New Escentual Post: The Party Fragrance Collection

The Party Fragrances

One of the many great things about writing for Escentual is that I get to try fragrances that I wouldn’t normally come across in the wild. Without sounding as if I’m plugging a little bit too much, they do have a great selection of brands ranging from the staples such as Guerlain and DIOR to the more subversive houses of Amouage, Etat Libre d’Orange and CB I Hate Perfume.

One particular brand that Escentual have introduced me to is The Party Fragrances. Currently there are six fragrances in the line, with each taking a classic accord and switching them up with something contemporary. Their debut fragrance, ‘The Party in Manhattan’ is especially noteworthy, mixing together the fruity chypre accord of Mitsouko with the intense floral tones of Patou’s Joy to make for a raucous and glamorous fragrance in the grand old style.

For my Escentual column this week I have taken a good sniff of all of The Party’s Fragrances and have reviewed them for your pleasure. So, if you’re feeling as if you’re in a mischievous mood or you fancy exploring this hidden gem of a fragrance house please click here to take a quick gander over to Escentual.com to read my review. Don’t forget to let me know what you think of the fragrances too, if you’ve tried them!

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Blue is the Colour – Lalique Hommage à l’Homme Voyageur & Bentley For Men Azure Perfume Reviews

Two New, Blue Masculines from Lalique and Bentley

Two New, Blue Masculines from Lalique and Bentley

Blue is the colour that is most likely to send perfume lovers into a fit of fragrant fear. It is, after all, the hue that is ultimately associated with thousands of dodgy aquatic and oceanic fragrances that populate the plentiful shelves of one’s local department stores. These scents sell by the bucket load and more often than not they play to the lowest common denominator, evoking a sense of cleanliness and not much else.

But that isn’t always the case and there are a number of notable occasions where a perfumer or brand has taken the idea of ‘blue’ and done something intriguing with it. One particular standout is Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s superlative OUD (a perfume that I officially refuse to stop banging on about because it is just so mighty good), an oud that is unlike no other and cast in a wonderful shade of cerulean. So yes, blue isn’t necessarily all bad.

For 2014 the houses of Lalique and Bentley are launching blue-themed flankers for two of their masculine fragrances. Lalique are presenting Hommage à l’Homme Voyageur, a follow-up to 2011′s Hommage à l’Homme and an ode to “the art of travel” inspired by the “sumptuous decor” designed by René Lalique for the luxurious liner – the Normandie. British car manufacturer, Bentley, on the other hand, are launching Bentley For Men Azure, a flanker to last year’s Bentley For Men that “appeals to sporty, smart and style conscious men.” 

One of these blue masculines is a wonderfully crafted take on ashen spices, that feels utterly smart and luxurious (and has this blogger completely and utterly hooked, FYI) whereas the other isn’t much more than a typically cobalt execution of a fresh aquatic masculine with a hint of something salty-fresh for added measure. Have you guessed which is which yet?

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Perfume Pic of the Week No.14: Chanel N°5 Extrait

Chanel N°5 Extrait

Perfume Pic of the Week No.14: Chanel N°5 Extrait

- Or “That Moment When You Realise Why a Classic is a Classic”

I’ve been spending a lot of time in department stores and shopping centres recently. The impending wedding has sent my soon-to-be-husband and me into a scheduled frenzy of buying things, returning things (don’t even get me started), looking at things and generally allocating a significant portion of our time to pre-nuptial consumerism. That may sound like a moan but it really isn’t and whilst I feel that the wedding build up is quite stressful, I’m pretty sure that it is in fact the best part.

It was on one of these recent shopping trips that I passed a Chanel counter. Now this is nothing unusual in itself, after all it’s pretty difficult to go to a department store and not pass a Chanel point of sale (they are anything if not prolific), but something caught my eye on this particular occasion that made me stop and pay attention. Something that one doesn’t always see amongst the many bottles of Coco Noir, Chance and Coco Mademoiselle – a tiny, gleaming bottle of N°5 Extrait.

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Urban Downpours – Jo Malone Rain & Angelica and Black Cedarwood & Juniper Perfume Reviews

London Rain

London Rain

I love the rain. There’s something about gloomy black skies and relentless downpours that appeal to my melancholic side. It’s fun too and as kids, my sister and I would often play outside in the rain until we were soaked through to the bone. We revelled in the burning cold of the open heavens and gorged on the smell of petrichor like greedy gremlins, fuelled by the most ancient and fundamental of elements. We also had fun splashing and throwing mud at each other, of course.

British perfume house Jo Malone appears to love the rain too, so much so in fact that they have launched a selection of four colognes (three new and one old) as part of their limited edition London Rain collection. Their take on rain is altogether more sanitised that my sister and I making mud pies though, focusing instead on the purifying and almost cinematic elements of rain within an urban landscape, celebrating it as a key part of London life. As the brand says; “what could be more British than London rain?”

