New Escentual Post: Caron Parfum Sacré

Caron Parfum Sacré - My Winter Warmer

Caron Parfum Sacré – The Scent of Cold Winter Nights

I am in full-on winter mode, and just as well really, seeing as the temperature dials have been twisted firmly towards the blue and the season of frost has started. As you may have noticed from Monday’s post, I’m rocking as many scarves as I can, but I’ve also got myself a snazzy new coat and the heated seats in my car have never seen so much use. In short: it’s officially winter.

At this time of year, I tend to pull out much warmer and heavier perfumes, as I’m sure many of you also do. One of my absolute favorites is Caron’s Parfum Sacré, a most beautiful floral incense that sits somewhere smack bang in the middle of France and Oman. Parfum Sacré is the olfactory equivalent of a hot water bottle, or a purring feline on the lap. It’s simply divine and for that reason, I’ve dedicated this week’s Escentual column to it. Click here to read about one of my favourite winter fragrances.

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Do Teddy Bears Smell in the Woods? – Moschino TOY Perfume Review

THIS IS NOT A MOSCHINO TOY

THIS IS NOT A MOSCHINO TOY

It’s impossible to look at TOY, the latest fragrance from Italian fashion brand, Moschino and not smile. I mean, the perfume is packaged inside a cuddly little teddy bear, so one’s initial encounter with the fragrance will usually involve the utterance of noises such as “aww” and “squee” and cries of “OH. MY. GOD. IT’S. SO. BLOOMING. CUTE” and “IT’SSOFLUFFYI’MGONNA’DIE”. It is after all, incredibly cute and that gorgeous little face is adorably cheeky, and impossible to resist.

TOY is the brainchild of Moschino’s Creative Director, Jeremy Scott, who has worked with the likes or Rihanna, Katy Perry, Björk, Madonna, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, just to name a small sample of the upper echelon of pop divas that he has collaborated with. The scent is being positioned by the brand as a “revolutionary product launch” that offers “a completely innovative way to package, show and sell fragrance”, posing the question whether this bear is a perfume or a toy. It also serves as a nice nod back to Moschino’s founder, Franco Moschino, who famously used stuffed animals on garments in his 1988 Fall-Winter collection.

Created by perfumer Alexandra Kosinski (Etat Libre d’Orange Cologne), TOY displays woody, floral and citrus notes that are intended to be evocative of the bear’s forest home. Whether TOY is exactly that, a toy, or a perfume, or a teddy bear, or all of the above depends on how you approach it. What cannot be denied however, is that this is an attention-grabbing launch that breathes new life into the world of Moschino parfums, and an incredibly cute one at that.

“From the depths of the wild, stuffed animal kingdom comes TOY, Moschino’s latest fragrance. Conceived by Moschino Creative Director Jeremy Scott, TOY smashes every fragrance preconception to bits, boldly redrawing its form, function and fabulousness.”

- Moschino

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Two Scoops, Please – 4160 Tuesdays New York 1955 Perfume Review

An Ice Cream Parlor in a Bottle

New York 1955 – An Ice Cream Parlor in a Bottle

I continue to be incredibly impressed by the output from London-based indie brand, 4160 Tuesdays. Perfumer Sarah McCartney has a natural knack for perfumery, but also the subversive talent of injecting humour and eccentricity into her compositions. The result is exceptionally well-crafted fragrances that have bold and bright characters, that one would really have to be a miserable git not to enjoy.

One of Sarah’s most recent creations is New York 1955, a fragrance that was originally launched under her diffusion ‘Vintage Tuesdays’ line, and now sits within the multi-coloured wardrobe of scent that is 4160 Tuesdays. Evoking the image of pastel-shaded ice cream parlors from the 1950s, this perfume is a beautiful rosy-gourmand that is as delicious as it is colourful.

“One of my favourite vintage 1950s scents was Coty’s Chantilly, named after the French town famous for its whipped cream and intricate lace. It’s a soft strawberry and cream perfume, decorated with crystalised rose. For New York 1955 I transported the desert theme over the Atlantic to a New York milk bar, turned up the volume, piled it with vanilla ice cream and raspberries, loaded it with candy floss, crystalised roses and violets, and smoothed it with soft, huggable musks and ambergris.”

 – Sarah McCartney

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Clean Up Your Act – Etat Libre d’Orange Cologne Perfume Review

Etat Libre d'Orange Cologne - %22A Nice Scent%22

Etat Libre d’Orange Cologne – “A Nice Scent”

Hold the presses! Before I commence with this review, could someone do me a massive favour and take a short trip down to the underworld and check that the river Styx is still in full, bubbling-hot lava flow? I ask simply because it seems that hell has indeed frozen over and that the impossible has finally happened – Etat Libre d’Orange, also known as the world’s most naughty and rebellious perfume brand, have brought us the most unexpected and out of character perfume – a humble eau de cologne.

Now, you may be thinking that lots of brands bring out eau de colognes and that this isn’t particularly noteworthy a launch, so I should stop making a big old fuss. But one should remember that Etat Libre d’Orange are in fact, the very people that, amongst many other things, bottled the erotic cartoons of infamous Finnish illustrator Tom of Finland, and brought us olfactory interpretations of hotel whores and magnificent bodily secretions. They are not ones to shy away from controversy – in fact, they actively court it and shock factor is an old friend that they simply cannot keep away from. Luckily for us lovers of fragrance, their perfumes mainly deliver the olfactory goods and whilst their names are often gimmicky, the scents themselves rarely are.

