Friday, 28 March 2014

Persolaise Review: Ingrid from Tableau De Parfums (Andy Tauer; 2013)


You probably won't believe this, but I assure you it's true. When I first sniffed Ingrid, before I knew anything about the movie character on which it's based, it seemed to me like a perfume undergoing a personality crisis. Then I discovered that the eponymous protagonist of Brian Pera's third entry in the Woman's Picture series is a transsexual. Now, before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I am not proposing for one moment that the painful, confusing experience of an individual's struggle with the very core of their identity can be reduced to the scented contents of a pretty bottle. But the parallel between the perfume and the film stayed with me, and I'd suggest it's a useful key to understanding the way this new fragrance from Andy Tauer achieves its effects.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Luxury Is About Privacy - An Audience With Frederic Malle (part 2)


For part 1 of this record of Frederic Malle's Q&A session with an audience at Liberty, please click here.

Could you tell us a bit about your collaboration with Dries Van Noten.

Frederic Malle: As a person, I've always liked collaborating with others. Working with Dries was like a natural evolution, in the same way that working with Pierre Hardy was a natural evolution. In 2000, just a few months after we had opened, Dries came to see me at my shop on a Saturday afternoon, to see what we were doing, and we became friends. A year after that, he sold my fragrances at his very beautiful shop in Antwerp. I believe he was the first person to sell my fragrances outside my store. Whenever he opened a Dries Van Noten store, our whole fragrance collection was a part of that world. He didn't want to have a fragrance of his own, because he didn't want to sell his soul to the devil, I suppose. He's very precise about what he wants and about controlling his image. So it was like a natural invitation to do something for him. And it was also a way to get inspiration from someone who doesn't know anything about our business. Every now and then, we're going to make a series of portraits of people that we think are inspiring and interesting. But I don't know when. It's a matter of opportunity.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Taking The Highway - An Audience With Frederic Malle (part 1)


At the end of my interview with him at Liberty, Frederic Malle - the niche world's foremost 'scent editor' - faced an audience of admirers who wanted to ask him all about his work, his relationship with his perfumers and - surprise surprise - his views on oud. Given the tremendous response to my interview (please click here for part 1 and here for part 2) and that Malle is just about to release his next fragrance, I've decided to transcribe the highlights of his interaction with the audience. Enjoy!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Persolaise Review: Magnolia Grandiflora Michel (Michel Roudnitska; 2013) & Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine (Sandrine Videault; 2013) from Grandiflora


It's hard not to make a connection between Michel Roudnitska's Magnolia Grandiflora and his late father Edmond's unsurpassed Diorissimo. Before it became a victim of repeated reformulations, the latter was one of the finest olfactory creations of all time, a divinely orchestrated lily of the valley, exuding passion and artistry from every single drop. The very same attention to detail and unashamed enjoyment of the natural world are to be found in Monsieur Roudnitska Jr's presentation of the magnolia (created for the Australia-based florist, Grandiflora). Indeed, the precision with which the flower's attributes have been bottled almost makes the creation come across as a riposte to the juice which Dior currently sell under the Diorissimo name, a juice which, for the record, is more than acceptable as an allergen-conscious-era lily of the valley, but which is depressingly unsatisfying when compared to older incarnations.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Bertrand Duchaufour On Keeping Things Fresh


At the London launch of four new candles from Aedes De Venustas, two of which have been created by Bertrand Duchaufour, I took the opportunity to ask the perfumer about working too hard. I suggested that as 'originality' is an important criterion for him (the others he cites are 'long-lastingness', 'diffusiveness' and 'wearability') then it must be difficult to make as any perfumes as he does. What methods does he use to ensure that he doesn't repeat himself?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Persolaise Review: Azure (Mathilde Bijaoui; 2014) and Bentley For Men Absolute (Michel Almairac; 2014) from Bentley



Azure is ghastly. Think of all the most mind-numbing masculine scents from the mainstream, and you'll know exactly what this waste of resources smells like. Generically 'citrusy' top. Aromatic mid-section. Woody, ambery base. In other words: a horde of teenage boys taking part in an Olympic-scale bout of 'Spray that can of Lynx until the entire northern hemisphere is obscured by a noxious haze.' I haven't watched The Hunger Games movies, but I gather they specialise in depictions of gruesome contests. Perhaps the people who make them ought to consider an 'Azure Death' segment for their next instalment. I daresay it would be more visceral and frightening than anything they've portrayed so far. Not even the alleged presence of Orcanox (Mane's equivalent of ambroxan) is enough to rescue this depressing creation. On its own, the ingredient presents an intriguing, more-ish blend of both musky and ambergris-like notes. But I can't detect any of its elegance in Azure. All I can detect is cynical, inhumane dullness.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Persolaise Review: Opus VIII from Amouage (Pierre Negrin & Richard Herpin; 2014)


