McQueen

“Puredistance M is a masculine that straddles the gender line”

After trying and loving the ethereal Puredistance I and the warm-bosomed Antonia, I thought that the dreaded rule of three’s (as in that a collection of three perfume’s cannot contain three good fragrances) would kick in and I would end up hating Puredistance M, but as usual when it comes to drawing quick conclusions, I was wrong.

I was wrong because Puredistance M is a pretty damn good fragrance and whilst it may not be in the style of perfumes that I would wear, I cannot deny that it is impeccably well made and puts the majority of masculine fragrances on the market to shame. In terms of quality, artistry and just how damn good it smells, Puredistance M is in a class of its own. Oh, and it’s an Extrait too, with a rather decent 25% concentration, which is somewhat of a rarity within the masculine genre.

Puredistance M is currently the only masculine in the line and it takes its inspiration from the classiest and most debonaire of motor vehicles – the Aston Martin, namely the Aston Martin that belongs to a certain James Bond. M was created by Professor of Perfume Roja Dove and is described as “a leather chypre of classic proportions…with an unexpected oriental twist. Sumptuous and complex, noble and sophisticated” [1] Puredistance M is a fragrance that is neither shaken, nor stirred, and just like 007 it is as smooth as can be.

Savage Beauty

To put it simply; Antonia is liquid emotion.

Have you ever known that you would love a fragrance before you even tried it? I have on quite a few occasions, the most recent of which was with the second feminine fragrance from ultra-luxe niche line Puredistance. A perfume wonderfully named ‘Antonia’. I had already fallen head-over-heels for the beautifully arresting Puredistance I, and everything about Antonia; the reviews, the description and the very brief sniff I’d had in Harrods, led me to believe that Antonia was a perfume that I would love.

I’ve also been really impressed with the Puredistance line and their ethos. I find it refreshing that they seem to focus all of their attention on the perfumes, there are no gimmicks and they manage to offer exclusivity without snobbery. It’s also very clear that they have a passion for quality, which really translates into their three offerings, all of which are incredibly different, but share an impeccable attention to detail and fit together like three contrasting compositions.

Antonia, or ‘La Dame Verte’ as I call her, is the second feminine in the line and is a Parfum Extrait with a not-to-be-scoffed-at 25% concentration. Antonia is described by Puredistance as “a green floral with a great lushness and warmth of heart, but at the same time pillowy and as gentle as can be” [1]. Like the first feminine in the line ‘Puredistance I’, Antonia was created by Annie Buzantian in New York and shares her name with the mother of Puredistance founder Jan Ewoud Vos.

Beautiful

“The fragrance of a thousand flowers”

Beautiful by Estée Lauder is an incredibly special fragrance to me. For the majority of my childhood it was my mother’s signature scent, she wore it with abundance and despite the fact that she no longer wears it, I will always think of her when I smell it. In her Scented Life, my mother said of Beautiful; “It felt decadent to wear”. Decadent? Yes. Beautiful? Absolutely!

Launched in 1985 and created by Sophia Grojsman, Beautiful is described by Estée Lauder as “the fragrance of a thousand flowers” [1], and it is an exceptional example of a big floral bouquet, something that the Lauder brand seems to specialise in. I would classify Beautiful as a floral chypre, it’s a wonderful blend of heady florals and rich, mossy base notes.

Beautiful has always been marketed as Estée Lauder’s bridal perfume and I can see why, it is completely romantic and there is a young innocence to it that conjures up images of beautiful brides draped in white. Despite it’s obvious bridal connotations, it isn’t exclusively bridal, it is wonderful enough to be kept only for special occasions but also works perfectly well as an everyday perfume. Beautiful is one of those perfumes that would make a good signature scent, not that I’d EVER dream of having one of those, I’m too greedy!

I always find it hard to review the classics, it’s difficult to do them justice whilst attempting to showcase them in a new and interesting way. Beautiful is especially hard to write about because I can’t think of it objectively, I have too much of an emotional connection to it. That said, despite my emotional connection, it is a perfume that I also appreciate from an olfactory perspective, and I truly believe that it it is more than a classic, it is a legend. It it so legendary in fact that it is rumoured that Andy Warhol was buried with a bottle.

Idylle“I imagined for Idylle a bouquet of fresh and joyous flowers, a symbol of love” Thierry Wasser [1]

In 2009 the eyes of the perfume-world were firmly fixed on the doors of No 68 Champs-Élysées in Paris. The world awaited the brand new feminine fragrance from the world’s most important (and arguably the greatest) perfume house – Guerlain. In the previous year Guerlain (now owned by the fashion-gargantuan Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) had appointed Thierry Wasser as their in-house perfumer and he had already started to create exciting fragrances for the house (see Guerlain Homme), but he was yet to conquer the mammoth task of creating a Guerlain feminine.

A new feminine fragrance from Guerlain is always big news and it can’t be easy creating a fragrance for a house that brought Jicky, L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko and Shalimar into the world, but with Idylle it felt like the pressure was REALLY on. Thierry Wasser had the huge tasking of creating a contemporary and modern fragrance that wouldn’t betray Guerlain’s age old heritage and for that reason Idylle is a relatively important fragrance, it signifies a shift within the house, and this shift is highlighted in the tag-line on the above advertising image, which presents Idylle as “The New Guerlain”.

