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NO. 27 Autumn 2017




Charlotte Tilbury’s scent memories



fashion fabric & FRAGRANCE

editor’s letter September is the time when magazines traditionally turn our focus to fashion. But we’re adding a new dimension to this annual ‘Fashion & Fragrance’ edition of The Scented Letter, by looking at the relationship between perfume and textiles. A question we always ask at our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell workshops is: ‘If this fragrance was a fabric, what would it be…?’ Some scents seem to evoke red velvet, others white linen, or sensuous folds of silk. And the consistency in the responses to this simple query – when attendees at the workshops share impressions they’ve noted down in silence – blows us away, time after time. So for this issue, we asked award-winning blogger and writer Persolaise to unravel the whole relationship between Fashion & Fragrance. Wrap yourself in his brilliant writing, on p.20. Russian leather is a fascinating material – and it’s also a strong trend in perfumery. In the early 20th Century, many different fragrance houses offered fragrances under the name of ‘Russian Leather’. Right now, this fascinating, dark material is enjoying a makeover in the hands of contemporary perfumers – making it very much an ingredient-of-the-moment. Suzy Nightingale explores its journey – from the boots of Russian soldiers to our pulse-points today, on p.12. Gabrielle Chanel broke many rules in her work (and her life), including using traditional fabrics in innovative ways. Tweed, jersey and quilted leather were reworked by the designer, helping to revolutionise the way women dressed. The cap of the just-unveiled Chanel fragrance Gabrielle – created by perfumer Olivier Polge – turns out to have been inspired by a lustrous tweed from the Chanel Haute Couture archive. So, having always been hugely inspired myself by Chanel – her fierce independence, her capacity for hard work, the way she assembled a dazzling circle of artistic friends – I had great fun weaving the story about her life and its fashion and fabric legacy, on p.38.

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This edition’s #ShareMyStash features a suitably stylish chap, too. When we first saw a snap of Chris Yu’s scent-stacked shelving, we knew that he’d make the perfect subject for a ‘through the keyhole’style interview, sharing his favourite fragrances and top 10. Turn to p.32 – and swoon. Last but not least: welcome to a new, fatter format of The Scented Letter. As we work towards – ultimately – getting this magazine onto the newsstands, feedback was that our eight issues a year were tricky to manage, and that an every-other-month frequency would work better. So that’s what we’ll be doing, moving forward. We’ll be bringing you the same number of pages, over a year – but fatter editions (at least 60 pages), bi-monthly. We hope you continue to love The Scented Letter – bigger and (we hope!) getting better all the time…

The Perfume Society




scented Letter



scented The



Josephine Fairley Designer

Jenny Semple enquiries@jenny Advertising Manager

Lorna McKay Senior writer

Suzy Nightingale

Charlotte Tilbury

Victoria Evans

Charlotte discovered ‘the power of make-up’ at the age of 13 – and there’s been no stopping her ever since. After 25 years of doing make-up for the A-List – Penelope Cruz to Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez to Kate Moss – the launch of her signature line took the world of make-up by storm. Skincare followed – and most recently fragrance, with Scent of a Dream winning 2017’s CEW Award for Best New Women’s Fragrance. Charlotte shares her scented Memories, Dreams & Reflections on p.26. Join her 1.5 million followers on Instagram: @ctilburymakeup

Victoria is the newest recruit to The Perfume Society team, helping to curate our Discovery Boxes, pictureresearching The Scented Letter and running the all-important Customer Service Desk. After a degree in History of Art, Victoria worked in the arts world, as Gallery Manager for The Jerwood Gallery, and as Programme Assistant for Turner Contemporary in Margate. She also has a longstanding love of perfume, beauty and fashion, and in her spare time, Victoria runs a vintage store on, GoldLadyVintage.

Amber Ashcroft


Amber – who chose fake fan as the smell that whisks her through time and space, in It Takes Me Right Back on p.58 – is Senior Beauty Writer at Reveal magazine, having graduated in multimedia journalism from Bournemouth University. In 2016 and 2017, Amber was shortlisted for the coveted ‘Rising Star’ Award in The Jasmine Awards, from The Fragrance Foundation. Current perfume preoccupation? Finding a scent for her wedding in October 2017. Follow Amber on Instagram: @amber_ascroft

Persolaise is a four-time Jasmine Award winning perfume critic and author of the Le Snob: Perfume guide. He has written for a wide range of online and print titles, including Grazia, Glass, Basenotes and, of course, The Scented Letter. His views on scent have been sought by the BBC, The Sunday Times and The Guardian, amongst others. Read posts reviews and interviews with the stars of the fragrance industry on his site, – and follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @persolaise


Carson Parkin-Fairley HEAD OF MARKETING



Maggie Alderson

COVER: Josephine Fairley

Contact us 3rd Floor 30 Charing Cross Road London WC2H 0DE 07502-258759 The Scented Letter is a free online/downloadable magazine for subscribers to The Perfume Society; visit for more information

The Scented Letter is produced for The Perfume Society by Perfume Discovery Ltd. All information and prices are correct at the time of going to press and may no longer be so on the date of publication. © 2017 The Perfume Society All text, graphics and illustrations in The Scented Letter are protected by UK and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission. 4 The scented Letter





Do certain perfumes remind you of velvet – and others of cotton, or silk…? Award-winning blogger and author PersolAise unpicks the relationship between textiles and perfumes

if Any of you hAve attended The Perfume society’s ‘how To improve your sense of smell’ workshop – and if you haven’t, you really ought to consider doing so – you’ll know that part of it is based on learning to make associations. While various perfumes are sniffed, you’re encouraged to think about whether they remind you of a certain colour or a piece of music or a place, and so on. As you can imagine, the responses range from the illuminating to the downright hilarious. But the question which yields the most consistent statements is: ‘if this perfume were a fabric, what would it be…?’ it’s remarkable to observe. With no prompting or prodding, with no clues as to the identity of the fragrance in question, with not a single word exchanged between themselves, complete strangers display startling similarities when asked to link a perfume with a fabric. ‘fresh, white linen,’ many of them will say. or, ‘An old-fashioned, velvet gown.’ or, perhaps, ‘well-worn denim.’ Curious to investigate this phenomenon, i thought it would be fascinating to seek out some insights on which raw materials and perfumes might be especially effective at


conveying the scents and sensations of certain fabrics. Perfumer ralf schwieger, for instance – creator of the ironically retro frock that is lipstick rose for frederic Malle – starts by saying that says he frequently thinks ‘of fragrance materials in terms of their tactile experience. ‘As perfumers we often use descriptors like “rough”, “smooth” or “scratchy”. even those linked to temperature, like “warm” and “cool”, may actually refer to the sensation of touching fabric.’ francis Kurkdjian, a perfumer with more than his fair share of hits, including le Male for Gaultier and eau noire for Dior, is in total agreement about the existence of a connection between fabric and fragrance. he has worked with Daniel hechter on a trio of scents inspired by cotton, leather and denim. And, as he goes on to explain, ‘when narciso rodriguez asked me and Christine nagel to create for her, he gave us a sample of dirty pink duchesse satin and said: “This is the feeling i want for my fragrance.”’ in his eponymous range, francis features four creations which link a different fabric – namely: velvet, satin, silk and cashmere – to a somewhat unexpected material, the ever-ubiquitous oudh.

The old-world, vintage-inflected density of gardenia can be used to conjure an image of heavy velvet

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velvet MaiSoN FraNCiS KurKdjiaN oud Velvet Mood velvet, yes, but also an iron fist, overpowering all with room-filling charm and take-no-prisoners assertiveness.

Neela Vermeire Creations Trayee The setting sun of india picks out the reds, yellows and blues of an ancient landscape, strewn with jasmine and frankincense.

SerGe luTeNS iris Silver Mist succumb to an embrace of unquestioning protection, far from the noise and the worries of the world.

araMiS Perfume Calligraphy Saffron raw, russet silk draped across a slender hand, reaching towards the lengthening shadows of the distant dunes.

Galop d’HerMèS A stallion covered with rose petals races past like a streak of incandescence, leaving vivid hues in its wake.


FrederiC Malle Superstitious Grand gestures. Wide-eyed smiles. Gold bracelets tinkling against the champagne glasses. sink into the softness.


scented LeTTer

smoke gets on your skin BRING BACK THE BIRCH

scent as a texture FASHION, FABRIC & FRAGRANCE

The romantic story of one of perfumery’s most intriguing ingredients, Russian leather

Award-winning blogger Persolaise unpicks the fascinating relationship between textiles and perfumes




vintage treasures A PATCHWORK OF PERFUMES

Catwalk/red carpet make-up legend Charlotte Tilbury shares how Ibiza shaped her olfactory landscape

We visit the studio of a perfume house inspired by flowers, fashion, fabric – and biscuit tins



10 years and spritzing HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAISY

a spritz of style HOW DO YOU BOTTLE A LEGEND?

How Marc Jacobs’s contemporary classic became one of the most ‘collected’ fragrances of our times

Read how Chanel – immortalised in the new scent Gabrielle – flouted convention, on and off the catwalk




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on the scent of news

nosing around We bring you fragrant layering opportunities, a must-have addition to the scented cocktail cabinet and fabric-inspired scents, among other perfume news

Fabric, fragrance and Fragonard

Extraits, extraits – read all about it Roger&Gallet – the perfume house which still sells the very earliest eau de Cologne, by Jean-Marie Farina – revisits that style of fragrance with this collection of Extraits by leading noses Alberto Morillas, Anne Flipo, Fabrice Pellegrin, Julie Karagueuzoglou and Elise Benat. Each swirls around a central flower or plant: tuberose, cassis, verbena, tea and neroli. Scents as pretty as the flacons to spritz them from. From £30 for 30ml

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Fragonard’s stunning fragrance bottle and box designs take their inspiration from fabrics – some sourced by Fragonard’s Agnès Costa on her travels, others from the museum founded by her mother in Grasse (a must-visit if you’re in the town). One for the perfume bookshelf is their book For The Love of Perfume, detailing the history of the house alongside stunning photos of works of art, 18th Century paintings and antique Provençale costumes from the museum’s collection. 28 euros

TAKE A BOW No longer a style faux pas, ‘matchy-matchy’ is fashion forward – and to prove the point, Ted Baker have paired their Sweet Treat perfumes with a trio of colourful nail polish combinations, shown off in a box inspired by Ted Baker’s Gem Garden print. (That textile design gets its inspiration from bejewelled vintage brooches – also a hot trend). Ted Baker Mini Bow Trio £26 for trio of x 5ml eaux de parfum and three x nail polish

tip A new ‘pulse-point’ we’ve been trying recently: the palms of the hands. The warmth encourages fragrance to expand so you can enjoy fragrance everywhere you touch.


Bergamot cocktail anyone?

Lather with leather For the person who truly wants to wallow in MEMO’s Irish Leather, the new bath line allows you to experience its beguiling, dry, leatheriness in all manner of frothy forms. Irish Leather Celtic Kit Bathline £73 for 50ml set

Replicating a recipe that dates back to the 1800s, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamatto liqueur is the brainchild of Italian spirits expert Guiseppe Gallo. Bergamot from the UNESCOprotected area in the Calabrian region and Sicilian cedro citrus are blended with a hint of lavender and yellow roses and beautifully bottled in blue. Splash generously to spice up your G&T or add a citrusy sparkle to a glass of Prosecco. £44 for 700ml


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on the scent of news


The Four Quartets Miller Harris go back to their roots, releasing four well-loved, ‘lost’ scents. The Back by Popular Demand archive collection includes sophisticated, spicy and mysterious Fleur Oriental; Figue Amère ( bitingly bitter ripe green figs with sea-salted breezes); overwhelmingly green Geranium Bourbon and Terre de Bois, its clean citrus top making way for forest moss and wet earth. Be quick: only 500 of each have been bottled – and when they’re gone, they’re gone. £75 for 50ml eau de parfum

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL Lola James Harper have released their stellar line up of scents in airline-friendly 50ml sizes – essential packing for the spirited explorer. Our fave? The irresistibly soft iris Do What You Love With The People You Love. (Definitely a contender for Best Scent Name Ever, too.) £59 for 50ml eau de parfum 8 The scented Letter

Body talk Slathering and soaking in opulently fragranced and highly nourishing products is on the agenda now autumn has rolled in – and just in time, Amouage add Journey Woman to their luxurious bath and body offerings. Osmanthus, apricot, jasmine tea and honey are yours to revel in. Maybe set aside an extra hour for seriously scented wallowing? Amouage Journey Bath & Body from £35-85

C’mon baby, scent my car… Un Air de Diptyque car diffuser comes in seven options – Baies, Amber, Figuier, Roses, Fleur d’Oranger and Gingembre – and attaches to your car’s aircon vent, wafting soothingly fragrant whispers as you drive. You can also adjust the grille, to control intensity. Just the sexiest way to scent a car we’ve ever seen – and smelled. £35 (£25 for refills)

A Shirty Spritz Couldn’t be more perfect for our Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance issue: bottling the romance of Jermyn Street is a collaboration between neighbours Floris and fine shirtmakers Turnbull & Asser. Named after the address of T&A’s flagship – at 71/72 – it timetravels you to an imagined first visit to that store, circa 1903, with spiky citruses laid upon aromatic lavender, rich woods dancing with powdery soft orris. As classic and timeless as a pressed white cotton shirt. £160 for 100ml eau de parfum

BACK TO THE SOURCE As Mugler celebrate 25 years of Angel, a pat on the back to them for encouraging ecoresponsible behavior. Mugler offer The Source refill stations at almost every in-store counter, where you can refill your Angel, or Alien fragrance, saving you up to 38% on the price of a bottle. This nifty service also saves over 383 tonnes of waste packaging and 2,300,000 bottles each year. Savvy, sustainable – and sexy-looking, with it.

WE’RE HUNGRY FOR THIS The best news for our tastebuds in years: Pratap Chahal – the ex-Cinnamon Club/Chez Bruce/ Claridges chef whose That Hungry Chef scented suppers have been such a success at our special Perfume Society VIP dinners – has now opened a restaurant, on Soho’s Frith Street, called Flavour Bastard. Dishes on the menu incorporate edible perfume ingredients like frankincense, bergamot, rose and more. Prepare to have your senses dazzled. 63-64 Frith Street, Soho, London W1V 3JW/020-7734 4545

The fash pack Want to explore the theme of this issue further, delving deeper into the relationship between fabric and fragrance…? Les Indémodables are inspired by parallels between the fashion and perfume worlds, seeking to help you build a fragrance wardrobe via debut scents which pay homage to sporty leather (Cuir de Chine), pearls (Iris Perle), velvet (Oriental Velours), your ‘everyday wear’ (the crisp Chypre Azural), and an haute couture piece, Fougère Emeraude. Stylish stuff.

