Friday, 29 December 2017

The Best Perfumes Of 2017 - Tobacco, Witches & Unmade Beds

I'm told 'busy' is now the word we most commonly use in response to 'How have you been?' (apparently just saying 'Very well' smacks of some kind subversive, trouble-making, rat-race-denying laziness), but it's difficult for me to find another way of describing the last 12 months. Still, as I always point out to friends, there's 'good busy' and there's 'bad busy', and I like to think that I've had more of the former than the latter. Certainly, and all its satellite activities have kept me occupied. In addition to all the reviews and articles here, I created a channel on YouTube, I started a series of broadcasts on Facebook Live and I even managed to take my love of perfume and movies to BBC Radio 4's Film Programme.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas Wishes 2017

We've nearly made it, folks: another year is about to end. I'll be posting my annual Best Of list on Friday 29th December (so please come back to read it) but until then, I just wanted to wish you and yours all the very best for the festive season. Enjoy lots of food, spend time with those you hold dear, laugh as hard as you can... and wear your favourite perfume!

Have a joyous Christmas,


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Cinema Scent: Marjorie Prime (dir. Michael Almereyda; 2017)

A part of me wants to say that the makers of Marjorie Prime missed a trick, but I realise that would just be a case of giving into churlishness. Because even though it doesn’t engage with the olfactory world as fully as it could have - given its story - the film is a praiseworthy achievement, deserving of much more publicity than it seems to be getting at the moment.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 10 On YouTube + Catch Me On BBC Local Radio Tonight

Last Sunday I broadcast this year's final episode of Love At First Scent - the 10th in the series - and I've now uploaded it to YouTube, so you can either watch it above or by clicking here. In this instalment I covered

Beach Hut Woman from Amouage (at the start of the video)
Black Heart from Map Of The Heart (at the 16:00 minute mark)
L'Oudh from Tauer Perfumes (at the 29:00 minute mark)
Koeptys from Nejma (at the 33:00 minute mark)

As ever, the original video is still on Facebook. Click here to watch it.

Finally, I'd just like to mention that, all being well, I should appear on Georgey Spanswick's show on BBC Local Radio at about 7:30 pm (UK time) tonight, discussing the year's best perfumes. To listen online, please click here.


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: July to September 2017 [part 2]

Here comes part 2 of the latest digest of my mini-reviews. For part 1, please click here.

Bamboo Rose from Aerin (2017)*
One of a trio of rose 'colognes' (which is probably supposed to mean that they're relatively light rose scents). This one heads into white floral territory, combining the eponymous note with musks and jasmine. Very '4 o'clock tea on the verandah, darling'. And the size of the bottle means you don't mind spraying the stuff quite liberally not just upon your person but into your surroundings as well.

AB Cashmere from Uèr Mì (Jean Jacques; 2014)*
Cooling, beige, sticky, dessert-like vanilla + osmanthus over LARGE musks. More about temperature than fabric. Humdrum.

WE Tweed from Uèr Mì (Jean Jacques; 2014)*
Curiously colourless amber, with an inky wetness at the top. Like tweed, seems to absorb light, but similarity ends there.

OH Denim from Uèr Mì (Phillipe Bousseton; 2014)*
Hmmm, denim is a gentle white floral? Shows how subjective this game is. Maybe it’s a cutesy, flower-embroidered jacket.

Monday, 18 December 2017

My Personal Perfume Wardrobe - Persolaise Video On Feelunique's YouTube Channel

For my final Feelunique video, I was asked to talk about a few scents which I actually wear: personal favourites that feature in my scent wardrobe. This gave me an opportunity not just to mention classics from Guerlain and Dior, but also to include gems from Tauer, Neela Vermeire and Vero Profumo.

I hope you enjoy the video. If you'd like to watch it on the YouTube site, please click here.


Friday, 15 December 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents: Oud Wood Intense from Tom Ford (2017)

For my next Sixty Second Scents review, I've picked up the new Oud Wood Intense from Tom Ford; please click here if you'd like to watch the video on the YouTube site.

I also wanted to give you a quick heads-up about this year's final instalment of Love At First Scent, which'll be broadcast on Facebook Live this Sunday, 17th December, at 4 pm UK time (11 am New York time). I hope you'll be able to tune in.

Finally, if you'd like to hear my thoughts on the scents and smells of The Silence Of The Lambs, as broadcast on Radio 4's Film Programme yesterday, please click here.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Cinema Scent On BBC Radio 4 Film Programme: The Silence Of The Lambs (dir. Jonathan Demme; 1991)

I've long considered The Silence Of The Lambs to be one of the most pungent films I've ever seen, which is why I was so excited to discuss it on Francine Stock's Film Programme on BBC Radio 4. To find out what I had to say about the late Jonathan Demme's masterpiece, pour yourself a glass of Chianti and tune in today at 4:00 pm (UK time); you can click here to listen live.

As before, I'll post a link to the podcast here as soon as it becomes available. Here's a link to the programme; my segment is at around the 20 minute mark.

To read the Cinema Scent reviews I've published on this blog, please click here.


