Pretty in Purple – Lalique Amethyst Éclat Perfume Review

Dita Von Teese in Christian Lacroix

Dita Von Teese in Christian Lacroix Bridal

No perfume genre is more scorned than the humble fruity floral. Well, actually the world of oud raises a few eyebrows too, but that’s another matter. Fruity florals however, thanks to a billion and one dreadful celebrity fragrant messes, have received a lot of bad press and tend to present themselves as ditzy-sweet hazes (Miss Dior) or sticky-syrup disasters (Lady Gaga’s Fame) rather than anything interesting or well-constructed. But the truth is that, with a degree of intelligence and the application of a sense of humour (see Insolence), a fruity floral can be a very good thing indeed.

Without giving too much away in advance of this review, Lalique’s new flanker to 2007’s Amethyst, ‘Amethyst Éclat‘, is a good fruity floral that feels intelligently composed, and perhaps more importantly, is just so effortlessly pretty in its execution that one cannot help but fall for its delicate charm. And charm is something that this fragrance certainly has by the bucket load.

Created by perfumer Nathalie Lorson (also responsible for the original Amethyst), Amethyst Éclat, is different from the original in the sense that it reportedly “sparkles with the pure, bright exhilarating scent of peony”, taking on a much more radiant and refined character. I’ve only tried the original Amethyst in passing, so what follows is not a comparison of the two scents, but rather a look at Amethyst Éclat in isolation and entirely on its own merits. The result is rather surprising!

“Between Amethyst and Amethyst Éclat, the raspberry, blackcurrant and blackberry accord runs like a red thread… Or rather, like the succulent trickle of juice that seeps between your fingers when you pick sun-gorged berries between the brambles. It is from this luscious garden that Nathalie Lorson, who authored both fragrances, plucked the radiant peony which lights up the heart of her new offering.”

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Moving Forward – Amouage Journey Woman & Journey Man Perfume Reviews

Amouage's Journey Man & Journey Woman

Amouage’s Journey Man & Journey Woman

I may be a bit behind on the Amouage-front, but I still cannot believe that the time has come (and now passed) for the house to launch their annual pair of fragrances. Last year’s duo, Fate Woman and Fate Man, were definitely a divisive pair, with some perfume lovers falling madly in love with the scents and others finding themselves not too impressed. My feelings were somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, seeing them as high quality outings, but perhaps not the most stimulating offerings from such a dynamic brand.

This year Amouage is launching Journey Woman and Journey Man, two perfumes inspired by “Shanghai deco, Chinese cinema and film noir” and for the first time, housed in striking two-tone bottles of rich red and gold. These new fragrances mark the end of the first cycle of the Amouage narrative and as much as they smell like Amouage fragrances, they don’t appear to be as noticeably bold as the perfumes that have proceeded them.

Journey Woman and Journey Man mark a change in the Amouage aesthetic, not only with the two-toned bottles, but also with their fragrant signatures, both of which are unusual takes on the house’s staple oriental opulence. With this new duo, Amouage moves forward into unchartered territory, speaking in the language of subtlety and scenting the air with an understated sense of panache.

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Blue Skies – Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Perfume Review

Daisy Dream

Daisy Dream

It’s hard to deny the power of Marc Jacobs’ popular fragrance, Daisy. Since its launch in 2007, the wispy floral has become a best seller and has found many fans, thanks in part to the super-cute vinyl flowers that adorn its bottle. It has spawned a family of spin offs and most of Jacobs’ fragrances since have tried to recapture the magic of the original, resulting in a family of vinyl clad bottles and airy juices.

For 2014, Marc Jacobs is launching the latest instalment in the Daisy narrative, the languid-sounding ‘Daisy Dream‘. Created by venerable perfumers, Alberto Morillas (the gent behind the original Daisy, Amouge’s Opus VII and Salvador Dali) and Ann Gottlieb (responsible for Marc Jacobs’ Lola and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Covet), Daisy Dream is a wistful and pastel-shaded perfume that seems to be made for long summer days under blue skies.

Created to present “an airy and ethereal new chapter in the story of Marc Jacob’s free-spirited Daisy”, Daisy Dream is a fruity floral fragrance with a subtle touch of gourmand. It’s accompanying film, directed by Jacobs’ friend, Sofia Coppola, is an otherworldy affair inspired by Coppola’s cult indie film ‘The Virgin Suicides’ and presents this fragrance as something surprisingly light and ghostly.

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Perfume as Art – Maison Francis Kurkdjian féminin & masculin Pluriel Perfume Review

Pluriel

“Mirror Image” – féminin Pluriel & masculin Pluriel by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

“Perfume is not art.”

- Francis Kurkdjian

At the recent launch event for Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s latest duo of fragrances there was a lot of discussion around art and its relation to the world of perfume. Kurkdjian, who is ever a frank and fascinating speaker, asserted that perfume is not art because it is created to please consumers and where art is given a value by the market, perfume prices are set by their creators. This isn’t to say that Kurkdjian is belittling perfume by any means, in fact it seems that he takes a purely practical view of the subject, comparing his collection to an olfactory wardrobe, containing a plethora of pieces ranging from the everyday staple of the white T-Shirt (Aqua Universalis) to the more occasionally worn leather trousers (Absolue Pour le Soir).

