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It’s been a long time since I’ve written about violets, so here are four very good ones on Escentual. Click here to read.

Kerbside Violet
Kerbside Violet

Yesterday I took a look at three of the fragrance within Gorilla Perfume’s latest collection of scent, ‘Death, Decay and Renewal’. All-in-all, I found this third volume from the renegade perfumers to be exceptionally well-crafted, thought provoking, and despite the doom and gloom in the name, surprisingly optimistic too. Death, Decay and Renewal defies expectations and instills a sense that leads one to think that, even at the worst of times, there is still beauty in the world.

One of the more unusual scents in the collection is Kerbside Violet, a fragrance that has been created to capture the idea of chance encounters in an urban setting. I’m a big fan of violet as a note, so much so in fact, that I dedicated a whole post to it in my Jasmine Award winning Guide to Violet. So to celebrate the nationwide launch of Gorilla Perfume’s Volume 3, I have a 10ml spray bottle of the intriguing Kerbside Violet to give away.

Death, Decay and Renewal - Volume 3 by Gorilla Perfume
Death, Decay and Renewal – Volume 3 by Gorilla Perfume

The fragrant themes explored by Gorilla Perfume have never been conventional. Let’s not forget that they are the very same people that bottled the scent of nightclubs filled with ladyboys (see Ladyboy) and mixed two polar opposing perfumes together to create something rather remarkable (see Breath of God). They do all of this with exceptional talent and remarkably good materials, AND at a reasonable price, which is no mean feat in this world of hyper-luxe dreck. It’s witchcraft, I tell you.

With their third volume of fragrances, named ‘Death, Decay and Renewal’, Gorilla perfumers Mark and Simon Constantine have translated complex emotions associate with loss, whether it be the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship, into a fascinating collection of perfumes. The three fragrances (Death and Decay, All Good Things and Kerbside Violet) in Volume 3 are not what one expects. They take the macabre and make it optimistic, and present the challenging as comforting and familiar. As always, Gorilla Perfume push the envelope in the most fascinating of ways.

[Also, make sure to swing by tomorrow for a special Gorilla Perfume giveaway.]

"The Reality of Love" - A Blend of Putain des Palaces and Dangerous Complicity
“The Reality of Love” – A Blend of Putain des Palaces and Dangerous Complicity

Serendipitously following my review of Putain des Palaces today, rebellious perfume punks Etat Libre d’Orange have announced the launch of their latest fragrance entitled, ‘True Lust Rayon Violet de ses Yeux‘. Launching 01 February online at Etat Libre d’Orange, True Lust is a blend of two popular fragrances within the brand’s collection, namely Dangerous Complicity, and the aforementioned Putain des Palaces. Bearing the tagline “the reality of love”, the fragrance is described as a “sweet and shocking folly”.

“When the Putain des Palaces enters into a Dangerous Complicity, a relationship is born. It is a marriage of mystery, an uneasy merger of hearts and minds and flesh. A blend of Putain des Palaces and Dangerous Complicity, a union of temptation and peril.”

– Etat Libre d’Orange

This launch comes hot on the heels of Etat Libre d’Orange’s big shift in direction, which saw them launch their first Cologne (and it really was a cologne) as well as their first flanker (Rien Intense Incense). All of which came after the brand launched a fragrance called La Fin du Monde (The End of the World) and stated that they may start doing things a little bit differently. Who knows what will be next? But for now, further details on True Lust are below the jump.

The Candy Perfume Boy for Perfume Lovers London
The Candy Perfume Boy for Perfume Lovers London

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that the wonderful Lila Das Gupta of the equally awesome Perfume Lovers London, has invited me back for the third time to host an event in October. In a departure from my two previous summer-themed talks, this year I will be taking my Jasmine Award winning Guide to Violet on the road for an interactive look at some of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating violet perfumes.

‘The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Violets’ will be held at the October Gallery in London on 23 October 2014. Tickets are £16.50 and can be found, along with further event details, on the Perfume Lovers London Meet Up page. I do hope that you can join me, as the event promises an entertaining evening of sniffing along with refreshments, and where possible a sample of your choice.

I’ll see you there…

Byredo Black Saffron
Black Saffron by Byredo

Anyone who has been within an inch of this blog or my Twitter feed will know that my latest obsession is Byredo’s 1996. Never before has a perfume so quickly made its merry little way up to the very top of my wish list, leaving me drooling and lusting after it so badly that my long-suffering partner had no choice but to gift me a bottle for Christmas. For his sanity you understand?

