Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Perfumes Of 2012


What a year it's been. Madonna and Gaga clashed in a celebrity scent battle. A little black dress went viral on YouTube. Brad Pitt spouted nonsense about journeys in an attempt to sell No 5. The luxury goods market continued to grow. And the future of perfumery became gloomier than ever, as EU law-makers turned their attention to the controversial subject of allergens. Oh, and a slim tome entitled Le Snob: Perfume was let loose into the world...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Wishes 2012


Well, the weather may be misery itself at the moment - spare a thought for the poor souls who've had to be evacuated from their flooded homes - but Maison Persolaise is a hive of jolly activity. With the able assistance of two of our nieces, Madame Persolaise and I are in the process of preparing a feast of decadent proportions... a feast which will hopefully form a suitable prelude to a consumerist orgy of gift-unwrapping. Although it's all-systems-go in the kitchen right now, I've allowed myself to nip into my study for a few moments to wish you and yours the very best for Christmas. May you all find a few moments of peace, joy and relaxation, either on your own, or with your loved ones. Enjoy the feasting!

Persolaise.

PS Please don't forget to come back on Friday for my list of the best perfumes of 2012!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Playing Catch-Up: Autumn/Winter 2012 (part 2) - from Balmain to Liz Earle


As promised last week, here's the second phase of my move to tick a few names off my 'Should Review' list.

Apart from oud, if there was one trend that continued to grip the mainstream in 2012, it was fruity shampoo accords (the sort which can trace their lineage to Sophia Grojsman's Calyx). I tend not to have much time for such creations - largely because they're the very definition of cheap and nasty - but I also believe that just about any idea can be made worthwhile through skilful execution. Cue: the 2012 version of Balmain's Ivoire. When you've got someone like Michel Almairac at the helm (in collaboration with Jacques Flori) chances are that the final result will at least be wearable, and sure enough, this stylish composition doesn't disappoint on that front. Its secret weapon is restraint (employed equally well by Almairac in his Bottega Veneta creation). So yes, it is fruity, clean, soapy, shampoo-y and musky in ways you've smelt before, but it manages to come across as affluent rather than effluent... sorry, I meant 'bog-standard'. If you're after a comparison with the 1979 original, I'm afraid I can't help you, but I'd love to hear from anyone who's done a side-by-side test.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winding Down... And Wondering How Much Cash Santa Has In His Sack


It's time to prepare Persolaise.com for its winter slumber. Friday will see the publication of the second instalment of my 'catch-up' reviews, and on the 28th I'll reveal my list of the best scents of 2012. But apart from those two posts, things are going to be fairly quiet here as I'll be turning my attention to family, turkeys and marzipan... not necessarily in that order. Having said that, I probably won't be able to resist popping back on the 24th to wish you all the very best for the festive season, so let's not say goodbye to each other just yet.

Monday, December 17, 2012

No More Scented Goodies From The Skies - Perfume Banned On Air Mail


Those of you who follow Andy Tauer's blog will be aware that on the 7th he wrote about worrying developments in the postal industry. In short, he's no longer able to send small parcels of perfume outside Switzerland using air mail. This prompted me to do a bit of digging and whilst I can't say that I've unearthed any hard facts on the subject - which is, in itself, rather telling - I have made a few discoveries.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Playing Catch-Up: Autumn/Winter 2012 (part 1) - from Lauder to Piguet


Maintaining a regular blogging schedule isn't always easy when you're meeting the demands of a full-time job, pursuing other writing interests and trying to have some sort of personal life. So it's inevitable that, every now and then, a backlog builds up of various perfumes I feel I ought to write about. In order to reduce it - and start the new year with something resembling a clean slate - I'm going to devote this week's and next week's review slots to capsule-sized musings on releases which, for one reason or another, have kept slipping through my net.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Harrods Is Full Of Snobs

Image by the author of the purple one in the middle

I know, I know, I have to stop doing this sort of thing. But I just couldn't help myself. I was in Harrods with Madame Persolaise the other day, so naturally, I decided to pop up to the second floor to see if they had a copy of a little book with a picture of Shalimar on the cover.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ormonde Jayne Sets The Record Straight


