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L’Interdit was originally a fragrance comissioned by legendary couturier Hubert de Givenchy for iconic Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn. Launched in the 1950s and created by perfume Francois Fabron, L’Interdit was an aldehydic floral bouquet of the kind that is seldom found in this day and age. Its name, ‘The Forbidden’, is a reference to its initial exclusivity – it was Audrey’s perfume and for anyone else to wear it was, well, just not allowed.

Of course, L’Interdit did not remain forbidden for very long and soon became one of Givenchy’s most famous fragrances. Over the years it has seen a number of incarnations, most notably last year when Givenchy worked with perfumers Dominique Ropion, Anne Flipo, and Fanny Bal to create an entirely new fragrance composition bearing the L’Interdit name.

The new L’Interdit is described by Givenchy as a “tribute to bold femininity” and an “invitation to defy convention and embrace your singularity” showcased by the collision of white florals and dark notes. This leads one to expect a brassy and excessive fragrance – a perfume that speaks with a confident tone and evokes a free spirited character. Let’s see whether it delivers…

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The All Seeing Eye
The All Seeing Eye

A few years back, Frederic Malle announced a capsule collection of fragrances that would sit just outside his main line, taking inspiration from a different source: those people that M. Malle admires deeply. Unlike most capsule collections, ‘par Frederic Malle’ launched only with one scent and it has taken a good few years for another fragrance to follow in the series. It seems that Frederic Malle’s painstakingly focused approach applies not only to his scents but to those he chooses to collaborate with. His first collaboration was with the Belgian designer, Dries Van Noten, a man known for his cerebral couture, and now Malle follows Dries with yet another designer, one who is on the other end of the fashion spectrum – this time Frederic Malle has collaborated with the incomparable designer Alber Elbaz (formerly of Lanvin).

It was admiration that led Frederic Malle to Alber Elbaz and through Malle’s wife’s love of his clothes these two wonderful minds were brought together. The collaboration is one of mutual respect and feels very organically grown yet and it pairs three creatives with who respect, above all, quality, artistry and beauty. Those creative men are Frederic Malle, Alber Elbaz and Dominique Ropion and the result of their trio of awesomeness is Superstitious (yes, I also think of the Stevie Wonder song whenever I hear the name, don’t worry) – a fragrance that feels entirely new yet wholeheartedly classic at the same time.

The scent itself started its life as a work in progress – a grand aldehydic floral with a “classic architecture” worked on by Malle and Ropion for more than a year. Alber Elbaz was introduced to the fragrance (after Malle reportedly had to convince Ropion to “give up his fragrance”), fell in love and then worked with the perfumer to bring it to completion. The rest, as they say, is history. The parallels between couture and fragrance are drawn quite strongly with Superstitious and Malle says that the scent was created in the manner that old fragrances were, with the perfumer working in isolation before presenting it to the client, who then requests it to be tailored to their needs, just like a piece of couture. The result? The most special of collaborations.

Tuberose, Cocaine & Mercury - This is Jusbox Use Abuse
Tuberose, Cocaine & Mercury – This is Jusbox Use Abuse

I get bored of new niche brands, I really do. Yes, there are a lot of wonderful new things popping up on a daily basis but my problem is that so many of them are nothing more than familiar fragrances housed within pretty bottles, with some gimmick or other to set them apart from everything else on the shelves. They often try and offer something new, something exciting, but in more cases than not it’s just the emperor’s new clothes – pretty packaging, yes, but what’s within is nothing more than derivative juices, or in some cases, pretty dreadful smells! So yes, I’m a bit cynical of new niche brands, but not all of them are bad – in fact, some of them are bloody brilliant!

Jusbox Perfumes could fall into the trap of being yet another niche brand with a gimmick if it weren’t for two important factors; 1) the scents are incredibly well made, and are not secondary to their packaging; and 2) the attention to detail the brand has factored in to every element of the product is remarkable, not to mention perfectly in keeping with their overarching concept. It’s the little things that matter here – the weight of the vinyl-capped bottle, the fact that each is sold in a 78ml size, the boxes which contain beautiful CD cased-sized cover art for each scent, the individual print designed for each fragrance, and need I mention the fact that the four scents in the collection have been composed by two industry greats – Dominique Ropion and Antoine Lie? I could go on.

