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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…

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Creating a flanker of an iconic fragrance is no easy task. There has to be balance between the familiar and the unfamiliar, with the resulting fragrance smelling similar enough to the original to bear its name, but also different enough to justify its own existence. Now, that problem is amplified when the iconic scent in question has already been flankered (not a word, but go with it) numerous times already. How does a brand bring something new when they’ve given a scent the flanker treatment dozens of times already? Well, in the case of most brands, the answer is ‘not very well’, but when it comes to MUGLER, flankers are where the brand really gets to have fun.

ANGEL is the MUGLER flagship and it has had many, many, many, many, many, many (do you see where I’m going with this?), many flankers. Its incredibly bold signature makes it perfect flanker material because one can always recognise it, whilst its gourmand facets are begging for thousands of fantastical culinary twists – also there’s lots of stuff going on in ANGEL so there are lots of paths to go down in terms of flankering. So yes, ANGEL lends itself well to flankers and proof can be found in its latest incarnation ANGEL FRUITY FAIR. This limited edition celebrates “gourmand indulgence” evoking a magical carnival filled to the brim with feelings of unabashed joy. Sign me up!

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Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you ‘to-the-point’ fragrance reviews that are quick and easy to digest. They are perfume reviews without the faff.

Sana Jardin is a new eco and ethically conscious fragrance house that aims to create luxurious niche fragrance that brings real change for the growers of the materials, specifically women. This is done through their Beyond Sustainability movement which, as Sana Jardin puts it, “is a movement to create tangible and measurable social change through commerce, not charity. It’s a movement to create female entrepreneurs who are agents of change in their community. It is built on traditional, sustainable practices and fair trade. Beyond Sustainability™ is preserving heritage skills while inspiring the next generation of artisans.”

It’s always good for fragrances houses to take a socially-conscious approach to their manufacturing and for this to be at the heart of a luxury niche brand is really encouraging. There are currently seven fragrances in the collection, one of which is the focus of today’s speed sniff! That scent is Nubian Musk and it’s described by Sana Jardin as follows; “A seductive scent recollection…a physical encounter, a chemical attraction, limbs entwined, souls lost to pure, carnal desire. Fragranced with the intoxicating, raw scent of skin, amplified in the heat of passion.” Sounds like it’s quite something, doesn’t it?!

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“I am free” says Perfumer Christine Nagel as she sits comfortably in the handsomely furnished apartment above Hermès’ New Bond Street store in London. Nagel is here to talk us through the five new fragrances she has created as in-house Perfumer at Hermès. The five are her first additions to the Hermessence collection, a series of olfactory haikus created by her predecessor Jean-Claude Ellena. Nagel’s style is somewhat different from Ellena’s – his domain was of watercolours and minerals, wrapped in cerebral, thought-provoking compositions that birthed the Hermès olfactory signature. If Ellena created this signature, then Nagel’s has opened it up to a new-found richness with her more immediate, grander and more voluptuous style. Despite their stylistic differences, the creations by both Ellena and Nagel are undeniably ‘Hermès’ in every way.

Anyway, back to freedom. Christine Nagel has full creative freedom at Hermès and with it she has chosen to create a collection of five oriental fragrances to add to Hermès iconic Hermessence collection. Nagel wanted to return to “the origins of perfumery” to create three Eau de Toilettes and two oil-based Perfume Essences. According to Nagel, when she proposed this to the CEO his answer was simply ‘yes’. So off to the origins of perfumery Nagel travelled, focusing on the noble and historic notes of myrrh, musk, agar wood and cedar, with which she has created five distinct fragrances that celebrate the styles of the orient in a way that is truly and faithfully ‘Hermès’.

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Sarah Jessica Parker, or ‘SJP’ as she is sometimes called, has always made fragrances that are a level above those of her celebrity counterparts. She is famously a lover of fragrance, having worn her own custom blend of Bonne Bell Skin Musk, Egyptian Oil and Comme des Garçons Avignon for years. Her first fragrance ‘Lovely‘ is iconic and beautiful and her collection of scents that followed always showcased something interesting whilst also managing to be accessible and wearable – the perfect balance. SJP simply gets it right when it comes to fragrance and her more recent offerings are further proof.

In 2016, SJP launched ‘Stash‘, her first fragrance in quite some time. The scent, which takes its name from the fact that it was passed around like an illicit substance during its development, due to its unique odour, had a big impact and many bloggers fell in love with it. I was one of those bloggers but I never got around to reviewing it. So today I’m featuring Stash alongside the latest addition to the collection ‘Stash Unspoken’. So from today Stash will no longer be hidden away and we will have the joy of, err, un-stashing it now (bad pun, sorry). Let’s get to it!

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Out of all of the modern CHANEL fragrances, Coco Mademoiselle is the most iconic. It is the Nº5 for the modern age and since its launch in 2001 it has been the fragrance of choice for an entire generation of women. It’s hard to top a perfume this successful and rather surprisingly, Coco Mademoiselle hasn’t been subjected to the flanker treatment in its almost 20 year life span (for contrast, Chance, which launched after Coco M, has three flankers) – that is until now. Enter Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum Intense from stage right.

Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum Intense is a good example of a perfume that does what it says on the bottle – it’s essentially a more intense version of the original. CHANEL calls it “naturally excessive” billing it as a “fragrance with no intention of being forgotten”. It’s a bold statement and to achieve this, CHANEL has amplified each of the key facets of the original – the juicy citrus, dark patchouli fraction, and the glowing amber – to paint a clearer picture of Coco Mademoiselle. Let’s see if it is as ‘Coco Mademoiselle’ and ‘Intense’ as it thinks it is!