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NO. 29 - 2018 LATE WINTER


+ The cult of the candle




The scents of home

T�VDON .1643.

36 Chiltern Street, London, W1U 7QJ

editor’s letter There really is no place like home. And – as the perfume world has realised – anyone who loves fragrances for their skin is also likely to want to scent the air around them, too, which is driving the boom in sales of scented candles, room sprays and diffusers. Personally, I spritz the air in my home office every morning – and almost always have a candle flickering on my desk. Holding a lighted match to that candle, or pressing the atomiser and breathing in its whoosh of scented molecules, is a moment to stop, think – and enjoy. Alongside candles and sprays, diffusers are now quite the scented thing. But did you know they were invented by an Milanese interior designer, Alessandro Agrati, as recently as 1990? Suzy Nightingale reports on the designer who changed how our homes look (and smell) – along with some tips for getting the most out of your diffuser – on p.34, where we also include a round-up of some of our other favourite examples of this home fragrance innovation. Scented candles, meanwhile, turn out to have been around for centuries. Rigaud may have popularised the modern scented candle in the 1950s (and the choice by JFK and Jackie Kennedy of Rigaud candles to scent the White House certainly helped power that candle brand to huge success). But in the archive of the fascinating Parisian candle-maker, Cire Trudon, is a 300-year-old advert for candles perfumed with lavender and citronella. For more about Trudon’s unique history, turn to p.28. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the rise in home fragrance sales coincides with our growing passion for food, meanwhile. Onions, garlic, spices – all delicious, mouthwatering smells – but do you really want your home to smell of them, when a stranger drops by? Home fragrances are brilliant for masking the scent of cooking – but nobody would ever want to cover up the exotic aromas of the dishes on the menu at Flavour Bastard, which explode like fireworks on the tastebuds. This daringlynamed Soho restaurant showcases the talents of gifted chef Pratap Chahal, and belongs on every gourmet bucket list. And on p.46, Pratap shares some of his recipes, in our #ediblescent feature. For estate agents, meanwhile, the go-to advice to make a house smell attractive is to put a pot of coffee on to brew. Lately, coffee has also been making its way into fragrance – a trend Viola Levy explores on p.22. (Let us tell you: it smells as great on skin as it does in your kitchen.)

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So: put the kettle on, light a gloriously fragrant candle and settle down. We hope you enjoy reading this Scents of Home edition of The Scented Letter as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you.

The Perfume Society




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Josephine Fairley Designer

Jenny Semple enquiries@jenny Advertising Manager

Lorna McKay Senior writer

Suzy Nightingale

Ateh Jewel

Cassandra Hall

Ateh’s Jewel Tones Beauty blog has become a must-read for thousands of women, born out of feeling unrepresented in the aisles of many beauty halls. She has years of experience writing on beauty for publications including Vogue, Sunday Times Style and the Daily Mail and with her husband Daniel Jewel, an Oscar-shortlisted film director/producer, works on commercial projects for companies including Chanel, Dior, Nivea and Elemis. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @atehjewel or join her band of Facebook followers.

Cass – who writes about her ‘touchstone’ smell, wisteria, in ‘It Takes Me Right Back’ – is a former beauty PR who left England for a Spanish hillside and was so inspired by the aromas of the countryside and her new village home that she set up a home fragrance line. La Montaña now capture many of those exquisite scents as diffusers/ candles. Cassandra’s amusing blog about ‘living the Spanish dream’ appears on, and you can also follow La Montaña on Facebook or @lamontanacandles.

Francis Kurkdjian

Suzy Knightingale

Francis’s first success was Le Mâle for Jean Paul Gaultier, when he was just 26 – and at the age of just 33, he scooped the Lifetime Achievement Prix François Coty in 2001. With countless bestsellers to his name, Francis set up his own Maison Francis Kurkdjian fragrance house in 2009. Alongside his ‘day job’, he has been involved in many artistic collaborations including recreating Marie-Antoinette’s favourite perfume for the Palace of Versailles. Read all about his new candles on p.XX – and do follow @franciskurkdjian

Senior Writer Suzy contributes to The Scented Letter (we kept her very busy for this edition) and on a daily basis to From treasured childhood memories of scent shopping trips with her mother, Suzy progressed to full-time fragrance fanatic, trading in her fashion job to become a freelance writer, interviewing many of the perfume world’s most fascinating figures, while also acting as consultant fragrance expert for national newspapers. Follow her: @beyondpale


Maggie Alderson


Carson Parkin-Fairley HEAD OF MARKETING

Jodie Young buying assistant

COVER: Annie Spratt, Unsplash

Victoria Evans victoria@perfumesociety. org Contact us 106 High Street Hastings East Sussex TN34 3ES 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. © 2018 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





flickeringly fabulous HOMES, SWEET HOMES

Leading bloggers and fragrance insiders tap into aroma memories of homes they’ve spent time in

Francis Kurkdjian’s new candles conjure up the places around France where he’s lived, for us all to enjoy



perfume’s Java jolt WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE

Paris is burning WAXING LYRICAL

Even non-coffee drinkers love to breathe its scent. And now, reveals Viola Levy, it’s a new trend in perfume

Jo Fairley delves into the fascinating history of a Parisian candlemaker, whose heritage can be traced back to 1643



something in the air tonight REED ALL ABOUT IT

ignite your senses #ediblescent

Suzy Nightingale talks to the man who brought us the now-ubiquitous diffuser, Italian designer Alessandro Agrati

These recipes by Pratap Chahal of Soho’s Flavour Bastard restaurant blur the lines dazzlingly between taste and smell

regulars NOSING AROUND 6




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on the scent of news

nosing around A new year brings us new fragrances, books, excitingly revamped scent destinations, perfumed hair treats – and even scented soundscapes

The best-tressed list


According to, 83% of women prioritise the scent of hair products – if it doesn’t smell great, it’s not going anywhere near our tresses! And at the same time, more and more of us are reaching for hair perfumes on a daily basis...

Here’s the ultimate confirmation that hair perfumes are here to stay: Frédéric Malle’s sublime Portrait of a Lady Hair Mist is a glorious way to indulge your senses with Dominique Ropion’s rose-and-geraniumpowered classic, with every flick of your ’do. Hair heaven. £125 for 100ml Rapunzel of Sweden’s Sweet Winter Leave-In Spray contains ‘hydrolysed proteins’ (maintaining hair’s moisture levels) with chamomile to soothe chilled scalps. From a perfume perspective, it wafts forth vanilla and caramel rippled with jasmine and cedar – adding shine, eliminating static and scenting your locks for a triple-whammy of treats. £10.99 for 150ml

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Take (scented) note If your New Year’s Resolution is to spend more time flourishing a pen rather than tapping a keyboard, let us point you in the direction of Floral Street’s notebooks and notelets, their pages quite dreamily scented with Wonderland Peony or Ylang Ylang Espresso… £12 each

Les Senteurs revisited

It was London’s original indie fragrance boutique – and now Les Senteurs’ Belgravia home has had a beautiful makeover for the New Year. We say: definitely time for a revisit – or for first-timers, this is one for the scented bucket list, with true experts on hand to steer you through a stunning portfolio spanning État Libre d’Orange through to Lorenzo Villoresi and Tom Daxon.

Scents of history Did you know that Victorian ladies were warned off wearing tuberose in case it caused involuntary orgasms? So headily narcotic was the aroma, it was considered most unsuitable for their delicate, upper-class senses. Read about this and more in Perfume Society VIP subscriber Catherine Maxwell’s fascinating new book, Scents & Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture (OUP), which also features the astonishingly catty observations of Virginia Woolf, quoted from her diaries. (Let’s just say, she clearly wasn’t a fan of women wearing perfume – so she’d definitely disapprove of us.) Gathering the fragrant thoughts of luminaries from Oscar Wilde to H.G. Wells, it’s a sumptuous plunge that presents perfume as a character in its own right. £30 hardcover/£19 Kindle

Lovely, lovely, lovely… Fresh treats for hands and lips, from Jo Malone London. First (launching January), a trio of luscious creams enriched with apricot kernel oil in three of their best-loved scents (English Pear & Freesia, Lime Basil & Mandarin and Peony & Blush Suede). And in February – just as central heating has truly done for our lips – we’ll be slicking on the English Mint & Ginger Lip Care, with its zesty, spicy blend of moringa butter, rose flower wax and kukui seed oil. Jo Malone London Hand Cream Trio £44 English Mint & Ginger Lip Care £20 jomalonelondon. com


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on the scent of news

Diptyque delights…


Inspired by Turkish Delight and swathed in a pale pink toile de Jouy by designer Leslie David, Diptyque’s Rose Delight collection offers candles, drawer-liners and scented ovals to infuse your linens with rose petals, honey and a twist of lemon. We predict they’ll swiftly fly off the shelves (and on to yours!) At Diptyque boutiques From £28

Oxford Street’s new aroma zone… Into the woods… The trees of his country’s wild landscape have always been a source of inspiration for Ben Gorham, Byredo’s Swedish founder. Cedarwood sparkles with raspberry and jasmine in their enchanting Woods candle – brightening our days already. £54 for 240g from February

Fraction man Unquestionably the most luxurious votives we’ve ever seen: Clive Christian’s Fraction Candle Collection exquisitely captures three of their most beloved fragrances – 1872, No.1 and X – in gilded glass, with a burn-time of 22 hours each. £195 for 3 x 60g candles

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Fancy a bespoke scented home? Purveyors of minimalist Japanese homewares and stylish accessories, Muji, have now opened an ‘Aroma Bar’ in their revamped space at Selfridges London flagship – inviting you to select from their range of essential oils and have a combination custom-blended especially for you. Fragrance experts are on hand to guide your nose, and the finished aroma can be used with any of their diffusers, oil burners or unglazed stones. 400 Oxford Street London W1A 1AB

Notes and melodies Ever-more-creative, Miller Harris have worked with audio artists to create unique soundscapes interpreting favourite scents in the collection, to be enjoyed in special sound booths at their new Canary Wharf store (designed by Fabled Studio). What does perfume sound like? You can now find out. 1 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QT/020-7399 1948

a whiff of history

Lives of the great noses:

Alberto Morillas (b. 1950) Alberto Morillas is widely acknowledged as one of our greatest living perfumers – as evidenced by the roll-call of new launches to his name in this edition of The Scented Letter alone. Born in Seville, Spain, in 1950, his parents moved to Geneva when Alberto was 10. There, he went on to study Fine Arts – but what shaped his destiny was an article in Vogue about JeanPaul Guerlain, firing up Alberto’s ambition to work in perfumery. Initially, he taught himself, studying raw materials and learning to construct scents – before joining the world’s largest privately-owned fragrance house, Firmenich, in 1970. He still describes himself as ‘mostly self-trained’ – although in fact, he left for New York in 1975 to obtain a diploma in perfumery. By 1988, Morillas had been elevated to Master Perfumer – a term often abused, but in reality an official ranking reserved for Firmenich’s own most stellar perfumers. If we were to list the fragrances Alberto has to his name, it would run to pages; over 300, and counting. The one which first put him on the scent-map was Must de Cartier, in 1981, while other highlights include Calvin Klein’s ground-breaking, shareable ckone, Estée Lauder Intuition (and Pleasures, on which he worked

alongside Annie Buzantian), Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò, Flower by Kenzo, Thierry Mugler Cologne, Lancôme Miracle, and Bulgari’s fragrant portfolio, from Bvlgari Blv right through to the recent Bvlgari Goldea The Roman Night. But he says: ‘For me, it is not important how many perfumes I have created. It is to have the urge every day to renew this act of creation.’ Equally enamoured of synthetic and natural ingredients, drawn in particular to white musks, hediones and citrus, Geneva-based Morillas still writes his formulations by hand – even colour-coding them with different coloured pens. (For an in-depth interview with Alberto Morillas about his fascinating creative process, visit and search for ‘A Working Nose’.)

In 2003, Alberto Morillas was awarded the Prix François Coty – the perfume world’s most glittering award – and in 2014, he received The Fragrance Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, in the US. Today, Morillas continues to work as hard as ever, even weighing his own ingredients. As he comments: ‘I love working in my studio, with my products around me…’ His garden in Geneva is a place both of contemplation and inspiration. Today, Alberto’s own fragrance brand – Mizensir – affords him total creative freedom. Mizensir was born in 1999, a venture in partnership with his wife, which began with scented candles and is now a collection of 14 fragrances, each suitable for wearing on a man or a woman’s skin and including treasures such as Bois Iridescent, a uniquely radiant floral wood, and the cocooning Musc Eternal, which showcases his signature musks. As Alberto Morillas puts it: ‘Far from the buzz of major launches, I wanted to create “ma parfumerie”, a place where each fragrance would tell the story of my passions, my memories, my travels…’ We say: long may this true living legend continue to tell riveting stories, through exquisite scents. By Jo Fairley

From left: Alberto Morillas’s own Mizensir collection, with classic creations ckone, Intuition and Flower by Kenzo


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the master WHO NEEDSof A modern TARDIS? femininity


other people’s houses For this ‘homes’ edition, we asked well-known names from the world of perfume to share the scents of houses they remember from childhood

IT can be FIENDISHLY HARD to identify the scent of the house where we grew up. Its olfactory tapestry becomes little more than wallpaper; something so familiar, we’re somehow incapable of registering it. Even now, most of us are fairly anosmic to the scent of our own homes – save when we light a candle, a log fire, or sizzle garlic and onions in a pan. Sometimes, fleetingly, we get an idea of how our home smells to others, when we open the door after a holiday. While some of our interviewees here nail the scent of their childhood home, for a number of others it was the smell of a grandparent’s house which impacted on them. (Grandparents among our readers, please note: you bear a heavy burden of responsibility with the aromas that imprint themselves on your descendents!). We now invite you to share the fragrant landscape of your own childhood with us by tweeting or Instagramming, using the hashtag #scentsofmychildhood. But meanwhile, we hope you’ll be transported by these highly evocative recollections...