The concept behind Jusbox is the link between music and scent. Their four fragrances are inspired by a particular decade of music, as opposed to a specific genre. For the 1960s we have Beat Café (Dominique Ropion), a tobacco, leather and booze fragrance inspired by Bob Dylan,  for the 1970s there is 24 Hour Dream (Antoine Lie), a hazy vanilla and patchouli scent that feels like a hippy encounter with a mind-altering substance at Woodstock and for the grungey 1990s we’re treated to Micro Love (Dominique Ropion), an aquatic with the feel of hot circuit boards. You may have noticed that I’ve omitted one fragrance from these descriptions and you would be right and that’s because today’s review focuses on my favourite from the collection: Use Abuse.

Orlov - Our Love of Diamonds
Orlov – Our Love of Diamonds

“Diamonds! Diamonds!
I don’t mean rhinestones!
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

– Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Marilyn Monroe knew a thing or two about glamour, I’d say, and in her iconic performance of the Carol Channing-composed ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in Gentleman Prefer Blondes she said it best when she said that, when it comes to diamonds, a man better get you the real thing, or else. Like diamonds, niche perfumery should be subject to such a discerning set of rules because, let’s face it, there are many pretenders out there – tons of cubic zirconia brands that offer a pretty package but not much in the way of honest olfactory beauty. Niche fragrance is all about offering something special, something unique and something more luxurious than the mainstream fair, and many brands provide sparkle, but none of the lasting interest that they should.

One brand that I recently discovered with both style and substance is Orlov Paris. I’m a sucker for a good story and theirs is one that is refreshingly devoid of tacky gimmicks. Brand founder Ruth Méaulle is a Gemologist who loves fragrance as much as she does diamonds. Having worn some cracking scents in her life, the likes of Carnal Flower and having gifted equally wonderful fragrances to her mother (Amarige) and husband (Vétiver Extraordinaire), Méaulle realised that she had followed one perfumer with each of these fragrant choices: the legendary Dominique Ropion. So it makes sense that, when Méaulle decided to start her own fragrance house, Orlov Paris (Orlov being Russian for ‘Our Love’), Monsieur Ropion was the only nose she could work with.

Each of the fragrances within the Orlov Paris collection is inspired by a legendary stone, with the first five taking their inspiration from iconic diamonds. The best seller, Flame of Gold, is named after the Diamonds International award winning canary yellow diamond of the same name, which weighed in at a whopping 29 carats. Originally set in a necklace but later purchased by Texas oilman E.E. “Buddy” Ogelmen for his wife, Oscar-winning actress, Greer Garson, the location of the diamond today is unknown. Like the stone, Flame of Gold the fragrance is mysterious and dazzles with warm light in shades of yellow, glowing with amber, vanilla, leather and cedar wood. Talk about divine.

Cologne Indélébile Now Lasts Forever...
Cologne Indélébile Now Lasts Forever…

In the UK we’re all walking around in a daze. The sun is out, it’s warm and there hasn’t been any rain in at least 48 hours. People are whispering to each other; “could it be?”, they ask; “I’m not sure”, they say. The ‘s’ word is on everybody’s lips but no-one dare say it. Could it really be summer? Maybe. The sun is out and the temperature is rising, but we did have rain, snow and hail last week, so perhaps we should wait before cracking out the shorts and sunscreen. I’m not ready to call it quite yet, folks, but I have an inkling that ‘s’ may be on its way…

For me, the summer season mean one thing: cologne. There is nothing better on a hot day than a generous spritz of a refreshing eau de cologne, except a water fight perhaps, but those are harder to come by in one’s old age. As far as colognes go, there is no beating Cologne Indélébile, the everlasting cyber-cologne created by perfumer Dominique Ropion for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Cologne Indélébile squeezes lemons the size of the sun into its bottle, boasting metallic freshness, hay-like neroli and a whirlwind of technical musks to keep it going up & up, and on & on. It’s a marvel of perfumery and now there’s a new way to make it last even longer.

