Monday 24 January 2022


Fragrances always used to come with a massive amount of “upper class” baggage and about as much fun as a wet weekend in Woking. So, as the celebrity scents started to break the monopoly on the big high street regulars, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when the playfulness finally arrived. Now, celebrity fragrances have dramatically altered over the years, with many now having no direct involvement from the actual "name", but that is certainly not true of the latest trio from the King of Nails, Leighton Denny. With a FiFi award already under his belt, it’s time to discover his new Confidence Collection.

Leighton Denny became the A-list name for nail polishes when he launched his original lacquer collection back in 2005. However, his first career had been as a forklift truck driver, but he cleverly decided to swap the truck for talons. Anybody that has ever met Leighton will tell you that he never switches off and is always looking for the next challenge. That came in 2014 when he released his first fragrance, LIGHT & DARK. He would go on to release two more the following year, LIVELY and DESIRE, before completing the series in 2016 with DELIGHTFUL.

Six years later, Leighton Denny decided that the time was finally right to launch a new fragrance collection. It was centred around promoting people’s confidence to take on life’s challenges, and the trio cleverly takes a minimalist styling. Almost echoing the nail varnish bottles, the block colour boxes also perfectly fit with his colourful history. Sitting more in the traditionally feminine category, the first fragrance is inspired by his original scent, the second is for iris lovers, and the third is perfect if you like your fragrances with a little more bite.

is, as the name suggests, inspired by the original fragrance from 2014. However, it’s been given some subtle tweaks. It opens with a crisp blend of bergamot and mandarin but is quickly joined by a warm amber accord that seems to come up wonderfully early from the base. Through the centre of this you see beautiful notes of jasmine and orange blossom, but an additional rose is kept firmly under control. With a final touch of sandalwood and the billowing support from the musk, Inspire definitely takes inspiration from Leighton’s original LIGHT & DARK but adds a touch more playfulness to the experience.

This brings us to the second fragrance, Embrace. The opening of this one combines the bergamot with a red berry accord and also adds a touch of pink pepper as an accent. However, the rose is hot on its heels, as is Leighton’s signature-esque jasmine and orange blossom. At this point it almost feels a little like Modern Muse, but we then go off in a very different direction. A huge note of iris comes though, given a creaminess from the tonka bean, but with a hint of violet in the background. A final pairing of elegant cedarwood and amber complete a delightful fragrance.

The final part of the trio is, in my opinion, the star of Leighton's collection. Encourage is an edgy aromatic scent that opens with an arrestingly vegetative citrus leaf quality before being joined by the exciting pairing of cardamom and black pepper. Now the cardamom happily remains for quite a while but, around it, you do get a touch of rose and the merest hint of incense. However, the development of the fragrance sees an earthy vetiver buddying up alongside a suede-like leather accord. With a final touch of sweetened sandalwood, Encourage is the perfect way to complete this easy to wear collection of fragrances.

Inspire, Embrace and Encourage are all available from the Leighton Denny website at priced at £30 for 50ml. [Samples provided by Leighton Denny]

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