Thursday, 28 May 2020

VIOLETTE EAU DE COLOGNE by Galimard

It’s easy to forget the more traditional forms of fragrance when we’re constantly bombarded with the latest and the loudest ground-breaking perfumes. You read about “new” ingredients, different ways of wearing scent, but sometimes a return to a simpler time is actually what’s needed. We’ve become so accustomed to the “volume” of a perfume that to wear something subtle can be a terrifying thought, but it’s worth the risk. A scent that delicately sits closely to the skin, and that almost becomes a part of you, is a wonderful experience, and that is exactly what you get from Violette Eau de Cologne by Galimard.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

MUGUET 56 by Daniel Pescio

As soon as we mention florals in the same sentence as perfume our minds instinctively turn to feminine fragrances. We have been brought up to believe that flowers are for girls and woods are for men, in the same way as choosing pink and blue, but thankfully things are changing. A willingness to challenge stereotypes has seen many men reaching for florals. Sometimes it’s to disarm but mainly it’s simply a love of this style of fragrance. One perfumer that has an incredible skill and creating florals is Daniel Pescio, and this is perfectly displayed in his beautifully constructed lily of the valley perfume, Muguet 56.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

SAPPHO and NERO by Lush

It’s not unusual to see numerous fragrance releases from a company in a single year. After all, it’s all about keeping their customers engaged. However, to launch an additional collection of five in one go is a little less usual. It doesn’t happen often because the amount of planning and execution that is required is immense, and it’s also a very risky decision. It takes a brand that isn’t afraid of a little hard work, and that company is LUSH. Their new Florence Collection is a series of five scents that are designed to realign the body's humours. The question is, how would this translate to contemporary fragrance?

Monday, 18 May 2020

SHOWER PUK by Geoff Thornton

Anybody that has followed me regularly will know that I have a deep love for the humble bar of soap. This started as a child when I would regularly reach for the Imperial Leather at home or, even more exotic to small fingers, the Coal Tar at my grandfather’s house. I’m not saying that I liked the thought of washing as a child, I don't think that any of us did, but I loved the smell that these fragranced bars provided. In recent years and months we’ve seen soap make a resurgence that could never have been planned, and it’s coincided with the launch of the wonderfully scented and beautifully packaged Shower PUK.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

ELDRITCH MIST by Screaming Mandrake Perfumes

One of the ongoing challenges for the perfume industry is persuading customers to invest their time in a company and their products. There is so much choice, which just keeps getting bigger, and so standing out from the crowd becomes harder. When you also add in the actual price of the fragrances then you begin to understand why customers are reticent to switch allegiances. One niche brand that continues to perform well in these challenging times is the Wicca-inspired Screaming Mandrake Perfumes, and their latest Eldritch Mist fragrance promises to allow the wearer to flee to “the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

Monday, 11 May 2020

OCEAN COMMOTION by Prosody London

Scent has always been great at conjuring up memories and emotions, and it’s one of the reasons that certain perfumes will resonate so deeply with us as individuals. We all have our own favourite aromas that remind us of special times and, when you find these within a fragrance, it’s often what cements your love affair with that particular perfume. Scents that are evocative of a place are always slightly harder to capture, because it’s so personal, but Keshen Teo has managed it perfectly with the release of his latest fragrance, Ocean Commotion. An early hint of summer fun, it’s time to dive into the water.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

HOPE and GRATITUDE by Ruth Mastenbroek

It’s very difficult to maintain a feeling of normality during challenging times, and this is especially apparent at the moment. Many of us thrive on our interaction with friends and relatives, but that’s had to be momentarily halted for obvious reasons. This sudden change of lifestyle, and the support that goes with it, can have dramatic effects on people’s mental health, especially when they’re working on the frontline. With an increased demand for their services, charities that offer a helping hand are under enormous strain. This is where Ruth Mastenbroek and her family are helping in the form of their Hope and Gratitude candles.

