This week’s stop on my Escentual A-Z of Fragrance is the letter ‘G’ – and the only ‘G’ that could possibly count in the world of perfume is ‘Guerlain’. Like many fellow perfume nerds I have a major soft spot for this venerable French house and with this guide I aim to take you on a whirlwind tour of all that is Guerlain including the perfumers that have made the house the great institution that it is.
Please head on over to Escentual.com by clicking on the image above and don’t forget to leave a comment whilst you’re over there, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the world of Guerlain.
The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing/boyfriends/girlfriends/movies/insert-celebrity-mistake-here let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.
I am a child of the ’90s and I am not ashamed. Yes fashion-wise it was probably one of the worst decades but musically it was pretty ace, for it was the ’90s that bought us Brit Pop, Rave music and most importantly – The Spice Girls. Ginger, Baby, Sporty, Scary and Posh may have long gone their separate ways but I (and many other ’90s kids I’m sure) still hold a soft spot for these persistant purveyors of ‘Girl Power’.
To celebrate the world’s very best girl band I offer up a scented tribute of perfume selections that showcase the ‘zig-a-zag-ah’ that gave the Spice Girls their power. Mad, bad, ridiculous and brilliantly feminine these perfumes invite you to ‘Scent up your life’ and live just like the coolest thing to come out of the ’90s since MC Hammer and his Harem Pants.
Perfume can be used to evoke a variety of emotions; joy, lust, sadness and love but perhaps the strongest emotion perfume can instil is a sense of comfort. At times when the weather or life is cruel a warm, enveloping perfume can shroud the wearer in layers of liquid armour that fights off the world’s negative elements.
When thinking of comforting perfumes one’s mind drifts easily in to the world of the gourmand, whose inhabitants are olfactory dinners, puddings and treats for those that wish to take comfort in food without the calories. They are comfort on a plate or in a bottle.
Perhaps the most comforting gourmand notes of all is chocolate and it is very much an accord that can go either way with a tendency to be cloying and sickly if used incorrectly. If you are a chocoholic like I am then this guide to the fragrant delights of the genre should serve as a delicious tour of pure delight.
I can’t believe it but it’s the end of 2012 already, which means that it’s time for us perfume bloggers to put together our lists of the very best and very worst perfumes of the year, honestly, where did the time go?! This year I’m affectionately entitling my awards ‘The Candies’ as a short, punchy alternative to The Candy Perfume Boy Awards. Neat huh?
Across all genres there have been many interesting, exciting and unique perfumes unleashed on to the market along with the usual amount of celebrity dreck, dud flankers and down-right-bizarre niche offerings. All-in-all it’s been a busy year with over 1,300 launches. Impressive but exhausting!
Below you will find my awards for Best Masculine, Best Feminine and Best Unisex Fragrances for both niche and mainstream houses. In addition to this I’ve also included awards for Best Flanker, Best Celebrity Fragrance and Best Ad Campaign. But we’re not just celebrating the very best of perfumery in 2012 here, no sir, we’re also highlighting the very worst with the Sour Candy Award, reserved solely for the naffest perfume of the year.
So I hope you’re wearing your very best frock (or tux for the boys, or frock if you prefer, it’s up to you really) and sipping on some fine Champagne as The Candies 2012 are underway…
It’s not often that a perfume turns 100 years old, heck it’s not often that a person hits the big one double zero, let alone a scent. But in a world where there are a cool 1,200 + perfume launches per year, many of which ride the coat tails of some quasi-celebrity or another whose career is most likely going to be short lived, longevity isn’t something that’s guaranteed. So it stands to reason that a perfume which has managed to last for a cool century should be celebrated.
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Guerlain’s classic fragrance L’Heure Bleue and the house is celebrating in style. To honour such a huge feat Guerlain has released a trio of Thierry Wasser penned limited edition interpretations of L’Heure Bleue; L’Aurore, Le Crépuscule and Le Zénith, the latter of which has been added to the Les Parisiennes line as an Eau de Parfum entitled L’Heure de Nuit.
“I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume.” Jacques Guerlain
L’Heure Bleue took its inspiration from the colour of the sky just before dusk, when the world is bathed in a melancholy blue light. L’Heure de Nuit represents a softer side of this blue hour, when the light is almost entirely faded from the sky and darkness begins to take hold. It encapsulates the placid coolness of the evening evoking feelings of calm rather than sadness.
The clocks went back on Sunday meaning that the days are now getting shorter and the harshness of winter darkness is upon us. Some may view this as a bad thing, after all as the days get colder and darker the mood of the population tends to follow suit, but there is one group of people who love the cold, and that is the fumenerds.
