Scenting the Detectives…

Continuing with the ‘endeavour’ theme for the month (which we are mostly dedicating to sporting scents, and being more adventurous in your fragrance choices); we thought it would be fun to (special) branch out a bit and incorporate hunting for a new fragrance with our popular ‘Scenting…’ series of articles – where we pick perfumes we think would be perfect for well-known TV, movie or musical characters and artists, and have matched everything from Bridgerton to Stranger Things and the painter Sargent, so far. Well… we thought: why not scent match the detectives, too…? 

 

Why are we matching scents to detectives, you might be wonder – is it just a bit of fun? Well hopefully it’s fun to read, of course, but there’s a serious point behind the frivolity: fragrance is famously an invisible entity that’s tricky to convey in any format to someone who’s not yet smelled it for themselves.

 

 

 

When trying to explain what something smells like, we all have to navigate the emotional maze of cultural and personal associations and scent memories, while attempting to clearly convey the concept without merely relying on a list of fragrance notes – which is as useless as a shopping list is to tasting the finished meal, or the names of paints are to understanding the deeper meaning an artist is hoping to project.

So: we match scents to characters / people and programmes you may be familiar with to give you a nuanced sense of not only what that scent might smell like, but how it will make you feel when you wear it. And isn’t that really what we’re all most concerned about when choosing a new fragrance?

 

Of course, given our theme for the month, and the topic of detectives, we had to start with none other than…

 

 

 

Endeavour – The Merchant of Venice Maria Callas

Telling the fascinating backstory of Inspector Morse’s complex character, the prequel already shows him as refined, standing apart from the crowd, and placing great importance on culture, art, and especially classical music and opera. With this homage to the Divina of all operatic performers, there’s a nuanced vulnerability amidst strength. Endeavour would bring out the backbone of reassuring woodiness which grounds the softer, amber-warmed rose and sparkling top notes. Encore!

£206 for 100ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com

 

 

 

Miss Marple – 4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard

Jane Marple may be seen by some as a tweed-y, twittery, nosey yet harmless senior citizen, but the mischievous twinkle in those piercing eyes hints at her innate ability to see through lies, right to the heart of the matter. Here, ferns are pressed between pages of a diary, love letters discovered in faded ribbons, a lipstick kiss on a foxed mirror, a silk scarf with the faint tang of a gentleman’s Cologne entwined with a woman’s scent is found at the crime scene. Whodunnit? Oh, she knows.

£50 for15ml eau de parfum  4160tuesdays.com

 

 

 

Hercule Poirot – Floris Special No.127

The always immaculate Belgian detective requires a fragrance that feels understated yet characterful, utterly classic but timeless. Perhaps after living in London a while, and being (we are sure) a regular patron of Jermyn Street (known for its traditional tailoring and gentleman’s grooming); he would elegantly saunter his way to Floris. There’s a refreshing citrus blend of bergamot and orange with petitgrain, a cool heart of lavender and geranium, while patchouli and musk add longevity.

Discover in the Floris Classic Collection Set, £35 for 6 x 2ml samples in our shop

 

 

 

 

Jessica Fletcher – Map of the Heart Purple Heart v.5

Being dedicated to ‘a teller of tales’, this scent perfectly befits the murder mystery writer Jessica Fletcher, who seems more often embroiled in tangled reality than the tales she imagines. However, we picture her taking a break from discovering bodies at friends’ houses, and instead sitting at her desk pondering the next novel. Ink smudges the typewriter keys, a tin of licorice and bowl of black cherries sit beside a vase of purple roses. Intriguing and optimistic, this scent is a triumph on skin.

Try it in the Map of the Heart Discovery Set, £35 for 7 x 1ml samples in our shop

 

 

 

 

Sherlock Holmes – Redolescent Hive Mind

In the story ‘His Last Bow: An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes’ we learn that the world-famous detective has retired and become a beekeeper on the South Downs. Not as unusual a transition as you may think, because, as Holmes’ tome on the subject reveals, it is “the fruit of the pensive nights and laborious days when I watched the little working gangs as I once watched the criminal world of London.” He’d take comfort in this honied meadow scent – as mellow as it is meticulously structured.

£145 for 50ml eau de parfum in our shop

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scenting Bridgerton Season Three (Part the Second)

 

Dearest Gentle Reader,

I’m sure we are all a-gawp to discover the latest Bridgerton gossip, having waited breathlessly for weeks to find out what became of our aristocratic friends since last we left them? As it happens, the breathlessness continues apace, with passionate encounters simply throbbing through this second half of Bridgerton’s third season, and all manner of revelations brought to boiling point. But once again, as with my previous perfume-matching missive, which covered Season 3 Episodes 1-4; I must ask you to avert thine eyes if you have not yet feasted on the fascinating frivolities of what the young people are calling ‘the second drop’ of Bridgerton Season 3 episodes 4-8 on Netflix. Thundering SPOILERS are necessarily afoot, and I shall not be held to blame if your careless gaze happens to fall on one of them if you read any further without having caught up. Comprendre?

 

 

 

 

Netflix have helpfully posted a blog, where you may catch up with the cast and investigate their particulars a little more closely. However, because you are all doubtless very busy people, I have selected a snippet here, which explains the main plot points to be aware of for this second part of the season, and its dramatic denouement. They say:

‘Part 2, which premiered June 13, picks up from the Part 1 finale, which saw Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) propose to blooming wallflower Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan). As Colin and Penelope reflect on their newfound relationship in Part 2, they seem to realise just how in love they are. Yet secrets still hang over the happy couple. Namely, that Mayfair knows Penelope by another, more secret, moniker: Lady Whistledown, the ton’s most infamous scandal sheet writer…’

As ever, yours truly has been very busy keeping up with all the, er, comings and goings… and pairing some of the main players with perfumes that should serve to enhance their ever-developing (and disrobing) characters. This ‘scent matching’ may seem incongruous to those of you not familiar with the concept, but let me reassure you that there is method in the apparent madness. When one knows a person more *cough* intimately, we may imagine the things that will not only suit them, but serve them well – a colour that particularly becomes them, which they feel more confident when wearing, for example.

Similarly, selecting the right fragrance helps embolden our spirits (though gracious knows this season has its share of bold behaviour!) Therefore, the putting together of people we know with perfumes they should wear also becomes a shortcut to understanding the vagaries of a scent’s character – the mood it brings, the textural subtleties a simple listing of notes can never attain. And though there may have been several scribes claiming the mantle of Whistledown thus far, you may also rest assured that this author has all your fragrant requirements firmly in hand (and wrist, neck, décollotage…) Which of these would you offer the next dance to, dear readers, while we impatiently await the next season? Until then, I remain

Yours Truly,

Suzy Nightingale

 

 

Penelope Featherington / Bridgerton + Alexandre J Ode to Rose Extract

Oh my, how the butterfly has spread its wings (among other things) this season. But all is not perfect for Pen, as the course of true love becomes ensnared in a scandal of her own making. With her true identity revealed, Penelope needed extra strength to withstand the possibility of a cruel backlash, and the exquisite beauty of this scent would certainly do the trick. Incredibly long-lasting, imbued with ripe plum, velvety rose, licentious jasmine and the sweet headiness of ylang ylang; the base swirls with warming rum and silky sandalwood. Scandalously gorgeous!

£240 for 25ml perfume extract harrods.com

 

 

 

Colin Bridgerton + Parfums de Marly Percival

The newly rakish Colin returned from his travels to find Penelope a changed woman, too – and the further *ahem* things she revealed wiped away his self-assured smugness almost as quickly as his tan faded. However, a gentleman may have subtlety and self-knowledge amidst his passion, and this fragrance will buck-up his spirits with juicy mandarin, encourage true love via violet and jasmine-tinged geranium, then tame his pig-headedness with soothing drifts of cool lavender and the dewy verdancy of coriander grounded in musky spices and fir balsam. That’s better.

£200 for 75ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

[Why not try a sample as part of The Scented Gent Discovery Box? A mere £23 / £21 for VIPs!]

 

 

 

Lady Cressida Cowper + BDK Rouge Smoking

Desperately escaping her family’s dreary choices of prospective husbands, Cressida craves independence (and yes, the taste of revenge). Her route out of society’s strictures at first seems to be via blackmail, but poison has a way of ending up back in one’s own goblet, does it not? Far better for Lady Cowper to sling this scent in her hastily-packed travelling trunk, and revel in its spirit. Being inspired by ‘…a woman who lives in Pigalle with a strong taste for fashion’, the powdery sweetness of luscious cherry is comforted by dark vanilla and cashmeran’s softness.

