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?
Spring is here and that means it’s time to break out those springtime floral fragrances. OK, I know that I need no excuse to rock a floral fragrance and will do so all year round (why the heck not, right?) but for those of you who like to stick to a more seasonal fragrance wardrobe then now is the time for flowers. And what a wonderful time it is – the sun is shining (most of the time), the flowers are growing and the bees are buzzing – all of which can be accented by the expert application of a spring floral.
For this spring, venerable fashion house Christian Dior is launching a more floral version of their popular flagship fragrance Miss Dior (formerly known as Miss Dior Chérie and a completely separate fragrance from 1947′s Miss Dior which is now known as ‘Miss Dior Originale‘ – got that?). The perfume is called Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet, a spring floral that is billed by Dior as being more “delicate and light” than the original.
Dior’s in-house perfumer François Demachy describes Blooming Bouquet as being “like a springtime bouquet with a hint of elegant and light woody notes” making for a composition that ensures that “Miss Dior keeps her promise of love”. That’s a pretty apt description as far as I am concerned, however I would concede that Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet is much more of a floral musk than it is a woody floral. But in terms of being perfect for the spring season, this bouquet is absolutely spot on.
My love of Thierry Mugler’s Alien, and all things Mugler in fact, is widely known. I just cannot help myself when it comes to the weird, wacky and über glamorous creations that come straight from Muglerville – they resonate deep within my soul, awaking the hidden Glamazon inside of me. So I do feel very excited when I hear that the brand is launching a brand new fragrance, especially if aforementioned scent it is to be a close cousin of my most beloved Alien.
Mugler’s latest launch is exactly that - Alien Eau Extraordinaire – a lighter take on the the brashness of Alien, that reportedly “accentuates incandescent freshness” and amps up the scent’s brighter citrus notes. Alien, whilst being a foghorn of a scent (a beautiful foghorn, of course), did display an impressively fresh citrus facet worthy of further exploration, so it is with great interest that I approached this entirely more luminous creation.
Created by perfumer Dominique Ropion who, along with Laurent Bruyere, was responsible for the original, Alien Eau Extraordinaire is a stand alone fragrance described by Mugler as being “charged with a positive energy” and “combining a blend of notes known for their uplifting, energising powers with the unique signature of Alien to convey a feeling of happiness and serenity for all women”. That all sounds rather promising, if you ask me!
Kristen Stewart Looking Like She’s Having a Wonderful Time, As Always…
I have definitely tried Balenciaga’s Florabotanica but for the life of me I cannot remember how I felt about it. The bottle is gorgeous so I’m pretty sure that I recall being impressed to some degree, but that’s about as far as my recollection goes. Perhaps I was put off by spokesfaceperson Kristen Stewart (there really is only so much of her looking bored that I can take) or maybe the scent was nice but nothing noteworthy (that sounds more like it). Whatever the reasons, Florabotanica failed to make an impression.
Florabotanica’s first flanker ‘Rosabotanica‘ however (we’re going to get a whole slew of these aren’t we? I reckon it’ll be ‘Jasmabotanica’ next), is definitely more memorable and noteworthy and comes as a complete surprise for a brand that always makes high quality stuff but doesn’t always push the boat out artistically speaking. Rosabotanica certainly changes the game in that respect.
Launched in late 2013, Rosabotanica was created by perfumers Olivier Polge (Florabotanica, Dior Homme and Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb) and Jean-Christophe Hérault (Florabotanica and Comme des Garçons’ Amazingreen) as “the second flower in Balenciaga’s magical garden”. ‘Magical’ is indeed the right word for it as this second botanical scent takes the idea of flowers into unique, unusual and positively futuristic territory.
One of the perfumes I have been very much looking forward to (read: lusting after like a geeky fan boy) since I heard about its impending launch towards the end of 2013 is ‘La Tentation de Nina‘ by Nina Ricci. “Why?” I hear you ask, well the answer is simple: this is a perfume inspired by a special macaron made by Ladurée. I love macarons (although I’d take an Ispahan over these little treats any day), I love Ladurée and I love perfume – a match made in heaven, I feel.
Created by Olivier Cresp (Nina Ricci’s Nina with Jacques Cavallier and Mugler’s Angel with Yves de Chiris) in partnership with Ladurée’s Head Pastry Chef Vincent Lemains – La Tentation de Nina is a perfume evocative of the most trendy meringue-based confection in the world. The brand bill this partnership and creation as a “playful mirroring of the sense” where a perfume and macaron take inspiration from each other, coming together to create “the ultimate temptation.” But does it live up to expectations? Well the short answer to that question is ‘sort of’…
The sheer thought of a Fracas flanker is enough to send most fumenerds in to fits of fear-induced hysterics. Such is always the case when a classic is reinterpreted for the modern generation, just take Shalimar Parfum Initial for example, the blogosphere practically imploded upon hearing the news of a pink-ified Shalimar (more on that one later), so it would not be un-wise to expect the same reaction for the arrival of Petit Fracas.
