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Lui by GUERLAIN

The volume of the output from the house of GUERLAIN is staggering. Last year they launched 15 fragrances and for 2017 they have launched 11 so far, which includes their blockbuster new signature fragrance Mon Guerlain. It’s easy to see why they are launching so many scents – not only do they wish to expand and make more of a name for themselves, but GUERLAIN have also amassed quite the collection of collections, each of which cries out for regular new addition. Where would we be without a new Aqua Allegoria or L’Art et Matiere fragrance each year? And what would La Petite Robe Noire do if she didn’t have a new dress for the season? Whilst not every single one of these fragrances can be a GUERLAIN masterpiece, some do strike gold, which brings me nicely on to today’s subject – something new created by GUERLAIN perfumer Delphine Jelk under the creative direction of GUERLAIN chief nose, Thierry Wasser.

For their latest fragrance, Lui, GUERLAIN are taking cues from the past. The name and bottle may look familiar to you and that’s because they pay homage to a GUERLAIN classic (1929’s Liù) with the feminine name and iconic tea caddy bottle of the original subverted into something more modern. Lui is billed as a fragrance that is “not entirely feminine, nor truly masculine”. GUERLAIN call it “the perfume for a new gender order” and describes this new unisex scent as having an “ambiguous fragrance trail” that is “based on benzoin”. Let’s be real, the idea of unisex perfumery is nothing knew, nor is it particularly unusual in this day and age, especially since the rise of niche has really blown the doors open on the idea that a perfume can be worn by whomever fancies it. But heck, it may not be a new idea but I’m always here to embrace the lack of gendering in a perfume. So let’s put Lui to the sniff test.

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L'Envol de Cartier Eau de Toilette
L’Envol de Cartier Eau de Toilette

There are so many fragrance launches each year it’s difficult to write about them all. Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you to the point reviews fragrances that are quick and easy to digest. After all, sometimes all one needs is a few lines to capture the essence of a scent. Speed Sniffs are perfume reviews without all of the faff and tell you whether the subject is something you want to sniff or not. So hurry up and read, because we don’t have much time…

I reviewed L’Envol de Cartier in its original Eau de Parfum concentration last year so I am designating this Eau de Toilette as a speed sniff, mainly because the differences between the concentrations are not huge – but they are notable, which is why L’Envol Eau de Toilette is worthy of a review. The first flanker to L’Envol presents a fresher signature, taking the honey, mead and iris notes of the original and making them weightless with citrus and gaiac wood. The result is a fresh oriental that gives wings to the complex richness of the original.

Sunny Side Up
Sunny Side Up

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Personally I’m a ‘poached atop a slice of avocado toast’ kind-of-a-guy, but then again I am a millennial so what else would you expect? It seems that Juliette Has a Gun likes their eggs served with a generous helping of sandalwood and a side of sass, because that’s exactly what the brand’s exciting new fragrance ‘Sunny Side Up‘ offers up. Juliette Has a Gun has always been a cheeky house, but they’ve really outdone themselves with this latest launch, creating a fragrance bottle that gives a birds eye view of a fried egg, sunny side up. Genius.

Positioning Sunny Side Up as a “happy therapy”, Juliette Has a Gun’s nose and founder Romano Ricci has set out to create something that “inspires happy and positive feelings”. The scent and its visuals take on a pop art feel, with the sunny theme of bright yellow running throughout. It plays on the idea of hot days on the beach where the sun is blazing so much it’s possible to fry eggs on the skin and the playfulness of the visuals (where the sun and model’s breasts are replaced with fried eggs) alludes to the care free spirit of this happy little perfume. To create the fragrance, Ricci started with the star material of sandalwood, which he paired with musks, jasmine and a coconut milk to accentuate the sandalwood’s “unctuous tonalities”. Intrigued yet?

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The Cora by Thameen

I’ll be perfectly honest and say that I’ve found the fragrances from the house of Thameen to be a bit hit or miss. I fell head over heels for the dry dusty rose of Noorolain Taif, but others in the collection left me cold.  I think that the concept of fragrances inspired by famous jewels is really evocative and the presentation has this cool clash where royal blue bottles in a classic shape clash against the modernism of their black, spiked caps. What’s more, the bottles really glow when they hit the light. I just felt that some of the fragrances weren’t as dynamic as perhaps the presentation suggested they might be.

Fast forward to Thameen’s latest launch and a pleasant surprise. This launch takes its inspiration (and its name) from the Cora sun-drop diamond – the largest, yellow, pear-shaped diamond in the world (racking up an impressive 110.3 carats and forming between 1 and 3 billion years ago – no biggie), so it’s no surprise that the fragrance itself is a rather large and showy scent. Described by Thameen as a fragrance “suffused with phosphorescence”, The Cora takes the traditional white floral and injects it with an entire sun’s worth of light.

Candy Crush: Blenheim Bouquet Classic Candle by Penhaligon's
Candy Crush: Blenheim Bouquet Classic Candle by Penhaligon’s

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.

Scented candles are much loved at Candy Perfume Towers. We like to have them in every room to ensure that each wing, turret and chamber is appropriately scented. Apparently we also have delusions of grandeur and for the sake of honesty I really should inform you that Candy Perfume Towers is actually an end of terraced abode (a rather lovely one it must be said) and not a castle. It’s not even officially called Candy Perfume Towers. Boo to reality, we say. Boo to it!

Anyway back to scented candles. These lovely objects are great because they can really set the mood in a room and they feel like a true indulgence, making for the perfect gift or even the ultimate treat. Good candles are those that have a strong presence but don’t overwhelm and I think I may have just found one that strikes that balance perfectly. That candle is the Blenheim Bouquet Classic Candle from Penhaligon’s, which boasts a timeless scent worn by all sorts of gents, from the gentry of the early 1900s to the hipsters of today. Oh and Winston Churchill too. That’s quite the endorsement now, isn’t it?

Two from Tom Daxon
Two from Tom Daxon

This year I was lucky enough to once again judge two fragrance categories at the Stylist Best Beauty Awards. It’s an honour to judge and what I love most about it, is that I always discover something new and exciting that I haven’t sniffed before. This year my discovery was the Tom Daxon line of fragrances. Now these are not new, nor are they fragrances that are difficult to get hold of, in fact it would have been super easy for me to try them long before now, I just didn’t get around to sniffing them with all the other stuff that’s out. So I’m officially late to the Tom Daxon party, but I am super chuffed to have been invited because there is some seriously good perfumery going on here.

Tom Daxon the brand is the brainchild of Tom Daxon Bowers who, at the age of 27 created his very own fragrance line. But fragrance and cosmetics are things that run in the family, and his mother spent time working as the Creative Director of Molton Brown. But Tom Daxon is very much the vision of the brand owner, taking inspiration from individual ingredients to create beautiful fragrances boasting the best synthetic and natural materials around. Working with Perfumers in Grasse, Tom Daxon Bowers has crafted a brand that is cohesive, distinct and abstract, but most of all he has created some truly beautiful fragrances.

There’s a clean, structural quality to the Tom Daxon collection that filters down from the stark minimalism of the sleek, architectural bottles to the fragrances themselves, which present bold accords with remarkable clarity and modernity. As an example of this I’m reviewing the two fragrances that won at this year’s Stylist Best Beauty Awards; Iridium (Best Niche Fragrance) and Magnolia Heights (Best Floral Fragrance). I think you’ll agree that they are very worthy winners indeed!