Mon Exclusif - Your Perfume to Name
Mon Exclusif – Your Perfume to Name

There is an ever-growing trend within perfumery for intense sweetness. I’m not talking about your everyday gourmands, because those have been around forever, I’m referring to scents that offer up pure, unrefined sugar by the ton, not say, the likes of MUGLER’s Angel which inspired the gourmand trend, but ultimately was an essay in tension between sugar and patchouli. In the mainstream, it all started in 2004 with Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb, a nuclear candy floss scent that contains as much ethyl maltol as is possible to shoehorn into a bottle, presenting sugar toasted at the edges without any dark contrasts to temper it. Ever since, fragrance houses have been stumbling over themselves to see who can make the sweetest, most obnoxious fragrance, well that was until Lancôme came along with La Vie est Belle – officially the world’s most tooth-achingly sweet, toasted candy floss scent. It’s also an international best seller – go figure.

Now, I mention all of this not to moan, but instead to say that despite this ever popular trend, a house is yet to make a deliciously sweet overdose of a scent that doesn’t cause olfactory diabetes with one sniff. Well, that is until GUERLAIN threw their hat into the ring with Mon Exclusif, which turns out to be a decadent little treat that knows exactly when to say ‘no more for me, thank you’. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that GUERLAIN have been the brand to hit the nail on the head here, they are, after all half-perfumer and half-perume-patissiere, churning out some of the world’s most delicious morsels in fragrant form. So it’s no surprise then, that Mon Exclusif is a delightful bon bon that has depth and contrast to its sugar overload.

GUERLAIN launched Mon Exclusif in 2015. Created by Thierry Wasser, GUERLAIN’s in-house perfumer, the novel aspect of the fragrance is that it technically comes with no name, allowing the wearer to select their own title by placing the sticky silver letters on the bottle, which itself is a reinterpretation of the house’s famous Coque d’Or bow flacon. “Because your relationship with your fragrance is very intimate” GUERLAIN says, “it’s up to you to name this partner by your side”. So Mon Exclusif can be whatever one wants it to be: Jack, Tyler or Pierre. The choices are infinite and for many reasons, which I’m sure you’ll be able to guess, I decided to call mine ‘CANDY’.

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NARCISO Eau de Parfum Poudrée

I was a massive, MASSIVE fan of Narciso Rodriguez’s NARCISO, which launched way back in 2014. NARCISO was an expansive and abstract gardenia carried on a hurricane of musk, and it was beautiful, speaking in flesh tones of white, pink and grey. For 2016, NARCISO has been reimagined with a very on-trend injection of powder, mixing things up completely to create NARCISO Eau de Parfum Poudrée. What do I think of this new powdery wonder? Well, click here to head on over to Escentual to find out!

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Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita

It’s spring, which means that it’s Aqua Allegoria season! I always enjoy Guerlain’s mini-line of simplistic, nature inspired fragrant ditties because they are easy breezy wears that are such fun in the summer. They showcase fruits and flowers in an intelligent and high quality manner but with a sense of style and fun. This year, the mainstream AA is Pera Granita – a sweet little daydream that feels more like a scoop of ice cold pear sorbet than it does a fragrance. Click here to head on over to Escentual to read my review in full.

Poison Girl
Poison Girl

It can’t be easy being a Poison flanker in 2016, I mean, talk about some heavy shoes to fill. We all know that Poison (Edouard Flechier; 1985) and even Hypnotic Poison (Annick Menardo; 1998) are two of mainstream perfumery’s greatest feminine fragrances, so to bear the Poison name comes with a certain amount of expectation and baggage. Poison Girl, the latest in the series, makes a very sensible choice and opts to be completely on trend following the La Petite Robe Noire school of fruity gourmand thinking. It is essentially a Poison for 2016 and I’m sure that, if the original were made today, it would smell something like this. Click here to check out my full review over at Escentual.com.

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Innocent

The legendary house of Mugler does not create fragrances, they birth legends and raise celestial beings. As a couturier, Thierry Mugler crafted clothing that released the inner goddess or demon of the Mugler woman, turning them into vast Glamazons and Dominatrixes. His fragrances are no different: they are the strength, the passion, the beauty and the force of women, with each one, Angel, Alien and Womanity, possessing a bold character that celebrates the unending beauty of fascinating and strong women.

