The Fragrance Foundation Awards: The Finalists 2015

The Fragrance Foundation Awards

The Fragrance Foundation Awards

Tomorrow is the fragrance industry’s biggest night – The Fragrance Foundation Awards, or the ‘Oscars of the Fragrance World’ as they are often referred to. The glitterati of the perfume world will be donning their, well, glitter I suppose, and will be heading out for a night of fragrant celebration. The awards, which are in their 23rd year, serve to recognise “excellence within the fragrance arena, from Packaging and Advertising through to Best New Fragrance” and are the most important event in the industry’s calendar.

This year sees established brands and young, indie brands being recognised for their work. Who will win? Well, we’ll just have to wait until Thursday to find out! I will be in attendance at the awards and will be tweeting up a storm as the names of the winners are called. Follow me on Twitter @candyperfumeb0y to see my tweets, or for a more general view of the evening, you can find all award-related tweets via the official Fragrance Foundation awards hashtag – #FragranceAwardsUK. For a full list of the 2015 finalists, simply click below the jump. Who will you be rooting for? Let me know in the comments box at the bottom of the post!

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Le Cinéma Olfactif – Folie Á Plusieurs Mood Indigo, Love Exposure, La Haine & The Virgin Suicides Perfume Review

Le Cinéma Olfactif - Movies Capture in Scent by Folie À Plusieurs

Le Cinéma Olfactif – Movies Capture in Scent by Folie À Plusieurs

Perfume is so often sold as a gimmick hiding behind a loose concept, so it’s quite easy to become despondent and bored of the lengths niche brands will go to fill a gap in the market. We’ve got to the point where we have perfumes named after blood types and fragrances bottled in flacons crafted in the shape of the human heart, for Pete’s sake. I get that a brand needs to have an identity, and needs to say something unique, but so often the result is nothing more than pretentious fluff that is more style than substance – a fatal flaw of the industry.

That said, every now and then, a brand comes along with a solid concept that is executed to perfection, and most importantly, ties in with the juices in the bottles. Germany brand, Folie À Plusieurs is one such instance of substance working in tandem with style, and their fragrances are as strong as the concept from which they were born. The fragrances are inspired by great works of cinema and aim to capture in scent, specific moments in movies that are poignant, whether that be because they are beautiful and moving, or even because they challenge or disturb.

The five scents in the collection are created by rebellious perfumer Mark Buxton – the man behind Comme des Garçons’ great works (CDG Eau de Parfum, 2 & 2 Man etc.) and Le Labo’s Vetiver 46, and are easily some of his best works. Inspired by memorable moments in Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo, Sion Sono’s Love Exposure, Matthieu Kassovitz’s La Haine and Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, Folie À Plusieurs oeuvre opens up a world where cinema and fragrance meet in a collision of senses, resulting in a whirlwind of experiences that really strike a chord with the viewer/sniffer. Be prepared for some NSFW content below the jump…

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Somewhere in Paradise – Tom Ford Private Blend Fleur de Portofino Perfume Review

Somewhere in Paradise Lies Tom Ford's Fleur de Portofino

Somewhere in Paradise Lies Tom Ford’s Fleur de Portofino

Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino series is a collection within a collection. Housed like a fragrant Matryoshka inside the Private Blend collection, the four colognes that currently comprise the series (Neroli Portofino, Mandarino di Amalfi, Costa Azzura, and now, Fleur de Portofino) tick all of the required boxes; 1) they smell great; 2) they are so much more than straight-up Eau de Colognes; 3) they’re unique; and 4) they have decent longevity and sillage. Don’t be fooled by the (rather beautiful) transparent bottles cast in varying hues of blue and green, because there are some intriguing, and complex juices within.

Fleur de Portofino is the latest addition to the Neroli Portofino collection and it marks a bit of a shift from the world of contemporary Eau de Cologne, to the domain of the floral, where the wistful reigns supreme. The spirit of the collection is well and truly alive here, with lots of aquatic vibrancy and freshness however, flowers take centre stage and the beauty of citrus has been instructed to wait in the wings. The result is a floral that presents a new olfactory take on the mediterranean – one that is teeming with life.

“Vibrant. Carefree. Captivating. Private Blend Fleur de Portofino is inspired by the cascades of white flowers that spill off the the branches of the white acacia beloved shade tree that dots the mediterranean’s gardens and lines its tranquil avenues. Fleur de Portofino creates a crisp and bright floral accord from this bloom, then surrounds it with effervescent citruses and acacia honey. The fragrance creates an effect of sheer floral possession that is incomparably hypnotic and extremely bold.”

– Tom Ford

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New Escentual Post: Serge Lutens La Religieuse Perfume Review

Nuns, Jasmine and Sweet Treats - Serge Lutens La Religieuse

Nuns, Jasmine and Sweet Treats – Serge Lutens La Religieuse

A new fragrance from Serge Lutens is always news worthy, especially when that brand spanking new perfume is a floral, my most favourite of all genres. Lutens’ latest fragrance, a jasmine-based scent (Uncle Serge’s third jasmine-centric outing) named ‘La Refligieuse’ is certainly very good news. This is an unusual and low-key jasmine with a few gourmand facets thrown in for good measure. Click here to head on over to Escentual to read my review.

