The Scented Ritual of Perfume Oils & Attars…

Increasingly, we’re seeing a new interest in fragrance oils and attars as a way of wearing perfume. These beautiful scents feel more calming and part of a fragrant ritual than simply spraying a scent and rushing out the door. Here’s why we think they’re trending, and our edit of oils you need to know…

Let’s begin with this really helpful clarification on the difference between a concentrated perfume oil and attar, which comes via the medium.com blog:

‘According to Wikipedia, ‘the word ‘attar’, ‘ittar’ or ‘itra’ believed to have been derived from the Persian word itir, meaning ‘perfume’, which is also believed to be derived from Arabic word itr.

Essential oils are typically derived from botanical sources such as flowers, resins, woods, spices, etc. Most commonly these oils are extracted via hydro or steam distillation methods using deg and bhapka arrangement. Many a times the attar composers run co-distillations for a desired effect.

Traditionally these essential oils are ‘pulled’ into sandalwood or other appropriate carrier oils at the end of the distillation apparatus. The resultant product is then separated from floral waters. The oil part, which floats, is filtered into a separate container and allowed to stand for few days. This oil component is called as an attar.’

 

 

This style of perfumery dates back to the 1500s and the Mughal emperors of India, though using oil as a carrier for fragrant ingredients dates back far further still. At the polar opposite end of the perfume spectrum from those more overt shoulderpads-in-a-bottle or va-va-voom, ready-to-party fragrances (which we still love, by the way, never fear!) these types of scents are perhaps more contemplative, calming, and offer moments of meditation that stay close to the skin.

While attars / oils are intense and concentrated scents, you’d be wrong to assume that these will announce your presence at 20 paces. ‘Attars don’t necessarily land on the skin with an impactful whomp, as an eau de parfum might,’ says perfumer Nancy Meiland, whose GAIA attar – and the following attar, SOFIA – proved a huge hit. ‘They tend to be worn closely and mingle on your skin in warm “nuzzles” that you pick up throughout the day.’ The diffusion of these scents is hushed, whispering intriguingly yet also lingering for longer. ‘They tend to be worn closely and mingle on your skin, giving off warm “nuzzles” that you pick up throughout the day.’

 

 

As trend forecaster and fragrance writer for wewerperfume.com Amanda Carr observes, though we’re only just (re)discovering them here, attars are still used in very practical ways in India:

‘Attars are used by the Muslim population in India a little like a wellness boost, and the perfumeries I visited were bustling with families buying their season scents to uplift their health and emotional happiness, also unlike an eau de parfum there is no alcohol to worry about. There are traditional guidelines as to when you wear particular botanicals, cooling vetiver for the hot summer days, along with jasmine and rose, with saffron used during the chiller months for its warming properties. The instore perfumers often gave advice – a bit like a pharmacist – as to which botanical attar could help with a particular malaise.’

Nancy explains that she felt ‘intuitively drawn’ to creating her first attar during the early days of the pandemic. ‘GAIA’s ultra-soothing concentrated blend of Calabrian bergamot, nutmeg and jasmine sambac is centred around blue lotus absolute, which traditionally is seen as “a flower that can open your mind and is powerfully protective during times of transformation.”’

So why now this plethora of perfume oils and attars making their way onto centre stage for the Western market, you may wonder? Nancy asserts it’s quite simple, really; saying [in troubled times]:

‘…we want more magic not less.  It’s about working closely with the plants and flower essences and getting to know their properties and benefits.  Then combining them so that they don’t crush each other while enhancing each other’s odour profile – the individual notes should sing out in their fullness and create a harmony of scent. There is an alchemy to an attar that works with nature…’

 

NANCY_MEILAND_GAIA

Nancy Meiland GAIA From £4.95 for 2ml (£65 for 30ml) nancymeiland.com

 

Looking for other perfume oils and attars to have a play with this season? Try some of these sumptuous examples, below: we feel sure that once you discover the delights (and definite mood-enhancing abilities) of attars, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Priced from pocket-friendly to the ultra lust-worthy treat, there’s something to suit everyone…

If your scents suddenly lack depth, add interest with this deliciously fragrant oil. An unexpected mix of spice-infused bergamot and plum with a ‘your-skin-but-so-much-better’, creamy leather dry-down, the warm tingle of amber then simmers for hours. The roller-ball bottle makes this especially useful for travelling (if you’re lucky enough!) or touching up your scent on the go.

