Monday, 12 April 2021

TASTE & FLAVOUR by Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke

It's very rare to come across people that you can honestly call 100% selfless, but those are the only words that come to mind when describing the remarkable Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke. This duo have set themselves the task of reimagining the way we eat, so that those with a compromised sense of taste and smell can once again enjoy the experience of aroma and flavour. From humble beginnings in Sunderland to a sudden worldwide frenzy of interest last week, the pair have just launched a Covid recovery cookbook entitled Taste & Flavour, and the response has been understandably incredible.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021


One of the greatest joys about perfume is that there is a never-ending stream of new companies and fragrances to discover. However, we often get blinded by the constant adverts for the latest releases from the biggest brands but, sitting quietly on the side lines, there are a multitude just waiting for their chance to shine. If you have the time to do some investigation then you’ll start to uncover some of these hidden treasures, and that’s just what happened when I came across the irresistible
Rose et Marius. Their latest fragrance is called Un rendez-vous avec Cézanne, and it promises “an olfactory journey in Provence.”

Monday, 5 April 2021


Described by The New York Times as “the glamorous vocal equivalent to diamonds flashing,” Monica Mancini is a double Grammy Award nominee. Daughter to the legendary film composer Henry Mancini, she has gone on to release five albums that truly are the perfect soundtrack to the imminent lazy summer days. So, put your feet up, grab a glass of wine, and discover Monica’s fragrance memories during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

MABEL'S TOOTH by Freddie Albrighton

Exactly twelve months ago I wrote an article about the realities of working from home, and I was lucky enough to speak with Doctor Barbara Mariposa about both the challenges and also the opportunities that it gave us. The final line was “Embrace working from home, revel in the control that isolation gives you, but remember to reach out if you need to.” This is exactly what self-taught perfumer Freddie Albrighton did. Originally a tattooist by trade, he used lockdown to craft a beautiful trio of scents that each display a very clear olfactory signature. Launching on Saturday 3rd April, this is a collection you won’t want to miss.

Monday, 29 March 2021


The emergence of self-taught perfumers continues to create wonderfully artistic waves in the perfume industry, and the latest person to try his hand is self-confessed wanderer Freddie Albrighton. This successful tattooist launches his debut collection on Saturday and so, to get us in the mood for the arrival of Mabel’s Tooth, Boys, and Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa, it's time to find out his scented secrets during “Stephan’s Six.”

Thursday, 25 March 2021

BEYOND THE STARS with Marina Barcenilla

Marina Barcenilla Out Of This World Fragrances Doctor Who Tardis
“It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for.”
These immortal words were uttered by Tom Baker in 1981 as he shuffled off his Doctor Who persona, but they also perfectly sum up the events of 29th April 2019. That was the day Marina Barcenilla Parfums closed its doors. Whilst the fragrances that bore her name were gone, the space age AromAtom project that she’d founded took centre stage. Her educational journey to the stars produced the Award-nominated perfume Out Of This World and, after almost two years, Marina is back with a new trio of fragrances and has her eyes firmly set on some serious space travel.

Monday, 22 March 2021


Sierra Boggess Broadway Actress

An Olivier Award nominated actress, Sierra Boggess made her Broadway debut playing Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, but is probably still best known for her role as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies. She's currently putting the finishing touches to her new album with actor Julian Ovenden, Together... at a Distance, so I thought it was a good time to learn more about her fragrance memories during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 18 March 2021


Time has most definitely raced by over the past twelve months, although it might not have always felt like that when we were living it. This lost year has meant pauses to perfume schedules and a quieting down of the usual advertising, so you could be forgiven for having missed some emerging brands. One such company is J.U.S Parfums, which celebrates its third birthday this year. Their credentials are honestly through the roof and, whilst it’s true that the collection really does have something for every taste, I was instantly entranced by the shimmering, musk-laden Superfusion from Céline Ellena.

Monday, 15 March 2021


How do you begin to describe Isaac Mizrahi? He’s a designer, an actor, a TV host, a writer, and a producer... and he is also unbelievably funny. Born in Brooklyn, he was torn between fashion and theatre, so decided to do both. He received early backing from Chanel, had a client list that included Naomi Campbell and Liza Minnelli, and also does the perfect imitation of Barbra Streisand. Isaac eventually released his autobiography, I.M. A Memoir, in 2019 but I wondered what extra scented secrets we’d discover during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 11 March 2021


When we think about the process of creating a perfume it often ends up becoming a romanticised image of a pair of hands holding a mound of jasmine petals, or a perfumer surrounded by a bank of meticulously laid out essential oils. What we don’t usually consider is that the intimate process of creating a perfume can actually also be a means of dealing with personal trauma and managing mental health. One perfumer that has spoken openly about his past and present struggles, and how they feed into his creativity, is Matt Meleg - and this shines radiantly through in his exceptional Tobacco Frankincense & Cardamom fragrance.