£175 for 100ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

 

 

 

Lady Tilley Arnold + Clive Christian Jump Up & Kiss Me (Ecstatic)

When Tilley catches Benedict’s eye, he’s not ready for where their heady encounters will lead (see below…), but neither is Tilley ready for the feelings she will catch along the way. Ooops. Easily done – especially when wearing something as shamelessly intoxicating as this tuberose-billowing enticement. Enveloped in orange flower, swooning with white flowers, no wonder this perfumed paean to ‘the flower of the night’ has so thoroughly seduced both wearer and admirer alike. As it warms, the amber and tonka beguile even further; and where might that lead, next…?

£490 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

 

 

 

Benedict Bridgerton + Contradictions in ILK Libertine

Quite the journey of self-discovery for Benedict this season, where he finds double the pleasure while exploring his personal proclivities. One wonders if he’s been helped along the way with liberal soakings of a scent such as this – inspired by Casanova himself, no less. You can smell his favourite tipple, ‘cordial orgeat,’ through dusky cognac-infused rose and bitter orange flower, with a saffron-soaked throb of leather, hot wax, animalic cumin lashed to the darker base of amber and deep woods. Golly. It’s addictive, that’s for sure; as is the sensual freedom that follows.

£95 for 50ml extrait de parfum ilkperfume.com

 

 

 

Queen Charlotte + Atkinsons Her Majesty The Oud

Ever feared of her position on the throne metaphorically being toppled by Lady Whistledown, Queen Charlotte uses her remarkable astuteness to finally discover her foe’s identity. But as advised by her ever-wise friend and confidant, Lady Danbury; sometimes it’s better to know thy enemy yet keep them on side. Gloriously powerful in nature, there’s a surprising softness to this scent, too – an opulently feminine celebration of Turkish rose at harmony with a steelier sizzle of saffron, and that unmistakable woodiness in the sweeping trail, all sweetened by a soupçon of vanilla.

£205 for 100ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

[Psst! Clever readers will want to try the sample available in The Platinum Discovery Box, at only £25 / £21 for VIPs]

 

Those readers left bereft and demanding more Bridgerton in their lives are in luck – Liberty London currently invite you to indulge your romantic Regency fantasies via their Liberty Fabrics & Bridgerton collection. Liberty says:

Discover the collection brought to life within Liberty’s Tudor walls. Lose yourself in the whispers, scandal and glamour of the ‘Ton, in rooms inspired by iconic moments from the series and brought to life using fabrics from the Liberty Fabrics & Bridgerton collection. Consider this your invitation to an experience waiting to be discovered, on the Fourth Floor until 2nd July.

 

‘May we invite you to discover the match of the season? As Netflix and Shondaland’s hit series, Bridgerton, returns for its third season, here at Liberty we are celebrating the romance and Regency of the ‘Ton, with a collaborative collection of exquisite botanical fabrics, created in artistic partnership between Liberty Fabrics & Bridgerton.

Across nine uniquely crafted floral prints, Liberty’s print heritage and Bridgerton’s enthralling narrative entwine. Each design features details and motifs drawn from Liberty’s extensive archive, with inspirations ranging from Regency era print books to 1960s scarves: redrawn, recoloured and reimagined for the modern modiste on Tana Lawn™ cotton and luxurious silks.

In celebration of the collection, designer Huishan Zhang created a couture gown using one of the Belgravia Silk fabrics from the collection, as seen on actress Hannah Dodd, who plays the youngest Bridgerton sister in the show’s third series.

Join us, as we delve into the stories and inspirations behind the collection, and prepare to fall in love…’

Scent-matching Bridgerton Season 3… Scents for debutantes & heartbreakers!

Dearest Reader,

Society is ABUZZ with the welcome return of Bridgerton Season 3, and the mamas of the blushing debutantes (sometimes blushing for very good reason) are all set to find their perfect matches in the ballrooms and palaces (and – ahem – bedrooms) we’ve so missed waltzing through. Yours Truly has been busy making matches, too, as you shall discover, with this Whistle[down]-stop tour through the fragrances some of the main characters should be hastily spritzing if they know what’s good for them (which most of them assuredly do not.)

Before we begin with the olfactory introductions, lets us quickly adjourn to a précis of all the best gossip, via the ever-knowing wonders of the Bridgerton Wiki website. However, gentle readers must BE WARNED for their are potential SPOILERS ahead. So do not come to us with your pearl-clutching chagrin if you have not yet watched the first four episodes on Netflix (with the final four making an appearance on June 13.) 

‘Penelope enters Season 3 finally ready to give up her longtime crush on Colin. However, that doesn’t mean she’s done with love. Instead, Penelope has decided it’s time to take a husband — and preferably one who will give her the freedom to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown, far away from the prying eyes of her mother and sisters. Lacking in confidence, Penelope’s attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly.

 

 

Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his summer travels with a new look and a serious sense of swagger. But he’s disheartened to realise that Penelope, the one person who always appreciated him as he was, is giving him the cold shoulder. Eager to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in the ways of confidence to help her find a husband this season. But when his lessons start working a little too well, Colin must grapple with whether his feelings for Penelope are truly just friendly. Complicating matters for Penelope is her rift with Eloise, who has found a new friend in a very unlikely place, while Penelope’s growing presence in the ton makes it all the more difficult to keep her Lady Whistledown alter ego a secret.’

WELL! What a to-do. The only thing for it is to reach for a new fragrance (and possibly the smelling salts, given all the drama and passion afoot). Which of these you may also decide to plump for is entirely up to you, of course, but we urge you to try them – and be careful whose hearts you may break along the way…

Yours truly,

Suzy Nightingale

 

Penelope Featherington + Alexandre J Butterfly

Penelope wishes to be a social butterfly, but she’ll need to come way out of her comfort zone and spread her wings. Will Colin be the man who can help her to fly? There’s certain to be lots of flutterings while wearing this. Butterfly whisks one away in a flurry of florals. Imagine handfuls of tuberose and neroli petals borne aloft on ribbons of pear and pink peppercorns, streaming joyously to a buoyantly soft musky/vanilla base.

£325 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com

 

 

Colin Bridgerton + Goldfield & Banks Silky Woods Elixir

There’s something different about Colin – whatever could it be? He’s attracting all sorts of attention these days… Freshly returned from thrilling adventures abroad and having gathered a bronzed glow, this fragrance has heaps of wood and will waft for miles. Despite the steamy scent of the tropics, a definite greenness can still be glimpsed through the smokey, sultry swagger, and there’s comfort to be found in the reassuringly fluffy base.

£215 for 100ml elixir fenwick.co.uk

 

 

 

Francesca Bridgerton + Thameen Fanfare

There’s a sparkle to this scent that just never dulls – perfect, then, to reflect the light that shines from Francesca as she navigates her way through the tumultuous marriage market. Bursting with talent (and only truly at peace when playing the piano that’s her guiding passion), she needs a fragrance that fills a room with its presence but never has to try too hard. Inspired by London’s musically-imbued history of Covent Garden, and the flower market it was famed for; Fanfare is a clarion call of white florals amidst the refreshing brightness of crisp citrus.

£250 for 100ml Cologne elixir selfridges.com

[Pssst! Clever readers will want to try a sample within the Launches to Love Discovery Box, £27 / £19 for VIP Members…]

 

Will Mondrich + Parfums de Marly Perseus

Attempting to get used to his new life – with his son having inherited Lady Kent’s entire estate – Will requires a fragrance that’ll make him feel like a king in his own perfumed court. Breezily fresh, this veritably gallops out of the bottle with vibrant grapefruit, bergamot and green mandarin, before an air of supreme sophistication takes over, via grounding vetiver and head-clearing geranium. Vigorously masculine at times, soft as a cashmere caress at others, it’s a scent which perfectly balances brightness with a newly found elegance.

£200 for 75ml eau de parfum uk.parfums-de-marly.com

 

 

Eloise Bridgerton + Yardley English Jasmine

Oh, Eloise has got herself into such a predicament. We suggest she gets herself out of the corner she’s put herself in and goes for a long walk in the meadows surrounding the Bridgerton family home. Wearing this, the distant coolness of tuberose thaws to joyous frangipani and the dawning light of jasmine’s tenderness, while lemon and mandarin cut through any nonsense. Embracing simplicity, as it dries down, the warmth of musk and cedarwood make an appearance – as we hope her treasured friendship with Penelope might yet emerge…

£17.50 for 125ml eau de toilette boots.com

 

Craving even more scent-matching shenanigans, or craving a catch-up? Do take a look at our Scenting Bridgerton Season Two.

