Friday, 28 December 2018

The Best Perfumes Of 2018 - Nostalgic Defiance


Last December, while composing my usual list of the best perfumes of the year, I wrote that most brands chose to play it safe in 2017. I don't think 2018 presented me with much cause to change that assessment. If anything, it was the mainstream sector - rather than the indie world - that permitted itself to cultivate a few buds of bravery, granting marginally larger budgets to some releases and making a tentative move to abandon certain exhausted cliches. That said, the perfume world remains in the grip of the same forces that maintain a restrictive hold over many global business operations and, consequently, compel decision-makers to follow the path of least resistance towards the easiest options on offer.

Some would argue that those restrictive influences aren't making their presence felt at the very top: according to many reports, sales of the most 'high end', most expensive fragrances displayed healthy growth this year. And if that's true, then it's yet another neat reflection of the wider picture: the gap between the two poles of 'western' society continues to widen, prompting fears about the collapse and disappearance of what once felt like a safe middle. Certainly, the fragrance industry remains fascinating to watch, and even though 2018 didn't give us any headlines about high-profile acquisitions or brand bankruptcies, I would say a few interesting developments aren't too far away.

But what about the perfumes themselves? As ever, once the year's olfactory plonk was dismissed and poured down the drain, the number of commendable creations left standing was more than respectable. Olivier Polge brought a sense of streamlined ease to Chanel with Paris-Biarritz. Quentin Bisch added a new chapter to the tale of modern chypres with his endearing Nomade for Chloe. The folks at Acqua Di Parma bottled an irresistible Italian sun in Chinotto Di Liguria. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the original Cartier Declaration, Mathilde Laurent presented a suitably more statesmanlike, parfum version. Tom Ford offered a chuckle-inducing time-warp to the past with Fougere Platine. The irrepressible combo of lime and verbena sparkled with Mediterranean vigour in Goutal's Bois D'Hadrien. And the re-invention of Miller Harris entered a delightfully spiky phase with the appearance of the nettle-infused Wander Through The Parks. Excellent creations all... but they haven't made it onto my Top 10.

I'll leave you in peace to read the list in a moment, but if I had to sum it up in a few lines, I suppose I'd say that it's defiant. For one reason or another, all the scents on it feel like a statement of intent: a refusal to descend into the soup of banality. Tellingly, in many cases, this means resorting to retro styles. But not in all. Some of the compositions below feel like a genuine gaze into the future: a desire to capture and pin down a glimpse of what hovers in the distance and might one day come to be.

And that seems like an ideal note on which to say a sincere, heartfelt and joyful thank you to all of YOU - my dear readers, viewers and followers - for your wit, encouragement and support this year. I learn so much from you and I am always touched and grateful when you take the time to contact me, either through this blog, or on social media or by email. Long may our conversations continue.

I wish you nothing but good health and happiness for 2019. Oh, and plenty of perfume too, of course.

Here comes the Top 10... as ever with the caveats that: a) I did not smell every single thing released in 2018, and b) the list was drawn from what was new to me in the last twelve months (ie pre-2018 creations I first tried last year were eligible for inclusion).

[NOTE: The 'live' video version of this list will be added to this post as soon as it's available on YouTube. UPDATE: Scroll down for the video or click here to watch it on YouTube.]

Cardamusc by Christine Nagel for Hermès
When Christine Nagel revived the Hermessence range, she did so with all the style and elegance for which she’s rightly renowned. The finest of the quintet she added to the collection was, without doubt, Cardamusc: a time-slowing, heart-capturing embrace between the vivacious coolness of cardamom and the come-hither glow of modern musks.

We’ve come to expect a riot of multi-sensory stimuli from Neela Vermeire, but with Niral, she outdid herself in that particular regard, presenting iris and violet against a rosy-sandalwood backdrop of the most vivid hues this side of Juhu Beach. With scents like this, who needs tinted sunglasses.

The fact that this is unashamedly an update of Almairac’s own Gucci Pour Homme from 2003 doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be allowed on the list, because encountering - and then wearing - its precision-engineered balance of incense, pepper, cedar, amber and oud was one of my most memorable olfactory highlights of the year.

The greens, mosses and narcissus-like florals of classics from yesteryear made their presence felt in the summer-in-a-forest delights of Dryad, Liz Moores’ most assured and confident composition so far. A dream-laden sunset you wish you could relive for days.

Proving that modern chypres can be commanding, sophisticated and surprising at the same time, The Tycoon presents an agenda that ranges from galbanum to castoreum - with brief items on magnolia and oakmoss - before throwing it all out of the window and insisting that everyone takes the rest of the day off. Assertively fun-loving.

The trend towards futurertro aesthetics in several recent releases found its most endearing and satisfying form in Creative Director Christopher Chong’s Imitation duo. The male version dressed up a hairy-chested patchouli with a gloriously weird leather-violet accord, while the feminine iteration channeled candle-wax aldehydes through blackcurrant and a delightful, vintage-inflected ylang. Despite their name, these are two of this year’s true originals.

With characteristic disregard for fashions and popular tastes, Tauer waited years before giving us his take on oud. But unsurprisingly, when he did, the result was notable for the integrity and lack of ostentation that have won the Swiss perfumer so many fans. Like a back-to-basics primer, L’Oudh ignores all alleged competitors, showcases its star material’s key facets (minus pungently fecal notes) and then throws down the gauntlet to most other scents claiming to contain agarwood.

