Fragrances for… luxury destinations (even if you’re stuck at home!)

We are all LONGING to get away – those luxury destinations are beckoning to our souls like never before! But with pandemic restrictions making planning rather dicey still, we’re taking respite with some of these fabulously evocative and opulent scents. From far-flung fragrant lands to precious perfume jewels, have a browse through these recent launches and see where your nose would like to lead you…

 

 

BVLGARI La Gemme Astrea .
Alberto Morillas has worked for so long with Bulgari, he once told us there’s almost a shorthand between him and this jewellery house, when it comes to understanding their vision for new fragrances. Joining the La Gemme collection, inspired by precious stones, is a scent inspired by blue aventurine, forged from natural saffron (the world’s priciest spice), jasmine sambac and a velvety honey, which delivers ‘unparalleled intensity’, in the perfumer’s words. Masterful, as we’d expect.
£268 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

 

Carolina Herrera Confidential Gold Myrrh Absolute
Myrrh has been a cornerstone of Middle Eastern perfumery – well, since Three Kings presented it to you-know-who, two millennia ago. Resinous, mysterious, it is the protagonist of Carolina Herrera’s latest exotic treasure, spiced by black pepper, rendered aromatic by immortelle and given delicious gourmand flourishes of cacao and liquorice, delectably sweetened by vanilla in the base. Proferred in the most eye-catching gilded flacon that is another gift for the senses.
£235 for 100ml eau de parfum
carolinaherrera.com

 

Ella K Rose de Pushkar
Perfumer Sonia Constant adds to her olfactory travelogue with this shareable Rajasthan-inspired offering, capturing the visual opulence of this so-colourful corner of India through armfuls of rose, swirling in a heart of oudh, sandalwood, patchouli and white cedar. It opens with saffron, black pepper, frankincense and lychee, concludes with leather, tonka and cistus absolutes, amber and musk, the juice as deliciously pink as Rajasthan’s fabled palaces. Travel in a bottle, indeed.
£175 for 70ml eau de parfum
jovoyparis.uk

 

Dunhill Signature Collection Egyptian Smoke
Smoke is snaking its way through many of this season’s scent compositions, conjured up here by Robertet’s Jérôme Épinette is an is-it-a-Chypre-is-it-an-Amber creation that surrounds classic Grasse roses with papyrus, black tea, pink pepper and ginger, segueing to patchouli, vanilla bean and curls of smoky labdanum. ‘Always surprising and vibrating, like a warm golden light on a star-covered deep blue sky,’ as the menswear brand aptly sums it up.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

Parle Moi De Parfum Haute Provence / 89
Endless vistas of Provençal lavender fields and their ‘glorious explosion of purple, mauve, lilac and blue’ were the inspiration behind this wonderfully soothing, aromatic ‘memory of France in high summer.’ Until we can wander those fields first-hand, this cool, dry and immediately nostalgic scent spirits us there with every spritz. Refreshing watermelon and hypnotic narcissus only add to the bucolic charms, and once again we praise the nose of Michel Almairac. Mais oui!
£98 for 50ml eau de parfum
lessenteurs.com

How to find a new fragrance – tips & tricks to try before you buy

We’ve learned all manner of tips and tricks at The Perfume Society, which we’re thrilled to share with you, here. We’ve been privileged to meet some of the world’s best perfumers and foremost fragrance experts over the last seven years we’ve been going, and want to share their advice with you, below.

If you want a fabulous new fragrance to try, need tips on how to smell it as a perfumer does or how to describe what you’re smelling, consider some of these most useful fragrant facts to help you enjoy your fragrances even more…

Your taste in fragrance changes over the years – just as in food preference – and depends on weather, what you’ve eaten recently, your mood and hormones. So, take your time to explore a new scent out of your comfort range.

Spray on a blotter first and come back to it at hourly intervals. Write down your initial thoughts, then re-try a few days (and weeks) later.

Many perfumers trained for more years than a heart surgeon, memorising ingredients by connecting their smell to personal scent memories and images that immediately spring to mind, unbidden.