Also at the event, Art Curator, Karine Giannamore spoke at length about what constitutes a masterpiece, piecing together simplicity, hard work, innovation and emotion, as the key ingredients that create a timeless work of art. Giannamore states that a masterpiece “has to be new [and] has to be original” but also must be “cemented in tradition”. This collision of the innovative and the traditional is exactly what Francis Kurkdjian has played with for his two new fragrances – féminin Pluriel and masculin Pluriel.

“What makes a work of art? A masterpiece? A Timeless work of art? Something so good or beautiful that it cannot be affected by changes in society or fashion.”

- Karine Giannamore

The Pluriel (Plural) duo has been created as a mirror image – two fragrances that perfectly capture the essence of femininity and masculinity, or as the brand puts it; “the eternal feminine and masculine.” With each fragrance, Kurkdjian takes a traditional theme and adds a contemporary twist to create a pair of perfumes that feel thoroughly modern and very much in keeping with his clear and radiant style. For féminin Pluriel and masculin Pluriel, Kurkdjian has crafted two new pieces for his olfactory wardrobe – two fragrant garments that are as modern, chic, timeless and elegant as anything a couturier could construct.

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New Escentual Post: Agent Provocateur Fatale Review

“Flirt With Danger” – ‘Fatale’ the Latest Fragrance from Agent Provocateur

Lots of perfumes are sold on the basis that they are ‘sexy’. All one needs to do to see proof of this is simply peruse an assortment of perfume ads, which will inevitably show attractive men and lady folk in varying states of undress post and pre-coitus. Sex sells, of course, and the perfume world is not immune to this, meaning that where fragrance goes, ‘sexy’ is never far behind.

One brand that is not averse to racy perfumes is Agent Provocateur. Their wardrobe of fragrances (or should that be ‘knicker draw of fragrances’?) is full of retro, glamour puss perfumes that are instantly evocative of silk stockings, garter belts and frilly brassieres. ‘Fatale’, their latest perfume, feels very much like a step into the mainstream and plays with the idea of a powdery ‘fruitchouli’ in an enjoyable, but not particularly erotic manner.

For my Escentual column this week, I have taken a close look at this new fragrance and whether it feels more fun than foxy (spoiler: it does). So, if you’re in the mood to read about a femme without the fatale then please click here to head on over to Escentual. As always, don’t forget to let me know what you think of Fatale, if you’ve given it a try, or even what your favourite sexy fragrance is.

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The Evolution of Tom Ford’s Signature – Tom Ford Velvet Orchid Perfume Review

Gigi Hadid for Tom Ford Velvet Orchid

Gigi Hadid for Tom Ford Velvet Orchid [Photographed by Mario Sorrenti]

Tom Ford’s Signature Collection houses a vast array of bold, wearable fragrances that are of exceptional high quality, but are also entirely more accessible than those within his Private Blend collection. They are statement pieces, right from the oriental opulence of Sahara Noir to the casual elegance of Violet Blonde, and as with all things ‘Tom Ford’ they exude a richness that is very much in keeping with the brand’s luxurious and contemporary-classic aesthetic.

Perhaps the most iconic fragrance within M. Ford’s oeuvre is the dramatic Black Orchid (released in 2006) – the brand’s first and most daring outing. With this perfume, Tom Ford sent a strong message, shouting that he wasn’t going to approach the world of fragrance in a typical or boring way, he was going to create divisive perfumes that make their presence know and celebrate all that is fashionable and glamorous. And that, my friends, is what the man has done ever since.

For 2014, Tom Ford has worked with perfumers Yann Vasnier, Antoine Maisondieu, Calice Asancheyev-Becker and Shyamala Maisondieu (a practical dream team of noses, if you ask me), to create a new riff on his incredibly successful debut perfume. Housed within a royal purple flacon and bestowed with the name ‘Velvet Orchid‘, this perfume is seen as an evolution of the legendary Black Orchid and is promoted by the brand as a new signature fragrance within Ford’s wonderful Signature Collection.

“Velvet Orchid lives in a glamorous world of mystique, evolving the carnal grandeur and seductive power of Tom Ford’s original Black Orchid into a harmonious an uber-feminine fragrance. Lavished with cool freshness, dramatic petals, honey and rum, Tom Ford Velvet Orchid is an oriental floral fragrance that teases and caresses with enveloping and brilliant warmth.”

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Magical Botanical – Liz Earle Botanical Essence Nº1 and Nº15 Perfume Reviews

Magical Botanical

Magical Botanical

In the world of perfumery there is an age-old conflict the natural vs the synthetic. It’s a complicated argument with many different view points, with some asserting that ‘natural’ is better, whereas others believe that a mixture of both the natural stuff and the ‘synthetic’ materials is required to make truly complete compositions. I personally am firmly in the mixed camp and have found many predominately, or all-natural fragrances to feel quite flat and unfinished.

