Brand guide: Freddie Albrighton

Freddie Albrighton, a tattooer from Worcestershire and now self-taught perfumer, has emerged on to the UK perfume scene with a bang. This is no new faun wobbling about in the undergrowth though, taking tentative steps and expecting to get eaten at any moment. No, this is a fully-fledged roar of a line; bold, vivacious and hinting at a creativity which shows no sign of being finished yet.

The vibe

Without exception, all the fragrances that Freddie Albrighton has launched with are big. Huge personalities which fill your surroundings with scent. There is nothing shy or retiring about the fragrances which will really appeal to those of us who enjoy total immersion in a scented experience.

That doesn’t tell you about the feeling of the fragrances though. Well, there is something modern about the line, but it also has this real seam of nostalgia about it too. They feel considered, thoughtful, and emotional, but loud, bold and even a little in-your-face. In short they are complex and complicated, and that makes them feel wonderfully human. It draws you into their web and what you find knitted within may say as much about your own life and creativity as it does about Freddie’s. Holding all these shifts and subtleties isn’t easy, particularly not for a new line, but Freddie seems to navigate that with ease and brings us scents which feel multi-dimensional and satisfying.

The brand

Launching in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic is no mean feat, and whilst many of us were hunkering down, disinfecting our shopping and wondering if we should report our neighbours for having yet another multi-household party, Freddie Albrighton was planning to unleash his scents. The result is this inaugural line of three fragrances presented in neat little rip-open discovery packs, or uncluttered, simple oblong bottles for full sized.

Freddie’s inspiration for the scents was a mixture of teenage romance, love and loss, life, family and adventure. His website shows the fragrances emblazoned with a mixture of old photographs and neon, and this juxtaposition is really what he is all about, the old with the new, the memory with the present.

The scents

Three scents form the first collection from Freddie Albrighton: Boys, Mabel’s Tooth and Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa. A fourth scent is in development and will be launched shortly,

Boys

Listed notes: raspberry, cream soda, parma violet dust, leather, latex, white musk.

Boys conjures up seedy nightclubs, alcopops and debauchery. It doesn’t go down the civet/animalic route to achieve that, but you do get a real sense of carefree fun, slightly sticky, slightly sweaty, slightly regretful. It opens with a blast of something fruity and boozy which only lasts for a moment before re-emerging later. It wasn’t particularly identifiable as raspberry, more like some sort of soda pop: sugary, sweet and a little synthetic – like a pre-mixed cocktail. This quickly gives way to a leathery violet and much of the space of the scent is taken up in the cross between parma violets and a luscious leather. There’s a powdery aspect which, for a while, is flecked with hints of smoke – not too much, just enough to suggest the breath of a cigarette on someone’s lips. The interplay between the dusty parma violet powder, and the smoother leather provides a point of interest, the two facets seeming to slide over each other with one being in charge one minute and the other the next. There’s a bitterness there too, suggestive of the latex accord perhaps?

As it wears, Boys goes a little greener and there is almost this suggestion of some sort of foliage, before the fruity, sticky, sweet aspect re-emerges and takes us to the end of the wear. On the blotter a creamy facet came out more, but on my skin this was much quieter. The fruitiness overlaying the leather takes us through to the end of a wear, and it almost feels like a cocktail spilled on a new nightclub banquette.

Although Boys is still huge, it is perhaps the least huge of the trio – kind of in the same way that a shark is pretty massive but smaller than a whale or a country. The longevity is great too, easily lasting all day and then some. A fragrance you could definitely take with you when you wanted to get up to some mischief and it would still be there in the morning!

Mabel’s Tooth

Listed notes: Vanilla, nuts, coffee, honey, woods, tobacco, musks.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, perhaps like Mabel, then you are going to love Mabel’s Tooth.

Dry, a touch oily and nutty at first, Mabel’s Tooth begins with a faint bitterness like those husky skins of hazelnuts. There’s also a radiant shine to the composition which made me think of burnished woods, all ambery and silken. Further down into the composition the fragrance becomes sweeter and sweeter, becoming sticky toffee but also flecks of coffee and vetiver depending on how you catch it. It’s warm, comforting, cosy and nostalgic all at once. Like you are stepping into a place of safety, warmth and relaxation.

The projection and longevity of Mabel’s Tooth are quite impressive. It lasts all day on my skin and envelops you in a cloud of comforting sweetness.

Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa

Listed notes: Orange, apricot, warm spices, exotic florals, patchouli, resins, musks and woods.

Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa is a nostalgic love letter to Freddie’s mother. It opens with a warm, sweet muskiness undercut with the sharpness of orange peel. It isn’t so much orangey as pithy and a little bitter, to balance out the accompanying sweetness. There is the round, fleshiness of apricot. Apricot tones (often from osmanthus) can work so nicely in scent because they have a definite fruitiness without being too citrusy, but at the same time there can be that hint of sourness accompanying as there is here from the orange. You can almost feel that dry, velvety texture of apricot skin.

A little further in to the composition the warm spices that have begun to rise take a slightly earthy twist from the patchouli but it smells honest rather than dirty. I also detect a faint bready – or baking – type feel which is very nebulous and airy, like you are smelling it from outside an open door or window. If this scent was an era though, there is something very late 1970s or early 1980s, it has a rich, sepia hue and the glint of nostalgia about it.

In the latter phase of the fragrance’s lifespan, the fruits and spices take on a creamy aspect before sinking into musky, sweet woodiness. Again though, this is a big perfume that projects magnificently and lasts for ages. Definitely one for those who enjoy their scents on the bolder, but friendly, side.

The verdict

The Freddie Albrighton scents feel like the work of an accomplished indie brand. They don’t feel like a young line, or a new line. There is no hesitation and no timorousness in evidence here at all. And that is a very good thing indeed.

Each fragrance has a distinct character, and they all have a vein of sweetness somewhere within, linking them together and giving the line a cohesion. There’s also this sense of vulnerability about the scents, as if Freddie has laid out treasured memories in fragrant form and allowed you to peruse them. Indeed, it turns out after chatting with Freddie himself (after I wrote up my notes for this, I hasten to add), this is exactly what he has done. There’s something warmly intimate about sharing these scents with the brand creator, as if in doing so you are being told about some of his deepest memories. At times the scents feel like the conversations you have with old friends where you know there is safety built from years of sharing. To convey that in a perfume, especially when you are a new brand is really quite lovely and a privilege to behold.

Buy it

Freddie Albrighton’s inaugural trio can be purchased from his web boutique. They are priced at £89 for 50ml EdP.

The other stuff

We were kindly given no-strings-attached samples of the fragrances by the brand but with no requirement to review or provide an opinion in any form, positive or negative.

Banner image by mohamed ramzee from Pixabay, other images The Sniff’s own.

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