Thursday 29 September 2016

MODERN MUSE NUIT by Estée Lauder

October is the month for the Winter blockbuster to launch. I'm talking about fragrance rather than film, although both share a similar strategy. A film's trailer is designed to excite an audience into attending, whilst an October fragrance launch is intended to make it onto that all important Christmas list. One of the first cabs off the rank this year is MODERN MUSE NUIT by Estée Lauder. It continues the popular series and is described as "Modern Muse at her most glamorous and mysterious", but is it really? There's only one way to find out ... dim the lights, grab your sequins, and experience the night.

Monday 26 September 2016


When the Cotswold Perfumery opened in 1965 few could have thought that it would reach last years' milestone of forty years. Based in the English village of Bourton on the Water its perfumer is John Stephen. He creates fragrances for his own company but also for much larger organisations, although which ones is a closely guarded secret. So, I thought it was about time John came out of the shadows, and the laboratory, to answer "Stephan's Six".

Thursday 22 September 2016

Creating at MOLINARD

Molinard is one of three perfumeries still operating out of Grasse in the South of France. The other two are Galimard and Fragonard, and together they form the “tourist trio”. You would be very unwise to dismiss these companies out of hand because they have all managed to survive changing fashions and still produce iconic fragrances. Fragonard has Belle de Nuit, Galimard has Yavana and Molinard has Habanita. All three also have Perfume Workshops with the only real difference being the range of ingredients used. As it’s something that I always enjoy, I was very happy to be invited to experience Molinard’s L’Atelier des Parfums.

Monday 19 September 2016


In 1981 John Challis introduced the public to the character of Boycie in Only Fools and Horses. The used car salesman became a popular foil for David Jason’s Del Boy and even spawned his own spin off series, The Green Green Grass. As an actor John Challis had a successful career before and after Only Fools and Horses, which he wrote about in his autobiography Being Boycie, but what would he reveal during “Stephan’s Six”?

Thursday 15 September 2016

POPPY MEADOW by Bronnley

Collaborations in the perfume market are nothing new, although a large number of them have resulted in some rather dubious creations. So, it was with some nervousness that I approached the RHS Collection by Bronnley, and in particular their new addition to the range, Poppy Meadow. A company whose foundations were built on a floral bedrock would seem the perfect organisation to work with the Royal Horticultural Society, but would their scents be challenging florals or merely shadowy petals? Let’s head down to the garden and see exactly what awaits with the 2016 release, Poppy Meadow.

Monday 12 September 2016

Glastonbury's Perfume Workshop

I think by now it's common knowledge that I'm never happier than when I'm messing around with perfume ingredients. So you can imagine my response when Marina Barcenilla invited me to one of her Perfume Workshops in Glastonbury. I didn't need to be asked twice. Marina runs The Perfume Garden, which is soon to become Marina Barcenilla Parfums, and this year she won a coveted FiFi award for her perfume India. The difference between this and other workshops that I've attended is that Marina's is wholly natural, not a synthetic in sight. So, how would I cope without my aldehyde c11 or my amber?

Thursday 8 September 2016


It seems that the days of fragrance counters displaying nothing but innocently sounding perfumes has long gone. In the past the furthest that most went was Scandal or Exclamation, but with the arrival of Fetish, Sex and even Fleur d'Anus the public became switched on to a new breed of perfumers. There is an element of shock value to be sure, but most of these fragrances actually have a grounding in very classic accords. Molinard first revealed its sexual side in 1921 with Habanita, and at the end of 2015 they followed it up with a carnal leather. So, leave Julie Andrews at home as I introduce you to Cuir.

Monday 5 September 2016


In 2007 Guerlain were looking for a follow-up to their popular fragrance Insolence, which had launched the previous year. Insolence had been marketed as a fragrance for the woman who "never has to apologise", and whilst it championed independence it also lacked romance. So, Sylvaine Delacourte called on Randa Hammami to create a Floral Musky fragrance which would eventually be called L'Instant Magic. On the eve of its tenth birthday let's revisit the fragrance which coined a new, if short lived, olfactory description and ultimately struggled to find its place after it was reclassified as an "exclusive".

Thursday 1 September 2016

JO LOVES Gardenia

When Jo Malone opened her first fragrance store in 1994 she had already become known as an "English scent maverick". From simple blends created by hand in her own kitchen she went on to steer her company to become a worldwide phenomenon, eventually selling to Estée Lauder in 1999. Jo Malone remained the creative director for seven years before finally leaving in 2006. After a "contractual" silence she launched a new venture in 2011, Jo Loves. To celebrate the company's fifth birthday, and her own indomitable spirit, let's look back at one of those "comeback" fragrances, the spectacular Gardenia.