The Merchant of Venice Rosa Moceniga – our fragrant voyage to the city of romance…

Imagine how thrilled we were to be invited to a prestigious gathering of press, buyers and distributors from around the world on an enchanting voyage with The Merchant of Venice – to celebrate the birthplace of fine perfumery and the launch of their most recent perfume: Rosa Moceniga – a scent with an intriguing tale of rediscovering the lost rose of Joséphine Bonaparte. Join us – and swoon at the pictures! – as we recount our journey…
Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and birthplace to perhaps the earliest commercial appreciation of fine perfume – the moment when Catherine de Medici married King Henry II was a turning point in modern culture. Travelling to France with her huge retinue, she imported the taste for previously unheard of Italian luxuries: perfume (and Royal perfumers from her court), a fork for eating with, ballet and extravagant Italian fashions.

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Best taxi ride ever…

With turquoise canals casting shimmering reflections on golden buildings of sun-bleached grandeur, everywhere seems softly lit, as though by candlelight. Arriving at Marco Polo airport and travelling to the city, you’re immediately on the water in a Vaporetto (taxi boat) and living La Dolce Vita. It’s impossible not to be overcome with the incredible romance of it all – surrounded on all sides by history, feeling as though you have stepped straight in to a Canaletto painting.
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The fragrance house put on a special production of The Merchant of Venice in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice – to celebrate #shakespeare400 and their 30th anniversary

Venetians are fiercely proud of their heritage as a great trade route – the destination and meeting point of merchants from all over the new world, desperate to attain shipfuls of oppulence to carry back and trade within their own lands. As such, it’s the perfect home for the perfume house fittingly named The Merchant of Venice. Trading, themselves, not only on the heritage of perfumery but turning that love into exquisitely presented and diverse, contemporary scents.
The magnificent Palazzo Mocenigo

Owned by the passionately perfume-obsessed Vidal family, the brand is one of several distributed by Mavive – established in 1986 by Massimo Vidal, and currently under the careful stewardship of the third and fourth generation of the Vidal family. With their headquarters in Venice, Mavive is intimately connected with this truly unique city – and for us, they threw open the doors to celebrate their 30th anniversary while proudly showing us their fragrant wares.
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Historic perfume-making materials at the Museo del Profumo within the Palazzo

One of the many culturally significant projects the Vidal family have concerned themselves with is the careful preservation of the largest collections of perfume flacons (dating back before Christ!), perfume-making equipment and related materials in existence.
Taking on ownership of the magnificent Palazzo Mocenigo in the heart of Venice, they turned what was once a slightly crumbling textile museum into the Museo del Profumo – displaying perfume bottles, raw materials and ancient manuscripts in themed settings around the palace – most of them on full public view rather than shut away in cabinets.
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Fabulous flacons on display

Touring the Palazzo with the eloquent son of the family, Marco Vidal, was like stepping back in time, with each fabulously evocative room scented as they would have been, with distinctive perfumes made to ancient recipes diffusing the atmosphere with clouds of fragrance.
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An historic diffusing jar for scenting one’s palace…

So significant is this collection, students from ISIPCA – the famous perfume accademy in France – travel to the Palazzo to complete their final studies in the history of perfumery. As do textile students – the Vidal family have maintained and added to the costume collection, with over 35,000 pieces – and makeup historians, for yet another floor is dedicated to cosmetics. Truly a must-visit for any fragrance (or costume/makeup) fantatic!
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Marco Vidal shows us around the museum

After our mind-blowing tour of the luxuriously and sympathetically refurbished rooms, we finally got to hear the story behind their latest launch – Rosa Moceniga. Marco introduced Andrea di Robilant, author of Chasing the Rose, framed by an archway of rambling roses amidst the main hallway of the Palazzo and eager to tell us his part in this intriguing tale…
chasing-1-w960h672Andrea explained that while rummaging through his family’s papers for research during his autobiography of his great-great-great-great grandmother, Lucia Mocenigo, he found genuine treasure: a description of a once-lost rose that smelled of peach and raspberries – symbol of a deep friendship between Lucia and Joséphine Bonapart, the precious cutting a gift to a fellow rose-lover.
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Author, Andrea di Robilant