Smell has no distinct language. If you’re struggling to describe a scent, try likening it to fabric (is it velvety, suede-like, cotton fresh, silken or fluffy?) Perhaps it reminds you of music (played on which instruments? Fast or slow?) Or you might picture a place – imagine the air temperature and scenery it evokes…

Your nose gets used to smelling the same things, so avoid wearing the same thing daily. Try layering to re-awaken your senses or branch out with exciting new discoveries!

Like all artists, perfumers tend to have a certain style. If you fall in love with one (we’re predicting several) of these, research them online: we bet you’ll fall for others.

Scent molecules are volatile and evaporate at differing rates. Citruses are lightest, often found in top notes and disappearing rapidly; florals tend to be in the heart while base notes are heavier, woody or resinous. Make these stages last FAR longer by using matching or unscented body lotion, spray into your hair or on clothes (after testing on tissue!)

Undecided? Spray on a scarf rather than skin: you can take it off and sniff again, later! Spraying on fabric (or your hair) also helps make it last far longer as the molecules don’t warm up so quickly (or evaporate) as on skin. As does…

Use an unscented (or matching) body lotion or oil. Fragrance doesn’t last long on dry skin (or in hot climates). It clings far longer to moisturised skin – so slather up, then spray.

Don’t know what to try next? Use our simple Find a Fragrance tool: just type the name of a fragrance you already know and love, and the so-clever algorithm suggests six new scents with similar characters to try.

Fragrance samples are THE best way to try new things, dive nose-first into a whole new house you’ve never tried or perhaps a differing perfume family than you’d normally go for.

We know that a full bottle can be a big investment and not everyone happens to live near a shop with a great selection. That’s why we put together carefully curated Discovery Boxes. Our Launches We Love Discovery Box is a stunning selection of new names, with gorgeous mini bottles and generous samples from niche and luxury houses we know you’re going to love as much as we do…

By Suzy Nightingale

Acqua di Parma + La DoubleJ take us to the beach

Acqua di Parma, in collaboration with La DoubleJ, have dressed an entire beachfront with the new Blu Mediterraneo by La DoubleJ capsule collection for a summer of pure Italian style…

 

 

At PSHQ we’re literally salivating over these pictures of the Bocelli family’s bathing establishment, because although we may not be able to wiggle our toes in the sand and gawp at the azure waters, this stunning collab allows us to travel in spirit via the radiant fragrances and vibrant colours of the new capsule collection.

 

 

In the utterly stunning location of Alpemare Beach Club, Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany (which looks like it should be the set of a Wes Anderson film, don’t you think?) for the first time ever, Acqua di Parma have dressed the beachfront for the entire Summer season! And now, you can dress your home to transport you to the Med every time you see those so-happy pops of colour or catch a waft of the glorious scents.

 

 

Comprising fabulously luxurious body products such as the Shower Mousse (£37 for 150ml), lightly scented with the lemon, myrtle, jasmine and salty marine breeze notes of Mirto di Panarea, a Body Scrub (£50 for 200ml) fragranced with their Fico di Amalfi grapefruit, bergamot, lemon and fig (which is basically like sexy marmalade), and even a range of Travel Accessories (we have our eyes on the Confetti Blue Beach Towel, £255 – would it be a bit extra to say we dream of spritzing this with one of the Blu Mediterraneo collection (from £49) and ‘travelling’ with our noses as we sit in our back gardens?) we’re spoiled for choice!

 

 

We say: if you can’t be there in person, let perfume whisk you there right now. So spritz that sunshine-filled fragrance and light that candle, because the beach will wait until you can get there again, but your mood can be lifted in mere seconds by the magic of summer scents…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Chanel Les Eaux de Chanel Le Voyage – scents of adventure for so-chic travellers

The Chanel Les Eaux de Chanel Le Voyage fragrance set is just the most desirable scent package to pack, for so-chic travellers who know they’ll need more than a couple of fragrant hits along the way.

