Sun Through the Trees

Oud is a note that seems to have had a great deal of popularity over the last few years. Most perfume houses have an ‘oud’ in their line-up, in fact many have several – anybody who’s anyone has got one. Despite it’s prolific presence in today’s perfume landscape, it cannot be denied that oud is a wonderfully powerful material, that when used properly can be one of the most beautiful smells known to man.

Oud is the jigsaw piece that helps fuse European and Eastern styles of perfumery together, and whilst the oud that is used in western perfumery is much cleaner (and largely synthetic) than that used in the east, it has coloured the face of perfumery in bright arabian hues and taken us on exotic voyages to faraway lands.

Oud

Oud/Oudh/Aoud/Agarwood is a “dark, resinous heartwood” [1] that forms in infected Aquilaria trees. The infection is due to a specific type of mould, that changes the colour and density of the wood, leaving a strong, dark resin (the oud) in the core.

Due to its rarity and variation in quality and scent profile, oud is a very difficult and expensive ingredient to work with, hence why the majority of oud fragrances use a synthetic substitute.

Bad Smell

“Exactly HOW MANY sprays of Poison are you wearing?!”

The European attitude to perfume is very different to that of our American counterparts. Some parts of Europe in particular have a, let me be diplomatic here, shall we say ‘relaxed’ attitude to bathing and perfume can be used to cover up the husky odours of the body that might be missed during said relaxed bathing rituals – think ‘Italian shower’ and you’re on the right track.

Whilst this may be a little of an over exaggeration, because in these modern times generally everybody bathes quite regularly, including myself I hasten to add. Where we definitely are relaxed is in the perfume department. We don’t mind what perfume you wear, when or where you wear it. We also tend to favour the larger, richer perfumes to the fresh, clean one and as long as you’re not deliberately trying to send someone into an Angel-induced coma then you’re fine. Across the pond things seem to be quite different.

This week I was reading an article, about the banning of perfume in the workplace, something that seems to be happening more and more in the US. Now this interested me for two reasons; firstly because I am a perfume-nut and I love my big perfumes, and secondly because I am a Human Resources professional by trade and this sort of thing is a big conundrum and an absolute minefield for us HR people.

So it got me to thinking – should perfume be banned in the workplace? Or is this a case of the PC Police taking things one step too far? Can I see my workplace implementing a ‘No-perfume policy’ or designating itself a ‘Perfume Free Zone’ anytime in the near future? The more I started to think, the more I realised that it is in fact, quite a complex issue.

Scented Lives

Scented lives is a series of perfume profiles that explores the perfumes and scents that have been a part of people’s lives. I believe that the perfumes we wear are the individual threads that help build the tapestry of our lives. They speak huge volumes about our character and help us form memories of times, people and places.

The series starts with the profiles of my family, friends and those that are special to me. Ir will then branch out to others with interesting scented lives. As I said in the last profile, if you are interested in taking part in the series, you can get in touch via the Contact Form or you can send me an e-mail on thecandyperfumeboy@gmail.com.

How it Works

Each subject is asked to pick five perfumes (ones that they have worn) that have played a significant part in their lives. They will then be asked to give reasons their choices and explain what their associations with those scents may be. The series aims to use perfume as markers for significant points in the subject’s life, whether happy or sad, and to help them unleash their olfactory memories.

Previous Scented Lives

Part 1: Jane Bryant (My Mother)

Nigel in the Snow

Nigel expertly posing in yesterday’s falling snow.

The snow has come to Britain, and in true British style everybody has lost their shiz. Seriously, we knew the snow would be coming this weekend on Thursday and ever since the supermarkets have been packed and the shelves have been emptied. Petrol pumps have been drained and the grit has been stock-piled.

I don’t what it is about us Brits that makes us so panicky when it comes to snow, it’s never really that bad, yet the whole country seems to come to a standstill with the slightest flake of the white stuff. Seriously guys, relax, snow is awesome, yeah it’s cold and it totally SUCKS to drive in, especially if your car is a Matchbox Toy like mine (i.e. a Fiat 500), but there is nothing more fun than taking walks in the snow, making Snow Angels and throwing snowballs at your weedy boyfriend!

In order to make the most out of the snow (which has already started to thaw), I thought I’d compile a list of five scents that are best suited to wearing in the snow. Us Fumeheads do like to match our scents to the occasion, and snow is no exception. The scents that I have picked all have a snowy aura, but they also bring warmth and comfort in a time when those qualities are needed in abundance.

Francis Kurkdijan

Francis Kurkdjian with his travelling box of tricks

The upcoming release of Denyse Beaulieu’s book ‘The Perfume Lover’, in which she documents the complete creation of her very own bespoke perfume, created by the super-talented Bertrand Duchaufour no less, got me thinking about the whole idea of bespoke perfumes.

