Fragrances For… A Return to Happiness

We’re perhaps used to thinking of lily of the valley as a very traditional (even, whisper it, old-fashioned) perfumery ingredient, yet so many modern classics and contemporary perfumers use lily of the valley to magnificent effect in their compositions. We chose this symbolic flower – meaning ‘a return to happiness’ – eight years ago as our kind of unoffical emblem, and at our birthday launch we gave a precious beribboned posy as a gift to loved ones and fragrance industry friends.

If perhaps the stunning Guerlain Muguet 2022 we wrote about on the 1st of May was beyond your means, have a wander through these lily of the valley scents – yours to re-discover, or fall in love with afresh this spring…

 

 

 

MEMOIZE LONDON
ROSE LUXURIA
‘The essence of ultimate want and desire’ this intoxicating take on lily of the valley thrusts it betwixt a soapy rose, and creamy magnolia for skin-like sensuality, while orange flower and powder soft orris remind us of true romance. Fall in love with the floral bouquet, fall deeper for the warm, amber-rich base drizzled with benzoin, cushioned by velvety moss and rolled in precious musk and woods. Light and darkness juxtaposed to licentious yet luminescent effect!
£227 for 100ml Extrait de Parfum
perfumesociety.org

 

 

 

 

DIOR
DIORISSIMO

An eternal classic lily of the valley launched in 1956, according to Christian Dior, Diorissimo is the perfume of Edmond Roudnitska’s spirit, or, “the scented expression of his soul”. Green leaves and bergamot bring energy to the flower, while lilac adds further spring-like hopefulness. Sunlit jasmine, lily and ylang ylang beam becommingly as the gentle animalic purr of the base prevents this beauty being too cold and cut from marble.
£69 for 50ml eau de toilette
dior.com

BVLGARI
Rose Goldea Blossom Delight
Swapping out heavier scents for fresher fragrances feel like a proper escape from winter, an exuberant change in the weather here evoked by the delicacy of lily of the valley, powdery peony and a kiss of musk. This pretty bouquet is further refreshed ‘by incorporating the freshness of the rosebuds at sunrise, embraced by just-picked spring flowers.’ We’re dropping down the denier scale in olfactory form, wearing this joyous ode to spring.
£65 for 50ml eau de toilette
bvlgari.com

 

YARDLEY LONDON
LILY OF THE VALLEY BODY MIST
A charming bouquet that always makes us think of traditional English picnics in the woods, here Yardley entwines the heritage of their name and these delicate yet powerfully-fragrant flowers with a surprising note of juicy pear to add a modern twist on a traditional theme. Freesia and musk add a further layer of richness to this lighter spritz of a posy, perfect for layering while maintaining your skin’s moisture levels in the most elegantly fragrant way.
£6.99 for 200ml body mist
yardleylondon.co.uk

 

 

 

EIGHT & BOB
ANNICKE 1

Perfumer Albert Fouquet’s life was turned upside down one evening in the French Alps, where he attended a high society soirée and was introduced to the strikingly beautiful Annicke. Now this collection has been created as a contemporary tribute to his love, the first fragrance marrying lily of the valley, rosy notes of peony and intoxicating jasmine. Sparkling mandarin cuts through the heart, white musk and driftwood soothing the passion.

Try a sample in the Annicke Fragrance Discovery Set: £20 for 6 x 2ml eau de parfum

 

 

COLLEZIONE PRIVATA BY VALMONT
Collezione Privata Just Bloom
For the fourth fragrance in the collection, we’re presented with a stunning bouquet of white flowers, traditionally a symbol of femininity but chicly paired back, here, allowing the blossoms to fully bloom. CEO Sophie Vann Guillon’s favourite flower happens to be lily of the valley, so joyfully evoked in the top notes, and complemented by the creamy exoticism of gardenia in the heart. Finally caressed by the ethereal woodiness of ambergris, it’s a sun-dappled delight.
£230 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

 

 

CHANEL
N°19
Sparkling and vibrant with every elegant spritz, it’s daringly green but still supremely wearable. The snapped-stalk freshness of galbanum is balanced with soft, powdery iris, heady ylang ylang tempered by a shiver of spring air in lily of the valley and luminescent rose. Exciting and immediately mood-lifting, if N°5 wasn’t for you, try this joyously energising fizz of freshness as a pick-me-up.
£107 for 100ml eau de toilette
chanel.com

Fragrances For… Welcoming Spring

The turning of the seasons is the perfect time to explore a new scent, to draw a metaphorical line under the colder months behind us and look forward to brighter days in fragrant form! Spring can be beautifully welcomed-in with these softly blossoming (and blooming lovely) recent launches. Which would you like to try, first, we wonder…?