Each of the fragrances evokes times and places that were precious to Chanel – snapshots of scent memories captured in olfactory form. Presented in a trio of travel-friendly 50ml bottles, the set includes three postcards to send to people you wish were there (perhaps you might wish to really want to rub their noses in the fact they aren’t!) and a darling little pouch to carry your chosen bottle around in for the day.

If you absolutely cannot wait to set sail with these scents (and who can blame you?) then take a moment to watch Chanel’s swoon-worthy short films to set the scented scene for each…

Paris-Venise: ‘1920. Gabrielle Chanel fell under the spell of Venice – the glimmer of the Byzantine mosaics and precious gems of St Marks Basilica inspired the design of her first jewellery collections. Between freshness and sensuality, PARIS-VENISE evokes this legendary city that marks the boundary between East and West.’

PARIS-VENISE is a composition of shadow and light, in which essence of neroli illuminates the warm tones of an oriental accord with notes of vanilla and tonka.

Paris-Biarritz: ‘1915. Gabrielle Chanel was taken with the sporty, fashionable atmosphere of Biarritz, where she opened her first couture house next to the casino, the luxury hotels and the beach. Inspired by the pure air of the Basque coast, PARIS-BIARRITZ captures the energy of this founding city in a fragrance full of lively freshness.’

Vibrant and delicate, Sicilian mandarin highlights the radiance of a lily-of-the-valley accord. A lively fragrance that’s as refreshing as a splash of sea spray.

Paris-Deauville: ‘1913. Gabrielle Chanel opened her very first fashion boutique in Deauville. The marinière striped shirt, tweed, and jersey: Deauville marked the beginning of a simple, bold style that has become iconic. Inspired by the bucolic landscapes along the Normandy coast, PARIS-DEAUVILLE is a fragrance inspired by the fresh air.’

Teaming the aromatic green facets of basil with the sparkling top notes of Sicilian orange, PARIS-DEAUVILLE unleashes a lively, naturally radiant freshness.

Altogether, we think this trio form what are quite possibly this season’s most covetable jet-set selection, and the only question remains: which will you use most often, whenever you feel the need to escape with fragrance this summer (and beyond)…?

Chanel Les Eaux de Chanel Le Voyage £195 for 3 x 50ml eau de toilette

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Car scents keep drivers alert and reduce accidents, study shows

New research shows car scents could even play a role in keeping drivers alert and preventing accidents…
Anyone who’s stepped into an Uber with a particularly pungent smell – either thanks to the novelty-shaped air freshener dangling from the mirror, or perhaps the previous occupant’s on-the-go lunch or personal hygiene regime – will be aware how imporant car smells can be: for passenger and driver alike. Now, a new study shows those car scents could, in fact, help save lives.
Experts at the University of Sussex exposed drivers during the test to rose, lemon, and civet – measuring their responses to each. The experiment was performed in a simulated driving rig, with scientists having connected a spraying device to the center of the steering wheel, which released a fragrance when the test vehicle approached any danger, such as an unpredictable driver on the road, or cyclist ahead of them.

 

Apparently, the study revealed that a waft of rose reduced simulated car crashes by an incredible 64 percent, and the musky smell of civet was also found to reduce the number of accidents, this time by 46 percent. All in-car scents can help keep drivers alert to dangers around them, but these two proved the most effective by far – something to keep in mind when choosing your next car-diffusing fragrance, perhaps?

Luckily, when reaching for a scent to keep your car fresh (and your senses awake) times have moved on from the inevitable traffic-light and tree-shaped mirror swingers – now fine fragrance brands have produced fabulous looking diffusers that more resemble ornaments than functional items: you’ll definitely want to keep these on display and topped-up with your favourite fragrances…

The Un Air de Diptyque car diffuser looks resembles an Art Deco radio, using an innovative system of cold diffusion to waft your chosen fragrance. Simply attach to the car ventilation to diffuse one of seven iconic scents: Baies, Ambre, Figuier, Roses, Orange Blossom, Ginger and 34.

Un Air de Diptyque £45 – cartridges sold separately.

