The Shelf: Your Complete Fragrance Arsenal
With all the demands on your time and energy during the winter social season – not to mention Christmas – you need an essential capsule collection of colognes to see you right for any eventuality. Not so much a fragrance wardrobe as a fragrance shelf- this way you’ll have a reliable scent to suit any mood or occasion.
Perfumes have their own personality but they are adaptable too: what is seductive on one particular evening may segue into a comfort blanket on an afternoon of black rain. You will discover that the great advantage of continually switching cologne is not only to match different aspects of your character, but that the varying of scents will also help to keep your sense of smell alert. The nose keeps sending identification signals to the brain as it tries to keep up with your activities and this will mean you will smell your own fragrance more intensely and also for longer. Which is exactly what every perfume wearer wants: for who are you trying to please when you buy a scent? Your answer should be “me!”. If you are wearing a fragrance you love, then you will be able to work magic. You will have the world in the palm of your hand.
So, take a pride in your shelf. Curate it with care. Have it set up in a shady corner, away from heaters and radiators and the rays of the sun. Always use the same shelf: perfume needs to be kept at a stable temperature, so avoid the bathroom or the kitchen. A chilly spare room is best. I know it’s a bore, guys, but keep the bottle in the original box: that is what it’s for, not its not just a pretty pattern to beguile the eye. The packaging protects the juice from the light and if you drop the thing the flacon is far less likely to break. When you buy a new scent, add it to your shelf. You don’t need to chuck out one of your current favourites to make room; but always choose thoughtfully – consider why you are buying and what role the new bottle will play in your collection.
Wake Up and Live: Daytime
First of all you need a crisp morning scent that is fine for work, at home, on holiday, for weekends, walking the dog, the school run, the supermarket: the lot. A scent you can spray on and forget, knowing that you smell cool, calm, collected and confident. Tom Daxon’s SALVIA SCLAREA is one such. Fresh and green, straight off the farm. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce the name: it gives you a good reason not to tell your best friend what you are wearing and have him poach your perfume.
Daxon is not yet 30, he’s in touch with the zeitgeist: he comes from a fragrance family background and knows exactly what he’s doing. SALVIA SCLAREA has sharp green grassy top notes which instantly revive and stimulate: it’s like throwing open the garden door and stepping barefoot onto a dew-wet lawn in early summer. Vibrant, vital, alive, uncomplicated. As the fragrance settles down, you smell the vigorous heart notes of clary sage: a subtle earthiness warmed with elemi and oakmoss, sweetened with a little violet leaf. Nothing to excess, everything used expertly to sketch an impression. At the base of SALVIA you’ll find a discreet cashmere and musk accord which clings well to your skin and still holds on to those herbal middle notes which keep you spruce and on your toes. This is a scent which is endlessly versatile: non-intrusive, comfortable, unpretentious, classic and delicious.
Salvia Sclarea, £105 (50ml) by TOM DAXON
Evening in Paris: After Dark
Evenings, you can let yourself go a little. Work is done; freedom and darkness encourage the loss of inhibitions and you can have an adventure with your fragrance. ANUBIS by Papillon (EXCLUSIVE to LES SENTEURS) will cut a swathe wherever you go, making you the centre of admiring attention . It will also intrigue you with its dark mysteries and intricate structure. It’s great to wear a scent which takes a bit of working out and understanding: it means you never get bored with it, discovering new dimensions each time you spray it. Plus, once again, a complex fragrance puts your own nose on the alert and keeps you smelling it to the full.
ANUBIS is inspired by the mysteries of Ancient Egypt and that land’s arcane religion, dominated by ideas of fecundity and divine insemination. So this is a sexy scent in the most sophisticated and recondite sense. It’s made from some of the most precious and legendary oils in perfumery which have been used by Man for at least 5,000 years. There’s a true timelessness and romance about ANUBIS: and like the Sphinx it will keep everyone guessing. After intense top notes of bitter orange, ylang ylang and bergamot we plunge into the Valley of the Kings wrapped in the warm dryness of golden saffron, clove and immortelles with dark floral oils of jasmine, rose and lotus. The absolute of pink lotus used here is the big surprise here – being dark, troubling and vegetal like the bed of the Nile, and the fertile sediment of the inundation. The base notes are redolent of Egyptian temples and shrines, the smoke of incense and sacrifice which first introduced ancient peoples to the whole concept of perfume. Don’t worry about ANUBIS being too steep a learning curve, guys: these odours are all pure delight so just revel in clouds of sweet myrrh, sandalwood, frankincense, labdanum and the soft leatheriness of suede.
Anubis, £94 (50ml) by PAPILLON
Seance on a Wet Afternoon: Duvet Time on the Sofa
So we already have a daytime scent, I know, but here’s a little extra something for the winter months when you’re suffering from lack of light, incubating a cold and needing a booster of warmth and comfort against the rain, wind and sleet. I’ve chosen an escapist theme : an oasis in North Africa under a brilliant blue sky and a clear dry sun. DJHENNE by Pierre Guillaume will does wonders for your morale on a bleak day, whether you’re battling on at the office, stuck on a train in the wrong sort of snow or just poured into a chair gawping at “Loose Women”.
DJHENNE is an evocation of the scents of the desert and the crops harvested in the rich violet soil of the oasis. There’s a soft balmy breeze scented with the smells of silky sand, animal fur and supple worn leathers. Then a green note develops, suggesting golden ripe corn and sun-bleached wheat, dry cereals blended with the powdery bitter-sweet addictive perfume of cocoa beans. It’s all very sophisticated and rather magical, not least because it has a certain wholesomeness and freshness about it. DJHENNE is not at all a pantomime oriental fantasy but more of a reviving whiff of winter holiday air to banish the SAD blues and put you right back on your feet to tackle day to day drudgery. It’s powerful but discreet, quiet enough for the office but with an opulent quality which is kind to dreamers and sufficiently festive to carry you through a night on the town once you escape the soulless tyranny of the paperless desk.
DJHENNE £81.50 (50ml) by PIERRE GUILLAUME
Casting the Runes: Dressed to Impress
They say men don’t like brainy ladies but gorgeous girls certainly go for intellectual men. Look at Marilyn and Miller; Marlene and Hemingway; Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles. So,gents, for that special date keep a knock-out scent on the shelf. Nothing too obvious; not brashly sexy but cerebrally seductive to enthral and captivate the intended. After all, you want her to love your mind AND your body.
Mona di Orio’s VIOLETTE FUMEE is the J.K. Galbraith of fragrance: intelligent and pensive, but warmly loveable. Simultaneously austere and luxurious, VIOLETTE FUMEE was originally designed as a personal scent for Mona’s business partner Jeroen Oude Sogtoen: it’s a female fantasy of how a wonderful man should smell. So how powerful an aphrodisiac does that make it, chaps? With a beautiful arcane quality, VIOLETTE FUMEE is a slow burner of violet, clary sage, lavender, Turkish rose (for real men DO wear rose and very successfully, too) saffron and vetiver. Woods, tobacco smoke, sweet incense and myrrh encircle the floral notes in delicate whorls. This fragrance keeps close to the skin, enhancing a mood of supple tweeds and silky cashmere; it keeps the beholder guessing to the end. It hints, not shouts, laying traps and false trails to enchant the female mind and ensnare its prey like the coils of an elegant python. It is laid-back and assured. A modern masterpiece. Do you love her enough to let her share the bottle?”
VIOLETTE FUMEE, £195 (100ml) by MONA DI ORIO