COLLEZIONE PRIVATA BY VALMONT
Collezione Privata Just Bloom
For the fourth fragrance in the collection, we’re presented with a stunning bouquet of white flowers, traditionally a symbol of femininity but chicly paired back, here, allowing the blossoms to fully bloom. CEO Sophie Vann Guillon’s favourite flower happens to be lily of the valley, so joyfully evoked in the top notes, and complemented by the creamy exoticism of gardenia in the heart. Finally caressed by the ethereal woodiness of ambergris, it’s a sun-dappled delight.
£230 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

CHLOÉ
Nomade Eau de Parfum Naturelle
Celebrating ‘the merging of cultures and the poetry of encounters’ this new, 100% natural origin evocation is an olfactory exploration that whisks us to distant landscapes as dusk falls. Bergamot breezes its zesty freshness over sandy dunes, Egyptian jasmine absolute’s joyful glow meets the addictive smoothness of succulent date accord, rippled with creamy sandalwood and vanilla. It seems to billow hopefulness, somehow: soothing memories of skin still warm from a day’s adventures.
£54 for 30ml eau de parfum
lookfantastic.com

 

BVLGARI
Rose Goldea Blossom Delight
Swapping out heavier scents for fresher fragrances feel like a proper escape from winter, an exuberant change in the weather here evoked by the delicacy of lily of the valley, powdery peony and a kiss of musk. This pretty bouquet is further refreshed ‘by incorporating the freshness of the rosebuds at sunrise, embraced by just-picked spring flowers.’ We’re dropping down the denier scale in olfactory form, wearing this joyous ode to spring.
£65 for 50ml eau de toilette
bvlgari.com

CREED
Wind Flowers
Inspired by the flowing movements of a dancer, this feminine fragrance feels like a handful of petals tossed to the breeze. Indian jasmine and Tunisian orange blossom are twirled with a peachy softness, the perfumer adding a further flurry of jasmine sambac, tuberose and the fruity notes of the Centifolia rose into the fragrant ballet. Orange blossom blankets the base, with a delicious praline that swirls to a finale of hushed musk.
£260 for 75ml eau de parfum
creedfragrances.co.uk

GABAR
Ground II
‘We’re rooted in Myanmar and made for the world,’ the founders of this niche house rather beautifully explain, and the inspirations are firmly planted there, too. Based on traditional La Phet (tea leaf salad) and Thanaka (tree bark) the verdant crunch of stalks is seamlessly stirred into dough-like orris, fig, saffron and sandalwood silkiness that had us burying our noses in our wrists. A majestic oudh, patchouli and vetiver trail truly feel grounding, hours later.
£120 for 50ml eau de parfum
gabarmyanmar.com

 

Guerlain Cherry Blossom 2022 special edition is simply Bee-yootiful!

Fragrance-lovers and collectors the world over look forward with glee to the launch of the latest Guerlain limited edition Bee Bottle perfumes. Working with renowned artists, Guerlain encourage freedom of expression, allowing each artisan to interpret the scent with their unique adornments, turning each bottle into a work of art itself.

For Spring 2022 the Guerlain Cherry Blossom is joyously welcomed in a stunning pink flaçon that’s been individually adorned with miniature flowers, echoing the tender beauty of the scent inside. Let’s take a deep dive into Guerlain’s foucs on this annual fragrance ritual, and – given the numerous outside stresses we’re currently experiencing – enjoy the beauty with renewed bliss. Altogether now: and B-R-E-A-T-H-E the blossoms in…

 

 

Guerlain Cherry Blossom 2022

 

 

Of all the rituals of the Land of the Rising Sun, this is the most poetic. Each spring, the Japanese gather to admire the beauty of cherry blossoms. Guerlain celebrates this annual tradition with an exceptional limited and numbered edition of Cherry Blossom in its iconic Bee Bottle. For the 2022 edition, Guerlain has asked the embroidery studio Kyoko Création founded by the artist Kyoko Sugiura to create the delicate floral adornment of its flacon, crafted by a community of Japanese embroiderers. A unique and poetic artistic collaboration between France and Japan.’ – GUERLAIN

 

 

 

ADMIRING CHERRY BLOSSOMS AT NIGHTFALL

‘Each year in January, the Japanese start following the gradual blossoming of sakuras from the Okinawa Archipelago in the south of the country to Hokkaido Island, in the north, at the end of April. Called “hanami”, which means “flower viewing”, the ritual is observed by people of every age and background. Families and friends gather to wonder at the beauty of cherry trees laden with snowy, pink-tinged corollas… Gazing at sakuras in the moonlight is an especially moving moment in the springtime celebration. As white as the moon that lights them against a backdrop of black branches, ephemeral yet as eternal as the cycle of seasons, cherry blossoms arouse a sentiment that is deeply anchored in the Japanese culture: mono no aware, which could be translated as “a sensitivity to ephemera”. A sensitivity shared by perfumers, whose art also captures the fleeting beauty of flowers.