Although we often find plenty of reasons to complain about developments in the perfume industry, there's at least one change which deserves to be celebrated: the fact that brands' public faces no longer feel they must pretend to be perfumers. One particular fragrance house which reportedly used to draw a thin veil over the details of its scent production is Ormonde Jayne. Were their perfumes made by founder Linda Pilkington, or were they, in fact, put together by Geza Schoen (Escentric Molecules)?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Persolaise Review: Pot Pourri from Odette Toilette & Candles from L'Artisan Parfumeur, Jardins D'Écrivains + Voyager

Image: George Dunlop Leslie

There are only a few things which make the colder months bearable. Amongst them are Have I Got News For You (pretty much the only TV programme I try not to miss), the Jan/Feb crop of serious cinematic fare (as opposed to the Jul/Aug bundle of moronic nonsense) and the ability to hide one's over-indulgence in mince pies beneath layers of coats, scarves and cardigans (a feat which is becoming increasingly difficult to pull off with each passing year). And then there are home fragrances. At Maison Persolaise we don't really need any excuse to light a perfumed candle, but when the days are shorter and the nights colder, the desire to fill the house with a protective veil of scent seems particularly sharp.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tauer Perfumes Advent 2012 Winner


Thanks very much indeed to each and every one of you who entered yesterday's Tauer Perfumes draw. Your entries were a joy to read and I wish I could reply to all of them. I'm pleased to announce that the winner is

Joaquim, who wrote about Five O'Clock Au Gingembre

Congratulations! Please send a message with your postal address and choice of perfume to persolaise at gmail dot com and I'll forward it to Andy Tauer straight away.

Commiserations to everyone else. But don't be too despondent: I'm sure I'll hold another draw soon.

My thanks once again to Andy for inviting me to take part in this year's advent calendar... and also for today's give-away on his blog, which took me completely by surprise when I read it. He's offering a copy of my very own book, Le Snob: Perfume, as today's prize, so click here and leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning!

Persolaise.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tauer Advent Give-Away + Quentin Bisch Interview


Ian Denyer's 2011 Perfume documentaries featured many prominent members of the fragrance industry. Jean-Paul Guerlain, Thierry Wasser, Jean-Claude Ellena, Chandler Burr, Roja Dove and several others were all allowed considerable time in the limelight. But if there's one individual from the series whom most people seem to remember it's Quentin Bisch, the young Givaudan trainee who was overcome with emotion in episode 2 when telling the story of how he was accepted onto the world's most famous perfumery course.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Fresh Intake Of Art


On the outskirts of Paris, inside an unassuming building a short distance from the banks of the Seine, a handful of young men and women is huddled over pipettes, weighing scales and bottles of various liquids. They bring thin strips of paper to their noses, close their eyes and take deep breaths. Every now and then, they stop to make notes before dipping another paper strip into a bottle and smelling it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Virgins, Confessions & Blond Ambitions - Madonna & Perfume Come Together

Image: ahem... Persolaise

I'm not quite sure where the last few weeks have gone, but it seems that it's time for another joint list with my partners in perfumed compilation. In this instance, the task of choosing our theme fell to me and, true to form, I decided to veer away from conventional ideas and go for something idiosyncratic. So I'm afraid I indulged the geeky fan boy in me and asked the other members of my team to prepare lists inspired by the Queen Of Pop herself: Madonna.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Coffee, Tea Or Kurkdjian? - Amyris Femme & Amyris Homme Launched In London


You never know quite where a conversation with Francis Kurkdjian is going to take you. He's at Selfridges, talking to a group of writers about the latest additions to his own perfume house: Amyris Femme and Amyris Homme. He explains he was inspired to make the scents by an exercise at ISIPCA - where he's been teaching for the last two-and-a-half years - during which a student presented him with amyris oil (aka West Indian sandalwood). He goes on to say that he wondered if he could somehow link the material with the fact that, in French, its name sounds like "soul of iris". He states that he wanted the resultant perfumes to be for those times when you need to rush out of the house and you have only ten minutes to get yourself ready, times when "you have to be sharp". So far, so safe. But things become somewhat more amusing when he's asked what sort of woman he had in mind when composing Amyris Femme.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Persolaise Review: Lys Du Desert from Decennial + Coeur En Mai from MDCI + J'Adore L'Absolu from Christian Dior (2012)


It's not often that a perfume brand celebrates the arrival of a reformulation, but that's exactly what's happened with MDCI. 2009's Coeur En Mai recently fell foul of IFRA guidelines, so director Claude Marchal asked its original composer, Patricia De Nicolaï, to try to create a replacement that would successfully jump through the anti-allergen hoops. According to him, the result is even better than CEM Mark 1.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

