Thursday 17 January 2019


One of the constant pressures on fragrance companies is whether to release a new scent each year or rework an existing one by adding a flower here or a woody note there. The public’s constant demand for newness often sees a rapid succession of similarity, but one company has chosen to go in a different direction by reintroducing a truly adaptive product instead of a new scent. Tessa Williams has launched a “living cologne” version of her successful Fire home fragrance and it makes you wonder why this style ever fell out of fashion. With this in mind, let me show you a new way to beat the January blues.

Tessa Williams is still best known for writing the ultimate coffee-table perfume book, Cult Perfumes: The World’s Most Exclusive Perfumeries. Released in 2013 by Merrill Publishers, it explored twenty-five companies and revealed many secrets, as well as dispelling a lot of myths. The success of the book inspired her to launch a home fragrance range called Elements that, unsurprisingly, featured Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. The four were available in both a candle and a room spray but, just before Christmas 2018, Tessa surprised everyone with the revival of the “living cologne.”

The idea of this style of scent is that it is formulated to be used on skin, fabric, and also in the air. It was really championed by Jo Malone London who used to say, “the fragrance in your home should be as inviting as the fragrance on your skin.” Their releases, now discontinued, featured such scents as Grapefruit & Rosemary, Blue Agava, and the much-missed Napa Leather. We were romantically told to “scent the air around you” and, at the same time, treat yourself to a spritz as well. With this in mind, let’s see what Tessa Williams has come up with.

In the Elements collection, the fragrances for Earth and Fire lend themselves perfectly to the colder months because they both have a wonderfully earthy warmth, and this is obviously why it was decided by Tessa Williams to launch them as the first two limited edition “living colognes.” It is still a pretty big gamble to tinker with a scent that so many people have already fallen in love with as a candle and also as a room spray but, I am relieved to say, the transition into the new form is seamless. So, let me introduce you to the new Fire Living Cologne.

When you first spray the fragrance on the skin you instantly get the warm notes of tonka and caramel, and it’s this almond-like sweetness that truly anchors the scent. The effect remains locked into that deeper quality as a vetiver and patchouli pairing adds an earthy woodiness, although the addition of cedarwood does hint at the dryness that you get from a fire’s flames. With the final appearance of a delicate incense aroma, Fire mellows as the embers fade and the final effect is beautiful. Spritzing onto fabric obviously helps the longevity of the scent and definitely makes this a “living cologne.”

Fire is available from the Tessa Williams website at and is priced at £29.95 for 50ml. [Sample provided by Tessa Williams]

To read my review of the original Fire Room Spray you can click here.


  1. I have, and love the original Fire room spray. As a Christmas present, Tessa sent me a bottle of the Earth Living Cologne, it's absolutely amazing.

    1. Hello Barry, the whole Living Cologne range is a fantastic collection. The difficulty is deciding which order to buy them in! Best, Stephan