Malin & Goetz Dark Rum Perfume Oil £32 for 9ml malinandgoetz.co.uk

 

 

 

Christopher Yu and Laurent Delafon were inspired to create their Ostens collection by the incredible portfolio of naturals from LMR Naturals. The eau de parfum comes with the option of adding a ‘Préparation Oil’ (and we highly recommend you do), which you can layer or enjoy alone. Every fragrance in the Ostens portfolio of scents is gorgeous in its own right, but we have to say, when layered in this way, they become out of this world divine.

Ostens Rose Oil Isparta £185 for 50ml eau de parfum + perfume oil ostens.com

 

 

 

 

Strangelove – from the creative trio of perfumer Christophe Laudamiel, supermodel Helena Christensen and naturals expert Elizabeth Gaynes – put thoroughly sophisticated (and utterly addictive) fragrance oils at the very heart of their collection. We urge you to nuzzle into this hypnotically delicious blend of oudh, stimulating mandarin, purified ginger, deeply magnetic sandalwood and luscious dark chocolate for a sultry scent ritual, with the necklace a nod to traditional ways of carrying precious perfume about the body.

Strangelove meltmyheart Perfume Oil Necklace £170 for 1.25ml harrods.com

(PS: You can also try the entire range of Strangelove fragrances eau de parfum for £92 in our shop!)

 

The LilaNur attars’ prices reflects the meticulous effort to process the precious flowers immediately after harvesting – they’re placed in oil beside the fields they’ve been grown in. Suggesting annointing the palms of your hands and breathing in before applying, it honestly feels like a divine experience – as though your feet have lifted from the ground and angels are singing. A purity and depth we’re unused to, with those few drops carrying you throughout the day.

LilaNur Jasmin Attar Absolu Perfume Oil £340 for 30ml harrods.com

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Scents to Uplfift Your Spirits

This month we’re all about reaching for fragrances that make us feel better – an do more than simply smell good, but connect with us on a deeper, more spiritually-uplifting way that really connects with our souls. Given the LONGING for spring, and newness and oh goodness, simply some whole days without rain and cold and grey… it’s about time, don’t you think?

Here’s our edit of three fragrance houses your nose needs to know…

Is your fragrant future in the cards…?

Joy Isaacs is the founder and CEO of ARgENTUM, a luxury skincare brand which recently launched a range of stunning fragrances based on soul-searching, tarot-inspired ‘Archetypes’. Although she’s been fascinated by tarot and its symbolism since 2010, Joy insists: ‘I don’t think it’s some magical oracle in the sky.’ Instead, she believes ‘…we all hold our truth buried in our subconscious and are willing to project it onto many things – for example, people, life circumstances, poetry, music and of course, imagery (art). It allows us to tap into what is just below the surface and access what is really going on – with our own personal truth.’ Thus, explains Joy, ‘Our Archetype cards invite you to uncover symbolic imagery that reflect inherent energies – patterns that are common to us all.’

Using beautiful black-and-white illustrations by artist Sam Gray, ARgENTUM’s twelve cards are shuffled and used as part of a ‘fragrance reading’, whereby – rather than randomly picking a perfume – the fragrance finds you. This initial scent-matching isn’t set in stone; it’s used merely as a starting point, a way of editing down your possible fragrance choices to a more manageable number, while also making you think more deeply about them. (For those who can’t make it in person to ARgENTUM’s Notting Hill boutique – which is honestly worthy of a pilgrimage – the experience has been skilfully recreated on their website.

What we’re wearing: ARgENTUM Discovery Kit – Air Collection £28 for 4 x 2ml eaux de parfums

‘As an element, air encapsulates a masculine energy of thought and communication. Born at sunrise in the crisp breath of Spring ~ air is imaginative and intelligent, but without flow can become stifled and cruel. Moist and warm, air symbolises a nurturing energy that celebrates your knowledge and ideas, the beginning of something intangible and without permanent form. This brisk and exhilarating element stimulates the mind and cuts to the heart of your quest for connection.

  • Become: All encompassing, balancing, beginnings
  • Creator: Creative energy, trust, manifestation
  • Sage: Wisdom, knowledge, awareness
  • Ruler: Balance, adaptability, vulnerability

 

Wearable feel-good vibes…

For Vyrao, it’s all about wearable good vibes, and anyone who’s had a sluggish day or simply felt dull, blah and down in the dumps can attest – spritzing a scent can be an instantaneous remedy and our sense of smell is a potent way to make us feel brighter, more confident, and ready to face the world. With such potential power at our pulse points, Founder Yasmin Sewell sought a way to harness this energy so it could be at our fingertips whenever we need it. Having been ‘a lifelong advocate for personal self-care, wellbeing and energetic connection,’ Yasmin’s also trained in Integrative Quantum Medicine™ and Reiki, and so was well placed to reach out to Louise Mita, President and CEO of The Art Of Energy, Inc., and creator of Integrative Quantum Medicine™, who’s studied metaphysical alchemy, healing, and martial arts since 1968.

