Left it too late? Last-minute gift ideas

That moment of mounting panic when you suddenly realise… you’ve left it too late to present them with a gift! Uh-oh. But hey, it’s okay – whether you’ve dropped the ball for Valentines day, an anniversary, birthday or any special occasion you absolutely meant to remember: we have the scent solutions!

Here are some ideas that you can ‘gift’ your recipient with immediately, no postage required – simply write them a lovely card and explain you’ve treated them to one of the following (with fragrant swag to follow). If they love to smell great, we guarantee they’ll be delighted…

 

Simply tick the ‘this is a gift’ box and give 365 days of fabulous fragrant activities with our Perfume Society VIP Cub Subscription for only £25, and they’ll receive the following exclusive benefits:

•  Six issues a year of our online/downloadable digital magazine The Scented Letter – (virtually) the only publication in the world devoted to all things fragrant…

Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.

•  Early access to tickets for all our events – meet with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world, attend in-store events, workshops, etc. (Our VIPs are first to hear about these.)

•  A special member’s discount on our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (normally £19 – but £15 to our VIPs)

•  Plus choose a FREE Discovery Box when you sign up (so they’ll get an actual present to look forward to)

 

For people who love print (we must admit to being partial – for longer features, especially), give them a year of fragrant reading with a Scented Letter magazine Print Subscription for £75. This multi-award-winning publication has been described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, so we are delighted that in addition to our digital magazine we can now offer this print subscription of The Scented Letter, delivered to your door and starting with the current edition. (For autumn 2017, we look at Fashion, Fabric + Fragrance.)

Appearing six times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, featuring at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more is bound to take you ever-deeper into the scented world. Click here for a sneak-peak at our taster issue!

In addition, we feature all the breaking scent news, interviews with ‘noses’ and other creators, alongside fragrant features by leading fragrance writers – from Thomas Dunckley (The Perfume Candy Boy) to Persolaise, via Viola Levy and our Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale. (If you’ve signed up as a subscriber, you will continue to receive access to the complimentary e-zine version.)

NB We are able to ship The Scented Letter overseas; please contact us for prices here

 


Who doesn’t like filling out some kind of personality questionaire? There are now a great selection of Scent-matching Personality Tests you can take for FREE online or in-store, so get them to do the quiz now and offer to buy a bottle later. Genius!

Molton Brown invite you to ‘Embark on an illuminating journey to discover the ideal match for your unique self.’ The profiling system, was created in tandem with trend forecasting and innovation agency The Future Laboratory, and you instinctively choose from a series of images, at the end of which you’ll discover which ‘psychological perfume profile’ you match. Everyone we know who’s tried it has found it an incredible experience, and it’s brilliant at selecting scents you may easily have overlooked yourself.

Penhaligon’s offer a visual feast to explore while answering simple questions, all illustrated in their delightfully quirky and so-iconic way, with prompts to choose between textures, places to visit and favourite thirst-quenchers. It’s fun and quick to answer the test, and somehow they really do expertly pinpoint your perfume personality type. At the end you’ll be presented with a selection of samples to choose from, which you can either purchase online or pop into a store to smell, before splashing out for a full bottle.

Experimental Perfume Club are brilliant at taking the worry out of picking a new perfume, and their recently launched LAYERS Lab in Selfridges features a fantastically acurate in-store app that allows you to create your own bespoke perfume! We wrote about the concept in more detail here, but basically, the LAYERS App asks questions before recommending 3 possible formulae. You can either choose from the selection or customise the fragrance further with the help of their Fragrance Curator. Once you choose your final blend, your unique fragrance is created in front of you. And, for the ultimate bespoke touch, you can choose a name for your fragrance and a personalised label for your 50ml bottle.

 

If they are really into perfume and want to learn more, we’re pretty sure they’d love to have a go at making their own on a Perfume Making Workshop. It really gives you an insight into how a perfumer works, and a new appreciation for their creations, and a number of courses offer differing experiences that make perfume perfume-lover’s gifts.

4160 Tuesdays offer a number of options for perfume lovers who want to go that step further and have a guided session of making their own, from an afternoon or full day workshops, right through to five day workshops for the really serious, and more technical courses for the more experienced and those who want to start their own house. They can travel to you if there’s a large enough group (great idea for a party), or you can visit their beautiful new studio in London.