Monday, 4 May 2020

MONSIEUR DE PROVENCE by Prestige de Menton

You’ve probably heard the saying “all that glitters is not gold,” and it’s definitely one that can be applied to the fragrance industry. Jewel encrusted bottles that look more like an ornament than a perfume seem to be a must-have fashion accessory, but the contents can often be questionable. Looking at this from the other direction, “don’t judge a book by its cover” should also be applied to the simple way that some companies present their fragrances. One example of this is the enduring Monsieur de Provence by Prestige de Menton. It may be understated to look at but the perfume is a fantastic survivor of a bygone age.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

DARK QUEEN by Sarah McCartney and ÇaFleureBon

The fashion for bloggers, vloggers, and reviewers to release their own fragrance seems to be at an all-time high at the moment. It’s clear that the majority of these are just a blatant attempt to cash in on their already entrenched audience’s admiration and, as such, the results can often be overly emotive or decidedly underwhelming. That’s why it was with some trepidation that I approached the latest release from ÇaFleureBon. The third in her celebratory series, and once again created by Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays, is Dark Queen a force to be reckoned with or a sibling to be ignored?

Monday, 27 April 2020

TIARELLA by Fragonard

One of the questions that I get asked most often is “Which perfume do you wish that they would bring back?” Now this usually ends up relating to the particular fragrance house that you’re talking about, and so the answer is a little weighted in their favour. When you’re given free rein to decide then the decision becomes more about whether you go down the “scholarly” route or choose something more personal. So, in the current climate of reduced launches, I asked myself this question and the answer may surprise you. The fragrance that I would like to see come back is Tiarella by Fragonard.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

SEA SALT TAR and POUDRE DE RIZ by Sven Pritzkoleit

When we are faced with troubles it’s almost second nature to try and remember happier times. This recollection can come in the form of music, a scent, or even the immediacy that you get with food. However it is summoned up, a familiarity that is entwined with positive memories is always the best antidote to the blues. With the current need to limit travel and even see our families, many people’s rituals have been thrown up in the air. However, Sven Pritzkoleit has come to the rescue with his emotionally evocative Sea Salt Tar and Poudre de Riz, which both come laden with smiles and sunshine.

Monday, 20 April 2020

WHISKEY & VANILLA by Every Nook

The fashion for candles shows no signs of slowing down and, in times of uncertainty and challenge, that gently flickering flame in the corner of the room really can provide a feeling of comfort. There are thousands to choose from and every company has their own unique take on the combination of wax and wick. Also when we add in the cost, you start to wonder what you’re paying for. One company that is steering a steady course through the turbulent waves of the home fragrance market is Every Nook. This independent brand is providing some well needed decadence in the form of their Whiskey & Vanilla candle.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

ST. PAUL'S by Exaltatum London

The job of a perfumer is to take a jumble of ideas and turn them into a fully formed fragrance. Now, when you work for a large company you can find yourself caught in the middle of many egos all wanting a say on the finished scent. However, as an independent perfumer you are solely accountable to yourself, and so the finished fragrance can often be closer to the original concept. One perfumer that has shown herself to be the mistress of translating emotion and place into scent is Eglija Vaitkevice of Exaltatum, and her latest fragrance takes the wearer on a journey to baroque London. It's time to visit St. Paul's.

Monday, 13 April 2020

FANTASY by Britney Spears

Everybody loves a birthday and the world of perfume is no different. With so many fragrances released annually it’s often hard for some of them to even reach a second birthday, let alone a very impressive fifteenth. Capturing the moment and securing a fan base is what every new launch strives to do, and that is exactly what happened in 2005. In the year that she sang “I see you lookin' at me,” Britney Spears launched the first of her Fantasy perfumes and it took the celebrity fragrance to new heights. So, fifteen years on, let’s go back to where it all began and see if it still leaves “a tantalising trail of embracing sensuality.”

Thursday, 9 April 2020

DELINA by Parfums de Marly

One of the most amazing parts about the perfume industry is experiencing the moment when the stars really do align. This doesn’t happen very often but, when it does, the results are exceptional. Finding the perfect perfumer for the perfect project, and then watching the company allow them space to create, is a luxury that is not always afforded to mainstream releases. However, in the niche sector it is more common. One such collaboration was between Quentin Bisch and Parfums de Marly. Their 2017 release was the epitome of cashmere soft romance, and it’s time to rediscover the exquisite Delina.