 

A FRAGRANCE AS TENDER AS A NIGHT IN SPRING

How can the emotion born from hanami be expressed in a bottle? How can a fragrance of eternal spring be invented for flowers so fragile they do not yield their essence? This was the artistic challenge Jean-Paul Guerlain set out to meet in 2000 when he composed Cherry Blossom. A pink-hued eau de toilette, as delicate as a sakura petal, as limpid as a Japanese haiku musing on life’s evanescence. The golden moonlight of spring… Its glow is reflected by radiant bergamot, the olfactory signature of the House of Guerlain. Subtly floral, the precious citrus essence blends with an exquisite green tea accord that evokes another of Japan’s ancient rituals. A white cherry blossom at night… Reinvented by the Master Perfumer, its fragrance is faceted with notes as immaculate as a sakura petal in the moonlight: tender cherry blossom, powdery lilac, jasmine – their scent fills the air at dusk. Featherlight clouds crossing the darkened sky… The diaphanous trail of white musks carries the delicate fragrance, like the breeze carries sakuras, illuminating
the night with countless moon petals.

 

 

 

 

AN ARTIST INFLUENCED BY FRANCE AND JAPAN

Adorned with different ornaments throughout the years, Cherry Blossom has now become an exclusive annual rendez-
vous that celebrates, as much as the Japanese art of living, the peerless know-how of creators invited by Guerlain. A match of cultures, perfume and art that has long been cultivated by the House. For its 2022 Edition, Guerlain has given carte blanche to the Japanese embroidery artist Kyoko Sugiura and her studio Kyoko Création, to create a delicate adornment of sakuras for the iconic Bee Bottle produced by Pochet du Courval, the historic glassmaker of the House since 1853. A new variation on the poetic theme, this edition evokes cherry blossoms at night, in the moonlight, in a precious chiaroscuro of white, black, and gold. And for the first time, it has been created by a Japanese artist who masters the secular know-hows of both her country and France to perfection.

 

 

 

 

A COMMITTED ARTISTIC COLLABORATION

Especially since Kyoko Sugiura worked with a community of 18 Japanese women from very diverse backgrounds –
office workers, teachers, designers… Professional or amateur embroiderers she trained herself, and invited to participate in this unique project, turning it into a human as well as artistic adventure. The gesture was a lovely way to reflect the communion of her compatriots around cherry blossoms in spring… But it also expresses Guerlain’s commitment to the empowerment of women, by celebrating an art elaborated, perpetuated, and practiced by them throughout the centuries. And which expresses itself today with a contemporary artwork that brings together a community of Japanese embroiderers and perfume lovers all over the world…

 

 

 

Guerlain Cherry Blossom 2022, £540 at Guerlain.com and in Harrods.

 

 

How to Bottle Hope – the scent of snowdrops

During the greyest months of the year, when life seems dormant and waiting, there is one little glimpse of brighter times to come – a whiff of hope on the frosty breeze – in that cheering moment we first spot a snowdrop. Yes, that might sound clichéd, but I defy you to smother a smile when you see one. Delicately scented with a lightly honeyed, creamy almond kind of smell, the latin name ‘Galanthus‘ means ‘milky flower’, and this tiny bloom has gathered centuries of fragrant folklore around its origins, continuing to inspire perfumers with its transcendent prettiness.

 

Native to Alpine regions, where they thrive amidst the cold, mountainous climes; snowdrops are believed to have first appeared in the British Isles when they were brought there by monks. It’s rather nice to imagine them tenderly tucked in religious robes while they travelled, but however they first arrived, they took root in the frozen winter soil of this country, and in our souls, somehow. Perhaps we were seduced by the mythology – stories passed down through generations, such as the legend recounted on the snowdrop-centric website snowdrops.me: ‘when you listen closely,’ they explain, ‘you can hear their bells ringing, trying to wake up nature from its winter sleep.’ Even more beautiful is the ancient German tale re-told on The Creative Countryside blog:

 

 

‘At the beginning of all things when life was new, the Snow sought to borrow a colour. The flowers were much admired by all the elements but they guarded their colour’s jealousy and when the Snow pleaded with them, they turned their backs in contempt for they believed the Snow cold and unpleasant. The tiny humble snowdrops took pity on the Snow for none of the other flowers had shown it any kindness and so they came forth and offered up to the Snow their colour. The Snow gratefully accepted and became white forevermore, just like the Snowdrops. In its gratitude, the Snow permitted the little pearly flowers the protection to appear in winter, to be impervious to the ice and bitter chill. From then on, the Snow and the Snowdrops coexisted side by side as friends.’

