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…


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. 

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Grace by Grace Coddington

We're like cats on a hot tin roof over Grace Coddington's first fragrance for Commes des Garçons... Here kitty kitty!


The dream team of Grace Coddington (Creative Director at Large of American Vogue), Christian Astuguevieille (Creative Director of Comme des Garçons Parfum) and Fabien Baron (art director par excellence) has produced 'Grace by Grace Coddington', the flame-haired fashion icon's first fragrance. Inspired by her lifelong love of rose scents, it features notes of bergamot, mint, basil, cardamom and musk as well as Moroccan blush rose. 'I've experimented with everyone else's version of rose, and even got sidetracked by some others along the way,' says Coddington. 'Now I've arrived back at the point I first started, with rose, except this time, it's my rose.'

To be frank we are almost more entranced with the bottle than the juice itself, sporting as it does a perfect pair of kitty ears on the cap (it's no secret that Coddington is an out-and-proud feline obsessive). We think it's the cat's meow...

'Grace by Grace Coddington' from £70 for 50ml. From Comme des Garçons boutiques worldwide. Available in the UK from and

Portrait of Grace Coddington by Fabien Baron

Juliette Has A Gun

The pictures say it all; the insouciance and devil-may-care soignée that the French do so well is encapsulated in two new perfumes by Parisian parfumeur Juliette Has A Gun


As signalled by its quirky name, French perfume label Juliette Has A Gun has an irreverent take on the clichés of the perfume world. Its latest offering, ‘Another Oud’, hints sardonically at the deluge of fragrances based on the precious Middle Eastern wood currently flooding the market (many of which contain no genuine oud at all). The perfume’s name ‘says out loud what people think silently,’ claims the brand, hopefully inspiring ‘a certain curiosity’. By combining oud wood with surprising notes of raspberry and bergamot, it certainly offers a new perspective on the material; the inclusion of cutting-edge synthetic Normlimbanol – declared ‘a genius molecule’ by fragrance expert Chandler Burr for its ability to convey a patchouli-like dryness – also piques our interest. But is it just another oud? You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Juliette Has A Gun has also launched ‘Gentlewoman’, a modern eau de cologne. Brand founder Romano Ricci says it offers women ‘a dash of dandy’ and is aimed at ‘the spiritual heirs of Oscar Wilde’. Don’t be fooled by the gender-bending thing, though: this is a million miles from entirely sexless ‘unisex’ fragrances. Instead, expect an androgynous voluptuary along the lines of Serge Gainsbourg or Marlene Dietrich, sporting a blend of ultra-feminine neroli, almond essence and orange blossom contrasted with earthy Ambroxan and musks.

Fans of fonts with a flourish will love the bold packaging, inspired by the idea of the 'innocent Juliet of Shakespeare transposed to the 21st century with a gun.' It's a brand identity symbolising both the liberation of women and perfume as a weapon of seduction (even revenge) – or in graphic terms 'tradition with a zest of provocation.'

‘Another Oud’, €120 for 100ml; ‘Gentlewoman’, from €85 for 50ml

Frédéric Malle x Dominique Ropion

Those long summer nights are just around the corner for some of us. If you're looking for a summery scent that won't fade away then 'Cologne Indélébile' ticks all the right boxes...


When a perfume launch is billed as a ‘Grand Parfum’ it invites you to expect great things. Turns out that ‘Cologne Indélébile’, by master perfumer Dominique Ropion for French label Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, lives up to the hype. It’s a first: a scent with all the zesty freshness of a cologne, but the staying power of a much heavier scent. How has clever Monsieur Ropion achieved this? By layering an assortment of musks with orange flower, neroli, lemon and bergamot, then adding a hint of Narcissus absolute for extra zing. Combining graphic red, white and black with sheer glass, the signature bottle is equally chic. Sublime.

‘Cologne Indélébile’, £110 for 50ml, £155 for 100ml. Travel spray, £30 for 10ml, £75 for 30ml. Available in the UK exclusively from


The characteristics of some of the world's most iconic fabrics are captured in a range of heady perfumes by Italian fragrance house Uermi


Uermi (pronounced ‘wear me’) is a new collection of scents inspired by luxury fabrics and materials. Made in Italy, and created by three French noses (Antoine Lie, Jean Jacques and Philippe Bousseton), the range draws on the affinity both fragrance and clothing have with the body, worn next to your skin. Choose from cashmere, velvet, silk, suede, tweed, latex or denim. 'Cashmere' is a soft, warm blend of bergamot, grey amber, sandalwood and vanilla, while 'Silk' is as light and clean as you’d expect from a featherweight negligee, fusing notes of grapefruit, dill, tangerine and cypress. We're loving the decidedly provocative 'Latex' (right) – you'll just have to try it to see what we mean...

Uermi fragrances, £105 each for 75ml, available from Roullier White