Inspiration, name and execution all align in this suitably angelic presentation of leather, wherein the material is lifted up to some distant comet’s tail thanks to the help of pepper and ambrette. Plus, it proves that Bisch remains a talent to watch.

Perhaps the most heartwarming of Ostens’ deliciously geeky releases is this take on nostalgic comfort from Dadier. Using tobacco to form a bridge between galbanum and cedar, it is part a trip into a freaky, Hansel & Gretel fairy tale, part a magical day spent at your favourite grandparent’s. In other words: enchanting.

Although its Burj Khalifa price tag may mean few end up smelling it, The Dawn could possibly turn out to become the final word on modern perfumery’s insistent use of woody-amber materials in masculine scents. Here - beneath the canopy of a leathery oud - they’re presented with finesse, restraint and more than just a hint of danger. It may be The Dawn, but I’m not sure it’s inviting anyone to get out of bed any time soon.

Happy new year!

Persolaise


Sunday, 23 December 2018

Christmas Wishes 2018 & Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 24 Now On YouTube - featuring Opus XI from Amouage and Vero Kern Tribute


The 24th episode of Love At First Scent - originally broadcast on Facebook on 21st December - is now on YouTube. You can watch it below or by clicking here. In this instalment I covered:

Opus XI from Amouage (at the start of the video)
Impression Cedarwood Heart from Ostens (at the 18:00 minute mark)
Cuir Celeste from Ex Nihilo (at the 42:50 minute mark)

and the classic scent was
Onda from Vero Profumo
in order to mark the sad passing of Vero Kern (at the 33:30 minute mark)

Finally, if you celebrate Christmas, please accept my sincere wishes for a joyous, peaceful and tranquil festive season. And if you don't... well, I'm more than happy for you to share in the wishes.

Please try to tune in to Facebook Live on Friday 28th December at 3:30 pm UK time (10:30 am New York, 8:30 pm Dubai) in which I present my list of the top 10 perfumes of the year. This will immediately be followed by the publication of my traditional 'best of' post here on Persolaise.com

Enjoy the feasting!

Persolaise



Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Persolaise Review: Niral from Neela Vermeire Creations (Bertrand Duchaufour; 2018)


In recent weeks, I’ve had cause to think about Apres L’Ondee and the famously heartbreaking manner in which it combines iris and violet. With that seamless magic peculiar to perfumery, the Guerlain classic sees both materials augmenting each other’s characteristics and concealing some of their more dubious traits: the iris becomes less austere thanks to the youthful exuberance of the violet, which itself becomes less cloying because of the seemingly magnified woodiness of the iris. It is, without question, one of the most compelling interplays in scent creation. So it was with great delight that I discovered it in Neela Vermeire’s new Niral, composed by Bertrand Duchaufour.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: August to September 2018 [part 2]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Mr Burberry Indigo from Burberry (Francis Kurkdjian; 2018)*
When you’ve spent 10 days crawling through a desert, even the muddiest water is refreshing. Enter: Mr Burberry Indigo - a modest oasis in an endless Sahara of masculine perfumery. Understated, cucumber-saline opening. The minty-lime-leafy air of Fahrenheit 32. A (relatively!) well-judged base of ambery woods and mosses. Nothing we haven’t seen before. But asking for originality in mainstream scent creation for men feels like utter lunacy at the moment, when you can rarely even find pleasantness. Drink the water wherever you find it.

Luna Rossa Black from Prada (Daniela Andrier; 2018)*
When you’re a person of the male persuasion and you don’t have access to a wide range of fragrance releases - or your budget is a touch on the restrictive side - you take your scented blessings where you can find them. Cue: the new Black version of Prada Luna Rossa. Let me be clear: this is yet another variant of the citrus-woody-amber theme that has become more ubiquitous than pouts in selfies and threatens to plunge the whole of masculine perfumery into the corner of hell reserved for those tree-shaped air fresheners so beloved by car wash companies. That said, it tries to inject some vitality into the genre in the form of a liquorice note - perhaps achieved by a combo of angelica and tonka bean - which lends proceedings a suitably saturnine air of darkness. It’s an idea reminiscent of the now discontinued Kokorico from Jean-Paul Gaultier (2011), a scent whose influence I’ve detected in a few recent releases, as it happens. I daren’t allow myself to see this as a sign that brands have finally decided to shake things up a little on the boys’ side of the shop floor. But we live in hope.

Eau De Givenchy from Givenchy (Francois Demachy; 2018)*
The kind of optimistic, orange-blossom-and-neroli cologne that makes you think maybe global warming isn’t such a terrible thing. Endless summer everywhere and people easing themselves into permanent smiles. Lovely work.

Friday, 7 December 2018

The Complete Persolaise Perfume Gift Guide - Christmas 2018


While putting together my 2018 list of Christmas perfume gift recommendations, I discovered that Storify is no longer with us, which is a bit of a shame, because several of my previous lists had been stored there. So, to try to prevent the ill effects of any social media disappearances, this year’s selection is going to be presented as an old-fashioned blog post - a compilation of tweets bearing the #PersolaiseXmas18 tag - complete with links for more info on the various goodies that ought to find their way under your trees.

Enjoy finding out what they are... and happy shopping!

