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

Urban Apothecary

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British home fragrance brand Urban Apothecary crafts candles and diffusers that capture moods and memories

BY AMY BRADFORD

Tajinder Banwait started her home fragrance brand, Urban Apothecary, at her kitchen table, but you’d never know it from the sophisticated smoky glass packaging with minimalist labels. Each of her 10 scented candles and diffusers are hand-crafted in Britain and capture a different personal memory, from walking in woodland after rain to catching a waft of scent from a passing stranger. Highlights of the range include the autumnal ‘Bay Berry’, which combines sage-leaf and blackberry with undertones of caramel, and the sensual ‘Tuberose Petals’, which teams the creamy white flower with carnation, sandalwood and coconut.
urbanapothecarylondon.com

TOP: Urban Apothecary's 'Verbena Leaves' reed diffuser and scented candle in minimal black and white. ABOVE: 'Tuberose Petals' diffuser; 'Smoked Leather' diffuser and candle; 'Oudh Geranium', 'Green Lavender' and 'Tuberose Petals' diffusers; and 'Fig Tree' candle. BELOW: A short film about the brand inspired by monochrome, smoke and ink, capturing the darkly mysterious design identity

Candles, £30 each for 300g; reed diffusers, £35 each for 200ml

Anya Smells

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British accessories designer Anya Hindmarch has branched out into home fragrance. Just say 'Yes!'

BY AMY BRADFORD

Fashionistas revere accessories designer Anya Hindmarch as the purveyor of a very British type of luxury – impeccably crafted leathers in sophisticated colours, but with an injection of humour thanks to the Pop Art-style stickers she sells to customise her pieces. Now Hindmarch has branched out into home fragrance, the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream.

Cheekily titled 'Anya Smells', the collection of six scented candles was inspired by scents that evoke happy memories for Hindmarch, from sun lotion to baby powder, coffee, toothpaste, lip balm and washing powder. Launched at Hindmarch’s flagship boutiques in London, New York, LA and Tokyo, and available online, each one comes in sleek black-and-white packaging with fun, cartoonish graphics and, of course, humorous stickers from the Anya Hindmarch Sticker Shop. Hand-poured in England using the finest raw materials, the candles are intended to 'recreate the everyday in an extraordinary way'.

TOP: 'Anya Smells', the debut range of scented candles by UK handbag queen Anya Hindmarch. ABOVE: 'Sun Lotion' candle adorned with a 'Yes!' sticker; 'Coffee' with beady eyes; 'Lip Balm' with cute cherries; 'Washing Power' with rainbow motif; 'Toothpaste' with 'Phwoar!!!' sticker graphic; 'Baby Powder' with 'I Love It! What Is it?' sticker. Leather-embossed stickers adhere permanently so can't be removed.

Hindmarch teamed up with British perfumer Lyn Harris (founder of Perfumer H and Miller Harris) and United Perfumes (developer of Cire Trudon and Fornasetti Profumi, among other brands) to launch the six candles in two sizes.

Fresh floral 'Sun Lotion' is inspired by family holidays and features an accord of Italian bergamot and Tunisian orange flower, while ‘Baby Powder’ is a soft oriental with rose petal, benjoin and tonka bean. ‘Coffee’ evokes the dark, woody scent of freshly brewed coffee with café absolute, galbanum, cardamom and amber. The latest additions to the range are ozonic floral 'Washing Powder', featuring notes of watermelon rind, cucumber and hyacinth, herbal 'Toothpaste', including spearmint, grapefruit rind, candy floss and English rhubarb, and fruity 'Lip Balm', smelling of dark cherry, Egyptian jasmine and French vanilla.

Graphic packaging is by London's Studio Frith, with smiling and shocked face motifs on the candle boxes designed to have an after-life on your bookshelf. In-store installations and a promotional film by UK creative agency Anyways and Pavilion Works see the candles riding on a miniature train, with tracks running through a giant nose. Evocative, abstract ideas appear in the listings of Hindmarch's fragrance contents, from regrettable tan lines to holiday romance tears, striped pyjamas, missing socks, sleepless nights and Boy Band posters. Home fragrance married with witty nostalgia? Count us in...
anyahindmarch.com

'Anya Smells' scented candles, £50 for 628gm; £150 for 1800gm

Soohyang

South Korean scent sensation Soohyang's excellent fragrant designs are full of feel-good factor. Life is better when you smell nice!