A bespoke perfume is the holy grail for most perfumistas, it is the haute couture of perfumery. To have a perfume designed exclusively for you, with your tastes and scent preferences in mind, must be one of the greatest perfume experiences on this green Earth. I’ve often wondered what my bespoke perfume would be like, what it would be called, and most importantly would I be faithful to it?

The obvious downside of a bespoke perfume is the price, Roja Dove’s bespoke service costs a minimum of £20,000 [1], Floris offers the service for £2,750 [2] and other houses, such as Miller Harris, offer the service but don’t list a price, and we all know what that means. I’d hate to think how much a bespoke Guerlain costs! For most, the bespoke perfume is an unobtainable dream.

Mad Scientist

The Mad Perfume Scientist

‘Layering’ – the practice of layering two fragrance compositions to create weird and wonderful combinations, has always seemed completely alien to me. I have always enjoyed the fragrances in my collection exactly the way they were created (I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise) and have never felt the need to try and improve or change them by adding something new.

Despite my skepticism, layering seems to be something that a lot of perfume-lovers do and enjoy. Some brands, such as Jo Malone, even actively encourage the practice of layering with their fragrances. These ‘layering’ combinations are designed to enhance the perfume experience, but I can’t help but feel that they are just a cheap ploy with the sole intent of convincing consumers to buy extra bottles.

Despite my skepticism, this layering malarky got me thinking (a dangerous habit, I know); is there any real merit to mixing perfumes? and; Can you actually enhance a perfume by layering it with another? So, in the interest of science I thought that I would conduct a few layering experiments to see whether there is any merit to it, or whether it’s just a bunch of phooey.

Perfume Genius - Learning

10 Things I have Learned on my Journey to Becoming a ‘Perfume Genius’*

‘Learning’ is a phrase that I never seem to be too far away from. I work in Human Resources but I have a lot of input, experience and training in ‘Learning and Development’. As part of my studies I am required to record my development within a ‘Learning Log’ and I do very much believe in the old idiom ‘you learn something new every day. So yes, it seems that I cannot escape the word learning, but I’m not complaining, I love to learn.

Obviously my favourite thing to learn about is perfume. and my scented journey through the world of perfume has so far been an excellent experience. I have learned so much about scent, but still feel that I’ve barely touched the surface, there really is so much to learn after all.

Scented LivesScented Lives is a new series of perfume profiles that explores the perfumes and scents that have been a part of people’s lives. I believe that the perfumes we wear are individual threads that help form the tapestry of our lives, they speak huge volumes about our character and help us form memories of times, people and places.

The series will start with the profiles of my family, friends and those that are special to me and will then branch out to others with interesting scented lives. If you are interested in taking part in the series please contact me on thecandyperfumeboy@gmail.com.

How It Works

Each subject is asked to pick five perfumes (ones that they have worn) that have played a significant part in their lives. They will then be asked to give reasons for their choices and explain what their associations with those scents may be. The series aims to use perfume as markers for significant points of the subject’s life, whether happy or sad, and to help them unleash their olfactory memories.

Rupert & Paddington

My Boys – Rupert and Paddington.

Smell is the least understood of the five senses, but it is probably one of the most important. We respond to smell not only a physical level but also on an emotional one. It is an integral part of our beings and whilst it may not be as immediately vital as our sight or our hearing, it has a huge affect on how we view the world.

I believe that throughout our lives we become attached to certain smells, perhaps because they are familiar to us or because we have a strong and positive emotional reaction to them. Our brains keep these smells and their corresponding in a hidden part of our brain to only be released when we come across them in the real world. This bank of scented memories forms a massive part of who we are.

Have you ever come across a smell and been instantly taken back to a specific time, person or place? 

It always surprises me just how vivid smells are in our memory, sometimes I struggle to remember the exact details of a particular time, I can’t remember the entirety of events or the small details but I can always remember the smells. In this post I would like to share those smells that have a particular resonance with me and hold a particular sentiment within my heart.

Bling Bling Baby

Death by bling! ARGH.

I like to think that The Candy Perfume Boy is a blog that celebrates the more positive side of perfume and I also like to think that I’m quite a happy-go-lucky guy by nature. But I would be lying if I said that there weren’t aspects of perfume and the perfume industry that I find irksome. In fact there are quite a few things that seem to irk this usually sweet perfume boy.

Maybe I’m not the only one too, maybe there are things that get on your nerves that you would like to share. I firmly believe that it’s good to share and perhaps the ensuing discussion may act as some form of ‘group therapy’ that would be mutually beneficial for all.

The following 5 bug bears/pet hates/irksome details/nark inducers are of course not intended as a major criticism of the perfume industry, they are instead a light hearted attempt at poking fun at a few annoying little habits.