Old School Whimsy – Penhaligon’s & Meadham Kirchhoff Tralala Perfume Review

Old School Whimsy - Tralala by Penhaligon's, Meadham Kirchhoff & Bertrand Duchaufour

Old School Whimsy – Tralala by Penhaligon’s, Meadham Kirchhoff & Bertrand Duchaufour

Old-school British brand Penhaligon’s has seen a positive renaissance over the last few years. In 2009 they appeared to make a conscious decision to move away from their more staid roots and played to their more risqué side with Bertrand Duchaufour’s masterful Amaranthine – a perfume that was created to smell like the inside of a woman’s thigh (oh my, I’m blushing), and have since set themselves a trend of creating old school perfumes with modern and quirky twists.

Thankfully this is a trend that they seem to be continuing and for 2014, Britain’s most idiosyncratic perfume house is teaming up with the equally unconventional fashion brand, Meadham Kirchhoff, to create perhaps their most whimsical fragrance to date. The result of this collaboration is a fragrance penned by super-perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour (the man also responsible for AmaranthineVaaraSartorial and Orange Blossom) and bestowed with the infectious name ‘Tralala‘.

Launching next week, Tralala is described by Penhaligon’s as being a “beguiling and addictive piece of counter culture couture” and all one needs for proof of this claim is a quick look at the wonderful bottle with it’s clown head and ridiculously huge signature Penhaligon’s bow. The scent itself, is billed as “an opulent, hedonistic blend” that “evokes the interplay of glamour and retrospection favoured by Meadham Kirchhoff”. Having spent quite some time sniffing this new creation, I can wholeheartedly confirm that it does do exactly what it ‘says on the tin’.

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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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The Elusive Gardenia – The Body Shop English Dawn White Gardenia Perfume Review

English Dawn White Gardenia

English Dawn White Gardenia

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – The Body Shop create decent and easy to wear perfumes at a phenomenally good price. They don’t perhaps approach the art of olfaction with as much gusto as their high street competitors Lush do, but they do know how to put together an enjoyable fragrance that doesn’t blow your socks off or your wallet up. In a world where many expensive perfumes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, this is a refreshing quality to have.

That said, The Body Shop doesn’t always get it right and their latest launch ‘English Dawn White Gardenia‘ is one such occasion (I’ve given the game away here, haven’t I?). Created to capture “the bouquet of hundreds of White Gardenia petals blowing gently in the first light of dawn”, this limited edition spring fragrance joins The Body Shop’s Voyage Fragrance Collection – a series of perfumes that take one on a whistle stop tour of the world via the medium of scent.

Capturing the hedonistic scent of the gardenia is a pretty tricky feat, especially seeing as the flower itself is incredibly elusive when it comes to giving up its scent. Most fragrances that boast ‘gardenia’ as a note are reconstructions – olfactory jigsaw puzzles that piece together the flower’s most distinctive scent with a number of floral notes and crafty raw materials. Very few perfumes actually achieve the full gardenia effect (so far I’ve only come across Estée Lauder’s Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia and Arquiste’s Boutonnière No. 7 that manage it), so the big question is - does The Body Shop succeed in achieving gardenia photorealism?

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Spring Couture – Christian Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet Perfume Review

Spring Couture

Spring Couture

Spring is here and that means it’s time to break out those springtime floral fragrances. OK, I know that I need no excuse to rock a floral fragrance and will do so all year round (why the heck not, right?) but for those of you who like to stick to a more seasonal fragrance wardrobe then now is the time for flowers. And what a wonderful time it is – the sun is shining (most of the time), the flowers are growing and the bees are buzzing – all of which can be accented by the expert application of a spring floral.

For this spring, venerable fashion house Christian Dior is launching a more floral version of their popular flagship fragrance Miss Dior (formerly known as Miss Dior Chérie and a completely separate fragrance from 1947′s Miss Dior which is now known as ‘Miss Dior Originale‘ – got that?). The perfume is called Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet, a spring floral that is billed by Dior as being more “delicate and light” than the original.

