From Latin America to China via Russia and India and the Gulf
From Latin America to China via Russia and India and the Gulf

If I could change one thing about my life it would be to ensure that I was better travelled than I am. In my head I long to be a great explorer scouring every corner of the earth. I want to walk the Great Wall of China, taste the street food in Mexico, eat lobsters in Maine (it all comes back to food with me), play with the cats at the cat cafe in Tokyo and float around the streets of Florence , but the problem is, I’m a bit of a wimp.

So, as much as I wish I’d visited all of these places, and I do truly hope to one day, I haven’t, in fact up until a few years ago I hadn’t made it further than France. It’s appalling, I know. Luckily for us armchair explorers, with Ormonde Jayne’s latest collection ‘The Four Corners of the Earth’ one can visit the most exotic destinations without even removing one’s pyjamas. So over the last couple of weeks I’ve been to the Gulf, Russia, Latin America and China…

For the Four Corners of the Earth collection Linda Pilkington and perfumer Geza Schoen have taken Ormonde Jayne on a trip round the globe, soaking up the sights, smells and colours of four distinct cultures without diluting the brand one bit, and this is what makes the collection so excellent; the fact that despite the strong influences of their respective homelands, each fragrance still very much follows the Ormonde Jayne signature of refined, elegant fragrances. After all, it’s not just where we go that shapes who we are, it’s where we come from too.

Mr. Butterworth & Mr. Ford
Two Handsome Men

Mr. Butterworth, my rather lovely partner-in-crime and Mr. Ford, the dashing designer behind Tom Ford go hand-in-hand. Well, not literally of course. I know that you know that I’d never allow that kind of shenanigans! What I mean is that, whilst not being a fumenerd like you are I, Mr. Butterworth does have a certain penchant for fragrances bearing Mr. Ford’s name.

If you were to take a peek into mine and Mr. Butterworth’s bathroom you would find a big collection of perfumes and although we share a lot of scents there is most definitely a ‘his ‘n’ hers’ thing going on. So if you look hard enough you will see a small contingent of masculine fragrances that belong solely to the Butterworth (although I do occasionally raid his stash), and three of his favourites are by Tom Ford.

Tom Ford currently has four masculine fragrances and about a million unisex private blends to choose from. Mr. Butterworth, with his ever-discerning taste, has found love for Tom Ford for Men, Oud Wood and Grey Vetiver, you could say that he’s a little bit obsessed. Should I be worried? Let’s just say that I will be keeping a close eye on him next time we’re near the Tom Ford counter

Aqua Universalis
Universal Water

Last week, after six weeks of painful but also enjoyable unemployment, I started a brand new, and very exciting job (hence the lack of posts). Now like any sane fume-nerd my initial though on gaining new employment was “what perfume am I going to wear on my first day?!” That’s right, not “will I like the job?” or even “what shall I wear”, it was, as it always is, all about the perfume.

So why not just where whatever I fancy on day one? Well the thing is, when entering a new environment it is important for one to ease people in gently, it does not pay to projectile vomit ones personality in people’s general direction. I have found that it’s always best to go for something relatively low key that is still perfume-y enough to let people know that you mean business, and what do you know a few days before my first day just the thing landed on my doorstep – Aqua Universalis by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.

If you’re not familiar with the idea behind über talented perfumer Francis Kurkdjian’s solo project then you should get to familiarising yourself pretty quick because you’re missing out. The house provides an ‘all for one’ fragrant shopping experience with fragrances for the morning and evening, and wonderful scented things for the body (leather bracelets et al) and the home (candles, incense papers, laundry detergents and scented bubbles). With his ‘Maison’ Kurkdjian is selling a completely scented lifestyle like no other.

Aqua Universalis is Kurkdjian’s take on the much maligned genre of laundry clean fragrances. Made to fulfil the average consumer’s desire to feel clean and shower fresh, a style of fragrance that very often ends up producing cocktails of vile, strong musks and calone that sends fumenerds heading for the hills. Aqua Universalis is not one of these fragrances, it is an intelligent and natural take on ‘clean’ that most importantly still smells like a perfume.

Haute Perfumery
Haute Perfumery

To celebrate 20 years of haute perfumery, Thierry Mugler parfums is launching a collection of limited edition fragrances with a leather twist in October. Harking back to the origins of traditional perfumery and the link between perfumers and glove makers, Mugler sets to unleash four luxurious limited editions of its four famous fragrances.

Angel, A*Men, Alien and Womanity have all been given the leather treatment, having been infused with tailor made leather pieces in metal caskets for a period of four weeks. These brand new leather interpretations aim to enhance the original compositions with “intense, innovative carnal notes” and showcase Mugler’s four iconic fragrances through “the prisms of leather.”

