Did someone say summer? 2nd-8th June: Acqua di Parma gelato at Harvey Nichols!

When the words ‘luxury gelato’ and ‘Acqua di Parma’ are combined in an email’s subject line, you can be sure we’re clicking on that within a nanosecond – and of course we couldn’t wait to share the news with you…

At Harvey Nichols, a brand new pop-up space is being created in order to celebrate the launch of the Acqua di Parma La Collezione travel set. Surely one of the fragrance houses we most associate with summer, Acqua di Parma have gone full-steam ahead with the sunshine vibes by commissioning luxury gelato brand Snowflake to invent three unique flavours –Bergamotto di Calabria, Arancia di Capri & Fico di Amalfi – all of which have been inspired by their Blu Mediterraneo range of easy-breezy scents to see you through the sultriest of days in the city.

As if the ice-cream wasn’t enough of a draw, On 2nd & 8th June Acqua di Parma’s in-house artist will also be on hand for on-site bottle painting and personalisation, and customers will be offered complementary customisation of their bottle with any Blu Mediterraneo purchase. What’s more, all customers purchasing Blu Meditteraneo between 2nd & 8th June will receive a Majolica tile of their choice scented with their favourite fragrance. 

We’re just in love with these beautifully evocative drawings by Michalis Christodoulou, also specially commissioned for their pop-up shop, and we don’t know about you, but we’ve definitely been inspired to hot-foot it down the Harvey Nichols to cool off in style…

Acqua di Parma La Collezione travel set: Bergamotto di Calabria, Arancia di Capri & Fico di Amalfi £99 for 3 x 30ml

Buy it at Harvey Nichols

 
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

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in to the water… Five modern aquatics to dive into

Merely mentioning the word ‘aquatics’ in perfume circles has fragrance lovers getting all dewy-eyed (or, alternatively, chlorine-soaked and weeping bucket loads) at memories of the 90s tidal wave of easy-breezy ozonic scents: perfumes that conjure images of salt-tousled, home-highlighted hair and an all-pervading smell of melon and cucumber.
The unmistakable wind of change that shook up the 90s scent scene was partly due to fragrances delighting in overdoses of the synthetic ingredient Calone – less memorably named “methylbenzodioxepinone” – first discovered by Pfizer in 1966 and then rather confusingly trade-named “Calone 1951.”
Used by perfumers to give a stylised seashore waft of a faintly floral, watermelon purity at the heart of their compositions; Calone is weirdly similar to the structure of pheromones excreted by certain species of brown algae, which is undoubtedly fascinating but not the most romantic seaside image, so it’s no surprise advertising focused on salty, suntanned skin and sunset kisses.
Calvin Klein’s Escape was a huge 90s hit, and it heralded an era of those tousle-haired beach-babes we so longed to be, taking the aquatic theme and plunging to the deep end as L’Eau de Bulgari, L’eau d’Issey, CK One and Acqua di Giò swam in similar – now unisex – streams.
Some of those original blockbusters have more than withstood the test of time and are genuinely worth revisiting – Davidoff Cool Water (literally) springs to mind, as does the restrained genius of Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey and Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani: perhaps the olfactory equivalent of paddling in the comfort of an oft-repeated Friends episode – you might know what you’re getting but goodness it’s nice to reminisce, they were extraordinarily high quality, and still retain the power to make you incredibly happy.
With the 90s revival having heavily influenced fashion for the past couple of years, it’s interesting to see that wave of resurgence has now reached the perfume world’s shores. With nary a hint of waxed-within-an-inch-of-their-lives Baywatch extras among them, these contemporary aquatics are less beach-body-ready and more about modern travellers exploring the world via scents that feel genuinely fresh (as in new, not simply refreshing) using clever Headspace Technology and ingenious ingredients to evoke unique locations that feel dewy, cooling and mysteriously alluring.
Pop on your water-wings and dive on in to these…

