Sometimes we all need the help of a fragrance to feel stronger – something that does more than simply smell lovely, but can lift our spirits and almost act like a pair of shoulder pads in scented form. These are fragrances that we feel go beyond comfort – evoking adventurous journeys, friendship and inner strength via hemp leaf, smouldering amber, silky smooths woods and bison grass…
BYREDO Open Sky
‘While being stuck in one place, our memories have become particularly vivid,’ muses founder Ben Gorham. Capturing our collective desire to travel, the scent segues from the pepper-flecked freshness of pomelo to the mind-expanding hemp leaf and spiritual palo santo hushed by vetiver in the base. ‘Beyond the physicality of spaces,’ Gorham explains, this celebrates ‘that idea of movement – of journeys, being on your way somewhere…’ Plane tickets and a plan, bottled. £178 for 100ml eau de parfum libertylondon.com
COMME DES GARÇONS Rouge
A warm, ambered base grounds this wonderfully weird (and very wearable) concoction. CDG never do anything humdrum, so our eyes were immediately drawn to the beetroot note listed. Of course, we’re used to it combined with chocolate in cookery, and it blends just as well here with the Egyptian geranium to create an almost-rose. Pink pepper simmers through the layers to the smouldering incense and refined patchouli base. Clever and intriguing. £120 for 100ml eau de parfum Exclusive to selfridges.com
DIESEL Sound of the Brave
Employing the talents of Fabrice Pellegrin – one of the world’s top perfumers – Sound of the Brave resonates with a unique heart of Bison grass accord. A reminder, says Pellegrin, of good times with friends. The sizzle of bold spices vibrate through vibrant lemon as a powerful base (or should that be ‘bassline’?) throbs with amber wood and musk. Electric blue juice inside the clenched-fist flacon and hip-hop legend Skepta as ambassador ensure it’s a hit. £69 for 125ml eau de toilette boots.com
The latest incarnation of the heroically themed fragrances ‘seizes with its power and seduces with its freshness.’ Freshly squeezed lemons offer the juicy bite here while the woody notes of incense wrap tendrils of soft smoke around a purr of vanilla in the base. Spiced tonka bean is the delicious finale for this scent inspired by ‘subtly celebrating modern masculinity.’ Give this to someone you consider your personal hero – beats a golfing trophy, any day! £56 for 50ml eau de parfum pacorabanne.com
Because we all deserve some extra sunshine in our lives, we curated this box to be filled with fragrances that feel like wearing liquid light – luminescent, mood-lifting, spirit-reviving scents that instantly bring a smile to your face from the first spritz.
To grab one of the few remaining Seasonal Scent Summer Boxes with that amazing 20% saving, simply use this code when prompted on checking out: SUMMER20
Terms & Conditions – Code cannot be used in conjunction with any other code or used on sale products. Active from 15.09.21 12.00pm – 20.09.21 12.00am. Applicable on the Quarterly and Annual subscription, 20% off only applies to Summer Box when purchasing a Quarterly subscription.
Our Seasonal Scent Boxes have proved incredibly popular, and no wonder with the past 18 months or so we’ve all experienced. They’ve been put together to answer the many queries we get, asking which fragrances are best to wear for particular times of year. As summer-ish weather now seems to stretch anywhere from Easter to late September in the U.K. we felt it only right to prolong the pleasure by giving you this last chance to get your hands (and nose!) on these scent-filled boxes of joy!
Seasonal Fragrances – EIGHT fragrances from 2ml – 7ml, these will be kept secret until they arrive at your door, we just love the element of surprise!
Online Smelling Notes – accessible via a QR code within your box, guiding you through the fragrances and how to start smelling.
Unboxing Video – also via the QR code, for every box our Senior Fragrance Writer Suzy Nightingale will guide you when opening your new box.
Hints, Tips and Quizzes – to ensure you get the most out of your fragrances and have fun!
