New Escentual Post: How to Buy the Perfect Fragrance Gift

http://www.escentual.com/blog/2014/12/10/how-to-buy-the-perfect-fragrance-gift/

How to Buy the Perfect Fragrance Gift

Buying perfume as a gift can be a tricky business and often people shy away from picking out fragrance for their loved ones because it can be such a personal choice. But it really doesn’t have to be that hard – in fact, the end result can be a perfect and personal present for that special someone in your life, whether that be something they are familiar with or even something entirely new.

To debunk that myth that buying perfume as a gift is a faux pas waiting to happen, for my Escentual column this week I’ve put together a small 3.5 step guide on how to do it properly. So, if you’re looking at gifting perfume this Christmas, whether that be to a perfume lover or not, or even if you’re just gifting because you feel like it (and you’re obviously a generous soul), click here to read my guide on How to Buy the Perfect Fragrance Gift.

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Sculptural Olfaction – Lalique Noir Premier Collection Review

Sculptural Olfaction

Sculptural Olfaction – Noir Premier by Lalique

Lalique is a name that is inextricably linked with quality, artistry and beauty. Their glassware is unrivalled, pairing sculptures from nature with more abstract visions to create a brand that is contemporary yet traditional. I’ve always seen their perfumes as hidden gems. In fact, the house of Lalique is probably better known for the flacons they have created for other fragrance companies, rather than their own perfumes. But Lalique’s fragrance collection is executed with a finesse and a paired-back simplicity that is refreshing in the fog-horn world of perfumery, where everyone is trying to shout each other down.  Fragrances like Amethyst Éclat and Hommage à l’homme Voyageur, both flankers to other Lalique pillar fragrances, demonstrate familiar themes in unfamiliar guises, opting for long-lasting quality rather than ephemeral showmanship.

This year, the house of Lalique is taking their knack for artistry and spinning it into a brand new collection of six exclusive fragrances. Of course, anybody who’s anybody is doing an ‘exclusive collection’ of sorts nowadays, and one cannot blame Lalique for joining the fray (there’s a bundle of money in it). But how do their offerings compare with the likes of Guerlain, Chanel and Dior et al, who have walked this path so successfully before them?  Well, the answer to that question is complex and entirely depends on one’s tastes, and also one’s patience for high-end luxury fragrances, what I will say however, is that Lalique have created these six fragrances with the exact same attention to detail, and precision that they have famously applied to just about everything their hands, or noses have touched, and for that, they should be commended.

The collection is entitled ‘Noir Premier’ and consists of six fragrances (one of which is exclusive to London department store, Harrods) that celebrate Lalique’s “history and milestones” in fragrant form. The names and inspirations of each fragrance come from the brand’s rich heritage and history, honouring the creators, styles and individual pieces that have made Lalique a world renowned name in the fields of glass and crystal. Each fragrance is housed within an exceptionally crafted bottle that harks back to the “very first black perfume bottle designed by René Lalique in 1911: the Quatre Aigles bottle” and forms the Roman numeral “I”. For the brand, Noir Premier is a personal collection steeped in history and for that reason, each of the six fragrances within this series, serves as a poignant landmark on the rich timeline of the house of Lalique.

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Down By the Docks – Penhaligon’s Empressa, Levantium and Lothair Perfume Review

Down by the Docks

Down by the Docks

Quintessentially British fragrance house, Penhaligon’s have been busy this year. Not only they have release Bayolea, an entire male grooming collection complete with accompanying Eau de Toilette, they’ve even teamed up with quirky fashion house Meadham Kirchoff to launch Tralala, an unsettling and whimsical fragrance that certainly lives up to it singsongy name. That’s not to mention the fact that they’re already gearing up for next year’s launch, Ostara! Not content with all of that, they’ve launched the Trade Routes Collection, which consists of three new fragrances inspired by London’s rich maritime history.

The Trade Routes collection takes the “luxurious and decadent commodities which were traded through London’s historic docks at the turn of the 19th century” and turns them into three contemporary fragrances that are decidedly modern in their style. Consisting of Empressa (Mike Parrot), Levantium (Christian de Provenzano) and Lothair (Bertrand Duchaufour), this collection is a perfect example of Penhaligon’s knack for taking the historic and bringing it bang up to date, making for something subversive, and a little bit different.

