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’. 
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.
I am delighted to announce that the winner of the Etat Libre d’Orange samples (Tom of Finland and Archives 69) is….
Perfume and fashion go hand in hand in so many ways. The majority of major fashion houses have their own perfume lines and there are a number of scents that are inspired by clothing (No 5 & La Petite Robe Noire etc). One of the big ways fashion and perfume intertwine is through the search for vintage.
Vintage is huge in the fashion industry, fashionistas will search high and low to find that perfect vintage piece from Oscar de la Renta or Chanel. Perfumistas are the same, some will trawl through page after page on eBay trying to find just a few drops of vintage Miss Dior.
Recently I reviewed two perfumes (Tom of Finland and Archives 69) by those rebellious ‘Olfactory Libertines’ Etat Libre d’Orange.
Thanks to the lovely people at Nkdman.co.uk I have samples of both Tom of Finland and Archives 69 to give away.
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.
Us perfumistas/fumeheads/fragonerds/whatever it is we call ourselves are keen followers of the mantra ‘It’s all about the juice’, meaning that we don’t care about the marketing, the bottle or any of the other stuff that comes with a fragrance. We just care about the smell!
It seems that we may differ from the mainstream consumer.
In the mainstream perfume industry the bottle is seen as the key marketing tool for a fragrance. Those of you who watched the recent BBC4 documentary ‘Perfume’ would have seen that in the case of the latest Tommy Hilfiger fragrances (Loud for Him and Her) the bottle and the marketing were the prime focus of the development team and the juice very much seemed like an afterthought.
So how important is the bottle to a perfumista?
I asked my Twitter followers whether they were swayed by the bottle design when purchasing a fragrance. The general consensus seemed to be that no, the bottle doesn’t matter, however an attractive bottle does help. Some even mentioned that if the fragrance was good and the bottle was bad they would decant the juice into something more aesthetically pleasing. We kept coming back to the same conclusion – it’s all about the juice…
I feel that I may buck the perfumista trend slightly, if I love a perfume I will buy it, regardless of whether it has a nice bottle or not. That said, I do like a nice bottle and have on occasions found myself wanting a fragrance because it’s housed in a nice bottle (Hello Lola by Marc Jacob!) I can’t help that I’m drawn to shiny, pretty objects can I?!
There are some brands out there with some really fabulous bottles and in this post I would like to highlight just a few of my favourites.
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.’  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.