Friday, 26 February 2016
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
A few weeks ago, I appeared on BBC Hereford & Worcester's Malcolm Boyden show to share my thoughts on some research that had just been published about that dear old chestnut: the love potion. Or, to be more precise: scientific research into the possibility of creating a love potion. If you'd like to read a summary of the research, please click here. And to listen to my interview, please press Play below or click on this link to be taken directly to YouTube. Please note the YouTube file is audio only.
Friday, 19 February 2016
[Review based on a sample of 'eau de peau' provided by Liquides Imaginaires in 2015.]
Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Here's the third and final part of the latest compilation of mini-reviews.
Fresh Couture from Moschino (2015)*
Yes, the bottle is original & chuckle-worthy. The scent is a cliched mandarin-floral over huge musks. Oh well.
Jour D'Hermès Gardenia from Hermès (Jean-Claude Ellena; 2015)*
Original's abstract floral bouquet, with emphasis on textured, assertive, vintage gardenia. Delightfully 80s.
Alien Oud Majestueux from Thierry Mugler (2015)*
Unconvincing oud note rammed rather unkindly into the familiar musky-jasmine core. We don't really need this.
Modern Muse - Le Rouge from Estée Lauder (2015)*
The original's transparent floral heart, punctuated by fruity, berry notes that work surprisingly well.
Friday, 12 February 2016
Ever since the Maison Martin Margiela brand made its perfume debut - and won considerable critical acclaim - with Daniela Andrier's Untitled, critics and commentators have appeared reluctant to write about its subsequent scent offerings. But it has plodded on regardless, starting a sub-range called Replica and building it up to what is now a portfolio of 10 fragrances. If you should ever encounter them at a department store, I'd recommend a sniff. For one thing, they've been composed by some of the world's top perfumers, including Jacques Cavallier and Alienor Massenet. More interestingly though, they occupy a space at the intersection of several practices and styles within scent-creation, in much the same way that the brand's clothing line found an intriguing territory at the point where fashion meets anti-fashion.
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Lalique's Encre Noire enjoys what you might call a god-like status in the perfume community. Not long after it emerged in 2006, its uncompromising, legible structure of vetivert and musks turned it into a must-have for scentusiasts hoping to add a bold, animalic, yet polished creation to their collections. It soon achieved a cult following. And it's now something of a modern classic, as seen by the fact that it made it to Number 12 on the Basenotes Top 500 last year. In 2009, the brand gave us a female version of the scent. 2013 saw the release of a 'Sport' edition. But towards the end of 2015, Lalique decided to return to the perfume's founding principles to put together an 'Extreme' flanker. The person they recruited for the task was the composer of the original, Nathalie Lorson of Firmenich, whose many credits include Cuir 28 for Le Labo, Autoportrait for Olfactive Studio and Black Opium for YSL.
When the veteran perfumer - who has worked alongside the likes of Jean-Louis Sieuzac and the "fantastic" Sophia Grojsman - popped into London for the launch of Encre Noire À L'Extrême, I took her back to the 2006 release and asked her whether its formula really is as simple as it seems.
Nathalie Lorson: Yes, it is. Vetivert and musks. But there are different facets of the vetivert. For example, natural vetivert has a grapefruit effect. So I reinforced it with some grapefruit. I played with different facets of the vetivert.
Friday, 5 February 2016
My closest friend recently discovered Malle. After decades of not considering perfume to be an important factor in how he presents himself to the world, he got in touch and asked for advice on choosing his first 'serious' scent. It should come as no surprise that one of the brands to which I directed him was the red-and-black paragon of cerebral, Gallic elegance. He was horrified by the price tags - he'd had no idea quite how expensive fragrances can be - but sufficiently impressed with the products to walk away with a bottle of Vetiver Extraordinaire. Since then, he's gone back for more: French Lover is a new addition to his collection. He's got them both on regular rotation and he tells me he's delighted with them. So, as he's a recent convert, I'm intrigued to learn what he'd make of the house's latest release, Monsieur. by Bruno Jovanovic. Allow me to elaborate.
Tuesday, 2 February 2016
A few months ago, when he was in London for an IFF event, I managed to have an all-too-brief conversation with one of the undisputed masters of scent composition: Dominique Ropion, author or co-author of Dune, Pure Poison, Alien, Amarige, Jungle and, of course, several acclaimed creations for Frederic Malle, including Carnal Flower and Portrait Of A Lady. What's it like working for one of perfumery's most exacting creative directors, I asked him. Who has the ideas?
Dominique Ropion: Both of us, in fact. We've known each other since 1988, I think, which is a long time. We used to work together in Roure Bertrand Dupont. From time to time, I whisper some thoughts to him - it's all very informal - and I say, "Frederic, what do you think of this or that?" He says it's bad or he tells me to work on it more.