What’s new? Fragrance shopping – Part Two

Yesterday we found Amanda Carr experiencing Part One of her fragrance shopping in ‘the new normal’ adventure. Today, we continue her olfactory odyssey, as she makes her way to some of London’s most-loved independent perfume boutiques to find out what’s in store…

‘By the time I left Jovoy, I was both skipping and singing my way along the near-deserted London streets. A quick stop at Penhaligon’s had me admiring its smart and witty advisory graphics, aiming to ‘Keep you as fit as a fiddle” while you browsed. They were undoubtedly the best I saw all day, providing reassurance for any unsettled customers and also added a much needed touch of humour to the newly weird normality of shopping. Bravo Penhaligon’s and well done on the regal musky-mimosa launch, The Favourite.

 

 

Covent Garden, normally a bustling haven of fragrance testing opportunities, is an altogether more subdued place currently, with many still-to-reopen stores and few tourists – perhaps because the tube station had yet to reopen. But Floral Street, one of the most cheerful fragrance shops you’ll ever enter, was its usual colourful self. The staff were wearing covetable and very cute floral masks that coordinated with their heavily flower-printed aprons, both styles I think Floral Street should consider selling. [NB: we agree!]

 

 

I was here to try the newest scent, Arizona Bloom, a deliciously sunny, salted musk launched at the end of lockdown and inspired by ‘wilderness, neon skies and eternal sunshine,’ according to Natalia, my helpful Floralista. It riffs on the sense of grounded contemplation founder Michelle Feeney experienced on a recent trip to the Atacama Desert, and aims for a slower, more thoughtful vibe, one we can all relate to after the last few months.

 

 

Once again, the shopping experience here was almost better than normal, with Natalia happy to help me try as many fragrances as I wanted, as well as pointing out some excellent value deals the store was offering, such as the make up bag, a 10ml perfume of your choice and body cream for £30, while I sat and enjoyed the personalised sales treatment.

I luxuriated in being the only person in the store, and because I’d slowed down a touch, I noticed more, including the new refill service available, with 20% off if you take your bottle in for refilling, which is definitely strong motivation for visiting.

For customers who can’t come to Covent Garden, there is an innovative Virtual Florista experience available, where you book in for an online meet-up with one of the experienced in store Floralistas. One of its discovery boxes is sent to your door and you are then talked through the fragrances while inhaling at home, so do contact the store if this might appeal. How heartening to see a bit of scented innovation for those of us who have to self-shield more seriously.

 

 

My final stop – with my step count now well into five figures – was Bloom Perfumery, tucked away in Langley Court, where there’s always something interesting to sniff from its roster of hard-to-find brands. Careful hygiene and common sense prevails here, explained founder Oxana Polyakova, who told me “When you need to use your nose you can use it’, so masks can be discreetly dropped and potions inhaled with enthusiasm.

Customers are encouraged not to touch the bottles too much – there’s always someone around to help you spray- and the store does an excellent sampling service so you can take tiny bottles home to try. I inhaled Bee, the newish launch from Zoologist Perfumes, an extraordinary, honeyed smudge of waxy, powdery loveliness, featuring ginger syrup, Royal Jelly accord and a warmly mimosa-ish drydown, it was almost worth the trek across town just to inhale this.

So tired but happy, I finished my day with renewed enthusiasm for scent shopping.

If you are able to visit then stores are very pleased to see you and you may even find you prefer the quieter, more personalied service you receive. Remember that these new shopping rituals are new for everyone, and the slower pace will require patience from all of us.

If you are considering visiting any of the smaller independent stores I’d recommend a quick phone call beforehand to check the lay of the land, as some services – such as Jo Loves Tapas Bar and Les Senteurs Private Consultations [mentioned in Part One] – are restricted.

We hope that you will carefully and thoughtfully emerge back in to the wonderful world of fragrance shopping in ‘the new normal’ – and thank you, Amanda, for conducting such an encouraging report for us!