Don’t delay and miss out on your last chance to capture the sunshine! A gift for a friend or family member you’ve not been able to catch up with this summer? A gift to self because you bloomin’ well deserve it, maybe? Whatever the occasion, these radiant fragrances will bring you happy summer memories for months to come…
Perfumes can be far more than merely ‘pretty’ – certain scents can truly impart a feeling of wellness, uplift our moods and remind us of happy memories.
Increasingly, people are turning to aromatherapy and using smell to soothe stress, add a sense of comfort or revive their spirits. But fragrances you wear have the benefit of being emotionally restorative all day.
In fact, we’re pre-conditioned to have smell preferences, and our response is based partly on our individual genetic make-up (our DNA), and partly on our life experiences. So: that crushed tomato leaf note that reminds you of a beloved grandmother and her greenhouse – or the jasmine that was growing round a door when you were poorly on holiday, and which you can now hardly stomach.
Many people use fragrance as a boost for their spirits, perhaps without realising they’re doing so, and there is even a name for the science behind this: ‘aromachology’.
It’s been scientifically proven that different aromas can impact on mood and emotions – not just personally, but affecting those around you: Bergamot is a feel-good ingredient, peppermint makes you perkier and more alert, and grapefruit – believe it or not – apparently makes others believe you’re younger than you are!
Understanding the way differing notes in a fragrance can make us feel is one reason so many of us have a ‘wardrobe’ of fragrances, rather than just one signature scent: a perfume to make us feel ready to wind down, after a hard day staring at a computer screen; a scent to give us a weekend vibe – or simply something that we spritz on for work, in the morning, which makes us feel more focused and professional, in the same way as a smart suit or a crisp white shirt.
If you love the smell of a fragrance, allow yourself the luxury of a few minutes each day: inhaling the changing aromas as they warm on your skin and focusing on the smell alone.
– Spray a scent on a blotter, preferably; close your eyes and keep sniffing for several seconds, then take the blotter away, inhale deeply, and re-sniff the blotter again. Repeat this for a minute or so, and then begin writing a few words in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be a description, and it shouldn’t ‘list’ notes – try to use words that make you think of other things. For example…
– If this scent were a fabric, what would it be? What colour? If you made someone an outfit from that fabric, who would they be, where would they be going?
– If it were a piece of music, what instruments would be playing? Is it classical, rock music, pop, rap or jazz?
When you’re smelling a fragrance this way, attempt to get past thinking ‘I do / don’t like this’ and focus instead on the mood it’s creating, the place or person it reminds you of. Lock a happy image in your mind, and whenever you wear that fragrance – or even think of it again – the joy of that memory or daydream will be yours to relish in, forever.
It’s genuinely life-changing!
To aid your fragrant wellness explorations, we recommend trying samples of several differing scents – even ones you wouldn’t perhaps be normally drawn to. Diversifying the range of fragrances you try will actively improve your sense of smell over time – just as eating a wider range of foods expands your palate.
Grab the opportunity to try this hand-picked selection of fragrances before they sell out – some of our very favourites for their mood-boosting effects – in the Launches We Love Discovery Box. £23 (£19 for VIPs). There’s 12 fabuoulous fragrances to try, including…
Contradictions in Ilk, Virtuous: Inspired by purity, specifically monks living in cloisters in the Tuscan hills – close your eyes and you can feel yourself walking through a fresh and cleansing herb garden, the aromatic plants offering up their therapeutic benefits as you pass them by. You then reach the cool stone walls of the monastery, catching the trailing vapours of old leather and incense coming from within, as a serene stillness settles over you.
Shay & Blue, Tallulah’s Camellia: The second you spritz this fragrance, you get an immediate sense of its personality, of who Tallulah might be – a rebellious, dancing and twirling through a woodland carpeted with bluebells, with bewitching heart notes of white florals, bringing to mind sheer, floaty dresses worn with hair untamed; a girl beholden to no-one as these soft, gauzy, dreamy notes take hold. The only thing that grounds her? A warm yet strong base of woods and white tea, entirely at one with nature and somehow, through that, very grounding.
From a love story to a fragrance house capturing scented snapshots of one of the most richly abundant areas on Earth, Skandinavisk’s journey has been anything but average. We caught up with founder, Shaun Russell, to discover their fascinating, fragrant story.
