Looking Good and Smelling Fine [Image of Me at My Father's Wedding via Peter Buncombe]
Awards Season is set to end this Sunday with the 86th Academy Awards (a.k.a. ‘The Oscars’) and the stars will be out in full force, donning their finest garb having spent hours preening their faces and coiffing their hair. Of course, us mere mortals will simply be watching the ceremony at home in our pyjamas, possibly scoffing on some popcorn in a nod to the wonders of the silver screen. Still, we can live vicariously through the glamour of the winners and losers, can’t we?
Thinking about the Oscars and the upcoming Jasmine Awards (for which I need to pick myself an outfit) led me to ponder over which perfumes are best suited to formal occasions. Most of the time I’m of the belief that one should wear whatever they heck they want when they want, but in situations where dress codes are enforced and one has to be smart, it can be beneficial to pick out a scent that is suitably dapper to match.
For this post I’ve put together some of my favourite ‘smart’ perfumes for black tie or formal occasions. They range from the smart casual to the well-tailored and the dramatic, and between them they serve as a mini-guide to picking that perfect scent for a special occasion. Most are unisex so are suitable regardless of whether you’re a guy or a girl and can be paired with a suit, tux or fancy dress to ensure that you’re looking good and smelling fine.
Nowadays every perfume release comes with a story, normally one that involves a good degree of creative license courtesy of the brand’s PR department. This is no bad thing really, a good story can add to the experience of a scent, after all no art is quite as transportive as the art of olfaction, but at times it’s best to approach a perfume without any pre-conceived notions and just allow the scent itself to tell the story.
Some stories in particular are important and the tale behind Mona di Orio’s latest release – ‘Violette Fumée‘ – is both worth telling and incredibly touching. Created privately by Mona di Orio before her death for the private use of her business partner and co-founder Jeroen Oude Sogtoen, Violette Fumée captures “the melody of Jeroen’s favourite passions, memories and materials.” It’s a perfume made out of love, admiration and respect.
On an olfactory level, Violette Fumée is described by the brand as an “oriental balsamic floral” and in the same vein as many other perfumes from the house it feels incredibly unusual when compared to its peers. It stands as a true testament to Mona’s talent as a perfumer and is a fitting legacy for someone who brought so much intrigue to the world of fragrance.
The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to series is an olfactory exploration of individual notes and ingredients that looks at the essential perfumes one must try as part of their fragrant journey. Each episode focuses on a particular note and lists the reference perfumes (i.e. the ‘must sniffs’) within that particular genre.
So far in the series we’ve explored the worlds of; Tuberose, Lavender, Oud, Orange Blossom and Chocolate. Up until now the ‘Guide to’ series has been relatively sporadic but moving forward, the intention is to schedule instalments for the beginning of each quarter – therefore suggestions on which note/genre to explore next are most welcome.
This episode takes a look at the humble violet – a genre that doesn’t quite get the exposure that it deserves. It’s a note that is more likely to be associated with the stiff upper lip of Victorian Britain than the contemporary world of modern perfumery but a number of perfume houses are making solid efforts to change this perception and are making pretty fantastic perfumes along the way.
“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.”
No celebrity needs more perfume assistance than Lady Gaga, especially after the massive disappointment that was her debut fragrance ‘Fame‘ and it’s safe to say that because of this her taste level perhaps isn’t where it should be. Fame’s crime wasn’t that it was a dreadful fragrance (general consensus was that it’s decidedly ‘meh’) but the fact that it was frightfully generic and captured only the pretentious element of Lady Gaga’s personality without any of the talent.
Love her or hate her it’s hard to deny that Lady Gaga is indeed talented. Yes, a lot of her ideas are derivative and she does have a tendency to bang on about how what she does is ‘art’ (her upcoming album is annoyingly entitled ‘ARTPOP’) but all-in-all she’s an exciting and provocative voice with a brand of pop that is satisfyingly addictive.
With this edition of the Scent a Celebrity Series, I have picked four perfumes that accurately capture the weird and wonderful persona of Lady Gaga – a woman who has sported fashions made from Muppets, beef and bubbles, to name just a few. Amongst them, these scents embody a spirit that seeks out the weirder odours and isn’t afraid of perfume that is challenging, confrontational and darkly beautiful.
A Gaggle of Perfume Bloggers: Birgit & Tara of Olfactoria’s Travels, Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume and me, The Candy Perfume Boy.
The Perfume Lovers London events organised by Lila Das Gupta as part of Olfactory Events are a fabulous opportunity to learn about perfume, to talk to and meet with like minded perfumeophiles and discover a plethora of new, exciting perfumes. It’s safe to say that every event is a joy to attend so the news that one of my favourite bloggers, Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels, was going to be holding her very own event was very exciting indeed!
I’m sure that I’m preaching to the choir here, but Olfactoria’s Travels has become a go-to blog for many perfume lovers and it’s teeming with beautifully written reviews, informed discussion and passion from Birgit and Tara, who have both changed the face of the perfume blogosphere.