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Here’s what comes to my mind when I try to step back through this particular doorway of my past. It’s Bandar Abbas, in Iran. The late 70s. A bungalow in a small compound of similar houses. My childhood home, when it was just me, my mum and my dad, years before my brother was born. Dominating everything else: the smell of the eucalyptus trees growing right outside. I’d tear off a leaf, snap it in half and breathe in that herbal, camphor-like aroma. Then there was that very particular smell of baking sunlight bouncing off a concrete driveway: stony, mineralic, sandy. Inside, the dry, almost brittle quality of the air pumping out of the air conditioning units. In the kitchen: garlic, anchovy paste, flat bread, boiled rice, the synthetic fizz of orange-flavoured Tang. In my room, books, books and more books. I was always smelling their covers, running my nose along their spines. And in my parents’ bedroom, a bottle of YSL Opium. Little did I know where that would lead me! Persolaise, blogger and journalist

As a young child, I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s home in Spain, so most of my early scent memories are rooted in that house. I remember the smell of warm milk being heated on the stove in the morning – so comforting and grounding even though I don’t like milk – and the scent of dry chamomile flowers and linden blossom tea in the evening. I also remember the smell of my grandfather very vividly. He wore some sort of Cologne or aftershave with strong amber notes, very sweet and rich, warm and animalic. (I think that was the beginning of my love affair with labdanum and sweet amber notes.) He was a photographer, and I loved going into the darkroom where he processed his photos. There was the distinct odour of photographic paper and a vinegar smell, but also a chocolate-y and biscuit-like smell emanating from a cupboard where there was always a box of assorted biscuits. He would always let me chose a biscuit at the end of the session if I behaved and didn’t interrupt him! Marina Barcenilla, perfumer


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‘I have such strong memories of the house I grew up in, our family haçienda in Venezuela. It was a traditional low Spanish house, and my parents (above) were always very keen that you couldn’t smell cooking, so the kitchen was tucked away at one end of the house. Instead, I was surrounded by the scent of exquisite flowers, which my mother was so passionate about. We had gardenias, jasmine and roses – and the house would also be filled with the smell of tuberose oil and jasmine oil which my mother would blend from little bottles that she bought from The Perfumer’s Workshop counter in Bloomingdale’s. How lucky was I, to have that olfactory background to my childhood?’ Carolina Herrera de Baez, Creative Director of Carolina Herrera Fragrances

© Previous pages: ANNIE SPRATT; JENS JOHNSSON - UNSPLASH. vera7388; Maksim Kostenko - Fotolia. This spread: ANNIE SPRATT - UNSPLASH; CandiceDawn - Fotolia

If I close my eyes, I can still smell my grandparents’ house in South London. Outside, it was slightly crumbling, with battlements that were somewhat incongruous in the suburb where they lived – but as the big oak door swung open, I’d be hit with a wall of hugely comforting smells. Rock cakes, baking (quite often burning) in the oven. Probably a note of medicated loo paper in the air (the stuff that’s like baking parchment – and really, my grandmother Kathleen should probably have been using it for that). My grandfather’s Old Holborn pipe tobacco (a fug of that, actually). There was a waft of Pledge polish, with beeswax used for the best bits of huge brown furniture – but mostly, I can smell my grandmother’s cracked-paned, lean-to greenhouse, just off the kitchen. There, she grew tomatoes and geraniums – and my first-ever smell memory is of standing there in the greenhouse, with her rubbing my fingers on their leaves and encouraging me to sniff them, kindling a life-long love of smell. I dream of a Tardis, to get back there and smell it all again. Jo Fairley, Editor, The Scented Letter


My London childhood home was like the Wild West, turbulent, exciting, scary and a little nuts. I took solace and comfort in colour, make up, MGM films and scent. I was a child of the 80s; my father was a diplomat and self-made man, and I lived in an over-the-top Dynasty-esque nouveau riche world. My mother was (and still is) super-glam and I remember the scent of her Dior Poison and YSL Opium hitting the back of my throat at the bottom of the stairs while she was still at the top. As she fixed her hair in the hallway mirror she would blast it with a final round of Elnett, the scent of which still makes me smile (I was once told it was based on Chanel No.5). Before she left the house I would bury my face in her mink and Artic fox furs (it was the 80s and you couldn’t be a rich bitch without one), which hung on the end of the stairs. I loved the smell, the sensorial explosion of softness on my skin of the fur and the comforting traces of my mum’s fragrance.  I was a dreamy child and loved being on my own. I would run to our basement where we had a Swedish sauna and Turkish bath. The sauna became my happy place. I would sit in there while it was switched off and pretend it was a giant Wendy house. I would take deep breaths and let the sweet, woody Alpine scent wrap me up and cuddle me from the inside out. I would also sneak into the Turkish Bath and hide inside. I liked the darkness and the damp smell; it was like being swaddled. Ateh Jewel, Jewel Tones Beauty blogger

I reel as though from an electric shock when the past returns through smell. When I read my grandfather’s books they are impregnated with the vivid scents of his last house, though the Leicestershire building was demolished over 40 years ago. Led by my nose, I wander through every room. The apple green dining room full of faintly damp fumed oak. The ice-blue – and ice-cold – bedrooms cosied up by the authoritative tribe of whiffy tom cats curled up on quilts. The vast and sunny bathroom with Peggy the bull terrier immersed in the tub for relief of her eczema, lathered with Morny lily of the valley soap. And, drifting over all, the green fruity gardenia of my aunt’s favourite Ma Griffe. Downstairs, the living-room was vibrant: the drinks tray loaded with Noilly Prat & Gin and It. My grandfather’s oil paints, brushes and turps; his latest ‘View of Sorrento’ propped up on the easel. Cigarettes

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everywhere, and brimming Benares brass ash trays. Winter and summer there was always a roaring wood fire to combat the creeping damp. Everything and anything combustible ended up in that grate, to the delight of us children: a broken wireless, cracked 78rpm records, an exasperated cousin’s faulty knitting. The flames flared up in rainbow colours. The smells were farouche and exotic. The French windows opened directly onto the rose garden - beyond lay the oily greasy garage, the pig sties, outside lavatories and offices. In early summer the scullery was full of frogs, come up from the water

meadows beyond the orchard. The primitive washing machine surged, slopped and oozed soap flakes and hot water all over the floor. Damson jam boiled on the stove. The back kitchen was usually thick with the scorching gingery smell of the Aga, piled up with ironing and slightly singed blankets. That house was a riot of scent: almost frightening in raw untrammelled intensity. It was a powerhouse of smells which reflected the powerful, pungent and eccentric personality of the owner. James Craven, Perfume Archivist, Les Senteurs

“ © Patrick Miyaoka - UNSPLASH. Maksim Shebeko; Thomas; sonatali; Natasha Breen - Fotolia.

Of all of the fragrant memories I have of other people’s houses, none are more prominent than that of my maternal aunt’s, in Milton Keynes. We loved visits as kids, mainly because she is the most fun person on the planet – but also because one entered her home via a papier mâché cave that led into a hallway painted with a countryside scene, complete with gigantic sun and wooden farm animals. (Crazy but true.) But in terms of scent there is one smell that instantly reminds me of my dear auntie’s home: frankincense.  Burning softly in one corner would be a few golden crystals of frankincense, soaking every corner of the home with the spicy, sour, resinous and silvery scent.  It permeated every molecule of the house, including the soft, snuggly fur of her cats, blending with their animal warmth to create an aroma that just demanded to be snuggled.  To this day, the smell of frankincense to me is pure comfort. Thomas Dunckley, The Candy Perfume Boy blogger

‘Peeling back the layers of time, I lovingly recall my grandfather’s scent as he told his famous “self-stories” while I sat on his knee. His shaving soap gave him a pleasant lavender freshness, mixed up with his own skin-smell and his faintly musty tweed waistcoats. We would sit in the North London kitchen next the stove, with coal in the grate emanating its dark, dry metallic scent. On washdays the kitchen would be taken over by the old-fashioned washing machine and wringer, with suds seeming to get everywhere and spreading a light, citrusy fragrance. In my memory, the long, rambling back garden was always very leafy and wet, with dripping, overhanging boughs and brambles to manoeuvre in order to reach fallen pears my sister and I were allowed to collect, enjoying their delicate green-fruity scent. But perhaps the biggest scent sensation happened only once, when we were invited to take tea with the Indian family next door... as the front door opened we were hit by a dry pungent spiciness, of what must have been lots of turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon, rivalled only by the mouthwatering, tangy fruity sweets that were offered us.’ Ruth Mastenbroek, perfumer

” The

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Homes, sweet homes For his new candle collection, Francis Kurkdjian timetravelled to the homes around France where he’s lived – conjuring up their scents and aromas for us all to enjoy Words: Jo Fairley


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Francis Kurkdjian’s nose rarely switches off. Well, technically, it’s his brain that has a hard time relaxing, since that’s where olfactory messages are processed. Which gives him a problem with visiting strangers’ houses. ‘My brain is telling me: “I can smell X” – or “I can smell Y” – and until I’ve figured it out, I don’t feel comfortable. The nose is our bodyguard,’ notes the perfumer. ‘It’s probably why I entertain a lot in my own apartment.’ As many perfume-lovers will know, Francis first shot to prominence at the age of just 26 with his creation of the blockbuster Le Mâle, for Jean Paul Gaultier. He went on to co-create Narciso Rodriguez for Her, and has countless bestselling fragrances to his name – including Elie Saab Le Parfum, Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile (with Françoise Caron), L’Extase for Nina Ricci and all of Burberry’s recent perfume portfolio. What got perfumistas truly excited, though, was the unveiling of Francis’s own perfume house – Maison Francis Kurkdjian – in 2009. And now, if you like, he’s turned that house into ‘home’ – via a collection called, simply, ‘Homes Sweet Homes’. Francis’s perfumes for his own collection are known for being ‘passion projects’ – but perhaps none has been closer to his heart than this chic candle range, inspired by

the family houses Francis grew up in, over the years, and by his own apartment in the 17th arrondissement. Francis explains that ‘… houses have a soul, a story. They are the stage for everyday life, a testimony of the art of living and an emotional trigger. These houses nourished my olfactory memory: my childhood home, my grandparents’ apartment; my cousins’ house in the countryside; our family vacation home; my Parisian apartment. I have translated these intimate places into smells – and colours – to compose a collection of five candles with original scents that evoke a word dear to my heart: “home”.’ On the following pages, we share Francis’s inspirations for the collection. Five places, five homes – and five moodboards (in some cases featuring snaps from the Kurkdjian family albums); they’re visual representations of those places which have meant so much to this star of the perfume world. Each of the beautiful candles those moodboards embody, meanwhile, is packaged in an exquisite Limoges bisque porcelain vessel (with a coloured interior, see below) which can be upcycled, later – as a vase, a pencil cup, for coffee. And each is tucked inside a box featuring a line drawing of that house or place he holds close to his heart. So, Francis Kurkdjian, this is your life – in candles…

The five Homes Sweet Homes candles are available individually at, price £70 each

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© iff; SINNBILD; erinphoto10; Anthony Brown; trompinex; theeradech_sanin; demonova; Max Diesel; doozydo; Kevin Mayer -

Houses have a soul, a story. They are the stage for everyday life

Rue des Groseilliers The illustration, top, is of Francis’s childhood home on the outskirts of Paris – where his father still lives today

‘Rue des Groseilliers is the street where I grew up about 12 miles from Paris. My family home was bordered by a small vegetable garden where every summer, bright redcurrants delighted everyone – of every age –with their sweet tastes. These flavours I captured in scented candle that conveys the essence of my childhood memories.’



Au 17

‘This rekindles the pleasures of the small apartment where I lived for a few years with my maternal grandparents, not far from the Château de Vincennes – the unforgettable memory of rose petal and plum jam, one of my grandmother’s secret recipes. I wanted to create a candle with a smooth and flowery sweetness, lightly honeyed and spicy, sustained by a burst of quince.’

‘I love Paris, its magic and free-spirited vibes. Au 17 is my “nest” in the City of Light. Its cosy, eclectic atmosphere witnesses intimate dinners, lively soirées and tender morningafters. They unfold in the warm glow of this candle that evokes the mingled aromas of an open fire and Japanese incense.’

The moodboard for Francis’s candle features a photo of his grandparents which is as sweet as the candle itself

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Au 17 – inspired by his own flat in the 17th arrondissement – brilliantly captures Parisian chic in wax form

La Trouverie

Les Tamaris

‘A farmstead located deep in the French countryside of Le Perche [in the centre of France], La Trouverie was the stage for my carefree escapades, games of hide-and-seek, building wood cabins and chasing butterflies. This candle reawakens my childhood memories through its sweet aroma of fresh straw that tickles the nose, mingling with lavender and flirting with rosemary and thyme.’

‘This is my little corner of paradise on the Atlantic coast, between Bordeaux and La Rochelle. It’s a family home in the heart of nature, where the only sounds are the chirping of crickets and the crackling of the parasol pines. Like a summer breeze, for me Les Tamaris carries the scent of the everlasting flowers and acacias that grow along the footpaths leading down to the sea.’