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

10 Must-Try Fragrances For Men - Persolaise Video On Feelunique's YouTube Channel

Next up on my list of collaborations with Feelunique: a showcase of must-try masculine perfumes. Enjoy!

If you'd like to watch the video on the YouTube site, please click here.


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Complete Persolaise Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Here we go, ladies and gents. Time to put aside our views about the evils of consumerism and indulge in unadulterated, materialistic pleasure. Below you'll find all my gift recommendations for this year, which have appeared on Twitter over the last few days with the #PersolaiseXmas tag.

Happy giving!

Monday, 11 December 2017

10 Must-Try Fragrances For Women - Persolaise Video On Feelunique's YouTube Channel

The other videos I recorded with the team at Feelunique have now appeared on their YouTube channel, so I'll link to them over the course of the next few days. First up: my recommendations for must-try feminine perfumes.

If you'd like to watch the video on the YouTube site, please click here.


Friday, 8 December 2017

Persolaise Review: Elements Of Man - Strength from Ermenegildo Zegna (2017)

I haven’t given Strength the muscle it deserves. But I’m determined not to let the year end without mentioning it. One of five scents in Zegna’s high-end Elements Of Man range (well worth checking out as a whole) it’s focussed on a gentlemanlike tobacco note that couldn’t be further removed from the mind-crushing, cardboard-cutout creations which so many brands aim at men these days. Playing skilfully on hints of the illicit - there are strong echoes of film noir intrigue here - it links its central note with honey, green facets and a suave, almost powdery labdanum in the base to create a thoroughly grown-up effect that dares young hipsters to ditch their silly pretences and display some real character. Thankfully, the days when smoking was associated with manliness are behind us. But Strength is a nicotine-free reminder of why that particular idea remained so potent for so long. Highly recommended.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Ermenegildo Zegna in 2017]


Monday, 4 December 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 9 On YouTube

Episode 9 of Love At First Scent - complete with poinsettia - is now on YouTube. Watch it above or by clicking here. In this edition I covered

Wonder Bouquet from Mugler (at the start of the video)
the Smoked Leather candle from Urban Apothecary (at the 15:00 minute mark)
Dent De Lait from Serge Lutens (at the 17:00 minute mark)
Rose De Damas from Buly (at the 42:00 minute mark)
Thé Vert Precieux from Mariage Freres, for Bulgari (at the 51:00 minute mark)
Rose Tubereuse from E Coudray (at the 56:00 minute mark)

The original video is still on Facebook. Click here to watch it.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

Cinema Scent: Battle Of The Sexes (dir. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris; 2017)

Did someone say Yardley? During a key sequence in Battle Of The Sexes - a well-constructed account not just of Billie Jean King’s match against Bobby Riggs, but also of her struggles with her own sexuality - the women on the newly-formed WTA are treated to a pre-press-junket hairstyle makeover. King (played by Emma Stone) takes her seat, is approached by her hairdresser Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough, as excellent and underused as ever) and suddenly looks up in surprise. Is that lavender oil she can smell, she asks. The answer is yes. Marilyn likes dabbing a few drops on her wrists to help her customers relax.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Cinema Scent On BBC Radio 4 Film Programme: The Age Of Innocence (dir. Martin Scorsese; 1993)

Tighten that corset and sweep all that lust under the silk rug. For my latest segment on Francine Stock's Film Programme on BBC Radio 4, I'm delving into the extravagant and asphyxiating olfactory world of Martin Scorsese's The Age Of Innocence. The programme will be aired today at 4:00 pm UK time (11:00 am New York time).

If you'd like to listen to it online as it's being broadcast, please click here.

When the podcast version becomes available, I'll link to it on this post. Here's the link. Fast forward to the 19 min mark if you can't listen to the whole programme.

To read all the Cinema Scent reviews I've published on this blog, please click here.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Ultimate Gift Guide - Persolaise On Feelunique + Facebook Live On Friday + More Cinema Scent On Radio 4 On Thursday

image: Feelunique

In case you hadn't realised it, we're less than a month away from that day when the odd present is exchanged beneath a tree, so my latest Feelunique article recommends a few sure-fire fragrance choices that would make excellent gifts. To find out which scents made the final cut, please click here.

I also wanted to let you know that episode 9 of my Facebook Live series, Love At First Scent, should be broadcast on Friday 1st December at 4:00 pm UK time (11:00 am New York time). Please try to tune in by visiting my Facebook page (click here).

And finally, I'm excited to announce that this Thursday, 30th November, will see the broadcast of another instalment of my Cinema Scent discussions on BBC Radio 4's Film Programme, presented by Francine Stock. This time, I'll be turning my attention to Martin Scorsese's masterclass in repressed passions and overflowing bouquets, The Age Of Innocence. To listen to the programme as it's being broadcast (4:00 pm UK time) please click here.


Friday, 24 November 2017

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: July to September 2017 [part 1]

Here comes another round-up of my mini-reviews, which for the first time features thoughts I've posted on Instagram. That's why some of these are less mini than others, in case you were wondering. And of course, Twitter now allows more characters than it used to, so I expect the next instalment of these reviews will have its mini-ness diminished even further.

