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 Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. It is, hands down, one of my favourite fragrance brands and I’ve said many times before that it’s one of those rare cases where I would happily own every single fragrance in the collection. Honestly, there isn’t a single dud in the entire line and that too, is quite rare. Malle has curated a fine collection of scents – perfumes created by the greatest perfumers and presented without fuss, allowing the fragrances to speak for themselves. They are some of the best, if not the very best perfumes on the market – fact.

I’ve think I’ve hammered the point home, haven’t I? If I haven’t, let me summarise: Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is amazing. The end.

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Can we get real for a second? Most modern mainstream masculine fragrances are pretty terrible. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Yes, of course there exceptions and some mainstream masculines are absolute masterpieces, but the truth is that most of the time, gents are simply offered more of the same. Things are always fresh and sporty, citrussy and woody. If that’s not the case then we’re talking “noir” and amber. It’s all very uninspired, very safe, and not very exciting.

“But not always” I hear you cry and you’re right. There are one or two mainstream brands out there who do actually give a hoot about what they’re making, balancing innovation with accessibility. Surprisingly, one of these brands is dunhill London, who are quietly making incredibly affable masculine fragrances that are a few steps above the hoi polloi. They’re not weird or challenging – they’re easy to get on with, made with good materials and with unique, intriguing facets. I’m a fan.

dunhill London’s latest is Century. They describe it as “a fresh new signature”, saying that it is “embracing the future” with “a new clarity”. Created by legendary perfumer Carlos Benaïm (Eau de Magnolia and Music for a While), who was also responsible for dunhill London’s remarkable ICON, Century is a transparent masculine fragrance that, like the concave, clear shapes found within its striking flacon, reflects a multi-faceted core – a heart of sandalwood. “Make your mark on the future” says dunhill London, and if they have anything to do with it, the future of mainstream masculine perfumery looks very promising.

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I may have said it before but Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is one of the very few fragrances brands where I’d happily own a bottle of each and every scent in the collection. I have many, many favourites and see the collection as one of the most finely curated out there. As a Creative Director, Frederic Malle has a real knack for bringing out the best in the perfumers he works with, resulting in wearable fragrances that tread the line between classic and modern perfectly. In short, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is one of the very best perfume brands on the market and you can come at me if you think otherwise…

“At a party on Paris’ rive gauche, a woman’s fur coat is lifted from her bare shoulders, exposing her neck to the candlelight. Aware of many eyes upon her, she pauses, smiling to herself, before emerging like a conqueror from the shadows.”

Malle’s latest fragrance is intriguingly-named Music for a While. Created by perfumer Carlos Benaïm (who also penned Malle’s Eau de Magnolia – one of my absolute favourites in the collection), Music for a While feels like somewhat of a break from tradition for Malle in the sense that it is quite a fun fragrance. It’s almost as if Malle is repenting for the erotic baroque nature of their last edition, the Alber Elbaz collaboration Supersitious (another favourite – I told you I had many!) and is cleaning up their collection with something a little bit more frivolous. I tell you what – I am here for it!

A New ICON
A New ICON?

Legends are born and not made, they say, but when it comes to perfume the icons of scent are most definitely crafted by someone, somewhere. Whether they become a classic or not however, is solely down to time, popularity and more often than not, quality. We may say something is iconic upon launch, but only when a scent has spent time circulating the necks and wrists of the perfume-hungry public, can one tell whether it is destined to survive or not. Many do not.

I speak of iconic fragrances because luxury goods brand, Dunhill’s latest launch, the optimistically named ‘ICON‘, is being positioned as a “signature masculine scent” for the brand and courts with the idea of being a modern classic within the genre. Created by perfumer Carlos Benaïm (click here to read my recent interview with Carlos re ICON) in conjunction with Dunhill’s Creative Director, John Ray, ICON is designed to portray “an integrally refined style that reflects the dunhill ethos of a self-assured, sophisticated urban gentleman”, capturing the ethos of the brand and the man who partakes in its offerings. Does that make the scent iconic? Only time will tell!

Rubbing Noses With...
Rubbing Noses With…

“Rubbing Noses is a series, in which I, The Candy Perfume Boy, grill the most important members of the perfume industry – the perfumers. These are the brains and noses behind the perfumes we know and love, and their unrivalled insight into one of the world’s most ancient of arts is something to be treasured, enjoyed and shared.”

In celebration of the launch of Dunhill’s latest masculine fragrance, ICON I put some questions to the scent’s creator – legendary perfumer, Carlos Benaïm – the man behind such awesome scents as; Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle’s Eau de Magnolia, Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, Dior’s Pure Poison and Polo Ralph Lauren. He is a perfumer with a varied body of work, leading one to wonder what he will come up with next.

ICON (which I shall be reviewing this coming Friday) is a bold statement for Dunhill and the brand is pegging it as an important launch for men. In our interview Carlos and I chat about ICON, and how it was composed, as well as an array of perfumery topics, including  IFRA, his origins in perfumery and his scientific background. As far as perfumers go, he’s a interesting talent with intriguing things to say, as you will learn if you read on…

Eau de Magnolia by Carlos Benaim for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle
Eau de Magnolia by Carlos Benaïm for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

It seems that the world’s greatest, and possibly only perfume curator is spoiling us. Last year, after four years of long, painful silence, Frédéric Malle launched the extraordinary Dries van Noten – a perfume that genuinely is like no other, and this summer he is generously treating the world to yet another, brand new fragrance. It seem that, much like buses, Monsieur Malle’s perfumes come in multiples and after a lengthy wait. But who are we to complain?

The new edition to the extensive and wonderful Editions de Parfums library is entitled ‘Eau de Magnolia‘ and is penned by venerable perfumer Carlos Benaïm, the man behind scents such as Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb and Dior’s Pure Poison. The fragrance is billed as both an entirely new take on the classic ‘Eau de Cologne’ as well as a beautiful presentation of the magnolia flower, and one should see it as a perfume that sits somewhere smack bang in the middle of these two things.

“This time the conversation between Frédéric Malle and Carlos Benaïm was on the headspace analysis of the magnolia and the fact that the flower is closer to an Eau de Cologne than to a classic flower. Carlos then suggested to magnify the hesperidic equilibrium of the Magnolia to enhance the Eau effect and to add a woody vibration to give it depth and sensuality. The result is a fresh chypre, an extraordinarily transparent and very natural, smelling note, animated by a somber base (vetiver, patchouli) that gives it a touch of mystery. A timeless summer perfume.”

Magnolia blooms sing with a complex profile of odours that range from the zesty smell of lemons to the waxy and almost cheesy scent of gardenia flowers. It’s a truly versatile bouquet that can radiate with freshness or revel in plush creaminess, depending entirely on how it it used. Frédéric Malle and Carlos Benaïm’s take on magnolia errs on the fresher side of things, creating a perfume that veers from eau de cologne to floral chypre in an incredibly enjoyable manner.