London Book Signing + An Interview With Fabrice Pellegrin, The Man Who Made Womanity


Just in case you missed the announcement a few weeks ago, here's a brief reminder that on the evening of Thursday 29th November, I'll be answering questions and signing copies of my book at the new Angela Flanders Boutique in East London. If you're in the area, please join us for drinks, nibbles and plenty of scented conversation. It would be wonderful to see you. Click here for more info.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Perfume Exhibit Opens At New York's Museum Of Arts & Design... And It Comes With A Smelly Book


Exciting times for those of us interested in the 'perfumery as art' debate. Later today, New York's Museum Of Arts And Design will unveil its first exhibit at its Department Of Olfactory Art, as curated by Chandler Burr. Details of the catalogue have just been revealed, and guess what, it's actually going to contain bottles of perfume (specifically: eleven of the twelve fragrances currently 'on show' at the museum). How novel. How exciting. And how very, very apt. Kudos to Mr Burr for somehow managing to make it possible.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Persolaise Review: Ambre Doré from Maître Parfumeur Et Gantier (2012) + La Petite Robe Noire extrait from Guerlain (2012) + Miss Dior Le Parfum from Dior (2012) + Cloon Keen Atelier (2011)


In the same way that theatre producers use Macbeth to get bums on seats, perfume houses tend to use vanilla-based scents as their cash cows. And more often than not, they link the ingredient with labdanum and benzoin to produce that most crowd-pleasing of fragrances: amber. Of course, the popularity of the genre makes it extremely difficult for perfumers to find anything new to say when working within it. The textbook classic of the type, Shalimar, has been around for almost one hundred years, yet it still takes some beating. Ambre Sultan pretty much dominates the corner held by herbal, smoky ambers. And Musc Ravageur - itself a reinterpretation of Shalimar - is probably the consummate 21st century amber. Almost all the bases have been covered.

Penhaligon's Juniper Sling Winner


Many thanks to all of you who entered the joint Candy Perfume Boy and Persolaise Twitter give-away. I'm pleased to announce that the winner of a full bottle of Juniper Sling is

Portia @OzPerfumeJunkie

Congratulations, Portia! If you'd like to send your postal address to me (persolaise at gmail dot com) or Mr Candy (thecandyperfumeboy at gmail dot com) then we'll forward it to Penhaligon's straight away.

Commiserations to everyone else. Fear not: I'm sure it won't be too long before I hold another draw. Once again, I'd like to thank Penhaligon's for providing the prize and Candy Perfume Boy for being such a superb (and patient!) Twitter buddy.

Persolaise.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Many Uses Of Allergen Labelling


A conundrum for you. There's a new perfume on the market. Its price per ml places it in the upper stratosphere of 'luxury' scents. It's sold as an eau de parfum, but according to a statement made by its creator, its concentration is much stronger than that of most EDPs. It reportedly contains a "high proportion" of natural ingredients, including "rose", "jasmine", "orange absolute" and "cardamom", amongst others. However, the allergen info on its packaging lists the presence of only limonene, linalool, citral, coumarin, benzyl salicylate and benzyl benzoate. Why is this odd? Read on...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Win A Bottle Of Juniper Sling + Chandler Burr On Perfume As Art

Proof

New York's Museum Of Arts And Design is just about to unveil its first perfume exhibition, which is why Newsweek have published this highly readable interview with curator Chandler Burr. Its main focus is a subject about which I seem to be thinking a great deal at the moment - the legitimacy of perfumery as an art form - and whilst I believe the piece speaks for itself and doesn't require any commentary from me, I will just throw the following idea into the debate.

Monday, November 5, 2012

You'll Always Have The Truth - An Interview With Mathilde Laurent

Image: Cartier

I realise I'm probably being a bit mean, but there's something about Mathilde Laurent that suggests she's up for a fun challenge. She's at London's Savoy Hotel, launching Cartier's latest masculine, Déclaration D'Un Soir, and although many of the guests look as though their wardrobe has come straight from the vaults of Future Fashions Inc, she's holding her own with no trouble. Her black trousers sparkle with a print of yellow electricity. Her jacket is the sort of layered, nocturnal creation for which Batman would probably trade a few items in his utility belt. And the white streak running through her hair is so striking, it makes me wonder why all of us don't walk around with high contrast coiffures. In short, she's cool. Very cool indeed.