Monday, 3 December 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 23 Now On YouTube - 190 Years Of Guerlain - Anniversary Special


On Friday 30th November, I broadcast the 23rd episode of Love At First Scent: a special instalment celebrating the 190th anniversary of Guerlain. It's now available on YouTube and you can watch it above or by clicking here. If you'd like to see the original FacebookLive version - with comments from viewers - please click here. In this episode I covered:

Vol de Nuit extrait (at the start of the video)
Vol de Nuit Evasion (at the 26:00 minute mark)
Shalimar Eau Legere (at the 38:00 minute mark)
Iris Ganache (at the 55:00 minute mark)
Habit Rouge edt (at the 1:00:00 minute mark)
and a very special version of Apres L’Ondee extrait
(at the 1:12:00 minute mark)

Enjoy!

Persolaise

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Next Episode Of Love At First Scent: Guerlain Anniversary Special - 190 Years


The next episode of Love At First Scent will be broadcast on Facebook Live this Friday 30th November at 3 pm UK time (10 am New York; 7 pm Dubai). I do hope you'll be able to tune in as it's going to be a special instalment celebrating the 190th anniversary of Guerlain.

Persolaise

Friday, 23 November 2018

Persolaise Review: Perfumes The Guide 2018 by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez (Perfüümista ÖÜ; 2018)



When you pick up a new book by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez and you discover that a review of a gardenia perfume begins with that familiar refrain of ‘Not gardenia’, you find yourself heaving a mightily stress-banishing sigh of relief, because you realise that, no matter how insane the world around you may seem, at least a few things can be relied upon to remain the same. In this case: the quality and honesty of Turin and Sanchez’s fragrance assessments. Those attributes come to the fore in Perfumes The Guide 2018, their most far-reaching release since their rightly lauded and influential guide from 2009.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 22 Now On YouTube - Featuring The Dawn from Frederic Malle and In The Wood For Love from Roos & Roos


The 22nd episode of Love At First Scent - streamed on Friday 2nd November 2018 on Facebook Live - is now available on YouTube; you can watch it above or by clicking here. Unfortunately, the broadcast was plagued by some kind of technical issue which has resulted in the image quality not being High Def and veering from acceptable to poor on several occasions. (Thankfully, the audio is fine.) I can only apologise, but I won't delete the episode, on the premise that you'd rather have low-quality visuals than none at all. Better luck next time. Anyway, in this edition I covered:

The Dawn 'الفجر'  from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle
(at the start of the video)
Tommy Now from Tommy Hilfiger (at the 28:30 minute mark)
In The Wood For Love from Roos & Roos (at the 42:00 minute mark)
Spiceair from Hermetica (at the 1:09:30 minute mark)

and the classic scent was

Nu from Yves Saint Laurent (at the 57:00 minute mark)

Enjoy!

Persolaise


Friday, 9 November 2018

Persolaise Review: Mandarine Glaciale from Atelier Cologne (Jerome Epinette; 2015)


I continue to view the output of Atelier Cologne with both interest and suspicion. They insist that their ‘cologne absolues’ are fresh compositions that manage to pull off the fiendish trick of lasting longer than traditional colognes. But the truth is that many of their scents tick the longevity box because they eschew lightness and rely on hard-hitting ingredients to achieve tenacity... which essentially means they end up being like any other eau de parfum. However, sometimes the concept and the execution come together to produce a praiseworthy result, as in the case of Jerome Epinette's Mandarine Glaciale. We’re used to the idea of aldehydes lending a sense of cool, detached elegance to florals and resins (you may have heard of a perfume called No. 5) but I can’t think of many instances where their influence is used on citruses. Here, the faintly saline, flint-like quality of mandarin is attached with great skill to the deep-chill hauteur of candle-wax aldehydes, which, when they segue into the pine-and-incense heart, create a compelling image of a flash of colour placed in an unexpected context, like a flamingo against a snow-covered peak in Switzerland. It’s a startling picture and yes, as the brand would have us believe, it lasts. An enjoyable piece of work which reminds you that although we love lemons and oranges for how they conjure impressions of Mediterranean balminess, there’s also nothing quite like the tingling pleasure of running your tongue across a deep-frozen citrus sorbet. 

[Review based on a sample of cologne absolue provided by Atelier Cologne in 2018.]

Persolaise

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

What Goes Around... - Persolaise In Business Traveller


In my latest piece for Business Traveller UK, I've turned my attention to the recent crop of retro-inflected masculines for men, so if you'd like to read it, please search for a digital edition on your tablet. (Here's a link to the iPad/iTunes edition.)

Also, please don't forget that at around 1:00 pm UK time on Thursday 8th November, I'll be joining the team at Feelunique for a perfume Q&A on their Instagram channel. Hope you can tune in!

Persolaise

Monday, 5 November 2018

Persolaise On Feelunique Instagram Live This Thursday


For my next live video stream, I'm going to be joining the wonderful people at Feelunique and broadcasting a perfume Q&A session through their Instagram channel, so please do try to join me. The stream will begin at around 1:00 pm (UK time) on Thursday 8th November.

Persolaise

Friday, 2 November 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 21 Now On YouTube


Episode 21 of Love At First Scent - streamed on Sunday 28th October 2018 on Facebook Live - has just been uploaded to YouTube; you can watch it above or by clicking here. In this edition I covered

The One Mysterious Night from Dolce & Gabbana (at the start of the video)
Pure XS edp from Paco Rabanne (at the 14:00 minute mark)
Erawan from Dusita (at the 28:00 minute mark)
Her from Burberry (at the 45:00 minute mark)

and the classic scent was

Encre Noire from Lalique (at the 37:00 minute mark)

Persolaise

Friday, 26 October 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: August to September 2018 [part 1]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Aura eau de toilette from Mugler (2018)*
Plays it even safer than the edp, toning down the vine-y greenness to make more room for the pear and the vanilla. If it does create a halo, it’s aimed squarely at Insta-pouting millennials.

