Win: A £150 To the Fairest fragrance bundle
Balancing sensuality and strength, the scents from Cambridge brand To the Fairest are one of a kind - and you could win a hamperful. . .
When she was a small girl, Rebecca Rose would perch on a stool in her mother’s greenhouse, watching seeds sown, cuttings taken, fruits of labour harvested. The memories are vivid: closing her eyes now, she can still conjure the clean, green smell of tomato leaf; the heady scent of sun-warmed jasmine flowers. The olfactory experience was clearly formative - today, Rebecca runs her own fragrance brand, To the Fairest, creating scents with the power to “transport and transform”.
“As I got a little older, my grandmother would bring me sample vials back from her shopping trips and it was always the most exciting thing,” explains Rebecca, who lives in Cambridge. “I was exploring a whole new world. Scent can trigger emotions; take us to different times, different places. Developing my own fragrance brand was a dream.”
Deeming that dream out of reach - scents are notoriously costly to produce - Rebecca, who studied Modern Languages at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, was working in vintage fashion when serendipity caused her path to cross with that of Lizzie Ostrum who, dubbed “the Heston Blumenthal of perfume” by the Daily Mail, is the author of fragrance bible Perfume: A Century of Scents.
Encouraged by Lizzie, who assured her small-scale production was a viable option, Rebecca started working with perfumer and cosmetic chemist Penny Williams on To the Fairest. Taking its name from the inscription on the golden apple of Greek myth, vied for by Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, the boutique brand made its debut last year with Cécile: layering fresh bergamot and mandarin over full-bodied rose absolut, amber and clove bud, it’s a singular and seductive scent which comes in both eau de parfum and scented candle form, a body oil soon to follow.
Covid caused a rethink: when To the Fairest’s bricks-and-mortar stockist in London closed, Rebecca started to hone her online service, selling via Shopify and even WhatsApp, with send-outs of postal samples winning over legions of new Cécile fans. Locally, To the Fairest is stocked at The Manor Gift Shop at Barton’s Burwash Manor.
Arriving slightly later than planned, the pandemic having slowed some elements of packaging, the second of Rebecca’s four mapped-out scents will launch in time for Valentine’s Day. Called Ordre Cosmique, it’s inspired by “the magic and connectivity of the cosmos”, explains Rebecca. Opening with cardamom and water lily before revealing a base of cedar wood and chocolate cosmos flower, it is, she adds “a unisex fragrance which leads with a shimmering, metallic quality that dries down to a musky, hypnotic core”.
Wanting the brand’s ethical standards to match her high product quality, Rebecca is focused on making packaging fully recyclable and funnels a portion of proceeds to good causes. Last year To the Fairest sponsored the RHS Chatsworth show garden for Thrive, a horticultural charity that uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disability or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable; during Covid-19, it’s supporting Head to Toe, a charity working with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust that supports people of all ages receiving mental health, community and social care.
To the Fairest aims to transport us “to an imagined landscape,” explains Rebecca, “inspired by the mysteries of time, literature and love.” At a time when we’re all craving a moment of escapism, what could be better?
To the Fairest is stocked at The Manor Gift Shop, Burwash Manor, Barton. Quote VELVET at the checkout to receive 15% off from now until the end of December.
As a Christmas gift to Velvet readers, Rebecca is giving away a To the Fairest gift set. Comprising a 50ml Cécile Eau de Parfum (£85), 190g Cécile scented candle (£45), a box of luxury The Archivist matches and a soft gold makeup bag, it’s worth more than £150.
For your chance to win, simply email your name, address and daytime number to firstname.lastname@example.org, titling your message ‘To the Fairest Competition’. Entries should arrive no later than December 18 and the usual terms and conditions apply; if you’re happy to be contacted by Iliffe Media, add ‘Please Contact’.
More by this authorAlice Ryan