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Bust out your shoulder pads and break out the grunge plaid, because this week’s Escentual column is an olfactory time traveling caper through the iconic scents of the last four decades. Click here to read.

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I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.

Do you ever have those days when you feel completely blissed out? Where there is not a care in the world and you feel great simply being alive? Well I do and I recently experience a wonderful day like this. It was the morning after the Fragrance Foundation Awards, at which Nick and I picked up our Jasmine Innovation Award for Fume Chat, so as you can imagine, on that morning after I was feeling, shall we say, ‘delicate’. But I have found that there is no hangover that can’t be sorted by a strong cup of Earl Grey so heading to Waterloo train station for a very special, early morning trip, I had myself sorted.

That trip was to Keyneston Mill in Dorset – the home of the very special Parterre fragrances. Now, if you haven’t heard of Parterre, you are missing out. With this brand, the name says it all and it simply means ‘of the earth’ and that’s because Parterre grows materials that are harvested and used in their fragrances. That may not sound that unique, after all, CHANEL does the same, but one must remember that this is all happening in England (a country not known for growing much perfumery-related) and for their first collection of fragrances Parterre has grown, harvested, distilled and used pelargonium, bergamot mint and vetiver. That’s right, vetiver, grown in England, not India, not Haiti, but England, of all places! I told you they were special!

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I love rose. Seriously, it might actually be my favourite perfume note/genre/ingredient. You may think of me as a white flower kind-of-a-guy but at heart, I’m a beautifully blooming rose (humour me here, people). I can’t get enough and my collection is ever-expanding with gorgeous roses across all olfactory families. So, when Penhaligon’s announced that they were relaunching their famous Elisabethan Rose, I must admit that they had me at ‘rose’. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit?

Elisabethan Rose was originally launched in 1984 and it was a perfectly pretty, if not a tad too light, rose with a prim attitude. I didn’t care for it particularly, nor did I hate it. This Elisabethan Rose however – the Elisabethan Rose of 2018 – is an entirely new fragrance and it would be fair to say that Penhaligon’s have brought it bang up to date with a very modern composition that plays with the classic idea of a rose but injects the sweetness and spaciousness demanded today. They call it a rose “fit for a Queen” with “a most commanding presence”. But is this a stoic rose fit for the pale-faced Elizabeth I or something softer and more corgi-friendly a la Elizabeth II? There’s only one way to find out…

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MUGLER have finally launched the highly-anticipated ALIEN MAN – a masculine counterpart to their blockbuster feminine ALIEN (launched in 2005) and their first male pillar since B*MEN in 2004. As you know, I’m a massive MUGLER fan so I have wasted no time in putting together some words in my weekly Escentual column to give you all of the details. So, if you want to know what ALIEN MAN smells like then all you need to do is click here and you’ll be taken on a little bit of a space voyage through this brand new scent.

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If you read yesterday’s post you will know that luxury house Amouage have just launched a brand new duo of fragrances – Imitation Man and Imitation Woman. Inspired by the glamour of 1970s New York City, these hazy, hedonistic fragrances speak of Amouage Creative Director, Christopher Chong’s personal journey to the city in this most iconic of decades. Moving to Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1975 as a young immigrant, NYC presented an entirely new set of experiences for Chong, who was fascinated by the fashion, art and subcultures that quickly surrounded him. In Imitation he celebrates these elements but also the freedom of growing up in such a fascinating metropolis at an audacious time.

I was lucky enough to be invited to join Amouage in the Big Apple for the launch of Imitation* and during my stay I got some time to sit down with Chong to quiz him about all things Imitation, Amouage and perfume. This was my first time actually meeting Christopher Chong, but after several years of social media interaction it feels like we have known each other for quite some time and he had always struck me as an olfactory visionary with a strong character. So when it came to meeting face-to-face I was not disappointed! Below you can find our chat, which covers the inspiration for Imitation but also details how Chong works with perfumers to translate elements from real life into olfactive form. Enjoy!

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– Glamour and Grit –

The exciting thing about Amouage is that one never knows where Creative Director Christopher Chong is going to take the brand next. His artistic vision is like no other’s and with his creations for Amouage he brings in concepts abstract to olfaction – notions such as death and gender identity – and crafts them into fragrant forms. The results are fascinating and it would be safe to say that nobody makes perfume quite like Amouage and Christopher Chong. These are rich, complex and sometimes challenging compositions that not everyone will love, and therein lies their strength. So yes, I’m always fascinated to see where Amouage goes next.

Well that ‘next’ turns out to be a time-travelling epic to 1970s New York City, the city and time in which Christopher Chong grew up. Arriving in the Lower East Side in the mid 1970s, the sights, sounds and scents of New York have clearly had a formative impact on the Creative Director, who this year brings us Imitation, a new duo of fragrances that represent the “subcultures of an iconic era”. With Imitation Man and Imitation Woman, whose names are inspired by Andy Warhol and his imitative art, Chong takes us on an olfactory odyssey of glamour and grit, evoking “audacious freedom” through the smooth velvet of the masculine and infamous nights out at Studio 54 in the women’s. They make for quite the pair, I tell you.

I was lucky enough to be invited to New York City to join Amouage for the launch of Imitation Man and Woman, with a wonderful opportunity to explore Christopher Chong’s neighbourhood on the Lower East Side (it’s THE place to stay in NY if you’re going, trust me). I was also lucky enough to spend some time with Christopher for an interview, which I will publish tomorrow. But for now, let’s get our heads and noses around the latest olfactory coupling from Amouage – Imitation.