The greenest of the candles, with aromatic flourishes, this moodboard embodies La Trouverie’s carefree feeling

For the French, August is a time of absolute escape – and for Francis, that meant the Atlantic coast


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the master ofJAVA modern PERFUME’S JOLTfemininity

wake up and smell the

coffee Famously, estate agents have for years counselled that to sell a home, it helps to have a pot of coffee on the stove. It’s a scent which even non-coffee drinkers love to breathe in – and now, reveals Viola Levy, coffee is a new trend brewing in perfume… I believe my coffee fixation began with that series of 80s Nescafé adverts featuring Anthony Stewart Head (later known as ‘Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’). They involved him engaging in various will-they-won’tthey? flirtations with his doe-eyed neighbour over mugs of Gold Blend Instant. (Who needed Netflix, back then? It was the next instalments of adverts that we waited for.) Years later and it’s safe to say, coffee – not least the smell of coffee – still plays a huge part in my life. The scent just draws me in; warm and enveloping, it’s the antidote to rainy mornings getting elbowed on the Tube in rush hour. And for me, it’s these qualities that make coffee 24 The scented Letter

such an effective note in perfumery – without the caffeine-induced heart palpitations and eye twitches. In recent years coffee has been appearing in the perfumed pyramid in many guises. And certainly, its power as an aroma can’t be understated. After all, estate agents still use it to help entice prospective buyers, according to Trend & Thomas’s Senior Negotiator Joe Freeth. ‘It’s not always our go-to trick,’ he says. ‘But it can help in situations when all you can smell is fresh paint, which can feel quite soulless. Coffee has that homely quality – like baking bread or fresh linen – that always goes down well. Much more so than, say, having eight scented candles on the go – which

He was my cream, and I was his coffee – and when you poured us together, it was something

Josephine Baker The

scented Letter


makes you wonder what smells they might be trying to cover up...’ But ‘homely’ doesn’t mean ‘unsexy’. Far from it. Coffee notes in scent can be the perfumed equivalent of a skin-tight material that fully covers the body, revealing nothing and everything at once. Coffee doesn’t ‘put it out there’ in the manner of an aldehyde-laced jasmine or smoky oudh. But once it settles – perhaps with the help of a few spices or rich florals – it loosens its tie, ruffles its hair, and you experience it in a completely new light. And pulling power aside, coffee concoctions are extremely wearable; the Little Black Dresses of perfumes, if you will. Stripped of bows and frills, they’re effortlessly chic and 24 The scented Letter

can be worn anywhere, anytime. The rise of coffee notes is part of a new wave in perfumery. In terms of taste, we’ve graduated from ‘pretty’ fragrances to something far more refined and less obviously feminine. Michael Donovan, fragrance PR, owner of Roullier White and founder of new niche perfumery St Giles, echoes this point. ‘The market has changed enormously over the last few years, and people have become much more sophisticated about fragrance, wanting to deepen their knowledge. In turn, perfumers have risen to the occasion and are producing much more experimental, idiosyncratic scents with edgy ingredients. Coffee is a fantastic choice, as it has the association of

being a stimulant and is “gourmand” without smelling like cake or biscuits, so it’s great for those of us that do not favour sweet scents.’ Perfumer Nancy Meiland is similarly enamoured. ‘Coffee offers a wide range of base notes that add character, depth and sweetness to a formula. It is a wonderful bridge between the spices and the balsamic resins.’ Its dark, roasted facet goes well with patchouli – and, just as someone might add a spoonful of sugar to a mug of just-brewed coffee, it pairs well with gourmand elements. Spicy notes are another natural fit. You can’t just grind up coffee beans and turn them into a perfume, however. The way coffee is generally expressed in perfumery is by adding pyrazines to the blend. These are compounds that occur naturally in food, and offer a slightly caramelised, roasted and even ‘burnt’ effect. But they’re not the easiest to work with, as Alice Lavenat – perfumer for Nejma – points out. ‘Pyrazines are very powerful and must be well-balanced so they don’t dominate everything else. It takes a lot of care to capture the correct coffee accord.’ Not every perfumer is a fan of using them, either – notably esteemed ‘nose’ Bertrand Duchaufour. Ever the maverick, Bertrand has a preference for another dark material, from a different bean. ‘I would say that chocolate – even bitter and black chocolate – is better to work with [than coffee]. As a perfumer, I can pick up far more nuances between the sweeter, darker and softer varieties.’ But with so many recent launches featuring coffee – white, black and even green – in their blends, Bertrand is in the minority. And it certainly isn’t true that coffee scents need always be served strong and straight up, the equivalent of a strong espresso. Almost without you even noticing they’re there, they can help evoke a mood or a memory, as illustrated by creator Paul Schütze. ‘The coffee I used in my new scent Cuadra is very much part of the structure rather than a highlight,’ he explains. ‘It has no sweetness. In Cuadra, coffee performs the role usually reserved for woods; combined with the tobacco note, it provides a backdrop which is

© WavebreakmediaMicro - Previous page: Unsplash - Fierefly Studios


Carolina Herrera Good Girl The tongue-in-cheek name gives you a clue about this scent’s contradictory nature, juxtaposing bright notes of jasmine with a dark heart of tonka bean, coffee and almond

YSL Black Opium The black coffee accord adds a caffeine buzz to this global blockbuster, with voluptuous white floral notes of orange blossom buffed by soft musks

Paul Schütze Cuadra Schütze himself admitted this was among the ‘less commercial’ of his scents – but this intricate bouquet of coffee, woods and spices is definitely worth curling up with

Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa Rich, intoxicating tuberose is brought back down to earth by the slightly bitter coffee notes, with cocoa and cardamom adding a dash of come-hither sweetness

4160 Tuesdays The Dark Heart of Old Havana Perfumer Sarah McCartney evokes a sweet Cuban espresso, enjoyed with rolling tobacco and just-peeled oranges on a sunbaked terrace

LUSH Cardamom Coffee If you like your coffee with a coquettish kick, this piquant concoction is sure to satisfy, with its enveloping notes of rose, oudh and spicy cardamom oil

Evody Blanc de Sienne Dark and dazzling, the coffee accord provides the perfect backdrop to an addictive blend of fig, orange blossom and powdery iris

House of Oud Grape Pearls Perfumer Andrea Casotti combines bright, look-at-me notes of blueberry and grape with the smoky warmth of coffee and amber

Tom Ford Private Blend Café Rose Together with saffron and black pepper, coffee adds some much-needed bite to a burlesque routine of Bulgarian and Turkish roses


familiar but not immediately obvious.’ Upon smelling Cuadra myself, I didn’t automatically think: ‘coffee scent’. Yet it did remind me of visiting the house of a school friend, whose mother’s spicy Filipino cooking was offered up to anyone within two minutes of their crossing the threshold. It’s the unassuming warmth and love that I associate with Mrs. Davis – and that house – which this perfume brought flooding back. Indeed, sometimes the smell we associate with coffee isn’t so much the coffee itself, but what it reminds us of – as Rami Mekdachi of hipster perfume house Lola James Harper is keen to emphasise. ‘We smell coffee in a room, in a place with its atmosphere. So in our memories, a “coffee smell” is actually a scent of wood, coffee beans, spices, and warmth.’ His home scent, The Coffee Shop of JP, captures this nicely – inspired by said coffee shop in the Parisian suburbs, where Rami and his friends would go to hang out after playing basketball. With warming sandalwood and spices, the fragrance conjures up those relaxed Sundays spent with mates, while coffee brews in the background and Monday still seems like a blissfully long way off. It was niche perfumers who first

Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love

Turkish proverb

brought coffee notes to our attention. Perfumer Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays has been working with it for years. ‘I think that modern artisan perfume-making has brought a freedom into fragrance that includes relatively obscure materials like coffee as a feature note,’ she remarks. ‘Instead of merely flowers and woods, why not vegetables, sweets and drinks? And where indie goes –- taking the risks – big fragrance houses seem to follow…’ Initially, coffee notes made an appearance mostly in masculine fragrances – Valentino Uomo, Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Coffee. But coffee-powered scents for women have been appearing, with several houses catching on to the fact that coffee can provide an (espresso) shot

in the arm for a fragrance. YSL’s Black Opium is a prime example. A quartet of stellar perfumers – Olivier Cresp, Nathalie Lorson, Marie Salamagne and Honorine Blanc – collaborated on the original Black Opium, percolating a mega-dose of black coffee beans through pink pepper, vanilla, jasmine, patchouli and cedarwood. Their creation almost instantly became a blockbuster – and although no evidence suggests the smell of coffee will power you up in the same way as necking your third flat white of the day, the caffeine association certainly seems enough to trick brain into ‘waking up’ upon smelling it. (When the Black Opium eau de toilette came along in 2015, green coffee notes were used, for a brighter effect. It’s an interesting exercise to contrast them.) So: does coffee sound like your olfactory cup of tea – so to speak? Because if so, the only question is, how do you take yours – a strong, smoky hit, or softened with rose and sweet tuberose? Whatever your preference, there are more and more coffee scents to choose from. They’re gorgeous, grown-up and not-too-girly. And if yours seduces a neighbour into sharing his Gold Blend Instant, you can thank me later…

YSL’s Head of Training Paul Ferrari thinks not. ‘Coffee should never be used to clear the nose, as the coffee molecule is large, and gets lodged in the smell receptors – remaining in the nose and changing your sense of smell long after the first whiff. The trend started in the Middle East to use coffee to clear the sense of smell. However over there, fragrances are deep, worldly and very rich rather, as against the more delicate florals in western perfumery. What I suggest you do instead

26 The scented Letter

is smell opposite scents one after another – citrus then floral etc. – rather than three florals consecutively. Otherwise, the best way to clear your sense of smell is to drink water. A sip clears the palette and refreshes the sense of smell.’ Another tip: The Perfume Society’s team recommends that when your nose gets tired, bury it in the crook of your elbow, and breathe your own skin. It works magically to rebalance and recalibrate your sense of smell.

© Unsplash - Karl Chor

Does coffee actually cleanse your nose?

Where do perfumers go to smell the coffee?

Nancy Meiland ‘If I pop into Brighton near where I live, I can’t resist seeking out Small Batch Coffee for an almond flat white – they grow their coffee at altitude, which always seems to taste better.’

Bertrand Duchaufour ‘Any coffee house in France, for a Frenchstyle espresso, as I find it’s less bitter and strong than the Italian variety.’

Michael Donovan ‘We have an Italian ice cream shop close to the Roullier White Perfumery on Lordship Lane in East Dulwich called Oddono’s, and they make the best latte in the world!’

Sarah McCartney ‘My favourite regular coffee place is Café Zee in Ealing, where they roast their own beans and also do the tastiest salads. I’d also go all the way to Edinburgh for an espresso at Wellington Coffee on George Street.’

Rami Mekdachi ‘The Sant’Eustachio coffee place in Rome for their ultra woody, thick espresso. In Venice Beach, I go to Menotti’s for a fruity long black. And in Paris, I love Sunlee Howard’s coffee with its citrusy taste.’



an era of savvy marketing, the story is king. We love to hear about people, places, the roots of a product. So there isn’t a marketing creative on the planet who wouldn’t kill for a story and a heritage like Cire Trudon’s. The only ‘manufactured’ element in this tale is the candles themselves – now sold and burned in 50 countries around the world. (Well, maybe 49. As we’ll discover, in Japan, they prefer to leave these exquisite candles unlit.) It all goes back to 1643, when a salesman named Claude Trudon arrived in Paris. (The ‘cire’ is from the French for wax.) He married well – and became owner of a shop on fashionable rue Saint-Honoré. The store sold groceries and everyday necessities – which included candles (then, of course, the only source of household light). Alongside domestic candles, Trudon also provided these to a local Church, in the neighbourhood Saint-Roch parish. This small family business manufactured its candles on the premises, via a very specific process – and Trudon’s star soared, with Claude’s son Jacques appointed to the Court of Versailles in 1687 as apothecary and distiller to Queen Marie-Thérèse. From generation to generation, the knowledge and craftsmanship was handed down. And in 1737, Hierosme Trudon, heir to the family business, bought one of the most famous wax producing factories of its time – which happened to be the official wax provider to the King. Maison de Cire Trudon was elevated to official provider to the Court of Louis XIV (while also keeping the most famous cathedrals and churches across France illuminated), with a factory in Antony, now a suburb of Paris. We all know what ultimately happened to the French royal family. (During their imprisonment, however, Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI continued to order candles from the royal waxmaker.) Unlike those doomed royals, however, Cire Trudon survived the French Revolution – and flourished, going on to become the chosen chandler of the Court of Napoleon I, when the Emperor was crowned in 1811. As Cire Trudon’s Executive Director Julien Prevost explains: ‘The Trudons themselves weren’t aristocrats – they were merchants, so they were not at risk during the Terror. And although some suppliers to the French Royal Court suffered, the simple fact was: candles had become a household necessity.’ Candles are no longer a necessity – although for many of us, a home without a candle in every room is still almost unimaginable. (I have Trudon’s Spiritus Sancti candle flickering, in its signature green glass vessel, as I write this.) Thus Cire Trudon has become a go-to name for glorious smells – and some unique wax creations. And in an age of mechanisation, it is somehow cheering to find that much of the work that goes into creating a Cire Trudon candle – or a wax medallion, or one of those busts – is still done by hand.