Wow! from Joop! (Christophe Raynaud; 2017)*
Petrol, patchouli & pine, with shades of burnt medicine cabinet. Very 'whisky-on-ice boardroom'. Preening musks in the base.

Lui from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser & Delphine Jelk; 2017)*
Low-on-clove, claw-less carnation, wrapped in sweet, creamy benzoin. Baby-soft at its core, therefore both safe and likeable.

VE Velvet from Uèr Mì (Jean Jacques; 2014)*
Pretty straightforward vetivert, after cologne-like opening of citrus and rosemary. More earthy and rooty than velvety.

XX Latex from Uèr Mì (Antoine Lie; 2014)*
Knock-your-head-back glue notes with weird florals produce glossy, stretchy, spicy, kinky, crimson gorgeousness. A triumph.

Tears Of Eros from Paul Schütze (2016)*
Undergrowthy, sappy, peppery ivy/hyacinth shifts to curious, hard incense/vetivert. Stony. Tears of a statue?

Monday, 20 November 2017

Friday, 17 November 2017

Persolaise Review: Roland Mouret - Une Amourette from Etat Libre D'Orange (Daniela Andrier; 2017)

Three aspects of the new Une Amourette - an Etat Libre D'Orange collaboration with fashion designer Roland Mouret - are worthy of attention. The first is that it marks a welcome instance of a Daniela Andrier perfume that isn’t green or centred around iris. Sure, an objective glance through her portfolio reveals that she is more than capable of working with a range of materials; after all, she’s made or co-made scents as diverse as Prada’s Candy, Gucci’s much-missed Envy For Men and Bottega Veneta’s Pour Homme. But there’s no doubt that in recent years, she’s developed a reputation for being the Iris Lady, throwing the plant’s rooty personality into a large number of her compositions, not least the Olfactories range for Prada, Miu Miu’s debut scent and Margiela’s Untitled. Thankfully, Une Amourette shows her at her innovative best, trying out new ideas, refusing to rest on her laurels.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Unisex Perfumes - Double Dose Of Persolaise On BBC Radio

The subject of unisex perfumes has obviously been high on the minds of some BBC Radio producers, because two of them asked me to appear on their programmes to chat about the topic. If you'd like to hear what I had to say, then please click on this link to the Malcolm Boyden show on BBC Hereford & Worcester (my segment is at about the 38 minute mark) and on this link to the Danny Kelly programme on BBC West Midlands (fast forward to about 2 hr and 9 minutes). Those links will be active only for a few days, I believe, so don't hang about. And if you're based outside the UK, I'm afraid the links probably won't work for you. Sorry!


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Best Evening Perfumes - Persolaise On Feelunique

image: Feelunique

Bow ties, sparkling dresses and impossible heels are all over the shops again, which must mean it's party season. So for my latest piece for Feelunique, I've turned my attention to perfumes that create a bold, nocturnal impact. To read it, please click here.


Friday, 10 November 2017

Persolaise Review: Promise 'الوعد' from Editions De Parfum Frederic Malle (Dominique Ropion; 2017)

I’ve long considered Frederic Malle to run as close to a perfect perfume brand as we can get. Staggering compositions. Intelligent marketing. Genuine respect for customers. There’s very little that the man gets wrong. And even when he does (Angeliques Sous La Pluie and Monsieur come to mind) the reasons for his decisions are apparent and, to some extent, worthy of respect. In recent years, his releases have tended towards largesse: monolithic creations that would even make some 80s monsters seem like wallflowers. Sure enough, for his newest piece of work - Promise, put together by Dominique Ropion - he’s decided to go bigger still. But I fear the result is one of his very few ill-conceived choices.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Cinema Scent On BBC Radio 4 Film Programme: The Graduate (dir. Mike Nichols; 1967)

Regular readers will know that in recent weeks, I've started writing about the relatively unexplored space where the worlds of scent and cinema meet. Well, I am thrilled to announce that my little project has made its way onto my favourite weekly dose of movie musings: Francine Stock's Film Programme on BBC Radio 4. So, put on a wetsuit, jump into a red sports car and tune in today at 4 pm (UK time) to hear me talking about one of the most beloved films of the 60s: The Graduate.

To listen online as the programme is being broadcast, please click here.

As soon as the podcast of the episode is available, I'll post a link to it here. Here we go... You should be able to listen to the episode by clicking on this link; on the same page, you'll also find a 'Podcast' link with various options for Apple, Android et al. I hope you'll listen to the entire episode, but if you're interested only in my bit, fast forward to the 24 minute mark.

To read all the Cinema Scent pieces I've written so far, please click here.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 8 On YouTube

Episode 8 of Love At First Scent - featuring my suitably Halloween-esque orange shirt - is now on YouTube; please watch it by clicking above or by going directly to the YouTube site (click here). In this edition I covered

Illusion Captive from Lalique (at the start of the video)
Viking from Creed (at the 15 minute mark)
Warszawa from Puredistance (at the 33 minute mark)
Le Frenchy from Guerlain (at the 43 minute mark)
Oud from Spirit Of Dubai (at the 50 minute mark)

As always, the original video is still on Facebook. Click here to check it out.