[Words & pictures by Amanda Carr, edited by Suzy Nightingale.]

Yardley London launch ‘Fragrance Diagnostic Tool’ to find your new fave (plus a discount!)

It can often be tricky navigating your way through a range of new fragrances, so Yardley London has launched a Fragrance Diagnostic Tool online, to provide personalised fragrance recommendations (AND a discount code!) via your favourite ingredients, and a signpost to your perfect scent…

Celebrating their 250th anniversary (an incredible heritage you can read all about on our page dedicated to their history), Yardley London’s Fragrance Diagnostic Tool is a quick and simple way to guide you to your new favourite fragrance. All you need to do is pick some of your favourite notes from a list, and the fragrances that most closely match your taste will be presented to you.

I got matched to April Violets, which shows it works, as that’s one of my all-time favourites – all powdery/pretty with verdant violet leaf adding shade) –  and Blossom & Peach, which I must admit to not knowing so well, but it sounds utterly perfect for me. Blackcurrant, rose, peach, lilac and geranium with woody notes, patchouli and musk? Yes please! So that’s on my must-try list.

Even better: Once the diagnostic has been completed, customers receive a 10% off discount code valid on the Yardley range of eau de toilettes. So maybe my ‘must try‘ list is suddenly ‘must buy right NOW’…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Fragrance Room – Harvey Nichols new perfume place to be!

Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge have just opened a fabulous NEW fragrant hang-out: Exclusives and boutiques and workshops, oh my! We got the low-down on this exciting new scent space within the department store, now with a whole host of new houses to explore in DOUBLE the room…

Harvey Nichols have long had a passion for perfume – often showcasing niche brands that never dreamed of being stocked in such a world-famous store, finding the most unique names that are hard to find anywhere else along with their curated selection of the finest fragrance houses this planet has to offer perfumistas. With innovative art installations and all manner of fragrant events already under their belt, and an array of gorgeous shop-in-shop boutiques queing up to join in the fragrant fun – it was time to expand the space and really commit to a larger integral fragrant experience. Behold: The Fragrance Room

 

 

Bigger, better, bolder than ever before, this new department has now been unveiled and includes over 100 fragrance houses, including in-store boutiques from Creed, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Serge Lutens and Kilian. With a roll-out of inclusive, immersive experiences for customers, the new concept will include a sensory fragrance discovery wall – to help customers navigate the often tricky fragrance families – boutique activations, including fragrance workshops with the Fragrance Foundation to celebrate National Fragrance Week and opportunities to meet brand founders and perfumers through interactive events and partnerships.

 

 

Jo Osborne, Director of Beauty and Concessions at Harvey Nichols, said that because fragrance has been such a significant part of their business, since the 2016, they’ve taken the decision to massively expand their fragrance offering.

‘…we have outgrown the current area but are fortunate enough to move to a space double the size. The new department allows us to offer some of our bestselling brands an opportunity to create their own boutique space and the rest of the department to curate unique and fine fragrances from across the world, which we know our customers will love. We are excited to work with new and existing brands to offer exclusive activities, such as expert consultations and welcome various brand founders such as Francis Kurkdjian and Geza Schoen.’

The first phase is already open, and when fully complete at the end of this month (March 2020), the space will be a whopping 1,600 sq ft – showing exactly how important fragrance is to Harvey Nichols. And that’s great news for all of us who love perfume, don’t you think?

Harvey Nichols say: ‘With a portfolio of UK exclusive brands including Maison Crivelli, 28 87 Barcelona, V Canta by Terenzi, Ormaie Paris and Ella K, the deapartment will be home to a library of fragrance brands from across the world.’

Additional fragrance houses joining Harvey Nichols for the first time include Hermessance, Nassomatto, Parfums de Marly, D.S. & Durga and Initio, among others.

