The IScentYouADay Guide to Fragrant Gift Buying

4160 test set

On the subject of gift shopping, I often hear people say to me (and it’s usually to me as I’m a perfume blogger), “She wants perfume but I don’t know what she likes ” or “she fancies a change.”

Many partners either try and guess what their beloved will like- “it’s in a square sort of bottle”- or just buy Chanel No 5 because its the most famous one.  Coupled with this is the fact that perfume is often thought of by many as a luxury that smacks of self indulgence when buying it for yourself, hence the thousands of people who ask for it for Christmas or birthdays.

So what do you buy for someone who wants perfume but is saying “surprise me”?

The best idea is,of course, a Discovery Set.

Discovery Sets often, but not always, consist of a set of samples and a voucher for a full price bottle. They are a great way of experimenting and finding new things you like and new things you don’t.

Here’s my round up of the best fragrance Discovery Boxes in the UK (in my opinion). I won’t sell you short, I’d be happy to get any of these myself (hint, hint) Are you reading this darling? No, he’s looking at cars on his phone. Never mind, I’ll email him the link. 

1 Jo Loves

Jo Malone found the lure of the fragrant world was calling her back  after the sale of Jo Malone the brand and she began again as Jo Loves. I recommend just about all of them. I was kindly sent a sample set early in my blogging days and the quality was just wonderful. As far as gift buying goes, Jo Loves offers two great sets. The Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience consists of nine miniatures and a 50ml full bottle of your choice to follow at £95, or nine miniatures and a bigger 100ml bottle for £135. You’ll be spoilt for choice. Jo Loves fragrances are mouthwatering and irresistible.


2. 4160 Tuesdays

There all sorts of goodies over at 4160- samples, handbag sizes, try’n’buy sample and full bottle sets. You name it, Sarah McCartney has something for all budgets and tastes. Dip your toe in, I dare you! Where do I start? Well there’s the taster boxes at £35 for ten minis, or the Taster Box Plus Bottle Later for £100, or for £125 a whole day’s workshop with Sarah including food, chocolate and lots of sniffage and mixing. Or for under £20, you can buy an array of minis and testers in order to find your 4160 groove.  Check out the site shop right here. Incidentally, this article was written on Black Friday which is being called Hot Pink Friday over at 4160 Tuesdays. How refreshing!

4160 test set

4. The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are my passion. I have them all. I swoon when a new one comes out and have set world speed records in buying them. I receive the newsletter that alerts VIP members that a new Box is available, and I’ve ordered it and paid for it before I’ve finished reading it. The Discovery Boxes contain around ten perfume samples, often very hard to get on the High Street, along with a postcard containing discussion notes about each scent, and usually a couple of non perfume goodies such as nail polish or skin treats. The boxes are between £10 and £15 to VIP members and a few pounds more for non members. They make a great introduction to fragrance and are the cutest gifts ever in their little white boxes

In fact VIP Membership (£25 a year) can lead to free or subsidized perfume hobnobbing evenings at launches and events around the country, not to mention a free Discovery Box. I reckon a membership and Discovery Box would make a great gift. Check out the Perfume Society Shop Here.


5. The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Boxes.

Each box Includes a set of samples and generous discount vouchers off full size bottles- often ten pounds off, but more usually five. Boxes are dispatched quarterly and cost £5 each. A year’s worth of boxes  at just £20 would make a lovely gift for all seasons. When the site has stopped crashing because of Black Friday, I’ll post the link.

The Fragrance Shop

The Fragrance Shop

6. Pell Wall Perfumes Discovery Box

For £49 you get no less than nine 10ml fragrances from perfumer Chris Bartlett at Pell Wall perfumes. Made in Shropshire, Pell Wall is an eclectic mix of good quality perfume with excellent longevity and lovely Jeeves and Wooster style packaging. Chris is a jolly nice chap too. You can get them from the website. I particularly recommend Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple.


Aftelier Vanilla Smoke: In Which Mandy Reinvents The Word Cosy


Aftelier Vanilla Smoke is the latest launch from delightful Mandy Aftel of Aftelier , the friendly genius who kindly sends me samples from sunny California to overcast, chilly Wales.

Vanilla Smoke is exactly what this overcast chilly Welsh woman needed. If you look in the dictionary for the word “Cosy” you will find a description of Vanilla Smoke.

Vanilla Smoke opens with prickly spice and a creosote note that lands somewhere between Tauer Lonestar Memories and the smell of a leather jacket that’s just come in from the rain. I don’t know how Mandy achieves this, especially since she uses all natural ingredients, but this is what I could smell.