Nuit D’Issey Noir Argent from Issey Miyake (Dominique Ropion; 2018)*
One of the better mainstream masculines of the last year. Cinnamon, nutmeg and a leafy-green tobacco against a distant backdrop of ozonic woods. Not as complicated as its name.

L’Insoumis Ma Force from Lalique (Fabrice Pellegrin; 2018)*
Add it to the endless list of those citrus-woody-amber masculines that make a compelling case for an all-female society. La force is weak with this one.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Persolaise Review: Samsara from Guerlain (Jean-Paul Guerlain; 1989)


Does anyone else play this game? A few weeks ago, Madame Persolaise and I found ourselves in a medium-sized European airport and, as she usually does in such situations, she’d arrived unscented so that I could look around the shop and choose something for her. As most Duty Frees still don’t stock non-mainstream releases - they can’t all be like Dubai International, I suppose - I always find this an interesting little exercise in working out what I’d wear - or buy for someone else - if I didn’t have access to the wares of the independent sector, or even the ‘exclusive’ lines from the more familiar brands. As my eyes glanced over the Versaces, the Armanis and the D&G’s, I wondered if my interest in perfumery would have been as strong as it is today if I’d been brought up on a diet of current mainstream fare (ie Invictus, YSL L’Homme and Eros) rather than that of the 80s and 90s (Antaeus, Fahrenheit, CK One).

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Scents For Millennials: Persolaise In Harper's Bazaar India

Illustration: Bonzer Muivah for Harper's Bazaar India

I'm excited to announce that the 10th anniversary issue of Harper's Bazaar India features an article by yours truly on the subject of perfumes for millennials. To read a tablet version, please search for 'Harper's Bazaar India' on your device.

Persolaise

Friday, 12 October 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent: Layers 01 from Experimental Perfume Club (Emmanuelle Moeglin; 2018)


My latest Love At First Scent video (live streamed on Facebook on 5th October 2018) is a review of the Layers 01 scents from Experimental Perfume Club: they can be purchased individually or as a set which contains an empty bottle in which you can create your own combination of them. To find out more, watch the video above, or click here to watch it on YouTube.

Persolaise 

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

A Journey In A Bottle - Persolaise In Business Traveller


I'm delighted to announce that my latest piece for Business Traveller - focussing on scents inspired by journeys and exciting destinations - has just been published. It's available in both the magazine's digital and print editions; for more details, please click here.

Persolaise

Friday, 5 October 2018

Persolaise Review: Papyrus Oud from Parle Moi De Parfum (Michel Almairac; 2018)


It’s not often in perfumery that you’re given an opportunity to witness a scent-maker revisiting and honing a particular idea. Two examples that come to mind are Edmond Roudnitska following a train of olfactory thought through Femme, Diorella and Parfum De Therese, and Jean-Claude Ellena refining his various tea compositions. Now we have the case of Michel Almairac and his Gucci Pour Homme from 2003. A justly-adored beauty when it was released, it presented an almost heart-breaking, geometrically-impeccable balance between the fleshy delights of amber, the Sahara dryness of cedar, the facetiousness of pink pepper and the meditative wisdom of incense. Like Eau Sauvage and Habit Rouge, it was one of those conclusive, line-in-the-sand statements on masculinity, bridging the gap between the overtly macho releases of the 80s and the more emotionally literate works that followed. In their infinite wisdom, Gucci discontinued the scent, but a few years ago, Almairac returned to the same structure when asked to create Bentley For Men Absolute. The core accords were immediately recognisable, but they had been darkened by heavier woods. And in 2018, for his own Parle Moi De Parfum brand - co-created with his sons - Almairac presents Papyrus Oud: the same, perfect core, now given a very subtly Middle Eastern twist. In fact, so gentle is the oud note, I wonder if it should’ve been mentioned in the name at all, as it will no doubt lead some to expect a different sort of scent. But never mind. The master has refined one of his finest works, and we’re all the richer for it.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Parle Moi De Parfum in 2018.]

Persolaise

Friday, 28 September 2018

Persolaise Review: The Tycoon, The Stylist, The Actress, The Writer & The Mechanic from St Giles (Bertrand Duchaufour; 2017)


Ascribing a personality to a perfume has long been a trick used by the likes of yours truly to get past the challenge of conveying olfactory sensations in words. No 5 is the impeccable, pouting, Gallic femme. Nahema is the tempestuous princess. Angel is the less-ditzy-than-she-makes-out twentysomething. So when a new brand turns the game into its modus operandi, you can’t help but see the move as a cheeky invitation to test its premise. Do its fragrances really match up to the characters on their packaging?

