Amouage has put out some great work under the creative direction of Christopher Chong. With his innate ability to pair the traditions of classic French perfumery with artistic inspirations from the worlds of opera and dance (amongst many others), he has a flair for bringing out the best in the perfumers he works with, drilling down into their talent to create symphonically beautiful fragrances that range from the staggering to the bizarre. Amouage may have started as a house steeped in Middle Eastern tradition, but Chong has made it an international brand that absorbs a multitude of cultures from a wide variety of places.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the brand is the Library Collection, which houses a number of ‘opuses’ (now nine in total) that present compositions that celebrate ingenuity, the search for knowledge and the arts. The range from the wispy and ethereal violet of Opus III, to the harsh cracked, black leather of Opus VII, with a whole world in between. The collection strikes me as a space where all that matters is the composition and the inspiration behind it. The scents don’t need to find a huge audience and can therefore, be as unique and challenging as they need to be. It’s a refreshing direction from such an established house.
This year, Amouage is adding Opus IX to the collection. Inspired by La Traviata, the fragrance is described as a “soulful interpretation of the camellia flower”¹. In all honestly (and I could be being totally ignorant – stranger things have happened), I’ve not known camellias to have much of a fragrance however, they do have a wonderfully showy and flamboyant appearance, and Opus IX captures this bravado in a brightly coloured fragrance that utilises unusual ingredients.
Lists, lists, lists, us perfume bloggers do love our lists. But hey, what’s not to love? There’s always something satisfying about reading a rundown of a particular genre, perfumer or brand, and it’s safe to say that lists really scratch the curious itch of the perfume lover, myself included. With this in mind, I have teamed up with the very talented Persolaise for a semi-regular series of list-based posts on both our blogs.
We’re calling the series ‘Super Scent’ and in each instalment, we will be giving a run down of what we consider to be the very best scents available from a particular, well-known brand. The idea is to individually rank our top offerings and marvel at how similar or different they are. We also hope that you will chime in with your top fragrances from each brand in these posts too.
The first post will be live this coming Monday, and to kick off, Mr. P and I have picked one of the most important, influential and iconic brands of all time as our initial feature. Who will they be? Well, you’ll just have to tune in on Monday to find out! In the meantime, enjoy my review of Opus IX, the latest fragrance from Amouage, which will be popping up on the blog early this afternoon. Have a fab weekend!
What do you get when to you take Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Mâle to the gym and tell him to avoid manscaping for a few weeks? Well, you get Ultra Mâle, that’s what. Ultra Mâle is the latest incarnation of Gaultier’s beautifully buffed sailor boy, and this time our beloved seafarer has gone rogue. Launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Le Mâle, and created by the perfumer Francis Kurkdjian (the same dude behind the original) Ultra Mâle brings the (timeless) barbershop fougére bang up to date and places it in a more oriental setting, and a thoroughly rugged one at that. To read my full review on Escentual, simply click here!
Perfume lovers across the world have been watching the New Forest studio of Papillon Artisan Perfumes with bated breath. Last year, Papillon launched with three fragrances; Angelique, Anubis and Tobacco Rose – three perfumes that boldly said that a scent should be beautiful and unique, rather than awash with gimmickry. Papillon Artisan Perfumes have been a refreshing addition to the world of perfume that, along with Sarah McCartney’s hugely important 4160 Tuesdays, has put independent British perfumery on the map – a fact reflected by the nomination of all three Papillon scents for Best New Independent Fragrance at this year’s Fragrance Foundation Awards. It stands to reason then, that Papillon’s latest scent ‘Salome‘, launches in a veritable cloud of fragrant excitement.
You will hear a lot of talk about Salome and her erotic, and animalistic tendencies over the coming months. “Pure filth” is what they’ll call her and perfume lovers here, there and everywhere will revel in her raunchy and primal ways. But there’s more to Salome than meets the eye, and there’s another facet that deserves praise – her golden sheen and glittering sense of movement, to be specific. Salome is a dancing diva moving methodically and mesmerisingly through the many hypnotic motions of the dance of the seven veils.