Cat Deeley – Fragrant Memories, Dreams & Reflections…

Cat Deeley has been a regular on our television screens over the years – presenting SMTV Live from 1998-2002 (for which she won a BAFTA) and its spin-off chart show CD:UK until 2005; Stars in their Eyes, and the hit U.S. show So You Think You Can Dance? to name but a handful of her achievements.

 

 

This week, Cat began presenting THE iconic mainstay of British daytime TV shows – This Morning – with co-host Ben Shepard; but apart from her broadcasting success, we happen to know that Cat is OBSESSED with fragrance (and even has a party trick of scent identification). So, no wonder she teamed up with friend and esteemed makeup artist Amanda Grossman to launch e11even Fragrance Oil!

 

 

To mark Cat’s ever-rising career path, we’re delighted to share with you the fascinating fragrant answers she gave when we interviewed Cat on her Memories, Dreams & Reflections for a previous issue of The Scented Letter Magazine. You can sign up to get your FREE copy of the latest issues sent to your inbox every time they’re launched, or order them in gorgeously glossy print.

Meanwhile, let’s delve in to the scent memories and olfactive reveries that mean so much to Cat (and we bet she’ll be cleaving to one of her Five Favourite Smells more than ever, now she’s on This Morning…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suzy Nightingale

Scenting ‘Stranger Things: The First Shadow’ Stage Show

Stranger Things has been one of the most successful drama shows of all time, certainly the most talked about and trending on Netflix for many years. And now, the show has proved so popular, it’s been turned into an intriguing new stage show, called Stranger Things: The First Shadow – which seeks to explore the story as a prequel…

‘Brought to life by a multi-award-winning creative team, who take theatrical storytelling and stagecraft to a whole new dimension, this gripping new adventure will take you right back to the beginning of the Stranger Things story – and may hold the key to the end.’

 

 

 

Explaining the way the stage show takes shape, they say: ‘Hawkins, 1959: a regular town with regular worries. Young Jim Hopper’s car won’t start, Bob Newby’s sister won’t take his radio show seriously and Joyce Maldonado just wants to graduate and get the hell out of town. When new student Henry Creel arrives, his family finds that a fresh start isn’t so easy… and the shadows of the past have a very long reach.’ Predicted to be another smash-hit, Stranger Things: The First Shadow tickets are on sale now.

 

 

 

 

Inspired by classic 1980s teen horror movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street, with elements of The Goonies and the Alien franchise sprinkled around and about (and Upside Down); its mixture of nail-biting drama, truly terrifying moments and superbly nuanced (often laugh out loud funny, amidst the horror) script was part of the recipe for Stranger Things continuing success.

Of course, we when Season Four aired, we couldn’t resist the opportunity for an olfactory pairing, so in celebration of the new stage show – and ahead of the much-anticipated final season of the TV show – let’s settle down for that EPIC, scenting of Stranger Things, where we matched some of our favourite characters to fragrances we felt would most suit (or even help) them through the most recent season’s tumultuous storyline…

Warning: Though we tried to keep this spoiler-free for season 4, there are references made to previous seasons’ storylines, so proceed with caution if you’re a complete Stranger Things newbie who’s only just begun your journey!

 

 

Joyce Byers (played by Winona Ryder)Maison Sybarite Spicy Calabria £160 for 75ml eau de parfum

Fiercely loyal, hugely resilient, Joyce has had to fight for her children, her independence and even simply to be believed, more times than most could stand. Having already battled supernatural beings, her sheer force of character is called on in far chillier climes this season, and so her scent must radiate the warmth of her soul while serving as a shield against those who seek to harm her (and the loved ones she continues to fight for). Here, juicy ginger and black pepper add to the spicy zing while powdery orris cushions the decadently wormwood-rippled base (perfect for those who’ve fearlessly faced darkness in their lives). Cedar adds a calming note of contemplation while limette thrums with woody oudh and patchouli, but the Calabrian citrus also reminds us of holidays – and gawd knows, Joyce deserves one (with business class plane tickets this time, please, luxury all the way).

 

 

 

Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman)Hai Karate £9.99 for 100ml Cologne

A former investigative journalist who first appeared in the season 2, Murray goes on to display a range of rather unexpected skills in this season, where he’s paired with Joyce on their own deadly mission. Sarcastic, seemingly shambolic and yet surprisingly heroic in turn, we feel only Murray could pull off this (always very tongue-in-cheek) Cologne. First released in 1967 with the tagline ‘be careful how you use it’, Hai Karate remained a popular choice right through the 1980s, known for their (intentionally?) hilarious (now rather dated) TV ads. But Murray doesn’t care about appearances, and there’s something about the classic, retro barbershop freshness that’s actually rather comforting to smell.

 

 

 

Jim Hopper (David Harbour)AKRO Smoke from £70 for 30ml eau de parfum

Now Hopper has been through a lot already, and his troubles only increase this season. Former Hawkins Chief of Police, protective father-figure to El and revered by fans as a supposedly ‘unlikely’ sex symbol for the first seasons, we’re sure he’s swaying those who hadn’t already swooned. ‘Bottled without restraint or moderation, a concentration of excess,’ the AKRO collection are inspired by guilty secrets and addictions – and we certainly can’t get enough of this fragrance, or Hopper, come to that. Given his clever use of fire in one particularly nail-biting scene, and the fact that he really deserves a quick drag (OK, we obviously don’t approve of smoking, but the man needs a cigarette break!) the deliciously resinous drift of tobacco smokiness in this scent would surely appeal…

 

 

 

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)E11even Fragrance Oil £80 for 20ml parfum

We know what you’re thinking. You’re assuming this fragrance was just chosen for the name, right? Wrong. Well, OK, partly it was, but mostly we selected this scent for its soothing nature  (which El certainly needs this season, more than ever, as she struggles to tap into her true powers while solving the mysteries of her past), and even for the meaning of the number itself. In numerology, so the house tell us, ‘the number 11 represents two pillars, a gateway, representing awareness and consciousness.’ Inspired by ingredients that help balance the soul, the head-clearing woody greeness of geranium boosts strengthening rose, while earthy patchouli and a warm amber provide a comfort blanket of softness. Encouraging the wearer to ‘stop, take a deep breath, stay positive and consciously focus on balancing themselves,’ it also ‘awakens the senses, ignites intuition and makes the wearer truly unforgettable.’ Just like El, herself.

 

 

 

Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo)Etat Libre d’Orange Remarkable People £128 for 100ml eau de parfum

Seen as a ‘nerd’ in the first season, Dustin more than proved the strength of his friendship, even though he regularly feels a bit isolated and left out of some social groupings. Quick-witted and gregarious, he’s often the only one who sees things as they really are, though perhaps we’ll pass over his pet ‘slug’, Dart, in season 2, actually being a juvenile demogorgon. Oops. Never mind, none of us can be perfect, huh? In a somewhat tempestuous long-distance relationship with computer genius Suzie (see below), Dustin is driven by a quest for adventure. Inspired by ‘Demigods, explorers and those that remain unknown,’ this fragrance fizzes with a Champagne-like exuberance then surrounds you in spicy, almost curried cosiness. New heroes are born every day, say the brand, and ‘There is an element, an event, a circumstance, or maybe just a quirk in their personalities that changes them, empowers them, enables them to transcend the ordinary.’ Dustin, you’re our hero!

 

 

 

Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer)Maison Margiela REPLICA Whispers in the Library from £49 for 30ml eau de parfum

An aspiring journalist known as a bit of a ‘princess’ in the first season, her main concern, then, was merely trying to divide her time between her boyfriend, Steve, and her best friend, Barbara (oh, poor Barb!) When all hell (literally) broke loose, Nancy stepped up to become an integral member of ‘The Party’ of friends who try to save the world. Nancy’s cleverness at piecing clues together also earned her the nickname of ‘Nancy Drew’, and she’s desperately trying to focus on those clues this season, rather than the continuing confusion of her love life. With her love of books, we think this library-centric scent will appeal to Nancy’s nose for extensive research. It’s all waxed wood and leather-bound tomes with a twist of pepper adding spice to the pencil shavings of cedar, a sweetly dry rustle of vellum adding further intrigue as we finally get to the base of it all.

