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There has been a revival at the house of Gucci. For the first time in a long time (since Tom Ford was at the helm, in fact) the olfactory style of the house is in tune its visual aesthetic. Of course, the fashion has evolved tremendously since then and the bohemian, vintage chic that Creative Director Alesandro Michele has brought to the house has made Gucci THE fashion brand everybody wants. Michele clearly gets perfume, having worked with Master Perfumer Alberto Morillas to create intriguing, on-brand creations such as Gucci Bloom, Gucci Guilty Absolute and now, Memoire d’une Odeur, completely overhauling the way Gucci presents perfume. I for one, am here for it.

Memoire d’une Odeur explores the intrinsic link between memory and scent. For Michele, the scent memory he wished to recreate was that of Roman Chamomile, which takes centre stage in what Gucci are positioning as a “mineral aromatic”. This fragrance, they say, is universal – it’s for everyone regardless of gender or age – and that, my friends, is exactly how every fragrance should be. Memoire d’une Odeur is an unusual, unfamiliar fragrance that conjurs a specific memory for Michele and creates a new one for those who experience it.

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Madonna turns 60 today – Happy Birthday, HRH Madonna! To celebrate, I thought I would resurrect my much-loved ‘Scent a Celebrity Series’, in which I ‘scent’ (pick fragrances for) some of my favourite celebrities. So let’s jump right back in with none other than the Queen of Pop!

Madonna; no other name is more instantly recognisable and no person is more likely to divide opinion. Arguably the most famous woman on the planet and factually the best selling female recording artist of all time, Madonna is a force that is hard to define; singer, dancer, performer, entertainer, provocateur, feminist, business woman, calculating she-devil – love her or hate her, whatever moniker you throw at her will most likely apply. She has done what many other icons fail to do – achieve longevity and on her 60th birthday, we celebrate her phenomenal four decades in music.

The fascinating thing about Madonna is that her ratio of talent to fame is perhaps slightly off balance. She’s not the greatest singer or dancer in the world, or even the best looking, but she has that je ne sais quoi that makes a person a star – the x factor, as they call it. Some say that she’s just a good business woman and I’m sure she is but that does not make for such longevity. By pushing people’s buttons and having something to say (and saying it well) Madonna has ensured that she is more than a just a star, she’s that rare commodity: an icon.

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Well that was the year that was! 2017 is finally drawing to a close and I think it would be fair to say that it has been a year unlike any other. Perfume-wise, it has been once again, an incredibly busy year, more so than any other in fact, with a big cohort of mainstream brands launching new pillar fragrances this year – the likes of MUGLER, GUERLAIN, CHANEL (all capitalised for some reason) and Hermès, just to name a few. There have been flankers, celebrity scents, and ridiculous bottles aplenty, making for an interesting and fragrant year.

Seeing as the blog had a total makeover in 2017, this year I’ve decided to rejig The Candies a little bit too. Normally I would pick my best feminine, masculine and unisex fragrances from the mainstream and niche arms of the industry however, year-on-year I have found it harder to fit my favourites into these categories. The problem being that nowadays, the gender lines have blurred considerably within the realms of perfume, especially in niche. Also, I’ve said many times that a fragrance has no gender so it seems silly to categorise my awards as such . So this year I’ve simply picked ten fragrances – five mainstream and five niche, that each take the title of the best perfumes of the year, presented in no particular order.

In terms of other changes, there’s now a ‘Top Candy’ which goes to my favourite perfume of the year (it will be a most coveted award, I am sure), and ‘Best Body Product’ has been replaced with ‘Candy Crush of the Year’ to reflect my Candy Crush posts that celebrate my fragrant obsessions throughout the year. Oh and there’s now a ‘House of the Year’ award which goes to my favourite perfume house of the year. That about covers it, so shall we get started then? Yes, let’s! A drumroll please…

Shining the Spotlight on Something Special
Shining the Spotlight on Something Special

In a break from tradition, I’m going to start this review by revealing my thoughts on the scent in question right at the very start, instead of making you wait until the end. So without further ado I must inform you that Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme is absolutely terrific and you need to drag your butts to the nearest department store to sniff it pronto. It is just the type of masculine fragrance the mainstream needs and with so much dreck out there, it really stands out. So yes, Gucci Guilty Absolute is superb and you owe it to yourself to give it a go.

Gucci Guilty Absolute was created by Perfumer Alberto Morillas (CK One, Mugler Cologne and the Mizensir collection ) in conjunction with Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele. It was created to have a special structure that does not change with develop and instead stays the same throughout. So is what you sniff what you get with Gucci Guilty Absolute or is it something else altogether? Whatever it is, it’s bloody fantastic and the mainstream masculine arena will have a tough job knocking this one from the top spot this year. Bring it on!

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As much as I would rock a Juicy Couture tracksuit I can confirm this is not an image of me…

As a die hard perfume nerd it is often too easy for one to focus on all that is good in the world of perfumery. That may sound like it goes without saying but what I mean specifically is that one can fall in to the trap of only celebrating that which is considered to be the finest examples of the art we adore so much. Of course this is no bad thing in itself, quality, artistry, and beauty must be celebrated, however when doing so it is far too easy for one to overlook those perfumes that are, shall we say ‘a little rough around the edges’. The ugly ducklings if you will.

Personally, I adore an ugly duckling. Yes I also adore my Amouages, exclusive Guerlains and Maison Francis Kurkdjian scents but my guilty pleasures cannot be ignored. To my nose there is nothing more pleasing than a brash, cheap and trashy fragrance. That said, there is a fine line between the fun & trashy and the downright vulgar, in the context of celebrity it’s the difference between Lady Gaga (good vulgar) and Paris Hilton (bad, just bad).

If you’re looking for that fun, fancy-free, brazen and downright ridiculous over-the-top cheap scent then look no further than this guide, because I adore cheap trash and nothing pleases me more than sharing my favourite examples of tacky fragrant vulgarity with you.