Seeking to re-connect us with nature, evoking wide-open spaces and uplifting, mood-enhancing scents; including a sample of a Skandinavisk fragrance in the Eau So Fresh Discovery Box was obviously a must-have. Freedom to Roam has proved especially resonant during the pandemic (and its inherent lockdowns and travel restrictions). ‘Of course, that wasn’t planned,’ explains Shaun when we chatted, ‘but yes that fragrance and its name, the spirit of freedom it stands for, has been more relevant than ever.’ With its aromatic composition of heather, wild thyme, tart berries and resinous sap, this oh-so-Scandi scent bottles that landscape perfectly, giving a strikingly visceral sensation of walking through that remote wilderness.
But how did it all begin, we wondered? Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale found out…
Suzy: Did you realise what you were getting in to when starting a fragrance brand?
Shaun Russell: ‘God no, I didn’t! I mean if you take the backstory… British guy meets blonde, Scandinavian girl, when I was living in Australia. I followed her for love, [to Copenhagen, Denmark, then Stockholm, Sweden] not with a business in mind, then…’
So, how did Skandinavisk happen?
‘I travelled around the region in multinational roles, as I was the handy, neutral English man. The business language here tends to be English across borders anyway, as the Swedes don’t really understand the Danes. It’s a bit like the differences between cultures in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. In Scandinavia you get this rivalry we don’t understand from outside.
I realised what the Nordic countries do share is a common approach to life, which has translated into one of the most successful, progressive, responsible societies on Earth. I was in this weird position where I’d probably experienced more of Scandinavia than most Scandinavians. The thing that unites them – this mentality and way they live, with a dominance of nature surrounding them – was the gold they overlooked. I found a way to wrap up the rich, diverse story in a way that celebrates that and helps people from outside to find a way in. We’ve needed that more than ever with climate change, trying to balance our lives, build communities based on values and ethics. I wanted Skandinavisk to be the mouthpiece for all of that. I wondered what the vehicle was to share this story, and it seemed obvious…’
What was the first fragranced item you created?
‘The candles – they represent such a symbol of everyday, simplistic life. They burn more candles in Scandinavia than any other nation on earth! I used to question my wife when, in the summer at breakfast time, she’d light a candle. And it’s so bright outside! I’d say “You can’t see the flame, darling. Why are you lighting it when there’s no functional benefit to it?” But for her, it was an unconscious action all Scandinavians do. They light candles at any time, to soften the moment and create this harmony that brings people together.’
How are the fragrances inspired?
‘I needed to get into fragrance to create the candles and tell this Scandinavian story. What we learned afterwards was the fact that different fragrances allow us to tell that story in multiple ways – we can take them to the forest, the Norwegian fjords, the archipelagos. So, we made fragrances that define those moments for people to explore in their own homes. When you get to try more of them, you build a bigger picture. That’s why internally we began referring to each fragrance as a ‘chapter’ or ‘Kapitel’. Going into the eau de toilettes was another big step for us. Some of the scents are seasonal or time limited.
Take Kapitel 17 – it was specifically inspired by a trip me and our perfumer took to the fjords in order to get direct inspiration. The fragrance industry has never looked at Scandinavia. A French perfumer once said to me at a trade show, “Isn’t it all just pine and snow…?” That quote’s imprinted on my brain. It’s a terrible loss, given the size and wealth of nature, the diversity of flora Scandinavia has. When you think of what the region has offered the world food-wise, with that whole Nordic Food Manifesto and the huge successes, like Noma, which came from that. Those guys reinvented a new approach to sourcing and presenting local food which has transformed the global food industry in the last decade. Given they were able to achieve that, I thought: why don’t we try to do the same thing with fragrance?’
How did you find a perfumer who understood such unique inspirations?
‘I found, at a very early stage, a French guy who’s an experienced ‘nose’, been in the industry a long time, but got tired of working with brands and retailers who were always trying to look for something that was cheaper or smelled a bit like something that was already on the market. He felt the magic of perfumery had gone. Then I turned up with this idea, and I said to him, let’s just go and discover stuff!