HELL, YEAH One of the most deliciously tactile discovery sets we’ve seen: unfurl the oil-tanned leather roll to reveal five 7.5ml travel sprays of BeauFort London’s notoriously provocative scents. Journeying buccaneers will be thrilled their leather presentation roll can now be monogrammed with up to three letters for an additional £20. Come Hell or Highwater Discovery Set £95


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a whiff of history

Lives of the great noses:

JEAN KERLEO (1932- ) Born in 1932 in Brittany, France, Kerléo landed his first job formulating perfumes for Helena Rubinstein in 1955. Single-handedly, Kerléo put Rubinstein – a company better known for its face creams and make up – on the map as a perfume player. His compositions for Helena Rubinstein resulted in him winning the Prix des Parfumeurs de France in 1965, and being approached to become in-house perfumer at the house of Jean Patou from 1967. This modest man was to stay and work for over three decades at Jean Patou – and while at Patou, Kerléo was responsible for a raft of great fragrances, most notably 1000 (1972) and Sublime (1992). He also developed the first fragrance for cult Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto – originally marketed under license to Patou – launched to great acclaim in 1996. He became fascinated by fragrance reconstruction; while at Patou, Kerléo was commissioned to rework 12 iconic fragrances from the perfume house’s archive, which re-launched in 1984 – legendary names like Adieu Sagesse, Chaldée, Cocktail, Divine Folie, Normandie, L’Heure Attendue and Câline. ‘When I created a perfume,’ he is quoted as saying, ‘people would

sometimes say to me, “Well of course I like your perfume. It smells good, but you know, 20 years ago, perfumes smelled better.” I knew that in general people tend to remember things better than they were – but it was annoying because the perfumes they were referring to no longer existed, so there was no way to make a true comparison. It was this impediment to establishing truth that sent me in search of lost perfumes, beginning initially with Jean Patou and later taking on reconstructions for other famous perfume houses such as Houbigant and Coty.’ Jean Kerléo then had the ambitious idea to create a museum to preserve discontinued classics according their original formulae

Kerléo’s work inludes successes for Helena Rubinstein, Jean Patou and Yohji Yamamoto

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– and many of the world’s leading perfume houses and perfumers (including Guy Robert and JeanClaude Ellena) immediately pledged support for the project. When it opened, the Osmothèque held just 400 scents. Today, the museum holds 3,000 fragrances (preserved at a constant temperature under argon gas), and counting. The museum’s very first acquisition was the Jean Desprez perfume Crêpe de Chine, from the brand Millot: a floral aldehydic Chypre somewhere between Chanel No.5 (1921) and Coty’s famous Chypre (1917). Kerléo went to great lengths to track down old formulas, faithfully reconstructing countless exhibits in his own lab. In 2001, Jean Kerléo was awarded the prestigious Prix François Coty, for his work. Today, he is in his eighties and lives quietly – no longer in charge of the Osmothèque, since handing over the directorship to Patricia de Nicolaï, great granddaughter of Pierre-Francois Pascal Guerlain, in 2008. But for any scent-lover, the museum born from his vision remains the ultimate place of perfumed pilgrimage – and for that, Monsieur Kerléo, we thank you… By Bethan Cole

Russian leather

h c r bı

bringing back


Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale buffed up her boots and set out to discover the romantic story of one of perfumery’s most intriguing genres, now enjoying a welldeserved renaissance

Russian leather fragrances evoke snowcovered forests and a sense of wilderness

Russian leather is distinguished from all pretenders to the perfumed throne by the use of birch oil

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IT WAS PARISIAN PERFUME HOUSE Creed who in 1854 first put Cuir de Russie (it translates as ‘Russian leather’) on the map, presenting a darkly smoky creation to the Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie. Then – according to the incomparable fragrance blog – perfumer Aimé Guerlain followed in hot, leathery succession, using the name Cuir de Russie for a fragrance created in 1872. But until recently, Chanel’s Cuir de Russie has been the most renowned Russian leather. There’s much debate about whether it launched in 1924 or 1927 – but what is certain is that Chanel Cuir de Russie is a delicious plunge from sophisticated aldehydes through a classic entanglement of jasmine, rose and ylang ylang to blonde tobacco and, finally, to a heightened, leathery smokiness. Created for Coco Chanel by Ernest Beaux – the master perfumer who gave us Chanel No.5 – the inspiration was both irresistibly romantic, and highly personal: Coco’s passionate affair with a Russian Grand Duke, His Imperial Highness Dimitri Pavlovich Romanov, cousin to the last Tsar. Chanel’s biographer, Justine Picardie, describes Cuir de Russie as the ‘bottled essence of her romance with the Grand Duke.’ At the time, Paris was flooded with Russian emigrés, who’d fled the Bolshevik revolution. And while the tumultuous events of Russian history gave Mademoiselle Chanel a handsome lover, it gave the world an exquisite scent we treasure to this day. Perhaps it was nostalgia for the homeland which made Cuir de Russie perfumes so popular – but whatever the reason, this style of perfume became shorthand for grandeur. Truly to get to grips with the origins of Russian leather, however, we must plunge ourselves further back in history, to the era of 1645-1676, and the reign of Alexei Mikhailovich. Along with priceless jewels, gold, furs and tea, red leather, or ‘yuft’, was among the treasure chest of precious materials amassed by the royal Russian court. Demand for what became known as ‘Cuir de Russie’ (sometimes named ‘Cuir de Russe’) far outstripped what

Looking at Vladimir Tarasenko’s painting you can almost smell the leather of the soldiers’ boots and the horses’ saddles

Russia could supply. And so the Russians began importing consignments of cowhides, finishing the tanning process in Russia with their secret ingredient – birch oil. Famously, leather itself smells pretty rotten during the traditional tanning process – a honking fug created by the delightful application of animal urine and faeces with which (to this day, in some cultures) it is ‘cured’ and rendered resilient to decay. So leather and perfumery necessarily go back a long way, with 15th Century aristocrats having their gloves made and scented by the gantier parfumeurs – a guild of leather glove-makers in Paris – who added oils of musk, civet and ambergris to mask the repulsive smell. Peau d’Espagne, or ‘Spanish skin’, meanwhile, used oil of rose, neroli and sandalwood with spices, musk and civet for a more feminine ambience, while French leather offers a more buttery, suede-like effect, with orris – the dried,

Guerlain’s Cuir de Russie – created by Aimé Guerlain in 1872 – flanked by a painting of Russian soldiers galloping into combat, and a wonderful vintage black-and-white photograph of a Cossack soldier, his supple Russian leather boots gathered round his ankles


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Russian leather

Russian soldiers, pre-Revolution, their boots buffed to smoke-scented perfection

powdered rhizomes (bulbous roots) of iris – employed for a powdery softness. English leather, meanwhile, usually comprises a cleaner, soapier scent with lavender, bergamot and rosemary somewhere in the mix. But Russian leather is distinguished from all pretenders to the perfumed throne by the use of birch oil, rubbed in to the animal skin after tanning to make it even more flexible – and with having the added bonus of rendering the material water-resistant. The intense, relentless smokiness of that birch oil is the vital scent ingredient that gives Russian leather its characteristic smell, while delivering impressive resilience. To process this, bark of the birch tree is peeled off in papery strips and soaked in a water/alcohol mixture until it forms a ‘liquor’, which is then evaporated, leaving the unctuous oil behind. Interestingly, the chemical structure of birch contains high levels of methyl salicylate, more commonly known as oil of wintergreen, which accounts for the nostril-lifting, headfilling camphoraceous qualities of the ingredient – something beyond mere leather smokiness that hints of snowcovered forests and frosty fur. The quality and longevity of Russian leather made it highly sought-after for military boots and equipment – long, hard marches across a frozen tundra being notoriously tough on footwear. Legend has it the soldiers would also carry birch tar with them (made from birch bark heated in airtight containers, leaving a residue of tar and ashes behind), to buff on further layers of protection along with a sheen. In fragrances composed to evoke Russian leather, birch oil and/or tar might be mixed with any number of equally aromatic ingredients by the perfumer. Do we want a gruffly masculine Russian leather to recall those soldiers and their boots? Or a more romantic Doctor Zhivago effect, conjuring pristine snow, fur-covered sleighs and Omar Sharif’s sensitive eyes? When envisaging the essence of Russian Leather for their MEMO Paris fragrance of the same name, for instance, co-founder Clara Molloy imagined ‘the wilderness of Siberia, a land of contrasts. We felt the soul of Russia could be in its lakes and forests, in its snow and untouched landscapes.’ Describing his love for this notoriously pungent aroma, Leo Crabtree, Creative Director of niche house, BeauFort London, notes: ‘If there’s one ingredient that immediately propels you to the past, it’s birch tar. For me it’s all about the smoky, resinous aspect that brings to mind soldiers rubbing their boots with it to keep them weather-proof,

of pitch and burning, tarry planks at sea. I’ve made it a signature of the BeauFort fragrances – a rebellious, unconventional smokiness.’ There are other ingredients at a perfumer’s disposal to create this juxtaposition of tough leather against a backdrop of high romance. Castoreum falls firmly in the dirty camp; a secretion from the glands of Russian and Canadian beavers, it has an intensely dry, animalic odour akin to real leather. But ethical concerns increasingly force perfumers to look elsewhere for a snarling, manly waft. Cade is another option – this viscous oil of juniper is naturally ‘leathery’, a further association being its traditional use in bookbinding. When it comes to synthetic alternatives, we have to thank a fragrant revolution dating back to the 1880s; the discovery of quinolones – a collection of aromachemicals – heralded a brand new set of materials for perfumers, with pervasive odours ranging from earthy, nutty and rootlike, to overwhelming leather and smoke combinations that could startle a stallion at fifty paces. Known for their unconventional ingredients and trend-setting fragrances, it turns out to have been highly serendipitous that Molton Brown chose perfumer Loic Bisceglie for their brand new interpretation of Russian leather, for his own childhood memories became extremely important to the creative process. Loic recalls: ‘I first saw how leather was used at my grandfather’s workshop when I was very young. He made shoes – and I well remember the intense smell of black leather.’ What makes Molton Brown’s Russian Leather so distinctive? For Loic, ‘it’s the depth of ingredients; the smoky and raw parts with intense cade and birch used to reflect its unique complexity.’ But why Russian leather? Why now? (It can’t simply be the romantic legacy of the BBC’s epic War and Peace drama, in which handsome aristocrats in polished leather boots stole the show – and our hearts.) Fact is, just as oudh was translated from its Middle Eastern cultural heritage to become the must-have ingredient in Western perfumery, perfume-lovers love to look far afield for potently exotic, poetically inspiring ingredients to satiate our need for longlasting fragrances with vividly unique characters. The current fashion for opulent leather is not confined to the catwalks, then, but is now sashaying its way into the world of scent. Russian leather is once again the most desirable of fragrant materials – the perfumer’s art magically capturing its extraordinarily romantic history, in every smoke-infused drop.

The quality and longevity of Russian leather made it highly sought-after for military boots and equipment

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Les Exclusifs de Chanel Cuir de Russie Chic aldehydes, with smoky scandal insinuated beneath – supple leather waited for with baited breath

MEMO Paris Russian Leather Frosty air tinged with lavender, frozen herbs gathered at dusk in a fur-lined leather coat, ice-crystals on eyelashes

Anna Zworykina Cuir de Russie Warm horse saddle worn smooth from use, a pitch black velvet cloak flying madly, a majestic beast in the wilderness

Le Jardin Retrouvé Cuir de Russie Violet leather ballet shoes, cinnamon-dusted bonbons eaten at Nijinsky’s performance while writing love letters

Arquiste Aleksandr A finely-clad gent admires his polished leather boots, splashing neroli Cologne, walking perhaps too proudly to the snow-bound duel

Zoologist Civet Buxom bouquet thrust forcefully into a leather-gloved clasp, hot coffee clutched to warm the fingers, a woodland romp to warm the soul

Molton Brown Russian Leather Curls of smoke swirl through a Siberian pine forest, leather-bound books infused with the drift from a campfire

BeauFort London Coeur de Noir Inky fingers lovingly stroke the leather desk, the tattooed arm, lips still laced with spicy rum; tarry, tarry night

Evody Cuir Blanc Butter-soft leather liberally dusted with baby powder, the comfort of warm skin embraced with an open heart The

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Every city has its own scents and aromas. For the first in an occasional series, Carson Parkin-Fairley took to the streets of London to put together a shopping – and sniffing – guide to our capital city

Inspired by… W11 by Londoner Of six androgynous scents inspired by the urban landscape and history of London, our favourite? W11. Capturing the bohemian chic of Portobello, with notes of cassis, ylang ylang, patchouli and woods, it’s exotic and enchanting. £98 for 100ml eau de parfum


Tom Ford Private Blend London Warm resins and aromatic spices, opulence and wealth. Frankincense, oudh, cedar, dry leather-y birch notes and a host of spices – think London with heavy Middle Eastern influences. Knightsbridge in autumn, essentially. £140 for 50ml eau de parfum 16 The scented Letter

Floris Jermyn Street Floris is one of London’s oldest fragrance houses – still there today, its perfumer beavering away in the back. Here, history meets the 21st Century – gin with a splash of lemon, juniper and coriander – and (a nod to the street’s famed shirt-makers), a note of crisp linen. £120 for 100ml eau de parfum

Diptyque Londres Candle Combining florals that can be found at Columbia Road market, the Londres candle wafts green bouquets of hyacinth, heliotrope and tender lilac blossoms as its flame flickers. £48 at Diptyque boutiques

Street smells...

© Illustration by Jitesh Patel, CIA. Maurizio Targhetta; thaibert - Fotolia


Gallivant London A scent that embodies the old and new of this beautiful but sometimes tough city. This is roses in a wet summer, secondhand leather jackets, East End boys and West End girls. Earthy, comforting, but with an edge. £65 for 30ml eau de parfum

Flowers Ablaze with flowers and foliage, Columbia Road hosts hordes of flower sellers on Sundays. Head there to immerse yourself in florals, from violets to peonies. Be sure to go early to beat the crowds and smell the freshest blossoms. Columbia Road Flower Market (Sunday 8am -3pm-ish) Columbia Road, E2 7RG

Leather Walk by Culford Mews in Dalston to smell the rich scent of leather being worked on. Step inside J.D Batchelors, you’ll be engulfed by the dry, luxurious, moreish scent. J.T. Batchelors Ltd, 9-10 Culford Mews, N1 4DZ


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Spices Head to Ealing for the heady aromas of Indian spices drifting from the parade of shops on the main road, and the famous market. Southall offers the largest South Asian shopping area within the M25. Stock up on embellished saris and fragrant Asian herbs. Southall Broadway/Southall Market (Wednesday 7am – 2pm, Saturday all day)

Coffee Amidst the oft not-sopleasant smells of Soho lies the Algerian Coffee Store, pumping out that warm, dark, rich aroma we all know and love. With over 80 varieties, pop in to sniff out some of the finest smelling (and tasting) coffee around, at some of the best prices – you can buy a single espresso for £1 (standing or takeway only, mind). Do also nip into nearby cake emporium Maison Bertaux for a whiff of their deliciously fragrant pâtisserie, too. Algerian Coffee Stores, 52 Old Compton Street, W1D 4PB (Mon-Weds 9am – 7pm/Thurs - Sat 9am - 9pm)

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Plus... l Spun – near Spitalfields, for spun sugar candyfloss and sweet-making classes) l Tower Bridge – nut sellers in winter-time, filling the air with the scent of caramelising sugar l Brixton Market – go for mouthwatering jerk chicken l New Covent Garden Flower Market – search for ‘Robbie Honey’ on our website for the florist’s recommendations for a ‘scented safari‘ through the early morning market.

Gardens... Chelsea Physic Garden Hidden in Chelsea’s back streets is this home to many fascinating fragrant species that are often used in perfumery; it’s been a-bloom with herbs and flowers since 1712. Ask a guide to help you sniff out the most scentfilled blossoms and show you around their impressive herb garden. 66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS Adult entry £10.50

Regent’s Park In the month of June – particularly the first two weeks – Londoners see Regent’s Park flowerbeds come alive, and in particular, the stunning rose garden. With over 12,000 roses planted and 85 different varieties to swoon for, we urge you to pop your nose into these fragrant beauties – because there really ought always to be time to stop and smell the roses… Chester Road, NW1 4NR

Royal Botanic Gardens Tucked neatly behind the Palm House at Kew sits the magnificent rose garden. In 2009 it was restored to the original 1845 design and is a perfumed pleasure to walk around. The very best month to visit in is June, but they produce a second flush in August. Use your nose while meandering trhough the gardens, to enjoy wafts from other aromatic (and often exotic) plants. Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE Adult entry £15.50

Independent boutiques... Lead your nose into temptation at this evermore-interesting line-up of independent boutiques… l Avery Perfume Gallery 27 Avery Row, Mayfair, W1K 4AY l Bloom Perfumery 4 Langley Court, WC2E 9JY l Jovoy 21 Conduit Street, Mayfair, W1S 2XP l Les Senteurs 2 Seymour Place, W1H 7NA l Roullier White 125 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, SE22 8HU l Spa Illuminata 63 South Audley Street, W1K 2QS

© martine wagner; Curioso Photography - Fotolia

Plus… Burlington Arcade - a.k.a. ‘Perfume Alley’ to thosein-the-know – is almost a one-stop shop, with Chanel, Lalique, Frederic Malle, Penhaligon’s, Kilian, Roja Parfums, True Grace and (from October) Atkinson’s

Modern perfumeries... The following are devoted to a single perfume house.

