Hermès must win the award for the most consistent style of perfumes within one line. Ever since installing the incomparable Jean-Claude Ellena as their in-house schnoz, each perfume launch has been a variation on the theme of Ellena’s pastel shades and watercolours, evoking both clarity and luxury.
It is for this reason that their latest offering, Jour d’Hermès is so interesting, it manages to perfectly replicate Ellena’s signature style of spacious scent, but it does so bigger, brighter and bolder, almost as if he’s thrown down the watercolours in a moment of madness (read: genius) and opted for full technicolor. Jour d’Hermés is Jean-Claude Ellena writ large.
“From dawn until dusk, a luminous and sensual floral that flourishes.”
Jour, meaning dawn, is a perfume that captures the myrhiad of colours and emotions promised by the prospect of a new day. It is a perfume that seems to have arrived with little fan fair yet the odours that are contained within its rather simple and unpretentious bottle are most definitely worthy of attention.
Juliette Has a Gun is a curious little outfit. They seem to happily fill the space that separates niche and designer perfumes and does so in a young and fancy free way. The thing is, as much as I like the brand and one or two of the scents they’ve yet to have a hit as far as I’m concerned. Calamity J and Romantina came close but neither had the wow factor needed to convince me to part with any of my hard-earned dosh.
That said, the spunky, take-no-prisoners attitude of Romano Ricci’s heroines is definitely appealing to me and I’m always more than happy to dive into their new releases to see what they are up to. So far we’ve had charming girls, vengeful ladies, queens and delightfully calamities but with their latest release Juliette Has a Gun is unleashing the Mad Madame.
“For this new episode I wanted to pay tribute to a woman who dares. A woman slightly more mature than the previous episodes, but by no means better behaved! Mad Madame has this touch of craziness, which she is happily displaying. Endowed with a sense of provocation, she enjoys being looked at and igniting conversations. As Oscar Wilde once said, The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
Mad Madame is described as a green chypre “revolving around the metallic Rose Oxyde” and as you would expect from Juliette Has a Gun it is a fragrance with a strong character, as Mr. Ricci puts it; “Mad Madame has the knack of getting herself talked about. And she likes it.” What are they saying about this Madame? Well, I can tell you that it may not all be good.
If I had a penny for each and every time I had mentioned that green fragrances really aren’t my thing on this blog I’d have, well I’d have at least 6 pennies I reckon. 6 whole pennies people! In a time of recession that kind of money is not to be scoffed at. Now I’m not entirely sure why it is that me and green things don’t get on, perhaps I just prefer the flowers to the trees, shrubs and leaves, but whatever the reason the truth is that when it comes to me, it’s not that easy being green.
Now if there is one thing I have learned on my journey, wading through all of this perfume, is to never say never. One may think that one hates green fragrances but one can never speak too soon because quicker than lightning someone like Vero Profumo will come along with a fragrance like Mito or Andy Tauer with Verdant and one can’t help but coo at how beautiful it is. But then sometimes you’ll come across a green fragrance that is neither awful nor beautiful, one that is simply nice.
Comme des Garçons’ latest release ‘Amazingreen’ is one such green fragrance and it intends to be “an explosive fragrance that is as wild as the elements” where “organic greenery meets with the explosive elements of smoke and flint.” The sheer mention of the word “greenery” in the latter of these statements would usually send me running for the hills, but I was surprisingly intrigued by a fragrance who’s name promises something that is both “Amazing” and “Green”. What I found however, is a fragrance that isn’t really either of these things, and I’m not entirely sure whether that is disappointing or not.
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…
Ormonde Jayne is a house that has always sat on the periphery of my perfume sampling. I have tried a number of their fragrances in passing (I have tried a shocking amount of things “in passing”) and have even visited one of their boutiques, but I don’t feel that I’ve paid them the attention that they deserve. So when the lovely people at Ormonde Jayne offered to send me one of their discovery sets I was more than happy to accept, because Ormonde Jayne is a house that I want to get to know.
Launched in 2002, Ormonde Jayne is a British perfume house created by Linda Pilkington. The Ormonde Jayne philosophy is simple: “[…]quality and true luxury, the pursuit of beauty and elegance.”  There is something very appealing about the sleek simplicity of Ormonde Jayne and the lack of bells and whistles is appealing. But don’t let that fool you, the perfumes themselves are very complex indeed.
This review focuses on Ormonde Jayne’s two signature fragrances: Ormonde Woman and Ormonde Man, both of which have been highly praised by many and received five star reviews from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez in Perfumes: The Guide. Both wood-based fragrances are as enigmatic as they are sophisticated and having spent sufficient time with them I can understand why they are so highly regarded.
Vero Profumo’s first three fragrances; Rubj, Kiki and Onda are unusual, not only in their style and composition but also in the fact that they are each five star fragrances that can easily be considered as modern masterpieces. They each also have strong personalities, multi-faceted in themselves, but incredibly diverse in character as an entire entity – a collection to be envied.