Dior’s in-house perfumer François Demachy describes Blooming Bouquet as being “like a springtime bouquet with a hint of elegant and light woody notes” making for a composition that ensures that “Miss Dior keeps her promise of love”. That’s a pretty apt description as far as I am concerned, however I would concede that Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet is much more of a floral musk than it is a woody floral. But in terms of being perfect for the spring season, this bouquet is absolutely spot on.

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Solar Flare – Thierry Mugler Alien Eau Extraordinaire Perfume Review

Alien Eau Extraordinaire

Alien Eau Extraordinaire

My love of Thierry Mugler’s Alien, and all things Mugler in fact, is widely known. I just cannot help myself when it comes to the weird, wacky and über glamorous creations that come straight from Muglerville – they resonate deep within my soul, awaking the hidden Glamazon inside of me. So I do feel very excited when I hear that the brand is launching a brand new fragrance, especially if aforementioned scent it is to be a close cousin of my most beloved Alien.

Mugler’s latest launch is exactly that - Alien Eau Extraordinaire – a lighter take on the the brashness of Alien, that reportedly “accentuates incandescent freshness” and amps up the scent’s brighter citrus notes. Alien, whilst being a foghorn of a scent (a beautiful foghorn, of course), did display an impressively fresh citrus facet worthy of further exploration, so it is with great interest that I approached this entirely more luminous creation.

Created by perfumer Dominique Ropion who, along with Laurent Bruyere, was responsible for the original, Alien Eau Extraordinaire is a stand alone fragrance described by Mugler as being “charged with a positive energy” and “combining a blend of notes known for their uplifting, energising powers with the unique signature of Alien to convey a feeling of happiness and serenity for all women”. That all sounds rather promising, if you ask me!

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Shrink Wrapped Roses – Balenciaga Rosabotanica Perfume Review

Rosabotanica

Kristen Stewart Looking Like She’s Having a Wonderful Time, As Always…

I have definitely tried Balenciaga’s Florabotanica but for the life of me I cannot remember how I felt about it. The bottle is gorgeous so I’m pretty sure that I recall being impressed to some degree, but that’s about as far as my recollection goes. Perhaps I was put off by spokesfaceperson Kristen Stewart (there really is only so much of her looking bored that I can take) or maybe the scent was nice but nothing noteworthy (that sounds more like it). Whatever the reasons, Florabotanica failed to make an impression.

Florabotanica’s first flanker ‘Rosabotanica‘ however (we’re going to get a whole slew of these aren’t we? I reckon it’ll be ‘Jasmabotanica’ next), is definitely more memorable and noteworthy and comes as a complete surprise for a brand that always makes high quality stuff but doesn’t always push the boat out artistically speaking. Rosabotanica certainly changes the game in that respect.

Launched in late 2013, Rosabotanica was created by perfumers Olivier Polge (Florabotanica, Dior Homme and Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb) and Jean-Christophe Hérault (Florabotanica and Comme des Garçons’ Amazingreen) as “the second flower in Balenciaga’s magical garden”. ‘Magical’ is indeed the right word for it as this second botanical scent takes the idea of flowers into unique, unusual and positively futuristic territory.

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Eau de Ladurée – Nina Ricci La Tentation de Nina Perfume Review

Le Tentation de Nina

La Tentation de Nina

One of the perfumes I have been very much looking forward to (read: lusting after like a geeky fan boy) since I heard about its impending launch towards the end of 2013 is ‘La Tentation de Nina‘ by Nina Ricci. “Why?” I hear you ask, well the answer is simple: this is a perfume inspired by a special macaron made by Ladurée. I love macarons (although I’d take an Ispahan over these little treats any day), I love Ladurée and I love perfume – a match made in heaven, I feel.

