New Escentual Post: Time for Tea

Time for Tea

Time for Tea

One of my favourite non-perfume smell is Earl Grey tea. There is nothing quite like opening  a brand new box of tea bags and inhaling the dusty green scent of tea leaves infused with the sweet and fragrant smell of bergamot. Few fragrances are able to capture this smell, and in general, good tea fragrances are hard to find. That said, Spring 2015 has seen the launch of two very competent tea scents; Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra from Guerlain and L’Ile au Thé by Annick Goutal, both of which are the subject of my Escentual column this week.

Teazzurra is a more abstract take on tea that uses a green tea note alongside vanilla and citrus to paint the image of an idillic lakeside resort. L’Ile au Thé however, feels more grounded in nature and instead, evokes the smell of a soft breeze moving through the plentiful leaves of an exotic tea plantation. Both are light and wistful creations that set the mood for summer. Click here to head on over to the Escentual blog to read my review. Oh, and pop the kettle on!

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New Escentual Post: Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche Perfume Review

New From Guerlain - 'Ma Robe Pétales’ La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche

New From Guerlain – ‘Ma Robe Pétales’ La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche

I’ve always been a big fan of Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire. When it originally launched as a boutique exclusive way back in 2009, I remember saying that the esteemed French house was missing a trick by not releasing the scent as a mainstream launch. It’s such a fun, fruity and frivolous scent, with oodles of depth and character, that it was almost a shame for it not to have a wider audience. Guerlain obviously felt the same, and in 2012 they remixed the juice slightly (giving it a bit more fizz) and unleashed La Petite Robe Noire all over the globe. It has been a huge success.

Of course, with huge success comes flankering, and lots of it. Since 2012, we’ve seen the launch of Eau de Toilette, Extrait and Couture versions of Guerlain’s famous garment, and all have been pretty good (especially the Extrait and Couture). This summer, Guerlain are extending their wardrobe of fragrant black dresses even further with La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche (subtitled as ‘Ma Robe Pétales’), a much fresher and greener take on the cherry-rose signature of the original. Click here to read my review of this latest flanker in my Escentual column this week.

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From the Archives: G is for Guerlain

From the Archives: G is for Guerlain...

From the Archives: G is for Guerlain…

Way back in April 2013 I wrote a piece for Escentual called ‘G is for Guerlain’. Keeping with this week’s Guerlain theme, I’ve unearthed the article from The Candy Perfume Boy archives, for your reading pleasure. As part of my ‘Escentual A-Z of Fragrance’, the piece took a look at the industry’s most historic and esteemed house, right from their humble beginnings up until the present day, under the ‘new guard’ of LVMH and perfumer Thierry Wasser. Guerlain is a house steeped in history and it has evolved with the times to retain one of the key players in the industry. Click here to read the piece.

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New Escentual Post: A Hidden Gem – Guerlain My Insolence Perfume Review

A Hidden Gem from the Guerlain Archive

A Hidden Gem from the Guerlain Archive

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m throwing an informal Guerlain party this week. So far we’ve taken a gander at the perplexing Shalimar Souffle de Parfum (which really should have been an Aqua Allegoria and not a flanker to their flagship fragrance) and the deliciously dizzy and decadent French Kiss, which puts me in a much better mood than the Souffle de Parfum does.

With Guerlain in mind, I thought I’d dedicate my Escentual column this week to a fragrance that doesn’t get the attention it deserves; My Insolence. A flanker the seriously over-the-top Insolence (Maurice Roucel; 2006), this softer interpretation is a gorgeous little vanilla and almond cuddle that shows the industry how a decent fruity floral should be done. Click here to read my review.

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The Big Smooch – Guerlain French Kiss Perfume Review

Dare to be French Kissed

Dare to be French Kissed

“Dare the French Kiss! But watch out, this glossy floral fragrance is highly addictive”

– Guerlain

One could never accuse Guerlain of being inconsistent in terms of their olfactory output. For nearly 200 years the Parisian Patisserie has crafted some of the greatest olfactory delicacies in the world, and they show no signs of stopping. With La Petite Robe Noire (a cherry liqourice folly) and L’Homme Ideal (a robust masculine with an almond twist), i.e., their recent gourmand output, Guerlain have shown, not only their uniquely French sense of humour, frivolity and style, but also their penchant for all that is edible. They’ve taken it to the mainstream and shown the lesser mortals in the industry just how a gourmand is done, and by all accounts it has been a very successful move for them.

