One of my favourite films is Luc Besson’s 1997 futuristic sci-fi ‘The Fifth Element’ – a look at the future through a French lens. I love everything about this film, from the Jean Paul Gaultier-designed costumes to Chris Tucker’s bizarre, yet engaging performance as a camp and sexually confusing radio-host. I even don’t mind the sight of Bruce Willis in a vest (Gaultier, of course), but that’s a less important fact, and one that I’m sure you will judge me for later.
I watched the film recently and whilst delving into Besson’s pre-apocalyptic vision of the future, my mind turned to perfume, as it so often does. If you’ve not watched The Fifth Element, firstly shame on you, but secondly, it is essentially a film about saving the world by gathering together the four fundamental elements (earth, water, wind and fire), along with the elusive fifth element (Milla Jovovich) to create the Divine Light and destroy the Great Evil. Sounds pretty fab, huh?
“For women who dream with their eyes wide open and see stars in daylight.”
Yesterday I shared the news that Hermès are launching a limited collector’s edition bottle for Eau des Merveilles to celebrate its 10th anniversary. This got me thinking about the scent itself and the fact that I had never taken the time to sit down and review it in full – a truth that is absolutely criminal seeing as it is one of my all-time favourites. So today, rather than focusing on something ‘brand new’, I’d like to give a brief nod to a beautiful fragrance on its 10th birthday.
Eau des Merveilles was created for Hermès by perfumers Nathalie Feisthauer (Gardénia Pétale and Putain des Palaces) and Ralf Schweiger (Fils de Dieu, The Afternoon of a Faun and Cédrat Enivrant) in 2004 as a topsy-turvy perfume that displays no top, middle and base notes, instead opting for an “unusual revolving structure” consisting of three accords; “The Spirit of Wood”, “The Memory of the Ocean” and “The Sparkle of a Constellation”. The result is something entirely unconventional, yet incredibly familiar, evoking the feel of a well-know melody caught on the breeze – recognisable, yes, but difficult to identify.
Since its launch, Eau des Merveilles has been through the Hermès flanker-mill a number of times. To date, the family consists of; an Extrait version (Parfum des Merveilles), a richer and more gourmand interpretation (Elixir des Merveilles), a version that displays more transparency (Eau Claire des Merveilles) and even one flanker that is full of edible amber (L’Ambre des Merveilles). As with all things Hermès, these familial fragrances are all brilliantly executed, but it is the original that remains the most striking and even ten years down the line, Eau des Merveilles is still the star of the collection.
Luxury goods brand, Hermès have launched a special collector’s edition of their popular Eau des Merveilles fragrance to celebrate the perfume’s 10th anniversary. Created by perfumers, Nathalie Feisthauer and Ralf Schweiger in 2004, Eau des Merveilles is an unusual and beautiful woody-citrus perfume with a striking ambergris accord that speaks of deep ocean waves and bright stars in the night sky.
The 10th anniversary collector’s edition of Eau des Merveilles, sees the perfume’s flacon “adorned with radiant silver edging”, creating a luxurious feel on the fragrance’s topsy-turvy bottle. The perfume itself, remains unchanged and is the wonderfully offbeat marine-like fragrance that we all know and love. It’s a fitting tribute to a modern classic – happy birthday, Eau des Merveilles, here’s to many more!
I don’t wear masculine fragrances that often but when I do, I like to think that I choose pretty well. One of my all-time favourites is Terre d’Hermès, a glorious olfactory representation of orange-coloured earth created by master perfumer (and Hermès’ nose-in-residence) Jean-Claude Ellena. I’m not the only one to love it either and since its launch way back in 2006 this most modern masculine fragrance has become a cult perfume amongst fragrance lovers and general consumers of the male species alike.
Hermès is a house that is always respectful of its heritage and unlike many brands they have resisted the urge to dilute the Terre d’Hermès signature by releasing flanker-upon-flanker and including the subject of this review they have only revisited the fragrance twice to launch new interpretations, one of which was simply a Parfum concentration. So it’s safe to say that when Hermès do ‘mess’ with their line of fragrances, they do so in a respectful and tasteful manner.
Which leads me nicely on to my subject of today, ‘Terre d’Hermès Eau TrèsFraîche’ -the latest fragrance in the Terre d’Hermès lineup and a perfume that is billed as a “new crossing of the elements” where the water, sky and earth all meet. It pays homage to Terre d’Hermès but instead of capturing the idea of dry earth, it intends to create the vision of water springing from the soil in a lighter, more lively and refreshing rendition of Jean-Claude Ellena’s phenomenal and undeniably classic masculine.
“Terre d’Hermès Eau Très Fraîche is a dot above an i. The line is the man on earth, the dot is his spirit. Inseperable.”
I have weddings on the brain at the moment, mainly for two reasons: firstly, this week’s Escentual post (click on the image above to view) takes a look at some fragrances suitable for rocking on the ‘big day’ for both brides and grooms; and secondly, because after what seems like a million years being engaged, Nigel and I have finally set a date for our big gay wedding.
We are both incredibly excited about exchanging our vows next May and are finding ourselves to be surprisingly organised in terms of planning everything – we’ve picked our outfits (matching, obviously), the theme, the best man and woman, the cake, the venue and pretty much everything else. There is however, one small detail that we have not been able to agree on as yet – the wedding scents.