BY AMY BRADFORD

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You could say that Kim Soohyang was destined to create a perfume brand: Soohyang means ‘excellent fragrance’ in Korean and is the name of her eponymous, 2013-launched scent label. The Seoul native now runs Villa Soohyang, a colourful store with blue exterior and graphic interior decoration, in the city’s famous Gangnam district. Here she sells her collection of 33 scented candles – designed to be used like a fragrance wardrobe, layered and changed with the seasons – alongside room sprays shaped like spray guns, scented matches, beeswax tablets for cupboards, and car fragrances that, unlike most, look and smell wonderful.

ABOVE: Soohyang's customisable Gift Set Box, here including 'Itaewon 565' candle, £36 for 200g, 'Raindrops' home spray, £40 for 250ml, wax tablet, £14 for 40g, wick trimmer, £9, and black scented matches, £7
ABOVE RIGHT FROM TOP: Car fragrance, £14 for 10g; Scented matches, £7 a box
BELOW: 'Itaewon 565' diffuser set, £50 for 300ml, including clear sealed scent bottle, signature dark brown diffuser and reeds (lasts 2-3 months)

ABOVE: Gangnam style! The fragrant temple of Villa Soohyang, the brand's flagship, blue-hued boutique in Seoul, South Korea, set in a renovated old house in Gangnam's Sinsa-dong quarter

Everything is packaged in Soohyang's signature pink and black with bold lettering, with custom labels available so you can add a name or message to your candle or diffuser purchase. Our favourite scents include the comforting ‘Honey’ and bestselling green floral ‘Itaewon 565’, named after the original Seoul store’s address, which smells like a lilac tree in bloom. Soohyang’s collection has just arrived at Fenwick in London, so Europeans can now experience it too. Excellent news...
soohyang.seoul.kr  @soohyangofficial

The Soohyang fragrance range is available in the UK from fenwick.co.uk

D.S & Durga

Brooklyn duo D.S & Durga create unconventional small batch perfumes and scented candles inspired by everything from fireplaces to car interiors

BY AMY BRADFORD

We could hardly be more excited by the scents of NY husband-and-wife duo D.S. & Durga (aka self-taught perfumer David Seth Moltz and the brand’s designer Kavi Moltz, a former architect). Pioneers in the DIY scent movement that flourished in post-millennium Brooklyn, they now operate on the appealing principle that ‘perfume is armchair travel’, creating wearable scents and candles that ‘conjure unseen worlds’. Their influences include music, art, nature and design. Highlights among the wearables include 'Bowmakers', inspired by the 19th-century violin craftsmen of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which fuses notes of violin varnish with mahogany and spiced tree resin; and 'Rose Atlantic', a bracing blend of salt spray and voluptuous roses that riffs on Sinatra’s song Summer Wind. Both come in appealingly graphic bottles with glossy black lids.

ABOVE RIGHT: Perfumer David Seth Moltz and designer Kavi Moltz
BELOW: D.S & Durga fragrances 'Bowmakers' and 'Rose Atlantic' and scented candles ''85 Diesel' and 'Portable Fireplace'

Thinking in 'angles, light, shadow and texture', Kavi seeks to create clarity in form and function for the houses of the brand's scents. The candles are packaged in apricot glass with evocative illustrations. 'Portable Fireplace' is a regular sellout, with its smoky whiff of dwarf pine, oak ash, copaiba resin and birch tar; '’85 Diesel' is a witty take on car interiors, with the notes listed as ‘saffron leather, suede, vinyl, diesel smoke and earth dirt’. If you like your scents down and dirty, this is where it’s at.
dsanddurga.com

'Bowmakers' and 'Rose Atlantic' fragrances from £139 for 50ml; 'Portable Fireplace', 'Spirit Lamp' and ''85 Diesel' candles, £58 for 200gm. Available from dsanddurga.com and libertylondon.com