The Friday Five: Perfumes For Any Occasion

Perfume is a powerful accessory, mood-enhancer and memory-evoker all in a neat bottle, and finding one that you love is one of life's great joys. Here, Beatrice Aidin shares some of her current favourites.

We’ll be joined by co-founders of Katherine Daniels on Thursday 4th August at 7pm for an interactive ‘facial-a-long’ on Zoom. Tickets are £30 and you will receive £80 of products and lots of expert advice about how to look after your skin, especially in the summer months. Click here to book your spot.

Seeing as my Tory leadership challenge was rejected on the – to me unfair – grounds that I’m not an MP or a billionaire, I have turned to summer lovin’ perfumes this week instead.

Scent for me is the ultimate mood changer. During the many Zoom press launches and meetings I attended during lockdown (at first with my camera on grinning inanely, later with it off after I got ticked off for taking a chicken out of my oven) I found a different perfume could really affect how I felt.

Given that I was stuck in my kitchen rather than swanning around somewhere delectably swanky I wanted an olfactory lift and the reminder of other people’s scents. So… olfactory. Beauty writers band it around but what does the word mean?

Here’s the skinny: there are masses of nerve cells that form olfactory bulbs on the bottom side of the brain, and one above each nasal cavity. These receive information about smells from the nose and send a message to the brain that interprets it.  Say you are sniffing roses, how lovely! But if it’s rotten eggs or a gas leak instead, that’s not so good. The bulbs are part of an essential early warning system which keeps us safe.

That sense of smell is so clever it lodges in our memories; we can all remember our mother’s scent, a whiff of Arpege and I am back in the room with her as a child. It’s all very Proustian.

When times are tough, I want to have a perfume that is cheery, where each spritz gives me a waft of the lightness of summer.

Here are five of my favourites…

1. Best for a burst of energy

I do hope some of you tuned into the Instagram Live Jo Malone, founder of Jo Loves, did with me for Noon where we chatted about the contents of her make up bag, her life, career and everything in between. It’s where beauty meets Desert Island Discs. We had a lot of fun and afterwards I was let loose in her Pimlico store and found that her new Jo Loves White Rose & Lemon Leaves was *the one*. It delivers much-needed oomph even in the broiling heat. Click here to watch if you missed it.

It’s a brilliant, elegant summery perfume with notes including – as the name suggests – white rose, lemon leaves, pink pepper, and petitgrain. The citrus note glides across the rose giving it an edge and the person wearing it, a bit more get up and go.

I also love Jo’s innovation in designing Jo Loves The Fragrance Paint Brushes which are perfect for travel – she painted my pulse points and I can say I’m possibly one of the few people to have ever been painted by Jo Malone…

Jo Loves White Rose and Lemon Leaves £115 for 100ml (as photographed)/ £75 for 50ml, joloves.com

Jo Loves Fragrance Paint Brushes £40 each with refill set of three at £35, joloves.com

2. Best for a summer full of sex

The perfumer Confessions of a Rebel has done it again with Get a Room which takes on the assumption by perfume houses that sex means heavy musk and loud as well as illogical TV ads where you can see Brad Pitt trying not to side-eye as he stares creepily at a 25-year-old model to promotes the new fragrance: ‘Sexy Hour… bought to you by House of Alimony.’

But I digress. Get a Room makes for a seductive summer with notes of woody amber, apple tree and clary sage with a slight vanilla finish.  Perfect. For us Queenagers are a) not ambivalent about sex and b) a rebellious lot.

Confessions of a Rebel Get a Room £105 for 100ml, confessionsofarebel.com

3. Best for a happy scented day ahead

When I met Paul Gerrard, the man behind the Happy Paul label, we had a very droll conversation.  But as we know, we all have our times – well I certainly have, especially in the last three years. Paul has had depression and mental health issues and he created Happy Paul, a unisex body and skincare brand with the aim of bringing a smile to the chops of everyone who uses it. The aroma is so uplifting with oils including spearmint, bergamot, lemon, cinnamon and frankincense. are some of the I would highly recommend the roll-on perfume oil to carry in your bag for an uplifting sniff during the day.

In addition, I loved how honest the whole Happy Paul story is; often big companies will create the marketing campaign, line up the ‘face’ and then remember to formulate ‘the juice’ according to focus groups. As a range Happy Paul makes me smile.

And if all that wasn’t enough, the range launched mid-pandemic, which was timely as 20% of profits goes to Young Minds, a mental health charity and also won Gold in The Beauty Awards, 2021 which for a first perfume is almost unheard of.

Happy Paul Bright Spice Roll On £10 for 10ml, happypaul.co.uk 

4. Best for a heatwave

A half-a-dozen years ago I interviewed the then Creative Director of Asprey (the jewellers founded in 1781 with a royal warrant) for the FT.  Kindly, he sent me a beautiful wallet as a thank you and a bottle of Asprey Purple Water Fragrance. I gave it a sniff, thinking it might be heavy, Asprey after all designed the diadem for the monarch, but it’s light and addictive. Zingy and fresh with citrus, basil with ginger going to woody and earthy fragrance with a tad of spice, it’s wonderfully refreshing for a hot day.

Asprey Purple Water Fragrance £60 for 50ml, asprey.com

5. Best for transporting you to a daydream under a willow tree

During the first lockdown, I would spray on Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau Eau De Parfum which felt like olfactory temazepam, a calming escape during the very hot summer of 2020. It’s floral but grown-up, not girly and sweet, with notes of rose, petitgrain, and blackcurrant leaves and buds. (Unfortunately, whenever I tried to Instagram an image I would put the handle of a lighting store in Toronto, Diptyque is not an easy name to spell in my dyslexic defence…)

And in what I consider a genius move, if you order a perfume from the official website without having sampled it in-store, Diptyque sends a sample size so if you are wavering or don’t quite like it, you can return the unopened bottle for a refund.

Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau Eau De Parfum £130 for 75ml, diptyqueparis.com

– Beatrice Aidin

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