So I decide to stick my wrist under her nose and ask her if she can guess what I'm wearing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Persolaise Review: Hommage À L'Homme from Lalique (2011) + Volutes from Diptyque (2012)... And Some More Thoughts On A*Men Pure Leather


Please click here to be taken to my Glass Magazine reviews of Diptyque's Volutes, Lalique's 2011 masculine, Hommage À L'Homme and Mugler's new A*Men Pure Leather. If you've got a moment to spare, you might also enjoy a read of Grazia's mention of my book. And for some very worrying news, check out this Reuters article on the Chicago Tribune website. Yes, we've heard it all before, but it does seem to be getting worse.

Have a great weekend,

Persolaise.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Win A Signed Copy Of My Book Through Tauer Perfumes


Andy Tauer is very kindly hosting a draw for a signed copy of my book on his blog; please click here to be taken to it. Even if you're not interested in entering the give-away, you might enjoy reading people's thoughts on their favourite perfume bottles. My own view on the subject is that the Guerlains still take some beating. If you line them all up (yes, even the modern ones) they make a very pretty sight indeed. If I had to single one out, it would probably be Chamade, partly because I once found a pristine specimen - full to the brim - at an antiques shop in Mumbai. But that's another story...

Persolaise

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Launch At L'Artisan Parfumeur + Signing At The End Of November


In today's uncharacteristically visual post, I've attempted to give you a flavour of a launch party that was held for my book last Thursday night at L'Artisan Parfumeur's Covent Garden boutique. Sadly, we didn't have any professional photographers on hand to overcome the problems posed by the tricky lighting, but hopefully these snapshots will give you some sense of what the event was like. From my perspective, it was a joy from start to finish, and I'd like to thank the following people for making it such a success:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Persolaise Review: Florabotanica from Balenciaga + Fetish Pour Homme from Roja Parfums + Pétale Noir from Agent Provocateur (2012)


This week, I give you three interesting twists on familiar themes. First up is Florabotanica, the latest from Balenciaga. Basically, it's yet another rose, but thanks to the skill of IFF perfumers Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Herault, it is also an intriguing exercise in creating something that appeals to a younger demographic without being condescending. In other words, it isn't a fruity patchouli based on a shampoo accord. Its floral heart is balanced at one end by melon notes (which are never allowed to grow too pink or silly) and at the other by a dry facet (possibly a combination of iris and cedar). The whole package works extremely well, from the scent itself, through to the presentation (the contrast between the retro-groovy bottle and the coiled, hyper-colourful vines on the box is superb) and even to the advertising campaign, featuring an inscrutable Kristen Stewart. Her laconic expression seems to say, "Don't come here if you're looking for clichés" and for once, the fragrance backs her up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Have Book, Will Sign

Image: Google

I realise some of you may be fed up with reading about my book, but the rest of you might find this brief anecdote mildly amusing...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Persolaise Review: Noir from Tom Ford + Blackberry & Bay from Jo Malone + Loretta from Tableau De Parfums (2012)


Loretta has a secret, but she hides it in plain sight. The first time she digs her claws into your neck, you experience a moment of fear, but you quickly tell yourself that she won't be hard to figure out. She's just a tuberose. She may be assertive and tenacious, but she's easy to read, and therefore easy to forget.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Brad Pitt Is Smiling For A Reason


Over the last week or so, I've yet again had cause to think about the link between smells and memories, and I've found myself remembering a recent episode of Desert Island Discs. For those unaware of this revered British radio institution, I'll briefly state that it takes the form of an interview in which the subject has to choose eight pieces of music which he or she would wish to have nearby in the event of an unexpected stint on a desert island. At the end of the programme, once all the tracks have been played, the interviewee also has to choose one book (in addition to the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare) as well as one luxury item.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Persolaise Review: Arquiste (2011) + Jovoy (2011) + Terry De Gunzburg (2012)


Of all the new niche brands that have popped up recently, three keep returning to my thoughts as they seem to represent the broad categories into which emerging perfume houses can currently be divided.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Le Snob On The Blogosphere


Things are super hectic at Maison Persolaise. Yes, this is partly because of the excitement generated by the release of my book (about which I'm not complaining one bit), but it's also a result of trying to get back into normal routines after what can only be described as an inordinately long holiday. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised: if Madame P and I insist on leaving these shores for such ridiculous lengths of time, we have to expect a few difficulties upon our return. The whole situation makes me chuckle, because I've never thought of myself as a 'work hard, play hard' type of person, but I guess that's who I am. Isn't that what medical students are famous for: giving 110% to their studies, and then putting on the most raucous parties known to humanity? Perhaps, in my younger days, I should've chosen to don lab coats and stethoscopes...