Monday, 6 April 2020

HOPE by Tessa Williams

There have been many occasions where the original direction of a product has taken a different route because of events that are out of a company’s control. This isn't always a bad thing, in fact it's a compliment when it becomes a source of comfort. In unsettling times it often feels reassuring to reach for a product that affirms a positive message, and this is what has happened with the most recent launch from Tessa Williams. Always intended as the conclusion to her scented trilogy, Hope has recently become a fragranced wish that many have chosen to turn to in these challenging times.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

NIRVANA by Barbershop Botanicals

Perfume has often been described as a frivolity that simply forms part of a person’s daily beauty ritual, but that’s a pretty harsh judgement. The fragrance that we decide to wear for the day, or the evening, is often carefully chosen because of the way it makes us feel. Scent has always had the incredible ability to alter the wearer’s mood and mindset, with the more traditional domain of aromatherapy now being very popular in the perfume industry. One of the latest to combine scent with emotion is Marcus Fellowes of Barbershop Botanicals, and his calming Nirvana couldn’t have come at a better time.

Monday, 30 March 2020

STEPHAN'S SIX - MARCUS FELLOWES


When Marcus Fellowes retrained as a barber he never imagined that it would ultimately result in the creation of a collection of four fragrances. Designed to alleviate the worries of his clients through scent, they soon expanded to include a beautiful range of body products. After creating for others, I wondered what scented secrets he would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

ROOK by ROOK

One of the issues that many perfume companies face when they try to upscale their business is that it’s often hard to adapt their core values. The idiosyncrasies that make you unique run the risk of being buried within a new corporate structure, and existing fans can be disillusioned by the changes. You can’t remain the same when production dramatically increases, especially when there are outside investors keeping a close eye, but it’s how you manage that transition that is key. The latest company to take on the challenge of upscaling is Rook Perfumes and, whilst the packaging may have changed, the heart has remained.

Monday, 23 March 2020

ASSASSIN BELARUS by Jonathan Ward

There are times when real life can suddenly turn an intimate event into a major occasion. That is what happened on Tuesday 17th March. Plans had been made months in advance to launch the latest candle from Jonathan Ward at his Hackney studio, but a global pandemic was coming ever closer to the United Kingdom. By the time the day arrived all fashion shows and product launches had been cancelled, and so an independent studio in E8 was about to host the final physical event in the beauty industry's calendar. The candle is called Assassin Belarus and it truly does shine a light in these dark times.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

STEPHAN'S SIX - NICOLA THOMIS


Nicola Thomis is the founder and lead writer on The Sniff, a website that has given her the opportunity to review both classic and modern fragrances. A fellow Jasmine Award nominee, and the queen of the York fragrance scene, I wondered what fragranced secrets she would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Monday, 16 March 2020

The Comfort of Soaps

We are living through extraordinary times but, never one to miss an opportunity, the beauty industry has been cashing in on the public fear. With a shortage of hand sanitiser, all thoughts turned to the humble bar of soap and the marketing machines have rumbled into action with “anti-bacterial” messages and questionable pricing. Thankfully many companies have not gone down this grubby route and have retained some dignity. So, I’ve raided my bathroom cupboard to bring you some honourable favourites that won’t break the bank. And talking about cost, I also bought all of these scented beauties myself.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

GFT by Geo F Trumper

When a new fragrance company launches into an already overcrowded marketplace it is important that it starts to create a history from the outset. It’s this story that the brand will be able to build on as it hopefully progresses. Unfortunately the loyalty of a customer to a brand is not as all-encompassing as it once was and so many, regratably, won’t survive. The days of a diehard commitment to a company have gone, so those that have already secured this have a huge advantage. Geo F Trumper has an impressive history stretching back to 1875 but this year sees the twentieth anniversary of the much younger GFT.

Monday, 9 March 2020

STEPHAN'S SIX - BAPTISTE BOUYGUES


A background in the gold mining industry might not be the usual start for the founder of a perfume company. When Baptiste Bouygues launched Ormaie, he had also had experience with Louis Vuitton and Givenchy so the world of fine fragrance was definitely in his blood. With such an unusual journey into the fragrance industry, I wondered what perfume memories he would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

MA BÊTE by Eris Parfums

The archives of perfumery are strewn with the well-meaning, yet misguided scents that promised to rock the world. They launch in a blaze of glory but, after the novelty fades, it quickly becomes apparent that they’re nothing more than novelties. However, every so often a brand comes along that sets pulses, and temperatures racing. It’s not that it taps into a trend, it’s more that it reignites a passion that has become dormant. Well crafted, exquisitely packaged, with a style that is unequalled in modern perfumery. I’m talking about Ma Bête from Eris Parfums, and it definitely feels as though it was made just for me.

