Monday, 6 April 2020

HOPE by Tessa Williams

There have been many occasions where the original direction of a product has taken a different route because of events that are out of a company’s control. This isn't always a bad thing, in fact it's a compliment when it becomes a source of comfort. In unsettling times it often feels reassuring to reach for a product that affirms a positive message, and this is what has happened with the most recent launch from Tessa Williams. Always intended as the conclusion to her scented trilogy, Hope has recently become a fragranced wish that many have chosen to turn to in these challenging times.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

NIRVANA by Barbershop Botanicals

Perfume has often been described as a frivolity that simply forms part of a person’s daily beauty ritual, but that’s a pretty harsh judgement. The fragrance that we decide to wear for the day, or the evening, is often carefully chosen because of the way it makes us feel. Scent has always had the incredible ability to alter the wearer’s mood and mindset, with the more traditional domain of aromatherapy now being very popular in the perfume industry. One of the latest to combine scent with emotion is Marcus Fellowes of Barbershop Botanicals, and his calming Nirvana couldn’t have come at a better time.

Monday, 30 March 2020


When Marcus Fellowes retrained as a barber he never imagined that it would ultimately result in the creation of a collection of four fragrances. Designed to alleviate the worries of his clients through scent, they soon expanded to include a beautiful range of body products. After creating for others, I wondered what scented secrets he would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 26 March 2020


One of the issues that many perfume companies face when they try to upscale their business is that it’s often hard to adapt their core values. The idiosyncrasies that make you unique run the risk of being buried within a new corporate structure, and existing fans can be disillusioned by the changes. You can’t remain the same when production dramatically increases, especially when there are outside investors keeping a close eye, but it’s how you manage that transition that is key. The latest company to take on the challenge of upscaling is Rook Perfumes and, whilst the packaging may have changed, the heart has remained.

Monday, 23 March 2020


There are times when real life can suddenly turn an intimate event into a major occasion. That is what happened on Tuesday 17th March. Plans had been made months in advance to launch the latest candle from Jonathan Ward at his Hackney studio, but a global pandemic was coming ever closer to the United Kingdom. By the time the day arrived all fashion shows and product launches had been cancelled, and so an independent studio in E8 was about to host the final physical event in the beauty industry's calendar. The candle is called Assassin Belarus and it truly does shine a light in these dark times.

Thursday, 19 March 2020


Nicola Thomis is the founder and lead writer on The Sniff, a website that has given her the opportunity to review both classic and modern fragrances. A fellow Jasmine Award nominee, and the queen of the York fragrance scene, I wondered what fragranced secrets she would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Monday, 16 March 2020

The Comfort of Soaps

We are living through extraordinary times but, never one to miss an opportunity, the beauty industry has been cashing in on the public fear. With a shortage of hand sanitiser, all thoughts turned to the humble bar of soap and the marketing machines have rumbled into action with “anti-bacterial” messages and questionable pricing. Thankfully many companies have not gone down this grubby route and have retained some dignity. So, I’ve raided my bathroom cupboard to bring you some honourable favourites that won’t break the bank. And talking about cost, I also bought all of these scented beauties myself.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

GFT by Geo F Trumper

When a new fragrance company launches into an already overcrowded marketplace it is important that it starts to create a history from the outset. It’s this story that the brand will be able to build on as it hopefully progresses. Unfortunately the loyalty of a customer to a brand is not as all-encompassing as it once was and so many, regratably, won’t survive. The days of a diehard commitment to a company have gone, so those that have already secured this have a huge advantage. Geo F Trumper has an impressive history stretching back to 1875 but this year sees the twentieth anniversary of the much younger GFT.

Monday, 9 March 2020


A background in the gold mining industry might not be the usual start for the founder of a perfume company. When Baptiste Bouygues launched Ormaie, he had also had experience with Louis Vuitton and Givenchy so the world of fine fragrance was definitely in his blood. With such an unusual journey into the fragrance industry, I wondered what perfume memories he would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

MA BÊTE by Eris Parfums

The archives of perfumery are strewn with the well-meaning, yet misguided scents that promised to rock the world. They launch in a blaze of glory but, after the novelty fades, it quickly becomes apparent that they’re nothing more than novelties. However, every so often a brand comes along that sets pulses, and temperatures racing. It’s not that it taps into a trend, it’s more that it reignites a passion that has become dormant. Well crafted, exquisitely packaged, with a style that is unequalled in modern perfumery. I’m talking about Ma Bête from Eris Parfums, and it definitely feels as though it was made just for me.

