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Recently when I reviewed ALIEN MAN, I moaned about how it did not smell like a ‘MUGLER’ and how I thought that was a very bad thing. Today I am reviewing Mystic Aromatic, the latest (and tenth) edition to Les Exceptions, an exclusive line of fragrances from MUGLER, and in this review I will say that it does not smell like a MUGLER and remark how I feel that is a good thing. I am a wave of contradictions, Dear Reader, I know. But do read on and you will soon understand why these contradictions are aptly applied.

Mystic Aromatic is described by MUGLER as presenting “an intense aromatic freshness contrasted by hot, bewitching notes”. As with the other fragrances in Les Exceptions, this one too seeks to subvert a familiar genre with an interesting olfactory twist, in this case taking the green aromatic family and injecting it with an unexpected ambery warmth. The result is yet another contradiction from MUGLER, where warm meets cold, fresh meets dense, masculine meets feminine, and green meets gold. Once again, MUGLER proves that it has the ability to surprise…

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I love rose. Seriously, it might actually be my favourite perfume note/genre/ingredient. You may think of me as a white flower kind-of-a-guy but at heart, I’m a beautifully blooming rose (humour me here, people). I can’t get enough and my collection is ever-expanding with gorgeous roses across all olfactory families. So, when Penhaligon’s announced that they were relaunching their famous Elisabethan Rose, I must admit that they had me at ‘rose’. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit?

Elisabethan Rose was originally launched in 1984 and it was a perfectly pretty, if not a tad too light, rose with a prim attitude. I didn’t care for it particularly, nor did I hate it. This Elisabethan Rose however – the Elisabethan Rose of 2018 – is an entirely new fragrance and it would be fair to say that Penhaligon’s have brought it bang up to date with a very modern composition that plays with the classic idea of a rose but injects the sweetness and spaciousness demanded today. They call it a rose “fit for a Queen” with “a most commanding presence”. But is this a stoic rose fit for the pale-faced Elizabeth I or something softer and more corgi-friendly a la Elizabeth II? There’s only one way to find out…

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MUGLER have finally launched the highly-anticipated ALIEN MAN – a masculine counterpart to their blockbuster feminine ALIEN (launched in 2005) and their first male pillar since B*MEN in 2004. As you know, I’m a massive MUGLER fan so I have wasted no time in putting together some words in my weekly Escentual column to give you all of the details. So, if you want to know what ALIEN MAN smells like then all you need to do is click here and you’ll be taken on a little bit of a space voyage through this brand new scent.

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– Glamour and Grit –

The exciting thing about Amouage is that one never knows where Creative Director Christopher Chong is going to take the brand next. His artistic vision is like no other’s and with his creations for Amouage he brings in concepts abstract to olfaction – notions such as death and gender identity – and crafts them into fragrant forms. The results are fascinating and it would be safe to say that nobody makes perfume quite like Amouage and Christopher Chong. These are rich, complex and sometimes challenging compositions that not everyone will love, and therein lies their strength. So yes, I’m always fascinated to see where Amouage goes next.

Well that ‘next’ turns out to be a time-travelling epic to 1970s New York City, the city and time in which Christopher Chong grew up. Arriving in the Lower East Side in the mid 1970s, the sights, sounds and scents of New York have clearly had a formative impact on the Creative Director, who this year brings us Imitation, a new duo of fragrances that represent the “subcultures of an iconic era”. With Imitation Man and Imitation Woman, whose names are inspired by Andy Warhol and his imitative art, Chong takes us on an olfactory odyssey of glamour and grit, evoking “audacious freedom” through the smooth velvet of the masculine and infamous nights out at Studio 54 in the women’s. They make for quite the pair, I tell you.

I was lucky enough to be invited to New York City to join Amouage for the launch of Imitation Man and Woman, with a wonderful opportunity to explore Christopher Chong’s neighbourhood on the Lower East Side (it’s THE place to stay in NY if you’re going, trust me). I was also lucky enough to spend some time with Christopher for an interview, which I will publish tomorrow. But for now, let’s get our heads and noses around the latest olfactory coupling from Amouage – Imitation.

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Due to its undeniable popularity, I am often asked for my thoughts on BLEU DE CHANEL and those thoughts are as follows: I like it, I think it’s the typical, modern aromatic masculine but executed very well with top notch ingredients. Do I wear it? Yes, sometimes, but I prefer to smell it on my husband – it smells particularly handsome on him. Does it excite me? I wouldn’t go that far but I do think that as far as this style of fragrance goes, the big bad BLEU is the best of the bunch. So yes, I’m a fan (aren’t we all) and I can totally see why it is so popular – it’s good.

In June, CHANEL is extending the BLEU DE CHANEL family with BLEU DE CHANEL PARFUM – a fragrance that “unleashes the power of BLEU DE CHANEL”, presenting it in its purest and most concentrated form. This is CHANEL in-house perfumer Olivier Polge’s first tweaking of BLEU and much like his approach to Nº5 with L’EAU he has sought to remain faithful to the original, keeping what made it so iconic, but has reset the balance, this time specifically in relation to BLEU’S signature woods to make them more prominent, “to create a stronger and more intense energy”. So is this BLEU DE CHANEL on steroids or is it BLEU DE CHANEL in 4K ultra-high definition?

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I have a weird little rule when it comes to reviewing fragrances: I don’t wear a fragrance until I’ve photographed it, after which I can spray on as much as I like in anticipation of the written part of my review. I’m not saying I don’t have a cheeky little spray before the shots are taken, but I definitely make sure that the bottle remains mostly full. Why is this, you may be wondering? Well, it simply looks better when the bottle is full, so it’s purely for aesthetic reasons. Anything for the perfect shot, right?

Well, in the case of Eau de Citron Noir, the latest addition to Hermès’ Cologne Collection, I broke my own rule. This happened casually and regularly and I found myself not only sneaking a spritz here and there, but also giving the scent numerous full wearings. Perhaps it’s just the good weather we’ve been having, or maybe there is something irresistible about it. Whatever the reason, you may notice in the photos that the bottle is not 100% full. I’m sure you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me.

Eau de Citron Noir is Perfumer Christine Nagel’s second cologne for Hermès (the first being 2016’s Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate). They describe it as showcasing “The striking and explosive vitality of citrus fruits combined with the depth of subtle smoky and woody notes of black lime.” That all sounds rather tempting, doesn’t it? Not to mention the fact that that deep blue bottle is heave on Earth…