Monday 30 January 2023

MARRAKECH by Tessa Williams

Marrakech perfume by Tessa Williams - the bottle surrounded by oranges
As the weather begins to warm up after months of snow, sleet and rain, many people’s thoughts turn to the climates of their favourite holiday destinations or even new ones that are waiting to be discovered. This is regularly mirrored in the perfume releases that begin to appear in early spring, with a multitude of aquatic citruses champing at the bit to escape from the warehouses, but there are already some fantastic travel-inspired fragrances ready to be worn straight away. Marrakech from Tessa Williams launched in May 2022 but, in the rush to “get back to normal”, you might have missed it. So, fancy a little scented travel?

Travel and country-inspired scents are nothing new in the world of perfume, although their levels of success have dramatically varied from company to company. While some have spawned whole collections, such as the breathtaking Gallivant, others have ended their lives relegated to the obscurity of the bargain bin. It’s often because the subject has failed to grab the attention of the customer, whether that’s because the fragrance is too generic or equally too challenging, or simply that the location chosen is outside of the customer’s field of knowledge. Whatever the reason, “travel-inspired” is not an inspiration to be chosen lightly.

Tessa Williams is a respected journalist and author, probably still best known amongst fragrance fans for the coffee-table book Cult Perfumes: The World’s Most Exclusive Perfumeries. Released in 2013 by Merrill Publishers, this spawned an initial Elements range of home fragrances, which then became Living Colognes, and were eventually joined by Faith, Hope and Love. This ability to act as the Creative Director for two ranges of fragrances, which took the abstract and turned them into a scented realisation, gave her the knowledge to tackle a “travel inspired” cologne. The result, as you’ve guessed, is the delightful Marrakech.

Marrakech perfume by Tessa Williams - the bottle surrounded by oranges
When we think about Marrakech, and it’s a place that I have never visited, our thoughts can quickly conjure up searing heat and multicoloured spices. However, Marrakech is famous for something far more fragranced. Tessa was inspired by the garden of Medina which, when in full bloom, has the intoxicating and heady aroma of orange blossom. The bitter orange tree, which produces neroli, orange blossom, floral water, petitgrain and of course the bitter fruit, is a staple of the country. Symbolising eternal love, and famously part of a bride’s bouquet, can Marrakech also transport us to sunnier climes?

The fragrance is a celebration of everything the bitter orange tree can produce, and opens with a vibrant herbaceous citrus quality. That first scented image conjures the bitter orange fruit and the heat on the green foliage, but it’s quickly joined by a metallic floral edge from the neroli. There’s also a hint of pink pepper at this point before the jasmine-esque orange blossom comes into view. This rich, and slightly animalic ingredient is intriguingly dirtier than in other orange blossom fragrances, with its touch of warmed sensual skin, and the flower’s final reveal of its delicious honeyed and soapy aspects completes a tantalising take on the city of Marrakech.

Marrakech is available from the Tessa Williams website at and is priced at £32 for 50ml. Click on the image below to read my “Stephan's Six” interview with Tessa Williams from May 2017. [Sample provided by the company]

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