Way back in April 2013 I wrote a piece for Escentual called ‘G is for Guerlain’. Keeping with this week’s Guerlain theme, I’ve unearthed the article from The Candy Perfume Boy archives, for your reading pleasure. As part of my ‘Escentual A-Z of Fragrance’, the piece took a look at the industry’s most historic and esteemed house, right from their humble beginnings up until the present day, under the ‘new guard’ of LVMH and perfumer Thierry Wasser. Guerlain is a house steeped in history and it has evolved with the times to retain one of the key players in the industry. Click here to read the piece.
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.
“Dare the French Kiss! But watch out, this glossy floral fragrance is highly addictive”
One could never accuse Guerlain of being inconsistent in terms of their olfactory output. For nearly 200 years the Parisian Patisserie has crafted some of the greatest olfactory delicacies in the world, and they show no signs of stopping. With La Petite Robe Noire (a cherry liqourice folly) and L’Homme Ideal (a robust masculine with an almond twist), i.e., their recent gourmand output, Guerlain have shown, not only their uniquely French sense of humour, frivolity and style, but also their penchant for all that is edible. They’ve taken it to the mainstream and shown the lesser mortals in the industry just how a gourmand is done, and by all accounts it has been a very successful move for them.
It is no surprise, then, that the latest addition to their Les Élixirs Charnels collection, ‘French Kiss’, displays the exact same sense of fun, foody humour and style as their mainstream launches however, this one is entirely more decadent and over the top in comparison. Created by in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s French Kiss, which has been launched to celebrate 20 years of Guerlain KissKiss lipsticks, is described as a “glossy floral that celebrates the French art of kissing” and an “elixir as spellbinding as a sensuous kiss.” Ooh err, Mrs.
“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.
There is no subject in the world of perfume more likely to encourage a collective sigh than reformulations. Often one will hear cries of how the classics have been ruined by ever increasing regulations and the tightening of purse strings of brands who do not respect their heritage, and I don’t disagree. But it’s not all bad, and IFRA regulations are encouraging perfumers to be more creative with the way they make perfumes. Not to mention the fact that we’ve also seen some scents brought back from the verge of death in new formulations – fragrances such as Guerlain’s legendary Mitsouko, for example.
For my Escentual column last week (I’m a tad late putting it up here, apologies) I’ve continued the journey of my A-Z of perfume with the latest stop at ‘R’, which of course, stands for ‘Reformulation’. In the piece, I take a look at the reasons behind formula changes, from restrictions to regulations, as well as some of the revelations that the subject has to offer. So, if you’re in the mood to have a peek into the secret world of reformulation, please click here to head on over to Escentual.
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.
In life, I take a ‘leave it all to the last minute and hope for the best’ approach. Organisation is not my strong suit, and it is most definitely true that I work best under pressure. It will serve as no surprise then, that I haven’t quite completed my Christmas shopping yet, and yes, I’m well aware that it is exactly one week until Santa pays his annual visit. What can I say? I’ve just been busy with other things.
To help myself, and those around me who are also last-minute sort-of-folk, I’ve prepped a ‘Last Minute Gift Guide’ for my Escentual column this week. In this guide you will find; handy stocking stuffers for him and her, mid-range marvels and even big ticket splurges that will wow your recipient, even if they do depress your bank balance slightly. So, if you’re still looking for that one last gift, or just fancy a treat for yourself after being so wonderfully generous to everyone else, click here to check out my last-minute Christmas gift guide.