In some cases, they have more than one London location – you can Google to find out other addresses – but these are our favourites, for atmosphere. l Atelier Cologne 11 The Market Building, WC2E 8RA l Diptyque 38 Floral Street, WC2E 9DG l Le Labo 77 Beak Street, W1F 9DP l Miller Harris 14 Monmouth St, WC2H 9HB l Ormonde Jayne 12 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, W1S 4SL l Perfumer H 106A Crawford St, Marylebone, W1H 2HZ l Shay & Blue 80 York St, Marylebone, W1H 1QW

Stores with history... Step inside these boutiques to wallow in London’s scented heritage... l Floris 89 Jermyn Street, St. James’s, SW1Y 6JH l Penhaligon’s 125 Regent St, Mayfair, W1B 4HT l Angela Flanders 96 Columbia Rd, Shoreditch, E2 7QB

l Creed 99 Mount Street, Mayfair, W1K 2TF

Department store perfumeries... Within these vast stores you’ll find literally hundreds of brands. Our advice is to visit just one store per perfumed pilgrimage, leaving plenty of time to sit in their cafés and mull over any blotters you’ve spritzed. Do look out for great exclusive launches in store. l Debenham’s Spritz Bar Ground Floor, 334-348 Oxford Street, W1C 1JG l Dover Street Market 1822 Haymarket, SW1Y 4DG l Fenwick Ground Floor, 63 New Bond Street, W1S 1RQ l Fortnum & Mason 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1A 1ER l Harrods Salon de Parfums 6th Floor, 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL l Harvey Nichols Ground Floor, 109–125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ l Liberty London Ground Floor, Regent Street, W1B 5AH l Selfridges Oxford Street Ground Floor, 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, W1A 1AB


fabric & FRAGRANCE Do certain perfumes remind you of velvet – while others evoke cotton, or silk? Award-winning blogger and author Persolaise unpicks the intriguing relationship between textiles and perfumes

If any of you have attended The Perfume Society’s ‘How To Improve Your Sense Of Smell’ workshop – and if you haven’t, you really ought to consider doing so – you’ll know that part of it is based on learning to make associations. While various perfumes are sniffed, you’re encouraged to think about whether they remind you of a certain colour or a piece of music or a place, and so on. As you can imagine, the responses range from the illuminating to the (occasionally) downright hilarious. But the question which yields the most consistent statements is: ‘If this perfume were a fabric, what would it be…?’ It’s remarkable to observe. With no prompting or prodding, with no clues as to the identity of the fragrance in question, with not a single word exchanged between themselves, complete strangers display startling similarities when asked to link a perfume with a fabric. ‘Fresh, white linen,’ many of them will say. Or, ‘An old-fashioned, velvet gown.’ Or, perhaps, ‘well-worn denim.’ Curious to investigate this phenomenon, I thought it would be fascinating to seek out some insights on which raw materials and perfumes might be especially effective at

conveying the scents and sensations of certain fabrics. Perfumer Ralf Schwieger, for instance – creator of the ironically retro frock that is Lipstick Rose for Frédéric Malle – starts by saying that says he frequently thinks ‘of fragrance materials in terms of their tactile experience. ‘As perfumers we often use descriptors like “rough”, “smooth” or “scratchy”. Even those linked to temperature, like “warm” and “cool”, may actually refer to the sensation of touching fabric.’ Francis Kurkdjian, a perfumer with more than his fair share of hits including Le Male for Gaultier and Eau Noire for Dior, is in total agreement about the existence of a connection between fabric and fragrance. He has worked with Daniel Hechter on a trio of scents inspired by cotton, leather and denim. And, as he goes on to explain, ‘when Narciso Rodriguez asked me and Christine Nagel to create For Her, he gave us a sample of dirty pink duchesse satin and said: “This is the feeling I want for my fragrance.”’ In his eponymous range, Francis features four creations which link a different fabric – namely: velvet, satin, silk and cashmere – to a somewhat unexpected material, the ubiquitous oudh.

The old-world, vintage-inflected density of gardenia can be used to conjure an image of heavy velvet

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velvet Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Velvet Mood Velvet, yes, but also an iron fist, overpowering all with room-filling charm and take-no-prisoners assertiveness

Neela Vermeire Creations Trayee The setting sun of India picks out the reds, yellows and blues of an ancient landscape, strewn with jasmine and frankincense

Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist Succumb to an embrace of unquestioning protection, far from the noise and the worries of the world

Aramis Perfume Calligraphy Saffron Raw, russet silk draped across a slender hand, reaching towards the lengthening shadows of the distant dunes

Galop D’Hermès A stallion covered with rose petals races past like a streak of incandescence, leaving vivid hues in its wake

FrÉdÉric Malle Superstitious Grand gestures. Wide-eyed smiles. Gold bracelets tinkling against the champagne glasses. Sink into the softness


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You wrap yourself in a fabric, but fragrance is the closest thing

However, as though to drive home the point that making associations between fabric and fragrance can still be highly subjective, Francis Kurkdjian insists that ‘the process is much more complex [than it seems].’ (Adding that statements such as ‘iris = warm’ or ‘aldehydes = linen’ are clichés, and that perfumers need to adopt more innovative approaches if they ‘really want to be creative and stand out from what has come before.’) It’s not just wearers and creators who see the link, however; in the world of perfume critics, the close relationship between scent and fabric is reiterated time and time again. Spend just a few minutes going through some of the world’s most-respected perfume sites, and you’re bound to see countless references to everything from vinyl to velvet. For instance, Neil Chapman, Jasmine Awardwinning writer of the Black Narcissus blog, believes that ‘many perfumes are redolent of textures and fabric: both grace the skin and the body, and they complement and amplify each other to beautiful effect.’ Beyond that, in certain cultures, the line between the perfume on our skin and the materials with which we wrap ourselves is so blurred as to be almost non-existent. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Gulf, where Arabs have traditionally fragranced the actual clothes they are wearing with tailor-made incense blends, in order to scent them as profusely as their bodies. In other words, for them, the act of wearing a kandoora or an abaya is just as much an olfactory experience as a tactile one. Along the way, however, I discovered that not everyone makes romantic associations between fabric and fragrance. Trudi Loren, Senior Vice President Corporate Fragrance Development at Aramis, which has just launched a leather flanker to the classic Aramis scent, makes the point that most fabrics themselves don’t possess an inherent scent. Agrees Ralf Schwieger: ‘I don’t find that cotton has a particular odour, for instance. In our field, especially in the US, people talk of accords like “fresh cotton” or “freshly-laundered fabric’” – but in reality, those are mostly references to residues of the laundry detergent and softener.’ And quite often, when a fragrance does have an inherent odour of its own, it may not be especially inspiring. ‘For instance, ‘the actual smell of wool, especially wet,’ notes Trudi Loren, ‘is not pleasant.’ Ralf Schwieger echoes her words. ‘Raw wool can smell like animal fat. Raw silk has a particular, ammonia-like smell. And certain synthetic fabrics smell, well, synthetic,’ he adds. One brand has decided to embrace the challenge of evoking fabrics as fragrances, head-on, however. The mission of the Italy-based Uèr Mì (pronounced ‘wear me’, get it?) is to present olfactory renditions of specific fabrics, including latex, tweed and denim. However, as co-founder Aurora Carrara explains, it isn’t possible to approach this task with objectivity. ‘We asked our perfumers what

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linen Chanel No. 5 Hope springs eternal when the powdery bubbles lift petals of jasmine to the heavens and cover the skies with flashes of light

Estée Lauder White Linen The rousing beam through the blinds. A foot on a warm, tiled floor. And then the morning coffee, marking another day

Tauer Perfumes Lonesome Rider Clean sweat mingles with a trusty shirt beneath a Texan afternoon. In the distance, the breeze and the cicadas

” cotton

you put on your skin. You have to feel it. You have to merge with it. Francis Kurkdjian

Tom Ford Tuscan Leather Feel that swagger work its way into your stance, adjusting your posture, tilting your axis closer towards the Mediterranean

Christian Dior Diorissimo Oh, to have your heart broken by such beauty, where every crystal-clear facet is built on layer upon layer of complexity

Louis Vuitton Dans La Peau A glowing apricot, sliced open, its luscious nectar pouring onto a square of suppleas-honey, skincaressing, camelcoloured hide

Vero Profumo Onda Leather as fury, flames and forcefulness. A tornado of passions. An endless vortex of all-consuming animalism


Eau de Guerlain Lemon and verbena combine to create that very rare thing: easy casualness which is neither lazy nor complacent

Annick Goutal L’Île au Thé On a distant Pacific island, the midmorning air smells of this easy-going, comfortablystrolling delight


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Many perfumes are redolent of textures and fabric: both grace the skin and the body

Neil Chapman, Black Narcissus blogger

smell comes to their mind if they think of velvet or suede, something that has generated personal memories. Sometimes there are associations between ingredients and fabrics, but always at a personal level. For instance, to me, amber and cashmere have something that connects them. They are both warm, sensuous and soft.’ Loran shares this distinctly individualised approach to linking certain odour materials with fabrics. She believes that Cashmeran, ‘a woody molecule named in honour of the fabric it evokes, really does give the impression of cashmere when combined with notes of musk and sandalwood.’ Schwieger states that ‘iris or violet materials – methyl ionones in particular – have a rich texture which makes them suitable for conjuring warm fabrics.’ For Neil Chapman ‘light-suffused florals such as jasmine, when blended with citrus notes, evoke the ripples of silk.’ And when the material the perfumer is trying to conjure is leather, several ingredients – notably castoreum and isobutyl quinoline – are usefully redolent of the stench of a tannery. And so the association game carries on ad infinitum. The old-world, vintage-inflected density of gardenia can be used to conjure an image of heavy velvet. Modern musks like Exaltolide and ethylene brassylate – with their uber-clean sensibilities – appear to head into the territory of starched cotton. The luminous effervescence of aldehydes seems as uplifting as the sensation of donning freshly-laundered linen. Ultimately, though, the relationship between scent and fabric is so personal, so intimate and also so natural that it’s hard to distance ourselves far enough from it to understand exactly how it works. It’s like asking someone to explain the sensation of breathing: we all do it, but often we’re far too closely involved with it to step back and articulate how it feels. Those Perfume Society workshop attendees may collectively feel that a fragrance is like chocolate-coloured velvet, blood-red satin or the cotton of a man’s shirt – but when asked to explain why, it almost invariably proves nigh on impossible to articulate. But as Kurkdjian concludes: ‘You wrap yourself in a fabric – but fragrance is the closest thing you put on your skin. You have to feel it. You have to merge with it.’ Merging with my perfume while I put on my woollen jumper, wrap my cashmere scarf around my neck and slip on my leather gloves? That’s an idea I would be more than happy to buy into. Even if I might not always be able to put into words quite why it feels so wonderful… For updates on How to Improve Your Sense of Smell dates and locations, visit

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Uèr Mì XX Latex A sea of vinyl records, rising and falling to their own, otherworldly rhythm, their surfaces gleaming with smooth blackness

Amouage Opus X A violin in a plastic case? A rose wrapped in latex? Amber painted with nail varnish? A compelling olfactory conundrum

Comme Des Garçons Synthetic Series Tar Liquid heat and toxic cleanliness form a dangerous, skin-hugging outfit, complete with shiny, satisfying zips

perfumed promotion

Ignite the

wilderness... Molton Brown’s smouldering new Russian Leather Collection is totally on-trend… We always have our noses twitching to seek out the latest trends in the perfume world – as do fragrance experts Molton Brown. Known for their use of luxurious and sometimes unconventional, avant garde ingredients, Molton Brown are once again leading the way with their darkly distinctive new fragrance: Russian Leather. With a warmly subversive smokiness and an artistically unique way of testing it on skin, we predict this truly will set hearts aflame. Your perfume should do more than simply smell nice, of course; it is a way of expressing your individuality with a final, fragranced flourish. And the must-have scent this season? It’s all about the leather, as we reveal on p.12. Daringly bold, dashingly original, those who like to blend into crowds need not apply. With the mysterious opulence of Russian heritage style featuring strongly on the catwalks for A/W 2017, fashion’s current mood calls for your fragrance to be equally finger-on-the-pulse. To create Russian Leather, Molton Brown

Molton Brown Russian Leather £39 for 50ml eau de toilette

turned to brilliant young perfumer Loic Bisceglie – in our opinion, a ‘star nose’ in the making. Although leather fragrances are notoriously challenging to create, here he perfectly harmonises bold complexity with smoky sophistication. Elemi exudes a peppery, lemon freshness, infused with black tea and purple basil for top notes that intrigue. Molton Brown Russian Leather then wanders further the wilderness as wisps of tobacco leaves and dry, woody birch are shot through with the breezy freshness of Siberian pine. And in the base, you’ll find yourself wrapped in vetiver and supple leather, with resinously smoky cade oil blazing a trail that glows beguilingly. It’s a fragrance that seems to make time stand still – evoking the solitude of the wilderness, with its myriad natural scents. But when it came to innovation for

Russian Leather, Molton Brown didn’t stop at ingredients. The fragrance can be enjoyed in a pioneering way – a luxury ‘first’, in the UK – via Scented Temporary Tattoos, in which the fragrance is embedded. Resembling intricate illustrations – Russian dolls, a stack of books, smoke wisps, tobacco leaves and a forest scene – these tattoos tell the tale of their fragrant inspiration. We can not only confirm the scent projects perfectly and stays for hours as your skin warms the symbol – but we’re thrilled to share these with you (along with a generous 30ml Bath & Shower Gel) in our hot-off-theshelves Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance Discovery Box (see p.44 for details!)  With accompanying body and home fragrance products including opulent Russian Leather candles (from £20-£60), we invite you to immerse yourselves in this memorably distinctive, unexpectedly avant garde scent. One that you could say has us rather hot under our (leather) collars...

an aromatic life

memories, dreams, reflections For over 25 years Charlotte Tilbury has created make-up looks for the catwalk and the red carpet. It was growing up in Ibiza with hippy parents, however, which shaped her olfactory landscape – and here, Charlotte shares a life in scents

What’s the very first thing you remember smelling? Patchouli and violet instantly evoke memories of my childhood. Violets have a spellbinding, ephemeral scent that actually haunts people; it disappears, and then comes back – like magic. They also remind me of the Parma Violet sweets I had growing up. When did you realise that scent was really important to you? From a young age I’ve been obsessed with the transformative powers fragrance has. It is magic; it has an innate ability to change your frame of mind, alter the aura and energy you emit – and that of those around you, as well as directly impact the way people perceive you! It’s the most powerful thing and you can’t control it. In addition, perfume has the power to attract your sparkling future and ignite positive memories of your past. The fact that your sense of smell is the only sense without a filter – triggering an instant, uncontrollable reaction – has always fascinated me. I’ve always said: ‘Look good, feel good, smell good!’ What’s your favourite scented flower? I have so many favourite flowers. I love the way that multiple scents work together in a magical symphony, so I couldn’t choose just one. The two I would choose are tuberose and jasmine – I have always been obsessed. Tuberose is such a powerful, erotic flower, 26 The scented Letter

which literally comes alive at night. It was banned in Victorian England for being too sexual and irresistible for virgins to wear. The fresh, fruity notes of jasmine are so sensual and haunting – they have an almost animalic quality. In some cultures, the flower is actually known as ‘the perfume of love’. What was the first fragrance you were given? A patchouli oil and amber mix that one of my mother’s friends gave to me in Ibiza, from the hippy market. What was the first fragrance you bought for yourself? I didn’t buy a fragrance – I made my own! I’ve been mixing my own secret scent of essential oils in Ibiza for years. I was obsessed with creating a trail, a scent that would gild corridors and Charlotte’s first scent was a patchouli and amber mix

have a memory imprint on things and my surroundings. Have you had different fragrances for different times of your life? Not really; it’s more that different notes evoke different emotions and states of mind for me. Frankincense, for instance, can take someone to the purest spiritual state. I believe it has the power literally to connect you from one world to another. The smell that always makes me feel a bit sad is… Actually, no smell makes me sad – only nostalgic! Scent bypasses the conscious hypothalamus (filter) of the brain, and so it can evoke memories totally out of your control. The scent that I love on a man is… Scent of a Dream! My husband George wears it and I love it on him. It has ‘magic molecules’ – the synthetics Iso E Super, hedione and Ambroxan – which act as an amplifier for your natural skin scent, so it really does smell great on men. The fragrance from the past that I’ve always wanted to smell is… Whatever Cleopatra wore. The thought fascinates me. Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream/from £49 for 30ml eau de parfum

CHARLOTTE’S FIVE FAVOURITE SMELLS 1 FRESH COFFEE I don’t drink it myself, but I love the aroma of my husband’s fresh coffee – it makes me think of blissful mornings.