Monday, 2 March 2020

STEPHAN'S SIX - MARIE-LISE JONAK


A career spent working with the likes of Guerlain and Nina Ricci meant that it was only a matter of time before Marie-Lise Jonak, along with her son Baptiste Bouygues, decided to launch her own company. Ormaie is a natural brand that has an emphasis on the visual presentation as well as the scented experience. With this mind, I wondered what fragrance memories she would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

SEA SALT & DRIFTWOOD by OSMIC

The fashion for home crafting seems to be at an all-time high at the moment with new businesses springing up every day. The Etsy platform has really helped to push these companies to greater prominence but it’s come at a cost. The majority of them are producing products based on other companies’ fragrances and many don’t even alter the name. How many times have you seen Lime Basil & Mandarin or English Pear & Freesia? One company that is trying to do something a little different though is Osmic. Their latest scent, Sea Salt & Driftwood, is a great example that home crafting can dare to be different.

Monday, 24 February 2020

STEPHAN'S SIX - DIDIER GAGLEWSKI


Didier Gaglewski was born in Grasse and, very quickly, became fascinated with the world of perfumery. Being brought up the spiritual home of fragrance meant that a career in the industry was inevitable and it led to debut collections being presented in Paris, Germany, and Switzerland. I met Didier at his beautiful boutique in Grasse to discover his scented secrets during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

INCENSE CITY by AllSaints

The idea of a clothing company expanding their range to include a fragrance line is nothing new. From the early days of Chanel right through to a more modern Missoni, giving the customer the opportunity to own something more than just fashion or makeup encourages them to fully immerse themselves in the brand. Now, this has been done with varying degrees of success, mainly down to the quality of the final scent, and it’s widely recognised as a bit of a risky enterprise. However, for every failure there is also a triumph and that can certainly be said of AllSaints and their remarkable Incense City.

Monday, 17 February 2020

STEPHAN'S SIX - BARBARA HERMAN


Barbara Herman became well known to the fragrance community through Yesterday’s Perfume, a blog which concentrated on her love of vintage scents. This subsequently inspired her bestselling book, Scent & Subversion, and sowed the seeds for her own perfume range, Eris Parfums. With a fascination for classic fragrances, I wondered what scented secrets Barbara would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

VILLANELLE by Kamila Aubre

There are times when fate can take a bigger hand in the exposure of your company than any amount of carefully placed articles or reviews. You are always at the mercy of the reader engaging with the piece in order for them to learn more about the brand and the fragrances, and by that I mean actually clicking through to the website at the end of the final paragraph. This is completely out of the hands of the writer, or even the company, but sometimes something else can take over. One person that has experienced this first-hand is Kamila Aubre with her wonderfully named perfume entitled Villanelle.

Monday, 10 February 2020

COCOROSA BEAUTY - The Scent of Sandalwood

The advertising slogan that started a revolution, and is lodged in most people’s minds, must surely be “not perfumed, not coloured, just kind.” Those famous words are credited to Alex Pearl, the copywriter on the 1986 advert for Simple, and it made a generation begin to question what was actually in their skincare. The reason for adding fragrance back then was to simply make it smell better but, over time, the beauty industry started to revert to ingredients that were naturally perfumed. One such company is Cocorosa Beauty and their Sandalwood Soothe & Restore Face Oil continues to harness the power of scent.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

GULA by Memoize London

In the constant rush for “newness” we often forget about companies that are confidently, and successfully, continuing to walk that niche road. These brands become whispered favourites rather than trumpeted crowd-pleasers, and often find themselves relying on loyal fan bases. These fantastic companies start to disappear from the magazine editorials in favour of the “new young thing.” This is the case with Memoize London, a fragrance brand that deserves much more exposure. Now in their fourth year, it’s time to revisit this memory based collection and rediscover one of their original fragrances, the wonderfully exciting Gula.