The Cire Trudon that we know and love today was truly born in the 21st Century. Throughout Trudon’s history, the candle house continued to thrive – yet few who lit one of their tapers in a French church would have known the Trudon name. ‘The factory was also producing a lot of wax items for decoration – the Eiffel Tower, baguettes, flowers etc.’ But as other luxury names began trading on their heritage, the Blondeau family (Trudon’s present owners) decided to jumpstart the brand. And how. Nowadays, many luxury-seekers recognise a Trudon fragrance – the swirling sweetness of Joséphine, perhaps (which I don’t just love because it’s my namesake candle, but for its rose, jasmine and iris flower power), or the clove and orange Christmas-iness of Nazareth – while the glass jars are spot-them-at-30-paces beacons of good taste. Today, the factory’s based in southern Normandy in the town of Mortagne-aux-Perche, about an hour west of Paris, with a dozen or so employees – compared to 100 or so, two centuries ago. ‘Many of them have been with us for their entire career,’ smiles Julien. ‘They’re true experts at their craft.’ And some things have definitely changed, down the centuries. Where once Cire Trudon sourced beeswax from across the kingdom, the innovation of paraffin made a huge difference to candle production. ‘Beeswax is actually a very unstable substance,’ Julien maintains. ‘And one of the problems with bee colonies is that the hives are overharvested, while the type of bees bred for production are weaker. Beeswax is not the environmentally-friendly alternative that many imagine.’ So today’s candles, he continues, ‘are definitely not the same as those produced centuries ago. It’s still a flame and wax – but the whole function behind it has changed.’ Over the years, too, Cire Trudon has embraced mechanisation to take away many of the repetitive actions which can be linked health problems in workers who have to make certain gestures thousands of times in a day, potentially resulting in RSI/carpal tunnel syndrome. ‘But a lot of the work is still done by hand,’ continues Julien. So once the wicks have been attached (by machine, in this case) to the base of the Italian glass vessels – more of which anon – two different ‘pours’ are required. ‘We pour 90% of the wax, and then an operator will straighten the wick by hand – the most important task of all, because if this isn’t done right, the candle won’t burn properly. Then we wait a bit to add the last 10% of liquid wax, giving a perfectly smooth surface.’ Each green glass jar is buffed to perfection, with gloved hands, to remove any stray wax smears. Every single label – not just the gilded shields on the candles themselves, but those on the boxes – is then meticulously applied and aligned by hand. And while Marie-Antoinette may have lost her head in 1795, you can buy a Cire Trudon wax bust of it (based on

Cire Trudon survived the French Revolution and became the chosen chandler of the Court of Napoleon I

28 The scented Letter

waxing lyrical Jo Fairley delves into the fascinating history of a Parisian candlemaker – now a global name – whose artisan heritage can be traced all the way to 1643


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the master of modern femininity

Cire Trudon’s wax busts (of figures including Napoleon, right), along with their medallions, are all made by hand-pouring wax into moulds. Sometimes busts need a little adjustment, as seen left

From above left: straightening the wicks; the finished object; Executive Director Julien Provost; candles setting; a wax mould; wicks galore, waiting to be cut

24 The scented Letter

PARIS IS BURNING the sculpture by Bracard of France’s last Queen), thanks to an exclusive partnership with the French National Museum organisation. Or maybe you’d prefer Napoleon, in reflective pose. Or Benjamin Franklin, looking very wise in JeanAntoine Houdon’s sculpture. And yes, all may be lit with a match, whereupon they will take many, many hours to melt (offering quite the talking point, in the meantime). Producing the busts is a craft in itself – work carried out in a special atelier. Liquid wax is a no-no, as it would simply run straight out of the seams of the mould, so Julien explains that ‘the wax for the busts is basically quite mushy. Each mould – weighing up to 15 kilos – is filled via a ladle, scoop by scoop. They’re still quite soft when the mould is removed,’ Julien continues. ’A bust that’s slightly twisted when it emerges then enjoys a little “chiropractic” work, from the artisans, who then inspect the surface, lightly scraping away any wax seams with knives, then polishing to smooth, almost marble-like perfection with a soft cloth. They must then be cocooned in carefully concertina-ed paper, to guard against damage.’ Last but not least, a leaflet about the art of making these busts is tucked inside the duck egg blue box. Et voilà! Someone, somewhere, is going to be very happy to open that. Now, it’s widely accepted that Rigaud kickstarted the scented candle craze in the 1950s. But fascinatingly, the director of Malmaison (Joséphine Bonaparte’s former home) stumbled on a copy of an ancient advertisement for Cire Trudon featuring lavender and citronella scented candles that goes back to the mid-18th Century – and shared a copy of this historical proof with Julien and his team, adding to the company’s quite extraordinary archive. The fragrances are absolutely central to Trudon candles’ allure, of course – created by some of the world’s leading perfumers, from Yann Vasnier to Antoine Lie, Emilie Bouge, Emmanuel Philip, Dorothée Piot. But creating a fragrance that will be set alight is quite different to confecting one that will merely be warmed by skin. So there’s an on-site lab at the factory, which runs endless tests to ensure that fragrances diffuse and burn well – and that the candles themselves meet incredibly stringent safety guidelines, some of which vary from one export market to another. And if I thought that perfume production was

complicated, it’s dwarfed by the challenges presented by making scented candles. Who knew that different fragrances of Cire Trudon candles (and there are now nearly 30) would require a different thickness of wick, to burn correctly, depending on notes used? Or that some need to be trimmed at 8mm above the wax surface, while others must be clipped more closely at 5mm? Or that fragrance construction itself is hugely technologically challenging, with the traditional top notes too volatile to use? ‘That’s why you don’t often get citrus elements in candles, while notes like resins, or woody elements, work well.’ So painstaking and complicated is the production of Cire Trudon’s glass containers, meanwhile – at the Vinci factory in Tuscany – that it really deserves an in-depth exploration in its own right. (Tuscan assignment? I’m in.) But to précis, each one is produced in a centrifuge (producing a much stronger container than blowing by mouth can achieve), with little ‘bubbles’ in the glass achieved by throwing pine wood chips into the molten glass. As a result, explains Julien, ‘every single vessel is unique.’ (And every single vessel gets a second use, in my house at least, as a posy vase.) As a last step, the glass containers are then baked, in an oven, for resilience and perfect smoothness. Today, while still producing for churches and cathedrals, Cire Trudon ships somewhere around 200,000 of these distinctive green glass containers each year, with their precious scented wax cargo, to over 700 stores, including in Japan. ‘Although the Japanese don’t burn the candles,’ smiles Julien. ‘Their “scent threshold” is lower, so they just enjoy the subtler fragrance from the unburned wax.’ Globally, bestsellers are Abd el Kader, with its gust of Moroccan green mint, and Ernesto: a whisk-you-to-Havana swirl of leather and cigar tobacco. And I don’t know about you, but as I stare at my screen, answering my iPhone, dealing with the gazillion e-mails that cascade into my inbox daily, there is something grounding about having a Cire Trudon candle flickering fragrantly in the background. Not just because of the smell. But because it is also a way of time-travelling – via Trudon’s wax-making heritage – to a time long, long, long before that computer was a twinkle in Steve Jobs’s eye. And to an extraordinary heritage that all the marketing budget in the world couldn’t buy.

Cire Trudon timeline... Claude Trudon acquires his boutique on Rue SaintHonoré and begins to make candles

Cire Trudon is appointed by the Court of Louis XIV to provide candles

Trudon is the source for a treatise on The Art of Candling by engineer Duhamel de Monceau, establishing their ultimate authority




Cire Trudon continues to supply Versailles – but survives the French Revolution

Cire Trudon is appointed as supplier to the Imperial Court of Napoleon I

Cire Trudon exhibits at the World’s Fair, even surviving the arrival of electricity

The rebirth of Cire Trudon – and the opening of a new store in Saint Germaindes-Près

Trudon launches a debut line of fragrances, from Lyn Harris, Yann Vasnier and Antoine Lie





2016 The

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an aromatic life

memories, dreams, reflections Linda Pilkington has had a passion for perfumery from her teenage years onward – and is now purveyor of exquisite perfumes through her own house, Ormonde Jayne, launched in 2002. Here, she shares scented recollections and inspirations

What’s the very first thing you remember smelling? Roses. As children, we were all given an area of the garden to take care of. My mother explained about thorns, pruning and we smelled the roses together. I must have been around seven years old. When did you realise that scent was really important to you? When I first wore Diorella by Christian Dior. Everyone commented on my perfume – which I found rather appealing. (Particularly a French boy called Dominic, who was new in town.) What’s your favourite scented flower? Two of them – gardenia and frangipani. Sadly, up till now, it hasn’t been easy successfully to capture the scent of gardenia very well. So I’m excited to hear about a particular flower farmer in Columbia who apparently has an organic gardenia that can be extracted; I’m trying to track him down, so watch this space! What was the first fragrance you were given? Madame Rochas, in its tall, elegant cut glass bottle, with heavy gold cap. The perfume was the colour of Cognac; it was like a piece of treasure. What was the first fragrance you bought for yourself? 32 The scented Letter

That Christian Dior Diorella. I always have a bottle in my bedroom – it makes me happy. I spray the room, my bed and always spray it in my guest bedroom before visitors arrive. Have you had different fragrances for different phases of your life? Absolutely. I’ve worn a few perfumes over and over again. Since my early teenage years until mid-twenties, there was a long list that included Madame Rochas, Chanel Cristalle, Diorella, Van Cleef & Arpels First, Guerlain Shalimar, Christian Dior Diorling, Shiseido Feminité du Bois... I could go on! But

since then, you won’t be surprised to hear, it’s been Ormonde Jayne all the way. The smell that always makes me feel happy is… cooking in the kitchen, especially steamed basmati rice with butter and cardamom. The smell that always makes me feel a bit sad… is a damp room. The scent I love to smell on a woman is… Ormonde Woman. The scent that I like to smell on a man is… Ormonde Jayne Isfarkand. The fragrance from the past that I’ve always wanted to smell… is still with me. Diorella and Cristalle are so incredibly uplifting, happy and put a spring in my step. They remind me of my teenage years, spending hours getting ready to go out with my sister and girlfriends. What is your favourite book about fragrance? Perfume by Patrick Süskind. What a story, what imagination, what a page-turner – and it’s just the most unusual story about perfume ever written.

LINDA’S FIVE FAVOURITE SMELLS 1 Cedarwood It reminds me of my father’s wardrobe.

Roses,an early scent memory (top left). Sunday roast and basmati rice are favourite cooking aromas

3 Fresh bedding Especially my bed – a four-poster with the most beautiful views of trees and sunsets. 4 Isfarkand, on my husband Everyone knows him by this scent. 5 The Ormonde Jayne boutique A perfectly elegant symphony of all the scents I’ve made.

Linda’s scent wardrobe has spanned Dior, Rochas, Chanel, Serge Lutens – but a favourite smell today is that of her own elegant boutique, right


© AMEEN FAHMY, ALISON MARRAS, KARI SHEA - UNSPLASH; Christine; Oran Tantapakul - Fotolia

2 Sunday lunch A roast of some description. A true comfort zone and a tradition in our family, whether it’s just three of us (me and my two boys), or more usually around eight to 12 people. Every Sunday 3pm, the full monty.

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the master of femininity SOMETHING INmodern THE AIR TONIGHT

Reed all about it

We may never know who truly invented the scented candle. But Suzy Nightingale talked to the man who will go down in history for bringing us the (now-ubiquitous) diffuser, contemporary Italian interior designer Alessandro Agrati

24 The scented Letter

Culti Milano uses coloured glass to catch the eye with their diffusers

Styling our homes with heaven-scented accessories is something we take for granted these days. But if you cast your mind back to the 90s, you’d generally have been hard-pushed to find much beyond some dodgy scented candles (with scents so sweet they might as well have been composed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Oompa Loompas), with perhaps a bowl of pot-pourri, smelling of ‘dewberry’ and slowly, sadly gathering dust. The time was ripe, then, for a fresh take on home fragrances – but it took the ingenuity of an eclectic Italian interior designer, peering curiously at some furniture, to invent the reed-diffuser as we know it. Thus changing the way we scent spaces forever… Alessandro Agrati, the impeccably-dressed and quintessentially Italian Art Director of Culti Milano, was working on creating some rattan furniture in his home studio one afternoon – as you do (if you’re an in-demand interior designer, anyway) – and frowning discontentedly. To make rattan pliable enough to weave into home wares and furnishings, it must be soaked in water – and, Alessandro explains, wrinkling his nose at the memory, ‘when the rattan gets wet it does not smell nice at all.’ Pondering this pongy problem for a while, he was suddenly struck by fragrant inspiration. ‘I thought about putting some drops of perfume oil I was using in the water, just to save my nose while working with the rattan.’ It wasn’t until he returned home a few days later that he realised ‘…my house was full of that perfume. And that’s how everything began!’ Long inspired by the power that fragrance has to add depth of character to a space, and the way a room’s scent has the ability to completely alter or enhance our mood, Alessandro realised these long sticks could not only soak up the precious scent but diffuse it around the room beautifully – creating a pool of perfume that outlasted anything else on the market. It also offered a way of marrying together the two loves of his life: design and scenting spaces. Because importantly for Alessandro, the vessel itself had potential to look like a design object you’d be proud to have in your home – not some purely functional item to be hidden away. ‘Perfumes generate emotions, memories and sensations that characterise ourselves and the places where we live,’ he explains – adding that although he’s always loved wearing fragrance personally, a home scent shouldn’t reach out and slap you around the face. ‘I don’t think fragrance should be the protagonist within a space,’ he notes. ‘Instead, it should instead envelop you and make you feel good, almost forgetting that it is there…’ Having developed his prototype, the brand Culti Milano was born – and that innovative reed diffuser soon became a must-have piece for chic homes around the world. ‘When I invented the home diffuser, there was nothing like it. Literally, people had no idea what you were talking about – perfuming a room with an object? So we had to show people the possibilities.’ When it comes to selection, Agrati recommends selecting a fragrance based on how you feel that day – revealing that he chooses how to scent his office or home space ‘depending what mood I’m in, the season, or how I

