I’ve been busy on my Escentual column reviewing a number of big new launches. In this post (above and below the hump) you’ll find a round up of reviews including; Comme Des Garçons’ Floriental, the Acqua di Parma Ingredients Collection (Colonia Ambra, Colonia Oud & Colonia Leather), Dior’s Sauvage, Valentino’s Donna, Van Clef & Arpels’ Ambre Imperial and Narciso Rodriguez’s for Her L’Absolu. Enjoy.
Wow, what a whirlwind of a year 2014 was. The perfume industry has, as always, been nothing short of prolific in its output, with new brands popping up all over the place and the same big names releasing perfume upon perfume, and flanker upon flanker. It has, once again been a very busy year, and the hive of activity within the industry has meant that a great number of wonderful new olfactory treats have been unleashed on the noses of perfume lovers and consumers.
For me, this year has been one of great personal significance. In March I won my first Jasmine Award for my Guide to Violet, and shortly after in May, my best buddy and I tied the knot, only a few days before I presented an award at the Fragrance Foundation Awards. Then in August I was promoted at work, and in September my new husband and I headed off to Tokyo for the honeymoon of a lifetime. In short, it has been a fantastic year and one that will always remain truly in my heart as one of the very best.
To celebrate 2014 from a fragrant perspective, I present to you ‘The Candies 2014’. Those of you who have followed The Candies before will know that they are my annual perfume awards, celebrating the very best, and the very worst perfumes of the year (out of the 147 scents I have reviewed in 2014). Under the jump you will find the winners, losers and honourable mentions filed under neat little categories. So please, don your tux or ball down, break open the Bolly and take your seats for The Candies 2014.
“Fragrance is paint for the nose. People who make fragrances, the air is their canvas.”
– Pharrell Williams
Is there any one person on the planet bigger than Pharrell Williams right now? I think not. He’s either produced, sang or guested on some of the biggest songs of the last few years, not to mention the fact that he’s a fashion icon with a penchant for Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hats from the ’80s and socks with no shoes. In short, Pharrell is a bit of a dude and it was only a matter of time before he branched out from music and fashion, into the world of fragrance.
Thankfully for us (us being the perfume lovers of the world), Pharrell has teamed up with the fragrance arm of unconventional fashion house Comme des Garçons to create his very first perfume. Comme des Garçons are well known for high quality fragrances that approach the art of olfaction with a distinct, and unique viewpoint, celebrating woods, incense and spices in a varied series of artistic olfactory entries. So, it would be correct to say that Mr. Williams made a sensible choice and is in very safe hands.
Pharrell’s debut fragrance is named G I R L, after his 2014 album of the same name, from which it also takes inspiration. G I R L was created by perfumers Antoine Lie (Etat Libre d’Orange’s Sécrétions Magnifiques, Rossy de Palma and Tom of Finland) and Christian Astugeville, and is described as being “a woody scent of high quality and complex construction”. Much like Lady Gaga’s Eau de Gaga, which I reviewed earlier this week, G I R L is a most atypical celebrity fragrance that tries to defy the clichéd conventions of a tired and overexposed genre.
I know what you’re thinking: “not another blooming oud”, and if we were talking about any other fragrance brand rather than the esteemed Comme des Garçons, I’d be right there with you having a moan. But we are in fact talking about a brand that takes their perfumes very seriously and their latest, the rather showily named ‘Wonderoud‘, is a rather nicely-executed oud that will make even the most grumpy perfumista sit up and take an intrigued sniff.
For my Escentual column this week, I’ve taken a closer look at Wonderoud and given it the once over for your pleasure . My findings, as you can guess, are mostly positive, but to read the whole review, please click here. Don’t forget to let me know what you think of Wonderoud, if you’ve tried it, and if not, what your very favourite oud fragrance is (mine is Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s incomparable OUD, FYI).
Can you believe that 2013 is coming to a close already? I certainly can’t! It only feels like yesterday that I was sat at my laptop, tapping away at the first reviews of the year and looking forward to the exciting new smells that next 365 days would bring. It has, all-in-all, been a very good year, with lots of interesting new perfumes launched, and on a more personal note too, as this year I took on the exciting role of Fragrance Expert for Escentual.com.
The perfumes have come thick and fast over the year, and once again the industry has seen an increase in the overall number of perfumes launched. Over the year we’ve seen our fair share of masterpieces, duds, flankers and celebrity money makers in, and as with any other year it has been a roller coaster ride of an experience sifting through just a tiny portion of what has been released.
In this post – my annual perfume awards (‘The Candies’) – I’m taking a look at my fragrant highlights of the year and those perfumes that have impressed, moved and surprised me. I’m also highlighting the specific scents that have failed to meet the mark this year and are disappointing enough to warrant naming and shaming. So sit back, don your red carpet gown (or suit), pop the champagne and enjoy The Candies 2013.
[Please also head over to my fragrant brothers and sisters who are sharing their very best perfumes of 2013; Persolaise, Olfactoria’s Travels, Eyeliner on a Cat, Fragrant Moments, Perfume Shrine, I Smell Therefore I Am, SmellyBlog and The Fragrant Man.]
Christmas is just round the corner. I mean it people, the 25th of December is just up the street, lurking down a dark alley with criminal intent and an evil glint in its eye. By now one should have completed the super-fun/awful task of Christmas shopping (I have and yes I’m smug about it) and will now be putting the final touches to the Christmas plans that one is so looking forward to.
With all of the traditions and festivities it is unsurprising that Christmas is an incredibly fragrant time of year. The abundance of yuletide food, church masses and changes in the season make for an incredible wealth of smells associated solely with the one celebration, and each year one looks forward to reliving those odours that make the season so darn ‘Christmassy’.
As I’m a lover of both scent and Christmas I thought it would be fun to put together some of my favourite yuletide smells alongside perfumes that manage to capture the essence of these odours. Here you’ll find smells of the season and fragrances that are evocative of such wonderful treats as gingerbread and mulled wine. Christmas smells (really good in fact) and on The Candy Perfume Boy this winter, it has never smelled better!
The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to series is an olfactory exploration of individual notes and ingredients that looks at the essential perfumes one must try as part of their fragrant journey. Each episode focuses on a particular note and lists the reference perfumes (i.e. the ‘must sniffs’) within that particular genre.
So far in the series we’ve explored the worlds of; Tuberose, Lavender, Oud, Orange Blossom and Chocolate. Up until now the ‘Guide to’ series has been relatively sporadic but moving forward, the intention is to schedule instalments for the beginning of each quarter – therefore suggestions on which note/genre to explore next are most welcome.
This episode takes a look at the humble violet – a genre that doesn’t quite get the exposure that it deserves. It’s a note that is more likely to be associated with the stiff upper lip of Victorian Britain than the contemporary world of modern perfumery but a number of perfume houses are making solid efforts to change this perception and are making pretty fantastic perfumes along the way.