Created by Olivier Cresp (Nina Ricci’s Nina with Jacques Cavallier and Mugler’s Angel with Yves de Chiris) in partnership with Ladurée’s Head Pastry Chef Vincent Lemains – La Tentation de Nina is a perfume evocative of the most trendy meringue-based confection in the world. The brand bill this partnership and creation as a “playful mirroring of the sense” where a perfume and macaron take inspiration from each other, coming together to create “the ultimate temptation.” But does it live up to expectations? Well the short answer to that question is ‘sort of’…

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CK x 3 – Calvin Klein CK One Red for Her & for Him and Endless Euphoria Perfume Reviews

CK x 3

CK x 3: CK One for Her, for Him and Endless Euphoria

No perfume brand is quite as prolific as Calvin Klein. Since their first perfume in 1978 they have launched an impressive 89 fragrances (according to the Basenotes directory) and I’m pretty sure that there are a number of stealthy flankers that make that number possibly even higher. The truth is that, due to being the purveyor of a number of iconic scents, CK do love a good flanker to capitalise on their already existing brands, and who can blame them? Surely it’s easier to make a billion and one versions of CK One than it is to think of a decent name for a new scent (*cough*Downtown*cough*)…

So this year sees the launch of more flankers from Calvin Klein. The first is a duo of scents bestowing the CK One name – CK One Red for Her and Red for Him. These rouge editions of the iconic unisex fragrance are “inspired by the atmosphere of a party, which pulsates with super-charged, untameable energy” [1] which all sounds like good fun but at this present moment in time I’m still unsure where the ‘red’ element comes into it, especially as the fragrances are as devoid of the colour as the marketing spiel.

The third new scent is Endless Euphoria, the latest flanker to Calvin Klein’s Cloverfield monster of fragrance – Euphoria (2005). Following Euphoria Blossom (2006) and Forbidden Euphoria (2011), Endless is billed as a fragrance that translates the provocative fantasy of the iconic Euphoria into sheer uplifting sensuality” [2] and it certainly follows suit as a much lighter (so much lighter), more transparent and pastel coloured version of the original.

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Dark Lady – CREED Love in Black Perfume Review

Dark Lady

Dark Lady

I have a turbulent relationship with the house of CREED. They are definitely on the pricey side for what they are and their quality can be a bit hit or miss, but it would be unfair to say that none of their scents are worth seeking out. In fact, I can name at least four that are sniff worthy (Virgin Island Water, Silver Mountain Water, Millesime Imperial and Green Irish Tweed) so, as much as they may not be my favourite of brands, I’m still very much willing to give them the time of day, but have always approached them with a wary step.

One particular CREED perfume that sticks out for me is Love in Black – a scent that I like to call ‘Dark Lady’ as it presents an intriguing, feminine and unexpected representation of the colour black. It’s also a perfume that really does take awhile to ‘get’ due to its striking take on violet and iris – two ingredients often used to represent beauty, but in this perfume are added to give the impression of something beautifully unconventional.

Love in Black was launched in 2008 and was inspired by former US first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (or Jackie O as she was more commonly known) and is a far cry from the clean blooms of its sister scent Love in White. CREED describe the fragrance as a “lush floral oriental”, but in my mind it is more of a black swan of a scent (funnily enough the brand uses this imagery) that plays on the contrasting facets of a modern and powerful woman.

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Scorched Petals – The Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose Eau de Toilette Perfume Review

White Musk Smoky Rose

White Musk Smoky Rose

When it comes to decent fragrance at an equally decent price, one really cannot go wrong with The Body Shop. Admittedly their perfume output isn’t anywhere near as artistic or exciting as that found within the stores of their rival Lush (Gorilla Perfume really is very good), but it cannot be denied that, for the most part, The Body Shop creates things that smell nice and won’t require anybody to sell any kidneys on eBay to fund – and in this world of hyper-luxe niche brands, that’s pretty refreshing.

Perhaps the most enjoyable and iconic perfume The Body Shop has to offer is White Musk. Originally launched in 1981, White Musk has been a cheap staple for those who want a good everyday scent without breaking the bank or demanding too much attention. I’m a big fan of the White Musk Oil, which is great for those days where one just wants something lovely and incognito, but the scent in all of its many incarnations is a worthy take on ephemeral musk.

In continuation of the White Musk narrative, The Body Shop has launched White Musk Smoky Rose – a perfume that is meant to be a more sultry and seductive take on the 1981 classic suitable for evening wear. The perfume was created by Sophie Labbé of IFF and is billed as “a darkly seductive, floriental evening scent”. So is this TBS’s ‘Noir Musk’ (a truly dark perfume) or is it just another White Musk flanker? The answer is neither.

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