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Big Day Has Arrived + Le Snob: Perfume Winner


It's the 1st of October, which means it's celebration time at Maison Persolaise, because this is the day that sees the publication of my very first book, Le Snob: Perfume. Needless to say, I can barely contain my excitement.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Persolaise Review: Fragrances Of Leather (Angel, Alien & Womanity) + A*Men Pure Leather from Thierry Mugler + Printemps from Laggridore (2012)


I wonder if the clever folk at Parfums Mugler are being economical with the truth. They've claimed that in order to create their latest quartet of limited editions, all they've done is pour the original versions of their signature scents into vats containing strips of specially made leather. That's it. No other tweaks. No other additions. Having worn the perfumes, I confess I find this difficult to believe.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Win A Copy Of My Book!

Image: Tonwen Jones

The countdown begins! In exactly one week, my book - Le Snob: Perfume - should be available on Amazon UK. But if you can't wait until the official publication date, here's a chance to win your very own copy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A List For Falling Leaves - Scents For Autumn


It's joint-list-making time again. On this occasion, it's Barney's turn to choose our theme and he's drawn inspiration from that touch of dampness in the air... the plunging temperatures... the sight of bare branches. In short, he's decided we should present our top picks for autumn 2012. I confess, I rarely view perfumes in relation to the seasons, but this particular exercise turned out to be far more thought-provoking than I'd expected it to be, not least because I found myself having very strong opinions about which scents are not autumnal. But anyway, without further ado, here are my recommendations for that very particular time of year when you start feeling the urge to turn up your collar.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The First Review Of My Book + The Work Of Tonwen Jones

Image: Tonwen Jones

As I can't take any credit for the visual design of my book, I think it's all right for me to say that it looks absolutely wonderful. The fonts, the layout, the rounded corners of the pages and various other subtle touches all imbue the whole with a sense of understated luxury. But if there's one aspect that stands out from all the others - and immediately generates compliments - it's the illustrations by Brighton-based artist, Tonwen Jones.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Persolaise Review: Coco Noir from Chanel and Grand Bal from Christian Dior (2012)


Whilst watching Joe Wright's over-egged version of Anna Karenina, I wondered if the impeccably groomed counts and countesses waltzing across the screen could possibly have worn François Demachy's new Grand Bal (the latest addition to Dior's Collection Privée). In the end, I decided that the answer was No, but I hasten to point out that this is by no means a criticism.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Jean-Claude Ellena Winner + My Book's Arrived!


Many thanks to all of you who entered last week's draw and left such interesting, thought-provoking comments. It's always fascinating to discover how other people approach the 'art vs craft' debate in relation to perfumery.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Persolaise Review: Déclaration D'Un Soir + Eau De Cartier Essence De Bois from Cartier + Colonia Intensa Oud from Acqua Di Parma (2012)


Mathilde Laurent makes no secret of the fact that she loves cashmeran. The synthetic musk's intriguing scent profile - sweaty, bitter and prep-school hygienic - can be detected in several of her creations, from Roadster to L’Heure Défendue. She's not alone in her devotion: the IFF material forms a key component of a wide range of modern fragrances, including Dominique Ropion's Alien and Maurice Roucel's Dans Tes Bras. It goes without saying that there's nothing wrong with perfumers favouring and revisiting certain ingredients. But I suspect that Laurent's latest masculine for Cartier, Déclaration D'Un Soir, would have benefited if someone had advised her to curb her cashmeran compulsion.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Win A Signed Copy Of Jean-Claude Ellena's New Book


I haven't quite managed to get back onto the frenetic merry-go-round that I fondly call Normal Life (my soul is still on a lilo, bobbing along to the tune of Mediterranean waves), but as promised, here's the long-awaited draw for a signed copy of Jean-Claude Ellena's The Diary Of A Nose. Slim and contemplative, the book raises more questions than it answers, which is another way of saying that it serves as an excellent companion to its author's enigmatic, deceptively transparent fragrances.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Persolaise Review: SE1 + N6 + W1X + EC2 from Bex London (2012)


