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  • Victoria Gaiger - Editor and Creative Director - rakesprogress

    What is fragrance if it isn’t déjà vu? More evocative than any photograph, our sense of smell is a portal into our past. For me the smell of warm, wet earth takes me straight back to my childhood growing up in Uganda in East Africa. A catalyst to moments I thought I had forgotten, a fragrance so distinctive and evocative that in an instant I am once again standing in my parents’ garden soaked to the bone, splashing in puddles, happy to be wet.

    Later we moved to Khartoum in North Africa where the daily bombardment of intense smells I enjoyed brought with it a kaleidoscope of colour. Even now I just need to catch a waft from the kitchen spice rack and once again I’m running through souks on hazy dusty days, wandering through bustling fruit markets littered with a trail of musky and warm fragrances, hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Dry soil mixed with deep notes that were both sharp and sweet - oleanders, mimosa, tangerine, lemon, jasmine. These scents are, for me, the most poignant, smells as powerful as the loud calls to prayer and the intense African sun.

    Recently I have caught myself seeking out fragrances that contain some of these scents of my childhood, perhaps a nostalgic desire to return to those places and times, to be a girl again, and reconnect with a world that was, through rose-tinted glasses, the dreamy anti-thesis to this Western world of computers and commuting.

    Which explains why I’m a sucker for any new fragrance that can work its magic, weaving a blend of long-forgotten smells with cherished memories. And so much the better if someone has bottled it already (no one has yet bottled the smell of warm soil after rain).

    So when I opened Miller Harris'  La Fumée Alexandrie, I was once again back in the garden in Uganda, the smell of roses mixed with tangerine zest, gorgeous notes of geranium and sandalwood mixed with the irresistible headiness of incense, and the slightly animalistic, earthy and almost smoky smell of Oud. Add notes of cinnamon and cumin and suddenly my memories drift north to the spice markets of Sudan. It’s a powerful, personal, botanical cocktail of memories and emotion.  A heady mix but one that works for me. Open the bottle and I am in Africa again.

    Top: Mandarin Italy, Cumin essential oil Egypt

    Heart: Rose Damascene absolute Turkey, Incense absolute, Geranium essential oil Egypt

    Base: Sandalwood, Amber, Birch Tar essential oil Russia

    Victoria Gaiger is one of the founding editors and creative director of rakesprogress. She set up the ground breaking quarterly magazine with her journalist husband Tom. Launched in June 2016, the magazine takes a fresh look at the world of gardens, plants and flowers, as seen through the eyes of artists, designers, documentary and fashion photographers. Volume 5 is on sale now for more information go to www.rakesprogressmagazine.com


  • By  Jo Tiller, CRM Loyalty Programme Manager at Harrods

     

    Walking along Hans Crescent you can almost smell that familiar scent that greets you with a luxurious embrace as the doors to the terracotta palace are opened by a Green man to welcome you in-store. Deep breath in ... Mmmm it never fails, it gets you every time and takes you away to a wonderful world full of THE very best ... and it feels good!  However luckily for me and my bank account I spend 60% of my working week in Head Office but it doesn't stop me, the temptation's always there to look for new fragrances, new scents to love and enjoy ... just because I can!

    It all changed when I reached my 40s...through my 20s and 30s I was always so loyal to one perfume maybe two max, but as I've transitioned from independent woman to married and a mother, I need more. I need one for every mood and every mindset...I need one that takes me back to my youth, back to my carefree self or back to the date nights in town where we pretend to be carefree for all of 3 hours!

    And being a working mum I need a fragrance that totally lifts me, gives me that confidence to kick start the day ahead feeling fresh, light and instantly energised. Lumière Dorée does exactly that! With its playful exciting tone it gives me a little pick-me-up every time the wind blows! It makes me want to pick up my wrist and inhale the intoxicating floracy again and again. Maybe it's the base blend of Amber and musk followed by neroli and orange tones that instantly draws me to take a deeper breath and then I'm taken away by Jasmine...and it seems to get me everytime! The familiarity gives me the confidence I need to boost me through my day to remind me that I'm still that woman, youthful and playful but professional in my everyday! I LOVE it and it's totally a feel good scent that bursts with every spray! And it lasts ...


  • By Suzy Nightingale, Senior Writer for The Perfume Society and The Scented Letter Magazine

     

    Mud baths at Glastonbury, Wimbledon being rained off, summer dresses accessorised with wellies - notoriously unpredictable, it's no wonder we British are often seen as a bit weather-obsessed. At this time of year we often fall back on zippy citrus Colognes and other, breezier affairs in the hope that grey days will be brightened momentarily by a spritz of sunshine in a bottle.

    But momentarily is the word, for there's something about the fleeting freshness that can leave many of us wanting something with a bit more, well... oomph. For just such occasions, I like to reach for fragrances that convey the heat of exoticism while taking you on a proper olfactory journey, surely the whole reason we wear perfume is to be enchanted and entranced - to be taken somewhere other than where we happen to be?

