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…
If you’ve bought a fragrance from Escentual, you’ve likely come across Kate’s work. As our in-house fragrance expert, Kate is the mastermind behind many of our fragrance product descriptions. She has an uncanny ability to make you understand how a scent smells without you even trying it, which is why we know her ‘life in perfume’ won’t disappoint…
My First Perfume
The first fragrance I owned was Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers. My mum’s friend bought it for me when I was eleven. I remember feeling like I shouldn’t own this – like I wasn’t old enough to be allowed to own perfume! But, when you’re a kid, you always want to act older than you are, so naturally, I treasured it. I would only wear it on special occasions (I think it ended up going off before I reached the bottom, probably because I didn’t have many events to attend as a kid.)
In hindsight, I was too young to appreciate perfume back then, and maybe I should give Sunflowers another go now, but I think it’s too associated with that time, and I’m too tempted by other perfumes to go back to my childhood days, so I doubt I’ll ever repurchase it.
I had to smile, though, when I started writing this piece. Why? I looked up Sunflowers’ note structure over a decade later and discovered that it has one of my all-time favourite fragrance notes at the top: peach. Maybe Sunflowers made more of an impact than I give it credit for…
My All-Time Favourite
This is a very tricky one. It’s like being asked to choose your favourite child. Or, if you’re an ex-English Lit student like me, your favourite book. If I had to narrow it down, I’d probably say La Vie Est Belle. It will always have a special place in my heart. But, if you’ll allow me to be as fickle as I am at heart, then a few of my other favourites are: Chloe Nomade Naturelle, Anna Sui Sky, Versace Dylan Turquoise, Parfums de Marly Oriana – the list goes on…
My First Perfume Purchase
The first perfume I bought for myself was from New Look. Anyone who knows me knows that 99% of my wardrobe is from New Look, so it’s no surprise that the first perfume I bought was from there too.
I can’t remember the perfume’s name, but I bought it because it reminded me of Lancome La Vie Est Belle. That was the first perfume I ever chose for myself but didn’t admittedly buy. For my sixteenth birthday, my Mum took me to House of Fraser to try all of the fragrances on the perfume counter. I tried them all. La Vie was hands down my favourite. I remember Mum trying to sway me towards some less expensive ones, but I told her that it had to be La Vie; I told her that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Thankfully, she bought it for me.
When I eventually reached the bottom of the bottle around a year later, I couldn’t quite justify buying it for myself when I was still a student – as much as I loved it. So, my ‘New Look La Vie’ served me well during that time in my life instead.
My Everyday Scent
I’m not very loyal. I switch up my fragrance depending on my mood, the time of year, where I’m going or even what I wear. But I do also tend to go through phases of wearing certain perfumes more than others. The three I’m currently rotating between most are Anna Sui Sky, Ariana Grande Cloud and Clarins Eau Extraordinaire.
Sky and Cloud – there’s a theme here – are the fragrances I’m tending to wear more when I go out. Then, I’m more likely to wear Clarins at home. As I work from home a lot, there are some days when I am wearing fragrances just for me, so that’s when I choose Extraordinaire. It’s zesty and uplifting to start but also really comforting and calming, which is exactly what I want on a day at home.
First Mind-Blowing Fragrance
The first fragrance that blew me away was Alien Eau de Parfum by Mugler. It was one of the early fragrances I wrote about when I started at Escentual, and I remember trying it and thinking, “what is this?”. I don’t mean that badly; it was unlike anything I’d tried up to that point. To me, the name took on a new meaning.
I’ll admit that Alien isn’t my favourite Mugler fragrance – I prefer the warmer, sun-drenched tones of Alien Goddess – but that’s why it made such an impact. I wasn’t expecting it. It shocked me a little bit, and it made me realise that fragrance isn’t just something for us to wear and something for us to enjoy: it’s also art.
My Most Sentimental Perfume
My most sentimental fragrance has to be Deep Red by HUGO BOSS. My Mum used to wear this religiously when I was growing up – it was the scent of my childhood.
I used to sneak a spritz every now and then. I still don’t know whether she knows I did that; it’s not exactly a subtle fragrance by any means, but she didn’t tell me off if she did. I used to love wearing it because it would remind me of her.
My Perfume Collection
My perfume collection is arguably pretty large by normal standards but perhaps pretty small by Escentual standards! Truth be told, I fall in love with perfume far too easily, so I have to practise restraint, so I don’t buy them all. When I buy a new perfume for myself, I mull it over and make sure it’s not a spur-of-the-moment decision. As it’s still a manageable size, it’s fairly easy to keep my collection organised – at the moment. I like to mix it up and try many different brands – I’m certainly not loyal by any standards!
My Favourite Brands
One of my all-time favourite brands has to be Marc Jacobs – although I admittedly don’t currently have any MC fragrances in my collection (I really should), I’ve yet to come across a Marc Jacobs fragrance aimed at women that I haven’t loved, which is impressive. They’re often my fragrance style down to a T: sweet, playful and sparkly.
Other brands I love? 4160 Tuesdays. If you want to try a niche brand with fragrances that don’t feel like you’ve found them on the high street, then this is the one to try. Over The Chocolate Shop is next on my to-be-bought list.
ZARKOPERFUME is another favourite. It’s a niche perfume brand created by Denmark’s only practising perfumer and has a distinct personality. Their fragrances typically have a quiet, elegant and understated presence, rather than being too ‘in your face, which is why I love them. The Muse is my favourite and one I want to buy next.
Although I love many other brands, I’ll just name one more: Initio. They’re incredibly high quality and unbelievably long-lasting. My favourite is Initio Absolute Aphrodisiac, the sexiest vanilla fragrance I’ve ever tried.