 

I’ll be the first to admit the smell of snowdrops isn’t effusive, it doesn’t billow through the woods as a scented cloud harkening Spring; but though tenderly scented, it’s the symbolism of this flower that so inspires perfumers, I think. And to which we feel drawn – perhaps likening ourselves to the ‘brave’ flower having clung on through icy conditions, and having managed to immerge, even through the frozen ground. A triumph of beauty over adversity that’s also evoked in writer Vikki Bentley’s poem, which was penned in conjunction with the launch of Anglea Flander’s Lawn fragrance:

These gauzy mornings
there’s a reason why you push your bed pillow-close
to the open window so that the cool, the light
bathes you awake five o’clock and eager
to leave diseased dreams and watch
the calm, silver sheet of the
dawning lawn catch the
unhurried tumble of
a petal’s feather curl
for in the blink of that first, not-quite time
you still believe in the lightness of your footfall
stepping out onto the fresh, the wet
beneath your soles, between your toes;
inhaling silver, tasting green as
each liquid call in the chorus
trickles down to touch the
newness in you
until the truth of the day scorches through
Vicci Bentley

 

snowdrops the scent of hope photo by <a href='https://www.freepik.com/photos/background'>Background photo created by freepic.diller - www.freepik.com</a>

 

Quietly scented (to us) they may be, but that smell acts as a clarion call for potential pollinators. The composition of the snowdrop’s fragrant waft depends on the type of insect it wants to attract. The honeyed kind attract bees (and us), but because the snowdrop is a fairly recent inhabitant on British shores, the scent they exude can also be a wordless cry to a species not available here. So, not all snowdrops have a smell that pleases the masses. Explains the National Plant Collection of Galanthus at Bruckhills Croft in Aberdeenshire on their snowdrops.me blog (where you can purchase several varieties of the flower): ‘The species Koenenianus is often described as having a smell of animal urine or bitter almonds, so perhaps has evolved to attract pollenating beetles in its native North-Eastern Turkey?’

Focussing on the tenderly honeyed side of their scent (thank goodness), perfumers tend to use a blend of notes to evoke these seasonal flagposts of hope in their fragrances – boosting their brightness, smoothing the edges, radiating anticipation. Such is the alchemy of a fragrant composition, we might be smelling lily-of-the-valley or bluebell accords (also imagined evocations) or the dewy green of violet leaf. Creamy white musks are often used to create that elegant shiver of the flower, or a whisper of cool woodiness wafting an imagined breeze to shake their bells. Conversely, the sense of snowdrops may be borrowed to add pale shafts of sunlight within the darkness of a scent, the contrast emboldening the harmony of the whole blend.

So, while you may not pick up a bottle and confidently declare ‘Aha! I detect snowdrops!’ we can quite willingly succumb to the romance of the story, and cling on to the feeling of hopefulness each of these fragrances grant the wearer…

 

 

 

 

Shay & Blue Black Tulip £55 for 100ml
Contrasts abound as white chocolate swathes spiced plum, but before gourmand-avoiders back away, it’s not overtly sweet – think of it more like the silky ‘mouth-feel’ amidst swathes of bright snowdrops and creamy cyclamen. The dark heart hushes to wood shavings, curls of chocolate still falling like snowflakes.

 

 

‘A note of grassiness in the air and a promise of flowers to come, snowdrops & woodland bulbs are making an entrance.

 It feels as if it’s time to wear a fresher note in fragrance too. For the first time this year I instinctively reached for my bottle of Lawn, yearning for the dewy galbanic freshness that later warms on the skin like the mid day sun.’ – Kate Evans [Angela Flander’s daughter, now perfumer for the house]

Angela Flanders Lawn £75 for 30ml eau de parfumKate learned perfumery at her mother’s knee, taking over the house after Angela died, with this dew-speckled, dawn-struck scent her first offering. ‘Lawn marked a new start for me as a perfumer’, she explains, ‘and is therefore a most appropriate scent for the time of year when we feel ready to embrace the promise of a new season.’

 

 

Perfumer H Snowdrop from £150 for 50ml eau de parfum

The glacial gust of the central white floral accord – Tunisian jasmine and orange flower absolute – is crisp with snapped green stems, Lyn Harris creating a dampened breeze of iris and carrot seed atop drenched mossy notes on a frosty, woody backbone of spikier juniper. The scented personification of a sanguine elegance, you’ll float.

 

Zoologist Snowy Owl £195 for 100ml extrait de parfum
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s calone-based ‘snow accord’ imagines the backdrop for the owl’s scented swooping: ‘A thick carpet of silver envelops the landscape, untouched but for the dazzling reflection of the sun.’ Icy mint, lily of the valley and coconut drift to snowdrops and sap-filled galbanum, softly feathered by the moss-snuggled base.

 

A portrait of a frozen stream in perfumed form, snowdrops and freesia are lapped by lychee water, peony petals and jasmine hinting at warmer days, clementine blossom a burat of happiness amidst misty, crystalline musks. Then, the smooth teakwood base is whipped through with fluffs of creamy vanilla for an ambient blanket of calm.

By Suzy Nightingale

Scent themed podcasts we’re listening to for spring

Scent themed podcasts seem to be bursting forth like so many buds blossoming, and we’re here for it! When we began recommending perfumed podcasts to listen to a couple of years ago, there really were only a handful around. Now? A whole bunch we’re adding to our ‘subscribe’ list for spring.

