Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb… No, we’re not practicing being an extra in a film (it’s what they traditionally mutter while appearing to chat in the background, FYI!) – rhubarb is proving a hugely popular trend in perfumery, so let’s get to the crunch of this vibrantly fruity fragrance note.
We first started seeing rhubarb making a fizz around 2015, but now the note is hugely popular and has set its own scent trend. How come? Well rhubarb is one of the happiest notes in fragrance, its bright, zippy character is distinctive, fun yet with a properly grown up poise to it – it definitely feels more sophisticated than many fruity notes in fragrance.
While providing a modern twist to classic floral or citrus bouquets, it simultaneously has more than a whiff of nostalgia about it, too – most of us have fond childhood memories of eating it baked in a crumble, or just freshly picked, raw and dipped in sugar.
Despite rhubarb’s unmistakable tartness, it manages to play very nicely with other perfumery ingredients – melding wonderfully with violet, jazzing up a rose or other fruity cocktail-like notes, and adding an energising ZING of freshness that’s perhaps more intriguing than your average citrus.
Says CPL Aromas Marketing Executive Aitana López de Carrión: ‘It’s a great note for providing those green, fruity and refreshing accords. As a fruity note, it works particularly well, as its not as sweet and sticky like mango or strawberry.’
The perfect addition to a summer scent wardrobe, here’s some fragrances resplendent with rhubarb that we’re loving right now…
Celebrating ‘home is where the heart is’, Molton Brown showcase a duo of star ingredients often grown in our own gardens, much beloved by us Brits. Perfumer Vanessa Prudent conjures comforting childhood memories of baking, a sprinkle of sugar and pink pepper dusting rhubarb’s crispness, the leaves swagged by armfuls of soft pink roses. Marrying crisp fruitiness to the cedar muskiness of the base via silky cream ribbons, it’s an elegant reverie, bottled.
Inspired by happy summer days in the garden, sipping Prosecco with your nearest and dearest, this immediately joyous scent was created in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society. The unique combination of English rhubarb and sea salt give the white floral blend a much-needed jolt into the 21st Century, and it’s the perfect instant mood-lifter, much like said Prosecco (but thankfully this one won’t leave you suffering on the sofa the next day).
Forget where you are, close your eyes and inhale as Nathalie Feisthauer’s fragrance takes you ‘to a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at sunset, with a “chill out” cocktail in hand’. Mixing fizzing citrus and mint, capricious rhubarb and orange blossom sway to a groove that throbs over the amber wood, incense and Haitian vetiver base. Aromatic electronica, interpreted by NIID in the accompanying musical track = laidback vibes resonating into the early hours.
Oh we’re so enraptured by this contemporary and so-wearable take on rose – one to wear when you want to add the sense of twirling in a gauzy shocking pink gown (worn with trainers) we feel. The bright rose is entwined with sharp blackcurrant for some edge, and the sparkling, zingy rhubarb exudes throughout. Aqueous peonies add dewiness, while those blackcurrants expose its greenness. Petals, stalks and stems: this is a nose in a rosebush. Rich, jam-laced Moroccan rose absolute adds depth, for a scent that sparks a child-like joy within. Now: twirl!
If you think rhubarb in scent doesn’t spell sex appeal, this now absolute modern classic will make you think again. Yes, that familiar tang is there in the top notes, backed by some red berry sweetness. But perfumer Christine Nagel gives it some irresistible French allure, pairing the tartness with animalic white musks that lend a beautiful other-worldliness. The result is a bouquet that’s just as distinct and memorable as the brand’s more famous Eaux des Merveilles. A must have!
