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.

One of the tricky things about finding a new perfume is that you're often surrounded by scents that smell, for want of a better word, similar. Companies have a tendency to follow the fashion of fragrance and this is why you will see trends across the various counters in your local beauty hall. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of trying the latest selection of “must have” scents, you were introduced to an actual perfumer through their creations? This was the approach that Frankee Adams decided to take when she launched Bare & Bond, and the results are impressive.

Every three months sees Frankee collaborate with a new perfumer and a trio of fragrances is chosen that they agree showcases their individual talents. These perfumes are then bottled in handy 8.5ml sprays and, every month, one of them conveniently drops through your letterbox for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. The fact that the perfumers are independent means that you’re going to get a scent that won’t be available on your local high street but, if you find one that you love, it can be ordered directly from its creator. So, at a cost of £14.95 a month, what is in the current box?

December to February sees the wonderful Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays take the reins as perfumer in residence and this latest edition also sees the box illustrated by the talented Bokani Tshidzu. The fragrances that have been selected are the wonderfully gourmand Captured By Candlelight, which was sent in December, the rose-centric Red Queen, arriving in February, and this month’s choice of either Wash Me In The Water or Take Me To The River. The latter two were created as a pair and so, for the first time, you get to choose which you would like to receive. So, which was my favourite?

Wash Me In The Water is a wonderfully effervescent scent that almost feels like a departure from Sarah’s gourmand signature. It opens with an aquatic herbaceous quality, reminiscent of riverside greenery, but also has touches of lavender and apple blossom as if drifting in on the breeze. There’s a playful citrus and orchid quality going on but the frankincense that Sarah mentions feels as though it combines with notes of patchouli and cedarwood to give a calming dryness to the scent. With the subtlest sweetness added, because she couldn’t resist, Wash Me In The Water is the perfect fragrance for a moment of rest and relaxation.

The Bare & Bond subscription box is available for £14.95 a month, which can be cancelled at any point, and is available from the website at bareandbond.com. [My three month subscription was gifted by Frankee Adams]

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