Monday, 8 March 2021


How do you introduce someone like Julie Halston? She’s an award winning American actress and comedienne, she’s kept us entertained online during a “global pandemic” courtesy of Virtual Halsten, and her list of credits include everything from Hairspray to Sex and The City. Never one to shy away from a one-liner, I thought it was time to find out a little more about this Flushing girl and ask her “Stephan's Six”.

Thursday, 4 March 2021


Over the past twelve months the main thing that I've learned about myself and my surroundings is how refreshing simplicity can be. Having the metaphorical rug pulled out from under us all threw our preconceived ideas and entrenched habits out of the window as well. What we were left with was almost the essence of what we all individually needed, and personal lessons have been learned that shouldn’t be forgotten. Perfume has a habit of being complicated and shrouded in mystery, and so finding a scent that revels in this idea of simplicity is rare. That is until you discover the exquisite Rose Geranium & Petitgrain from 1000 Flowers.

Monday, 1 March 2021


Many people dream of starting their own perfume brands but few actually turn it into a reality. One person who did, and went on to be award nominated, was Sarah Ireland. Originally a teacher, her debut collection of four fragrances are described as “a small story shared.” After recently launching the charity cologne Speranza, I thought that it was time to find out a little more about Sarah Ireland as I asked her “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

KISS IN RIO by Jonathan Ward

One of the challenges that I always face when writing for this website is keeping a varied selection of products and fragrances. It would be very easy to just feature everything that drops through the letterbox, and there are many reviewers that do, but I will only ever recommend what I like. I’m never paid to promote anything and certainly never “encouraged” to post on social media. The reason that I’m saying this is because today’s review is for a brand that I’ve featured many times, and I don’t want that fact to detract from this outstanding creation. I’m talking about Kiss in Rio from Jonathan Ward Candles.

Monday, 22 February 2021


Studying 'Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics' in Lithuania is certainly not the start that many perfumers take, but that is what Eglija Vaitkevice specialised in before retraining at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery. Her Exaltatum London collection of fragrances display an incredible skill at conjuring specific emotive moments in time, but what of the perfumer herself? I thought it was time to discover her scented memories during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

ACQUA DI GENOVA - An Italian Masterpiece

I think we can all agree that February is usually a month filled with thoughts of where we’ll be going on holiday during the summer or, if we’re lucky, locations for that quick escape over the Easter break. There are obviously still some pretty big hurdles to get over before there’s any chance of retreating to a sandy oasis of calm this year, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t close our eyes and indulge in a little bit of well deserved armchair travel. As we come out of the winter fragrance season there are plenty of sunny scents that can be reached for to simulate sunshine, and one of the finest is surely Acqua di Genova.

Monday, 15 February 2021

HALSTON by Bernard Chant

The term “best seller” is one that gets thrown around with ease these days. Everything seems to qualify for the description, from fragrances through to books, so you often wonder what they’re actually being compared with? The days of the true “international best seller” are long gone, because customers demand constant variety and novelty, but it wasn’t always that way. Forty-six years ago a perfume was released by Max Factor that truly took the world by storm and, excusing a few reformulations, is still in production. Familiar to many, but possibly new to some, it’s time to rediscover the legend that is Halston by Bernard Chant.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

MACHINE SHOP by Ankermade

There’s always been heated discussion over whether perfume should be classified as art. It stems from a basic disagreement over whether “fragranced frippery” is in the same league as a renaissance painter. Whichever camp you side with, the topic of “perfumed art” tends to accompany the release of scents that are deemed “challenging” (which may translate as unwearable) or those created specifically for an art installation or exhibition. However, the undisputed artistic skill of a perfumer is to translate a concept into a finished fragrance, and that is definitely on display with the finely tuned Machine Shop from Ankermade.

Monday, 8 February 2021

COLLEGE GREEN - The Quintet of Bath Soaks

If there is one thing that I’ve relied on over the past twelve months then it’s surely been my bathtub. I would happily spend all day in there if I could, reading book after book, because it helps me to switch off, to escape, and to flip the metaphorical sign that says “do not disturb”. It’s also the perfect place to enjoy fragrance, and I’m not just talking about the many candles that have recently appeared. With over a third of the UK now favouring a bath over a shower, what goes into the water has never been more important. So, whether you want to be energised or calmed, College Green is guaranteed to have something for everyone.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD by Sarah Baker Perfumes

The idea of being transported to another place and time is one that's often used when describing fragrance. The way it locks onto our innermost memories, almost making them come alive again, can be a wonderful experience. I get this same feeling of disappearing into a different world from reading, and there’s been no shortage of time for that recently. So, when a literary classic is the inspiration for a fragrance then you're guaranteed my undivided attention. Far From The Madding Crowd by Sarah Baker Perfumes is one such example, and there’s never been a better time to experience some nineteenth century swordsmanship.