There is dark Lapsang tea, smoked over pinewood, and ambergris. Green mandarin is also listed but I could not detect it, unless its responsible for that slightly sharp tang on opening ? There are woods, or in my mind’s eye, logs, and there is saffron. But the star of the show, in every scene and frame, is vanilla.

Now what Mandy has done here is help me fall back in love with Vanilla. I used to love vanilla, and The Body Shop Vanilla Oil in the 1980s is to me, the epitome of a time when vanilla, worn alone, was good enough for any day.


Lately however, all the joy has been sucked out of vanilla for me. Cheap, synthetic vanilla seems to have been used in every mainstream scent with an overly heavy hand and frankly, even in fragrances where it had no business. Sometimes mass produced fake smelling vanilla reminds me of vanilla candles that you find in the pound shop, when what I actually want from vanilla, is something that borders on liquor and marzipan.

Vanilla Smoke is exactly what I’m looking for. The smoke is the smoke of a winter fireplace and the vanilla, although sweet, has nothing of The Cupcake Accord that has ruined many a sniff for me in the last few years. Rich and boozy, Aftelier Vanilla Smoke is blended seamlessly with wood and smoky dark tea to make it smell like that log fire I can see when I smell it.

Lasting many hours- around eight in fact, the last of the base note that is left on my skin reminds me a little of Dior Hypnotic Poison, which I consider an enduring classic.

Vanilla Smoke is a glass of whisky by a log burning fire in a huge old fashioned fireplace that heats the whole room. If you’re me, you’ll be adding Christmas Tree lights very soon. Superb.


Vanilla Smoke is available from the Aftelier website. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy Aftel. Opinions are my own.

The Perfume Society Secret Scentsations Discovery Box: Part Deux


(Because Part Deux sounds more perfumey than Part Two). Now that my boy has turned six and eaten the sweets and done the soft play party and blown out the candles, I can wade through the debris to my trusty PC and write the second part of my review of the Perfume Society Secret Scentsations Discovery Box.

Here’s what else was in the little white box:


Agonist No 10 White Oud

This fragrance opens like an extrait version of Body Shop White Musk ( and I don’t care what anyone says, that’s a classic), and then kind of gets more expensive smelling by the minute. The oud is more of a nuance than a main player and I like that. What I did NOT get were all the flowers that are listed such as May rose, violet and lily of the valley. The note that did come out quite strongly, however was Nagarmotha, or Cypriot oil which was used so effectively in Bruno Fazzolari’s wonderful Lampblack ( it reminds me of soot and ink). Number 10 White Oud is a gentle and cosy oud for those who like oud but don’t want to leave a big trail in their wake.


Ormonde Jayne Vanille D’Iris

Ormonde Jayne Vanille D’Iris is my first ever Ormonde Jayne sample and it was worth waiting for. I dislike too much vanilla and have a love/hate relationship with iris, but this combination of the two takes the best points of both and blends them seamlessly until you cannot separate them. It gives the grown-up-lady feel of iris that I like coupled with the cosy warmth of vanilla that I enjoy. My problem comes when Iris is too cold and vanilla too sweet, but together they get on so well that I reckon they should get married and have kids.

Beaufort London Male grooming Eau de Parfum Leo Crabtree photographed by Andrew Ogilvy Photography

photographed by Andrew Ogilvy Photography

Beaufort London 1805

The point of a Discovery Box is to discover not just what you like, but what you definitely don’t like. It hopefully takes you out of your comfort zone too. Well Beaufort London 1805 took me out of my comfort zone and sadly, gave me nothing I liked. It smelled like the enamel covered saucepan that I almost set fire to recently in my quest to make hearty soup. It’s a terrible scorched vinyl scent that’s bound to suit someone, but that someone ain’t me. If you like smoky scents, it’s worth a  try.


Connock London KuKui EDP

I tried this four times to be sure and it won me round. It opens with glorious blousy white flowers: lilies, white jasmine and gardenia. It’s beautifully feminine and I could waft about in it all day. However, it then morphs into a woody floral. There was a moment when it could have teetered over into Coco Mademoiselle territory if it wasn’t careful, but thankfully, it stayed on the jasmine/gardenia path and is all the better for it. There is sandalwood and amber in the base and it gives this beautiful floriental a warmth that is welcome in this chilly weather. The Connock London Kukui eau de parfum came about when customers of Amanda Connock kept asking for a fragrance to match the scent of Connock’s body products. I’m glad they asked. This is the gorgeous result.


