but not always easy to love – yet it’s not really essence-of-leather in that bottle, as Andy Tauer explains below. It might be from birch tar (which has a leathery smokiness), or juniper, aldehydes or other synthetics, designed to give a skin-like scent. Patchouli, black tea and tobacco can also conjure up that old library/leather-jacket sensuality. Women’s chypres, and men’s fragrances, are most likely to have a leathery sensuality, but perfumers can take leather on all sorts of fragrant journeys: woody, aromatic, floral, even gourmand.
Here’s what leather means to perfumer Andy Tauer, and how he uses it in his creations. ‘The first association, when you tell me “leather”, honestly, is “Swiss Army” and me serving there as soldier: my generation had the privilege of serving in thick leather shoes that were made to endure a Swiss invasion of Moscow, including the way back. Solid and as uncomfortable as can be. Every evening we had to brush them, polish them. As mixed as my memories of proudly serving in the Swiss Army are, I loved the scent of my leather boots. Rough leather, made from Swiss cows, with a thickened skin due to a happy but rough life in the Alps (we can dream, can’t we?). Leather in perfumery is not a natural essential oil that you buy.’
Reminiscent of a favourite, battered biker jacket, curling up on a Chesterfield sofa or surrounded by leather-clad tomes in the library of your dreams – bedecked with flowers for a feminine balance or positively exuding a snarl, we urge you to explore and indulge leather fragrances with a few of our favourites, below…
The Queen of feminine leathers, originally created by Ernest Daltroff in 1919 for (shockingly, at the time) women who smoked. A refined descent in to layers of leather powdered with tobacco and carnation, through lime blossom, ylang ylang and iris – then deeper down to a bone-dry vetiver and ambergris base that lingers like a slap’s tingle. Think furtive cigarettes smoked in a leather-clad starlet’s dressing room amidst mounds of maribou feather boas. Caron Tabac Blond £105 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Fortnum & Mason
A classic American image of a cowboy sipping coffee by a campfire after a long day on the saddle, Andy re-imgines this scenario in a delightfully ambiguous way. Seasoned leather is richly infused with smoke from the fire, an intriguing hint of carrot seed that almost seems iris-y with geranium juxtaposed by clary sage, jasmine with vetiver, and a myrrh-rich tonka dry down. Beaneath the bluster, this cowboy reads poetry and weeps openly. Andy Tauer Lonestar Memories £90 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Les Senteurs
A hyper-sophisticated chypre blends warming saffron with iced raspberries plucked straight from a cocktail glass garnished with thyme. Richly resinous olibanum sinks in to heady clouds of night blooming jasmine and the smooth leather seats of an expensive car. Suggestive of the nefarious limousine antics of A-List celebrities involving chocolate-dipped fruit and cigars. Tom Ford Private Blend Tuscan Leather £155 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at House of Fraser
The sense of black ink languidly swirling through opalescent water with soul-warming West Indian spiced rum intermingling with leather-bound books lining a library wall and the immediately evocative notes of vanilla pipe tobacco all following the trail of a dark heart laden with birch tar and labdanum. This is truly a fragrance with a story to tell… BeauFort London Coeur de Noir £95 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at BeauFort London
Deceptively nonchalant, this is a leather to wear when you want it to be your saucy little secret rather than up front and personal for all to see (and smell). The leather here is subtly slipped in to a bouquet of roses, with a background of lime, pink pepper, clary sage, juniper and a rounded, woody base. We see this spritzed by a Gallic muse sipping a G&T, who enjoys communicating via exaggerated pouts and deftly arched eyebrows. MEMO French Leather £195 for 75ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Harvey Nichols
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Cold, dreary days, a waistline that’s more than likely expanded and a bank balance that’s positively sylphlike in contrast are bound to set in motion the dreaded ‘January blues’. As you trudge back to work, wearily lamenting the wish-list of scents that Santa somehow forgot and yearning for something new to pep up your spirits – fear not, we have the answer. Well, several, in fact!
Apart from our glorious SALE – three for the price of two on all our own Perfume Society Discovery Boxes! – let’s look back to the times we asked top fragrance bloggers Persolaise and Get Lippie, along with our own Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale, to compile a list of their five favourite fragrances for under £30.
Click on their names, above, to be whisked to the bargain fragrant suggestions…
We’re not going to pretend that some of our all-time faves aren’t quite a bit more expensive than the budget we set for these scents, but it’s also important to remember that some truly great fragrances happen to be far more pocket-friendly, too.
We wonder if you can guess what they chose, if any of your favourites are included – or perhaps you have some fragrant bargains of your own to share?
Tell us your favourite guilt-free splurges on scent by Tweeting us, posting a picture and tagging us on Instagram or by emailing us at the office. We’re anxious to know!
Frosty foliage glittering beguilingly is uplifting to the soul on wickedly cold mornings, and although our hearts (and hands!) may yearn for the warmth of summer, we can remind ourselves that the onset of winter also heralds some truly magical ingredients that are inexorably associated with the season.
