It was in 2016 that I discovered Memo fragrances. Victoria Hoff, head of content at Medly and former managing editor at Byrdie, wrote about tuberose trending as a perfume ingredient, and nestled among her expert edit was the most enchanting bottle of perfume I'd ever seen.
It was Marfa by Memo, a scent inspired by the small desert city of Marfa in Texas, which is as remote as it is cool. A floral, woody, musk scent, Marfa by Memo was created in 2016 and has notes of orange blossom, mandarin orange, tuberose, vanilla and sandalwood. Marfa, TX is known for its near mythical status in certain circles—there's star gazing, art installations, and a dreamy desert landscape—and the perfume captures that magical essence.
Founded: Clara and John Molloy in 2007
Based In: Paris, France
Best Known For: Luxury fragrances, home scents, and body products
Most Popular Product: Irish Leather perfume, Marfa perfume, Lalibela perfume
Fun Fact: Clara and John's passion for adventure and travel inspired their niche yet incredibly popular fragrance house.
Other Brands You’ll Love: Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Le Labo, Maison Crivelli
You see, Memo Fragrances, a Parisian perfume brand, is called Memo because each scent is a snapshot of a place, a memory, like a postcard from the founders' travels. Scent and memory are processed so closely in the brain that it makes total sense to base a perfume brand on memories, and the unforgettable moments created traveling to new places. According to the brand's Instagram page, Memo Fragrances is "giving the fragrance a direct link with that state of reminiscence and sensitivity specific to travel and discovery. The expression “The journey is the destination” captures the spirit well."
The expression “The journey is the destination” captures the spirit well.
Memo perfumes don't just inspire thoughts of far-off locales from Marfa to Luxor; the bottles are keepsakes in themselves, as each is adorned with an illustration that perfectly sums up the aroma inside. Such is the charm of Memo Paris, created in 2007 by married couple Clara and John Molloy, that it has cemented itself as the number one fragrance brand in Harvey Nichols.
Memo Paris has been stocked in Harvey Nichols for a decade, and yet you may have never heard of this independently run perfume house. While Memo may be one of the top-selling brands in the perfume hall, heritage brand Creed and niche brand This Company (creators of cult classic Escentric Molecules Molecule 01) aren't far behind.
I'm a firm believer that a perfume should help to tell your story, so finding a signature scent should be a journey in itself. To help you get started, keep scrolling to find out which fragrances from the range Harvey Nichols shoppers can't get enough of.
If you want to try Memo, where should you start? While Marfa is the perfume that caught my eye with its striking bottle, one of the top-selling Memo fragrances is Irish Leather ($300/75ml) from the brand's leather collection. Not for the faint-hearted, it's an intoxicating blend of pink pepper, oil of clary sage, juniper berry, green maté absolute, oil of flouve, iris concrete, Tonka bean absolute, leather accord, oil of birch, and amber accord. A green, leathery aroma, it's perfect for a crisp autumn day, and, as with all the Memo fragrances, it's unisex.
Another best-selling scent from the line-up is Lalibela ($300/75ml), named after the Christian city in Ethiopia, a place of pilgrimage and celebration. With coconut orchid, rose, jasmine, patchouli, vanilla, tobacco absolute, and frankincense, this alluring fragrance conjures the mood of a place that legend has it, was visited by angels to build its 12 churches in the dead of night during the 12th century.
Sintra ($300/75ml) is the latest release from Memo Paris. The name comes from the charming town of Sintra, Portugal, home to whimsical mountains and castles. The Molloy duo took inspiration from the seaside town, deciding to create an alluring new scent. Sintra smells exactly what you'd think a coastal Portuguese city would smell like—bright, airy citruses like orange blossom and neroli, mixed with warm Madagascar vanilla, marshmallow, and caramel. It's bright and fun, perfect for a warm summer day. Plus, the bottle takes inspiration from the beautiful tiles that Portugal is known for.