That’s right, as a general rule of thumb (please say if you disagree) fumelovers adore the winter because it means that one can dip into ones perfume wardrobe and pick out the heavy orientals, warm lactonic florals, and best of all, the cosy sweet foody fumes. When it comes to this genre of tasty scents the absolute best come from a little Parisian boutique located at No. 68 Champs Elysees: a patisserie disguised as a perfumery.
I don’t know exactly what it is about some of Guerlain’s offerings that makes them so delicious, perhaps it is the fact they aren’t quite gourmand enough to be edible that gives them the edge. They have that certainly je ne sais qoui that means they simply work and it is a simple truth that nobody quite manages to do confectionary quite like Guerlain.
This review focuses on one of my absolute favourite Guerlain confections and perhaps my one of my favourites from the house in general (but you’ll understand if I do not commit myself to that statement); Iris Ganache – a fragrance that I have silently stalked in Selfridge’s and Harrod’s many times, falling in love a little bit more each and every time, until I had to face the facts and bite the bullet on my very own bottle.
Guerlain’s ode to the Little Black Dress, ‘La Petite Robe Noire’, has a confusing history. First it was released as a pricey boutique exclusive, then there was the sequel ‘La Petite Robe Noire 2′ (and yes it was about as good as you would expect a sequel to be), the first of five planned additions to Guerlain’s wardrobe. Following all of that Guerlain has now decided to relaunch a new version of La Petite Robe Noire as part of its main collection, and in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser has gone in and tweaked things a little bit.
Now, I don’t mean to be smug (OK maybe just a little) but I have always said that La Petite Robe Noire was wasted as a boutique exclusive, strongly believing that it would be a massive hit if it were unleashed into the world of mainstream perfumery, and from the response it’s getting on the counters I think it may just be as popular as I expected.
Taking inspiration from the most classic and versatile pieces of clothing – the little black dress, La Petite Robe Noire is the perhaps the most fun, free-spirited of Guerlain’s many offerings. It comes billed as “the epitome of couture for the skin”  and if you’re wondering what “couture” smells like, the answer is, in true Guerlain style, a big fruity floral gourmand.
The Postcards From My Collection Series (if it can be called a series) is where I get to showcase, through the medium of amateur, shoddily taken photographs, the residents of my perfume collection. I feel that I have got to a point now in my fumehead journey that I have built a solid collection that meets most (most) of my perfume needs. There is always room for expansion of course….
So, over the next few weeks we shall be delving into my collection and picking out my favourite pieces. Nigel is quite happy that I’m doing this because he is under the impression that I may do some tidying/dusting on the way. I don’t quite know how to break it to him that I may just avoid the tidying and that my interests lie purely with the perfume, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
This week’s edition looks at the most precious perfumes in my collection and includes my big bottles of treasured things and my little, tiny bottles of just-as-treasured-if-not-more things. They range from the über pricey long agonised buy to the much appreciated christmas present with a ton of sentimental value. Simply put: a varied, but wonderful bunch.
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?
Have you ever discovered a perfume that you’ve known about for years but never tried? I have. I cannot tell you how many times I have perused the offerings of many a Guerlain counter, spritzing on and sampling almost everything they have to scent me with, but I always seemed to overlook, nay ignore the Aqua Allegoria line, meaning that up until very recently I had never tried Pamplelune. Now I can’t help but think; “what took you so long Thomas?!”
It was Persolaise’s review of the latest Aqua Allegoria; Lys Soleia, that led me to seeking out the Aqua Allegoria line, and I’m very glad that I did. My interest in the line, and Pamplelune specifically, was further piqued by Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels who had written that she was a big fan of Pamplelune but other people’s reactions prevented her from wearing it. Well after that I simply had to try it, and try it I did.
Pamplelune was part of the original crop of Aqua Allegoria’s released in 1999, a collection inspired by nature and intended to be more accessible to the younger Guerlain consumer. Available in a lighter concentration (EDT) and at a lower price point than the regular Guerlains, the Aqua Allegoria’s still manage to showcase fantastic ingredients, both natural and synthetic, to create perfumes that feel like non-ephemeral interpretations of nature for the skin.
Having stood the test of time, where other Aqua Allegoria’s have come and gone, Pamplelune was created to capture “the spirit of grapefruit” and that’s what it does. Now I should probably say that my opinion of grapefruit as a fruit is the same as my opinion of watermelon (see my review of Ruth Mastenbroek’s Amorosa), that is that I think It’s naff. It tastes so awful I don’t know why anyone would eat it, other than as a form of self-torture and on top of that grapefruit notes in modern perfumes are usually dire. Oh wait, now I know why it took me so long to try Pamplelune…