Friday, 21 September 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 20 Now On YouTube


Episode 20 of Love At First Scent - streamed on Friday 7th September 2018 on Facebook Live - is now available on YouTube; watch it above or by clicking here. In this edition I covered

Musc Noble from Guerlain (at the start of the video)
Le Participe Passé from Serge Lutens (at the 14:00 minute mark)
Terre D’Hermès Eau Intense Vetiver from Hermès (at the 25:00 minute mark)
Trente-Quatre Boulevard Saint Germain edp from Diptyque (at the 54:00 minute mark)

there was also a mention of
Papyrus Oud from Parle Moi De Parfum (at the 52:00 minute mark)

and the classic scent was
Miss Dior from Christian Dior (at the 39:00 minute mark)

Persolaise

Friday, 14 September 2018

Persolaise Review: Joy from Christian Dior (Francois Demachy; 2018)


Smelling Dior’s new Joy (fear not: the Patou people gave them permission to use the name… and they’re now owned by LVMH) made me think of the phrase that was so often repeated on the news during the recent financial crisis: too big to fail. Except that, in Dior’s case, I wondered if it wouldn’t have been more accurate as ‘too big to risk’. Fragrance brands are not and never have been charities. We know that. And we realise that, much as we’d like to imagine them indulging in free-spirited exercises in self-expression, they serve the bottom line and they have no choice but to generate profits. And not just any profits. These have to be sums that prop up a globe-spanning operation which employs thousands of bodies and does its bit for one of the most gigantic luxury goods companies the world has ever seen. And here’s something else we all know too: size is scary. So when placed under the pressure of such monolithic proportions, it isn’t surprising that Dior and its equivalents play it safe.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 19 Now On YouTube


The 19th episode of Love At First Scent - streamed on Friday 31st August 2018 - is now available on YouTube; watch it above or by clicking here. In this edition I covered

Man Wood Essence from Bulgari (at the start of the video)
Love Tuberose from Amouage (at the 24:00 minute mark) 
Alien, Angel and Aura perfuming pens from Mugler (at the 19:00 minute mark) 
Daria from Sammarco (at the 33:00 minute mark)
Bloom Nettare Di Fiori from Gucci (at the 51:00 minute mark) 

and the classic choice was 
Kouros from Yves Saint Laurent (at the 42:00 minute mark)

Persolaise

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Persolaise On ABC Radio Australia With Michael Pavlich + Next Episode Of Love At First Scent


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Michael Pavlich on his Overnights programme on Australia's ABC Radio. The segment is now available online, so if you'd like to listen to it, please click here. It covers a range of topics, from the history of perfumery to the high price tags of modern scents. And we even had time to take some questions from callers!

--

The next episode of my Love At First Scent series will be on Facebook Live on Friday 7th September at 4:00 pm UK time (11:00 am New York time). I hope you'll be able to tune in.

Persolaise

Friday, 31 August 2018

Persolaise Review: Belgravia Chypre, Marylebone Wood & Kensington Amber from Penhaligon's (2018)


At a time when the number of annual perfume releases continues to hit the 2000+ mark, it is increasingly difficult to work out which compositions influence the aesthetics of future scents. The stats are simply too overwhelming: when you're dealing with so many individual pieces of work - and inordinate pressure to emulate the success of others - many are bound to smell very similar and several will go unsniffed and unmentioned. Therefore, trying to discern the precise - or even the vague - starting point of a penchant for a certain style is challenging, to say the least. But despite this, a few perfumes somehow manage to strike a chord so decisively that their power over everything that comes after them is almost impossible to deny. One such beast is Dominique Ropion’s Portrait Of A Lady for Frederic Malle, which finds its image reflected in the new Belgravia Chypre from Penhaligon’s, much to the vexation of many people, it would seem.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Friday 31st August 2018


Just a few lines from me to say that as summer draws to a close and the leaves on the trees begin to take on an ambery hue, it's time to resume normal services and schedule the next episode of Love At First Scent. So, if you're free on Friday 31st August 2018 at 2:30 pm UK time (9:30 am New York time) then please do join me on the Persolaise Facebook page for the 19th episode of my series of live reviews.

Hope to see you there!

Persolaise

Friday, 24 August 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: April to July 2018 [part 2]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Oud extrait de parfum from Maison Francis Kurkdjian (Francis Kurkdjian; 2018)*
When Kurkdjian released his first Oud in 2012, he did what many perfumers claim - but fail - to do: present a genuine bridge between east and west, or in this case, between Europe and Arabia. His composition contained the requisite animalic-medicinal growl of oud, but it also depended on the pulling-power of more occidental citruses, woods and synthetic musks. The result was one of my favourite scents of the 21st century, an olfactory homage to boundary-breaking, in the same way that The English Patient was a literary and cinematic treatise on borders and artificial territories. Now Kurkdjian has released an extrait version. It’s just as wonderful as the first and probably more timely. Do seek them both out if you haven’t already.

Invictus Aqua from Paco Rabanne (Nicolas Beaulieu, Juliette Karagueuzoglou; 2018)*
Somewhere, in a post-apocalyptic landscape, the neo-Neanderthals douse themselves with a desolate concoction of brainless citruses and even more moronic amber-woods, ie this new version of Invictus. Or as I shall call it from now on: Invidious.