We’ve listed four of our favourites, below, but where does your (cold) nose take you when the frost bites? Well, if you click on the names of the ingredients, you’ll be whisked to their fascinating and fact-filled individual pages, where you can also find a list of perfumes to try with that as the prominant note…
Long associated with Christmas (one of the three gifts given to the infant Jesus),used in religious ceremonies and magical rites; myrrh is actually a gum resin, tapped from the True Myrrh tree, or Commiphora Myrrha, and originating in parts of Arabia, Somalia and Ethiopia. Tapping the tree to make small incisions, small teardrop-shaped droplets ‘bleed’ from the trunk and are left to harden into bead-like nuggets, which are then steam-distilled to produce an essential oil. Myrrh gets its name from the Hebrew ‘murr’ or ‘maror’, which translates as ‘bitter’. It’s earthy. It’s resinous. It’s intriguing. And it’s still a key ingredient in many sensual and iconic Oriental perfumes today…
Pssst! Read more about the fascinating history of myrrh, and how Jo Malone London have used this precious indredient in their soon to be released latest perfume, in our hot-off-the-press glossy magazine: The Scented Letter.
There are good pine smells, and, well… horrid pine smells. If you’ve ever sat in the back of a taxi with one of those ‘Christmas tree’-scented cards dangling from the rear-view mirror, you’ll probably get where we’re coming from. But pine can also be wonderful crisp, spicy, outdoorsy and invigorating – and it’s been closely linked to perfume creation since the time of the early Arab perfumers, who liked it in combination with frankincense, in particular…
Spicily enticing, comforting and sweet, all at once. Our love of cinnamon dates back thousands of years: 2000 years ago the Egyptians were weaving it into perfumes (though it probably originates way before that, in China). Because cinnamon bark oil is a sensitiser – and as such, you may ‘cinnamates’ on perfume packaging, as a warning – where natural cinnamon’s used, it’s likely to have been distilled from the leaves and twigs. But it’s often also synthesised, adding a spicy warmth to Orientals (and quite a few men’s scents)…
Studded with cloves we can hang these ultra-Christmas-sy pomanders from our trees for an instant Yuletide hit. But where would perfumery be without orange…? The blossom of the bitter orange tree (a.k.a. neroli, when it’s extracted in a particular way) is one of the most precious scent ingredients of all. Bigarade, from the fruit of that tree, is another key ingredient in colognes, while its leaves give us petitgrain, another popular element in citrussy scents. And then there’s orange itself (sometimes referred to as sweet orange, to distinguish it from the bitter, ‘marmalade’ variety.)
There are many more notes to discover and explore in our Ingredients section of the wbsite, so why not take a sensorial journey and follow your nose there, now…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale
There are times when a hug from someone you love is not possible, when well-meaning words of kindness simply will not suffice. It is then we reach for other sources of comfort – a cosy blanket, a much-loved book, a favourite fragrance…
2016 has witnessed various outpourings of sadness as much-loved celebrities have passed away and world events have bemused, bewildered and terrified in turn. You’ve probably noticed the Danish and Norwegian word, ‘Hygge’, is everywhere – not easily translated, it basically invokes a feeling of cosiness, hunkering down and surrounding yourself with comforting, nurturing things. Those of us who treasure the power of perfume know only too well its ability to amplify or even alter our mood, so is it any wonder we may turn to fragrance when seeking solace from one thing or another?
In controlled tests, the smell of vanilla has been shown time and again to elicit a soothing response, with some positing the suggestion the scent links us to childhood memories of warm milk, soft puddings, sticky bags of bonbons or even suckling at the breast. Others point to studies showing the reduced ‘startle-reflex’ effect in animals, when a vanilla smell is dispersed during stressful situations – including those who aren’t naturally suckled – and suggesting something far more complex is at work than a foodie’s blissful reverie.
Our sense of smell is so deeply rooted in emotion and memory, that scientists are only just beginning to piece together a hazy map of understanding which neurones fire-up when certain scents are wafted beneath our nostrils, and why they elicit such intense responses…
For full-on vanilla bean gently buffed by the honeyed piquancy of quince and dark trickle of Peru balsam, we suggest you indulge your inner-magpie with this gloriously glittery bottle of what is, basically, an extremely sexy custard. Or crème anglaise, to put it more chicly. Either way, its decadently delicious and as it’s a limited edition, you should stock up now for future emergencies. Michel Kors Midnight Shimmer £53.10 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Boots
Lavender, too, has long been used to soothe more than skin irritations, and Shakespeare’s Ophelia citing ‘rosemary for remembrance’ has been proved very possibly correct, extensive tests revealing concentration and memory can be greatly increased when sniffing the essential oil while studying and then accurately recalling lessons learned.