Looking for all the world like heirloom pocket watches, these stunningly engineered diffusers have interchangeable scents to be paired with the pomanders and mood (and journey) dictates. ‘Along the Plain of Castelluccio’ whisks you ‘Alongside a mosaic of flowering ochre, violet and vermilion, no Grand Tourer of Italy can remain immune to the bouquet of cypress and spring meadow lavender that rises up from the roadside…’

Charabanc Luxury Car Fragrance £145

DS & Durga now create niche fragrances for your travels – Big Sur After Rain incites freshness with ‘rain water in eucalyptus groves off Highway 1,’ Portable Fireplace invites cosy, homely vibes with birch tar, cedar and pine, while Holy Ficus invokes ‘the revered fig tree of Siddhartha’ with cardamom, fig and saffron. Each fragranced card comes in a scratch-and-sniff envelope, so feel free to scent your luggage, wardrobe and life in general.

DS & Durga Auto $10

Life is a journey, enjoy the ride with this car perfume based on the energising scent of sweet orange and cedarwood. The fragrance lasts up to 6-8 weeks and is activated by the air flow from your car’s fan. The car perfume comes with a stylish wooden holder that can be reused when you purchase a perfume refill.

Rituals Life is a Journey Car Perfume, now £10

 By Suzy Nightingale

Feeling balmy: 5 fragranced balms we’re obsessed by

A couple of weeks ago we experienced something of a mini heatwave in the UK, with temperatures reaching the twenties and t-shirts making an appearance… now of course we’re back in a sort of Winter/Spring with hailstorms and bright, cold sunshine the order of the day. But we’re still feeling ‘balmy’ by reaching for some of our favourite fragranced balms – something of a scent trend it seems.

Often multi-use and perfect for travel, we also love the fact a balm represents a private moment of stopping to smell the roses (or rosemary, or whatever the balms are fragranced by) – they feel extra special because we kind of annoint ourselves when using and enjoying them. Here are a few of our favourite balms we cannot urge you enough to sniff out and try for yourself…

Sometimes we just need a quick blast of wake-me-up concentration: long (dull) meetings, exams, important events when we need to concentrate, all these occasions require some extra help, though it might not be appropriate to reach for a bottle of perfume and start spraying. So we reach for this 100% natural focus balm – from an exciting new(ish) name in aromatherapy – gliding onto pulse points, it’s powered by memory-boosting rosemary, crisp peppermint (known to help with mental alertness), and clary sage which combine to help relieve mental fatigue. It’s like a shot of sudden awareness and immediately clears mental fogginess.

Psst! You can try a darling mini-size in our Feel Good Box

Scentered Focus Therapy Balm £14.50 for 5g
planetorganic.com

First created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Diptyque, this innovative solid perfume is named for their first-ever boutique – at the iconic 34 Boulevard Saint Germain. It’s the perfect transitional season scent, too, with blackcurrant leaves and moss atop warm spices and fig, it aims to recreate the scents that filled that shop floor over half a century ago, and in surely one of the most chic (and satisfyingly hefty) containers ever. We like to smooth it through the tips of dry hair, too, to get little wafts of perfume the whole day through.

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Solid Perfume £40 for 3.6g
diptyqueparis.com

A much loved, multi award-winning and multi-tasking product, this is a one-pot wonder for all skin types. With antioxidant-rich, organic wild rosehip oil and a balancing blend of organic geranium and patchouli essential oils, this cult favourite nourishes skin and enhances your skin’s radiance, for a natural glow. It’s rich in rosehip oil, featuring pro-vitamin A (a source of retinol) and vitamin E, and apart from perfectly cleansing, you can: leave it on overnight for an ultra-rich face mask, use as a lip balm, cuticle oil, hair frizz-tamer, or skin-soothing salve – all while enjoying the heavenly, rosy aroma!

Try a travel-size pot in our Feel Good Box, and we’re betting you’ll fall in love, too…

Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm Cleanser £40 for 50g
nealsyardremedies.com

There are definitely times you need to feel like a goddess, and now you can carry a cute little scented pot of balm to apply whenever you need reminding. Lush have a number of solid perfumes in balm form, but this is their most recent release (and perhaps their most lavish!) Featuring Turkish rose, jasmine and smoky sandalwood, there’s also some oudh from responsibly managed nurseries in Thailand, all on a solid jojoba oil base. It’s great to smooth on decolletége for some va-va-voom that comforts while creating confidence.

