Welcome to our series, ‘My Life in Perfume‘. We’re asking our favourite fragrance fans to reveal all – from their first perfume purchase to their signature aroma; here are their scent stories…
Ben is one of the team at Escentual. He’s a Merchandiser, and a big part of his role is launching products on the website. Ben is also a confessed fragrance lover and even dabbles in fragrance-making. Luckily for him, one of the perks of this role is sneak peeks of new launches before anyone else and getting to test them out. But where did his fascination with all things smelly start? Read on to find out…
My first perfume sticks out quite vividly in my memory – my parents bought the same for me and my twin brother, Lacoste Red. It was juicy and delicious, and the bottle was unlike anything I’d seen before. We had a whirlwind romance for a few months, but the then 13-year-old me decided I’d outgrown it, although I liked that I could steal my brother’s to make mine last longer (Sorry, Nath!). I moved on to what I considered to be more sophisticated fragrances (we’re talking the Jasper Conran’s of the fragrance world). Still, ultimately, Lacoste Red was the catalyst that ignited my fascination with fragrance, which has always stayed with me.
2. My First Perfume Purchase
The first perfume I can remember buying myself was back in 2010, in Duty-Free (I know, total cliche) on the way home from Ibiza. I saw the advert first; a naked Marc Jacobs with just – a rather beautiful – perfume bottle to cover his modesty, and I was mesmerised. It was Marc Jacobs BANG, of course. I didn’t immediately object to the obnoxiousness of the ad, as I’m sure others did. I remember thinking, “I want that kind of confidence; where’s the tester?!” Alas, as a sucker for fragrances with pink pepper, this delicious concoction had the spice in abundance, coupled with woody notes, benzoin, oakmoss and vetiver. I was hooked at first whiff!
3. My First Mind-Blowing Fragrance
For me, it was my mum’s perfume collection that intrigued me; she’s no shrinking violet! Her collection is full of potent perfumes, and the one that stands out the most – and is also my dad’s favourite – is Dior Poison. The ambery, floral goodness evokes so many amazing memories of growing up – it takes me right back to my early childhood (she rarely wears it now), to family parties, disco lights and late nights. Stunning.
4. My All-Time Favourite Perfume
My all-time favourite perfume is Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir. Put simply, it smells rich. It’s an oriental, vanilla fragrance with a creamy smokiness that’s sublime. It’s extra special to me because my parents bought me a bottle for my 30th birthday in April, engraved with my initials (I know, I know, we’ve come a long way since the Lacoste Red days!). It’s just my absolute favourite and addictive. It’s that one fragrance that I have an “mmmm!” moment every time I spray.
5. My Everyday Scent
I have a few everyday perfumes. The first is Paco Rabanne Dangerous Me. I bought the Pacollection Discovery Set in late 2019 from Selfridges; I was torn between Erotic Me and Dangerous Me. After living with them for a few days, I plumbed for Dangerous Me. It’s a spicy, woody, creamy fragrance that’s easy to wear. It also comes in a cool squishy pouch, which is great for travel/chucking in my backpack for everyday wear! Secondly, Molton Brown Fiery Pink Pepper. Again, I tested this from a Discovery Set and fell for it. I keep it in my drawer at work and spritz it throughout the day to give me a boost. I also have the hand lotion to double-dose! It says “Fiery” in the name, which it is, but it’s also very fresh and punchy.
6. My Most Sentimental Perfume
I’d have to say my most sentimental perfume is Zadig and Voltaire This is Him! Because it’s the first perfume my partner bought me, and it’s still one of my favourites to this day. I wear it on days that I feel I need a pick-me-up. Black Pepper, Grapefruit, Incense, Vanilla, Sandalwood make up this delectable scent, further testament to my love of amber fragrances. It will forever remind me of the early days of our relationship and the memories we’ve made, so it holds a very special place in my heart. As with all of the above, I love an unusual bottle, and as I’m obsessed with monochromatic tones, this instantly spoke to me.
7. My Perfume Collection
I’m very selective with the perfumes I buy and would never blind-buy. I usually purchase sample sets, test them all out for at least a full day, then make my mind up on whether they’re worth a purchase. But before I do, I weigh up how the bottle will look on my dresser! I’d describe my fragrances as a curation rather than a collection, curated with love. I’d say my go-to fragrances all have similarities. They tend to be ambery, vanilla, spicy, and/or earthy/woody. I have to be instantly taken by them; if I’m unsure at the first spritz, they’re not for me.
8. My Favourite Perfume Houses
• Maison Francis Kurkdjian (of course!) and Frederic Malle for their unabashed penchant to push boundaries.
• Atkinsons, because there isn’t a single fragrance within the brand that I don’t like!
• Initio, because the bottles are a bit of me, and the fragrances are insanely good.
9. My Favourite Fragrances Of All Time
• Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur
• Guerlain L’Homme Ideal Intense
• Zadig & Voltaire This is Him!
• Paco Rabanne Dangerous Me & Erotic Me
• Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir & Oud
• Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme Noir Ambre, or Encens & Polaris
• Givenchy Gentleman Boisee
• Atkinsons Gold Fair in Mayfair
• Molton Brown Fiery Pink Pepper
• Initio Absolute Aphrodisiac & Psychedelic Love