One of the first flowers distilled by founder Olivier Baussan, L’Occitane uses lavender sourced from farmers’ cooperatives in Haute-Provence. This aromatic tribute to their homeland is the softest way there is to soothe frazzled nerves. We recommend dabbing directly on the temples and breathing deeply… L’Occitane Lavender Relaxing Roll-On £12 for 10ml Cologne
Buy it at uk.loccitane.com
It isn’t just sprigs of fresh herbs and pure oils, of course: a perfume of any kind can be a powerful spell, if not to banish the black dog then at least to stop it growling for a while – a fragrance foothold on the slippery slope of adversity. And incense as a perfume ingredient is on the rise once again, with contemporary perfumers not merely evoking the frankincense-infused pews of a church, but using it in more intriguing ways.
Fabrice Pellegrin blends bergamot and a bracing splash of petit grain before spiralling into a hint of mint that awakens the senses (without smelling like mouthwash, we are happy to report). The dreamy haze of incense, iris and vanilla drift us to a mellow place where fevered brows are soothed by cool hands and everything is alright. Dear Rose Mentha Religiossa £155 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges
Is there a particular perfume that raises a smile as you picture a loved one – a single spray and they appear: a genie from a scent bottle? Perhaps you have a fragrance to bolster your confidence – one to wear at that tough meeting, a scent equivalent to shoulder pads, a perfectly tailored suit or backbone in a bottle?
Unapolagetically flirtatious, this is a snuggly cashmere stole nonchalantly draped around bare shoulders – white peony and Bulgarian rose melding beautifully into a bouquet that’s distinctly on the naughtier side of floral. And here the base is enhanced with a vivacious vetiver, which we always find becalming, don’t you? Narcisso Rodriguez £35 for 30ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop
Whether your choice of scent finds you full to the brim with girlish glee or finding succour in sadness as you revel in the emotion and let it find its natural level – in trying times, those pretty potions can be invisible shields, comfort blankets, a whole panoply of anchors or escape routes, if you only know where to find them.
A blissful blanket with a steely underbelly sounds like something of a misnomer, but this just seems to exude waves of smooth confidence. ‘You’ll want to wrap it around you, lose yourself in the depth of the moment and suspend time’, they say. With rose, vanilla, a fizzy violet-powdered cloud and base of benzoin, we couldn’t agree more. Maison Francis Kurkdjin Oud Satin Mood £195 for 70ml eau de parfum
Buy it at House of Fraser
What are your favourite fragrances to spritz when the going gets tough? Do get in touch by Tweeting, posting a picture and tagging us on Instagram or e-mail us – we’d love to know!
Now then, altogether: let us spray…
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Now, for the fragrant noses out there that don’t know, in France, May Day is known as Fête du Muguet. It is tradition on this day, to give Lily of the Valley to your loved ones and people who inspire you, to wish them happiness and good luck.
It all began in 1561 on May 1st when King Charles IX received a Lily of the Valley as a lucky charm. He decided then to offer a flower each year to the ladies of the court.
And so at the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a definitive symbol of springtime, to your loved ones. It was commonplace for peasants to go out to the fields to pick many flowers and then hand-tie them to sell on May Day. In fact, now, because of this, the government still permits people to sell them tax-free.
Now, if you love the sweet springtime scent of Lily of the Valley, but just don’t want it to fade like a bunch of the innocent flowers will, here’s a list of our favourite Muguet fragrances for you to keep a little bit of that May Day feeling all year round.
Sweet, fresh and graceful, Penhaligon’s offering is akin to walking into a blooming field of muguet. Accents of jasmine and bergamot keep it fresh, whilst sandalwood in the base ensures a creamy trail on the skin.
Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley £67 for 50ml eau de toilette
Dewy white flowers steal the show in this meadow-like scent from Molton Brown. Silky ylang-ylang, sandalwood and a soft, sensual white musk linger for a tender, enduring finish.
Molton Brown Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise £39 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Molton Brown
Paired with red berries and rose, Annick Goutal’s Soliflore is a tender and airy floral and leaves the skin with traces of a warm, sweet benzoin.
Annick Goutal Le Muguet £74 for 100ml eau de toilette
This gentle scent from Fragonard accentuates the lily of the valley at the heart by surrounding it with other similarly delicate flowers; jasmine, neroli and freesia. Secret spring garden walks bottled.
Guerlain’s newest incarnation of the dainty flower is greener, pinker and even more cheerful than previous offerings. Dewy roses and subtly sensual jasmine make Thierry Wasser’s creation oh-so-wearable.
Guerlain Muguet Limited Edition of 1,872 £370 for 100ml eau de parfum
In store at Selfridges
The scent of the tiny white bell-like flower is captured in its truest form here in a Robbie Honey candle. Burn it for a touch of springtime in the home.
Robbie Honey Muguet Des Bois Scented Candle £42 for 190g – 60 hours burn time
At Fortnum & Mason
Happy May Day to one and all!
By Carson Parkin-Fairley
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