With their eau de cologne, which is snappily named ‘Cologne’, FYI (no gimmicks here, thank you), they have created, what they like to call “a nice scent”. This could be, and should be viewed as a massive break from tradition for the Orange Free State, who are famously more prone to naughty than nice, and that would be a fair summation. But as the brand explains, they like to break rules, including their own. So it is with an unassuming cologne that this renegade purveyor of perfumes steps away from their usual modus operandi – a risky move that has resulted in a fragrant outing that really is most unusual for such a rebellious brand.

 “You can always expect the unexpected from Etat Libre d’Orange. We break the rules. Sometimes, we even break our own rules. We’ve given you decadent, we’ve given you outrageous, and now we give you nice. We pay allegiance to the concept of a modest cologne. Not an ordinary cologne, not a basic cologne. A proper cologne that achieves the perfection of simplicity.”

- Etat Libre d’Orange

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New Escentual Post: Life on the Left Bank – YSL Rive Gauche Perfume Review

Yves Saint Laurent's Rive Gauche - Life on the Left Bank

Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche – Life on the Left Bank

Consider me behind the times, but I’ve very recently fallen head-over-heels in love with Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche. Yes, I know it was launched way back in 1971, long before I was in short trousers, and yes, I’m well aware that its current formulation is a pale shadow of its former self, but I love it and I make no apologies. To me, Rive Gauche does the whole aldehydic floral thing in a way that is not over the top, nor is it viciously boardroom bitch-esque – its simply high fashion floralcy in a bottle.

Seeing as I’ve got a bit excited over my new found love, and I’ve also been taking an informal look at some of the classics over on Escentual recently (see Opium & Arpège), I took the time to dedicate my column this week to the glory of Rive Gauche. So, if you’re a fan of the scent, or if you just want to hear what all of the fuss is about (I do like a bit of hyperbole, it must be said), then simply click here to take a stroll down Paris’ wonderful left bank.

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Unbridled Spirit – WILD by DSquared² Perfume Review

WILD [Photo: Steven Klein]

WILD [Photo: Steven Klein]

Recently, whilst putting together my guide to masculine fragrance for MANFACE, I realised that I quite like manly perfumes. This may not sound like much of a revelation, I am a man after all (well, at least I was last time I checked), and it would therefore make sense that I was a fan of those fragrances which sit on the masculine side of the aisle, but the truth is that I’ve always thought I found solace in the world of feminine perfumery. That said, a quick look at the number of masculine offerings in my list favourite fragrances contradicts this, so when it comes down to it, I guess my love for perfume spans all gender barriers.

The problem I have with masculine perfumery is that is often boring and clichéd. As a general rule of thumb, us gents are less adventurous with perfume. Add this to the fact that many mainstream masculine fragrances are dull, synthetic and obnoxious, and you don’t exactly have a recipe for success. This isn’t always the case though, and as you’ll see in my masculine fragrance guide (link above), there are more than a good few masculines out there that are generally interesting and beautiful, and I always feel a sense of joy when I encounter a new fragrance for men that simply smells very good.

One decent (and recent) example is ‘WILD’, the latest fragrance from fashion brand DSquared². Created by perfumers Daphné Bugey and Annick Menardo, WILD is a woody aromatic fragrance that is described by the brand as being “an overwhelming perfume that announces a free and wild soul”. Housed within the fetishistic confines of a leather-strapped bottle, and accompanied by a provocative ad campaign shot by fashion photographer, Stephen Klein (a NSFW example can be seen below the jump), WILD certainly makes a statement – one that surprisingly focuses on the idea of freedom, rather than sexual provocation.

“For us fragrance has an emotional connection to who we are, it uncovers a long-held desire or dream, which is why the concept of WILD has such an intrinsic link to us and the ideaology of DSquared2. The ultimate authentic expression of self is to live with complete freedom of speech and mind – we are fascinated with this concept, especially in today’s society.”

- Dean and Dan Caten, DSquared²

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Feral Beauty – Mona di Orio Nuit Noire & Lux Perfume Review

Feral Beauty - Madonna by Steven Klein

Feral Beauty – Madonna by Steven Klein

A few weeks back I cast my inquisitive nose over Myrrh Casati, the latest fragrance from niche brand, Mona di Orio, and the first launch that has been created by the house in conjunction with an external perfumer. Myrrh Casati represents a distinct shift in style for the Mona di Orio name, and whilst I found it to be competently composed, it doesn’t quite portray the unique sense of magic one usually finds in one of Mona’s creations.

The brand may be looking directly forward to the future, but at the same time they are not shying away from celebrating Mona’s legacy, and have started to re-dress a number of her fragrances in beautiful new flacons. They’ve also relaunched Nuit Noire and Lux (originally launched in 2006) – two cult fragrances from the Mona di Orio archives as part of the new Signature Collection. It’s an exciting and interesting time for the brand, and this relaunch of the original formulas serves as a firm nod to the extreme talent of a wonderful perfumer.

“A good perfume will surprise before touching the heart deeply, slowly it will give you its soul as it evolves and reveals its final notes. Perfume, like poetry, must stimulate and create passion instantly”

- Mona di Orio

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