Quirky Perfume Gifts
Quirky Perfume Gifts

This is my fourth gift guide this Christmas season and you would be forgiven for thinking that this means that I, myself am quite organised with my Christmas shopping this year. Well, my friends, you would be as wrong as Donald Trump on foreign policy (#Topical). In fact, I have been pretty appalling this year and have managed to buy one present. That’s right, one single measly gift. Hopefully I can make amends for my lack of organisation and yuletide consumerism with this, my final gift guide for 2015.

So far we’ve picked out some delightful scented candles and oohed and ahhed at some cheap and mindblowingly expensive gifts. We’ve even done a round-up of Escentual gifts for perfume lovers too! Now we’re at the very last one and I wanted to finish of my guide to gifting with a look at some unconventional perfume gifts, for the quirky perfume lovers in your life. Below the jump you’ll find five fragrant gifts that are a little bit different. So, if you need something scented that is a must have for that loveable weirdo in your life, I’ve got your back this Christmas.

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Scenting the Characters of Studio Ghibli
Scenting the Characters of Studio Ghibli

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

It occurred to me the other day that it had been a long while since I put together an instalment for the Scent a Celebrity Series. In fact, a quick search of the blog tells me that it was way back in February when we last took a dive into the world of scent selection for celebrities. That is too long, if you ask me. How else are the celebrities and fictional characters of this world expected to navigate the perplexing domain of fragrance? They can’t scent themselves, surely not? No, they can’t. So let’s remedy that with a brand new instalment of some long overdue celebrity scenting.

For this edition I am heading into the magical, mystical and ever fascinating world of Studio Ghibli. Creating some of the very best Japanese animation ever, Studio Ghibli has entertained children and adults across the globe, breaking language and cultural barriers with their stories of love, childhood fantasy, strength and suffering. Director Hayao Miyazaki has created iconic characters that are loveable, loath-able, and all that’s in between. In this piece you will find some of my favourite Ghibli characters from a range of my favourite films – all of them scented to perfection.

The Candy Perfume Boy's Hitlist - Q2 2015
The Candy Perfume Boy’s Hitlist – Q2 2015

Can you believe that we’re already heading towards the completion of quarter two of 2015? I certainly can’t! Time seems to be moving so fast and it’s staggering to think that we’re halfway through the year already – it’ll be Christmas before you know it (sorry)! As you may, or may not know, for 2015 I’ve started a new quarterly round-up of all my favourite things which I’ve entitled ‘The Candy Perfume Boy’s Hitlist’. In these posts I take a look back at the fragrances, launches, blogs, books, brands or perfumers that have been taking my fancy over the last quarter.

There are no rules. Well, there are three rules with this series; 1) the subjects must be linked to fragrance somehow (a rule that I’m allowed to bend); and 2) the hitlist is to be published towards the end of each quarter; and 3) the list must include my favourite things, as if I were a fragrant sort-of Oprah (which I like to think I am). So, now we’re heading towards the end of June (my birthday month – just throwing that out there), let’s take a gander at what’s topping my hitlist for quarter two of 2015.

'Savage Beauty' - A retrospective of Alexander McQueen's Work at the V&A, London
‘Savage Beauty’ – A retrospective of Alexander McQueen’s Work at the V&A, London

“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition”.

– Lee ‘Alexander’ McQueen ¹

Whether one is a follower of fashion or not, it cannot be denied that the work of the late, great Alexander McQueen is art. McQueen paired exceptional tailoring (forged after an apprenticeship on Saville Row) with violence, romance and often alien beauty to create pieces that shook, and more importantly, challenged the world of fashion. Whether it be his early collection, ‘Highland Rape’, which had a name as controversial as its clothing, or the 3D printed and H.R. Ginger inspired ‘Alien’ footwear from ‘Plato’s Atlantis’, McQueen demonstrated that he was a fashion renegade – always courting controversy, but never losing sight of beauty.

