Christine Nagel has fully taken the reigns of perfumery at Hermès and she is seeing in a new dawn that is at once, respectful of the house signature that Jean-Claude Ellena spent years forging, but also entirely her own. Nagel brings a bit more body to Hermès’ once pastel and watercolored approach to perfumery, evoking luxury with more vivid colours and richer textures. She has brought a playfulness (see Twilly d’Hermès) and has even subverted the very essence of Hermès’ Hermessence collection by giving it an oriental twist – all to make her own stamp. Now it’s time for Nagel to bring us a new twist on the brand’s signature masculine: Terre d’Hermès.
Terre d’Hermès is perhaps Ellena’s most iconic creation for Hermès – it’s also a big seller and easily one of the greatest modern masculines on the market. With that in mind it’s easy to see it as hollowed ground in a way – something not to be touched and tinkered with. But touching and tinkering is what the perfume industry does best and Terre d’Hermès has been reinterpreted by Ellena on two occasions (the Parfum and Eau Très Fraîche) and now it’s Nagel’s turn with Terre d’Hermès Eau Intense Vétiver. In her version, Nagel presents a rebalanced interpretation where “the initial woody and mineral balance of Terre becomes woody and vegetal.”
The concept behind Carat, Cartier’s latest feminine launch, is really beautiful. Cartier’s perfumer Mathilde Laurent was inspired by the light of diamonds, specifically how a beam of brilliant light hits the precious stone and is refracted into a full spectrum of colour. With this inspiration she chose to create a floral rainbow – a composition of seven flowers, each of which has been chosen to represent each colour of the rainbow. Isn’t that beautiful? So beautiful, in fact, that I’m not going to say anything more about the fragrance before I jump into the review, simply because nothing could sum it up better.
I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.
I often feel as if I should have been born a handsome and stylish Parisian gentleman. The type of Frenchman I’d like to be is the artistic, knitwear-wearing, reflective type who absorbs culture like good wine. He loves art as much as the gym, speaks numerous languages and is an excellent cook. I’d be called Gabriel or Gaspard, or maybe Jules (can you tell I’ve not thought about this at all?) I’d actually enjoy coffee (why does it smell so good yet taste so bad?!) and I’d be really bloody cool. Oh and I’d wear GUERLAIN exclusively (Jicky I reckon) because why wouldn’t you? A boy can dream of being so chic, but sometimes a fragrance can be the closest thing one gets to making such a fantasy become a reality. Enter Le Frenchy by Guerlain.
Le Frenchy is part of Guerlain’s ‘Les Parisiens’ family – an exclusive collection of reissued masculine fragrances featuring the likes of Derby and Arsene Lupin. This one is a modern reworking of a historic lineage: Aimé Guerlain’s Verveine from 1872, which itself was reinterpreted by Jean-Paul Guerlain as ‘Eau de Verveine’ in 1983. Now we have Guerlain Perfumer Thierry Wasser’s take on ‘verveine’, cheekily entitled ‘Le Frenchy’ (The Frenchman). GUERLAIN calls it “chic and relaxed” which is so not my physical aesthetic, so perhaps Le Frenchy can help me out a bit, after I all I may not have the “bold elegance” of the fragrance, but I reckon I could pull some “natural charm” out of the bag. Let’s see…
I love Britney Spears. I have done since ‘…Baby One More Time’ hit the airwaves in 1998. That’s twenty years of being a Britney fan. I grew up with her music so it would be pretty TOXIC for me to turn on her now. I mean, I LOVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL but Britney is my favourite, her music makes me STRONGER and whilst SOMETIMES there have been FREAKSHOW moments and things have often been a CIRCUS, I have always ensured that I WILL BE THERE for Britney. I support Ms. Spears because she will always GIMME MORE and I’m LUCKY to have someone who will provide me with the daily motivation I need to DO SOMETHIN’ – to tell me to WORK BITCH when I most need it. Basically, Britney, what Im trying to say is that I’M A SLAVE 4 U and you can have a PIECE OF ME whenever you damn well please.
OK. I’ll stop now. I promise.
Music career aside, Britney has had huge success with her perfume empire. Fantasy is one of the best selling celebrity fragrances on the market and has outlasted so many others from a whole host of her contemporaries. It’s also the best example of a fruity, cupcake floral there is and you can come at me if you think otherwise. This summer, Britney is treating us to a brand new fragrance – the provocative Prerogative, which takes its name from her hit single (a Bobby Brown cover) and Greatest Hits album. Prerogative is designed as a “break the rules” kind of a fragrance, created for all Britney fans, regardless of gender. It comes with the battle cry that we can all do whatever the hell we want. Well what I wanna do right now is review the heck out of this fragrance, and if Britney endorses that with this “do whatever you want” scent, I’m a do it.
Parle Moi de Parfum translates as ‘speak to me about perfume’ and it’s a name that I, as a writer of perfumer, can certainly get on board with. The brand is a family affair – created by Benjamin Almairac who, with his mother and brother, created a retail space in Paris that is also a functioning perfume lab, making perfumes created by his famous perfumer father, Michel Almairac (Gucci Rush, L’Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses and Dior Fahrenheit, to name but a few). Perfumery is in the DNA of the brand it seems!
There are currently ten fragrances in the line, each of which is presented without gimmick. The idea of talking about perfume extends past the lab into the fragrance names, each of which contains a number that represents the number of modifications each formula went through before the final composition was agreed upon. One of the brand’s newest fragrances is Orris Tattoo / 29 – a perfume that centres on an icon of perfumery: the iris root. Parle Moi de Parfum describe the scent as being a “permanent scented reminder, a universal symbol, a unique self-expression like an invisible tattoo that withstands the test of time”, utilising a legendary material as olfactory ink. Colour me intrigued.
If there is one fragrance I’m asked for my opinion of more than any other it’s Aventus by CREED. Seriously, I regularly get emails from readers or DMs on social media from followers asking me what I think about this super popular masculine fragrance. Aventus has achieved cult status amongst fragrance obsessives and casual observers alike. It’s a perfume I find myself talking about a lot – I so often have conversations with men about Aventus, whether they are into perfume or not, because it’s often the first fragrance they mention. But why? What makes Aventus special? Why has it resonated so well? I’m genuinely curious.
Aventus launched in 2010 – the year that the house of CREED celebrated its 250th anniversary. According to the brand, CREED perfumer Olivier Creed was inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte, choosing to use a host of ingredients that had a link to the French military leader. Structurally it is not an unusual fragrance – the top notes are fresh and citrussy (bergamot, blackcurrant, apple and pineapple), whilst the rest is floral, aromatic and warm (jasmine, rose, patchouli, amber etc.)
So, what is all the fuss about?