The Black Soul of Celebrity Fragrances
The Black Soul of Celebrity Fragrances

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or Lady Gaga as she is more commonly known, is undeniably one of the more interesting pop stars around today. Forget Britney, Christina, Miley and all those other pretenders, Gaga is a true visionary and a real star. Oozing with talent and more than her fair share of batshit-craziness, Gaga is like the rebellious love child spawned from the spliced DNA of David Bowie and Madonna.

OK you get it, I’m a fan and whilst I refuse to class myself as a ‘little monster’ I must admit that I was genuinely excited about Fame, I mean if anyone was going to do an interesting fragrance then it would be Gaga.

Apparently cooked up in a laboratory deep within the bowels of the Haus of Gaga (Lady Gaga’s fashion collective) Fame is described as an “opulent, crushed floral” [1] that, with it’s black coloured juice that is invisible once air born, represents the black soul of fame. Crazy huh? – Not really because Fame is all style and no substance…

Fame had the makings of a truly great celebrity fragrance; great bottle? Yep! massive gimick (the black liquid)? Yep again! and amazing ad campaign? Hell to the yep! But the one area that Fame disappoints is most definitely the most crucial, that’s right folks I’m talking about the smell and as much as it pains me to say it one cannot hide the fact that in terms of scent, Fame is a complete dud.

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.

Union Fragrance Collection presents the best of British
The Union Fragrance Collection presents the best of British ingredients

I have never felt more proud to be British in my life than I have over the last two weeks. Team GB and everything Olympics related (did you see the opening ceremony? Wasn’t it fabulous?) have gone a long way into strengthening the nation’s sense of pride, making everyone realise that for a small little island we aren’t half bad at all!

Along with the explosion of national pride this year, due mainly to the Olympics and the Queen’s diamond jubilee, is the overwhelming number of British-themed product releases. Of course the world of perfume is no exception and there is a new fragrance brand on the block celebrating the very best of what Britain has to offer in terms of perfume ingredients.

“From the moorlands of Yorkshire to the mountains of Snowdonia, the windswept fens of County Derry and craggy Highland heaths, Union’s creative perfumer, Anastasia Brozler, has scoured the countryside for the most beautiful ingredients, gaining access to some of the country’s oldest private estates in her relentless search for the finest single notes that Britain has to offer”

The name of the brand is Union and rather than just cashing-in on the current high in national spirit they have spent a significant amount of time sourcing ingredients from the four corners of the British Isles to successfully showcase the flora and fauna that makes the country so beautiful (not that I’m biased or anything). The result is four unique compositions that feature such incredibly British ingredients as thistle, quince bluebell and Marmite…

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…

Insolence

“This extreme freedom, indifference to commentary, spontaneity and even her excesses make her magnificent. She is who she is; she is irresistibly set against prejudice and convention and is unafraid to be unreasonable. Her motto: whoever loves me will follow!”  [1]

One thing that I absolutely pride myself upon is that when it comes to perfume the subject of gender means absolutely nothing to me. I’m as happy rocking YSL’s ‘so masculine it’ll put hairs on your chest’ M7 as I am splashing on Robert Piguet’s oestrogen-fuelled Fracas. But there is one perfume so feminine that even I, yes I with the pink stripy blog think twice about before spraying on. That perfume is Guerlain’s Insolence.

I’m not saying that I don’t wear it, that would be silly and against everything I have ever said about perfume and gender, but I do really have to be in the mood for it and there have been times when I’ve felt just a little self-conscious/Candy Perfume Girl-ish whilst wearing it. Insolence is unapologetic in its femininity, and why should it apologise? Insolence is a girl that knows what she wants and most importantly she knows how to have a good time.

Insolence, which was created by the great Maurice Roucel no less, was released in 2006 and is a fruity floral with a difference – it actually smells good. Roucel presented Insolence as an essay on Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, taking the classic anisic gourmand iris and giving it a modern twist. The result is an intelligent, yet ridiculously ditzy (how’s that for an oxymoron?) perfume that smells current whilst giving a firm nod to Guerlain’s esteemed heritage.

Bubble Gum

Bubblegum Chic

Tuberose, tuberose, tuberose, the narcotic Queen of the Night. The erotic, sensationalist flower with a reputation for stealing many a heart and corrupting many a virgin. My love of tuberose is pretty well documented (please see The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose) and I’m pretty much happy to try any fragrance that lists it as a note. I was however, slightly sceptical of Vamp À N.Y., but lots of positive reviews and a sample that was very kindly donated by Ines of All I Am – A Redhead led me to try it.