 

 

 

Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) – Penhaligon’s Halfeti Hair & Body Mist Now £32 for 100ml

Known (and lovingly mocked for) his obsessively-tended and oft-touselled head of hair, Steve had a more supporting role as Nancy’s cooler-than-thou boyfriend in the first season, before dropping most of his foolish ways and being propelled to main (mane?) cast status. Forming an unlikely, though charmingly fraternal, sparky friendship with Dustin, their duologues make for many of the season’s funniest moments. He was a bit of an asshole, but he’s fully blossomed, so we think Steve would very much appreciate and now truly desrves the sexy scent of Halfeti that’s been imbued with protective and hair-shining properties in the hair mist. Worn alone in hot weather or layered with the fragrance for an even longer-lasting waft of woody sensuousness, the masucline rose even has smooth leather notes to remind him of his favouite jacket.

 

 

 

 

Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke)Contradictions in ILK Realist £125 for 50ml extrait de parfum [try in the Discovery Set for £48]

Working with Steve at a new job in Hawkins premiere video rental store, her no-bullsh*t approach comes in handy for day-to-day wise-cracking at work, and quickly becomes her scene-stealing modus operandi as the story continues. Robin is funny but seriously intelligent, her quick-thinking and bravado vital to the gang throughout the season, and she provides a balance to the darkest moments. Her sharp contrast to Nancy’s character means their friendship is often spiky, but quite apart from being independently brilliant, she’s also an amazing team player when needs be. With a similarly down-to-earth approach, this travels from the cold of night to day break’s warmth via yuzu citrus, the clarity of cedar and incense on a sea breeze. Providing clarity of mind and feeling spirit-cleansing to wear, it’s the one to turn to when times are hardest.

 

 

Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin)BYREDO Mixed Emotions £127 for 50ml eau de parfum

Lucas begins by being torn between two rival sets of friends. A difficult circumstance for any young person, it’s made all the more horrific when lives (and tender feelings) are on the line. Mixed Emotions has been created, so we’re told, ‘to reflect the tumultuous nature of our times’. Yet the fragrance itself seems to offer something of a welcome antidote to that: a beautiful, cool blend of maté tea, sharply sweet blackcurrant, reviving Ceylon black tea, violet leaves, all strongly tethered by papyrus and birch wood. ‘A refreshing reminder that it is OK to not be OK – and that from unsettling experiences, a new reality might emerge,’ conclude BYREDO. Here’s hoping Lucas emerges with a renewed sense of who his truest friends really are, and that it’s alright to be ostracised if those people alienating you are all assholes. When Lucas taps into his emotional depths he’s remarkably resilient, and this scent really encourages the spirit of ‘you do you.’

 

 

 

Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink)Olfactive O Skin £100 for 30ml extrait de parfum [or try in their Discovery Set for £30]

Having captured the game-playing jealousy, then potential love-interest of fellow arcade game players Dustin and Lucas in season 2, the Californian skateboarding cool reserve of Max could be read as snootiness, but in fact is down to her horrific home life (thanks mainly to step-brother, Billy, and her innate social anxiety). Having become a close friend of Eleven’s, despite their initial shakiness, her on-and-off again relationship with Lucas provides another emotionally-challenging storyline – as though these young people aren’t under enough stress right now. Though she might feel a special connection with another of the scents on this list (we can’t tell you why without spoilering!) we think she’d find solace and extra courage in the universality, yet deeply personal connections of this one. Creamy, cocooning, the softness of ambrette seed, orris and magnilia swirl protectively around you, a second skin that can be layered to magnify another scent or worn alone to ‘create the absolute essence of you.’

 

 

 

Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn)L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer Extrême £135 for 100ml eau de parfum

Leader of the Stranger Things Hellfire Club, the Dungeon & Dragons and Metal music-obsessed Eddie has become an instant fan favourite – his ‘bad guy’ stereotype soon punctured by his sweetness of character and his obvious (to his friends) sensitive side. Sadly, not everyone sees him this way, and it’s not long before he needs all the help he can get. Apart from the fact this fragrance name sounds like a song from one of his favorite bands, it features a host of potentially spooky notes. The headiness of lily has been associated with spiritualism and the afterlife since Victorian times, here smouldering alongside the billowing yet sheer smokiness of incense and an intensely comforting woody muskiness that seems to offer hope even when everything around you is on fire. Despite the ‘scary’ name, it’s a bit of a pussycat at heart this one, a place of sanctuary amidst charred wooden pews and dusty books, something that brings solace whenever you spray it. So, Eddie’s gonna need backup bottles.

 

 

 

Argyle (Eduardo Franco)Malin + Goetz Cannabis £78 for 50ml eau de parfum [or try in the Discovery Set for £22]

Your friendly local pizza and weed delivery guy, Argyle would doubtless rather be thinking up new toppings while taking another toke, but his hippy-dippy lifestyle comes abruptly to an end when he gets involved in the horrifying Hawkins shenanigans. So, we suggest this bohemian yet beautiful balance of rich, spicy and herbaceous notes. A surprisingly floral heart of muguet and magnolia has the laid-back chill of a lazy afternoon, but the base is what really steals the show: a combination of cedar wood, patchouli and sandalwood comes together to recreate this green, hempy, smoky haze of scent. It’s dark, green, rich and altogether very moreish. As with all cannabis fragrances, this is free of THC (the ingredient that causes a ‘high’) so Argyle isn’t going to be swapping this for his usual herbal preferences… but we suggest he might like to try smelling of something altogether lovelier. The dry down is fantastically earthy with cedarwood, patchouli and sandalwood creating a peaceful vibe we reckon he could probably do with after all the excitement.

 

 

 

Suzie Bingham (Gabriella Pizzolo) – Beautiful Mind Series Volume 1: Intelligence & Fantasy £95 for 100ml eau de parfum

With an ultra-dry sense of humour, Suzie is a mathematical computer genius who used her hacking skills to full effect in season 3 (despite having been kind of ghosted by her beloved ‘Dusty Bun’ Dustin: “Okay, let me just be clear on this. I haven’t heard from you in a week, and now you want a mathematical equation so you can… save the world?“) Called on once again for season 4, we feel she’d get on board with this collection by Perfumer Geza Schoen – dedicated to women with extraordinary talents. This first fragrance was inspired and co-created by memory genius Christiane Stenger, a vibrant blend of magnolia bud, citrus and Schinus molle (pink pepper) with luminous florals emboldened by exotic tiara absolute on a strong, woody base. Proudly get your geek on!

 

 

Kate BushClinique Aromatics Elixir From £41 for 25ml eau de parfum

Okay, we know Kate isn’t a character in season 4 per se, but as you’ll have doubtlessly seen reported, like, everywhere; Kate’s song Running Up That Hill features prominently – not merely part of the (always excellent) soundtrack, but in the culmination of a particularly important episode that proves something of a breakthrough in the supernatural plot. With her strongly independent and mysterious allure reignited for a new generation, we feel a perfect perfume match for Kate would be this groundbreaking scent, launched in 1971, the world’s first ‘aromatherapy’ fine fragrance; a classic chypre style that’s cool, grounding, rested on seductive, patchouli-rich base that fuses vetiver and amber which steadies us in a frenzied world, and is slightly weird in the best way.

 

Is your favourite character missing from this list? Well, before you get stroppy, can we just say it is an extensive cast, and we’ve tried to focus on some of the newer characters (or those with especially important story development roles) this season. But look, we know how frustrating it can be, so if you’ve a strong feeling for a particular character – perhaps have already imagined the fragrance you’d pair with them – do let us know! In the meantime, sit back and think how you’d scent your Stranger Things streaming.

Written By Suzy Nightingale

 

 

 

Strictly Scents: Part Two (matching fragrances to all the dances)

Strictly season is hotting up, and we’re scenting all the major dances with fragrances we feel best compliment their unique characters. Don’t forget to read Part One for all the background context of these features, but briefly put, music and fragrance have myriad connections. What’s more, we love mixing cultural references, as it adds to our understanding of scent as an emotive medium!

So, simply decide which dance best sum up your personality, or would match your mood today, and then seek out the perfume we’ve picked to accompany it…

 

 

 

American Smooth – BDK Vanille Leather

The magic of seeing couples glide over the dance floor in this so-sophisticated number never gets old, and we know you’ll be won over by the rich smoothness of the glorious vanilla in this scent, too. But if you avoid gourmands, fear not! Get set to banish all thoughts of it being sickly: this has great depth but glides on skin like a silky caress. Rich, yes, but so, SO chic. Shot through with Indian tuberose, Egyptian jasmine and orange flower, there’s a fizzing sense of excitement from pink peppercorns and a swoony violet to infuse the trail, along with that creamy, dreamy vanilla.

