Thanks to people like Frederic Malle, perfumers are becoming much prominent figures within the industry. We now celebrate the creative and technical minds behind the perfumes we smell, putting their names on the bottles and turning some of them into God-like rockstars of the business (I’m looking at you Bertrand).
For my Escentual column this week I am continuing my Escentual A-Z of Fragrance with ‘N is for Nose’ – a look at some of my favourite perfumers. In this piece I talk about some of their most noteworthy work, ranging from the masterfully symphonic compositions of Dominique Ropion to the edgy work of Yann Vasnier. Click here to head on over to Escentual and read the piece. Oh, and don’t forget to tell me about your favourite perfumers whilst you’re there!
Can you believe that 2013 is coming to a close already? I certainly can’t! It only feels like yesterday that I was sat at my laptop, tapping away at the first reviews of the year and looking forward to the exciting new smells that next 365 days would bring. It has, all-in-all, been a very good year, with lots of interesting new perfumes launched, and on a more personal note too, as this year I took on the exciting role of Fragrance Expert for Escentual.com.
The perfumes have come thick and fast over the year, and once again the industry has seen an increase in the overall number of perfumes launched. Over the year we’ve seen our fair share of masterpieces, duds, flankers and celebrity money makers in, and as with any other year it has been a roller coaster ride of an experience sifting through just a tiny portion of what has been released.
In this post – my annual perfume awards (‘The Candies’) – I’m taking a look at my fragrant highlights of the year and those perfumes that have impressed, moved and surprised me. I’m also highlighting the specific scents that have failed to meet the mark this year and are disappointing enough to warrant naming and shaming. So sit back, don your red carpet gown (or suit), pop the champagne and enjoy The Candies 2013.
When Elie Saab released his Francis-Kurkdjian-penned debut fragrance – ‘Le Parfum‘ – in 2011, it quickly garnered praise as one of the most impressive feminine designer launches of the year. Since then it has maintained its popularity, spurring the release of an Eau de Toilette version in 2012 and a brand new intense edition for 2013.
“Inspired by the magical moment of dusk, mysterious and captivating, the floral oriental Elie Saab Le Parfum Intense tells the story of a woman who comes alive as the sun goes down. She is confidence incarnate, and wears her Elie Saab couture like a second skin.”
For Le Parfum Intense, Saab has opted for a perfume that is richer and less diffusive than the original. This particular presentation of Le Parfum serves as a headier and more intoxicating version where the intensity of white flowers is amplified, along with vanilla to create a truly couture experience.
Following the release of their new fragrance – ‘Le Parfum‘ – historic french brand Carven have scheduled a fragrance masterclass with perfumer Francis Kurkdjian at the luxury London department store Selfridges. Having created Le Parfum and a number of other luxury fragrances, Kurkdjian is a fascinating individual with a unique insight to the perfume industry.
“The afternoon event invites guests to enjoy a glass of champagne and canapés whilst Francis journeys through the intimate and captivating charm that encapsulates the couture spirit of the legendary Parisian fashion house, Carven. Guest will discover the history, delicacy and grace of the Carven woman and discuss the raw ingredients of the beautiful new Carven female fragrance, Le Parfum.”
The house of Carven appears to be going through a period of resurrection. In 2009 Guillaume Henry took over as Artistic Director of the house, lifting it out of its long-served period of retirement. Now, following the reinstatement of the brand’s fashion line M. Henry has turned his keen eye to the world of Carven Fragrances with the re-issuing of the brand’s classic scents ‘Ma Griffe’ (1946) and ‘Vétiver’ (1957).
In addition to the revival of Carven’s historical fragrances the brand have launched an entirely new flagship fragrance to capture the spirit of the brand. Simply entitled ‘Carven Le Parfum’, the fragrance sets out to embody the energy of Henry’s designs for Carven and create in perfume, the idea of the ‘Carven Woman’.
Le Parfum, which was created by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian (he of Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Le Mâle fame), is described as; “the concept of a sillage that combines several paradoxes, a fresh and ethereal fragrance that is, at the same time, ultra feminine. A fragrance that is as structured as Guillaume Henry’s line of clothing” and created for the Carven woman, who Kurkdjian says is “beautiful without even thinking about it.”
For the latest instalment in The Candy Perfume Boy’s Escentual A-Z of Fragrance I have taken a look at one of perfumery’s greatest talents – the one, the only Francis Kurkdjian. Taking a look at some of his best works and including interesting tidbits from his recent Perfume Lovers London talk, the piece serves as an introduction to a perfumer that certainly divides opinion.