I know I usually let the videos speak for themselves, as it were, but I would particularly like to draw your attention to the Puredistance; a new composition from Antoine Lie, it completely took me surprise and I can't wait to revisit it. As for the Creed... well... see for yourselves...


Friday, 3 November 2017

Searching For The Silver Lining: The Best Modern Perfumes For Young Women

A little while ago, I published a post bemoaning the fact that many new perfume releases aimed at young women don’t treat their target audience with the intelligence they deserve. They tend to be dull, safe and patronising. But I didn’t want to leave the subject on a negative note. Surely, I told myself, even though there is a great deal of dross being heaped onto the market, there must be a few modern compositions that manage to capture some facets of 21st century femininity without resorting to cliches.

As you can imagine, that immediately prompted me to set myself a challenge: if those perfumes are out there, THEN FIND THEM! So, here is my attempt to meet that challenge.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Best Rose Perfumes - Persolaise On Feelunique + Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Facebook Live

image: Feelunique

A rose is a rose is a rose... but when it's a perfume, it can also be so much more, a delicious phenomenon I explore in my latest article for Feelunique; please click here to read it.

If all goes according to plan, I hope to bring you the next episode of my Facebook Live series - Love At First Scent - this Thursday, 2nd November, at 6:00 pm UK time (2:00 pm New York time) on my Facebook page. To watch the other instalments, please click here. It'll probably be the last episode I'm able to broadcast for several weeks as this is the season when various other commitments take over and I have much less free time than I'd like. If only we had more hours in the day...

Hope to see you on Thursday!


Friday, 27 October 2017

Cinema Scent: Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle; 1996)

The layer of scent that is forever hovering a few inches above the surface of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (still his best work, arguably) is almost unremittingly scatological. Based on the Irvine Welsh novel and telling the story of a group of addicts stumbling through Edinburgh's drug scene, the film is populated by people who look as though they eat, sleep and get high in the same clothes all the time. It's not surprising that their surroundings - those relentless stretches of peeling wallpaper, the depressing pavements - seem to absorb the odour of sweat, alcohol and cigarettes. Even the colours appear to project a smell: the stench of the interior of Mother Superior’s flat is somehow made more despairing, more piercing, through the use of that deep indigo for the walls.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Perfume Gifting Guide - Persolaise Video On Feelunique's YouTube Channel

A little while ago I had the honour of being invited into Feelunique's London studio to record some videos for their YouTube channel. The first result of our efforts is now online, so I'd be extremely grateful if you could spare a few moments to watch it... and maybe even give a 'thumbs up' and leave a comment. The topic of this particular instalment is the tricky issue of choosing a perfume for someone when you don't know exactly what they like.

If you'd prefer to watch the video on the YouTube site, please click here.


Friday, 20 October 2017

Persolaise Review: Noir Anthracite from Tom Ford (2017)

My teachers were right: perspective is everything. When you get close to Noir Anthracite (a flanker which, despite its name, shares few features with the original Noir from 2012) your experience is promising. Moonlit minerals. Brooding gunpowder. Sparks lining the edges of polished flint. Maybe some flames too, but no towering ostentations. This isn't a raging bonfire, which is apt, given that the Oracle (ie Wikipedia) tells us anthracite “burns with little flame and smoke”. However, things change when you take a step back. Instead of forming an attractive sillage when they coalesce, all those elements turn into a wall of brash, typically 70s-inflected, Tom Ford patchouli, with an off-putting wood facet and a dubiously aggressive attitude. Ford makes no apologies about his love for older scent codes - and so he shouldn’t, as they’ve often led him to gorgeous creations - but here, the time warp idea reminds you that the decade of flares and disco balls was also the era of bigotry towards women and mass social disillusionment. In other words, it’s just a bit too chest-wig-heavy. When not one, but three people come up to you, pull a face and say, “You smell like my dad,” you know the retro vibe has probably been overplayed. Apply with caution. Or maybe only when you’re going to be within stroking distance of everyone around.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Tom Ford in 2017.]


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 7 Now On YouTube

Episode 7 of Love At First Scent is now on YouTube; please watch it by clicking above or by going directly to the YouTube site (click here). In this edition I covered

Velvet Haze from Byredo (at the start of the video)
Paithani from Penhaligon's (at the 17:00 minute mark)
Un Dimanche A La Campagne from Guerlain (at approx. 36:00 mins)
Strength from Ermenegildo Zegna's Elements Of Man range (at approx. 45:00 mins)

The original video - which attracted a great deal of interaction from the people who watched it live - is still on Facebook. Click here to check it out.


