Fragrances For… feeling stronger

Sometimes we all need the help of a fragrance to feel stronger – something that does more than simply smell lovely, but can lift our spirits and almost act like a pair of shoulder pads in scented form. These are fragrances that we feel go beyond comfort – evoking adventurous journeys, friendship and inner strength via hemp leaf, smouldering amber, silky smooths woods and bison grass…

 

BYREDO
Open Sky
‘While being stuck in one place, our memories have become particularly vivid,’ muses founder Ben Gorham. Capturing our collective desire to travel, the scent segues from the pepper-flecked freshness of pomelo to the mind-expanding hemp leaf and spiritual palo santo hushed by vetiver in the base. ‘Beyond the physicality of spaces,’ Gorham explains, this celebrates ‘that idea of movement – of journeys, being on your way somewhere…’ Plane tickets and a plan, bottled.
£178 for 100ml eau de parfum
libertylondon.com

 

 

COMME DES GARÇONS
Rouge
A warm, ambered base grounds this wonderfully weird (and very wearable) concoction. CDG never do anything humdrum, so our eyes were immediately drawn to the beetroot note listed. Of course, we’re used to it combined with chocolate in cookery, and it blends just as well here with the Egyptian geranium to create an almost-rose. Pink pepper simmers through the layers to the smouldering incense and refined patchouli base. Clever and intriguing.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
Exclusive to selfridges.com

 

 

BENTLEY
Momentum Unbreakable
Master Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin teams with up-and-coming talent Ane Ayo, to take the dual steering wheels of this scent. Dreamwood© is a key ingredient – the supremely smooth woody note being a 100% natural ingredient used in place of Mysore sandalwood (now a highly protected species), obtained through carbon-neutral biotechnology. Cool violet (another of our floral trend predictions) shimmers through verdant greenery to liquorice-y dried fruits and immortelle fluffed amber. Another instant classic.
£69.50 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

DIESEL
Sound of the Brave
Employing the talents of Fabrice Pellegrin – one of the world’s top perfumers – Sound of the Brave resonates with a unique heart of Bison grass accord. A reminder, says Pellegrin, of good times with friends. The sizzle of bold spices vibrate through vibrant lemon as a powerful base (or should that be ‘bassline’?) throbs with amber wood and musk. Electric blue juice inside the clenched-fist flacon and hip-hop legend Skepta as ambassador ensure it’s a hit.
£69 for 125ml eau de toilette
boots.com

 

 

PACO RABANNE
Invictus Victory

The latest incarnation of the heroically themed fragrances ‘seizes with its power and seduces with its freshness.’ Freshly squeezed lemons offer the juicy bite here while the woody notes of incense wrap tendrils of soft smoke around a purr of vanilla in the base. Spiced tonka bean is the delicious finale for this scent inspired by ‘subtly celebrating modern masculinity.’ Give this to someone you consider your personal hero – beats a golfing trophy, any day!
£56 for 50ml eau de parfum
pacorabanne.com

Scents of solace: five fragrances to love and Hygge

There are times when a hug from someone you love is not possible, when well-meaning words of kindness simply will not suffice. It is then we reach for other sources of comfort – a cosy blanket, a much-loved book, a favourite fragrance…
2016 has witnessed various outpourings of sadness as much-loved celebrities have passed away and world events have bemused, bewildered and terrified in turn. You’ve probably noticed the Danish and Norwegian word, ‘Hygge’, is everywhere – not easily translated, it basically invokes a feeling of cosiness, hunkering down and surrounding yourself with comforting, nurturing things. Those of us who treasure the power of perfume know only too well its ability to amplify or even alter our mood, so is it any wonder we may turn to fragrance when seeking solace from one thing or another?

