Friday, September 4, 2015

Persolaise Review: J'Adore Touche De Parfum from Christian Dior (François Demachy; 2015)

The J'Adore family welcomes a glamorous new cousin, dubbed Touche De Parfum. With her oil-based constitution, she may well have been brought into the fold to woo the Middle Eastern market, but I'm not complaining, because she's one of the most beguiling creatures Dior have added to their mainstream range for several years. Eschewing top notes, François Demachy has emboldened the familiar green-jasmine accord of Calice Becker's original composition with silky musks, headier florals (ah, the tuberose!) and, most notably, a delectable sandalwood. What emerges is a tribute to the spirit of the 80s, a golden nectar of a scent, combining the most addictive elements of Dior's own Poison and Guerlain's Samsara with a 21st century avoidance of needless grandeur and a love of transparency. Dior hope that customers will use this Touche De Parfum iteration as a base for their favourite version of J'Adore, and although the oil stands on its own as a bona fide fragrance, it's hard to resist the brand's proposition. The possibilities are too enticing to refuse.

[Review based on a sample provided by Christian Dior in 2015.]


Persolaise Review: Sauvage from Christian Dior (François Demachy; 2015)

Sigh sigh sigh. There are several springboards from which I could leap into my review of Dior's new Sauvage (composed by in-house perfumer, François Demachy), but despite my best efforts to remain upbeat, none of them would avoid falling into despondency. I could start with the scent's advertising imagery and take my lead from the fact that, as Persolaise Junior #2 pointed out, Johnny Depp's facial expression suggests that something rather nasty has just wafted past his nose. I could bemoan the apparent lack of original ideas at the house of Dior: not only does this creation come in a bottle already used for the brand's Collection Privée, but its name is a depressing and transparent attempt to ride on (and therefore dilute?) the status of one of the most successful masculines of all time (the one that's so well-known, you don't need me to tell you what it's called). I could also argue that Sauvage is little more than Dior's version of Bleu De Chanel, right down to the hue of its flacon. But instead I think I'm going to focus on a subject which is often mentioned in scent-speak, but rarely given serious attention: bergamot.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Persolaise Review: Jack from Jack Perfume (Aliénor Massenet; 2014)

According to his exhilarating account of the creation of his first scent (click here to read it), Richard E Grant was advised to aim for a polarising composition. Nothing wishy-washy: people had to either love it or hate it. You can detect the fruits of that suggestion in the finished fragrance. Although Jack opens with a collection of materials familiar from most cologne-like releases (lemon, lime, herbs) it quickly moves into bolder territory: grapefruit*.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Risk And The Reward - Richard E Grant On The Creation Of Jack

In his engrossing online account of the birth of his perfume Jack (I'd urge you to click here and check it out) Richard E Grant describes a creation process rich with twists, dead-ends and unexpected developments. So when his scent was awarded this year's Fragrance Foundation UK prize for Best Independent Perfume, I decided the time had come to reach out to the actor and try to fill some of the gaps in the story. I'm pleased to say he readily entered into the following email correspondence with me...

Persolaise: The story of Jack - as documented on your site - begins with gardenia, but the smell of the flower doesn't seem to have made it into the final perfume. I read that you presented some gardenia to the perfumer at your first meeting. Did she try to incorporate it into the scent? Did it perhaps not work with the other elements? Were you perhaps warned that it's considered to be too old-lady-ish?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Persolaise Review: Ex Nihilo

I'm not sure my attempt at humour was appreciated. A few weeks ago, I was at the Salon De Parfums on the top floor of Harrods, being talked through the wares of the relatively new Ex Nihilo brand. And of course, as any of you who know its Unique Selling Point will guess, I was shown the workings of a large, highly-polished, cylindrical device they call the Osmologue. Essentially, the gizmo allows buyers to create semi-bespoke versions of the brand's scents by adding an extra ingredient from a pre-selected set. The process involves placing the fragrance inside the Osmologue, pressing a couple of buttons and watching whilst a few liquids are squirted into the bottle. As I stood gazing upon this piece of olfactory theatre, I was struck by the thought that the whole thing was rather like buying mix-your-own-colour Dulux paint at B&Q. So I decided to share this profound insight with my hosts. But I don't think they were impressed.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - April to June 2015 [part 2]

Here's part 2 of my round-up of Twitter mini-reviews, from April to June 2015.