“(Les Parfums de Cuir) The Fragrances of Leather is a journey to the heart of Mugler fragrances, with a noble material, for a collection of 4 exceptional creations”

As with all things Mugler, Les Parfums de Cuir promises to be an innovative collection of olfactory twists on four fragrances that have each created the mould for their respective genres. So throw on your leather corsets, suits and boots we’re off on a tour of Planet Mugler, and this time we’re doing it in style.

Steel and Black
Steel and Black – The first two premium fragrances from “British hero brand” Superdry

First things first, massive apologies for the lack of posts over the last week or so. Things have been busy in both good ways (my Perfume Lovers London talk etc) and bad ways (job hunting) and the blog has had to take a little bit of a back seat. Thank you for bearing with me and things should now run on their usual schedule!

I’m quite partial to the odd piece of clothing or accessory from British clothing brand Superdry. I currently rock a coat, couple of shirts and a rather snazzy pair of specs from their collection and I’m attracted to the brand’s laid back style which seems to be a mish-mash of Japanese graphics and vintage Americana.

As for Superdry fragrances, well up until very recently my exposure was minimal. I haven’t spent too much time with the brand’s first three scents (Dry, Double Dry and Dry Oil) but I remember them being relatively well done (one in particular was a nice take on Dior Homme) so it was with great interest that I accepted an offer to try the fragrances in Superdry’s Cologne collection.

The first two in the collection that I will be reviewing are Steel and Black. Both fragrances were released in 2011 and are designed to have “day-to-night appeal” and whilst they may not be masterpieces of modern perfumery, they easily fit the laid back, modern-with-a-retro-touch styling of the Superdry brand. Oh and they come in really cool Zippo lighter-style bottles too…

Eau Dynamisante
Clarins’ classic citrus chypre is 25 this year

What do The Candy Perfume Boy and Clarins’ Eau Dynamisante have in common? They were both born in 1987 and turned 25 this year, that’s what! Such longevity in the perfume industry sure is something to celebrate and Clarins are doing so by releasing a limited edition bottle which sees Eau Dynamisante encased in a veil of red glitter.

Eau Dynamisante was first released by Clarins in 1987 and is innovative because it is not just a fragrance, it’s a skin treatment too. Clarins describe Eau Dynamisante as “an innovative feel-good fragrance created from an inspired blend of 14 aromatic essential oils and therapeutic plant extracts with the power to scent skin, invigorate the sense and moisturise and soften from top-to-toe.” It’s not just innovative though, it’s also very popular and every three minutes a bottle is purchased in the UK. Now that’s impressive!

Before spritzing on some Eau Dynamisante in preparation for this review I was absolutely sure that it would not be ‘my thing’. This pre conceived notion was based on the fact that citrus fragrances don’t really move me and I was convinced that I had tried it before and wasn’t wowed. I am actually quite surprised to say that I really like it and I think it is the perfect scent to combat the muggy, sweaty days of summer.

Pamplelune
Pamplelune – Guerlain’s ode to grapefruit

Have you ever discovered a perfume that you’ve known about for years but never tried? I have. I cannot tell you how many times I have perused the offerings of many a Guerlain counter, spritzing on and sampling almost everything they have to scent me with, but I always seemed to overlook, nay ignore the Aqua Allegoria line, meaning that up until very recently I had never tried Pamplelune. Now I can’t help but think; “what took you so long Thomas?!”

It was Persolaise’s review of the latest Aqua Allegoria; Lys Soleia, that led me to seeking out the Aqua Allegoria line, and I’m very glad that I did. My interest in the line, and Pamplelune specifically, was further piqued by Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels who had written that she was a big fan of Pamplelune but other people’s reactions prevented her from wearing it. Well after that I simply had to try it, and try it I did.

Pamplelune was part of the original crop of Aqua Allegoria’s released in 1999, a collection inspired by nature and intended to be more accessible to the younger Guerlain consumer. Available in a lighter concentration (EDT) and at a lower price point than the regular Guerlains, the Aqua Allegoria’s still manage to showcase fantastic ingredients, both natural and synthetic, to create perfumes that feel like non-ephemeral interpretations of nature for the skin.