Top left: Cleopatra depicted by John William Waterhouse; above, lavender – a favourite scent – and here, a pine-fringed cove on Ibiza, where Charlotte grew up

2 LAVENDER So relaxing and transporting – it always takes me to my grandmother, in my mind. She used to keep linen bags stuffed full of lavender in her bedroom drawers to keep her clothes fresh. Now I do exactly the same.

4 BAKING The delicious, mouthwatering smell of something rising and baking in the oven. It’s such a comforting smell to me.

Left, tuberose – banned by Victorians for being too overtly sexy; below, wafts of incense, the scented backdrop to her childhood – and right, Charlotte’s debut Scent of a Dream

5 PINE TREES So many of my favourite notes take me back to my childhood and growing up in the midst of magical Ibiza – from the sensual 60s-infused patchouli oil that we would buy from the hippy markets, to the bohemian smell of amber (friends of my parents would literally rub it straight on to their skin). I also love that really fresh, clean smell of pine trees; my parents’ house is surrounded by a grove of them.


© spline_x; gitusik; PIXATERRA; Andy Ilmberger - Fotolia. Unsplash/Michael Haslim

3 FRANKINCENSE My father Lance would always burn joss sticks at home; it’s a very spiritual scent that opens the mind, and has been used for centuries.

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the master of modern femininity VINTAGE TREASURES

A patchwork of

perfumes For Heathcote & Ivory, inspiration comes in the form of flowers, fabrics, fashion – and biscuit tins. Jo Fairley paid a visit to their Camden Town studio

When Lesley Aaronson’s daughter was at Leeds University, she’d occasionally remark that the only reason her mother went to visit her was to do a sweep of the city’s junk shops. ‘Of course it wasn’t the only reason,’ smiles Lesley, her blue eyes twinkling. ‘I love all my children dearly.’ (All four are now grown-up, in their twenties and thirties.) ‘But it’s true that I do happen to be incapable of walking past a junk or secondhand shop without dipping in,’ adds the Creative Director of Heathcote & Ivory – a rising star fragrance and body/bath treats name, whose signature, increasingly, is partnering with fabric and textiles names to express their aesthetic in scents and on their packaging. Take Cath Kidston, whose distinctive florabundant prints are splashed over everything from Meadow Posy Lip Butter to Blossom Birds hand creams. Or Kaffe Fassett, embroiderer/ mosaicist/knitter extraordinaire, whose solo show at the V&A was a first for a living textiles designer. After Lesley spotted his tall, striking, brightly-clad figure in her friend’s florist, Achillea (in West Hampstead), an introduction was made – and Heathcote & Ivory went on to reincarnate Kaffe’s textiles on rainbow-bright packaging for two fragranced collections, the flower-powered Achillea and needlepoint-inspired On Point. Achillea’s packaging

then went on to scoop Best New Design & Packaging in the Pure Beauty Awards 2015. The William Morris designs on H&I’s Morris & Co. collection, meanwhile, have made that range into a global bestseller. ‘Although of course, Morris was much more than a fabric designer; he was an artist, creator of stained glass, a printer, novelist and social activist,’ acknowledges Lesley. Most recently, there was a partnership with Sanderson, The Archive Collection, which plundered the British textile name’s archive for designs to rework in new colourways for a limited edition range. ‘So yes,’ says this quietly dynamic woman, who graduated from The Courtauld Institute in Fine Art, before having her family, Lesley ‘there’s definitely a fabric thread – Aaaronson if you’ll excuse the pun – running through everything we do.’ In all, there are almost two dozen collections under the Heathcote & Ivory umbrella – including a quartet of floral fragrances: Sweet Pea & Honeysuckle, Blush Rose, Lavender Fields and Lily of the Valley, offering top-to-toe layering possibilities alongside the eaux de toilette. And each new H&I launch has its genesis in Lesley’s imagination – and her magpie nature. Maybe a snippet of fabric here. A vintage biscuit tin there. A catwalk design (the iris print of an Erdem frock was

I do happen to be incapable of walking past a junk or secondhand shop without dipping in

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Lesley’s splash moodboards are an invaluable element of her brief to perfumers The

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Packaging inspirations include vintage textiles, patchwork quilts, old book covers and treasured jugs, from junk shop forays

the trigger-point for one of the fragrances). And for the Vintage & Co range, Lesley explains – one of Heathcote & Ivory’s own collections, launched in 2015, which includes Fabrics & Flower, Patterns & Petals and Braids & Blooms – it was being given a Persephone book, by a friend, which kickstarted the concept. ‘I fell in love with the book’s fabric-print endpapers and bookmark,’ she recalls. (They’re a signature of the Holborn-based publishing house, with each title having a different vintage fabric or wallpaper reproduced inside the covers.) ‘It gave me an idea to bring together a patchwork of fabric and vintage inspirations, and use those as the springboard for a collection of fragrances.’ There are ‘two-and-a-half’ graphic designers on the 25-strong in-house Heathcote & Ivory team, she continues, who translate the inspirations into packaging. Lesley’s always loved the idea of make-do-and-mend. And that inability to walk past a secondhand shop was evident impressively early on in life. ‘I bought my first 1930s Carlton Ware jug, aged eight,’ she admits. Since then, there have been many additions to her collections – even if they do sometimes have to be snuck into the home she shares with the CEO of Heathcote & Ivory, her husband Dennis Aaronson, under cover of darkness. Take the 20ft patchwork she proudly unfolds before me, its squares of tartan juxtaposed with Sixties florals. ‘I bought that years ago for a song off a dealer in Golborne Road who didn’t want to sell it to me because he said he slept under it in his van,’ she recollects. ‘It was so grubby I couldn’t even see the colours before it went through the wash a few times.’ The spirit of that patchwork, though, brightly shines

through Vintage & Co’s Fabric & Flowers packaging. And as she unfolds a length of Sanderson floral chintz which has been painstakingly quilted with machine-stitched squiggles, I suddenly have a flash of realisation: as a longstanding collector of vintage Sanderson textiles myself, the chances are that Lesley Aaronson and I have for years unknowingly been bidding against each other online for treasures. ‘I do spend an awful lot of time on eBay,’ she admits. (So we agree to communicate in future when our heart’s set on a particular new acquisition – rather than accidentally nudge the price ever higher and higher by competing against each other!) Other design ideas might be sparked by vintage teacups, or old vases, and – most definitely – beautiful vintage book covers. But how, I wonder, are these visual inspirations translated into fragrance…? ‘First,’ explains Lesley, ‘I file dozens of different images in groups, on my iPad – rather like a Pinterest board, but for my own consumption. For Braids & Blooms, for instance, there were photos of Japanese paper, printed with fan designs. And irises – from that Erdem dress. The braid element came from French grosgrain ribbon, the sort of thing you might find in an old haberdasher’s shop.’ Everything has a colour theme – ‘because fragrances always have a colour, in my mind,’ she insists. From the iPad, Lesley then prints her filed images and edits them down to assemble a montage, as a moodboard. Once Dennis has green-lighted the concept – Lesley has to pitch, like any designer to a client (and far from every idea gets the AOK) – then well-known fragrance houses will be contacted and handed that moodboard, to kickstart the olfactive process. (H&I work with all the leading names in the perfume world in

There’s definitely a patchwork thread running through everything we do

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the UK and France, including naturals specialists Robertet, Drôme, and the UK’s own Hertfordshire-based CPL Aromas – though she’s secretive about who’s created what.) ‘The boards are incredibly important,’ maintains Lesley. ‘I went to a lecture with Chandler Burr [American journalist and former scent critic], who talked about the fact we need a language for fragrance, because none exists. Well, until that day comes, when describing scent you have to use associations – “I want it to be full of light, seaside-y, or with the feeling of a spring day” – or, as I do, give a perfumer a very clear visual picture of what you have in mind.’ The boards are accompanied by a sentence or two from Lesley. Here’s what she came up to brief Braids & Blooms, for instance: ‘Inspired by the art and delight of dressing up for a special occasion… The sound of heels across a tiled floor. The scent of perfume. The gimpse of a feather upon a hat, and a fan held tightly, ready for the night to unfurl.’ A winning submission – out of several who put forward their olfactory translations of Lesley’s vision – will then toand-fro many times, being tweaked until she and Dennis feel it’s perfect. The chosen Braids & Blooms fragrance, for instance, weaves together notes of fresh hay, jasmine, lily and violet with a twist of juicy grapes and warm cedar, underpinned by sandalwood and frankincense. Today, it can now be enjoyed in fragrant/layering options spanning hand cream to beautiful ‘soap flowers’ – and scented drawer liners, which are definitely a world away from anything your great-auntie might have had, splashily printed in bold colours. Rather like a moodboard in themselves, in fact, they’re adorned with irises, braids and Japanese fabrics in a crisp, modern geometric pattern. Fabrics & Flowers, meanwhile, mirrors its vintage fabricstyle livery with an energetic scented patchwork of orange blossom, white floral gardenia and jasmine, sweet birch,

cyclamen, rose and lilac, sweetened by peach, amber and vanilla. And for the last of the trio, Patterns & Petals? Lesley explains the design was first made by placing Victorian flowers and watercolours alongside hand-blocked fabrics evocative of old ticking, playing with the scale of each. To echo that, in fragrance form, fresh bergamot and pink pepper, narcissus, rose and jasmine were layered over tonka and vanilla, aromatic cedarwood and wisps of vetiver – rather in the same way those graphic and floral elements were built up and pinned onto the moodboard. And just as those bright and beautiful fragrant sheets aren’t your great-aunt’s scented drawer liners, Vintage & Co’s fragrances aren’t your granny’s scents, that’s for sure. ‘I’m not interested in creating a pastiche – something that is just old-fashioned and nostalgic,’ is Lesley’s conclusion. ‘Everything we offer has to be relevant to the lives we live today, to feel contemporary and fresh, rather than belonging in a museum.’ Perhaps unsurprisingly, since it taps into the almost epidemic love of vintage, taking the best of the past, juxtaposing it with modern finds in our wardrobes and our homes, Vintage & Co is now enjoying wide success around the world. And Lesley couldn’t be more delighted. For while her daughter may long since have graduated from Leeds, there are fresh hunting grounds to explore, on her travels at home and abroad. ‘This gives me just the best excuse to nip into an antique market, or while away an hour or two on eBay, putting together ideas which may one day come to life as fragrances.’ She pauses, for just a wistful moment. ‘There’s part of me that longs to be a minimalist,’ Lesley admits. ‘But it’s never going to happen…’ And on behalf of fellow magpies everywhere, I say: thank heavens for that.

Vintage & Co – for you… We have five sets of fab Vintage & Co Braids & Blooms to give away, featuring the Lip Butter, Mini Hand Cream Trio, Hand Cream in a Tin, Soap Flowers and Scented Drawer Liners. Visit and put ‘Braids & Blooms’ in the SEARCH box, to enter.


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#ShareMyStash Get set to be blown away by our most impressive ‘stash’ yet – as Suzy Nightingale was when she visited the offices of Chris Yu, who’s gone from small-town boy in New Zealand to MD of a prestigious fragrance distribution and development empire. Photos: DYLAN THOMAS

Chris Yu believes in ‘the fragrance Gods’ – and as you’re about to find out, it isn’t really surprising. His extraordinary collection began as a teenager, on the other side of the world. ‘My best friend in New Zealand was a girl called Charlotte, who worked at Kirkcaldie & Stains, a wonderful old department store in Wellington which had been going since 1863. It was one of those places that was kind of fuddy-duddy but completely charming, and for some reason had the most amazing fragrance counter,’ explains Chris, sitting today with his beloved Border Terrier (named Otto, after Fornasetti’s iconic fragranced candle) curled at his feet, in front of metal shelves groaning with hundreds of bottles of perfume artfully crammed together. Chris’s eyes light up as he recalls the brands the Wellington department store stocked. ‘I remember it so clearly. Among the Calvin Kleins and Hugo Bosses and so on, they also had Annick Goutal, Serge Lutens, Comptoir Sud Pacifique… And as a 16-year-old boy, coming from a farming community to visit my friend, it blew my mind.’ Charlotte was the daughter of diplomats, working at the fragrance counter in the summer holidays as she spoke fluent French – ‘and was terribly glamorous, so of course I was instantly drawn to her’. One day she offered to buy Chris the perfume of his 32 The scented Letter

The Astier de Villatte shelf

choice. He describes hesitating over Goutal’s iconic Eau d’Hadrien, before eventually plumping for Eau du Sud – to the immense approval of Charlotte. ‘She said to me, “You’ve chosen one that’s not everybody’s favourite, but I

Sometimes the journey and that anticipation is worth as much as the fragrance itself

believe it’s the best one.” And that sparked something within me: this interest in fragrances that weren’t mainstream, not being drawn to the obvious bestseller but something on the sidelines.’ For Chris, there was no looking back. Before he knew it, his parents were giving him birthday money to choose his own fragrance, ‘because they kept getting me the wrong stuff.’ Calculating the time difference from New Zealand to the UK, he even stayed up one night until 11pm to phone Liberty in London – ‘because there was no internet back then to place an order.’ The perfume he chose? Acqua di Parma’s original Cologne. ‘It took around eight or nine weeks to ship to NZ, and oh, I can’t tell you the anticipation of waiting for that package to arrive. But,’ he muses, ‘sometimes the journey and that anticipation is worth as much as the fragrance itself.’ Chris describes how sweet the assistant had been on the phone to him – considering ‘they must have thought I was a complete weirdo, this teenage boy ringing from New Zealand’ – and his thrill of finally opening the parcel, to discover they’d filled it up with about 20 samples of other scents. One of them had spilled – but it provided his abiding olfactory memory of that experience. ’10 Corso Como – the original fragrance launched by the Milan department


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Chris Yu with dog Otto – named after a favourite Fornasetti candle

store – had oudh in it, way ahead of its time. I’d never smelled anything like it, and it filled the whole package. But although it was the stinkiest thing I’d ever smelled at that time, it stuck in my mind. Many years later I bought myself a bottle when I went to Milan.’ The fragrance Gods must truly have been looking down on him that day, he says, ‘to have had Annick Goutal, Acqua di Parma and Corso Como cross my nose at a young age…’ Both his parents were in retail, so Chris had grown up being aware of brands and products. ‘We sold camera equipment, and my father to this day still has a chain of shops selling martial arts equipment.’ The thrill of the retail experience – and the importance of customer satisfaction – were coursing through his veins, but in the end, it was the world of banking which lured him halfway around the world to make his home in London. Lucrative? Yes. 34 The scented Letter

If I buy a vintage bottle of something I’ll open it to smell it and wear it, rather than keep it in a sealed box

Satisfying? Hmmm. After a while, as Chris puts it, he felt ‘trapped in banking’ – until a serendipitous meeting with the man who is now his business partner plunged Chris headfirst into the world of scent, 17 years ago, enabling him to turn his lifelong love of fragrance into a business.

