Friday, 30 December 2016

The Best Perfumes Of 2016 - Greens, Dry Petals & Disco Balls

Rightly or wrongly, it looks as though 2016 is going to be marked as a particularly horribilis annus by the gods of record-keeping. Certainly, in political terms, events in the UK, USA, Italy, Poland and a few other countries suggested that the forces of liberalism are being drowned out by a growing tide of conservatism. This isn't the time for delving into such topics, but it is interesting to consider what sort of impact these global developments have had on the perfume world, which is, after all, vitally concerned about whether people feel able to spend their hard-earned pennies.

In the territory of independent scents, the reaction appears to have been a retreat. True, several new indie brands launched this year, and many of them - together with their more established counterparts - gave us some commendable scents. But overall, the so-called niche side of the industry has come across as extremely fearful and reluctant to push the envelope in the very ways which caught scentusiasts' attention in the first place.

In an astonishing twist, mainstream brands seem to have gone the other way, displaying more bravery than I'd imagined possible in the current climate. Don't get me wrong: big-name perfume houses still gave us plenty of soul-destroying duds. But maybe because a few of them were willing to splash out on bigger budgets and explore more interesting ideas, a lot of their wares weren't the instantly-forgettable, cardboard-cutout nonentities to which we're treated far too often.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Christmas Wishes 2016

Oh look, SOMEHOW all the Christmas cooking responsibilities have fallen to me and Madame Persolaise AGAIN. Mind you, I quite enjoy the whole thing... except for the supermarket shopping. That is an experience right up there with root canals and PPI calls in the annals of first-world problems. So, whilst things are still relatively calm, I thought I'd take a moment to wish you and yours lots of laughter, wonderful food and plenty of relaxation for the festive season. Enjoy every minute of it!

And please do come back on the 30th for my rundown of the best perfumes of 2016.

Happy Christmas!


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Persolaise Review: Kimonanthe from Diptyque (Fabrice Pellegrin; 2016)

The soundbites
If Kimonanthe were an item of food, it would be marmalade shot through with slivers of charcoal.
If it were a painting, it would be Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow On White And Red) by Mark Rothko.
If it were a person, it would be the linguistics professor who never quite seems to inhabit the same planet as everyone else.

The review
Isn't it wonderful to come across a perfume that you can't immediately work out? Like a painting that seems unfathomable at first glance (Ad Reinhardt's Abstract Painting No. 5) or a film that doesn't reveal its riches until a second viewing (Sokurov's Russian Ark), a difficult fragrance is a rare gift: a compelling conundrum that tugs at your attention in sly, subtle ways. This unknowable quality is precisely what makes Fabrice Pellegrin's Kimonanthe (part of Diptyque's boutique-only Collection 34) such an attention-worthy release.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Persolaise's Scents For Winter 2016 In Parfum Plus

Please click here to read my latest piece for ParfumPlus magazine, in which I run through my scented recommendations for winter 2016*. If you flick through to the next page of the article, you should also find an Arabic translation.


* The article is an edited version of a post that first appeared here on; click on this link to read it.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Persolaise Review: Cologne Du 68 from Guerlain (Sophie Labbé; 2006)

The soundbites
If Cologne Du 68 were a song, it would be Generator (1st Floor) by Freelance Whales.
If it were an item of clothing, it would be your favourite smart-casual, white summer shirt.
If it were a painting, it would be Renoir's Bal Du Moulin De La Galette.

The review
After well over a year of threatening discontinuation, it looks as though the string-pullers at Guerlain have finally decided to cut their ties with an underestimated member of their troupe: Cologne Du 68, composed by Sophie Labbé. So before every single bottle disappears from the shelves, here's a quick shout out in its defence. Principally a juxtaposition of solar citruses with more decadent, sugary, ambery notes, it achieves that beaming, toss-of-the-hair, happy-chic nonchalance which so many scents with similar aspirations fail to deliver. Or, to put it in Guerlain-history terms, it bridges the gap between the lip-licking sensibilities of, say, L'Heure Bleue and the more effervescent, more daylight-focussed aesthetics of Eau De Guerlain or the Aqua Allegoria scents. With its feast of notes (68, to be precise), it creates a symphonic - and yet never overwrought - olfactory expression of a contented sigh, an exhalation of breath that marks the mental shift from the demands of the morning to the more relaxed mode of the evening. I've been fond of it since it was released and I shall be sorry to see its unforced charm leave the Guerlain line-up. Do try to find it while you still you can.

[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette obtained by the author in 2016]


PS For more on the scent, check out this characteristically comprehensive article from Monsieur Guerlain.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Persolaise Review: Sideshow from Gri Gri (Anaïs Biguine; 2016)

The soundbites
If Sideshow were a sculpture, it would be David Cerny's floating hand.
If it were an item of clothing, it would be a little girl's pink party dress, made out of gleaming vinyl.
If it were a mood, it would be defiance.

The review
The issue of political correctness rarely comes up in perfume discussions. Granted, it appears with heart-sinking regularity when the subject is perfume advertising - is it really so difficult to break away from dubious images of twig-thin, pre-pubescent women? - but it's a rarity when the matter at hand is the actual concept behind a fragrance. When it does raise its impish head, it serves to prove just how provocative a medium perfume can be, crystallising social norms and forcing us to question assumptions we too easily take for granted.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Complete Persolaise Christmas Gift Guide 2016

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will be aware that, over the last few days, I've been posting Christmas gift recommendations under the tag #PersolaiseXmas. All those posts have now been brought together below, so I hope they give you some shopping inspiration!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Persolaise On Feelunique

image: Feelunique

If you have a moment to spare, please head over to Feelunique to read the first two articles I've written for them as one of their new male contributors. Click on this link for my thoughts on the best ways to buy perfume online and on this link for a piece on gender-fluid scents.




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