My wife is the third member of the fragrance development team who made this happen. She’s Danish, a doctor by profession but a passionate organic gardener who grew up in Sweden, had her summers in Norway and a plot of garden since she could walk. She helped me understand the arboreal forests, rose gardening, temperate flora, in a way neither I nor even the perfumer had experience of. Putting those two together was fascinating, to see how they talked about scent, season, regions… We all work together by travelling to the places the fragrances are about, experiencing them for ourselves and saying “Okay, what IS the scent of Copenhagen” for example?’
What’s it like, having such freedom to the way you work?
‘It’s a blessing. There’s no conference room, no PowerPoint slide presentations. The perfumer has this incredible scent memory where he records places through his nose and comes back with ideas which interpret that through a mixture of natural ingredients or synthetics where you cannot capture that scent in nature. He can now do things like create the scent of orchards in blossom in fjordland – very specific scent memories. We physically go these places, we stay there, we walk around, we take pictures. I mean at that level, it’s that basic. He says he doesn’t know any other perfumers who get to do that. But it feels so right, this way we work, and the process means we end up making fragrances the world hasn’t smelled before. And that’s very exciting…!’
Try Skandinavisk Kapitel 12, Freedom to Roam for yourself in the Eau So Fresh Discovery Box – one of 14 incredible scents for you to explore and take your nose on a journey with. We also urge you to check out the brilliant Skandinavisk Voices Journal, which apart from featuring more of this stunning photography to look at, gives a really personal insight into the inspiration of each fragrance…
Oh sweet heavens, how we need something to help uplift our spirits and keep us keeping on. If you’ve just about reached the end of your rope, we’ve some fragrant ways to tie a knot in it and help you hang on…
For so long, we’ve marked the days not in encounters and newness, but with calendars full of red slashes: the things we didn’t do, the people we’ve not seen (perhaps for all of that time), the trips we’ve cancelled and how few hugs we’ve had from loved ones, if any hugs were had at at all.
It’s not just whimsy and conjecture that fragrance can help in troubled times – your sense of smell is directly linked to emotions and memory, so wafts of a favourite scent throughout the day can be a perfumed pick-up for you, or worn as a fragrant shield against the world in general. And there’s research to back up those beliefs.
A team of scientists, led by Christina Zelano from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, used neuroimaging and intercranial electrophysiology to prove the hippocampus (the part of the brain that stores memories and emotional reactions) is more directly linked with smell than any other sense. According to the study, published in Science Direct:
“This new research is the first to rigorously compare functional pathways connecting different human sensory systems with the hippocampus. The striking findings reveal our olfactory pathways connect more strongly with the hippocampus than any other sense.”
Smell is the only sense that’s directly plugged in to this area of the brain that controls our emotional responses. ‘In mammals, the sense of smell is uniquely linked to the part of the brain associated with emotions and the creation of memories,’ explains Dr Roux. All other senses – taste, hearing, sight, and touch – are processed by other regions of the brain before being linked to the limbic system. Our ability to smell ‘…is a window into parts of the brain related to core functions, like pleasure, emotion, and memory,’ agrees Jayant Pinto, MD, author of the study and an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at University of Chicago Medicine.
Although a study published by Frontiers in Psychology found that tests with citrus and feelings of positivity ‘yielded inconsistent results’, they also discovered that ‘Indeed, depressive individuals seem to display a specific preference for citrus fragrances…’ Indeed, citrus scents, such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit, have been proven to help you feel more alert – and better about your body. A fascinating study at the University of Sussex showed the smell of a lemon makes us feel physically lighter, and as sciencedaily.com reported, ‘could help people feel better about their body image.’
