The poet, the perfumer and the past – creating Breath Of Hope

When fragrance writer and poet, Vicci Bentley, approached perfumer, Angela Flanders, with Breath Of Hope, a sensorial journey began. 

The poem, inspired by the surprising joy of spotting spring’s first snowdrops, had an emotional resonance for Bentley, who fondly remembers making an annual pilgrimage with her late mother to spot the blooms in a Leicestershire churchyard.

Inspired by Bentley’s verse and it’s evocative rendering of a perfumer’s craft in such a churchyard scene, Flanders created a fresh, uplifting harmony of lily of the valley and galbanum with calming notes of myrhh and earthy oakmoss. 

The resulting fragrance, Breath Of Hope, £95 is available as a limited edition boxed set, each sold with a personal copy of the poem. 

Breath of Hope

Pale rays barely melt hoary hedgerows, yet

this green-craving month has a new light. Here

in the churchyard, mothered by shushing yews,

February’s flowers. Amongst silent stones

flocked with lichen and lifelines, their brightness

transcends leafmould. Still, a perfumer must

kneel close to catch this fleeting formula.

There should be urgent, sappy galbanum

she notes. Myrrh’s cool stealth. Sweet, carnal lily

(youth’s shameless imperative) and the smooth,

final cradle of dark, resinous woods…

A keen, north-born gust leafs her pocket book;

reminder of ice, this not-yet-spring day.

She stiffens, craves a more forgiving drift

…a breath of hope? A swathe of white heads nod.

Vicci Bentley

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