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L’Interdit was originally a fragrance comissioned by legendary couturier Hubert de Givenchy for iconic Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn. Launched in the 1950s and created by perfume Francois Fabron, L’Interdit was an aldehydic floral bouquet of the kind that is seldom found in this day and age. Its name, ‘The Forbidden’, is a reference to its initial exclusivity – it was Audrey’s perfume and for anyone else to wear it was, well, just not allowed.

Of course, L’Interdit did not remain forbidden for very long and soon became one of Givenchy’s most famous fragrances. Over the years it has seen a number of incarnations, most notably last year when Givenchy worked with perfumers Dominique Ropion, Anne Flipo, and Fanny Bal to create an entirely new fragrance composition bearing the L’Interdit name.

The new L’Interdit is described by Givenchy as a “tribute to bold femininity” and an “invitation to defy convention and embrace your singularity” showcased by the collision of white florals and dark notes. This leads one to expect a brassy and excessive fragrance – a perfume that speaks with a confident tone and evokes a free spirited character. Let’s see whether it delivers…

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L’Artisan Parfumeur has been at the forefront of niche perfumery for forty years and in those four decades they have not only reshaped the landscape of perfumery, they have created a vast number of iconic and beautiful fragrances. Today, the brand continues to offer intriguing olfactory editions mixing accessibility with a strangeness that features heavily in the DNA of the brand.

The two latest launches from L’Artisan Parfumeur are Mont de Narcisse and Mandarina Corsica. They sit in ‘Les Paysages’ a collection of fragrances inspired by different regions of the brand’s native France. Here the subjects are the rustic Auvergne and the hot Corsican vistas, with two fragrances that celebrate the physical, botanical and olfactory landscapes of France.

New from Jo Malone London: Basil & Neroli Cologne
New from Jo Malone London: Basil & Neroli Cologne

I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again: I’m a big fan of Jo Malone London. To me, they do what they do very well and what they do is create easy wearing fragrances that feel comfortable both on the skin and in the home. Sure, they’re not pushing the known boundaries of olfaction, but they often add a contemporary and eccentric twist to their fragrances, taking the familiar and making it novel. Most importantly though, Jo Malone London fragrances tick the box that should be first and foremost on every perfume lover’s priority list: they smell good.

Seeing as I enjoy the brand so much, it’s understandable that it was with both excitement and trepidation that I uncorked my sample of JML’s latest scent ‘Basil & Neroli‘. Why? Well, they’ve been on a bit of winning streak lately. Last year’s Mimosa & Cardamom was a triumph – one that has crept its way into my top ten fragrances of all time (quite an accolade, if I do say so myself), not to mention the fact their recent additions to the Cologne Intense series, specifically Incense & Cedrat and Orris & Sandalwood, have also been exceptionally good, and quite unique. So yes, I wondered whether Basil & Neroli would be the one to break this streak or whether it would be yet another success. You’ll have to read on to find out the answer…

Basil & Neroli was created by perfumer Anne Flipo, the nose behind L’Artisan Parfumeur’s La Chasse Aux Papillons and Jo Malone London’s Herb Garden Collection. She describes the fragrance as “a fresh, sophisticated, sensual floral with green facets” adding that it is “stunning in its simplicity”. The brand however, calls it a “London lark”, positioning Basil & Neroli as something much more fun, playful and quintessentially British. Whether it be refined or rowdy, what’s for sure is that Basil & Neroli is a fragrance created in the Jo Malone London school of thinking, meaning that it serves up an unusual twist on two familiar ingredients, juxtaposing the savoury & the sweet, and the green & the white.

Jo Malone London takes a trip to the herb garden
Jo Malone London takes a trip to the herb garden

Each year, Jo Malone London presents us with a limited edition collection of five or so scents on a particular theme. In the past we’ve been treated to afternoon tea with beautiful delicacies such as Grapefruit & Assam and Sweet Milk, not to mention the gorgeous London Rain collection which included the amorphous Rain & Angelica, which is one of their most unique fragrances to date. It’s always exciting to see what the brand will do next and where the eccentrically British streak will take them. This time their quirky sensibility sees them walking children in nature, specifically in their very own herb garden.

