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Suzie Abel: The fragrance elite

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 November 2016

Penhaligon's Spencer House group

Penhaligon's Spencer House group


A world without fragrance seems impossible to imagine - but just how brave are we when it comes to trying the creme de la creme of the fragrance world, asks Suzie Abel, Jarrold’s beauty buyer

Lilac Love from AmouageLilac Love from Amouage

How fortunate we are that fragrance – both male and female – is so readily available these days. Quite a contrast to centuries ago when it was a prized commodity and one that only royalty and the very rich could afford. The court of Louis XV was known as the Perfumed Court (possibly it needed to be to make up for the lack of soap and water).

Fragrance in general, and fragranced gloves in particular, became an obsession with the privileged few and a perfect example of this infatuation was the Empress Josephine who used two quarts of violet cologne and 60 bottles of jasmine extract every week. It is said that you could still smell her in her boudoir 60 years after her death! This is a little extreme I know and I wouldn’t condone such extravagance. I appreciate that the realm of truly premium fragrances can be rather frightening but the reward is that the absolutely amazing scents you will discover make this step into the unknown so worthwhile.

Perris Monte CarloPerris Monte Carlo

This category includes true classics from the past such as Joy from Jean Patou; Quelques Fleurs L’Original from Parfums Houbigant and Ombre Rose from Jean-Charles Brosseau, but more recent introductions are already establishing themselves as modern classics. Perris Monte Carlo has a gorgeous modern oriental collection in wonderful black and gold packaging – Oud Imperial is to die for. Amouage is a very special international luxury brand with spectacular bottles that have Swarovski crystals and gold-plated embossing – try the new Lilac Love. Penhaligon’s is a brand that has been in business since 1870 but it continues to produce exciting and innovative launches like the quirky but delicious new Portraits, including Lord George, Duchess Rose and my personal favourite Lady Blanche.

This elite family does come at a premium but the prestigious perfume houses use only the finest and most exceptional raw ingredients and the highest quality perfumiers to create the most superior of scents. Don’t be frightened, give them a try – you’ll discover what real fragrances are made of (and Christmas is just around the corner).

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