Bare and Bond are the new kids of perfume subscription houses, but at a time when we are confined to our homes, they’re building a positive reputation quickly. We investigate their service to see if it’s worth splashing out on – for yourself or for a gift, and read right to the end to find out how to get your first box for free.
Bare and Bond have only been around since 2019, so they’re still relatively new, but growing quickly. The company was founded by a desire to strip away the faff around fragrances as well as forming links between the customer and the amazing perfumers they showcase – all from the comfort of your own home, without the pressures or distractions of shopping in store.
The perfumers Bare and Bond work with are a small but perfectly formed group at the moment and include Sarah McCartney from 4160 Tuesdays, Sarah Ireland, Sarah Baker, Christophe Laudamiel and Miguel Mateos. It’s easy to imagine that this collective will increase as the brand gains in popularity and scope, but as far as a group to start off with they couldn’t have done much better.
The main Bare and Bond products are monthly subscription boxes, discovery boxes from specific perfumers and curated boxes around themes, whether that be an ingredient like tuberose, or around a perfumer like the Karen Timson curated box. The discovery and subscription boxes come in plain, brown parcels whereas the curated boxes benefit from gorgeous, printed boxes showcasing some lovely artwork from indie designers. It would be nice to see the high-end packaging rolled out across the range in the future, but the plain boxes are perfectly serviceable.
A nice touch is that the price of your subscription box is redeemable against a larger bottle, should you decide that you love the scent, which makes them great value for money.
On the website, subscription boxes are split into male and female. Personally, I’d love to see a unisex option added which catered for those of us who don’t subscribe to the idea that perfume is a gendered art form. I can also understand though that if you were buying a gift for someone else, perhaps someone less adventurous, then knowing you were going to get stereotypically masculine or feminine products allows for a greater degree of confidence when making the purchase.
I received a subscription box from Bare and Bond, which arrived as a plain, brown package. The first thing I noticed was that there was not a jot of plastic or cellophane anywhere on the parcel – great for those who are trying to cut down single use plastics. The parcels are slimline, and will easily fit through the narrowest of letter boxes. A trip to the post office to collect a parcel can be an unnecessary inconvenience but Bare and Bond have considered that, ensuring that their parcels will land on doormats across the country without the need for additional trips. The box was also clearly labelled with Royal Mail’s appropriate sticker. I mention this because (although it seems very obvious) I have personally had parcels from other subscription services go missing because they didn’t have the appropriate labelling.
Inside the cardboard box, a wrap of gold tissue paper encases cardboard packaging materials, an 8.5ml vial of this month’s fragrance and postcards with information about the brand, the perfumer and the designer who did the artwork. The parcel, even though the box isn’t one of the fancy ones, feels lux, thoughtful and is a pleasure to unwrap. If you want to check out the packaging further, there is a video on my Instagram (@thesniffwebsite) that shows it in more detail.
The fragrances themselves come in discrete, unbranded spray bottles. They’re perfect for slipping into a handbag or chucking in a washbag to take away with you.
The fragrance I received in my Bare and Bond box was Wash Me In The Water by the brilliant 4160 Tuesdays. The fragrance is one of my favourites from the brand. It’s an aromatic marriage of warm and cool notes, designed to evoke having a swim in a pond or lake and then climbing out to dry on the sun-warmed grass. I’ve smelled fragrances in this vein before, but 4160 Tuesdays have managed to capture an authenticity here which I find sometimes lacking in these herbal scents with aquatic touches. I often find them too herbal, too wet or too cool, but Sarah McCartney has really got the balance right and the notes hang in a beautiful, delicate harmony that has a surprising amount of longevity too.
Subscription boxes are priced at £14.95 per month, with discounts if you buy six or twelve month subscriptions at the outset. One of the nice things about Bare and Bond is that if you set up a recurring monthly subscription, you can cancel at any time.
Discovery sets containing three, 4ml fragrances from a brand or perfumer start at £29 and curated boxes with the fancy packaging and three, 15ml of fragrance start at £59. The full range of options can be found on the Bare and Bond website.
EXCLUSIVE: Friends and followers of The Sniff can get their first subscription box free (you just pay postage and packing which at the time of writing was £3.50). All you need to do is visit this page on the Bare and Bond website and enter the code: THESNIFF.
The other stuff
We were gifted the subscription box above described by Bare and Bond in exchange for an honest review.