Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everything Is Personal - An Interview With Antoine Maisondieu

Anyone who's a fan of the output of Etat Libre D'Orange owes a debt of gratitude to Antoine Maisondieu: working either on his own or with Antoine Lie, he has been responsible for some of the brand's most admired creations, including Jasmin Et Cigarette, Vierges Et Toreros and Eau De Protection. Despite his niche leanings, he's more than capable of putting together unashamedly mainstream creations (Gucci Rush For Men; Burberry Brit For Men; Armani Code Ultimate) which may explain why he was selected to compose a few of the scents in Van Cleef & Arpels' Collection Extraordinaire.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Essence Of Perfume Give-Away Winner

A big Thank you to everyone who entered last week's draw for a copy of the new edition of Roja Dove's The Essence Of Perfume. I'm pleased to announce that the winner is


Congratulations! Please send your postal details to persolaise at gmail dot com so that I can forward them to Roja Parfums.

Many thanks once again to Roja Parfums for making this give-away possible.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Persolaise Review: Oeillet Bengale from Aedes De Venustas (Rodrigo Flores-Roux; 2014)

Wearing Oeillet Bengale makes it clear why the collective noun for a group of carnations is usually 'spray'. Rodrigo Flores-Roux has put together this new release from Aedes De Venustas with such delicious precision, you can picture the individual flowers - some red, some white - rising out of a vase in a fan shape, threatening to dart out of their enclosure like slender arrows. In itself, this is a commendable achievement. As is well known, current restrictions on certain raw materials make it extremely difficult to reproduce a convincing carnation note in modern perfumery. That's why the likes of Poivre, Bellodgia and even Opium no longer have the charming snappiness which once won them so many admirers. But as an employee of Givaudan, Flores-Roux has access to one of the most advanced fragrance labs in the business, a position which has enabled him to identify and use a substance that gives the heart of Oeillet Bengale its edgy identity.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Give-Away: Win Roja Dove's The Essence Of Perfume

image: Roja Dove / Black Dog Publishing

Roja Dove's much-loved coffee-table tome, The Essence Of Perfume, has just been re-printed in an extensively updated form. I haven't yet seen its reincarnated version - I'll have to wait till October for the opportunity to do so - but the folks at Roja Parfums have kindly offered an advance copy to one lucky reader of According to the press release, the new book largely follows the structure of the original, but the chapters on classic perfumes have been expanded and they now feature masculine scents (which were conspicuous by their absence in the first edition). I gather the photography has been spruced up too, and I expect greater prominence has been given to Dove's own fragrance range, which comprised only three creations when the book first emerged in 2010. I often find myself dipping into the original version, so I welcome the arrival of this new rendition very warmly. Coupled with the publication of Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay's The Perfume Bible (on which more in the weeks to come), it'll doubtless provide hours of thought-provoking scent reading.

To enter this draw, please read the terms and conditions below and leave a comment on this post on the subject of the perfumes which you are most looking forward to trying between now and the end of the year.

My thanks to Roja Parfums for making this give-away possible.

Good luck to one and all!

Terms & Conditions

i) the draw will be closed at 10 pm (UK time) on Sunday 14th September 2014; ii) the winner will be selected at random; iii) the winner will be announced on on Monday 15th September 2014; iv) if the winner has not made contact with by Saturday 20th September 2014, an alternative winner may be selected; v) the winner's addresses will be shared only with Roja Parfums, who will post the prize to the winner; vi) readers from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter; vii) by entering this competition, you indicate that you are able to receive books and printed matter in your country of residence; viii) takes no responsibility for the contents of the prize; ix) if the prize is lost in transit, it will not be possible for a replacement to be posted; x) relatives of anyone associated with are not permitted to enter.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Persolaise Review: Sotto La Luna Gardenia from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer; 2014)

Even though it was published just last week, my review of Cartier's new gardenia scent, La Panthèrewas written quite some time ago, whilst I was in the process of getting this blog ready for its summer break. But by a curious temporal twist, as I sit down to put together the first of my post-holiday reviews, I find myself faced with yet another gardenia composition, Andy Tauer's Gardenia, the first release in a new line the Zurich-based perfumer has sub-titled Sotto La Luna*.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Suddenly It's There" - An Interview With Andy Tauer (part 3)

image: Andy Tauer

In the third and final instalment of this exclusive interview, Andy Tauer talks about innovation, the blogosphere and formal perfumery training. For part 1, please click here and for part 2, click here.

