Friday, July 29, 2016

Persolaise Review: Solar'1 from Jazmin Saraï (Dana El-Masri; 2015)


The soundbites
If Solar'1 were a colour, it would be burnished gold.
If it were a poem, it would be Ozymandias by P B Shelley.
If it were a texture, it would be dense, warm olive oil.

The review
You become a bit blasé about independent scent houses, complaining that they're re-hashing familiar ideas. But then you smell a vial of cynical crud from a 'designer' brand, and you're suddenly reminded that old ideas, if they're well-executed, are unquestionably preferable to some of the nonsense that passes for perfumery in this day and age. Enter: Solar'1, the latest release from Canada's Jazmin Saraï. Perfumer (and founder) Dana El-Masri suggests the scent ought to be paired with D'Angelo's Africa, but I sense something more primal at work here. Full of the sorts of resins and unguents one could imagine in the air at an Egyptian embalming ceremony, Solar'1 dances to the sound of an ancient drum, whirling the darkest, smokiest elements of labdanum, cocoa, osmanthus and castoreum into a moonlit brew. What's most remarkable is that none of it ever feels heavy, so although it bears more than a passing resemblance to the likes of, say, Nanban from Arquiste, it doesn't share those scents' heavy-handedness or strident insistence. Commendable work.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Jazmin Saraï in 2016]

Persolaise

Friday, July 22, 2016

Persolaise Review: Lonesome Rider from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer; 2016)


The soundbites
If Lonesome Rider were a texture, it would be: dry, raw linen.
If it were a colour, it would be: sandy beige.
If it were a place, it would be: the crest of an Atacama dune beneath a midday sun.

The review
You can tell an independent brand has come a long way when it starts playing with its own mythology. In 2006 - a mere 10 years ago, take note - Andy Tauer released Lonestar Memories, his scented love letter to an idealised cowboy, complete with leather, coffee and a campfire. Although the fragrance's boldness dismayed many sniffers, those who fell for its charms - yours truly included - did so with complete abandon, glad to be taken on an exhilarating olfactory journey from the wildness of the outdoors to the intimacy of an end-of-the-day moment of solitude. As far as I'm aware, the brand's bestseller has always been L'Air Du Désert Marocain, but for some of us, Tauer's depiction of the virile, gentle, slightly melancholy cowboy remains his crowning achievement. And now, he's given us a sequel... or at least, a scent that many of us would like to consider a sequel: Lonesome Rider.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Break 2016


Although the world feels as though it has lost every single one of its fragile little marbles during the last few weeks, the passage of time hasn't slowed one bit, which means we've reached the stage where I traditionally bid you farewell for a few weeks. But don't worry: several review posts have been scheduled to pop up between now and the end of August, covering the latest releases from Tauer, Jazmin Saraï and Nicolaï, as well as a new 'exclusive' range from one of perfumery's most successful brands.

Be good while I'm away... but not too good ;-)

Persolaise 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Persolaise Review: Baptême Du Feu from Serge Lutens (Christopher Sheldrake; 2016)


The soundbites
If Baptême Du Feu were a piece of music it would be Metamorphosis One by Philip Glass.
If it were an image, it would be a bright sari seen in the distance against the backdrop of the Rajasthani desert.
If it were a colour, it would be a rusty red, tinged with ochre.

The review
Serge Lutens has kept the register of his 'mainstream' line very quiet in the last few years (see L'Orpheline or La Religieuse). And sure enough, his latest, Baptême Du Feu, put together by Christopher Sheldrake, is in a similar vein. However, as the perfume's bombastic name suggests, a new element has entered proceedings: danger. Although its impact never reaches a level that one could call 'loud', somewhere within the deceptively simple construction of Baptême lies a hotbed of emotion, keeping itself in check beneath the inscrutable facade. This contrast manifests itself as a jammy, rosy and very convincingly gingery exterior placed over a layer of dry spices (mainly fenugreek, to my nose) and leather. The drydown may be a touch too creamy and faint, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for what comes before: a compelling statement on white-knuckled restraint, a la Phillip Glass on piano, full of intriguing shifts and subtleties. Thumbs up.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Serge Lutens in 2016.]

