Thursday 12 May 2016


When a company launches its first fragrance a lot hangs in the balance. One of the biggest gambles is whether it will gain an audience in an ever expanding perfume market. Some excellent scents come and go without making an impact, some novelties are badly judged, and some of the breakthroughs surprise everyone. An existing customer following is an advantage, but not a guarantee, so it was still a gamble when Leighton Denny launched LIGHT & DARK in 2014. With a further two fragrances arriving at the end of 2015 it's now time to look at the complete set of three, and see whether Leighton's fragrances offer the same variety as his celebrated nail varnishes.

When the original LIGHT & DARK arrived in 2014 there was an expectation that it would be "another" beauty brand spinoff fragrance. What caught everyone off guard though was that Leighton Denny had worked hard with his perfumer to create a scent that women would love, and adventurous men would steal! It was classified as a Floral Oriental but the delicious citrus and peach which hit you straight away also appealed to a Fruity Floral customer. Very clever. The fragrance itself develops almost from the bottom upwards, with amber notes overtaking the fresh opening. The arrival of a floral heart containing lily, jasmine and rose pulls everything together and definitely fits the brief, "for those who want to seduce".

After being nominated for a Fragrance Foundation Award for his first scent he set to work once again as creative director for the follow up, but this time with not one but two new offerings. Titled LIVELY and DESIRE, Leighton was keen to create truly unisex fragrances that could be enjoyed equally by both men and women. The ORIGINAL fragrance had been a sweeter, more gourmand creation, but the new additions couldn't be more different to each other and that first release.

LIGHT & DARK LIVELY is described as a fresh scent, and along with the citrus has an almost marine quality about it. It puts you in mind of ISSEY MYAKE but without the algae. The grapefruit in this is beautifully tart and clings to a dryly spiced heart. With the appearance of the vetiver and patchouli the fragrance starts to really round off, but never overpowers because of the heaps of smooth eighties inspired musk. I’m not usually a fan of Fresh Marine fragrances, but this one intrigues me and I’ve enjoyed wearing it.

LIGHT & DARK DESIRE is nominated for the 2016 Fragrance Foundation Awards and it is truly deserved. This one is my favourite of the three scents and I really hope it wins on 11th May. [I am very happy to say that it did win!] DESIRE is simply classified as a “Woody” fragrance, but it is so much more. After an explosive citrus opening you get vetiver by the bucket load! Throw in a Guerlain "vetiver" homage in the form of nutmeg and finish with an amber controlled cedar/patchouli mix. For men this is wonderfully masculine but equally perfect for women who “desire” attention.

All of Leighton's fragrances can be found at, and you can also read his “Stephan’s Six” by clicking on the picture below.


  1. I've been using all of these scents and find them gorgeous. What I love is that you can mix them up to get new perfume and it works. It's been a breath of fresh air to have such a beautiful array of perfume that didn't cost the earth and more so they last all day and change as the day goes on. I won't use any other now Elaine PJ

    1. I'm glad that you've also enjoyed them. If you love perfume then you might want to look at my competition to win membership for The Perfume Society