THE UNSEEN ACCESSORY
By Sunil Makan
Illustrations by David Bray
British Fragrance is having a moment; we champion our favourite six British brands, doing things their way.
When thinking of quintessential Britishness, we’re never too far from conjuring up visions of her Majesty in a brightly coloured two-piece suit with matching hat and Launer bag to boot, English tea-rooms with warm scones, clotted cream and jam, trips to the seaside with fish and chips on a pebbled beach. Speaking of the seaside, the emotive faces in Martin Parr photographs, Brutalist imposing buildings (here’s looking at you Trellick towers) and perhaps the ubiquitous Burberry check- But how about the world of fragrance?
If we can produce some excellent wines that are just as good as our neighbours, I am thinking of Nyetimber and Chapel Down, then why should fragrance be any different? From great locally sourced ingredients, bespoke and made-to-measure services, to innovative ways of scent construction the British fragrance scene is having a moment.
With that in mind, here are six British fragrance houses that are doing things their own way and our pick of their best offerings that’ll suit both him and her.
Linda Pilkington, the brains behind Ormonde Jayne, is a self-taught perfumer. Having worked with the likes of Chanel (she created a candle for the label) and Geza Schoen, Pilkington decided that 2002 was the right moment for Ormonde Jayne to come to life. A master in elegant construction, Linda blends ingredients like no other. Expect the very best ingredients and the utmost in sophistication and class. Head into the Mayfair boutique and experience the exclusive made-to-measure service where you can choose the strength of your favourite scent.
Make magazine loves Ormonde Jayne, Ambre Royal.
Sitting in the Oriental family, Ambre Royale is a captivatingly beautiful and mysterious fragrance. Floral oil (both rose and orchid) bubble atop the warm abroxan and musk base, which is lifted with the addition of orange absolute and bergamot. It lingers on the skin and clothing like nothing else, an exquisite and unmistakable trait of any Ormonde Jayne creation.
Parterre is the creation of David and Julia Bridger in collaboration with Master Perfumer Jacques Chabert. Step into the fields (yes, you can actually visit) of herbs, flowers and grasses and you would be forgiven for thinking you were in Grasse. But you are not; you’re in Dorset, Keyneston Mill to be precise, the home of Parterre. British herbs sit beside plants that aren’t typically grown here, like vetiver (usually from Haiti) and are all key ingredients to fragrances that are harvested and distilled on site. Their fresh and unique ‘from seed to bottle’ approach to fragrance means you can expect boundary-pushing perfume. All Parterre fragrances are numbered as limited editions as the batch of ingredients varies each season.
Make magazine loves Parterre, Root of All Goodness.
An incredibly warm and aromatic scent based on the brilliant aforementioned vetiver. The addition of hyssop, typically a medicinal ingredient, and earthy labdanum has an overall warming quality that is lifted with zingy ginger, bergamot and lemon.
In 2011, Jo Malone CBE launched her new brand, Jo Loves. She continues to push boundaries in the fragrance world, for example, look at the newly formulated ‘graffiti’ paint spray bottles which you are encouraged to use all over or the paintbrush sticks full of a thick gel fragrance. There’s no doubt that she is a creative genius who knows what people want. She earned that CBE for her services to the British economy.
Make magazine loves Jo Loves Jo By Jo.
Citrus lovers, this one is for you. Jo created this as an ode to the humble grapefruit and to ‘celebrate memories past, present and future’. From the signature red flacon this fresh, zingy grapefruit scent bursts with energy. The addition of lime, spearmint and black pepper further elevates this perfume to make an elegant concoction.
Yes, technically Creed is not based here now but it was founded in London. Passed down from father to son for seven generations a real heritage brand with luxurious scents. In 1885 Queen Victoria appointed Creed official supplier to the British royal court and that high society demand hasn’t topped. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were fans and more recently the brand boasts Michelle Obama as a devotee.
Make magazine loves Creed. Vetiver Geranium
Geranium, which I predict we will be seeing more of in the fragrance world, has shaken off connotations of being an older ladies go-to scent. There’s nothing fuddy-duddy here – we’re talking crisp, green and grassy notes, think of a wet flower bud bursting with freshness. The earthy quality of patchouli, the lemony vetiver and spiciness of cinnamon keeps this the right side of powdery. This powerhouse of a scent is a real head turner.
Tom Daxon Bowers inherited his love of perfume from his mother, who used to be the creative director for a leading name in the beauty industry for over 30 years. This led to the creation of his very own brand, Tom Daxon. Whether it’s the addition of Iso E super and carrot seed in Irridium or Lapsang Souchong tea in Vachetta, experimenting with ingredients is what the brand does best.
Make magazine loves: Tom Daxon, Laconia,
After taking a sip of real lemonade on a trip to Monemvasia in Greece, the idea for Laconia became clear. The perfect fragrance to refresh and another for the citrus lovers; teeming with a lemon, mandarin and orange notes, mint and violet leaf, salt and the spiciness of cardamom, which adds just the right amount of spice in the dry down, this is the chic way to wear a fruit-based fragrance.
JO MALONE LONDON
Yes, you’ve seen the stores. You probably already know the story. Started by Jo Malone the fragrance house has achieved cult-like status with their covetable scents and packaging. With something to suit everyone, you’re sure to find a signature scent. You’re further encouraged to be playful and experiment by layering each scent to find your own unique way to wear them.
Make loves: Jo Malone London, White Moss & Snowdrop
The latest addition to the family is White Moss & Snowdrop available from 23rd October. It forms part of the ever in-demand, luxurious and desirable Christmas list. Housed in an incredible iridescent bottle with a lavish gold stopper, this definitely looks the part too. Spicy and warm, the moss keeps the amber base light and cardamom makes for a truly memorable addition. Naturally, it comes in candle form too for a really indulgent dose. If Blackberry & Bay and Pomegranate Noir had a lovechild, this would be it!
Ormonde Jayne, 12 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4SL www.ormondejayne.com
Parterre, Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadily, London www.parterrefragrances.com
Jo Loves, 42 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, London, SW1W 9NZ www.joloves.co.uk
Creed, 99 Mount Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 2TF www.creedfragrances.co.uk
Tom Daxon, Liberty London, Regent Street, Carnaby, London, W1B 5AH www.tomdaxon.com
Jo Malone London, 101 Regent Street, Mayfair, London, W1B 4EZ www.jomalone.co.uk