Every so often in your professional career, fate chucks you a moment, when you rub your hands together with glee and thank your lucky stars you do what you do!
That happened for me when I was asked to write a piece celebrating Molton Brown’s 50th Anniversary. A total no-brainer to write about this iconic British brand, I quietly hoped that there may be some favourite fragrances in there for me to write about as part of the celebration.
Imagine my THRILL (literally squealed!) when I was told it was Orange & Bergamot that was to feature as the limited edition anniversary collection. My absolute hands down favourite Molton Brown scent.
Perfumery is an enigmatic business, often the creatives behind some of our most loved scents are never known for their impact on our everyday memory making. So, imagine my further joy to discover a perfumer I’ve known for many years and have created with myself, was responsible for this scent without me even knowing all these decades!
I was so excited to reconnect with Beverley Bayne, someone I have previously worked with creatively, whom I respect hugely in their craft and ask for her creative insight on the brand.
Putting my questions directly to Master Perfumer Beverley Bayne and Molton Brown themselves, we have an interesting insight to a British institution. A real scoop, an exclusive for Inspired by…Elys!
So, for the purposes of transparency, if you’re coming here for anything other than a full on celebration of the brand, I fear you’ll be disappointed!
Molton Brown History and Connections
Born in the seventies (like all the best things!), Molton Brown is about as iconic a British brand as you will find. Truly a household name from every day use to seasonal luxury treats.
The brand has remained committed to Made in England as a standard for quality assurance since day one, long before it was a trend. They remain dedicated to this for the future also. Not easy to do for any beauty brand, but by running their own small scale manufacture they maintain their control over preserving their Queen’s Royal Warrant for sourcing the finest ingredients and quality of concentration.
From humble artisanal beginnings in the basement of their salon on South Molton Street, hand pouring haircare products, the core essence of the brand philosophy was established; natural, herbal formulations and captivating fragrances.
I asked the brand, what they felt was the enduring affection that people have maintained for them through the years, what is it that creates such a strong connection that has survived a market awash with copycats and me-too products?
For them, the answer is that their customers associate them with uncompromising quality, fragrance concentration and most importantly that personal, or 'human touch'.
How can a hand wash, or lotion or shower gel have the personal touch? For me, this is because the brand sits in our lives, perhaps more visibly than our skincare choices. It is a statement of our own personality, our mood, our style; it captures our desired home atmosphere, sets a tone and pace to the energy of our personal space. It is a relationship based on confidence in execution.
The brand understands that fragrance has critical nostalgia connections. As Beverley points out;
“The limbic system in the brain is the heart of memory, emotion and olfaction. This explains why odour is so emotive and enduring.”
So the likelihood is, if you grew up in a home that used Molton Brown, you will have a loyalty to the brand as you grow too, associating scents with memories of family, home and happy times.
Trends, traditions and trust
We shop fragrance differently to 50 years ago. I believe, we are more mood and attitude driven, we connect with fragrances differently and embody the spirit of the notes whether that is for strength, confidence, power, romance, comfort; perhaps even clear headedness and positivity. I like to refer to this as our ‘wardrobe’ of fragrance.
Molton Brown has a breadth of scents because they too believe that this is how customers are shopping today. Their ‘Fragrance Finder’ is an online tool that helps customers build their personal wardrobe on visual triggers.
Beverley concurs that while consumers will often have an enduring favourite, their absolute go-to feel fabulous scent, we now want scents to suit each day’s mood and how it makes us feel:
“We now buy fragrance for our own personal enjoyment, not to impress others.”
Molton Brown is not driven by trends specifically and instead believe “The true starting point of any new fragrance is the perfumer’s inspiration.”
While they consider the commercial dynamics of what works for their customers, they are more interested in creating unique scents that are distinctively Molton Brown and “...reflect the individuality of the wearer and of the creator, rather than surfing on trends.”
The fragrance house work with an eclectic set of perfumers, some of whom like Beverley have been with the brand for over 30 years. Beverley speaks with real passion for this process and says that the brand allows the Perfumer to “create a fragrance that comes from the heart, an emotional base, not a commercial head, which is why Molton Brown fragrances access a private, personal scentscape deep in our souls. The Perfumer has the creative freedom to reach out to the consumer who just loves fragrance for the sheer joy and pleasure of perfume.”
The 50th Anniversary
This historic celebration centres on the Orange & Bergamot collection. A best-seller and enduring success for the brand that has become a signature, unmistakable scent that featured in their very luxury hand wash, launched in 1984. This launch, arguably creating a whole new market and redefined a relationship with home fragrance.
Originally known as Orange Grove, it is inspired by sun-dappled Seville.
Lively, sparkling and optimistic this is a scent that has transcended generations and stays as relevant today as when it was originally created.
This is a scent that transports you to that place of sun-baked courtyards, citrus trees lining the streets and the joyful, fresh heat of Spanish city life, bustling, bright and joyful.
Original Master Perfumer Beverley Bayne expresses her original inspiration for this scent,
“I was inspired by the freshness and natural feel of citrus fruits and flowers; infusing contemporary ingredients such as blossoming neroli and soft musk for an enduringly happy essence.”
Happy it really is. It is like bathing your skin in sunshine.
The limited collection features an exclusive anniversary edition, inspired by the orange groves of Seville and concentrates on the enduring classics: Bath and Shower Gel, Body Lotion, Hand Wash, Hand Lotion.
But there is a broad range of bath & body, fragrance and home products with this signature fragrance, from decadent Eau de Parfum through to a somewhat fabulous Hand Sanitiser. I must say, that’s the most wonderful treat in a world of less than wonderful hand sanitising experience. If we have to do it as often as we do, let’s make washing our hands a delicious experience that makes us feel good!
BEAUTY INSIDER TIP
The collection is available to shop online at Elys now and I think this has Mother’s Day treat written all over it. Treat yourself or someone special to some liquid sunshine.
Spring is upon us, the world is starting to look more hopeful and I cannot think of a more fitting scent than Orange & Bergamot to embody a new hope.