“Piled high on the quaysides and arriving daily from the farthest flung corners of the globe in a burst of exoticism; the rarest treasures in dizzying abundance; London was the Warehouse of the World.”

- Penhaligon’s

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New Escentual Post: Paco Rabanne 1 Million Review

1 Million by Paco Rabanne

1 Million by Paco Rabanne

You really cannot deny the success of Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million. In fact, all one needs to do is enter into a crowded area to see just how prevalent this stuff is, and it seems that it has become a staple for many young men. Who can blame them really? The world of mainstream masculines is a barren wasteland, and 1 Million shines as an example of a familiar theme that has been executed rather well – right from the bottle to the juice, it’s a cohesive affair.

Escentual are having a bit of a 1 Million takeover this week and I’ve contributed a review of the masculine fragrance in the family. So, if you’re in the mood for some gold, some excess and a bit of a cocksure attitude then all you need to do is click here to head on over to Escentual to read my review. Don’t forget to leave a comment (even here or there) if you’re a fan of the fragrance (for me it sits in the nice, but not for me category, FYI).

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Got Wood? – Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Wood Perfume Review

Got Wood - A*Men Pure Wood by Thierry Mugler

Got Wood – A*Men Pure Wood by Thierry Mugler

“An olfactory dedication to the woody note. [..] A*Men Pure Wood is an invitation to a journey to the heart of the woody note, an elegant yet rugged accent in masculine perfumes, boldly revisited for this occasion.”

- Thierry Mugler

Not a day goes by on this blog without me making some sort-of reference to the house of Thierry Mugler. It’s no secret that I am the Mugler fan boy and I consider his fragrances to be as much a part of my DNA as my blue eyes and brown hair. The Mugler fragrances speak to me because they are bold, edgy and entirely over the top – everything that I want to be, and I revel in their distinct and challenging olfactory signatures, the way Mugler’s muses lavished themselves in his structured couture.

A*Men (also known as ‘Angel Men’) is the house’s flagship masculine fragrance. Actually, it’s the brand’s only fragrance solely for men (not that that stops many women from wearing it) and as one would expect from the man that brought the world the motorcycle corset, it’s a bold and daring one. I love A*Men, it manages to throw in just about every note possible (peppermint, tar, lavender, chocolate, coffee, caramel, patchouli and vanilla), including the kitchen sink and manages to somehow work as a fragrance that is wearable. The problem is that I just don’t reach for it that much anymore, perhaps because it is so unique and demanding.

Each year, Thierry Mugler launches a limited edition version of A*Men that showcases one note or theme. Unofficially named the ‘Pure’ series, previous instalments have included; A*Men Pure Coffee, A*Men Pure Malt, A*Men Pure Leather and A*Men Pure Shot, and for this season, Mugler is launching an ode to the ruggedness of wood, cheekily entitled A*Men Pure Wood. Created by perfumer, Jacques Huclier (the man behind the original A*Men in 1996), Pure Wood is one of the most commercial interpretations of A*Men, and dare I say, one of the sexiest.

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All I Want for Christmas Is…

Yep, That's Me, Rocking a #SantaSelfie

Yep, That’s Me, Rocking a #SantaSelfie

In the hit song ‘Who Do You Think you Are?’, the wise prophet, Gerri Halliwell, once said “giving is good, as long as you’re getting”, and whilst this may not be entirely true, as it is always lovely to give gifts too (Christmas is all about giving, apparently), it would be a lie to say that receiving presents isn’t pretty awesome. In fact, I’m happy to admit that I’m a bit of a monster at Christmas and have been known to supply lists to my family, of things I would, much to their dismay, even though I have eased off over the last few years, in a vain attempt to be less of a brat. But still, one must think of themselves every now and then and it doesn’t hurt to have a strong idea of what it is that you want in life.

Anyway, I digress. Everyone is doing gift guides at the moment and I find them difficult because there is just so much out there to choose, and so many people to choose for, that putting together a comprehensive selection of what to buy for whom, is pretty much mind boggling for me. So, in lieu of an actual gift guide, and seeing as my favourite subject is myself (I kid, of course, kinda…), I present to you my personal wish list of fragrant treats for Christmas. Perhaps this will serve as inspiration for gifts you’re buying, or maybe it’ll just be an insight into just how much of a demanding little sod I am. Either way, I hope you enjoy my joyful gathering of scented gifts.

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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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