At that time, explains Chris, ‘I was using a computer system called Lexus Nexus – these were the days before Google – to research banking clients. And in my spare time I’d be typing in the names of perfume brands I’d read about in GQ. I thought, “if I could get paid for doing this – which I love – it’d be heaven!”’ Soon after, Chris was shopping in Liberty – the very same store which all those years ago had fulfilled his order for Acqua di Parma – when he struck up a conversation with a fellow customer, Laurent Delafon, who was also sniffing around the department store’s offering. Those ‘fragrance Gods’ were clearly feeling benevolent at that moment. For Chris and Laurent – the man who’s now his business partner, and at that time already working in fragrance distribution – struck up an immediate friendship. But it was a redundancy cheque from the bank which not long afterwards gave Chris the opportunity to take his love of fragrance further, investing with Laurent and spending the next eight years building the distribution business which looked after Diptyque – amassing, along the way, quite a few of the fragrances which form his ‘stash’. ‘Being made redundant was the best thing that ever happened to me. I honestly believe that.’ He describes that first fragrance world job, looking after Diptyque, as ‘a blessing. To this day I feel so honoured to have had it as my training ground; everything they do is so classy. It set me on a certain trajectory – when you work with a beautiful, niche, independent spirit, you get spoiled,’ he explains. After successful years distributing Diptyque, Chris and Laurent went on to found United Perfumes – a licensing, distribution and brand consulting company that now boasts Cire Trudon, Fornasetti, Tom Dixon and Maison Francis Kurkdjian among their star-spangled client list. All of which, of course, has provided the perfect excuse to build a worldclass collection of fragrances, which is now showcased all along one wall of his office on narrow metal shelves from Conran. ‘I have thought about adding a second bank of shelving,’ he smiles. ‘But I think that would be OTT!’ The collection spans decades, continents

CHRIS’S TOP 10 and different price-points. Many have been picked up on his global travels – he loves to buy a ‘flanker’ to an existing perfume love – and the bottles are in most cases extremely well-used. Antique markets, junk shops and occasional online eBay forays have helped build the collection – not to mention a globetrotting job. There’s one shelf dedicated to Chanel, another to Hermès, one for Bottega Veneta (‘highly underrated’, he says), with other shelves packed with discontinued treasures ranging from Marcel Rochas Moustache to a Karl Lagerfeld gem called, simply, Liquid Karl. Any perfume-lover could spend happy hours – if not days – here, unstoppering bottles for a sniffathon, as he encourages me to do. ‘I’m not at all precious about them,’ smiles Chris. ‘If I buy a bottle of something – even a vintage fragrance – I’ll open it to smell it and wear it, rather than keep it in a sealed box.’ Then, of course, there are the lab-labelled, hush-hush fragrances in development for brands like Cire Trudon or Fornasetti, through United Perfumes. As it happens, his teenage perfumista friend Charlotte now lives in London. She remains his best friend – ‘and I try all the perfumes that we create or distribute on her, as she started me on this journey.’ Chris also has a party trick, he smiles, ‘in which I say: “Are you wearing... X?” and people go, “oh my god, how did you KNOW?” And I explain that although I’m not a perfumer, I have picked up tricks of learning to file away and classify scents. I usually get it within one or two goes, and I love how it blows people’s minds, because everyone has an emotional response to perfume – even if they claim not to like anything. That’s the magical thing about fragrance that drives me.’ It’s quite the leap for that boy from a farming community who fell in love with unusual scents. ‘I know this isn’t an interview about careers advice,’ Chris concludes warmly, ‘but if I can offer your readers anything, I’d say: take that chance, follow those happenstance moments in life.’ And you just never know: maybe those fragrance Gods might smile upon you, too…

‘Ask me another day – or in another season – and my choices might be different,’ smiles Chris. ‘I try and re-try things all the time, constantly rediscovering old favourites. But these will always push my buttons…’ 1 Acqua di Parma (original Cologne) ‘It’s so classic - it’s not modern but it’s timeless; it will never go out of style.’

Françoise Caron has done recently for Astier de Villatte is in a similar vein. I love everything she does.’ Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique ‘I got this at Duty Free, though I seldom buy fragrances there. I took it on holiday and it always reminds me of a certain part of France full of pine trees – my fantasy of France where everyone wears stripey tops and carries baguettes.’ 7

Chanel Cuir de Russie ‘I never wear it unless it’s freezing cold, but I wear it in every format: vintage, new, absolutely everything and anything they make of this.’ 2

3 Dior Eau Savage ‘On my shelves I have seven empty bottles! People think of this as a citrus, but I consider it a floral because of the hedione in it, and it got me confident to start wearing other florals.’ 4 Diptyque Ôponé ‘I’m so glad they brought it back from extinction, because it made me realise I can love rose. It’s not just about grandma and dusty make-up smells; this is a modern rose – and I love the saffron, too. Just amazing.

Costume National Scent Intense ‘Hibiscus and tea, I think, but this is the one that taught me I could wear amber-y, dense, resinous smells. I was so scared of ambers, before.’ 5

Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte ‘I could bathe every day in this. The stuff that the perfumer 6

Comme des Garçons 2 ‘As with their original fragrance, I smell this on other people and never recognise it – a chameleon scent.’ 8

Ormonde Jayne Montabaco Intensivo ‘I tend to go for this one only when I know I’m going out and am likely to get into a lot of trouble – a night of free Champagne, a big party...’ 9

Issey Miyake Le Feu d’Issey ‘I’m including this purely because I’ve never understood it – everyone I know worships it, yet it completely intrigues and baffles me. It was the biggest flop when it came out; it’s an incredible bottle, but it smells of curdled milk to me. It reminds me that you can’t understand or like everything – and that’s OK.’ 10

7 6

1 2




9 5



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Designer Marc Jacobs celebrates 10 years of his modern classic with some special new editions – which fans of the fragrance (and the many collectors of the bottles) will be adding to their stash, observes Jo Fairley Type the hashtag #marcjacobsdaisy into your smartphone, and thousands upon thousands of Instagrams will come up. (Ditto, Pinterest posts.) And among them, you’ll find many photos posted by collectors of the myriad editions of Marc Jacobs’s fragrance. In some cases, the owners show off a dozen or more of their bottles – and every one, just pretty, pretty, pretty. Launched in 2007, Marc Jacobs Daisy has become one of the 21st Century’s blockbusters. Maybe it was initially targeted at a youthful audience, but Daisy has fans of every and any age; for our ‘How to Improve Your Sense of Smell’ workshops (also mentioned by Persolaise on p.20) attendees are asked to bring a favourite fragrance, and Daisy has popped up at almost every session in one edition or other. And at a time when fragrances can now blossom and fade within a single year, it is surely the dream of every brand to launch an enduring modern classic like this. As a Now Smell This online reviewer commented right when Daisy was launched: ‘I was taken by that bottle right off the bat. I was worried that it would be way less cute when I saw the plastic daisies in person. But nope. It is maybe even more cute in real life…’ And, she continues, ‘Daisy the fragrance is a pretty good match with Daisy the bottle. It is young and light and fresh, feminine but not sexy, easy to wear – and massively pleasant.’ I’ve a hunch that what Daisy taps into isn’t simply our love of wearable, sunny fragrances. It’s also our inner My Little Pony collector. Or the little girl (definitely still inside) who assembled entire villages of Sylvanian Families. Or – in my case – once owned an impressive line-up of rainbowtressed Trolls. With ever-lower boredom thresholds, what Marc Jacobs has twigged is that the Daisy can offer us something new, while remaining comfortingly familiar. Marc Jacobs graduated from the New York’s High School of Art & Design in 1981, going on to Parson’s School of Design. He was the youngest-ever fashion designer to be awarded the industry’s highest tribute: The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent (and not long after, the Women’s Designer of the Year, for his headline-grabbing ‘grunge collection’ in 1992). For 16 years, he juggled his own lines with the role of Creative Director of Louis Vuitton. Success followed success – in fragrance as well as fashion form. As he commented at the time of Daisy’s launch: ‘I don’t want to get too artsy about inspiration, but there is a sense memory, a reference, in fragrances. Daisies

don’t smell – but I wanted to evoke the feeling that you get when you see them: happy and youthful.’ Flirtily fruity-floral, weaving strawberry, violet leaves and jasmine with white woods, the original Daisy was followed by an eau de parfum in 2008. Daisy Eau So Fresh skipped onto the scene in 2011 (scooping a UK Fragrance Foundation People’s Choice Award) – and Daisy Dream (white daisies a-go-go garlanding a pale blue bottle) joined in 2014. Marc Jacobs told Cosmopolitan that its inspiration, ‘as with the original Daisy, goes back to my favourite literary character, Daisy Buchanan, from The Great Gatsby. She evokes a spirit of beauty, innocence and youth – but Daisy Dream adds a dose of sophistication to this. It’s like a more ethereal, more grown-up version of the original daisy.’ But it’s the limited edition ‘looks’ for these fragrances which get collectors excited. As blogger Anoushka Loves writes: ‘I started working for my airline in 2007 and one of my very first treats was a bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy. Since then, I’ve been on a collecting spree… There’s something about the underlying fragrance notes that grips my senses so much.’ We’ve had Daisy Fresh. Pretty pink Daisy Sorbet and Blush. Daisy in the Air (with its pink daisies), and Daisy in Bloom (green petals). The Daisy Shine trio, meanwhile, was glossy as a bunch of Jeff Koons balloon sculptures, while Daisy Kiss editions brought us raspberry ombré bottles… And so it goes on, limited edition after limited edition – each as tempting as candy in a sweetshop. As Marc Jacobs comments for the anniversary: ‘I think the continued success of Daisy is that we tapped into something that people feel a connection to and appreciate that spirit… The success is very much about being true to that original thought and identity. It hasn’t morphed or changed. Its more about expressing the continued… freshness, spirit and lightness and naivety of Daisy.’ Long may she blossom. And long may Daisy continue to crowd the shelves of her countless collectors. On 11th October 2017, Marc Jacobs launches two luxurious limited edition bottles adorned with sparkling crystals, designed in collaboration with Coty – from £55 for 50ml eau de parfum, with the Daisy Deluxe Anniversary Edition (exclusive to Harrods) priced £325 for 100ml eau de parfum

The glitziest Daisy yet, adorned with crystals and in a luxurious white presentation box (at Harrods)


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38 The scented Letter

a spritz of style

How do you bottle a legend? Chanel’s newest fragrance is named ‘Gabrielle’ in tribute to the designer who flouted convention both on the catwalk and off it. Jo Fairley explores Coco Chanel’s extroardinary life – and her fashion, fabric and fragrance legacy Main photo: HORST

Everyone needs heroes. Top of the my list has always been Gabrielle Chanel – better known as Coco, the stage name she assumed during a brief youthful interlude as a cabaret singer – a woman who declared: ‘I decided who I want to be, and that is who I am.’ This icon of self-invention parlayed design and artistic talent into a brand that is stronger today even than in her lifetime by rolling up the sleeves of her tweed jacket and getting the job done. She surrounded herself with fascinating figures from the worlds of art and music: Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Cocteau, Picasso, the illustrator Iribe. (Several of whom became her lovers.) She appeared not to give one jot for convention – promoting a suntanned look (previously considered declasseé because of its assocation with manual work), being a ‘career woman’ when marriage and babies were still thought of as a woman’s true destiny, creating clothes that literally set women free, liberating them from their restrictive corsets. She herself was fearless. Obstacles were nothing. And every woman can learn from that. The designs Chanel created, meanwhile, were almost entirely timeless: the tweed suits, the quilted handbags, the cardigans. Oh-so-fashionable – but somehow, also transcending fashion, often crafted from fabrics which (appropriately for this edition of The Scented Letter) were revolutionary in themselves. Jersey, for instance, which was only used at the time for men’s underwear. Or tweed, which you were definitely more likely to spot on the grouse moors of Scotland. ‘I make fashion women can live in, breathe in, feel comfortable in and look younger in,’ Chanel famously said. (For more on Chanel’s signature fabrics, see overleaf.) And (most importantly, for a perfumista like me), Chanel revolutionised the world of fragrance with her creation No.5: perhaps the first truly modern fragrance, powered out of the bottle on a rush of aldehydes and given a number, not a name. ‘Five’ was apparently the number of the sample shown to her by perfumer Ernest Beaux – and the name stuck, because as she declared: ‘I show my collections on the fifth of May, the fifth month of the year, so let’s leave the number it bears, and this number five will bring it good luck.’ And how. Today, of course, we live in a quite different world. Many of the freedoms widely denied women in Chanel’s time are now taken for granted (in the West, at least): we bicycle, we walk alone, we drive. We take lovers without fantasising of a ring on a finger or worrying what ‘society’ will think. We wear trousers (Chanel played a huge part in accelerating their popularity as a fashion item). We wear Little Black Dresses whenever we want to feel sexily elegant, celebration-ready (or in my case, just plain confident). We certainly have Chanel to thank for that – because until she came along, black was a colour reserved for times of mourning. Then in 1926, Vogue published a photo of Chanel’s innovation - a short, simple sleeveless and pin-tucked crêpe-de-Chine black dress - calling it ‘Chanel’s Ford’ (bringing fashion to the masses, as Ford had cars), and predicting it would become ‘a sort of uniform for all women of taste’. The Little Black Dress was born as a flattering fashion must-have that


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endures, more than 90 years on – the perfect ‘canvas’ for the accessories that Chanel liked to pile on (and oh, so do we!) On which note, we nowadays also mix fine jewellery with costume jewellery without a second thought. I never sling on a rope of pearls, real or otherwise, without a little silent nod to Chanel. It was she who surprised le tout Londres, while living here, by piling on jewels, during daytime, that no English lady would have dared to wear except with a ballgown – swag after swag of pearls cascading over a tweed waistcoat or a cashmere jumper. And – shock! – she not only mixed the real thing with fakes; Chanel thumbed her nose at the giants in jewellery by charging the same price – sometimes higher – for imitation gems as her rivals did for the real thing. A woman of many facets – and many talents, including knowing which way the winds were blowing, both stylistically and politically – Chanel was also a woman of many names. And these, of course, have famously been shared with us in fragrance form. There is Coco – the name only her closest friends dared to use, a fragrance as complex as the woman herself, with its perfectly-poised balance of spices, amber and exotic

1928 - Mademoiselle Chanel wearing a jersey suit in Biarritz; 1937 - Gabrielle Chanel in front of the Coromandel screens in her apartment at 31 rue Cambon, Paris

The name she was given at birth – and known by in the Carmelite convent of Aubazine where she was raised by nuns. An ode, as the Chanel brand put it, ‘to the Chanel woman, to its creator, and through her, to all women, of all ages and all walks of life.’ Chanel’s own life – at work and at play – was so very much more colourful than the muted black, white and beige

I make fashion women can live in, breathe in, feel comfortable in and look younger in Gabrielle Chanel

florals. And there is ‘Mademoiselle’ – the name she was known by to her head seamstress and the staff at her famous boutique on the Rue Cambon; Coco Mademoiselle has gone on to become a global blockbuster, regularly the No.1 selling fragrance in countries around the world. So it seems appropriate that at a time when we are encouraged to be truly authentic – expressing ourselves openly, with no masks, no role-playing, no facades – that Chanel’s newest, just-launched fragrance celebrates exactly that via its name: Gabrielle. 40 The scented Letter

palette she’s known for. I have, I think, read every word ever published about her. I’ve lusted after Chanel clothes, saved up for her handbags and swathed myself on countless occasions in many of the different scents which carry her name/s and render her immortal. And to the woman who’s perhaps had more influence on what we wear – on our bodies, not to mention splashed onto our pulsepoints – than any other designer in history, I have just one thing to say: ‘I salute you, Gabrielle Chanel.’ Long may the legend endure.