These three idiosyncratic icons, Angel, Alien and Womanity, cast large, Amazonian shadows that dim the lights of most things around them, so I’d like to shed a little light on a Mugler that doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves. I’m referring to Innocent, which is currently exclusive to Mugler online and some travel retail locations (let’s say thanks to the brand for still making it rather than discontinuing it, as many would). Innocent shines brightly in its own way and it deserves a little attention every now and then because it celebrates all that is Mugler but approaches this spirit from an entirely more dressed down place.

Innocent was launched in 1998 as ‘Angel Innocent‘ and was created by perfumers Laurent Bruyère and Dominique Ropion. As Luca Turin says in Perfumes : The A-Z Guide, it was the first “authorised clone” of Angel, working as a less confrontational and challenging version of Mugler’s flagship fragrance for those people that couldn’t quite handle all of Angel’s angular volumes. Essentially, the fragrance takes the DNA of Angel, retaining its fruity and gourmand facets in a lighter way, but dialling right down on the butch patchouli that makes Angel so, well, Angel! The result is a delightfully bright and cheerful version of Angel that definitely feels like her spawn, but is different enough to craft its own niche. Just as Mugler describes, Innocent is a mischievous and flirtatious take on a legend.

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White Spirit

Addiction. That’s the inspiration between Juliette Has a Gun’s latest fragrance ‘White Spirit‘. The fragrance is dangerous, Romano Ricci (the man behind Juliette) says, further stating that a failure to respect the prescribed dosage may lead to the wearer never being able to do without it. That dose, by the way is “one or two drops delicately placed in the hollow of your neck”. Well, I threw caution to the wind and took five sprays to the chest on my first wearing, and I have survived to tell the tale. Although, that said, I have worn it a number of times since, so maybe I haven’t quite escaped the White Spirit’s dark passenger entirely.

What about the scent though? What’s it all about? Well,  White Spirit is a melange of flowers and in true Juliette Has a Gun style, an array of aroma chemicals. Romano Ricci describes it as “a contrast between minimalism and poison […] the virginal white flower versus the explosive woody dry accord” defining it as “an unlikely cocktail, yet resolutely addictive”. The presentation is one of the brand’s finest examples, showcasing a white capped bottle filled with a milky juice that appears as a substance to be applied with caution. As always, it’s all served with a sense of irony and tongue pressed firmly in cheek, after all, that’s the ‘Juliette’ way.

Diorissimo: A Flower Encased in Steel
Diorissimo: A Flower Encased in Steel

Do you ever have those fragrances that you want to love, but just don’t? They often appear entirely suited to your desires and tastes, and often come lauded with high praise, but for some reason they just don’t click with you. For me, Dior’s Diorissimo was one such scent. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve picked up a tester, spritzed some on and waited for sparks to fly. They never did and I couldn’t understand it. I love white florals.  I love Dior. Why didn’t Diorissimo and I run off into the sunset together to a symphonic burst of Hollywood music? Sigh.

Don’t lose hope, Dear Reader because, as with all true love stories in movies, the boy gets the girl, or alternatively the boy gets the boy (and the girl gets the girl), OR in my case, the boy (of the Candy Perfume variety) ‘gets’ the perfume. So what finally ignited the spark between that elusive Diorissimo and me? I have one word for you: vintage. It is widely known that the current version of Diorissimo is a pale interpretation of its former self, due mainly to restrictions of key ingredients used to create that unmistakeable lily of the valley effect. With this in mind I headed straight to eBay to seek out some vintage Dior to see what all of the fuss is about.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw it: 50ml of 1980’s Diorissimo Eau de Toilette, almost full for £25 with no bids. I didn’t bid on it at first, thinking that it would go and I stupidly allowed this gem to go unsold. Never mind, fate was on my side and I managed to win the bottle on its second listing. I honestly have never been so excited to receive a perfume package in my life. Could this vintage be the Diorissimo for me? Would it finally click into place, and would Diorissimo and I have that Hollywood ending I was looking for? Seeing as we’re talking in movie analogies, let me drop a spoiler: the boy gets the perfume.