Friday, 29 April 2016

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - January to March 2016 [part 1]

It's that time again: a round-up of my mini-reviews from Twitter. Come back soon for part 2.

Cedro Di Taormina from Acqua Di Parma (2016)*
Typically elegant AdP cologne, this time twisted with a citron note. Velvety & gentle rather than tart.

Goldea from Bulgari (Alberto Morillas; 2015)*
Familiar shampoo-sweet musk affair, lifted by a hint of citrusy jasmine. The 70s come to life in the stroke-me curvy bottle.

Be Desired from DKNY (2015)*
Effective green apple note at the top which segues into, of all things, the creepy white florals of Secretions Magnifiques.

Icon Absolute from Dunhill (2015)*
Original's neroli heart marred by a crude, pseudo-oud note. A brutish failure.

Chypre 21 from Heeley (James Heeley; 2015)*
Elegant, if overrated nouveau chypre, which replaces the requisite mosses with heavy woods in the base. Too po-faced?

Equipage Géranium from Hermès (Jean-Claude Ellena; 2015)*
As it says, tactile leather of Equipage + rosy mint of geranium. Very Ellena. A charming, easy to wear delight.

White Spirit from Juliette Has A Gun (2015)*
Dilution is an apt allusion here - rough, synth sandalwoods, thinned down to ghostliness. A pale Opus V.

Luna Rossa Sport from Prada (Daniela Andrier; 2015)*
Has somebody been spraying Minotaure? Citrusy woods over subtly sugared amber. More attractive than you'd expect.

L'Eau De Paille from Serge Lutens (Christopher Sheldrake; 2016)*
Lutens reach an unexpected low with this overly synthetic, 80s man disaster. Juniper + wood cliches. Shame.


* sample provided by the brand
** sample obtained by the author

Monday, 25 April 2016

Super Scent - The Very Best Of Chanel

Well, we couldn't put it off much longer. After having grappled with the sizeable portfolios of Dior and Lauder, Grant Osborne, the Candy Perfume Boy and I decided that there was no escape: we had to get to grips with Chanel. As you can imagine, this wasn't exactly what you'd call an easy task. The brand which, by most accounts, pioneered the concept of linking couture with fragrance has been at the forefront of mainstream scent creation for almost a century and its current line-up boasts some undisputed classics of olafctory art. So yes, we had our work cut out for us.

As ever, a few treasured gems couldn't make it onto the top 5. I agonised for hours over whether to include Cristalle (still such a wonderfully verdant chypre) or Bel Respiro (which never fails to transport me to an endless Mediterranean vista) or Bois De Iles (that sandalwood! that rose! that elegance!) or No. 22 (the scent of the clouds against which angels brush their wings). And Madame Persolaise will probably never forgive me for not finding a space for one of her personal, all-time favourites, Coco. But rules are rules, and sacrifices had to be made.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Psst... It's Super Scent Time Again

Just when you thought we'd given up on our popular series, I'm pleased to announce that the Candy Perfume BoyBasenotes and I will reveal our latest Super Scent brand on Monday... and it's going to be a big one! Here are the rules of this little project, in case some of you have forgotten them. We have to:

- come up with a list of the best perfumes from a particular brand's current line-up (ie no discontinued scents)
- ensure the list is based on the perfumes' current formulations
- refrain from sharing the list with anybody else until it's published

The list will be revealed on Monday 25th April at 12:00 pm UK time. See you then!


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Hunting For A New Beast - Tom Ford Private Blend Styling

Tom Ford wants us to mix things up. Literally. For the last few months, the staff at his Private Blend counters have been trying to encourage customers to indulge in what you and I would call layering, ie combining two (or more!) perfumes in the hope of creating a novel effect. But of course, Mr Ford has to give the practice his own name: Private Blend Styling. In addition, he doesn't want us to have free rein when it comes to choosing the scents; he's devised his own list of recommended pairings. And he's even worked out ideal application ratios: two sprays of Perfume X to one spray of Perfume Y, and so on. After all, Styling is a serious business.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Persolaise Review: Eau De Rhubarbe Écarlate (Christine Nagel) & Eau De Néroli Doré (Jean-Claude Ellena) from Hermès (2016)

Today's review takes the form of a conversation between the outgoing, in-house perfumer at Hermès, Jean-Claude Ellena, and his replacement, Christine Nagel. It is entirely fictional. Probably.


Christine Nagel sweeps into Jean-Claude Ellena's study. She finds him sitting in front of a 50 inch plasma screen, playing a video game.

Christine: I've just had Head Office in my ear, dahling. They want two new colognes.

Jean-Claude: [looking up from his X-Box controller] Colognes? Two of 'em?? Oh, for cryin' out loud! We got plenty of colognes in the collection!

Christine: This is exactly what I told them, sweetie, but they weren't listening. They want two new ones.

Jean-Claude: But there ain't no point in making new colognes. Everyone's just gonna keep wearing the lime one, no matter what we make.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Luca Turin Has A New Perfume Blog

I expect most of you are aware of this, but for the benefit of the few of you who aren't: Luca Turin has a new blog. It's called Perfumes I Love and although it's been around for less than a fortnight, it's already proving itself to be as much of a must-read as the rest of his work. If you're interested in reading it - which you should be! - I'd urge you to start with his first post (click here) and then go wherever your nose takes you.

Whilst I'm on the subject of Luca, I ought to mention that my transcript of the talk he gave to the Perfume Society's members in London in October 2015 has become one of the most read posts on If you haven't come across it, please click here to read it.


Friday, 8 April 2016

Persolaise Review: Maai from Bogue Profumo (2014; Antonio Gardoni)

There's been a fair amount of talk lately about the extent to which current creations from the niche world are little more than reactions to the mainstream: pious homages to retro values which satisfy the needs of nostalgic fume-geeks but do little to further the art of fragrance. I'd say that particular criticism is often justified, but when indie brands get the backward glance right, they come up with startling pieces of work. A case in point is 2014's Maai from the Italian brand, Bogue. It owes its soul to masculine chypres of yesteryear - those glorious Cary Grant compositions that are more expertly put together than an origami-folded pocket square - but it dresses its body with lean, modern finery. To put that in olfactory terms, its core is a grandiloquent, brazen mix of animalics, woods and urinous, medicinal herbs (lots of sage) whereas its external layer presents sheer, uplifting blossoms, ready to break into a smile at a moment's notice. It may lean on its niche credentials too heavily, but as a union of the assertiveness of Kouros, the sophistication of Cacharel Pour Homme and the romanticism of Fleur Du Male, it is a fascinating creature indeed. Do seek it out.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum obtained by the author in 2015.]



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