Friday, 23 January 2015

Persolaise Review: La Religieuse from Serge Lutens (Christopher Sheldrake; 2015)

Waiting for the next Lutens release has almost become like anticipating the next movie from Terrence Malick. Granted, Uncle Serge doesn't exercise our patience quite as much as Malick does, but the narrative cohesiveness of his recent perfumes has been so pronounced that the arrival of a new one sparks exactly the sorts of questions that could be asked of a creation from a cinema auteur: how will it pick up from where the previous one concluded? what will it have to say about x, y and z? in which direction will it push the body of work as a whole? It's not surprising, then, that it was with considerable excitement that I wore Lutens' latest olfactory tale, La Religieuse, put together by his regular perfumer, Christopher Sheldrake.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Scent & Sensibility To Close Down - Buy Your Favourite Tauer Perfumes Now

Some of you may be aware that the Swiss franc went through what might wryly be called an 'unexpected situation' last week (click here for the BBC's description of the event and here for a Guardian piece about the immediate effects). One of the consequences is that Tauer Perfumes have had to increase their prices, in relation to the euro and and pound (click here for Andy Tauer's blog post on the subject). The ripples of this change have travelled across the Alps and the Channel, all the way to this grey little isle, with the result that Scent & Sensibility Perfume - the retailer which first brought Tauer to the UK - has decided to shut its virtual doors. The site has started a closing down sale. All its Tauer creations are being sold at last week's, pre-currency-drama prices. Whilst you ponder what long-term effects all this is going to have on the future of perfume shopping, you may want to give serious thought to spending some of your hard-earned pennies on a few of Andy's gorgeous creations. Please click here to be taken to the Scent & Sensibility Perfume site or here to see their Facebook page. Please note that S&S also offer wares from the likes of Aftelier, Soivohle, Dorissima and Andy's cinema-inspired brand, Tableau De Parfums.

Sending warmest wishes to Ronny Geller, the founder of Scent & Sensibility, together with heartfelt thanks for all the support she has given this blog over the years,


Friday, 16 January 2015

Persolaise Review: Aperture from Ulrich Lang (2013)

You know a perfume is sufficiently interesting in its own right when wearing it makes you forget its marketing baggage. In this case, the 'story' revolves around photography and Lang's support of a collective - also called Aperture - founded in 1952 to create "common ground for the advancement of photography". That's all well and good, and I wouldn't wish to belittle any publicity the fragrance might be able to drum up for the organisation in question. But it would also be a shame if this release came to be known as nothing more than an 'agenda scent' (see 2012's In Peace).

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Vote For The Best Perfumes Of 2014

As we sink deeper into the melee affectionately described as 'awards season', some of you might like to make your own voices heard about your favourite perfume releases of last year. If so, here are a couple of opportunities. If you click on this link, you'll be taken to the Basenotes Reader Awards page, where you can select your favourites in several different categories, from Best Niche Fragrance, to Best Perfume Ever and Best Perfumery. Your choices are not restricted in any way: you can vote for whichever perfumes you like. However, you do need to be signed up to Basenotes to be eligible to vote. It's also worth noting that this year, the Basenotes team have put together a prize draw for anyone who submits votes. The deadline for submission is 28th February.

The second opportunity is perhaps less exciting, but no less interesting. If you click here, you should be directed to a Basenotes poll I put together a few days ago. It features a list of the perfumes which came up most frequently in various critics' Best Of charts. All you have to do is choose the one perfume which you think is better than all of the others. I concede that, as far as polls go, it isn't entirely scientific and it doesn't take into account the fact that most people won't have had a chance to sniff all the scents on the list. But hey, even the American film Academy's members aren't obliged to watch all the movies nominated for Oscars, so on this occasion, perhaps we can push technicalities to one side. And besides, I always think it's fascinating to see what does well in such polls: they provide telling insights into which perfumes manage to filter through to a wider audience. As I write these words, Dior's Cuir Cannage is in the lead, but of course, that could change.

Finally, whilst I'm in a Basenotes mood, I'll mention this article (click on the link) in which various contributors to the site, including yours truly, were asked to name some of their scent highlights of 2014.

Happy reading,


Friday, 9 January 2015

Persolaise Review: Kerbside Violet from Gorilla Perfume (Simon & Mark Constantine; 2014)

Violet leaf absolute is one of those materials which serve to show how utterly impossible it is to describe smells with words. In perfumer-shorthand, it's called 'green', but that places it in the same category as galbanum (think: peas and peppers) and cis-3-hexenol (cut grass), which doesn't really help a layperson gain an understanding of its unique odour profile. Sure, it shares a few facets with grass, but it's also melony, waxy, sappy, vegetal and eye-poppingly bracing. Like the opening of Dior's Fahrenheit - which famously contains a notable quantity of it - it hisses with organic life.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy 2015!

A very happy new year to all of you. I hope you've recovered from the excesses of the festive season and are looking forward to twelve months of peace, happiness, good health and, of course, numerous encounters with gorgeous perfumes. At this stage it's impossible to tell what 2015's scented highlights are going to be. Will Mathilde Laurent impress us with her olfactory take on Proust - L'Heure Perdue - for Cartier? Will Uncle Serge charge even more than £380 for his next creation? And will Estée Lauder buy up any other niche brands? Who knows. Time will reveal everything, no doubt. Meanwhile, kicks back into normal gear on Friday with this year's first review. Until then, let's reach for another mince pie, shall we?



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