Hermès Eau de Rhubarbe Ècarlate £87 for 100ml eau de Colognehermes.com
As sure a sign of summer as your neighbour who seemingly mows their lawn thrice a day, Wimbledon is a welcome signal to pop the corks, open the starwberries and (for us at PSHQ) to don the whites while shouting “New bottles, please!” So, with such fragrant fun in mind, we present our whimsical scenting of the Wimbledon games to come…
MALIN + GOETZ Strawberry
Forget overly sweet or boring: this is a contemporary strawberry ‘reimagined’ by the artistic team at Malin + Goetz. They ‘deconstructed’ and reinterpret the garden strawberry, invoking its luscious freshness via bright shafts of pink pepper and bergamot, given a floral flourish by orris root, jasmine petals and warm musks. ‘A dynamic scent that challenges the conceptions around the strawberry,’ they promise. What the fruit has in common with this, however, is a decided moreishness. £78 for 50ml eau de parfum malinandgoetz.co.uk
Maison Margiela When the Rain Stops
There comes a moment during Wimbledon when, inevitably, the heavens open. Much banter ensues, British sense of humour to the fore. But at least we can revel in the scent of ‘petrichor’ after the rain stops, so beautifully evoked here in another of this so-clever niche fragrance house’s scent memories. Think nose-tingling pink pepper awakening dewy leaves, encouraging Isparta roses and jasmine to bloom. Damp, earthy moss, rain-washed air: the storm clouds, parted – a moment of joy captured forever. £49 for 30ml eau de toilette theperfumeshop.com
LACOSTE Match Point
Never mind Match Point, this is game, set and match to Lacoste for a thrillingly fresh aromatic creation that pitches two poised accords against each other. In the opening game, enjoy the green, exhilarating energy of basil and gentian, with an intriguing yet subtle bitter edge. But ultimately, as with all fragrances, it’s the base notes which win through – here, the composed, calm elegance of vetiver, smoothed by Cashmeran. From £35 for 30ml eau de toilette Lookfantastic.com
CONTRADICTIONS IN ILK Nonchalant
Inviting you to dip ripe berries into the frothing fizz of a Champagne cocktail coupe, this is one for the so-chic bystander, probably clad in vintage couture but wearing it with tennis shoes, who doesn’t really care who wins the game, as long as she gets the prize… Always perfectly powdered and ultra-cool, there are hints of spicy drama amidst the devil-may-care attitude – a sense of the swans down puff thrown in temper across a dressing room, lipstick kisses on popped corks, and countless heady bouquets from admirers filling the air. £150 for 50ml extrait de parfum Buy it here
PACO RABANNE Invictus Platinum
There is a cool feel to the metal platinum, which is echoed here by the freshness of this new interpretation of super-successful Invictus, in a flacon that somehow looks more than ever like a fabulous trophy. Awarded with this, the wearer will be invigorated and energised by a complex, powerful fusion of absinthe, grapefruit, mint, lavender, patchouli, cypress and oakmoss, powered out of the bottle by a crush of mint. Über-masculine, mega-wearable. From £57 for 50ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com
With the dawning light of the summer solstice comes a seasonal welcoming of midsummer (actually the begining of true, 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 and, along with celebrating the power of the sun, also to nurture the light within.
The light forms fragrant inspiration for perfumers, too, capturing the sunshine (and moonbeams), bottling gradients of luminescence in solar scents like some kind of fairytale’s miracle made spritz-able reality.
In a fragrance, ‘solar’ is a term that’s gained popularity recently in the descriptions houses have given, even being placed in the names of perfumes themselves. It denotes a feeling of sunshine, of course, but with it a physical feeling of being uplifted, of turning our own faces toward the light source, a languidly perfumed purr of warm-cat contentedness. Citrus notes are vital, as you might expect, but in this new genre they’re often mellowed by breezy blossoms, dappled with cooler herbs or touched with a tingle of spices and warm woods, depending on the time of the day or the place they’re attempting to conjure.
Because the light source illuminating perfumer’s imaginations isn’t limited to the ‘rosy-fingered dawn’ of Homer’s Odyssey, or a sunlit beach-scene in scented form – there are fragrances that capture the ‘mad dogs and English men’ intensity of late afternoon or a blissfully dappled shade; scents evoking spectacular sunsets, the ‘blue hour’, forest nymphs bathed in moonlight, midnight’s velvety caress and even particular qualities of light from specific locations around the world.
Why are these light-filled fragrances so popular right now? As Louisa May Alcott puts it in Little Women, ‘Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow.’ And quite frankly, 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.
So, with the spirit of the summer solstice and welcoming whatever new beginnings you wish, 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 parfumtothefairest.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.
Cloon Keen Lá Bealtaine£120 for 100ml eau de parfumlessenteurs.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.
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!
