Bring Me Sunshine: how ‘solar’ became a whole new scent category

For some time at The Perfume Society, we’ve been noticing a surge of fragrances described as ‘solar’. Filled with sunshine, radiant and sparkling, we might once have called these fragrances ‘fresh-floral’ or, more prosaically, ‘citrus’. But lately, we’ve felt that this is no more (solar) flash-in-the-pan, but the birth of a whole new fragrance family. And that doesn’t happen every day…

 

In a fragrance, ‘solar’ denotes a feeling of sunshine – but with it a physical feeling of being uplifted, of turning our faces toward the light source, a perfumed purr of warm cat contentedness. Citrus notes are vital, but in this new genre they’re mellowed by breezy blossoms, dappled with cooler herbs or touched with a tingle of spices and warm woods.

 

 

For prolific Master Perfumer Alberto Morillas, it was vital to use orange blossom as a note in the Mizensir fragrance (from his own fragrance line), Solar Blossom. He explains: ‘Orange puts the soleil into a fragrance – it’s sunshine in flower form.’ He cannot smell orange blossom without thinking of the sun, Alberto tells me, but insists that when creating a ‘solar’ fragrance, it’s about more than trying to make it feel sunny.

 

‘For me it goes much deeper than that,’ he says, his blue eyes twinkling as he looks out on what happens to be a grey London view. ‘I’m from Seville, and really when I’m creating a fragrance, all my emotion goes back to my home.’ He reminisces about the place where he lived as a boy, clearly remembering Seville as his true home even though he moved to Switzerland when he was 10. ‘You have the sun, you have the light and the water – always a fountain in the middle of the square – and to me, solar means your soul is being lifted upwards, you’re looking up from the cool shade of a courtyard to the sun, so powerful, above.’

 

 

 

Solar Blossom represents all these elements, he continues, and along with orange blossom, he deployed jasmine and musk to represent ‘the dimension of the sun. It’s very important, to create this dimension of space within any fragrance.’  When he was was six or seven, Morillas recalls, ‘I liked to lay on my back and look at the sky at the shapes of the clouds, fascinated by how they change all the time, the many things you can see in them. To me this is the closest form of a physical representation of perfume. It should always be changing, just like the sky. The clouds will be forever shifting.’

Mizensir Solar Blossom £185 for 100ml eau de parfum lessenteurs.com

 

 

 

 

Always-inventive perfumer Calice Becker decided altogether to eschew ‘typical solar notes’, as she puts it, for Parfums de Marly Cassili. Becker continues, ‘the combination of plum-frangipani-sandalwood creates a creamy tropical feeling that I describe as solar.’ It offers that holiday-in-a-bottle, instantaneous hit of happiness that brings back memories of stepping off the plane and being hit by a glorious wall of warm air, followed by your body’s involuntary sigh of (sunny) delight.

Parfums de Marly Cassili £230 for 75ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

 

 

 

Perhaps the ultimate ‘solar’ warm-skin scent, if we choose to express it in these terms, is Guerlain Terracotta, Thierry Wasser’s sun-soaked homage in scent to the brand’s iconic bronzing powder. There’s bergamot in the top notes, yes, but it’s all about the lactic lap of tiaré flowers against the heady exoticism of warm, waxy ylang ylang, transporting us to a faraway idyll. Oh god, yes please.

Guerlain Terracotta £75 for 100ml eau de toilette guerlain.com

 

 

 

 

 

For scents steeped in sunshine, meanwhile, it’s always been hard to beat Acqua di Parma’s Colonia. Since 1916 we’ve been reaching for the golden glow of Sicilian citrus (bergamot, lemon and sweet orange), the brightness glittering to a heart of lavender and Bulgarian rose on a smooth, woody base; a formula that’s remained unchanged to this day, reviving flagging spirits and bringing sunshine for 107 years – before ‘solar’ was a thing, and no matter the weather. Which is just as well, really, isn’t it?

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Let there be light – scenting the summer solstice

With the dawning light of the summer solstice comes a seasonal welcoming of midsummer (actually the beginning of astronomical summer) and the longest day. More than the Earth tilting its face fully toward the sun, for Wiccans and other nature-based faiths it’s a reminder to seek inner growth – celebrating the power of the sun while nurturing the light within.

The light forms fragrant inspiration for perfumers, too, capturing the sunshine (and moonbeams), bottling gradients of luminescence in ‘solar’ scents.

