We’re stalwart fans of the postable scented boxes from The Perfume Society. The latest of which, The Scented Retreat, focuses on pampering and calming during these stressful times.
The Perfume Society are a UK-based subscription organisation, offering a growing range of discovery boxes, a snazzy website, events, courses and a downloadable magazine (which yours truly has appeared in a couple of times). They’re an excellent gateway into the world of fragrance, whether that be niche or more mainstream and their website is a nice jumping off point when you are looking for something new to try.
The Scented Retreat box contains five perfume samples, a 10ml essential oil (for burners or similar), nine room fragrance samples, a 10ml hand cream, a 15ml day cream, a 100ml bath and shower gel, and a 50ml salt scrub for legs.
Thought has clearly gone into the recyclable nature of the packaging of The Perfume Society boxes. The products are housed in a sturdy white box with no cellophane. Inside, paper shreddings protect everything, along with a little tissue paper. This is all encased in a cardboard sleeve for posting. Although the packing of the individual products themselves will vary by brand, everything else appears to be either recyclable or reusable (and I do tend to find uses for the boxes as they’re really sturdy and a good size).
The skin perfumes in The Scented Retreat box are primarily niche this time around, with a little Shay and Blue thrown in for good measure.
Mermaid Kisses by Shay and Blue
Listed notes: melon, samphire, sea lily, green apples.
Mermaid Kisses is described as a “light scent spray” and it is an eau de toilette concentration. Nevertheless it does have enough power about it to be noticeable and pretty. There is very little to object to about this fragrance which is clean, juicy, and refreshing. I could imagine carrying a purse spray sized bottle of this to spritz on hot summer days would be rather lovely. Alternatively, it would be an excellent scent for someone (perhaps a younger person?) new to fragrance who wanted to smell fresh, clean and uncomplicated.
Sesame Chan by Anima Vinci
Listed notes: ginger, cashew, hazelnut, roasted sesame seeds, carrot heart, vetiver, cedar.
Sesame Chan is cheerful and bright. It’s our favourite from the Anima Vinci line. You can read more about the other fragrance in our brand guide to Anima Vinci written a while ago – before Sesame Chan was released. If you’re struggling with your mojo then Sesame Chan is the “kapow” you need to get up an go. It is one of those scents which manage to balance invigoration with being soothing and not at all annoying. It opens with the bright lift of ginger grounded with the warmth of cashew and hazelnut. The nuts give the scent a slightly oily tone which make way for the drier, roasted sesame seed heart. The sesame is comforting, underscored with vetiver and cedar to round the composition out and take it in an earthier, woodier direction. Sesame Chan is a scent with just the right amount of tension, it lifts and grounds at the same time, and the longevity is excellent.
Rehab by Initio Parfums
Listed notes: bergamot, black pepper, lavender, cedar wood, patchouli, sandalwood, hedione, musk.
Initio Parfums are one of those brands which receive a lot of coverage in the fragrance community which can make it difficult to disentangle how good they are from how trendy they are. If we focus on the scent alone though and try and view it without those preconceptions then Rehab is a bright, crisp and clean fragrance. There is a pleasingly “starched white shirt” feel about it. It opens with the warm zing of black pepper and bergamot. The opening bars feel warm but not quite sunny. Then the lavender enters the stage giving it a heady, buzzy tone and it is here that we find the greatest sense of cleanliness. As the fragrance wears it smooths out with a warm patchouli vibe before sinking into a muskiness. Pleasant, perhaps, rather than the hedonism it promised.
Måd by ånd Fragrance
Listed notes: vanilla, ylang ylang, vetiver, violet, musks, jasmine and clove.
We can almost guarantee that Måd by ånd Fragrance won’t smell like you expect it to. It opens with a liqueur-like vanilla. Yes, it is full of sweetness and has a slight cake-batter tone, but here it is much more flowing than cakey. Måd feels like a warm, amber liquid on the nose, a bit boozy and a bit strange too, but strange can be good. There is a floral aspect to the scent which definitely stops it becoming too cake-like, but the florals seem to enhance the heady buzz that the scent creates. It manages to thicken the air around you somehow with its sweetness. The violet in the composition stands in opposition to the vanilla and hedonistic florals, and the clash between them is something you will either love or hate – it certainly adds a sense of drama to the composition.
1899 by Histoires de Parfums
Listed notes: bergamot, juniper, black pepper, orange blossom, iris, cinnamon, vanilla, vetiver, amber.
1899 by Histoires de Parfums is one of those scents which, even if you don’t like it, it’s quite nice to just sit and appreciate how finely it has been worked. The black pepper and bergamot make the opening sing with energy, but not too much energy; it comes off as classy rather than brash. What follows feels like it settles, thrumming away on skin. It becomes a little leathery, darker, denser but still bright – somehow managing to balance those facets perfectly. There is a slightly chalky undertone which gives a hint of powderiness as well as that old school more stereotypically masculine vibe. Definitely a fragrance which could be considered classical in its own particular brand of elegance.
Lavender essential oil by Botanics
A soothing, warm lavender oil from Botanics, which has a significant seam of an almost raisiny sweetness. Fragrance your room, your bedding, or even your workspace with this mollifying scent and feel your day just get that little bit better.
La Montana discovery set
You’ll find a total of nine room fragrances in the La Montana discovery set included in The Scented Retreat box and the emphasis here really is on TREAT because these are wonderful.
First Light smells herbal and fresh with touches of wild flowers, without them being overpowering or smelling fake. It feels as if there is a touch of mint in the composition which keeps everything lovely and clear.
Alfredo’s Cafe is at the opposite end of the spectrum to First Light, smelling rich, boozy and sweet.
Galan de Noche is a beautiful, fulsome jasmine, bursting with floral sweetness and guaranteed to beautifully scent a room.
Cloudburst fills a space with a cucumbery, aquatic greenery. It feels very realistic and brings the outside in very nicely.
Winter Oranges is a little sickly, orange and spice scent. The orange turns a bit ‘orange soda’ at times rather than staying bright and sour. It doesn’t feel particularly festive though, so would be fine for all year round usage.
Three Kings is again one which doesn’t feel very festive, despite the name. It has a pleasant woodiness about it, almost a green wood, newly cut. It smells a bit like some fancy up-scale boutique and who doesn’t want their house to smell like that?
Fig Grove was a personal favourite (well, alongside Galan de Noche). Fat, ripe figs, green and furry with a woody background. Simple and delicious.
Sacred Roses is a fleshy rose with hints of smoke, uncluttered and pleasing.
Siesta ends the set with another herbal brew, the thyme and lavender being really beautiful and – as you would expect – soothing and calming.
There’s lots to like from this brand, and it’s nice to see home fragrances getting the attention that they so rightly deserve.
The other products
The Scented Retreat Box also includes a rich and soothing hand cream from Benamor, a day cream from Ecooking, a Molton Brown bath and shower gel and a leg scrub from Legology – basically everything you need in order to create that spa-at-home feel.
Like all The Perfume Society boxes, The Scented Retreat box is a very reasonable £23 (£19 if you are a VIP member of The Perfume Society). This is great value for money given that the La Montana discovery set is £25 alone.
The other stuff
We were kindly sent a press sample of The Scented Retreat box by The Perfume Society. Thank you to them for their generosity.
Photo by The Sniff.