Honour Woman and Honour Man are the latest duo of fragrances from Omani niche house Amouage. Both fragrances are inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s famous Madame Butterfly and are said to ‘unfold the tale of love and betrayal, hope and despair’ and are ‘as rich and commanding as Puccini’s score’. [1]

Both fragrances were created under the direction of Christopher Chong (if you don’t follow him on Twitter you absolutely should, he can be found @cchonguk), and as usual they are both similar in the grand Amouage style, but at the same time they are both remarkably different.

Archives 69 is the latest fragrance release from those fun-loving perfume rebels at Etat Libre d’Orange and is supposed to represent ‘The Illusion of Sex’. The blurb that came with my sample (including a rather obscene image that I dare not post here, but let’s just say that it makes a play on the number 69) states that Archives 69 is ‘The End of Innocence’.

As mentioned in my review of Tom of Finland, I am somewhat of an Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy, so you can imagine that the news of the release of Archives 69 (named after the location of the ELD’O boutique in Paris) was very exciting to me indeed.

Archives 69 is the first scent by Etat Libre d’Orange that I have found difficulty in linking the scent to the concept, to me it smells strikingly cosy and fuzzy and I certainly don’t detect any of the juxtapositions between light and dark mentioned in the ad copy. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like it, far from it, It’s just that there seems to be a good degree of discord between the scent, the name and the concept.

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.

I have a confession to make:  I am unashamed to admit that I am an Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy. I enjoy their fun, pop art-like scents with wacky names and over-the-top marketing, which in my opinion needs to be taken with a rather large pinch of salt.

Tom of Finland was released by Etat Libre d’Orange in 2008 and was created by perfumer Antoine Lie who has created a number of other ELDO scents such as; Rien, Vierges et Toreros, Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection and the Infamous Sécrétions Magnifiques.

The fragrance is inspired by the drawings of Finnish erotic artist Touko Laaksonen who is more famously known as Tom of Finland. Tom of Finland’s drawings usually depict leather clad, muscular men in overtly sexual poses. Only Etat Libre d’Orange would even consider creating a scent for such an artist.

How do you like your Jasmine? Do you take it with bright purple lipstick, red patent heels and a smoking attitude? Do you like your Jasmine to be dressed up like Jessica Rabbit in her sparkly red (almost obscene) gown casually popping pink bubblegum?

If your answer to any of the above is ‘Yes’ then Lust by Gorilla Perfume may be the jasmine for you. This fragrance is not for the faint hearted or the shrinking violets. If you consider yourself a wallflower then you are best to move along quickly, you may find what’s in this bottle slightly terrifying.

Lust is a jasmine-and-a-half, the jasmine to end all jasmines. Have I got my point across?

Yuzu Man is the latest masculine release from Caron and personally I feel a bit sorry for it. It can’t be easy being the new guy on the block when your brothers are such highly acclaimed scents as Pour un Homme, Yatagan and Le Troisième Homme. Yuzu Man has a lot to live up to, and the standards for masculines set by the house are very high.

Does Yuzu Man live up to The high standards set by its counterparts?

Esprit d’Oscar is the new fragrance from esteemed fashion house Oscar de la Renta. It is the first new fragrance from the house since Red Satin in 2007.

Esprit d’Oscar was created by perfumer Frank Völki and is meant to be a re-imagining of the original Oscar de la Renta perfume ‘Oscar’ which was created in 1977. According to the brand, the structure of the original has been ‘refreshed’ and made more ‘contemporary’.

I have not tried the original Oscar, so I’m not able to compare the two or comment on whether Esprit d’Oscar is a worthy reinterpretation, however the general consensus in the perfume blogosphere is that it is.