£195 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com

 

 

 

Viennese Waltz – Chopard Imperiale Iris Malika

A classic dance style often depicted in romantic films, the sweepingly graceful moves are reflected in this regally arrayed fragrance. Enrobed in purple, the majesty of this Chopard scent is apparent even before the first spritz. Echoing both the colour of the iris flower and the robes associated with royalty, this fit-for-a-Queen fragrance billows wild berries and warm spices borne aloft on a feather-light, powdery cloud of that exceptional orris concrete, garlanded either side by jasmine and ylang ylang. Further spices infuse opulently silky balms and woodiness in the base. One to fall madly in love with, for sure.

£90 for 100ml eau de parfum fenwick.co.uk

 

 

 

Salsa – Jean Paul Gaultier Divine

Overtly feminine in style, this is a blur of boobs, hips and feet sashaying with intent (and filled with happiness!) You’d not be able to do it in the actual corset, but you can definitely feel the vibe wearing this fragrance. Gilded breast cones? Of COURSE it’s a JPG – referencing one of his iconic fashion pieces in fragrant form, it’s sparkly, yet has a satisfying gourmand hit. Envisage sun-warmed skin, now add opulent wafts of white flowers, and a scented surprise where the addictive sweet creaminess of whipped meringue is suddenly shot through with a lip-smacking hint of the salty sea. Breezy yet buxom, it’s an invitation to be the very best, fragrantly fabulous version of yourself.

£66 for 30ml eau de parfum jeanpaulgaultier.com

 

 

 

Argentine Tango – Floris Tuberose in Silk

Surely the most passionate dance of all, this drama-filled spectacle needs a scent that can balance the sheer sexiness with restraint. Teetering betwixt the hip-swivelling sensuality of tuberose and the softness of a rose’s velvet blush, this surprising dive into untamed eroticism is held at bay by the cashmere fluffiness of musk, a warm hug of amber and a dusting of iris. Calmed by these, the orange blossom and jasmine join the white flowers in a more controlled dance than if left to cavort, while camphor’s on hand with the smelling salts for the final dip.

From £30 for 50ml eau de parfum florislondon.com

 

 

Charleston – Vyrao Sun Rae

Need an instant shot of energy? You will with this breathlessly entertaining dance, and wearing this gloriously uplifting scent – infused with ‘a supercharged Herkimer diamond crystal for clarity and to boost energy levels’ – the brilliant Lyn Harris has created her own magic from a ZING! POP! FIZZ! of citrus explosions that feel like you’re being beamed above the clouds with every spritz. Turn on the scented spotlight for a sizzle of turmeric and black pepper, adding ruffled layers of welcome warmth, while bergamot, lemon, and aqueous ginger sparkle like bottled sunshine throughout.

£135 for eau de parfum libertylondon.com

 

 

Couple’s Choices: (a category introduced in 2018 – celebs and their professional dancer partners have a choice of performing either a contemporary dance, a street/commercial dance or theatre and jazz. We’ve chosen a scent for each..)

 

 

Couple’s Choice Contemporary – Bruno Cucinelli Pour Homme

A poetically lyrical style of dance that often incorporates balletic moves and lifts, this dance truly expresses the emotion of the music. The fragrance for this match is just as expressive, while masterfully understated. Paying tribute to the Italian design house’s home of Solomeo with every sophisticated, spice-infused spritz, Olivier Cresp evokes rolling Umbrian hills, an aromatic landscape brought to life via cypress, juniper, clary sage and Nigerian ginger flecked with flinty black pepper. Known for his masterful textures and superb fabrics, Cucinelli’s aesthetic and his homeland are so brilliantly nuanced within the blend: a sense of overlapping complexity that simultaneously feels effortless.

£160 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com

 

 

Couple’s Choice Street – Art de Parfum Sabotage

Often introducing a retro dance style to appropriately nostalgic tunes, this dance always puts smiles on the audience’s faces. Similarly, this scent joyously revels in revery, harking back to the 90s as its perfumed point of reference. We’re imagining it worn while dancing to MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’ for extra fun. And this really is fun to wear. It has us pining for the optimism and carefree attitude of that era, which is cleverly evoked here with a boozy Negroni accord, a breeze of spearmint, tuberose naughtily swirled with wormwood, earthy patchouli and a mossy dry-down. It’s ‘da bomb’ (as we liked to say, back then).

£125 for 50ml extrait artdeparfum.com

 

 

Couple’s Choice Jazz – Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club

The vibrant allure of an illicit after-party in a wood-panelled club is evoked here via a fizz of pink pepper, the brightness of neroli and lemon slinking to the rum-infused fun of the rich heart. There’s a shadowy coolness of vetiver oil from Java, a sense of refinement from the tobacco, and a sensually resinous vanilla base; but it’s the kind of night that will linger long in your memory, and your secret smiles…

£115 for 100ml eau de toilette maisonmargiela.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Strictly Come Spritzing – fragrances for every dance!

Fragrance and music have long been linked, but in this matching series we’re partnering perfumes with Strictly dances, too! Which ones will you most be drawn to, and which would match the mood of this new season’s celebrity couples’ characters…?

The Waltz, Cha-Cha-Cha, Quickstep, Rumba, Tango, Jive, Foxtrot, Paso Doble and Samba were the first dance forms showcased when the programme began in (can you believe it?) 2004. Later, in series 3, the American Smooth and Viennese Waltz were included for the first time, followed by the Salsa and Argentine Tango, which were added as part of the lineup for Series 4, and the Charleston in series 7.

To fully explore the perfumes I’ve paired with each dance, and truly celebrate the high-stepping kick-off of the new Strictly season, I thought it best to split these scent suggestions into two parts; beginning with the original dances and moving onto the later additions as the competition really heats up.

Now, get on your dancing shoes, pop on a pair of leg warmers, limber up, and get ready for the scented spotlight…

 

 

Waltz – 4160 Tuesdays Dancing With Strangers

First introduced in the 18th Century, this dance shocked polite society for how close couples’ bodies were pressed. Cult Fragrances author Tessa Williams partnered closely with Sarah McCartney with this twirling-ly provocative perfume. We’re treated to a deliciously fragrant waltz that’s partly formal-feeling, with lipstick-y rose, violet and white florals; part exuberant energy, shot through with solar jasmine and joyous honeysuckle.


From £40 for 15ml eau de parfum
4160tuesdays.com

 

Cha-Cha-Cha – Edeniste Rose Délice

A lively, playfully flirtatious dance, this needs a similarly light-hearted fragrance to match its mood. Vibrant, colourful, and yes, flirtatious, here Bulgarian rose essence brings glorious radiance, refreshed by a sun-kissed splash of sparkling mandarin from Italy. French May rose absolute from Grasse – the rarest and most precious – adds sensuality. Notes of red berries, naturally present in some varieties of roses, tinge the vivid bouquet with extra playfulness. A velvety drydown of vanilla and musk sashay the scent to skin-like sensuality.

£60 for 30ml eau de parfum In our shop 

 

 

 

Quickstep – EAU.MG Rockin Rose

Fast, powerful, but still full of fun, this dance requires a perfume that can keep up! Rockin Rose really sets the pace with an uplift of mouthwatering juicy pear and melon, immediately followed by a soaring floral heart of narcotic muguet (lily of the valley) and a rose that runs to greet you with an exuberant smile. Even rose naysayers will fall madly for it! Finally, as it warms the scent fades out with a trail of ultra comforting musk and silkily grounding sandalwood for a breath of serenity after all that energy.

Try a sample as part of The Garden of Delights Discovery Box £23 / £19 for VIPs

 

 

Rumba – Dunhill Icon Elite

Considered the most saucily romantic of all Latin ballroom dances, here’s a scent that equally appeals to bohemian spirits. This tobacco-laden fragrance speaks of long liquid lunches in smoky bars padded with faded leather and panelled in dark wood. Musky Cuban cascarilla oil is pierced by the piquancy of pimento berries and a cool shot of pine needles with herbaceously aromatic sage. The gently smouldering base of patchouli gets comfortable with a boozy cherry-like sweetness of the toasty tonka beans. Hip-swivelling-ly good!

Currently £43.95 for for 100ml eau de parfum sephora.co.uk

 


Tango – Tom Ford Ébène Fumé

Famous for its trademark sharply accented, staccato moves, this dance is passionate for sure, but it celebrates a love of life, not only romance. Palo Santo infuses this woody-amber incarnation ‘an almost spiritual sensuality that uplifts your mood.’ It smoulders meaningfully alongside dry cade essence, resinous cistus absolute, carnal roses, guaiac and thorny, ebony woods. The trick it carries off? This would be equally at home on the dance floor at a party or in bedroom, afterwards.