It is no surprise, then, that the latest addition to their Les Élixirs Charnels collection, ‘French Kiss’, displays the exact same sense of fun, foody humour and style as their mainstream launches however, this one is entirely more decadent and over the top in comparison. Created by in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s French Kiss, which has been launched to celebrate 20 years of Guerlain KissKiss lipsticks, is described as a “glossy floral that celebrates the French art of kissing” and an “elixir as spellbinding as a sensuous kiss.” Ooh err, Mrs.

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Shalimar at a Stretch – Shalimar Souffle de Parfum Perfume Review

Shalimar Souffle de Parfum - The Latest Incarnation of Guerlain's 1925 Classic

Shalimar Souffle de Parfum – The Latest Incarnation of Guerlain’s 1925 Classic

“The sickness of making flankers every five minutes is very upsetting, but if I don’t want to get kicked out for not doing my job, I have to do it”

– Thierry Wasser ¹

Thierry Wasser, in-house perfumer at Guerlain, recently likened the penchant brands have for creating numerous flankers to a “sickness” and when looking at the numerous incarnatons of the house’s flagship fragrance, Shalimar, it’s easy to see why.  In the last five years we’ve seen seven, that’s right, seven new Shalimar flankers ranging from the sublime Parfum Initial and Ode à la Vanille to the less interesting Parfum Initial L’Eau, and on occasions the brand has stretched the Shalimar association pretty thin.

With their latest flanker, Shalimar Souffle de Parfum, the link has become so emaciated it may have finally snapped. Sniffing the flanker, it’s pretty difficult to pick out exactly how the two fragrances are alike. Shalimar is a grand dame of the oriental world, showcasing bubbling bergamot, smoky-sweet vanilla powder and tons of heavy resins. Souffle de Parfum on the other hand is, well, the complete opposite of that. It may not be worthy of the Shalimar name, but does that mean that it’s a bad fragrance?

Guerlain describe Souffle de Parfum as a “gently perfumed caress” ² and a “breath of extreme sensuality” ², with the ‘Souffle’ here referring to the French word for breath, as opposed to anything culinary-related. It has been designed to celebrate the lighter facets of Shalimar, specifically focus on the shining citrus that famously graces the Oriental Queen’s top notes, and the plush vanilla that sits at her core. In that respect, Souffle de Parfum succeeds, merging these two themes together to create something that may, or may not be Shalimar, depending on how one looks at it.

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Smelly News: Mumtaz Mahal Jewels Exhibited at La Maison Guerlain

The Jewels of Mumtaz Mahal

The Jewels of Mumtaz Mahal

“In india, jewellery has always been an indispensable part of one’s outfit. It is said to hold the power of the gods and goddesses.”

The story of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan is the stuff of legend. Their epic love story is represented by one of the world’s most famous buildings – the Taj Mahal – a palace that was created as a mausoleum to the princess following her death, upon the orders of a distraught Shah Jahan. The Mughal Empire may now be a thing of the past, but the story of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, and the Taj Mahal lives on.

Historic perfume house, Guerlain has a strong link to this tale. Their flagship fragrance, Shalimar was inspired by the story and named after the Shalimar gardens created by Shah Jahan in Lahore. The Jacques Guerlain creation from 1925 is perhaps as well-known as the heartbreaking legend of the Emperor and the Princess, and it is widely considered as a true classic of perfumery, and the crown jewel in Guerlain’s wardrobe of wonderful fragrances.

“Three months to dream and admire the jewellery worn 400 years ago by a great rani worthy of the Thousand and One Nights.”

Speaking of jewels, a chance encounter between Laurent Boillot, the President and CEO of Guerlain, and Indian entrepreneur, Vinita Jain has resulted in a very special exhibition at La Maison Guerlain – Guerlain’s flagship boutique at No. 68 Champs-Élysées, Paris. From 03 September to 14 November 2014, visitors can view three special pieces – a ring, necklace and head jewel – worn by a princess famed for her beauty and essential artefacts in one of the greatest love stories of all time.

Click below the jump to see the other pieces that will be exhibited at La Maison Guerlain this autumn.

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