Together, they took a deep dive into researching specific ingredients they could use in the fragrances to help the wearer feel better. Explains Yasmin: ‘Science has shown that positive emotions and feelings can contribute to better health. I believe that in the future more of us will come to understand and accept the influence of energy as part of our overall well-being. We’ll know how to channel it, clear it, raise and work with it, and Vyrao is at the heart of that purpose. Vyrao helps us connect to ourselves.’

 

What we’re wearing: Vyrao High Five Collection, £79 for 5 x 7.5ml eau de parfum

If you’re new to this more soulful way of wearing scent, the High Five collection really is the best way to dip in and gain a better understanding – both of what you like, but also (more importantly) what your soul is crying out for. It may surprise you… Included in the first five fragrances from the brand, you will get to experience:

  • Free 00: To feel alive and uninhibited is Free 00.
  • I am Verdant: A fragrance sprouting fresh green growth.
  • Witchy Woo: Wake up the powerful alliance of your courage and creativity.
  • Magnetic 70: For attraction and protection.
  • Georgette: For self-love.

 

Finding fragrant harmony…

When her PR and communications job took her to Hong Kong, little did Elementals founder Deana Wyland-Fries know, it would change the direction of her life forever. There she discovered feng shui – and soon learned that it is not merely a belief or superstition in China, but a science and a way of life. As she explains: ‘For centuries, the Chinese have believed that, everything in our universe can be allocated to one of five elements – water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Not only are these elements found in our environment, but also within ourselves. What’s more, we are born with an element that dominates our lives, dictating character, relationships, career and health. If our element is out of balance, we experience a sense of discomfort within…’

Ultimately, Elementals combine the simplicity and harmony of feng shui with the classical beauty of fine French perfumery. The result is a collection of surprising, innovative creations that seek to nurture mind, body and soul – while smelling, of course, utterly divine. Deana explains: ‘Because I am working with energy, I do not apply the classical olfactory pyramid in my creations…  there are three main energies in the Universe: Heaven’s Chi, Human Chi and Earth Chi. In Chinese culture, these represent the three energies that, when working in harmony with one another, create perfect balance.’

 

 

What we’re wearing: Elementals Wood £148.50 for 100ml eau de parfum

Here we find ‘Heaven notes’ of bergamot, cedar and grapefruit to enhance concentration, with ‘Human notes’ of orris, tagetes and geranium, and a base, or ‘Earth notes’ of patchouli, Palo Santo (a sacred wood often used in meditation) and guaiacum (also known as guaiac wood). Wood represents the rising of energy, and the season of Spring, when blossoms are beginning to bloom again and signs new life are in abundance…

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Explore Vyrao via their soulful Discovery Set

If you’re seeking a more soulful connection to your scents – beyond merely smelling lovely, wearing a fragrance that reaches deep into your soul, somehow – then it’s the perfect time to try the first five Vyrao fragrances with their High Five Travel Set. As they explain… ‘Each of Vyrao’s fragrances fuse master perfumery with energy healing elements using organic, natural ingredients chosen for their specific emotional qualities, giving each scent its own distinct vibration.’

Yasmin Sewell worked for years in the high-powered, fast-moving fashion industry, first as a buyer and then creative director, guiding such names as Browns, Chloe, Mulberry, Farfetch and Liberty. Yasmin also took young designers under her wing – now world-famous names like Acne, The Row, Christopher Kane, Roksanda, and J. W Anderson. Quite frankly, she was at the top of her game and one of the most respected women in the fashion industry; so what caused this seismic shift to scent?

 

 

 

 

Well, in 2019, Yasmin had what she describes as ‘an aha moment.’ It was a realisation that she needed to create her own space, to focus on the creative ideas that had been bubbling beneath for so long, and most importantly, that ‘energy needed to be the source of my brand.’ A long-time believer in therapeutic and energetic medicine, Yasmin explains that with the concept of energy as her main mantra for creating the brand, it quickly became obvious as to how this energy could be shared. Says Yasmin, ‘Channelling it came first, what it’s channelled into came second. So we started with fragrance.’

