Bloggers x 4
A Gaggle of Perfume Bloggers: Birgit & Tara of Olfactoria’s Travels, Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume and me, The Candy Perfume Boy.

The Perfume Lovers London events organised by Lila Das Gupta as part of Olfactory Events are a fabulous opportunity to learn about perfume, to talk to and meet with like minded perfumeophiles and discover a plethora of new, exciting perfumes. It’s safe to say that every event is a joy to attend so the news that one of my favourite bloggers, Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels, was going to be holding her very own event was very exciting indeed!

I’m sure that I’m preaching to the choir here, but Olfactoria’s Travels has become a go-to blog for many perfume lovers and it’s teeming with beautifully written reviews, informed discussion and passion from Birgit and Tara, who have both changed the face of the perfume blogosphere.

For her event, Birgit promised to take us on a journey through the world of amber, a sensible subject choice seeing as she has rightfully earned the title of “Queen of Amber” through her love for the genre. Now, I’ve made it no secret that amber isn’t my favourite genre of perfumes, but that’s not to say that I don’t like it either, I simply haven’t had the right amount of exposure to it, but now thanks to Birgit and Perfume Lovers London I feels as if I am well-versed on the subject!

Katie Puckrik

Katie Puckrik Does Indeed ‘Smell’

YouTube frightens me slightly. Maybe I’m just a wimp but despite the wealth of content YouTube has more loons, weirdos (not the good kind) and trolls than any of the other ‘tubes’, including the London Underground, which indeed has its fair share. Other than the odd music video and occasional perfume-related video I really don’t visit it much and I admire those who can put themselves out there, warts and all.

One person who is not afraid of YouTube and actively embraces the medium with as much gusto as one person can conjure is Katie Puckrik of Katie Puckrik Smells. Katie’s YouTube reviews are pithy, fun and are splashed with charismatic wit, which is no surprise as Katie Puckrik is someone with oodles of charisma and she has been a key player in changing the way that perfume is discussed.

As a general rule of thumb I am not a big fan of YouTube perfume reviews, with my tastes lying with the written word rather than the spoken, but I always make sure I watch Katie’s videos because she talks about scent in not only an intelligent way, but because she makes it so much fun. It was for this reason that I jumped at the chance of spending an evening with Katie Puckrik organised by Olfactory Events and Perfume Lovers London.

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.

Sun Through the Trees

Oud is a note that seems to have had a great deal of popularity over the last few years. Most perfume houses have an ‘oud’ in their line-up, in fact many have several – anybody who’s anyone has got one. Despite it’s prolific presence in today’s perfume landscape, it cannot be denied that oud is a wonderfully powerful material, that when used properly can be one of the most beautiful smells known to man.

Oud is the jigsaw piece that helps fuse European and Eastern styles of perfumery together, and whilst the oud that is used in western perfumery is much cleaner (and largely synthetic) than that used in the east, it has coloured the face of perfumery in bright arabian hues and taken us on exotic voyages to faraway lands.

Oud

Oud/Oudh/Aoud/Agarwood is a “dark, resinous heartwood” [1] that forms in infected Aquilaria trees. The infection is due to a specific type of mould, that changes the colour and density of the wood, leaving a strong, dark resin (the oud) in the core.

Due to its rarity and variation in quality and scent profile, oud is a very difficult and expensive ingredient to work with, hence why the majority of oud fragrances use a synthetic substitute.

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.

Violet Blonde

I like Tom Ford, I find the overall aesthetic of his brand appealing, I thought A Single Man was a triumph for a first time director and he may just be the most ridiculously good looking man on the planet (a fact that makes me hate him just a little). My thoughts on Tom Ford’s perfumes however, aren’t as glowing, in fact they are quite mixed;

Private Blends: I’ve always thought that the Private Blends are OK, I even quite like one or two (Oud Wood especially) but they are ridiculously overpriced for what they are, thus causing my general opinion of them to simply be ‘meh’.

Black Orchid: Gorgeous, dark oriental that is great for half an hour but then it proceeds to get on my tits, it’s one of those scents that, whilst smelling fantastic, takes a lot of effort to wear. I have to be in the right mood for Black Orchid.

White Patchouli: I wanted to love White Patchouli, you don’t know how much I wanted to, the bottle would look so good in my collection and the ad campaign with Erykah Badu was STUN-NING, BUT I point blank refuse to wear anything that smells like French Onion Soup. That said, I haven’t given up on it just yet.

Tom Ford For Men: My boyfriend/fiancée/long suffering wife’s signature scent. What more can I say?

Grey Vetiver: A really nice barbershop vetiver BUT why bother with that when you could have Guerlain Vetiver? One vetiver is enough for me.

Black Orchid Voile de Fleur: Surprisingly, this short-lived flanker to Black Orchid is the best of the bunch, creamy, dirty and slightly spicy flowers, right up my street!

Violet Blonde is the latest fragrance to join Black Orchid and White Patchouli as part of Tom Ford’s ‘Signature Collection’. I guess you’re now thinking, ‘I know what you think of the others, but what about Violet Blonde? Well, to put it simply; Violet Blonde was love at first sniff.

Medicine

If like me, you’re fed up with the constant wave of flankers (please see my review of the two new CK One flankers) then I hope you will take this post as some kind of remedy, a tonic if you will. I could spend hours and hours moaning about how I hate flankers and name and shame some of the worst, that would be very easy, and not entirely true. What I would like to do instead is just make a few personal recommendations of what I think are some of the best.

What is a Flanker?

Most of you reading this blog will be familiar with flankers but for those who aren’t; a flanker is essentially a fragrance released using the same (or similar) name as another fragrance by the same house, think of it as a sort of sequel, so for example; Live Jazz is a flanker to the original Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent. The actual juice can be very similar, slightly similar or completely unrelated to the original fragrance.

Flankers are a cheap way of marketing a new fragrance without having to spend a huge amount of money on new concepts, bottle moulds and advertising. They are also a great way of marketing a ‘new’ product to consumers who are already fans of the original fragrance.

Not all flankers are bad, some brands use the opportunity to create a new interpretation of an established fragrance and these tend to be the flankers that work best, they bring something new and interesting to the table.

Marc Jacobs

I don’t know about you, but when I wear fragrance I wear it for myself and myself alone. Sure, I love to share my passion with others, that is a huge part of my hobby, but when I wear perfume, I wear it because I enjoy it.

And I wear what I like!

Ever since I bought my first proper perfume (Kingdom by Alexander McQueen) I have loved ‘feminine’ fragrances. Looking through my collection it’s obvious that the ratio of feminine and masculine is weighted considerably towards the feminine. To this day I find myself drawn to the feminine releases much more than masculines. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy wearing masculine fragrances but they just don’t wow me the way a lot of the feminines do.

I guess that I’m the King/Queen of fragrant gender bending.