This summer Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle are launching an accompanying Body Wash and Body Milk to the Cologne Indélébile, promoting the idea that to make your cologne truly everlasting, it’s best to layer up! So before spritzing on twenty sprays of Cologne Indélébile (something I am often guilty of), one can lather up in a deluge of delicately soft bubbles scented with Malle’s neo-cologne, before then smoothing on a moisturising layer of the Body Milk and then finally, spraying on the fragrance to finish. By building layers of the scent on the skin, one can dial back on the sprayer a bit so that Cologne Indélébile really can last longer than the average British summer.

Happy Birthday, Alien!
Happy Birthday, Alien!

“Alien is the very essence of femininity, it’s femininity incarnate. And femininity is a gift from heaven, a generosity, an instinctive intelligence.”

– Thierry Mugler

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a silence overtook the stars. Thirteen years had passed since the Empress Angel ascended her galactic throne, and loneliness had taken hold in her couture heart. All around her she saw nothing but copycats, pale imitations and weaklings that couldn’t live up to her fierceness, her avant-garde angles nor the sheer power of her olfactory force. She was a supernova of edible treats over a dark nebula of patchouli and the others couldn’t compete. Angel longed for a sister, an extract of her fearless DNA that danced along the same double helix. Little did she know that she would get more than she bargained for, and she imagined into being a friendly rival who shone brightly over the galaxy and threatened her reign. Or something like that, anyway….

Back on Earth in 2005, 13 whole years after launching his debut fragrance, Angel, fashion designer, Thierry Mugler launched Alien, his sophomore perfume. Few designers and brands are so patient however, the Mugler model is one of perseverance where fragrances are allowed the time to find their target market, and to grow fondly in the hearts of their fans. Take Angel for instance, a perfume that was as divisive as Marmite when it was launched, and in fact, still is to this day. Mugler and Clarins (who hold the Mugler license) started with a small launch and invested both time, and care in slowly building a fan base, and a name for their product until it became one of the best selling fragrances in the world – an accolade that it still holds today.

Both Alien and Womanity (2010) have followed this blueprint, receiving long-term success rather than being quickly canned if they weren’t immediately successful in their first few months on the market. That said, Alien seems to have been fairly popular right from the outset, due perhaps in part to the fact that, whilst it is utterly distinct (there really is nothing quite like it still to this day), Alien isn’t quite as hard to get along with as the others. Don’t get me wrong, Alien is still a complete weirdo of a woody jasmine, but somehow it manages to bridge the divide between fantasy and reality, making for an accessible olfactory experience, enjoyed in full 3D and iMax.

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

Oof, this is a big one, dear readers. I have been tentatively putting this guide together for nearly 12 months and, after lots of tantrums and rewrites, I finally feel that it is ready to share. The notable thing about rose, and the reason for my drama, is the fact that it’s such a wide genre, with so many different interpretations and styles of just the one ingredient. In truth, I could put together a guide for each type of rose, covering the gourmand rose, or the oriental rose etc. in great depth. But that’s a level of detail that would take a lifetime to perfect and with tradition in mind, I have compiled a Guide to Rose that can be a starting point to the genre – an essential overview that highlights the very best of the many styles of rose.

Now, if you’re new to The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to series, here’s a little overview of what to expect. The series is an award winning olfactory guide to the popular notes found in many of the perfumes we love and wear. Each instalment takes a look at a singular note, its odour profile and the ‘must sniffs’ (i.e. the reference fragrances) that are essential members of that particular family. So far we’ve traversed the domains of; Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Lily, Jasmine, Lavender, Violet, Oud, Chocolate and Vanilla. Today, it’s time for rose, rose and nothing but rose.