Friday, 23 May 2014

Persolaise Review: Chaldée from Jean Patou (Thomas Fontaine; 2014 [based on Henri Almeras; 1927])

If Dior's Cuir Cannage (reviewed last week) is an attempt to conjure the ghost of a parent, Jean Patou's Chaldée is a near-archaeological endeavour to revive the spirit of an entire civilisation. I confess I wasn't at all familiar with this fragrance until news of its current re-release reached my ears, but I gather it started life in the late 1920s as the smell of a tanning oil which Patou decided to release as a fine fragrance in response to demands from slavering patrons*. I am in no position to comment on the faithfulness of Thomas Fontaine's new version to Henri Almeras' original, but I can say that if someone released this stuff as a sun lotion today, I'd be baying for it to be turned into a proper perfume too. In fact, I need to be careful that I don't lose all sense of critical decorum here, because I have been utterly in love with this stuff since I first encountered it a few weeks ago, and I am in serious danger of consuming my entire supply of it.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Smell Of Your Soul - Persolaise Visits The Fragrance Lab At Selfridges London

image: Hufton + Crow

It turns out I'd got it all wrong. When I agreed to delve into Selfridges' Fragrance Lab - part of their current Beauty Project - I thought I'd be subjected to a familiar, albeit slick, 'olfactory personality' profiling routine which would then recommend one of the products in the store's massive perfume department as my ideal scent. I approached my appointment with a list of sceptical questions. Which brands had agreed to take part? More importantly, which ones hadn't? Who were the the real powers behind this enterprise? What were they trying to achieve? And how could the whole experience be anything more than a beautifully orchestrated exercise in PR?

Monday, 19 May 2014

Prize For Byredo's 1996 - Winners Of 2014 Fragrance Foundation UK FiFi Awards

Seeing as I provided you with a fair amount of pre-FiFi coverage, I thought I ought to give you the list of winners from Thursday night's Fragrance Foundation UK awards ceremony. I am mystified as to how anyone could think that Invictus and Si are the best perfumes of 2013, but there we are. Opinions are pointless if we don't permit them to vary from one individual to the next. I was most interested in the result of the Independent Perfume category and I was pleased to see that the prize went to Byredo for 1996. A worthy winner. Bottega Veneta Pour Homme did well to triumph in its own, niche-ish category, and I was pleased that the judges decided to recognise the strength of Tom Ford's 'orient' collection by giving an award to Plum Japonais. Here are the winners in full:

Friday, 16 May 2014

Persolaise Review: Cuir Cannage from Christian Dior (François Demachy; 2014)

When the arrival of Cuir Cannage was first rumoured, the story went that François Demachy wanted it to represent his memories of his mother's handbag. This very personal anecdote now seems to have been cast aside by Dior's PR machine, but of course, the reference to the brand's accessories line has been retained and pushed front-and-centre by the name of this latest addition to the Collection Privée. And rightly so, because the fragrance is perhaps the most overtly, most realistically leather-like piece of work in Dior's current portfolio. Granted, Leather Oud and Oud Ispahan spend a great deal of their time languishing in North Africa's pungent tanneries, but they also stop off at various wooded groves and flower gardens. Fahrenheit incorporates a marked leather note, but the essence of its identity is, of course, the greenness of violet leaf. Diorling was the brand's first composition to fall into the 'leather' category, but it features a prominent floral facet as well. Dear old Eau Sauvage flirts with a thin, suede jacket, but it reserves the bulk of its affection for dewy citruses. And then there's Jules too - the scandal-mongering rapscallion in the range - but, for one thing, it's rarely seen outside France, and for another, it focuses mainly on pungent herbs and aromatics.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Fragrance Foundation UK FiFi Awards 2014 - Best New Fragrance Nominees

Here are Fragrance Foundation UK's nominees for what are often referred to as the two most important FiFi categories: Best New Female Fragrance and Best New Male Fragrance. Ladies' list first (links are to my own reviews):

Best New Female Fragrance
Gelsomino Nobile from Acqua Di Parma
Boss Jour Pour Femme from Hugo Boss
Modern Muse from Estée Lauder
Our Moment from One Direction
Jour D'Hermès from Hermès
Si from Giorgio Armani

It almost goes without saying that this category and the one below don't reflect the interests of blog-reading scentusiasts; I suspect very few people reading these words would agree that Boss Jour Pour Femme was one of the best scents of 2013! Nevertheless, I always find it interesting to see what the establishment chooses to single out for recognition and it's heartening that Jour D'Hermès has made it onto the list. Jean-Claude Ellena's omni-bouquet picked up the top French FiFi, so perhaps he'll be lucky in London too.

Best New Male Fragrance
Dior Homme Cologne from Christian Dior
Eau De Nuit from Giorgio Armani
Made To Measure from Gucci
Guilty Black from Gucci
Invictus from Paco Rabanne
Uomo from Ermenegildo Zegna

Surprise, surprise, there's absolutely nothing earth-shattering in the list above. But the Armani was more than pleasant, so I wouldn't object if its name emerged from the winner's envelope.

The winners will be announced tomorrow, 15th May.

Over to you: which of the above are your favourites?