Chanel and jersey In 1913, long before Lycra, Chanel freed women from restrictively tight clothing, corsetry and rustling petticoats, inviting them to let their bodies m-o-v-e. Eyebrow-raisingly, she dared to take tricot - soft and fluid, but till then only used for underwear - and reinvent it in a brand new concept: ‘sportswear’ (initially in smock-like designs inspired by clothing worn by Normandy fishermen), for the outdoorsy life she loved. Next, Chanel adopted ‘jersey’: a brand new, drapeable innovation from textile house Rodier. And from then on, cardigans, sweaters and soft sailor tops always featured in Chanel’s collections, updated season after season (nowadays, of course, by Karl Lagerfeld). E-a-s-y dressing for e-a-s-y living that we completely take for granted, today.

Chanel and tweed During her love affair with Bend’or, the second Duke of Westminster, Chanel adopted a very British style. (Photos exist of her enjoying a very hunting-shooting-fishing lifestyle in the countryside – a world away from the glamour of Paris.) As legend has it, according to Chanel biographer Edmonde Charles-Roux, while salmon fishing with his Grace, Chanel and a fellow guest – Vera Bate, an Englishwoman

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Gabrielle, bottled

Previous page: © Horst (courtesy of Chanel). Above l-r: © Lipnitzki / Roger-Viollet; TopFoto / Roger-Viollet; CHANEL / All rights reserved; Dalmas / SIPA. Right: © CHANEL

Marie-Hélène Arnaud wearing a tweed suit from the 1959 Fall / Winter Haute Couture Collection; Romy Schneider posing in a tweed suit, two-tone shoes and the classic 2.55 bag in Paris in 1962

– borrowed their host’s clothing: jackets, sweaters, trousers and even shoes. It proved to be Chanel’s introduction to Scottish tweeds. In 1924, Chanel recruited a factory in Scotland to produce tweed fabrics that she used in everything from sportswear to coats, in colours inspired by the Scottish countryside. (Word is that she would bring leaves and even handfuls of earth to show her manufacturers.) Chanel suits have been favoured by stylish women ever since – from Audrey Hepburn to Grace Kelly and actress Romy Schneider (above), through to Dame Anna Wintour today. Tweed remains a strong element in Chanel’s identity, the classic Chanel tweed suit once again constantly reinvented through the genius of Karl Lagerfeld. As the house of Chanel explains: ‘The tweed is made by weaving the warp and weft, using a variety of different kinds of threads which creates a unique and somewhat irregular appearance. The warp – vertically strung – is the background of the fabric, the base that will support the assembly of materials. There can be up to 12 different threads used for a single warp. The weft – woven horizontally – gives the fabric its unique character and can have an unlimited number of threads. Right, perforated, textured, thick,

with a relief, plaited, random, twill… the potential number of effects is endless.’

Chanel and quilting One of Chanel’s early lovers was Étienne Balsan, the heir to a large French textile fortune, who introduced her to a lavish lifestyle when she became his mistress and moved into his chateau, Royallieu. After Balsan taught her how to ride horses, she became very keen on riding and racing. Seeking more practical clothes for sitting astride a horse, Chanel noticed that the stable lads wore quilted jackets – and this is said to have been the inspiration for her quilted leather goods, most notably the 2.55 handbag (surely the most lusted-after handbag in the world). Chanel’s handbag designs were actually born of out sheer practicality (as with so many of her innovations): ‘I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them, so I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder,’ Chanel is reported as saying in Justine Picardie’s superbly readable biography Coco Chanel.

To capture the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel, Olivier Polge put a ‘dream flower’ at the heart of what is the first major new fragrance from Chanel in a decade and a half. Taking ylang ylang, orange blossom, jasmine and a flourish of tuberose (grown specially for Chanel in Grasse), he then played with the molecular structure of these flowers, ramping up the intensity of jasmine and enhancing the velvetiness of the ylang ylang via the use of musk. Tuberose’s creaminess was teased out via milky sandalwood, while zesty mandarin peel, grapefruit (and a hint of blackcurrant) add freshness to the orange blossom. The bottle, meanwhile, is truly revolutionary, in what appears to be the thinnest of glass – with a matte lamé cap that isn’t quite gold, isn’t quite silver, and is directly inspired by haute couture fabrics preserved in Chanel’s Heritage Department. Gabrielle Chanel herself would surely approve. Gabrielle Chanel/from £79 for 50ml eau de parfum


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first whiffs

latest launches For our biggest-ever issue, the biggest-ever line-up of new fragrances from wellknown and independent perfume houses. Read on – and your finger will truly be on the pulse-point of autumn’s unveilings



This exciting new box brings to life the theme of this issue with a stunning line-up of fragrances that we’re delighted to say includes several of the Latest Launches you’ll read about in this section of the magazine. Alongside the Molton Brown treats (below) you’ll also find a full-size Percy & Reed A Walk in the Rain Hair Mist worth £15 alone (launching October). The box is £12.50 to VIPs/£17.50 to non-VIPs at perfumesociety. org/SHOP – and includes these delights (and more): ● ESTÉE LAUDER Modern Muse (miniature) ● BY TERRY Délectation Splendide ● AERIN Evening Rose ● ELIE SAAB Girl of Now ● JASPER CONRAN Nightshade ● MOLTON BROWN Russian Leather Shower Gel (30ml) – plus Scented Tattoos









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44 The






As scentophiles know, fragrances fall into different ‘families’. So we’ve used the same classification system for launches as on our website. Just look for the coloured strip above the name of the perfume, which is your visual clue to the families. These are listed below. Most of us are drawn to a specific family/families: once you know which you fall into, that colour can act as a cue – and help you take a short-cut to the ones you may want to try first.









My Own Private Teahupo’o

Inspired by a surfing village in Tahiti renowned for its perfect swell, A Lab On Fire’s latest scent is an homage to this ultimate surfer’s South Seas paradise. Sea salt and ozonic notes collide to form crashing waves, with a heart sweetened by glorious blossoms of frangipani. As we head towards autumn, its salty-vanilla base has us thinking wistfully of summer days with infinite shorelines and distant horizons. Surf’s up. £98 for 60ml eau de parfum



Tubereuse Le Soir

Figment Woman

Aerin Lauder captures the multifaceted mystery of tuberose in a pair of new perfumes – Tubereuse du Jour (revealing a ‘dew-drenched’, sunrise impression of the flower), and this altogether richer, romantic offering. Le Soir blends tuberose absolute with a note of ‘Tuberose Dusk NaturePrint’, to evoke the velvety luxury of this exotic bloom via layers of ylang ylang, amber, sandalwood, coconut and vanilla, delivering a delectable warmth that endures long after sundown. From £145 for 50ml parfum spray

A study in contrasts, the warm tickle of Sichaun pepper and saffron lead to a lusciously waxy gardenia, cool, clear droplets of tuberose and creamy mounds of jasmine petals. Inspired by ‘the poetic beauty of a floral embroidery’, Amouage are never ones to shy away from opulence – so here we find orange blossom, Lisylang (a fractionated distillation of ylang ylang by Robertet) and cassia, woven through with patchouli, incense, orris and papyrus. Grandly gorgeous. £245 for 100ml eau de parfum




Savage Rose

An intriguing combination of bright bergamot, juicy blackcurrant and spicy cinnamon emerges in Amouroud’s latest invention, Bois d’Orient. Rich, heady flowers entwine – tuberose, Turkish rose absolute and ylang ylang, over deep green galbanum. It’s not until later on when the base sets in that it unfolds chocolate swirls of patchouli dancing amongst vetiver and heavy oudh – this perfume house’s signature note. Opulent, sumptuous and quite simply, unforgettable. £166 for 100ml eau de parfum

Wanting to recreate aromas that moved him at certain times in his life, Mr. Schlesser whisks us to the Gardens of the Alcázar in the Alhambra with this creation. Awash with freshness, it welcomes us with the effervescent spirit of bergamot, citrus and tangerine. Calone – famously crisp and clear – adds a shoreline breeze, before a delicate heart of white flowers bursts open at the heart. Fresh, long-lasting and definitely one that could be shared. £75 for 150ml eau de Cologne

Continuing the story of the duality that defines her cult-status clothing range (think leather biker jackets worn with delicate lace dresses), designer Anine Bing weaves the fruity romance of Bulgarian rose with luminous white rose, studded throughout with black pepper and a lingering, skin-soft musk. Wearing this feels like waltzing barefoot in a gauzy gown through a forgotten, overgrown rose garden at dawn, cool grass sprinkled with dewdrops, laughing uproariously. £55 for 15ml perfume oil At Harvey Nichols

Bois D’Orient



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Nuit et Confidences



Anna Sui’s latest creation is an insanely joyful offering. Pink pomelo and pink pepper sparkle together in a sweet and spicy swirl, while a deliciously gourmand note of raspberry praline sneaks in playfully. It’s young and sweet and somewhat magical – and if that wasn’t enough, it’s encased in a gold unicorn bottle that is the stuff girls’ dressing table dreams are made of. Fantastical romance and enchantment, bottled with the designer’s signature style. £33 for 30ml eau de toilette

Annick Goutal’s Tenue de Soirée had its feather pompom – now the second in the Ouiseaux de Nuit (‘birds of the night’) collection offers us an inky black silky fabric version, adorning the Art Deco bottle. Inside? This seriously carnal Oriental dazzles with bergamot and pepper, bewitching the wearer with a look-at-me (and come-smellme) fusion of frankincense, tonka bean, vanilla and white musks. A fabuleux collaboration between Camille Goutal and Mathieu Nardin. £85 for 50ml eau de parfum

Dedicated to the city of London, a mélange of fragrant inspirations is woven through this wonderfully complex yet beautifully harmonised perfume. An incense-laden breeze snakes through peach-y osmanthus petals, while supple leather hugs a vibrant May rose absolute, before the smooth oudh base is softened by vanilla. Sniff it out at Harrods Salon de Parfums – but (see price-tag), this may be one to save up or ask Santa for. If you’ve been very good... £550 for 250ml eau de parfum



Cuir Majesté


Eau de Parfum


Grands Crus Violette

Take off your heels. Run, don’t walk to get your hands (or rather, wrists) on one of just 2,000 numbered, engraved bottles from the leading name in aromatherapy. A seamless yet truly complex composition by Aromatherapy Associates founder, the late Geraldine Howard, it blends 28 pure essential oils including bergamot, Turkish rose and sandalwood, around a spine of French cassis. Her vision? A piano concerto, filling a Monet garden with beautiful music. £64 for 45ml eau de parfum

We’re always enchanted at Bella Freud’s press launches, as the designer bares her soul about the inspirations for each new scent. (It’s probably in the DNA.) Bella’s own, corduroy-clad therapist was essentially the ‘muse’ for this, she tells us: a fresh-yet-warm, nuanced blend of neroli, petitgrain and tobacco flower, taking its time to reveal cedarwood, dry amber, musk and resins. We’d happily spend time on the couch – or pretty much anywhere else – with this. £165 for 100ml eau de parfum

Housed in a drop-dead gorgeous ceramic vintage-style ‘puffer’ bottle, get ready to avert thine eyes from the flacon and concentrate on being softly cocooned. No shrinking violet, its powderiness is cut through with citrus zest to become almost fizzy and sherbet-like. Swirled throughout with suede-like iris, warmed by a base of ultra-smooth patchouli and vetiver, this is a scent to most definitely to be admired on your dressing table – and cherished on your skin… £110 for 100ml eau de parfum

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Eau de Velours

Iris & Wild Cassis

Amplifying notes of the original, Boss The Scent now comes in two intense versions – For Her (seen here), and a masculine incarnation. This feminine option is categorised as a ‘fresh’ eau de parfum – with elements of animalic osmanthus, white freesias and honeyed peach (echoed in the delectably tinted juice), warming on the skin to reveal roasted dark cocoa, laced with vanilla. Hovering between floral fruitiness and gourmand deliciousness, it’s moreish, either way. £69 for ml 50 ml EDP intense

Sure-footed as ever, the Italian luxury leather name introduce a sublime floral-leather-Chypre, from Michel Almairac and Mylène Alran in collaboration with Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier. They placed rose at the heart of the brilliantlywoven fragrance, with that flower echoed in the deep burgundy/plum bottle and its velvet ribbon. The dark rose petals within gently unfurl alongside pink peppercorn, bergamot, leather and patchouli. From £56 for 30ml eau de velours

This is classically powdery flowers wrapped up in a juicy plum with rich cassis undercurrents. Pink pepper and star anise add some intriguing softly spicy aromas to the sweet floral heart of tuberose and iris. You’ll find a woody base of earthy patchouli, amber, cedar nestling on your skin hours later, with just a hint of dark chocolate peeking through. Housed in a bottle with beautiful botanical illustrations by Helen Campbell, it’s also brilliantly affordable. £14.50 for 50ml eau de toilette

The Scent Intense





Goldea The Roman Night

Délectation Splendide

Velvet Haze

‘I was captivated by the idea of a mysterious goddess of the night, in the eternal city of Rome,’ explains Alberto Morillas about the inspiration for this latest in Goldea’s glimmering portfolio. This time, he ‘reinvents’ the Chypre, evoking a star-studded night sky via jasmine and tuberose, with an unusual mulberry note in the top. Black musk, patchouli heart and vetiver feature alongside the classic Chypre signature notes: rose, oakmoss and bergamot. A jewel of the night. From £45 for 30ml eau de parfum

Strictly categorised as an ‘OrientalChypre-gourmand’, this swirls with exotic spices including ginger and cinnamon, with tobacco drifting through Moroccan rose, beckoning you towards depths purring with benzoin, vanilla and patchouli. It’s inspired, so Terry de Gunzburg tells us, ‘by royalty, opulence and complete indulgence’. (For a sneak preview sniff of its gloriousness, we’re thrilled you can find it in our Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance Discovery Box.) £175 for 100ml eau de parfum

A transcendental state of bliss definitely awaits you here, with an unexpected glug of clear coconut water infused with ambrette seeds that melds to a dry crackle of patchouli leaves, almost tobacco-like in their arid richness. Later, a veritable fragrant festival of cocoa absolue becomes entangled with cotton and wild musks on the skin, embracing you in warmth. Velvety? Most certainly, and we long to sink into it, dazedly happy. £142 for 100ml eau de parfum


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Obsessed for Women

Herrera Confidential Gold Incense

Oud Vibration

Calvin Klein always liked to blur gender boundaries (notably with ckone) – and now Obsessed for Women hijacks the masculine fougère category, in 2017’s reverential nod to the iconic Obsession (which starred a fresh-faced Kate Moss in its daring campaign). This is altogether breezier, while being sensually wrapped in the warmth of musks – like a cashmere wrap over bare shoulders. (Do also sniff out the men’s Obsessed, with its masculine edge of woods and amber.) £50 for 50ml eau de parfum

