Frozen Flowers
Frozen Flowers by FrozenStardust on DeviantArt

You may or may not be aware that I am somewhat partial to the odd floral or two. OK, that’s a severe understatement, I am a floral addict and if you were to examine me under a microscope you’d probably discover that my genetic makeup has been significantly altered by the sheer amount of white flowers that I wear. Maybe I’ll wake up one day and I’ll actually have become a flower? Is that pushing it? Thought so.

When most people think florals they think of summer; of golden sunlight beating down on fields and meadows of fragrant flowers shouting their narcotic odours into the warm summer breeze. But for me florals aren’t exclusive to spring or summer, in fact one of my favourite times of the year to break out my bottles of trapped flowers is the time, for the most part, when they are not blooming in the wild. My favourite time for florals is winter.

Floral fragrances are surprisingly versatile in winter, they can provide warmth and comfort or they can react with the cold stiff air to create a sparkling aura that freezes on the skin. So as the weather appears to be quickly changing and the mercury is heading closer and closer to the 0 mark (well it is here at least) I thought I would share with you some of my favourite florals for my favourite time of year.

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Vintage Christian Dior
Vintage Christian Dior

I try to be mad at Dior I really do, I mean they have shamelessly reformulated a number of their modern classics (namely Dior Homme, Pure Poison and Hypnotic Poison) and whilst the newer versions still capture the essence of the original, it feels as if a small part of their spirit has been lost forever, like a butterfly who has been touched by human hands, beautiful still but irrevocably damaged.

So yes, I try to be mad at Dior, but I really can’t. “Why’s that?” I hear you ask, well I can sum the reason up in three short french words; La Collection Privée. That’s right, the problem is that the recent few releases from Dior’s La Collection Privée, along with a good few others in the collection (Eau Noire anyone?), are so good that I simply cannot stay mad, just like when Nigel makes me laugh when I’m attempting to be grumpy at him. I may be smiling at you Dior, but I’m still mad, somewhere deep down.

Grand Bal is the latest addition to La Collection Privée and as you have probably guessed from the introductory paragraphs in this post, it is another good’un. Taking inspiration from “Christian Dior’s great ball gowns, whose full skirts and beauty evoked the petals of a flower in full bloom” Grand Bal is a big, beautiful and buxom jasmine that accurately “embodies the intoxication of a summer’s night at the first light of dawn”. I was destined to like this wasn’t I?

Oud Ispahan
The Romantic Oud

I think the only thing more frustrating than the constant slew of oud-based fragrances is the fact that each time one is released I have to mention that we’re all a bit fed up with this oud avalanche that we’ve all been facing over the last few years. So, for this review I refuse to mention the frustration (I am aware that I haven’t succeeded in doing so) and instead say that at least Christian Dior appear to have got this whole oud malarky spot on.

In 2010 Dior, following on from the trend started by Chanel with their Les Exclusifs line, created La Collection Privée, a series of exclusive boutique scents. Part of this private collection was Leather Oud, a fantastically pornographic take on oud. Following Leather Oud’s success Dior, who know a good thing when they see it, have decide to launch a second, Oud Ispahan.

Oud Ispahan, which is named after the Iranian city, follows a more traditional route by pairing oud with its beloved partner rose. If the oud trend is considered boring, then the fact that most of its offerings are blends of oud and rose is even more boring, but fear not, Dior has done a good job with Oud Ispahan. Taking its inspiration from Christian Dior’s “fascination with a fantastical orient” along with the “intoxicating scents” and colours of such a place, Oud Ispahan is a very beautiful perfume indeed.

Last week’s Saturday Poll was a battle of two titan designer houses; Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. This was a poll that could go either way, both are beloved brands with many classics and have loyal fans that avidly follow each release, so I pretty much expected an even spread of votes. I was wrong.

What was really surprising about this poll was the fact that the results showed that one house was staggeringly more popular than the other. A whopping 58% said that the House of Dior was their favourite and only 15% opted for Yves Saint Laurent. Why is this? It is hard to say exactly, but Dior have been in the fragrance business longer and have released more perfumes allowing them to gain more of a following.

Anyway, enough of that and on to this week’s poll…

The Poll

This week’s poll is yet another showdown, but rather than pitch two houses against each other I thought it would be interesting to throw two classic, flagship fragrances into the ring to see which would triumph as champion.

So this week the question is simple: which do you prefer, Guerlain’s Shalimar or Chanel’s N°5? Both are veteran fragrances for their respective houses and nobody can deny that they are each classics, but if you had to pick one, which would you choose? I want to know! Register your vote and let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!

Last week’s Saturday Poll focused on the age-old debate of natural vs synthetic perfumery. I find this to be a really interesting topic because opinions really vary and people can have very strong feelings about what goes into their perfumes.

The results of the poll were quite interesting; as I would have expected the majority (56%) voted for a mixture of natural and synthetic ingredients with 35% saying that they weren’t fussed either way. What I found most fascinating about the results was that a very small number of people opted for either solely natural (7%) or solely synthetic (2%) ingredients, which goes to show that a mixture is favoured.

On to this week’s poll….

The Poll

A couple of polls ago I pitched the two perfume-behemoths that are Guerlain and Chanel against each other and I thought it would be good fun to do this again but with two different houses.

Sticking with the designer theme, I would like to know which you prefer; Dior or Yves Saint Laurent? Both have their fair share of classics and their fair share of duds, but which one floats your boat?

So c’mon, who do you prefer? I want to know! Register your vote and let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!

Dior-Leather-Oud
Leather Oud Photographed by Diego Porcel for BDBM Magazine

We all have a lot to be grumpy about when it comes to Christian Dior Parfums. Not only must we be giving them the evil eye for the dwindling quality in classics such as Diorissimo, we must also be narked about the shoddy reformulations of modern classics like Hypnotic Poison, Pure Poison and Dior Homme/Homme Intense. So yes, it may just be me, but Dior could do a lot more to get in to many a fumehead’s good books.

One area where Dior isn’t letting us down is in their relatively recently launched (2010) “La Collection Privée”, which saw the original Dior Homme Cologne collection (Eau Noire, Bois d’Argent and Ambre Nuit) bumped up to a total of 9 fragrances, before being joined by two new fragrances; Leather Oud and Patchouli Imperial. My interest in in the former was officially piqued at Perfume Lovers London “Evening of Leather“, in which it was described by Lila as a “Sex God”, a moniker which is not to be ignored!

Leather Oud is definitely a stand out within La Collection, and I would argue that it is also a stand out amongst the onslaught of oud based fragrances that populate the market. On the creation of Leather Oud, Dior says: “Christian Dior searched the world, looking for the most beautiful fabrics that exist. Like the designer, the Perfumer (François Demachy) chooses the most beautiful raw materials, one of which is oud wood from Indonesia.” [1] It is this haute couture approach that makes Leather Oud such a success, it is a wonderful example of what happens when quality and artistry collide.

Perfume and fashion go hand in hand in so many ways. The majority of major fashion houses have their own perfume lines and there are a number of scents that are inspired by clothing (No 5 & La Petite Robe Noire etc). One of the big ways fashion and perfume intertwine is through the search for vintage.

Vintage is huge in the fashion industry, fashionistas will search high and low to find that perfect vintage piece from Oscar de la Renta or Chanel. Perfumistas are the same, some will trawl through page after page on eBay trying to find just a few drops of vintage Miss Dior.