Friday, 27 June 2014

Persolaise Review: Wonderoud from Comme Des Garçons (Antoine Maisondieu; 2014)

I know, I know, it was only a few weeks ago that I vowed never again to review any scent with 'oud' in its name, and here I am, going back on my word. But you see the problem is that: a) there are more and more passengers hopping onto the oud-y magic carpet ride every week and b) a few of them do actually make an attempt to say something new in what has become an Arabian tale filled with so many cliches, it'll soon force Sheherazade to pop out of her grave and scare the civet out of every perfumer in the Western hemisphere. The latest effort comes from Comme Des Garçons, which immediately makes it more attention-worthy, given the brand's philosophy (not much in evidence lately, I grant you) of bringing innovation to the mainstream.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Persolaise's Winter Perfumes In ParfumPlus Magazine

I'm very pleased that the UAE's ParfumPlus magazine has published a piece I wrote about some of my favourite perfumes of the last winter. To read the article in 'flip book' form, please click here. (Some of you may recognise it as a tweaked version of a piece which appeared on this blog a few months ago.) Do take the time to check out the rest of the magazine too; the current edition features an interview with perfumer Sophie Labbé (Bulgari Jasmin Noir, Givenchy Organza).


Monday, 23 June 2014

A Perfume Has To Fulfil A Promise - An Interview With James Heeley

James Heeley at Les Senteurs, London, in May 2014
image: Callum Langston-Bolt

In the run-up to their 30th anniversary celebrations, the fine folks at Les Senteurs hosted an event in May at which guests were invited to enjoy a relaxed conversation with the creative forces behind some of the brands stocked at London's venerable perfumery institution. James Heeley was one of the figures mingling with the city's scentusiasts, and as I'd never met him before, I asked if he'd be willing to give me a brief, impromptu interview. To my delight, he accepted, so off we went to the more quiet atmosphere of the spacious basement at the Seymour Place branch. Immaculately turned out in a bespoke, grey suit, and with a subtly francophone inflection to his diction, the creator of Cardinal, Sel Marin and L'Amandière, amongst others, gave me his full attention and considered his answers carefully before speaking, as though he'd been expecting our appointment for weeks.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Persolaise Review: L'Orpheline from Serge Lutens (Christopher Sheldrake; 2014)

Most press releases can be scanned and dismissed in a matter of seconds, but the ones from Serge Lutens are always worth a quiet read with a strong coffee and a sliver of dark chocolate. They rarely make objective sense - some of them take the form of obscure narratives or of impenetrable descriptive passages - and they hardly ever make reference to raw materials or ingredients. But in their refusal to offer journalists the easy short cut - ie olfactory pyramids and dubious lists of scent notes - and in their attempt to engage with 'the product' in an unconventional way, they do grasp at a sort of truth which digs deeper than a prosaic roll call featuring bergamot, sandalwood, musk and all the other usual suspects. The press material for the gnomic Frenchman's latest release - L'Orpheline, put together by Christopher Sheldrake - is a case in point: on one level, it may be bonkers, but on another, it marks a desire to persuade writers that the substance which they're about to spray upon themselves deserves to be taken more seriously - dare I say: more metaphysically? - than the latest lipstick.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Online Perfume Shopping - My Recommendations

I often receive emails asking for advice on buying perfume on the Net. Usually, my response is to direct people to the 'Links' section of this blog, but there seems to have been a glut of queries recently (anyone care to suggest why?) so I thought I ought to raise the profile of my recommendations a little bit.

If you click here, you'll be taken to a run-down of my favourite web-based perfumeries. The list represents a mere fraction of the fragrance-related retail activity on the Internet, so it certainly isn't a comprehensive directory. But even though it's brief, it comes with my full endorsement. I have personally made use of the services of all the shops on the list - as a paying customer - and I recommend them to you with no reservations.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Persolaise Review: Dior Homme Eau For Men from Christian Dior (François Demachy), Déclaration L'Eau from Cartier (Mathilde Laurent) & Terre D'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche from Hermès (Jean-Claude Ellena)

I still haven't signed up to the policy which says that the arrival of warmer weather means we can wear only light scents. I always enjoy a spritz of sharp citrus on a chilly day (try Mugler's Cologne the next time there's a nip in the air) in the same way that I love covering myself with woods and resins when the sun comes out. But most brands continue to insist that summer is synonymous with 'fresh and breezy', especially when they're aiming new releases at the less adventurous half of the gender divide. Dior, Hermès and Cartier are no exception, as demonstrated by their latest masculines.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

World Cup 2014 - Tropical Perfumes For Football In Brazil

Did anyone mention football?

If watching men kicking a round object across a field isn't your idea of a good time, you're probably going to struggle to stay sane for the next few weeks. Or maybe you could use the World Cup's Brazilian setting as inspiration to delve into a scent category that's often maligned by online scentusiasts: tropical perfumes. I suspect many of us would love to present all fruity patchoulis with a red card and consign them to a hell of eternal penalty shoot-outs, but it's worth remembering that 'sea, sun and sand' scents don't have to be mindless. Below, you'll find a winning formation of 11 fragrances which could, in one way or another, fall into the 'tropical' category. The list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it'll give you something to ponder as you celebrate half-time with another pineapple stick. Enjoy!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Persolaise Review: Cédrat Enivrant from Atelier Cologne (Ralf Schwieger; 2014)

So far, I haven't been entirely convinced by Atelier Cologne. The brand's founders are charming (click here for an interview), and their entry into the fragrance world has been marked with a commendable lack of pretentiousness, but I'm not sure their scents achieve their stated intentions. The whole point of an Atelier Cologne creation is, so we're told, to give the wearer lightness, freshness and effervescence in a long-lasting form. Some folks have clearly fallen for this strategy: since it was established a few years ago, the house's wares have popped up in several high-end locations and it has won itself a considerable following. But in my experience, the AC scents which are genuinely bright and bubbly tend not to last too long, and the ones which possess impressive longevity aren't translucent and weightless... which has led me to question the point of the whole enterprise.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Revolution Of Niche - An Interview With Michael Edwards


Soon after I interviewed Guerlain's Sylvaine Delacourte at the launch of the DFS Masters Of Fragrances exhibition in Abu Dhabi, I managed to snatch a few minutes of conversation with Michael Edwards, author of what is generally considered to be the most exhaustive, most reliable printed directory of perfume. Established in 1983, Edwards' Fragrances Of The World has slavishly charted and categorised thousands upon thousands of new releases. His Fragrance Wheel of 'scent families' has become a near-indispensable tool for retailers faced with the prospect of separating their floral orientals from their dry woods. And his knowledge of and experience within the industry frequently prompt others to turn to him for advice and information on the ever-changing world of scent.


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