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…
Last of the Summer Sunshine? Well the last few days the weather’s actually been more ‘summer’ like than it has been for several weeks! As the last days of summer slip into autumn’s more golden light, it can be hard to mark where one season ends and another begins – these fragrances are filled with a glorious luminousity that captures those gilded days and helps us cling to the sunshine a while longer…
GUERLAIN Aqua Allegoria Flora Salvaggia
Who hasn’t fantasised about running through a meadow of wildflowers, wind in our hair? That’s the vibe that Guerlain seek to evoke with this second of 2021’s Aqua Allegoria, composed to conjure up the ‘poetry’ of the scent of wild flora, lifted by a drift of clean musks. We know many a collector of these Guerlain creations, who’ll be thrilled to add this gilded bottle (with its lavender-tinted juice) to their summer scent wardrobe. From £69 for 75ml eau de toilette guerlain.com
HOLLISTER Canyon Escape For Her
Another trend we’re noticing in fragrances this year is a shimmering sunrise of desert-themed scents – the olfactory oasis here blooming with rose, orange blossom and dusty iris, freshened up top with juicy mandarin, blood orange and a ripple of cool cactus, smoothed beneath by cedarwood and a soft waft of musk. We imagine sun-blushed skin, floral crowns and the glamorous yet laid-back escapism of the Californian desert while sniffing this so-happy scent. £16.50 for 100ml eau de parfum very.co.uk
NARCISO RODRIGUEZ Narciso Eau Neroli Ambrée
Neroli is one of the most instantly sunshine-y, happy-making notes on the scentscape (we took an office poll last year, and it came out on top for evoking bright light and happy, holiday memories). The brilliant Aurélien Guichard packs pleasure into every spritz, here – a veritable whoosh of optimism, tempered with comfort, in this slinky, silky dream. Orange blossom and soft woods sigh contentedly to the so-iconic white musk trail. £65 for 50ml eau de parfum johnlewis.com
CALVIN KLEIN Eternity Men Summer
If you couldn’t get away this year, this really feels like a holiday in a bottle. Evoking the unique air temperature of a summer’s dawn, the airy exhilaration of bergamot oil sparkles like the first fingers of sunlight illuminating the sea, the glittering waves bringing coconut water and a smooth, creamy breeze of Australian sandalwood – and you’ll be glad to know this precious ingredient was sustainably sourced. Eternity always feels like a perfect summer’s day, bottled forever. £60 for 100ml eau de toilette superdrug.com
PARFUMS DE MARLY Greenley
A distinctly greener vibe for this much-loved niche house, bringing the feeling of a Cologne but with the benefit of far greater staying power in a concentrated eau de parfum. Bursting with citrus up top, the petitgrain grants an immediate freshness, a fruity interpretation of cashmere wood fused with crisp apple and the shady cool of violet. Amberwood ripple throughout, making this feel like a much-needed stroll through the woodlands when you need to escape. £160 for 75ml eau de parfum harrods.com
In hot weather, you may find some fragrances seems ‘stronger’ or more overpowering, or that your perfume simply ‘disappears’ on your skin when the temperatures soar. How can you help your scent survive the heat…?
Personally, at The Perfume Society, we enjoy switching to brighter, airier perfumes for the warmer months, because fragrance can almost feel textural. So, just as we’ve long since cast off our opaque tights and cardis, so too do we crave something that feels sheer, gauzy and less stuffy.
Often you’ll find brands offer lighter versions of bestselling scents, for the summer. Of course some people still enjoy wearing the heavier more full-bodied, comforting, almost ‘cocooning’ scents throughout the year – but again, this is individual and depends on how you want a fragrance to make you feel. Whatever style you reach for, there’s no doubt hot heather can make a scent behave differently on your skin. So, why is this and how can you prevent a favourite from disappearing so quickly?
Hot Weather Perfume Problem #1 – Your scent doesn’t last as long
The weather can dramatically alter how long a scent lasts, and even how it smells on your skin. Skin and climate temperature are vital to a perfume’s performance, so even your favourite fragrance will smell different based on the time of year. When perfumers test the scents they’re creating they often use climate-controlled booths to check how they smell in hot and colder conditions (depending what countries they’ll be selling in). Though we tend to reach for brighter, citrus fresh scents in summer, these molecules are lighter, so can evaporate even more rapidly in high temperatures.
– Try using a body oil, rich body balm or moisturising lotion before you put any fragrance on (and even afterwards, too), as scent takes longer to evaporate on nourished skin. This helps the fragrance ‘cling’ to your skin more easily, and so you get to actually smell if for more than a few minutes without frantically re-spraying.
– Spray pulse-points you might not usually think of. Behind your knees is a good example – it’s a warm spot that, once spritzed, will mean you leave a fragrant trail…
– Spritz the perfume at the nape of your neck, even into your hair and on clothes – BUT do check by spraying a tissue first that it isn’t going to mark your hair or fabric a strange colour, or leave an oily residue! We adore this way of wearing perfume, as hair and fabric are porous without heating up as much as your skin, allowing the perfume to stay all day.