Friday, 13 October 2017

Cinema Scent: Blade Runner 2049 (dir. Denis Villeneuve; 2017)

Despite the dubious gender politics, the self-important pace and the portentous hamminess of Jared Leto, it would be churlish to deny that Blade Runner 2049 provides much to enjoy and admire. There are a few genuinely eyebrow-raising surprises in the plot, which sees yet another bedraggled policeman hunting an important replicant. The sound design almost radiates out of the screen like a three-dimensional entity. And the various nods and winks to the original possess a power that goes beyond that of mere nostalgia. So yes, even though I'm not sure it's a sequel we needed, I would urge all fans of the Ridley Scott version to watch it.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Friday 13th October 2017

The trouble with live video broadcasts is that you have to fit them into a specific, audience-friendly, day-time slot in your schedule because they're... errmm... live. But despite the odds, the stars have suddenly aligned and it looks like this Friday afternoon will work for my next one. So, all being well, episode 7 of Love At First Scent will be transmitted via my Facebook page on 13th October at 3:30 pm (UK time). On my list of things to sniff will be the unopened sample of the new Byredo above, together with a few goodies from Penhaligon's, Puredistance and Guerlain.

I do hope you'll be able to tune in!


Friday, 6 October 2017

Maiden Call: Thoughts On Chanel Gabrielle, Twilly D'Hermès, Mugler Aura & Gucci Bloom

It’s been brewing for a little while. A mention here. A business report there. But one recent event has turned up the heat and brought the mixture to a boil. And now there’s no avoiding it: the perfume industry is desperate for the cash of young women. Trouble is, desperation is often served with fear.

I’m sure you’ve worked out which event I’m referring to: Chanel’s launch of Gabrielle, their first stand-alone, mainstream, feminine scent for over a decade. It arrives roughly at the same time as Twilly D’Hermès and Gucci Bloom, and not long after Dior’s Poison Girl and Mugler’s Aura. Look a little bit further back and you’ll also find Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse (whose flankers just keep coming) as well as Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire. All of them - with their marketing, their design and their smells - are clamouring for the attention of females below the age of 30.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 6 On YouTube

Episode 6 of my Love At First Scent series is now on YouTube; watch it by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). In this edition I covered

Un Air De Bretagne from L'Artisan Parfumeur
(at around the 3:00 minute mark)
Note Di Colonia IV from Acqua Di Parma (at approx 13:00 mins)
Hemlock and Wolfsbane from Parfums Quartana's Les Potions Fatales collection (at approx 23:00 and 34:00 mins respectively)
Tender from Miller Harris (at approx 45:00 mins)

The original video is still on Facebook (click here), so please head over there if you'd like to see the comments that were left during the broadcast.


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Feeling Your Fragrance: Persolaise In The Scented Letter + Facebook Live On Friday

Spend just a few minutes going through some of the world’s most-respected perfume sites, and you’re bound to see countless references to everything from vinyl to velvet. For instance, Neil Chapman, Jasmine Award winning writer of the Black Narcissus blog, believes that "many perfumes are redolent of textures and fabric: both grace the skin and the body, and they complement and amplify each other to beautiful effect."
I'm excited to let you know that the cover story of the latest issue of The Scented Letter was written by yours truly: it focuses on the subject of how and why some fragrances and ingredients remind us of certain fabrics. Naturally, it features references to lots of fascinating perfumes, but as ever, I won't say what they are here, because the magazine is available only to members of The Perfume Society. To sign up - and gain access to previous editions of the magazine - please click here.

Oh, and before I go, a quick reminder about the next episode of Love At First Scent, my Facebook Live event: it'll be on my Facebook page (click here) on Friday 29th September, at 3:30 pm UK time. I hope you'll be able to tune in!


Friday, 22 September 2017

Persolaise Review: Nuit De Bakélite from Naomi Goodsir (Isabelle Doyen; 2017)

Tuberose is going through something of a mini revival. If the press notes are to be believed, it forms a significant part of Chanel's new Gabrielle (consider me unconvinced on that specific point, although overall, the scent is pleasant enough), it makes a curious companion with ginger in Twilly D'Hermès (about which I shall try to write more soon) and it tries to restore a brand's beleaguered fragrance reputation in Gucci's Bloom (their first half-decent feminine for ages). That's all well and good. In fact, it's almost a cause for excitement. But then along comes something from the less fearful, more free-minded independent sector, and suddenly the mainstream contenders fade into the background. Cue: Isabelle Doyen's Nuit De Bakélite for Naomi Goodsir, the brand's fifth addition to a consistently solid collection.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Cinema Scent: Detroit (dir. Kathryn Bigelow; 2017)

There had to be at least one mention of it. About two-thirds of the way through Kathryn Bigelow’s gut-punching Detroit - an account of the horrific events which took place at the Algiers Motel in 1967 - the white police officer Krauss (memorably played by Will Poulter in an inspired bit of casting) asks Hannah Murray's Julie how she can stand to mix with black men. Doesn't she find the smell of their Afro Sheen unbearable? It’s a startling mention of scent in a film dealing with a subject which often sees smell descriptions hurled as insults: racism. In fact, so frequently is body odour used as a marker of separation between acrimonious groups of humans, it’s surprising that there aren't more references to it in Detroit.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Persolaise Review: Beach Hut Man from Amouage (Elise Benat; 2017)