Monday, 2 March 2020


A career spent working with the likes of Guerlain and Nina Ricci meant that it was only a matter of time before Marie-Lise Jonak, along with her son Baptiste Bouygues, decided to launch her own company. Ormaie is a natural brand that has an emphasis on the visual presentation as well as the scented experience. With this mind, I wondered what fragrance memories she would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 27 February 2020


The fashion for home crafting seems to be at an all-time high at the moment with new businesses springing up every day. The Etsy platform has really helped to push these companies to greater prominence but it’s come at a cost. The majority of them are producing products based on other companies’ fragrances and many don’t even alter the name. How many times have you seen Lime Basil & Mandarin or English Pear & Freesia? One company that is trying to do something a little different though is Osmic. Their latest scent, Sea Salt & Driftwood, is a great example that home crafting can dare to be different.

Monday, 24 February 2020


Didier Gaglewski was born in Grasse and, very quickly, became fascinated with the world of perfumery. Being brought up the spiritual home of fragrance meant that a career in the industry was inevitable and it led to debut collections being presented in Paris, Germany, and Switzerland. I met Didier at his beautiful boutique in Grasse to discover his scented secrets during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 20 February 2020


The idea of a clothing company expanding their range to include a fragrance line is nothing new. From the early days of Chanel right through to a more modern Missoni, giving the customer the opportunity to own something more than just fashion or makeup encourages them to fully immerse themselves in the brand. Now, this has been done with varying degrees of success, mainly down to the quality of the final scent, and it’s widely recognised as a bit of a risky enterprise. However, for every failure there is also a triumph and that can certainly be said of AllSaints and their remarkable Incense City.

Monday, 17 February 2020


Barbara Herman became well known to the fragrance community through Yesterday’s Perfume, a blog which concentrated on her love of vintage scents. This subsequently inspired her bestselling book, Scent & Subversion, and sowed the seeds for her own perfume range, Eris Parfums. With a fascination for classic fragrances, I wondered what scented secrets Barbara would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

VILLANELLE by Kamila Aubre

There are times when fate can take a bigger hand in the exposure of your company than any amount of carefully placed articles or reviews. You are always at the mercy of the reader engaging with the piece in order for them to learn more about the brand and the fragrances, and by that I mean actually clicking through to the website at the end of the final paragraph. This is completely out of the hands of the writer, or even the company, but sometimes something else can take over. One person that has experienced this first-hand is Kamila Aubre with her wonderfully named perfume entitled Villanelle.

Monday, 10 February 2020

COCOROSA BEAUTY - The Scent of Sandalwood

The advertising slogan that started a revolution, and is lodged in most people’s minds, must surely be “not perfumed, not coloured, just kind.” Those famous words are credited to Alex Pearl, the copywriter on the 1986 advert for Simple, and it made a generation begin to question what was actually in their skincare. The reason for adding fragrance back then was to simply make it smell better but, over time, the beauty industry started to revert to ingredients that were naturally perfumed. One such company is Cocorosa Beauty and their Sandalwood Soothe & Restore Face Oil continues to harness the power of scent.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

GULA by Memoize London

In the constant rush for “newness” we often forget about companies that are confidently, and successfully, continuing to walk that niche road. These brands become whispered favourites rather than trumpeted crowd-pleasers, and often find themselves relying on loyal fan bases. These fantastic companies start to disappear from the magazine editorials in favour of the “new young thing.” This is the case with Memoize London, a fragrance brand that deserves much more exposure. Now in their fourth year, it’s time to revisit this memory based collection and rediscover one of their original fragrances, the wonderfully exciting Gula.

