Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Caron's Pour Un Homme Celebrates 80th Birthday

One of the most beloved perfumes ever made, Ernest Daltroff's Pour Un Homme De Caron, turns 80 this year. To celebrate the occasion - and to pay homage to what is a personal favourite - I've decided to reproduce my review of the scent from my book, Le Snob: Perfume.
The very first perfume aimed specifically at men, 1934's Pour Un Homme, remains hard to beat. Despite being advertised by hirsute rugby players, it is that most peaceable of scents: a sweet lavender. There's more to it, of course (pepper and rosemary offer a hint of intrigue; vanilla suggests an oriental leaning; civet adds a measure of testosterone), but essentially, it is an unfussy affair for times when you want to smell interesting, but uncomplicated. Long may it stay with us.
To which all I would add is this: if you've never smelt it... you're in for a treat! Seek it out now.


Monday, 28 July 2014

Persolaise's Favourite Rose Perfumes In The Scented Letter

I'm very pleased to announce that the second issue of The Scented Letter - the e-magazine of the newly-founded Perfume Society - features a piece by me in which I delve into that most swoon-inducing of topics: my favourite rose perfumes. The magazine is available only to the Society's subscribers, so it would be unfair for me to reveal much about my article here. However, I will say that it was pretty tough to write, mainly because I had to limit my fragrance choices to no more than seven! You'll have to read the piece to discover which scents made it through to the final list. But as the selection was so difficult, I thought I'd use this post as a platform from which to give a shout-out to the wonderful creations which I had to reject. These ended up on the virtual cutting room floor either because they didn't quite fit the angle of the article or because I thought I ought not include more than one perfume per brand. In no particular order, they were:

No 18 from Chanel
Mohur from Neela Vermeire Créations
La Fille De Berlin from Serge Lutens
Rose Barbare from Guerlain
Lipstick Rose and Une Rose from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle
2 from Comme Des Garçons
Rose Ikebana from Hermès
Oud Ispahan from Christian Dior
Paris from Yves Saint Laurent
Imogen Rose from Gorilla Perfume
and Rose Absolue from Annick Goutal

So, from that list above, can you guess which rose scents I did feature in the article?

To read the latest issue of The Scented Letter, you'll have to subscribe to the Perfume Society; click on this link for more info.


Friday, 25 July 2014

Persolaise Review: Otis & Me, How You Love, Neon Graffiti and Led IV from Jazmin Saraï (Dana El Masri, 2014)

Today, in the world of book publishing, agents and editors often bemoan the fact that they no longer have the time to nurture their writers' talents: there is tremendous pressure on new authors to be a success from the moment their first title is released. If that doesn't happen, they find themselves gently pushed to the sidelines. The situation isn't entirely different in the perfume industry, which is why I don't envy anyone the task of launching a new perfume brand right now. It may be a cliche to say that the fragrance market is over-saturated, but it also happens to be true. According to Michael Edwards - the nearest we have to an official archivist - more than 1400 new scents were launched in 2013, which means not only that it's difficult for customers to keep track of what's out there, but it's equally tough for brands to attract the attention of potential buyers. One of the consequences of operating in this crowded environment is that a new perfume house has to score a palpable hit with its debut release. It has to make an impact from the word go, otherwise it runs the risk of being written off completely as a non-starter.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Persolaise Quoted In The Chicago Tribune - Summer Break 2014

The Chicago Tribune's Life & Style section recently published a piece by Bill Daley about wearing tomato-centred perfumes in warmer weather. The article contains a few insights from yours truly, so if you'd like to read it, please click here.

Speaking of rising temperatures, I'm now switching this blog into 'summer mode' for a few weeks as I take my annual break from scent-related writing. Several posts have been scheduled to pop up automatically over the course of the next few weeks, including an interview with Thierry Wasser and reviews of new releases from Hermès, Cartier, Vero Profumo and Odin.

All the very best to you and yours for the summer,


Monday, 21 July 2014

Seeing The Signs - An Interview With Dana El Masri Of Jazmin Saraï

The perfume world is small at the best of times, but there are some occasions when its proportions seem laughably minute. A few months ago, a Montreal-based perfumer called Dana El Masri contacted me by email to ask if I'd be interested in receiving samples of fragrances from her new brand, Jazmin Saraï. I replied, and after a few days, we entered into a brief correspondence. As our emails flitted back and forth across the Atlantic, we soon made a startling discovery about a link between ourselves: not only did we both grow up in Dubai, but we also had the same English teacher, albeit at two different secondary schools (when my teacher left my school, she went to work at Dana's). Coincidences don't get much more Hardy-esque!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Persolaise Review: Colonia Leather from Acqua Di Parma (François Demachy; 2014) & Ginepro Di Sardegna (2014)