Photo by Urbanara.co.uk
Photo by Urbanara.co.uk

In controlled tests, the smell of vanilla has been shown time and again to elicit a soothing response, with some positing the suggestion the scent links us to childhood memories of warm milk, soft puddings, sticky bags of bonbons or even suckling at the breast. Others point to studies showing the reduced ‘startle-reflex’ effect in animals, when a vanilla smell is dispersed during stressful situations – including those who aren’t naturally suckled – and suggesting something far more complex is at work than a foodie’s blissful reverie.
Our sense of smell is so deeply rooted in emotion and memory, that scientists are only just beginning to piece together a hazy map of understanding which neurones fire-up when certain scents are wafted beneath our nostrils, and why they elicit such intense responses…
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For full-on vanilla bean gently buffed by the honeyed piquancy of quince and dark trickle of Peru balsam, we suggest you indulge your inner-magpie with this gloriously glittery bottle of what is, basically, an extremely sexy custard. Or crème anglaise, to put it more chicly. Either way, its decadently delicious and as it’s a limited edition, you should stock up now for future emergencies.
Michel Kors Midnight Shimmer £53.10 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Boots
Lavender, too, has long been used to soothe more than skin irritations, and Shakespeare’s Ophelia citing ‘rosemary for remembrance’ has been proved very possibly correct, extensive tests revealing concentration and memory can be greatly increased when sniffing the essential oil while studying and then accurately recalling lessons learned.
31tldkmpol-_sy300_One of the first flowers distilled by founder Olivier Baussan, L’Occitane uses lavender sourced from farmers’ cooperatives in Haute-Provence. This aromatic tribute to their homeland is the softest way there is to soothe frazzled nerves. We recommend dabbing directly on the temples and breathing deeply…
L’Occitane Lavender Relaxing Roll-On £12 for 10ml Cologne
Buy it at uk.loccitane.com
It isn’t just sprigs of fresh herbs and pure oils, of course: a perfume of any kind can be a powerful spell, if not to banish the black dog then at least to stop it growling for a while – a fragrance foothold on the slippery slope of adversity. And incense as a perfume ingredient is on the rise once again, with contemporary perfumers not merely evoking the frankincense-infused pews of a church, but using it in more intriguing ways.
205-73060631-dr100mrpf_mFabrice Pellegrin blends bergamot and a bracing splash of petit grain before spiralling into a hint of mint that awakens the senses (without smelling like mouthwash, we are happy to report). The dreamy haze of incense, iris and vanilla drift us to a mellow place where fevered brows are soothed by cool hands and everything is alright.
Dear Rose Mentha Religiossa £155 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges
Is there a particular perfume that raises a smile as you picture a loved one – a single spray and they appear: a genie from a scent bottle? Perhaps you have a fragrance to bolster your confidence – one to wear at that tough meeting, a scent equivalent to shoulder pads, a perfectly tailored suit or backbone in a bottle?
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Unapolagetically flirtatious, this is a snuggly cashmere stole nonchalantly draped around bare shoulders – white peony and Bulgarian rose melding beautifully into a bouquet that’s distinctly on the naughtier side of floral. And here the base is enhanced with a vivacious vetiver, which we always find becalming, don’t you?
Narcisso Rodriguez £35 for 30ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop
Whether your choice of scent finds you full to the brim with girlish glee or finding succour in sadness as you revel in the emotion and let it find its natural level – in trying times, those pretty potions can be invisible shields, comfort blankets, a whole panoply of anchors or escape routes, if you only know where to find them.
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A blissful blanket with a steely underbelly sounds like something of a misnomer, but this just seems to exude waves of smooth confidence. ‘You’ll want to wrap it around you, lose yourself in the depth of the moment and suspend time’, they say. With rose, vanilla, a fizzy violet-powdered cloud and base of benzoin, we couldn’t agree more.
Maison Francis Kurkdjin Oud Satin Mood £195 for 70ml eau de parfum
Buy it at House of Fraser
What are your favourite fragrances to spritz when the going gets tough? Do get in touch by Tweeting, posting a picture and tagging us on Instagram or e-mail us – we’d love to know!
Now then, altogether: let us spray…
Written by Suzy Nightingale