We don’t know about you, but our shopping (and must-sniff) list just got a LOT longer…

By Suzy Nightingale

Connock London’s win GOLD Pure Beauty Award

Connock London have just won GOLD for Best Niche Fragrance at the Pure Beauty Awards, and what’s more, they’ve popped up with a perfumed treatment space at Westfield London – the perfect place to explore their range of award-winning niche fragrances, candles, body-care luxuries and more. But fear not if you can’t make it there in person, for we have a wonderful suggestion for you to try samples of their scents without even having to leave your sofa…

At the very heart of this wonderful British brand is family. Amanda Connock inherited her passion for scent through her father, mesmerised by the wonderfully exotic and natural essences he would bring from his travels as an ingredient supplier to the fragrance world. Today her brand, Connock London, is a best-kept perfume secret – but one that’s shared by those-in-the-know, inspired by the love of and respect for nature, native folklore and travels.

Connock London Vittaveli is the fragrance that won Gold for Best Niche Fragrance at the 2019 Pure Beauty Awards. And we can see why. Inspired by the tropical beauty of the Vittaveli island located in the sparkling turquoise waters of the Maldives, it’s another fragrant destination we’re dreaming of escapin to by wearing the perfume. Elegant top notes of frankincense, geranium, spicy pepper berries and bergamot blend into a leafy green note reminiscent of the fruit of the Banyan Tree. A radiant floral heart of jasmine, pink rose, frangipani and gibiscus is warmed by a sultry base of sandalwood, vanilla orchid and delicate oudh notes.

Kukui Eau de Parfum is the signature fragrance of Connock London – and with a fascinating story. When customers fell in love with the scent of Connock London’s bodycare, they pleaded for it to be offered as a perfume – and thus, Kukui Eau de Parfum was born, to keep them happy. (And they are, they are!)
Beautifully blended to reflect the soul and beauty of the Hawaiian islands from which Connock London’s signature kukui oil is sourced, this elegant floriental is built around the gardenia flower and is complimented by ‘scent-sational’ floral notes of Moroccan rose, white jasmine and calla lily. The scent is further enriched with sandalwood, vetiver, white amber and layers of cashmere and sheer musks, completed with the rich bitter chocolate sweetness of vanilla absolute and tonka bean.

For further refreshing, you can’t do better than douse yourself lavishly in the gorgeously green Connock London Andiroba – here we travel to the mysterious natural beauty of the tropical Amazonian Rainforest. It opens with lush, leafy top notes which are enlivened with citrus accords of bergamot, lemon and Brazilian orange. A rich floral heart of iris and violet sits on a deep, earthy base of sandalwood, cedar and musk with a touch of lavender and Peruvian pink pepper.

We have a way for you to embrace the sunshine spirit of true luxury this house embodies – and no passport (or even train ticket) is required! Why not try for yourself at home, today?

The Niche Collection Three Discovery Box (£19 / £15 for V.I.P. Club Members) includes perhaps THE most raved about cult perfume: Kukui. Here, lavish amounts of that rose, jasmine, bergamot, lily and – most importantly – the waxy, dreamy magnificence of gardenia swirl into an immediate and bountiful floral bouquet that hits you as soon as you spray, seeking to to recreate the sense-delighting experience of visiting the island of Hawaii. We can practically feel the white sand between our toes when we wear this, so vivid is the sensation – and how wonderful to be able to wear something mood-lifting and life-enhancing in these often dark and dreary months.

Meanwhile, you can go to our page dedicated Connock London to read more about their history and inspirations, or pop along to their website to explore the full range. However you choose to try them, we feel sure you’ll fall under the scented spell, too, and will be joining those in the nose in your fragrant ravings!

By Suzy Nightingale

Surrealism & scent? Visit this London gallery for your fragrant fix

Fragrance and art often go hand in paint-stained gloved, but at Dorothy Circus Gallery in London, you can get your fix of both. Now we must admit a penchant for visiting the gift shops of various galleries, but add some perfume and well, we’re heading there first, quite frankly!