£220 for 50ml eau de parfum tomford.co.uk

 

 

Jive – Ruth Mastenbroek Dagian

Upbeat, lightning-quick and seriously social, this one needs a scent that projects a sparkling freshness yet lasts the whole night long! Dagian is inspired by ‘…the feeling of optimism that breaks at dawn, the exhilarating hope of a fresh start. As the sun rises, a breeze of lime and mint shimmers over notes of orange blossom and rum.’ Energetically fizzing from first spritz, this is one to reach for when you need an immediate WHOOSH! of energy that doesn’t fade (as most citrus-centric fragrances can). Perfect for any weather, too. A must-sniff.

Try a sample in the Ruth Mastenbroek Discovery Set for £27.50

 

 

 

Foxtrot – Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Silk Mood Extrait

Known for its iconic ruse and fall motion, there’s a smoothness to this dance which requires something equally silky as a scent – but a fragrance that appears as seemingly effortless. Well. Does anyone do utterly wearable oudhs for Western sensibilities better than Francis Kurkdjian? Probably not. Here he offers us a masterful paring-down from the original Oud Silk Mood, with an eau de parfum. Can silk get any smoother? Somehow this manages to be airy yet still voluptuous, the Laotian wood woven through with Bulgarian roses, Italian bergamot, Indian papyrus and Moroccan blue chamomile, with a hit of hedoine. Simply heavenly.

£320 for 70ml extrait de parfum selfridges.com

 

Paso Doble – Floral Street Black Lotus

Theatrically dramatic, full of angular shapes and fabulously intricate flamenco-style footwork, it’s the fastest of the Latin ballroom dances. For this scent, imagine a deep red rose dressed in a black leather jacket. A classic note but so Intoxicating, spirited, bohemian and alive – this is a fragrance that feels complex and multi-faceted, the sweet honeyed scent of centifolia rose adds depth to lighter, spicy nuances via a sizzle of red peppercorn and warmly tingling saffron. ‘Once smelled forever adored’ they say, and we think you’ll totally agree! Go on, succumb…

Try a generous 10ml travel spray eau de parfum as part of the Scintillating Scents Discovery Box £33 / £29 for VIPs

 

Samba – Granado Pharmácias Boemia

A Brazilian dance with its roots firmly in Africa, this is an expressive style where dancers must move hips, feet and arms to the beat – where music seems to course through the entire body. Obviously this beloved Brazilian brand had to be our choice, and we’re plumping for this scent, which they explain the origins of: ‘The atmosphere of Lapa at the beginning of the 20th century was the starting point for this intense creation. Ambrée, striking and extremely elegant, Boemia represents all the sensuality and daring of the most bohemian neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro. With 92% of ingredients of natural origin, the perfume has a light fresh spicy air over warm and sensual notes, enveloped by an atmosphere of mystery and sophistication.’

£110 for 75ml eau de parfum libertylondon.com (Also available at their new Ham Yard and Regent Street stores)

Until next time: keeeeeeep spritzing…!

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Perfuming Emily in Paris (Season 3)

If you’ve not already binged Emily in Paris Season 3, have you even got a Netflix account? Continuing our series of matching characters in popular series to scents they should wear, of course I had to pick some perfumes for the cast of Emily in Paris!

 

 

Okay, perhaps you avoided it thus far and thought it beneath you, somehow? Well cast off your snobbiness, wind back to the first two seasons and give it a go! There’s a lot of talk about scent, for a start, with an ongoing storyline about the creation of a fragrance and (in the third season) a plot involving Emily trying to save a potential disaster for a lavender farm’s luxury perfume. Fun, frivolous and with some absolutely gorgeous Parisian scenery, it’s one to watch when you just need something easy, breezy and beautiful for a change, and while fans await the much-anticipated fourth season of Emily in Paris, here’s some fragrance choices to explore in the meantime…

 

 

Emily (played by Lily Collins) – Lancôme La Vie Est Belle

Optimistic, confident (even though her French, fashion sense and romantic decisions are sometimes shocking) Emily’s joie de vivre often gets her in trouble, but her plucky spirit and great ideas save her. She embodies the joy of this free-spirited fragrance by a trio of top-notch noses (Anne Flipo, Dominique Ropion and Olivier Polge), which was reportedly with 5000 trials in the making. Starring a contemporary, silky iris swagged by radiant orange blossom and sparkling jasmine, its fruitiness is woven with praline (to satisfy her sweet tooth). Pretty, perky, with a long-lasting trail, it’s a scent that says ‘I’m here to stay, and you’re going to love me!’

£65 for 30ml eau de parfum lancome.co.uk

 

 

Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) – Jack Piccadilly ’69

Suave, sarcastic, but with a seemingly good heart, Alfie’s the ambitious banker [NB: not a spelling error] who’s fully London-born and proud of it, with no intention of fitting in to the French way of doing things. Piccadilly was the third fragrance from Richard E Grant’s house, and similarly swaggers with pride. Based on Grant’s own first venture to the big city in 1969, and working with talented perfumer Alienor Massenet, these extraordinary memories are evoked via rich patchouli, Earl Grey tea, ginger and leather swirling against the backdrop of a vibrant city, cool cars, petrol fumes, illicit parties, a buzz of excitement. Thrillingly addictive!

£95 for 100ml eau de parfum jackperfume.co.uk 

 

 

Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) – DS&Durga Bistro Waters

A talented chef conflicted by the ongoing battle between his heart and head (and possibly other parts, too), Gabriel gets away with an awful lot by looking soulfully confused and running his fingers through his hair. While dreaming up new ideas for menu, he should liberally spritz this: a savoury special of juicy green peppers and aromatic, just-chopped herbs with undercurrents of fancy cocktails to follow, late-night lock-ins and snogging the chef (when you really shouldn’t be), this always fun niche house nevertheless serve up seriously great fragrances. It’s the scent of a great night out and, very likely, will scent the morning after the night before.

£148 for 50ml eau de parfum libertylondon.co.uk

 

 

Camille (Camille Razat) – Histoire de Parfums This is Not a Blue Bottle 1.2 

Ah, Camille – the gal pal unfairly turned love rival with secrets of her own to hide. I think her love of art would be intrigued by this contemporary niche French house’s scent inspired by ‘The Treachery of Images’ – a famously surrealist work from the 1920s by Belgian painter René Magritte. It resonates the dualities of sparkling light and fiery emotions, so perfect for Camille. From a bright beginning of ivy leaf with a fizz of pink pepper, the softness of lilac and lily of the valley are interrupted by passionate ylang ylang’s embrace, with the base of sandalwood and vanilla-lapped musk being sexy in a luminously insouciant but now subversively sexy way.

£105 for 60ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com

 

 

Sylvie (‎Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) – Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche

Being the boss isn’t always easy, especially when you’re not sure you are the boss anymore, and you’re doubting your romantic entanglements; so I think Sylvie would reach for a classic that reminds her of more carefree times and boosts her confidence. Completely chic but with a bohemian soul, Rive Gauche was launched in 1971 and – shockingly, then – presented in tin casing so a woman on-the-go could throw it in her bag . Timelessly French Chypre in style but with that rebellious Left Bank spirit. Soapy, sparkling aldehydic bubbles burst to clean-cut woodiness with claws out, while the rich oakmoss dry down is an irresistibly seductive purr.

£75 for 100ml eau de toilette boots.com

 

 

Luc (Bruno Gourey) – Parle Moi de Parfum Woody Perfecto

Always dapper, slightly eccentric, but ever dependable in a crisis – even when everyone seems to desert Emily, Luc is a friend indeed and thus deserves a scent to match his quirky but warm personality. Composed by master perfumer Michel Almairac (who runs the house with his sons), expect mischievous names paired with immaculately blended fragrances that blend great taste with not taking yourself too seriously. This one wafts aromatic notes of coffee and cool, rooty vetiver with undercurrents of naughtiness implied by a smooth infusion of leather. Symbolising freedom, the scent is perfect for offices or star-studded parties alike.

£100 for 50ml eau de parfum lessenteurs.com

 

 

Julien (Samuel Arnold) – Christian Louboutin Loubicrown

Dramatic? As if! Okay, well sometimes he can go a tiny bit over the top in his reactions, but Julien’s tantrums never last that long, and he’s one of those friends you’d definitely want to party with (as long as you weren’t held responsible for their actions). Never exactly averse to a designer name with a bit of boldness and bling, his ever-colourful wardrobe needs a fragrance that’s just as fantastic, and I reckon he’d love the crowned bottle, too. The scent itself is one that beckons the red carpet via oodles of cedar, deliciously resinous patchouli and a tonka bean accord that will draw crowds of admirers for another sniff.

