My love of list-making isn’t often reflected on my blog – mainly because I rarely seem to have the time to indulge in this most boyish of activities – but Advent is a time of year when everyone gives in to geekery and publishes endless charts of favourites. Fingers crossed, I should be able to post my personal rundown of the best fragrances of 2011 before the year is out, but today, I’d like to direct my thoughts to the empty space beneath the Christmas tree and provide you with a few ideas for last-minute yuletide gifts. So without further ado…
For 'the males': Opus IV from Amouage - It may not contain as much testosterone as some other Amouage masculines, but this woody, clove-y, 'Omar Sharif dressed as Santa' take on spices is perfect for the yuletide season.
For 'the females': Esprit d'Oscar from Oscar De La Renta - A not-so-distant cousin of L'Heure Bleue, it blends florals, vanilla and a compelling savoury note with grace and elegance.
For those who don't care about the whole business of 'the males' and 'the females': Mon Parfum Cheri par Camille from Annick Goutal - Patchouli is the star player in this modern chypre. Deep, dusky and much more dangerous than you'd expect.
For those who want to pretend it's still summer: Stecca from Hilde Soliani - An unusual cologne-like twist on the green aspects of tomato. Just ignore the overly synthetic top notes.
For those who quite like the fact that it's winter: Musc Ravageur from Frederic Malle - Like the best hefty orientals, it knows when to envelop you in its animalic warmth and when to give you room to breathe.
For those who aren't afraid of nuclear sillage: Rien from Etat Libre d'Orange - The clue is in the name: the only thing this stuff doesn't contain is the kitchen sink! A mind-bending cocktail of woody, leathery notes. Spray it, and watch as people turn to find the source of the smell.
For those who aren't afraid of an overload of sugar: Candy from Prada - Silliness with brains. Daniela Andrier's irresistible take on burnt sugar and benzoin.
For a bling babe: limited edition, Swarovski-encrusted Fracas from Robert Piguet - The fragrance itself is genius - quite simply, one of the best tuberoses of all time - so if you know someone who's partial to glitter and you have £700 to spare, this could well be the perfect gift.
For 'modern vintage': Miriam from Tableau De Parfums - Roses love Andy Tauer as much as he loves them, which helps explain why this aldehydic floral is so effortlessly endearing.
For the ladies' good old days: Shalimar from Guerlain - Jacques Guerlain's quintessential oriental seems to be going through a high-quality phase at the moment, so grab yourself a bottle of the current batch and feast upon the unparalleled blend of bergamot, civet and amber.
For the gents' good old days: Knize Ten from Knize - Another early 20th century masterpiece, this perfect leather is just about as sophisticated as masculine scents get.
For a very special gesture to a very special someone, spend some time on the net and try to hunt down a bottle of vintage Diorissimo from Dior. The current version is probably the best that François Demachy can be achieve under IFRA's unforgiving recommendations on hydroxycitronellal and lyral, but it's nowhere near the heart-stopping beauty of the older incarnations. A lily of the valley par excellence, and one of very few perfumes that might actually cause you to shed a tear.
For those who are feeling lucky: keep reading...
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Linda Pilkington, founder of and perfumer at Ormonde Jayne, one of the world’s most highly-respected niche brands. I’d love to be able to write more about our encounter in the new year, but for now I’ll just say that if you ever have the opportunity to hear her tell the story of how her company was formed, be sure to take it. It’s quite an extraordinary tale, full of twists and coincidences that would have made Victorian novelists raise their eyebrows with incredulity. Fortunately for perfume-lovers, it culminated in the creation of several interesting fragrances, some of which I’d like to share with one lucky Persolaise reader. Thanks to Ms Pilkington’s generosity, I’m able to give away a gorgeously presented Ormonde Jayne Discovery Set, which features sample vials of some of the firm’s key scents, including Ormonde Woman, Ormonde Man, Tolu, Orris Noir and Zizane. To enter the draw, please read the terms and conditions below and leave a comment on this post on the subject of which perfume you’d most like to receive as a gift. And be quick: the give-away closed on Monday night.
Finally, please don’t forget that I’m being interviewed by Talk Radio Europe tomorrow morning at around 10:30 (UK time).
Have a wonderful weekend,
Give-Away Draw Terms & Conditions:
i) the draw will be open until 10 pm (UK time) on Monday 12th December November; ii) the winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog on Tuesday 13th December; iii) if the winner has not made contact with me before Thursday 15th December to claim the prize, an alternative winner may be selected; iv) readers from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter; v) by entering the draw, you indicate that you are willing to pay customs charges (if applicable) and that customs regulations in your country permit you to receive an alcohol-based perfume posted from the UK; vi) if the prize is lost in transit, it will not be possible for a replacement to be sent; vii) the address of the winner will not be kept on record, nor will it be passed on to any third parties; viii) I take no responsibility for the composition of the perfume, as regards potential allergens and/or restricted materials.