La Panthère Eau Légère from Cartier (Mathilde Laurent; 2015)*
Lighter, more accessible version of the growling gardenia. Might be tamer, but still has claws.

Eau De Cartier - Vetiver Bleu from Cartier (Mathilde Laurent; 2015)*
Exactly what it says: familiar, sheer violet leaf accord, now with clean, liquorice-like vetivert. Neat work.

Myrrh Casati from Mona Di Orio (Melanie Leroux; 2014)**
Compelling blend of mushroomy, medicinal resins with well-rendered, pink, spicy sweetness. Worth seeking out!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - April to June 2015 [part 1]

Here come more mini-reviews from Twitter, covering the period April to June 2015.

Modern Muse Chic from Estée Lauder (2014)*
Somewhat more intense rendition of original's transparent white florals. Not sure why we need it, really.

L'Ile Au Thé from Annick Goutal (Camille Goutal & Isabelle Doyen; 2015)*
Astonishing start - you can smell the tea AND the tea bag! Violet, lemon & bergamot pop up. Low-key. Charming.

L'Homme Ideal Cologne from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser; 2015)*
Emphasises more mainstream facets of the original (ie 'freshness' & cliched woods). Ideal? No. Cop out? Yes.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Persolaise Review: Opus IX from Amouage (Pierre Negrin & Nathalie Lorson; 2015)

Top marks to Amouage for continuing to embrace the stranger territories of olfactory art. After the somewhat underwhelming Sunshine, Creative Director Christopher Chong has returned to the brand's Library Collection of scents and released Opus IX, a weirdly woody, animalic floral composed by Pierre Negrin and Nathalie Lorson. In much the same manner as that adopted by Opus VIII - in which unforgiving sunlight bounced off the surface of a flinty jasmine - IX makes no attempt to present a naturalistic demeanour. In fact, it makes a virtue of its synthetic composition, putting together a bewildering array of lab-made materials to make a statement that is unabashedly abstract.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Who's Paying For Your Magazine?

In June, Andy Tauer published some thoughts on his blog about the relationship between the media and the perfume world. If any of you are interested in the many ways in which advertising operates, I'd urge you to read his post (please click here) as well as the comments made by his readers. And the next time you spend an evening browsing through your favourite glossy, make sure you do so with open eyes...


Friday, July 31, 2015

Persolaise Review: Chance Eau Vive from Chanel (Olivier Polge; 2015)

Olivier Polge's profile at Chanel continues to rise. A few months ago, the guardians of the double-C logo released his first sole-authored creation, Misia, but that was part of the Exclusifs range, which meant it wasn't granted a wide release. Now, his work has been allowed to enter the main collection, albeit in the form of a flanker: the third follow up to Chance, one of the house's bestsellers in North America. Perhaps the next creation we receive from him will be a fully-fledged, all-new feminine scent (isn't it high time the brand gave us one?) but until then, we have to make do with the flanker, sub-titled Eau Vive.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Persolaise Review: Jean Patou Collection Héritage

You may remember that last year, I was bowled over by Thomas Fontaine's reworking of the 1927 Jean Patou scent Chaldée, originally composed by Henri Alméras. The release of the reformulation marked the debut of the 'Collection Héritage', an attempt by the Patou brand to revisit and, if possible, recreate various highlights from their perfume archive. The Collection now comprises no fewer than nine fragrances. As they're all worthy of attention and as I'm in something of a completist mood, I've decided I ought to address the fact that many of them have been rather conspicuous by their absence here on this blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Persolaise In The Observer

If you're a reader of the UK's Observer newspaper, you may have noticed that yours truly was quoted in a perfume-related article published on 12th July 2015. The piece, by Rebecca Ratcliffe, connects the growing popularity of 'independent' perfume brands with the falling sales of celebrity scents. It's an angle which came as a complete surprise when I perused my copy of the paper: the likes of Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Beyonce et al weren't mentioned a single time when Ms Ratcliffe interviewed me. Personally, I'm not sure there is a strong correlation to be made between the performance of celebrity fragrances and those that don't fall under the 'mass distribution' banner. However, I suppose The Observer is entitled to present the current state of perfume retail in any manner it sees fit... and anyway, I'm all for mainstream publications raising the profile of 'niche' scent-making. If you'd like to read the article, please click here.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Persolaise Review: Aquilaria from Nancy Meiland (Nancy Meiland; 2014)

