Monday 8 February 2016


Lorna McKay is very at home in the beauty departments around the word, she helped to shape them after all! As a buyer at Harrods and QVC, advisor to Liberty and creative consultant for Liz Earle her knowledge and passion is without question. Cofounder of the Perfume Society, what would she reveal about her own habits during "Stephan's Six"?

What is the first smell that you can remember?
I have fond memories of long hot summers in Scotland at a very young age (perhaps it is in my imagination?) I loved the smell of the sun melting the tar on the road as we played “tennis” in the street whilst Wimbledon was on TV. A very carefree childhood.

What perfume do you remember your mum or dad wearing?
Dad wore Old Spice and it will forever be special for me as he always smelled so clean. I hasten to add he did fragrance the whole house and possibly his workplace every day! My Mum loved Tweed and every Christmas she received it from my father. I was intrigued by the packaging and really wanted it to be covered in material. Her “smell” as I grew up. Happy memories!

What was the perfume of your twenties?
Opium and I still love it! I had come to London from a tiny village in Scotland to work in Harrods - daring and exciting and this fragrance was so sexy and grown up. I loved everything about it - making a statement, fabulous packaging, exotic, daring, interesting and different. This perfume epitomised how I felt about my life at that time. An adventure in a bottle!

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I remember shopping in a small perfumery and seeing a bottle of Diorella. Excitedly I spayed the fragrance liberally all over my wrists, hair, neck and only when I took time to smell it I realised it had “gone off”. The dark orange colour of the fragrance should have told me but I was so happy to see it. I advised the shop they may want to get a new tester.

You can only choose one perfume, what would it be?
Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 15. I was involved in the creation of this fragrance and felt so proud when it won a FIFI Award. It makes me feel comforted and sensual. I am always complimented when I wear it and appreciate the high quality ingredients which have been used to create this unique smell. It is unusual to have a fresh oriental fragrance.

What perfume should I try?
I love creating my own personal concoction with fragrances and have a few that I will always add to others, usually a “fresh” fragrance if I want to give a daytime twist or Tom Ford’s Patchouli Absolu if I want to give my fragrance more depth and staying power. I also suggest you visit Lyn Harris’s new shop, Perfumer H, and find your favourite from her new range. I think her creations just get better and better and the new range is FANTASTIC. Like many of the niche brands they can be worn by men or women, which allows the wearer to be an individual.

Lorna's book The Perfume Bible, written with Jo Fairley, is available in all bookshops and full details of the Perfume Society can be found at

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