Olympéa Aqua edp legere from Paco Rabanne (Loc Dong, Fanny Bal; 2018)*
As far as modern, floral-vanillic-patchouli feminines go, this one isn’t more offensive than any others. In fact, it even hints at the existence of a more sophisticated interior now and then. But it’s hard to get excited about such trend-followers.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Persolaise Review: Imitation Woman (Pierre Negrin) and Imitation Man (Leslie Girard) from Amouage (2018)


I wonder if Christopher Chong - Amouage’s unfailingly flamboyant Creative Director - wanted to call his latest scent duo Nostalgia. If he did, perhaps the more fiscally-minded forces at the brand persuaded him to move away from such a wistful word; after all, scent marketeers try to avoid sorrow as much as movie studios shy away from sad endings. Then again, ‘nostalgia’ wouldn’t have been quite the right label for these intriguing creations anyway, because although many aspects of their personalities are rooted in the past, there is an almost palpable drive in both Imitation Woman and Man to look to the future and to reject simplistic notions that everything was so much better when we were younger.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: April to July 2018 [part 1]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Orage from Louis Vuitton (Jacques Cavallier; 2018)*
Fascinating beast. Its studied non-violence makes me think it should’ve been called Apres L’Orage, such is its subtle, whispered handling of citrus, magnolia, iris, patchouli & vetivert. Then a weird, damp quality emerges and you’re delightfully perplexed. 

Sur La Route from Louis Vuitton (Jacques Cavallier; 2018)*
Musky cologne very much in the style of Mugler Cologne, made more interesting by the sweet, powdery, spicy undertones in the base. An amenable travelling companion. 

Au Hasard from Louis Vuitton (Jacques Cavallier; 2018)*
With a brave - almost off-putting - dryness, this tears rose and incense straight off a busy Mumbai street and applies it to a well-textured sandalwood. Both crisp and velvety. Compelling. 

Friday, 3 August 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent: Parle Moi De Parfum Showcase


A few weeks ago, on Instagram Live, I broadcast a brief showcase of Parle Moi De Parfum, a brand founded by legendary perfumer Michel Almairac and his sons. The broadcast has now been uploaded permanently to YouTube, so if you'd like to watch it, please click here.

For more Love At First Scent videos, click here.

Persolaise

Friday, 27 July 2018

Persolaise Review: Bois D'Hadrien from Goutal (Camille Goutal; 2018)


A re-brand is often a cause for concern, but thank goodness that when the Powers That Be at Annick Goutal decided they needed a facelift - different bottles; the ‘Annick’ has been dropped - they evidently thought that the updated look would have to be accompanied by an attention-worthy new scent. It comes in the form of a flanker of sorts to one of their best-known creations, Eau D’Hadrien from 1981. Like its predecessor, Camille Goutal's Bois D’Hadrien is a joyous citrus composition, but whereas the original fizzed with vibrant, lemony energy, this one opts for a greener, leafier, lime-and-verbena effect. As a result, it comes across as the ‘lazy sunset’ counterpart to Eau’s early-morning vitality, and it plays the role well, easing onto the wearer like a sage, silk blouse donned before an evening of relaxed cocktail consumption. There’s a faint suggestion of vanillic orientalism in there too - a nod to Habit Rouge? - and, as the name suggests, a reliance on pebble-smooth woods to boost the citruses and lend weight to the lung-filling pine note. Perhaps it doesn’t last as long as some would like it to, but then neither do holidays. And this olfactory postcard from a sun-filled destination is all the more commendable for its insistence on bidding you farewell long before you’ve grown tired of its presence.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Goutal in 2018.]

Persolaise

Friday, 20 July 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 18 Now On YouTube


Episode 18 of Love At First Scent (broadcast live on YouTube) is now available as a permanent upload, complete with incorrect orientation, thanks to the ol' Tube letting me down; watch it above or by clicking here. In this edition I covered

Hidden On The Rooftops from Miller Harris (at the start of the video)
Grande Bellezza from Folie A Plusieurs (at the 15:00 minute mark)
Velvet Incenso from Dolce & Gabbanna (at the 30:30 minute mark)
Stigmato from Folie A Plusieurs (at the 50:30 minute mark)

and my classic choice was
2 Man from Comme Des Garcons (at the 42:00 minute mark)

Persolaise

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 17 Now On YouTube


Episode 17 of Love At First Scent (broadcast live on Facebook) is now available as a permanent upload on YouTube; watch it above or by clicking here. In this edition I sniffed

Mystic Aromatic from Mugler (at the start of the video)
Guilty Absolute Oud from Gucci (at the 15:30 minute mark)
Wander Through The Parks from Miller Harris (at the 28:00 minute mark)
Moscow Mule from Juliette Has A Gun (at the 53:00 minute mark)

and my classic choice was
Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca from Guerlain (at the 39:30 minute mark)

Persolaise

Friday, 13 July 2018

Persolaise Review: Les Eaux De Chanel - Paris-Biarritz, Paris-Deauville & Paris-Venise from Chanel (Olivier Polge; 2018)



It seems fitting that a rare (perhaps only?) example of a Chanel release inspired directly by the idea of travel is, in itself, a journey through some of the brand’s most memorable olfactory endeavours. According to the press notes, Paris-Venise, Paris-Biarritz and Paris-Deauville were brought to life as an attempt to reinstate the links between France’s capital and three locations that were important to Gabrielle Chanel’s life. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the way perfumer Olivier Polge appears to have decided to tackle the project is by going on a trip through the house’s scented heritage.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Cinema Scent On BBC Radio 4 Film Programme: Apocalypse Now (dir. Francis Ford Coppola; 1979)


Time to dig out your annotated T S Eliot and stick on a bit of Wagner, because my latest contribution to BBC Radio 4's Film Programme, presented by Francine Stock, sinks deep into the murky interior of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Can you take the horror...?