“This is extreme, never lived before, French couture… addictive, sophisticated and futuristic” [2]

Vamp À N.Y. is part of Honoré des Prés’ ‘We love NY’ collection created by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. The Honoré des Prés line prides itself on having perfumes that are “100% natural origin – 100% botanical ingredients – 100% engaged.”[1] I don’t know about you but I’m not entirely fussed about whether a perfume is all natural or not, the art of perfumery, in my eyes, requires a large palette of natural and ‘synthetic’ ingredients. But that’s beside the point, Vamp À N.Y., whether it is natural, synthetic or otherwise, is a very interesting take on my favourite flower.

Orange Stars

Andy Tauer, the self-taught independent perfumer from Switzerland, offers a line of unique perfumes that vary in their unique identity, yet they all seem to share an inherent ‘Tauerness’ that runs as a coherent theme linking each scent to each other. Others have coined this link ‘The Tauerade’ (in the same way the Guerlain base is known as the ‘Guerlainade’) and my favourite example of the Tauer accord is in Orange Star.

Orange Star was released in 2010 and is one of the latest additions to Andy Tauer’s ‘Classics’ line, which includes such highly regarded scents as; L’Air du Désert Marocain, Lonestar Memories, Incense Extrême and Incense Rose. Andy Tauer describes Orange Star as “a rich citrus fragrance with a clean orange flower in its heart, and a soft elegant base that seems to last forever”. [1]

If I had to pick a favourite Tauer fragrance (it’s a hard task to pick just one) Orange Star would probably be it, it’s just so unique and not in an unwearable way (see Sécrétions Magnifiques), it is absolutely beautiful and wearing it is akin to receiving a big orange scented hug.

O Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum! is a joint blogging event where the finest of perfume bloggers have got together to each post a trio of reviews focusing on woody fragrances. Taking part in the project are;

All I Am – A Redhead: Part 1 & Part 2, Another Perfume Blog, Beauty, Bacon, Bunnies, Beauty on the Outside, EauMG, Eyeliner on a Cat, Fragrant Reviews (@FragrantReviews), Muse in Wooden Shoes, Olfactoria’s Travels, Parfumieren, Redolent of Spices, Scent of the Day, Suzanne’s Perfume Journal and Undina’s Looking Glass.

Please head over to their blogs to view their posts!

My tastes tend to lean towards those perfumes that are either floral, oriental or gourmand, and woody fragrances, whilst not being my favourite type, belong to a genre that I have learned to love as my tastes have developed and improved along my perfume-sniffing journey. For this reason O Tannenbaum! has been an intriguing post to write and I have tried to choose three scents that represent completely different aspects of the woody genre.

Festival of Colours

Neela Vermeire is a new Parisian based Niche line that explores the history of India through three vibrant and colourful fragrances. Each fragrance has been created by the very talented Bertrand Duchaufour and is representative of a particular period in India’s history, they are as follows:

Trayee
Vedic Period

Mohur
Moghul British Raj

Bombay Bling!
Modern India

With her first three fragrances, Neela Vermeire offers a festival of colour, fragrances that showcase exotic ingredients and smell as vibrant, lively and diverse as the country that inspires them.

“This diversity has inspired Neela Vermeire to create and dedicate the first trio of fragrances to India – her native country – while living and working in Paris, her adopted city and perfume capital of the world. Neela’s education in social sciences and training in law, may not have any direct connection to perfumes but her formative years in India have had a great and lasting impact on her “olfactory development.” [1]

Le Gout du Parfum

Last week I tried, and raved about Thierry Mugler’s new Alien Le Goût du Parfum. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to try two more fragrances from the ultra-limited series; A*Men and Womanity (I haven’t had the chance to try Angel properly yet), so I thought I would do a quick follow up post on how they smell. Are you ready for another ‘Fumegasm’?

In case you missed it, the idea behind Le Goût du Parfum , as mentioned in my last post, is:

The concept behind Le Goût du Parfum (The Taste of Fragrance) is simple – take the already bold, and mostly gourmand structures of four Thierry Mugler scents (AngelAlienWomanity and A*Men) and add a ‘Taste Enhancer’ to each. Le Goût du Parfum creates “a genuine parallel between Haute Cuisine and Haute Parfumerie.” To achieve this parallel Mugler enlisted leading Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze to create an “entirely Muglerian Meal” based on these four new limited editions.