Mood Scent 4: Scents of Place


It’s Mood Scent time again! Today, Megan, Sam and I are picking perfumes that remind or connect us with the place we live or have lived in the past. There are so many fragrances and entire brands devoted to geographical locations, but there are also perfumes that evoke a particular area for other reasons. It’s a personal resonance and I’m looking forward to reading which fragrances my blogging pals based in Wales and France have chosen to represent their home. Hopefully Esperanza will be up to joining us for our next post in August.


Mood scent purple



London by Gallivant Perfumes

Cucumber, Rose de Mai absolute, Leather

I’ve lived in the capital my whole life so I’ve chosen two perfumes that represent it. This city of mine is a quirky one and Gallivant have made a perfume to match. London is a light, rosy leather with a twist – an aquatic top note that you might not expect to work but somehow does. It captures the eccentric side of the city where everyone is free to express themselves in whatever way they choose. It’s one of the things I am most proud of about my hometown. This unique perfume was a finalist in the 2018 Art and Olfaction Awards for good reason.

Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone

Ambrette Seed, Sea Salt, Sage, Red Algae and Grapefruit

While I might not be naturally drawn to Jo Malone’s clean and tasteful output, this 2014 release made an impression on me for its evocation of the British coastline. It was composed by Christina Nagel who is doing a stellar job over at Hermes after taking over from Jean-Clause Ellena. It represents in scent a windswept shore rather than the more familiar tropical beach fragrance. Wood Sage & Sea Salt starts with citrus moving through light woods with gentle greenery and ending with a salty/sweet amber in the vein of Eau de Merveilles. It’s successful in bringing to mind the flashes of sunshine and salty breeze I used to get when visiting a British seaside town out of season with my family as a child.




Vaara by Penhaligon’s

Quince, Rosewater, Carrot Seed, Coriander Seed, Saffron, Moroccan Rose Absolute, Bulgarian Rose Oil, Freesia, Indian Magnolia, Peony, Iris, Honey, White Musk, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Benzoin Resin, Tonka Bean

I can’t write about London without taking into the account the multicultural mix that I am a product of. My mother came to Britian in the 1950s with the rest of her Angl0-Indian family from Bangalore. They moved into a house in Willesden and when she married my English father, they bought a house in west London. I’ve grown up in a mixed race family and still live in this terrifically diverse city. I therefore have to include a perfume that reflects this and I happen to own and love Vaara. Penhaligon’s is a quintessentially English brand that have created a Western perfume inspired by India. It’s a light, sunny Anglo-Indian rose fragrance with gorgeous splashes of quince, saffron and carrot seed.

vaara by penhaligon's bottle


Dryad by Papillon Perfumes

Narcissus. Oakmoss. Jonquil. Cedrat. Galbanum. Benzoin. Vetiver.

Moving out of the city into the British countryside is a joy and I love it whenever I get a chance to trample through a forest or woodland. What’s great about Dryad is that it is more than a literal interpretation of the ancient forest in Southern England that inspired it. It starts out with a galbanum note that is a photoreal expression of being immersed in the lush vegetation of this green and pleasant land.  However it is embedded in a magnificently complex chypre with a base of oakmoss and oriental leanings which give it a glorious antique feel.



Have a look at the Scents of Place from my partners at Megan In Sainte Maxime and I Scent You A Day.




Is there a perfume that you associate with your part of the world?


Filed under Perfume Reviews

11 responses to “Mood Scent 4: Scents of Place

  1. Interesting picks, especially Vaara. My mind would go completely blank if you asked me to scent Stafford, haha, much as I have put down roots in the place. Then Belfast (my home town) has already been done by Geza Schoen, albeit he won’t say what is in the perfumes, or whereabouts in the city they evoke. 😉 I guess I might choose something with magnolia to conjure up the treelined Georgian Square where I studied in the French and German departments, and something with tobacco, tea, and rope – rope??!! – to capture the big industries / trades when I was growing up. Well, there’s also ship building, but if I wanted to smell of iron girders there’s always Nahema! 😉


    • Hi V,
      That tree-lined Georgian Square sounds lovely.
      Someone needs to do a perfume with a rope note. That would be fascinating.
      Didn’t know you got iron girders from Nahema! Mind you, it might have been a bit metallic now I think about it…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh, Dryad! A big love for me! Have you tried Penhaligon’s ‘Blasted Bloom’? It is inspired by the British coast, and I think it really captures the rocky, cold shoreline. I wrote about it here: Like Vanessa, a great magnolia scent (the pink ones, not the big white ones) would take me right back to college, but I haven’t found the right one. Any suggestions?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Old Herbaceous,
    I have tried Blasted Bloom – a fresh floral done right.
    I don’t know about pink magnolia specifically but Sandrine and Michel by Grandiflora Fragrance sound great.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lady Jane Grey

    I want to thank you for including Dryad and Vaara – I love both ! And I have to try the Gallivant, since I love London so much…
    Parfums never evoke a place to me (they make me see a colour though…), I couldn‘t name one for representing Vienna, or Budapest. As of Vienna it should be something opulently pretty, with an intellectual drydown – can you think of anything ?
    Well, there, I found an evocative one, after all : when walking on the Nortwestern shore of Scotland last week, in bright hot sunshine, I had to think of Heeley’s Sel Marine…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now I am wracking my brains for that Vienna perfume. Will keep thinking. You’ve nailed the brief though.
      Oh yes, Sel Marin would be perfect for the coast of Scotland.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tara – I found out snippets about you from this. Very cool. This was a good one to do. London is such a great city of contrasts to be inspired by. All your picks are 💥 Gallivant sounds interesting and Dryad of course is a winner. 🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It was so interesting to read these small earlier not known fragments of your life! It felt even more personal than your regular posts – I couldn’t help smiling.
    I like the JM’s scent and was just writing about it (not sure if I’ll have time to finish it this week though), so it was great to read your mentioning of the favorite of mine. And while I’m not a big fan of cucumber in perfumes (though another JM perfume – Earl Grey & Cucumber somehow works for me), I want to try London because it is named after one of my 4 most beloved cities in the World.
    Just today I wore Atelier Cologne Clementine California and the fact that it’s named after the state where I live made it even more enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great round-up, Tara. Love all of your choices. I am yet to find a fragrance that reminds me of Johannesburg, but I will keep on looking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, R! It was a more challenging topic than usual but really enjoyed reading everyone’s choices.
      I hope you find that fragrance that reminds you of Johannesburg.

      Liked by 1 person

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