Thursday, 21 March 2019

PERFUMES: THE A-Z GUIDE by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez

It’s hard to believe that eleven years have passed since a perfume book was published that revolutionised the fragrance industry. Up until that point there had been magazine articles, reviews, and the world of blogger criticism was exploding, but there had never been a book that truly critiqued scent. This is where Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez came in with Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. Now in its umpteenth edition in the UK, and finally rereleased in America, it's time to revisit this legendary publication to see whether it can still claim to be, in the words of David Sexton, “nothing less than an essential possession.”

Monday, 18 March 2019

CHAMELEON by Zoologist

When a perfume company takes a very particular inspiration for its fragrances it can often run into difficulties with breaking out of a perceived style. This has been one of the challenges with Victor Wong’s Zoologist range, but it’s one that is about to be blown out of the water. The brand became known for highly scented animalic fragrances that often veered more towards “olfactory artistry” than “wearability” and, with the exception of Hummingbird and Camel, were very anchored in a niche clientele. This month sees the launch of Daniel Pescio’s Chameleon and his balance between style and substance is absolutely spot on.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Three New Aqua Allegorias from Guerlain

It’s always very difficult to pin down the seasons, especially with the current unexpected variations in temperature, but there is one annual fragrance release that definitely makes it feel like spring has arrived. Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria range has earned a reputation for lifting us out of the winter blues and hinting at the warmth that is to come, and this year there are three to choose from. Flora Cherrysia, Ginger Piccante, and Coconut Fizz join the existing lineup and perfectly compliment the ten already on offer. Created by Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk, let’s see what Guerlain has created for 2019.

Monday, 4 March 2019

ROSE POLAROID by SP Parfums

The pressures that are on companies to keep producing exciting and original fragrances have never been greater. Our constant demand for “new and diverting” has to be carefully tempered with “familiar and accessible” in order to make the cash registers ring. It’s this mainstream offering of safe, middle ground scents that has seen an increase in customers looking to independent and niche perfumers for their excitement and creativity. Sven Pritzkoleit of SP Parfums is a perfect example of this and last year saw the release of his wonderfully engaging Rose Polaroid. Six months later it’s time to revisit this flash-bulb floral.

Monday, 25 February 2019

BEAUTIFUL BELLE by Estée Lauder

When a company decides to launch a new fragrance, the decision faced is whether to branch out in a totally new direction or to trade on familiarity. A scent that is already well known has the advantage of being recognisable and, with careful branding, you can really capitalise on this. One company that have built an entire series around this idea is Estée Lauder and their Beautiful collection. The quote, “You are never too old to reinvent yourself” could have been written about Estee Lauder’s Beautiful Belle, the latest addition to the series, but will it be a permanent addition or a merely a two-year novelty?

Monday, 18 February 2019

BERGAMOT by Herba London

Independent perfumers seem to be multiplying at an astonishing rate in the United Kingdom but “quantity” doesn’t seem to have diminished “quality” in this ever-expanding market. Whilst some have a small team to help with every aspect of the production, others really are one-person operations. However, being independent from large corporations means that these perfumers are free to create without the constraints of trend or fashion, and the results are often remarkable. Last year saw the launch of Herba London, founded by Peter de Bique, and his debut collection of eight fragrances was outstanding.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

WILD FLOWERS & WEEDS by Jo Malone London

Jo Malone London started a tradition back in 2011 when they released their first “Brit Collection”, a series of fragrances that were designed to celebrate an aspect of British culture or history. From tea to the Tudors, and herbs to hyacinths, the company have always attempted to add a little fun into February and this year is no exception. Céline Roux, Vice President of Global Fragrance Development for Jo Malone London, called upon perfumers Yann Vasnier and Louise Turner to collaborate on the 2019 collection and the result is Wild Flowers & Weeds. So, will the company’s ninth year blossom or will it wilt?

