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!

Speed Sniff: Iris d'Or
Speed Sniff: Iris d’Or

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…

Do you ever sniff a fragrance and it stops you dead in your tracks? Sometimes you really have to spend time with a fragrance to really work out its nuances, but with others you have an instant reaction to it. When this reaction is positive it makes for a magical moment where one knows that they’ve found a scent that speaks to them in an entirely new way. This is exactly how I felt when I smelled Iris d’Or from Bvlgari’s new Splendida collection.

How Queer is Your scent?
How Queer is Your Scent?

That’s a pretty odd question, right? How queer is your scent? I mean, we’re all just out there trying to decipher the odour profile of a scent and what the heck it smells like, not to mention whether we like it or not, or whether it has enough longevity and sillage to get us through the day, right? Let alone trying to work out how queer it is for Pete’s sake! What does that even mean, anyway? How can a scent be queer? Is that even a thing? This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently. Ever since i shot some queer-inspired photos for my review of Frederic Malle’s Superstitious, in fact.

Being a member of the LGBTQIA community (yes, we like our letters because it’s important to be inclusive) I have always felt that one of the key drivers for true acceptance is representation. Whether people are accepting of the community or not, it exists and queer people have the right to be represented in all mediums, whether that be in movies, music, art, or even perfume. This is something I want to explore in this little think piece, but it’s important to note though, that I am one person and not representative of the entire LGBT+ community. I am a white, cis-gendered gay male and I can only speak for me, and the community is so much more broader than any one person. So I hope we can share our varied opinions of the subject of queerness in scent, because it’s an important topic.

So what is a queer fragrance? After all, one could argue that if a perfume can’t have a gender, can it really have a sexuality? Well, to me, a queer fragrance isn’t about making a fragrance that is gay or trans, it’s about any scent that has a concept inspired by LGBT+ culture. It could be as simple as a fragrance inspired by a queer icon, or maybe one that celebrates queer art. It’s about telling the rich tapestry of stories within the history and culture of the LGBT+ community, which leads me nicely onto the subject of perfume and story telling.

This Week's Candy Crush!
This Week’s Candy Crush!

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.

I LOVE a body product, especially a shower gel. There’s something just so luxurious about slathering on one’s favourite scent in a lotion, cream or a gel. These products are the perfect thing to layer with a beloved scent, extending and emphasising it or for mixing it up with something unexpected to create contrast. They also make perfect gifts especially if it’s a treat yo’self kind of gift (i.e. the best kind)…

L’Artisan Parfumeur recently (well, relatively recently anyway) launched a new range of Shower Gels and Body Lotions in five of their emblematic scents. Celebrating the iconic classics of the range, these products are housed in the most handsome packaging ever: sleek black pumps that are as functional as they are pleasing to look at. So what is there not to crush over? New ways to wear iconic scents: check. Beautiful packaging: check. Amazing smells: check. Consider it a Candy Crush!

New from Comme des Garçons
New from Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons are real innovators when it comes to the olfactory arts. They’ve created some of the most unique and daring mainstream fragrances on the market and within their more niche lines have explored single notes of themes with the painstaking focus of a curator. They are a brand that does not lend itself to trends or marketing influence, they simply make beautiful and intriguing things. Much in the same that Rei Kawakubo plays with the form in her fashion, Comme des Garçons aims to subvert structure in their olfactory output too, always with fascinating results.

For their latest launch, Comme des Garçons are exploring “destruction, construction and creation” by taking inspiration from one of the most ubiquitous materials on earth: concrete. Named after the material, Concrete the fragrance aims to bring new contrasts to the idea of a material that is known for its solid composition, demolishing all preconceptions. So if you’re expecting something rocky, hard and brutalist in this fragrance, you may want to think again…

Before we get on to the scent itself it’s impossible not to pay homage to the awesomeness of the bottle, which is actually coated in concrete. That’s right, actual concrete! This gives a satisfying heft to the signature pebble design but also a really surprising softness that is tactile and pleasant. I love it and what’s more, it comes covered in bubblewrap to protect it, hinting at the fact that there may just be a hidden fragility to this usually hard and robust material. Genius.

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A Day of Roses

I am obsessed with roses.

It’s taken about two years of intense rose-sniffing but I have become wholly and completely obsessed with rose perfumes. I’d even go as far saying that rose is my favourite note. In fact, I’m going to say exactly that: rose is my favourite note in perfumery. I simply cannot get enough and whilst I’ve already written a guide to rose perfumes and even battled them on Fume Chat, I feel as I haven’t quite got my adoration for the note out of my system yet. So with that in mind, here’s a bit of a different approach to an article that allows me to wax lyrical about roses once more.

Roses are one of the most versatile ‘notes’ in perfumery. I say ‘note’ but there really is a vast array of rose materials used in perfumery, some to give a rosy impression and others to add complexity to other compositions. I want to celebrate this versatility of rose but instead of just compiling a guide to roses I’ve decided to showcase the many gradients of rose by creating a day of roses. The idea is very simple: these are roses for morning, noon and night and if you want, you could simply pick one for the time you need it, or if you’re adventurous you could transition through all nine during the day. Whatever you choose, I hope you’ll agree that there really is a rose for every minute, moment and mood.

It's Vlog Time Again!
It’s Vlog Time Again!

Wednesday is officially my vlogging day – yay!

That means that each Wednesday morning I’ll be bringing you a brand new fragrance-related video on my YouTube channel. Last week I debuted the channel with a video review of AURA by MUGLER (watch it here if you missed it), which has already clocked up nearly 1,000 views. Thanks so much all of the support. It was pretty daunting putting myself so out there and I’m really glad everyone has liked my vlogging efforts (that should be ‘effort’) so far.

For this week’s vlog I’m focussing on some rather lovely scents for summer. It’s been super hot here over the last couple of weeks and it’s really that time of year where we all push those heavy orientals and winter warmer scents to the back of the cupboard, and pull out those lighter more refreshing things. But one can still rock some pretty intriguing stuff in summer, not just your usual citruses and colognes, and if you’re stuck for scented inspiration this season – look no further!