PS - A brief reminder that I'm hosting an event with author Alyssa Harad in London on Tuesday. For more details, please click here. But don't delay: as I type these words, there are only three tickets remaining.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Fragrance Foundation UK FiFi Awards 2014 - Best New Fragrances In Limited Distribution Nominees

More FiFi UK shortlists. Today, it's the turn of what the Fragrance Foundation calls perfumes "in limited distribution", ie those which are available in a relatively small number of retail outlets. Seven contenders are battling it out in the female category (click on the links for my reviews):

Best New Female Fragrance In Limited Distribution
Gris Montaigne from Christian Dior
Oud Silk Mood from Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Peony & Blush Suede from Jo Malone
1932 from Chanel
Marni from Marni
Plum Japonais from Tom Ford
Yohji Femme from Yohji Yamamoto

I am fond of the Tom Ford, but if I had to make a choice, I'd probably end up going for Marni, mainly for its unabashed joyfulness. Then again, the austerity of Gris Montaigne's rose was impressive.

Best New Male Fragrance In Limited Distribution
Bottega Veneta Pour Homme from Bottega Veneta
Bentley For Men Intense from Bentley
Blue from Comme Des Garçons*
Eau De Monsieur from Annick Goutal
Brit Rhythm from Burberry
Rive D'Ambre from Tom Ford

My personal favourite from the above is the Bottega Veneta, one of last year's better mainstream masculines. However, I suspect Burberry may turn out to be the winner.

I'm curious: what would you have picked as the winners if you'd been on the FiFi jury?

The winners will be announced on 15th May.


* Many of you will, of course, be aware that CDG have released three scents called Blue: Blue Encens, Blue Cedrat and Blue Santal. The press release I received from the Fragrance Foundation doesn't specify which of the three has been shortlisted.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Perfume Event: Alyssa Harad In Conversation With Persolaise In London On 20th May

If you're going to be in or near London on Tuesday 20th May and you fancy a scented evening in the company of fellow perfume-lovers, please come along to Dirty Dicks pub at 202 Bishopsgate to meet Alyssa Harad, author of the wonderful Coming To My Senses: A Story Of Perfume, Pleasure And An Unlikely Bride. Alyssa will read extracts from her book and take questions from yours truly before guiding everyone through a sniff of some of her favourite perfumes. Tickets are free but strictly limited. To make a booking - and to find out more about the event - please click here. To read my review of Coming To My Senses, click here.

I hope to see you on the 20th!


Persolaise Review: 1932, Beige & Jersey extraits from Chanel (Jacques Polge; 2014)

A 'parfum' by Chanel. How unutterably lovely. And no, I am not being sarcastic. Consider the sensuousness loaded behind that short phrase. First there's the 'parfum' part. The most ancient form of an ancient art. The purest expression of the perfumer's skills. The richest essences, arranged in a manner which accentuates their finest features, presented to the wearer in headily concentrated form. And then, of course, there's 'Chanel'. The double-C logo. The epitome of 20th-century elegance. The irresistible balance of assertiveness, carefree joie de vivre and unashamed femininity. Combine the two and the result is alchemy. No 5 parfum: one of the finest fragrances of all time, quite possibly the most irrefutable definition of European sophistication. Cuir De Russie parfum: an incomparable leather, bristling with oh-so-civil carnality. Bois Des Iles parfum: a divine union of rose and sandalwood, as plush and expansive as a silk rug.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Fragrance Foundation UK FiFi Awards 2014 - Perfume Extraordinaire Nominees

The Perfume Extraordinaire category of Fragrance Foundation UK's FiFi Awards represents one of the more interesting ways of rewarding achievement in fragrance creation. Perfume production companies - as opposed to perfume brands - submit anonymous samples to the judges, who then have to score them on various criteria, unaware of whether they're smelling a piece of work aimed at the mainstream or the more specialised market. The exercise is often unsettling, but always fascinating. Here are this year's nominees (links are to my own reviews):

Perfume Extraordinaire
CPL Aromas for Blue Sapphire from Boadicea The Victorious
IFF for Perfume Calligraphy Rose from Aramis
Givaudan for La Fin Du Monde from Etat Libre D'Orange
Mane for 24 Old Bond Street from Atkinsons
Robertet for Terryfic Oud from Terry De Gunzburg
Symrise for Summer For Women from Burberry

Personally, I'm thrilled that the judging panel (composed of this year's Jasmine Award winners) unwittingly decided to single out Quentin Bisch's delightful La Fin Du Monde. I'd love to see the scent win, but 'unpredictability' is very much the name of the game in this particular category, so it really is impossible to tell who the winner might be. The announcement will be made on the 15th of May.

Discerning reader, which of the above would get your vote?


Monday, 5 May 2014

We Want To Dare More - An Interview With Guerlain's Sylvaine Delacourte At The Masters Of Fragrances Exhibition

I wonder if Sylvaine Delacourte is thinking what I'm thinking. I've never met Guerlain's long-standing Creative Director before, so I daren't make any assumptions about what might be happening behind her inscrutable expression. But I suspect that, on some level, she must be musing on the incongruousness of the situation in which we've both found ourselves.

Friday, 2 May 2014

EU Amendments To Cosmetics Regulation - Deadline Approaches!

A brief reminder that the 14th of May is the deadline for the submission of messages to the EU's public consultation on proposed amendments to the Cosmetics Regulation. Some of you may recall that in February, I posted a sample letter which any of you are free to amend/tweak and send to the commission. Please click here to read it.

I must also mention that the people at Parfumo have published an excellent petition on this subject which anyone in the world may sign. Please click here to read it and please do consider adding your name to it. Its approach is quite different from (and probably far more appropriate than) the one I took in my letter, but I guess you can send off the one and sign the other. I can't imagine there's any harm in launching a two-pronged attack. 



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