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Founders Favourites - Love At First Sniff?

Love at first sniff – is it as make-believe as love at first sight? Well, I don’t know but I certainly have never experienced it. A lot of you will know my story about how I came to found Bare & Bond. It all started when I needed to find a new perfume after the one I’ve worn for the previous 12 years was discontinued. I went into every department store and perfume shop I saw for months and couldn’t find any perfume I loved or even liked enough to buy. 


I don’t think the perfume in those shops were all bad, looking back, I think it was just the wrong setting to test perfume. There was no space to discover the depth of perfume or to experience how it transforms over time. Like any relationship, it’s rarely love at first anything. Maybe I’m just a tough crowd when it comes to perfume but what I know is, I wouldn’t have bought any of my absolute favourite perfumes after one sniff in the perfume shop.


Ok, so here’s the list of my absolute favourites.


  • Keahia by Sarah Ireland Perfumes

My first sniff of Keahia was in little shop in the New Forest. I was sat with Sarah as she talking me through her perfumes. They were all wonderful perfumes; I’d never smelt anything like them before. I was intrigued but not instantly in love.


Driving back I stopped off for a walk. I figured there was no point driving out to the new forest and not at least walking in the forest. I decided to spray one of Sarah’s perfumes on to see what it would smell like on my walk. I chose Keahia and the rest was history. You can read more about that walk in the blog “Let’s Talk About Coffee” but long story short, the Keahia bough an almost transcendent element to my walk. The very scent made me see the world and my life in new and much more exciting ways. That was the point that I not only fell in love with Keahia but also deeply appreciated the existence of the micro-perfumeries who were dedicated to working on incredible scents; uninfluenced by the waves of pop culture and fashion.


  • Charade by Sarah Baker Perfumes

The next perfume I fell in love with was Charade by Sarah Baker perfumes. At my first sniff, I was a little taken aback. It was strong and powerful and again, like nothing I’d ever smelt. Very different from Keahia too. I left it for a week and then went back to it. I seems to always be the way with the scents from our perfumeries. They’re so complex, our senses need a little time to acclimatize but when they do, we find ourselves unable to go back to any perfume created for mass appeal, ever again. After wearing Charade a couple of times, I started to really enjoy it. If pure and indulgent luxury had a smell, it would be Charade. After a few hours of having it on my skin, it transformed into a creamy scent, with the same rich gorgeousness it had from the beginning. My mind was blown and I was in love.


I wore Charade every day for months. To work, to see friends, around the house. I have never had so many compliments about a perfume I’ve worn, ever in my life.


  • Oxford by Ruth Mastenbroek

As the theme goes, my relationship was not love at first sniff. I actually quite liked another one of her fragrances, Signature. A few months into wearing that one, I decided to give Oxford a chance as our community had been raving about it. I really like it. It was amazing for work. It felt sophisticated and calming; like wearing it gave be a sense of grounded confidence. It was so incredibly beautiful.


  • Wash Me In The Water by Sarah McCartney

I first smelt Wash Me In The Water in a studio with Sarah McCartney and Bokani, who was the artist working on the edition we were working on. Sarah said how popular Wash Me In Water was and Bokani was blown away by it. I didn't really understand why, if I was totally honest. If freshwater and cut grass was a luxury fragrance, it would smell like that. It was the middle of winter at the time and I was loving think woody, smoky smells. We ended up featuring it in the monthly christmas subscription boxes and I found that everyone was raving about it. 

I'm writing this during Covid-19 and at the moment, Sarah can't open up her studio to fulfill perfume orders so we are fulfilling small amounts of her orders that come in through our website. Anyway, because of that, I was bottling a 15ml of Wash Me In The Water and I finally got it. It was incredibly beautiful and everything I wanted to smell at that moment. I realised how much the seasons affect how my brain reacts to different scents. Its now obviously spring and it's the absolute perfume for spring. Lush water, fresh grass, its the refresh you can only smell. 



At Bare & Bond, we believe in Slow Perfume; taking time to get to know a scent, watching to see how it woos you and seeing what it has to reveal. If I have any advice for you on trying out new perfume it’s this; if you smell it and at first you feel like your senses just don’t really know what to do with it, try it a few weeks later and see if you change your mind. Spray it on your skin and see how it develops. Wear it in settings you wouldn’t normally think to wear perfume and see if it adds a new dimension them. Exploring scent shouldn’t be a one-dimensional experience, it should be a dynamic adventure. Welcome to Slow Perfume.

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