Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin – more widely known simply as ‘Inez and Vinoodh’ – are world-famous fashion and art photographer, renowned for snapping pictures for the likes of Björk, Lady Gaga, Vivienne Westwood and Vogue, just to name a very small few. They are highly respected for their versatile approach to photography and are, in their own way, quasi-celebrities within the art world.
Not content simply as a twosome, Inez and Vinoodh collaborated with popular niche brand Byredo to create a “private edition” fragrance to serve as a Christmas gift for beloved friends and clients. Rumour has it that the fragrance was so well received that they simply had no choice to release it for the hoi polloi to enjoy – thus the wide release of Byredo’s latest fragrance, ‘1996’.
Inspired by the photo ‘Kirsten 1996’ (see above), 1996 is described by Byredo founder Ben Gorham as “an olfactory snapshot not only of the image but of our emotional response to it” and it stands as a unique offering where an image is used to be evocative of a perfume rather than the other way round. The scent intends to create “a visual language, for perfume and, like all great collaborations, shared sentience” (make of that what you will).
There is a song on Jay-Z’s latest album entitled ‘Tom Ford’, and in said song Mr Z raps the line; “I don’t pop molly, I rock Tom Ford.” Well much like our good friend Jay-Z, I too am not one for recreational drug use and also have somewhat of a penchant for the offerings of American fashion designer Tom Ford – who knew we’d have so much in common?
Unfortunately that is where the common ground ends and unlike Jay-Z I do not have the adequate finances to rock any Tom Ford clothing (oh but how I wish I did), however my budget can certainly stretch to the designer’s olfactory offerings and like many others I have found there to be a number of sniff-worthy perfumes residing within the Tom Ford corner of the department store.
Mr Ford is relatively active on the olfactory front with two lines of perfume to choose from – the widely available and reasonably priced ‘Signature Collection’, which contains the likes of Black Orchid, Violet Blonde, Sahara Noir, Grey Vetiver and Noir; and the more exclusive and definitely pricier ‘Private Blends.’ Personally, I have found more love for the perfumes in the Signature Collection (much to the relief of my partner and bank balance), however the Private Blend certainly has more than its fair share of gems, which leads me nicely onto Tom Ford’s latest collection – ‘Atelier d’Orient.’
The Atelier d’Orient Collection is inspired by; “the sublime beauty, enigmatic sensuality and exquisite luxury of Asia” and each of the four fragrances within the collection are reported to contain; “ingredients that have treasured prestige in the Orient.” Speaking of the collection, Tom Ford states that each fragrance captures a distinct mood – “captivating romance, colonial elegance, luxurious exoticism and rich mysterious sensuality” – with each serving as a perfect representation of the bold Tom Ford aesthetic.
I like Tom Ford – not because he is incredibly handsome (although I’m not denying that he is more than a little bit dishy) – but because when it comes to perfume he has a keen sense of volume and seems to favour that which is rich, sturdy and loud. To put it simply he is the king of what I like to call ‘perfume writ large’.
His signature collection (Black Orchid et al) in particular displays satisfyingly loud levels of sillage and many are bold, divisive creations that provoke nothing but strong reactions. The latest addition to the collection – Sahara Noir – is no exception and it is perhaps one of Ford’s loudest and dare I say butchest fragrances to date.
Taking inspiration from “the mystery and luxury of the Middle East” and “evoking the untamed beauty of the arabic peninsula” Sahara Noir speaks of an exotic and wealthy world where bold statements in both fashion and perfume are the norm. This is Tom Ford’s domain and if there is one thing the man knows how to do more than anything else it is make a bold statement.
When I think of Jean Paul Gaultier I think of effeminate, yet muscly sailors, cone-bras, corsets and spanking. His fashions, fragrances and even he himself embodies all that is naughty about the french. There is a reason why he has been dubbed the ‘L’Enfant Terrible’ of Parisian fashion
What I don’t imagine when I think of Jean Paul Gaultier is softness, subtlety and warmth, but that’s exactly what I find in GAULTIER². Each of JPG’s fragrances are so bold and popular that it’s a hard job to escape them out there in the real world, but not GAULTIER² – the stealth Gaultier and black sheep of the family. Classique and Le Mâle may get all the attention, but GAULTIER² is the quietly clever one, severely underrated yes, even misunderstood, but it cannot be denied that it is a stroke of genius.
“Him and Her. Her and Him. Mixing the genres is Jean Paul Gaultier’s favourite game. With GAULTIER², he breaks through traditional fragrance barriers with his unisex fragrance. A true olfactory statement.” 
GAULTIER² was created by Francis Kurkdjian (we’re all in agreement that the man’s a genius, right?) in 2005 and is a scent for both the boys and the girls. It is described as “the essence of two skins in love. A warm, sensual fragrance that blends the masculine and feminine in a trio of musk, amber and vanilla”  and is housed in a bottle of two halves, one for him and one for her, held together by a magnetic force.
I find it interesting that JPG, the king of excess, would go for three simple notes in this fragrance and I’m sure that if we were to look at the formula we would discover that there are more ingredients, but I can’t help be attracted to the idea of three aromas blended together to find the perfect equilibrium. There’s something really quite romantic about that simplicity and the harmony it brings.
I haven’t entirely worked my way through the entirety of Dior’s La Collection Privée (their ultra-exclusive line limited only to high-end department stores and Dior boutiques) but I know that I’m already in love with it. Out of the five that I have tried so far I would be happy with bottles of three. Not a bad success rate huh?