So yes, I was very pleased with my bottle of 1996 and even more so when I found a little sample of a Byredo scent I’ve not smelled accompanying it – Black Saffron. Launched in 2012, this supposedly dark take on saffron, where the golden spice is merged with violet and leather to create something entirely unexpected, is a rather interesting scent indeed. Byredo describe the inspirations behind it as follows:

“Saffron is holy to all Hindus, is the colour of Buddhist robes and has become a symbol for India. It has always been a part of Byredo’s founders upbringing in both smell, taste and colour. Black Saffron is a fragrance inspired by this very idea of sublime unity.”

Les Nombres d'Or by Mona di Orio
Les Nombres d’Or by Mona di Orio

Nowadays every perfume release comes with a story, normally one that involves a good degree of creative license courtesy of the brand’s PR department. This is no bad thing really, a good story can add to the experience of a scent, after all no art is quite as transportive as the art of olfaction, but at times it’s best to approach a perfume without any pre-conceived notions and just allow the scent itself to tell the story.

Some stories in particular are important and the tale behind Mona di Orio’s latest release – ‘Violette Fumée‘ – is both worth telling and incredibly touching. Created privately by Mona di Orio before her death for the private use of her business partner and co-founder Jeroen Oude Sogtoen, Violette Fumée captures “the melody of Jeroen’s favourite passions, memories and materials.” It’s a perfume made out of love, admiration and respect.

On an olfactory level, Violette Fumée is described by the brand as an “oriental balsamic floral” and in the same vein as many other perfumes from the house it feels incredibly unusual when compared to its peers. It stands as a true testament to Mona’s talent as a perfumer and is a fitting legacy for someone who brought so much intrigue to the world of fragrance.

The Candy Perfume Boy's Guide to Violet
The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Violet

The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to series is an olfactory exploration of individual notes and ingredients that looks at the essential perfumes one must try as part of their fragrant journey. Each episode focuses on a particular note and lists the reference perfumes (i.e. the ‘must sniffs’) within that particular genre.

So far in the series we’ve explored the worlds of; Tuberose, Lavender, Oud, Orange Blossom and Chocolate. Up until now the ‘Guide to’ series has been relatively sporadic but moving forward, the intention  is to schedule instalments for the beginning of each quarter – therefore suggestions on which note/genre to explore next are most welcome.

This episode takes a look at the humble violet – a genre that doesn’t quite get the exposure that it deserves. It’s a note that is more likely to be associated with the stiff upper lip of Victorian Britain than the contemporary world of modern perfumery but a number of perfume houses are making solid efforts to change this perception and are making pretty fantastic perfumes along the way.

MyQueen by Alexander McQueen
MyQueen by Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen’s perfume line was both infamous and short lived. Perhaps better known for the erotically charged skank-bomb Kingdom than its other offerings, McQueen’s perfumes were nowhere near as successful as they were artistic or ultimately as they deserved to be.

Following in the same vein as his fashion output McQueen’s first perfume Kingdom was a renegade scent created to shock, however the second and final perfume from the brand – MyQueen – was something entirely different, opting to reference the subtle intricacies of the designer’s sculptural tailoring rather than courting the realms of controversy.

Created in 2005 by perfumers Anne Flipo (Ananas Fizz, La Chasse aux Papillons & Donna Karan Woman) and Dominique Ropion (Carnal Flower, Alien & Portrait of a Lady) MyQueen was created to represent the McQueen woman – “a vision of the woman of his (McQueen’s) dreams” – with the kaleidoscopic bottle representing not only the many facets of this woman but also McQueen’s love for antique glass.

Mad Scientist
The Crazy Cartoon World of Smell Bent

Smell Bent is the slightly warped brainchild of LA based perfume-lover (and very handsome perfumer) Brent Leonesio. Offering fragrances that “delight your nose and your funny bone” Smell Bent lets you into a cartoon world of chaos, naughty frolics and damn good smells, all for a more-than-reasonable price. As they put it on the Smell Bent Website:

“We think that perfume should be fun and shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. We know life can be hard, but it shouldn’t have to smell bad.”

Brent Leonesio

I reckon that I have perused the Smell Bent website, chuckling away at the names, cartoons and descriptions of each scent, about a million times, yet it was only recently that I decided to put in a sample order. Perhaps there was a bit too much choice for my little brain to handle and if I’m being honest I think that might be the case, I wanted to order just about everything but I couldn’t (apparently we’re supposed to be buying a house or something, I don’t know, ask Nigel) and that made me sad.

It was actually Freddie of Smellythoughts fame that convinced me to bite the bullet and I’m ever so glad he did because the six Smell Bents I ordered, each of which is like a fun little ditty, have surpassed my expectations considerably. So without further ado I present to you Part 1 of my Smell Bent Speedy Sniffs (with Part 2 to follow next week), I hope that you enjoy reading about these characters as much as I did smelling them. They may be low in price but they certainly aren’t short on quality or fun!