Monday, 21 June 2021

CÉCILE by To The Fairest

As much as we try not to be influenced by the box or the bottle that a fragrance comes in, sometimes it’s just impossible not to be swayed by appearance. Obviously the ultimate test is when the perfume is sprayed onto the skin, but any kind of extra persuasion that gets you to spritz a new scent is invaluable for any new company. The colour of a box can often be the first thing that grabs your attention, and that is especially true of Cécile from the British company To The Fairest. Sporting a blue jacket that could have walked off the Farrow & Ball colour chart, I was mesmerised before I had even smelled the scent.

To The Fairest launched in 2019 and was founded by Rebecca Rose. Now, while she had always had a very deep love of fragrance, Rebecca was a self-confessed purchaser rather than a perfumer. She had been introduced to scent by her grandmother, who would regularly furnish her with a regular selection of samples, and so Rebecca had been encouraged to always form her own opinion of a scent rather than being led by magazines or adverts. This approach to perfume would prove invaluable in later years when she became Creative Director for To The Fairest.

A career as an art historian, and then a dealer in vintage clothing, meant that she also started to look for fragrances that conjured up a feeling of a bygone age. It’s always interesting that when we look backwards at perfumes from the past the overriding feeling is one of male dominance, and it hasn’t really altered much over the decades. So Rebecca decided to take traditional femininity as her cornerstone, using women as muses, and also managed to get a fantastic British perfumer on board in the form of Penny Williams. Now, you might not know her name, but you will have smelled one of her creations.

Penny Williams
has an impressive career in the perfume industry and for seventeen years worked with the Belmay fragrance company. In 2006 she went solo and launched Orchadia, which provides fragrances and training for independent brands and also multinationals. So when Penny was asked to create Cécile she was able to combine her commercial experience with a niche concept, and it was the perfect pairing. Rebecca said, “Some of life’s most precious moments happen when we close our eyes and inhale deeply. Time stands still and pleasure reigns.” So, do the sensuality of the words translate to the fragrance?

Cécile opens with a burst of the promised bergamot and mandarin but very quickly it’s joined by a beautiful tuberose note. Alongside this you almost get a touch of violet, that makes you think of the packaging colour, before the powdery amber accord starts to push up from the base. It’s at this point that the peppered rose arrives, and what seems like the merest hint of lavender, but there’s still more to come. A soapy sandalwood quality begins to appear, and the merest touch of banana-esque ylang ylang, before a clove-like carnation note sails in on a delicately sweetened musk. There’s almost a whisper of Je Reviens Couture about Cécile, and this plays perfectly into that classic sensual quality.

Cécile is available from the To The Fairest website at tothefairest.com priced at £5 for 2ml, £85 for 50ml, and also as a 190g candle for £45. The company are currently offering a generous 15% discount on all orders, including samples, until 27th June using the code SM15. [Sample provided by Rebecca Rose]

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