Yes that’s right, I said “Petit Fracas” as in “Little Fracas”. But fear ye not, the people over at Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics Ltd (who own the licence for Piguet Parfums) have taken great care in the re-launch of Piguet’s classics and they have applied the very same amount of care to this reinterpretation of the original.
“Play the game of love with Petit Fracas de Robert Piguet. The scent has an audacious air, inspired by our iconic Fracas. Petit is fresh, youthful and feminine, with a playful innocence. Flirtatious and charming [...] elegant and enchanting, but not too serious, Petit Fracas is a chic floral bouquet, perfect for flirty fashionistas or fashionistas at heart.”
Aiming for a younger woman who is not quite ready to step into the 9 inch stilettos of the original, Petit Fracas (created by Aurelien Guichard who has been responsible for all of the Piguet relaunches and new scents) mashes modern tastes with the haute couture style of one of perfumery’s most infamous characters. She’s the wild child of an even wilder parent; living, loving and vying for attention.
As I mentioned in my most recent Saturday Poll, Thierry Mugler is set to release four limited edition leather interpretations of their most popular scents. This leather collection follows on from last years La Goût du Parfum, in which Angel, Alien, A*Men and Womanity each had a taste enhancer added to shake things up a bit and a new gourmand twist to them. The brand also released Angel and Alien Liqueur de Parfums in 2009, two fragrances that were aged in oak casks to give a more boozy feel.
The success of these enhanced editions got me thinking about what additional ingredients can be added to fragrances to give an entirely new twist on the original accords. There is something to be said about this intelligent method of flankering, it allows for the essence of the fragrance to be preserved whilst simultaneously offering something new, exciting and even if the end result doesn’t quite work out, it is at least interesting, unusual and worth smelling.
So what should we add to a Thierry Mugler fragrance to enhance it? Are there other fragrances that we could an enhancer to? Or are fragrances best left as they are, without flankers or fragrant meddling?
Guerlain is one of my favourite perfume houses, heck it may be most people’s favourite perfume house, and they’ve certainly had their up’s and down’s over the years. But despite many blips, discontinuations and the odd controversy, things definitely seem to be looking up over at Maison Guerlain. One of the smartest moves they have made in recent times is snatch-up the very talented Thierry Wasser for their in-house perfumer.
Since joining Guerlain, M. Wasser has created; two new major feminines, one major masculine, a new cologne and several flankers, limited editions and exclusives. He has tinkered with Guerlain’s heritage whilst adding his own contemporary stamp for the future.
February sees the release of two new flankers signed by M. Wasser; Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau and Homme L’Eau Boisée, and as with everything he has done since he started with Guerlain (OK maybe not everything) they are top notch. ‘L’Eau’ very much seems to be the fashion at Guerlain at the moment, but to write these two new editions of as simply lighter, watered down versions of the originals would be a grave mistake.
Ahh flankers, there is nothing within the glorious world of perfume more guaranteed to make my eyes roll. Don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty good flankers on the market, take Guerlain’s Shalimar Parfum Initial or Chanel’s No 5 Eau Premiere for example. But on the whole the majority of flankers stink (see Marc Jacobs Bang Bang), they are a cheap way of marketing a new fragrance without having to come up with a new name or bottle and tend to carry no ingenuity whatsoever.
CK One Shock for Him and for Her are the latest in a long line of flankers to Calvin Klein’s iconic Unisex fragrance CK One, originally launched in 1994. With CK One Shock they have released “Two sassy new fragrances that flaunts youth innate sense of provocation”  Calvin Klein has proved to be the king of flankers over the years, the majority of which have been pretty terrible so I did not approach these two with high hopes.
Those of you who read my review of the original Bang on Wednesday will know that I found it to be a thoroughly well executed masculine fragrance for the mass market, so you can imagine that I was quite looking forward to Bang’s first flanker; Bang Bang.
The name is amusing, ‘Bang Bang’, I thought; ‘Double the Bang? This must be a more intense version of Bang’, are you with me? Well you may be, but Marc Jacobs isn’t, Bang Bang is described as a ‘refreshing and dynamic’ version of the original.
If the thought of a ‘refreshing and dynamic’ masculine sends you into a dull-perfume induced coma then I promise to wake you at the end of this review.