Having stood the test of time, where other Aqua Allegoria’s have come and gone, Pamplelune was created to capture “the spirit of grapefruit” and that’s what it does. Now I should probably say that my opinion of grapefruit as a fruit is the same as my opinion of watermelon (see my review of Ruth Mastenbroek’s Amorosa), that is that I think It’s naff. It tastes so awful I don’t know why anyone would eat it, other than as a form of self-torture and on top of that grapefruit notes in modern perfumes are usually dire. Oh wait, now I know why it took me so long to try Pamplelune…

Roger & Gallet L'Homme & L'Homme Sport - "Intense Freshness"
Roger & Gallet L’Homme & L’Homme Sport – “Intense Freshness”

Sampling masculine fragrances can be a royal pain in the bum because for the most part they are dreadful calone-fuelled citrus things that feel thin, bland and made for the lowest common denominator. Of course that’s not to say they are all bad, far from it, there is a whole heap of good masculine scents on the market, it just seems that in terms of new launches, the good ones are becoming harder to find.

Luckily for us boys there are some good, not mind-blowing, but good masculine fragrances on the market that don’t break the bank. Two such fragrances are Roger & Gallet’s duo of masculines ‘L’Homme’ and ‘L’Homme Sport’. Between these two masculines Roger & Gallet have catered for both the stylish older man (L’Homme) and the easygoing younger man (L’Homme Sport) at an affordable price.

L’Homme was introduced in 1979 and is described by Roger & Gallet as “an Eau de Toilette…with an authentic, distinctive chypre character” whilst its 2009 counterpart “plays a second oflactive score and reveals another contemporary facet”. Two fragrances, worlds apart, and both representing the duality of the modern man.

Sunshine

“It is in the summer when I truly feel happy and at peace.”

The weather has been more than a bit funny during the last couple of weeks. Firstly it was unseasonably warm for a couple of days, and over here the first hint of sun and warmth sends us Brits into a shorts, t-shirt and flip-flop wearing frenzy even though it still it isn’t quite warm enough for all of that malarky, and then as if it couldn’t quite make up its mind the weather changed quite considerably.

Following the unexpected warmth there has been a just-as-unusual-for-this-time-of-year spell of cold weather, with heavy snow in some parts of the north. This tease of summer which was quickly clawed back by the cruelness of winter has left me craving the sun, I am a June baby after all and it is in the summer when I truly feel happy and at peace. Another reason I love summer is that it’s the perfect time to rock my favourite florals, but that’s beside the point, the main reason that summer is so good is because its the time where we really get to enjoy the outdoors.

To celebrate the summer season, each year Paul Smith launches a duo (one masculine and one feminine) of summer fragrances called the Paul Smith Sunshine Editions, the scents remain the same every year however the bottles change. Both fragrances “express the end of a sunny summers day” and the masculine edition that I shall be reviewing today certainly leads me to think of warm, sunny days where the soul feels energised and care-free.

Let it Rock

“Let it Rock!”

Throughout the majority of my perfume journey I have been under the impression that it’s all about the juice with my mantra very much being; ‘nothing else matters except the smell’. But I’m no longer sure that this is entirely true, after all a perfume is a concept, and the best perfumes are the ones where the smell, bottle, name and concept are harmonious with each other. One thing that I have recently discovered is that a bad name can really take away from my overall enjoyment of a perfume. I can hide a crap bottle and I don’t necessarily have to tell people the inspiration behind the perfume I’m wearing, but if the name is bad then things can go sour rapidly.

Take Shalimar for example, could Guerlain have picked a more beautiful and fitting name? Or what about Gorilla Perfume’s ‘Breath of God’? Or on the flip-side, think of Thierry Mugler’s Womanity, the hideous name (sorry Thierry) honestly does make me hesitate from picking up my bottle at times. A bad name can ruin things, just as a good name can be the cherry on top that makes for perfection.

One brand who can always be counted on for an interesting name is Etat Libre d’Orange – they’ve got it all, from Fat Electricians to Magnificent Secretions and Hotel Whores. I think these names are fabulous but I can understand why they might rub some people up the wrong way, they are after all quite risqué. But name-wise Etat Libre d’Orange are at their best when they aren’t trying to be controversial (‘Jasmin et Cigarette’ anyone?) and none have been bestowed with a more perfect name than their latest release – ‘Malaise of the 1970s’.

Malaise of the 1970s may be the latest perfume from the Orange Free State but it is in fact a repackaged version of 2010’s Sex Pistols fragrance created in collaboration with Sephora. Etat Libre d’Orange describe Malaise of the 1970s as being “Inspired by a wealth of seventies pop culture references, from Star Wars to The Stranglers, Malaise of the 1970s captures the resistant and tumultuous spirit of the times. A metallic juice that resonates like the twang of a guitar string, its sharpness reminiscent of safety pins fastened to tartan. A distillation of rebellion, music and raw emotion.” [1]