I spent a couple of hours wandering around shops the other day, trying to find some excitement in the glittery Christmas parcels that the major brands are desperate to thrust upon us. I'm sorry to say that I returned home feeling rather depressed: so far, mainstream perfumery doesn't seem to have anything terribly interesting to offer during this particular festive season. It's just the same old names, wrapped in slightly different boxes. Strictly speaking, I suppose YSL's Belle D'Opium is a new addition, but seeing as it's a miserable, corpse-like non-fragrance, I think it's best we ignore it completely. Guerlain have of course brought out another Shalimar flanker - Ode De La Vanille - but in the UK, it's available only in Harrods, so it can't really count as a general release. As far as men's perfumery is concerned... well, as ever, that's an even more disheartening subject. The most visible of the new scents is probably Dolce & Gabbana's The One Gentleman: a detailed review should appear on these pages fairly soon, but for the moment, I will reveal that I won't be urging you to rush out and buy it.
This bleak situation may be partially rescued by Dior, who've decided to give birth to yet another variation of J'Adore. It calls itself L'Or and is perhaps the most classical of the range. As you'd expect, its heart still displays the familiar jasmine-rose-ylang accord, but its top surprises you with a burst of fizzy aldehydes - akin to hundreds of champagne bubbles bursting under your nose - whereas the base is composed of an almost-too-sweet, powdery vanilla. My favourite of the collection is still L'Absolu, but this new Chanel-meets-Guerlain hybrid will probably do very well indeed.
Anyway, enough of all this gloom. It's time to give away a prize! Thanks again to everyone who entered last week's draw. I am very pleased to be able to reveal that the winner of a sample of Penhaligon's Sartorial is... Liam J!
Liam: please send your postal address to persolaise at gmail dot com and I'll get your sample to you straight away.
Everyone else: please keep coming back for more draws and giveaways.