    Miller Harris excel at transporting the fragrance wearer to all manner of locations - from rambling cottage gardens to cliff tops overlooking the sea and pear orchards at dusk - but exoticism certainly plays its part alongside the more well-known olfactory experiences, So I thought I'd take a wander through the perhaps less often explored La Fumée Collection, currently offering four fragrant expeditions to far-flung places. And more specifically, their La Fumée Ottoman, because right now? Well, I feel like being transported to Constantinople and the mysteries of the Ottoman empire...

    Top notes: cardamom, rose, cumin

    Heart notes: incense, cedar Maroc, patchouli

    Base notes: rose Maroc, sandalwood, vanilla bourbon, tonka bean

    Described as 'A modern tribute to the incense road of antiquity, a trade route along which precious resins were transported to Mediterranean ports,' you can almost feel the heat haze shimmering as rose rises, succulent at first, freshly picked and dusted with aromatic, almost anise-like crushed cardamom pods and the underlying animalic fervour of cumin. Tendrils of incense smoulder as the more voluptuous Moroccan rose joins patchouli in the dance - all hip-swivelling sultriness infused with dark speckles of vanilla and the toastiness of tonka bean. All this sashaying could very well lead to alarming palpitations, of course, had the composition not been so expertly harmonised by genius British perfumer, Lyn Harris, and with everything underpinned by the cool, calming smoothness of sandalwood. Phew!

    Quite frankly, wearing La Fumée Ottoman makes me want to sink languorously in to a plush pile of velvet cushions while being gently fanned and sipping a refreshing beverage – and that already feels like a holiday in a bottle. Oh, just take me there right now…

    Miller Harris La Fumee Ottoman £115 for 100ml eau de parfum


  •  

    On dewy summer morning, you’re the first in the house to wake. You take a moment to breathe in the morning air, stretch out, and enjoy the feeling of just lying in bed, with an endlessly bright, sunny day ahead of you.

    This, in a nutshell (or, should I say, a bottle) is what Miller Harris’ Rose Silence evokes for me. Form early April until late September, I slither out of bed, grab my trustee bottle from the mantlepiece and spritz, letting the fresh, uplifting smell of freshly clipped roses waft around the corners and down the hall. It's a quiet, but invigorating moment to myself.

    A little much, you say? Maybe. But humour me for a moment. The connection between scent and memory is scientifically indisputable. Ever noticed how catching a drift of a scent on the street on a passerby; of a bonfire maybe; or a freshly baked bread, can immediately bring back the near-tangible feel and image of a person from your past, a childhood summer or a wonderful meal shared between friends years ago? The reason for this trigger is directly related to the anatomy of the human brain. Incoming smells are first processed by the olfactory bulb, which starts in the nose and then runs along the bottom of the brain. This bulb is directly connected to two brain areas strongly connected to emotion and memory: the amygdala and the hippocampus. By the way, auditory and tactile information doesn’t pass through these areas. Which is why smell triggers noticeably more emotion and memory than the other senses. So there you go.

    I know I had a couple of good encounters with rose gardens in my early life. When I trace the memory, Rose Silence brings me back to my Grandmother’s country garden by the lake in Canada, where I spent my childhood summers. When I smell it, I can picture her lovely long wrinkled hands cutting a branch, handing me a crushed peta between her crooked fingersl, urging me to take a sniff. “Isn’t it wonderful, Monica” she'd say in her proper London accent, which seemed so exotic back then.

    These days, in the evenings, or midwinter, I’ll wear something darker, muskier, more masculine —I’m a particular fan of Feuilles de Tabac once the leaves start to turn. But, while the days are long and bright, the rose is queen of my nose, the direct path to memories of summers past and a tangy, mandarin promise of warm air and crisp mornings to come.


  • Katy Young, Beauty Director Harper's Bazaar UK

    Massimo Ferragamo once said; "Fragrance helps to communicate immediately a certain something that is special about a person.”   It is if you like, the silent talk behind the handshake, the eyes, the smile.

    It is no wonder then that we choose our scent so instinctively, our personal traits navigating us through today’s heady cacophony of florals, chypres and orientals, somehow mapping their way to the fragrance we feel most familiar with.  For it is in those notes, chosen for way they create a mood to sparkle, ooze sex appeal or offer a rush of fresh confidence, that we recognize a part of ourselves, or at least as Ferragamo said, our ‘something special.’

    If you believe in modern psychology, like I do, that our personality is fluid and that we are constantly evolving, you can see too why fragrance tastes change as we grow.  Who we are develops depending on the qualities we choose to express every day - at work, at home an in love.

    To me it is no mystery then that in my blooming thirties I wore Miller Harris’s Geranium Bourbon. Its fresh rose and green geranium was bright, fun and uplifting (if I do say so myself!) and just what I needed as I grew in confidence and clarity in my forth decade.

    Today I wear refined wood fragrances, for today I know who I am and choose to reflect self-assurance and modesty, just as Le Cedre does so calmly by way of cool, confident cedar notes warmed with a friendly floral orchid note.  To me it was the perfect scent to take on my new role as Beauty Director of Bazaar.  For just as my first boss always told me to dress for the job I wanted and not the job I had, perhaps there is a part of me that wears a fragrance for the person I aspire to be, even if I’m not quite there.