With her initial collection Swiss indie perfumer Vero Kern proved that she has a natural talent for perfumery as well as a clear and fascinating artistic vision that translates effortlessly into her creations. For her line’s fifth anniversary year Vero Kern is introducing a brand new fragrance, one that doesn’t break cohesion of the line but also brings an entirely new approach to Vero Profumo.
Mito (Italian for “Myth”), will be the latest fragrance from Vero Profumo to join her Eau de Parfum collection. Taking inspiration from Italy, specifically the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, smelling Mito is like opening a time capsule, unleashing a single moment where as time has stopped in the garden of Villa d’Este, allowing Vero Kern to paint an olfactory oil-painting of the trees, mosses, flowers, stones, sculptures and water that inhabit such a beautiful space.
“Perfume, like fashion, is about attitude, seasons, colour, mood and context. There is a time and place for everything.”
My experience of the Heeley line (brainchild of designer James Heeley) has been generally positive, and my impression so far is that it is a line full of interesting, innovative creations which simply must be tried. What I really like about Heeley Parfums though, is that they present themselves with no pretence, no gimmicks, they just say “here we are, come smells us, don’t we smell good?”. But don’t be fooled by this simple approach, the Heeley line actually consists of a range of unique and complex perfumes with highlights such as the beautiful iris ‘Iris de Nuit’, ode to the sea ‘Sel Marin’ and almost comic ‘Esprit du Tigre’.
Late last year James Heeley decided to expand the line with a trio of Extrait de Parfums that take the Heeley aesthetic to a new level of luxury without compromising the overall ethos of unique creations presented in a simple and clear manner. Each Extrait, like the entire Heeley line come to think of it, doesn’t feel the need to shout its message, instead it confidently speaks in a ‘take me or leave me’ manner.
The Heeley Extrait de Parfums are a “collection of quite different scents made from exceptional ingredients, each with an intensity and depth that create a luxurious, ‘haute couture’ feel” and were created because James Heeley wanted to work with his favourite materials in higher concentrations. Heeley succeeds in creating a collection of three perfumes – Agarwoud, Bubblegum Chic & L’Amandière – that are not only high quality but are also high-concept interesting interpretations of familiar themes.
Bond No. 9 is the Octomom of the niche fragrance world – they just keep popping ’em out. This spring they will be releasing a total of six, that’s right SIX new fragrances, two of which are inspired by New York City as per the norm and four of which will be joining their I Love New York Collection.
I have been pretty vocal on my thoughts of Bond No. 9 and I stand by the fact that they have more misses than hits, perhaps due to the fact that they have released a whopping 64 fragrances since their inception in 2003, and that a lot of perfumes in the line are derivative, not to mention that they are the worst offenders when it comes to vomiting Swarovski crystals on to perfume bottles… They remind me of the line in the poem about the little girl with the little curl by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; “And when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.”
But that’s not to say that there aren’t any good Bond’s. There are in fact a good few that I would deem bottle worthy; Silver Factory is a remarkably cold and metallic incense, Chinatown is a work of genius (why don’t I own a bottle?) and I will always regret swapping away my beloved bottle of Fire Island, who knew I would miss it so much? So yes, it is true, when Bond No. 9 are good they can be very good.
In time for Spring Bond, No. 9 have released Central Park West, the sixth fragrance to be inspired by a New York park. Central Park West is inspired by “the magnificent greenery” of New York’s “greatest urban grassland” and is a spring-like green and white floral “designed to have the grandeur and largesse of the street itself”. A grand perfume for a grand neighbourhood.
“Who knew? When it comes to being green, New York State is way ahead of the game. Bond No. 9 knew, and to celebrate our state’s environmental smarts, we’ve designed this fresh, green, metro-sophisticated eau de parfum.”
To coincide with the 42nd Earth Day on 22 April Bond No. 9 are launching a brand new fragrance. ‘I Love New York for Earth Day’ is the fourth in their line of I Love NY fragrances and this latest addition focuses on NY’s “high green IQ” with a fragrance that is “rich in youthful vivaciousness and hope”.
Have you ever known that you would love a fragrance before you even tried it? I have on quite a few occasions, the most recent of which was with the second feminine fragrance from ultra-luxe niche line Puredistance. A perfume wonderfully named ‘Antonia’. I had already fallen head-over-heels for the beautifully arresting Puredistance I, and everything about Antonia; the reviews, the description and the very brief sniff I’d had in Harrods, led me to believe that Antonia was a perfume that I would love.
I’ve also been really impressed with the Puredistance line and their ethos. I find it refreshing that they seem to focus all of their attention on the perfumes, there are no gimmicks and they manage to offer exclusivity without snobbery. It’s also very clear that they have a passion for quality, which really translates into their three offerings, all of which are incredibly different, but share an impeccable attention to detail and fit together like three contrasting compositions.
Antonia, or ‘La Dame Verte’ as I call her, is the second feminine in the line and is a Parfum Extrait with a not-to-be-scoffed-at 25% concentration. Antonia is described by Puredistance as “a green floral with a great lushness and warmth of heart, but at the same time pillowy and as gentle as can be” . Like the first feminine in the line ‘Puredistance I’, Antonia was created by Annie Buzantian in New York and shares her name with the mother of Puredistance founder Jan Ewoud Vos.