For Vyrao, it’s all about wearable good vibes, and anyone who’s had a sluggish day or simply felt dull, blah and down in the dumps can attest – spritzing a scent can be an instantaneous remedy and our sense of smell is a potent way to make us feel brighter, more confident, and ready to face the world. And obvs they smell INCREDIBLE, having been composed by the brilliant British perfume legend that is Lyn Harris. As Yasmin explains:

 

‘Vyrao is the world’s first wellbeing brand to fuse energetic healing with master perfumery. We make good feelings…’

 

If you’re new to this more soulful way of wearing scent, the High Five collection really is the best way to dip in and gain a better understanding – both of what you like, but also (more importantly) what your soul is crying out for. It may surprise you… Included in the first five fragrances from the brand, you will get to experience:

  • Free 00: To feel alive and uninhibited is Free 00.
  • I am Verdant: A fragrance sprouting fresh green growth.
  • Witchy Woo: Wake up the powerful alliance of your courage and creativity.
  • Magnetic 70: For attraction and protection.
  • Georgette: For self-love.

Raving about the scents in her so-influential column, journalist India Knight described them thusly:

I Am Verdant, which smells like it sounds: super-green, full of hope, like waiting for spring, before the greenness goes slightly mossy and orange blossom and citrus kick in. Georgette is a very woody and peppery rose that is also powdery, and even though I don’t really like rose scents I found it soft and oddly comforting. Witchy Woo, by contrast, is full of orris, spices, patchouli and musk and is woody, ambery and — hard to explain why I think this but I do — slightly magical. Vyrao says to wear it to encourage courage and creativity.’ She continues…

‘Free 00 is a much airier affair that smells of summer holidays, in a good and even original way, or maybe of driving somewhere sunny in a convertible with the roof down and your hair streaming behind you. Lemon, jasmine and vanilla, to be crude and reductive, but done in a way that is both airy and exhilarating (this one promotes “liberation and sensuality”, in case you’re wondering, and I totally get why they’d say that). Also, Magnetic 70, which smells of vetiver — God, how I love vetiver — cedarwood and frankincense, among other things… here I could mostly smell incense and intense woodsiness, like being in a quite special church that you have stumbled on by accident.’

You can read even more about Vyrao’s olfactory origin story in our page dedicated to the brand, but might we suggest the best way to really get to know them (and in doing so, reveal your own true scent character), is to dive in to the collection via the Vyrao High Five Set – so perfect for holidays and on-the-go good vibes, too!

 

 

 

Vyrao High Five Collection, £79 for 5 x 7.5ml eau de parfum designed to transport you emotionally…

Perfumes to uplift and empower

Right now we all need a bit of help to uplift and empower our spirits, and fragrance is an instantaneous way to enable that. Apart from the lovely fragrances themselves, focusing on your sense of smell helps control your breathing and forces your mind to concentrate on something beautiful 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.

 

 

 

 

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? Allow your mind to take you there.
  • Or, if this scent were a person, who would they be? Imagine yourself as that confident character.
  • Learn which fragrances help you feel stronger – you can ‘borrow’ strength from scent any time you need it, just like a dressing-up box of perfumed empowerment!

You can try this with any fragrance you own, but here’s some new scents to try whenever you need to uplift and empower your day…

 

 

 

 

BDK
Villa Néroli
Founder David Benedek enlisted Alexandra Carlin to conjure up the rocky, sun-drenched Mediterranean playground of Capri for the newest in BDK’s line-up – ‘an invitation to live the dolce vita,’ and one that’s certainly welcome as the days shorten and the thermometer plummets. Bring summer back in a spritz via Verdelli lemon, neroli, petitgrain and orange blossom, with vetiver, patchouli, labdanum resin and vanilla drifting in as the sun sets on this imaginary villa.
£155 for 100ml eau de parfum
fenwick.co.uk

 

 

 

NANCY MEILAND
Sofia
Continuing Sussex-based perfumer Nancy Meiland’s mindful ‘Awaken’ blends, this latest fragrant attar ‘is a shimmering lilac addition’, and ‘beams with higher frequency naturals that evoke purest, white light, a return to the eternal spring of all life.’ A gentle sparkle from mandarin and mint freshens rose, osmanthus and jasmine, while rare shamama oil (herbaceous yet woody) grounds. Like starlight on water – coolly clearing, calming and centring in the madness of life.
£50 for 30ml attar
nancymeiland.com

 

 

 

INITIO
Paragon
Fragrance’s spiritual mood is expressed in this ‘mantra-centric’ creation within Initio’s Hedonist Collection, drawing on ‘sacred woods and plants’, notably powerfully purifying and protective sage and Palo Santo wood. Close your eyes and meditate on how those notes drift through bergamot, lavender, black pepper, delivering on Paragon’s promise to bestow an ‘aura around the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies.’ Olfactory enlightenment.
£240 for 90ml extrait de parfum
selfridges.com