Monday, 3 February 2020

TABAC ROSE by bdk Parfums

You often hear the word “exclusive” applied to perfumes within a company’s range but, more often than not, they tend to be a discontinued fragrance that’s been rereleased under a new name. This is wonderful news for fans of the original but it can smack of a laziness on the part of the company. What is always exciting though is when an “exclusive” is released from a young niche brand because, as they don’t have a huge archive, the fragrance is likely to be a new creation. This is the case with Tabac Rose from bdk Parfums, the Harrods exclusive that has definitely set temperatures racing.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

BARE & BOND - The Perfume Subscription Box

Anybody that was brought up in the seventies or eighties will probably have a bittersweet memory of the various subscription services that were available. There was one for everybody from records right through to that new-fangled medium of VHS, and don’t even start me on Radio Rentals. However, it was often quite tricky to get out of them once you had joined and, forty years ago, these items carried a hefty price tag. It was therefore with some trepidation that I approached Bare & Bond, a perfume subscription service, but I needn’t have worried. Offering a carefully curated selection, it’s every fragrance lover’s dream.

Monday, 27 January 2020

N°7 by SG79

The great thing about the current variety of fragrances that are available is that the selection really is a worldwide affair because the days of perfume production being the sole domain of France, and closely followed by America and the United Kingdom, are long gone. It’s this wonderful chocolate box selection of scents that truly gives the customer such an eclectic mix to choose from, and at a wide range of prices. Romella International are based in Stockholm and their SG79 range has proved to be a big hit with fragrance fans, and this looks set to continue with the release of the new N°7.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

VETYVER VANILLE by Le Jardin Retrouvé

One of the most common questions that I get asked by perfume companies that I work with is, “What do we do with our end of line products?” By this they usually mean last year’s limited edition or a fragrance that has been discontinued. Many end up in discount stores, or heavily reduced during those regular online sales, but this wasn’t the route that Le Jardin Retrouvé decided to go down. With many fragrance fans now despite to get their hands on vintage perfumes, the company started a “by request” service called La Collection Historique and, because of that, Vetyver Vanille is just waiting to be rediscovered.

Monday, 20 January 2020

N'AIMEZ QUE MOI by Parfums Caron

Fragrances that are labelled as “classic” are generally well respected by the perfume industry but there's often a difference of opinion when we talk about “famous” scents. A perfume can become well known for a variety of reasons but, whilst popular with the public, it isn’t always held in the greatest esteem by the higher echelons. It’s worth remembering that there is often a divide between perfume customers and scented scholars, but both views are equally as important. One fragrance that sits squarely between “classic” and “famous” is N’aimez que Moi by Parfums Caron, and this year is the perfect time to revisit it.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

17 NANDAN ROAD by Ulrich Lang

The reasons why someone launches their own perfume company are always so varied and that can also be said for the background of the founder. Some may have been inspired by a lifelong interest in fragrance whilst others may have already worked within the industry for many years. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but, because the nuts and bolts of releasing a fragrance are so much more than just creating the scent, a little bit of inside knowledge can be helpful. This can certainly be said of Ulrich Lang whose most recent fragrance, 17 Nandan Road, definitely hits the right note in both scent and styling.

Monday, 13 January 2020


The storytelling that is attached to the perfume industry goes hand in hand with the actual fragrances themselves and can often transform an adequate scent into something more appealing. However, occasionally a fragrance comes along that seems to transcend its own marketing and the combination of ingredients works perfectly without any narrative. Everyone likes a story and so when the inspiration and the perfume perfectly merge then you know that you’re in for a real treat. Chatillon Lux is based in St Louis and their Lamplight Penance fragrance blends the evocative with a wash of beauty to create something exceptional.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

JUNIOR by Carthusia

There’s an often repeated theory that the younger you manage to tempt a person to start using a company’s fragrance the more likely they are to stay loyal to that brand. Now, whether this still holds true in the current arena of thousands rather than hundreds of perfume companies is open to debate. The vast choice and availability of fragrance has made loyalty a prized possession in the industry, and that is one of the reasons why Carthusia has launched Junior. The scent is aimed squarely at the children’s market but it has also proved irresistible to adults who love their powdery floral scents.

Monday, 6 January 2020

MILANO CENTO - The Original Just Got Stronger

I wonder how many bottles of fragrance end up languishing in the forgotten corner of a cupboard or get passed on to a friend with the greeting of “I think that this will suit you more than it does me.” When we find a perfume that we love it often becomes our signature and, understandably, others that are gifted or purchased can sometimes compare unfavourably next to it. Even the act of moving from an Eau de Toilette to an Eau de Parfum can prove problematic so, with this in mind, has Milano Cento successful managed to intensify its signature scent to match the expectations of a new decade?