Two of my latest La Collection Lemmings are courtesy of Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels, who introduced them to myself, and a number of others at her Evening of Amber back in April. I don’t know whether to curse Birgit or kiss her, the kisses would be for allowing me to explore two wonderful fragrances and the curses would be coming straight from my wallet…
The two Dior Ambers that I am falling for are an interesting pair; one doesn’t have amber in the name but definitely is an amber and the other does have amber in the name but isn’t technically an amber. Trust Dior to throw an olfactory curveball (or two) at me. Whether they are true ambers or not, both Mitzah and Ambre Nuit are truly enjoyable fragrances that will make the most die-hard amber-cynic rethink their stance.
The purgatory drawer is a lonely place, it’s where my unloved and abandoned perfume bottles go to live out the rest of their days before they inevitably pass on to the other world (eBay) and leave me forever. Very occasionally I will delve into this land of limbo in a vain attempt to rekindle long lost love, and if a bottle is particularly lucky I will have a “what the heck is this doing in here” moment and it will be fully restored, in its former glory, on my perfume shelf.
One such moment occurred very recently, in which i re-stumbled upon my bottle of The Body Shop’s White Musk for Men, a scent that I haven’t worn, or even thought about for at least two years. It was with new found curiosity that I pulled out the neglected purple bottle, spritzed cautiously and inhaled with unexpected joy – “oooh this stuff is good”! It wasn’t long before apologies had been made (mine), forgiveness offered (his) and a place on the prized perfume shelf was offered.
It’s only fair that I was forgiven, I’ve always been a big fan of The Body Shop after all. Their bath, body and fragrance products are well made, well fragranced and generally well priced – what’s not to love? White Musk for Men is no exception, it’s a well constructed, nice smelling masculine that comes in at under £20, a rarity in today’s over-diluted and overpriced industry.
Today The Candy Perfume Boy and Olfactoria’s Travels have teamed up in a display of perfume synchronicity to review the latest release from Omani luxury house Amouage, an amber named ‘Opus VI’. Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels is well known for her status as ‘The Queen of Amber’, a title which she has most definitely earned so please do head on over to her blog to read her take on Opus VI.
Amouage is a line that I have decided to take my time over. I have sampled almost everything briefly and others in quite a bit of depth. I have even fallen head over heels for two, namely Gold Woman and Honour Woman. The reason I am taking my sweet time with Amouage, a line which I love by the way, is simply because each of their perfumes are so rich and complex they demand a great deal of attention. This is great for me because i get to unravel the mysteries of Amouage over a long period of time, and soak up all of the wonder and magic they have to offer. However, one of the major downsides of this slow-paced Amouage sampling is that I am quite unfamiliar with The Library Collection.
The Library Collection currently consists of six opuses, each of which “represents the insatiable quest for knowledge” and “celebrates integrity, uniqueness, and a love of the arts” . Opus VI is the latest addition to the collection and is inspired by Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, his greatest movie along with The Science of Sleep (I have to say that – I’m in love with Gael García Bernal). Opus VI was created by Dora Arnaud & Pierre Negrin under the creative direction of Christopher Chong and is described as “an amber, leather and woody fragrance inspired by the destruction and reinvention of knowledge and memories. Symbolising the end of a love affair.”  Very deep stuff indeed.
Perfume fate seemed to happen last week. As I was planning The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Oud, the postman bought me two oud-ie goodies – the first being my new bottle of Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and the second being a sample of By Kilian’s latest perfume ‘Amber Oud’. So it seems like last week was fated to be the week of the oud, and in keeping with that theme it only seems fitting to give Amber Oud a whirl.
Firstly, By Kilian has to be commended for their PR practices. Last year they offered members of The Kilian Club on their Facebook Page a complete set of samples from the L’Oeuvre Noire collection and now they have been kind enough to send everyone a sample of their latest fragrance ‘Amber Oud’, with the sole intent of introducing it to Kilian fans. Now, that’s good PR!
Amber Oud is inspired by greek mythology and is the latest addition to By Kilian’s Arabian Nights collection. It was created by Calice Becker and joins Incense Oud, Pure Oud and Rose Oud to become the fourth pillar within Kilian’s oud-quartet. Kilian says that Amber Oud “is borned in Heliades tears”  and with this new fragrance his objective “was to deconstruct/reconstruct the traditional “Amber” by taking the animalistic qualities of a dark “Oud” and adding richness through an overdose of “Vanilla” from Madagascar and “Benzoin” from Laos.” 
What a busy boy Pierre Guillame is. Not only is he the man and the exceptionally talented nose behind the über exciting brand Parfumerie Générale, he is also responsible for brands such as Phaedon and Hutième Art. He creates for all three brands whilst managing to look effortlessly handsome. It makes you hate him just a little bit, doesn’t it?
Ok, I’m just being silly, I don’t really hate Pierre Guillaume, in fact it’s quite the opposite, I have great respect for him and his fragrant vision. He has managed to craft himself a distinct style and has very much found his own little niche in the market. With Parfumerie Générale and Huitième Art, Guillaume tinkers with the most ancient and noble of ingredients, interpreting each one in new and surprising ways.
Huitième Art is one Pierre Guillaume’s many projects and is a collection of 9 perfumes “showcasing an all-new ‘plant capture’, an original plant-inspired accord or natural organic ingredient” and with “an emphasis on originality and sophistication”. Each perfume is housed in one of the most fascinating flacons I have ever come across, a part-modern, part-natural ceramic cyclops intended to represent the eye looking to the future, which just so happens to be the exact same direction that M. Guillaume’s nose is pointed.
There is one thing I love more than perfume and that is food, especially that of the baked/cake variety. It stands to reason then, that one of my favourite perfume types is the gourmand. Food smells in perfume can sometimes be abstract or representative but the best gourmands are those that present food in a completely literal way. Ambre Narguilé is one of these gourmands.