Atkinson’s Rose in Wonderland

The rose in Atkinsons Rose in Wonderland made me think of perfect Mary Poppins nursery rooms. The rosa centifolia is a definite childhood nostalgia sort of rose. It smells of breath sweets or rose creams. This is a clever scent though because just as you’re enjoying that fresh, almost zingy rose, it changes and becomes those papery rose petals you find in pot pourri. This is the combination of dry grassy vetiver and peppery geranium and it all contributes to a delightful English Country Garden feel.

So that’s all of them, in mini bite sized reviews. And you’ll never believe what arrived in the post yesterday- yes, the latest Perfume Society Discovery Box. This one is called Putting on The Spritz. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Keep sniffing, my dear readers!


The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available from the website and you don’t have to be a subscriber to buy one, but you do have to be in the UK  to receive one due to postal regulations. They make great Christmas presents exactly as they are.

secret scentsations1

The Perfume Society Secret Scentsations Discovery Box.

secret scentsations1

I can’t help it. I’ve ordered another one. I think I’ve got them all now ( and one on the way) except the Prada one. Yes I’m talking about those tempting treasure troves of perfume samples and goodies- The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes. This time I’m writing about the Secret Scentsations Box.

The Perfume Society Secret Scentsations Discovery Box contains the following items. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Agonist No 10 White Oud spray 2ml
  • Pierre Bourdon La Dame en Rose spray 2ml
  • Annick Goutal Vent de Folie spray 2ml
  • Living Lalique EDP spary 2ml
  • Neela Vermeire Pichola splash 2ml
  • Comme des Garcons Floriental EDP 9ml
  • Connock London Kukui EDP 1.5ml
  • Beaufort London 1805 EDP 1.2ml spray
  • Sisley Eau du Soir splash EDP 2ml
  • Ormonde Jayne Vanille D’Iris 2ml
  • Atkinsons Rose in Wonderland 2ml
  • L’Artisan Parfumeur Noir Exquis 2ml
  • Sarah Chapman Skinesis Intense Hydrating Booster

It’s an incredibly generous haul and these samples would be almost impossible to find on the High Street.  The goodies arrive in a trademark Perfume Society white box. Postage is free and my box cost me £12.50, which is the subscriber price. VIP/subscriber memberships costs £25 a year and gets you all sorts of perks, not least discounted Discovery Boxes.

Now with one of my youngsters turning six this week, I am up to my eyes in cakes, invitations and wrapping paper, but I can disclose my first impressions of those I have tried in the fleeting minutes I had to myself recently.


Living Lalique– My favourite by far. I have looked up the price of full bottles despite my groaning dressing table. Airy and crystalline at first, it beds down into such delightful nuances of orris butter and woods that the blending seems seamless. A dream of a scent.

Eau du Sisley– as a fan of hesperides this cute mini bottle won me over instantly.  This is another one I would buy a full bottle of without hesitation. This opens like a cologne and ends like a chypre.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Noir Exquis– If you’re looking for Christmas in a bottle, stop here and buy one. With chestnuts, coffee and booze, cosy winters are yours.

Annick Goutal Vent de Folie– lighthearted and playful: this is raspberries and sweetpeas and roses. Another gorgeous hit from Annick Goutal

Neela Vermeire Pichola: This one I wasn’t so keen on. The tuberose absolu went all celery on me and the spices smelled off centre. I’m interested in smelling more from the brand though- this was my first. Never say never.

Pierre Bourdon La Dame en Rose –Like a grown up version of Yves Saint Laurent Paris, this opens with roses and violets and then goes all sophisticated. Playful by day, seriously gorgeous at night, like moi.

Comme des Garcons Floriental: Smoky and dark, this was more oriental than floral, but I was too busy sniffing with my eyes closed saying “Ahhh!” to do a Venn diagram about it. A great winter unisex scent.

Okay so that’s as far as I got. There are six more scents to write mini reviews about, but I ran out of arm space so I’m going to sleep in one and try as many as I can tomorrow.

Do come back fro Part Two, dear readers.


The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available on the website to members and non members, although members get discounts and first dibs. They make great presents and thank you gifts too.


Jo Loves Red Truffle 21

red truffle21

Jo Loves is the bijoux fragrance house founded by Jo Malone MBE of Jo Malone cologne fame. After selling Jo Malone to Estee Lauder, Jo attempted to retire but was drawn back to her passion for fragrance. Jo Loves is the result and the range consists of high quality scents inspired by memories that are dear to Jo, as the name suggests.  I have reviewed many of the scents on this blog and I give the brand a resounding thumbs up. Jo gets her inspirations from such eclectic moments as cocktails in New York (A Shot of Mango), her first job in a florists ( No 42 The Flower Shop-divine!) and now, the delicate aroma of truffle shavings in a restaurant. Red Truffle 21 is the result and I have a sample in my possession.

Red Truffle 21 opens with lemony bitter pine which is almost immediately toned down into a warm but tangy accord. There is an interesting combination of sharp cedar, fig, lemon and earth going on which is so addictive I don’t think there’s a cure.

In parts it reminds me a little of Tauer Pentachord Verdant, but with more citrus and less wet forest floor. The truffle hosts the party but doesn’t outshine the guests, and there is a suggestion of delicate mustiness in the background that never tips into mouldy territory. In this context, the mushroom is earthy and ripe, and the cedar is a superb foil for this.  Think damp vetiver, in a  good way.  Where the sharp, almost bitter cedar meets the earthiness of the ceps, you get Red Truffle 21.

Red Truffle 21 is perfectly unisex so if you can’t justify this indulgence buy it for your partner and steal it. This tip is one I often trot out in my attempts to be a devilish enabler.


You can buy Red Truffle 21 from the Jo Loves website. Whilst you’re there, check out the Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience for £95 where you can buy 9 samples then choose a full size bottle of your favourite.

Fragrance Under Five Quid- The 2015 Guide


You may have gathered by now, since I am on post Number 602, that I am rather fond of perfume. Since I intend to review 1001 perfumes and I don’t have the income of an oligarch, I could be creating a case of fiscal fiddlesticks for myself.

In fact, from my site dashboard here at Iscent HQ, I see many daily internet searches leading to my site that read “good cheap perfume” or “cheap perfume that smells good” – so I know I am not alone in my quest for thriftiness.

Luckily I love a bargain, a cheapie, and a swapsie and I leave pride and snobbery at the door. I have therefore thrown myself on the martyr pile and selflessly sourced, borrowed and tested the following fragrant bargains, for you, my dear readers.

This is not the first time I have done a “Perfume Under a Fiver” article , but it is the latest 2015 update and it comes at a time of year when shopping rises up the Agenda. In the world of scent, availability and price changes as fast as the weather, so an update was, I felt, necessary. I hope you like the following perfumes I have listed. I would wear all of them, dear reader, and wouldn’t sell you down the river.


Milton Lloyd

Milton Lloyd is owned by World Class Fragrance who have taken over a lot of Yardleys and Lentherics from the Times of Yore. You can still therefore buy some good 70s stylee drugstore classics such as Lace, Panache, Chique and Tweed. All of these have been reviewed on this blog. But did you know that there are modern flankers to accompany them? Panache Mademoiselle reminds me of Estee Lauder Pleasures, Tweed Mademoiselle is an excellent light fruity floral and Chique Mademoiselle is a light rose musk When you shop around on Amazon or Fragrance Direct or buy direct from Milton Lloyd, you can find them all for five pounds or under.


The Body Shop

The Body Shop is currently on my Good List for making gorgeous 10ml purse sprays available for a fiver.  My favourite is trusty White Musk but you can also get Madagascan Vanilla, Indian Night Jasmine, White Musk Smoky Rose, Amazonian Water Lily, Atlas Mountain Rose or another favourite of mine, Fijian Water Lotus. Some of these are online and some are only available in store.


Al Rehab

Al-Rehab perfume oils can be found on Amazon UK.  Coming in at well under a fiver, these purse sized roll ons are great value for your purse and last ages. You can wear them alone or layer them to mix and match until you find something you like. Try Choco Musk, Red Roses or Green Tea. Lovely packaging too. These are so cheap that you can afford to blind buy without going bankrupt.

chocomuskoudyal rehab

The Classics

Classic is another term for trusty perennials. Scents such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Coty L’Aimant and even the Charlies have been steadily in the background since I was a slip of a girl (decades ago). You can usually get a small bottle for under a fiver and I have reviewed them all on this site, except the Charlies.  Charlie Blue grew on me and now I can appreciate its mossy, woody longevity in a way I didn’t used to.  Try (where I also found Jovan Musk oil for 4.95) or Fragrance Direct, where I always find something I like for not many pounds.



Avon Calling


Trusty Avon always has bargains, and despite their insistence on moving with the times against this customer’s will, you can be sure of a bargain. The under-a-fiver fragrances aren’t always obvious, but in every brochure there is usually a special offer. I often see classic Soft Musk for a fiver, as well as ambery chypre Timeless for the same price.  However, in this month’s brochure, the bargains are amazing: Spend twelve pounds on fragrance and get three 10ml purse sprays free. For your twelve pounds you could get a bottle of Soft Musk and bottle of Timeless  at £6 each, or three Avon Scent Essences for £12. That could be a total of six fragrances for just twelve quid. When my Avon Lady, Jill, comes tomorrow, I shall be ordering three Scent Essences and my three purse sprays, working out at two quid each. I hope none of my friends are reading this or the cat’s out of the bag.


Marks and Spencer

When I’m in Marks and Spencer looking at knickers and posh tins of biscuits, I often find  a little purse spray ends up in my basket- oops!  But for prices that land between £3.50 and £5 for a 10ml handbag spray, who can blame me?  In fact, when they have the 3 for 2 offer on, who can blame me for buying three?  Try Autograph Blush for a light airy floral scent, or True Red if you like fragrances that are similar to Hugo Boss Red.

true redautograph blush

My name’s Samantha and I’m a frugaleer. Join me, why don’t you?


Piggy Bank photo from

Pound coin photo from

L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée

rose privee

L’Artisan Parfumeur has launched Rose Privée, created by legendary nose Bertrand Duchaufour and Stephanie Bakouche.

I have been wearing it for a couple of days exclusively and have fallen in love with the stuff. Rich or poor, rain or shine, you can get a rose fragrance any old day, so these days a rose scent has to make the discerning perfume purchaser sit up and take notice.

Rose Privée does just that and comes at the classic rose, (in this case Rose de Mai), at a different angle. By turns sour, then sharp, then rich, then peppery, Rose  Privékept me interested by pricking my preconceptions for a good eight hours.

Notes: basil, lilac, geranium, green mandarin, beeswax, blackcurrant, hay, chypre accord, magnolia, May Rose, patchouli, amber and violet leaf.

The rose comes out straight away with a sourness that is most likely that green mandarin note, but there is a peppery dryness about it too- almost like a tea note. This reminds me of those rose petals you find in pot pourri- they may be dried and papery but they have a vintage-y rose waft about them still. This could be dry grass feel of the hay note. The flowers come through strongly, with little scents of rose and magnolia drifting around me pleasantly throughout the day. I always find Rose de Mai quite exotic compared to other rose scents. Rather than going Turkish Delight, May Rose seems to go a bit tuberose on me- its heady and creamy.

The whole shebang is rounded off pleasantly with some earthy patchouli, some more of that hay we talked about, and the faintest girly trace of violet leaf and lilacs.

It’s a beautiful rose with faints hints of spiciness and heat that lends itself perfectly to Autumn.


L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée is available from the L’Artisan Parfumeur website or from Sephora, Luckyscent  or Amazon UK or Amazon.Com, although it is currently sold out on Amazon at the moment.

Miller Harris Coeur de Jardin

couer de jardin

Miller Harris Coeur de Jardin is part of the  Le Jardin D’Enfance range. The capsule collection of three fragrances captures the gardens of our childhoods and uses such ingredients as orchard fruits, notably pear, and flowers native to the English garden. You may recall my earlier review of Cassis en Feuille on this blog.

Coeur de Jardin is delightfully fresh and pure smelling- there are delicate flower petals in abundance (jasmine, rose and tuberose) and a steady background of nursery rhyme pears. Coupled with citrus notes it is as light as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing. But wait- hang on- hang a banger… this pretty miasma segues, like daylight into gloaming, into an ambery tinged warm finish that seems to encompass the flowers, the fruit, and a hint of darker woods all in one. It reminds me of a fairy tale with an optimistic start, a delightful happy middle and a darker ending.  In the base there is sober orris, warm amber, and sexy musk, making this an interesting juxtaposition.

However, the sweetness of the pear stops this from being too heavy a hitter and I rate it as the perfect scent for that special time of year when summer’s on the turn. There is a freshness about this- like herbal or citrus shampoo, then those flower petals drape themselves everywhere, followed by those lovely warm base notes with hints of moss. This is everything you want from a perfume. This one kept me sniffing all day. Marvellous.

One little note of warning though- if you turn your nose up at pear this probably isn’t for you as it has a cameo in every scene.


Miller Harris Coeur de Jardin is available from Miller Harris and also from our friends at Escentual and from John Lewis. Prices start at around £65 for 50ml but longevity is very good.

Miu Miu: The Fragrance for Me Me


MiuMiu has launched its first fragrance and this retro beauty is worth waiting for.

First, a word on the fabulous 70s style bottle: this chunky blue Bakelite reminds me of Sindy furniture and those little fancy dressing table seats that fired up my imagination as a child ( I could see myself owning one as an adult in my mind’s eye). Miu Miu stands out from the crowd on the beauty counters, and lives up to its bold good looks when you wear it too.


Miu Miu showcases Lily of The Valley in a  new frame.  Now I’m a big fan of Lily of The Valley. Some people say its smells dated or it smells Old Lady (Grande Dame if you please!), but personally I love all the ladylike classic florals and its no coincidence that two of my all time favourite scents are Gucci Envy and Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange. I have full bottles of each, and a back up bottle of Envy just in case.

vanitychairMiuMiu is all about the Lily of The Valley at first spray, supported by those trusty chorus girls Rose and Jasmine. However, straight away, this is no soliflore. MiuMiu introduces new budding ingénue Akigalawood, which was created by Givauden ( the flavour and fragrance people) in a lab. Akigalawood is a manufactured note descended from Patchouli, oud and woods and the result, used sparingly against the backdrop of pretty Lily of The Valley, is a dramatic and pleasing juxtaposition.

What happens is that the Lily of the Valley and the refreshing green notes are given a slightly spiky, woody backdrop which seems to bring out the Lily of The Valley as a more Autumnal contender. The longer you wear it, the more that patchouli mustiness comes through. It reminds me a little of Narciso Rodriguez and how the peony ends up with a woody/patchouli basenote. Lasting power is pretty good on me at around five hours ( although faint by then).

MiuMiu is wonderful and I like it very much. It’s beyond refreshing to find a brand new launch that is neither a flanker nor a caramel/vanilla Tsunami. MiuMiu has gone back to basics and added a modern twist for the Twenty First Century Fox.


You can buy Miu Miu from Harrods, Debenhams, House of Fraser and John Lewis.

Library of Fragrance Bonfire: Smokin’


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Library of Fragrance really does have a scent for every occasion. For Christmas you can have Cranberry, Gingerbread and Fireplace. For Spring there’s Wet Garden, Peony, and of course , being the UK, Rain, There’s even birthday fragrance with Vanilla Cake Batter and Gin and Tonic.  And now, right in front of me, there’s a bottle of Bonfire.

When sprayed on the three members of my family here tonight, ranging in age from five to forty nine, I’m afraid none of them liked it, one said “Pumpkin”, one said “Halloween” and one said “Yuk, Gerroff”. Well I liked it. What do they know? Huh.

Bonfire encapsulates the exact smell of a bonfire, which seems like an obvious thing to say but to me,  it smells like someone has been playing with matches in my living room.

Over on basenotes, several commentators have remarked that it reminds them of hotdogs and I’ve no doubt that a variation of the same liquid smoke used to flavour hot dogs is likely to be used in scent as well as flavour. There is most certainly a smoky note, that is almost bitter on first sniff. However, bear with it, because this is worth hanging on for. After a while the smoke beds down into a sort of scorched maple, and what was once bitter fades down into a layer of smoky spice. In fact it seemed like a good idea at this point to fish out two of my favourite Library of Fragrance scents- Pipe Tobacco and Mahogany- and do a bit of layering.


Bonfire and Mahogany gives a lovely combination of both smoke and incense- and it is perfect for Autumn. It’s on the masculine spectrum but I like to smell a lot more butch in Autumn and Winter than I do in Spring and Summer.

lof b and m

When I blended Pipe Tobacco with Bonfire, the effect was even more interesting and equally pleasing. The cosy warmth of Pipe Tobacco gave smoky Bonfire a warm nuttiness that gave the impression of the wood surround of a fireplace in winter. You have smoke’n’cosy all in one and I really liked this combination.

In conclusion, Bonfire may not be for everyone, but for me that pang of Seventies childhood it gave me (sparklers, baked potatoes, real bonfires) was the portal that got me interested. A bit of blending with other woody and warm scents, and my bonfire was under control and made for a pleasant Autumn evening.



You can buy Library of Fragrance from the Library of Fragrance website.  There is also a selection of Library of Fragrance scents in branches of Boots