  

 

In fragrance, ‘solar’ denotes a feeling of sunshine, a languidly perfumed purr of warm-cat contentedness. In this new genre citrus is mellowed by breezy blossoms, dappled with cooler herbs or touched with a tingle of spices and warm woods, depending on the time or place they’re attempting to conjure.

These are fragrances capturing the intensity of late afternoon or blissfully dappled shade, scents evoking spectacular sunsets, the ‘blue hour’, forest nymphs bathed in moonlight, midnight’s velvety caress and qualities of light from specific locations around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Why are light-filled fragrances so popular? As Louisa May Alcott says in Little Women, ‘Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow.’ With all we’ve gone through and the state of the world at the moment, even an ex-goth like me has grown somewhat weary of shadows.

Use these scents as an olfactive sundial, to form your own fragrant ecliptic – the invisible path the sun follows across the sky – and bring on the light, whenever you need it most…

 

 

 

To the Fairest Aubine £85 for 50ml eau de parfum tothefairest.com
Sun-kissed softness celebrates new beginnings, orange blossom strengthening a honeyed hopefulness.

 

 

 

Ruth Mastenbroek Dagian £70 for 30ml eau de parfum ruthmastenbroek.com
Grapefruit’s gleam pierces Stygian clouds, a shaft of amber warmth the olfactory embodiment of optimism.

 

 

 

 Björk & Berries Solstice £85 for 50ml eau de parfum  gb.bjorkandberries.com
Dazzling neroli and deep amber celebrate ‘the never ending light’ while swathed by soft cashmere’s nuzzle.

 

 

 

 

 

JUSBOX Good Morning £125 for 78ml eau de parfum selfridges.com
Tangerine-tinged sea breeze a scented snapshot of the second sunlight peaks the snow-capped mountain.

 

 

 

 

 

Lalique Soleil £100 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com
Pale gold fingers of light stroke pearly skin, a sip of coffee, a moment of peace, a hushed sigh of satisfaction.

 

 

Parle Moi de Parfum Wake Up World £98 for 50ml eau de parfum  johnlewis.com
Nurturing soul and spirit, bursts of citrus mellow to a hug of warm woodiness, a reminder to be kinder.

 

 

 

 

AKRO Awake £140 for 100ml eau de parfum  fenwick.co.uk
The bewitiching allure of a cosy coffee shop on a dull day – lemon-washed steamy windows, bitter luxury.

 

 

 

 

Tom Ford Eau de Soleil Blanc £178 for 50ml eau de parfum  tomford.co.uk
A shiver of sunshine refracted through dewdrops, the glitter of sunlight on cresting waves.

 

 

 

 

Goutal Un Matin d’Orage £119 for 100ml eau de parfum  johnlewis.com
Sunlight scatters the clinging mist of a storm’s wake, a phosphorescent unfurling as the garden awakes.

 

 

 

 

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Cloon Keen Lá Bealtaine £120 for 100ml eau de parfum lessenteurs.com
A celebration of bright citrus craves heat-bloomed flowers, floaty sundresses, lemon sorbets, drowsy dreams.

 

 

Elie Saab Le Parfum Lumière £45 for 30ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com
Amidst orange blossom’s blizzard the tulle swirl of a white gown, dancing barefoot on sun-warmed stone.

 

 

 

Fragonard Soleil £39 for 50ml eau de parfum  marksandspencer.com
Drowsy afternoon’s opulence on velvet cushions, a Provençal garden glimpsed through half-closed eyes.

 

 

 

 

Roja Dove A Midsummer Dream from £45 for 7.5ml eau de parfum rojaparfums.com
A warm Chypré fever-dream drapes the zing of grapefuit in a silken spiced cloak with a secret mossy lining.

 

 

 Lalique Soleil Vibrant £72 for 50ml eau de parfum lalique.com
Safari big cat energy via ginger-spiked jasmine, orange blossom’s meridian headiness radiating happiness.

 

 

 

Tom Ford Soleil Brulant £240 for 50ml eau de parfum tomford.co.uk
A sizzle of honeyed seduction in the gilded high noon sun, somewhere ridiculously fabulous.

 

 

 

 

Parfums de Marly Cassili £210 for 75ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com
Peach-blushed skyline viewed atop a romantic rooftop, flushed face turned expectantly toward another kiss.

 

 

 

 

Coach Dreams Sunset £37.00 for 40ml eau de parfum escentual.com
Inspired by ‘golden hours and one-of-a-kind journeys with friends’, pear sorbet teases twilit jasmine.

 

 

 

 

Guerlain L’Heure Bleue £109 for 75ml eau de parfum  guerlain.com
A heartstoppingly romantic harmony of powdered pensiveness, heliotrope prolonging the suspended hour.

