An Outdoorsy Kind of Guy
An Outdoorsy Kind of Guy

Seeing as it the very last week of Movember, a month in which we celebrate all aspects of masculinity, it’s only fair that we also take time to look at some pretty epic masculine fragrances. Over the course of the month I’ve been featuring classic masculine scents on Escentual, but this week I’d like to focus on two new and very well executed fragrances for 2013 – one designer and one ‘niche’ – starting with the newly launched Bottega Veneta Pour Homme.

The astute amongst you will know that Bottega Veneta have already proved that they take the world of perfume seriously with their debut feminine fragrance launch of the same name. The feminine was a masterfully composed (if perhaps a little too whispery) ode to the leather goods for which the brand is famous for and it appears that its masculine counterpart has been subject to the same degree of thought and quality control.

Created by perfumers Daniela Andrier (Prada’s Infusion d’Iris, Candy and basically everything else good they’ve done) and Antoine Maisondieu (Etat Libre d’Orange’s Fat Electrician and Comme des Garçons Stephen Jones), Bottega Veneta Pour Homme feels very much like an extension of the luxury leather feel of the feminine Eau de Parfum but in a more outdoorsy, nature-filled and relaxed manner.

Kirsten 1996
Kirsten 1996 by Inez van Lamsweerde an Vinoodh Matadin

Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin – more widely known simply as ‘Inez and Vinoodh’ – are world-famous fashion and art photographer, renowned for snapping pictures for the likes of Björk, Lady Gaga, Vivienne Westwood and Vogue, just to name a very small few. They are highly respected for their versatile approach to photography and are, in their own way, quasi-celebrities within the art world.

Not content simply as a twosome, Inez and Vinoodh collaborated with popular niche brand Byredo to create a “private edition” fragrance to serve as a Christmas gift for beloved friends and clients. Rumour has it that the fragrance was so well received that they simply had no choice to release it for the hoi polloi to enjoy – thus the wide release of Byredo’s latest fragrance, ‘1996’.

Inspired by the photo ‘Kirsten 1996’ (see above), 1996 is described by Byredo founder Ben Gorham as “an olfactory snapshot not only of the image but of our emotional response to it” and it stands as a unique offering where an image is used to be evocative of a perfume rather than the other way round. The scent intends to create “a visual language, for perfume and, like all great collaborations, shared sentience” (make of that what you will).

Fashion, Fumes & Furs
Fashion, Fumes & Furs

It came down to yours truly to pick the theme for this edition of the group blog post between myself, Olfactoria’s Travels, Persolaise, Fragrant Moments and Eyeliner on a Cat. For me this task was simple, I knew straight away that I wanted to talk about the relationship between fragrance and fashion, and more importantly I wanted to see just what my fragrant brothers and sisters would make of the correlation.

For years the worlds of perfume and couture have collided to create a wealth of classics and a whole heap of dreck. Houses like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Dior are as famous for their perfumes as they are for their fashions, with the former serving as an accessible way for one to own just a small piece of one’s favourite luxury brand.

One’s favourite fashion trend is most definitely animal print. There is just something so wonderfully wild about such bold, beastly prints and furs (all faux of course) in fashion and when one wishes to make a statement there is no greater choice than a measured dose of shocking animal print.

This post takes a look at one’s pick of the best ‘Animal Print Perfumes’ – those fragrances that perfectly capture the spirit of the boldest of prints. Whether it be the spots of the royal leopard, the stripes of the elegant zebra or the scales of the deadly black mamba, this post celebrates the collision of fashion and fragrance in the most utterly outrageous of styles.

[Please head on over to Persolaise, Olfactoria’s Travels, Fragrant Moments and Eyeliner on a Cat to read their takes on fashion and fragrance]

Amouage Opus VII
Amouage Opus VII

There should be a club for those that consider themselves as ‘Amouage Addicts’. We could all sit around discussing our adoration for the Omani house, pouring over our favourites and consoling each other over the fact that we’ll never be able to own them all. One matter that definitely would not be up for discussion however, is the idea of giving the house up any time soon. It’s simply not on the table.

We are truly helpless really, what with the annual masculine and feminine pairings. Not to mention special editions such as Beloved and the highly artistic and fascinating Library Collection. The truth is that we are mere lemmings for Amouage and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year’s addition to the Library Collection is Opus VII. Created by perfumers Pierre Negrin and Alberto Morillas it “arouses the juxtaposition of harmon with the intensity of reasoning between conflicting ideas and beliefs” [1]. Much like the chaos of the Interlude duo from last year, Opus VII appears to take a slightly more abstract approach with its dark black flacon serving as a small hint for the wild ride that’s unleashed upon the very first spritz.

Ooh Gorilla!
Ooh Gorilla!

As a die-hard fragrance nerd it’s difficult not to love Gorilla Perfume, the fragrant arm of those smelly bath purveyors Lush. For one, they march to the beat of their own drum, drawing inspiration from subjects as varied as Thai Ladyboys and Italian showers. But perhaps most importantly they are an outfit that champions that old idiom “It’s all about the juice”, caring first and foremost for the perfume above bottles and marketing.

This passion for perfume has allowed Lush to birth a line of beautiful, surprising and sometimes downright-wacky fragrances that challenge one’s notion of what constitutes a scent as much as they serve to inspire and foster a life-long love for all that is perfume. It sounds corny but it is brands like Gorilla Perfume that are the reason why I love perfume, when there is so much to be cranky about they have the ability to restore one’s faith in perfume and make one smile with a single spritz. You gotta love that Gorilla!

