The Spirit of Chanel
The Spirit of Chanel

Never underestimate the power of Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels. Having tried Chanel’ N°22 many times along my perfumista escapades I had never really found the love for it that I, and others thought I would. I mean it is a big aldehydic floral, and I’m sort-of into that kind of thing (OK, I love that kind of thing), but no N°22 never seemed to grab me, that was until an ever-persevering Birgit slipped a sample (and a number of hints, in an entirely non-pushy way I should add*) my way.

Now I will just put it out there that I have learned to love N°22, to me it epitomises the spirit of Chanel. It’s classy and elegant, but just that little bit rebellious. But whilst I enjoy it, I’m just not sure I’ll ever be running out to buy a bottle, my feelings very much lay in the ‘oh wow this is great but I don’t think I need it’ camp. That said, I am still definitely making my mind up about it and if there is one thing I have learned being a fumeophile it is that one should ‘never say never’!

N°22 was originally released in 1922, created by Chanel in-house perfumer Ernest Beaux (he of N°5 fame) it was intended as a lighter version of N°5. Chanel describes N°22 as “a skin scent […] full of grace […] (that) also bears the imprint of their (Chanel & Beaux’s) audacity.” N°22 now sits within the Les Exclusifs de Chanel line and I would probably rate it as my favourite Les Exclusif offering so far.

Springfield Residents
The colourful residents of Springfield

The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing/boyfriends/girlfriends/movies/insert-celebrity-mistake-here let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.

In previous instalments I have successfully scented a wide range of celebrities and characters ranging from the loveable lunatics that are The Muppets to the hip schizo-rapper Nicki Minaj as well as Icelandic Siren Björk and super-glam glam-poppers Scissor Sisters, even The Royal Family haven’t been able to escape my scented clutches.

I have mentioned before that I am a hardcore fan of The Simpsons, I watch it nearly every day (it’s always on when I get home from work) and I confess to having seen every episode, perhaps more than once! The inhabitants of Springfield are a fascinating bunch and over the course of both parts of Spritzing Springfield I hope to select fragrances that befit their eccentricities and play to their incredibly human characteristics.

Last week’s Saturday Poll was a classic flagship-fragrance showdown, in which Guerlain’s Shalimar and Chanel’s N°5 went head-to-head to see who was the supreme holder of perfume glory. Both have their loyal fans but scent-wise they could not be further away from each other if they tried; one is a warm, delicious oriental and the other is an abstract aldehydic floral. Opinion was divided!

The results of the poll, as always, were very interesting. Shalimar stormed ahead receiving a huge 56% of the vote, which blows N°5 out of the water with its mere 21%. What is interesting is that the Shalimar appears to be more accessible than the N°5, which like other Chanel’s appears to leave some feeling cold.

Anyone, on to this week’s poll…

Last week’s Saturday Poll was a battle of two titan designer houses; Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. This was a poll that could go either way, both are beloved brands with many classics and have loyal fans that avidly follow each release, so I pretty much expected an even spread of votes. I was wrong.

What was really surprising about this poll was the fact that the results showed that one house was staggeringly more popular than the other. A whopping 58% said that the House of Dior was their favourite and only 15% opted for Yves Saint Laurent. Why is this? It is hard to say exactly, but Dior have been in the fragrance business longer and have released more perfumes allowing them to gain more of a following.

Anyway, enough of that and on to this week’s poll…

The Poll

This week’s poll is yet another showdown, but rather than pitch two houses against each other I thought it would be interesting to throw two classic, flagship fragrances into the ring to see which would triumph as champion.

So this week the question is simple: which do you prefer, Guerlain’s Shalimar or Chanel’s N°5? Both are veteran fragrances for their respective houses and nobody can deny that they are each classics, but if you had to pick one, which would you choose? I want to know! Register your vote and let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!

Last week’s poll focused on your favourite perfume genres. I wasn’t entirely sure which one would be the winner in such a big poll, but I am not shocked to discover that ‘Oriental’ won out with a total of 27% of the vote. ‘Floral’ (13%) was not far behind but the big surprise for me was that ‘Leather’ was such a popular genre, tying with ‘Floral’ for 13% of the vote.

