We’re just over a week into 2021 and we already have the first big perfume launch of the year, which means this is my first perfume review of the year (exciting!) and it’s for a brand new CHANEL fragrance (very exciting!!) – a CHANEL Exclusif, no less (ARGH SO EXCITING!!!). This CHANEL fanboy is very please to be kicking off the year with something so wonderful – so, let’s take a few moments away from the world and enjoy a spot of scented beauty.

The latest addition to Les Exclusifs is Le Lion and it’s a long-awaited one, having launched in some territories almost one year ago! But now it’s here! As with all of the Exclusifs, Le Lion takes inspiration from the house itself, and this time the lion, the fifth sign of the zodiac and Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s astrological sign, is the theme. In the 1920s, Coco fell in love with the city of Venice, being inspired by its art and culture, and like Chanel herself, the city existed under the guardian sign of the lion. The lion became an emblem for Chanel, both in her personal spaces (her apartment at 31 Rue Cambon was filled with lions crafted from marble, bronze and wood), but also in her clothing, with the symbol engraved on the buttons of tweed suits or the clasps of bags. The lion is a symbol of Chanel’s tenacity and endurance and this is the theme that the fragrance explores.

Le Lion the perfume, seeks to capture this tenacious personality but also the rich and exotic spirit of Venice, the city of the lion that Coco loved. CHANEL perfumer Olivier Polge was intrigued by the emblem of the lion rather than the animal itself, crafting a warm amber fragrance (I’m not using the “O” word, this is my replacement) with a “solar aura” and a “gentle strength”. Le Lion stands out as a uniquely intense and warm fragrance within Les Exclusifs, which tend to lean light, ethereal, abstract, and it is quite surprising in its richness. The big question though, is whether it was worth the wait? Well, read on and you shall see!


In this week’s episode of our podcast, Fume Chat (the penultimate episode of the series, eek!), we chat with Oscar-nominated actor and self-proclaimed “Perfumed Ponce”, Richard E Grant. In the interview we talk about his scented upbringing and how he created a perfume brand. We also sniff three of the scents in his Jack collection!

This is a super exciting project that I am thrilled to be a part of. As you may know, I write for Escentual as their Fragrance Expert and also advise them on all things fragrance. Over the last two years, we at Escentual have run two blind fragrance trials with journalists, influencers and bloggers, all with the aim to promote discussion about new fragrance launches – it’s been really successful and immense fun. Well, now, #EscentualScents comes to you and this time, you can get in on all of the action and fun!


In my final #christmascrush gift guide this year, I take a look at some beautiful perfume discovery kits that will make excellent presents this Christmas. With going in to stores to test fragrances becoming harder with the pandemic, these kits allow you to give the gift of choice and they can be an excellent tool in helping narrow down a full bottle purchase, either as an additional gift or if your recipient wishes to treat themselves to something at a later date. The cost of some of these kits are even redeemable against a full size purchase. Check out the video below or visit my Instagram page by clicking here.


Carine Roitfeld is the former Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue and if her debut collection of perfumes are anything to go by, she is clearly someone who enjoys perfume. The idea behind the collection is seven fragrances inspired by seven lovers in seven different cities. In all honesty, I’m a bit ‘meh’ about the concept, and I’m certainly more than a bit ‘meh’ about the bottle which, despite its hefty weight and magnetic cap (we love a magnetic cap, we do), is just, dare I say…..ugly? 😐

Anyway, aesthetically challenging packaging aside, the Seven Lovers Collection shows that Carine Roitfeld certainly has taste when it comes to perfume and she has used it wisely when collaborating with perfumers AurĂ©lien Guichard, Yann Vasnier and Pascal Gaurin, to create her collection. Out of the seven, I’d say four were interesting (George, Lawrence, Har-Wai and Orson), which isn’t a bad hit rate, let’s be honest. My favourite by far was George, which is inspired by an encounter in a bookshop in London. I must ask Carine which bookshops she’s been visiting because they certainly sound like a lot more fun than your average Waterstones! George is a modern chypre that harks back to some wonderful green scents from the past. I’m obsessed – so much so, in fact, I can forgive that bloody bottle (I promise not to mention it again)…..well, almost.


Comme des Garçons is a brand that gets a pretty regular rotation in my wardrobe. In fact, I’d go as far saying that it would would quite be odd for a week to go by without me picking out one of their scents to wear. For me, they strike that perfect balance between novel and innovative, and pleasant and wearable, which means that I reach for them quite a lot, mostly for those in the regular lineup such as the original Parfum, 2, 2 Man (I just topped up on my bottles of both the 2s, in fact), Amazingreen and Blackpepper. Long story short, I enjoy the brand and the scents are staples for me.

With that in mind, a new Comme des Garçons fragrance is somewhat of an event for me – I’m always intrigued to see what they do and whilst not all are ones I adore (see Floriental, Copper and Concrete), I do always enjoy how they subvert expectations. A Comme des Garçons fragrance always has something to say and their latest launch, Rouge (currently exclusive to Dover Street Market and launching nationwide next year), is no exception. Described, in typical CdG style as an “encounter between religious fervour and earthen reality” Rouge attacks the the colour red from surprising angles, using a central note of beetroot to present something so familiar in an entirely unfamiliar way. To say it’s interesting and unique is somewhat of an understatement…

Through deliberate overdose and rapturous expression, Rouge presents an unexpected unison. an olfactive congregation of desire archetypal associations of the colour Rouge seen and subverted through the distinctly disruptive gaze of Comme des Garçons.

Comme des Garçons

Christmas Crush is where I celebrate the scented things that would make lovely gifts for the festive period!

A few weeks back I kicked off my Christmas Crush gift guides with a beautiful candle from Acqua di Parma and now, I’m continuing with yet another festive home fragrance, this time from Goutal Paris. Let’s be real, the annual Goutal Christmas candle is somewhat of an event, with a gorgeous new design launched every year. 2020 does not disappoint – well, 2020 as a year most definitely disappoints, but the 2020 Une ForĂȘt d’Or Scented Candle does not.

It’s not often that I experience love at first sniff, but in the case of Oak Wood, my immediate thought upon spraying it on my skin was “oh, I love this” and my secondary thought was “I’m going to wear the heck out of this”. Spoiler alert: I do and I did. But hold up, let’s talk a bit about this fragrance before we go right into the nitty gritty of whether I love it or not (I do, obv.). Sunspel is a luxury British clothing brand that focuses on high quality wardrobe staples and knitwear. Their aesthetic is very neutral and smart (and a little Scandi?). Oak Wood fits in nicely.

Sunspel tasked British perfumer Lyn Harris (formerly of Miller Harris, now of Perfumer H) to create their debut fragrance. The brand had previously created signature sweatshirts for Harris, featuring the names of two of her Perfumer H fragrances (I really want one of those, btw) so it feels like an organic partnership. Harris said she wanted to “create something that represented the beauty of the English countryside” because for her “that’s what really represents the brand, Sunspel”. The name Oak Wood was her working title for the fragrance.

When I review a scent I don’t just think about the words I want to use to describe it, I also consider how I’m going to capture the essence of the scent in the accompanying images. To photograph Oak Wood, I took a long walk with my husband and Pugsley, our pug. We ventured onto the thrift that is a short walk from our house and got lost in the winding paths that led us through the growing saplings that represent a forest in its infancy. We walked past reeds and brush, treading on gravel paths scattered with fiery leaves decaying in the autumn air. I was wearing Oak Wood and it felt so poignant in such a beautiful space. It all just felt right. These photographs represent Oak Wood and the feelings of that day.