Hot Weather Perfume Problem #2 – Your favourite fragrances now smell too ‘heavy’
Layering fragrances used to be seen as a scent sin, but we’ve all gotten over ourselves a bit (well most of us have). You don’t have to do this to a perfume you already love on its own, but if it’s suddenly feeling smothering rather than sensual or bulky instead of beautiful, there are brilliant ways of beefing-up a sadly flimsy fragrance, or adding a zing to something that’s a bit too dark or cloying on your skin. Give it a go, because, as we always say: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!
– Add freshness by layering with citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).
– Spray on a lightweight scarf that way if it gets a bit ‘too much’ or you want to wear something different, you can simply take the scarf off and you’re not stuck with it on your skin all day. Do test on a tissue first, to make sure it wont stain the fabric, but also consider typing a scented scarf to your bag if you want to carry around a beautiful scent all day without having it on your skin.
Hot Weather Perfume Problem #3 – Nothing you’ve got seems to smell right in the heat
We empathise, because you’re definitely not alone! Just as weather can dramatically alter our mood, our mood plays a huge part in how we perceice a perfume – even if it’s something you’ve adored wearing for years but suddenly just don’t feel like wearing anymore.
Have a think about exactly what you’re looking for in a scent – is it to boost flagging energy levels, to comfort and help you feel protected, or to give you immediate mood-lifting feeling of trying something new? We’ve all be craving change these past few months, so why not treat yourself to a brand new selection of scents with the just-launched Eau So Fresh Discovery Box? Each fragrance has been especially curated to work well in hot weather, because we believe everyone’s olfactory wardrobe deserves a fresh start. Priced at just £19 for VIP Club Members, and £23 RRP, this could be the ‘newness’ your nose needs right now!
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…?
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).
Floral Street Arizona Bloomfrom£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.
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 ofThe 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.
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
Can you re-set your mood and enhance wellness with scent? Scientists say… yes!
Because changing your fragrance for something fresher when the warmer weather (finally!) comes around is not only a way of reinvigorating your scent wardrobe, but a way to actively improve your mental wellbeing, says Alfredo Fontanini, MD, PhD:
‘Each perfume is associated with different recollections and experiences. As you form new memories, older ones and emotions tend to fade. When you try a new perfume, you are trying an odor that has no associations, so it gives you the possibility to make new ones and write new memories.’
According to the neuroscientist, who’s chair of the department of neurobiology and behavior at Stony Brook University, and a co-director of its Neurosciences Institute; using a completely new scent helps us mentally draw a line under past experiences and start afresh.
In an interview with Elle magazine, olfactory expert Dawn Goldworm agreed, and spoke of people using fragrance to provoke memories – something we know first hand so many of you have been doing during the pandemic. Says Dawn:
‘Later in life, when you smell something, you are brought back to a specific moment or event. You remember how you feel.’ And she gives the advice that now is a good time to re-access your scent collection (even deodorants, shampoos and shower gels). ‘If it makes you feel good, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you change it,’ she suggests.
It makes complete sense. Because when you take a deep breath and inhale aroma molecules, they’re detected by the olfactory receptors in your nose and immediately stimulate some of the deepest, oldest parts of the brain – in ways that we’re only just starting to understand.
‘This process produces nerve impulses which travel to the limbic system, the part of the brain which is most concerned with survival, instincts and emotions. It’s thought by scientists the activity of the nerve signal passing through this region causes mood change by altering brain chemistry,’ says Christina Salcedas, of Aromatherapy Associates London. Our ability to smell ‘…is a window into parts of the brain related to core functions, like pleasure, emotion, and memory,’ agrees Jayant Pinto, MD, author of the study, an otolaryngologist (try saying that three times!) and head and neck surgeon at University of Chicago Medicine.
It turns out reaching for a fresher (and new to you) fragrance is more than simply pleasurable – it’s genuinely good for your mental health and wellness. We can get on board with that…
If you’re looking for a whole new summer scent wardrobe, the Seasonal Scent Subscription Box for Summer is your effortless, ready-curated collection. Lighter, brighter, filled with sunshine and allowing you to ‘travel with your nose’, these scents offer a chance to revel in the bliss of luminescent, uplifting fragrances.
If you already love a particular perfume but want to explore more, try our genius Fragrance Finder: simply type in the name and it’ll offer SIX new scent suggestions for you to try.
If you’re looking for something completely different, delve into one of our Discovery Boxesto find niche, luxury and new names.