Years ago, I used to argue with a food-loving, atheist friend of mine that there simply must be a God. He'd ask me for evidence. And my response would be to draw his attention to... garlic. There was no way such a miracle of nature could have come into existence, I'd say, without some form of divine providence. He would chuckle and concede that I had a point. I suspect that if perfumers had to name one awe-inducing 'wonder plant', it might be jasmine. There seems to be no end to the number of facets and nuances which the innocuous little flower offers to the pursuits of scent makers. Think of any odour descriptor and chances are it could be applied to the white blossoms to some degree. Sweet, dry, citrusy, animalic, woody, green, mossy, peppery... they all fit. Almost every perfume house showcases jasmine in its collection - Frederic Malle is a notable exception - and now, by way of Pierre Negrin's and Richard Herpin's Opus VIII, Amouage has decided to offer its own take on one of the art form's most venerable materials.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Candy Perfume Boy And ODOU Magazine Win Jasmine Awards


The results of the Jasmine Awards are in and I am absolutely thrilled to announce that the winner of the Digital prize is Thomas Dunckley - aka the one and only Candy Perfume Boy - for his Guide To Violet. I was fortunate enough to be able to congratulate him in person at the ceremony, but I'd like to express those sentiments publicly too: I'm overjoyed for Thomas and I hope that this achievement encourages him to keep up the wonderful work on his blog.

I am equally excited to be able to say that the winner of the Literary Award (Magazine) is Neil Chapman for Perfume Haters, a piece which appeared in issue #1 of ODOU Magazine. Talk about a success story! Not only did Liam Moore's magazine pick up three Jasmine nominations for its debut instalment, but it also beat the likes of GQ, Psychologies and Elle to one of the most coveted prizes in perfume journalism. A thoroughly commendable accomplishment.

Warm congrats to all the winners!

Persolaise

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Off To The Jasmine Awards 2014!


On the fourth anniversary of my blog, I once again find myself in the privileged position of being able to say: I'm off to BAFTA HQ tomorrow for the Jasmines! I expect all the proceedings will be covered in real time on Twitter, so if you'd like to be amongst the first to find out who the winners are, please make sure you're following @FragranceFDN_UK as well as the hashtag #JasmineAwards. I'll try to post some updates too, which you'll find @Persolaise.

Warm congratulations to all the shortlisted writers. May the best articles win!

Persolaise

Monday, 10 March 2014

Twenty Blotters For... Céline Verleure


Pick a blotter... read the question... give a short, snappy answer!

Céline Verleure's perfumery experience is far too vast to be reduced to a brief, introductory paragraph. But here's a super-succinct summary. She was hired by Kenzo Perfumes in her 20s. She was part of the team which gave us Kenzo Jungle, Kenzo Jungle Pour Homme and L'Eau Par Kenzo. She launched Osmoz.com. And most recently, she set up the facetiously-named 'Blog For The Perfume Which Does Not (Yet) Exist!', a venture which resulted in the creation of her very own fragrance brand, Olfactive Studio, whose works are inspired by photographs. When she popped into London a few weeks ago to launch her new home scents, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to fling my twenty blotters in her direction...


Friday, 7 March 2014

Persolaise Review: Rosabotanica from Balenciaga (Olivier Polge & Jean-Christophe Herault; 2014)


I seem to have forgotten how impressed I was with Florabotanica. For some reason, my brain decided to file it under 'pleasant yet unremarkable floral', ie the type which evokes a smile and is then doomed to be forgotten. But looking back at my review from 2012, I see that I called it "intriguing", that I applauded its avoidance of cliches and that I even praised its ability to appeal "to a younger demographic without being condescending." Maybe I was just in a good mood when I wrote those words... or maybe Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Herault were on to something when they bottled their slightly off-centre rose for Balenciaga. The scent's first flanker - Rosabotanica - certainly suggests that their success was the result of some pretty intelligent design rather than just a happy fluke.

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