Exploring our sense of smell, reviews of new launches and retrospectives with perfumers and fragrance house founders alike, here’s some more direct links to listen, grab a cuppa and some precious ‘me time’ with…

 

An Aromatic Life: Interview with Christophe Laudamiel
Exploring our sense of smell from angles including science, art, literature, movies and health, host Frauke Galia seeks to ‘…shed light on this beautiful sense and increase its profile in a culture dominated by sight and sound.’ With fascinating guests providing insight into wine smelling, aromatherapy and even ‘why we have two nostrils, not just one’, Frauke recently interviewed brilliant perfumer Christophe Laudamiel for the second part of ‘The Art of Perfumery’ (and we highly recommend listening to the first, too).

 

The Sniff: Interview with Kingdom Scotland
Fragrance blogger Nicola Thomis loves taking a deep dive in to all things fragrance and scent related, and in this episode she gets to know Imogen Russon Taylor, founder of the unique Scottish fragrance house of Kingdom Scotland. During their conversation, the two discuss the latest release ‘as well as delving into the influence that Scotland has on their perfumes’ and the intriguing role the Royal Botanic Society of Edinburgh archives have played in inspiring the brand and their scents.

 

Heston’s Journey to the Centre of Food: ‘Heston Smells’
This podcast series invites listeners to hop on board for an exciting trip ‘with the world’s most creative chef, as he explores the amazing hidden secrets within our simplest ingredients,.’ It’s well known that Heston is obsessed with smell and has worked with perfumers and scientists previously to incorporate that sense into his epic food concepts. Here he’s interviewing author Harold McGee on the launch of his new book, Nose Dive (which we recently reviewed, here). A jaw-dropping tome (and it’s a big ‘un!), it reveals the chemical components that make up familiar (and bizarre) smells that surround us.

 

 

The Smell Podcast: Interview with psychologist Dr. Kathrin Ohla
Katie Boateng is an ‘acquired anosmic’ who became anosmic ‘after suffering a post-viral infection that lasted for weeks in late 2008/early 2009.’ She explains that ‘The goal of the podcast is to spread awareness and to make sure that you know, you are not alone in your anosmia journey!’ With Covid-19 having caused a new awareness on the psychological implications of a loss of smell, there’s no better time to tune in. This latest episode being a conversatioj with psychologist, Dr. Kathrin Ohla, and an explanation of how to use ‘GCCR’s Smell & Taste Check.’

 

Every Little Thing: Skewed Smells – A Weird COVID Mystery
Another smell-related podcast in this series (and proof the pandemic is getting everyone talking about our least explored sense), this time with a caller’s personal story. ‘Leña had COVID-19 last October and temporarily lost her sense of smell. As it started to come back, she noticed something strange — fruity things smelled like burnt hair and condoms. Where are Leña’s mystery smells coming from? Rhinologist Simon Gane fills us in on COVID-related smell loss.’

 

Perfume Philosophers: Spring Forward with Floral Street
Fragrantly obsessed friends co-host a podcast ‘about all things that smell good.’ From scented candles they love to explorations of new (to them) fragrance houses and even explaining their love for the smell of marshmallows, this episode is all about their personal first impressions of the Floral Street perfumes. A British house that has recently gone stellar in the United States (thanks to being stocked at Sephora), we’re glad to see the scents from this indie house are getting worn around the world.

 

Pinot & Perfume: Kilian Vodka On the Rocks
‘Do you love perfume?’, host Sarah Chacon asks. ‘How about wine (or any alcohol bevvie)?’ (okay, you have our full attention). ‘If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE.’ Hurrah for that. Each week ‘everything relating to perfume: reviews, news headlines, trends in the industry, and even some educational tidbits (what exactly IS musk, anyway?)’ are discussed – ‘all while sipping on a little sumpin’ sumpin’.’ This time, it’s the refreshing beverage-inspired fragrance of Kilian Vodka On the Rocks that’s tickling her fancy.

 

Mary Portas: On Style: Lizzie Ostrum interview
Talking about ‘the power of style’, guru Portas waxes lyrical with the help of several guests on how to celebrate yourself (and ‘travel through space and time’) through the medium of exploring your personal style. On this episode, one iof the guests is our good friend, fragrance expert and author, Lizzie Ostrom (aka ‘Odette Toilette’) to discuss invisible style, and how ‘Scent is intrinsically linked to memory, and we examine the way it has brought us closer to the people and places we’ve missed in lockdown.’ They also look at ‘how the perfume market fared during the past 12 months, and get some tips from Lizzie on choosing a signature scent online.’

 

Outspoken Beauty: On the Scent Epidose 2
Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale is once again ‘On the Scent’ with experienced beauty broadcaster and co-host, Nicola Bonn. ‘Suzy is a fragrance expert who describes scent like no one I’ve ever met,’ Nicola says [thank you!] and during the episode they chat about ‘some of the most exciting and incredible fragrances on the market and Suzy also does a fragrance prescription service, answering all of the fragrance dilemmas that you’ve been sending…’

Fancy some more fragrant listening? Simply type ‘podcasts’ in the search bar and even more hours of scented musing will be yours to while away the hours with!