Whatever your preference, we have no doubt there are perfumes out there to help you feel brighter, more alert and ready to face the day…
Shay & Blue Mermaid Kisses
The perfect pocket-sized pick me up, this is all swaying palm trees and wiggling your toes in warm sand as you drink that first holiday cocktail. If citrus doesn’t do it for you, try crispness and zing via apple and salty samphire sea lily atop luscious honeydew melon. £12.50 for 10ml eau de toilette shayandblue.com
Liz Earle Botanical Essence No.1
Sparkling fresh, a sudden snapshot of summer memories of laughing while dancing in a garden, the fizz of Champagne bubbles still on your lips, a warm breeze swirling rose petals at your feet. Spray whenever you need reminding that these better days will come again. £54 for 50ml eau de parfum uk.lizearle.com
Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot
Whisking you to the light-filled royal courtyards of Seville, bitter orange, sun-drenched bergamot and mandarin giggle into neroli and the cardamom-flecked, florist-shop freshness of galbanum; while ylang ylang is (unusually) found in the base, making for a giddily joyous landing. £120 for 50ml eau de parfum moltonbrown.co.uk
Clarins Eau Dynamisante
Containing essential oils of lemon, patchouli, petit grain, ginseng and white tea, it leaves you feeling like you’ve just bounced out of a spa treatment. Book the appointment and splash this on at will as you countdown… £52 for 200ml eau de Cologne clarins.co.uk
La Montaña First Light Reed Diffuser
It isn’t only fragrances we wear that can lift our mood. We adore the freshly squeezed sparkle of citrus in this – delivered via candle or reed diffuser – along with a fresh, herbaceous breeze that altogether evokes the tendrils of sunshine, that kiss of dawn that wake you from a dream. £35 for 120ml reed diffuser lamontana.co.uk
In this time of unprecedented stress, seeking calm or a way to boost our energy levels has become more than a moment of ‘me time’ – it’s absolutely vital to our wellbeing. Focusing on your sense of smell helps control your breathing and forces your mind to concentrate on something lovely for a change.
Our sense of smell is directly linked to our limbic system, which stores memories and emotions, so using scent to uplift, unwind or soothe is a brilliant way of dealing with anxiety. Taking time to care for yourself should not be a luxury – it helps you face the day feeling revived and ready to go.
Experiencing ‘newness’ is something everyone has been severely lacking of late, but using a fragrance or scented product and fragrancing your home can transport you somewhere lovely, and change your mood in an instant.
Here’s how to ward off an anxiety attack or lift your spirits with scent:
Take a few minutes to spray a fragrance on a blotter or thick piece of paper.
Close your eyes while smelling it and see where it takes you. Don’t try to guess all the notes (it’s almost impossible unless you’re a trained perfumer!) instead, let your imagination run wild…
If this fragrance was a place, where would it be?
Think about texture as you smell. Can you say what type of fabric it would be? Heavy velvet, soft suede, crisp cotton… or something else?
What occasion does the scent bring to mind, and who else would be there? Allow yourself to picture the people you’re missing and imagine yourself laughing with them, hugging them again!
Music and fragrance are closely linked, so what type of melody would be playing, and which instruments does the scent remind you of?
It can be difficult, at first, to think of the answers, but whatever you imagine or feel is the right answer, for you. Scent is incredibly personal, so the more you practice this technique of ‘deep smelling’, the more in-tune with your sense of smell and how it connects to your memories and emotions you will be.
This is how perfumers train – often having to commit several thousand smells to memory, so they know how to recall them and can evoke particular moods in their compositions. If you’d like to try this so-soothing technique and experience some spa-like serenity, we’ve chosen some scents that help you turn your home into a Scented Retreat.
Filled with specially curated scent samples, the entire collection of La Montaña home fragrances (which perfectly echo their matching candles, if you’ve ever wanted to try those), and sensory beauty treats, including 100ml bottle of Molton Brown Bath & Shower gel – TheScented Retreat Discovery Boxallows you to relax in style at home. Here’s how…
Scents of Calm:
Anima Vinci Sesame Chan
Embracing the skin with ethereal light, the warmth of ginger slowly simmers to a haze of dry nuttiness – a cocooning, Cologne-esque experience, yet one that feels immediately comforting, at the same time.