 

 

LA PERLA
Luminous
If you have the olfactory equivalent of Seasonal Affective Disorder, veil yourself in the scent equivalent of a radiant shaft of sunlight, bottled for our enjoyment on gloomy winter days (and nights). As luminous as the name promises, this woody-floral blend showcases ambrette seed, reminiscent of ‘tropical bliss’, delivering not only warmth but a hint of fruity wine; it is entwined with jasmine, the sparkling whole tethered by a note of steam-distilled cedar.
From £57 for 30ml eau de parfum
beautybylaperla.com

 

 

 

COSMOSS
Sacred Mist
So, Miss Kate Moss has tapped into her spiritual side, embracing meditation  and mindfulness with her signature gusto. And we couldn’t be happier with that metamorphosis, expressed via her Cocomoss skincare collection, also offering us an astonishingly accomplished Chypre creation in which subtle jasmine and tuberose fuse with geranium and bergamot. It’s the sense-soothing, calming notes of oakmoss, cedarwood and tonka that we’re spritzing and re-spritzing – on and off the yoga mat.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

The scent of wellness – when perfumes are more than just pretty

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.

Ahhh… now isn’t that better?

Scent wellness tips for summer – Why changing your fragrance is good for your soul

Can you re-set your mood and enhance wellness with scent? Scientists say… yes!

Because changing your fragrance for something fresher when the warmer weather (finally!) comes around is not only a way of reinvigorating your scent wardrobe, but a way to actively improve your mental wellbeing, says Alfredo Fontanini, MD, PhD:

‘Each perfume is associated with different recollections and experiences. As you form new memories, older ones and emotions tend to fade. When you try a new perfume, you are trying an odor that has no associations, so it gives you the possibility to make new ones and write new memories.’

According to the neuroscientist, who’s chair of the department of neurobiology and behavior at Stony Brook University, and a co-director of its Neurosciences Institute; using a completely new scent helps us mentally draw a line under past experiences and start afresh.

In an interview with Elle magazine, olfactory expert Dawn Goldworm agreed, and spoke of people using fragrance to provoke memories – something we know first hand so many of you have been doing during the pandemic. Says Dawn:

‘Later in life, when you smell something, you are brought back to a specific moment or event. You remember how you feel.’ And she gives the advice that now is a good time to re-access your scent collection (even deodorants, shampoos and shower gels). ‘If it makes you feel good, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you change it,’ she suggests.

It makes complete sense. Because when you take a deep breath and inhale aroma molecules, they’re detected by the olfactory receptors in your nose and immediately stimulate some of the deepest, oldest parts of the brain – in ways that we’re only just starting to understand.

‘This process produces nerve impulses which travel to the limbic system, the part of the brain which is most concerned with survival, instincts and emotions. It’s thought by scientists the activity of the nerve signal passing through this region causes mood change by altering brain chemistry,’ says Christina Salcedas, of Aromatherapy Associates London. 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, an otolaryngologist (try saying that three times!) and head and neck surgeon at University of Chicago Medicine.

It turns out reaching for a fresher (and new to you) fragrance is more than simply pleasurable – it’s genuinely good for your mental health and wellness. We can get on board with that…

If you’re looking for a whole new summer scent wardrobe, the Seasonal Scent Subscription Box for Summer is your effortless, ready-curated collection. Lighter, brighter, filled with sunshine and allowing you to ‘travel with your nose’, these scents offer a chance to revel in the bliss of luminescent, uplifting fragrances.

If you already love a particular perfume but want to explore more, try our genius Fragrance Finder: simply type in the name and it’ll offer SIX new scent suggestions for you to try.

If you’re looking for something completely different, delve into one of our Discovery Boxesto find niche, luxury and new names.

It really doesn’t matter where you choose to begin – wiping the slate clean and starting afresh with a new scent for summer is one of the best (and easiest!) ways to re-set your mood and focus on wellness through fragrance…

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrances for ‘when this is all over’ – soothing scents + party perfumes

How often have you heard the phrase when this is all over during the past year? Well, the “when” is soon – at least in the U.K. with the government’s ‘roadmap’ for easing restrictions seeing the return of shops and outdoor hospitality services reopening on Monday, April 12th.

However, while our hearts may be full to bursting at the prospect of seeing loved ones we’ve missed for so long – there’s some real anxiety in the mix, too.