The episode will be broadcast on Thursday 12th July at 4 pm UK time; you can listen live by clicking on this link. I'll post a link to the podcast version after the live broadcast.

UPDATE: Here's a link to some podcast and download options; scroll through to the 25 minute mark for my contribution.

For more Cinema Scent reviews, please click here.

Persolaise

Friday, 6 July 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent: Eau De Citron Noir from Hermès (Christine Nagel; 2018)


For the latest single-perfume instalment of Love At First Scent (which was actually streamed on Instagram before the one I first mentioned here on Persolaise.com) the focus is on Eau De Citron Noir from Hermès, composed by Christine Nagel. To watch the video on YouTube, please click here.

Persolaise

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Friday 6th July + Insta Love Today


At the end of my last full-length episode of Love At First Scent, I said I didn't think I'd be able to broadcast another one until around the end of June. Little did I know that a sad family event was just around the corner; everything else had to be put on hold. However, the Persolaise show must now go on, so I'm pleased to inform you that I hope to stream the next episode - the seventeenth! - this Friday 6th July on Facebook Live at 4 pm UK time (11 am New York time). As per usual, it'll be uploaded to my YouTube channel as soon as possible after the live stream.

Please do try to tune in!

Oh, and if you're really quick off the mark you might be able to catch my Instagram Live showcase of a brand that's excited me more than just about any other I've encountered this year; I'm planning to broadcast it today at 5 pm UK time. If you miss it, don't worry: it too will find its way to YouTube before long.

Persolaise 

Friday, 29 June 2018

Persolaise Review: Orange Mauresque from Chopard (Alberto Morillas; 2018) + Rose Seljuke, Jasmin Moghol & Miel D'Arabie


One of my fondest memories of a summer spent in Marseilles is of a North African sweet shop not far from the Rue d'Aix. At both the beginning and the end of a day of sightseeing, Madame Persolaise and I would find some excuse to cross its threshold, order a mint tea and indulge in sinful quantities of glossy pastries. Those of you familiar with the cuisine of that region of the world - and if you’re not, seek out your nearest tagine without delay! - will know that it makes liberal use of floral waters, especially those derived from orange blossoms. The ingredient pulls no punches, and to the uninitiated, it can come across as downright odd, what what its singular balance not just of citrus-floral facets, but also of metallic elements, which create an effect not unlike that of sucking a silver coin. However, those who get past the initial ‘what the hell??!’ factor are then treated to a multi-layered, stimulating, greed-inducing gastronomic experience, which soon leads to an all-out addiction to the little confections with their curvy shapes and crispy-gooey textures.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Persolaise In Wallpaper* - Interview With Alessandro Gualtieri Of Nasomatto


A slight, wizard-bearded figure in bright red plimsolls and a wrap-around, teal lab coat, he doesn’t immediately come across as the contrarian that his rare, past interviews suggest he is. However, it’s not long before his anarchic streak makes itself known, punctuating his conversation with an energy that’s as vibrant as his blue eyes. He acknowledges that much of his success stems from the hashish-fuelled Black Afgano – a fragrance so popular, there was a time it seemed to disappear from shop shelves mere moments after a new stock delivery – but he doesn’t want to talk about it.
I am delighted to let you know that my very first piece for Wallpaper* was published the other day: an interview with Nasomatto's Alessandro Gualtieri, in which he chats about his new release, Nudiflorum, the possibility of shutting down his brand and the importance of a trip to Sharjah. To read it, please click here.

Persolaise

Friday, 15 June 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: January to March 2018 [part 2]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Declaration Parfum from Cartier (Mathilde Laurent; 2018)*
I do declare, I think Cartier are on to another winner. This is the new parfum version of the classic Declaration, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Composed by Mathilde Laurent, this incarnation pays respectful homage to the Jean-Claude Ellena original, adding a subtly weightier vanilla base to the familiar heart of cool, woody cardamom. Dashing work.

Coco Mademoiselle Intense from Chanel (Olivier Polge; 2018)*
Honest description. This is the citrusy-fruity-ambery mademoiselle we all know - for better or worse - with her vanilla-patchouli base made funkier and somewhat broader in the hips. The years of avoiding the altar haven’t been too unkind.

1 Million Lucky from Paco Rabanne (2018)*
Hmmm... can’t say I feel I’ve won the lottery with this one. The new Lucky flanker of 1 Million: released to mark the 10th anniversary of the original and the fact that 60 MILLION BOTTLES of it have been produced so far, according to the brand. This version moves away from the smooth smokiness of the first iteration, towards harsher, coarser, faux-fruity-woody notes. The gambler’s let himself go: instead of a lean build and an energetic attitude, we now have a beer belly, an arrogant boorishness and a permanent scowl. Shame.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent: Alien Man from Mugler (Jean-Christophe Herault; 2018)


For this single-perfume edition of Love At First Scent (first streamed on Instagram, hence the portrait orientation... of which I'm not a fan, but most people don't seem bothered by it...) I've turned to the new Alien Man from Mugler, composed by Jean-Christophe Herault. To watch the video on YouTube, please click here.

