All About The Base

From dreamy perfume oils by Hermès to Aesop’s heavyweight brass oil burner that scents your home, oil-based scents should be your next fragrance obsession…

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

There’s something properly luxurious about scent that is carried not by alcohol but by oil. The silkiness of the texture and how it melts into the skin are so much more tangible than a traditional spritz application – and all the more captivating for it. It’s the bohemian mood that it puts us in. From a beauty perspective, we have been living in the age of oil for some time, but now perfume oils are also catching on as a home fragrance. Here is our pick of scented oils to bring stylish seduction to your skin or space.

Hermès ‘Hermessence’
We start with Swiss-Italian perfumer Christine Nagel, the resident nose at French luxury label Hermès since 2016, who has introduced perfume oils to the house for the very first time as part of the latest additions to the ‘Hermessence’ range. Of her five-strong Orient-inspired and layerable collection, there are two totally dreamy oil-based scents: ‘Cardamusc’ and ‘Musc Pallida’. The first is laced with fresh but spicy cardamom, the other with sensual iris. ‘I wanted to return to the origins of perfumery and immerse myself in its history,’ says Nagel of the liquid gold creations that slowly pour from similarly molten, amber glass bottles.
hermes.com 

Hermès ‘Musc Pallida’ and ‘Cardamusc’ essence de parfum, £275 each for 20ml


Aesop
Recognised for its beautiful stores, Australian skincare brand Aesop has now introduced some interiors magic to the collection. Its first Aesop Home piece, the sculptural ‘Brass Oil Burner’ was designed by Sydney-based Studio Henry Wilson, who was behind the decor of a couple of Aesop’s stores (Balmain and Crows Nest in Sydney), as well as a 2017 exhibition at Milan’s Brera showroom. Formed with an ancient wax-mould technique used to cast its solid brass shape, this weighty, one-kilogram vessel teams Aesop’s streamlined design aesthetic with functionality to disperse tailor-made essential oils. A cradle for the oil, this glowing chunk of metal was chosen not only for its looks but also for its superior heat transfer properties, tactility and warm affiliation with candle light. Just add five to 10 drops of your preferred oil blend to the oil well – choose between floral citrus ‘Anouk’, spicy citrus ‘Catherine’, minty ‘Isabelle’ or woody citrus ‘Béatrice’ – alongside a standard tea light. It doesn’t get any simpler or more appealing.
aesop.com  henrywilson.com.au

‘Brass Oil Burner’, £120; ‘Béatrice’ oil burner blend, £25 for 25ml


Lumira
Blending wanderlust-inspired concoctions, Australian fragrance and candle brand Lumira specialises in olfactory escapism with each scent a tribute to a global adventure. Founded by Sydneysider Almira Armstrong in 2013, the label follows a lifelong love of fragrance. Her tempting range of five perfume oils includes a Persian rose-scented roll-on, which combines top notes of bergamot with a dark amber base. We like. 
atelierlumira.com

Lumira ‘Persian Rose’ perfume oil, shown alongside ‘Cuban Tobacco’ and ‘Arabian Oud’ perfume oils, £39 each for 10ml


Joya
Expanding into perfume oils from candles, Frederick Bouchardy of New York label Joya loves the intimate, bespoke quality of an oil-based fragrance that changes significantly according to the wearer’s body chemistry. Handmade and poured in the Brooklyn studio, Joya’s essential oil blends come in travel roll-ons – but from a design point of view, we’re most excited about the slip cast porcelain bottles made by US ceramic artist Sarah Cihat. Did anyone mention the 22-carat gold-dipped wands? A very nice finishing touch.
joyastudio.com

Black ‘Composition No. 6’, white ‘Composition No. 1’ and dark green ‘Foxglove’ perfumes, £100 each for 75ml

Turning Japanese

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Captivating Japan is the inspiration behind three recent fragrance and beauty line launches, with elegant zen-chic design and oriental packaging to match. We spy a trend!