Because we know the ‘new normal’ (ugh, another saying that needs to get in the sea) is still far from resembling what our lives looked like in those hazy ‘before’ days, when many of us (perhaps lazily) took our freedom foregranted. To travel, to meet a friend for coffee, to hug them when we arrived – blimey, just to walk into a shop! And things will remain strange for some time. So we’re going to need some extra help, still, to get through this together.

 

 

If you’re feeling anxious about mixing in public again, you’re certainly not alone. The medical website patient.info has a great article with tips to combat stress in a post-Covid world, quoting psychologist and well-being consultant Lee Chambers, who says of course we’re all still worried, because ‘Over the course of the past 12 months, there has been significant change to adapt and acclimatise to.’ and explains: ‘Without a clear future anchor and the ability to create a longer-term plan, we lack the ability to prepare, and the constantly changing rules lower our tolerance to uncertainty.’

We know that so many more of you have been finding comfort and great mental-health support from scent during lockdown. It stands to reason we’ll need a fragrant anchor to help us get through the next few months as well. So, here are some soothing scents to help calm your nerves and help you feel grounded, but also some party perfumes for when the celebratory spirit strikes and you need an instant spritz of glamour.

Whatever your mood, there’s a fragrance to match or counteract, if needs be. Think of them as bravery: bottled. For when this is all over? For right now, or whenever you need them…

 

 

Nancy Meiland Gaia £45 for 30ml perfume attar
A beautifully nurturing scent delievered via a handy rollerball. A nuzzle of jasmine wrapped in warming nutmeg, brightening bergamot and a soft breeze of blue lotus on a caressing base of cedar and sandalwood.

 

Vines House Parfum Signature Story £75 for 30ml eau de parfum
Founder Rebecca Harrison shares her signature scent ‘for a mood of composure and contentment’ – a veriutable hug in a bottle. Cool lychee snuggles with ginger lily in a whisper of warm amber-rippled vanilla.

 

Angela Flanders Bleu de Chine £79 for 50ml eau de parfum
Swathe yourself in the hush of dry lavender, grounding patchouli aged for extra depth and the woody heart of bois de rose. Inspired by vintage Chinese textiles, it’s immediately comforting yet effortlessly elegant.

 

 

Histoires de Parfums 1899 £35 for 15ml eau de parfum
With a pop of Champagne corks flying, the bohemians emerge from the clubs of Paris into the dazzling lights of the city. The fizz of bergamot and juniper floats on orange blossom ablaze with amber in the vibrant base.

[Try a sample in our Scented Retreat Discovery Box]

 

HERMES_LOMBRE_DE_MERVEILLES

Hermes L’Ombre de Merveilles  £75 for 50ml eau de toilette
Perfumer Christine Nagel encourages us to ‘see the world from new and marvellous angles’ via contrasting light and shade. Shimmering tops notes swirl to black tea and simmering tonka.

 

Kierin NYC Nitro Noir £65 for 50ml eau de parfum
Mathieu Nardin’s powerhouse gourmand/floral positively swings its hips, with ripe berries swirled through rich patchouli and dusted with orris for a hypnotic, individualistic ‘hurrah!’

[Try a sample in the Kierin NYC Discovery Set]

Whether you need soothing or a chance to celebrate, there’s a whole world of fragrances out there to support and reflect how you’re feeling (or would like to feel). If you’re still wondering what would be the best scent to suit your mood, take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder. Simply type in the name of a fragrance you love and it will suggest six others, thanks to the so-clever personality-matching algorithm…

By Suzy Nightingale

Isn’t it time to ‘treat yourself?’

Listen, the signs and suggestions for V-Day have been in the shops the moment they cleared the tinsel and trees away, but if you’re not in a conventional romantic relationship – through choice or otherwise – we know you can start to feel sick of it all well before the box of half-price chocolates are opened.

So we say: don’t wait – why not treat yourself to some scented goodies this year? We have no doubt there are all sorts of reasons you should be kind to yourself, and things you deserve to celebrate. Managed to get through January without murdering anyone? That’s a win!

Here’s our edit of some fabulously fragrant ways to indulge

 

 

The Anima Vinci Discovery Set invites you to take a breath and re-connect, with scents showcasing ingredients designed to help you seek inner strength, peace and joyfulness – literally a monent to stop and smell the roses (or jasmine, ylang ylang, sesame, palo santo…). The creative expression of founder and industry expert, Nathalie Vinciguerra‘s strong belief in the power of fragrance and the positive effect it can have on your heart, mind and spirit, these perfumes have been created in collaboration with the world’s top ‘noses’. Think: Fanny BalThomas Fontaine, Michel Roudnitska, Christian Provenzano, Beverley Bayne and Randa Hammami – true experts and alchemists in the world of fragrance. Which one will you connect with first…?