Persolaise: I'm fascinated by the fact that the perfume was finished a long time ago. What's it like talking about something which, for you, was concluded and completed two years ago? Do you feel sufficiently distanced from the project to be objective about it? Or is it actually difficult to put yourself in the mind-set of the person who made that perfume?

Andy Tauer: A good question. Yes, I feels sometimes strangely disconnected when working on the launch activities for a scent that was finished years ago. I usually go back to the scent, wear it for a while to connect again. It is even more strange when years after a launch perfume lovers get in touch with me about a particular scent, asking me how I did it and why I did it the way I did it. They might have just discovered it. For me, it has become a logistics issue, but it is a thing of the past. Lucky me, I write my blog. There, you and me find a lot of information. But I guess, the same is true for an author, an actor or a painter. You move on, leaving your creation behind you and start worrying about your next venture and projects...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"We Get What We Ask For" - An Interview With Andy Tauer (part 2)

image: Andy Tauer

In today's instalment of this exclusive interview with Andy Tauer, the focus is firmly on the brand new fragrance, Sotto La Luna Gardenia. For part 1, please click here.

Persolaise: Without comparing it to any other flower in any way, how would you describe the smell of a real gardenia, being as precise as possible?

Andy Tauer: I have a gardenia plant, blooming on the balcony. I smell it more or less on a daily basis. I also have tuberose growing downstairs, and I hope for flowers. Last year the tuberose was late and I had to bring them into the house when they started blooming, together with the jasmine. White flower overkill, even for me. The blooming gardenia comes with an odd fragrance, really. I think it develops very much over the days. From a pronounced freshness to a scent that is a bit off. There are spicy components (think: methyl benzoate, linalool). Maybe it is this spiciness, combined with a woody underline that makes this flower 'unisex' (I know: calling a flower unisex does not really makes sense). There is definitely an intense creaminess (think: lactones). It is very powdery (think: salicylates). It comes with interesting side notes: there is definitely an elegant mushroom aspect (think: tiglates). But it is not the perfume of a stinky mushroom, but more the mushroom fragrance of rich, moist, forest soil. I also feel that there are notes of freshly ground coffee, of balsamic woods (this aspect of the gardenia reminds me of high quality sandalwood from Mysore). I can also sense dry wood, thinking of saw mill scents. But this is delicate.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Everything Is Fluid" - An Interview With Andy Tauer (part 1)

An odd little fact. Over the course of the last four years, I've been fortunate enough to publish interviews with several prominent industry figures here on, but amongst their august number, one name has been missing: Andy Tauer. I've reviewed pretty much everything the Zurich-based perfumer has made and I often cite him as an example of all that's best about 'niche', but I've never posted a Q&A with him.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back To It --- Tauer's Sotto La Luna Gardenia Comes To Persolaise

Try as hard as I might, I can no longer deny that the summer is over and that it's time to get back to work... in more ways than one. I hope the last few weeks have been kind to you all. I can certainly say that my batteries have been recharged and that I'm ready for the approach of winter. I may not be feeling quite so energetic in a few weeks' time, but never mind. Whenever stress threatens to take over, I'll gaze at the picture above - taken at the café in Guerlain's flagship Paris store - and I'll wait for a sense of contentment to wash over me. Failing that, I'll down a mug of hot chocolate! gets right back into top gear tomorrow with the first instalment of an exclusive, three-part interview with Andy Tauer, in which the perfumer discusses the industry, the niche scene and, most importantly, his brand new release, Sotto La Luna Gardenia. Don't miss it!

