An Evening of Leather

I have to admit that I’m not the hugest fan of leather in fragrance, mainly because I really haven’t a great deal of exposure to the note, which is why I was particularly interested in attending last week’s ‘Evening of Leather’ organised by Lila Das Gupta of Perfume Lovers London/Olfactory Events. I wanted to explore leather, deconstruct and understand it, but most of all I wanted to find a leather that I loved.

Perfume Lovers London is a Meetup Group run by Olfactory Events in conjunction with Basenotes. They have so far held two events, with many more exciting meet ups in the pipeline. An Evening of Leather was hosted by Lila Das Gupta who has a penchant for leather fragrances, was the perfect captain for our voyage of discovery of a note that is steeped in history and comes in many guises.

An Evening of Leather promised to “map out the geography of leather fragrances from the meaty to the haughty” and I’m please to say that it was an event that delivered on all counts. I may have walked into the event being clueless about, and not really loving leather but I left with a new found appreciation for the genre and a head full of leather fragrances that demanded to be explored further.

Lutense

In 2010 the king of dark, brooding orientals and baroque florals, Serge Lutens, decided to launch an ‘anti-perfume’, a perfume that was designed to give you “a lasting sensation of wearing a ‘clean’ scent” [1]. Cue a huge outcry from the perfume community and hardcore Lutens fanboys (and girls); “He’s doing WHAT?! A clean scent?! Looks like Uncle Serge has finally lost it” they said.

Aristotle said “There is no great genius without a mixture of madness” and It is clear to me that Uncle Serge hasn’t lost it, instead it seems that he has quite the sense of humour. I can just see him sat in his office above his flagship boutique in the Palais Royal, chuckling away at the thought of the die-hard Lutenites trying L’Eau for the very first time. In my head he utters Miranda Hart’s catchphrase “such fun” as he tries to stifle his giggles.

This year Lutens has decided to take the joke that little bit further with the addition of L’Eau Froide, and as the name suggests, this time the water he is playing around with is is cold. Where L’Eau is described as a new kind of clean, L’Eau Froide is “Some fresh air in the rusty old water pipes.” [2] I told you he had a sense of humour! L’Eau was an essay in cleanliness and purity but L’Eau Froide is an essay in austerity and is just as gothic and Lutensien as you would hope it to be.

Mad Scientist

The Mad Perfume Scientist

‘Layering’ – the practice of layering two fragrance compositions to create weird and wonderful combinations, has always seemed completely alien to me. I have always enjoyed the fragrances in my collection exactly the way they were created (I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise) and have never felt the need to try and improve or change them by adding something new.

Despite my skepticism, layering seems to be something that a lot of perfume-lovers do and enjoy. Some brands, such as Jo Malone, even actively encourage the practice of layering with their fragrances. These ‘layering’ combinations are designed to enhance the perfume experience, but I can’t help but feel that they are just a cheap ploy with the sole intent of convincing consumers to buy extra bottles.

Despite my skepticism, this layering malarky got me thinking (a dangerous habit, I know); is there any real merit to mixing perfumes? and; Can you actually enhance a perfume by layering it with another? So, in the interest of science I thought that I would conduct a few layering experiments to see whether there is any merit to it, or whether it’s just a bunch of phooey.

Halle Berry

Awards night is always a tad emotional…

2011 has been a big year for the perfume industry, it has seen a total of 1200 [1] new perfume releases and as expected with such a high volume of perfumes being unleashed onto the market, it was a mixed bag – some were great, some were good and some were downright terrible. Sifting through the plethora of perfume releases this year has been great fun and for this end of year round-up I have picked out those fragrances that I feel are the very best of 2011, my ‘best picks’ if you will. These fragrances are the ones that deserve to be celebrated for their artistic merit, flair and quality, oh and because they smell good too!

There are a four main categories; Best Feminine, Best Masculine, Best Niche and Best Flanker, each with a winner, and because there were quite a high amount of fragrances worth celebrating this year I have also included a number of runners up for most categories. In addition to the first four categories I have included an extra one entitled ‘The Candy Perfume Boy’s Best Discoveries of 2011’ which celebrates three fragrances that I have discovered and fallen in love with this year.

Before moving on to my ‘Best Picks of 2011’ I would like to thank each and every one of you who reads and supports this blog. As The Candy Perfume Boy is just about to reach 50,000 hits in the next day or so, I must take a moment to reflect on how great this experience has been so far. I truly value everyone who visits and interacts with me on this blog and my absolute highlight of this year has been the interactions and friendships I have formed through The Candy Perfume Boy and Twitter (you all know who you are!). They are as important, if not more so, than the perfumes that have brought us all together.

O Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum! is a joint blogging event where the finest of perfume bloggers have got together to each post a trio of reviews focusing on woody fragrances. Taking part in the project are;

All I Am – A Redhead: Part 1 & Part 2, Another Perfume Blog, Beauty, Bacon, Bunnies, Beauty on the Outside, EauMG, Eyeliner on a Cat, Fragrant Reviews (@FragrantReviews), Muse in Wooden Shoes, Olfactoria’s Travels, Parfumieren, Redolent of Spices, Scent of the Day, Suzanne’s Perfume Journal and Undina’s Looking Glass.

Please head over to their blogs to view their posts!

My tastes tend to lean towards those perfumes that are either floral, oriental or gourmand, and woody fragrances, whilst not being my favourite type, belong to a genre that I have learned to love as my tastes have developed and improved along my perfume-sniffing journey. For this reason O Tannenbaum! has been an intriguing post to write and I have tried to choose three scents that represent completely different aspects of the woody genre.

Animalistic

As Autumn and Winter draw in, it becomes time for us Perfumistas to have a wardrobe reshuffle. We put away our lighter, airier perfumes and drag out our rich orientals, warm woody florals, mouthwatering gourmands and our musks. In autumn and winter we look for those fragrances that bring us comfort when it’s cold and those that match the colours and festivities of the cooler seasons.

Muscs Koublaï Khän (Serge Lutens) and Musc Ravageur (Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle) are two of the most popular musk fragrances on the market, in fact they have reached cult status amongst Perfumistas and love them or hate them, nobody can deny that they are both formidable characters.

Despite the fact that they are both so popular and are both musk fragrances, Muscs Koublaï Khän and Musc Ravageur are two very different fragrances, in fact the similarity stops with the ‘Musc’ in both of their names. In this review I’m going to put pitch these two ‘Titans’ head to head to see which will be the victor and earn the accolade of ‘King of Musks’.

Carnations

I’ve had a vase of purple carnations sat in my hallway for about two weeks now, they are suitably cheerful and they smell spicy and gorgeous. The problem with carnations is that they tend to hang around. Yes, they’re very beautiful but I’m at the point where I want them to move along so that I can refresh the vase with something else.

This is also how I feel about Vitriol d’Oeillet.

Serge Lutens has described Vitriol d’Oeillet as an ‘angry carnation’ and on the Serge Lutens website the description simply says “What is it, Doctor Jekyll?” [1] These descriptions lead me to believe that my tiny spray vial was going to unleash a huge, evil carnation monster that was going to eat me and ransack my house. A little farfetched I know, but I do have an active imagination.

What did come flying out of my little spray vial was something completely unexpected; A pretty and realistic spicy bunch of carnations. Just like the ones currently lurking in my hallway.