Got a couple to buy perfume for this Christmas? Fear ye not, my latest Escentual column has you covered with some awesome perfume power couples. Click here to read.
In our latest episode of Fume Chat (the perfume podcast) we’re getting down and dirty with a battle of filthy (dirty, animalic, pungent, beastly, carnal, disgusting) fragrances. If you’re not familiar with our battle episodes, the format is simple: Nick and I pick three (or four) fragrances on a theme and then sniff them together in the episode. A guest judge determines who has picked the best selection of scents and is therefore, the victorious winner of the battle. It’s simple and a ton of fun too!
Instead of a Christmas gift guide this year, I’m switching out my regular Candy Crush posts for just as regular Christmas Crushes instead. In these posts over the coming weeks you’ll find some wonderfully scented gifts just in time for the holiday season, with products that I am crushing on. So get ready for some marvellous Christmas gift inspiration!
The theme at Penhaligon’s this season is ‘Christmas is in the Air’ and with this Christmassy concept they are mixing the two things that make their identity so unique: tradition and eccentricity. Their golden packaging is accented by beautiful red ribbons, with what appears to be a rather traditional, Victorian scene as the illustration. Look closer though, and the signature quirk of Penhaligon’s is revealed! Carriages driven by birds and flying clocks lead one to remember that the world of Penhaligon’s is a topsy turvy one, and that’s what makes it so wonderful to explore!
This Christmas, Penhaligon’s have curated a fine selection of gifts for any of those eccentric beauties in your life. There’s perfume aplenty, with gorgeous sets and mini-collections amongst their expansive collection of scent. There’s even a special home fragrance for this year, not to mention many other quirky things to love. So in this extravaganza of a Christmas Crush post I’m brining you a veritable feast of Penhaligon’s gifts to hopefully inspire your present-buying this holiday season. With any luck we’ll have ticked some people off your gift list by the end of the post no problem.
Consider the above a date for your diaries, people! To celebrate the launch of edition 4 of NEZ The Olfactory Magazine, I will be joining perfumer Lyn Harris (of Perfumer H) and art historian Christina Bradstreet (also Events Manager at the National Gallery) as part of a perfume roundtable hosted by Fragrantica’s Eddie Bulliqi. The subject is ‘Is Perfume Art?’ so I’m positive that we will have lots to talk about, with varying viewpoints from a panel consisting of a perfumer, historian and blogger.
The Candy Perfume Boy has afforded me with a huge number of wonderful opportunities and amazing moments over the years, but to date, none have been more awe inspiring than a trip that happened earlier this year. I was invited to attend the launch of an entirely new brand called Anima Vinci in none other than Grasse: the home of perfumery in the South of France. Who could say no to a morning spent picking rosa centifolia in a small field in the centre of Grasse, followed by a trip to Art et Parfum, the home of legendary perfumery Edmond Roudnitska? Not this blogger, that’s for sure!
Anima Vinci was founded by Nathalie Vinciguerra, a Corsican native who has dedicated her career to perfumery, working at Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur as Creative Fragrance Director. During her time with these brands she developed over 40 fragrances, so Nathalie knows perfumery, that much is evident and her fragrance brand celebrates both passion and energy (two things Nathalie has in abundance) through five fragrances that pay homage to key olfactory families. In Latin, Anima means ‘soul’ and Vinci means ‘to conquer’ and if these five fragrances do anything it’s conquer the senses and energise the soul. Anima Vinci is a brand you’re going to want to know about and in this piece I hope to introduce you to the five wonderful fragrances in the collection.
Please indulge me whilst I tell you a little tale that informs you all you need to know about Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. I was sit in the lobby of the Soho Hotel the other day, having just attended an evening with Perfumer Christine Nagel hosted by the Fragrance Foundation. It had been a long day and I desperately needed to charge my phone (for instagram purpose, obviously). As I sat there, minding by own little fragrant business, I watched industry bods trickle past me on their way out. After about ten minutes, two journalists walked past and their conversation went something along the lines of:
“You’re wearing Baccarat Rouge by Kurkdjian, aren’t you?”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes, you are. I can smell it.”
“I’m not. I think I’d know.”
“I can smell it!”
Guess who was rocking the Baccarat Rouge? Oh yeah, that’s right, this bad candy boy right here, that’s who! I fessed up, don’t you worry. But this little tale just goes to show how distinct and unique a signature the fragrance has. In fact, I don’t think I said this when I reviewed Baccarat Rouge 540 last year, but I think it is easily the cleverest perfume composition of the last five years. For a short formula it does a lot, evoking white and red hot crystal with novel accords that feel entirely new. It’s a technical marvel but it’s also a rather unrestrained essay in excess, from a perfumer who usually brings us spacious, chic beauty with a steady hand. I’ll stop beating around the bush and just come out and say that Baccarat Rouge 540 is a god damn masterpiece, and now it comes in an even more lush and luxurious Extrait de Parfum. Colour me excited!