I don't envy anyone trying to start a niche perfume brand today. In an environment where over 1000 fragrances are released every year, standing out from the crowd is virtually impossible unless you have a truly original scent or substantial amounts of cash to spend on publicity. Needless to say, many new brands have neither, and their products dwindle away into obscurity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Home


Normal service is on the verge of being resumed. I hope you've all been well during my blogging break and that you've enjoyed the reviews that popped up during my absence. September is just a few days away, which means it's time for loins to be girded once again, although I mustn't allow this to detract from the joys of the holidays: it's been wonderful to have an opportunity to take stock of the last twelve months and consider the possibilities that the future might bring.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Persolaise Review: Eau Sauvage parfum + Addict Eau Sensuelle from Christian Dior (2012) + Premiere from Gucci (2012) + Eau Dynamisante from Clarins (1987/2012)


Most of Dior's recent alterations to their main fragrance range (fiddling around with the names of the various Miss Diors, tinkering with the Addicts etc) have been baffling, to say the least. But I confess even I experienced a moment of excitement when I heard that one of their new ideas was an extrait formulation of Edmond Roudnitska's iconic Eau Sauvage. As is well known, the fragrance had already been the subject of several updates over the decades, but this sounded like a much more serious proposition than a mere flanker. After all, it isn't every day that a major brand decides to release a parfum for men, let alone a parfum based on one of the most successful masculines of all time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When Does A Negative Become A Positive?


Every now and then, the question of the value of negative reviews raises its head, which is why a recent article by the restaurant critic Jay Rayner grabbed my attention. I'm not sure its contents chime with my own thoughts on the subject, but paragraphs such as the one below certainly made for an interesting read:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Persolaise Review: Mukhalat Malaki from Swiss Arabian + Perfume Calligraphy from Aramis + Encounter from Calvin Klein (2012)


It's always round about this time of year (can't think why) that I tend to be asked what makes so-called Arabic-style perfumes smell so... Arabic. If I were a chemist or the owner of a gas chromatograph (neither of which I am) I'd probably be able to provide a technical answer outlining the main constituents of such scents, but I'm not sure that would be terribly helpful in any practical sense. Alternatively, I could pass around certain raw materials for sniffing, but then that would be like trying to explain the taste and texture of a cake by showing someone an egg, some flour and a knob of butter. So I think I'll just try to be concise and restrict myself to a two-word response: Mukhalat Malaki, the signature scent from Swiss Arabian.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Persolaise Review: Notes + Bois Noir + Casbah + Mademoiselle + Oud from Robert Piguet (2012)


Fashion Fragrances & Cosmetics Ltd - the company that currently owns the licence for Robert Piguet Parfums - was always going to face a tricky, 'turning the corner' moment at some stage of its growth. Its re-working of classic scents such as Bandit, Fracas and Calypso has largely been met with approval from critics and consumers, but a brand can't rest on past successes for ever. FFC took its first steps towards the future in 2011 by carrying out a canny interim move: it used the Piguet brand as a vehicle for designer Douglas Hannant's perfume. But now, the firm is venturing into wholly uncharted territory by issuing no fewer than five 'nouvelle collection' scents, all of which have reportedly been put together by Givaudan's Aurelien Guichard, who was also responsible for the re-creation of some of the classic fragrances.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Persolaise Review: La Petite Robe Noire + Déserts D'Orient from Guerlain (2012)


Some people complain that Guerlain is consciously trying to attract younger customers. I'm not sure why that's a strategy to be deplored. Surely the under-25s deserve to have their tastes catered for as much as anyone else, and I'd certainly prefer to see them reaching for Shalimar Parfum Initial or an Aqua Allegoria rather than, say, the new JLS perfume or the Big Pony women's quartet from Ralph Lauren (smell them if you dare... but don't say I didn't warn you). I also wouldn't mind if they went for the new version of La Petite Robe Noire, which they are reportedly doing in their droves in France.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Enigmatic Illusionist - An Interview With Jean-Claude Ellena


It's interesting to consider why Jean-Claude Ellena attracts as much reverence as he does. The simplest explanation might be that he deserves it for his work. After all, Déclaration, Terre D'Hermès, Eau Parfumée Eau Thé Vert and Bois Farine, amongst many others, are perennial best sellers with passionately loyal fans. But then, Ellena isn't the only perfumer to have forged a successful career.

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