 

Beautiful bluebells – springtime scents to fall for

Ah, bluebells: those nodding, beautiful five-petalled spring flowers that seem so quintessentially English – but actually flourish anywhere from here to northern Spain, with over 500 species in all.

Although described as ‘blue’, they can actually be tinged from white to pink, with blues from pale duck egg to deep, almost hyacinth in colour. These apparently delicate flowers – a.k.a. bellflowers – offer up an essential oil which has been described as reminiscent of a ‘clear spring day’. Stand in a bluebell wood, close your eyes and a delicate, green-floral haze will envelop and delight you: that’s what perfumers who work with bluebell are trying to recreate.

There’s surely few sights so universally pleasing as a swathe of blue that makes us catch our breath as we glimpse it through greenery on a woodland walk, or seen in a sudden flash from a train window. It’s a sign, too, that warmer weather is just around the corner, a heart-lifting reminder that things move on, and a moment to reflect on the passing of those seasons and perhaps a reminder: stop and smell the bluebells.

And so, we strongly urge you to seek out and spritz on one of these scents – just to take pleasure in these small, beautiful flowers and treasured moments that give us such joy. Follow the bluebell trail with us, now…

Light, airy and brimming with dew-laden florals, the uplifting top notes of bergamot and cassis are followed by a tender heart of jasmine, bluebell, lily of the valley, peony with a touch of peach-y sweetness; then the base soothes with creamy sandalwood, cedar, vanilla and musk. Just spray some English Bluebell on, close your eyes and let the enchanting scent dance on your skin like its ethereal inspiration.

Yardley Bluebell £9.99 for 50ml eau de toilette
yardleylondon.co.uk

Yardley also made the most heavenly film to show the inspiration for their Bluebell fragrance, and if you need to unwind and de-stress, we suggest you listen on headphones to be plunged into British springtime, with birdsong and bluebells all around. Completely glorious!

First created in 1978, there’s a bohemian, barefoot and running through the woodlands vibe to this perennial classic. An interwoven scent tapestry of hyacinth, lily of the valley, jasmine and rose entwine with that carpet of bluebells, a base of galbanum, clove and cinnamon adding a florist’s shop sense of just-snapped stalks, greenery tinged with just a touch of earthiness. It’s enough to make us want to dance away with the fairies.

Penhaligon’s Bluebell £100 for 100ml eau de toilette
penhaligons.com

Crisp, green leaves kissed with early morning frost, gently warming to a subtle, spicy glow of sunrise, blooming to a heart of surprising persimmon – a cream-lapped fruitiness that perfectly compliments the cool beginning of our journey. Whisper-soft white musk adds a powdery, feminine trail to the overall freshnness, a truly lovely, sparkling little gem that feels like wearing a Shakesperian sonnet.

Jo Malone London Wild Bluebell £94 for 100ml Cologne
jomalone.co.uk

Bluebell scents aren’t only to spritz – why not evoke those magical, dusky woodland glades within your own home? Here, the cutest glass vessel has beautiful illuatrations of bluebells and bumble bees (you can use it again when empty as a drinking glass, a pretty little vase or pencil pot). Meanwhile, enjoy the glow from the 100% natural plant wax candle, and all the wonderful fresh scents of dewy bluebells; or, as they delightfully put it, ‘nature coming back to life.’

Beefayre Bluebell Candle £18 for 200g
beefayre.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Floris River Dawn – hand-poured, By Request

Floris have released River Dawn, a limited edition fragrance of only 200 hand-poured bottles. Invoking shady streams and woodland walks, it’s definitely making us spring-ready…

Venturing out to explore the River Avon for their inspiration, the Floris perfumery team followed its meandering course as it begins in the beautiful, golden-stoned Cotswolds and as various tributaries merge, finalling flowing through Wiltshire on its way to the sea.

Edward Bodenham, Perfumery Director at Floris, spoke about their fragrant journey:
‘Historically we always launch our hand poured collection in late January, when winter is setting in but nature provides a few early signs of spring, particularly on our river banks. I love this time of year and whilst working on the ‘River Dawn’ scent with our team, it became clear that I wasn’t alone. Our rivers drive us on, providing tranquillity and uplifting our spirits, even in the harshest coldest winter, as the sun rises on a new day, they continue to shape our land, our geology, our industry and trade. They are a constant source of inspiration.

I recently walked along the banks of the Avon near Bradford Upon Avon. It’s a part of the world that for me encapsulates a huge amount of the beauty of our country. Interestingly our perfumer, Penny Ellis, who worked with me in creating this fragrance is a keen river swimmer who has swam sections of the Avon during these colder months which gave her huge inspiration when composing the scent.