 

 

 

Moresque Midnight London £310 for 50ml eau de parfum harrods.com
Rebellious rhubarb sashays in leather trousers to an incense-infused club so cool you’ll never know about it.

 

 

 

 

Prada Olfactories Mirages Midnight Train £230 for 100ml eau de parfum (in Prada stores exclusive)
Chilled ebony chocolate sucked lasciviously within the wood-panelled seclusion of a night train’s affair.

 

 

 

Penhaligon’s Luna £152 for 100ml eau de toilette  penhaligons.com
Moon-bathed goddess slinks her way in a silver robe through a jasmine-swagged fairytale forest.

 

 

 

 AromAtom Moon Walk (try it in their Discovery Set, £69 / £65 VIPs)
Serene landscape in fragrance form – a world of sparkling dust and silvery mountains.

 

 

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Last chance for sunshine with 20% off our Seasonal Scents Summer Box!

To put it, well, mildly, it’s been a peculiar summer – so we’re bringing you a way to capture those last rays of sunshine with 20% off our Seasonal Scents Summer Box!

Because we all deserve some extra sunshine in our lives, we curated this box to be filled with fragrances that feel like wearing liquid light – luminescent, mood-lifting, spirit-reviving scents that instantly bring a smile to your face from the first spritz.

To grab one of the few remaining Seasonal Scent Summer Boxes with that amazing 20% saving, simply use this code when prompted on checking out: SUMMER20 

Terms & Conditions – Code cannot be used in conjunction with any other code or used on sale products. Active from 15.09.21 12.00pm – 20.09.21 12.00am. Applicable on the Quarterly and Annual subscription, 20% off only applies to Summer Box when purchasing a Quarterly subscription.

 

 

Our Seasonal Scent Boxes have proved incredibly popular, and no wonder with the past 18 months or so we’ve all experienced. They’ve been put together to answer the many queries we get, asking which fragrances are best to wear for particular times of year. As summer-ish weather now seems to stretch anywhere from Easter to late September in the U.K. we felt it only right to prolong the pleasure by giving you this last chance to get your hands (and nose!) on these scent-filled boxes of joy!

Within each Seasonal Scents Box you will find…

Seasonal Fragrances  –  EIGHT fragrances from 2ml – 7ml, these will be kept secret until they arrive at your door, we just love the element of surprise!

Online Smelling Notes – accessible via a QR code within your box, guiding you through the fragrances and how to start smelling.

Unboxing Video –  also via the QR code, for every box our Senior Fragrance Writer Suzy Nightingale will guide you when opening your new box.

Hints, Tips and Quizzes – to ensure you get the most out of your fragrances and have fun!

 

Don’t delay and miss out on your last chance to capture the sunshine! A gift for a friend or family member you’ve not been able to catch up with this summer? A gift to self because you bloomin’ well deserve it, maybe? Whatever the occasion, these radiant fragrances will bring you happy summer memories for months to come…

You are my sunshine: why solar scents are soaring

What do we mean by calling a scent solar ? Although not an official fragrance family, it’s a word we’ve seen increasingly used to describe a whole range of recent launches.

Filled with sunshine, radiant and sparkling, we might once have called these fragrances ‘fresh-floral’ or, more prosaically, ‘citrus’. A new way of referencing scent taps into the zeitgeist, reflects how we’re feeling as a society and, therefore, how we want to project ourselves. In a world that for so long has seemed dark and scary, perhaps it’s only natural we’re being ever-more drawn to scents offering an olfactory ray of sunshine.

Actual solar flares are intense bursts of radiation emanating from the sun that can affect radio waves and send your Google Maps haywire. In a fragrance, yes ‘solar’ denotes a feeling of sunshine – but with it a physical feeling of being uplifted, of turning our faces toward the light source, a perfumed purr of warm cat contentedness.

Citrus notes are vital, but in this new genre they differ from Colognes because solar scents are more multi-layered: mellowed by breezy blossoms, dappled with cooler herbs or touched with a tingle of sheer spices and warm woods.

So, why is ‘solar’ trending? Quite simply, we need something that goes deeper than a quick, zesty pick-me-up; beyond merely feeling momentarily refreshed. As Louisa May Alcott puts it in Little Women, ‘Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow.’ And quite frankly, with the state of the world at the moment, aren’t we all weary of shadows?

So, why not soak yourself in these solar scents, look towards the light, and let the sunshine in…?

