Thursday 28 May 2009 8:00 pm


JUST had a weekend away in Rome. As usual I dived into the duty free for a try of all the new perfumes – of which there are countless for both men and women. All very confusing, and once you have both arms covered, your sense of smell is shot to bits and you can’t work out what’s nice and what isn’t, even if you could remember which one is which.

You have to try them though, as they change on your body – what smells divine on someone else may be vile on you. And try to detect that stale smell that many perfumes end up with – probably the base ingredient that lingers long after the scent has evaporated. Personally I can’t stand it, and many women reek of it.

Whatever the scent, everyone has their own idea of what they like. Quite often it’s a smell that reminds them of something in their past, perhaps their first ever perfume, or their first date.

The Parfum d’Artisan has some wonderful perfumes that evoke all sorts of different memories, from a kiss from your mother – a delicious infusion of rose and violets, to sawdust and toffee – memories of the circus, perhaps

Or if you want something new, refreshing and citrussy, go into Jo Malone and try a few, they’re certainly not on the usual list, and I have found the staff in the shops very friendly and helpful. I absolutely love Lime Basil and Mandarin – one of those perfumes that makes you shimmy with excitement.

New scents come and go – just don’t apply your scent for the benefit of everyone else in the office. What you like to spray on all over may not be to everyone else’s taste, and when it goes stale in your clothes, it can be positively nasty.

Scent should be subtle and pleasurable, for the user and close friends only.

Sara Hollamby is an image consultant at