Persolaise

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Persolaise Guide To The Best Oud Perfumes In ParfumPlus


Some of you may remember that in 2014 I published my guide to the best oud perfumes (please click here to read it). An edited version of that post has now appeared in Dubai's ParfumPlus magazine: click here if you'd like to check it out.

Oh, and come back on Friday for another chapter in the endless oud narrative...

Persolaise 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Persolaise Review Angel Muse (Quentin Bisch; 2016) & A*Men Pure Tonka (Jacques Huclier; 2016) from Thierry Mugler

 

The soundbites
If A*Men Pure Tonka were a colour, it would be a near-black purple.
If it were a piece of music it would be In Da Club by 50 Cent.
If it were a fashion accessory, it would be a wide, heavy, bronze-coloured bracelet.

If Angel Muse were a texture, it would be the softness of caster sugar.
If it were an item of clothing, it would be a baby pink, backless t-shirt.
If it were a place, it would be a spot a few yards away from the entrance to Charbonnel & Walker on Bond Street.

The reviews
Mugler's flankers tend to fall into one of two camps: they either add an entirely novel twist to the original perfume or they exaggerate one of its existing facets. Last year's A*Men Ultra Zest was an example of the former, so it's not surprising that this year, for their masculine release, they've opted for the latter. A*Men Pure Tonka (put together by Jacques Huclier) is our familiar, fuzzy-chested demon from 1996 - with his coffee, cocoa and patchouli - except that here, he's grown an equally fuzzy beard. The patchouli, although still present, has been trumped by an oversized coumarin note (the substance being one of the main constituents of both the lavender and tonka beans cited on the official notes list), creating an effect that is literally bittersweet. Even as it tries to win you over with a coating of sugar, it delights in giving you the odd nip. He's playfully cynical, this chap: the kind of guy who parties harder than anyone else because deep down he knows the end of the world is just another Nicolashka away. In other words, he's entertaining company.

--

Equally worthy of your time is Angel Muse, Mugler's latest addition to their unstoppable bestseller, this time composed by Givaudan's Quentin Bisch. In the 20+ years since the original Angel sugared its way into our bloodstreams, tastes and fashions have changed, so it's fascinating to ponder exactly why Muse works so well as a more modern Angel. My theory's simple: the sweetness has been tempered with a sprinkling of 'healthier' notes. Yes, the syrup is still very much present, but it's now paired with a saltiness (hazelnut), a sharper citrus facet (grapefruit) and a more prominent dose of spices (pepper). This beautiful assortment rests not so much on patchouli - as in the original - but on vetivert, a material which, with its combo of smoke and liqorice aspects, has always balanced the syrupy and the savoury. In other words, Angel has gone all super-food on us. And she smells very attractive for it.

[Reviews based on samples of eau de toilette and eau de parfum provided by Thierry Mugler in 2016]

Persolaise

Monday, July 4, 2016

Super Scent - The Very Best Of Hermès

Hermès founder, Thierry Hermès

Guess what: I found this Super Scent list very difficult to compile. But for an unexpected reason. As I explained to Candy Perfume Boy when I had the pleasure of bumping into him recently, what made our Dior and Chanel lists challenging for me wasn't working out which scents ought to occupy the top spot - that was always clear in my head - but what to select for the other positions. In the case of today's subject - the eternally classy Hermès - it was well nigh impossible to place the fragrances in a definitive rank order. The brand has several perfumes which I consider worthy of high praise, but pitting them against each other was agonising.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Time For Another Super Scent Teaser


Here we go again, folks. On Monday, the Candy Perfume Boy and I will reveal the latest brand to be added to our Super Scent collection.

The rules of our little enterprise:

- 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 4th July at 12:00 pm UK time... so don't miss it!

Persolaise

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