Beauty: Heaven scent

Our choice of fragrance is deeply personal and rather revealing. Velvet’s Lisa Millard lifts the lid on the power of perfume

I have a love hate relationship with perfume. Wearing too much is, frankly, rude; in a confined space –think office or airplane – the intense smell of perfumes is cloying and choking even to the point of nausea. My other bugbear is the language many perfume houses use to describe fragrance ingredients. There is nothing to compare with the gush of prose perfume invites and as for the advertisements on television, don’t get me started.

That said, scent is a beguilingly powerful device attaching to the crevices of memory much like music, summoning feelings no words can capture. My late mother loved her signature scent, Femme by Rochas, created by perfumer Edmond Roundnitska in 1944 for one Marcel Rochas to present to his wife. I recall as a child passing her silk scarves and tailored jackets left on the banister of the stairs and the familiar scent inviting memory of her embrace. Still grieving her loss, I find myself reaching for the one bottle of her beloved left-behind Femme and spritzing a tiny dot on myself at bedtime as a comfort and reminder of her love.

What I am wearing

Go to scent – La Tocca Eau de Parfum Viaggio, Cleopatra, Colette, Florence, £58 (15ml) at

VELVET DECEMBER Beauty Perfume Citron (21704374)
VELVET DECEMBER Beauty Perfume Citron (21704374)

A thing of great beauty, this Tocca threesome – a gift from a close friend who knows me well – comes in dinky foliage-embossed boxes which open to reveal the golden scribed words ‘love yourself’. Cleopatra, Colette and Florence reside in exquisite fluted glass dabber bottles, each scent presenting prettily in a dusky rose, silver green and lilac. I love everything about this set and happily wear the fragrances individually and as a blend. Tocca is relatively recent in terms of fragrance houses and has a more modern vibe rooted in the group of female friends who founded it in the 1990s. Cleopatra captures my heart completely; high notes of grapefruit and greens are tempered with amber and vanilla musk creating a verdant hit of bitter sweet.

Going to scent – Miller Harris Citron Citron Eau de Parfum, £105 (100ml), Miller Harris, 16 Rose Crescent, Cambridge

Lyn Harris knows a thing or two about the alchemy of fragrance. Her brand Miller Harris is rooted in a childhood spent in Scotland with grandmother baking bread and grandfather creating carpentry. The fizzy scent of yeast and earthy scent of sawdust helped shape a nose now classically trained and celebrated by the world of perfume.Citron Citron is calling me with its crystal clear, luminous serving of citron striking a blend of Sicilian lemon with softer more yielding cardamom, sumptuous mint and earthy moss. Modern, bright, intelligent and elegant, this going-to scent promises a life to be well lived. I can’t wait.

The Perfume Society picks for Velvet

By Suzy Nightingale

Molton Brown Bizarre Brandy: £85 for 100ml eau de parfum

Molton Brown, Rose Crescent, Cambridge and

Molton Brown has seriously upped its scent game with the launch of 12 new Eaux de Parfum. This one’s all spiced orange brandy swirled against a sexy drift of rich tobacco, sipped in the private room of a gentleman’s club.

VELVET December Beauty Perfume side bar brandy (21704395)
VELVET December Beauty Perfume side bar brandy (21704395)

• Bizarre Brandy available as part of the Perfume Society’s The Fragrance #FROW Discovery Box £19 for 13 samples at

Ruth Mastenbroek Dagian: £120 for 100ml eau de parfum

Boudoir Femme, King Street, Cambridge and

VELVET December Beauty Perfume side bar Ruth (21704386)
VELVET December Beauty Perfume side bar Ruth (21704386)

Sometimes we need uplifting fragrances to get us through winter’s doldrums. Here, mint-frosted orange blossom and luminescent jasmine glow on an amber-tinged base. It’s optimism, bottled.

Laboratory Perfumes Tonka: £65 for 100ml eau de parfum

Cuckoo, St Mary’s Street, Cambridge and Burwash manor, Barton and

VELVET December Beauty Perfume side bar Tonka (21704389)
VELVET December Beauty Perfume side bar Tonka (21704389)

Darkly delicious yet sheerly contemporary, this London-based house fuses toasty nuttiness with flashes of pink peppercorns and woodland aromatics lusciously lapped by ripples of cold milk.

• Dagian and Tonka both available in The Niche Collection Three Discovery Box, £19 for 15 samples at

Experimental Perfume Club Rose/Rhubarb: £25 for 8ml eau de parfum

Bright rose swags tart blackcurrant and sparkling, tangy rhubarb for a fruity little number to get you noticed. We love the way you can wear the collection alone or layered to create your perfect bespoke fragrance.

• Rose/Rhubarb available in the Experimental Perfume Club Discovery Set, £20 for six fragrance samples at

Miller Harris Violet Ida: £105 for 100ml eau de parfum

Miller Harris, Rose Crescent, Cambridge and

A buxom embrace of powdery orris, carrot oil and heliotrope on an addictive vanilla dry down – to be worn by delightfully déshabillé dames up to no good. It smells rather va-va-voom vintage and will absolutely ensure snuggles.

• Violet Ida available in the Launches We Love Discovery Box, £19 for thirteen perfume samples at

VELVET December Beauty Perfume side bar blob Discovery Box (21704409)
VELVET December Beauty Perfume side bar blob Discovery Box (21704409)

The Perfume Society curates perfume Discovery Boxes offering the chance to try ‘taster’collections and new scents. It’s a great gift idea for fragrance fans and a lovely way to explore a range of perfumes. The website will even match you to recommended fragrances. See more at

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