Incense is a cornerstone of Middle Eastern perfumery – widely burned in the home down the centuries, a mystical link to the past. Carolina Herrera puts a modern spin on its divine mystery, with Atlas cedarwood, marigold and vanilla caviar notes swirled through with wonderfully smoky, resinous Boswellia sacra incense (a.k.a. frankincense). Exclusive to Harrods, both the box and the bottle whisper 22-carat luxury in this modern ode to Arabian perfumery. £215 for 100ml eau de parfum At Harrods

At last, an oudh from Paris motherand-daughter perfume house Dear Rose and their favoured perfumer, Fabric Pellegrin – and a beauty, at that. Luscious raspberry and spicy cardamom hint at the intrigue of Bulgarian rose, clove and geranium at the heart. But – unsurprisingly –the base is where this fragrance truly announces its presence: a rich oudh accord, further intensified by resinous cistus labdanum in a woodsily harmonious finale. £205 for 100ml eau de parfum At Harrods




Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

Women Fall

Eau de Toilette The One

Marking 50 years since the launch of the original Miss Dior, François Demachy’s brief was to create a new version of the fragrance that ‘smells like love’ – but for the contemporary woman. Elegant yet modern, this eau de parfum bursts with a floral bouquet of honeyed Grasse rose and Turkish Damascus rose, blood orange, Calabrian bergamot, mandarin, pink pepper and rosewood. (Not to be confused 1956’s Miss Dior Originale, by the way, which still endures.) From £52 for 30ml eau de parfum

DKNY collectors (we know there are legions of you), get set for autumn 2017’s limited edition. With the signature towering flacon splashed with pink, be captivated by the fragrance within, evoking the energy of Manhattan. Freesia, a breeze of green notes, bergamot and violet sparkle alongside a modern rose, jasmine and patchouli, while white amber, tonka, sandalwood, Cashmeran and musk party till dawn – perfect echoes of a city that never sleeps. £45 for 100ml eau de toilette

Perfumer Michel Girard here brightens and lightens D&G’s so-successful The One (originally created by Christine Nagel), retaining the key note of Madonna lily at the heart but encircling it with mandarin essence, Italian bergamot, lychee and juicy white peach. A bespoke note of ylang Moheli – specially distilled to reveal its lily facets – sits beside honeyed broom and orange blossom absolutes, drying down to vetiver, musk and vanilla for an unforgettable sillage. From £53 for 30ml eau de toilette

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Girl of Now

Trained by the legendary Pierre Bourdon, talented nose Julien Rasquinet has crafted five new fragrances exclusive to Harrods, embodying Elegantes’ founding motto: ‘Elegant people of our time are honourable people who pass on their values to others.’ Cashmere by name and nature, delicate rose is tickled with saffron and apple then swathed in sandalwood and fluffy musk. Extravagant – but the crystal flacons transform into candlesticks after use. £750 for 50ml eau de parfum At Harrods Salon de Parfums

Flirtily fabulous, this solar floral is a masterwork by Sophie Labbé and Dominique Ropion. Shot through with notes of roasted pistachio, sparkling pear and mandarin, it feels filled with shafts of light (as we’ve rather come to expect from Mr. Saab). Warmed by the skin, the bouquet of magnolia makes itself known, alongside almond and orange flower absolute (the designer’s favourite bloom). Moreish almond milk, tonka beans and Cashmeran make resistance futile, frankly. From £38 for 30ml eau de parfum

It’s not every day you come across a sexy, smouldering, lavender scent for women – but that’s exactly how we’d categorise Nirvana French Grey, created by Olsen twins Mary-Kate and Ashley. Elements of fresh breezes waft through that lavender, but it’s married with a sexy, slightly dirty, skin-scent musk that nestles into the skin like it was always there. Pair that with some honeyed, sun-kissed neroli and you’ve got yourself one sultry scent. £69 for 50ml eau de parfum




Midnight Special

One Umbrella For Two

Perfumer Olivier Pescheux reinterprets the Mukhalat (a traditional MiddleEastern blend of fragrant oils) with a decidedly Parisian twist, via an intriguing ‘rose jelly accord’ in the heart. Bookended by darkly glamorous black pepper, cinnamon and saffron glowing in the top, and a simmering, rounded base of agarwood, patchouli and vanilla, it’s a glimmering gown that shimmers and sashays with mischievous glamour, black sequins capturing candlelight. £270 for 50ml eau de parfum At Harrods

True poetry in perfume. Founded by Clara Molloy, best known for MEMO Paris, this range – with accompanying haiku poems – is a world exclusive to Harrods Salon de Parfums, where visitors can indulge their senses in a traditional tea ceremony while discovering each scent. Enriching the genmaicha tea note with a sumptuous blackcurrant absolute and the comforting clarity of cedar oil, the ‘bento box’ presentation includes a 10ml travel spray to swoon for. £250 for 50ml + 10ml eau de parfum At Harrods Salon de Parfums

Nirvana French Grey

Pomegranate Rose

We can’t think of a better way to brighten a gloomy morning than a spritz of Lyn Harris’s stunningly zesty creation for the celebrated (and so-hip-again) Piccadilly store. Its cocktail of bitter orange, grapefruit and deliciously tart red pomegranate is balanced by tomato leaf and basil mint extracts, with rose absolute unfurling to a base of white cedar, incense and honeydew. Just as delightfully fresh and modern as the emporium itself now feels. £95 for 100ml eau de parfum


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Akin to the shimmering reflections of waves, Dream encapsulates the delicacy of florals with the transparency of water. Rose, heliotrope, orange flower and jasmine all twirl around an aquaflora note, a touch of musk and Ambroxan added in the base for a lasting sweet skinscent. The result: an ethereal, otherworldly marine-floral, as floaty as Ghost’s famous dresses. This is what we imagine only the loveliest of mermaids must smell like. £27 for 30ml eau de parfum

Impish and joyful, Hermès’s latest scent shines with youthful playfulness. Sophisticated and striking, it starts with a zesty ginger that maintains a freshness throughout. Then, sunkissed tuberose – sweet, sexy, creamy – blends effortlessly with the silkiness of sandalwood in the base. So pretty you’ll want it centre-stage on your perfume shelf, it’s accessorised with a tiny hand-tied silky bow, offering a flash of colour. All the chic of an Hermès scarf, bottled. £47 for 30ml eau de parfum







Coming from a man so famed for causing a stir in the fashion world, the name of JPG’s newest scent is really no shock at all. Scandal is an extraordinary gourmand that sets out to tease and tantalise the senses – exotic gardenia contrasting with sparkling blood orange, chocolate-y patchouli laced with a sensual honey. All of this housed in the wittiest of bottles that invites you – quite literally – to kick up your heels. £44.50 for 30ml eau de parfum


English Oak & Hazelnut

English Oak & Redcurrant

Viva La Juicy Glacé

So-talented Yann Vasnier continues his perfumed adventures with JML via two new fragrances (and an accompanying candle), all based around English oak – here, with a green, almost crunchy hazelnut element, beside flourishes of elemi resin, cedarwood and an intriguingly roasted oak. This is a scent experience as grounding as a walk in the woods – yet as playful as skipping through piles of autumn leaves in your wellies, as you wander. An instant classic, we’re betting. From £44 for 30ml Cologne

To immerse himself in the moodiness of British woodlands – an important element of the inspiration for this new Jo Malone London duo – Yann and JML’s Céline Roux literally got (temporarily and accidentally) lost in Sherwood Forest. Mesmerised by its ancient magic, Yann came up with this, evoking the freshness of a forest at dawn, juicy with redcurrant and zesty with green mandarin, rose and white musk softening the heart, and roasted oak adding texture and warmth. From £44 for 30ml Cologne

In a flacon frosted with ‘ice’ comes a cooler-than-ever version of Viva La Juicy, to which perfumer Honorine Blanc has added crisp ingredients – frozen Italian mandarin, cassis leaves and pear sorbet – to contrast with the sensuality of orange blossom, jasmine sambac and Grasse rose. Ultimately, it melts into warm vanilla and milky sandalwood, but Honorine suggests: ‘Put it on ice – the change in temperature transforms the scent and feel of the fragrance.’ From £39 for 30ml eau de parfum

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Sunny Side Up

Arsenic Osman

Eau So Decadent

Sparkling jasmine bursts like a suppressed giggle, followed swiftly by a snuggle of sandalwood and the delectable creaminess of iris butter. Almost magically conjuring up warm sand and glowing skin, Romano Ricci’s latest is all blissfully relaxed limbs slathered in retro-smelling coconut zero-SPF suntan oil while enjoying a cool lick of vanilla ice-cream. If your holiday is already a distant memory, an instant hit of happiness awaits with every spritz. £85 for 50ml eau de parfum

A tribute to the mysteriously enigmatic osmanthus flower, be prepared to fall for this mesmerising scent in a big way. Top notes of plum and Sri Lankan cinnamon hover like a luscious haze of loveliness that beckons you towards powdered French violet, Indian jasmine and armfuls of Chinese osmanthus. Between notes of tea and honeyed ripe apricots, patchouli and white leather, an element of Madagascan vanilla also weaves its way through every scented seam. £205 for 100ml eau de parfum

Get ready, once again, to boogie around a Marc Jacobs handbag – with a sheer, light version by Firmenich’s Annie Buzantian that introduces lusciously juicy fruits and sunlit florals to MJ’s blockbuster. Think: nashi pear, blackcurrant, green ivy, pink lily of the valley, magnolia, jasmine, white amber, cashmere woods and raspberry gloss. If you prefer, though, this is also perfect for daywear; simply accessorise with a flirty smile and a spring in your step. From £43 for 30ml eau de toilette




As deeply glowing as the bottle itself, imagine juicy raspberry and apricot sprinkled with rose petals and shot through with Indian jasmine for a stunningly sophisticated, contemporary take on the classic Chypre fragrance genre. Designer Michael Kors consistently dazzles with his perfumes, and you can expect to be reaching for this for many years to come – like that favourite dress you can always rely on being complimented while wearing. £90 for 100ml eau de parfum

Moresque decant their fragrances into jaw-droppingly decadent, exquisite bottles. Hand-painted with real gold by Tuscan families who have been doing it for centuries, these truly are things of beauty. And the juice of sun-kissed Sole is equally luxurious from start to finish, sweet peach shrouded in pink pepper, creamy coconut paired with ylang ylang and tuberose. Rich ambers, musk and patchouli continue to caress the skin after sun-down. £295 for 50ml eau de parfum

Fourth in Mugler’s fragrant line-up, Aura is the first new standalone scent since 2010’s Womanity. It’s worth the wait to discover a tangy hint of rhubarb leaf melting into the intriguing – and rather mysterious – green/ woody ingredient named ‘tiger liana’. A soft breeze of orange blossom seemingly floats above a canopy of trees before plunging down to the creaminess of Bourbon vanilla and fur-coat like warmth of (exclusive molecule) ‘Wolfwood’ in the base. £49 for 30ml eau de parfum

Sexy Ruby




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White Gold

Countess Dorothea



Completing Ormonde Jayne’s gold trilogy (we’ve had Black Gold and Rose Gold) comes this radiant floral, pulsing with clouds of Grasse jasmine absolute wrapped around carnation absolute, armfuls of orchids and freesias. White Gold’s overture is green and fresh, while the base hums with vanilla, ambrette, Cashmeran, white musk, amber and labdanum – and if you’re someone who thinks you ‘don’t like florals’, prepare to have your mind changed completely by this. From £260 for 50ml eau de parfum

The wittily engaging Penhaligon’s Portraits clan expands with the introduction of the rather refined Countess Dorothea – comforting but refreshing, with a little bite to her bark. A punchy bergamot is uplifted further by red ginger oil, energising and reviving, with just a dash of cinnamon to spice things up. She finishes with velvety soft vanilla and Cashmeran – but don’t be fooled by her apparent sweetness; Dorothea leaves an intriguingly bitter trail. £178 for 75ml eau de parfum

Too soon for snowdrops? We’d say not, having sniffed this, from Lyn Harris’s Winter 2017 collection. (Angelica, Neroli, Frankincense and Powder also feature.) Cool-in-everyway, Snowdrop centres around white flowers – Tunisian jasmine and orange flower absolute. It’s crisp with green stem, iris and carrot seed, almost damp with wet mossy notes, resting on a juniper backbone – and can be bottled in one of Michel Ruh’s heavenly green hand-blown flacons. From £220 for 100ml eau de parfum At Perfumer H




Fact: Linda Rodin is one of the most stylish women ever to walk the planet, with a cult beauty collection for face, body, hair – and some truly raptureinducing fragrances. This is a crisp white shirt of a scent, a breeze through open windows bringing with it geranium, ylang ylang, jasmine grandiflora and iris before the polished woods in the base sweep in. Patchouli and sandalwood tether the fragrance as its enchanting freshness drifts slowly away. £145 for 100ml eau de toilette

A new fragrance from perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek is news indeed – and this makes a quartet of her collection: a ‘scorching’ interpretation of rose, in which smouldering leather tangos with rich Damask rose, against a backdrop of patchouli, amber and deepest, darkest oudh. It also marks the launch of Ruth’s stunning new ‘look’: silhouetted figures beckon you into the bottle’s depths, inviting you to imagine yourself in the story each fragrance tells. Our kind of Narnia. £120 for 100ml eau de parfum

La Femme Prada Intense

Wrapped in Prada leather – and who doesn’t long for that? – comes an exquisitely turbo-charged version of the original, so-successful La Femme Prada. Perfumer Daniela Andrier is at the top of her game here, casting her customary powerful spell over yet another collaboration with Miuccia Prada, this time reflecting the many facets of the Prada woman via tuberose, ylang ylang and patchouli – traditional materials, combined in intriguing and unexpected new ways. From £54 for 35ml eau de parfum

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The enigmatic Monsieur Lutens describes his latest as ‘a dampened, underground scent. A very simple, natural scent.’ Certainly, in this composition – co-signed by long-term collaborator Christopher Sheldrake – there’s a childhood nostalgia to the moreish notes of almond and coconut milk, enriched with resinous fir balsam, jasmine and frankincense. The name translates as ‘milk teeth’ – and we’re told it’s composed to recapture the scent of a child losing its first tooth! £150 for 100ml eau de parfum At Harvey Nichols (from 2nd October)

How to make a young music-lover very, very happy? Nothing could better show your finger’s on the pulse than a bottle of this, from an artist who’s become a singing phenomenon for his soulful melodies. The medley here opens with lemon oil, apple and pineapple, a beating heart of rose, frangipani and sugar maple accord, with a baseline of white cedar, skin musk and a dulce de leche note as sweet as Mr. Mendes seems himself. From £31 for 50ml eau de parfum

Imagine armfuls of voluptuous red lilies, opulently garlanded with ylang ylang; this co-creation between Dominic De Vetta and Julie Massé is a full-bodied floral for the 21st Century. The first encounter is almost sheer and transparent – that’s the lotus blossom note – but we love the way that Scarlet Lily is luxuriantly wrapped in the warmth of amber. This is the sexy velvet coat that you want to snuggle into on a chilly autumn evening, for a dressy night out. From £30 for 30ml eau de parfum


Fucking Fabulous



Dent de Lait

After Hours

Imagine the thrill of being able to dance around a department store after hours – a fabulous dream intensified if that store just happened to be Harrods (where you’ll find this). Azzi Glasser adds another chapter to her Perfumer’s Story line-up by bottling that dream via provocative florals – ylang ylang and freesia unashamedly getting up close and personal with vetiver, oudh and bois de rose, while the musky, resinous base positively pulses with passion. £95 for 30ml eau de parfum