Two seas perpetually meet within this ethereally beautiful evocation of Denmark. As the waves kiss, the tide withdraws to reveal a coral glow of ambrette with orange flower, jasmine and rosehips crystalised with salt. Wisps of incense drift down shore with a warm-skin snuggle of vanilla as the sun dips low.
Nancy Meiland Églantier £105 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Nancy Meiland
The sparkling original launched in 2004, for this latest fragrance perfumer Christine Nagel keeps the effervescence but adds huge amounts of space – a sense of crisp white linen, air misted with salt on the breeze, tears of laughter tasted on the lips and an indigo depth of patchouli and dry woods as it settles.
Hermes Eau de Merveilles Bleue £72 for 50ml
Available from March, buy it at John Lewis
Humongously green – a florist-shop explosion of freshly snapped stalks, fat buds bursting and white flowers tied raggedly with twine – this would fill an entire fairytale palace with its otherworldly life-force, and echoes of salty waves mercilessly crashing on rocks as lightning tears the sky assunder.
BeauFort London Fathom V £95 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at BeauFort London

That moment when the sea melts into the sky is expressed through the seamless serenity of transparent lime, a slowly exhaled mint melding with juicy blackcurrants, softened by blowsy mimosa blossoms and the clarity of white musk. An Event Horizon of celestial bliss and graceful escapism.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia £130 for 70ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Selfridges

Harking to their barber shop heritage, Penhaligon’s invite you to take your ease with a wet plunge from hot to cold, the deeply cooling herbaceous notes of eucalptus and rosemary balanced with the clarity of lemon and fir balsam, patted dry with fluffy white cedar scented towels and a tingle of glowing incense.
Penhaligon’s Savoy Steam £148 for 100ml eau de Cologne
Available from March at Penhaligon’s
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Marvellous mandarin – the citrus scent to cheer

Mandarin somehow seems the most user-friendly of citrus ingredients: not in-your-face fresh as lemon and lime, nor tenaciously zesty as orange, it’s a happy-making scent linked to fortune and good luck in Chinese culture and reminder of happy childhood memories, for others.
Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays shared her thoughts with us on mandarin:  ‘It’s childhood Christmases for me. I’d use more of it except that citrus fruit essential oils are restricted these days, and I almost always want to get some grapefruit in there too. It has more character than sweet orange; it seems naughtier to me. It’s a special treat and it’s packed with sunshine. Oddly enough, I find that my customers describe certain synthetic fragrances as ‘fresh and natural’. Tangerine is one of the genuine natural fragrances that has the same effect. It’s light and flighty though, so it works as a top note then flits off, leaving an impression but not hanging around to be judged. Mandarin works nicely as long as you don’t mind its lack of commitment!’
And were you one of the original Aqua Manda mandarin fantatics, or a newcomer to the happily revived – by consumer demand – brand? Perhaps the iconic affordable scent of the 60s and 70s, its sweetly zingy fragrance of mandarin infused with ginger, lavender, patchouli, cinnamon, eucalyptus, tarragon and juniper berries spelled grooviness abounding, and a surge of interest in mandarin as a note in perfumery. Sunshine-y in a laid-back way, it’s the perfect note to explore for summer…
 
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Read more about mandarin and other fragrances to explore this ingredient in our dedicated Ingredients section of the website – what are some of your favourite notes – or perhaps it’s time to branch out and try something new…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Summer’s fleeting pleasures: limited edition scents to grab before they’re gone

A full day of sunshine seems a rare treat so far this summer – as we write this, looking out of the office window, puddles of water reveal an earlier downpour and the sky doesn’t look particularly promising. Meh. Instead of being downbeat and shaking our fists in anger at the weather gods, we decided to spritz on some sunshine with a few of summer’s limited editions. Think of them as portable dreams of warmer days, and get your hands on them before they disappear altogether – like the sunshine itself!

Three gorgeous sugared-almond coloured bottles [see above] of Goutal’s prettiest and freshest summer scents are crying out to be shown off on dressing tables. The result of a collaboration with the artist Cecile Togni; Ceclie is inspired by Italy, music and her work with many luxury fashion houses.

Annick Goutal Eau du Sud, Eau d’Hadrien & Ninfeo Mio £87 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy them at House of Fraser

CK-One-Summer16-100ml-Packshot-Straight copyThe jungle green bottle of this utterly sharable scent gives the illusion of peering deep into lush palm-fringed undergrowth. Crisp notes of lime mojito, ginger and juicy guava clear the way for a vibrantly fresh green heart spiced with juniper, before everything cools off with coconut milk, cedar and tree moss.