Guerlain describes Idylle (‘Love Dream’) as “Like a mist of petals on the skin, a fresh floral bouquet warmed by the sensuality of chypre” [2] and if only to emphasise the ideal of ‘The New Guerlain’, Idylle marks a complete break from the house’s tradition of lavish chypres, big florals and Guerlainade-filled orientals.

Boudoir

Talking about another Vivienne Westwood scent (Anglomania) last week as part of the ‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ Series led me to drag out my bottle of Boudoir which has been lurking somewhere in the back of my ‘purgatory drawer’ – a fate that awaits those perfumes of mine that no longer have a place in my collection.

When I gave Boudoir its first spritz in what must be at least a year I was shocked, why was this in the purgatory draw? I like this! My biggest problem, it seems, is that I have a short attention span, I can only concentrate for a maximum of about five minutes before being distracted by something shiny or basically anything other than the task at hand (a problem that was recently brought to my attention by my boss, who very politely mentioned that my time management skills left a lot to be desired) and this is true with perfumes, I do tend to love something for a while before I get bored and want something new. I guess you could call me a ‘fragrant magpie’ of sorts.

Anyway, enough about me, on to the fragrance! Boudoir was Vivienne Westwood’s first fragrance and was released in 1998, it is classified as a ‘Floral Chypre’ and is the only Westwood fragrance that seems to have stood the test of time, Libertine, Anglomania and Let it Rock have all since fallen by the way side and have lost their places as part of the Westwood collection.

A Taste of Heaven

“Pure, unadulterated love at first sniff.”

Like many others, I was lucky enough to receive a sample set of By Kilian’s entire L’Oeuvre Noire line through the By Kilian Facebook page. I have already tried a couple of the scents from the line, I’ve also reviewed two (Sweet Redemption and Back to Black) and my thoughts so far are generally very positive.

The L’Oeuvre Noire (The Black Masterpiece) collection consists of 10 fragrances and “evokes a Faustian atmosphere that casts an iniquitous alluring spell, pervading the spirit and senses, while transporting the soul to nirvana. Inspired by a search for perfection, the poetry of Rimbaud and Baudelaire, as well as the lyrics of modern day poets like Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dog. The Black Masterpiece ‘By Kilian’ is revolving around ingenues, artificial paradises and Parisian orgies.” [1]

This week I gave each sample a quick spritz to see which one I would review first and there was one that instantly stood out – A Taste of Heaven (Absinthe Verte). When I say it stood out, I mean that I literarily died and went to heaven, and if this is just ‘A Taste of Heaven’ I cannot wait to experience the whole thing.

Bottega Veneta

If you had mentioned the name Bottega Veneta to me a month ago I would have stared at you blankly and wondered who the hell you were talking about. My interest in fashion is more of a passing interest, I can appreciate excellent design and I have a good few fashion books for my coffee table (despite the fact that I don’t actually have a coffee table, sad I know) and I’m more than slightly addicted to Project Runway, but I would never describe myself as a fashionista, hence my somewhat unfashionable ignorance of Bottega Veneta.

So, for those of you, like me, who aren’t aware of Bottega Veneta (which is Italian for ‘Venitian Workshop’), they are an Italian luxury goods house that specialises in leather goods [1]. Like many fashion and luxury goods houses they are diversifying their brand and stepping in to the world of fragrance, every house needs a fragrance these days and if you don’t have one then you are quite behind the times (see Louis Vuitton, although they are going to release something next year).

Their first fragrance, “Bottega Veneta, the Eau de Parfum, evokes the suppleness and sensuality of the house’s renowned leather goods” [2] and is described as a “leathery floral chypre”.

BrilloMon Parfum Chérie par Camille is the latest fragrance release from the luxury french perfume house Annick Goutal. I’ve tried a few of the Goutal scents over the years and whilst I find most of them to be high quality, I am yet to discover the one that gives me the warm and fuzzies and as you can probably tell by the title of this post, Mon Parfum Chérie par Camille fails to impress.

The story behind Mon Parfum Chérie par Camille is as follows:

“As Annick Goutal dedicated the Petite Chérie perfume to her daughter, now it is Camille’s turn to honour the eternal beauty of her mother. It all started with a unique present preciously stored away in their office : a small concrete that the author Colette gave to Annick Goutal. A woody, timeless fragrance that has survived decades with no signs of aging. Camille, obsessed with this unusual fragrance, was drawu back to her childhood memories of Hollywood’s wartime movies. Tempting satin. Delicate lace. Actresses and their gloved hands and ruby lips. And a memory of her mother dressing for an evening out…

A name to remember her by, Mon Parfum Chérie, Par Camille.” [1]

Belle

Sometimes I just want to smell like a hooker. I accept that this may be somewhat of a sensational overstatement, but what I really mean is that when it comes to perfume, despite loving the classics, the symphonic florals and the exotic orientals, what I really love is the trashy, brash and over the top.

Sometimes it’s great to wear something that is loud, proud and ultra girly, I also find that these ultra-trashy scents work really well on a man, I have no fear of smelling ‘cheap’.

If you want cheap and trashy you cannot go wrong with Rush by Gucci.