BY AMY BRADFORD

FLORAÏKU
Poetry, perfume and design come together in 2017-launched fragrance line Floraïku, created by French-Irish couple Clara and John Molloy (also the founders of cult scent brand Memo Paris). The collection of 12 fragrances, created with noses Alienor Massenet, Sophie Labbé and Sarah Burri, is inspired by Japanese culture: each bottle features a patterned stopper that recalls traditional lacquerware, and is presented in a bento-style box decorated with trails of cherry blossom and an evocative haiku.

TOP: Ginger, white tea and cardamom 'I Am Coming Home' eau de parfum by Floraïku
RIGHT: Floraïku's eau de parfums 'My Love Has the Colour of the Night', patchouli, gaiac wood and vetiver; 'Sleeping on the Roof', lily of the valley, orange blossom and amber musk
BELOW: 'First Dream of the Year', grapefruit, orange blossom and iris; 'In the Rain', bergamot, cedar and woody musk (a twelfth scent launched this March) 
£250 each for 50ml, 10ml refill and purse spray

Floraïku's range is divided into three themes or ‘ceremonies’: Enigmatic FlowersSecret Teas and Spices and Forbidden Incense, housed in navy blue, white and black bottles respectively. Highlights include ‘My Love Has the Colour of the Night’, a dusky blend of gaiac wood, patchouli and vetiver, and the ethereal ‘First Dream of the Year’, which combines grapefruit, orange blossom and iris. Offering clever layering, two 'Shadowing' scents, in red bottles, are intended to be sprayed near any scent in the collection to either lighten and freshen it ('Sleeping on the Roof') or darken and intensify the fragrance ('Between Two Trees').

ABOVE: Sample the scent range over a cup of seasonal tea at the perfume bar at Floraïku's Japanese-influenced London boutique at Harrods' Salon de Parfums. All fragrances contain more than 50 per cent natural ingredients and are refillable

We love the individual illustrations designed for each scent by French artist Victoire Cathalan, drawing on watercolours and Indian inks and printed on the bottle's fabric-covered cap, which doubles as a travel or purse spray. The brand opened its first boutique at Harrods’ Salon de Parfums, based on a traditional Japanese ryokan, or inn, and decorated with straw, silk and marble. New York's Saks Fifth Avenue also welcomed Floraïku to its new beauty floor this May, bringing zen serenity to the city that never sleeps.
us.floraiku.com


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SHIRO
We’ve long admired Japanese design for its ruthless simplicity and attention to detail – but it’s not just its furniture and buildings that display these qualities. Japanese skincare is growing in popularity in the west, and in response stylish brand Shiro has opened a boutique on London’s Kings Road – its first anywhere outside Japan. Recently two more stores launched on Covent Garden's Monmouth Street and St Christopher's Place off Oxford Street. The pale white and wood spaces display products beautifully packaged in frosted and white glass: the body and fragrance range is our highlight, in particular the jasmine-scented fabric conditioner (£25). Skin-softening ‘sake kasu’, a by-product of the sake production process rich in rice protein, is a key ingredient for the brand, alongside other traditional oriental extracts like adzuki bean, known for its cleansing properties, and moisterising 'gagome kombu', derived from kelp.
shiro-shiro.jp; shiro-shiro.uk

ABOVE: Japanese skincare brand Shiro's minimal products including 'Adzuki Soap', £16; 'Kombu Skin Serum', £68; and 'Sake Kasu Facial Cream', £78