An oud by any other name... would smell more oud-y?? When I saw that one of the scents released by the new, UK brand Nancy Meiland - founded by the eponymous, self-taught perfumer - is called Aquilaria, I let out a groan of dismay. It's depressing enough that we've got a torrent of 'oud' perfumes, I thought. If we're now going to be treated - and I use the word sardonically - to a swathe of creations featuring oh-so-terribly-clever twists on the word 'oud', then perhaps we ought to save ourselves years of agony and jump off the top floor of Harrods right now.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Persolaise Review: Panorama from Olfactive Studio (Clément Gavarry; 2015)

Edmond Roudnitska's words about the way in which a great perfume ought to begin have been widely documented. Years ago, he wrote that a scent should elicit a 'shock' from the wearer as soon as it starts, to jolt him or her out of comfortable familiarity. This shudder of surprise is, according to him, a prerequisite of originality and creative achievement. Although his statement has been quoted extensively, the effect of the experience to which it refers hasn't been dampened. And thank goodness! Because when we come across those rare fragrances which genuinely cause us to gasp with astonishment, the sensation is extraordinary, precious and almost impossible to describe with words.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Favourite Incense Perfumes In The Scented Letter + Brief Word On Olivier Polge Interview

I am genuinely excited to announce that the latest edition of The Scented Letter - the Perfume Society's Jasmine-award winning magazine - features a piece I wrote about my all-time favourite incense perfumes. As the publication is available only to fully paid-up subscribers of the Society, it would be unfair for me to list the perfumes I've included in my piece here on this blog. However, those of you who aren't already members may enjoy having your appetites whetted by these teasers...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Super Scent - The Very Best Of Estée Lauder

As promised on Friday, here comes the first instalment of Super Scent, a series in which the Candy Perfume Boy and I will compile lists - independently of each other - of what we consider to be the best perfumes from a certain brand. The focus of this debut edition is that behemoth of American scent creation: Estée Lauder.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Super Scent Comes To Persolaise & Candy Perfume Boy

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that I'm fond of lists. You may also know that this passion for ordering things and presenting them in a numbered sequence isn't peculiar to it's a phenomemon that is rife throughout the entire blogosphere. So, in order to indulge this craving for compilation - and, hopefully, give all of you dear readers something interesting to read as you sip your skinny lattes - the one and only Candy Perfume Boy and I have decided to start a very special, semi-regular series on our websites. We're calling it Super Scent.

In each instalment, we're going to present a run-down of what we, individually, consider to be the very best perfumes from a specific, pre-selected brand. Our lists will be based on the latest formulations of the brand's current fragrance line-up. The twist is that we're not going to tell each other which perfumes we're going to put on our list. The revelation will be as much of a surprise to us as it will to you... and it'll hopefully lead to a lively discussion.

Our first Super Scent posts will appear on our respective blogs on Monday 13th July at 12:30 pm UK time. You'll have to wait until then to find out which brand we've decided to target first... but I will say that it is a MASSIVE global player, which means that nearly all of you will have strong opinions about what should and shouldn't have made it onto our lists.

Be sure to come back on Monday!


PS If you've visited my blog today hoping to find my usual Friday review, then I ought to tell you that it was published on Wednesday; please scroll down to find it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Persolaise Review: L'Eau Corail from Nicolaï (Patricia De Nicolaï; 2015)

Trust Patricia De Nicolaï to prove that 'fruity' doesn't always have to mean 'loopy'. Had it been put together by a high street brand, her new Eau Corail would almost certainly have ended up as an embarrassing cocktail of cloying, synthetic-smelling stupidity. But in her skilful hands, it becomes one of those rare things: an uplifting, hyper-realist scent that doesn't rely on citrus cliches to create an impression of freshness. As though setting herself a challenge, Nicolaï has chosen to focus on what is one of the most poorly-rendered fruits in olfactory creation: mango. By surrounding it with melon notes, peach facets and suggestions of mandarin and grapefruit, she has presented it in all its fleshy, green, sweet-and-sour totality, together with an extra dimension of oozing syrup. It may not be as effervescent as a classical cologne, but it makes up for any lack in zing by exuding an air of innate chic, like the multi-generational residents of an Italian seaside town out for their evening promenade. One of the most charming examples of figurative perfumery I've tried this year, Eau Corail sees Nicolaï achieving the near-impossible: convincing us that 'fruity' needn't be 'loopy' and can, in fact, be on a par with 'classy'. Bravo!

[Review based on a sample of 'eau fraiche' provided by Nicolaï in 2015.]



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