We wanted to reflect the vibrant yet reflective tranquillity of flowing, shimmering water. How it feels to be in that raw environment. The natural beauty of the cold river bank, signs that spring is on its way as tea olives force through the cold, and snow drops appear in the shade of wooded forests, never far from the water. Most of all, we wanted to portray that emotion felt when rising before the dawn to see these landscapes completely unspoilt, before the world awakes. The river dwellers, fishermen, swimmers, rowers and those who still earn a living, working in harmony with its flow.’

Love at first sniff?
From the first spray, you’ll be transported to those gurgling tributaries with a crisp, galbanum freshness that speaks of green shoots bravely poking their heads above ground. Think fats buds just about to blossom, spiderwebs bejewelled with dewdrops, the cheering sight of snowdrops and hyacinths and a drift of spring’s first apple blossom in the air. Grounded with soothing sandalwood and delicately dusted with orris, this is the perect thing to wear when you want to celebrate that subtle shift in the seasons – not quite the end of winter, but good lord it’s almost in sight. A lightening of days and spirits, then, that make this a must-have (and a beautiful choice for any spring brides, we say).

Read more about the historic heritage of Floris in our page dedicated to their story…

Floris River Dawn £180 for 100ml eau de parfum
Only available at 89 Jermyn Street and florislondon.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

5 woody fragrances your nose needs to know

There’s something about woody fragrances that feels especially comforting at this time of year – a snuggle of smooth sandalwood is like wearing a cashmere blanket, dry cedar is wonderfully grounding and the all-pervasive oudh (aka ‘akigalawood’) we suddenly find is being used in fine fragrance as a sexy rumble of a base note, that beckons rather than billows-forth at full-force. Woody scents also make us think of woodlands themselves, long walks in bright, frosty forests with those cheering signs of Spring just beginning to stir – and thank goodness for that!

The only question remains, which perfume path should you choose through the woods…?

Inspired by the stark serenity of British beaches in winter, we were intrigued by the salty driftwood note at the heart of this new fragrance, peppered with bergamot and a mineral accord that stays cool and slinky on the skin, we imagine broken seashells, the rustle of dried grasses and wave-lashed coastlines. Ambroxan and patchouli in the base feel like wearing your softest sweater, pulling your scarf up to your nose and breathing deeply, your soul becalmed.

Amouage Beach Hut Woman £240 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at selfridges.com

Warm in a powerful way, the cedarwood here balances a deliciously decadent accord of roses, jasmine, orange blossom and bergamot. One of those all-day wrist-sniffers, you’ll be taken on a darker journey through the distinctly shadier path of patchouli, cedarwood and an almost sticky-smelling amber at the end (think resinous, dark honey slathered on hot toast. We practically think of nothing else on cold, frosty mornings…)

Ormonde Jayne Ambre Royal £110 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at harrods.com

Inspired by the Mr. Harrod, Penhaligon’s describe the character of this scent as ‘…a flourishing businessman who has evident appeal with the ladies.’ While that could be interpreted another way, we’re here to say it’s definitely shareable! Spiced plum and patchouli sinks into a jasmine, raspberry and ambergris accord with an oudh, cinnamon, tobacco and cedarwood dry-down that could well be your nose’s new favourite thing.

Penhaligon’s Mr Harrod £185 for 50ml eu de parfum
Buy it at harrods.com

The rich sandalwood is enticingly interlaced with cardamom, coriander and rose for an all-natural scent that’s so soothingly spiced, it’s what our skins are crying out for right now. Fittingly, a percentage of every sale is given to charity – this year to the The Tulsi Trust – which funds health and education projects in Chhattisgarh, a remote area of central India. So it does good while you smell great: win-win.

Marina Barcinella Parfums India  £130 for 30ml oil
Buy it at mbparfums.com

Close your eyes and imagine taking a walk among the giant sequoias, as legend has it so tall and denseley packed that sunlight never touches the ground at their roots, a darkly woody haunt of a scent that lingers long after you’ve first sprayed, like some mischevious woodland sprite always darting further ahead. Dry with black tea, cheering with cocoa, it’s pepped up with a glow of saffron and ginger for added warmth, and beguilingly addictive.

Olfactive Studio Woody Mood £84 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at bloomperfume.co.uk