Based on sweet yet smoky notes of patchouli and vanilla, this one wraps itself around you, swathing you in softness on a soothing heart of lavender and tobacco for a truly sophisticated finish that lasts all day and into the night.
Botanics Pure Essential Lavender Oil
Lavender has been shown to improve mood – add a few drops to a bath, humidifier, or for use for massage This essential oil from Botanics is bursting with all the wellness benefits of this herbaceous plant.
ånd fragrance Måd
Sustainably sourced naked vanilla in all its raw beauty is blended with violet, blackcurrant, ylang ylang, jasmine and grounding vetiver for a scent that’s like a warm hug in a bottle.
Ecooking Day Cream
This hydrating cream is formulated with 100% organic oils that are combined with the highest quality natural peptides and vitamins, specifically hyadisine, which mimics hyaluronic acid, and trylagen, to support collagen production.
La Montaña Siesta
This home scent evokes the sweet scent of neroli, rose and herbs on the warm breeze mingled with woods and resins to send you off into the most sublime sun-dappled slumber. Heaven.
La Montaña Alfredo’s Cafe
The scent of sleepy village awakening, all sun-soaked light, fresh citruses, black coffee and the incense-y smell of the church drifting through the air. Spritz your room to recall the gentle excitement of a day exploring on holiday.
La Montaña Fig Grove
Think of a green fig’s freshness, soothing musky wood enhancing earthy, bark-like qualities, with the warmth of white flowers and a little powdery piquancy from hyacinth. This is lazy, hazy, hotter-than-hot days to scent your home.
La Montaña Galán de Noche
Few smells are more seductive than that of night-blooming jasmine, the hypnotic radiance synonymous with late nights in balmy climes and the mystery of flowers that shine their brightest once the sun goes down.
La Montaña Three Kings
Spiritual contemplation for your home – a spritz of pine, woods, frankincense and myrrh with a little Balearic twist. Sweet almond nougat and a dash of brandy give a flash of brightness and warmth that, somehow, is so very Spanish.
La Montaña Sacred Roses
Combined with sweet neroli, crisply green narcissus and geranium, and dreamy lavender, spritz your bedroom (or boudoir) to float away on a bed of velvety rose petals, warm cedar and ripened, fruity davana oil. Sumptuous!
Scents to Uplift:
Histoire de Parfum 1899
Peppy, cocktail-like notes open with unbridled optimism, fizzing with a Champagne-esque effervescence as they dance off the skin. The sweetened, powdery heart then sparkles with unbridled joy.
Shay and Blue Mermaid Kisses
The light, watery honeydew melon note that first greets you is pure aquatic-juicy joy; it is holiday cocktails on the shoreline at sunset, looking out to an endless horizon and all its possibilities.
Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot Bath & Shower Gel
Zesty orange kicks off an uplifting sensory experience, heightened by mouth-watering mandarin and and gloriously sunny neroli notes that transport us to citrus groves in Seville.
Exfo-Lite Stimulating Salts For Legs
Packed with diuretic, detoxifying Himalayan pink crystals and sea salt, formulated not only to smooth the skin but to encourage better blood flow to our often-neglected lower-limbs (getting ready to bare again!)
Benamôr Alantoìne Hand Cream
The classic outdoors-y citrus scent turns a much-needed (several times) daily hand-soothing ritual into a moment of uplifting contemplation. Breathe deeply and inhale as the Portuguese beauty hero sm oothes and protects your skin barrier.
La Montaña First Light
In the morning, fill your room with the luminosity of a sun-filled new dawn, captured with wild fennel and orange, supported by energising mountain pepper, warm amber-y notes of rockrose and aromatic rosemary.
La Montaña Cloudburst
That moment when the sun breaks through the clouds in perfect shafts of light; all the scents of a herb garden, a citrus grove zinging to life against the backdrop of a mountain steaming in the sun, releasing wild, mineral-like vapours.
La Montaña Winter Oranges
One of their best-selling home fragrances, the orange here is both uplifting – a memory of high summer, devoured while juciy or adorning glasses – and calming, grounded here in aromatic spices that smoulder as they warm the soul.
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