Spray or burn something Irish this winter …
Stories Parfums, created by Tonya Kidd-Beggs in Co Down, are both beautiful and memorable. It’s a small but mighty brand packs a powerful punch. The two signature perfumes – each one a “story in aromatic form” – are highly wearable for everyone (gender-free) and distinctive, with high-quality natural ingredients. There are also body products to complement them. I lean towards No.02 as I love the patchouli and honey tobacco notes – it has a creamy smoothness that’s wonderful to wear in the winter. From €82, www.storiesparfums.com and at Harvey Nichols, Dundrum. You can book a personal consultation with Kidd-Beggs to help you choose your perfect fragrance (€17, redeemable against future purchase). This also includes deluxe samples of Stories N.01 and N.02 which arrive in time for your consultation, to bring the whole experience to life. It’s possibly the best gift you can buy for under €20 and perfect for anyone interested in perfume, at any time of year. Available exclusively at www.storiesparfums.com/bespokefragrance.
A few weeks ago I came across a new perfume brand called Scopoli – the label “Dublin – Grasse” caught my attention. It reminded me of a van you used to see around the city bearing the legend: “Dublin – Paris – New York” and underneath, in smaller letters “mainly Dublin”. But Scopoli is a new company making perfumes in Dublin, with the help of Grasse-based perfumers. Kicking off with two unisex parfums, the Italian-sounding Scopoli is in fact Dublin through and through – all credit to the young team for launching in such a year. You’ll currently find the perfumes in boutiques such as Beautiful South in Rathmines and Havana in Donnybrook. I’m trying out their first batch of two scents, Awake & Dreaming, and Fall from Grace, and find them very light and subtle on the skin. The descriptions sound a bit muddled (Awake, for example, features “woods, marine, citrus, herbaceous, floral, peaty musks”). Grace’s top notes alone include cardamom, grapefruit, fennel, lemon and mandarin. But you do pick up hints of lots of interesting essences, from geranium to Calabrian lime, and if you like essential oils blends you’ll find these easy to wear. They don’t quite have the longevity or impact I’d expect from a parfum, which is the most concentrated form of scent you can buy with 25 per cent or higher concentration of perfume oil. So these are for those who prefer something subtle. Packaging is simple, with eye-catching wooden lids made specially in Mayo. €60 (50ml), www.scopoli.eu.
To make your home smell great, Samui’s room spray is the one of the best options. The distinctive green fig fragrance really takes hold of a room, without being overpowering, and I love the way it lingers. Clodagh Shorten told me how it was inspired by a room spray she used to buy in Colette, Paris. When Colette closed in 2017, she contacted a perfumer based in the south of France and they designed a luxurious, more sophisticated version to be their signature scent: “more like a perfume you’d wear yourself than a room spray,” notes Shorten. Elegant, and instantly recognisable as the scent of Samui, it has an instant impact on a room. It’s fresh and sophisticated, in a beautiful glass bottle. €50 at www.samuifashions.com.
If you prefer a diffuser to scented candles, Flora + Fiona therapeutic oils added to a diffuser will clear the air, quite literally, and help to raise your mood, too. Created by brand consultant and qualified aromatherapist Fiona Hedigan, try the two new additions, Take a Moment and The Protector (€20 each, or €80 for both plus Mael diffuser). www.floraplusfiona.com
On the candle front, it has to be Cloon Keen’s new Noble Myrrh: it’s highly atmospheric, and a way of prolonging a cosy winter mood. Head to their exquisite new boutique in Powerscourt Townhouse to pick one up. They look great and smell even better – the most glamorous winter scent there is. €40, www.cloonkeen.com.
There are many other new Irish candles around, from The Secret Garden (€30) to Mink’s Modern Rose (€35). For my money, The Handmade Soap Company’s soy wax candles are the best value – €15.95. At their popup shop in Dublin’s Wicklow Street you can pick up Grapefruit & May Chang or Bergamot & Eucalyptus. Finally, head to the Gloss Shop and treat someone to a Tray Chic gift box (pictured above) – it features a handmade Rathbornes1488 candle in Dublin Dusk or Dublin Dawn, a really classy take from the world’s oldest candle company.
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