What began as a light-hearted search for the bloom led to years of further research and finally, stumbling across that very rose in the now completely wild and overgrown gardens in Venice. A chance meeting with Marco Vidal led to the realisation their stories were now intimately connected – the Vidals owned the Palazzo the rose was named for, and not only that – they made perfumes. Their fragrant future was sealed, and now Rosa Moceniga blooms once more with every spritz of this beautiful scent…
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And what does the final perfume smell like? Romantically nodding to the past but with its head firmly in the present, this lush flower bouquet is sheer as the finest silk scarf with fresh Sicilian lime and blackcurrant leaves garlanding the main event – that delicately fruity, luminous rose. Definite notes of peach and raspberry entwine with softly powdered cedar and amber for a magnificently elegant dry down. Venetian history infused with that golden sunlight and bottled.
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Murano glass smelling vessels

The final day included a trip to the stunning flagship store of The Merchant of Venice. Wood-panelled and with historic books and perfume materials dotted around the walls, the perfumes are presented not merely with paper blotters – oh no. Hand-blown Murano glass sniffing jars are proffered, allowing the notes to blossom as they would on skin and offering a more realistic smelling experience.
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The Merchant of Venice flagship store

In the breathtaking surroundings of Teatro La Fenice – the Venetian Opera House – we were shown films on the history of the Vidal family’s involvement with perfume and the many fragrance houses they are custodians of, before the family themselves took to the stage to give thanks to their many supporters for celebrating their anniversary.
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Teatro La Fenice

The evening concluded with an olfactory themed banquet in a private room upstairs, saffron sprinkled throughout the courses with abandon and floral cocktails quaffed.
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The olfactory dinner

We left in no doubt of the huge significance Venice holds in the heart of perfume history, the great care and attention the Vidal family place on preserving this heritage for future generations to enjoy while greatly expanding their diverse fragrance wardrobes, and the fact that we would most definitely be returning to this incredible city drenched in the culture of scent as soon as we possibly could.
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The Vidal family – perfume obsessives, every one…

Until then? We’ll be spraying Rosa Moceniga and sighing dreamily at the memories…
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The Merchant of Venice Rosa Moceniga £120 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it exclusively at House of Fraser
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Take two bottles? We'd rather take ten! Travel Sprays to swoon over…

Have you ever had the vice-like grip of panic squeeze your heart as the realisation dawns: you have ventured out of the house without perfume?
Good. You’re one of us. And we have an ultra-stylish solution…
The idea of leaving home without having fabulous fragrances at hand to spritz on the go is, frankly, appalling, for us, too. Not only do we need to refresh as the heat rises (in close proximity on public transport, other people’s hygeine – or lack of – becomes all too apparent); but if you’re travelling somewhere, it’s the perfect time to try out a whole new perfume personality.
Just as a colourful sarong jauntily knotted about one’s waist and hair intricately braided with shells might seem the very thing against a backdrop of white sands and cerulean-blue seas, it’s kind of awkward silence making worn to a wet Wednesday’s management meeting: for this very reason, any kind of break is the perfect time to try out new scents – an olfactory dressing-up box for malcontent adults anxious to broaden their fragrant horizons.
With airline travel restrictions frowning suspiciously at even toothpaste and lipgloss and the hideous hassle of lugging heavy full-size bottles around, that means it’s time to bring out the miniatures, samples and travel-sprays just begging to be tried on, and the perfect size to spritz and go.
Wether you’re flying out to some exotic palm-fringed island, living it up in a luxury boutique hotel or merely planning a staycation nearer home – we have the ideal perfume packing list just for you.
Take two bottles…? We’d rather take ten!
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Satisfyingly weighty and with an interchangeable wardrobe of best-selling MFK scents for him and her; we recently learned the slatey grey metal is based on the rooftops of Paris, while the glowing gold is inspired by the burnished statues of that great city. Infinitely chic, totally desirable.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Globetrotter atomiser from £85, refills (see leading image) from £60 for 3 x 11ml
Buy it at Harvey Nichols
4582195Luxuriously hefty in the hand yet still perfectly portable; the central compartment is interchangeable with a number of the most popular fragrances able to be popped inside for your every whim. This one is a tantalising cocktail of blood orange, blackcurrant and hot spices.
By Killian Playing With the Devil Travel Spray £110 for atomiser & 4 x 7.5ml refills
Buy it at Harrods
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Cool as a cucumber… drenched with mouth-watering juiciness and a clean-skin nuzzle note of fluffy mimosa drying down to the most comforting milky almond and toasted nuttiness as it warms, the 30ml travel size is perfect for re-applying the whole Summer long.
Shay & Blue Almond Cucumber £30 for 30ml natural spray
Buy it at Shay & Blue
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Inspired by Neela’a lifelong passion for perfume and a semi-autobiographical journey through India in exqusite scents, these ‘Take Two’ travel sizes are ideal for keeping about your person at all times. Available in Trayee, Mohur, Bombay Bling, Ashoka and Pichola, for double the pleasure.