Orientals were the clear winner from the outset and I imagine that this is because the genre covers a number of different styles of perfume, many of which overlap with the other genres. I did smile when I saw that ‘Oceanic/Ozonic’ received 0% of the vote, it seems that us Perfumistas, regardless of whether we have and enjoy the odd ozonic/oceanic scent, are never going to pick it as our favourite genre.

The Poll

This week’s poll is inspired by a Monday Question hosted by Olfactoria’s Travels last year. It is very much a ‘Clash of the Titans’ situation this Saturday and I want to know which powerful, french perfume house you prefer – Chanel or Guerlain? Oh, and before anyone asks, you must pick one! Register your vote and let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!

An Evening of Leather

I have to admit that I’m not the hugest fan of leather in fragrance, mainly because I really haven’t a great deal of exposure to the note, which is why I was particularly interested in attending last week’s ‘Evening of Leather’ organised by Lila Das Gupta of Perfume Lovers London/Olfactory Events. I wanted to explore leather, deconstruct and understand it, but most of all I wanted to find a leather that I loved.

Perfume Lovers London is a Meetup Group run by Olfactory Events in conjunction with Basenotes. They have so far held two events, with many more exciting meet ups in the pipeline. An Evening of Leather was hosted by Lila Das Gupta who has a penchant for leather fragrances, was the perfect captain for our voyage of discovery of a note that is steeped in history and comes in many guises.

An Evening of Leather promised to “map out the geography of leather fragrances from the meaty to the haughty” and I’m please to say that it was an event that delivered on all counts. I may have walked into the event being clueless about, and not really loving leather but I left with a new found appreciation for the genre and a head full of leather fragrances that demanded to be explored further.

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.

Go Coco Go

Coco Chanel on The Warpath

I love Chanel, I mean how can you not, it’s Chanel! I love so many of their perfumes but so far I have found no love for Les Exclusifs de Chanel. This is partly due to the fact that I haven’t spent much time investigating them, but each time I dive in and test them my general impression is that they’re nice and obviously very high quality but they don’t draw me in, and I’m yet to find the one for me.

The somewhat awkwardly named Jersey was released last year and is the latest addition to the Les Exclusifs line and it takes it’s awkward name from the fabric that Chanel “daringly appropriated from menswear by Coco Chanel for women’s fashions.” [1] That may be so, but I can’t get over just how dreadful the name is, it doesn’t befit the style and class that I expect from Chanel, but then again they did name one of the other Les Exclusifs ‘Beige’, so perhaps they don’t have a 100% brilliant track record when it comes to names.

Chanel describes Jersey as being “As light and liberating as the modern fabric for which it was named…An inspired composition, Jersey is evocative of a meadow lush with lavender – an essence previously worn only by men. A tender trail of Vanilla and Musk brings femininity to the forefront, and a rare, sophisticated new scent is born.” [2] I would describe it as ‘a granny lavender on the warpath’.

Wardrobe

Last weekend, after much nagging from my long-suffering partner, I decided to have a tidy of my perfume collection and samples box. Now, anyone who knows me well will be fully aware that tidying is not really something I do very often, in fact, it is something that I avoid at all costs.

Anyway, during my tidy up, I totalled up the number of perfume bottles in my collection and I was genuinely shocked when I came to the nice round number of 120. “How can I have so much perfume, I never feel like I have enough choice” I thought, “Do I really need so much?” and “Do I feel like I don’t know what to wear because I have too much choice?”

This led me to think in depth about my collection of fragrances, what would I choose if I were to reduce its size considerably?

Marc Jacobs

I don’t know about you, but when I wear fragrance I wear it for myself and myself alone. Sure, I love to share my passion with others, that is a huge part of my hobby, but when I wear perfume, I wear it because I enjoy it.

And I wear what I like!

Ever since I bought my first proper perfume (Kingdom by Alexander McQueen) I have loved ‘feminine’ fragrances. Looking through my collection it’s obvious that the ratio of feminine and masculine is weighted considerably towards the feminine. To this day I find myself drawn to the feminine releases much more than masculines. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy wearing masculine fragrances but they just don’t wow me the way a lot of the feminines do.

I guess that I’m the King/Queen of fragrant gender bending.