Last Minute Gift Guide
Last Minute Gift Guide

In life, I take a ‘leave it all to the last minute and hope for the best’ approach. Organisation is not my strong suit, and it is most definitely true that I work best under pressure. It will serve as no surprise then, that I haven’t quite completed my Christmas shopping yet, and yes, I’m well aware that it is exactly one week until Santa pays his annual visit. What can I say? I’ve just been busy with other things.

To help myself, and those around me who are also last-minute sort-of-folk, I’ve prepped a ‘Last Minute Gift Guide’ for my Escentual column this week. In this guide you will find; handy stocking stuffers for him and her, mid-range marvels and even big ticket splurges that will wow your recipient, even if they do depress your bank balance slightly. So, if you’re still looking for that one last gift, or just fancy a treat for yourself after being so wonderfully generous to everyone else, click here to check out my last-minute Christmas gift guide.

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The Candy Perfume Boy's Guide to Vanilla
The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Vanilla

The Candy Perfume Boy’s ‘Guide to…‘ series is an award winning fragrant exploration of the individual notes that make up the vast and multi-dimensional spectrum that is the world of perfume. In each episode, we take a detailed look at a particular ingredient, analysing its odour profile and the ‘must sniff’ perfumes that serve as reference examples within the genre.

So far in the series, we’ve taken a gander at the lusciousness of lily, variety of violet and the tenacity of tuberose. We’ve also ogled at oud, chomped on chocolate and orbited the world of orange blossom. All-in-all, it’s been a fun and fragrant exploration of some of perfumery’s most beloved ingredients, but our journey is far from over and we have many more smells to sniff. So buckle up as we take off for our next fragrant expedition – a mission to Planet Vanilla.

In this latest instalment of The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to, we’re going to explore all that is vanilla – a note that is as well-known as it is delicious. The use of vanilla in perfume is most certainly plentiful and to serve you, dear reader, I have separated the wheat from the chaff to present you with eight vanilla perfumes that are absolute must sniffs on your fragrant journey. I promise you that they all smell absolutely fabulous!

@FragrantReviews
@FragrantReviews – Fragrance Reviews in 140 Characters or Less

Four years ago today, my good friend, Nick Gilbert and I embarked on an exciting perfume project with a view of turning the world of fragrance reviewing on its head. We set out to use the medium of Twitter to create entertaining and bitesize reviews in 140 characters or less – the result was @FragrantReviews – our smelly baby that launched both of our writing careers.

Writing these reviews is surprisingly challenging. It’s tough to dissect and truly represent a fragrance in such a small medium, but it’s also immense fun and I think I wouldn’t be speaking out of turn if I said that both Nick and I really enjoy putting these fragrant tweets together. They can be funny, they can be poetic and they can occasionally be mean, but one thing they never are is boring.

We’re now at over 3,000 followers, and to celebrate our fourth birthday, I’d like to share with you ten of my favourite Fragrant Reviews – five from Nick and five from me. They range from the olfactory time capsule of Eau de Toast to the utter hideousness of Viktor & Rolf’s BonBon and capture some of our big loves and a number of our, well, not-so-big loves. I hope you enjoy this brief retrospective and will have a go at chiming in with your own 140 character reviews in the comments box.

Click here to check out Nick’s favourites.

CB I Hate Perfume

With so many perfume launches per year and the overwhelming number of niche houses that seem to be popping up all over the place, it stands to reason that one has to give in to the fact that not everything can be tried, and in some cases entire lines must be ignored for the sake of one’s sanity. For me, CB I Hate Perfume was one of these lines that unfortunately fell by the wayside.

I’m not entirely sure why I have ignored CB I Hate Perfume for so long, Christopher Brosius  is regarded as somewhat of an industry maverick and his appearance in BBC4’s Perfume documentary last year should have piqued my interest, but instead it had the opposite affect. Instead I couldn’t help but feel that line was just a gimmick hiding behind an eccentric personality – watch me eat my words.

I recently had the opportunity to try the two latest CB I Hate Perfume fragrances (in water perfume concentration); 7 Billion Hearts and M5 Where We Are There Is No Here. The names didn’t fill me with a huge amount of confidence, they again sounded quite gimmicky, but I’m always happy to be proved wrong and despite the names both of these new offerings from CB I Hate Perfume are beautifully unusual.

Bjork

I enjoyed scenting The Muppets so much that I’ve decided to create an entire series of celebrity-based perfume posts ingeniously entitled the ‘Scent a Celebrity Series’. Celebrities are a funny bunch that on the whole cannot be trusted in the world of perfume, you only need to look at the shelves of your local department store for proof of this, and I’m thinking they could do with a fair bit of scented help from yours truly.

Celebrity culture can at times be incredibly frustrating and for that reason this series isn’t simply a ‘what would they wear’ feature, I only want to focus on those celebrities that I admire, the ones with true talent, charisma and purpose. You will not find the cast of The Only Way is Essex and Jersey Shore here, nor will you find such sucky-celebrities as Paris Hilton or Justin Bieber. No way. Instead you will find MY celebrities, the ones that I love and to kick of the series I have chosen to scent one of my absolute favourites – Björk.

I love Björk. This is a fact that many of my friends and family don’t quite understand. “She’s weird!” they shout, “when she sings she sounds like an angry walrus kicking a dolphin.” But I do not rise to these silly comments because I am in the know, I ‘get’ Björk, I know that she is nothing short of a musical genius. Don’t believe me? Simply take yourself off to a dark room and listen to her Vespertine album and you will be converted. Go on, off you pop, you may return once you have finished.