Sloane Street is smelling extra wonderful this Christmas, thanks to Diptyque’s stylish new flagship London perfume pad, which has arrive just in time for the fragrant festive season. Inspired by exquisite Parisian architecture, but as always showcasing design elements of the original building in their stores; the new boutique is divided into three distinct sections for scent fans to explore…
Devoted to fragrant gifting and the Maison’s scent services, the first area features a beautiful burl wood cash desk with a huge fresco behind it, which was drawn on-site by French artist Claire Basler. A large wooden console with painted table displays invite customers to play and discover the Diptyque collection. The second space fuses the traditional Edwardian mouldings and ceiling roses with a contemporary sculptural table and displays surrounding a large and welcoming fireplace, all framed by ombre finish walls. Finally, an intimately inviting zone of light wood panelling and another stunning work by Basler – this time, a panoramic painting – swathes an exclusive seating area and the Decoration collection.
Earlier this year, Diptyque opened a Spitalfields store, and now with this very welcome addition to Sloane Street’s shops, Diptyque will doubtless be delighting local residents and visitors alike. ‘We have a thriving community in the Chelsea neighbourhood and are very excited to have found a perfect store in the area,’ says Amanda Morgan, Diptyque’s UK managing director. ‘More than just a luxury contemporary retail space, we want to welcome and take all our guests on a journey of discovery and surprises inside our Diptyque apartment…’
Diptyque, 161 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9BT
Psst! Longing to return to in-store scent shopping? Look out for our Sniffari guide to some fabulous new fragrant retail spaces in the U.K. within the Christmas edition of The Scented Letter Magazine.
Valentines Day – love it or loathe it – is just around the corner, and here at The Perfume Society, we believe it should be about treating someone you love with a scent that’s perfect for them(and that can be anyone you care about, not only someone you’re romantically involved with!)
Have you got a friend who could do with some kindness coming their way, or a loved one you’ve not been able to see in person for some time? Follow our guide, and we’ve several suggestions to help you find some truly fabulous fragrances that will truly suit them, and which they’re bound to fall for…
If you already know what they love
Well you’re off to a good start! Now all you need to do is type the name of that scent into our genius Find-A-Fragrance, and the clever algorithm – based on information we source directly from the fragrance houses and perfumers themselves – will suggest six new fragrances that, while different from the original you typed, share a similar mood, character or key ingredients. It really works!
Or, why not have a look at matching products available for their favourite fragrance, such as a gorgeously decadent bath oil, rich body cream or even a fragranced hair mist. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of perfumes at this time of year, or, if you really wanted to push the boat out, many fragrance houses offer engraving or other forms of personalisation for a full-size bottle.
If you have no idea what they like (or they want to try something new)
The best idea is to get a Discovery Box of fabulous mini sizes and samples from a wide range of luxury, niche and top-end designer fragrance houses. That way they can start exploring and trying them all in the comfort of their own home, and most importantly, in their own time. Each box is carefully curated to include something for all tastes, and once they’ve found ‘the one’ (or perhaps several) you can then buy a full size, safe in the knowledge they’ve already tried it on their skin. It’s a particularly brilliant way to get people trying fragrances they’ve perhaps never heard of, or wouldn’t have thought about spraying in a shop. We know SO many people who’ve discovered their all-time scent loves this way!
How to know if a fragrance will suit them?
Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.
Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.
Once you’ve narrowed it down – either by using Find-A-Fragrance or perhaps finding them a new scent from a house they’re already drawn to – the best solution is to buy them a Brand Set: these showcase a wide selection of scents from the same house, and chances are if they already like one, they could swoon for another in that range.
Remember – scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots, some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! They may even surprise themselves with their favourite. And really the best thing is that thrill of exploration while discovering their new scent love is a gift that keeps on giving (and showing how much you love them) for years to come…
Can we say ‘the C word’ yet? No, no that one. The other one. Okay, we’ll whisper it: Christmas… Because even though we all grumble about it getting earlier each year; this one, in particular, people seem to be prepping WAY in advance for. Understandable given last year’s sadly curtailed festivities and people’s concerns about 2021’s Big Day.
The thing about gifting fragrance (at any time of year) is that it can be difficult to know where to begin when picking out a perfume for someone else. Especially if you’re not exactly sure of their tastes, and don’t want to spoil the surprise by asking. So, here’s some really handy tips to finding the right scent for the special someone you’re thinking of…
1: If you live with the person or are visiting them soon, have a quick shifty around where they keep their current fragrances if at all possible. You may notice a theme (they’re all rose-based scents or feature leather, for example. Maybe some of them are by the same fragrance house or perfumer?)
2: Make a note of the fragrance name they wear now, then look on our genius Fragrance Finder, which will suggest six other scents they’re likely to also love.
3: If you know what hobbies and personal passions they have, this is a great clue as to their innermost personalities – as are the way they like to dress or how they choose to decorate their home! See below for our scent-matching suggestions for personality types.
4: You’ve a far better chance of striking gold with a scent-match if you gift a Discovery Box or Sample Set – a curated collection of fragrances put together around a theme or showcasing the full range of styles a particular house has to offer.
Which of these character descriptions would suit them best…?
Spiritual = Scented Retreat Discovery Box £23 / VIP price £19. Are they in to yoga / meditation / need to relax? Or perhaps want to be more ‘mindful’ but are far too stressed? This scented collection soothes while turning their home into a much-longed for spa-like experience where they can calm, focus and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.
Eco-friendly & young at heart = Floral Street £14. If they’re trying to be more environmentally aware and have a fun, bubbly nature, the perfect gift would be these sustainable, vivacious and multi award-winning scents. Floral fragrances as you’ve never smelled them before, effortlessly wearable.
Heritage lovers = Floris Classic Collection £35. Do they adore historical dramas and great literature, prefer traditional styles of furnishings and vintage clothes? This Floris set encompasses their heritage heroes – exqusite scents from crisp citrus to rich, woody creations.
Arty & modern = La Maison J.U.S. £30. Are they always off to see the latest contemporary exhibitions, love creative expression & unusual, cult names? Choose this collection of vibrant, beautifully artistic fragrances for impactful fragrant expressionism.
Characterful & unique = Olfactive O £30. If they’re in to learning more about themselves, love reading about psychology or check their horoscopes, we bet they’ll adore these from a niche house that invites people to explore their innermost soul through scents.
Really, whichever set you choose, there’s a whole range of fragrances in each to suit pretty much everyone, but we hope this gift guide has helped point you in the right perfumed direction! And fear not – in the coming weeks we’ll have even more specifically chosen guides to put you on the right perfumed present path…
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.]
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’sFragrance 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’…
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…
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!
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…
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…
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?