That said, I’m always open to persuasion and it seems that I may have found just the thing to convince me, courtesy of “naturally active skincare” brand, Liz Earle. Up until now, my exposure to this particular brand has been what I’ve seen on QVC and the many bottles of Cleanse & Polish that my mother worked her way through when I was a kid. I therefore know that Liz Earle stands for quality without compromise, and it would be safe to say that her fragrances follow suit.

Liz Earle currently has two perfumes in her lineup; Botanical Essence Nº1 and Botanical Essence Nº15. The former is a 98% natural composition penned by perfumer Jean Charles Niel and is described as being“vibrant and sparkling”, whilst the latter is a 90% natural fragrance composed by perfume Alienor Massenet and billed as “an olfactory jewel, evoking the feeling of elegance and seduction“. Both are surprisingly three-dimensional perfumes that could be enough to convince even the most sceptical of fragrance nerds (i.e. me).

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Roseate – Jo Malone Silk Blossom Cologne Perfume Review

Pretty in Pink - Silk Blossom Cologne by Jo Malone

Pretty in Pink – Silk Blossom Cologne by Jo Malone

It has been a busy year for British perfume brand, Jo Malone. So far in 2014 they have launched four deluge-inspired colognes as part of their London Rain Collection, a new addition to their Cologne Intense series ‘Tuberose Angelica‘ and they’re set to launch the very intriguing ‘Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne’ in September. So yes, the perfumers over at one of Britain’s most popular fragrance brands have been working very hard indeed.

In amongst these new launches is a limited edition fragrance, and the subject of today’s review, entitled ‘Silk Blossom Cologne‘. Created by perfumer Marie Salamagne (Vivienne Westwood’s Let it Rock and Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic) and inspired by the “pink-fringed pompoms” of the flower, from which it takes its name, Silk Blossom is an airy, roseate fragrance that celebrates pale, powdery and blush tones of pink.

“Nature’s blooms at their most tempting.
The pink-fringed pompoms of Silk Blossom.
Irresistible to hummingbirds and butterflies.
Apricot-fresh with a touch of spice.
Airy with clouds of powder-soft heliotrope,
nestling on a bed of moss.
Fruity and enticing.”

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Candy Stripe Couture – Thierry Mugler Angel Eau Sucrée Perfume Review

Angel Eau Sucrée

Angelic Clouds of Spun Sugar

Every summer, the fiercely innovative fashion and fragrance house of Thierry Mugler launches lighter, more ‘heat-friendly’ versions of their popular Angel and Alien fragrances. Usually, these limited editions see Mugler’s celestial beings draped in fruits, flowers or a delightful combination of both. This year however, is a bit different and instead of creating a limited edition summer flanker for Alien, the brand has decided to launch a permanent edition to the collection in the form of Alien Eau Extraordinaire.

This year’s Angel flanker is also a break from tradition and instead of showcasing the brand’s flagship fragrance drenched in floral or fruit waters, Mugler has opted for a summer fragrance that celebrates our dear Angel’s gourmand signature, albeit in a lighter, more dreamy and delicate way. This perfume is called Angel Eau Sucrée and believe me when I say that it is utterly delicious.

Angel Eau Sucrée is described by Thierry Mugler as being “a new ode to indulgence”, and whilst is is instantly recognisable as ‘Angel‘ it most definitely approaches the world’s first oriental gourmand from a different angle – one where the shimmering particles of sugar are evocative of twinkling starlight and the fluffy clouds of whipped meringue are the plushest, most luxurious fabric known to man. If the sweet shops on Planet Mugler all smell this good, then send me into space with a one-way ticket.

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A Modern Type of Joy – Jean Patou Joy Forever Perfume Review

Joy Forever

JOY FOREVER – A Modern Type of Joy

French couturier Jean Patou launched his iconic flagship fragrance ‘JOY‘ in 1930, almost immediately after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Patou created his signature fragrance with a view of making it an affordable luxury for those that were no longer able to shroud themselves in the couture of the day. Quite ironically however, the fragrance was known as the ‘most expensive perfume in the world’ for quite some time, due in part to its prominent use of natural jasmine which, as you will all know, doesn’t come cheap.

It seems poignant almost that the house of Patou should launch a new interpretation of JOY in 2014, whilst the world is in the midst (and hopefully at the back end of) a global financial crisis. This new version of Patou’s classic is entitled ‘JOY FOREVER‘ and is described by the house as being a “stunning floral perfume that unveils a new chapter in continuing story of JOY“. Created by perfumer Thomas Fontaine for “today’s discerning woman”, JOY FOREVER is a more translucent, radiant and vibrant take on one of perfumery’s most iconic and timeless perfumes.

“Her mother may have worn JOY for its sheer luxury but she will choose JOY FOREVER for its natural quality and scent. She lives for the moment….she lives for today!”

JOY FOREVER joins the likes of Chanel’s Nº5 Eau Première and Guerlain’s Shalimar Parfum Initial as entry level fragrances for those that aren’t quite ready to commit to the classics. Perhaps the most surprising thing about it is the fact that, whilst it doesn’t smell anywhere near as heady, intense or timeless as the original JOY, it does look back to the past, not quite as far back as 1930 mind you, but instead it looks to the aldehydic florals of the 1980s, from which it takes more than a few olfactory cues.

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