Leighton Denny Light & Dark


Perfume and cocktails are two of my favourite things in life, so when I saw that Leighton Denny combined the two with their latest launch, I knew it was a concept I wanted to get behind. I was familiar with the brand as they make some of the best quality nail polishes I've tried but I had no idea there was a whole empire behind Leighton Denny. In fact, LD Boutique plays home to everything from lipstick to nail polish to, of course, perfume.

Leighton's range of Eau de Parfums is titled Light & Dark, of course playing on his initials. Leighton created his line of fragrances due to popular demand, his customers simply asked why he hadn't made a perfume yet, and their request was fulfilled with Light & Dark Original. The range has since expanded to four scents, all on different ends of the spectrum, for both men and women. Think of it as a capsule collection, to mix, match and layer for different moods and occasions, which is where the idea of Fragrance Cocktailing comes in, being able to create your own signature combination.


Leighton Denny Light & Dark Original


The Light & Dark range all started with Light & Dark Original EDP* (£43.50), a scent quite clearly inspired by Leighton's love of Chanel. The scent opens with a fruity, yet sophisticated combination of mandarin, grapefruit and peach, tempered by the addition of white pepper. From the outset, the scent reminded me of those classic bold fragrances like No.5, being very elegant and sophisticated, something that would better suit someone a little older than my 24 years.

There is a hint of sweetness peeking through, with the peach from the top notes meeting a heart of romantic florals; gardenia, jasmine, lily and rose. The basenotes appear early, with hints of pepper and incense grounding the fragrance. Once the scent settles, it becomes a warm, sensual floral. It isn't too dissimilar to the likes of Armani Si and Lancome La Vie Est Belle, both scents that I dislike, but I'm pleased that I can happily wear Light & Dark Original. I think it is the addition of pepper and incense that stops it from being too sickly and stepping into gourmand territories.


Leighton Denny Light & Dark Lively


The next scent is Light & Dark Lively EDP*, and this one is in the form of a 5ml purse spray. These are available in each of the scents for £9.50, or as the whole Discovery Selection Pack for £28.50, but if you order a 70ml fragrance right now, you will receive the three other purse sprays for free! Lively is a unisex fragrance that leans more on the masculine side. It has fresh, citrussy top notes of bergamot, lemon and grapefruit, with a heart of white florals and smooth spices, including nutmeg, ginger, pepper and cardamom. The base is a confident blend of sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, amber and musk.

Lively reminds me a little of the CK One Summer scents, and whilst it is lovely and fresh on the nose, I was a little disappointed that the spicy notes didn't come through as much as I would have liked. As a female, I would struggle to wear and combine this with any of the other scents although I will try it with Desire. I think the mossy notes will be an interesting combination with the nutmeg, ginger and cardamom.


Leighton Denny Light & Dark Desire


Light & Dark Desire EDP* is a scent that I didn't expect from the range, the resident chypre in the collection (chypre commonly refers to scents with mossy notes). The opening is as you would expect from a chypre, citrussy and fresh from grapefruit, lemon and bergamot. Neroli, in the heart, blends well with these citrus notes, before taking a twist into the unknown with notes of moss, pepper and nutmeg. Desire, like Lively, is also a unisex scent (although it is more gender-neutral), explaining the deep woody base of vetiver, patchouli and cedar.

I've only ever tried one chypre in my time and that was Miller Harris' Fleur de Sel. I wasn't the hugest fan of it, so I was surprised I liked this so much! This once definitely has the air of a niche perfume about it, it is such a well blended scent, and there's no wonder why it was voted the Readers’ Choice by Elle Magazine in the Fragrance Foundation Awards! Although it is unisex, I can happily wear it, and I would love to try it combined with the Iso-E-Super of Molecule 01, or to give the fresh, green fig notes of Diptyque Philosykos a little more depth. Like these two scents, it has that sexy, autumnal feel to it, and it has filled a real hole in my perfume collection!


Leighton Denny Light & Dark Delightful


Light & Dark Delightful* is the newest of the four fragrances, the fruity one of the family, and was my favourite from the word "go". The perfume centres around sweet, juicy red fruits, with a bouquet of romantic florals at the heart; mirablis jasmine, pink violet and lotus flower. The base is musk, creamy vanilla and delicious coconut sorbet, and anything with coconut in gets my vote.

The red fruits (Ah Ping, Blood Orange, Watermelon, Red Apple) really do smell true to life, fresh and juicy, and you could imagine the water droplets trickling from one as bring one to your mouth, being careful not to get the brightly coloured juice on your white summer dress. The florals balance the scent, with the violet adding depth and the lotus, dialling up the freshness. The base is light and fresh, stopping the fragrance from being cloying. The coconut comes through just enough to give it that tropical, summery vibe without leaving you smelling of sun cream.

This is an incredibly fun and playful scent, and is sweet without relying on heavy gourmand vanilla and toffees. It fits into the same boat as Marc Jacobs Oh, Lola!, one of my favourites for summer, and it has that same whimsical touch. I'm slightly sad I didn't get this earlier on in the year so I could enjoy it over the summer months, but it has gone straight into my handbag as it is such a refreshing, uplifting scent to spritz on-the-go. At this rate, I'm sure I'll be investing in a full size very soon (or at least before the start of next summer!).


Leighton Denny Light & Dark


My favourite out of the collection 100% has to be Delightful, closely followed by Desire, and I'm so happy to have found two fragrances that will be going straight into my every day perfume rotation. Where the Fragrance Cocktailling part is concerned, I can't say its something I've played around with all too much. I think Original and Delightful could work, adding a touch of freshness to Original, and Desire may add a bit of a woody element to the fragrance, although I can't be sure that the mossy notes would work with the scent which already has so much going on. It's something that I will be playing around with over the next couple of weeks.

I'm really impressed with Leighton Denny's fragrances, especially for a brand whose forte is elsewhere. They have really proven that they're not just nails, and that they can create credible scents that smell like they could have a hefty price tag attached, especially in the case of Desire, which truly is a beautiful, refined composition. I look forward to seeing what the brand does next!


Which Leighton Denny scent do you most like the sound of?
Don't forget to check out my Eau de Parfum advertiser, Kenziee Styles
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*Post contains PR samples kindly provided by Leighton Denny to facilitate this blog post.