Salome takes its name from the biblical character – the daughter of Herod and the dancing woman from the New Testament. In a recent interview on The Candy Perfume Boy, Papillon Perfumer Liz Moores explained how a vintage photograph of a 1920s flapper girl was the inspiration for Salome; “I have an original vintage photograph of a 1920’s flapper girl in a state of undress; she’s positioned side on to the camera with her breasts bared and the lower half of her body only slightly covered with ostrich feathers. The woman in this photograph fascinates me; I have often wondered who she was, where she lived in the world and what her name might have been. In my head I called her Salome, a name befitting such a beautiful and daring woman of her time.” This photo, which potrays the seductive dancer partly nude informs Salome’s vintage tones and erotic escapades. This is a fragrance made in a style seldom seen in this modern, post-IFRA age, and it acts as a startling reminder that perfumes can still be richly textured, gloriously complex and absolutely, downright filthy.
“Rubbing Noses is a series, in which I, The Candy Perfume Boy, grill the most important members of the perfume industry – the perfumers. These are the brains and noses behind the perfumes we know and love, and their unrivalled insight into one of the world’s most ancient of arts is something to be treasured, enjoyed and shared.”
In chaos theory, it is said that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can cause a hurricane in another. Small actions have big repercussions and can cause a domino effect across the globe. With Papillon Artisan Perfumes, perfumer Liz Moores flapped her talented wings and created three fragrances that burst on to the scene and made a big impact on the industry. With her initial trio of scents, a small and muted launch, Liz showed the perfume industry that independent perfumers are a force to be reckoned with.
Liz is soon to be releasing her fourth perfume, the evocatively named Salome (swing by on Wesnesday for a review) and I caught up with her to discuss this new launch, her creative process and her inspirations, amongst other things. During our rubbing noses discussion we talked Flapper Girls, classic Guerlains, and most importantly, we chatted filth, lots and lots of filth. I think you’ll find Liz to be a fun, fascinating and fragrantly talented character who really brings something new and intriguing to the age-old world of perfume!
I must admit that I have a little bit of a soft spot for Jo Malone London. In my opinion they do what they do and they do it very well, specifically, they create pleasing, low-key fragrances for scenting both people and their homes, and package them all beautifully. Jo Malone London sell a lifestyle, one that is housed within the simplicity of their structured bottles, placed carefully in gorgeous boxes and tied with beautiful bows. It’s a life that looks and smells good.
Over the last year or so, the brand has started to become a little bit bolder with their offerings. Rain & Angelica, a limited edition from their London Rain collection was weird and glassy, like crystallised drops of summer rain. There was also last year’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt, another unusual blend that was somewhere between salted caramel and sea spray. Oh and we mustn’t forget Incense & Cedrat, the latest addition to the Cologne Intense collection and an absolutely gorgeous benzoin-heavy incense that begs to be snuggled. They’ve been very busy making some intriguing scents, it must be said.
The hard work of Jo Malone London continues this autumn as September sees the launch of a brand new pillar fragrance for the brand. Focusing on the rich notes of Mimosa & Cardamom, this new launch (unsurprisingly called ‘Mimosa & Cardamom‘) created by perfume Marie Salamagne is an ode to word travel, eclectic fabrics and a mixture of cultures seen through the lens of a bohemian blend of flowers and spice. Without offering too many spoilers for the rest of the review, I will say that Mimosa & Cardamom really lives up to its inspiration and I for one think that it’s great to see such an underused yet fascinating note as mimosa being used front and centre in a mainstream fragrance. Good work, JML.
Pull out the bunting and blow up the balloons, for it is time to celebrate the addition of the 4160 Tuesdays collection to Escentual’s portfolio of perfume brands. 17 of Sarah McCartney’s quirky, eccentric and beautifully crafted fragrances have been added to the site in 50ml and 100ml sizes. If you’re not familiar with the brand, then where have you been? Essentially, 4160 Tuesdays offers exceptional hand-crafted fragrances blended in the spirit that, if we live until we’re 80, we experience 4160 Tuesdays. They shouldn’t be wasted.
To celebrate the launch I have written a piece introducing you to some of my favourite fragrances in the collection. As a plus, Escentual are also giving away 100ml bottles of; What I Did on my Holidays, The Sexiest Scent on the Planet. Ever. (IMHO) and The Dark Heart of Old Havana. To check out my introductory piece and the competition (including all T&Cs) click here. Don’t forget to let me know what your favourite 4160 Tuesdays scents are in the box below!