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I love Prada. I think their fragrance output is one of the most consistent, both in terms of quality and when it comes to projecting a strong house identity. You can smell a Prada fragrance and know that it’s a Prada, and this comes down to two key elements; Daniela Andrier as the unofficial house perfumer (who has created the entirety of the collection); and the key ingredient of orris. Combined, these two elements make a Prada fragrance by crafting a house signature that is distinct, luxurious and beautiful. Whatever they do, whether that be a classic like Infusion d’Iris or a contemporary like Candy, Prada never compromises its signature, nor its quality.

Speaking of signatures, Prada launched their flagship fragrances La Femme & L’Homme Prada in 2016. They have since become staples of the brand, epitomising the Prada woman and man. After receiving the intense treatment last year, La Femme & L’Homme are now subject to the ‘l’eau’ treatment, resulting in two fragrances that take a lighter approach. We have one which is a golden, sparkling floral and another that stretches iris powder into something fresh and cool. Both smell absolutely great and show just how versatile that inimitable Prada signature is.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! What better way to celebrate than with a review of a perfume housed within a bottle shaped like a pink heart, eh?

I’ll be perfectly honest and say that when I first became aware of the Australian niche brand Map of the Heart a few years back, I didn’t feel particularly enthused. Here’s just another gimmicky niche brand, I thought – all bottle and no substance. But as we all know, one should not be so judgemental when it comes to perfume because there is always the potential to be surprised! Anyway, Map of the Heart is based on the premise that our hearts are the centre of all we are – as the brand says “our heart is everything pure, good and evil. It aches, it desires, it is who we are.” Map of the Heart is a journey exploration of humankind through the medium olfaction, with six fragrances to date, each one representing a different aspect of humanity (freedom, valour, passion, peace, darkness etc.). Each fragrance is housed within a bottle that takes the anatomical form of the human heart – a flacon designed by the legendary bottle designer Pierre Dinard, no less – the man behind the vessels for Opium, Obsession, Cheap & Chic, and Rive Gauche!

Map of the Heart’s latest fragrances is Pink Heart v.6 and it represents the heart of ecstasy. The brand describes it as “a scent of the imagination and is at once hallucinogenic and hypnotic”. Pink Heart centres on the note of narcissus, presenting an experience that is “narcotic” and “hyper-real”. Having sniffed all of the scents in the collection, Pink Heart strikes me as the boldest and most vivid, but also the most fun. It’s an opulent, excessive fragrance that takes a note so usually associated with glamour and darkness, and spray paints it in the cutest shade of baby pink. So without further ado, lets get to the heart of the matter (bad pun – sorry) and give Pink Heart a big old sniff.

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ALIEN FLORA FUTURA has landed! After an exhausting intergalactic trip from its home planet – a lush world filled with pink flora and fauna, this latest extraterrestrial in the ALIEN collection has arrived, and it comes in peace. Now, if you’ve read this blog before you will know that I am a MUGLER fanboy and that ALIEN is one of my all-time favourite scents, so this flanker is very likely to be something I am very interested in. Anyway, let’s face it, when it comes to fragrance flankers, nobody does ’em better than MUGLER. No Sir, so I think it’s fair to say that there are high expectations all round. High. Expectations.

FLORA FUTURA is described by MUGLER as a “new, fresh and sparkling fragrance with an enveloping floral scent”. As the blush pink quartz bottle may suggest, this is an entirely new type of ALIEN – one that is divergent from the original, taking its spirit but interpreting it in an entirely new olfactory guise. This is not the ALIEN you are expecting but with MUGLER one is to expect the unexpected and with this latest instalment, MUGLER promises a counterbalance to their solar goddess – a fragrance that is more of a lunar nymph. This is ALIEN FLORA FUTURA.

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In the somewhat limited lexicon of perfume description, one relies quite heavily on the concept of character when attempting to translate odour into words. I’ll often find myself personifying a fragrance, bringing in characters from popular culture to best describe the spirit of a scent. Heck, I’ve even done it the other way round and have paired scents with famous characters. Perfume can convey the attitude, emotion and style of a character – characters that resonate with us and allow us to identify with a perfume. These character-filled scents are the ones that lead us to spritz something on and declare it “just so me”.

St Giles is an exciting new brand that understands the character of perfume. So much so, in fact, that their debut collection consists of five personalities in olfactory form. From the mind of Michael Donovan, a luxury PR legend, St Giles brings us The Tycoon, The Actress, The Mechanic, The Stylist, and the subject of today’s review: The Writer. These five fragrances were created to “stimulate and amplify the many different aspects of our character” celebrating “the parts that make us who we are, fusing the reality and the fantasy”. They are five characters one wants to get to know – each translated into perfume form by the incomparable Bertrand Duchaufour – and whilst they are all beautiful, The Writer is the standout. So let’s sniff.

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The great thing about luxury brands such as BVLGARI is that, regardless of what they make, whether it be clothing, leather goods, jewellery or fragrance, they truly care about the end product. They want to create a luxury item – a thing of beauty that demonstrates the quality of materials and craftsmanship that makes these brands so luxurious. It’s brands like these that make truly beautiful, accessible fragrances, because they care enough to get it right. They mark art with everything else they do, so their thinking is why not apply that to fragrance as well? BVLGARI is perhaps one of the best examples of this and they dedicate time, care, attention, quality and artistry to all of their fragrances, making for some absolutely beautiful perfumes.

In the Splendida collection, BVLGARI celebrates “the most iconic flowers in the history of perfumery”, namely the iris, the rose and the jasmine. For 2018, BVLGARI is adding to the collection and this time it is the magnolia that gets to take centre stage in the guise of Magnolia Sensuel. Created by perfumer Jacques Cavallier (who has made too many good perfumes to list) who calls the magnolia “an unforgettable note”, Magnolia Sensuel aims to showcase the “supreme beauty” of the flower and by extension, the BVLGARI woman who wears it. Having been a big fan of the Splendida collection (Iris d’Or is heaven, y’all) and a life-time addict of white florals, Magnolia Sensuel definitely caught my attention. But does it live up to my high, BVLGARI-loving expectations? Well, read on and you shall find out!