Here’s something that’s been bothering me of late; in fact it’s kind of a constant niggle in the last few years, as mass perfumery becomes more and more obsessed with honey, toffee and ice-cream notes built on a base of chemical-soaked vanilla.
Why is this the abiding trend in perfumery, and why is it so hard to buy outside of the genre in the average pharmacy or department store?
The answer lies in a couple of things, explored in a feature I wrote for the weekend’s Sunday Times Style Ireland. One, girls raised on fruitichouli scents are growing up and taking their sensibilities into adulthood with them, and two, as explained by Marija Aslimoska from Parfumarija, it’s often marketing-driven: big name scents are developed at big name scent houses, like Givaudan or Symrise, where marketeers hammer down a set of notes they know perform. That’s a costly process; so brands go with what works.
Depressing news if your nose ain’t tickled by sugar, which mine isn’t, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy warmth and sweetness in perfume. In fact, the whole idea for that feature came about as I stood in Brown Thomas a couple of months ago chatting to Bella Crane, founder of Bella Bellissima, a brand that’s recently landed in store.
Because she’s absolutely cracked the whole sweet, but not sugary thing, with her line of gorgeously different scents for adult gals who want to smell unique. And yeah, a bit lusciously syrupy while they’re at it, too.
Bella Bellissima is a small enough brand, bottles cost in excess of €100 (ask for ’em as a present) and features lots of scents that women will like as well as men – like the more masculine Rivera Lime and Vetiver Spice scents, but which I’d wear in a heartbeat.
There’s also a whole oud strand in the collection makes great use of what’s already a very warming, sensuous note. Another one of note (sorry), for lovers of sweet treats is the brand’s Perfect Day scent. Sweet – but not candied – it’s a perfect light, daytime juice.
Then there’s this. It’s my favourite, and deliciously candied but again, it never strays into that nose-attack frutichouli territory. It’s Orris Florentina, €125, and it contains orris butter, harvested from the root of the Tuscan iris. That’s what gives this juice its delicately sweet appeal.
It’s really pretty; there’s a bottle right at the top of my ‘want it, need it’ list. Now to convince Santa.