Guerlain is one of my favourite perfume houses, heck it may be most people’s favourite perfume house, and they’ve certainly had their up’s and down’s over the years. But despite many blips, discontinuations and the odd controversy, things definitely seem to be looking up over at Maison Guerlain. One of the smartest moves they have made in recent times is snatch-up the very talented Thierry Wasser for their in-house perfumer.
Since joining Guerlain, M. Wasser has created; two new major feminines, one major masculine, a new cologne and several flankers, limited editions and exclusives. He has tinkered with Guerlain’s heritage whilst adding his own contemporary stamp for the future.
February sees the release of two new flankers signed by M. Wasser; Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau and Homme L’Eau Boisée, and as with everything he has done since he started with Guerlain (OK maybe not everything) they are top notch. ‘L’Eau’ very much seems to be the fashion at Guerlain at the moment, but to write these two new editions of as simply lighter, watered down versions of the originals would be a grave mistake.
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.
“Here we are today, lamenting a long lost comic book hero who was my favourite fragrant superhero – B*Men.”
In the Thierry Mugler universe there used to be two superheroes who defended us perfume-loving civilians against the banality and lack of quality & creativity within the perfume industry. These superheroes were; A*men, whose superpower was the ability to shock and stun any villain with his audacious blend of lavender, mint, cocoa, coffee, patchouli & tar and B*Men, whose superpower was the ability to leave villains in awe of his intriguing, addictive odour.
Unfortunately one of these superheroes was defeated by his arch enemy ‘General Perfume-Consumer’, who knew that the hero’s kryptonite was to ignore him, and with that knowledge the evil villain made it their mission to destroy our beloved hero. So, here we are today, lamenting a long lost comic book hero who was my favourite fragrant superman – B*Men.
B*Men was released in 2004 and followed A*Men (or Angel Men as it sometimes known) as the second superhero themed masculine fragrance from the world-renowned couturier, and un-confirmed extra terrestrial – Thierry Mugler. Whilst it wasn’t presented as a flanker to A*Men, B*Men does showcase Mugler’s gourmand signature and can be seen as a lighter, less extreme version which would appeal to those who like their fragrances slightly less ‘over the top’.
“Theseus sits within that genre of confident and comfortable masculine fragrances that feel like they could be worn with the most casual or the smartest of clothing.”
Lorenzo Villoresi, the fragrance house by the Italian perfumer of the same name, is a brand that I have to admit that I haven’t had a great deal of exposure to. My experience with the house extends to a quite disastrous encounter with their most popular fragrance – Teint de Neige, a baby powder mess that really isn’t me at all. But, I won’t let one bad experience taint my idea of a brand, and I have heard positive things about the rest of the line, so it is with great interest that I try their latest release – Theseus.
Theseus, which takes it’s name from Greek mythology (he was the dude that killed the Minotaur), is the latest addition to Lorenzo Villoresi’s ‘Fantasy Fragrances’, a collection consisting of fragrances which “recall exotic and dreaming worlds, atmospheres and landscapes.” Theseus is described as:
“A fresh, radiant, sunny fragrance, evocative of ancient adventures over strange countries and seas, in the search of mythological lands. An elegant fragrance, noble and timeless, deep and velvety, full of rare, intense and precious scents. Citrus fruits, herbs, spices and mysterious resins. The seductive aroma of ancient wood and flowers, overflowing with delicate fragrances.”
I am a great admirer of Jean-Claude Ellena, I find his ‘minimalist’ style of perfumery intriguing, and I think he has done some great scents for Hermès’ (there is a ‘but’ coming) but I have to admit that I struggle slightly with the Hermessence Collection. I know that this confession may serve as some form of perfume heresy but I can’t help it. It’s not that I actively dislike the collection at all, I just find the ‘barely there’ approach frustrating and I’ve only come across one or two that I really like. That said, any new Jean-Claude Ellena fragrance is worth a sniff and I can appreciate his style (and talent) without being madly in love with it.
The Hermessence Collection, which Hermès describes as “A collection of olfactory poems, with sobriety and intensity, which freely explore new facets of emotion.”  is a line of fragrant watercolours, of which Santal Massoïa is the latest addition. Like others in the collection, Santal Massoïa is a light, transparent interpretation of one of perfumery’s most glorious ingredients – sandalwood.
I’m not entirely sure why, but ever since the news of Kokorico started hitting the Blogosphere I have been absolutely desperate to try it. Perhaps it’s the fact that Jean Paul Gaultier, despite being somewhat over-exposed, is a solid line of well-made fragrances or, perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a sucker for a quirky bottle, and Kokorico’s bottle is definitely full of quirk. Whatever the reason, I was very glad when esteemed perfume blogger Persolaise gifted me a sample of Kokorico to try.
Kokorico (isn’t the name fun to say?!) is the latest masculine release by Jean Paul Gaultier and it has big shoes to fill. Following in the footsteps of such a colossal bestseller as Gaultier’s Le Mâle is no mean feat, and after the discontinuation of Gaultier’s second masculine release Fleur du Mâle, the pressure is on for the brand to have a success.