Lush Goddess Solid Perfume £9 for 6g
uk.lush.com

Encased in a weighted metal compact that’s been sculpted to perfectly fit the curve of your palm and thumb, with an addictively flippable hinged swivel. You simply swing it open, press your finger into the scented balm and glide onto skin wherever you please. Beautifully designed and so-satisfying to use, this is Glossier’s ‘your skin but better’ perfume in solid form. It’s slightly salty, lightly musky and has a powdery pink-pepper note that kept our noses coming back for more. A quiet, contemplative scent for when you just want to smell like yourself (but better).

Glossier You Solid Perfume £19 for 3g
glossier.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Gourmande Jayne: Ormonde Jayne get figgy with it

Linda Pilkington, founder and CEO of London-based niche perfumery Ormonde Jayne, is never one for sitting still. Whenever we meet her, she’s dashing back and forth at 100 miles an hour, always brimming with creativity and new ideas, the latest being Gourmande Jayne

‘Gourmande Jayne’ is a natural extension of Linda’s scented world –  a blog ‘defining scent and good eating’ that features lifestyle tips, fashion and beauty, advice for gardeners, travel diaries as Linda hunts for new fragrance ingredients, how-to videos and deliciously scented recipes she’s constantly inspired by – showing the world how to bring fragrance into every area of life, to enhance to joy of every day. Quite frankly, we’re not sure how she find the time, but we’re awfully glad she does!

We’re especially loving the recipe for Baked Figs with Goat’s Cheese (and the serving suggestion – ‘serve warm with a glass of wine!’) which we first got to taste at the wonderful Ormonde Jayne Christmas Showcase (watch out for our Christmas issue of The Scented Letter Magazine for more new on the fragrant goodies in store!)

See the recipe, below, and watch Linda prepare hers by visiting the Gourmet section of the blog. We promise you it taste (and smells!) amazing, and it’s just the thing for warming your cockles when the wether’s a bit cooler, but you don’t feel quite ready for rib-sticking stews just yet. We’re holding off the donning of tights for a while, and holding on to thoughts of summer holidays by eating these, and quaffing wine while we’re at it. Only because it’s suggested, of course…

Gourmande Jayne Baked Figs with Goat’s Cheese

Ingredients:
Medium size figs
Soft goats cheese
Chopped walnuts
Chopped fresh sage
Clear honey
Salt and pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 200 C – Cut off fig stems and cut an X at the top of fig half way down.
Using a teaspoon, stuff soft goats cheese into the fig. Sprinkle with the fresh fine chopped sage and chopped walnuts.
Drizzle with a little honey and small amount of add salt and pepper to taste.
Place in a baking dish.
Place in oven for about 5 minutes.
Serve warm with a glass of wine!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

[Recipe and photos by Linda Pilkington]

Perfume adventures: global scent shopping

Have you already jetted-off to a long yearned-for holiday, or are you planning a quick city trip to tide you over? Perfume shopping is always one of the best bits of our holidays, and so we have scoured some of our favourite fragrant destinations to bring you top tips of where to shop and what to look out for…
On our Perfume Adventures section of the website, you can find our guides to havens of heavenly scents to explore – like Le Bon Marché in Paris: Department store perfume shopping doesn’t get much sexier than this, since LVMH supremo Bernard Arnault gave Paris’s oldest department store (it opened in 1838) the most glamorous of makeovers: three floors of designer gorgeousness – and on the ground floor, a stunning perfumery showcasing many different (and not necessarily mainstream) brands.
Or why not hop to Florence and visit the veritable temple of scent, Farmacia Santa Maria Novella? Wander through the three high-ceilinged, fresco-ed rooms and drink it all in. Either explore the fragrances (there are now over 30) at your own pace at the glass cabinets, or tap into the experience of knowledgeable assistants, first checking out the upliftingly citrusy Santa Maria Novella perfume – the first the monks created – for none other than local noblewoman Catherine de Medici, who became Queen of France. It’s based on the famous Queen of Hungary’s Water (an early eau de Cologne).