A dream of opening a gallery was realised by art enthusiast, Alexandra Mazzanti – a niece of the Princess Alexandra Hercolani of Bologna, who was lucky enough to inherit some beautiful artworks from her grandmother. A fortunate beginning that was encouraged and imbued with the spirit for collecting by her mother, a classical pianist with a taste for 19th century paintings won at the many auctions they visited together.

An independent gallery dedicated to the art of surrealism, the Dorothy Circus space is an unsually intriguing place to put on your fragrfant map of the capital, with a spotlight on the Pop Surrealism movement that means the installations are ever-changing, and always worth a look. Originally, Mazzanti opened the first gallery in Rome in 2007, affirming the space as a must-visit hub of all that’s happening on the Italian art and cultural scene. Skip forward ten years, on the anniversary of their opening, and a charming little branch of this culturual window on the art world arrived as a pop-up in Notting Hill, before later moving to a permanent location in Marble Arch in 2018.

Alexandra clearly has a passion for perfume, as well as art – originally collaborating with master perfumer Lorenzo Dante Ferro for a perfume inspired by an artwork, but now their shop offers a small selection of niche fragrances, candles and room sprays by such scented luminaries as the brilliant (and often extremely hard to find) Maria Candida Gentile and Oriza L. Legrand. With perfumes often displayed on plinths, it’s certain Alexandra views them as art works in their own right (a debate that often rages throughout the fragrance community), but whatever your opinion, how wonderful to sniff out some new scents in such an unexpected setting…

Dorothy Circus Gallery, 35 Connaught Street, London, W2 2AZ

Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 10:30 – 18:30

By Suzy Nightingale

Penhaligon’s fascinating fragrant history

Penhaligon’s are one of the most famous fragrance houses in the world, a proudly British brand with the most fascinating fragrant history…

Hot towels and steamily scented delights were the order of the day for customers flocking to the famous Piccadilly Turkish Baths on Jermyn Street and it was here that William Penhaligon started working as a hairdresser in the 1860s. Originally from Penzance, Cornwall, his shrewd eye for business led to him opening a rival salon just down the street a few years later. There, Penhaligon began creating his very own fragrances, lotions and potions for a most discerning clientele to enjoy.

1891 saw what was then ‘Penhaligon’s & Jeavons’ move to the even more prestigious premises of 33 St James Street and 66 Jermyn Street, with the two stores linked together at the rear. They announced to the press that not only were they the sole suppliers for the original Penhaligon’s ‘hit’ fragrance of Hammam Bouquet, but that both shops boasted a new- fangled invention of… electric lighting – still a novelty at this point in retail!

Clearly a whizz with the scissors and the scents, Penhaligon was appointed Royal Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court during Queen Victoria’s reign and by 1903 his business was granted its first Royal Warrant from Queen Alexandra. Nearly a century and a half later, Penhaligon’s has added Royal Warrants from The Prince of Wales (granted in 1988) and the Duke of Edinburgh (granted in 1956) to their regal roll call.

140+ years old they may be, but that doesn’t mean the techniques they use are stuck in a time-warp. Penhaligon’s consistently make the most of the newest fragrance technology – from CO2 extraction to Nature Print Technology and beyond – promising that ‘each bottle contains a blend of the very old and very new.’ Those distinctive bottles tap into their history, too; clear glass and brightly coloured bow-ties adorning the stoppers are a direct echo of William’s original design.

Still made and produced in England, many of the original fragrances can still be found in the current collection, including Hamman Bouquet. Lately, however, Penhaligon’s have collaborated with some of the greats noses of modern times – including Bertrand Duchaufour, Olivia Giacobetti, Olivier Cresp and Alberto Morrillas.

