Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Perfumes Of 2012


What a year it's been. Madonna and Gaga clashed in a celebrity scent battle. A little black dress went viral on YouTube. Brad Pitt spouted nonsense about journeys in an attempt to sell No 5. The luxury goods market continued to grow. And the future of perfumery became gloomier than ever, as EU law-makers turned their attention to the controversial subject of allergens. Oh, and a slim tome entitled Le Snob: Perfume was let loose into the world...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Wishes 2012


Well, the weather may be misery itself at the moment - spare a thought for the poor souls who've had to be evacuated from their flooded homes - but Maison Persolaise is a hive of jolly activity. With the able assistance of two of our nieces, Madame Persolaise and I are in the process of preparing a feast of decadent proportions... a feast which will hopefully form a suitable prelude to a consumerist orgy of gift-unwrapping. Although it's all-systems-go in the kitchen right now, I've allowed myself to nip into my study for a few moments to wish you and yours the very best for Christmas. May you all find a few moments of peace, joy and relaxation, either on your own, or with your loved ones. Enjoy the feasting!

Persolaise.

PS Please don't forget to come back on Friday for my list of the best perfumes of 2012!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Playing Catch-Up: Autumn/Winter 2012 (part 2) - from Balmain to Liz Earle


As promised last week, here's the second phase of my move to tick a few names off my 'Should Review' list.

Apart from oud, if there was one trend that continued to grip the mainstream in 2012, it was fruity shampoo accords (the sort which can trace their lineage to Sophia Grojsman's Calyx). I tend not to have much time for such creations - largely because they're the very definition of cheap and nasty - but I also believe that just about any idea can be made worthwhile through skilful execution. Cue: the 2012 version of Balmain's Ivoire. When you've got someone like Michel Almairac at the helm (in collaboration with Jacques Flori) chances are that the final result will at least be wearable, and sure enough, this stylish composition doesn't disappoint on that front. Its secret weapon is restraint (employed equally well by Almairac in his Bottega Veneta creation). So yes, it is fruity, clean, soapy, shampoo-y and musky in ways you've smelt before, but it manages to come across as affluent rather than effluent... sorry, I meant 'bog-standard'. If you're after a comparison with the 1979 original, I'm afraid I can't help you, but I'd love to hear from anyone who's done a side-by-side test.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winding Down... And Wondering How Much Cash Santa Has In His Sack


It's time to prepare Persolaise.com for its winter slumber. Friday will see the publication of the second instalment of my 'catch-up' reviews, and on the 28th I'll reveal my list of the best scents of 2012. But apart from those two posts, things are going to be fairly quiet here as I'll be turning my attention to family, turkeys and marzipan... not necessarily in that order. Having said that, I probably won't be able to resist popping back on the 24th to wish you all the very best for the festive season, so let's not say goodbye to each other just yet.

Monday, December 17, 2012

No More Scented Goodies From The Skies - Perfume Banned On Air Mail


Those of you who follow Andy Tauer's blog will be aware that on the 7th he wrote about worrying developments in the postal industry. In short, he's no longer able to send small parcels of perfume outside Switzerland using air mail. This prompted me to do a bit of digging and whilst I can't say that I've unearthed any hard facts on the subject - which is, in itself, rather telling - I have made a few discoveries.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Playing Catch-Up: Autumn/Winter 2012 (part 1) - from Lauder to Piguet


Maintaining a regular blogging schedule isn't always easy when you're meeting the demands of a full-time job, pursuing other writing interests and trying to have some sort of personal life. So it's inevitable that, every now and then, a backlog builds up of various perfumes I feel I ought to write about. In order to reduce it - and start the new year with something resembling a clean slate - I'm going to devote this week's and next week's review slots to capsule-sized musings on releases which, for one reason or another, have kept slipping through my net.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Harrods Is Full Of Snobs

Image by the author of the purple one in the middle

I know, I know, I have to stop doing this sort of thing. But I just couldn't help myself. I was in Harrods with Madame Persolaise the other day, so naturally, I decided to pop up to the second floor to see if they had a copy of a little book with a picture of Shalimar on the cover.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ormonde Jayne Sets The Record Straight


Although we often find plenty of reasons to complain about developments in the perfume industry, there's at least one change which deserves to be celebrated: the fact that brands' public faces no longer feel they must pretend to be perfumers. One particular fragrance house which reportedly used to draw a thin veil over the details of its scent production is Ormonde Jayne. Were their perfumes made by founder Linda Pilkington, or were they, in fact, put together by Geza Schoen (Escentric Molecules)?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Persolaise Review: Pot Pourri from Odette Toilette & Candles from L'Artisan Parfumeur, Jardins D'Écrivains + Voyager

Image: George Dunlop Leslie

There are only a few things which make the colder months bearable. Amongst them are Have I Got News For You (pretty much the only TV programme I try not to miss), the Jan/Feb crop of serious cinematic fare (as opposed to the Jul/Aug bundle of moronic nonsense) and the ability to hide one's over-indulgence in mince pies beneath layers of coats, scarves and cardigans (a feat which is becoming increasingly difficult to pull off with each passing year). And then there are home fragrances. At Maison Persolaise we don't really need any excuse to light a perfumed candle, but when the days are shorter and the nights colder, the desire to fill the house with a protective veil of scent seems particularly sharp.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tauer Perfumes Advent 2012 Winner


Thanks very much indeed to each and every one of you who entered yesterday's Tauer Perfumes draw. Your entries were a joy to read and I wish I could reply to all of them. I'm pleased to announce that the winner is

Joaquim, who wrote about Five O'Clock Au Gingembre

Congratulations! Please send a message with your postal address and choice of perfume to persolaise at gmail dot com and I'll forward it to Andy Tauer straight away.

Commiserations to everyone else. But don't be too despondent: I'm sure I'll hold another draw soon.

My thanks once again to Andy for inviting me to take part in this year's advent calendar... and also for today's give-away on his blog, which took me completely by surprise when I read it. He's offering a copy of my very own book, Le Snob: Perfume, as today's prize, so click here and leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning!

Persolaise.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tauer Advent Give-Away + Quentin Bisch Interview


Ian Denyer's 2011 Perfume documentaries featured many prominent members of the fragrance industry. Jean-Paul Guerlain, Thierry Wasser, Jean-Claude Ellena, Chandler Burr, Roja Dove and several others were all allowed considerable time in the limelight. But if there's one individual from the series whom most people seem to remember it's Quentin Bisch, the young Givaudan trainee who was overcome with emotion in episode 2 when telling the story of how he was accepted onto the world's most famous perfumery course.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Fresh Intake Of Art


On the outskirts of Paris, inside an unassuming building a short distance from the banks of the Seine, a handful of young men and women is huddled over pipettes, weighing scales and bottles of various liquids. They bring thin strips of paper to their noses, close their eyes and take deep breaths. Every now and then, they stop to make notes before dipping another paper strip into a bottle and smelling it.

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