I'm going to have to put my hands up and say I was wrong. I have said numerous times that I don't like tackling fragrance on my blog. But judging by the number of times I have now mentioned it, that statement is no longer valid. It is hard to write smells but I do love them. The world of fragrance is so exciting, so vast and so varied. I love discovering, learning about and growing to love new fragrances. The next logical step, then, is to do my best of trying to share them with you so you can discover them, learn about them, and hopefully grow to love them just as much as I do.
Today I am offering an introduction to the British brand Miller Harris. The brand was created by Lyn Harris in 2000. Lyn spent 5 years training in Grasse before moving back to London to launch her first 3 fragrances in Liberty. Whilst Lyn has now left the brand, she has left behind a fantastically eclectic selection of fragrances that all bare her signature style. As Eau de Parfums they are incredible complex, extremely versatile and tend to be full of the unexpected. While most of their full size fragrances are a serious investment at £95 for 100ml, their Collection Découverte (£24) is a fabulous way of getting to know the brand. So today I'm going to give you a quick run through of my eight little vials:
LE PETIT GRAIN
- Top: Bergamot, Lemon, Orange, Angelica
- Heart: Petit Grain, Neroli, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, Lavender
- Base: Oak Moss,Vetiver, Patchouli
Created as an homage to the orange tree this fragrance is both citrussy and warm. You not only smell notes of bitter orange rinds, but also the woodiness of the bark of the tree and the greenness of the leaves. If you're looking for a light, fresh summer fragrance with a bit more depth than your average citrus offering this may be one to consider.
ROSE EN NOIR
- Top: Raspberry, Violet Leaf, Petit Grain
- Heart: Rose, Black Pepper, Nutmeg
- Base: Patchouli, Vetiver, Tabacco, Ambrette Seed
A rose option for those who aren't overly keen on rose. The scent portrays all the powdery notes of the bud without allowing it to slip into a heavy floral. It reminds me of black pepper and talcum powder. It's a very clean, powdery, faint rose with a sidetone of spice carried through by the pepper and nutmeg. A perfume of understated elegance.
NOIX DE TUBÉREUSE
- Top: Mandarin, Green Clover, Violet Leaf
- Heart: Tuberose, Jasmine, Mimosa
- Base: Tonka Bean, Vanilla Bourbon, Amber
This is probably my least favourite of the selection- but that is entirely subjective. Tuberose tends to be a marmite smell- either you love it or you hate it. Unfortunately I don't stand in the tuberose camp, but for those of you who are looking for a bold, heavy floral with a strong sweet undertone- this is the one for you. It does soften down on the skin, but this is not a fragrance for the feint hearted!
- Top: Bergamot, Tangerine, Lavender
- Heart: Ylang Ylang, Cassis, Jasmine, Orange Flower
- Base: Vetiver Bourbon, Vanilla Bourbon
Moving straight on to my favourite from the box. Looking at the notes I wasn't sure wether I was going to be a fan or not. Whilst I love cassis and vanilla, I don't tend to be a fan of jasmine, orange flow or lavender. But like many Miller Harris fragrances what you read on the breakdown of notes is not always what you smell. This is a beautifully complex fragrance designed to smell like the calm that comes after a tropical rainstorm. It's got the warmth of the tropical heat, the underlying sweetness of the vanilla bourbon and an overriding freshness from the cassis and tangerine. This is a fragrance that is fresh without being citrussy and warm without being at all woody.
L'AIR DE RIEN
- Top: Neroli
- Heart: Neroli
- Base: Oak Moss, Patchouli, Vanilla Bourbon, Amber, Musk
Initially created as a bespoke fragrance for Jane Birkin (lucky lady, a perfume and a handbag designed specially for her- goals), this is both one of the simplest and most intriguing Miller Harris fragrances. Made up of only six notes, it boasts a dusty warmth that is neither too heavy nor too sweet. Jane wanted it to be reminiscent of old libraries and first edition books and it does just that... in the nicest possible way. For those of you looking for something a bit off the beaten track it might be worth giving this one a try.
- Top: Bergamot, Orange, Grapefruit
- Heart: Rosemary, Sage, Orange Flower, Rose
- Base: Patchouli, Tree Moss, Fir Balsam, Orris Butter
Of all the offerings in this box, this one took the longest for me to get my head around. There is a lot going on in this little vial. There is a freshness that comes from the citrus top notes, which with the addition of rosemary and sage blends down into a dry, crisp smell... the kind that travels right through your nose and into your throat. You then get an added powder from the rose and finally an underlying warmth from the base notes. The beautiful thing about this scent is if you sit and think hard you can clearly smell each of those individual stages. Once you've sprayed some on the skin, however, it settles down into a beautifully seductive evening fragrance.
FEUILLES DE TABAC
- Top: Bergamot, Sage, Pine Needles
- Heart: Cascarilla Oil, Pimento Berries
- Base: Patchouli, Tonka Bean, Tobacco Leaf
These last two act as the heavier offerings in the pack. This one reminds me of the wonderful warm smell you get if you open a box of expensive cigars. It's smokey and vibrant without smelling like an ashtray. It also has enough going on to keep you interested. It's not the kind of heavy tobacco fragrance that drags you down, but one that's just light enough to work well on both men and women, day or night.
- Top: Elemi, Lavender, Incense
- Heart: Cardamom, Coriander, Cumin, Geranium, Chamomile
- Base: Ceder Wood, Agar Wood, Sandalwood, Cade, Birch Tar, Amber
This last one is definitely the heaviest of the bunch. For those of you that are quite partial to Oud- this is the closest you are going to come with Miller Harris. It's amalgamation of dry woods in the base sets the tone and a fabulous array of spices in the heart notes livens everything up and takes you straight to a Middle Eastern market. Slightly reminiscent of incense, if you are after a smokey or very heavy woody fragrance this is the one to try.
So, that concludes my little tour of my box. There is a good chance that those descriptions were pure waffle- but with any luck I may have sparked your interest. If anything, they are definitely worth a spritz next time you are in the perfume hall. I also happen to quite like Fleurs de Sel (Salt & Leather), Tangerine Vert (Sweet Tangerine) and Le Pamplemousse (Grapefruit, Melon & Rosemary) which, unfortunately, do not appear in my box.
Have you tried any Miller Harris fragrances? Which are your favourites? What other perfumes are you loving at the moment?