How the Mighty Have Fallen – YSL Black Opium Perfume Review

Black Opium - Even the Model Looks Bored

Black Opium – Even the Model Looks Bored

Smelling Black Opium, the latest from YSL, one finds it hard to believe that this fragrance comes from one of the most iconic and innovative designer fragrance brands of all time. Just think about it for a second, Yves Saint Laurent brought the world Opium, Paris and Rive Gauche, arguably three of the most important feminines released in the modern age. Not to forget the fact that they have also created cult classics such as Nu, M7 and Rive Gauche Pour Homme – perfumes that paint YSL as a brand with no fear, and a thirst to be different and divisive.

Black Opium is not an important fragrance, nor is it a particularly good one, and it seems that I’m not the only one to think so. Yesterday, Saint Laurent Paris (the fashion arm of YSL) distributed a press release on behalf of Creative Director, Hedi Slimane that distanced him from any involvement with the fragrance, stating that “no creative direction has been given by Hedi Slimane on the market launches and on the choices of artistic elements, or the definition of image, related to the product lines or the advertising campaigns of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, including the ones of Black Opium”.  All I can say is ‘ouch’, that’s not a good sign.

With each release, YSL seems to be creating more and more duds (does anyone even remember 2012’s Manifesto? Exactly) whilst simultaneously unleashing a regular wave of flankers of their flagship fragrances. Black Opium is the third permanent flanker to the Opium name since 2010 (the others being Belle d’Opium and Opium Vapeurs de Parfum) and was created by perfumers Honorine Blanc, Olivier Cresp, Nathalie Lorson and Marie Salamagne – a waste of talent, if there ever was one. YSL describe Black Opium as follows:

“2014’s Most Anticipated New Fragrance [..] Black Opium, the new feminine fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent – new glam rock fragrance full of mystery and energy. An addictive gourmand floral.”

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The Candy Perfume Boy Interviewed by Givaudan’s iPerfumer

iPerfumer's Fragrance Voices

iPerfumer’s Fragrance Voices

I’m back from Japan, yay! We, as in the husband and I, may have only been gone for 9 days but we have taken away a lifetime’s worth of wonderful experiences that will make for very precious memories in years to come. I will be detailing some of the fragrant-elements of our honeymoon in the next week or so, but whilst I fight the jet lag and before normal blog-service resumes, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I gave for Givaudan’s iPerfumer website.

If you’re not familiar with iPerfumer, it is an iPhone and Android app that keeps you updated with fragrant news and launches, as well as making perfume recommendations. I was asked to take part in a brief interview for the iPerfumer blog, in which I chatted perfume (of course) including my top 5, favourite launches this year so far, and how I decided to start blogging about the subject. If that sufficiently piques your interest, you can read my interview here!

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The Deliciousness of Rose – Elie Saab Essence Nº1: Rose Perfume Review

The Deliciousness of Rose - La Saint Honoré by Ladurée

The Deliciousness of Rose (La Saint Honoré by Ladurée)

Elie Saab burst onto the fragrance scene in a blaze of golden glory. His debut perfume ‘Le Parfum‘ was penned by none other than industry veteran, Francis Kurkdjian and it presented a radiant woody floral that utilised a solar orange blossom note to capture the unending beauty of Saab’s couture. This perfume kick-started a genre of radiant, glowing fragrances such as Carven’s Le Parfum (also by Kurkdjian) that now permeate the department store shelves, and it has deservedly found quite a following and spawned a number of flankers.

This year, Elie Saab and Francis Kurkdjian have teamed up once again to do something new – specifically to release a more exclusive collection of unisex fragrances entitled ‘La Collection des Essences’. Consisting of four perfumes, Essence Nº1: Rose, Essence Nº2: Gardenia, Essence Nº3: Ambre and Essence Nº4: Oud, the collection has been created to showcase “perfumed expressions of haute couture”, and unlike many exclusive collections (most of which are yawn-worthy and blatant money spinners), this one does exactly what it sets out to do with four fragrances that certainly capture the spirit of ‘Eau de Couture’.

“La Collection des Essences expresses a supreme elegance, a concise refinement that melds light and colour, depth and subtlety, volume and transparency. Four bold and exclusive statements with precise, dense and dazzling formulas.”

- Elie Saab

I have managed to try the whole collection and I must say that I am impressed, as I expected to be – I am, after all, a bit of Kurkdjian fan-boy. The Gardenia is a sharp, green and fuzzy take on the flower that sits somewhere between photorealism and abstraction, whereas the Ambre is a spicy, cosy and piquant amber, in a similar vein to Byredo’s 1996, and the Oud avoids the typical rose/super-spicy cliches as a woody and animalic oud that wouldn’t feel entirely out of place within Kurkdjian’s own collection. It is the Rose however, that has me hooked with its beautiful gourmand tones, that really are quite striking, despite their simplicity.

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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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Gone Fishin’ – We’re Off to Japan!

Gone Fishin'

Gone Fishin’

As you read this, my husband and I will be headed to Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to start our long journey to Tokyo (the land of Studio Ghibli, y’all!!) for our honeymoon. It promises to be the holiday of a lifetime and we both simply cannot wait to touch down in Japan and explore the sights, sounds and smells of one of the world’s most amazing cities. Oh and not forget the food – we are most looking forward to the food, for sure (and by ‘we’, I most definitely mean ‘me’).

I promise to report back on the scented aspects of our trip (and will respond to comments) upon my return however, whilst we’re away, things will be relatively quiet on the blog. I’ve scheduled a dose of Smelly News for this Wednesday and a review of something new from Elie Saab for Friday to keep you occupied, but for the most part I will be taking a bit of a break from the blogospehre. Of course I will be tweeting (@candyperfumeb0y) and there will also be my weekly Escentual column to enjoy, so make sure you don’t miss that either.

Normal service shall resume on WC 29 September 2014. Until then, I bid you all adieu!

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New Escentual Post: Narciso Rodriguez NARCISO Competition

More Thoughts on Narciso Rodriguez's NARCISO and a Giveaway!

More Thoughts on Narciso Rodriguez’s NARCISO and a Giveaway!

A few weeks back I reviewed NARCISO, the latest fragrance from American fashion house, Narciso Rodriguez. It would be safe to say that I was pretty impressed with the abstract musky floral and it has quickly shown itself as a perfect representation of the Narciso Rodriguez brand and the muted colour palette favoured by the designer. In summation: it’s pretty good.

For this week’s Escentual column, I’ve shared a few more thoughts on NARCISO, which you can read by clicking here. More importantly however, Escentual are hosting a giveaway for three 50ml bottles of NARCISO. If you want to enter, all you need to do is leave a comment stating your favourite fragrance note on my Escentual review here. The competition closes on Wednesday 16 September 2014. I wish you all good luck.

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