A happy September to you all,


Friday, August 29, 2014

Persolaise Review: La Panthère from Cartier (Mathilde Laurent; 2014)

Mathilde Laurent's La Panthère for Cartier is a curious beast. Several commentators have been coaxed into blissful submission by what they've discerned as a warm, seductive purr emanating from the scent. But others have been less enthralled, claiming that - in sonic terms - the fragrance is a midnight howl from a stray tabby determined to give the neighbourhood no rest whatsoever. My own experience with the perfume bears out this division in opinions, which leads me to conclude - over and above the following review - that it must, at the very least, be an interesting piece of work. Any scent capable of polarising views to the extent that has been achieved by La Panthère is surely worth serious attention.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Persolaise Review: Journey Woman and Journey Man from Amouage (Alberto Morillas and Pierre Negrin, 2014)

In the non-perfume-related aspects of my professional life, I'm frequently reminded of a wise proverb: punish the sin, not the sinner. Journey Woman and Journey Man (both by Alberto Morillas and Pierre Negrin) have prompted me to apply that broad-minded philosophy to my scent writing, because although I can't say I've enjoyed getting to know them, they have, almost paradoxically, reinforced my belief that Amouage remains one of the most interesting non-mainstream brands around at the moment.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Persolaise Review: Rozy from Vero Profumo (Vero Kern; 2014)

Here's how you can tell that Vero Kern really loves perfume: the drydowns of all her creations - the epilogues of their existence - are always gorgeous. Like most die-hard scentusiasts - and, interestingly enough, like another grand-dame of the fragrance world, Patricia De Nicolaï - she understands that although the opening sections of a scent are important, it's the denouement, the pay-off, that really matters. This attention to the foundations of her olfactory work is in evidence once again in Rozy, the follow-up to 2012's much-loved green chypre, Mito.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Persolaise Review: 11 Semma from Odin (Phillippe Romano; 2014)

Serge Lutens' L'Orpheline recently impressed me with the endearing way it linked distinctiveness and quietness. And now, a very similar vibe appears in Phillippe Romano's 11 from Odin, the newest addition to the New York-based brand's growing - and increasingly well-regarded - portfolio. I gather 'semma' - the non-numerical segment of this creation's name - means 'tobacco' in a Native American language, and, appropriately enough, the sweet, smoky, hay-like earthiness of that little-used material is the primary focus here. It's given a faintly powdery, retro feel - which is where the link with the Lutens comes in - thanks to the inclusion of violets and myrrh. But there are plenty of spices too - mainly pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves - as well as a tea facet which stops the whole from descending into Oriental cliches. Both fresh and serious, it calls to mind a politically correct, 'western', liberal view of The Other, be that a member of the 'east' or of the indigenous population of the USA: it's fascinated with 'exotic' materials, but it exercises respect in its treatment of them, preferring to use them with a light touch. If it were a head shop, 11 would be the one that doesn't look like any other head shop, choosing gleaming, sci-fi-inspired interior decor rather than the usual woods and velvets. But don't worry: facade notwithstanding, its soul is rooted to the earth.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Odin in 2014.]


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Clearer Vision - Guerlain's Thierry Wasser At Selfridges

A few weeks ago, Guerlain's in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser, breezed into London. The main purpose of his visit was to begin the process of promoting the brand's latest masculine creation, L'Homme Idéal, a classically-structured piece of work, based around bitter almond, which won't appear on UK shelves until September (although it's already out in France and several other countries). But in between chatting with journalists, Wasser took some time out to address an audience at London's branch of Selfridges and to answer questions from Jo Fairley, who chaired the event in her capacity as co-founder of the new Perfume Society.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Persolaise Review: Jour D'Hermès Absolu from Hermès (Jean-Claude Ellena; 2014)

