What do Acqua di Parma’s new fragrance Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura and beloved cartoon icon Spongebob Squarepants have in common? OK, I admit that this is probably not the question you expected to be asked in this review, but bear with me, it’ll make sense, maybe. The answer is simple: they’re both made from sea sponges. What do you mean that doesn’t make sense? Surely it’s obvious? Surely?!
OK, I’ll clear things up for you. La Spugnatura is actually a limited edition version of Acqua di Parma’s popular Bergamotto di Calabria fragrance, which sits within their Blu Mediterraneo collection. What makes this edition different is ‘La Spugnatura’, a traditional and labour-intensive method of extraction which involves, you guessed it, our good friend Spongebob. OK, not Spongebob, but actual sponges. In this process, bergamot fruits are cut and separated from their peel, the peels are then pressed (very carefully) onto sea sponges, which absorb the fruit’s essence. These sponges are then squeezed into terracotta jars. The result is beautiful, brilliant bergamot.
Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura is a limited edition fragrance that features this special bergamot material and because it’s so exceptional, it’s also housed in a gorgeous vessel. For this edition, Acqua di Parma has created a handmade porcelain bottle, adorned with a white and gold bergamot pattern. It’s absolutely beautiful and it really does add to the special feel of this unique, limited edition. But does it smell extraordinary too? Let’s sniff!
H24 is the first masculine pillar fragrance to be launched by Hermès since Terre d’Hermès in 2006. I think we can all agree that those are some pretty big shoes to fill and I’m sure Christine Nagel, Hermès’ in-house perfumer, did not approach the task lightly – standing in the shadow of Jean-Claude Ellena’s modern classic must be somewhat daunting! But, Nagel seems unphased by such things and much like Ellena before her, she seems determined to put her own stamp on the olfactory style of Hermès. What was once cerebral, water colour and delicate, is now full-bodied (Myrrh Eglantine), whimsical (Twilly) and modern (L’Ombre des Merveilles). It’s a big shift and H24 is a great example of how Hermès as a perfume brand has changed since its perfumer evolution.
H24 is described by Hermès as the “olfactory expression of the contemporary man, in motion, agile, vibrant, and in perfect symbiosis with his environment.” Nagel has talked about how she was inspired by Hermès’ artistic director of menswear, Véronique Nichanian, and the creative overlaps in their work, especially their individual relationship with materials. H24 intends to reflect the innovation and technical expertise found within Hermès’ modern menswear collections, using classic materials, both natural and synthetic, to create a signature for the man that wears Hermès today. Terre d’Hermès is Jean-Claude Ellena’s vision of the Hermès man in 2006 and H24 is Nagel’s in 2021. As one would expect, they are two entirely different visions.
This is a super exciting project that I am thrilled to be a part of. As you may know, I write for Escentual as their Fragrance Expert and also advise them on all things fragrance. Over the last two years, we at Escentual have run two blind fragrance trials with journalists, influencers and bloggers, all with the aim to promote discussion about new fragrance launches – it’s been really successful and immense fun. Well, now, #EscentualScents comes to you and this time, you can get in on all of the action and fun!
It’s time for a new Fume Chat podcast episode. CHANEL has just released their new Nº5 campaign featuring Nick’s doppelgänger, Academy Award winning actress, Marion Cotillard. To celebrate we’re taking a deep dive into the history of the most famous perfume in the world (the icon, the legend CHANEL Nº5) – we discuss its creation and sniff the five versions currently available. Join Thomas and Marion, sorry, no, join Thomas and Nick in this iconic episode. Listen below the jump (or wherever you get your podcasts)
“Perfumed escapism” – that’s what Nick Steward, founder of indie brand Gallivant, aims to bring to the world with his collection of city-inspired scents, and let’s be real, if there ever was a time when we needed to be transported elsewhere by perfume, now is it. With so many people under lockdown or working from home, and unable to travel, all because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Gallivant provides virtual tours of faraway places, all through the medium of olfaction. Gallivant makes this big old world a much smaller and more accessible place, all with just one spritz of their transportive perfumes.
With their latest launch, Gallivant whisks us away to Uzbekistan and the noble city of Bukhara. This “fairytale city on the Silk Road”, as Gallivant puts it, is home to beautiful, colourful architecture, talented artisans, welcoming people and a melting pot of spices, fabrics and fruits. Gallivant worked with perfumer Ralf Schweiger (Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle; Eau des Merveilles by Hermès, and so many more iconic scents) to distill the city of Bukhara into olfactory form. Together they chose the luxurious and elegant note of iris as Bukhara’s core material. To be honest, they had me at “orris”.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another IGTV video! This week I’m taking a look at spooky, terrifying and creepy scents for Halloween. These are wild and wacky fragrances with a dark and devilish side. Enjoy the video below the jump, or you can watch directly on instagram.
What perfume would the Mona Lisa wear? What would she smell like? What is behind that enigmatic smile? The popularity of the Mona Lisa is the fact that it leaves so much unsaid – for years people have wondered who she is (although it is now pretty much agreed who the subject of the painting is), what she was thinking and why this, of all paintings, is the most famous in the world. All good questions to ponder, if you ask me.
Niche brand Histoires de Parfums appear to have their curiosity piqued by Ms. Mona too, and they’ve taken the enigma that is the Mona Lisa and tried to capture her essence in perfume form. The name ‘7753‘ refers to the dimensions of the painting – “a hidden number for a hidden smile” as the brand puts it – and the scent aims to recreate the emotion of the subject. Whether that rings true or not, I can confirm (spoiler alert) that it is a cracking tuberose that I’ve been enjoying immensely!
I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.
It’s been over 25 years since MUGLER launched ANGEL, their divisive flagship perfume. Since then the signature ANGEL accord of patchouli and vanilla has been copied thousands of times over, birthing the likes of Coco Mademoiselle (CHANEL) and Flowerbomb (Viktor & Rolf) amongst many others. MUGLER too, have spent their time reimagining ANGEL, offering up a host of flankers, swirling their flagship scent into gourmand treats ranging from the boozy to the fruity, and all that’s in between.
In 2011, MUGLER launched an Eau de Toilette version of ANGEL (created by Perfumer Amandine Marie) that was lighter and more diluted (but not fresher) than the original. I’m not sure how well this version resonated but I suppose it didn’t feel different enough to really justify its existence. Perhaps MUGLER felt the same because for 2019 they have launched an entirely new ANGEL EDT created by Perfumer Louise Turner. New juice, new bottle, same old ANGEL.
Paris-Riviera is the fourth fragrance to join LES EAUX DE CHANEL, a collection of modern colognes, each inspired by a destination of historical significance to the house’s founder, Gabrielle Chanel. With LES EAUX DE CHANEL, CHANEL say that it is not the destination that matters, but the journey. It is the idea of escaping – of exploring, losing oneself and finding oneself. It’s about traversing unchartered territory and experiencing new things.
1928. Gabrielle Chanel had her vacation villa La Pausa built on the Côte d’Azur, a few years after opening a new boutique in Cannes. With its breathtaking landscapes and exciting lifestyle, the French Riviera had become the new society hotspot. PARIS-RIVIERA evokes this sweetness of life in a floral and solar trail.