CK One Summer £33 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

the glaceThe internationally acclaimed ‘Queen of colour’ (and now fragrance) Terry de Gunzburg captures refreshing notes of iced tea sipped on summer’s day by the sea. Buoyant lemon verbena lifts the spirits before herbal-powdery mate, black tea and a dreamily soft musk base soothe the soul.

Terry de Gunzburg Thé Glacé Eau Fraîche £107 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges

 

sunshineA hot pink outfit for the latest limited edition for Her, and the juice matches the bottle with its vibrant tropical fruitiness radiating juicy vibes and the energy of an exotic setting sun. We know we shouldn’t be influenced by flacons, but even seeing the colourful squares makes us feel warmer, somehow!

Paul Smith Sunshine for Her £31.00 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Boots

BalmainEvoking the fashion of tribal beauty and spirit of an ultra-glam safari holiday, this is the original Extatic gone wild. One for those who prefer their summers hot and spicy: ginger flower, pink pepper, tiger orchid, ylang ylang, night jasmine and cashmere wood will have you turning up the air-con…

Balmain Extatic Tiger Orchid £69.00 for 90ml eau de parfum
Exclusively in-store at Harrods

 

Maui 300DPI copyBritney’s favourite place to holiday is, apparently, Hawaii (we’d be happy to join her if she felt like extending an invite right now!) thus, inspired by white sandy beaches, the warmth of sun on skin and abandoning yourself to exoticism: notes of Bird of Paradise, passion fruit, and coconut. Delish!
BRITNEY SPEARS(tm) Maui fantasy £35 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Superdrug
greenteaThe much-loved summer go-to fragrance has been refreshed even further with exquisitely juicy nectarine, peach, apricot and soft musk. We imagine wearing this to a tea-party, clinking glasses and laughing while wearing a gauzy gown and dancing barefoot in the grass until the sun begins to set….
Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Nectarine Blossom £30 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at elizabetharden.co.uk
IsseyIt’s kind of impossible not to feel cheerful when spraying on a mist of this feminine, mouth-wateringly fruity fragrance inspired by the exotic freshness of dragon fruit (one for Game of Thrones fans on their hols?) The chaps are in for a treat, too – the male version celebrating the unique freshness of kiwi.
L’Eau d’Issey Summer 100ml for £41.00 eau de toilette
Buy it at Debenhams
PHILOSOPHY GRACE SUMMERBeachy happiness in a bottle with a fizz of bergamot, gentle dune rose, creamy sandalwood infused with rich cocoa absolute and a healthy splash of refreshing coconut water. Solar musks give an aldehydic lift to the lingering in the base – treat yourself to an ice cream in anticipation…
Philosophy Pure Summer Grace £33 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at John Lewis 
Jennifer Aniston Near Dusk bottle 300DPI copyA debut scent from the award-winning actress, it celebrates her favourite time of shadows slipping into sunlight as the sun dips low on a dusky shore. Ripe nectarine, pink pepper and coconut fuse with salty sea spray as jasmine, peony and orange blossom blush sweetly into a sublimely white musky base.
Jennifer Aniston Near Dusk £29.99 for 85ml eau de parfum
Exclusive to The Fragrance Shop
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Little lucky charms – Six lovely Lily of the Valley scents to spritz this May Day

Now, for the fragrant noses out there that don’t know, in France, May Day is known as Fête du Muguet. It is tradition on this day, to give Lily of the Valley to your loved ones and people who inspire you, to wish them happiness and good luck.

It all began in 1561 on May 1st when King Charles IX received a Lily of the Valley as a lucky charm. He decided then to offer a flower each year to the ladies of the court.

And so at the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a definitive symbol of springtime, to your loved ones. It was commonplace for peasants to go out to the fields to pick many flowers and then hand-tie them to sell on May Day. In fact, now, because of this, the government still permits people to sell them tax-free.

Now, if you love the sweet springtime scent of Lily of the Valley, but just don’t want it to fade like a bunch of the innocent flowers will, here’s a list of our favourite Muguet fragrances for you to keep a little bit of that May Day feeling all year round.

penhaligons
Sweet, fresh and graceful, Penhaligon’s offering is akin to walking into a blooming field of muguet. Accents of jasmine and bergamot keep it fresh, whilst sandalwood in the base ensures a creamy trail on the skin.

Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley £67 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Penhaligon’s

molton b
Dewy white flowers steal the show in this meadow-like scent from Molton Brown. Silky ylang-ylang, sandalwood and a soft, sensual white musk linger for a tender, enduring finish.

Molton Brown Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise £39 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Molton Brown

Annick_Goutal_Le_Muguet_Eau_de_Toilette_Spray_100ml_1403081186
Paired with red berries and rose, Annick Goutal’s Soliflore is a tender and airy floral and leaves the skin with traces of a warm, sweet benzoin.

Annick Goutal Le Muguet £74 for 100ml eau de toilette
At Selfridges

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This gentle scent from Fragonard accentuates the lily of the valley at the heart by surrounding it with other similarly delicate flowers; jasmine, neroli and freesia. Secret spring garden walks bottled.

Fragonard Muguet £18 for 50ml eau de toilette
At Marks and Spencer

guerlain
Guerlain’s newest incarnation of the dainty flower is greener, pinker and even more cheerful than previous offerings. Dewy roses and subtly sensual jasmine make Thierry Wasser’s creation oh-so-wearable.

Guerlain Muguet Limited Edition of 1,872 £370 for 100ml eau de parfum
In store at Selfridges

robbie honey
The scent of the tiny white bell-like flower is captured in its truest form here in a Robbie Honey candle. Burn it for a touch of springtime in the home.

Robbie Honey Muguet Des Bois Scented Candle £42 for 190g – 60 hours burn time
At Fortnum & Mason

Happy May Day to one and all!
By Carson Parkin-Fairley 

Cire Trudon’s new Cyrnos candle conjures the smell of Empress Eugenie’s sun-drenched villa…

‘Sunshine and showers’ seems to be the phrase most often escaping the lips of weather-forecasters of late – yes it may be fully Spring time in the UK, but sunshine is most definitely not guaranteed. Thank goodness, then, for the consistently stylish scented offerings from Cire Trudon (who know a thing or two about candle-making, having been at it since 1643) – the latest being ‘Cyrnos‘ (which translates to ‘Corsica’ in Ancient Greek), presented in the most sunshine-y yellow glass holder we think we’ve ever seen, it truly seems to glow before it’s even been shown a flame. From the vibrant colour, you may imagine it to be a highly citrus-fragranced affair, but read on, for all is not quite what it seems…

Cire Trudon say: ‘Between 1850 and 1914, the French Riviera was the place to be for the intellectual and political elite. Ruling families, intellectuals, aristocrats and artists travelled there there to enjoy the practically guaranteed sunshine during there during the winter.

Empress Eugenie, Napoleon the 3rd’s widow, fell for this small corner of paradise. In 1894, she built a villa – named Cyrnos – in Cap Martin, located near Monaco. The name was a tribute to the Bonapartes’ homeland, her late husband’s family. Drenched in sun, and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the villa is set in an idyllic stage. The limestone rock made the garden’s construction particularly difficult, only achieved through strong will, and lots of dynamite. The Empress’s ambition was to create a park that looked as though it had always been around. Cyrnos, Cire Trudon’s latest creation conjures the solar beauty, the dazzling scent, and the art of living in this truly unique place.’

With her penchant for landscapes harbouring contrasting plants and their multitudionous scents, the Empress finally achieved this vision: mature pine, olive, and palm trees fringed by wide-ranging flowerbeds full of colour amid the arid landscape typical of the region. The smell of cystus, myrtle, mastic, and rosemary fill the air, mixing with the lavender blooms carried from the garden. Though she lived mostly alone, the Empress hosted any number of prominent monarchs at the time, such as Queen Victoria, as well as avant-garde intellectuals types like Jean Cocteau.

Gorgeously vibrant and uplifting, the sunshine is captured in Cyrnos not through the obvious choice of citrus, but with sun-warmed herbaceous wafts of loveliness that follow you around the house all day, and have us wishing for a personal invite to that all too tempting-sounding villa itself…!

cire-trudon-cyrnos-candle-bCire Trudon Cyrnos candle £70
Buy it at John Lewis

Written by Suzy Nightingale