Karen Gilbert is a perfumer who offers online workshops, live presentations and studio based courses for anyone interested in creating fine fragrances, natural perfumes or developing your own range of scented bath and body products. Signing up to her newsletter also gives you access to top tips on where to buy the best ingredients and materials you’ll need, and there are even free online taster sessions to get those creative juices flowing.

Cotswold Perfumery have been making perfume for over 50 years, run by chief perfumer John Stephens, who now invites the fragrance obsessed to indulge their passions in various courses and one-day workshops. Running throughout the year in a dedicated teaching room/laboratory at the Cotswold Perfumery in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water; ‘as well as learning the skills involved in developing and making your own perfume (to take home with you), you’ll get a unique insight into the life and work of John, one of only six independent perfumers in the UK.’

Whichever of these last-minute gift options you choose, it’s bound to be appriated by any perfume lover. Why not print out an I.O.U voucher to put in the card, as a reminder they will get an actual gift later on? Or you know, gussy up some lovely word to write in their card, add a bunch of flowers and put the date one week ahead in your diary for next year?

By Suzy Nightingale

Our Christmas gift for you: a FREE copy of The Scented Letter Magazine!

‘Tis the season and all that, so we would love to brighten up your winter days by giving everyone a FREE gift of our multi award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter!

The Perfume Society‘s The Scented Letter features our annual 19-page scented gift extravaganza, with a beautiful Venetian theme. In fact, we travelled to that city to research its fascinating scented heritage, from 1,000 years ago to today. Because despite being almost written out of the perfume history books, this unique city is once again reclaiming its rightful place in the fragrant universe.

For this 60-page issue of our Jasmine Award-winning magazine The Scented Letter we travelled to Venice to explore its fascinating scented heritage. Almost written out of the perfume history books, this unique city is once again reclaiming its rightful place in the fragrant universe. And is there a more romantic place to go scent-shopping, at Christmas or indeed any other time of year…? We think not.

Scroll down for a preview, or click here to read your full copy of A Venetian Christmas right away…!

• Bellissima! This seasonal edition also features our annual perfume gift guide extravaganza. Across 19 pages, we hand-picked perfect scented gifts for everyone on your list, whatever your budget

• For our cover story, Venice’s Perfumed Past, Jo Fairley follows Venice’s spice routes back in time – from 1,000 years ago, right up to today

• We also lead you by the nose for the latest in our occasional series, Scents of Place: Venice – your ultimate scented shopping guide to ‘La Serenissima’

• Sharing her aromatic life in Memories, Dreams & Reflections this edition is superstar make-up artist Ruby Hammer

And of course, as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more!

Why not make yourself a cup of something soothing, put your feet up and bury your nose in a festively fragrant magazine for a while…?

(NB The Scented Letter is always free online for our VIP Club members – we send you a link to download or in flickable format to read online as soon as it’s published. OR, after much demand, you can order gorgeously glossy print copies, (which are sent out approximately 10 days after each new issue of The Scented Letter appears on the website. We work right up to the wire to make sure everything is truly newsworthy!)

 

 

Jo Fairley on Desert Island Discs

We’re so thrilled that the iconic BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs – now superbly hosted by Lauren Laverene – managed to catch up with our co-founder of The Perfume Society and editor of The Scented Letter Magazine, Jo Fairley; and we’re not quite sure how they managed it, because she is (to put it mildly) a busy woman.

One minute she’s putting pen to paper about scented subjects, the next she’s giving a talk to encourage small-business owners, putting together another volume of The Beauty Bible book, or jetting off to Australia with Green & Black’s chocolate (which she began with her husband, Craig Sams). Throughout every venture, Jo has believed in listening to her gut feelings, and going with what she’s passionate about (which is why perfume and chocolate feature so highly!)

Jo was over-the-moon to be asked on one of her all-time favourite radio shows, and says that ‘it was an absolute joy and a hoot to do,’ revealing that the team were ‘drinking tea and nibbling Green & Blacks while the back room crew got completely and joyously wired on their bars!’ Before listening to the show, Jo said, ‘I will probably break the Guinness World Record for breath-holding while listening (from behind the sofa)’ and comments over all the years of listening, she must have ‘mentally composed my playlist 1000 times (haven’t we all?) but let me tell you, when it comes down to it, selecting just eight tracks is REALLY HARD.’