Alessandro Agrati - the ‘king of the diffuser’

Fragrance should not be the protagonist within a space – it should envelop and make you feel good, almost forgetting that it is there

want my home to feel as I move from room to room.’ We love the idea of layering scents around the house, letting your home fragrance become as much a part of expressing your personality as the perfume you wear. Culti L’Oudness Black Label, for instance, for dark, mysterious, smoochy evenings – or perhaps Aramara for the office, where it will infuse the air with bitter orange, bergamot and cardamom, a wonderful wake-up call for the senses. The past two and a half decades have seen this Italian house go from word-of-mouth cult status in the interior design community, to being a (stylish) household name; those little sticks of scented rattan have woven their way into the hearts of scent-lovers around the world. Which just goes to show: inspiration can strike when you least expect it – if you simply follow your nose. Find Culti home fragrances at Harrods, from £89.95 for 500ml Fragrance Diffuser through to £129 for 100ml Fragrance Diffuser


scented Letter


Looks good, smells great

A curation of some of our own favourite diffusers – some available as faux flowers, as well as sticks…

Culti Mareminerale £89.95

Skandavisk Fjord Diffuser £39


Hervé Gambs Love Couture Purple Orchid £35

Urban Apothecary Green Lavender £35

Fragonard Coriandre Lemongrass Diffuser £30

Temple Spa Airs & Spaces Spa Aromatic Diffuser £35

Mini Moderns Whitby Diffuser – Sea Spray £30

Molton Brown Black Orange & Bergamot Aroma Reeds £45


The How-To... Reed sticks are a great replacement where candles aren’t allowed. Fire codes for offices (and sometimes residential apartments) restrict use of candles – but reed diffusers are a great way to enhance the smell of a room without an open flame. Here’s how to get the most out of yours. l Always position your diffuser in a high traffic area. The movement around the diffuser will disperse the fragrance. If you stick it in a corner, it won’t be nearly so effective.

Cochine Agarwood & Amber Reed Diffuser £49

l Place a coaster, plate or mirror under the diffuser. This will prevent any drops of oil from spoiling a countertop. l To get the most out of a diffuser, flip the reeds every few days. (Or even just a few of the sticks, daily.) Be aware, though, that the more often you flip them, the faster the oil will evaporate. l Use caution when you flip the reeds. Do it over a sink or put down a newspaper, to be sure that there’s no oil spillage on your furniture. l Choose the right size for the space. A large diffuser works best in a large room (and conversely, choose a small diffuser for a more confined space). In a small space like a bathroom, a full set of sticks can be overwhelming – just use four or five. l Clean your diffuser before refilling. Use dishwashing soap and water, and let it dry completely before refilling. It’s always best to start with fresh oil than top up what you have.

NEOM Scent to De-Stress Real Luxury Reed Diffuser £38

l Do also change your reeds when you change the oil. They tend to get dusty (and so become less effective). And try to buy reeds from the same brand as you buy the liquid from.

Almost a rainbow of colours, from Culti Milano



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Concept: Carson Parkin-Fairley. Words: Suzy Nightingale

The design legacy of Piero Fornasetti can be seen in smart homes everywhere: chairs, tables, wardrobes, china – and now, one of the most coveted (and collectible) home fragrance offerings we've ever seen. (And smelled.) How many of these different candle and room spray designs have you collected, we wonder…?

It should come as no surprise that Piero Fornasetti was expelled from Milan’s prestigious Brera Art Academy in 1932 for ‘insubordination’. One glimpse at his surrealistic designs and we see sublime creativity infused with a stylish sense of humour. Hugely influenced by classical Greek and Roman architecture, time and sun symbols are present in many of the 11,000 different items he created in his lifetime. But most strikingly iconic were the faces, many of which you can see here, including endless representations of one particular beautiful woman – the face of opera singer Lina Cavalieri – who Piero first saw in a 19th Century magazine and became enraptured by. ‘What inspired me to create more than 500 variations on the face of a woman?’ he once asked, before admitting, ‘I don’t know. I began to make them and I never stopped.’ Highly sought-after by interior designers and collectors of artistic whimsicality, the candles are what we especially lust after – a combination of decorative appeal and utterly delectable scents, with the bonus being they’re one of the most accessible ways of owning your very own Fornasetti. The five fragrances are the work of Olivier Polge (before he became the ‘nose’ at Chanel). To create Otto, Fornasetti’s ultimate signature scent, Olivier visited the Fornasetti family’s home in Milan – entwining woodsmoke from the fireplace, garden herbs and labdanum (evoking the parchment-lined wooden drawers of Fornasetti’s archive). Whether winking, staring cross-eyed at a bee, or dressed as a pirate, Cavalieri’s face continues to inspire and amuse us two centuries on – with Pierro’s son, Barnaba Fornasetti, continuing to design for this family-owned and home-centric company. Find Fornasetti home fragrances – priced from £125 at Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, The Conran Shop and

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the HAVE master of modern WE SMELLED THE femininity FUTURE

scı-fi the

scents of home The world’s leading fragrance houses don’t only work on perfumes – but on scents for floor polishes, loo cleaners, washing products and many other aromas which make up the olfactory tapestry of our homes. CPL Aromas invited The Perfume Society’s Suzy Nightingale (words) and Carson Parkin-Fairley (photos) into their brand new state-of-the-art Research and Development lab for a sniff around

*The European Organization for Nuclear Research

Welcome to a world of autoflushing toilets, elf-sized towels and a scientist who set out to capture the scent of a thunderstorm. CPL Aromas’ motto may be ‘Creating scents that ignite the imagination’ – but they’re also responsible for composing the smell of pretty much all our homes. Thus we find ourselves standing in a large room, stark white and unfurnished but for a clothing airer, placed directly in the centre. The kind of object you would see in any house, it seems peculiar to come across it out of the domestic context – particularly as this one doesn’t have clothing strewn across it, but is draped in little white towelling squares, pegged at regular intervals around the bars. Slowly circling the stand is a group of white lab-coat-wearing individuals carrying clipboards, who rhythmically stoop to sniff the fabric, then mark something on their forms. It’s kind of hypnotic to watch – like a scene from a sci-fi movie in which a washing machine has become sentient and is taking over the world. (Which is surely only a matter of time, if the doommongers are to be believed.) We stay a while, strangely hushed, before moving to a seemingly endless series of connecting corridors – ‘Star Wars’ meets ‘Changing Rooms’. Veronique Bradbury is leading our tour. She’s been at CPL Aromas for 18 years, starting as a Home Care chemist, now having progressed to Group Technical Manager – which means working globally to harmonise the teams CPL has beavering away on thousands of top-secret scented projects at any one time. Veronique explains that CPL’s teams are split across specific areas of interest, and so ‘…we have a dedicated team looking at home products and another for personal care. And importantly, we not only have to create beautiful smells – we have to make sure our fragrances work efficiently.’ The room we’ve just left, it turns out, is where fabric washes and conditioners are assessed for their scent. Longevity, projection and effectiveness are all important, and at various stages of testing, those elf-sized towel squares are washed and dried in varying temperatures and situations, representing wash-day

It’s like being in the fragrance equivalent of CERN* and having them fire up a particle collider of perfume, just for us

habits around the world. But it’s when we walk into the next room that things get even more impressively weird. Here, we find an immaculate, tiled bathroom with toilet, sink and bath behind a glass wall. As the heavy door swings open and hushes shut – air sealed – behind us, we are suddenly overwhelmed by the scent of something sweet and familiar, a flood of comfort that’s a jolt in so strange a setting. Our attention is directed toward the lit candle that’s been placed

on the side of the bath. Veronique explains: ‘We can test all sorts of things in here – any cleaning product, but also scented candles that people might like to use in a bathroom.’ And the reason for the room being air-sealed (and therefore eerily silent)? The £1 million investment in this futuristic lab in Northamptonshire included putting in a high-tech air clearing system for ‘odour-scrubbing’, explains Veronique. ‘It means we can test one fragranced product and then suck all the air out of the room and clean it, so the next scent we trial doesn’t get polluted by the first.’ It’s one of the many reasons CPL Aromas are so proud of this brandspanking new centre. They can finally set up minutely-controlled conditions to put perfumed products of all kinds truly to the test. And with the extreme air-filtering technology in place, they’ve been able to massively improve their testing of fragrances, without the risk of odours mixing and therefore tainting the air of rooms. We step into another room, with


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a scented candle at its epicentre. Moving towards the flickering glow, in this highly controlled setting, gives a proper sense of what fragrance developers call ‘the throw’ of a candle – how far away from that candle the scent itself carries. I felt I could have drawn a line in chalk around that perfumed pool – and strangely, inexplicably felt safer standing within it. I suppose we all experience this to a certain extent, whenever we light a scented candle – a way of wrapping ourselves and our home in a beautiful fragrance, or of welcoming friends and family into our treasured space. But in this sterile, laboratory setting, the olfactory impact feels magnified to the point of surrealism. It’s an emotionally-charged environment, actually – everyone speaks passionately about their work, while Veronique admits she still gets a thrill walking through a supermarket and seeing some of the products they’ve worked on. (Adding that it can take her ‘a very long time to walk down the home care aisle.’) The next room we enter resembles something from a stereotypical mad scientist’s lab, rather than a spookily sterile ‘home’ setting. It houses a machine called a Gas Chromatograph, with 30-60 meters of flexible, hollow glass tubes connected to a computer, each tube no wider than a hair’s breadth. These are heated to varying degrees as fragrances are passed through them, literally to force their molecules apart. A fragrance analyst, Glenn Moran, walks in to the lab and switches the machine on – it hums, throbbing loudly as we stare in wonder. It’s like being in the fragrance equivalent of CERN – the European Organisation for Nuclear Research – and having them fire up a particle collider of perfume, just for us. ‘My job here is kind of unravelling fragrance, working back-to-front from the way a perfumer works. They need to build a composition, from a starting point. In here we explode perfumers’ creations – and pick them apart so we can see what’s going on.’ (Suddenly I can think of no more exciting job than running scents through this machine and watching a sort of ‘Big Bang’ of bergamot.) ‘You can isolate a single part of any smell using this, and pull that particular molecule out – so a perfumer can come in here to smell it in isolation. The metal collection tube has an absorbent material in it – imagine it as being a bit like charcoal. We can pump air through it and trap it. We then take the tube of air, put it in a heated box and it drives 42 The scented Letter

Just some of the ingredients at perfumers’ fingertips at CPL Aromas

Left: banks of machines for testing laundry scents. Here: a candle’s ‘throw’ is measured

Assessing elf-sized towels. Right: more of CPL’s light-filled new HQ

© alinakho; karandaev -


all the elements into the GC [Gas Chromatograph], so we can analyse it.’ This has enabled CPL to build what they call ‘a library of captured smells’, which the company’s talented perfumers have at their fingertips. This is also how Glenn Moran succeeded in capturing the scent of a thunderstorm. Having waited nine months for the right weather conditions, Glenn rushed outside to the rather unglamorous setting of the CPL Aromas car park, and ‘…held the tube just above the ground, because that’s where the most interesting smells happen when the rain hits the ground. We caught some really interesting materials – geosmin was one, which is a really earthy smell. It’s released by bacteria that live in the soil – and it’s rare to smell because it only happens when water hits them. So we added it to that library of captured smells.’ Our final chat was with Tim Whiteley, Global Research & Development Director for CPL Aromas, who explained that this new CPL ‘home’ also enables them to find out super-fast whether a product needs more tweaking, vastly speeding up the development process. ‘If a home care product isn’t working as we expected, we can now track it through every stage of the process in a couple of hours.’ Tim smiles, adding: ‘Did you know the reason the toilets in McDonalds smell good is because they have eight changes of air a minute?!’ No, Tim, we did not! ‘Well, when they said they wanted a fragrance for that area, it meant we had to develop a testing condition in which we can also clean the air that many times, so we can test the scents as they will actually be used.’ CPL have also recently done some scent encapsulation for Heathrow. ‘We’ve actually scented the floor in Terminal 2,’ he beams proudly. ‘It’s still being tested, but it works over a 16-hour period.’ And what did an airport want that scent to smell of? ‘They wanted it fresh. Keep it fresh, they said…’ He offers no more than that – because of commercial sensitivity, in this multi-billion pound industry. When it comes to secrecy, fragrance houses have to be right up there with MI5. We shake hands and thank the team, blinking to be back in natural light again and heading to our own houses. But smiling to think we’ve met the very people who create the scents we surround ourselves with there – who help to compose our olfactory memories of what ‘home’ actually means.