Monday, 1 February 2021

LOVE STORY by Vines House Parfum

Apparently there is nothing that says “I love you” more than a bouquet of red roses. Well, that’s what the florists would have you believe as we approach Valentine's Day. As a distinct alternative, my undying affection can always be bought with a bottle of Moet, and Odette Toilette has told me in the past that she’s anyone’s for a Toblerone! However, if you are choosing to go down the roses route, fragrance is also a popular choice. A lot of these floral scents can end up being cloying in the extreme, but there is help at hand. Combining passion with perfume, Love Story from Vines House Parfum is deliciously desirable.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

CROSSKEY AVENUE by Howard Crosskey

You can’t have failed to miss the huge surge in independent candle companies that have launched over the past twelve months. With us spending the majority of our time at home, candles became the “must have” home product to help relax, stimulate, or calm the senses. The majority of these new brands simply bought pre-existing fragrance oils (how many times have you seen a variation on Pomegranate Noir?) but thankfully some decided to create from scratch. When Howard Crosskey launched Crosskey Avenue it followed multiple trials to perfect his own fragrances, and his debut trio of candles is a scented success.

Monday, 25 January 2021

GENOA BAY EAU DE COLOGNE by Wild Coast Perfumery

The dream of launching your own perfume brand is one that many fragrance fans consider at some point, although few continue beyond that initial thought. The time that needs to be invested, not to mention the financial backing, can make it unattractive in the long term. However, if you do have the courage to take it further then you unlock a world of creativity. This is exactly what Laurie Arbuthnot did when she founded Wild Coast Perfumery in 2017. Located on Vancouver Island, her inspiration comes from the incredible surroundings, and it’s these that have resulted in the equally spectacular Genoa Bay Eau de Cologne.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

The New Jo Loves Fragrance Paintbrush

One of the hardest challenges facing the fragrance industry, even in the days when you could actually get near a shop, was how to bewitch your customer into buying your perfume. A cold wall of bottles staring starkly back may have worked in the past, but companies are always having to dream up inventive ways to entice people to purchase. Getting the product onto the skin is always the challenge, that is unless you’re the undisputed Queen of persuasion. Jo Malone changed the perfume industry forever with her scented services, and the tradition continues with her newly relaunched Fragrance Paintbrush.

Monday, 18 January 2021

TASSONI 225 by Terre del Garda

January is traditionally the month that we either hop on a plane to catch some post-winter sunshine or start planning the annual summer holiday. That’s why, with travel still heavily restricted, you could be forgiven for thinking that the only option is to put on another jumper and crank up the heating. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just close your eyes and feel yourself transported to a warmer climate? Well this is exactly what's on offer thanks to the new Discovery Pack from Terre del Garda, and in particular Tassoni 225. So, from resinous pines through to uplifting citrus, prepare to travel to the Italian shores.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

APERTURE by Ulrich Lang

The whole perfume industry is currently going through one of its biggest ever upheavals. All of the established rules of launching, promoting, and selling fragrance have been thrown up in the air because our personal interactions have completely changed. With more of a reliance on the internet and social media, the way we view and experience scent has dramatically altered. This means that we're literally living life through somebody else’s lens, and it was this idea that brought to mind Ulrich Lang’s high definition Aperture. Originally launched in 2014, this seven year old photo-collaborative fragrance is the perfect example.

Monday, 11 January 2021


The constant search for new ways to enjoy perfume is one that fragrance fans have become masters at. Every conceivable way of delivering that scented hit has been tried, from shower gels to hair mists, and it’s certainly no longer just a case of spritzing your favourite perfume and then heading out of the door - I wish life was still that simple. The last twelve months saw the very public appearance of a new way to utilise fragrance, and it truly was a life saver. Hand sanitisers became an important subcategory of fragrance in 2020 and, with no let-up to restrictions, it’s time to welcome the new Earth Hand Sanitiser Spray by Tessa Williams.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

DARYA, METSA, and SEPEIDEH by Marlese Assman

The past twelve months have seen a real push to support independent businesses because, as I’ve said repeatedly, the large organisations can look after themselves. However, the smaller companies need to remain firmly in our sights. There are so many brands that you may have never heard of, in locations that you would not expect, which is why it’s important to hunt them out. One such company is Bōbé Beauty which is based in Saskatoon. Founded by Marlese Assman, this Canadian company’s trio of natural alcohol-free perfumes offers some much needed escape, along with a promise of “serenity and independence.”

Monday, 4 January 2021

JO'S RHUBARB by Jo Loves and Zara

Welcome to 2021 and a whole new year of perfume releases. To say that the past twelve months have been challenging would be an understatement but, thankfully, there’s already some scented excitement to kickstart an overcast January. The idea of finding designer names at high street prices is still a quest that, more often than not, turns up few results. However, when Zara decided to collaborate with Jo Malone, the person rather than the company, it heralded a whole new collection of scents under the Emotions banner. Originally a series of eight, it’s time to welcome the latest arrival to the range as we enjoy a taste of Jo’s Rhubarb.