This week my good friend Cara and I will be teaming up to create a special fragrant event as part of her Instability-in-Stability project. During the event we will both be discussing our scented memories as teenagers. Thinking about the subject matter I thought it would be apt to review the first fragrance that I fell in love with, the one that started the obsession; Kingdom by Alexander McQueen.

At the tender age of 16 (it feels so long ago now), I wasn’t really fussed about fragrance, I would wear generic ‘boy’ fragrances such as Hugo Boss and Paul Smith and the fragrances I wore were normally gifted to me by relatives. That was, until Kingdom came along…

Oud/Aoud/Oodh/Agarwood is a ‘dark, resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilara and Gyrinops trees when they become infected with a type of mold.’ [1] The smell of Oud really varies and from my experience it can smell medicinal, animalic and funky like a barnyard or intensely peppery and spiky.

Over the last couple of years there has been a plethora of fragrances released based around oud, a note which has been used in middle eastern perfumery for thousands of years. Oud has very much become the note du jour and it seems that almost every fragrance house has done ‘an oud’.

One house that kicked off the trend is Montale, created by perfumer Pierre Montale and tucked away in a corner of the very upmarket and glamourous Place Vendôme in Paris, Montale focuses on rich oriental fragrances and exotic blends using the famous oud.

This review is of two of Montale’s most well known scents, Black Aoud and White Aoud. These two scents strike an interesting contrast with each other and show the versatility of the oud note.

It seems fitting that my initial post on this blog should be a review of the latest edition of Shalimar by Guerlain; Shalimar Parfum Initial.

My first thought when seeing the news about Shalimar Parfum Initial was ‘Nooooooooooo, it’s PINK, you can’t pinkify Shalimar!!’ Well, as it turns out you can, and the end result isn’t half bad at all.

Shalimar Parfum Initial was created by Guerlain’s In-House Perfumer Thierry Wasser and was made for his niece after she requested he make a version of Shalimar for her. The idea behind Parfum Initial is very similar to that of Chanel’s Eau Premiere for No 5 – a modern, lighter version of the perfume for younger customers who are not quite ready for the original. Guerlain describe the scent as an ‘Initiation into Shalimar’ [1] but it also serves as an initiation to the brand, for those who are unfamiliar with or intimidated by the classic Guerlains.