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I don’t usually make a big thing of Valentine’s Day. In fact, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find much Valentine’s Day-related content here on this blog! There’s no particular reason for this, I guess I’m just for celebrating and sharing the love every single day, not just once per year. But Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity just to send a little bit of a reminder to someone, to let them know that you love them. We all get bogged down in the humdrum normativity of everyday life and we sometimes forget to take a moment to make our special person feel, well, special. So Valentine’s Day is here for that: to let someone know that you love them, and that can only be a good thing.

What better way can there be to say ‘I love you’ than with the gift of fragrance?  None, I tell you. None! Fragrance is such a generous gift. It’s thoughtful, luxurious and incredibly personal. Of course, you could always just get someone their favourite fragrance to top them up but isn’t that a little bit boring? Isn’t Valentine’s Day for being a little bit adventurous and treating your loved one to something new? Something freshly launched? I certainly think so! With that in mind I’ve put together a very quick gift guide (because it’s not long until 14 Feb now, let’s face it) of three fragrances you may want to consider for your loved ones, whether they be a guy, a gal or not fussy about gender labels on their fragrances. So read on for some scented Valentine’s Day gift inspiration!

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Well that was the year that was! 2017 is finally drawing to a close and I think it would be fair to say that it has been a year unlike any other. Perfume-wise, it has been once again, an incredibly busy year, more so than any other in fact, with a big cohort of mainstream brands launching new pillar fragrances this year – the likes of MUGLER, GUERLAIN, CHANEL (all capitalised for some reason) and Hermès, just to name a few. There have been flankers, celebrity scents, and ridiculous bottles aplenty, making for an interesting and fragrant year.

Seeing as the blog had a total makeover in 2017, this year I’ve decided to rejig The Candies a little bit too. Normally I would pick my best feminine, masculine and unisex fragrances from the mainstream and niche arms of the industry however, year-on-year I have found it harder to fit my favourites into these categories. The problem being that nowadays, the gender lines have blurred considerably within the realms of perfume, especially in niche. Also, I’ve said many times that a fragrance has no gender so it seems silly to categorise my awards as such . So this year I’ve simply picked ten fragrances – five mainstream and five niche, that each take the title of the best perfumes of the year, presented in no particular order.

In terms of other changes, there’s now a ‘Top Candy’ which goes to my favourite perfume of the year (it will be a most coveted award, I am sure), and ‘Best Body Product’ has been replaced with ‘Candy Crush of the Year’ to reflect my Candy Crush posts that celebrate my fragrant obsessions throughout the year. Oh and there’s now a ‘House of the Year’ award which goes to my favourite perfume house of the year. That about covers it, so shall we get started then? Yes, let’s! A drumroll please…

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Candy Crushes have been replaced with Christmas Crushes – fragrant gift guides to keep you on track with your gifting this Christmas. This is the final one, solely reserved for those last minute gifts. We better get to it then!

I’m going to keep this brief, folks, because Christmas is just around the corner and if you’re here looking for gift inspiration, you better get a move on because you are running out of time. In this final Christmas Crush post (it’s been emotional, y’all) I’m bringing you three easy gifts that you can still grab before Christmas. I’ve gone for gift sets, because as I always say, you really can never go wrong with a gift set. So, stop panicking, read on and get ready to tick off those final lovelies who are currently languishing on your ‘to buy’ list. Oh, and as always, feel free to treat yourself too whilst you’re at it – because why not?

L'Envol de Cartier Eau de Toilette
L’Envol de Cartier Eau de Toilette

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…

I reviewed L’Envol de Cartier in its original Eau de Parfum concentration last year so I am designating this Eau de Toilette as a speed sniff, mainly because the differences between the concentrations are not huge – but they are notable, which is why L’Envol Eau de Toilette is worthy of a review. The first flanker to L’Envol presents a fresher signature, taking the honey, mead and iris notes of the original and making them weightless with citrus and gaiac wood. The result is a fresh oriental that gives wings to the complex richness of the original.