We have just under 11 months until the big day and I think we’re going to need most of that to make a decision. Do we go for something old? Something new? Something blue? OK, maybe we won’t go for anything blue (there will be no Bleu de Chanel at my wedding thank you very much) but there is an interesting decision to be made in terms of whether the perfumes should be new – in order to create a scented association with the day – or whether they should be old and already hold a significant amount of sentimental value.
I often find myself staring at my perfume shelf of a morning, glancing over the cluttered bottles and pensively deciding what to wear. The question that regularly pops in to my mind during my ritual browsing is “Hmmm, what am I in the mood for today?” and it’s funny how our moods, along with other external factors such as season, fashion and weather influence our choices in regards to perfume.
But how about fragrances that do more than compliment our mood? Those fragrances that go one step further to enhance the emotions we feel and boost our moods. Perfume is after all, an incredibly emotional art, capturing nature and bottling memories. The power of scent to affect how we feel is undeniable.
In conjunction with some of my favourite bloggers I would like to share with you two fragrances that enhance my mood. As the world of perfume brings me nothing but happiness I thought it appropriate that both of my fragrant suggestions be ones that spark feelings of joy and serenity, with one in particular having priceless sentimental value.
I can’t believe it but it’s the end of 2012 already, which means that it’s time for us perfume bloggers to put together our lists of the very best and very worst perfumes of the year, honestly, where did the time go?! This year I’m affectionately entitling my awards ‘The Candies’ as a short, punchy alternative to The Candy Perfume Boy Awards. Neat huh?
Across all genres there have been many interesting, exciting and unique perfumes unleashed on to the market along with the usual amount of celebrity dreck, dud flankers and down-right-bizarre niche offerings. All-in-all it’s been a busy year with over 1,300 launches. Impressive but exhausting!
Below you will find my awards for Best Masculine, Best Feminine and Best Unisex Fragrances for both niche and mainstream houses. In addition to this I’ve also included awards for Best Flanker, Best Celebrity Fragrance and Best Ad Campaign. But we’re not just celebrating the very best of perfumery in 2012 here, no sir, we’re also highlighting the very worst with the Sour Candy Award, reserved solely for the naffest perfume of the year.
So I hope you’re wearing your very best frock (or tux for the boys, or frock if you prefer, it’s up to you really) and sipping on some fine Champagne as The Candies 2012 are underway…
Yesterday as I was tapping away at my computer putting the finishing touches to my review of Jour d’Hermès i was touched by a serendipitous union of sound and scent. In a stroke of genuine genius for once (not the pretentious ‘Hey we’re apple we’re so clever’ kind that we’re so used to) my iTunes delivered a perfect audio compliment to the scent I was writing about.
The piece that popped up on shuffle to match Jour was one of my all time favourites (not to be morbid but I want it at my funeral, it’s that good); The Great Work Begins by Thomas Newman from the HBO adaptation of Angels in America. It manages to perfectly capture the mood of Jour d’Hermès, specifically the promise of the dawn, of the new day and a new start after the darkness.
Hermès must win the award for the most consistent style of perfumes within one line. Ever since installing the incomparable Jean-Claude Ellena as their in-house schnoz, each perfume launch has been a variation on the theme of Ellena’s pastel shades and watercolours, evoking both clarity and luxury.
It is for this reason that their latest offering, Jour d’Hermès is so interesting, it manages to perfectly replicate Ellena’s signature style of spacious scent, but it does so bigger, brighter and bolder, almost as if he’s thrown down the watercolours in a moment of madness (read: genius) and opted for full technicolor. Jour d’Hermés is Jean-Claude Ellena writ large.
“From dawn until dusk, a luminous and sensual floral that flourishes.”
Jour, meaning dawn, is a perfume that captures the myrhiad of colours and emotions promised by the prospect of a new day. It is a perfume that seems to have arrived with little fan fair yet the odours that are contained within its rather simple and unpretentious bottle are most definitely worthy of attention.
I enjoyed scenting The Muppets so much that I’ve decided to create an entire series of celebrity-based perfume posts ingeniously entitled the ‘Scent a Celebrity Series’. Celebrities are a funny bunch that on the whole cannot be trusted in the world of perfume, you only need to look at the shelves of your local department store for proof of this, and I’m thinking they could do with a fair bit of scented help from yours truly.
Celebrity culture can at times be incredibly frustrating and for that reason this series isn’t simply a ‘what would they wear’ feature, I only want to focus on those celebrities that I admire, the ones with true talent, charisma and purpose. You will not find the cast of The Only Way is Essex and Jersey Shore here, nor will you find such sucky-celebrities as Paris Hilton or Justin Bieber. No way. Instead you will find MY celebrities, the ones that I love and to kick of the series I have chosen to scent one of my absolute favourites – Björk.
I love Björk. This is a fact that many of my friends and family don’t quite understand. “She’s weird!” they shout, “when she sings she sounds like an angry walrus kicking a dolphin.” But I do not rise to these silly comments because I am in the know, I ‘get’ Björk, I know that she is nothing short of a musical genius. Don’t believe me? Simply take yourself off to a dark room and listen to her Vespertine album and you will be converted. Go on, off you pop, you may return once you have finished.