I think it's safe to assume that Christopher Chong has a sense of fun. In order to preserve the seriousness of Amouage’s signature range, the brand’s Creative Director has avoided populating it with any fragrances that could be seen as lightweight. Nevertheless, he possesses an understandable desire to explore ‘easier’ olfactory codes, so in recent years, he's given plenty of attention to his Midnight Flower collection, which has seen him recruiting the likes of such un-Amouage characters as lilacs and freesias. The latest entry in this range is Beach Hut Man (I'd like to have been at the marketing meeting when that name was first mooted) and sure enough, it is as carefree and exuberant as some of the main Amouage fragrances are dignified.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Cinema Scent: God's Own Country (dir. Francis Lee; 2017)

It's been a while since I watched a film quite as pungent as this one: from the moment it begins, Francis Lee's moving and well-observed God's Own Country reeks of the many smells of its environment. In almost every frame, someone's either vomiting or urinating or licking a scab or thrashing around in mud (a re-working of the Women In Love wrestling scene?) or having sex. In fact, at one point - which foreshadows a poignant moment towards the end - a ewe is persuaded to suckle a lamb after it's clothed in the wool of her dead baby. She gives it a sniff and then allows it to approach.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Persolaise In Harper's Bazaar India

It is with massive excitement that I'd like to share this piece of news with you: the latest edition of none other than Harper's Bazaar India features an article by yours truly on the subject of strange perfumes. I haven't seen the issue yet - apparently, a copy is making its way to me - but I thought I'd give any India-based readers a heads-up straight away so that you can all rush out to your nearest newsstand. Mind you, it's very likely that the magazine is also available outside India; I shall certainly look out for it the next time I'm in London.

UPDATE: The magazine is also available in digital format... which means you can buy it wherever you are!


Friday, 8 September 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: April to June 2017 [part 2]

For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Orange Leaf from Perfumer H (Lyn Harris; 2017)*
Cologne-like presentation of a vivid citrus leaf on a smouldering bark of wood. Displays typical Harris clarity.

Bat from Zoologist (Ellen Covey; 2015)***
Exactly like stepping inside damp, dank, deadly dungeon. Musty. Fetid. Mouldy. Disturbing. Quite extraordinary. But wearable?

Flower Eau De Lumiere from Kenzo (Alberto Morillas & Amandine Clerc-Marie; 2017)*
Fascinating flanker, ditching steamed musks in favour of sensual blossoms. Definite red tint to this lumiere.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Cinema Scent: Under The Shadow (dir. Babak Anvari; 2016)

Watching Babak Anvari’s superb Under The Shadow reminded me that, more often than not, the way film-makers choose to depict smell is by showing their characters’ reactions to it. Eyes lift with pleasure. Faces crinkle with incomprehension. Bodies double up with disgust. And the reason Anvari prompted this thought is that, unless my memory fails me, I don't think there’s a single moment in his movie when the actors are confronted by the olfactory aspect of their world. As Under The Shadow, in many ways, slots into the horror genre - which invariably resorts to visceral imagery - its apparent avoidance of odour adds to its originality.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 5 On YouTube

Episode 5 of my Facebook Live Love At First Scent series - complete with its annoying technical issue - is now on YouTube; watch it by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). In this instalment I covered

Lui from Guerlain
Naja from Vero Profumo
Elements Of Man: Integrity from Ermenegildo Zegna
Garden Roses from Burberry
Beach Hut Man from Amouage

The original video is still on Facebook (click here), so please head over there if you'd like to see the interaction which took place during the live stream.


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Trouble With Perfume Adverts - Persolaise In Issue 3 of Tauer Mag

image: Tauer Perfumes

I feel very fortunate to be able to say that latest edition of Tauer Mag features another piece by yours truly, this time on the far-too-vast-for-one-article subject of perfume commercials. The magazine is available only in print, so if you'd like to order it, please click here.

A quick reminder that - family commitments permitting - I'm still hoping to broadcast my next Facebook Live episode of Love At First Scent this Friday, 25th August, at 3:30 pm UK time. If I need to cancel, I'll let you know as soon as possible.


Monday, 21 August 2017

Minimalist Mission - Persolaise On Feelunique + The Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Facebook Live

image: Feelunique

A whisper of minimalism makes its way into my latest piece for Feelunique, featuring scents for those times when you just need to tone things down a tiny bit. Please click here to read it.