Lime Spirit — Lime acts as a stimulating tonic for the mind and body. Lime pacifies your mood and boost brain power. It is a powerful ancient remedy for cleansing the aura and restoring self-confidence

Rose Prana — It benefits the heart chakra that is responsible for love, spiritual wisdom and mental clarity. Influences the central nervous system, boosts self-confidence, self – esteem and positive feeling. Strengthens the aura and stimulate the body

Jasmine Yang — Tonic and relaxant, it generates a positive reaction in the mind, enhances self-confidence, helps to change the mood and increase spiritual well being

Wood of Life — This elevating, soft, uplifting and sweet woody scent has been used for thousands of years for attaining illumination of mind, awaking self-love

Oud Delight — Illuminates the mind and fortifies the power of thinking. Increase the sense of strength, bringing in tranquillity, increasing cerebral functioning and strengthening the nervous system.

Tudo Azul — The potion to put a smile on your face.

Neroli Wisdom — A relaxing potion.

Sesame Chān — A potion to provide a zen state of mind.

Anima Vinci Discovery Set £20

Perfumer Emmanuelle Moeglin first developed workshops for frag heads to create their own fragrances in her open-source lab – then went on to conjure the Experimental Perfume Club Discovery Set, so scent lovers can now mix, layer or personalise their own bespoke blends at home . Genius! If you have ever wanted to ‘tweak’ a scent or are intrigued by making something unique to you – this is the perfect starting point. Each fragrance can be worn alone, or layered (with guidance) to get something completely new for you. Featuring SIX NICHE FRAGRANCES to layer, explore and learn, what a great gift to yourself to emark on an exciting fragrant journey…

Bergamot / Incense – Top Layer – citrus and exotic spices are brought together in this bright fragrance with Eastern influence.

Fig / Neroli – Top Layer  – the crunch of fresh herbs in a Mediterranean garden in bloom.

Jasmine / Osmanthus – Mid Layer – a tribute to white flowers growing on hot sand. Radiant, floral and exotic.

Rose / Rhubarb – Mid Layer – imagine rose bushes growing from a rhubarb patch.

Amber / Iris – Base Layer – an amber wrapped in powdery notes; dark yet soft.

Sandalwood / Musk – Base Layer – mineral sandalwood met with leather and musks. Mineral, woody and addictive.

Experimental Perfume Club Discovery Set £25

 

 

Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed created a stunning portfolio of perfumes reflecting her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. Created by renowned perfumer Carlos Benaïm, Amy’s collection – the Sana Jardin Discovery Set – offers sensuous, strong women-led scents with sustainability (currently a ‘buzzword’ in perfumery) at the heart of everything they do. We now invite you to delight your senses with the SEVEN very special fragrances in the line-up:

Savage Jasmine Night-blooming jasmine, wrapped around intoxicating musk. 

Sandalwood Temple Moroccan neroli oil, enveloped it in Atlas cedarwood, Haitian vetiver, creamy vanilla and East Indian sandalwood.

Tiger By Her Side Showcases Moroccan rose alongside Somalian incense and Indonesian patchouli.

Berber Blonde Filled with the light of Sana Jardin’s signature orange blossom, alongside Moroccan neroli oil and musk.

Celestial Patchouli Exotic aromas of patchouli, leather, cinnamon bark and Australian Sandalwood give way to the abundant warmth of rose, jasmine, osmanthus and Moroccan orris.

Nubian Musk A sensuously inviting blend of musk and vanilla, rose, jasmine, Moroccan grapefruit flower, Haitian vetiver and Australian sandalwood.

Revolution de la Fleur This is a sultry, sun-filled melody of Madagascan ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani, rose, vanilla and sandalwood.

Jaipur Chant Heady & Seductive Tuberose. Indian tuberose, the goddess of flowers, blooms in the still of night.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30

Smell your way to wellness with Anima Vinci

Anima Vinci are a niche fragrance house with wellness at their core – not paying mere lip-service to a current trend, but building their scents around a central ethos of literally allowing yourself time to stop and smell the roses (and jasmine, Palo Santo, citrus, sesame seeds…)

With a background at the very first ‘niche’ perfumery house – and years at the creative helm of one of the UK’s most historic fragrance names – Nathalie Vinciguerra brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. But it’s her passion for authenticity and sustainability within the world of fragrance that finally drove her to create Anima Vinci. Starting her illustrious career in Paris at L’Oréal, over seven years, she ‘…acquired in-depth expertise in fragrance development and international launches.’

