The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to series is an olfactory exploration of individual notes and ingredients that looks at the essential perfumes one must try as part of their fragrant journey. Each episode focuses on a particular note and lists the reference perfumes (i.e. the ‘must sniffs’) within that particular genre.
So far in the series we’ve explored the worlds of; Tuberose, Lavender, Oud, Orange Blossom and Chocolate. Up until now the ‘Guide to’ series has been relatively sporadic but moving forward, the intention is to schedule instalments for the beginning of each quarter – therefore suggestions on which note/genre to explore next are most welcome.
This episode takes a look at the humble violet – a genre that doesn’t quite get the exposure that it deserves. It’s a note that is more likely to be associated with the stiff upper lip of Victorian Britain than the contemporary world of modern perfumery but a number of perfume houses are making solid efforts to change this perception and are making pretty fantastic perfumes along the way.
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.
I am a child of the ’90s and I am not ashamed. Yes fashion-wise it was probably one of the worst decades but musically it was pretty ace, for it was the ’90s that bought us Brit Pop, Rave music and most importantly – The Spice Girls. Ginger, Baby, Sporty, Scary and Posh may have long gone their separate ways but I (and many other ’90s kids I’m sure) still hold a soft spot for these persistant purveyors of ‘Girl Power’.
To celebrate the world’s very best girl band I offer up a scented tribute of perfume selections that showcase the ‘zig-a-zag-ah’ that gave the Spice Girls their power. Mad, bad, ridiculous and brilliantly feminine these perfumes invite you to ‘Scent up your life’ and live just like the coolest thing to come out of the ’90s since MC Hammer and his Harem Pants.
Things have been a bit hectic here at Candy Perfume Towers, last Saturday I became an uncle (OMGMYNEWNEPHEWISSOCUTE) and I have exams coming up in the next couple of weeks which means that posts will be sporadic, if at all (booooo to exams). Also, next week is my grandmother’s 80th birthday and we intend to celebrate in style, meaning that most of my time will be spent with party prep and the painstaking task of scanning hundreds of photos for a celebratory slideshow, not to mention the fact that I need to shop for a suitable present – this is where you come in.
After lengthy discussion with my mother it has been decided that Nigel and I will be buying my grandma a perfume for her birthday because she deserves something indulgent for such a landmark event and she does really enjoy her perfume. The problem is that I just cannot decide which one to get her! I want her to have a perfume that is special, something she can treasure but use with abundance, something ephemeral that she can enjoy whilst it lasts.
“This extreme freedom, indifference to commentary, spontaneity and even her excesses make her magnificent. She is who she is; she is irresistibly set against prejudice and convention and is unafraid to be unreasonable. Her motto: whoever loves me will follow!” 
One thing that I absolutely pride myself upon is that when it comes to perfume the subject of gender means absolutely nothing to me. I’m as happy rocking YSL’s ‘so masculine it’ll put hairs on your chest’ M7 as I am splashing on Robert Piguet’s oestrogen-fuelled Fracas. But there is one perfume so feminine that even I, yes I with the pink stripy blog think twice about before spraying on. That perfume is Guerlain’s Insolence.
I’m not saying that I don’t wear it, that would be silly and against everything I have ever said about perfume and gender, but I do really have to be in the mood for it and there have been times when I’ve felt just a little self-conscious/Candy Perfume Girl-ish whilst wearing it. Insolence is unapologetic in its femininity, and why should it apologise? Insolence is a girl that knows what she wants and most importantly she knows how to have a good time.
Insolence, which was created by the great Maurice Roucel no less, was released in 2006 and is a fruity floral with a difference – it actually smells good. Roucel presented Insolence as an essay on Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, taking the classic anisic gourmand iris and giving it a modern twist. The result is an intelligent, yet ridiculously ditzy (how’s that for an oxymoron?) perfume that smells current whilst giving a firm nod to Guerlain’s esteemed heritage.
Us perfumistas/fumeheads/fragonerds/whatever it is we call ourselves are keen followers of the mantra ‘It’s all about the juice’, meaning that we don’t care about the marketing, the bottle or any of the other stuff that comes with a fragrance. We just care about the smell!
It seems that we may differ from the mainstream consumer.
In the mainstream perfume industry the bottle is seen as the key marketing tool for a fragrance. Those of you who watched the recent BBC4 documentary ‘Perfume’ would have seen that in the case of the latest Tommy Hilfiger fragrances (Loud for Him and Her) the bottle and the marketing were the prime focus of the development team and the juice very much seemed like an afterthought.
So how important is the bottle to a perfumista?
I asked my Twitter followers whether they were swayed by the bottle design when purchasing a fragrance. The general consensus seemed to be that no, the bottle doesn’t matter, however an attractive bottle does help. Some even mentioned that if the fragrance was good and the bottle was bad they would decant the juice into something more aesthetically pleasing. We kept coming back to the same conclusion – it’s all about the juice…
I feel that I may buck the perfumista trend slightly, if I love a perfume I will buy it, regardless of whether it has a nice bottle or not. That said, I do like a nice bottle and have on occasions found myself wanting a fragrance because it’s housed in a nice bottle (Hello Lola by Marc Jacob!) I can’t help that I’m drawn to shiny, pretty objects can I?!
There are some brands out there with some really fabulous bottles and in this post I would like to highlight just a few of my favourites.