Perfume gift sets and virtual fragrance consultations
Find your perfect perfume match without leaving the house
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Masks: Yes, they're necessary for protecting others from our potential viral load but, boy, have they spoiled our fun this year.
Like some kind of chastity belt for our face, they have prevented many forms of personal expression: from kissing in public to making red lipstick pointless, and it has also put a stop to waking up and smelling the roses – literally and metaphorically – both real and bottled.
The mere thought of holding a real fragrance bottle in a shop feels akin to handling a poisonous frog.
The luxury of picking up and smelling a fragrance is something we did in the good old BC (before Covid) days.
So, where is the fragrance industry now? Thankfully, it is diversifying, and with it bringing some surprisingly fun and sophisticated new fragrance concepts.
For me, it started when I attended my first Zoom fragrance launch with the brilliant Maison Francis Kurkdjian. A scent arrived in the post and once all the participants were logged in, we could converse about all things floral with the perfumer and his chief rose grower – it was both lovely and memorable.
And as we get used to the socially distanced age, consumers can enjoy these same experiences too.
Take the Floral Street Scentschool – an enlightening event where a box of fragrance accoutrements arrives on the doorstep, with fun scratch-and-sniff cards and perfume miniatures of their ultra-contemporary range.
It's fully interactive, with questions and quizzes, and you can attend with friends and family or on your own – wherever you are in the world. Click here.
Ormonde Jayne has been bringing the Mayfair boutique into clients' homes with complimentary private consultations via Zoom. Owner and perfumer of the brand, Linda Pilkington, says, 'I wasn't sure how a meeting about perfume could succeed if we couldn't be face to face but was willing to try. It turned out to be exciting – to spray the same scent on our wrists in real time was very uplifting and surprising.'
The brand uses a virtual backdrop of the Mayfair boutique, and clients from all four corners of the earth have loved the experience; Pilkington adds, 'the Eau de ParZoom™ is here to stay!'
Yu Parfums is another concept in the form of a subscription box, with a trio of bi-monthly, responsibly sourced, gender-neutral scents delivered to your door – you get to spritz, sniff and wear and then have the chance to buy a limited-edition favourite.
There are plenty of brand perfume sets to choose from. No longer do they have naff connotations of those 80s compilations where you would love one and throw the rest away.
These are carefully thought-out, try-before-you-buy affairs, where you can spritz, wear and really get to know the scent before purchasing the chosen 'one'.
However, the pinnacle of these has to be Harvey Nichols & The Perfume Society Fragrance Discovery Box 2020; it contains 12 fragrances from the best perfume houses in the world and you get to experience them in the comfort and safety of your own home.
From the UK launch of Atelier Materi – the exclusive French perfumery house to well-loved likes of Creed and Juliette Has a Gun – you'll get to test the new and iconic fragrances trending today. Plus, the beautifully packaged box would make for the perfect fragrance-lovers gift.
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