Lately, a whole ‘family’ has been added to their already impressive stable of fragrances, the Penhaligon’s Portraits. Displaying more than a dash of exquisite eccentricity, we’re invited to get to know the characters, like The Ruthless Countess Dorothea, who is ‘A most ferocious matriarch, known for her sharp mind, even sharper wit and a secret fondness for the company of young men and scones.’ While described in mischievously historical tones, it’s a tingling, ginger-infused shot of oppulence on a cosy, slightly boozy base. And all the Portraits fragrances have their fingers on the button of contemporary fashions – much like the house of Penhaligon’s itself.

Penhaligon’s is a treasure trove of scents to discover – rich in both heritage and modern mischieviousness – and how many perfumeries still standing (and thriving) since the 1800’s can you think of? We love the way each boutique has its own distinct personality, too, with lavishly appointed interiors uniquely themed to suit each location.

Have you been to visit the newly re-vamped Penhaligon’s Wellington Street store in Covent Garden? We rather swooned over the decor (while sniffing out all the latest scents). Whichever boutique you visit, we’re sure you’ll love getting to know the entire ‘family’ of fragrances…

By Suzy Nightingale

A peek inside Penhaligon’s Covent Garden home

Penhaligon’s opened their very first boutique in London’s fashionable Jermyn Street in1872 and have since gone on to open locations spanning the globe – you can read all about their fascinating history on our page dedicated to Penhaligon’s.

Instead of merely reproducing the same look in each store, Penhaligon’s work with the history and location of each building, making sure to reflect differing aspects and using unique materials and interior decor for every single one. And now, we’re delighted to take a sneak peek into their newly refurbished home in Covent Garden’s Wellington Street...

And you know, it really is just like walking into a home – albeit that of a fragrance fanatic! – with rich, gleaming wood floors, fixtures and finishes, and a supremely elegant style to the architecture. The space feels airy, yet with enough intimacy to ccomfortably explore the scents arrayed on the walls and a magnificent central display table.

We think there’s a Gerogian-meets-contemporary vibe to the whole store – clean lines preventing clutter, and allowing the eye (and nose) to rest on everything there is to explore. And with the ever-gowing range of family members in the Penhaligon’s fragrance wardrobe, you can be sure there’s something fo all tastes – from the more modern scents of recent years in the Portraits collection, right through to the vintage archival fragrances they made their name by, and have made British perfumery famous for generations.

Many Penhaligon’s store offer private Fragrance Profiling appointments, including Wellignton Street, where you will be asked a series of questions to match you to the perfect scent – a service they now offer online, too, for those not able to get to boutique – something many couples like to experience for their wedding fragrances, or to find a great gift for a loved one or mark a special occasion.

We love visiting perfumeries who make an effort to dress their spaces differently – gone are the days when everyone wanted idetikit, could-be-anywhere boutiques; and it’s always lovely to have a relaxed atmosphere to soak up the scents, don’t you agree?

Penhaligon’s: 41 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7BN

By Suzy Nightingale

The scent of spring at Les Senteurs

The beautiful Les Senteurs Belgravia boutique is currently bursting with blossoms – swagged with the most stunning flowers (currently ‘spraying’ forth from a huge perfume bottle outside!) and drawing Instagram selfie-hunters and scent lovers the world over.

There, they regularly host Meet The Perfumers events, allowing guests to discover some of their most unique and captivating houses in a truly privilleged way – by meeting the very people who founded the brands, and the perfumers who create their scents (often the founders and perfumers being one and the same in niche, artisanal fragrance houses!)

We were honoured to be invited to their most recent meet-and-greet, to hear first hand how the houses were launched, and the inspiration behind their fragrances, on this occasion Jeroen Oude Sogtoen and perfumer Frederik Dalman of Mona di Orio, Margaret Mangan and perfumer Meabh McCurtin of Cloon Keen, and Sylvaine Delacourte of Sylvaine Delacourte Paris (formerly Creative Director with Guerlain).

