Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Melon Feta... And Other Cultural Matters


If you've come here hoping to find out who my next guest blogger is, I'm sorry to say that, this week, you're going to have to put up with me. As the Invasion Of The Day Job is going through a momentary lull, I thought I'd put together a brief post about an issue that's been on my mind for quite some time.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lily Of The Valley Winner + IFRA Interview + Silly Searches


I hope your weekend's treating you well so far. As I type these words, the trees outside my window are being manhandled by the wind and the clouds are threatening a showstopper of a downpour. It reminds me of our summer in Mumbai, but there, the trees were full of bats. Sparrows and pigeons can't compete with that. The BBC's weather-man is telling us that we mustn't really expect any sunshine for this Bank Holiday weekend, because we were spoilt by the last two... which is just about as perfect a summation of the English attitude to life as you'll ever find.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: Week-end À Deauville from Nicolaï (2011)


Generally speaking, there are two types of perfume labelled with the word 'leather': those which take their inspiration from the stench of a tannery and those which aim to evoke the smell of the tannery's end products. I am, of course, simplifying the matter and ignoring the many leather fragrances which exist between the ends of the spectrum, but in broad terms, those are the main categories. What's interesting is that the former appear to have retained an air of timelessness, but the latter seem to have veered into realms that are dangerously - and unfairly - dismissed with the phrase 'old ladies'. Think of the smell of belts, purses and wallets that have absorbed the scents of their owners and of the items (lipstick, cotton, coins, denim, banknotes...) with which they've been in contact. For some reason, this is an odour which Western sensibilities have come to associate with the past. Try Estée Lauder's Azurée and you'll see what I mean: you'll probably appreciate the way it's put together, but you may struggle to wear it without thinking you've stepped inside a time warp and emerged on the set of a Douglas Sirk movie.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Brief Pause + Link To Basenotes Dior Article

François Demachy; photo by Dior
A brief, utilitarian post today. I just thought I'd come up for air to let you know that the Invasion Of The Day Job is being battled as well as can be expected. I've got plenty of perfume samples to keep me company, many of which will become the subjects of future reviews.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sample Give-Away + Review Showcase: Angela Flanders


96 Columbia Road must surely be London's best kept fragrance secret. A cosy shop decorated with Venetian masks, Rajasthani puppets and antique European furniture, it's one of only two places in the world - the other being a mile away - that sells the work of Angela Flanders, a self-taught perfumer who's been bottling her fragrant creations for over 20 years.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guest Post: Burning Desire - Candles From Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle by Olfactoria


Who doesn’t love Frederic Malle’s perfumes? Anyone?

Well, I certainly do, so when he introduced a home scent line in 2009, I paid attention. But somehow, I never got around to smelling any of the candles in the range. I was kept away by the price as much as anything else, because I knew I would just not want to invest that much in a candle.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Reviews: Lumiere, Cepes & Tuberose, Honey Blossom & Parfum De Maroc from Aftelier + Thoughts On Natural Perfumes


I wonder if I would've detected an unfamiliar quality in Mandy Aftel's perfumes if I'd first smelt them without knowing that they contain no synthetics. I'd like to think that the answer to that is Yes, but of course, the question's academic, because when I did finally get a chance to try some, I was fully conscious of her status as one of the most highly-respected all-natural perfumers in the western world. Consequently, I couldn't quite switch off my nose's 'What's different here?' radar and just concentrate on 'What's here?' Mind you, that's not a huge problem, because I daresay that one of the many pleasures of wearing Aftelier scents is precisely this business of trying to work out whether they're speaking a slightly unusual language.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Post: How To Smell Natural Perfume by Mandy Aftel


Learning how to smell a natural perfume is like learning to speak another language: the common vocabulary will not suffice. Words don’t cover the same territory and in fact, the terrain is different. So let me take you by the hand through this narcotic, complex, earthy, dense, sometimes luscious syntax.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Guests On Persolaise + IFRA Interview + Review: Carillon Pour Un Ange from Tauer Perfumes (2010)


Okay, the countdown's over: the Invasion Of The Day Job has well and truly begun. For the next 8 to 10 weeks, free time is going to be almost non-existent, which means bloging will have to be kept to a minimum. Having said that, you shouldn't detect too many disruptions to Persolaise.com's regular service, because I'm very excited to announce that I've lined up a series of guest posts (and at least one interview) from some of my favourite people in the perfume world. The first of these will be published on Tuesday 10th May and it'll be written by a well-known perfumer who is currently up for a major award.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Perfume? What Perfume? I Just Came For The Party + Opus V Winner


What's the ideal setting for trying a new perfume? How about this: a darkened room; loud music thumping in the background; twenty or so people engaged in animated conversations; plates of pungent food being carried back and forth; the air filled with the odour of scented candles...?

No? Didn't think so. And yet this seems to be in the way in which so many companies choose to send their fragrant creations into the world.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reviews: Cologne Du Parfumeur from Guerlain (2010), Un Jardin Sur Le Toit from Hermès (2011) & Aqua Universalis Forte from Maison Francis Kurkdjian (2011)


I may be a fan of Absolue Pour Le Soir, but Maison Francis Kurkdjian's other releases never tempt me to reach for my credit card, so I was wary of trying this new, stronger version of Aqua Universalis, to which FK has attached the suffix 'Forte' (I presume 'Intense' and 'Extreme' are now passé). The original's clean citrus accord is so safe as to be almost insipid - probably because it falls into the trap of equating 'universal' with 'lowest common denominator' - but I'm pleased to say that the latest addition to the range is a far more interesting proposition. Inspired to create it whilst testing a batch of bergamot from a prospective supplier, Kurkdjian has bolstered the hesperidic notes, fleshed out the hay-and-tobacco base and livened up the contrasting sprinkle of sweetness. The result is effervescent and amiable, and whilst this isn't a gourmand scent, wearing it does at times feel like enjoying a slice of chilled lime cheesecake on a bright summer's day.

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