In New York, those in the know (nose?) head to MiN – it’s quirkily designed:  dark wood floors, slightly scuffed antiques and custom library shelving create a clubby vibe, but the selection itself is worth a pilgrimage – from Cire Trudon candles and Culti home fragrance, Laboratorio Olfactivo, Keiko Macheri, Patricia de Nicolaï, Amouage, Etat Libre d’Orange, Jovoy and more, more, more – including a particularly quirky collection by Kerosene – seen above. (The creator is a mechanic, the labels hand-embossed from brass, the bottles sprayed with car paint.  Yes, really.)
Shopping lists and city maps at the ready? Get even more ideas for your fragrant fixes when flying away…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

6 travel scents you need, just in (suit)case…

The stress of What To Pack for your holidays is higher than ever, with many airline regulations restricting the size of liquids you can carry on-board, now adding to the exisiting dilema of how many scents we can squeeze into an already bulging suitcase.
We feel your pain, perfumistas, and have scoured the scent world for the latest travel and mini-me sizes for on-the-go spritzing wherever you happen to be. Because we’re not all jetting off to the Bahamas, thanks very much, and we happen to like having a bottle handy every single day!
Perfectly sized, these 30ml bottles of beautifully fresh Bergamotto di Calabria, Arancia di Capri and Fico di Amalfi will whisk your senses away to the azure seas of the Mediterranean, even if you can’t be there in person, or just want to prolong the glorious sunshine in scent…
Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo La Collezione £99 for 3 x 30ml eau de toilette
Buy them at Selfridges


Super long-lasting extrait strength parfum in totally portable form? Yes please! With five scents to choose from, each fragrance is crafted around an enticingly musky base, Origino opening with bergamot, pink pepper, juniper and nutmeg before trailing a deliciously creamy sandalwood and white musk base…
Jeroboam Origino £90 for 30ml parfum extrait
Buy them at Jovoy
With intriguing hints of blood orange, hazelnut, pink peppercorn, clary sage, malt and an amber accord, it’s mixed in memory of the firey Jacobite women who earned this nickname. Warmly inviting and totally wearable, we love the idea of telling people exactly what we’re wearing when they ask (and they will)…

 REEK Perfume Damn Rebel Bitches £25 for 7.5ml eau de parfum
Buy it at reekperfume.com

A new house dedicated to ‘urban explorers’, get ready for a fragrant journey from London to Tel Aviv, Istanbul and beyond. Savvy scent-lovers could also opt for this citrus fizz, with a delicious dry-down of incense, cardamom and ozonic notes, a soft floral heart and musky base of white woods, benzoin and amber…
Gallivant Brooklyn £65 for 30ml eau de parfum or
Buy them at Roullier White
For a more intense get-away for your senses, Light Blue lovers will adore this ramped-up but dinky-sized plunge into floral meets fruity. Crisp apple and lemon dive down to a flurry of marigold and jasmine petals before gentle amber base reminds us of sun-kissed skin…
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau Intense £47 for 25ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Boots

An iconic scent just got even cuter in this darling bottle, fun and flirtacious the rose here doesn’t take itself too seriously, partying with peony and lychee, chicly confident with white flowers and cosying up to warm amber and cedarwood…

Chloé £47 for 30ml eau de parfum
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Calling all 24-hour perfume people…

Who wants to travel with hefty and/or fragile perfume bottles – in a handbag, hand luggage or suitcase? Not us.
So – in time for summer holidays – we are delighted now to be official stockists of Travalo. Each stylish and refillable decant spray enables you to carry up to 5ml of your own favourite scent with you, wherever you go.

Travalo sprays are approved for hand luggage – and glass-free, to avoid risk of breakage. You can even colour-code your collection, as they’re available as sleek metal Classic and chic leather Milano designs in the range of colour options, as seen above and below.

On-the-go spritzing with Travalo is from just £12.49 with FREE p&p!