Monday, 11 February 2019

Valentine's Day 2019 - Scents For Gents

When it comes to recommending fragrances for Valentine’s Day it seems that the emphasis is well and truly on gifting for ladies rather than gifting for men. Many magazines will choose their favourite women’s scents but what about those that need to buy for the man in their life? Well, this year I’ve chosen five scents for you to pick from and, with three of them available on the high street, there’s easily something for everyone. None of these are technically “new” releases, but they might be new to you. So, for Valentine’s Day 2019, it’s time to say hello to Guerlain, Penhaligon's, Bella Bellissima, Chanel, and 4160 Tuesdays.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

RÊVE D'OR by L.T. Piver

One of the problems with “historical” perfume companies is unscrambling fact from fiction. Over time you find that the rumour mill adds a fact here and an anecdote there, but it becomes even more difficult when the company is sold numerous times. A perfect example is L.T. Piver, but it’s worth a little digging around in order to appreciate one of their most famous creations, Rêve d’Or. When this scent was launched it was groundbreaking but, whilst still incredibly popular in the Middle East, it has started to be forgotten elsewhere. So, to celebrate its one hundred and thirtieth birthday, it's time to rediscover Rêve d’Or.

Monday, 4 February 2019

PLATINUM and CERAMICS by Parks London

The fashion for scented candles shows absolutely no signs of slowly down any time soon and it continues to be the preferred choice for fragrancing the majority of households. The variety that is available seems to increase on a daily basis with new waxes, innovative holders, even personalisation options all competing for that important place in your basket. However, there is a company that has recently undergone a complete rebranding of their candle range and the results are spectacular. I’m talking about Parks London and the beautiful scents that have been created by Pia Long. It’s time to be introduced to Ceramics and Platinum.

Monday, 28 January 2019

LAVANDE by Fragonard

January can often seem a little quiet on the fragrance front with many perfume houses simply finishing their winter sales or concentrating on their upcoming spring releases. One company that always delivers a very welcome burst of warmth at this time of year however is Fragonard with their Flower of the Year series. The concept of the range is simple, take one key ingredient and present it in an original yet easily accessible way. Lavender has been chosen as Fragonard's "olfactory signature" for 2019 and the task of interpreting it has again been given to Céline Ellena, but how will she twist this very familiar scent?

Monday, 21 January 2019

ENCENS MYTHIQUE by Guerlain

One of the challenges faced by companies when introducing a new fragrance is ensuring that it doesn’t conflict with an existing release. One way around this is to create “capsule collections” and one of the masters of this is undoubtedly Guerlain, but even they occasionally have to reposition their fragrances. This happened with their Les Déserts d’Orient and Les Absolus d’Orient collections because both exhibited similar styles. When Les Déserts d’Orient was retired it was also thought that its fragrances had also gone, but they have just been rereleased in the Absolus series. So, it’s time to rediscover Encens Mythique.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

FIRE LIVING COLOGNE by Tessa Williams

One of the constant pressures on fragrance companies is whether to release a new scent each year or rework an existing one by adding a flower here or a woody note there. The public’s constant demand for newness often sees a rapid succession of similarity, but one company has chosen to go in a different direction by reintroducing a truly adaptive product instead of a new scent. Tessa Williams has launched a “living cologne” version of her successful Fire home fragrance and it makes you wonder why this style ever fell out of fashion. With this in mind, let me show you a new way to beat the January blues.

Monday, 14 January 2019

OLD BOOKS by The Perfumer's Story

In the world of fragrance, new perfume releases seem to come so quickly that it’s impossible to catch every one at the time if its debut. Perfumes get overlooked or overshadowed by brighter, bigger, or louder launches, and some real gems can often get lost amongst the noise. One such fragrance is Old Books by Azzi Glasser for The Perfumer’s Story. It arrived on the scene in 2015 and is still something of a secret amongst patchouli lovers. In a market saturated with voluminous scent, Azzi has always retained her delicacy of touch and Old Books truly is an emotional breath of fresh air.

Monday, 7 January 2019

CAMEL by Zoologist Perfumes

The word “animalic” is often used to describe fragrances that are musk-laden, dangerously resinous, or that exude a carnal sensuality. It’s gone far beyond mere ingredients and instead has almost become a subversive trend of its own. The level of animalic-ness varies from company to company but there is one brand that is pushing the limits to breaking point. With fragrances that don’t obey the “rules” and a concept that, six years on, is still extraordinary, Victor Wong has sailed Zoologist right into the eye of the storm and the results are wonderfully challenging. So, from Bat to Beaver, it’s time to “talk to the animals.”