My love affair with perfume began at secondary school when my first boyfriend gave me a gift wrapped bottle for Christmas. Until that point I’d used a Vanilla body spray so to receive my very own beautifully packaged, designer scent made me feel very special and properly grown up for the first time. Typically, the bottle lasted far longer than the boyfriend did and when it was time for a new one I treated myself, discovering that finding new perfume is one of life’s little pleasures for me.
I therefore jumped at the chance to go to an intimate gathering at The Perfume Shop held in Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough as part of my #QBlogger duties*.
The store manager Sarah had put on a lovely little spread for myself and two other bloggers to enjoy after store closing so we supped on delicious smoothies and indulged with chocolates and fondant fancies (because you just have to if they’re there, don’t you?) whilst she gave us a brilliant talk on all things perfume.
I must admit, I thought I knew a fair bit about perfume but I learned so much that I ended up taking out a notebook and jotting it all down for you!
Without further ado, here’s a guide to finding your perfect fragrance:
Scents can be categorised in a variety of ways, all of which will help you learn about what works for you.
Each fragrance will belong to a family on the fragrance wheel, with the headline ones being Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh (which includes the fruity scents!). Have you heard of ‘Gourmand’ though? That’s quite a newly added one and describes fragrances that have ‘edible’ notes blended in like caramel and chocolate. Think of Thierry Muglier’s Angel as a good example of one that smells good enough to eat!
The Perfume Shop use the Michael Edwards Fragrance Wheel which is loaded onto iPads in store to assist the staff in helping customers decide upon their next signature scent. I gave it a go and the results really surprised me. I was asked to name my current favourite and said Olympea by Paco Rabanne. Sarah popped the results into the wheel and suggested the following:
Flowerbomb by Viktor Rolf (one of my past favourites)
Loverdose Tattoo by Diesel (one I’ve tried before and fell in love with)
Fatale by Agent Provocateur (a new discovery for me)
The results were spot on to the scents that I would enjoy and yet the fragrance family I matched to was Woody Oriential which I’d never have gotten to myself. In fact if I’d been asked what family of fragrance I liked I’d have probably said fruity! You can have a go yourself here using the online version.
If you like a particular perfume note, these can be searched for too to give you other suggestions, which is particularly handy if one that you like is discontinued. We tried to come up with the most obscure ingredient that we could and found that most vegetables even get used in designer perfumes (although we didn’t manage to find Eau De Courgette anywhere!)
When you read perfume reviews, you might see the word ‘note’ mentioned a lot. Basically each perfume is comprised of three layers of ingredients which form the scent:
Top Notes: These ingredients are the ‘grabbers’. They are the first ones that you smell, but will wear off after the first 10 minutes or so which is why it’s good to leave a scent on for a while to ‘develop’ before deciding if it’s the one for you.
Heart Notes: These start to develop and come through after about 10 minutes on the skin.
Base Notes: These are the ones that remain on the skin once the perfume dry-down has occurred. Again, it’s these ones you want to pay attention to.
Whilst we were there Sarah showed us some of the new releases hot off the press too.
Ghost WhiteLight is a 100% exclusive to The Perfume Shop as their own staff voted for the key ingredients by votes. It’s tagline is that it’s for ‘stargazers, daydreamers and beauty chasers’, which personally this means nothing to me! Instead I’ll tell you that it’s got a fruity top note of mandarin, peach and pear, floral notes of jasmine, violets and rose and a base of amber and vanilla. In other words I wanted to lick my arm after spritzing on a bit because it smelled delicious.
Lacoste have come out with a new collection too called 12.12. As with Ghost, they’ve also got an interesting way of describing their inspiration! In this case, it’s the pleated tennis skirt. No really! (Okay I’m jesting here but actually if you want to read more on the spirit of it there’s an explanation here!).
There are 3 new fragrances in total and each of the bloggers who attended on the night had a different favourite.
Mine was Sparkling which I found fun and fruity at first but it mellows to a more earthy base . The others in the range were Elegant which I’d describe as your more traditional perfume with classic floral notes coming through most strongly, and Natural which I could not pick up the smell of for love nor money! My friend Sophie loved it though which just goes to show that you need to smell perfumes for yourself to know what works for you.
Finally, I tried Pop by Stella McCartney. This was the most interesting to me because my first impression in store was that I absolutely hated it! I found it jarring and unexpected and not at all pleasant. One of it’s top notes is tomato leaf which might be why it seemed so strange.
I took a sample home anyway and spritzed on a bit to remind myself of how bad it was so that I could write about it. After an hour I had decided that actually I really REALLY liked it. So another lesson well learned: In the world of perfume, you should always see how things develop and pay attention to those base notes more than the top ones!
Not forgetting the gents, we tried a new release from Azzaro called Wanted too. This was another one I took an immediate dislike to, then found that it grew on me rather rapidly. It’s very masculine with crisp citrussy notes of ginger and lemon that grab your attention and then make way for a spicy woody base that leaves it smelling pretty sexy by the end! Yum.
At the end of the evening we thanked Sarah and the Perfume Shop profusely for such a brilliantly informative evening and headed out into the summery dusk each clutching a bag full to the brim of perfume samples and our very own new full sized bottle of perfume too. (Mine has gone straight onto my favourites list, but I’m going to blog about that seperately!)
Did you enjoy my guide to finding your perfect fragrance? What’s your signature scent?
*This post is not sponsored, however I do collaborate with Peterborough Queensgate Shopping on an unpaid basis as a #Qblogger by attending special events to discover all the latest news and releases. From time to time I am gifted items in thanks for my honest coverage.