For her event, Birgit promised to take us on a journey through the world of amber, a sensible subject choice seeing as she has rightfully earned the title of “Queen of Amber” through her love for the genre. Now, I’ve made it no secret that amber isn’t my favourite genre of perfumes, but that’s not to say that I don’t like it either, I simply haven’t had the right amount of exposure to it, but now thanks to Birgit and Perfume Lovers London I feels as if I am well-versed on the subject!
My love for leather in perfume is certainly a work in progress. It was Lila Das Gupta’s Evening of Leather for Perfume Lovers London that helped me forge a new appreciation for the genre, but I’m very much in the curiosity stage and full blown leather-love (which is not as rude as it sounds) is still a long way off. At Lila’s talk two fragrances in particular caught my attention, and Mona di Orio’s Cuir was one of them.
To say I have been blown away by the fragrances in Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or collection is a vast understatement. Each one is a fabulous and contemporary take on such well visited notes such as; Oud, Musc, Tuberéuse, Vetiver and Ambre and the collection takes inspiration from the golden ratio, a mathematical theory of proportion which is intelligently showcased in each and every one the perfumes.
All of the other perfumes in the Les Nombres d’Or collection have been very easy for me to love and Cuir is most definitely the exception. I still don’t love it, and I don’t think I ever will. You see, Cuir and I cannot be friends, but I admire its balls. It is an extreme, maverick leather that doesn’t care about being pretty, or even pleasant, it just wants to be wild. The Mona di Orio website says of Cuir “In these days of anodyne scents, trans-fat free lives this is a welcome walk on the wild side that would be wonderful on a man. On a woman? Only one way to put it: Cuir is ruthlessly chic.” 
I have to admit that I’m not the hugest fan of leather in fragrance, mainly because I really haven’t a great deal of exposure to the note, which is why I was particularly interested in attending last week’s ‘Evening of Leather’ organised by Lila Das Gupta of Perfume Lovers London/Olfactory Events. I wanted to explore leather, deconstruct and understand it, but most of all I wanted to find a leather that I loved.
Perfume Lovers London is a Meetup Group run by Olfactory Events in conjunction with Basenotes. They have so far held two events, with many more exciting meet ups in the pipeline. An Evening of Leather was hosted by Lila Das Gupta who has a penchant for leather fragrances, was the perfect captain for our voyage of discovery of a note that is steeped in history and comes in many guises.
An Evening of Leather promised to “map out the geography of leather fragrances from the meaty to the haughty” and I’m please to say that it was an event that delivered on all counts. I may have walked into the event being clueless about, and not really loving leather but I left with a new found appreciation for the genre and a head full of leather fragrances that demanded to be explored further.
The Saturday Poll is a new monthly weekly feature where The Candy Perfume Boy gets to pick your brains about the important things in the world of perfume. Well, I think the term ‘important’ is probably being used relatively loosely here, but your brains will be picked nonetheless.
This month’s week’s poll focuses on Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or collection which was launched last year to much praise and excitement from the perfume blogosphere. The line currently consists of seven fragrances (Ambre, Cuir, Musc, Oud, Tubéreuse, Vanille and Vetyver), each of which is composed around the aesthetic theory of the Golden Ratio.
Which is your favourite fragrance in Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or collection? Please vote for your answer above and leave the reasons for your choice and any other comments in the comments box below the jump.
Oud is a note that seems to have had a great deal of popularity over the last few years. Most perfume houses have an ‘oud’ in their line-up, in fact many have several – anybody who’s anyone has got one. Despite it’s prolific presence in today’s perfume landscape, it cannot be denied that oud is a wonderfully powerful material, that when used properly can be one of the most beautiful smells known to man.
Oud is the jigsaw piece that helps fuse European and Eastern styles of perfumery together, and whilst the oud that is used in western perfumery is much cleaner (and largely synthetic) than that used in the east, it has coloured the face of perfumery in bright arabian hues and taken us on exotic voyages to faraway lands.
Oud/Oudh/Aoud/Agarwood is a “dark, resinous heartwood”  that forms in infected Aquilaria trees. The infection is due to a specific type of mould, that changes the colour and density of the wood, leaving a strong, dark resin (the oud) in the core.
Due to its rarity and variation in quality and scent profile, oud is a very difficult and expensive ingredient to work with, hence why the majority of oud fragrances use a synthetic substitute.
Nigel expertly posing in yesterday’s falling snow.
The snow has come to Britain, and in true British style everybody has lost their shiz. Seriously, we knew the snow would be coming this weekend on Thursday and ever since the supermarkets have been packed and the shelves have been emptied. Petrol pumps have been drained and the grit has been stock-piled.
I don’t what it is about us Brits that makes us so panicky when it comes to snow, it’s never really that bad, yet the whole country seems to come to a standstill with the slightest flake of the white stuff. Seriously guys, relax, snow is awesome, yeah it’s cold and it totally SUCKS to drive in, especially if your car is a Matchbox Toy like mine (i.e. a Fiat 500), but there is nothing more fun than taking walks in the snow, making Snow Angels and throwing snowballs at your weedy boyfriend!
In order to make the most out of the snow (which has already started to thaw), I thought I’d compile a list of five scents that are best suited to wearing in the snow. Us Fumeheads do like to match our scents to the occasion, and snow is no exception. The scents that I have picked all have a snowy aura, but they also bring warmth and comfort in a time when those qualities are needed in abundance.