A Quiet Cacophony of Rose – Maison Francis Kurkdjian À la Rose Perfume Review

A Quiet Cacophony of Rose

A Quiet Cacophony of Rose

There are few brands whose launches I look forward to more than those from Maison Francis Kurkdjian.  I’ll just come out and say it – I’m a Francis Kurkdjian fanboy. If you’ve been following my Instagram over the last week, you will have seen proof of this in the form of me spending much of my time enjoying Kurkdjian’s creations for rebellious fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier (specifically; Le Mâle, Fragile and Fleur du Mâle). Maison Francis Kurkdjian, the perfumer’s very own brand is one of my favourites and with MFK, Kurkdjian manages to weave simplicity and complexity effortlessly together, creating approachable but high quality, and more importantly, high class perfumes.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s latest fragrance is À la Rose, and unsurprisingly, it’s all about the humble rose – 250 of them, in fact. You can never get enough rose in my opinion, and seeing as the flower can be interpreted in so many different ways, ranging from delicious rosewater treats (see Essence Nº1: Rose by Elie Saab) to heady examples of rosy exoticism (see Guerlain’s Nahéma), there’s always a surprise, or two, to be had. In short: the world of rose is never boring.

Kurkdjian already has two roses within his collection (Lumière Noire pour Femme & pour Homme - two heavy and oriental roses), so exactly what does À la Rose bring to the table that we’ve not seen from the perfumer before? Well, the focus is definitely quite different and this new rose feels very much in keeping with Kurkdjian’s penchant for clear and radiant signatures that present familiar themes in their purest form. It does exactly what one expects it to and for once, lives up to the marketing spiel, which is somewhat of a rarity in the industry today. À la Rose is described as follows:

“A la Rose is an ode to femininity, a declaration of love captured in a fragrance.  Two hundred and fifty precious roses from Grasse offer their radiance and their unmatched richness in every flacon”

- Maison Francis Kurkdjian

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New Escentual Post: A Hidden Gem – Guerlain My Insolence Perfume Review

A Hidden Gem from the Guerlain Archive

A Hidden Gem from the Guerlain Archive

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m throwing an informal Guerlain party this week. So far we’ve taken a gander at the perplexing Shalimar Souffle de Parfum (which really should have been an Aqua Allegoria and not a flanker to their flagship fragrance) and the deliciously dizzy and decadent French Kiss, which puts me in a much better mood than the Souffle de Parfum does.

With Guerlain in mind, I thought I’d dedicate my Escentual column this week to a fragrance that doesn’t get the attention it deserves; My Insolence. A flanker the seriously over-the-top Insolence (Maurice Roucel; 2006), this softer interpretation is a gorgeous little vanilla and almond cuddle that shows the industry how a decent fruity floral should be done. Click here to read my review.

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Smelly News: Jean Paul Gaultier to Launch Le Mâle & Classique Pirate Editions

Shiver Me Timbers!

Shiver Me Timbers!

Two of my favourite things in the world have finally joined forces – perfume and pirates. Can you tell that this makes me happy?! The man to link these two excellent forces is none other than the cheekiest chap in fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier, who is just about to launch limited pirate editions of his flagship feminine and masculine fragrances, Classique (Jacques Cavallier; 1993) and Le Mâle (Francis Kurkdjian; 1995).

These two rum-swigging classics certainly know how to dress, rocking tattered striped garb marked with the must have centrepiece for any self-respecting pirate – the skull and cross bones. The scents remain the same masterpieces as ever, a glamorous and sensual floral oriental for Classique and a steroid-fuelled fougére for Le Mâle, with the swashbuckling bottles making for a must-have collector’s item.

So, if you’re looking for a little bit of an adventure on the high seas, then look no further than the fashionable shores of Island Gaultier.

“The intrepid couple. The legendary couple sets out on an exciting treasure hunt, which will take them to the far reaches of the open seas. Determined to face any sort of danger, the pirates raise the black glad and set sail.”

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Shalimar at a Stretch – Shalimar Souffle de Parfum Perfume Review

Shalimar Souffle de Parfum - The Latest Incarnation of Guerlain's 1925 Classic

Shalimar Souffle de Parfum – The Latest Incarnation of Guerlain’s 1925 Classic

“The sickness of making flankers every five minutes is very upsetting, but if I don’t want to get kicked out for not doing my job, I have to do it”

- Thierry Wasser ¹

Thierry Wasser, in-house perfumer at Guerlain, recently likened the penchant brands have for creating numerous flankers to a “sickness” and when looking at the numerous incarnatons of the house’s flagship fragrance, Shalimar, it’s easy to see why.  In the last five years we’ve seen seven, that’s right, seven new Shalimar flankers ranging from the sublime Parfum Initial and Ode à la Vanille to the less interesting Parfum Initial L’Eau, and on occasions the brand has stretched the Shalimar association pretty thin.

With their latest flanker, Shalimar Souffle de Parfum, the link has become so emaciated it may have finally snapped. Sniffing the flanker, it’s pretty difficult to pick out exactly how the two fragrances are alike. Shalimar is a grand dame of the oriental world, showcasing bubbling bergamot, smoky-sweet vanilla powder and tons of heavy resins. Souffle de Parfum on the other hand is, well, the complete opposite of that. It may not be worthy of the Shalimar name, but does that mean that it’s a bad fragrance?

