Oh We’re So Pretty, Oh So Pretty, We’re Fragrant – Atkinsons Oud Save the Queen Perfume Review

Oud Save the Queen

Oud Save the Queen

I realise that linking Sex Pistols’ lyrics with perfume in the title of this post is a tenuous connection at best, but if perfume brand Atkinsons is allowed to have fun with titles and monikers, then I’ll be darned if I’m can’t join in too. On the subject of names, the latest fragrance from Atkinsons has such a wonderfully hilarious name I genuinely could not pass up givin it a shot. I mean, you’ve got to admire the audacity of a brand who bestows a perfume with the name ‘Oud Save the Queen‘.

Atkinsons is a recently-revived British brand that started in London in 1799 and is self-described as being “the original London Society fragrance house and the first official Perfumer to the Royal court”. This royal connection is explored further by Atkinsons, who claim to have “created the first British Oud fragrance, Prince Ibraham Bouquet, for Crown Prince Mohammed Ali Ibrahim of Egypt” upon the request of Queen Mary, during the roaring twenties.

The Oud Collection, which consists of Oud Save the Queen and her masculine counterpart ‘Oud Save the King‘, celebrates the brand’s royal connections to Britain and Egypt. Atkinsons calls their feminine oud (created by perfumer Francis Deleamont of Firmenich) a “majestic fragrance of sublimely sovereign beauty” that boasts notes of tea, flowers and rich woods. The result is something that is a little bit too sturdy to be truly “majestic”, but majesty can be overrated if you ask me.

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Perfume Pic of the Week No.15: My Top 5

Perfume Pic of the Week No.15: My Top 5

Perfume Pic of the Week No.15: My Top 5

I’ve always done everything to excess. My mother often tells me that as a kid, I had no off switch when it come to noise and food. Not much has changed since my formative years except for the fact that perfume has now become the outlet for my excessive personality (although I still have time for noise and food), meaning that over the period of time for which I’ve been interested in the subject, I’ve amassed quite a collection of scents.

Having lots of perfume is a good thing, after all, variety is the spice of life, as they say. But it can also be suffocating at times and the sheer thought of there being so much fragrance not being used in my house can be quite unsettliung. It’s a strange balance to strike – one wants variety, but at the same time it can pay to have a more selective approach to what perfumes one wears.

If anyone asks me whether I have a top five perfumes (or a top ten/twenty-five etc), my stock answer is always a definite; “oh, there’s no way I could only pick five”. But the truth is that this has changed over the last year or so and I do feel that I can now quite easily pick out some of my all-time favourites from the many bottles that sit neatly in boxes under my bed or are scattered untidily around the house.

So, to challenge myself, I have put together a list of my top five fragrances – five perfumes that I simply could not live without and if I had to hand over my collection (begrudgingly, of curse), these would be the ones that would stay. They are the non-negotiables and range from the ‘old faithfuls’ to more recent loves. But whether they are new additions or trusty friends, these are the five perfumes that I simply could not do without, right now… (they are subject to change, of course).

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Scent a Celebrity Series: Poor, Unfortunate Smells – Scenting Disney Villains

Poor, Unfortunate Smells

Poor, Unfortunate Smells – Scenting Disney Villains

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

Like most people on this fine Earth, I love Disney. Yes, I accept that they give one false expectations of love, romance and the presence of talking tea cups, but I’ve found my Prince so all is forgiven. It’s not the Disney Princesses or Princes that interest me though, for all that is pleasant in life isn’t necessarily captivating. Instead I have found myself loving the devious, the dastardly and the down right depraved Disney Villains.

For this episode of the Scent a Celebrity Series I am assigning perfumes to my four all-time favourite Disney villains, ranging from the squid-y sashay of Ursula the Sea Witch to the campy hypnotism of Aladdin’s arch nemesis Jafar. So read on dear perfume lovers, but beware as these villainous perfumes may appear as cartoon follies at first however, deep down they are nothing but trouble.

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New Escentual Post: The Party Fragrance Collection

The Party Fragrances

One of the many great things about writing for Escentual is that I get to try fragrances that I wouldn’t normally come across in the wild. Without sounding as if I’m plugging a little bit too much, they do have a great selection of brands ranging from the staples such as Guerlain and DIOR to the more subversive houses of Amouage, Etat Libre d’Orange and CB I Hate Perfume.

One particular brand that Escentual have introduced me to is The Party Fragrances. Currently there are six fragrances in the line, with each taking a classic accord and switching them up with something contemporary. Their debut fragrance, ‘The Party in Manhattan’ is especially noteworthy, mixing together the fruity chypre accord of Mitsouko with the intense floral tones of Patou’s Joy to make for a raucous and glamorous fragrance in the grand old style.

For my Escentual column this week I have taken a good sniff of all of The Party’s Fragrances and have reviewed them for your pleasure. So, if you’re feeling as if you’re in a mischievous mood or you fancy exploring this hidden gem of a fragrance house please click here to take a quick gander over to Escentual.com to read my review. Don’t forget to let me know what you think of the fragrances too, if you’ve tried them!