We’re sure you’ve got a list of tracks you’d sail away with, so have a listen to Jo’s selection – and the fascinating interview with Lauren, all about Jo’s background, how she started in magazines and her advice for anyone starting a business…

By Suzy Nightingale

Cinematic scents

Many famous faces have graced the mini-films of fragrance adverts over the years – for some, their first acting role, for others a moment of evoking the ethos of the house at the very peak of their fame. But did you know several fragrance adverts over the years have also been directed by famous names?

Settle back in your velveteen seats, grab some popcorn and let’s go to the scented cinema…

Sofia Coppola (nominated for Best Director for Lost in Translation in 2003) directed this advert for Miss Dior Cherie, featuring Natalie Portman. Super-stylish, it confirms Coppola’s lifelong appreciation of haute couture, and perhaps evokes her visually stunning film Marie Antoinette in its old-world baroque splendour.

Wes Anderson and son of legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Coppola, had previously worked together on films like The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. Here, they made three short adverts (comprising one longer film) for Prada Candy L’Eau fragrance. An homage to the French New Wave, the visual aesthetic is pure Wes Anderson, and were fully gripped by the classic ‘two men in love with one woman’ storyline
.

This Chanel short film for Coco Mademoiselle saw Keira Knightly and director Joe Wright teaming up for the fourth time – they’ve also worked together in Atonement, (for which, Wright was nominated in 2008 for Best Director), Pride & Prejudice, and Anna Karenina. Just so beautifully lit, the colours and cleverly composed shots look like poetry on the screen.

Renowned surrealist director David Lynch surprised the fragrance and film worlds alike by directing this advert for Yves Saint Laurent Opium in the early 90s. Spanish model Nastassia Urbano stars, with a striking resemblance to Ingrid Bergman (and her daughter, Isabella Rossellini, who was to star in his 1986 hot movie, Blue Velvet). All the hallmarks of sensuality are there, along with a visual deconstruction/seduction of a body on film.

Comic book writer turned film maker, Frank Miller, uses his iconic deliberately over-stylised look (very reminiscent of Sin City) to great effect in his advert for Gucci Guilty. Starring Evan Rachel Wood and Chris Evans, inky blackness and searing white light are juxtaposed to create a highly sophisticated homage to film noir.

Fragrance and film feature strongly in The Scented Letter‘s recent Perfume & Culture edition, too, in Lights, Camera, Aldehydes!, award-winning blogger and author Persolaise was inspired by his twin passions for film and fragrance – matching some of his favourite fragrances to the films he chose to watch. And in Perfuming a Part, I lift the velvet curtain on the actors and film directors who use fragrance as a tool to create a mood or get into a role…

The Scented Letter Perfume & Culture edition £15 / £12.50 for VIP Club members.

By Suzy Nightingale

The Scented Letter Perfume & Culture issue launches

Perfume & Culture is the theme of the just-published edition of The Perfume Society‘s The Scented Letter magazine, in which we explore the many exciting ways fragrance is crossing over into the arts – infusing theatre, literature, ballet and art installations with its sensory magic – and at the growing trend for artists to launch perfume ranges of their own.

In this issue you can expect to find…

• For Lights, Camera, Aldehydes!, award-winning blogger and author Persolaise was inspired by his twin passions for film and fragrance

The Scent of a Novel is the article which won Julia Berick the ‘Rising Star’ Jasmine Award – and now you can read it in full

• Suzy Nightingale lifts the velvet curtain on the actors and film directors who use fragrance as a tool to create a mood or get into a role in Perfuming A Part

 Bottle design is an art in itself – so we report on the exquisite fragrance flacons which broke all records in The Perfume Bottles Auction 2019

 

• Novelist Jane Thynne – who weaves perfume into her bestsellers – shares her olfactory life in Memories, Dreams, Reflections

And of course, as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more!

Our 60-page multi Jasmine Award-winning magazine is your very best way to keep up to date with all that’s happening in the scented world. Described as an essential read by industry insiders and perfume-lovers alike, the 60-page magazine is available FREE for our VIP Club Members online (sign in to view) or to purchase the coffee-table worthy glossy print version, you can order your copies here for £15 (£12.50 for VIPs)

What to give far-away loved ones…? A full year of fragrant reading for only £20!