This latest addition to the Jean Paul Gaultier line is composed by the olfactory dream team of Annick Menardo (Lolita Lempicka, Hypnotic Poison and Bvlgari Black) and Olivier Cresp (Angel, Kenzo Amour and Juniper Sling) and is described as “a powerful and explosive aphrodisiac, emphasising woody and cocoa notes”  and the name ‘Kokorico’ comes from the french name for the rooster’s cry, their version of ‘Cock-a-Doodle-Doo’. Everything about the marketing of this fragrance; the bright red ‘graffiti’, the pushed up feathers and the confident strutting of Jon Kortajarena in the tv/print ad screams cockiness and masculine confidence, I’m just not entirely sure the fragrance is on board with the idea.
Finally after lots of hard work, late nights and multiple cups of tea (Lavender Earl Grey if you’re interested) the dreaded University assignments have been completed and I can spend some time on the writing that I enjoy!
Thankfully the kindness of fellow perfumistas will always get you through any situation and thanks to the lovely Ines of All I am – a redhead
, who after reading my Guide to Tuberose, insisted that I tried a number of other tuberoses, I have had the opportunity to distract myself from my work with perfume. My ability to procrastinate is rather impressive, in fact it is so impressive I had to include it within the title of this post.
Anyway, on to Histoires de Parfums! Included in my sample care package of tuberoses (and a few other goodies) was all three fragrances in the Histoires de Parfums Tubéreuse Trilogy. Now, as you all know I’m a sucker for tuberose so the idea of a trilogy was rather exciting to me, so imagine my surprise when, upon trying all three I discovered that none of the scents were particularly tuberose-centric at all. That’s right, these three tuberoses aren’t really tuberoses, a fact that would be disappointing to me if they weren’t so good, tuberose or no tuberose.
Neela Vermeire is a new Parisian based Niche line that explores the history of India through three vibrant and colourful fragrances. Each fragrance has been created by the very talented Bertrand Duchaufour and is representative of a particular period in India’s history, they are as follows:
Moghul British Raj
With her first three fragrances, Neela Vermeire offers a festival of colour, fragrances that showcase exotic ingredients and smell as vibrant, lively and diverse as the country that inspires them.
“This diversity has inspired Neela Vermeire to create and dedicate the first trio of fragrances to India – her native country – while living and working in Paris, her adopted city and perfume capital of the world. Neela’s education in social sciences and training in law, may not have any direct connection to perfumes but her formative years in India have had a great and lasting impact on her “olfactory development.” 
Oud is the latest addition to Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or collection, which focuses on creating perfumes centred around a single note in an intelligent and creative way. The fragrances within the collection are; Oud, Vanille, Tubereuse, Vetyver, Musc, Ambre and Cuir. The names may lead you to think that these fragrances are typical, single note scents, but that is far from the truth, each one is very much a composition with an interesting take on the eponymous note.
Les Nombres d’Or
“Seven sensational yet easy, relaxed fragrances from the Mistress of Perfumery.
Inspired by the ancient aesthetic theory of the Golden Ratio, Mona has created a suite of eaux de parfumss which have all her signature notes of glamour, mystery and romance but which are constructed with with the ultimate luxury of classic simplicity.” 
Oud in particular has received a lot of positive hype in the perfume blogosphere since it’s release earlier this year. Enthusiastic reviews from the likes of Olfactoria’s Travels and Eyeliner on a Cat, bloggers who’s opinion I hold in high esteem, had raised my hopes for this scent and I couldn’t wait to make my merry little way across to Les Senteurs in London to try it.
“My general impression of Le Feu d’Issey is that it’s an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ scent, in the sense that there is just so much going on, in fact, I would go as far as saying that the kitchen sink has probably been thrown in as well.”
When I first thought about the Gone, But Not Forgotten Series there were a few perfumes which I knew absolutely had to be added and some that I thought I would explore after receiving suggestions from my readers. Le Feu d’Issey is one of those fragrances that I knew had to be part of this series, but there was one little snag – I had never smelled it and it’s nigh on impossible to get hold of.
Luckily for me Perfumeland is full of lovely, wonderful and generous people and none are lovelier than the ultra-lovely Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels who came to my rescue and very kindly donated a sample of Le Feu d’Issey so that I could review it for this series. Thanks B!
Despite being discontinued, Le Feu d’Issey was given a five star rating by Luca Turin in Perfumes The Guide and is also included in Sanchez and Turin’s latest book ‘The Little Book of Perfumes’ as one of the top 100 perfumes of all time. It also has quite the cult following and a reputation for being wonderfully weird. All of these facts have ensured that Le Feu d’Issey has stayed at the top of my ‘Must Test’ list (a list that gets longer and longer by the day) for a good few years, and when I did eventually get to try it I certainly wasn’t disappointed.