Take a deep breath… and lift your spirits with a new scent. Here are three under-the-radar perfumes we’ve only just discovered – and they’re well worth sniffing out …
1 FRENCH FANCY
Just arrived into Marija’s perfume emporium is Matiere Premiere, a collection of eight memorable perfumes created by Aurelien Guichard, a perfumer who, unusually, grows his own roses and tuberose in Grasse. Are they for you? Yes, if you like a strong sillage – that is, a lasting trail – plus vegan formulas and minimal, fuss-free bottles (the mini versions are actual perfumer’s trial bottles). The collection includes a woody one, a leather, a chic cologne and a glorious sunny neroli; I can’t imagine a single human being not loving this clean, bright celebration of orange flower. If I had to pick just one, though, it’s Radical Rose that stands out for me. It’s feisty and fresh at the same time, a really concentrated modern take on rose, as if you’re standing in the middle of a Grasse rose field wearing a really sharp, tailored velvet suit. From €29 for 6ml (you’ll get 100 sprays from this bottle), €190 for 100ml.
Marija doesn’t take on new brands very often, and when she does we always sit up and take notice – most recently she launched Marc Antoine Barrois, a Parisian brand that has only two fragrances, including FiFi award-winning Ganymede (from €95); I am dying to smell this “luminous suede” with its heart of violet and osmanthus. www.parfumarija.com
2 A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
Head to Donnybrook salon Skin by Olga (and www.skinbyolga.ie) for another good fragrance find. Yes, there’s a stellar selection of glamorous European skincare – fabulous French Biologique Recherche personalised routines; Swiss luxury by Valmont, and super serums by Oio Lab, a Polish brand that’s a favourite of renowned celeb facialist Joanne Czech.
But we’re most intrigued by Icelandic perfume brand Fischersund. Everything in the range is handmade in Reykjavik, and notes are distinctively local – think Sitka spruce and alpine fir. Some of the scent descriptions on Fischersund’s website are more than a little eccentric – for example, the inspiration for No.23 Fragrance includes tarred telephone poles and dead flowers; “…the feminine fountain pine tickles the top of your skull. A beached whale is about to explode.” I’ve no idea what it all means, but it’s brilliantly atmospheric. Perhaps even genius – this makes me long to smell No.54: “Uprooted moss, wet dirt and vetiver roots. Burnt car tires on hot asphalt and dry patchouli. Heavy slow-drying oil painting. Icelandic alpine fir, footsteps in frozen grass and salt liquorice.”
Anyway, most importantly, the one I’ve tried, No.8, smells lovely – more great Icelandic outdoors than beached whale. A good starting point is the Fragrance Discovery Set, €47. There’s no indication what concentration these are (for example, eau de toilette or parfum) but I find they are less long-lasting than the Matiere Premiere perfumes above; I’d spray these onto clothes, personally, to get longer from them. A perfect gift for someone who loves to discover interesting, under-the-radar scents.
The range also includes hand soaps, natural deodorants (laudable, but slightly messy, in my opinion – Modern Botany’s is far better – also stocked here), and soy wax scented candles. All in all, it’s another good excuse to visit brilliant facialist Olga. www.skinbyolga.ie.
3 COOL CUSTOMERS IN CORK
New gift and homeware store Snout in Ballincollig, Co Cork, specialises in sustainable and ethically produced items. Owner Aisling Sisk says they carefully chose just one US brand, A.N. Other perfumes from Miami, because “they are ethically produced from natural ingredients.” The scents are also vegan, cruelty-free and gender-free, and there are five in all (€85 for 50ml), plus a tester set (€25) that would make a brilliant gift.
Head to the store or online to find natural skincare, essential oils and soaps from some of our favourite Irish brands (The Nature of Things, Dublin Herbalists), plus beeswax candles and home comforts like fluffy sheepskin slippers (€45). There are many good gift ideas here (I have my eye on the brass Sport Gel roller pen, €62.50, a weighty and good-looking German-made Kaweco). Free delivery over €75. www.snout.ie
Sign up to our MAILING LIST now for a roundup of the latest fashion, beauty, interiors and entertaining news from THE GLOSS MAGAZINE’s daily dispatches.