In other news... I'm hoping to broadcast my next Facebook Live episode of Love At First Scent this Friday, 25th August, at 3:30 pm UK time. However, I'm striking a slightly tentative note because there's a chance I might be needed to help out a family member with a hospital appointment during that time. (There it goes again: everyday life interfering with perfume stuff!) If I can't go ahead with the broadcast then, of course, I'll let you know straight away. But fingers crossed, all will be well.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Persolaise Review: Histoire D'Orangers from L'Artisan Parfumeur (Marie Salamagne; 2017)

Perfume names are a constant source of puzzlement to me. More of than not, it's because so many of them are downright awful (Girl Of Now?!!) but sometimes, the cause of my incomprehension is that they're ill-chosen in relation to the other members of a brand’s portfolio. Take Histoire D’Orangers, for instance. Surely, L’Artisan Parfumeur have already told an ‘orange tree story’ - if we're to take the name literally - in their superb Séville À L’Aube by Bertrand Duchaufour. Indeed, that perfume was the very definition of a scented tale, with a lucid narrative and a clear sense of development, as devised by Denyse Beaulieu, who worked with Duchaufour on the composition. This new release is certainly focussed on an orange tree - indeed, its key note is the plant’s intoxicating blossom - but it doesn't operate like a story at all, preferring instead to present a single, painstakingly detailed snapshot.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Persolaise Review: Mandarino Di Amalfi Acqua from Tom Ford (2017)

I guess it's fair to assume that Tom Ford found gold at the bottom of his pool of water: last year’s release of an Acqua version of Neroli Portofino must have been successful, because 2014’s Mandarino Di Amalfi has just been given the same treatment. And if the move turns out to be equally lucrative for Mr Ford, you won't catch me complaining, because it leaves all of the rest of us winners too. Simply put, Mandarino Di Amalfi Acqua is one of this year’s best ‘summer colognes’. I enjoyed the syrupy citruses of the original version, but only up to the point when they were shoved aside by the somewhat more prosaic wood notes. However, this Acqua iteration dispenses with the woods and opts for a more overtly floral accompaniment to the eponymous fruit, which in this case, is even lighter, brighter and more mouth-watering. Like a wish for summer to last all year long, the fragrance freezes time, so that it is forever hovering somewhere between that second cocktail and a limb-loosening stroll along the beach. Or maybe it's a diver, half-way between a precipice and the pristine surface of the ocean, just on the verge of finding that gleaming cache of gold. Sparkling work.

[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Tom Ford in 2017]


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Cinema Scent: The Graduate (dir. Mike Nichols; 1967)

What's the smell of disillusionment? According to Mike Nichols’ The Graduate - currently enjoying a 50th anniversary, big-screen re-release - it’s cigarette smoke and whisky on ice. The film’s most disillusioned character - the implacable Mrs Robinson, apparently crushed by years of self-directed anger - is almost always surrounded by a tobacco haze or holding a half-empty glass. In fact, in many ways, she is the movie’s most scented feature, which is entirely appropriate, given her placement within the realms of the sensual. She’s also contrasted with her seemingly scent-free daughter, Elaine: well-scrubbed, wholesome and channelling Liz Claiborne aesthetics long before they became popular. But is that a Dior bottle we see on Elaine's dressing table? The camera doesn't let us get a close enough look, although it's tempting to think it might be the weightless Eau Fraîche.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: April to June 2017 [part 1]

For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Pelargonium from Aedes De Venustas (Nathalie Feisthauer; 2017)*
A geranium carved out of pine, sprinkled with lemon and infused with white incense. Elegant and decorous.

Oud Essentiel from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser; 2017)*
Yes, another rosy-leathery-woody oud. But it's well done. And it gets the thumbs up from the oud-loving Madame P.

Hyacinth & A Mechanic from Tauerville (Andy Tauer; 2016)**
As it says, bold, diffusive hyacinth contrasted with greasy overalls and a leather belt. Total delight to wear.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Fallen Linguist: An Interview With Nick Steward Of Gallivant

"I like places with a bit of grit and a bit of underbelly," says Nick Steward. "Real places."

His words may seem a touch incongruous in the context of tea and canelé at Piccadilly's opulent Maison Assouline, yet for some reason, they ring true. Perhaps it's to do with his unostentatious appearance: inquisitive smile over a slender, Breton-stripe-wearing frame. Or maybe it's his tone: measured, reflective, gentle on the consonants. But whatever the cause, when the 40-something, London-based, self-confessed product-obsessive presents his new fragrance brand, Gallivant, it's difficult not to be won over by the manner in which he describes it.

Monday, 24 July 2017

More Updates On The London Perfume Shopping Guide

image: Jovoy

Just in case some of you aren't aware - or you need a reminder - I ought to mention that one of this site's most popular posts is my guide to London's perfume shopping scene. If you're planning on visiting the city this summer, you should find that almost all the info in the guide is correct, as I update it quite regularly. 

One of the latest additions to my listing is the new Jovoy boutique on Conduit Street (above) where you'll find Neela Vermeire Creations, Aedes De Venustas and Evody, amongst many others. Well worth checking out.

To read the guide, please click here.

Happy shopping!


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Persolaise Review: Concrete from Comme Des Garçons (2017)

Consider me won over. When I first began to explore Comme Des Garçons’ new Concrete - housed in a suitably industrial-looking, scratch-prone version of the familiar pebble bottle - I couldn't help feeling a tiny bit let down. Its opening excited me: a grey, humid, liquid-splattered-on-powder evocation of the ubiquitous building material. And its sweet facet provided a welcome contrast, like berries squashed against granite. But then it all seemed to turn rather pedestrian. Was the promising start leading to nothing more than a tame vanilla? Was the sandalwood mentioned in the press notes going to appear as a mere suggestion of synthetic dryness? Was the triumph of last year’s Blackpepper not to be repeated?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Keep It In The Family - Persolaise On Feelunique

image: Feelunique

For my latest Feelunique article, I've presented a very simple guide to some of the main fragrance families (ie chypre, oriental, leather et al). If you'd like to read it - and to see which scent recommendations I've made for each of the families - please click here.


