When doing an A-Z Guide to Fragrance, as I have been doing for Escentual over the last two years, one finds some letters to be difficult. For example, ‘Q’ stumped me for quite some time, until I thought that it could be representative of ‘Questions’ (as in fragrant FAQs), and I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do for ‘X’ or ‘Z’, but they’re a little way off yet so let’s not panic. Anyway, some are hard to pick a theme for, whilst others are pretty easy. ‘S’ was one of the easy ones.
‘S’ could stand for ‘Shalimar’ or it could stand for ‘Sandalwood’. In fact, it could stand for many things. In my mind however, ‘S’ could only, and should only be representative of one thing in fragrance and that is ‘Serge Lutens’. Since the early ’90s, this olfactory enigma has been presenting us with some of the most beautiful, challenging, confusing and fascinating fragrances. He’s a man who speaks in riddles but presents olfactory tales in captivating prose. He is Serge Lutens, and there’s not much more to say than that. Click here to read this week’s Escentual column.
Legendary fashion house Yves Saint Laurent (now known as Saint Laurent Paris) has teamed up with historical Murano glass makers, Verrerie Verini, to create an exclusive edition of their 1983 fragrance, Paris. The perfume remains the same however, the bottle has been crafted into a multifaceted gem with varying hues of red and pink, almost like a sparkling piece of hard candy.
The edition is likely to set you back a fair few pennies (reports are that it is £5,000 – eek), but that doesn’t take away from just how gorgeous it is. Above you can find a video from Vogue Paris which shows the manufacturing process for this limited edition. It’s quite fascinating how these skilled artisans are able to make such beautiful glassware with such precision using traditional methods. Enjoy!
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.
No word sets the eyes of the perfume-loving community rolling more enthusiastically than the word’flanker’, and it’s easy to see why. Flankers, which are the re-named and re-packaged spawn of familiar scents, tend to be less creative or unique than their forebears, due in part to the fact that they are a quick way for a brand to make a quick buck. But who can blame them, as what could be easier than shoving a new juice inside a familiar bottle and under a familiar name, I ask you? Not much, in truth.
So yes, flankers can be annoying, especially as they are nothing short of prolific nowadays. That said, they aren’t all bad and some really good fragrances have been the result of enthusiastic flankering. As you may have guessed, the subject of flankers has taken centre stage for my Escentual column this week (the first column of 2015, in fact) and within my little guide you’ll find six intriguing flankers that are as good as, if not better than the original scents they stem from. Click here to read my piece and don’t forget to tell me about your favourite flankers.
Well, if last week was an unofficial ‘collections’ week, this week is most definitely ‘celebuscent’ week. So far we’ve gagged for Gaga and been perfumed by Pharrell, and now it’s time for another star to treat us to their fragrant wares. This time it’s Barbadian songstress and provocateur, Rihanna. Now, Ri-Ri is no stranger to the world of celebrity fragrance and has, at this present moment in time, a grand total of 6 fragrances under her belt. She has clearly been very busy.
I’ll be honest and say that, whilst I’m quite familiar with Rihanna’s musical outings, I’m less au fait with her olfactory output. That said, I have heard a lot of good things about Rogue, her feminine fragrance launch from 2013 and seeing as our girl Ri has just launched the masculine counterpart to Rogue, aptly entitled Rogue Man, I thought it would be a good opportunity to give both fragrances a test drive.
Rogue was developed by perfumer Marypierre Julien (Rihanna Rebelle) and is described as being a “flirtatious and sensual oriental”. Rogue Man was penned by perfumer Frank Voekl (Le Labo Ylang 49, Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream and Oscar de la Renta Esprit d’Oscar) and reportedly “intoxicates men with a choreographed clash of fragrance notes that are both masculine and ultra-sexy”. So how do these two rebellious perfumes fair as celebuscents? Well, let’s put them to the test!
“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 Palmaand 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.
Buying perfume as a gift can be a tricky business and often people shy away from picking out fragrance for their loved ones because it can be such a personal choice. But it really doesn’t have to be that hard – in fact, the end result can be a perfect and personal present for that special someone in your life, whether that be something they are familiar with or even something entirely new.
To debunk that myth that buying perfume as a gift is a faux pas waiting to happen, for my Escentual column this week I’ve put together a small 3.5 step guide on how to do it properly. So, if you’re looking at gifting perfume this Christmas, whether that be to a perfume lover or not, or even if you’re just gifting because you feel like it (and you’re obviously a generous soul), click here to read my guide on How to Buy the Perfect Fragrance Gift.