Monday, 3 February 2020

TABAC ROSE by bdk Parfums

You often hear the word “exclusive” applied to perfumes within a company’s range but, more often than not, they tend to be a discontinued fragrance that’s been rereleased under a new name. This is wonderful news for fans of the original but it can smack of a laziness on the part of the company. What is always exciting though is when an “exclusive” is released from a young niche brand because, as they don’t have a huge archive, the fragrance is likely to be a new creation. This is the case with Tabac Rose from bdk Parfums, the Harrods exclusive that has definitely set temperatures racing.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

BARE & BOND - The Perfume Subscription Box

Anybody that was brought up in the seventies or eighties will probably have a bittersweet memory of the various subscription services that were available. There was one for everybody from records right through to that new-fangled medium of VHS, and don’t even start me on Radio Rentals. However, it was often quite tricky to get out of them once you had joined and, forty years ago, these items carried a hefty price tag. It was therefore with some trepidation that I approached Bare & Bond, a perfume subscription service, but I needn’t have worried. Offering a carefully curated selection, it’s every fragrance lover’s dream.

Monday, 27 January 2020

N°7 by SG79

The great thing about the current variety of fragrances that are available is that the selection really is a worldwide affair because the days of perfume production being the sole domain of France, and closely followed by America and the United Kingdom, are long gone. It’s this wonderful chocolate box selection of scents that truly gives the customer such an eclectic mix to choose from, and at a wide range of prices. Romella International are based in Stockholm and their SG79 range has proved to be a big hit with fragrance fans, and this looks set to continue with the release of the new N°7.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

VETYVER VANILLE by Le Jardin Retrouvé

One of the most common questions that I get asked by perfume companies that I work with is, “What do we do with our end of line products?” By this they usually mean last year’s limited edition or a fragrance that has been discontinued. Many end up in discount stores, or heavily reduced during those regular online sales, but this wasn’t the route that Le Jardin Retrouvé decided to go down. With many fragrance fans now despite to get their hands on vintage perfumes, the company started a “by request” service called La Collection Historique and, because of that, Vetyver Vanille is just waiting to be rediscovered.

Monday, 20 January 2020

N'AIMEZ QUE MOI by Parfums Caron

Fragrances that are labelled as “classic” are generally well respected by the perfume industry but there's often a difference of opinion when we talk about “famous” scents. A perfume can become well known for a variety of reasons but, whilst popular with the public, it isn’t always held in the greatest esteem by the higher echelons. It’s worth remembering that there is often a divide between perfume customers and scented scholars, but both views are equally as important. One fragrance that sits squarely between “classic” and “famous” is N’aimez que Moi by Parfums Caron, and this year is the perfect time to revisit it.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

17 NANDAN ROAD by Ulrich Lang

The reasons why someone launches their own perfume company are always so varied and that can also be said for the background of the founder. Some may have been inspired by a lifelong interest in fragrance whilst others may have already worked within the industry for many years. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but, because the nuts and bolts of releasing a fragrance are so much more than just creating the scent, a little bit of inside knowledge can be helpful. This can certainly be said of Ulrich Lang whose most recent fragrance, 17 Nandan Road, definitely hits the right note in both scent and styling.

Monday, 13 January 2020

LAMPLIGHT PENANCE by Chatillon Lux

The storytelling that is attached to the perfume industry goes hand in hand with the actual fragrances themselves and can often transform an adequate scent into something more appealing. However, occasionally a fragrance comes along that seems to transcend its own marketing and the combination of ingredients works perfectly without any narrative. Everyone likes a story and so when the inspiration and the perfume perfectly merge then you know that you’re in for a real treat. Chatillon Lux is based in St Louis and their Lamplight Penance fragrance blends the evocative with a wash of beauty to create something exceptional.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

JUNIOR by Carthusia

There’s an often repeated theory that the younger you manage to tempt a person to start using a company’s fragrance the more likely they are to stay loyal to that brand. Now, whether this still holds true in the current arena of thousands rather than hundreds of perfume companies is open to debate. The vast choice and availability of fragrance has made loyalty a prized possession in the industry, and that is one of the reasons why Carthusia has launched Junior. The scent is aimed squarely at the children’s market but it has also proved irresistible to adults who love their powdery floral scents.

Monday, 6 January 2020

MILANO CENTO - The Original Just Got Stronger

I wonder how many bottles of fragrance end up languishing in the forgotten corner of a cupboard or get passed on to a friend with the greeting of “I think that this will suit you more than it does me.” When we find a perfume that we love it often becomes our signature and, understandably, others that are gifted or purchased can sometimes compare unfavourably next to it. Even the act of moving from an Eau de Toilette to an Eau de Parfum can prove problematic so, with this in mind, has Milano Cento successful managed to intensify its signature scent to match the expectations of a new decade?