 

Wear these solar scents for instant sunshine Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin

Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml eau de parfum
The KAPOW! of super-charged, fruity brightness  feels like clouds parting and ends with a hug of ‘your skin but better’ softness. Sophisticated freshness that keeps on going (and helps you hang on to hope).

 

 

Sunny solar scents for summer Floral Street Arizona Bloom 
Floral Street Arizona Bloom from £24 for 10ml eau de parfum
Capturing the heart-soaring feeling of freedom this wide-open vista evokes a desert oasis. Queen of the Night flower lush with Balinese coconut, grounded by woody oakmoss and salted musks.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Vitae Cologne Forte (2ml of all three new MFK eaux de parfum are in Eau So Fresh Discovery Box, £23
Sun-drenched mandarin mixes with a sunny floral accord and brings to mind the warmest, glowiest early afternoon light, underpinned by the sensuality of the fragrance.

  

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Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Azur £44 for 50ml eau de toilette
Sicilian lemon, Italian bergamot and Calabrian mandarin are shot through with salty licks of luminescence – neroli and orange flower buoyed by shafts of sunlight, warming to blissfully body-warmed milkiness.

 


Shay & Blue Mermaid Kisses (2ml eau de toilette is part of The Scented Retreat Discovery Box, £23)
Think honeydew melon, holiday cocktails on the shoreline at sunset, looking out to an endless horizon. We’re dreaming of bare, bronzed shoulders kissed by the evening air, the excitement of tomorrow’s adventures.

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrances for… a holiday in a bottle

Travel restrictions are lifting for some, but we’re still up for taking a holiday in a bottle at Perfume Society Towers. One of the most magical things about fragrance is its ability to transport us to far-flung climes, to give the feeling of sun-warmed limbs and that blissful mix of relaxation and excitement at exploring somewhere new. So if you can’t get away, get these…!

 

 

CALVIN KLEIN Eternity Summer
Another in the ever-evolving ‘solar floral’ fragrance trend we’ve previously noted, here gleaming bright sunlight glints through the zing of Italian bergamot and luminescent jasmine, while heat haze shimmers in the desert rose oil and tingling warmth of ginger. Echoing the sunset colours of the beautiful bottle, this ‘duality of summer days’ captures the watercolour-dipped radiance melting into evening, cool violet leaves, coconut water and vetiver whispering on still sun-warmed skin. Immediately evocative. £RRP TBC STOCKIST TBC

 

DIOR La Collection Privé Eden-Roc
We rather suspect that Dior’s resident perfumer, François Demachy, enjoyed even more than usual his ‘research’ for this fragrance, a hymn to one of the world’s most legendary hotels, on the rocky shore of the Côte d’Azur. Flooded with sunlight, it’s cooled and ruffled by a salty breeze, revealing an accord reminiscent of nothing so much as expensive suntan oil, suffused with jasmine and a touch of coconut. Truly the stuff of holiday dreams. From £99 for 40ml eau de parfum dior.com

 

GUERLAIN Aqua Allegoria Nettare di Sole
There is just so much anticipation, each year, for Guerlain’s fresh-in-every-way duo of Aqua Allegoria, always sophisticated, always breezy, always wonderfully escapist. The star of the show as ever is a central note of citrusy bergamot, this time wrapped in luminous white florals and aquatic notes and then drizzled tantalisingly in honey. Guerlain’s own description nails it: ‘A delicious icy floral honey.’ To which we can only respond: ‘More, please.’ £69 for 75ml eau de toilette guerlain.com

 

 
ACQUA DI PARMA Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura
This limited edition is offered in a real treasure of a collectible, hand-crafted porcelain bottle – refillable, too, in line with AdP’s focus on sustainability. Imagine a fresh breeze, lightly rippling through the air, sun sparkling on the water, imagined here via the citrus refreshment of bitter orange, mandarin and grapefruit alongside that signature bergamot, with green galbanum and geranium and offering lasting impression of cedarwood and vetiver. £124 for 100ml eau de toilette acquadiparma.com

 

HOLLISTER Canyon Escape For Him
Perfumer Linda Chinery took inspiration from ‘…the spirit of the Hollister guy who is energised by his love of the unknown and adventure that is made even better when shared with friends.’ Black pepper and cardamom provide a tingle of contradicting temperatures – imagine a heat wave relieved by jumping into a lake as blue as the juice. Soothing sage and a refreshingly piquant note of Californian juniper beckons the oakmoss, amber-rich base. Worth a detour! £16.50 for 100ml eau de toilette very.co.uk