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Episode 24 is available for download!

In our latest episode of Fume Chat (the perfume podcast) we’re getting down and dirty with a battle of filthy (dirty, animalic, pungent, beastly, carnal, disgusting) fragrances. If you’re not familiar with our battle episodes, the format is simple: Nick and I pick three (or four) fragrances on a theme and then sniff them together in the episode. A guest judge determines who has picked the best selection of scents and is therefore, the victorious winner of the battle. It’s simple and a ton of fun too!

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Instead of a Christmas gift guide this year, I’m switching out my regular Candy Crush posts for just as regular Christmas Crushes instead. In these posts over the coming weeks you’ll find some wonderfully scented gifts just in time for the holiday season, with products that I am crushing on. So get ready for some marvellous Christmas gift inspiration!

The theme at Penhaligon’s this season is ‘Christmas is in the Air’ and with this Christmassy concept they are mixing the two things that make their identity so unique: tradition and eccentricity. Their golden packaging is accented by beautiful red ribbons, with what appears to be a rather traditional, Victorian scene as the illustration. Look closer though, and the signature quirk of Penhaligon’s is revealed! Carriages driven by birds and flying clocks lead one to remember that the world of Penhaligon’s is a topsy turvy one, and that’s what makes it so wonderful to explore!

This Christmas, Penhaligon’s have curated a fine selection of gifts for any of those eccentric beauties in your life. There’s perfume aplenty, with gorgeous sets and mini-collections amongst their expansive collection of scent. There’s even a special home fragrance for this year, not to mention many other quirky things to love. So in this extravaganza of a Christmas Crush post I’m brining you a veritable feast of Penhaligon’s gifts to hopefully inspire your present-buying this holiday season. With any luck we’ll have ticked some people off your gift list by the end of the post no problem.

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It’s that time of year again: Christmas, also known as the most wonderful time of year, in fact, and it’s the time to get that Christmas shopping underway. Instead of a Christmas gift guide this year, I’m switching out my regular Candy Crush posts for just as regular Christmas Crushes instead. In these posts over the coming weeks you’ll find some wonderfully scented gifts just in time for the holiday season, with products that I am crushing on. So get ready for some marvellous Christmas gift inspiration!

For the sake of today’s post I am pretending that the interlocking Cs in the CHANEL logo stand for ‘Christmas Crush’ because the very first of my Christmas gift posts is dedicated to none other than the famous french couturier. This Christmas CHANEL are promising us glitter and gifting extravaganza with two fragrance products that celebrate the beauty of their most iconic scent, in both its classic and modern interpretations. They are a practical and streamlined Twist & Spray for Nº5 L’Eau and a rather decadent, nay, shall we say excessive, gold, glittering body gel for Nº5. That’s right, folks, I’m kicking these Christmas Crush posts off with a big, shimmering, CHANEL bang.

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We often talk about ‘notes’ or materials in fragrances and how they come together to create a multi-faceted composition. But these materials are incredibly nuanced themselves and each one brings not one, not two, but a multitude of different things to fragrance, meaning that there is always a lot to learn when one goes back to the source materials. I always think that the best way to understand a perfume material is to break it down into facets and that’s exactly what these olfactory deconstruction pieces are for – to dissect each material into little parts so we can really understand what makes it tick, and what makes it smell so good.

Perfume is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each fragrance is made up of specifically shaped pieces that lock together. Perfumers match up the pieces, locking them together facet-to-facet, tessellating each nuance to either enhance or contrast them, or in some cases, create something entirely new. The great thing is that, unlike jigsaw puzzles, where there is one way of piecing things together, perfumery is open-ended and the perfumer can tie things together in whichever way they see fit. This means that the picture at the end can be whatever they dream up. There are endless possibilities and to me, that’s pretty damn exciting.

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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…

When I first cast my eyes over ‘Y‘, the brand new fragrance from Yves Saint Laurent, I was super impressed with just how handsome the bottle was. I mean, look at it! That gorgeous shade of sky blue juice and that steely, silver Y that stretches across and around the glass – it’s all aesthetically very pleasing. Even the theme of the scent was appealing – an ode to the white t-shirt for generation y, with a rapper, a sculptor and artificial intelligence researcher fronting the fragrance. Everything is very cool, very current and very casual. It all looks and sounds excellent, but how does it smell?

Speed Sniff
Speed Sniff

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…

Luxury goods brand Coach have overhauled their fragrance collection and it now consists of two pillars: Coach for Her and Coach for Him. There’s something rather clean and tidy about offering two fragrances and it seems like Coach have worked hard to ensure that their feminine and masculine pillar fragrances represent the spirit of the brand. They’ve worked with top notch perfumers and have even incorporated suede, a material so vital to the brand, in each of their fragrances. So the two scents from Coach are perfectly on brand.

Coach for Men, the masculine of the pair launched this summer and was created by perfumers Anne Flipo (MyQueen by Alexander McQueen and Basil & Neroli by Jo Malone London) and Bruno Jovanovic (Dries van Noten and Monsieur. by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle). It’s a fragrance “inspired by mavericks, rebels and all-American dreamers” and fronted by Actor/Director/Artist James Franco, which all sounds very interesting so let’s put it to the speed sniff test!

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.