This weekend I visited the Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A in London. Running until 02 August 2015, the exhibit is a tremendous showcase of McQueen’s work, spanning his illustrious career from his MA Graduate Collection (‘Jack the Ripper Stalks his Victims, 1992) to his final, and incomplete collection (Autumn/Winter 2010). The whole thing is impeccably staged, with each room transformed to capturing the theme of each body of work. Perhaps the most captivating part of the exhibit is the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ – a room that spans two storeys and is filled with a dazzling array of pieces, from accessories such as bags, shoes and head pieces (many of which are collaborations with milliner, Philip Treacy), to gowns and metal spines. There’s simply so much to look at and the whole thing serves as a true testament to the talent, nay, the genius of one of the world’s greatest fashion designers.

Leaving the exhibition I felt incredibly inspired. It was fascinating to literally walk through the evolution of McQueen’s aesthetic, encountering the divine and the macabre along the way. There will never be another talent like his and to celebrate this stunning exhibition and body of work, I thought I would pick out some of my favourite McQueen pieces from his greatest collections, and ‘scent them’ with some perfumes that embody the spirit of these remarkable pieces of fashion. Here you’ll find some deeply intriguing clothing and scents, all of which are tailored to perfection and challenge one’s perceptions. They are works of fashion and olfactory art.

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

The Candy Perfume Boy’s ‘Guide to…‘ series is a Jasmine award winning fragrant exploration of the individual notes that make up the vast and multi-dimensional spectrum that is the world of perfume. In each episode, we take a detailed look at a particular ingredient, analysing its odour profile and the ‘must sniff’ perfumes that serve as reference examples within the genre.

The many fragrant trips in the series have seen us make stops at Planet Tuberose, Chocolate World and Lavender Moon. We’ve also taken journeys to discover the notes of Oud, Orange Blossom, Violet and Lily. Oh, and we mustn’t forget Vanilla – we’ve been there too (and it was particularly delicious, I must say). All-in-all, we’ve traversed some delectably smelly places, learning more and more about the world of perfume on the way. I for one have found it to be great fun, and I hope you, dear reader, have too.

In this instalment we take a look at one of perfumery’s most important, prominent and prolific ingredients – jasmine. This stuff is a vital building block in our perfumes and iconic fragrances such as Chanel’s Nº5 (a true legend) simply would be the same without it. So, without further ado, I have put together my selection of ‘reference’ jasmine fragrances – seven of the very best, to be precise – to help you guide yourself through the must sniffs of the jasmine world. Let’s go scent-trekking.

Gorilla!
Gorilla!

The time has come to reveal the winner of the Gorilla Perfume Kerbside Violet giveaway! Whoop! But before that, I would just like to take a few moments to say that I really enjoyed reading everyones comments about who they would like to meet in a chance encounter in the street. It’s fascinating to see who everybody’s legends are. Anyway, now on to the fun bit! I am pleased to announce that the winner of the Gorilla giveaway (as chosen by random.org) and the soon-to-be-owner of a brand spanking new 10ml bottle of Kerbside Violet is…

Rubbing Noses With...
Rubbing Noses With…

“Rubbing Noses is a series, in which I, The Candy Perfume Boy, grill the most important members of the perfume industry – the perfumers. These are the brains and noses behind the perfumes we know and love, and their unrivalled insight into one of the world’s most ancient of arts is something to be treasured, enjoyed and shared.”

This episode of Rubbing Noses focuses on one half of the dynamic father and son perfume crafting team responsible for Gorilla Perfumes, the perfume arm of cosmetics company, Lush. Simon Constantine is the son of Lush’s co-founder Mark Constantine and he has quickly proved himself to be a true talent within the world of perfume. He was the genius that mixed the two B Never to be Busy to be Beautiful fragrances ‘Inhale‘ and ‘Exhale‘ to create what we now as ‘Breath of God‘ – a truly unique and beautiful fragrance that is a shining star in the Gorilla Perfume range.

In this interview, Simon (and a tiny bit of Mark) talks about the inspiration behind three of the fragrances with Gorilla Perfume’s third volume of scent, ‘Death and Decay’, as well as discussing fragrance materials, IFRA and what makes a good perfume. I think you’ll agree that Simon has a unique view on the world of perfume, one that is shown not only here, but also in his olfactory creations which are anything but dull. Anyway, that’s enough of my babbling, let’s see what the Gorilla perfumer has to say…