All Flankered Out? – The Candy Perfume Boy Offers a Tonic


If like me, you’re fed up with the constant wave of flankers (please see my review of the two new CK One flankers) then I hope you will take this post as some kind of remedy, a tonic if you will. I could spend hours and hours moaning about how I hate flankers and name and shame some of the worst, that would be very easy, and not entirely true. What I would like to do instead is just make a few personal recommendations of what I think are some of the best.

What is a Flanker?

Most of you reading this blog will be familiar with flankers but for those who aren’t; a flanker is essentially a fragrance released using the same (or similar) name as another fragrance by the same house, think of it as a sort of sequel, so for example; Live Jazz is a flanker to the original Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent. The actual juice can be very similar, slightly similar or completely unrelated to the original fragrance.

Flankers are a cheap way of marketing a new fragrance without having to spend a huge amount of money on new concepts, bottle moulds and advertising. They are also a great way of marketing a ‘new’ product to consumers who are already fans of the original fragrance.

Not all flankers are bad, some brands use the opportunity to create a new interpretation of an established fragrance and these tend to be the flankers that work best, they bring something new and interesting to the table.

Guerlain Shalimar Ode à la Vanille

What is it? A limited edition of Shalimar released in 2010. Shalimar Ode à la Vanille is a new interpretation of Shalimar that is made as an ode to vanilla made with two different types of vanilla.

Why is it good? Creating a flanker for a classic such as Shalimar is a risky business. The original is held in such high esteem that the idea of a flanker could be considered as an insult to some. Luckily, Guerlain’s in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser knows how to treat the old dame with respect and this limited edition is an interesting re-interpreation of the original. Ode à la Vanille takes Shalimar’s famous vanilla notes and amps them up to beautiful, boozy gourmand sweetness, which at the same time softens the smokiness. The top notes are more citrussy thanks to a helpful dose of grapefruit and there seems to be a more prominent jasmine note in the heart. All in all, Ode à la Vanille is an excellent fragrance and more than worthy of wearing the Shalimar crown.

Alien Liqueur de Parfum by Thierry Mugler

What is it? Alien Liqueur de Parfum was created “following a method inspired by the traditional maturation process of Rum, the original Alien Eau de Parfum is aged in oak casks with an exhilarating and carnal result” [1]

Why is it good? Thierry Mugler is one brand that on the whole creates excellent fragrances and Alien Liqueur de Parfum is a good example of what happens when a brand thinks intelligently about their flankersAlien Liqueur de Parfum is still recognisably Alien in all of it’s bombastic jasmine glory but it is richer and boozier. Here, Alien’s light citrus notes have been replaced with accents of cherry and almond. Alien Liqueur de Parfum feels sweet and syrupy and I find it a good autumn/winter alternative to the original.

Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison

What is it? The second flanker (Tendre Poison being the first) to Dior’s infamous Poison is intended to be a hypnotising and sensual elixir.

Why is it good? Despite smelling absolutely nothing like the original, Hypnotic Poison certainly fits its name, and in my humble opinion it is the best of all of the Poison fragrances. Hypnotic Poison is a bitter, milky mix of jasmine and almond laid over a warm, creamy vanilla base. It is simply, the nectar of the Gods.

Thierry Mugler A*Men ‘Pure’ Series

What is it? The A*Men Pure series consists of three versions of the original A*Men fragrance (Pure Coffee, Pure Malt and Pure Havane) where one note in particular has been added or emphasised to become the main focus.

Why is it good? The Pure series is yet another good example of the Mugler brands ability to produce high quality flankers. Pure Coffee (my favourite of the three) is A*Men with the coffee notes amplified and it smells like dry, roasted coffee beans. Pure Malt (my least favourite) is A*Men but with sugary sweet (make that REALLY sweet) malt whisky notes and Pure Havane is A*Men with cherry pipe tobacco. All three, Pure Malt especially, have become cult fragrances within the perfumista community.

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Mâle Terrible

What is it? A more grown up version of Jean Paul Gaultier’s famous Le Mâle.

Why is it good? What I like about Le Mâle Terrible is that it is still recognisably Le Mâle (which in turn is THE most recognisable masculine fragrance on Earth), and gives it more of an adult twist. Grapefruit is added to the top notes and vetiver to the base, the effect is less barbershop than the original and more confident and mature. If you like Le Mâle, or don’t like it because it is just too over exposed, then you should give Le Mâle Terrible a try.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur

What is it? A more floral version of the original Black Orchid in a lighter Eau de Toilette concentration.

Why is it good? To say that Voile de Fleur is just the EDT version of Black Orchid would be completely wrong, in fact they are quite different. Voile de Fleur is a blend of creamy white florals; tuberose, gardenia and jasmine. It has that wonderful ‘flower bud’ quality and it smells like the hot sun beating down on beautiful white blooms. The base is unmistakably Black Orchid, but the scary ‘mushroomy’ parts of the original have been toned down. Weirdly, despite being a lover of big, dramatic fragrances, I prefer Voile de Fleur to the original, it just feels more complete.

Join the Discussion!

I am interested to hear your thoughts!

What do you think about flankers?

What are your favourites?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below.



Image 1