Baiser Fou by Cartier
Baiser Fou by Cartier

Cartier’s in-house perfumer, Mathilde Laurent is one of the greatest olfactory artists living today. She has an innate ability to subvert familiar fragrant themes, twisting them with a dash of something unusual or humorous. At Cartier she has consistently created surprising and fascinating scent pieces, elevating the Parisian jeweller to it’s current position as a go-to fragrance house for those looking for luxury, quality and artistry all wrapped up in a beautiful package. Mathilde Laurent is a living legend (and if you need further proof you can read my interview with Mathilde here).

Cartier has recently launched another Laurent composition entitled ‘Baiser Fou‘ (‘Crazy Kiss’) – a scent inspired by lipstick kisses. Baiser Fou follows Baiser Vole in Cartier’s series of floral-focused fragrances and where the Stolen Kiss was an ode to lilies, it’s bonkers counterpart is a celebration of the orchid, with Laurent inspired to recreate the elusive smell of lipstick using the “intense powderiness and sweetness” of the orchid. Now, orchids aren’t exactly known for being particularly fragrant or you know, having the actual ability to yield a fragrance oil, so all orchid fragrances are very much a construction and Baiser Fou is exactly that – a fantasy flower.

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L’Envol by Cartier

Usually, I can tell whether I’m going to like a fragrance or not from the first sniff. Sure, things can change with development but usually after one wear I can make a judgement as to whether a scent is for me or whether it’s perhaps best suited to someone else. Of course, when reviewing I wear something at least three times to get a good impression of the nuances, but you catch my drift. Sometimes though, a scent will perplex me and it will take me much longer to decide whether I like it or not. Cartier’s latest masculine fragrance ‘L’Envol‘ was one such scent.

I wouldn’t be dishonest if I said that I have gone back and forth on Cartier’s L’Envol whilst I’ve been testing it over the last month or so. At times, I couldn’t quite understand the positive reviews I was reading and wondered what others were seeing that I was missing. At others, I sensed a deeper sense of intricacy that elevated L’Envol above the many other masculines it shared its shelf space with. So, it would be fair to say that L’Envol is a fragrance that doesn’t reveal itself entirely upon first sniff and that it also makes one think. For that reason, I haven’t given up on it.

L’Envol, which literally translates as ‘the flight’, is inspired by aviation. Cartier’s in-house Perfumer, Mathilde Laurent, was inspired by “the mythical ambrosia of the Gods on Olympus, a mead drink believed to confer immortality”. Laurent says that she wished to create “a light fragrance” one that “conjures up a personal and spiritual journey from within”. I have great admiration for Mathilde Laurent (you can see an interview with her here) because she is able to think about perfume abstractly and cerebrally, and has taken the house of Cartier to entirely new heights. L’Envol is yet another surprise from a body of work that has proved to be entirely fascinating and forward thinking.

Now we cannot talk L’Envol without touching on the presentation. That bottle, you guys! Honestly, I thought Cartier would have a tough job one-upping the marvellous flacon for La Panthère, but somehow they’ve managed it. L’Envol, in the 100ml size, is a detachable tube housed within a glass cloche. There’s no bottom to the glass dome, which leaves the fragrance suspended gracefully in midair. The bottle was designed to ensure that the fragrance never touched the ground, hinting at the fragrance’s aviation-based inspirations. It is nothing short of a work of art, but does the fragrance itself live up to the beauty of the bottle? Let’s find out!

The Candy Perfume Boy's Hitlist - Q2 2015
The Candy Perfume Boy’s Hitlist – Q2 2015

Can you believe that we’re already heading towards the completion of quarter two of 2015? I certainly can’t! Time seems to be moving so fast and it’s staggering to think that we’re halfway through the year already – it’ll be Christmas before you know it (sorry)! As you may, or may not know, for 2015 I’ve started a new quarterly round-up of all my favourite things which I’ve entitled ‘The Candy Perfume Boy’s Hitlist’. In these posts I take a look back at the fragrances, launches, blogs, books, brands or perfumers that have been taking my fancy over the last quarter.

There are no rules. Well, there are three rules with this series; 1) the subjects must be linked to fragrance somehow (a rule that I’m allowed to bend); and 2) the hitlist is to be published towards the end of each quarter; and 3) the list must include my favourite things, as if I were a fragrant sort-of Oprah (which I like to think I am). So, now we’re heading towards the end of June (my birthday month – just throwing that out there), let’s take a gander at what’s topping my hitlist for quarter two of 2015.