We’re overjoyed that we can now offer overseas subscribers an International Subscription to our digital downloadable magazine, The Scented Letter. It’s THE perfect Christmas gift to send far-away loved ones who adore fragrance, because it’s only £20 with no overseas postage worries, and last ALL YEAR!

All you have to do is click a button and we’ll do the rest of the work for you…

Buying an International Subscription gives your lucky gift-recipient six 60-page ONLINE editions a year of this beautiful, multi-Jasmine Award-winning magazine: the only one of its kind for perfume-lovers.

Because of the way our system works, when you click Add to Cart it will send us an e-mail – and we’ll follow up for payment. (If sending this as a gift; please let us know in an e-mail to us if it’s for someone else.)

Entirely dedicated to the world of perfume – and aimed at the perfume-lover – we’re delighted to showcase in The Scented Letter the work of many of the leading creatives in fragrance writing and photography (both from the blogosphere and print).

We take full advantage of our privileged access to all the leading ‘noses’ (from Thierry Wasser to Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud), perfume houses, bottle designers and more to ensure that The Scented Letter is your finger on the pulse-point of everything that’s happening in the scented world.

Below is a glimpse from some recent issues – or to see what they’re getting, or why not make yourself a cuppa and enjoy a FREE fuller taster of the magazine here

The Scented Letter Magazine International Online Subscription £20 for a FULL YEAR

Smell-X installation explores future of smell

What does the future hold for scent? This was the question posed at a sensory installation called Smell-X, recently held at the Figment NYC festival at Governor’s Island in New York City. We used to rely on our sense of smell to stay alive, but as Helen Keller commented, this once-vital ability became something of ‘the fallen angel of the senses’ when we no longer needed to smell a sabre-toothed tiger or forage for food with our noses as the guide.

We teach people techniques proven to enhance our olfactory abilities in our regular How To Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops (keep an eye on our events pages and newsletter) attempting to re-connect those neural pathways and genuinely get more pleasure from smelling things in a different way each day. But what if we lived in a future where smell had become so dismissed, we forgot the emotional connections and time-travelling memories that scent can tap in to…?

Olivia Jezler is a designer and scent strategist, who invited guests’ to save the future of humanity’ in the multisen­sorial installation. Having worked for fragrance houses including IFF, Symrise and Robertet, working with brands and participating in academic research in Human Computer Interaction at the SCHI LAB at University of Sussex, Olivia wanted to see how members of the public interact with scent in a series of  hands-on (or rather ‘noses-on’) experiments.

Participants were asked to imagine a future where, ‘…there is no need for the sense of smell and thus our smelling abilities have been genetically engineered to not exist. However, it has become noticeable that people have become joy-less, feelings of enjoyment, connection, beauty and emotion have disappeared and most worrisome, rates of suicide have increased…

Yet, there is hope. There are a few people who through a genetic mutation have retained their ability to smell, those in possession of the gene family Smell-X. Special agents search the world to identify these rare individuals who can perceive through their noses to be a “smell translator”. They are invited to a competition to translate basic smells into shapes. This is the first step to bringing humanity back into balance – giving them the ability to experience the elusive and emotive sense of smell through one of their other senses.’

We so wish we could have been in New York to see the exhibition in person, but for the rest of you who also couldn’t be there, luckily the Smell-X experiments are written about in great deatail on their website.

We’re completely fascinated by these ‘cross-modal’ explorations of smell – finding out the myriad ways our senses overlap. Indeed, we dedicated an entire issue of our magazine to the subject, including our award-winning feature on Synaesthesia. If you’re interested in discovering more, buy your magazine here!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

The Scented Letter Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance issue

Our latest edition of The Scented Letter just went live – and we’ve big news – because from this edition onwards, you’ll enjoy a fatter edition of The Scented Letter! We’ll be bringing you the same number of pages, over a year – but bigger issues (at least 60 pages), bi-monthly. Here’s what you’ll find in this beautiful print edition…
If you’re a VIP Subscriber, be sure you’re logged in and click here to read our latest issue in ‘flickable’ format. (Not a Subscriber? Sign up here – or alternatively, order a print copy for £12.50 here.)
• In Bring Back the Birch, Suzy Nightingale looks at the romantic story of one of perfumery’s most intriguing ingredients, Russian leather – a hot trend
• Award-winning blogger and writer Persolaise unpicks the fascinating relationship between textiles and perfumes in the cover story, Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance
• Catwalk/red carpet make-up legend Charlotte Tilbury – shares her fascinating life in smells in Memories, Dreams & Reflections
•  In How Do You Bottle a Legend?, read how Chanel – immortalised in the new scent Gabrielle – flouted convention, on and off the catwalk
•  Swoon over #ShareMyStash, in which a perfume insider reveals the biggest collection of fragrances we’ve yet showcased in our pages
•  And of course, we bring you all the Latest Launches,  news, events – and so much more
In addition to the digital version, we are now able to take orders for a limited run of printed copies of the magazine, priced £12.50 – find it here. And remember: you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letterhere.