The discussion ranged from asking the brands how they began, ‘what is niche now?’ and ‘what does luxury mean in perfume?’ through to smelling some of their incredible creations – all displayed on the large, tiered table at the front of the shop (kind of a ‘lazy Susan’ for scent, which we desperately wish we owned!)

With spring very much in the air, we couldn’t resist also asking them what smells instantly mean spring for some of them…

The wonderful young Irish perfumer, Meabh, immediately replied, “Wisteria! It’s just everywhere this time of year and I love it’, and when we asked her to explain what it smells like to her… ‘Creamy, spicy, with a definite warmth at the centre. There’s something about that smell that just makes me feel happy, it’s a comforting scent. And of course it looks so cheering when everything else is a bit grey.’

For Sylvaine, her favourite scent of spring also revealed the next note to be explored in her forthcoming new collection of fragrances – each collection focusing on one main ingredient and exploring the incredibly differing characters that can be coaxed from that starting point. ‘For me it has to be orange blossom. It reminds me of being in Morocco when it’s everywhere in the air, in your food… I have four candles coming, one for each season, and for spring of course I chose orange blossom for those happy memories.’

Indeed, Sylvaine loves orange blossom so much she revealed it will be that next raw material she works with. ‘One of my perfumes will be leather with orange blossom… I cannot wait for you to try it, to see how different it can be.’ And for the future, Sylvaine will be experimenting by working on something entirely different… ‘I want to to use a note a don’t like. I wont say what it is now. I don’t hate it – for me that would be impossible – but I really don’t like it. I want to challenge myself!’

These events are a complete privillege to attend – there’s nothing quite like hearing directly from the perfumer and the founders of a house to get a more complete understanding – and new found love – for their work, and what they’re trying to accomplish.

Even when the perfumers aren’t there, it’s always worth making a trip to Les Senteurs, because (as all the houses noted) nothing competes with talking to experts in perfumery – like the incomparable James Craven, the scent archivist of Les Senteurs – if you’re looking to learn more about perfume, or just to try a new scent for spring. You really couldn’t be in better hands…

Les Senteurs, 71 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9PJ

By Suzy Nightingale

How to shop for men’s fragrances? Spread the love this Valentine’s Day (and beyond)

Are you looking to treat the man in your life with a new fragrance for Valentine’s Day, or a chap who’s just exploring the fragrant world for himself, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting. Follow our guide of how to start sniffing out a brave new world…

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Better to tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents – take a look at some of the suggestions, below. And first, ask yourself this:

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

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

What type of a chap are you buying for?

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

Where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with a selection of Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore.

The Men’s Edit Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

A new season is approaching – and this is time for any man to switch heavier winter scents to a new fragrance wardrobe. We curated this selection especially for chaps looking to find something new, so there’s something for every man (and plenty of ‘borrowable’ finds) – including Bentley, Parfums de MarlyCristiano Ronaldo and TWO duos from cult brands – Escentric Molecule and Clive Christian – among others. This is a thrilling collection to sniff your way through, and with two added extras from Penhaligon’s and Aromatherapy Associates, this box is worth over £40 to begin with, and is priceless when you discover that new favourite…

 

Niche Collection II Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

Our first Niche Collection sold out in record time, so we’ve chosen even more scents this time, including a 7.5ml of Anima Vinci Neroli Wisdom. Alongside treasured houses such as Amouage and Atkinsons we’ve included exciting newness from Parterre, Stories by Eliza Grace, Memoize, The Modernist, Tom Daxon. But it doesn’t stop there… We added skin-loving treats for chaps who know that pampering is self-love they can take part in, too. Keep your face glowing with the recent GOLD AWARD winning skinSense Overnight Leave on Mask (WORTH £8.50) – and ensure your hands smell and feel wonderful with the bestselling Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (WORTH £10).

Miller Harris La Collection Voyage Pour Lui – was £70 NOW £35!

