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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
There have been a ton of big launches in the first half of this year, one of which is the eye-catching (pun intended) Kenzo World (created by none other than Mr Francis Kurkdjian). Check out my review on Escentual now.