One of the pleasures of smelling new perfumes is that they sometimes jolt you into spotting undiscovered facets of older favourites. When I first encountered François Demachy's suave Colonia Leather for Acqua Di Parma, I was immediately reminded of Harry Frémont's equally urbane Tuscan Leather for Tom Ford. Don't worry: they're not copies of each other. But they're both the type of leather scent which I am unable to describe without resorting to the word 'tangy'. From within their sinewy blend of tobacco, incense and wood, a piquancy emerges, somewhere between the bite of lime zest and the lip-smacking softness of mandarin. It's not quite bitter, it certainly isn't sour, and it definitely isn't too sweet either. It's just tangy, perfectly balanced between acid and sugar, like the freshly-squeezed juice of a ripe orange.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - April to June 2014 [part 2]

More mini-reviews from Twitter. For part 1 of this latest digest, please click here.

La Petite Robe Noire Couture from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser, 2014)*
Flanker that isn't sure what to be: sweeter or deeper? Improves once past the fakey-fruit stage. Eventually, it presents a more sophisticated take on the black cherry idea, but I'd say: Stick with the fun-loving EDP.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - April to June 2014 [part 1]

Here's another 'digest' of the reviews I've posted on Twitter. To read the first instalment of this occasional series (which focussed on reviews published between January and March) please click here. And for more mini-reviews, please come back tomorrow. You can follow me on Twitter by searching for @Persolaise.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Harrods Unveil The Salon De Parfums... And Move The Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie

The Roja Dove Haute Perfumerie photographed in July 2014,
a few weeks before its transformation

If there's one reason for the enduring success of Harrods, it's the fact that the people who run it - whoever they may be at any given time - never rest on their laurels. There's nearly always something changing or being upgraded at the store, be it the escalators, the eateries or the location of the various departments. Following on from their extensive refurbishment of the Black Hall on the ground floor - one of London's top perfume-shopping destinations - current owners, Qatar Holdings, have just announced the imminent arrival of what promises to be a major addition to the city's fragrance scene: the Salon De Parfums.

Neela Vermeire Créations Give-Away Winners

A big Thank you to everyone who entered last week's Neela Vermeire draw; all your comments were a delight to read. I have now done the necessary at and I am pleased to reveal that the winner of the 1st prize (an 8 ml bottle of Mohur extrait, a ceramic disc and sample vials of Trayee, Bombay Bling and Ashoka) is


The winner of the 2nd prize (a Neela Vermeire Créations Discovery Set) is


Congrats to both of you and commiserations to everyone else.

ThirteenFive70 and Kathryn, please send your postal address to persolaise at gmail dot com so that I can forward it to Neela Vermeire Créations.

My thanks again to Neela Vermeire for making the give-away possible.


Friday, 11 July 2014

Persolaise Review: Eau De Magnolia from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle (Carlos Benaïm, 2014)

There's a moment in a short promotional film for Eau De Magnolia in which Frederic Malle raises his hand into the air and mimes running a fine thread through his fingers: the scent was tweaked and reworked, he explains, until it displayed a "seamless continuation" of its central idea. It is this precision which is perhaps one of the perfume's most praise-worthy attributes: from the moment it starts to the very last stages of its drydown, it remains locked on its core concept, refusing to be tempted by any prettiness that might prompt a diversion into less relevant territories.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Perfume Give-Away: Win Mohur Extrait And Other Fragrances From Neela Vermeire Créations

There are only a couple of weeks to go before I take my annual break from perfume-writing activities (don't worry: several posts will be scheduled to pop up throughout the summer) so I thought I'd start getting into holiday mode by hosting a give-away. On this occasion, I'm very pleased to be able to say that the prizes have been generously provided by Neela Vermeire Créations.

The first prize is an 8 ml 'purse' bottle of the brand new Mohur extrait together with a ceramic disc (which can be sprayed with any perfume and then used to scent drawers, a cupboard, a bag etc) and sample vials of the other scents in the brand's range: Trayee, Bombay Bling and Ashoka.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Twenty Blotters For... Mark Buxton

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

His name may not be as familiar as that of, say, Bertrand Duchaufour or Francis Kurkdjian, but there's no doubt that Paris-based, half-German, half-English Mark Buxton has a fervent following amongst scentusiasts. Over the course of the last few decades, he has put together several well-regarded olfactory creations - including 2 Man and Ouarzazate for Comme Des Garçons, Vetiver 46 for Le Labo and Unifaith (aka Moslbuddjewchristhindao) for Elternhaus - so it came as little surprise when he announced the creation of his own line in 2008. A few weeks ago, he was in London to promote the revamped incarnation of Mark Buxton Perfumes - and to draw attention to the latest addition to his line, the vetivert-focussed Emotional Rescue - and I'm pleased to say that he agreed to being subjected to the demands of my Twenty Blotters...


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