CPL innovations With labs around the world, a turnover of £80m+ and recent projects that include a collection for renowned Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller and fragrances for just-unveiled perfume house Anima Vinci, this British, family-owned perfume house is at the cutting edge of fragrance fashion, as well as technology. CPL’s Global Head of Perfumery is Christian Provenzano, who created Agent Provocateur and their Maîtresse fragrances, along with Halfeti, Levantium, Oud de Nil and Alizarin for Penhaligon’s. But these days, it’s not enough for a fragrance house like CPL to offer a gorgeous vanilla note, or a smouldering patchouli, or a divine finished concoction of natural and synthetic aromas. They must come up with signature ingredients that have the designer names, niche houses and cult brands alike beating a path to their door for something truly unique. So Senior Perfumer Beverley Bayne explained a little more about some of CPL’s signature aroma technologies. These include AromaFusion, a unique molecular distillation process in which high-quality raw materials are combined to create completely new ingredients which cannot, even via rivals’ clever technologies, be ‘unlocked’ and potentially copied. (It’s rather as if they are ‘encrypted’.) ‘Our CitrusFusion is amazing,’ smiles Beverley. ‘Even we had no idea that during tests that its freshness would last all the way to the base of a perfume. That’s unheard-of, and thrilling.’ Beverley also waxes lyrical about their IncenseFusion, describing it as ‘otherworldly, incredible! It’s smoke, leather and fruit, somehow, all at the same time. I love it.’ (CPL’s perfumers have direct input into these ingredients, ‘so we can tweak them, get them exactly how we want.’) Then there’s AromaGuard: a ‘malodour counteractant technology’, as they put it, a breakthrough which doesn’t ‘mask’ but actually counteracts smells of cooking, garbage, body odour etc. And last but not least, CPL are offering EcoBoost – scents with massive projection, environmentally friendly because they use just 10% of normal fragrance dosage, enabling perfumers to create exciting fragrances while drastically reducing packaging, energy and transport costs. CPL has already developed over 1,000 EcoBoost fragrances for clients. And in that library of captured smells, if we’d looked more closely, we’d surely have spotted one called, simply: ‘Success’.

In here we explode perfumers’ creations – and pick them apart so we can see what’s going on

Glenn Moran, CPL Aromas


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How to really set your Fragrance experts talk a lot about ‘sillage’ – the trail a fragrance leaves on the skin, or how it diffuses in the air. But as BOSS Parfums explain to us, it’s not just the choice of a scent that makes a difference – it’s where you wear it, reveals Suzy Nightingale… The Perfume Society likes to think of ourselves as ‘fragrance agony aunts’ – answering readers’ questions about which are the best fragrances to boost confidence, last all day, make you stand out from the crowd. And, importantly, how to get the most out of the scents we wear. For answers, we turn to experts. And for expertise of increasing intensity, step forward Boss Parfums – who’ve marked the launch of BOSS THE SCENT INTENSE with these steamy shots of the fragrance’s faces, Theo James and Anna Ewers. They’ve zoomed in to explore the zones that perfume was designed for, and which play a pivotal role in amplifying our scent experience: the pulse-points. Located on the body where the surface of the skin is thin enough to feel your heartbeat, the body heat of a pulse-point serves perfectly to amplify a fragrance through every single facet of its composition. BOSS Parfums certainly have their fingers on that pulse: when applying BOSS THE SCENT INTENSE, they’ve identified specific areas for men and for women to experiment with wearing the fragrances. For the hotter your skin, the faster the scent will unfurl towards the come-hither base. For women, BOSS reveal below the most seductive pulse-points – from the nape of the neck to, yes, the ankles (almost head-to-toe...) For him, BOSS Parfums hone in on areas referred to as ‘…the physical traits of uncompromising masculinity: the torso and biceps,’ in order to fully reveal the depth of the fragrance. For the secrets of where best to

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spritz BOSS THE SCENT INTENSE for maximum effect, read on… ● Neck A major pulse-point; when scent’s applied here it creates immediate impact – but ensure the skin is moisturised to help ‘lock in’ the scent for even longer to draw your intended closer still to the seductive curve of your neck. For women, be sure to apply behind the earlobes, ‘to keep him lingering longer…’ ● Décolletage Apply fragrance to the base of the throat, collarbone and chest – for as BOSS Parfums remind us, ‘the delicate trio of soft, sculptural lines [on a woman’s body] offer the perfect canvas to incite a powerful attraction.’ ● Wrists Classic pulse-points, the inside of the wrists have blood vessels flowing close to the skin, ensuring your fragrance is amplified and evolves over time. Remember not to rub the wrists together as this increases the interaction between the scent and your skin’s oils, evaporating the delicate top notes and impacting on how the fragrance evolves. ● Ankles Yes, really. According to contemporary perfumers (so BOSS Parfums tell us,) ‘the ankles are the ideal place to apply fragrance as they allow the scent to rise and provide a longer-lasting effect.’ Perpetually in motion, this pulse-point activates the fragrance throughout the day. ● Torso For men, the largest pulsepoint on the body is found just above the heart – helping to subtly and evenly diffuse the scent. ‘To exude seductiveness,’ BOSS Parfums explain, ‘the scent has to be

accessible to others: noticeable but not too intense for the wearer.’ Wearing a fragrance that’s been specifically composed to create a lasting impression, with an impact that’s utterly unique depending on where it’s applied, can only up your game. And BOSS THE SCENT INTENSE for him ramps up the appeal further still – the fragrance swirls around the intriguing heart of an exclusive ingredient: African maninka fruit, which smells exotically of both passion fruit and rum, proving utterly addictive. Swathing the skin with exoticism, the boozy fruitiness is tempered by the beguiling top note of spicy ginger, a deft touch of cool lavender wrapped around the heart before sighing contentedly on a base of supple, burnished leather. As for the female counterpart in this particular scented game of seduction, BOSS THE SCENT INTENSE for her celebrates the ‘irresistible act of getting closer,’ with a fragrance that exudes a powerful, feminine elegance – because yes: we can be both. Harmonised power pulsates through the fragrance, from a honeyed peach garlanded by freesia and nectar-like osmanthus, to a delectable base of dark-roasted cocoa we simply cannot resist. Whichever BOSS THE SCENT you choose – and wherever you decide to apply – then hearts will surely beat a little faster with each sniff… Hugo Boss BOSS THE SCENT INTENSE for him from £54 for 50ml EDP; BOSS THE SCENT INTENSE for her from £48 for 50ml EDP at:

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the master of modern ignite your senses femininity

This page and right (below): interiors of Soho restaurant, Flavour Bastard, presided over by Pratap Chahal (centre right)


Prepare to have your tastebuds dazzled by Pratap Chahal, of Soho restaurant Flavour Bastard – whose recipes (some of which we’re delighted to feature here) blur the lines dazzlingly between taste and smell Words: Jo Fairley Photos: ETIENNE GILFILLAN Is it any coincidence that home fragrance sales have risen dramatically in line with the British becoming a nation of foodies? Almost certainly not. Just because you love the smell of garlic, onions or fish frying, it doesn’t mean you want visitors to have their senses assaulted by it. In which case, almost any other article in this Scents of Home edition introduces you to sublime candles, diffusers and other ways to fragrance their air in your home – masking any whiffs that you consider less-than-fabulous. Personally, I’m extremely happy to stand up and declare myself as a massive fan of those cooking aromas. Cardamom, crushed in a pestle and mortar, or just-grated nutmeg, perhaps. Wafer-thin slices of white onions, caramelising in the pan. And curry – a smell that never ceases to start a mini-Niagara of saliva, in my mouth. To me, intense scents of cooking mean just one thing: that my tastebuds are about to be wowed. And they have rarely been more intensely wowed than by the man whose recipes we’re delighted to showcase here. Last year, Pratap Chahal opened a Soho restaurant by the name of Flavour Bastard. As its name suggests, this is a venue that doesn’t pull its punches, flavour-wise. But 46 The scented Letter

The Perfume Society would expect nothing less from this talented chef – who we got to know via a series of pop-up scented suppers Pratap and his wife Nik hosted in their own home over the past few years, including exclusive events for our subscribers and followers. Pratap’s food doesn’t just delight the senses – it ignites them. And more than any other chef whose food I’ve eaten, he also somehow ‘blurs’ the distinction between the senses, so that you almost don’t know if you’re tasting or smelling something. Of course, you’re doing both: the sense of smell plays a huge role in taste – but it’s as if Pratap deploys aroma to ignite a rocket under your palate. (And not just because of his love of fiery spices.) This gifted chef learned his craft in restaurants including The Cinnamon Club, Gordon Ramsay Claridge’s and Galvin Bistrot. (Quite a few Michelin stars between those, NB.) But it was reading natural perfumer Mandy Aftel’s book Aroma (which she co-wrote with chef Daniel Patterson) which inspired Pratap to use ingredients that make his food superfragrant – not just those traditional spices, but elements like incense, smoke, peppermint, rose, jasmine and more. Many of his signature dishes – now appearing on the menu at

Flavour Bastard’s spin on a coffee Martini Martini

Flavour Bastard – really are ‘edible scents’. That menu changes more often than seasonally, with Pratap forever experimenting in the kitchens of this chic yet understated Soho restaurant. You might encounter ‘Smoked goat, pomegranate & frankincense, orange and mooli radish.’ And for the more veggie-minded, there are plenty of options – ‘A cloud of curds, gram confetti, mint relish, guindilla chilli’, anyone? And trust me: the ‘Mayanspiced chocolate & brownie mousse, parsnip & cedar ice cream’ is one of the greatest desserts that has ever, ever melted on my tongue. If you prefer your flavours on the quiet side, you might want to go elsewhere. But don’t, whatever you do, write off Flavour Bastard on the strength of what (other) journalists might have had to say about it. When Flavour Bastard opened, those of us at The Perfume Society – already familiar with Pratap’s phenomenal cooking – fully anticipated an avalanche of rave reviews. Certainly, Flavour Bastard has had its fair share of high-profile food world figures beating a path to its Frith Street door – but boy, did most of them have their Sabatiers out. Instead of the glowing write-ups we fully expected, reviewer after reviewer seemed to be possessed by the

An umami None Shall Pass cocktailcocktail

spirit of A.A. Gill at his most arch and vicious. For whatever reason, those food critics didn’t ‘get’ Flavour Bastard. But happily, the public most certainly do: social media raves ensure the place is packed out, night after night, while 70% of TripAdvisor reviews rate it as ‘Excellent’. As our fellow fragrance writer Amanda Carr (of the We Wear Perfume blog) commented, after a night there: ‘From the artfully-constructed cocktails, almost too beautiful to drink, to the golden, turmeric-flecked butter or the jamsticky pork belly tinged with cinnamon, everything was a scrumptious treat. The food is headily aromatic and gloriously tasty. It’s now my go-to joint in Soho, to meet friends or catch a quick bite before the theatre.’ And really, who would you rather believe: overpaid, overfed restaurant reviewers who need to sell newspapers with provocative copy – or real-life fellow foodies? We know which camp we’re in. So we’re delighted to showcase a handful of Pratap’s recipes, here. (They might be a bit of a bastard to cook, actually – but the resulting taste explosion is worth it.) Me? I’m trying to figure out how we can make Flavour Bastard The Perfume Society’s works canteen.


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ignite your senses

Beetroot Salad with Rose, Bergamot, Magnolia Mustard, Ricotta Red beetroot 250g cooked red beetroot, grated 15g pomegranate molasses 25g dessicated coconut 5 drops Holy Lama Rose Extract Spice Drops (find them at 3g toasted mustard seeds pinch green cardamom 1 drop Holy Lama Clove Spice Extract 3g salt 5g diced ginger 5ml cider vinegar pinch ground black pepper Method: mix it all together!

Golden beetroot 300g yellow beetroot Marinade for golden beetroot 100ml cider vinegar 4 drops bergamot essential oil 10g minced ginger 4g salt 20g honey 20ml orange juice 10ml lemon juice Method: boil the golden beetroot until cooked. Chill, peel and cut in half before slicing into approximately 2mm thick slices. Mix 250g of cooked and sliced yellow beetroot with 50ml marinade and keep for at least six hours before serving. Ricotta 50g ricotta Candy beetroot (striped beetroot) 2 beets Method: slice the raw candy beet on a mandolin to create slices around 1mm thick.

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Toasted pine nuts Toast a generous handful of pine nuts in the oven till golden – around 4-6 minutes at 170˚C Magnolia mustard 20g English mustard 20g Dijon mustard 16g sugar 16ml white wine vinegar 30ml vegetable oil 2 drops organic magnolia essential oil Method: mix everything except the vegetable and magnolia oils, adding these while whisking to emulsify. To plate: Put 2 spoons of red beetroot into a 6cm metal ring mould, and press down. Place the ring in the middle of a plate and remove to reveal the beetroot base. Arrange 2-3 slices of golden beetroot on the top of the red beetroot. Place a quenelle (careful scoop) of ricotta on top of the golden beetroot, followed by 2 slices of candy beetroot, rolled up. Splash dots of magnolia mustard around the plate and finish with a sprinkling of pine nuts.

Bergamot Tart with Banana Ice Cream Tart filling 100ml lemon juice 125ml cream 5 eggs 190g sugar 7 drops bergamot essential oil Method: whisk everything together and store in fridge. Sweet pastry 500g flour 150g icing sugar 360g butter 5g salt 4 eggs 50ml water Method: mix flour and butter in a KitchenAid, Kenwood, or by hand with a paddle until breadcrumb consistency. Add sugar, salt and yolks. Remove from bowl and push mix together with your hands. Macadamia praline 100g caster sugar 15ml/1 tablespoon water 50g toasted macadamia nuts Method: place sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed pan and put on stove to caramelise; chop the macadamia nuts. When the sugar starts to caramelise and turn golden, stir macadamia nuts into the caramel. Once coated, turn the nuts out onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Once chilled, chop up the praline coarsely.

