Confessions of a sniff-a-holic

One of the greatest pleasures since starting this job back in January has been discovering fragrances.

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I don’t mean the desultory sniffing you do in airports and department stores, I mean really discovering. I’ve been privileged enough to experience a whole host of scents ranging from the good to the bad and the ugly (Breath Of God, you know I’m talking about you), and a whole new world has opened up in the process.

It’s an alluring, elegant world of feel-good ingredients and clever craftsmanship. What started as part of the job has turned into a small but intensely satisfying passion where a new scent is something to be anticipated, analysed, de-coded and discussed. And, I don’t know… perhaps this is me just over-romanticising the whole thing, but every new perfume I encounter seems to take me one step closer to discovering something about myself.

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Certainly, the more scents I’ve spritzed and sniffed, the more my likes and dislikes have altered and evolved. Now the more complex, creative and masterful a fragrance, the more goose bumps I get. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t reek of jasmine or tuberose (two of my all-time favourite smells – or so I thought).

With just a few good fragrances in your arsenal, you can indulge the extreme pleasure of deciding who you want to be today – or at least which side of your personality you want to play up. Feeling devilish? Choose Thierry Mugler’s Angel (£52 for 50ml edp). Got an important presentation? Guerlain’s Mitsouko (£43 for 50ml edt) will make you feel strong and grown-up; in a softly seductive mood? Serge Lutens’ Un Bois Vanille (£58 for 50ml edp) fits the bill.

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And let’s not forget that at the end of the day, smelling nice smells is just a really nice thing to do.

This spring/summer, there are loads of new perfumes being launched on to the market meaning this is prime time to get out there and start spritzing – partly just to enjoy what’s on offer but also with the hope that at some point you’ll stumble across something really spectacular. It does happen every so often.

Start this weekend in Harrods where Roja Dove’s Haute Perfumery on the fifth floor is like an Aladdin’s cave of interesting frags and Gucci’s latest, Flora (£32 for 30ml edt), will be launching on Sunday.

The second offering from Gucci’s new(-ish) Creative Director Frida Giannini, Flora has been hotly anticipated and, fired by promises of patchouli and sandalwood to balance its lighter floral notes, perfume bloggers have long been speculating about what it’s like. The ones hoping it would be ‘oozing’ those heady notes will be disappointed. This is not a connoisseur’s fragrance but if you like to collect, it’s worth seeking out for the bottle. The elegant design has a cool, modern edge, and if you're looking for something to prettify your dressing table, this could be it.

Nowhere near Harrods this weekend? Then head for your nearest fragrance station… and see where your nose takes you.

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