£235 for 90ml eau de parfum eu.christianlouboutin.com

 

 

Mindy (Ashley Park) – L’Orchestre Parfum Rose Trombone

Gregarious, loyal and super-talented, Mindy is a fave of Emily in Paris fans – a magnificent singer with a difficult background of a family who definitely don’t approve of her busking career choices. Mindy’s fortunes may be changing, but that means extra complications for her romantic life. This niche French perfume house couldn’t be more perfect – all their fragrances have songs inspired by them, written by world class musicians; this one’s a beautiful raspberry-tinged rose that turns into a smoky smooch of vanilla-laced rum. Think: torrid glances, forbidden kisses and the sultry voice of a chauntress rising above it all, aching with emotion, hushing a crowd.

£138 for 100ml eau de parfum jovoyparis.uk

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

Scenting Marie Antoinette (the new BBC drama series you must watch!)

The BBC’s new Marie Antoinette series is making lovers of historical costume dramas rejoice, and in a continuation of our character and scent-matching sessions, we’re powdering our wigs, unfurling our fans and and wafting forth with the following fragrant suggestions…

 

‘An innocent teenage queen drawn into a dark, manipulative court of Versailles. Her duty is to bear an heir. Her fate will set a country on fire.’

 

Marie Antoinette BBC series

 

From the brilliant writer Deborah Davis (who also gave us the award-winning film, The Favourite), this is a drama that’s not afraid to lean into the opulence – so of course it calls for some seriously fabulous olfactory counterparts to the characters. For more information on the show, do read The Guardian’s review in full (which is suitably glowing), and give the trailer a watch before you begin your scent exploration of some of the main characters.

 

 

‘…it is sometimes strange, funny, grotesque in places, with a gorgeous if occasionally oppressive score. Historians and purists in France, where the series launched at the end of October, have unsurprisingly called it “obscene” and full of “historical aberrations”, including the supposed rebrand of Marie Antoinette as a feminist icon. But the trend for reappraising historical and maligned female figures with a contemporary viewpoint is unstoppable and, anyway, this is not the first revision of the last queen of France before the revolution.’ – The Guardian

 

 

Marie Antoinette (played by Emilia Schüle) – Parfums de Marly Delina

Encased in its sugared-almond pink bottle as it is, the silk tassel befits such a regal scent, as does the beautifully powdery rose within; but this isn’t as ‘girly’ as you’d imagine. Just as Antoinette blooms as her confidence grows, so too does Delina blossom on the skin. As it warms, the powder becomes more bare skin-like, a hint of pink thigh flashed above a white stocking, the sense of feminine power that comes with learning the art of flirtation.

£210 for 100ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

 

 

 

Louis XVI (Louis Cunningham) – Matiere Premiere Falcon Leather

Given his preference for birds of the feathered variety (at first meeting his bride-to-be, anyway) and generally wandering free among the grounds rather than the stilted, terrifying confines of polite society; Louis XVI should plump for this. Smoky as a distant bonfire on the breeze, redolent of the leather gloves falcon trainers use, it’s got hint of that huntin’ ‘n fishin’ outdoors-y attitude but it’s scrubbed up and refined, far sexier than it realises. One to wonder at, then fall for. Hard.

£145 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

 

 

 

Madame du Barry (Gaia Weiss) – Etat Libre d’Orange Putain des Palaces

Prettily powdered she may be, but this is a fragrance that means business. Evoking passionate encounters and smudged lipstick, beneath the make-up strewn dressing table top notes there’s a writhing of hot bodies entangled in sheets and an evocation of dirty linen very much being aired in the public gaze. Du Barry doesn’t mean to allow her grasp on the throne to be weakened, and if you’re not in her court, you’re done for. Why not simply submit to the sensuality within?

£85 for 50ml eau de parfum bloomperfume.co.uk

 

 

 

King Louis XV (James Purefoy) – Etat Libre d’Orange Exit the King

Amidst the bitchy court of Versailles, King Louis (‘Papa Roi‘ as Antoinette comes to call him) is a welcome friendly face (though do watch out for his wandering hands). This pleasingly soapy scent is classy all day long, with a hint of traditional Cologne among the French Savon and a dandyish air that isn’t afraid to wear its more feminine side on its frilled white shirt cuff. Luminous musks beam forth from the foam, sunlit jasmine and lily of the valley resting on light woods. Lovely (but dangerous in the wrong hands).

£128 for 100ml eau de parfum lessenteurs.com

 

 

 

Princesse de Lamballe (Jasmine Backborow) – Lancôme Trésor

Beloved since its launch in 1990, this softly peachy hug swathes its wearer in an embrace of fluffy muskiness, pillowy sandalwood and vanilla encircling the lilac blossoms in the heart. Lamballe was (sometimes) Antoinette’s closest confidant; known for her kindness and likability, she surely deserves to be as treasured as this scent. To be worn when you need to be kind to yourself, perhaps, this perfume should be sought out anew by those who once loved it and discovered afresh for those yet to be blessed.

£75 (was £83) for 50ml eau de parfum superdrug.com

 

 

 

Victoire (Caroline Piette) / Adelaïde (Crystal Shepherd-Cross) – Dior Pure Poison / Dior Poison 

Quite frankly ‘a bit much’ and just not giving a damn, these mesdames might be the unmarried daughters of the King, but they co-rule the court with iron fists inside their couture gloves. In the BBC series they are magnificently snarky, their plum lipsticks and bruise coloured gowns a fabulous contrast to pastel froth and youthful folly. Deep, bold and unapologetic, the original Poison still swaggers, while the Pure version is more translucent, and though not as powerful can deliver a slap to the unworthy. So: bow down.

£54 for 30ml eau de parfum / £63 for 30ml eau de parfum dior.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

What to watch? Our guide to olfactory-themed shows, films & documentaries

If you’ve had your fill of Christmas TV, have basically completed Netflix, or find yourself desperately flicking through the channels to find something worth watching – we’ve got a fab list of fragrantly-themed things to consider adding to your viewing over this festive period…

Perfume in popular culture used be represented as something of a frippery, a subject to sneer at, but more recently, this eye-rolling attitude appears to be changing for the better. Certainly it seems to be (albeit slowly) if you cast a glance at some series, films and some of the most-loved television shows we’ve been streaming of late.

We couldn’t help noticing the subject of fragrance – perfumery and bottles as an art form, and our sense of smell in general – is coming up more frequently.  It’s the perfect way to fill the weird hinterland between festive or new year celebrations and the return to real life.

Here’s a selection box of fragrant items that are either scent-centric of contain major perfumery mentions which we have spotted, with direct links to click and watch. Ditch the TV guide and follow your noses, this way…!

 

 

Perfume: Story of a Murderer Amazon Prime: rent for £3.49

‘With his incredible talent for discerning scents, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) is one of 18th-century France’s finest perfumers. He becomes obsessed with capturing an elusive aroma: the scent of young womanhood. His search takes a deadly turn, and when the bodies of 12 young females are found, panic breaks out, with families rushing to lock up their daughters.’

Based on the best-selling, and now infamous, novel by Patrick Süskind, this is one every fragrance-lover should watch. It’s remarkable not only for being filmed at all (many said the book could never be made in to a screen drama), but for changing the way fragrance was talked about in the media. Stunningly shot, utterly gripping, we of course urge you to read the book first, but do then see this and marvel.

If you’ve already seen the film, have a gander at the made for TV drama loosely based on the premise of the novel, but in a modern-day setting: Perfume (series) Netflix.

 

 

 

Simply put, Nose is a feast for the senses, and a much-needed way for us to feed the wanderlust we’re all experiencing. Gorgeous, swooping shots of landscape and sumptuous close-ups of dew-speckled flowers accompany this portrait, that goes beyond the work of Demachy, and invites the viewer to fall as passionately in love with the world of perfumery as he and all the people behind the scenes so obviously are…

Nose is now available to rent (from £3.99) or buy on Amazon Prime VideoApple TV and Google Play.

