Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Fragrance Foundation UK FiFi Awards 2014 - Best New Independent Fragrance Nominees

Fragrance Foundation UK have released the shortlist for what is perhaps considered to be the most exciting FiFi Award by die-hard scentusiasts: Best New Independent Fragrance. The definition of 'independent' still isn't as clear-cut as some would like it to be, but essentially it refers to the lack of backing from a large distribution/PR network. Here are the lucky nominees (links are to my own reviews):

Best New Independent Fragrance
Dries Van Noten from Frederic Malle
1996 from Byredo
Iris Prima from Penhaligon's
Lune De Givre from Cloon Keen Atelier
Soulle Ámbar from Floris
Vaara from Penghaligon's

As last year, the entries were judged by this year's Jasmine Award winners, and I can't say I envy them their task: I'm not sure I'd be able to choose between the Malle and the Byredo. The latter is gloriously odd and the former is... well, glorious. Mind you, the judges may not have fallen for these two in the same way I did. And the scoring system also obliges the assessment process to take into account factors such as the appearance of the perfumes' bottles as well as their packaging. In other words, the field is wide open. I shall be most curious to see who the winner is on the 15th of May.

Have your say: which of the above do you think deserves to walk away with the FiFi?


Monday, 28 April 2014

Fragrance Foundation UK FiFi Awards 2014 - Best Perfume Commercial Nominees

The excitement around this year's Fragrance Foundation FiFi Awards is starting to heat up! To mark the approach of one of the most important dates on the UK's scented calendar, here's my regular line-up of the short films nominated in the Best Perfume Commercial categories.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Persolaise Review: Tralala from Penhaligon's (Bertrand Duchaufour; 2014)

What to make of Tralala? I confess that when I first discovered the name of this latest release from Penhaligon's, I gave in to a burst of gleeful excitement. Silly, I know - after all, a fragrance's moniker is usually the least reliable indicator of its personality - but the daringly carefree nature of the choice made me wonder if we were to be treated to something fizzing with quirkiness. Then came the news that the scent marked a collaboration with the design duo Meadham Kirchhoff. Their current collection is a wacky 'Marie Antoinette drops acid at Vivienne Westwood's house' affair, so the signs continued to be promising that the perfume would, at the very least, be individualistic and unusual.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Persolaise Review: Amber Oud and Rose Oud from Nicolaï (Patricia De Nicolaï; 2013)

Ah, the power of peer pressure! A few years ago, you needed quite a few fingers to count the number of brands who said they'd "never do an oud." Now, the gaggle of cool kids in the corner - the ones who refuse to listen to the sweet chime of those cash registers - is positively skeletal. Granted, its members are amongst the most illustrious names in the world of scent - Hermès, Malle, Chanel, Lutens - but I wonder if even their resolve is beginning to crack under what must be considerable commercial weight.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Happy Easter 2014

image: Cadbury's

A very brief post from me today, just to wish a very Happy Easter to everyone out there celebrating the occasion. Lent is over... enjoy the chocolate!


Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Osmothèque Reviews: Iris Gris from Jacques Fath (Vincent Roubert; 1946)


*** For background information on my Osmothèque Reviews,

Iris Gris had the advantage of me when I encountered it at the Osmothèque. I had, of course, read a great deal about it - one string of superlatives after another - but I hadn't chanced upon the scent itself. Ever the wary cynic, I wondered if the reality could possibly live up to the hype. Was it really as wonderful as everyone said? Well, as the poster for Amadeus declared, everything you've heard is true, and I'm just about to add my own superlatives to those which have already been heaped upon Vincent Roubert's 1946 beauty.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - January to March 2014

Could this be the start of a regular feature? Below, you'll find all the mini-reviews I've posted on Twitter since January of this year. I've decided to re-publish them here on partly for the benefit of readers who don't follow my tweets and partly to satisfy the completist geek in me. In case any of you are wondering, you can find me on Twitter @Persolaise.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Perfume Course - Design With Scents 2014 At Kingston University

image: S Sense

If you're on the lookout for a perfume-related course and you're going to be in the London area in mid-July, then you'd do well to consider enrolling on the 5-day Design With Scents workshop at Kingston University. By pure coincidence, in the last few weeks, I've spoken to a few people who've completed the course and they've all spoken of it very highly. You can find out more by clicking on this link, but here's some basic info:
- The purpose of the course is to focus on "the design of places through the sense of smell"; a primary objective is "working on a scent design solution, exploring how to use scents to enhance projects in the fields of design, marketing and communication."
- The course will run from the 14th to the 18th of July; the tutors will be Nicola Pozzani, Joanna Norman and John Ayres.
- The course is open to anyone interested in developing their appreciation of scent creation.
For booking information, please click on the link in the first paragraph.


Friday, 11 April 2014

Persolaise Review: Fahrenheit Le Parfum from Christian Dior (François Demachy; 2014)

They say men mellow with age. Whether the statement is true is up for debate - last time I checked, grumpy old codgers weren't exactly thin on the ground - but it certainly seems to have been on François Demachy's mind when he was composing the new 'parfum' version of Dior's classic Fahrenheit. Jean-Louis Sieuzac's 1988 original was a study in brazen intensity: an unmistakable combination of hyper-green, attention-grabbing violet leaf with resolute woods and a leather that appeared to have been doused in gallons of petrol. It divided the public almost as deeply as Poison: many flocked to wear it (including yours truly) but others turned away in revulsion. To this day, Madame Persolaise insists it makes her think of fly spray and several card-carrying scentusiasts claim they'd be happy if they never encountered it again. The current EDT is unquestionably different from the original - is there any pre-90s scent that has travelled to the 21st century unscathed? - but I'd assert that its signature is still pretty recognisable, even if its middle section lacks some of that striking, chest-pumping Fahrenheit vitality.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

I'm Not Business-Driven - An Interview With Céline Verleure Of Olfactive Studio

Olfactive Studio could have been created only in the era of the Internet. In 2011, inspired by cyberspace's populist bias, founder Céline Verleure set up a Facebook page entitled The Blog Of The Perfume Which Doesn't (Yet) Exist, which she then used as a platform for testing brand ideas. To cut a long story short, the result was a perfume house which has already attracted a loyal following as well as a French FiFi award. But is the truth really as fairy-tale-perfect as that? When I meet Verleure in London at the launch of Olfactive Studio's home scent range, I ask her if she really hadn't worked out the whole company in her head before she set up the Facebook page.

Monday, 7 April 2014

What We Really Wore This Winter - 2014

Last September, I published a brief post about the scents with which my skin developed an extremely close relationship during the summer, as opposed to those with which it struck up little more than a professional acquaintance. Several of you kind folks sent me emails to say you appreciated this 'real world' insight into fragrance wearing habits, so I thought I'd put together a similar round-up for this miserable winter to which we've just said, "Good riddance."

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Staying Alive - A Trip To The Osmothèque

For a moment, I wonder if the thing is going to leap out and attack me. Curled into the base of a steel box, it's a tangle of what looks like fur, claws and hide. It could be a piece of a garish Halloween costume. Or the remnants of some very strange Biology experiment gone wrong. I stare at it for a moment. And then, reassured that it's quite dead, I bring it closer to my nose and breathe in. The smell that fills me is complexity itself. Both clean and dirty, old and new, intimate and vast, it isn't unlike the experience of sniffing the paws of a puppy or the back of a freshly-washed neck.
To read the rest of my article about my Osmothèque visit, please click on this link to Basenotes.

UPDATE: On 18th March 2015, this article won the 'Bloggers Award' in the 2014 Jasmine Awards.


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