Guerlain describe Souffle de Parfum as a “gently perfumed caress” ² and a “breath of extreme sensuality” ², with the ‘Souffle’ here referring to the French word for breath, as opposed to anything culinary-related. It has been designed to celebrate the lighter facets of Shalimar, specifically focus on the shining citrus that famously graces the Oriental Queen’s top notes, and the plush vanilla that sits at her core. In that respect, Souffle de Parfum succeeds, merging these two themes together to create something that may, or may not be Shalimar, depending on how one looks at it.

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Once Upon a Time – Chloé Love Story Perfume Review

New from Chloé: Chloé Love Story

New from Chloé: Love Story

“A night in Paris. Sparkling lights and music. A crowd. And her.”

- Chloe Love Story

Here we are with the first review of a 2015 fragrance launch. That didn’t take long, now did it? Well technically, this one was available in some countries at the back end of last year, but it is only reaching the UK this month, but let’s not split hairs, shall we. The perfume we will be looking at today is Love Story by Chloé, the latest offering from a brand that I haven’t featured on the blog before (much to my surprise, actually). Let’s rectify that right now.

In perfumista terms, Chloé is best known for their eponymous signature scent launched in 1975 under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld. Chloé was, and is, a gigantic white floral chocked to the brim with syrup and powder – fearful (but beautiful) stuff for sure. It would be fair to say that the house’s output since hasn’t been as bold, but is still very pretty however, more so in the modern style of perfumery. I remember being particularly impressed with Love, Chloe (a very subtle powder scent) and I’d definitely put this new one, Love Story on that list as well.

For Love Story, Chloé has envisaged a feminine fairytale starring actress, Clémence Posey (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), directed by Mélanie Laurent (as seen in Inglourious Basterds), snapped by Inez Van Lamsweerde and scented by perfumer, Anne Flipo (MyQueen, Chloé Fleur de Narcisse and Manifesto). Housed within a padlock shaped bottle, a sign of love seen on the bridges of the city of lights, Chloé’s Love Story is a contemporary spring floral full of life and romance – an Eau de Parfum dripping with dazzling prettiness.

“Love Story is a modern story of seduction. Her. And him. Their paths cross, a few mumbled words, a beautiful moment.”

- Chloe Love Story

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Selling Sex – Etat Libre d’Orange Putain des Palaces Perfume Review

Selling Sex - Etat Libre d'Orange's Putain des Palaces

Selling Sex – Etat Libre d’Orange’s Putain des Palaces

When I started The Candy Perfume Boy, I didn’t really have much of a plan, I simply wanted to talk about perfume. Since my first post way back in July 2011, the way I write and the subjects I write about have evolved. Nowadays I tend to focus more on reviewing new launches, with ancillary series such as Desert Island Sniffs, The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to… and the Scent a Celebrity Series as supporting materials. Series have come and gone (due mainly to my short attention span) but this year I’d like to spend a bit more time looking back, as well as forward, by reviewing some scents that aren’t brand spanking new.

So to start, I want to look at a fragrance that has always been on my mind, but never in my collection, well up until recently, that is. Those of you who have read this blog for a while will know that I’m quite partial to the intriguing olfactory output from rebellious perfume punks, Etat Libre d’Orange. I own about seven or eight of their 32 fragrances, with the latest addition to my collection being the tricksy Putain des Palaces – a perfume I’ve always liked but have been reluctant to buy, for no reason other than the fact that I’m indecisive.

Putain des Palaces was released in 2006 as part of Etat Libre d’Orange’s initial crop of fragrances. Composed by perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer (Hermès’ Eau des Merveilles, Van Clef & Arpels’ Gardénia Pétale & Amouage’s Honour Man) the fragrance, which is roughly translated as “Hotel Whore” (racy, huh?), is described by Etat Libre d’Orange as “the temptress who awaits her prey in the hotel bar, and leads her lucky victim to unimaginable delights…” So yes, Putain des Palaces is a perfume about sex, specifically the transactional variety, and you know what? It does exactly what it sets out to do.

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Magic in the Studio – 4160 Tuesdays Doe in the Snow Perfume Review

Doe in the Snow

A Real Life Doe in the Snow

“Doe in the Snow was made for a special occasion one January, for a very special customer. It’s inspired by the fruity chypre fragrances of the 1960s and 70s, but with a layer of frost. Citrus fruits, flowers and woods, stirred with an icicle. Imagine a tall, elegant woman, dressed in red and white velvet, but at ground level, she’s wearing her wellington boots so her feet don’t get cold and wet. Graceful, yet practical.”

- Sarah McCartney

It’s descriptions like the one above that affirm my love for London-based indie perfume house, 4160 Tuesdays. Any fragrance that can be described as “graceful, yet practical” and pairs vintage couture with wellington boots is a winner in my book, and its a style of fragrant inspiration that is the DNA of 4160 Tuesdays. The scent in question is Doe in the Snow, an incredibly special fragrance created for the wedding of “purveyor of olfactory adventures”, Odette Toilette.

Seeing as Doe in the Snow is indeed, very special, I thought I would dedicate my final review of the year (where has 2014 gone, people?!) to what is a gorgeous fragrance, and one that perfectly captures the wonderful image Sarah describes in the quote above. Doe in the Snow is further proof that there is a serious amount of magic happening within the London studio of 4160 Tuesdays. Wonderful magic that is enchanting many a nose and keeping the perfume industry an inspired, and interesting place.

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