Banana ice cream 250ml milk 250ml cream 75g sugar 50g glucose 4 egg yolks 1 banana Method: boil milk and cream, stirring well. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl. When the milk boils, pour and whisk onto the egg/sugar mix. Return to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, whisking continuously. Put the mix into a blender and blend in the banana. Chill/churn in an ice cream machine. To cook the tart: grease a 10-inch metal tart case, roll out pastry and line the tin with it. Chill for an hour before blind-baking. Once blindbaked, chill the pastry again. Heat the oven to 140˚C. Place the tart case in the oven (still in its ring); pour in the tart mix slowly until it’s level with the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the custard is set. Once cooked, remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool. To plate: remove from ring and cut tart into eight. Place each slice on a plate with some chopped macadamia praline next to it; sprinkle top of tart with a little caster sugar and caramelise with a blow-torch. Put a scoop of ice cream beside each slice and add more praline on top of ice cream.

Quinoa Pudding with Berries 50g quinoa 150ml milk 125ml cream pinch saffron 4 drops organic vetiver oil 60g mascarpone 60g sugar handful of shelled pistachio nuts mixed berries Method: wash the quinoa in cold water a couple of times. Add to a pan with the milk and cook until the milk has evaporated. Add the sugar and saffron and cook for another five minutes. Add the vetiver. Transfer to a container and chill. Whip the cream and fold into the mascarpone. Fold the quinoa into the cream mix and chill again. Serve with berries/pistachios.

A FLAVOUR COMPASS If you’re interested in the relationship between taste and smell, and want to create more dishes that will blow your mind, your tastebuds (and your olfactory bulb), we recommend the new book from Mandy Aftel and Daniel Patterson, The Art of Flavor: The Practices and Principles for Creating Delicous Food (Riverhead). The book is imported from the US, and priced around £20 on Amazon.


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first whiffs

latest launches Trust us: spring is about to bloom all over, with the first unveilings for 2018. Fresh florals, airy green Colognes and ‘nude’ skin-scents are just some of the scent trends we’re seeing

TREAT YOURSELF Go on. We know you deserve our latest Discovery Box. (Because although you tell us our boxes make fabulous gifts, we also believe in giving ourselves a little treat, every now and then.) Treat Yourself is priced £15.00 to VIPs/£19.00 to non-VIPs at – and (among other delights) includes these fabulous fragrances and ‘extras’:

● AMOUAGE Beach Hut Woman ● SANA JARDIN Berber Blonde ● THE BEAUTIFUL MIND SERIES Volume 1 and Volume 2 ● ESTÉE LAUDER Modern Muse Nuit ● AROMATHERAPY ASSOCIATES Deep Relax and Support Breathe Bath & Shower Oils

✶ new









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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.








Hibiscus Palm


Nude Eau De Parfum



A positive ray of sunshine amidst the winter gloom, Hibiscus Palm is an invitation to wallow in the lush florals of a tropical hideaway. A unique hibiscus palm accord is set against fresh, green palm leaf, with exotic flowers unfurling their petals beneath. Tiaré, frangipani, ylang ylang, melati flowers and tuberose absolute are spiced by ginger, ultimately warming on the skin to deliver a trail of vanilla, coconut milk, musk and heliotrope. We are so there. From £96 for 50ml eau de parfum (from Feb)

A sublime skin-scent joins the Alaïa Paris line-up, created by perfumer Marie Salamagne – amimalic yet sheer, delicate and tender, yet most definitely purring loudly beneath the surface of its nude juice. Marie began, so we’re told, with the base of cedar and sandalwood, weaving in tonka bean for warmth, then contrasting with the spiciness of cardamom and adding orange blossom – a note both velvety and bright – in the opening, a fitting tribute to the Alaïa va-va-voom. From £44 for 30ml eau de parfum At Harrods (4th February)

When the perfumers behind a just-launched range are Alberto Morillas, Christophe Reynaud, Frank Voelkl and Fabric Pellegrin, any perfumista is going to sit up and take notice. The fragrances themselves, meanwhile, are inspired by cult songs, with the intension ‘to fuse the worlds of perfume, arts and pop culture in a poetic, magic and witty way.’ Of the initial quartet, here’s Besame Mucho: soft with iris, and given a whipcrack of black leather. A sure-fire hit. £70 for 50ml eau de parfum



Knot Eau Absolue

Parco Palladiano VIII

From Berdoues’ luxurious collection, which showcases ingredients from around the globe, this whisks us to Cuba – where the air is still perfumed by the cigars for which the island is famed. Breathe the sweet scent of Cuba’s tobacco fields, alongside Jamaican allspice, Turkish tobacco and touches of vetiver (from neighbouring Haiti), in the base. And who wouldn’t want an exquisite Deco bottle like this to cha-cha-cha straight onto their dressing table? £80 for 100ml eau de parfum At Harvey Nichols

Knot takes its name from a collection of bags with metal knot closures by luxe leather name Bottega Veneta, revisted each season by Creative Designer Tomas Maier. Renowned perfumer Daniela Andrier gives a new twist to the original Knot scent here, embodying the luxury of BV’s woven leather bags via familiar elements of lavender and orange blossom, suffused with a billowing jasmine, and becoming ever-more-exotic as the rich myrrh base is woven in. From £72 for 50ml eau absolue At Harrods (nationwide 1st Feb)

Like a walk in the Veneto’s beautiful gardens, Bottega Veneta’s Parco Palladiano collection captures the change of the seasons in this region of Italy. VIII is an ode to the orange tree – bright, happy neroli is the star, with rich, green petitgrain giving depth and hints of woodiness, and the soft hum of honeyed orange flower purring in the background. A tranquil stroll under bountiful, blossoming trees, with the glowing golden juice capturing the sun’s rays. £190 for 100ml eau de parfum

Besame Mucho



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Jacques Cavallier – generally in residence at Louis Vuitton, nowadays – is the composer of this addition to Bvlgari’s bouquet of opulent flowers. To capture the ‘fresh and incandescent’ scent of magnolia, he placed a very special extraction of the flower at the heart of a light floral Chypre; it takes five tons of Chinese magnolia buds to yield a single litre of the essence, rendered even more velvety by coconut, ylang ylang, glacé lemon and Tahitian vanilla. £97 for 100ml eau de parfum

We may only be just over the threshold of 2018 – but this showstopping flacon from Carolina Herrera is a hot contender for ‘Bottle of the Year’. For such a teetering stiletto, the juice itself is incredibly poised. Givaudan’s Louise Turner contrasts elements of light and dark, with roasted cocoa, coffee and tonka, sashaying alongside a surprisingly sheer and green Tuberose Crystal note. (Even tuberose refuseniks we’ve wafted it at have loved this.) From £50 for 30ml eau de parfum (10th February)

Carefree and airy, Coach’s Floral centres on the tea rose. Pink peppercorns and bright citruses also beam throughout, with a playful note of pineapple sorbet added to satisfy your sweet tooth before the heart blooms, awash with petals of rose, jasmine and gardenia. The dry-down is a soothing creamy-woody blend of patchouli, musk and woods. Perfectly embodying the spirit of the ‘Coach girl’ – happy-go-lucky and charming, with a cheeky glint in her eye. £35 for 30ml eau de parfum

Magnolia Sensuel


Good Girl




Une Amourette by Roland Mouret

Atlas Fever

Wind in my Hand

Declaring this perfume should be sprayed ‘between the thighs’, designer Mouret’s clever collaboration with État Libre d’Orange sets pulses racing. Daniela Andrier seals the deal with white florals, incense and woods – the scents of Mouret’s childhood memories. As neroli and iris get up close and personal with vanilla absolute and Akigalawood, we’re left rather breathless, with a sense of hot, dry spices lingering long into the night. Racy stuff! £82 for 50ml eau de parfum

Drawing their inspiration from radical freethinkers and creative innovators, here the niche Parisian fragrance powerhouse Ex Nihilo evoke the raging passion of great musicians. Huge slugs of sandalwood twist harmoniously into pink pepper berries – completely reminiscent of the scent of a vintage guitar, slightly dusty and recently twanged. Sweet tonka beans soothe us in to a dry-down of oak and guaiac wood that has us closing our eyes blissfully, smiling beatifically. £390 for 100ml eau de parfum

Manadarin, maté absolu and incense oil combine as a trio of elegantly simple notes to carry you somewhere divine. Part of the stylish Japaneseinspired range launched in Harrods Salon de Parfums, Wind in My Hand’s stunning design is by Japanese artist, Mogu, with the fragrance itself a global exclusive at Harrods. The ‘Bento box’ packaging and ingenious travel spray (it fits inside the detachable top-half of the full-size bottle) has us swooning. £536 for 50ml + 10ml eau de parfum At Harrods

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Double Mystery

Guilty Absolute Pour Femme

Believing time is precious but perfumes are, too, luxury watchmakers Franck Muller have released five fine fragrances to further adorn your wrist – each evoking one of their exclusive, charmingly quirky signature timepieces. The watch this scent is named after replaces hands with jewels, and the ‘mystery’ is a majestic tuberose, with opulent rose allowed centre stage, the tuberose twinkling subtly atop warm patchouli, orris and myrrh. One to make time to sniff out. £170 for 75ml eau de parfum At Jovoy Mayfair

‘I imagined a woman going into her boyfriend’s bathroom, taking his fragrance and making it her own,’ reveals Gucci designer Alessandro Michele, talking about the inspiration he shared with Alberto Morillas for this. The perfumer delivers the scent of blackberries in a wild forest, garlanded by spicy Bulgarian rose, given a leathery edge by Goldenwood (a natural cypress extract), alongside bergamot, patchouli and ambergris. (And we say: hands off, guys.) From £49 for 30ml eau de parfum (1st February)



L’eau D’Issey Pure Nectar de Parfum


It may be winter – but Pure Nectar de Parfum begins to get us in the mood for our favourite kind of summer days of salty sea spray, honeyed blossoms and sun-warmed skin. Juicy pears sink into sweet roses with brisk splashes of an aquatic chord cutting through. Hours later, creamy sandalwood melts away to the skinscent of ambergris and cashmeran. It’s housed in a rose gold flacon inspired by the shape of a drop, radiantly glowing from within. £39 for 30ml eau de parfum


Blossom Special Edition

Daisy Twinkle Editions


There are certain fragrances that attract ‘collectors’, seduced by successive special editions that look way too beautiful to stash in a drawer. Jimmy Choo aficionados make room, then, for this Blossom special edition, all dressed up in eye-catching orange lacquer – while inside, discover an equally fresh incarnation of the fragrance itself, sparkling with exotic fruit notes in the opening, headily exotic frangipani flower in the heart, on a mellow sandalwood base. From £36 for 40ml eau de parfum (29th January)

Marc Jacobs Daisy, Eau So Fresh and Daisy Dream fragrances have been dressed up in pretty, matte mauve frocks for spring, with these editions set to gladden Daisy collectors’ hearts. And the juices have been tweaked, too; violet flower and white woods give a soft and sunny warmth to Daisy, while Alberto Morillas adds luscious whipped berry mousse to the lingering dry-down of the Daisy Dream Twinkle Edition. Little stars, every twinklingly gorgeous one. From £55 for 50ml eau de parfum (31st January)

On the coast of Costa Rica sits Tamarindo, where the fragrant winds hum with white blossoms of jasmine. Fizzy tinges of bergamot and cardamom echo the lively streets, the balmy air heavy with ripe pineapples. Sweet waves of vanilla and benzoin give a creaminess to this bright scent, while patchouli brings it back to the moist earth underfoot. Perfumer Sophie Labbé paints a jungle so alluring, we can’t help but venture into its depths. £195 for 75ml eau de parfum


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Tasked with creating a fragrance for a passage in Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, perfumer Mathieu Nardin’s Scherzo is an ode to the contrast between dark and light. Blood orange, davana and golden olibanum collide in a kaleidoscopic splash of wild, bright colour, while dark rose mingles in the shadows with patchouli and oudh. Beguiling and sophisticated, it’s also tinged with sweetness – allowing the child within to dance among the posies. £120 for 50ml eau de parfum

Miller Harris actually worked with two perfumers, to come up with individual interpretations of the aforementioned passage from Tender is the Night. Here, Bertrand Duchaufour offers up ink swirled through leather, saffron and geranium on a flickering, amber-ish base. But it’s held aloft by the fizz of a pink pepper C02 extraction alongside aldehydes and the most incredible green hyacinth opening, shimmering to cyclamen, incense and a drily metallic base. £120 for 50ml eau de parfum




This heartfelt fragrance from Master Perfumer Alberto Morilla’s own stunning fragrance line comes accompanied with a love letter – a story of eyes that meet for a mere moment, never to be forgotten. That air of romance is captured with bright beams of honeyed jasmine, while swirls of comforting vanilla and sandalwood make for a pillow-y haze that’s so soft you could virtually lay your head on this, deliciously lost in this fragrant hazy dream. £165 for 100ml eau de parfum

Each Moresque fragrance is as much a work of art as the gold bottles that encase them – here, an ode to the aristocratic sensuality of a fascinating courtesan, the Countess of Castiglione. Muskily floral, it reveals elements of nutmeg, bergamot, pink pepper and star anise, before showing a heart of rose, jasmine and ylang ylang. But as the courtesan’s veil drops, it’s smouldering elements of Ambroxan, vanilla, tonka bean and musk which truly seduce. £290 for 50ml eau de parfum At Harrods (5th February)

