Friday, October 28, 2016

Persolaise Review: Dark Rebel Rider from John Varvatos (Rodrigo Flores-Roux; 2016)


The soundbites
If Dark Rebel Rider were a wardrobe accessory, it would be a dark grey scarf.
If it were a time of day, it would be that moment on a Friday evening when you decide to fill your room with some soothing candlelight.
If it were a food item, it would be... well, you'll have to read the full review below...

The review
Any of you who've ever bought the 99% chocolate from Lindt may have been as amused as I was by the "tasting advice" on the back of the packet. "To fully appreciate all its flavours," it says, "we recommend that you progressively develop your palate through our range of high cocoa content chocolate bars, starting with Excellence 70%, then 85% and finally 99%." This sense of working your way up to (or should that be 'into'?) an allegedly superior dark side is, of course, frequently applied to the world of scent. I don't intend to delve into the reductive 'mainstream is bad; independent is good' debate today, but I would like to spare a thought for those compositions which are somewhere in the middle of the 'mainstream to indie' spectrum. The gateway drugs.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Persolaise Review: Portrait Of A Lady hair & body oil and shower cream from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle - No. 5 body oil from Chanel (2016)


During the last couple of years, Frederic Malle has added several excellent ancillary products to his perfume range (a consequence of brand owner Estée Lauder's considerable skills and experience in this area?) including a blue-skied shower gel for Cologne Indelebile and a purring after-sun lotion for Carnal Flower. But his latest additions deserve to be singled out for particular praise. The shower cream for the celestial rose that is Dominique Ropion's Portrait Of A Lady is so indulgent, it's enough to make the most hardened, world-weary, office-battered person tear up their work diary and spend hours whipping up the lotion into a lather beneath a cascade of water. And as for the hair and body oil... well... 'decadent' doesn't even begin to describe it. Emphasising the berry, cedar and apricot facets of the perfume, it is a call to languorous sensuality, an invitation to stop the clocks, turn down the lights and find a willing subject for a massage. Oh, and the sleek, amphora-like bottle housing this nectar is a triumph of minimalist packaging design.

Chanel are equally adept at releasing more-ish body products to go with their scents and they too have outdone themselves with their body oil for No. 5. Relatively dry in texture (it doesn't leave an obvious sheen on skin) the scent of the oil hovers somewhere between the personalities of the eau de toilette, the Eau Premiere version and the new L'Eau iteration, which is to say that it pushes the citruses front and centre, whilst keeping them wrapped in that familiar ivory-white fur coat of aldehydes, jasmine and musks. More importantly, in much the same way as the Portrait product, it encourages slowness. You can't apply this juice with a quick spritz. The very act of covering one's body with a relatively heavy fluid requires more time and attention than we normally reserve for our perfume rituals, so kudos to Chanel and Malle for making us pause for luxurious breath.

[Reviews based on samples provided by Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle and Chanel in 2016.]

Persolaise

Friday, October 14, 2016

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: July to September 2016 [part 1]


Round-up time again. Here are some Twitter mini-reviews, covering the period July to September 2016:

Classique Essence De Parfum from Jean-Paul Gaultier (Daphne Bugey; 2016)*
The familiar mimosa/jasmine/orange blossom accord cranked up with buckets of sugar. Too much to take.

Le Male Essence De Parfum from Jean-Paul Gaultier (Quentin Bisch; 2016)*
Original's fougère structure is intact, with cardamom at top & a sweeter base. Teenage boys can rejoice.

Modern Muse Nuit from Estée Lauder (2016)*
She's all grown up! Translucent florals expertly contrasted with burnt nut notes. Genuinely intriguing work.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Persolaise Review: Galop D'Hermès from Hermès (Christine Nagel; 2016)


THIS POST HAS BEEN SHORTLISTED IN THE
'INDEPENDENT - SOUNDBITE' CATEGORY
OF THE 2016/17 UK JASMINE AWARDS 

The soundbites
If Galop D'Hermès were a painting, it would be Two Dancers In The Studio by Degas.
If it were a piece of music, it would be Opening Titles from Michael Nyman's Carrington soundtrack.
If it were a fabric, it would be two-tone silk, reflecting either red or deep brown, depending on how it catches the light.

The review
The link between symmetry, bottles and perfume is so well established, it can justifiably be taken for granted and pushed to one side. But I was reminded of its enduring validity when faced with a flacon shaped like a stirrup. The wishbone-like structure is reminiscent of that other paragon of symmetry, the isosceles triangle, as well as a pair of scales, in perpetual balance. What's more, a stirrup doesn't convey an idea of general symmetry but, with its dual prongs, the specific symmetry that exists between two different forces.

I wonder if Christine Nagel was aware of what the bottle for the new Galop from Hermès was going to be when she composed the perfume. Or maybe the flacon was inspired by the scent? Either way, what we have here is a soul-soothing exercise in harmony: the most delicate tug-of-war between a rose and a leather, with the two supporting each other as much as trying to outdo each other. You could read all sorts of significance into the choice of the materials (my favourite theory is that represents Jean-Claude Ellena handing over the reins to Nagel: the masculine making way for the feminine) but don't let any of that navel-gazing get in the way of the composition's beauty. The florals are fully-fleshed, blushing and wind-swept (but maybe a touch too synthetic?), whilst the tannery facet is injected with the same inky, petroleum energy that fuelled Cuir D'Ange. And between them we have a bridge of luminous, green citrus, just on the edge of perception, uniting the opposite poles, like a pair of reins bringing a rider in contact with a steed. But which of the two is in control? Galop never quite lets you decide.

[Review based on a sample of extrait provided by Hermès in 2016]

Persolaise

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