It really doesn’t matter where you choose to begin – wiping the slate clean and starting afresh with a new scent for summer is one of the best (and easiest!) ways to re-set your mood and focus on wellness through fragrance…
If you can’t get away this year, at least we can enjoy planning a scented summer reading list. Have a look at what’s on ours… Now the weather’s playing nicely we can finally plan some outdoor activities, chief among which, for us, includes sitting in the sun (slathered in SPF, obvs) with a good book.
We’ve whole shelves full of Fragrant Reads and perfume-themed books for you to peruse, but here we’ve selected some favourites to entice your senses while (hopefully) finding time to relax in the sunshine this summer….
A novel after our own hearts (and noses) this ‘richly evocative tale is a ‘secret history of scent, memory and desire’ and begins in the 1950s with newly-married socialite Grace Munroe’s life being turned upside down by the arrival of a mysterious letter, naming her as the beneficiary of a woman called Eva D’Orsay, who, it turns out, was the darling of high society and a fragrant muse for perfumers in the 1920s. The journey of discovery leads Grace to the heart of the perfume world, travelling to Paris and exploring the life and death of this shadowy benefactor. Traversing decadently through the decades in New York, Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, as Grace finds out more, and indulges her own senses, she will be changed forever when forced to choose between the image of what society experts of her, and who she really is…
The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni [Black Swan imprint] foyles.co.uk
Granted a rare gift of a superior sense of smell, Elena’s passion for perfume has been passed down through generations of her family; but it’s a power that can all too often overwhelm her, as this ability means painful memories about her mother are carried on the breeze, and so she can never truly escape her past. When a betrayal destroys her dreams, fragrant events are set in motion when Elena’s best friend invites her to Paris, and she grabs at the chance to start afresh. Lured by the landscape, immersing herself in the world of scent once again, the ancient art of composing perfume beckons our protagonist. Searching for a secret recipe within her family’s historic archives, Elena’s new goal becomes the replication of a composition noone in her family managed to master. Having met a man who’s harbouring his own clandestine past; before long, she’s following the scent trail to discover all manner of mysterious. Because, ‘Remember Elena, perfume is the truth. The only thing that really counts. Perfume never lies, perfume is what we are, it’s our true essence…’
A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman [Vintage Books] amazon.co.uk
The title doesn’t do this justice: Ackerman’s writing is poetically exquisite and immediately evocative – exploring and explaining not just the sense of smell, but all the senses. In the first chapter – Smell – she looks at scent and memory, at roses, at sneezing, at the way our health (and what we eat) impacts on our body odour. Something to read that shakes the very foundations of how you’ll look at smell and fragrance. Although this book is over 20 years old, it’s timeless and deserves to be read by anyone with even a passing interest in smell and how it relates to our everyday lives. Thumbing through this (which we have a hunch you will do, many, many times over the years), you’ll learn answers to questions you never knew you had, and though of course we wish it was ALL about smell, with ‘dissertations on kisses and tattoos, sadistic cuisine and the music played by the planet Earth…’ think of the other four chapters as simply a gift with purchase that will similarly engage all your senses.
‘I experience the world through smell – I always have’ it begins, and we couldn’t agree more. Maggie was inspired to write this novel by spending time in our own Perfume Society office, attending launches and meeting perfumers, learning the history of perfume and developing a burning passion for it along the way. Central character, Polly, is a perfume blogger who loses herself in the world of fragrance while her own world falls to pieces around her – something many of us can empathise with. We love the fact Maggie was inspired to name her after falling madly for Vilhelm’s perfume, Dear Polly, and that she even created a blog and Instagram account for Polly to share her perfume reviews. Polly, having grown up surrounded by the beautiful perfume bottles of her ultra glam (ex-model) mother, and learning to explore the world by sniffing ‘…everything!’ she is now distracting herself with, among other things, ‘Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer.’ We’re rather wondering who this may have been based on, as that description doesn’t sufficiently narrow it down…
Scents & Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture by Catherine Maxwell (OUP) blackwells.co.uk
Gathering the fragrant thoughts of luminaries from Oscar Wilde to H.G. Wells, don’t be put off by the scholarly look – it’s a sumptuous plunge that presents perfume as a character in its own right. And it will spark a whole new ‘must read’ list! Did you know that Victorian ladies were warned off wearing tuberose in case it caused involuntary orgasms, so headily narcotic was the aroma? Read about this and more in Perfume Society VIP subscriber Catherine Maxwell’s fascinating book, which also features the astonishingly scathing observations of Virginia Woolf, quoted from her diaries, on women who wore too much perfume. What she has to say about fellow author Katherine Mansfield’s chosen fragrance is one of the shadiest things we’ve ever read!
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