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As Good as it Gets – Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Cologne Indélébile Perfume Review

Cologne Indélébile - As Good as Cologne Gets

Cologne Indélébile – As Good as Cologne Gets

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is a unique brand.  Positioning himself somewhere between Creative Directory and Fragrance Curator, Malle is responsible for putting the perfumer centre stage, famously slapping their names on the bottles of the fragrances they create, and allowing them artistic carte blanche to create perfumes that are works of art.  It’s quite staggering to think just how many modern classics come from this line – Carnal Flower, Portrait of a Lady, Le Parfum de Therese, Une Fleur de Cassie and Vetiver Extraordinaire – I really could go on, there really isn’t a single ‘dud’ in the collection, and when viewed against the plethora of niche brands on the market, Editions de Parfums de Frederic Malle puts many to shame.

The most iconic, and in my personal opinion, the most beautiful fragrances within the collection are penned by legendary perfumer, Dominique Ropion – a man that conducts fragrant symphonies, rather than simply creates perfumes. He is the nose behind some of the greatest fragrances from the last thirty years. In short, the man is a genius and he seems to be the go-to guy for Malle when the brand wishes to ‘perfect’ a genre, whether that be the greatest tuberose scent (Carnal Flower) or the ideal rose fragrance (Portrait of a Lady), or even the coolest modern fougére (Geranium Pour Monsieur).

With that it mind, it seems appropriate for Ropion to be the nose to take on the humble Eau de Cologne with a view of creating the cologne – a cologne to serve as a reference point for the genre, and blow all others out of the water. The result is ‘Cologne Indélébile’ (‘Permanent Cologne’), a fragrance that is described by the brand as being a “modern yet traditional Eau de Cologne that lasts forever”, which is quite a statement to be making, if you ask me. With this permanent cologne, Malle and Ropion are attempting to redefine an age-old genre and drag it firmly into the 21st century by embracing modern technology (specifically through the use of ‘technical musks’). If that’s not an exciting prospect for a fragrance, then I don’t know what is!

“A clean scent, yet surprisingly magnetic. A modern yet traditional Eau de Cologne that lasts forever. Dominique Ropion embraces musk’s nature as both a quasi-aphrodisiac and a scent of purity to create a very personal interpretation of Eau de Cologne. A splash of the best neroli intertwined with orange blossom, bergamote, and the most technical musks for a scent that endures, and endures, and endures… Cologne Indélébile.”

– Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

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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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The Ruby Oud – Maison Francis Kurkdjian OUD Satin Mood Perfume Review

New from Francis Kurkdjian's Maison: OUD Satin Mood

New from Francis Kurkdjian’s Maison: OUD Satin Mood

Oud fragrances come in all shapes and sizes.  There are the straightforward ouds presented in a vaguely middle-eastern style, uniformed with rose and amber.  There are also the hidden ouds – ouds that are anything but the funky barnyard of the real thing.  Finally, we mustn’t forget the unusual ouds – the ouds that do something a bit different, and a bit daring, with this now plentifully utilised note, and take it to dizzying new heights of olfaction.  One of my favourite ouds that sits firmly in the unique camp is Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s OUD – a scent that colours the usually smoky and animalic odour of the noble tree rot into shades of cerulean blue, with flecks of gold shimmer.  In OUD, Kurkdjian pairs oud from Laos with a metric-f-ton of musk and fresh citrus to create an ethereal, and not to mention, thoroughly modern oud, that is a world away from the oppressive, and dense ouds that attempt to conjure images of a middle eastern bazaar, but ultimately come across as a caricature.

Kurkdjian followed his tremendous OUD with his OUD Mood collection, which consisted of three oud-based fragrances inspired by silk, cashmere and velvet.  My favourite from this particular collection was OUD Velvet Mood, an odd and industrial sort-of-oud that perfectly captures the smell of hot metal skyscrapers  formed from steel and blazing sheets of glass, rising from the sands in Dubai.  To put it simply, when it comes to oud, or the art of perfumery in general, Kurkdjian follows his own set of rules and he always offers up something new, and exciting.  So, if you’re bored with oud (at this point, I’m bored with being bored with oud) Kurkdjian is the man to get you out of that funk.

This spring, Kurkdjian is treating us to yet another oud, and this time he’s ready to paint the town red – ruby red, to be precise.  Joining the OUD Mood collection, this new scent, which is entitled OUD Satin Mood, is a delicious, decadent and daring take on the oud theme that plays with familiar themes, but twists them excitedly on their heads.  It’s a fragrance that one wants to wrap around themselves in a veil of protection – an amulet and a talisman to ward of the greyness of everyday life – a banner that says, back of bitches, I’m fabulous.

“With your eyes closed, you can imagine flowing fabrics delicately draped over bare skin, caressed by intense and dazzling sunlight. You will want to wrap it around you, lose yourself in the depth of the moment and suspend time.”

– Maison Francis Kurkdjian

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