 

Read it NOW! The Scented Letter 'Collectors & Collections' is live…

We’re delighted to share with Subscribers the latest edition of The Scented Letter – our online, downloadable fragrance magazine (one of the key VIP Subscriber benefits when you belong to The Perfume Society).
If you’re an existing VIP Subscriber, be sure you’re logged in and click here to read our latest issue in ‘flickable’ format – or join us here to access this dazzling straight away!
• In The Great Harlot of PerfumeryBethan Cole drenches her senses in tuberose – a love-it-or-hate-it perfume ingredient that inspires unswerving devotion among its fans
• Our exploration of Scent Storage looks at the dark secrets (literally) of prolonging your perfume’s lifespan – with tips from a world expert
• Sixties icon Twiggy – the world’s first supermodel, and as super-cool as ever – shares her fascinating life in smells in Memories, Dreams & Reflections
• Karen Gilbert recalls her experience of what happens When A Stash is Stolen – with sage advice for fellow perfumistas
• In La-LaliquelandCarson Parkin-Fairley visits the world’s largest collection of René Lalique perfume bottles and objets on a visit to France
•  And of course, we bring you all the Latest Launches,  news, events – and so much more
NB A print edition is available, priced £12.50 for non-Subscribers and £10 to our VIPs. Click here to read more and order… And remember: you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letterhere



The first gourmand: Brillat-Savarin – an 18th Century chemist who knew you are what you eat (and smell!)

Long before ‘gourmand’ foodie-inspired fragrances were even dreamed of and while smell was still perceived as the poor cousin of our other senses, one 18th Century polymath was championing the exquisite pleasures that taste and smell bring to everyday life. And more than mere pleasure alone: in fact, he heralded the proper appreciation and scientific study of these long-foregranted senses…
‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.’ So said Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826, a French lawyer and politician whom, apart from law, studied chemistry and medicine, and eventually gained fame as an epicure and gastronome.
 

 
His seminal work Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste), contains Savarin’s philosophies and observations on the pleasures of the food, which he very much considered a science – long before the birth of molecular gastronomy and serious studies of taste and smell had begun. And smell was very much at the forefront of the gastronomique experience, Savarin had worked out; exclaiming:
‘Smell and taste are in fact but a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose.’
Previously considered the least important of the senses – indeed, smell remains the least scientifically explored, though technology is making huge leaps in our understanding – Savarin proclaimed that,’The sense of smell, like a faithful counsellor, foretells its character.’
 

 
Published only two months before his death, the book has never been out of print and still proves inspirational to chefs and food-lovers to this day.
 

 
Preceding the remarkable leaps in knowledge high-tech equipment has allowed and revealing how entwined our sense of smell is to the taste and enjoyment of food, Savarin also observed how our noses protect us from eating potentially harmful substances, explaining ‘…for unknown foods, the nose acts always as a sentinal and cries: “Who goes there?”‘ while coming to the conclusion that a person’s character may be foretold in their taste and smell preferences… ‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.’
We devoted an entire issue of our award-winning magazine The Scented Letter (now available in print, and with online subscriptions worldwide!) to taste and smell – as of course we are gourmand fans in ALL the senses. And so it is heartening to know that Brillat was on our side here, with this extremely useful advice we selflessly pledge to carry through life:
‘Those who have been too long at their labor, who have drunk too long at the cup of voluptuousness, who feel they have become temporarily inhumane, who are tormented by their families, who find life sad and love ephemeral… they should all eat chocolate and they will be comforted.’
Wise words, indeed. We plan to enjoy all the sweet temptations that come our way, in scent form and in chocolate. Talk about having your cake and wearing it, too!
Written by Suzy Nightingale