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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.
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.
Death & Decay from Gorilla Perfume (2014)*
One of the more convincing lily of the valley creations of recent year. It may grow slightly too cloying as it proceeds, but it certainly displays that hard-to-define quality the flower possesses: that cross between mushroomy earthiness, sunrise dew and porcelain delicacy.
Geranium-Incense-Patchouli room spray from Aesop*
I’ve found myself reaching for this excellent room spray during the last few days. As per usual with this brand, the words on the label are a 100% accurate reflection of what’s in the bottle, which means that, in this case, you get a robust, grounded patchouli lifted by the mint-rosiness of geranium and made more pensive thanks to the presence of an incense note. Twilight in scent form: the optimism of the sun combined with the more meditative inflection of the moon. Quite beautiful.
Noir De Noir from Tom Ford (2007)*
We’ve been utterly debilitated by TWO WHOLE MILLIMETRES of snow, so I’m reaching for this perennially-popular Tom Ford release from 2007. Noir De Noir — one of the first ‘western’ scents to embrace the idea of an Arabian-style rose (ie heavy on rather coarse woods and leather notes) it remains one of the most convincing examples of the genre, as comfortable in Dubai Mall as it is in Harrods. Mind you, sometimes you can’t tell the difference between the two, but that’s another story.
The snow has given way to a rather miserable drizzle, but that doesn’t matter, because we have À La Nuit — one of the most photoreal, uncomplicated portrayals of jasmine blossoms and, by extension, of summer nights, with their seemingly endless carousel of conversations, hopes and promises. The smell of being on the cusp of adulthood and thinking - no, believing - that the entire world is yours for the taking.
Wood Infusion from Goldfield & Banks (2017)*
Wood wood wood: an attempt to fuse all the varieties of wood that can be found in Australia, including, of course, the continent’s very own strain of sandalwood.
Wood Of Life from Anima Vinci (Michel Roudnitska; 2017)*
Curious liquorice-like wood note, as though cedar has been dipped in black treacle and doused with gallons of lemon juice. Well-judged spice facet. Perhaps a nagging sense that a touch more of the eponymous life would have helped.
Rose Prana from Anima Vinci (Randa Hammami; 2017)*
Undemanding, straight-up-and-down rose, with green clarity, dewy sweetness and a slight earthiness redolent of leaves and stem.
Cuadra from Paul Schütze (Paul Schütze; 2017)*
A rather angry, intriguing blend of grapefruity weirdness with bitter, petitgrain-like woods and sappy leaves. Tarzan’s swinging through the jungle, but he’s got a scowl on his face.
Savage Jasmine from Sana Jardin (Carlos Benaim; 2017)*
An expertly-constructed jasmine soliflore, with that much-needed, compelling suggestion of unwashed hair. Maybe a touch too shampoo-like as it progresses, but still a plush, sensuous, admirable addition to the genre.
Revolution De La Fleur from Sana Jardin (2017)*
The generically sappy-green scent of a thousand flower shops resolves to a coconutty tuberose. Shades of sweet suntan lotion.
Celestial Patchouli from Sana Jardin (Carlos Benaim; 2017)*
I was intrigued by this, as I always think of patchouli as the very opposite of celestial. And sure enough, this is an earthy, boozy gourmand, with marked tobacco facets. Keeps its feet firmly on the planet.
Root Of All Goodness from Parterre (2018)*
A simple, naturalistic pastoral scene - mists and twisting rivers - leads to a straightforward, well-scrubbed vetivert, with that characteristic licorice-like rootiness.
Run Of The River from Parterre (2018)*
Sun-reflecting citruses - mainly lime and grapefruit - settle onto leafy greens. Gentle and undemanding.
A Tribute To Edith from Parterre (2018)*
The radiant, pink, lemony facets of rose, wrapped in a pretty ribbon. Doesn’t veer off the soliflore path.
* sample provided by the brand
** sample obtained by the author