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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!

Juicy Couture Tracksuit
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.

Nicki Minaj

“Super hero by night, rapper by day.”

I have decided that due to the overwhelming number of abysmal celebuscent (celebrity perfume) launches the celebrities of this world simply cannot be trusted with their scent choices. So, as a remedy to their poor choices, and to avoid having to reach for the smelling salts to revive myself from bad-celebuscent-induced hysteria, I have chosen to start the Scent a Celebrity Series.

So far I have picked scents for everyone’s favourite Puppet/Marionette hybrids – The Muppets – and the love-her-or-hate-her Icelandic songstress Björk. Today I’m going to be picking scents for a relatively new kid on the block and another love-her-or-hate-her celebrity, but this one is likely to ruffle a few more feathers than Björk, even when she is donning her infamous swan dress. Ladies and gentleman I introduce you to Miss Nicki Minaj.

Nicki Minaj is not your typical bubblegum-pop-princess, she is a foul-mouthed, schizophonic rap-Barbie with a penchant for unusual vocal tricks and hyper-fast rhymes. She has successfully crossed the divide between pop & rap, and although her many alter egos and sonic styles can, at times, sound cluttered (and like they are in need of some serious editing) she is redefining the way two of the biggest music genres combine whilst being utterly fabulous at the same time.