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‘I tried Ffern’s Autumn Fragrance, and it’s forever changed my relationship with perfume’

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Have you ever noticed how entwined the concept of perfume and fragrance is, with emotion and memory? How we seem to ascribe meaning to particular scents, that is far greater than the sum of smelling nice, or feeling more confident. There's also that curious phenomenon, as to how our taste in scent seems to change and evolve with advancing age.

As I sat down to write this article, mulling how best to make 'sense of scent' in a health and lifestyle context, I thought about all of the perfumes I’ve known (and maybe loved, loosely speaking) over the years!

For starters, there was CK1 - the frosted-bottled classic which provided my first foray into fragrance, in the late 1990s.

Every now and then when I pass the Boots fragrance counter, I’ll nostalgically request a spritz on a test strip, just so I can indulge for a bitter-sweet second, in those zesty aromas of simpler times... and teenage angst!

Second on the list, there was Tommy Girl, the top notes of which are enough to make your teeth hurt, but still, it takes me right back to those halcyon days of Archers, lemonade, lip gloss and sticky floors.

Third, it had to be ‘So…’ body spray, the distinctive 'tshhhhhtttt' sound of which has left almost as much of a mark, as the sweet smell of irony that came from trying to be 'unique', by smelling the same as everyone else.

As the list develops, I notice it's not just my own scent preferences which have become lodged in my olefactory memory, but also those of close family members.

There was Brut (for my Dad,) and 4711 (for my Nan)… neither of which I can smell without thinking of them.

This is, by all accounts, just a snapshot of my fragrance brainstorming exercise, but it's evidence enough of the complexity that might potentially bequeath, this seemingly superficial topic.

As I’ve got older, I’ve found the appeal of what I would call ‘commercial perfumes’, gradually beginning to wane. I view the adverts (with their subliminal you-too-can-be-as-sexy-as-this-model messaging) with new-found scepticism.

In all honesty, I don’t think I want to smell as if freshly-emerged, scantily clad, from a pool of gold, whilst surrounded by scores of suggestively reclining females! Thanks though, Dior!

What I do want, by contrast, is a fragrance with depth. Complexity. A back-story. One that makes me think. Which doesn’t make me into a walking, wafting advert for modern day materialism, but instead intellectualises the art of fragrance-wearing.

Ffern, for me, ticked all these boxes.

The brand holds a mirror to the anti-trend movement that I have just lately found myself gravitating towards. It also leads by seasonality, and the idea that our fragrance style is not an absolute, but rather should operate on a sliding scale of time-of-year dependent personality / lifestyle variables.

This idea offers an explanation as to why, come autumn, I automatically stop reaching for all those floral and fruity scents. It’s not that I go off them, per se, but rather that the notes suddenly seem so out of key.

After Ffern’s autumn scent arrived, my first impression was, admittedly, one of ambivalence.

The top notes were a stark contrast to what I might have choosen instinctively. Woody. Smokey. A little masculine, you could say. After a few days of persisting with the sample bottle, however, the ambivalence began to shift… into intrigue.

When you catch yourself sniffing your own wrist at regular intervals throughout the day, it says a lot. What was less obvious, however, was whether my growing affection for Ffern’s autumn fragrance was superficial (because actually, I kind of liked the smorgasbord of embers and undergrowth) OR, if it was more rooted in psychology.

For context, my Dad once had a 'Christmas book', preserved within the pages of which, was the distinctive aroma of log-fires. Sub-consciously, I wonder if this fragrance has piggy-backed on this memory, to fast-track its way into my affections.

If so, then my blossoming relationship with Ffern is perhaps owed as much to serendipity, as it is to a lifelong weakness for bottles-that-look-lovely-on-my-dressing-table.

About Ffern Autumn

Organic eau de parfum twice aged and bottled in Somerset, England. 32ml.

Autumn 23 has fig and iris at its heart — with notes of dark fruit, rich hay, and a drift of smoke, this is a fragrance for the harvest festival.

For more information visit Ffern

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