The Perfumers Guild, John Bailey Fragrance Profiles
November 1, 2011

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By Veronica Kavanagh

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US residents; Alcohol free Rich Perfume Oil - 10ml Rollerball Queen of Sheba
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Co-Founder, creator and artist of A Dozen Roses, Sandy Cataldo, signing bottles
In my last submission for The Perfume Magazine I interviewed John Bailey and was lucky enough to get a glimpse into his fragrant world. However, no interview with John would be complete without mentioning some of his perfumes.  I was lucky enough to sample several of his perfumes, including his 2011 release, Perfumer’s Rose; Anniversary, which inspired by the 25th anniversary of Michael Edwards’ Fragrances of the World; and Queen of Sheba, which was inspired by Nigel St. John Groom’s book, “Sheba Revealed”.  John has also been kind enough to send me samples of two fragrances he is releasing for the thirtieth anniversary of The Perfumers Guild, Espirit de Guild and Memories de Guild.

John’s rose perfumes are legendary and Perfumer’s Rose is exquisite.  Perfumer’s Rose opens with sheer notes of peony and freesia. It moves gradually into a deep, rich rose that reminds me of a highly scented old rose drowsing in the heat of a late summer afternoon, scenting the air with what I always think of as “rose incense.” Wearing Perfumer’s Rose, I can almost imagine myself walking around an English rose garden: fat bumblebees rolling around in sunlit pollen, dogs lolling in the shade and afternoon tea waiting for me in the gazebo.  Elegant, timeless and utterly feminine, if you love rose scents, this is one of the best.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, if a perfume has lily of the valley as a note I have to try it, although I am often disappointed. I wore Anniversary non-stop for several days and was in heaven. Green and spiky citrus in its top notes, the perfume gradually moves into a lovely combination of rose and lily of the valley, deepened by base notes of vetiver, musk and amber. As fragrant and bursting with joy as a spring day in the countryside, Anniversary seems to me to be the epitome of English niche perfumery. Anniversary is light enough to wear at anytime, yet it also has substance and quality. It stays close to your body and the lasting power is excellent; traces linger on the skin the day after you put it on, a delicate reminder of spring’s magic.

At the other end of the olfactive spectrum is Queen of Sheba, one of the first Oudh perfumes made by a Western niche perfumer. I like oudh but it doesn’t always like me. It’s often too heavy and musty for me to wear easily, and I haven’t found many perfumes I could contemplate adding to my perfume collection. Somehow, Queen of Sheba manages to combine frankincense, myrrh, oudh, rose and jasmine in a way that somehow feels sheer without losing that sweet woody incense smell that that makes oudh so distinctive.

John Bailey tells me that many of the ouds on the market are too much like what’s been created in the Middle East, without paying enough attention to the Western consumer. John has spent many years in the near and far east and made a long study of oudh before creating Queen of Sheba, so he knows whereof he speaks. I wore it happily and often found myself bringing my hand to my nose in the middle of the street just to get another sniff. I probably looked like a lunatic, but I smelled so good I didn’t care. If you love oudh, Queen of Sheba is a “must have” perfume, so subtle and enticing that Bilquis herself would be enchanted.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of The Perfumers Guild, John is releasing two new scents in 2011. Inspired by “something old and something new” Espirit de Guild, launched earlier this year, is a modern masculine fragrance with a woody fruity scent. Effervescent and full of citrus in its opening, Espirit de Guild has a spicy warm base that I think will appeal to both men and women. Easy to wear without being insubstantial, I can easily see wearing it myself on a crisp fall day. I love the way it clings close to the skin; it’s the sort of fragrance you want to lean into to get a closer sniff, which I find very sexy in a men’s scent. Notes include orange, grapefruit, cinnamon and geranium, with base notes of patchouli, vetiver, cedar and musk.

Images courtesy of The Perfumers Guild
Image of Betty Blythe “The Queen of Sheba” 1921 supplied by editor
Memories de Guild will be released on November 5, 2011 and is a classic oriental for women, but with a lighter, airy touch. Listed notes include citrus, bergamot, lemon, rose, ylang ylang , jasmine and gardenia, with base notes of vanilla, amber and patchouli. I love the classic orientals such as Opium and Mitsouko but they can feel heavy and not very modern. Memories de Guild is ultra feminine, with the sensuous feel that I associate with orientals but without the occasionally overpowering feel of these perfumes. Instead, Memories de Guild seduces you with its warm glamour and elegance. Worn with restraint, Memories de Guild can go from the office to a dinner party, smelling fabulous every step of the way.

Also for The Perfumers Guild thirtieth anniversary, John Bailey is making the following scents will be available in his Rich Concentrated Perfume Oil formulation, which will make it much easier for his American “Treasured Friends” to buy his fragrances:

Royal Bouquet
Scent of Romance
Twenty One
Queen of Sheba

One final thing to mention about John’s perfumes is that they have excellent staying power. Often when I say a little goes a long way, I mean spray with caution because too much will overpower you, even with a perfume I admire. John’s perfumes simply last a long time without having to spray a lot because they are so beautifully made with quality ingredients, the knowledge of years of experience and study and, above all, passion for the art of perfumery.

If you’re interested in exploring the fragrant world of John Bailey, you can find out more about his perfumes, and also purchase them, at The Perfumers Guild and though his “Scent Direct” mail order in the UK.

Queen of Sheba GIVEAWAY:
US residents; Alcohol free Rich Perfume Oil - 10ml Rollerball Queen of Sheba
UK Only Giveaway - 30ml Eau de Parfum - Queen of Sheba
Go to The Perfume Magazine Forum and register to win any of these items

Veronica Kavanagh