Thursday, 5 May 2016

My Perfume Society Favourites

It's my birthday, sort of. One year ago I started stephanmatthews.com, a twice-weekly observation on the perfume industry, and in that time we've had ninety four articles, two events, and an occasional "heated debate". One of the things that kickstarted my writing was the Perfume Society, and they have given me a wonderful birthday present ... five memberships to give away to my readers. Before we get to the competition I want to share with you my five favourite articles from the Perfume Society's magazine, the Scented Letter. It was great re-reading the current sixteen issues, and I hope that you enjoy the choices.

"Let's start at the very beginning", as Julie Andrews sang in the Sound of Music. Issue One came out in May 2014 and contained a wonderful piece about the French tradition of giving a sprig of Muguet on the first of the month. Now this has long been my favourite flower, but for the society to send mini bouquets to selected ladies was a beautiful way to start this stylish magazine. The flower symbolises a "return to happiness" and making one's life "complete". Well, the arrival every other month of the latest magazine is certainly something I look forward to.

Issue fifteen, a Breath of Spring, brought with it a feature on the ingredient Galbanum by Suzy Nightingale. During my time with Guerlain it was often Vol De Nuit that I would find myself reaching for, and this ingredient features prominently in that perfume. It made a refreshing change to read about the different uses for this "tenaciously vivacious" essential oil, and I would advise any lover of green scents to join the society if only to read this article.

Love and Scents was the theme for issue six and, amongst other romantic tales, it explored the development of the scent Rosie by Autograph. Created for Marks and Spencer, this fragrance really hit the mark with its beautiful rose scent and showed that a "department store" perfume could compete with the established brands. Rosie Huntington-Whitely was the face for the fragrance, and also had a big input into the development, collaborating beautifully with the perfumer Ralf Schweiger. I adore this fragrance.

Issue Three, titled Fashion and Fragrance, featured one of my favourite perfume houses, and perfumes, in a great article written by the witty Alice Jones. "The Day Paris Rained Perfume" looked at Carven's unprecedented PR stunt of "parachuting" samples of Ma Griffe onto an unsuspecting public. It's a pretty well known story, but reading it again reminded me of the absolute novelty of this promotion. It definitely beats a plastic clutch bag or a leatherette wallet!

My favourite piece comes from issue twelve's feature "it takes me right back". James Craven, one of the most knowledgable perfume archivist in the United Kingdom, revealed his love for Bal à Versailles. This classic by Jean Desprez has seen some clumsy reformulations during its lifetime, but thankfully the current incarnation is a beautifully decadent blend from another time. Along with a mention of Habanita, Ma Griffe and Quelques Fleurs this account really whets the appetite for classic fragrances.

The Perfume Society is so much more than just an online magazine. It organises regular events with perfumers, invites you to new launches, and is also a great way to meet other "fume-heads". So, would you like the chance of winning a twelve month membership? All you have to do is click on the button below and tell me your favourite fragrance. It's as simple as that. The competition is open to anybody in any country, and if you are already a member of the Perfume Society then you can gift it to a friend. For full terms and conditions you can click here, and the closing date is midnight on 29th May 2016.

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