The Herb Garden collection consists of five fragrances, each of which pairs two notes found within your typical British garden, all served in the traditionally eccentric style of the house. Each scent was created by the perfumer Anne Flipo (L’Artisan Perfumer’s La Chasse Aux Papillons and Chloé Love Story) in her first collaboration with Jo Malone London. Each fragrance is billed as presenting freshness with a distinct personality, evoking the wildness of the herb garden. On a side note, completely irrelevant to the scents, can we just give a big bravo and round of applause to Jo Malone London for utilising the ever so fabulous older model in the campaign image above? More of this please, perfume industry! Anyway, back to the scents themselves…

“A day in the herb garden. A quirky tapestry of fragrant foliage, entwined with flowers and fruit. Satisfying stems of fresh English lavender. Overflowing pots of spicy nasturtium and leafy clover. Lemon thyme crushed in soil-covered hands. And cool earth encasing ripening carrots and fennel. The aromatic artistry of herbs; verdant, crisp, juicy and sweet. A captivating and delectable collection.”

– Jo Malone London

New from Chloé: Chloé Love Story
New from Chloé: Love Story

“A night in Paris. Sparkling lights and music. A crowd. And her.”

– Chloe Love Story

Here we are with the first review of a 2015 fragrance launch. That didn’t take long, now did it? Well technically, this one was available in some countries at the back end of last year, but it is only reaching the UK this month, but let’s not split hairs, shall we. The perfume we will be looking at today is Love Story by Chloé, the latest offering from a brand that I haven’t featured on the blog before (much to my surprise, actually). Let’s rectify that right now.

In perfumista terms, Chloé is best known for their eponymous signature scent launched in 1975 under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld. Chloé was, and is, a gigantic white floral chocked to the brim with syrup and powder – fearful (but beautiful) stuff for sure. It would be fair to say that the house’s output since hasn’t been as bold, but is still very pretty however, more so in the modern style of perfumery. I remember being particularly impressed with Love, Chloe (a very subtle powder scent) and I’d definitely put this new one, Love Story on that list as well.

For Love Story, Chloé has envisaged a feminine fairytale starring actress, Clémence Posey (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), directed by Mélanie Laurent (as seen in Inglourious Basterds), snapped by Inez Van Lamsweerde and scented by perfumer, Anne Flipo (MyQueen, Chloé Fleur de Narcisse and Manifesto). Housed within a padlock shaped bottle, a sign of love seen on the bridges of the city of lights, Chloé’s Love Story is a contemporary spring floral full of life and romance – an Eau de Parfum dripping with dazzling prettiness.

“Love Story is a modern story of seduction. Her. And him. Their paths cross, a few mumbled words, a beautiful moment.”

– Chloe Love Story

MyQueen by Alexander McQueen
MyQueen by Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen’s perfume line was both infamous and short lived. Perhaps better known for the erotically charged skank-bomb Kingdom than its other offerings, McQueen’s perfumes were nowhere near as successful as they were artistic or ultimately as they deserved to be.

Following in the same vein as his fashion output McQueen’s first perfume Kingdom was a renegade scent created to shock, however the second and final perfume from the brand – MyQueen – was something entirely different, opting to reference the subtle intricacies of the designer’s sculptural tailoring rather than courting the realms of controversy.

Created in 2005 by perfumers Anne Flipo (Ananas Fizz, La Chasse aux Papillons & Donna Karan Woman) and Dominique Ropion (Carnal Flower, Alien & Portrait of a Lady) MyQueen was created to represent the McQueen woman – “a vision of the woman of his (McQueen’s) dreams” – with the kaleidoscopic bottle representing not only the many facets of this woman but also McQueen’s love for antique glass.