Neela Vermeire Take Two €112 for 2 x 15 ml flacons
Buy them at neelavermeire.com
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A gentleman needs to travel stylishly, too, and Dunhill have released an incredibly artful rechargeable spray for their ICON fragrance. Sleek yet racy, bergamot and neroli refresh while black pepper steps up the pace before a stunning infusion of cardamom and lavender beguile.
Dunhill London ICON Eau de Parfum Luxury Travel Set £60 for spray & 2 x 30ml eau de parfum refills
Buy it at John Lewis
Travel-Spray-3Dinky sizes of three top-selling Miller Harris classic scents slot securely inside a magnetically fastened holder. Choose from (our Summer fave) Coeur de Jardin: crisp, fruity and hesperidic, Italian bergamot and lemon, textured pear and peach; Feuilles de Tabac & Noix de Tubéreuse to slip easily in even the smallest bag
Miller Harris Pret-a-Partie travel collection £95 for re-fillable travel spray and 9ml eau de parfum of your choice , or £50 for 3 x 9ml refills
Buy them at Miller Harris

I_231165275_50_20151126Effortlessly cool in that nochalant, laid-back feminine ethos of the design house, we think the white flacon entwined with gold thread is at its cutest in the 30ml travel size. Voluptuous mandarin quenches jasmine before desire is dusted with a skin-soft iris powdered base.
Carven L’Absolu £42 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at House of Fraser
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Designed using the principles of the Bauhaus movement in which the function dictates form, the Bakelite case snugly houses your choice of Frederic Malle’s 10ml refill bottles. A great opportunity for those who’ve always longed to take the plunge into the original King of Niche houses.
Frederic Malle Bakelite Traveler Spray Case £30
Buy it at Liberty
10872434-1404833788-896600Distinctive, unique and ultra long-lasting, Amouage excel at operatic oppulence in scent form. Reflection Man would be our choice for the chap with nothing to prove, rosemary, red pepper berries and bitter orange leaves harmonising with a bright neroli jasmine heart and woody base.
Amouage Reflection Man Travel Spray 2 x 10ml eau de parfum refills £95
Buy it at Amouage
ac0600_giftThe ultimate in personalised travel accessories, the leather case can be engraved with the initials or name of your choice. Plumping for Vanilla Insensée with its addictive twist of creamy vanilla, smooth wood and shady moss – this is a sheer gourmand to wear like a billowing silk scarf.
Atelier Cologne Vanilla Insensée Personalised Travel Spray €160 for 30ml Cologne Absolue
Buy it at Atelier Cologne
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Ferrari fragrances, any time, any place…?

Possibly developed with players who yearn to be sprayers in mind, there’s no mistaking the sleek design and colouring that simply screams Ferrari – but this is no mere phone cover, it carries a secret integral compartment housing 25ml of scent to spray on the go…

While traditionally female orientated fragrances have all manner of accoutrements to play with when toting their scents; the men generally haven’t been catered for as generously. A selection of men’s travel sizes are now available – a trend we expect to see grow exponentially, as fragrance lovers of the world expect to be able to carry several with them wherever they go; but also for those of us who prefer trying a smaller size before committing to a full bottle.

Step forward Ferrari, combining technology and brand worship by offering the ability to ‘…refresh your scent every time you pick up the phone!’ Though we might urge caution if you happen to receive a lot of phone calls… Designed especially for the iPhone 6 and 6s, the phone case is available in classic Ferrari Red and Black, for both colour and fragrance choices.

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Ferrari say: ‘These modern, elegant and intensely masculine scents are the perfect companions for innovation and performance – hallmarks of the brand for nearly a century. Ferrari Black is an aromatic fougere that features a fruity, citrus top note, a spicy floral heart and a warm, woody base. Ferrari Red is a wody citrus scent with a top note of bergamot and spearmint, a refreshing floral heart and a base of sandalwood and cedar.’

Those worried about the phone heating up their scent can rest easy, for the case has been designed not only to protect phones from impacts, but also to ensure the airtight seal prevents accidental spillages and keeps it safe from the phone’s battery.

While we await apps that can deliver a multitude of olfactory offerings at the touch of your fingertips – and scientists are, indeed, beavering away at such technologies – this might be a way of bridging the gap (or just saying sorry I couldn’t buy you a Ferrari?) for those who absolutely must be fragrant at all times…

Ferrari Black and Red fragrance iPhone cases with 25ml eau de toilette & 25ml refill, £30
Buy them at Boots

Written by Suzy Nightingale