Late last year Gorilla Perfume launched 12 new fragrances (that’s right -12) under a new collection entitled ‘Volume 2’. The overall look of this new collection feels like a shift in direction for Gorilla Perfume and I’d say the scents themselves follow suit. There seems to be less focus on the cartoonish hijinks of the past and greater emphasis on a more mature approach – dare I say that our Gorilla may have grown up?!

I was sent a few of these new scents to try and today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on two of the most intriguing; Furze and The Voice of Reason.

Mad Scientist
The Crazy Cartoon World of Smell Bent

Smell Bent is the slightly warped brainchild of LA based perfume-lover (and very handsome perfumer) Brent Leonesio. Offering fragrances that “delight your nose and your funny bone” Smell Bent lets you into a cartoon world of chaos, naughty frolics and damn good smells, all for a more-than-reasonable price. As they put it on the Smell Bent Website:

“We think that perfume should be fun and shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. We know life can be hard, but it shouldn’t have to smell bad.”

Brent Leonesio

I reckon that I have perused the Smell Bent website, chuckling away at the names, cartoons and descriptions of each scent, about a million times, yet it was only recently that I decided to put in a sample order. Perhaps there was a bit too much choice for my little brain to handle and if I’m being honest I think that might be the case, I wanted to order just about everything but I couldn’t (apparently we’re supposed to be buying a house or something, I don’t know, ask Nigel) and that made me sad.

It was actually Freddie of Smellythoughts fame that convinced me to bite the bullet and I’m ever so glad he did because the six Smell Bents I ordered, each of which is like a fun little ditty, have surpassed my expectations considerably. So without further ado I present to you Part 1 of my Smell Bent Speedy Sniffs (with Part 2 to follow next week), I hope that you enjoy reading about these characters as much as I did smelling them. They may be low in price but they certainly aren’t short on quality or fun!

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.

I am very pleased to be able to share with you a teaser video for Thierry Mugler’s latest collection; “Les Parfums de Cuir” (The Fragrances of Leather). Launching in October, the collection has been created to celebrate Thierry Mugler Parfums’ 20th birthday and contains four brand new leathery interpretations of Mugler’s classic fragrances; Angel, A*Men, Alien and Womanity.

“This innovative idea marries two know-hows of today and yesterday: Haute Perfumery and the traditional craft of glove makers and perfumers.”

To create Les Parfums de Cuir Thierry Mugler parfums a “tailor made […] natural leather” was added to four custom made vats containing each perfume allowing them to infuse & mature for four weeks and eventually, after the “leather-imbued extracts” were added to a solution, they became Les Parfums de cuir.

More details on the collection below the jump…

An interlude from the chaos
An interlude from the chaos

Since being bitten by the Amouage bug last year thanks to Honour Woman (there is no cure BTW) the wait for the next annual Woman/Man duo has almost been a bit too much. Luckily since then we have had the wonderful Opus VI and Beloved to keep us busy, but still the anticipation has been growing. The problem with such a strong hunger for a new fragrance launch and the high expectations that inevitably accompany such an appetite is the fact that so often the final result is disappointing. This is not something that can be said of the this year’s fragrance duo from Amouage.

For 2012 Amouage is releasing Interlude Woman and Interlude Man, both inspired by the “interlude moment […] a reflection of all the trials and tribulations one overcomes to attain personal satisfaction and achievement” [1] Encased in Amouage’s signature bottles, hued in pure midnight blue, the Interlude duo has been created to “evoke an air of disorder while maintaining a sense of balance and tranquility” [2] Both encompass the chaos of life and offer moments of desperately needed escapism in the form of unique, contemporary fragrances.

I’m at a point now where I have tried the majority of the fragrances in the Amouage stable (although not all have been reviewed, yet) and Interlude Woman & Man are easily the most unique, and perhaps the most daring to date. The multi-coloured graffiti of the packaging gives a mere hint of the high-scale chaos that each fragrance adds to the Amouage line. Where they don’t differ however is in quality and sheer artistry, they are 100% Amouage in those respects.

Dior-Leather-Oud
Leather Oud Photographed by Diego Porcel for BDBM Magazine

We all have a lot to be grumpy about when it comes to Christian Dior Parfums. Not only must we be giving them the evil eye for the dwindling quality in classics such as Diorissimo, we must also be narked about the shoddy reformulations of modern classics like Hypnotic Poison, Pure Poison and Dior Homme/Homme Intense. So yes, it may just be me, but Dior could do a lot more to get in to many a fumehead’s good books.

One area where Dior isn’t letting us down is in their relatively recently launched (2010) “La Collection Privée”, which saw the original Dior Homme Cologne collection (Eau Noire, Bois d’Argent and Ambre Nuit) bumped up to a total of 9 fragrances, before being joined by two new fragrances; Leather Oud and Patchouli Imperial. My interest in in the former was officially piqued at Perfume Lovers London “Evening of Leather“, in which it was described by Lila as a “Sex God”, a moniker which is not to be ignored!

Leather Oud is definitely a stand out within La Collection, and I would argue that it is also a stand out amongst the onslaught of oud based fragrances that populate the market. On the creation of Leather Oud, Dior says: “Christian Dior searched the world, looking for the most beautiful fabrics that exist. Like the designer, the Perfumer (François Demachy) chooses the most beautiful raw materials, one of which is oud wood from Indonesia.” [1] It is this haute couture approach that makes Leather Oud such a success, it is a wonderful example of what happens when quality and artistry collide.