Friday, 14 July 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 4 On YouTube

Those of you who missed Episode 4 of my Facebook Live Love At First Scent series may be interested to know that it's now on YouTube; watch it by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). In this instalment I sniffed

Terroni from Orto Parisi
Girl Of Now from Elie Saab
Live'n'Loud and Feel'n'Chill from Jusbox
Cristal Sensuel from Lalique

I also took a few moments to touch on Histoire D'Orangers from L'Artisan Parfumeur (full review coming soon) as well as the Figment duo from Amouage.

The original video is still on Facebook (click here), which is where you'll find the comments left by viewers during the live stream.


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Point At Which They Meet: Nicolas Chabot On Æther

You talk with buyers in London, they say, 'Okay, if you want to get into our stores, you need to use oud, you need to concentrate at 30%, you need to do this and that.' And I think, 'If you want to do that, do it yourself.' That's always the difference between business and creativity. At what point do they meet? At what point do you make something which you can sell, but which brings something new to the market?

A few months ago, I met up with Nicolas Chabot to discuss the London launch of his all-synthetic Æther brand. To read a record of our chat - which included his thoughts on each of the scents in his collection - click here.


Monday, 10 July 2017

What Does Unisex Mean Anyway? - Persolaise & The Perfume Pros On YouTube

For the third and final video I made with the Perfume Pros, I was asked to consider the question of why some perfumes might lend themselves more to the 'unisex' label than others. I hope you enjoy the discussion.

If you'd prefer to watch it on the YouTube site, please click here.


Friday, 7 July 2017

Non-Perfume Post: Dariush Alavi On BBC Radio 4 Film Programme

I hope you won't mind my stepping away from the world of perfume for a moment to bring you some news about another creative field that is dear to my heart.

Those of you who take an interest in the world of cinema may already be regular listeners of BBC Radio 4’s Film Programme presented by Francine Stock… and if you're not, you really ought to be. Since the start of this year, the programme has been running through an alternative, anti-usual-suspects A-Z of best directors and as it approached the letter K, its makers did me the tremendous honour of inviting me into the studio to say a few words about my all-time favourite. To find out who that is, you'll have to listen to the podcast (click here). If you don't have time for the entire episode, fast forward to around the 6-minute mark. I should also mention that my appearance is in 'unmasked' mode - not as Persolaise but as Dariush Alavi - which seems appropriate for an instalment focussing on the new Spider-Man movie.

Scented service will resume with the next post.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Persolaise Sixty Second Scents: L'Eau from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer; 2017) + Love At First Scent Is Back On Friday!

My latest Sixty Second Scents review is on a new release from Andy Tauer: a modern cologne called L'Eau. To watch it on the YouTube site, please click here.


This Friday, 8th July, at 2:30 pm (UK time) please tune in to my Facebook page (click here) for Episode 4 of Love At First Scent, my series of live broadcasts in which I smell new releases for the first time on camera and try to put my initial impressions into words for you. To see the previous episodes, please click here.


Thursday, 29 June 2017

Stepping Over To The Other Side - Chandler Burr On You Or Someone Like You

A double-whammy for you today, you lucky, lucky people. Over on Basenotes (click here), you can read my interview with Etienne De Swardt of Etat Libre D'Orange, conducted at the London launch of the new You Or Someone Like You. And below, you'll find highlights of a recent correspondence with one of the scent's co-creators, none other than Chandler Burr, author of The Emperor Of Scent as well a novel called You Or Someone Like You, on which this new fragrance is based.

Quick tip: I'd say you ought to read the Basenotes piece before you read this one. And for my review of You Or Someone Like You, please click here.



Persolaise: As someone whose role in the perfumery industry has been that of critic and commentator, what was it like stepping behind the scenes to develop a perfume? Did you gain new insights into the creation process? Did you find yourself developing a greater (or lesser!?) appreciation of some aspects of the system?

Chandler Burr: Absolutely I have a greater appreciation for what Helen Murphy, Karyn Khoury, and other creative directors do. It was interesting and perhaps slightly surreal to actually be doing what for over a decade I've watched, documented -- for The New Yorker inside Hermès and for the New York Times with Sarah Jessica Parker most extensively -- for over a decade. It was pretty nerve wracking at the time. "This mod or that one? What do I choose? Wait, why the f*** can't I even smell the difference? Calm down, just smell them tomorrow. Ah, now the difference is clear -- but still, which one should I choose?" I ask Caroline Sabas, the perfumer, to try two things; she and I then both agree they don't work. She gives me an "OK, genius, what do you want to do now?" look. But when it works, it's just awesome.


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