“This collection is intensely urban whilst harnessing the power of nature in the city; drenched blooms, savage rainstorms battering the parks, the torrential drumbeat pelting the pavements. And the scents that rise from nature’s outburst, refreshing city life, making everything seem brand new.”

Created by perfumer Christine Nagel (Etat Libre d’Orange’s Archives 69, Versace Woman and Giorgio Armani’s Si) the London Rain collection consists of; Rain & Angelica, Wisteria & Violet, Black Cedarwood & Juniper and White Jasmine & Mint (originally launched in 2007). Each cologne captures “the different moods of a downpour”, ranging from the aquatic to the spicy and casting the idea of urban rain in a variety of watery shades.

In this review I’ll be taking a look at two perfumes in the collection – Rain & Angelica and Black Cedarwood & Juniper. The former represents morning rain over London’s green spaces, whilst the latter is a moodier affair that captures evening rain dashing against the city’s jungle of buildings and pavements. Together they demonstrate how a single idea can be presented in a number of guises, displaying familiar aquatic notes in new and intriguing ways.

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New Escentual Post: O is for Olfactory Oddities…

O is for Olfactory Oddities...

O is for Olfactory Oddities…

My A-Z of Perfume for Escentual.com is steaming along very nicely and we have arrived at the letter ‘O’ already. ‘O’ can stand for many things in perfume – ‘Old Spice’, ‘Olfactive Studio’, ‘Orange Blossom’ and errr…. ‘One Direction’ – to name just a few. But I wanted to focus on something a little different for my fragrant guide to the letter ‘O’ and chose to explore the wondrous world of Olfactory Oddities.

Perfume is first and foremost a functional product created to make a person smell good. But it’s also an art and a science too. So for this week’s Escentual column I’ve taken a look at some of my favourite arty scents that push the envelope of olfaction to new and exciting heights. These avant-garde smells range from the sublime (the inky, metallic flowers of Comme des Garçons 2) to the ridiculous (the salty fig-shortbread of Mugler’s Womanity) via the downright insane (Sécrétions Magnifiques – need I say more?).

So, if you’re in the mood for broadening your olfactory horizons with something mad, bad and sometimes dangerous then click here to read about my favourite Olfactory Oddities. Don’t forget to leave a comment telling me about your favourite fragrant weirdos whilst you are there!

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The Big Smoke – Tom Ford Private Blend London Perfume Review

House of Parliament, Effect of Sunlight, 1903

Houses of Parliament, Effect of Sunlight, Claude Monet, 1903

London is an awesome city. I say this not just because I am British and therefore undeniably biased in the matter, but also because it is a simple truth. London has a charisma that many cities do not, stemming from the many contrasts that besiege its winding streets. These disorganised clashes of new and old, rough and smooth, and clean and dirty, make for a cultural mish-mash that is at times, utterly bonkers and entirely unique but ultimately very charming.

One man that loves London as much as I do is Tom Ford and to celebrate the opening of his Sloane Square boutique in 2013, the incredibly prolific fashion and perfume purveyor that is Mr. Ford created his very own olfactory tribute to this finest and fairest of cities. Taking its name from the city of the same name and launching last year, ‘London‘ is the newest addition to the Private Blend collection, available only in a select number of stores within the nation’s capital.

The brand describes London as being “rich, elegant and urbane” – three words that could certainly be attributed to the city after which it is named, if only just the glamorous bits in which one would find a Tom Ford boutique. But this perfume is more than just a tribute to a city, it is in fact a celebration of Mr. Ford’s favourite ingredient – oud. Now before you all start rolling your eyes at the sheer mention of the ‘o’ word (I see you), heed this notice: this perfume is a damn good example of how to do an inconspicuous oud – an oud that doesn’t take centre stage and plays a supporting role, or as they used to call them back in the day – an oriental.

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Perfume Pic of the Week No.13: Angel Eau Sucrée by Thierry Mugler

Angel Eau Sucrée

Angel Eau Sucrée

Operation Big Fat Gay Wedding is now in full force (although now that same-sex marriage is officially legal in the UK we are simply referring to it as ‘the wedding’. Marriage is marriage after all). This Saturday marked 6 weeks until the big day and both Nigel and I are three parts excited, two parts nervous and five parts stressed (hence very few posts last week). Thankfully last Friday, my most wedding organisation induced day of stress so far, was made infinitely better by a surprise delivery from Thierry Mugler.

Now it’s no secret that Mugler is one of my all-time favourite fragrance brands and I am a long-time devotee of Angel, Alien and Womanity. So the news of a entirely new interpretation of Thierry Mugler’s iconic Angel (my beloved olfactory drag queen) was very welcome indeed. As were the lovely meringues that accompanied it, which I am ashamed to admit I have gorged on all weekend, despite the fact that I am supposed to be on a pre-wedding diet… Continue reading