From 2006 until 2015, Nathalie was the Head of Fragrance Development for Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur – creating briefs and working directly with perfumers to create award-winning fragrances you’ll definitely have worn, including absolute classics like Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling. And it was Nathalie’s excellent working relationship with some of the best noses in the world that further prepared her for the massive leap in founding her own fragrance house, with a very particular aim in mind.

 

 

Nathalie genuinely believes in perfume’s power to uplift our senses, and to enhance our own ability to emotionally connect to our surroundings. ‘Anima Vinci is the creative expression of my strong belief in the power of fragrance,’ she says, ‘and the positive effect it can have on your heart, mind and spirit. I believe that scents have the power to immerse us in the universe’s energy and nature’s beauty.’

A devotee of yoga and meditation for over thirty years, Nathalie’s exuberantly expressed and enlightened concept can instantaneously be understood when actually smelling the beautiful bounty – with Rose Prana, for instance, you will find yourself fully immersed in the rose fields of Grasse, smelling the earth below the bushes abundant with fresh, almost raspberry-scented Rose de Mai blooms, and a sense of the sky above. Jasmine Ylang, meanwhile, is an altogether more exotic journey – symbolic of divine hope in India – opulence tempered with lucidity, sandalwood and frangipani, a holiday for the soul.

‘Scent is the most sensational of senses,’ Nathalie explains. ‘The world opens up before me. I’m taken back to my past and propelled towards my future. Timelessly I return to a specific place. Memories take me to my Eden. I enjoy every breath of the world and look forward defiantly. I create fragrances that encourage you to embrace life. All you have to do is breathe.’

 

 

For me, personally, the most immediately transportive fragrance in their collection is Wood of Life. Built around the remarkably calming ingredient palo santo (a wood prized for its cleansing and spiritual properties, and burned in many religious and meditative practices), I genuinely feel my shoulders drop an inch when I spray it. And it’s one of those fragrances that just makes you smile and breathe deeply – just as Nathalie describes. It’s so soothing, like wearing an invisible cloak of perfumed protection, and incredibly useful on days you just feel overwhelmed, at work, on the tube, in a stressful situation at home – wherever you are. A notorious insomniac for pretty much all my life, I sometimes wear this to bed. I’m not going to pretend it zonks me out immediately, but smelling it while breathing deeply has definitely helped slow my overactive mind a while – it brings stillness: a perfume to hit the pause button with.

I cannot recommend the Anima Vinci fragrances highly enough – each one has been carefully composed in a collaboration between Nathalie and some of the world’s foremost perfumers, names like Thomas Fontaine, Christian Provenzano, Randa Hammami, Fanny Bal, Beverley Bayne and Michel Roudnitska. Basically a who’s-who of the fragrance world, and an indication of Nathalie’s prowess for connecting and working with these noses she’s spent her entire career communicating with.

But which of the scents will communicate most deeply with you, I wonder? Perhaps it will depend what mood you’re in and how you want to address it on that day – and now, wonderfully, you are able to try the entire collection at home with the Anima Vinci Discovery Set. Try EIGHT fragrances for only £20, and get ready for some self-care with scents. How are you feeling…?

 

 

Lime Spirit — Lime acts as a stimulating tonic for the mind and body. Lime pacifies your mood and boost brain power. It is a powerful ancient remedy for cleansing the aura and restoring self-confidence

Rose Prana — It benefits the heart chakra that is responsible for love, spiritual wisdom and mental clarity. Influences the central nervous system, boosts self-confidence, self – esteem and positive feeling. Strengthens the aura and stimulate the body

Jasmine Yang — Tonic and relaxant, it generates a positive reaction in the mind, enhances self-confidence, helps to change the mood and increase spiritual well being

Wood of Life — This elevating, soft, uplifting and sweet woody scent has been used for thousands of years for attaining illumination of mind, awaking self-love

Oud Delight — Illuminates the mind and fortifies the power of thinking. Increase the sense of strength, bringing in tranquillity, increasing cerebral functioning and strengthening the nervous system.

Tudo Azul — The potion to put a smile on your face.

Neroli Wisdom — A relaxing potion.

Sesame Chān — A potion to provide a zen state of mind.

We may be in the depths of winter still, but soon the seasons will change, the green bugs will burst open again, the sunshine will return – and in the meantime, why not treat yourself to some moments of scented reflection and calm, to revive and uplift or simply put a smile on your face? Whichever Anima Vinci fragrance you choose to wear, they’ll really help carry you through.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Feeling balmy: 5 fragranced balms we’re obsessed by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Suzy Nightingale