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Blue is the Colour – Lalique Hommage à l’Homme Voyageur & Bentley For Men Azure Perfume Reviews

Two New, Blue Masculines from Lalique and Bentley

Two New, Blue Masculines from Lalique and Bentley

Blue is the colour that is most likely to send perfume lovers into a fit of fragrant fear. It is, after all, the hue that is ultimately associated with thousands of dodgy aquatic and oceanic fragrances that populate the plentiful shelves of one’s local department stores. These scents sell by the bucket load and more often than not they play to the lowest common denominator, evoking a sense of cleanliness and not much else.

But that isn’t always the case and there are a number of notable occasions where a perfumer or brand has taken the idea of ‘blue’ and done something intriguing with it. One particular standout is Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s superlative OUD (a perfume that I officially refuse to stop banging on about because it is just so mighty good), an oud that is unlike no other and cast in a wonderful shade of cerulean. So yes, blue isn’t necessarily all bad.

For 2014 the houses of Lalique and Bentley are launching blue-themed flankers for two of their masculine fragrances. Lalique are presenting Hommage à l’Homme Voyageur, a follow-up to 2011′s Hommage à l’Homme and an ode to “the art of travel” inspired by the “sumptuous decor” designed by René Lalique for the luxurious liner – the Normandie. British car manufacturer, Bentley, on the other hand, are launching Bentley For Men Azure, a flanker to last year’s Bentley For Men that “appeals to sporty, smart and style conscious men.” 

One of these blue masculines is a wonderfully crafted take on ashen spices, that feels utterly smart and luxurious (and has this blogger completely and utterly hooked, FYI) whereas the other isn’t much more than a typically cobalt execution of a fresh aquatic masculine with a hint of something salty-fresh for added measure. Have you guessed which is which yet?

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Perfume Pic of the Week No.14: Chanel N°5 Extrait

Chanel N°5 Extrait

Perfume Pic of the Week No.14: Chanel N°5 Extrait

- Or “That Moment When You Realise Why a Classic is a Classic”

I’ve been spending a lot of time in department stores and shopping centres recently. The impending wedding has sent my soon-to-be-husband and me into a scheduled frenzy of buying things, returning things (don’t even get me started), looking at things and generally allocating a significant portion of our time to pre-nuptial consumerism. That may sound like a moan but it really isn’t and whilst I feel that the wedding build up is quite stressful, I’m pretty sure that it is in fact the best part.

It was on one of these recent shopping trips that I passed a Chanel counter. Now this is nothing unusual in itself, after all it’s pretty difficult to go to a department store and not pass a Chanel point of sale (they are anything if not prolific), but something caught my eye on this particular occasion that made me stop and pay attention. Something that one doesn’t always see amongst the many bottles of Coco Noir, Chance and Coco Mademoiselle – a tiny, gleaming bottle of N°5 Extrait.

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Urban Downpours – Jo Malone Rain & Angelica and Black Cedarwood & Juniper Perfume Reviews

London Rain

London Rain

I love the rain. There’s something about gloomy black skies and relentless downpours that appeal to my melancholic side. It’s fun too and as kids, my sister and I would often play outside in the rain until we were soaked through to the bone. We revelled in the burning cold of the open heavens and gorged on the smell of petrichor like greedy gremlins, fuelled by the most ancient and fundamental of elements. We also had fun splashing and throwing mud at each other, of course.

British perfume house Jo Malone appears to love the rain too, so much so in fact that they have launched a selection of four colognes (three new and one old) as part of their limited edition London Rain collection. Their take on rain is altogether more sanitised that my sister and I making mud pies though, focusing instead on the purifying and almost cinematic elements of rain within an urban landscape, celebrating it as a key part of London life. As the brand says; “what could be more British than London rain?”

“This collection is intensely urban whilst harnessing the power of nature in the city; drenched blooms, savage rainstorms battering the parks, the torrential drumbeat pelting the pavements. And the scents that rise from nature’s outburst, refreshing city life, making everything seem brand new.”

Created by perfumer Christine Nagel (Etat Libre d’Orange’s Archives 69, Versace Woman and Giorgio Armani’s Si) the London Rain collection consists of; Rain & Angelica, Wisteria & Violet, Black Cedarwood & Juniper and White Jasmine & Mint (originally launched in 2007). Each cologne captures “the different moods of a downpour”, ranging from the aquatic to the spicy and casting the idea of urban rain in a variety of watery shades.

In this review I’ll be taking a look at two perfumes in the collection – Rain & Angelica and Black Cedarwood & Juniper. The former represents morning rain over London’s green spaces, whilst the latter is a moodier affair that captures evening rain dashing against the city’s jungle of buildings and pavements. Together they demonstrate how a single idea can be presented in a number of guises, displaying familiar aquatic notes in new and intriguing ways.

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