    A girl can dream, and what better way than through the power of perfume.


  • Miller Harris' latest creation and addition to the Perfumer's Library collection, Le Cedre, is a spicy tale of cedarwood and black orchid.

    Le Cedre will be launching exclusively at Selfridges on May 1st, and to celebrate, we've got some seriously exciting events lined up.

    Bespoke illustrations

    4th 5th and 6th May 2017 12pm - 5pm every day
    Alexandria Grace Coe will be on the fourth floor of Selfridges personalising bottles of Le Cedre, Perfumers Library and Miller Harris Editions with bespoke illustrations for Selfridges customers.

    Each customer will be able to choose the illustration they desire and personalise their bottle with their initials.

    Calligraphy workshop with Quill London

    4th May 2017
    We're hosting a scented letter and calligraphy workshop with the experts from Quill London.

    This class starts right from the beginning and focuses on modern calligraphy techniques and the art of the scented letter, using the new and exclusive to Selfridges Le Cedre fragrance; a spicy tale of cedar wood and black orchid.

    At the end of the session you will be well on the way to writing your chosen phrase or quote in your own personal modern calligraphy style.

    Tickets cost £60, including your very own calligraphy kit (including an inkpot and expertly crafted nib), a glass of prosecco or soft drink and a Miller Harris treat and can be booked here: https://selfridgesxquillxmillerharris.eventbrite.co.uk/

    Look forward to seeing you there!

    Miller Harris can be found on the fourth floor of Selfridges.
    Le Cedre launches in Miller Harris boutiques and online on May 15th.


  • La Fumée Collection is a vaporous and atmospheric exploration of incense, the beautiful phantom soul of perfume.

    la fumee smoky roses La Fumee Alexandrie

    It echoes the literal meaning of perfume, per fumum, taken from the Latin, meaning through smoke, offering up aromatic prayers, love, yearnings, litanies and fears to the gods above.

    fumee arabie smoky roses La Fumee Arabie

    Precious words spiralling skyward wrapped in precious tendrils of scented haze.

    fumee ottoman rose smoke incense cloud billowing La Fumee Ottoman

    English perfumer Lyn Harris created an intense incense collection of luminous miasma, inspired by this most sacred and ancient of olfactive experiences.

    la fumee smoked roses La Fumee

    Emotive incense, resins, aromatic woods, balms, roses and spices travel through time from sacrificial altar via perfumer’s palette to our skin, fumes continuing to rise and rise like contemplative prayers to skies, senses and memory.

    intense smoke la fumee intense cardamom rose La Fumee Intense

    - Alex


  • Poirier d’un Soir by British fragrance house Miller Harris is the luminous inhalation of an evening orchard, the scent of closing flowers, bruised fruit and mossy branches lit by the golden glow of a falling sun.

    poirier d'un soir - a pear tree in the evening

    I love the delicate pear eau de vie vibe and soft ambrette muskiness mixed with the trademark Miller Harris blackcurrant motif. This absinthal hedgerow note, Turkish rose and joyous marigold add soft colour and texture.

    poirier d'un soir - a pear tree in the evening

    A dash of cask-aged rum deepens the fruit, making it less sweet, more gently ambered in the fade. Imagine chilled wine and kind conversation with a loved one, their skin radiant with Poirier d’un Soir amid murmuring trees and night falling blooms.

    poirier d'un soir - a pear tree in the evening

    A fruit and floral love affair amour fou of rare subtlety and elegance.

    - Alex


  • Does a woman with lots of scents like lots of lovers?

    A photo posted by Miller Harris (@millerharris) on

    I have one, regular perfume. I’ve been with it for years. It’s part of my identity. It is synonymous with me, leaving an imprint where I go. It’s my old perfume. Then, a different perfume caught my senses. I wanted it. Something new. Different. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my old perfume. It’s safe and familiar, but I fancied a change.

    I was having an olfactory 7 year itch. So I bought it. I keep it on a different shelf to my regular perfume, so as not to cause any upset...
    I like having something new from time to time. it makes me feel slightly different. But I always go back to my regular one.

    I know someone who has 17 different bottles of perfume and she is constantly looking for new ones..Picking and choosing on a whim, like a modern day dating app. (I feel exhausted just thinking about it)
    I asked her if she likes lots of lovers. She laughed. I think in a way to say ‘how ridiculous’. Although perhaps she’d simply been rumbled…

    - Laura x


  • In a world of fast fashion and mass consumption, how do you differentiate yourself? As trends speed up and become disposable, the idea of slowing down and taking the time to find something unique to wear through scent layering, that somehow represents you as an individual is ever more appealing.

    At Miller Harris each and every perfume has a different reaction on each and every body, creating a totally unique scent. This is because of our commitment to eliminating synthetics from our perfumes -no perfumer has a higher percentage of natural ingredients than Miller Harris. So as soon as your Miller Harris concoction hits your skin, it immediately takes on a new, unique life.

    Continue reading

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