I still haven't made up my mind about the original, 2012 edp of Jour D'Hermès. Those of you who saw my post on it may remember that several readers who'd tried it found it bloodless and were perplexed by its green, near-vegetal note, which they variously read as lychee, shoe polish or overpowering tomato stem. Personally, I was left unsatisfied by its lack of precise legibility: its attempt to be an abstraction of all florals, as opposed to a bouquet of recognisable flower notes, seemed to create a vacuum at the heart of the composition. That said, I couldn't write it off completely. There was an elusive, intriguing quality somewhere around its edges which drew me back every now and then, curious to solve the mystery. Now, with the release of the new Absolu version, Jean-Claude Ellena offers what is essentially the same story, but by presenting it from a slightly different angle, he's made it more comprehensible and easier to enjoy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Caron's Pour Un Homme Celebrates 80th Birthday

One of the most beloved perfumes ever made, Ernest Daltroff's Pour Un Homme De Caron, turns 80 this year. To celebrate the occasion - and to pay homage to what is a personal favourite - I've decided to reproduce my review of the scent from my book, Le Snob: Perfume.
The very first perfume aimed specifically at men, 1934's Pour Un Homme, remains hard to beat. Despite being advertised by hirsute rugby players, it is that most peaceable of scents: a sweet lavender. There's more to it, of course (pepper and rosemary offer a hint of intrigue; vanilla suggests an oriental leaning; civet adds a measure of testosterone), but essentially, it is an unfussy affair for times when you want to smell interesting, but uncomplicated. Long may it stay with us.
To which all I would add is this: if you've never smelt it... you're in for a treat! Seek it out now.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Persolaise's Favourite Rose Perfumes In The Scented Letter

I'm very pleased to announce that the second issue of The Scented Letter - the e-magazine of the newly-founded Perfume Society - features a piece by me in which I delve into that most swoon-inducing of topics: my favourite rose perfumes. The magazine is available only to the Society's subscribers, so it would be unfair for me to reveal much about my article here. However, I will say that it was pretty tough to write, mainly because I had to limit my fragrance choices to no more than seven! You'll have to read the piece to discover which scents made it through to the final list. But as the selection was so difficult, I thought I'd use this post as a platform from which to give a shout-out to the wonderful creations which I had to reject. These ended up on the virtual cutting room floor either because they didn't quite fit the angle of the article or because I thought I ought not include more than one perfume per brand. In no particular order, they were:

No 18 from Chanel
Mohur from Neela Vermeire Créations
La Fille De Berlin from Serge Lutens
Rose Barbare from Guerlain
Lipstick Rose and Une Rose from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle
2 from Comme Des Garçons
Rose Ikebana from Hermès
Oud Ispahan from Christian Dior
Paris from Yves Saint Laurent
Imogen Rose from Gorilla Perfume
and Rose Absolue from Annick Goutal

So, from that list above, can you guess which rose scents I did feature in the article?

To read the latest issue of The Scented Letter, you'll have to subscribe to the Perfume Society; click on this link for more info.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Persolaise Review: Otis & Me, How You Love, Neon Graffiti and Led IV from Jazmin Saraï (Dana El Masri, 2014)

Today, in the world of book publishing, agents and editors often bemoan the fact that they no longer have the time to nurture their writers' talents: there is tremendous pressure on new authors to be a success from the moment their first title is released. If that doesn't happen, they find themselves gently pushed to the sidelines. The situation isn't entirely different in the perfume industry, which is why I don't envy anyone the task of launching a new perfume brand right now. It may be a cliche to say that the fragrance market is over-saturated, but it also happens to be true. According to Michael Edwards - the nearest we have to an official archivist - more than 1400 new scents were launched in 2013, which means not only that it's difficult for customers to keep track of what's out there, but it's equally tough for brands to attract the attention of potential buyers. One of the consequences of operating in this crowded environment is that a new perfume house has to score a palpable hit with its debut release. It has to make an impact from the word go, otherwise it runs the risk of being written off completely as a non-starter.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...