SIXTH scents

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 December, 2011, 12:00am


A fashionable festive look wouldn't be complete without a touch of fragrance. The selection of beautiful scents is endless. From celebrity concoctions to niche organics and updated classics, there is a style that appeals to everyone and every moment.

However, for many, this makes knowing which one suits them - or the event in question - that little bit harder to deduce.

The trick is to find an event-appropriate scent that also suits your mood, personality and outfit. What you would spritz on prior to lunch on a junk would be different from an elegant evening cocktail party. Still not sure? We check out the latest launches and tap two fragrance experts who offer their views.

For elegant soir?es, the first choice is often a floral. Harriett Lee, the general manager of Joyce Beauty, recommends Annick Goutal's Mon Parfum Ch?ri Par Camille. 'It is a beautiful blend of natural ingredients (patchouli, heliotrope, violet) and the rare notes of irone,' she says. Irone is an odorant made from iris oil. The iris for this must be dried for three years before being distilled and one ton of iris produces only four and a half pounds of essential oil.

Paris-based perfumer Frederic Malle - who grew up in the business (his maternal grandfather was with Christian Dior Parfums and his mother was art director of Christian Dior Parfums, where she collaborated on Eau Sauvage) - also advises looking to florals.

'If you want to feel elegant, wear a big fragrance based on beautiful flowers, woods or ambers. No ozonic notes (fruity), no overly visible notes,' he says.

Elegance can be many things, but they all point out to quality, says Malle. Options from his collection include Carnal Flower, beautiful tuberose scent, and Portrait of a Lady, a sophisticated mix of woods, amber and rose.

'A floral aldehydic like Chanel No. 5 or [Malle's] Iris Poudre is a more understated way to define elegance,' he adds.

The embodiment of floral elegance, Acqua di Parma's new Gelsomino Nobile is a refined, feminine blend inspired by flowers that grow within Italian mansions, with jasmine as its centrepiece. Cartier's latest, Baiser Vole, also focuses on one striking flower - a vanilla-tinged lily - designed to linger.

If the occasion is more fun-loving and free-spirited, choose a scent that's a bit fruitier or more exotic. 'Honore des Pres' Love Coco is the one,' says Lee.'It's a blend of gently spiced coconut milk, coriander leaf and creamy vanilla. All ingredients are 100 per cent natural and organic.' Malle's answer is straightforward. 'I like a cocktail of roses and violet mixed with sparkling notes like grapefruit,' he says.

Jo Malone's Assam & Grapefruit scent is an ideal choice, as is Prada's latest offering, Prada Candy. Magnified by white musks, benzoin (a resin from the styrax tree in Laos) and caramel, it results in a sweet fragrance cocktail ideal for a spirited mood. Or, go for something utterly feminine with Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet, a floral fragrance inspired by the current Miss Dior muse, Natalie Portman (young, feline and contemporary). Notes of peony followed by rose absolute blend with modern patchouli and soft white musk as the finishing touches.

For festive wintry nights, Lee suggests Frederic Malle L'Eau d'Hiver, which means Winter Water in French. 'The scent is transparent and light ... very soft, warm and comfortable. To me, it conveys the image of sitting beside the stove, embracing the warmth [during] the winter season.'

Malle prefers 'ambery Oriental perfumes. I love the mix of sweet vanilla and warm amber in them. A perfume like Musc Ravageur by Maurice Roucel is like a fur coat to me,' he says.

Van Cleef & Arpels' limited-edition Feerie Rose des Neiges also fits the bill. Inspired by the 'snow rose' that blooms in winter, this fruity, musky floral is subtle and delicate with tart cranberries, pear and litchi, accented with pink peppercorn. Middle notes entwine magnolia, peony and blackberry around rose.

Modern and edgy occasions call for a bit of added drama. Lee recommends Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire Pour Femme, a warm floral fragrance created for French actress Catherine Deneuve. Lumiere noire means 'black light' in French - the brightness of rare spiced roses and narcissus flowers mixing with the darkness of a patchouli blend.

'With this illustration, it's not hard to imagine the visual of wearing a glamorous evening dress, being the star of the party. So it would be quite perfect for the party season.'

Malle says that whenever he wants to feel modern, 'I personally wear Dominique Ropion's Geranium pour Monsieur.'

Ultra-new and ?ber-sensual, Valentina by Valentino was conceived as a way to represent couture in a scent for the woman who creates her own style. Expect Calabrian bergamot, shaken up by the white Alba truffles. For something with a lighter, crystal-like modernity, Swarovski's Aura is a fusion of amber and white musk with fruity notes of soft litchi and finished with white jasmine.

Lastly, our experts' choices for all-out glamour call for a dominant top note. 'Absolutely, it would be rose, rose and rose,' says Lee of her preferred ingredient.

Malle sums it up in one word: 'Patchouli!'

For a true rose experience, try Lancome's newly launched Tresor Midnight Rose. Described as a 'candied rose of love', the intense rose scent is sweetened with tangy raspberry, jasmine, pink pepper and vanilla.

Elsewhere, Guerlain's Idylle Eau Sublime centres on rose water and rose essence, a delicate and pared-down approach to the classic floral.

For a patchouli fix, choose Kilian's Straight to Heaven, a warm, deep and enigmatic note of patchouli from Java which blends subtly with rosewood.