So please head on over to Escentual by clicking on the image above and don’t forget to let me know your thoughts on Francis Kurkdjian and his perfumes in the comments box there or even the one here!
As I get older I realise that I love my home comforts more and more, and a good night for me is one spent in with great food, a movie (which doesn’t necesarily need to be great) my Nigel and my cats. To perfect a relaxed evening at home all one needs to do is light a lovely smelling scented candle – and If there’s one thing I love just as much as perfume it’s a scented candle.
The great news for us perfume lovers is that many fragrance houses offer home fragrance lines, including scented candles, that capture the scent of some of our favourite perfumes and some that offer up entirely new odours. One fragrance house whose candle offerings are particular intriguing is Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
As part of our wedding day Nigel and I are dead set on including some Maison Francis Kurkdjian candles in our ceremony – after all it would be a crime for our wedding not to be impeccably scented now wouldn’t it? So we know what brand we want, and we know we want floral candles so that narrows the selection down to two candles; APOM and Aqua Universalis.
The heatwave is finally here and as we all enjoy (or suffer in) the heat now is a good time to pull out those fragrances that refresh, revitalise & defeat the blazing heat of the sun and stuffy, humid air. It’s a time where perfume can be your greatest weapon when attempting to conquer the unrelenting enthusiasm of the sun.
My Escentual Post last week looked at two new releases that are perfect for summer (Guerlain Nerolia Bianca and Dior Homme Cologne 2013) and it got me thinking about those fragrances that I swear by in the summer – or as i like to call them: ‘my summer survival scents’.
Some days it seems almost too hot to do anything, but these scents can be an essential part of your summer survival kit. All you need is some cooling citrus, a few fresh fancies, a couple of manly mints and a generous dose of flowers and fruit, and you’ll be all set to tackle the heatwave of 2013!
There are some niche brands out there that just get it – they know how to offer interesting, well-crafted perfumes that are both easily wearable and suitably intellectually stimulating. Maison Francis Kurkdjian is one of such brand, and having thoroughly explored each and every corner of this ‘maison’ I can honestly say that I’m yet to come across a single dud.
This, of course, is no surprise seeing as the patriarch of the Maison is none other than venerable perfume Francis Kurkdjian. At a recent Perfume Lovers London event Kurkdjian said that it’s the stories behind the scents that make them what they are, musing that Shalimar wouldn’t be Shalimar without its name and that scents cannot me detached from the names they are bestowed. Perhaps this is why his brand is so enjoyable – each scent tells a story.
“It was one afternoon on Formentera, in the Balearic Islands, that the idea of Aqua Vitae came to Francis Kurkdjian. Riding an old motorbike, taking it slowly in view of the extreme heat, the air on his face was deliciously cool. The sun intensified the fragrances of nature around him. Aqua Vitae, the water of life, when life is quite simply beautiful, an extremely sensitive sensuality enveloped with an uncontained freshness.”
His latest perfume – Aqua Vitae – tells the story of “the space between us” and takes its name from the water of vitality. Created to evoke “a magic breath” and “the shiver of pleasure on the back of the neck before something wonderful occurs” Aqua Vitae is a fragrance that casts a beautiful golden light, exuding serenity and peace.
If I were to pose most perfume-addicts the question; “are you in the mood for oud?” the response would likely be a resounding ‘no’, with a good few exasperated sighs and possibly one or two slaps to the face for good measure. The simple fact is that oud, the noble rot from the Aquilaria tree, is over exposed in the world of perfume and one cannot step into their local fragrance hall without being bombarded by “THE LATEST OUD FRAGRANCE FROM XXX” or “LOOK, WE’VE MADE A PERFUME AND IT HAS OUD IN IT, ACTUAL OUD (KINDA, NOT REALLY)!”.
But I refuse to be disheartened by the oud trend, because that’s exactly what it is – a trend, and we all know that trends are transient in nature, meaning that it’ll all be over before we know it. In reality this trend is far from being all bad, after all there are some great oud-based scents out there (check out my Guide to Oud), with perhaps the best in most recent years being Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s incandescent OUD.
“The creation of the OUD mood collection is a tribute to the type of perfume that makes you feel as if you are wrapped in a rare, delicate material, one that is in perfect harmony with a warm, gentle, refined state of mind.”
Following on from the success of last year’s incandescent OUD, Francis Kurkdjian has added not one, but three new oud fragrances to his Maison. Named ‘OUD Mood’ this collection takes inspiration from the soft feel of fabric, namely; Silk, Velvet and Cashmere. Each one offering a brand new and interesting texture of oud and serving as a wave of refreshment for tired, bored and frankly cranky perfume lovers.