Olympéa is the aqua goddess – here reimagined in lighter form than the more gourmand-esque Paco Rabanne original. We imagine ourselves wearing this with a finely-pleated silk gown, hair encircled by gold laurel leaves, wafting languidly about... Celebrating a union of exotic floral freshness and the delectably more-ish salty skin accord, it offers up a breeze of citrus-tinged white flowers melding to vanilla/cashmere yumminess, to help you tap into your inner goddess. £80 for 80ml eau de parfum


Très Chère

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L’eau Rosée

As if MiuMiu’s faceted bottle could get any prettier – brilliantly conjuring up the soft matelassé quilting on the fashion name’s bags – here it is showcasing the dainty ballerina pink juice for the sparkling new eau de toilette, a whispering blend of lily of the valley and cassis buds, wrapped in beautiful, soft musk. It’s fresh, it’s pretty – and has us fantastising about the spring days and summer dresses which are (pretty please?) just around the corner. From £33 for 30ml eau de toilette At Harrods (1st February)

Olympéa Aqua


Villa M

Candy Sugar Pop



Artist, photographer and musician, Schütze followed his nose to a passion for fragrance, his debut trio capturing moments of his worldly travels. His next duo is inspired by modern architecture, with Villa M evoking the extraordinary home of Italian writer/ war correspondent Curzio Malaparte, perched atop a cliff in Capri. Lushly green with an exotic breeze, cyclamen, hay and mimosa meet dreamy mineralrich spray as land meets sky and we dream of the wide blue yonder. £135 for 50ml eau de parfum

Another collectible limited edition to gladden the heart of those who have a crush on Candy. In almost goodenough-to-eat pastel tones, the bottle pays homage to handbag-of-dreams, the Prada Saffiano. Sweet and playful elements of peach, vanilla and apple are given a citrusy green twist, while a shaft of bergamot-powered sunlight illuminates Daniela Andrier’s newest confection for Miuccia Prada – the latest in a long line of scented collaborations that invariably lift our spirits. £88 for 90ml eau de parfum (24th February)

Stash was the groundbreaking ‘celebrity’ scent that smelled more like high-end niche. Unspoken is SJP’s delve into a more refined, softer floral that stays true to the original – but with a more overtly feminine take on the genderless and rebellious theme. Sashaying sweetly with pink peppercorn and quince, the heart wafts forth wisteria, honeysuckle and peony, and there’s a faint booziness to the base of richly aromatic musk, sandalwood, tonka bean and olibanum.  £60 for 100ml




Fig My Love

This is vanilla – but blended with the sophistication and boldness that we’d expect of Mr. Ford. Addictive and sense-stirring, it offers flourishes of spicy saffron and coriander, resinous myrrh and olibanum, with tobacco-like tendrils of roasted barley and roasted coffee absolute drifting through the floralcy of frangipani and narcissus. Woody mahogany, vanilla and suede wrap this delicious fragrance up – making us crave another bite, another spritz, another hit. £158 for 50ml eau de parfum (2nd February)

A decadent plunge into waxy white gardenia laced with saffron and oudh, this golden elixir somehow manages to smell both hot and frosted, spicy yet cooling, floral but touched with a lick of saltiness – and the result is quite addictive. The perfumer responsible? It’s virtuoso rebel Christophe Laudamiel, his penchant for wearing leather trousers and leopard-print jackets making him look more rock-star than ‘nose’, his knowledge and passion as un-boundaried as his compositions. £325 for 50ml eau de parfum

Laudamiel’s been busy – also launching his own exciting new series, setting out to demystify the world of scent while exciting the senses (and with a highly intriguing website). Fig fans are in for a treat – Christophe says, with characteristic frankness: ‘If you don’t like raw figs or fig trees do not buy this!’ Unctuously sap-laden creaminess oozes lavish exoticism with a leafy fruitiness and milky dry-down that’s just heavenly. Happily, The Zoo will ship internationally. $98 for 50g eau de parfum (plus shipping)

Vanille Fatale

Stash Unspoken



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El Cosmico

French Affair



The coolsters at D.S. & Durga – which has its roots in Brooklyn, but is now stocked in the hippest outlets on the planet – have here been inspired by the Texas town of Marfa, a cultural hub for contemporary artists and artisans (or ‘cosmic axis’, as they put it). Marfa’s arid desert air is recreated via notes of desert shrubs and pepper, piñon pine, creosote, oak and dry sand – fresh, green, with fruity flourishes and most definitely gender-neutral. £200 for 100ml

The edgy trio behind Paris perfume house Ex Nihilo enlisted prolific star perfumer Quentin Bisch for this ‘homage to the non-conformist elegance of Parisian dandies’. Bergamot and lychee open with a sun-filled radiance, warmed by Jamaican chilli pepper and aromatic angelica, mellowing to an oakmoss, patchouli and vetiver base. But what’s that in the dandy’s boutonnière? A full-blown rose, thanks to an opulent note of rose absolute that renders this very, very shareable. £210 for 100ml eau de parfum

Having long adorned wrists with their luxury timepieces, Franck Muller has created five fragrances which chime with the off-beat watch designs. Crazy Hours replaces the traditional watch numbers in a colorfully surreal mixed-up order – and the shareable fragrance is just as light-hearted, with a joyous citrus fizziness mellowing to an almost fougère-like violet, lavender and vetiver base. With swirls of patchouli and vanilla, this wears close to the skin and will delight you all day. £170 for 75ml eau de parfum At Jovoy Mayfair



Artisan Pure

Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum

Just landed at Fortnum & Mason is a fascinating portfolio of fragrances, all the way from Australia, and inspired by the varied landscapes of that continent. Wood Infusion is a celebration of the tree species found on the balmy, lush Fraser Island, in the Pacific, its native woody notes enriched by white sandalwood, Australian lavender, iris and oudh, creamily mellowed by musk and amber in the base. Be a pioneer – and get to Fortnum’s PDQ. £149 for 100ml eau de parfum At Fortnums

Every John Varvatos flacon is indeed artisan-made – in this instance, encased in striking and very tactile white wicker. The perfumer who has created the Varvatos portfolio itself, meanwhile, is Givaudan’s star Rodrigo Flores-Roux, who this time offers up a fresh, laid-back fusion of petitgrain, lemon, orange and bergamot, orange flower, jasmine, orris and cedarwood, alongside an innovative coffee tree flower note. Infinitely wearable and seriously shareable – in fact, we’re keeping this ourselves. From £52 for 75ml eau de toilette

This could just be our favourite version of the chunkily iconic Narciso Rodriguez bottle yet (and that’s saying something) – an inky blue glass vessel as deep and mysterious as the scent inside, which sets out to ‘personify the mercurial nature of seduction.’ Rodriguez’s signature note of musk softens and smooths the woody intensity of blue cedar and black ebony, further buffed by an accord of amber vetiver. Bleu Noir has most certainly seduced us. From £47 for 50ml eau de parfum

Wood Infusion

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Crazy Hours


the men’s room



A collaboration between the youthful Master Perfumer Alice Lavenat and famed French rap phenomenon Booba, KoEptYs is an expression of his character, fusing modernity and luxury. The result is captivating. There’s a coolness that runs throughout the scent, warmed by cinnamon and pepper. Incense and patchouli add to its addictive traits, while the slick and urban packaging of this debut masculine scent by Nejma definitely reflects Booba’s own edgy style. £130 for 100ml eau de parfum


Invictus Aqua

Dive on in to Invictus – just the cool splash we need this time of year to invigorate and refresh our sluggish senses. Don’t think it’s all marine blue and calm waters, though, for there’s an unexpected heat here – like dazzling sunshine reflecting from the azure sea. Amber woods tingle beneath the waves, radiating a kind of sexy micro-climate, with ambergris evoking salty skin for a dry-down that we defy you not to snuggle into. £66.50 for 100ml eau de toilette



Radiating the shimmering heat haze of a sultry day in Mexico, Cuadra is the second of artist, photographer, musician (and now perfume creator) Schütze’s new architecture-inspired scents. Evoking the brilliantly-hued building of Cuadra San Cristobal by modernist Luis Barragan, it’s intriguingly laced with dark coffee, jasmine, hay, eaglewood and tobacco, swaggering with barely restrained passion. And it puts that Mexican destination firmly on our bucket list. £135 for 50ml eau de parfum





During a trip to Istanbul, Ted Baker encountered the delights of a Turkish barber’s shave – deciding that this fragrant tradition (dating back to the Ottoman empire) should accompany him home to the U.K. The resulting Ted Baker Grooming Room range now boasts this invigorating splash Cologne among the pampering treats, with amber, musk, pepper and leather nuzzling beneath the head-clearing top notes of grapefruit and lemon. We’re rather jealous, actually. £40 for 200ml eau de Cologne

A collaboration between an Italian perfumer and an oudh manufacturer from Jakarta, THoO’s scents were originally given only to mutual friends to celebrate their work; now, thankfully, they are now opened up to perfumistas worldwide. Definitely unisex and cool as a sorbet, this is actually inspired by snow in the desert. Despite the maker’s name, oudh never dominates, allowing apricot and goji berries to dance among myrrh and shady iris – and, oh! That bottle! £175 for 75ml eau de parfum At Jovoy Mayfair

Christophe Laudamiel is probably the world’s most refreshingly open perfumer – now with his own new collection, featuring high doses of intriguing ingredients. The enveloping narcissus absolute in Everlasting is used in its purest form – not floral, as you’d expect, but earthily green and reminiscent of damp moss. Wildly seductive and reassuringly woody, there are oodles of resinous labdanum for a leathery, amber-rich trail that has us longing to explore the full range. £100 for 50g eau de parfum

Grooming Room Cologne



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it takes me right back

In March 1994, In March thought made me special). Later, 1994, my husband Jonathan and I Lancôme Trésor and Poême. Now, arrived at the Alhambra Palace in I’m a big Narciso Rodriguez fan. Granada, a romantic celebration I’ve always been seriously picky of our first wedding anniversary. about which shampoos, hand It was pitch dark and the sky washes and clothes detergents I was vast – and as we got out of use, too – and I’d rather not have the car, we were assailed by a a bath than have one without a most astonishing perfume. It was decadent bath oil. Fragrance-free incredibly strong and absolutely I am not! Another smell that takes gorgeous – but fiendishly, we me right back is Galatéis Cleanser couldn’t identify it. In the morning and Tonique Douceur, whose light, we discovered that we’d fragrances remind me explicitly parked by the entrance to the of those early days working at Generalife Gardens, which were Lancôme in 1987, when I was full of (as in: socking great purple simultaneously delighted by and walls of) centuries-old wisteria, in terrified of my new employment. full bloom. Those Lancôme years turned out From that moment, I can’t pass to be a sensory delight. wisteria without stopping to smell Cut to the present day, and Beauty world dynamo Cassandra it – and without fail, the fragrance another olfactory experience Hall recalls a heady encounter sends me straight back to that first has changed my life and my night when I staggered around career, meanwhile. In 2011, we with the flower’s pendulous in circles in the dark, in raptures. moved from London to a remote I had, of course, come across mountain village in Spain, in an blooms one night in Spain wisteria before, because next day I attempt to slow life down and, recognised the flowers – but it was quite literally, smell the coffee. the sheer power of the perfume, Getting up at dawn to let the and its glorious dominance of that dogs out revealed a completely still, dark night, that made it unforgettable. natural mountainside fragrance – one that was haunting I’m rather proud of wisteria for being impervious to and unique. It was so infatuating that after months of futile perfume makers – impossible to capture, in a bottle. I’d attempts to recreate it with essential oils (amateurs like me adore a wisteria fragrance or candle – but I’ve never come should never be allowed – I think I nearly poisoned us!), we across anything that smells remotely like the real thing. asked a professional perfumer to bring it to life for us. We’ve tried to recreate that night by planting wisteria As perfumers are actual geniuses, we now have a everywhere we’ve lived since – but it’s fair to say that it fragrance that is true to the smell of summer dawn on our doesn’t love me as much as I love it. (I admit I’m a touch mountain – First Light – and since that turned out so well, resentful that my mother and my sister both have we’ve translated other fragrant experiences from our houses successfully garlanded with it.) new life into a home fragrance line, which we I was surrounded by flowers, growing called La Montaña (the mountain). up, and my sister now has her own I refuse to be upset by the fact that even fantastic floristry business, Rebel Rebel. our clever perfumer will never be able to But flowers weren’t the only fragrant concoct a wisteria scent, to conjure up influence on my earlier years. When the incredibly blooms of the Alhambra, I was a teenager, my father travelled however. I’ve simply resigned myself to extensively and regularly brought the fact that while it’s possible to conjure back Duty Free perfume for us all (wife up the scent of our local café, or the and three daughters), so I had a pretty midwinter Three Kings festival (with its extensive fragrance wardrobe, long scents of cedarwood, frankincense and before there was a name for such a thing. myrrh), or even the scent of the mountain It started with Carven Ma Griffe and Nina after a summer storm, the closest I’m going to Ricci L’Air du Temps, moving into my Opium get to those intoxicating wisteria blooms is the days (although I only wore the body cream, which I design on our bedroom curtains…

“ It was the sheer power of the perfume, and its glorious dominance of that still, dark night, that made it unforgettable” 58 The scented Letter

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The Scented Letter - Issue 29 - The Scents of Home