Written by Suzy Nightingale

5 fragrances that guarantee winter sunshine…

There are those who claim certain scents should only be worn in summer – the lighter, more citrus-laden ones for the most part – and that we should reserve the heavier, more opulent fragrances for our winter wardrobes. But is this once foregranted ‘fact’ still true…?
Certainly, in hot weather you may find your fragrance seems ‘stronger’ or more overpowering, the heat causing the notes to evolve on the skin more rapidly and bloom around you in fragrant waves.  This is exactly why brands sometimes offer lighter versions of their bestselling scents for the summer.  Indeed, some people prefer heavier more full-bodied, comforting, almost ‘cocooning’ scents in the winter – but again, this is completely individual.
Personally, at The Perfume Society, we do tend towards richer fragrances that we love to rediscover at around the time when we reach for our opaque tights, our socks (and vests!), switching to airier perfumes for the warmer months. But never let anyone tell you what perfume to wear and when – just do what feels right for you. We say: scent ‘rules’ are made to be broken, so just follow your nose…
We find winter is actually a perfect time to refresh your senses, and re-visit those scents you perhaps didn’t quite get on with in summer – cooler weather and damper climates makes your skin react completely differently, so why not try some fragrances you may have written-off forever?
While you’re at it – have a dig around in your collection for ‘spring fresh’ or ‘summer-y’ scents that you already love and see how differently they bloom on your skin at this time of year. Just as too much turkey and endless chocolates can have you yearning for a crisp salad, it’s good to go over to the light side for a change of scent-scene now and again.
Here’s our list of five transitional scents to try for a time-travelling experience out of your comfort zone. So, shake off those heavy layers and prepare to get zingy with some winter freshness…
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Zesty to the point of mouth-watering excess, the energising burst of crushed ripe fruit uses the darker extract of sweet blood orange juice juxtaposed against bitter orange peel and warming wafts of geranium for a feel-good cloud of happiness. Formulated to last far longer than traditional Colognes but losing none of their zippiness – hoorah!
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine £49.50 for 30ml Cologne Absolue
Buy it at John Lewis
Ignore the grey skies, close your eyes and imagine the Provençal setting sun, still warm on your skin (move closer to the fire or add another layer of clothing, if necessary…)Aromatically fresh with the fizz of bergamot and pink pepper, the true heart of honey infused lavender is balanced by the milky acacia blossoms, the nuttiness of tonka beans and balsamic warmth of the earthier base.
L’Occitane Terre de Lumière Limited Edition bottle, £58 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at loccitane.com
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A lusciously fruity mixture of milky fig cut through with Turkish apricot and green tea for a deliciously refreshing blend that still feels nurturingly comforting. A wearable panna cotta with just enough wobble and topped with glistening slices of that succulent fruit – we have no doubt you’ll want to dive in.
Fresh Fig Apricot £76 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Harrods
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The tart, raspberry freshness of Turkish rose and the subtle woodiness of thorny stems enhanced by geranium melt slowly to a softly cushioned fuzziness of peonies and vibrant freesia, gently sprinkled with black pepper and drizzled with honey. Every bit as delicious as it sounds, it’s a ballerina dancing in a garden as the sun rises and blushes the sky the colour of her frothy tutu.
Aqua di Parma Peonia Nobile £78 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges
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Ripening tomatoes lovingly stroked in a greenhouse, sunlight glinting on frosty hedgerows and mint leaves floating in a pitcher of homemade lemonade – this enlivening scent whisks you to the home of the Mitchell family at Foxbury Farm. Sparkling citrus rubs shoulders with herbaceous greens and English flowers grown in their fields; drying down to the classically elegant combination of musk and cedar wood.
Mitchell and Peach English Leaf Fine Edition £55 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Roullier White
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Beautiful Blossoms: cast off your cardies and get petal powered. Has spring finally sprung…?!

An incredible scene of people venuring forth into the outside world without their coats or umbrellas has been revealed out and about around town these last couple of days. Shockingly, some Londoners were even seen smiling at strangers.
We know. We’re still reeling.
And the cause of this unexpected behaviour? Actual sunshine has been seen, warmth felt on skin, and buxom buds are bursting in to life around us. After what seems like the longest, greyest winter ever (even though it hasn’t actually been that bad, it’s felt soooo long – or is that just us?) it feels as though spring has sprung!
Oh the joy – the utter heady thrill – of casting off a scarf and popping to Pret in a cardie. (Yes, we know how to live here at TPS Towers!) It’s enough to make you feel like a hedonist. Or even like smiling. And with the change in weather, we’re rifling through our fragrance wardrobes and reaching for something lighter, brighter – to match our moods. May we suggest you join us…?
Beautiful Blossoms is a carefully curated and truly stunning Discovery Box of floral-themed scents for you to waft to your heart’s delight from the comfort of your own home – this petal-powered collection taps into our everlasting love of floral fragrances – giving you a chance to fully explore this perennially popular family in its myriad nuances…
Amidst an amazing array of fragrances to try at home (and try again – never go by your first spritz alone! These scents have been composed to develop over several hours on your skin, so give them time and let them settle…) you’ll also find our signature ‘Smelling Notes’, to help you explore the collection in greater depth, via your special blotters (also included).
PS: With Mother’s Day fast approaching, this could solve all your gift-giving dramas. You don’t need to know which fragrance they like or pay over the odds for a sadly battered bouquet!
Click here for full details or to order the box, which is currently exclusively priced to our VIP Subscribers at the VIP price of £12.50 (a great saving on the non-Subscriber price of £17.50)
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Written by Suzy Nightingale