 

 

 

 

Scent of a Woman Netflix

Telling the story of a preparatory school student who woefully takes a job as an assistant to an irritable, blind, medically retired Army officer, Frank, (magnificently played by Al Paccino) this is one of those films that helped highlight the importance of our sense of smell. In one memorable scene, Frank approaches the table where a woman sits alone, waiting for date. ‘You know, I detect a fragrance in the air,’ he says, ‘Don’t tell me what it is… Ogleby Sisters Soap?’ So, although not a movie about perfume per se, it’s a fantastic performance, and fun to look out for some well-known fragrance names he also detects along his adventures…

 

 

 

 

Perfumes (Les ParfumsAmazon Prime: rent for £4.49

We reviewed this charming film in full, here, but basically it’s the story of a reclusive, once-feared French perfumer and her new chauffeur. Though a gentle comedy, Les Parfums takes a serious (and very well presented) look at the life of a perfumer, and now this subtitled film has a wider release with Amazon, we hope many more of you will be able to see it. Certainly it’s a treat for the senses, and sadly such a rarity to see perfumery explored on screen in this manner. We particularly loved the scene in which Guillaume, the chauffeur, is discovering his newly-acquired appreciation for smell –  in the supermarket, sniffing various shower gels, under the watchful gaze of a bemused security guard. ‘Something quite mellow…’ he says, as the guard shuffles closer, clearly unused to such behaviour in Aisle 5. Delightful from start to finish.

 

 

 

Love Blossoms free with Amazon Prime

After a perfumer’s death, his daughter works to meet the production deadline for his company’s latest scent, which is complicated by the lack of an elusive ingredient.‘ Now we should really start by saying this a Hallmark movie, and as such has a certain look and feel to it that previous viewers of their oeuvre will recognise. That being said, this is the kind of whimsical film that one can happily curl up on the sofa with while eating your way through an entire tub of ice cream. Just don’t expect Süskind levels of olfactory detail, accept that everyone wears pastel and has perfect hair, and all will be fine.

 

 

 

The Perfume of The Lady in Black free with Amazon Prime

We must admit to not having watched this one yet, but it certainly sounds like an antidote to excessive Christmas schmaltz, if that’s what you’re looking for. ‘After her mother dies, a chemist begins to have strange visions of a mysterious woman in black applying perfume in a mirror, and of strangers who follow her everywhere.’ That’s the synopsis in brief, but further reviews reveal that it’s a surrealistic film, also described as an ‘incoherent and inconsistent slice of psychological horror.’ Nonetheless, it’s a plot that sounds intriguing enough to capture our interest, and we very much we get to find out what the mysterious woman in black’s perfume actually is!

 

 

 

The Women (1939) Amazon Prime: rent for £3.49

‘Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) can’t believe her husband’s having an affair with salesgirl Crystal (Joan Crawford). But when Sylvia (Rosalind Russell) and Edith (Phyllis Povah) deliver the gossip firsthand, Mary heads to Reno for a divorce. En route she meets Countess de Lave (Mary Boland) and Miriam (Paulette Goddard), who coincidentally is having an affair with Sylvia’s husband. Once in Reno, the Countess finds another beau, Sylvia shows up for a divorce and Mary plots to win back her man.’

Even though this really only has one perfume-related scene, we’re recommending this one mainly because it’s one of our favourite films EVER. And what a scent scene that is – set in the fragrance department of a classy department store, and featuring magnificently catty lines with Crawford as the predatory perfume counter gal. A stellar cast – made up entirely of women (practically unheard of even today, let alone in the 1930s!) – magnificent costumes and a gasp-inducing sudden switch to full-colour film during the fashion show sequence, make this more than worth your watching (on repeat).

 

 

 

Some years ago, the BBC made a fascinating doccumentary series about the perfume business, taking a deep dive into the creation of a fragrance, the revival of a perfume house (Grossmith) and interviewing perfume personalities such as Roja Dove and perfumers including Guerlain’s Thierry Wasser. Sadly the episiodes are no longer available on the BBC iPlayer website, though they are now available to watch on YouTube: Perfume (BBC Documentary series).

 

 

 

Emily in Paris (series) Netflix

When it originally aired, the first season of Emily in Paris saw equal parts love and hate in the many reviews that followed its release. By season two, more had succumbed, and with a new season now available, whichever camp you fall in, you cannot deny it’s a love-song to Paris. And you know what? In the first season there’s actually not a bad look at the creation and marketing of a perfume, as we follow Emily’s hapless adventures as she’s ‘tasked with bringing an American point of view to a venerable French marketing firm.’ Time to catch-up and binge watch!

 

 

 

Birth of a Perfume (British Pathé, 1967) YouTube

YouTube is a treasure trove for archival fragrance adverts and wonderful little gems like this Pathé documentary on how fragrance is made. We might chuckle at the Stiff Upper Lip ‘Received Pronunciation’ of the voiceover, but it makes for a still very interesting look at Grasse, French perfumery and the technical side of perfumery still not often shown in such detail to this day. Click above to watch it now!

 

 

 

The Legend of Fragrance free with Amazon Prime

Another still on our ‘to watch’ list, this series certainly sounds like it ticks many (perfume) boxes for us… ‘During the Republican era, a family empire famous for making the best fragrances and incense must guard against those who are out to steal their secret recipes. Ning Zhi Yuan is the sweet young master of his family’s fragrance empire. An Le Yan is a determined young woman who is out for revenge against the Ning family. Zhi Yuan falls in love with Le Yan, but she only wants to infiltrate Zhi Yuan’s family to steal a valuable perfume formula. Le Yan’s true heart is drawn toward An Yi Chen, an inspector. But Xiao Hui, the daughter of a Japanese imperialist, is determined to capture Yi Chen’s heart at all costs. Can Zhi Yuan protect his family’s livelihood and his own heart?

 

 

 

Tee & Mo BBC iPlayer

Something for the little ones – perhaps inspiring a new ‘nose’ in your family? – this cheeky little cartoon follows the story of  Mo, who is ‘…upset when Tee accidentally breaks her favourite perfume.’ And indeed she might might be upset! ‘Tee is now determined to cheer her up by making her some new perfume from ingredients found around the house. Lucky Mo!’ Hmm. Well we’re sure that’s all whimsically delightful, but if Tee tried whipping up a batch of vintage Mitsouko from stuff he found around our house, we’re very much afraid he’d be out on his ear (having replaced the bottle and cleaned the carpet, thank you very much!)

 

 

 

Blown Away: Series 2, Episode 6: Scents & Sensibility [Netflix]
In the same sort of stable as successful reality series like Bake Off, Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throwdown; ‘Blown Away’ proved a huge hit for Netflix a couple of years ago. The latest season once again showcases the artistry and immense skill in glass blowing, and of course we LOVED the focus on perfume bottles in this episode. We’ll even forgive the much-overused perfume pun title.

Katherine Gray, professor at the California State University and resident evaulator describes the challenge to the contestants, saying that: ‘Over the course of the last 5,000 years, perfume flacons have transformed from really simple containers to elaborate and ornate works of art.‘ In this episode, they must design and hand-blow their own glass bottles, while keeping in mind, as perfume designer and guest judge, Michel Germain says: ‘A successful perfume is more than just the scent. The bottle has to draw people in, spark interest and tell a story.’ And the results? They’ll definitely blow you away…

 

 

 

 

Antiques Roadshow: Christchurch Mansion 2 [BBC1]
Always a soothing warm bath of a show, our ears pricked up at mention of a special perfume bottle a member of the public wanted one of their resident antique experts, Judith Miller, to take a look at. A mother and daughter duo explain how they came to own this precious fragrant family heirloom. ‘I got it a couple of years ago from my mum and dad for Christmas,’  the daughter begins, recounting the history and how her dad went shopping ‘forty or fifty years ago’ to find the perfect present for his wife, when he came across the exqusite piece and ‘loved it so much that he bought it for my mum.’

Miller reveals the stunning little scent bottle was probably made around 1760 and said it was possibly the work of famous engraver and porcelain decorator James Giles, who was ‘absolutely top of the tree.’ It is always interesting to look at the faces of the people when they’re told how much the piece is worth, and we’re wondering if it crossed the mother’s mind she might like to reclaim the perfume bottle gift she so generously passed on to her daughter… We won’t spoil the show by saying how much it could sell for, here, but suffice to say Father Christmas was VERY generous that year. The daughter, it turns out, has ‘a number of scent bottles’ on display in her home, and this one will be kept in the centre ‘as the pièce de résistance!’

 

And if you’re after even more fragrance talk filling the airwaves, have a look at some of the Perfume Themed Podcasts we rounded up recently. Perfume in popular culture: a fragrant renaissance, do we dare hope…?

By Suzy Nightingale