Friday, 27 September 2013

Persolaise Review: Cuir 28 from Le Labo (Nathalie Lorson; 2013)

Those who take an interest in such matters will be aware that Le Labo mentioned the arrival of its Dubai exclusive quite some time ago; at one point it seemed certain that the scent would be released in early 2012. The year came and went with no sign of the perfume and some of us began to wonder if the project had been shelved. Clearly, those fears were unfounded: Cuir 28 has now poked its head above the dunes. What's more, the fragrance has emerged during Le Labo's biennial free-for-all, during which its entire 'exclusive' range is available at all its boutiques. So far from being a low-profile release tucked away in a corner of Dubai Mall's Paris Gallery, it is temporarily within reach of pretty much everyone with access to the Internet*.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Not A Middle Eastern Brand - An Interview With Thameen Founder, Basel Binjabr

There's a new perfume brand at Selfridges and - surprise surprise - it hails from the Arab world... or does it? Click here to read my Basenotes interview with its founder, Basel Binjabr, in which he tries to explain why he doesn't want his venture, Thameen, to be associated with any particular part of the world. And while you're at it, spare a moment for the reader comments at the end. Many of them revolve around Binjbar's views on niche scents and the role of the Internet in the perfume industry.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Scent On The Catwalk - Perfume For Fashion

It's joint-list-making time again here in our corner of the blogosphere and the task of choosing our theme has fallen to the Candy Perfume Boy. As he gave us a pretty free hand - all he said was that he wanted our post to take its inspiration from the world of fashion - I decided to structure the assignment by imposing these rules on myself:

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Persolaise Review: Modern Muse from Estée Lauder (Harry Fremont; 2013)

The people at Lauder are calling Modern Muse their biggest feminine fragrance launch since Beyond Paradise (Calice Becker's otherworldly garden of green jasmine from 2003). The advertising campaign would certainly seem to back this up: the posters are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and department stores are starting to make more room for the displays featuring the thin, navy blue ribbon tied around the fragrance's image. Given such heavy-weight publicity, it's reasonable to predict that the elegant bottle will find itself tucked under several Christmas trees later this year.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Persolaise Review: Ashoka from Neela Vermeire Créations (Bertrand Duchaufour; 2013)

Neela Vermeire's eponymous brand has reached the perfumery equivalent of the difficult second album. Her three debut scents (all composed by Bertrand Duchaufour... ever heard of him?) made such a tremendous impact in Niche-ville that her follow up was always bound to be a tricky prospect. Would it continue in the same vein as the original trio or would it strike out in a new direction? Well, Ashoka is officially unveiled in Florence today and I'm pleased to say that it shows signs of some very astute thinking on Vermeire's part.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What We Really Wore This Summer - 2013

I know, it's a hard life. As a perfume critic, I don't often get to wear scents from my personal collection; I'm usually covering myself in stuff which I'm evaluating for a review. But then along comes the summer and all such commitments are shoved to one side: I'm free to smell as I please. The decision about which fragrances to pack into the suitcase is rarely easy (I told you: it's a hard life). But once the holiday is over, the sand has been shaken out of the beach towels and the eye-watering heap of junk mail has been flung into the recycling bin, I always find it interesting to look back and consider why I picked the scents I picked and, indeed, whether they were as enjoyable as I'd hoped they would be.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Speaking Your Mind - An Interview With Atelier Cologne's Sylvie Ganter

Despite its relative youth, Atelier Cologne has made a considerable impact on the niche (and not-so-niche) perfume circuit. One of the brand's co-founders, Sylvie Ganter, popped into London's Les Senteurs a few months ago to bring her work to the attention of UK-based scentusiasts. She started by talking about a fateful job interview...

To read my Basenotes report on her visit, please click here.


Friday, 6 September 2013

Persolaise Review: Skin On Skin, Amour Nocturne and Déliria from L'Artisan Parfumeur (Bertrand Duchaufour; 2013)

I'm not sure why L'Artisan Parfumeur have given us the Explosions D'Émotions mini-range, but there we are: the logic of fragrance releases isn't always easy to work out. As a brand, they've recently struggled to maintain their identity - examples of this include their decision to ditch their 50 ml bottles and their smaller candles, their Caligna marketing campaign, the categorisation of their scents into 'masculine' and 'feminine', their flirtations with Sephora and their presence on QVC - so perhaps this new trio of scents is just the latest evidence of some kind of internal re-alignment. Maybe we're supposed to read it as a sign of greater changes to come. Or maybe Bertrand Duchaufour - yes, him again - just had three spare fragrances lying around and didn't want them gathering the proverbial dust in his lab. Who knows? The facts are that they're with us and that, for whatever reason, L'Artisan don't wish us to view them as part of the main collection. According to the press release, the scents' unifying theme is "the emotional power of olfactory art", a phrase so vague and hollow, it implies that, actually, there is no unifying theme at all. So I suggest we dispense with the marketing spin and treat the perfumes as separate entities.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Chandler Burr's Secret Perfumer Answers Readers' Questions

Image: OpenSky

Those of you who follow Chandler Burr's thought-provoking Untitled Series on OpenSky will no doubt be aware that 'Season 1' has reached its tenth and final episode. In an interesting twist, Burr has arranged for the scent's maker to respond to readers' and buyers' questions about his/her creation. Here's how the whole thing will work: any questions posted on this Basenotes forum thread will be forwarded to the perfumer via Burr; the perfumer's responses will then be published on the forum thread.

Whilst we await the revelation of the perfumer's identity, check out this extract from Burr's description of the scent, as published on OpenSky:

This is one of the greatest Byronesque beauties I’ve ever experienced. Windswept moors, cold rough seas, rocky cliffs tempest tossed, the genre’s entire panoply of tropes with no irony in sight, and yet you buy it, not (not for an instant) despite yourself but with a lifting soul, courage renewed, and a sense of adventure. If Robert Louis Stevenson had done a celebrity scent, this would have been it.

Intrigued? I certainly am.


PS If you'd rather not post your questions in a public setting, you can email them directly to Burr at chandlerburr at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Is That A Bell I Hear?

Some summer reading...

One of those curious little ironies of life: I get tons of ideas for blog posts when I'm in 'no writing allowed' holiday mode. Whilst Madame Persolaise and I were trying to distance ourselves as much as possible from everyday realities, the workaholic side of my brain - which I can never fully switch off - constantly insisted on using a well-cooked meal, or a wander through a cathedral, or the sight of some unfamiliar landscape as inspiration for scent-related musings on this site. Regular readers will know that I didn't give in to these urges. And it's probably just as well that I didn't; I think it's important for breaks from routines to be complete.


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