Probably the only time you’ll ever read that word in our pages – but Tom Ford set the Twittersphere ablaze with the announcement of this Tom Ford boutique exclusive, which debuted at his catwalk show on 7th September. What’s so f*****g fabulous about it? Think: a sensual blend of almond bitter oil, tonka resinoid, orris accord, Cashmeran, leather and clary sage – in other words, what’s in the chic black bottle is as naughty as the name. £155 for 50ml eau de parfum

Scarlet Lily


Renowned for exquisite candles, when Cire Trudon announced they were launching personal fragrances, the perfume world squealed with delight. Five scents from three incredible perfumers are inspired by a subversively modern take on historical themes. For Olim (Latin for ‘once’) Lyn Harris weaves bergamot and lavender spiced with anise to a pink pepper and clove heart that purrs with purity before powdered incense and resins elegantly and languidly drape the skin. £165 for 100ml eau de parfum


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the men’s room


Colonia Pura

A radically refined interpretation of what is surely the ultimate Italian Cologne, spicy coriander peppers the classic citrus notes here with extra facets of freshness. In the heart, sambac jasmine and petitgrain meet the cool green narcissus absolute, leading us to pause a while to sniff and get closer still. Warm, clean skin heralds musk and patchouli with the light touch of cedar – and oh, can we live in the stunningly shot advertising campaign, please? £66 for 50ml eau de Cologne




Inspired by ancient Japanese trees and mossy forests, Hwyl is a scent to captivate and intrigue. Its Welsh name translates to the stirring of emotions, and Hwyl does just that. Despite its Japanese inspiration, it still has us pining for the deserted valleys of Wales – evoking desolate cold churches with its frankincense heart, while cypress gives an earthy, mossy, greenness. Go now, be still in the forest, and let Hwyl take hold. £83 for 50ml eau de parfum



Figment Man

An intriguing mixture of dry earthiness and luminously glowing lusciousness, with one sprtitz of this we were flown to some tropical forest floor just after a torrential downpour. The petrichor note runs the whole way through, like a river snaking its way through a jungle, with wafts of fruitiness, exotic woods and the sudden glimpse of a wild animal spotted darting to the undergrowth, all sinuous body and sleek fur. £235 for 100ml eau de parfum


Man in Black Essence

L’Envol Eau de Toilette

For Men

A contender for autumn’s most striking bottle, this limited edition is designed by Nigerian artist Laolu Senbanjo, invoking Africa’s Yoruba tribal art. The juice itself certainly thrums and pulses; an Alberto Morillas masterpiece mixing bitter orange, sweet rum, darkest cocoa beans, iris, ebony and tonka in a truly mesmerising concoction. Certainly looks as good on the bathroom shelf as it smells on a masculine neck. ‘An ode to wild seduction’? Count us in. £77 for 100ml eau de parfum At Harrods

Woody, yes – but there’s also a light-filled, airy freshness to the eau de toilette strength follow-up to Fragrance Foundation Award-winning L’Envol. Said to embody the attributes of aviation pioneer Alberto SantosDumont – determination, passion and achievement – it offers a cloud of citrus notes, resinous guaiac wood and musks, drizzled with honey. Designed to inspire the wearer to ‘fly high and let his spirits soar’, we’re finding it a total mood-lifter. £63 for 50ml eau de toilette

Our money is on this male counterpart to beautiful Coach for Women – created by the legendary Anne Flipo – achieving a similar blockbuster status. As masculine as fragrance gets, this is freshened by juicy nashi pear, mixing spices and woods but with a cool, earthy thread of vetiver running throughout. The smokily ombré flacon echoes that of the women’s scent, too – and when you add James Franco as the ‘face’, the whole kaboodle is downright irresistible. From £29 for 40ml eau de toilette

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Vetiver-oholics, prepare to have your cravings assuaged: Diptyque’s much-loved scent is now available as a stronger eau de parfum – and as if that wasn’t enough to warm the heart, they’ve announced a commitment to source organic vetiver from three villages in Haiti via a communityassistance project, helping to boost a fragile economy. Patchouli, Turkish rose, a flash of oudh and ylang ylang also feature in Olivier Pescheux’s shareable woodsy wonder. £105 for 75ml eau de parfum

Dunhill’s incredibly striking, pleasingly weighty flacon gets a fresh ‘British Racing Green’ livery to showcase the outdoorsy addition to the menswear name’s scented stable. A striking fougère – that most classically masculine of fragrance families – it contrasts citrusy red orange and bergamot, cypress and sage with the purring warmth of amber, vetiver, musk and a whip-crack of leather, as the fragrance revs up. From starting grid to final flag, it’s another winner. From £63 for 50ml eau de parfum At Harrods

Guerlain anagram the name of their vintage classic Liu for the this ‘gender fluid’ creation by Delphine Jelk, under the direction of Master Perfumer Thierry Wasser. It’s at once floral, woody and spicy, seamlessly blending pear, clove, resinous benzoin and carnation (that men’s buttonhole bloom) with vanilla, white musk and leather. The only thing wrong with this is the notion of sharing the Art Deco bottle with anyone else, frankly. £145 for 50ml



Vetyverio Eau de Parfum

Pace Accelerate

Scream if you want to go faster? Alternatively, just pop on a spritz of Jaguar’s latest evocation of sleek automobile luxury. Suave citruses – mandarin and bergamot – are lightly spiced with aromatic coriander, nutmeg, crisp white pepper and invigorating cardamom. Jasmine and lily of the valley make for a softer touch in the heart, while the base smoulders with musk and vetiver. A fast-paced scent for a high-powered man, we reckon. £44 for 100ml eau de toilette

Icon Racing




The Gold Knight

From the brand launched by Jovoy perfume dynamo François Hénin, Ambra’s described as ‘very Jeroboam – in other words modern, daring and sensual’. Incense wafts through bergamot and rosy geranium, while the woody base swoons into musky vanilla – deftly handled by perfumer Vanina Muracciole. (The brand name – referring to the equivalent of four Champagne bottles in one – is tongue-in-cheek; these are delightfully portable, at 30ml.) £80 for 30ml extrait de parfum At Jovoy Mayfair

Mystically gleaming anise, bergamot, honey and vanilla are swept in the arms of a gloriously rich patchouli in the base of this shareable Klimtinspired scent. Available as a 100ml bottle (accompanied by a divine gold and black box – the perfect gift for any arty fragrance-lover), it’s also offered in the lavish decanter, above (£450 for 250ml). Pascal Gaurin is the talented nose behind this, the perfumer’s alchemy cleverly transferring the glister of gold into olfactory form. £245 for 250ml eau de parfum At Harrods


scented Letter





A return for Missoni to the world of masculine scent. Inspired by the sun-baked Mediterranean landscape, this is like brushing your hand against the region’s native aromatic plants. Fresh yet woody, it contrasts fresh pink pomelo, ginger and green lemon with lavender and jasmine whispers. Finally, skin is wrapped in comforting oak, birch, sandalwood, patchouli and musk. And do clear some space on the bathroom shelf for multiple layering skin and body treats, won’t you? From £33 for 30ml eau de parfum

Molton Brown transports us from London to Siberia with their latest fragrance, which brilliantly taps into the modern Russian Leather revival. Sumptuous swirls of dark, intense birch tar surround the rich, dry scent of leather in this outlandish scent, while Siberian pine adds a cool freshness paired with cade wood oil for a suitably smoky finish. Smouldering and enigmatic, this is a scent to caress the necks of both men and women, in an equally sexy manner. £39 for 50ml eau de toilette

Blasting forth, the heat veritably radiates from your skin as this warms up and smoulders beguilingly – and small wonder, with Terroni inspired by the volcanic earth that glows, cools and blackens over time. Smoky and rich, resinously deep, it offers waves of dry earthiness, with something resembling a red berry buried way down in the mix. An Italian brand whose founder prefers to be cagey about the exact notes, we’re left wondering – but admiringly so. £138 for 50ml eau de parfum



Parfum Pour Homme


Russian Leather

Monsieur Beauregard

L’Homme Prada Intense

‘Our French friend’ is how this new Penhaligon’s Portraits ‘houseguest’ is described. ‘Confidently quiet.’ ‘Mysteriously sexy.’ All of that, and bound to set the cat among the pigeons at any gathering, we’d say, via cheeky notes of pink pepper and lemon, an orris/benzoin/cinnamon heart, darkened by notes of sandalwood, tonka and patchouli that will still be drifting around, well into the night. Whether playing cards – or tiptoeing to a lady’s boudoir... £178 for 75ml

Prada seek to blur the lines between masculine and feminine fragrance with autumn 2017’s launch of their ‘Intense’ duo, here offering rich concentrations of amber and patchouli – a flourish of sweetness that definitely makes this borrowable. Yet again, Daniela Andrier is the perfumer – clearly so at ease in her Prada role – and the juice is as seamless as the bottle; fronted by black glass, the semi-circular back is wrapped in black, logo-embossed Prada leather. From £53.50 for 50ml eau de parfum

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Unknown Ecstasy

Kuwait-based founder Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah has gained something of a rock-star like status in the Middle East – rather fittingly so for this fragrance, which was inspired by the hours he spent listening to edgy Joy Division albums in his youth. Suedelike orris wraps itself lithely around white flowers, buttery-soft leather and smooth oudh before the warmth of amber and musk rise from the base for an encore that you’ll never want to end. £220 for 100ml eau de parfum


Riven Oak



Noir Anthracite

Tobacco Oud Intense

Classically masculine, classically Mr. Ford – but as always, with the little twist that propels his fragrances into the extraordinary. Brisk bergamot contrasts with Sichuan pepper and spicy ginger, at the get-go, but it’s the humid green galbanum, wrapped in tuberose and jasmine sambac, which adds brilliance to the rich, woody elements of cedarwood, patchouli and sandalwood. We’d be delighted to have a close encounter with this on a man’s neck, anytime. £79 for 50ml eau de parfum

Nostalgic for the scent of tobacco? Here’s one to satisfy the craving, as Arabic dokha tobacco’s smokiness wafts through a spicy-woody-Oriental that greets you with an unexpected note of raspberry, then develops into a fabulous fug of tobacco dust absolute and tobacco leaf. Later, it’s warmed by roasted tonka bean, creamy sandalwood and a delicious woodyamber blend of cistus absolute, castoreum and patchouli. This one’s all sexy smoke – and mirrored label. £210 for 50ml eau de parfum At Harrods




From darkness comes light, a flickering candle flame held aloft with the sharpness of pimento berries, clean cedar and the erotic honeyed fruitiness of pure cistus oil, supported by a whirling eddy of spices and Somalian frankincense. Perfumer Yann Vasnier was one of three top noses chosen to compose the debut fragrances from this heritage candle brand (since 1643) – and this is a masterpiece of understated virility, to be worn with aplomb. £165 for 100ml eau de parfum

Reflecting the Trussardi man’s style – confidently sporty, unafraid to express his character in every aspect of his appearance – Riflesso is a dashing finishing touch. Seamlessly blending woody and Oriental notes, bergamot is whipped further into freshness by pink grapefruit and crisp green apple. Geranium bedecked with violet leaves and sprigs of lavender hint at herbaceous freshness before plunging to Italian leather emboldened by vetiver and addictive tonka bean. £47 for 30ml eau de toilette

Designer Suzanne Dalton has come up with one of the most stunning bottles of this new season, its hefty precisioncut glass sliced through with a metal ‘Y’ – doing justice to Dominique Ropion’s juice: a fougère that contrasts light and dark via soaring white aldehydes, bergamot and ginger, geranium absolute (the quintessential ingredient in this fragrance family), on a warm base of incense, ambergris and fir balsam. We predict men everywhere will be asking: ‘Y not…?’ From £53 for 60ml eau de toilette

Oak is having its moment in the sun – or perhaps a bright clearing in the woods, in this case? – starring in this eleventh unisex offering from perfume prodigy Tom Daxon, via perfumer Jacques Chabert. Bergamot and pimento berries add further rays of sunlight, warmed by a jig of rum, sweet amber and Iso E Super. Vetiver, silken musks and cedarwood ultimately work to make this the perfect scent for autumn’s mellow days and nights. £155 for 100ml eau de parfum (from October)





scented Letter


it takes me right back

Ping. One email. Ping-ping! The ‘cooking’ continued for the Another two. Not a single day next few hours and by the time I goes by without me receiving arose it was, aptly, reminiscent of a message from a PR flaunting cornflakes. Even after showering, their scent-free fake tan formula. the scent would keep oscillating In-shower technology! A bronzing between coconut and metal, ‘water!’ Mousses to be rinsed reaching a crescendo of burnt off BEFORE bed... no overnight coffee. BANG. BRONZED! development required! Later in the evening, not There are obvious plus points to content with mahogany, Amy and all that tannovation. It’s good news I would continue to gild ourselves. for the boyfriends and white sheets This time it was with Rimmel and mums – no longer scrubbing Sunshimmer Instant Tan – creating at tangoed dresses while fretting if a chocolate box of colours to their millennial daughters will ever complement our body-con get on the property ladder.  dresses. (We’d help reach each But it’s the end of an era – the other’s backs, which I’m convinced death of the ‘going out’ smell. For is the reason we’ve stayed best me, at least, nothing says ‘partyfriends eight years on.) Like the time’ like the scent of DHA [the ‘twist ‘n’ glug’ of a wine bottle, beauty industry’s most frequently that crack of the lid and first used self-tanning agent] on skin.  breath of the scent catapulted me It began with Johnson’s to ‘playtime’ and unadulterated Holiday Skin Body Lotion – at 17 fun. It was the transition from years old, when paid-for family dissertation to dancefloor.  getaways were a thing of the Fast-forward a couple of past and NDubz’s Tulisa was my years and I had graduated from Most people can’t stand the beauty icon. The bottle might university, moved back home and have said ‘gradual’ but the whiff scored my job as a junior beauty scent of a faux glow – but for certainly wasn’t – an instant glug writer. My role at a celebritybeauty editor Amber Ascroft obsessed magazine came with of yogurt-y apricot laden with artificial sweeteners. On Fridays, access to the man with the it will always be the smell of a in particular, the aroma would fill golden gun – James Harknett, good time the corridors of my all-girls school. spray-tanner to the stars. I’ve A thick cloud of fake tan aroma, since visited his wonder booth, spiked with giddiness and Vera at the plush W London hotel, the Wang Princess, it was a badge of honour that proved your night before every holiday. Today, the scent of that space ‘party girl’ status. whisks me to olfactory heaven – an unbeatable sense of When I started university not long after, high-octane glamour and ‘Out Of Office’… ON! my housemate Amy introduced me to the Unsurprisingly, there’s not a whisper of Kellogg’s harder stuff. St Moriz Self Tan Mousse or McVities in James’s little sanctuary, though came with a deeper hue and the amped– that would probably put the glitterati off. up fragrance to match. I’d apply it in Instead, visitors bask in a decadent blend the evening then hop into bed, letting of fig, sandalwood and jasmine candles the scent develop as I snoozed. As it swirled with essential oils from the spa’s transitioned hour after hour, more layers massage room. James’s tan elixir itself of scent developed than in the most is zingy and uplifting, making for a truly carefully-curated designer perfumes. hedonistic haze. I’d float off to the land of nod in a The next time I inhale that aroma will be bubble of white flowers and lush coconut. ahead of my hen ‘do’ – and after that, for my By dawn, as the street lamps switched off and wedding day this autumn. Forget being whisked other students were only just zig-zagging home, it back to my nuptials via the blooms in my bouquet; had baked. The warm digestive biscuit aroma mixed with I know what scent will still hold the strongest time wafts of Asda Lavender Fabric Conditioner from my sheets. travel power for me in five years time…

Fake tan

“ The warm digestive biscuit aroma mixed with wafts of Asda Lavender Fabric Conditioner from my sheets” 58 The scented Letter

The Scented Letter - Issue 27 - Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance