The Fragrance Foundation UK



February 2016

Irene Jackman

My lasting memory of a fragrance was in 1965 my now husband bought me Shocking by Schiaparelli. A shocking pink box it was the most amazing smell but out of my price range then. I have tried unsuccessfully over the years to find it, or similar but to no avail. I did treat myself to Joy once by Jean Patou, glorious, I still have the empty box. My son Michael always bought me Paris by YSL but sadly he died 13 years ago and I cherish the last bottle he gave me. So some sad memories, but also lovely memories of perfume fragrances.

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Lee Kynaston – Journalist

It’s odd the relationship a man can have with his fragrance. I have known Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel, for example, longer than I have known most of my friends or my partner. It has been my favourite fragrance for nearly 30 years and has been there on my skin when I have laughed, cried, worked, travelled and fallen in love. It was there when I went to University, when I secured my first job and when I tied the knot. Acquaintances have come and gone but Grey Flannel, like the most steadfast of friends, has stuck by me through thick and thin.
I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve been unfaithful: other fragrances have entered my life and caused me to stray. What can I say? I write about fragrance for a living so the temptation is there on a plate – and in a bottle. But though I do have a fondness for Givenchy Gentleman, Helmut Lang Cologne and Lagerfeld Classic, Grey Flannel is the fragrance I always come home to.
Although launched in the mid Seventies, I first discovered it though an ad in Eighties’ style bible Blitz magazine and instantly fell in love with its quirky grey flannel pouch and intoxicating (if polarising) mix of galbanum, geranium, rose, tonka bean and violet. And especially the violet. People who smell it on me often say it reminds them of the Parma Violet sweets they sucked on as kids. It’s a lot more complex than that, of course, but I get where they’re coming from and it’s a smell I find strangely comforting. So much so, in fact, that it’s my lucky scent when I need a little good fortune and in times of crisis I’ve been known to spray a little of it on my pillow. Linus from Charlie Brown has his security blanket and I have my bottle of Grey Flannel. But that’s how it is with a fragrance that you fall in love with: it’s always there for you.
The truth is, Grey Flannel is not the trendiest of fragrances to wear, nor one of the easiest to find in the UK, and I live in constant fear that one day it’ll be discontinued so I have a small, nuclear holocaust-style stockpile, but it must be doing something right to be here 40 years after it launched – not to mention to still be in my life after all these years. So if you find a fragrance that means as much to you as Grey Flannel means to me enjoy it, cherish it and keep it close: it really can be your very best friend.


Charli Hayes – Model

I was recently working and living in Shenzhen and there was a nightclub called Pepper. In China you can smoke indoors, so they would pump a fragrance in to the clubs to cover up the smell. In the morning, when half awake, I would be able to smell the strange mix of stale cigarettes and intense floral perfume. It would instantly remind me of the previous nights antics. We called it Pepper hair.

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Sue Peart – Editor

My love affair with fragrance started in the cosmetics hall in Cole Brothers – Sheffield’s branch of John Lewis which, with its gleaming whiteness and central location was the shopping mecca of the city of my birth. When Mary Quant with her mini-skirts and nail colours with witty names (my favourite: Sky Blue Pink) burst onto the scene in the late sixties when I was a teenager, it was in Cole Brothers that we could find her. When she launcher her genius fragrance duo: AM (in the white box) and PM (in black), I nearly swooned. Even now, just one spritz and the memories flood back: Bohemian Rhapsody, flared jeans, teenage parties. They smelled heavenly, were handbag sized and would take me from day to nigh (the new mantra for girls just beginning to ‘go out’). For a year or two they were all I needed… but then it all went pear-shaped.
I think Alliage came next, the distinctive fragrance worn by the gorgeous girlfriend of my chum Mark, he surprised us with by turning up to a Christmas party with her. Pippa was sophisticated and beautiful, and I yearned to be the same… So I invested in Alliage.
After that I worked through the Estée Lauder repertoire – Youth Dew (Cambridge Tech), White Linen (early days on Cosmo), Beautiful (The Daily Express)… With brief flirtations with new arrivals (Dune was lovely, as was Oscar de la Renta and First by Van Cleef and Arpels).
After many years of being seduced by this fragrance or that, I think if you asked me what my Desert Island Fragrance would be, I would say Coco by Chanel. It’s ‘me’. Risqué by the amazing Roja Dove would come a pretty close second.
But perhaps my most recent fragrance recollection came just last week. I was on a rare few days break in Istanbul. The day was bright, but wintery. We missed our boat trip on the Bosphorous and had to wait an hour for the next. As we sat in Galata Square watching people hurrying by, selling pretzels, fishing off the bride, hawking cheap souvenirs, suddenly the most amazing aroma of freshly roasting coffee beans swept across the square from the coffee emporium on the edge of the Egyptian Spice Market. For a few seconds, I was in fragrance heaven. Whenever I think of my trip to Istanbul, it will be the wonderful warm enticing aroma of fresh coffee that I remember.


Elle Finn – Beauty Blogger

Roberto Cavalli’s Nero Assoluto – With its woody scents and vanilla undertones, it is a sophisticated and refined scent, allianced with primal sensuality; perfect for vibrant, assertive women. I love the fragrance because it was one I started wearing when I first started dating my long-term boyfriend. Having met him in my local bar when I was training as staff (his best friend trained me) I instantly wanted to know who the handsome blue-eyed stranger was: I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He, on the other hand, was aloof and cool and continued this bravado for another year whilst we slowly became friends. Spending our evenings and weekends in a large group of friends, it was difficult to get him alone but eventually he came round to meet my parents – still as ‘just friends’… or so I thought! After a couple of cocktails, we left the house to meet with friends and on the way, under an oak tree bathed in dappled moonlight, he kissed me for the first time. Every time I spray my perfume, I remember this moment and four years on, it still fills me with butterflies.

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