Persolaise

Friday, 1 June 2018

Persolaise Review: Aqua Celestia Forte from Maison Francis Kurkdjian (Francis Kurkdjian; 2018)



I always think it’s interesting when a perfumer makes a stronger version of what was originally meant to be a weightless scent. The exercise seems to be something of an olfactory oxymoron, as ill-advised as the efforts of long-suffering gym-goers who want to be both lithe and capable of lifting a Transit van. The example that invariably comes to my mind is Jean-Claude Ellena’s Cologne Bigarade for Malle. In its more fleeting iteration, it is joy itself: a holographic vision of citrus fruit exploding with vitality. But in its Bigarade Concentrée edition, it feels like it’s trying too hard: a soufflé encumbered by an excess of unnecessary ingredients.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Persolaise In Business Traveller & Tauer Mag


I'm delighted to announce that the latest issue of Tauer Mag features an article by yours truly on the sometimes-vexing subject of vintage perfumes. It's available only in print; click here to order it from the Tauer website. You may be interested to know that this issue comes with a sample of Andy Tauer's new limited edition composition: Les Années 25.

It is with equal pleasure that I can say my writing also pops up in the June issue of Business Traveller UK. Under the spotlight in this piece: new fragrances for men. You can buy the magazine either as a print edition or a tablet version.

Persolaise 

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Cinema Scent On BBC Radio 4 Film Programme: Double Indemnity (dir. Billy Wilder; 1944)


Here we go again: same voice, same station, same idea. Only this time, something's different. At first, I couldn't figure out what it was, but then it hit me. Right between the eyes, like a Monday morning straight after a Saturday night that made you forget there was ever a Sunday. It's a different movie. An older movie. You might even call it: a darker movie. You say you wonder what I'm talking about? I wonder if you wonder...

Yes indeed, for my latest Cinema Scent segment on Francine Stock's Film Programme on Radio 4, I descended into the treacherous realms of film noir and Billy Wilder's classic Double Indemnity. To listen to the episode, please click here; as ever, I'd recommend playing it all, but if you're pressed for time, I appear at around the 24-minute mark.

To read the Cinema Scent reviews published here on Persolaise.com, click on this link.

Persolaise

Friday, 18 May 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: January to March 2018 [part 1]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Agar Ebene from Hermès (Christine Nagel; 2018)*
One of five new entries in the Hermessence collection composed by Christine Nagel. This one takes a clean, yet very dark, sultry wood note and wraps it around the swaying hips of the velvety-suede texture we last saw in the masterful Cuir D’Ange. Arresting, subtle work and a great addition to the brand.

Cedre Sambac from Hermès (Christine Nagel; 2018)*
Astonishing contrast between the dry tangy feel of cedar and the indolic, floral sweep of jasmine. The spectacle of the two of them running side by side in perfect balance is an absolute joy to behold. 

Bohea Bohème from Mona Di Orio (Fredrik Dalman; 2016)*
Tremendous cardamom/eucalyptus opening, with sugary lavender. Like camphoraceous branches swaying along banks of a pink, crystalline river. Grows thinner and can’t help but disappoint towards the end. Well worth checking out for the first two acts.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 16 Now On YouTube


Episode 16 of Love At First Scent (broadcast live on Sunday on YouTube) is now available as a permanent upload; watch it above or by clicking here. In this edition I sniffed

Eternity Air For Men from Calvin Klein (at the start of the video)
Meteorites Le Parfum from Guerlain (at the 18:00 minute mark)
Mon Premier Cristal Hirondelles from Lalique (at the 32:00 minute mark)
Orange Mauresque from Chopard (at the 54:00 minute mark)

and my classic choice was
Diorissimo from Christian Dior (at the 39:00 minute mark)

The video has also been uploaded to my Facebook page; please click on this link to watch it there.

Persolaise

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 15 Now On YouTube + Episode 16 Will Be Broadcast Sunday 13th May


Episode 15 of Love At First Scent (broadcast live on Friday on Facebook) is now available on YouTube; watch it above or by clicking here. In this instalment I covered

Stash from Sarah Jessica Parker SJP (at the start of the video)
Amber Musk and others from Sugandhco (at the 17:30 minute mark)
Acqua Di Neroli from Ermenegildo Zegna (at the 32:30 minute mark)
Miel D'Arabie from Chopard (at the 57:30 minute mark)

and my classic choice was
Muscs Koublai Khan from Serge Lutens (at the 47:00 minute mark)

As per usual, the original video remains on Facebook; please click here if you'd like to see it on that platform.

Finally, in a break from the usual pattern, the next episode will be broadcast tomorrow, Sunday 13th May, at 5 pm UK time (12 pm New York time) on YouTube Live. Click here to be taken to my YouTube channel.

Persolaise

Friday, 11 May 2018

Persolaise Review: Blu Mediterraneo - Chinotto Di Liguria from Acqua Di Parma (2018)


As I write this, those of us living in the UK are going through another one of our all-too-rare bursts of a three-day summer (I expect that, as you read this, we’re back in the bowels of an Arctic winter) which means I’m currently counting the number of times people are complaining that it’s too hot, that they just can’t take these temperatures, that they’re having trouble breathing, that people in warmer countries cope only because they have air conditioning, that the garden is desperate for some rain etc etc. You get the idea. And when I permit myself to pass a comment on these endless tirades, I pull what I hope is an annoyingly superior expression on my face, take a sip of my cafe frappé and tell them to just slow down. Take it easy. Cover yourself up with some thin, loose cotton, instead of exposing every inch of your flesh to all and sundry. Remember to breathe. Drink some cold water. And once again: slow down. Move at a more relaxed pace. Allow the heat to take your body’s rhythm down a gear or two.

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