A versatile selection of Miller Harris’ best selling male scents, what an opportunity to try something from this always wonderful British fragrance house. Inspired by dreamy journeys conjured with every spritz, each of the three fragrances come in luxurious 14ml travel sizes, and are presented in precious miniature versions of their full size bottles. Miller Harris Étui Noir – suede-like leather is supported by the woods and powder of iris. Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent – bergamot and cardamom is balanced against black pepper and balsamic elemi. Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac – an addictive blend of rich woods, honeyed tobacco leaves and hot spices.

If you’re treating yourself:

It’s best to try a whole range of differing fragrances – that way you can narrow down exactly what it is your nose is loving best. With each of our boxes, some of which you can explore above, we’ve created Smelling Notes to guide you through the process, but here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

– Try the fragrance on a blotter (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these should be available on perfume counters – and when you buy a Discovery Box from this site, you’ll find a handy pack of blotters already inside.

– Write the name of the fragrance on the blotter, otherwise you’ll definitely forget it, later (and chances are, that one’s bound to be the best!)

– Wait a few minutes for the initial alcohol and the top notes to subside – a lot of people take huge whiffs immediately and then complain ‘it smells of alcohol/hairspray!’ Let it dry a little, first. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial.

– You really need to smell a scent on your skin! Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on. We’ve lost count of the number of scents that didn’t particularly appeal at first-sniff, but which a few minutes/hours later we realised we adored. Fragrances are made to be worn on and warmed by skin, not paper…

– Ideally, try no more than two at a time on the skin – one on each wrist. We don’t believe fragrance-shopping should be rushed, but we all live busy lives. You can try one more, on the inside of an elbow – the elbows also happen to be good pulse-points.

– Try to live with a fragrance for several hours, or better still, a whole day/evening) before you part with your cash. That might mean getting a sample, if it’s available in store (or exploring the Fragrance Discovery Boxes). Try to wear the scent more than once if you’re properly testing it: mood, weather and what you’ve eaten can all seriously change how a fragrance works on your skin, and how you feel about it.

– Spray a darker-coloured scarf or inside of a jacket lining, too, and sniff it later. That way, it still warms with your body heat, but you’re not everwhelmed by it. And you can take it off!

Book a fragrance consultation if you’d really like to make a special occasion of it. Many fragrance houses and department stores now offer this service, some of them are completely free and others you have to pay for (but it’s usually redeemable against purchase). Have a look at our round-up of some of these services; we originally wrote it for people wanting wedding fragrance consultations, but it applies whatever the occasion!

When you’ve fallen in love, only then go back and make your purchase – or flag-up to loved ones which ones you liked most, so they know for future gift-worthy occasions…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Panic perfume shopping? STOP! Use our easy Fragrance Finder…

You can see the look in their eyes – it’s always a giveaway – the frantic stare of the zombified scent shopper desperate to get SOMETHING, but not at all sure what that ‘something’ should be… STOP what you’re doing immediately, and use our super easy, astoundingly accurate, and completely free Fragrance Finder tool!

Retail assistants know the panic shopper’s look well. They rush in with that rabbit caught in headlights look, sometimes half-remembering names of things loved ones have hinted at, most often with very few clues as to what that person might actually want to wear.

But it’s all okay, honestly. Panic-shoppers, we have you covered!

All you need to know is the name of a perfume they already love. Based on this, our incredible Fragrance Finder will automatically suggest six other fragrances they should adore, and it’s genuinely brilliant for those wishing to find something new to fall head over heels for.

Perhaps they’re devastated a treasured perfume is now discontinued? We can help you find something to match their fragrance taste! Maybe they just want you to ‘surprise’ them? We’ll narrow down that otherwise endless search…

You see, it’s not one of those randomly generated or tenuously connected algorithms that just churns up what ‘Other Customers Have Purchased’. Ours is based on the input of hundreds of thousands of detailed descriptions of the fragrances in our extensive database – with suggestions for every budget, from pocket-friendly to ultra-luxe.

Why not have a look now, and see what our Fragrance Finder suggests for you…?