Thursday 31 December 2015

Guerlain, YSL and Penhaligon's - The Accountant Effect

As we take our first steps into a new year it's customary to look back on the previous twelve months and celebrate successes, whilst saying goodbye to failures. Well, the perfume industry is no different. The list of new releases gets longer every year and so casualties are inevitable. When decisions are made commercially, rather than artistically, love goes out of the window. With accountants entrusted to make the choices, is it true that
"when love goes wrong, nothing goes right"?

There has always been a rush to copy successful perfumes or styles, but when a marketplace gets flooded with them then it is inevitable that the original will be the one to survive. The accountant’s spreadsheet will always aim to end in the black, but when commercialism starts to fight against a brand’s heritage, or the public’s expectations, then it can quickly spiral down into the red. Yves Saint Laurent, Guerlain and Penhaligon’s have all fallen foul to this trend during 2015, and whilst there’s light at the end of the tunnel the journey is far from over.

Monday 28 December 2015


What is there left to say about Odette Toilette that hasn't been said already? Well, her real name is Lizzie Ostrom and she has the craziest approach to "perfume appreciation" that you could ever hope to experience. Her sold-out "scratch and sniff" events are now legendary, and she is also the author of A Century Of Scents, a stroll through one hundred years of perfume. With herself as the subject for a change, what would she make of "Stephan's Six"?

Thursday 24 December 2015

Scented Christmas Memories

When I was a child the scent of Christmas was something that I didn't give a second thought to, I was more concerned with whether I was going to get He-Man's Castle Grayskull. Look, cartoons and action figures were big business in the eighties. As I grew up however I realised that those scents had become part of me, and within them the memories of my childhood were stored. Christmas was a big thing in my house, I even spoke to my brother for one day a year, although it was probably a grunt. My parents gave us everything that we could have wanted, but what are the scents that have stuck in my head twenty years later?

Monday 21 December 2015


Forever associated with the character of Helen Alderson, James Herriot's wife in the BBC series All Creatures Great And Small, Carol Drinkwater set pulses racing as the sexy wife of the Yorkshire vet. She left the programme after three series and two Christmas specials, because of other work commitments, and was replaced by Lynda Bellingham. Carol's television and film career is extensive, but a love of writing revealed itself when she bought an old olive farm in France's Le Cannet. Now a successful author of the Olive Farm Series of books, amongst others, what would she make of "Stephan's Six"?

Thursday 17 December 2015

L'AIMANT - 88 And Not Out!

When Gabrielle Chanel launched her famous No5 in 1921 she could never have imagined the effect that it would have on the perfume industry, although her fierce determination would certainly have wanted it to be an international success. What Ernest Beaux's perfume did was to create a completely new category of scents, the Aldehydic Floral. Aldehydes were nothing new, Guerlain had used them in the 1889 Iris Blanc, but what was groundbreaking was using them in such large quantities. Now, copying successful perfumes was commonplace, even then, but let's take a look at the one that almost destroyed No5 ... L'Aimant by Coty.

Monday 14 December 2015


When Monsieur Guerlain started his website back in 2006 it was because there was so little information available about the company. Apart from a few books there was no dedicated site. A lifelong fan, he started to pull together every piece of information that he could find, and his impartiality meant that he has become the unofficial authority on Guerlain. Always writing under his nom de plume, what would we learn about him from "Stephan's Six"?

Thursday 10 December 2015

Bella Bellissima's PERFECT NIGHT

The eternal dream, a perfect night followed by a perfect day. The idea of a high energy, sexually charged experience with the perfect partner that leaves you breathless but wanting more. In perfume terms this is nothing new, but it has never gone to that pre-cigarette moment when your head is spinning and you can't catch your breath. Until now. Well, actually it was 2007, and the perpetrator of this olfactory pleasure was Bella Crane. When creating a sexually charged scent there is a fine line between wearability and provocativeness. So, let me show you your Perfect Night, and then tell me if it doesn't leave you wanting more.

Monday 7 December 2015


Christopher Biggins has had an eclectic career, from Porridge to Poldark, Rentaghost to Surprise Surprise and even I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. He is now best known for playing Panto Dame every Christmas, the only one he missed was when he was in the jungle, but people forget that he trained as a classical actor and his credits are impressive. However, his infectious laugh and larger than life personality make him the ideal "celebrity" and I was interested to see what he would reveal during "Stephan's Six".

Thursday 3 December 2015


It's taken twelve long months but we're finally here again ... Christmas!! It's the season of extravagance, gluttony, and fights over the Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts, or Toblerone if you're anywhere near Odette Toilette! Hand in hand with this though is the pressure of finding the perfect present. A staple Christmas gift has now become the "scented candle", I think it's taken the place of the humble "bath cube", but the quality of these varies dramatically. Uneven burns and questionable fragrances makes choosing one a bit of a minefield. So, with everyone wanting that perfect scent, I went on the hunt for my top five.