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'HWYL' BY AESOP
Given the array of wonderful aromas in Aesop skincare products, it’s surprising to think that it only has three perfumes in its collection. But the Australian-born brand works at its own pace, only launching new scents when it is ready. Accordingly, the third fragrance, 'Hwyl' (pronounced ‘hoo-will’), has only recently emerged. Created with hip young French perfumer Barnabé Fillion, it’s a real cultural mishmash, with the name coming from old Welsh – a somewhat intangible word that variously means emotional fervour, nature, and temper or mood – and the composition influenced by Japan. ‘My inspiration was walking among 300-year-old Hiba trees in an ancient Japanese forest and experiencing the country’s lush temple moss gardens,’ says Fillion, who has conjured an intensely green scent with notes of thyme, cypress, woods, vetiver and frankincense. ‘It captures the feeling of solitude and refuge in nature,’ he adds. Unassumingly packaged in amber glass with seductive plant imagery by Australian generative artist Jonathan McCabe inside the sleek grey-green box, this cool, verdant scent is sure to be a hit.
aesop.com

ABOVE: Minimal, unisex 'Hwyl' eau de parfum by Aesop features smoky notes, subtle spice and dark green earthy accords. £83 for 50ml eau de parfum
BELOW: A film shares the fragrance's Japanese forest inspirations

Paul Schütze Perfume

Powerful memories of place and time inform the perfumes of Paul Schütze. Savour the moment...

BY AMY BRADFORD

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London-based Australian artist Paul Schütze is a bit of a Renaissance man. Originally a film composer and musician, he moved into the art world in 2000, when he created a sound and film installation for the Hayward Gallery’s 'Sonic Boom' exhibition. In 2015, Schütze crafted three fragrances for the city's Sir John Soane's Museum, diffused into the historic interior during a candlelit nocturnal event.

TOP: Paul Schütze Perfume's trio of new eau de parfums including 'Behind the Rain', 'Cirebon' and 'Tears of Eros', £135 for 50ml
ABOVE RIGHT: Composer-turned-perfume creator Paul Schütze
BELOW:
Glad to be grey... the smart minimal packaging sports a flash of colour to match the coloured labels on the elegant glass bottles; purple for 'Behind the Rain', black for 'Tears Of Eros' and mandarin for 'Cirebon'

Now he’s changing tack again, launching the Paul Schütze Perfume label. He’s designed three wearable unisex perfumes by employing the same technique he uses as an artist. Each scent is an attempt to embody a memory: 'Tears of Eros' recalls an evening in Schütze’s Paris studio, when incense had been burning and a discarded clementine peel and a blooming hyacinth sat on his desk; 'Cirebon' evokes a trip to Java with the aroma of lemongrass and tamarind; and 'Behind the Rain' remembers a visit to Greece when a rainstorm released the scent of fir trees. Simple grey and clear glass packaging, teamed with graphic labels in purple, mandarin and black with silver, allow these modern masterpieces to speak for themselves.
paulschutzeperfume.com 

Paul Schütze Perfume is available now from Liberty London libertylondon.com

Lipstick Queen

Pucker up girls, this new lipstick is the bee's knees...

BY AMY BRADFORD

Melbourne-born Poppy King’s lipstick label, Lipstick Queen, always delights with its packaging which suggests a riot of design influences: everything from the Wiener Werkstätte to Art Nouveau and 1950s Hollywood. 'Queen Bee' is a sparkly golden lip treatment that’s much subtler and more flattering than it sounds, which contains royal jelly, camomile and sunflower extracts to keep lips soft and supple. Oh, and it smells wonderfully of honey, too.
lipstickqueen.com

'Queen Bee' lipstick, AU$22. Available in the UK, £20 from spacenk.com

Cocolux

Coconut and copper combine in these luxurious candles from Cocolux

BY AMY BRADFORD

First it was coconut water and coconut yogurt: now it’s all about coconut wax. Australian brand Cocolux’s candles are a new take on eco-friendly scent and come in exotic fragrances such as Grapefruit & Lemongrass, Island Fig, Cassis & Peach and Tonka Bean & Lime Zest (yes, they smell a little bit coconutty too, but we like that; it transports us to tropical climes). The solid copper holder is a joy: you’ll want to keep it forever and repurpose as a vase or pen pot. 
cocoluxaustralia.com

Cocolux 'Copper Candle' AU$45 for 150g, AU$65 for 350g. 350g candle, £55 available in the UK from roullierwhite.com