I’ve always seen Francis Kurkdjian as a perfumer of light. The fragrances he creates for his own maison and the many brands within the designer arena often possess a radiant and glowing quality that burns much brighter than many other fragrances on the market. Through the use of familiar, yet top quality materials, Francis Kurkdjian captures ultra violet rays and bottles them, making fragrances that glisten but are also approachable, effortless and exceptionally well made. What’s not to like?
His latest fragrance, Petit Matin (which has been launched as a duo with the yin to its yang, Grand Soir) is inspired by the lights of Paris during the early morning. It’s a dewy, optimistic scent made in Kurkdjian’s unmistakeable spacious and solar style, boasting citruses, florals and musks in perfect equilibrium. It’s just the thing if you fancy a fragrance that simply smells good and is neither too bland nor too demanding – something that’s just right (Goldilocks would be all over it).
It has been a tense couple of days here in the United Kingdom, what with last week’s referendum and subsequent decision to leave the EU. I understand that this is a divisive issue so I’m not going to go into the politics of the situation and whether the right decision was made or not (democracy has spoken), but I will say that the mood of the country is not jubilant, far from it in fact. There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment and the whole campaign has been peppered with ugliness. So yes, things aren’t exactly ‘Great’ in Britain at the moment.
Feeling a bit fed up, Nigel (Mr. Candy) suggested that we cheer ourselves up by spending some time around beautiful things. This, I thought, was a spiffy idea so I offered up the suggestion of Hitchin Lavender Farm. Nigel agreed and off we went. Now, Hitchin is a small market town just up the road from us on the outskirts of Hertfordshire. Like all places in the Home Counties it’s so scenic it almost hurts and the lavender farm that sits just outside it really is an idyllic English beauty spot like no other.
For a small fee, one can load up a bag of fresh lavender, straight from the bush, as well as some wild flowers too. There’s nothing more pleasant than a summer stroll through rolling fields of lavender blooms. The flowers grow in highways that stretch as far as the eye can see with each lane filling the air with the beautiful smell of lavender soap and caramelised sugar on the breeze. Bumble bees the size of small dirigibles hum as the wind billows. It’s a restorative experience and we had a lot of fun, especially in the gift shop at the end (I splurged). We now have more lavender than we will ever need…
Passport, pants and perfume, that’s all you need in your luggage when travelling. Of course, when brining the essentials you want to make sure that you pack the right things, which means it pays to select the right fragrances for that trip away. I always pack something from Acqua di Parma because they offer such beautifully easy to wear scents that sing under the sun and their latest, Cedro di Taormina is no exception. In fact, it’s the perfect thing to kick start your summer. Check out my full review over at Escentual by clicking here.
Summer may be but a distant memory now, but that doesn’t mean that we should forget about it entirely! With the mercury heading downwards and the knitwear usage on the up, it’s a good time to be a little bit nostalgic about summer or, if that’s not the case for you, it’s at least a perfect opportunity to rock something warm and delightful. Amouage’s tremendously delightful lavender, Sunshine Man is just the scent and it’s certainly got my olfactory senses running in overdrive. Check out my review on Escentual.com here.
This week on Escentual I am taking a look at the lovely note of lavender. Too often this beautiful ingredient is overlooked as being old fashioned and granny-esque and in the latest instalment of My Escentual A-Z of Fragrance I look to dispel the myth that you have to have a purple rinse and fondness for doilies to enjoy lavender fragrances.
The guide takes a look at the note of lavender – what it is and how it smells – as well as exploring the lavender fragrances Escentual has to offer. Here you’ll find lavenders of all varietiess: the straight-up, the classic, the barbershop, the macho, the calming and the crazy.
So please click on the image above to head on over to Escentual to read ‘L is for Lavender’ and whilst you there do share your thoughts on lavender perfumes. What are your favourites?
It would be hard to argue that Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Mâle released in 1995, isn’t one of the most popular modern masculines on the market today. As far as scents go it’s a pretty hard metrosexual beast to escape and perhaps suffers from a bad case of over exposure (I love it but don’t often wear it due to it’s popularity – stupid I know), you literally cannot move for it in gay bars, straight clubs and on the streets.
Due to its success Le Mâle, with it’s barbershop accord of lavender, mint and vanilla, has seen many incarnations over the years, with many summer editions, a huge floral version (the fantastic Fleur du Mâle) and a more mature grapefruit and vetiver rich ‘Terrible’ fragrance. In continuation of the fragrance’s evolving nature 2013 sees the release of a brand new Mâle, ‘Le Beau Mâle and this particular dude is as cool as a cucumber.
Created by Francis Kurkdjian, the perfumer responsible for penning the original Le Mâle and all of it’s subsequent editions, Le Beau Mâle is simply described as “the freshness that makes men hot” (if the scent doesn’t make you hot the above ad image certainly will – my oh my) and is an ice cool rendition of the sweet fougère made popular by Le Mâle: “the sensual sailor with a soft heart.”
This time the soft heart of that handsome sailor has turned cold, nay glacial and bitter. Yes he’s a ‘beau mâle’ but his beauty lies within his sharp, angular lines that say you can look but don’t you dare think to touch…
Parfumerie Générale is a curious outfit. Perfumer Pierre Guillaume has a penchant for heavy, gourmand orientals that very often sit precariously on the divide between the delicious and the indigestible. Personally, whilst I respect the quality and artistry of the PG fragrances I must admit that I find this style somewhat difficult to stomach and as yet haven’t found any of M. Guillaume’s offerings tasty, loveable or bottle worthy.
Despite the fact that the brand is classified in my brain as ‘interesting but not for me’ I am always keen to see what PG is up to. Quality is quality right? And in this world where quality and innovation is often a second thought to the quick-buck marketing campaigns, true artistry is not to be scoffed at. Luckily for me my perseverance has paid off, as it is with his latest release Djhenné that Pierre Guillaume has won me over.
Djhenné was launched in 2012 to celebrate the brand’s 10th birthday. Taking its name from the North African oasis city, Djhenné is a warm, aromatic fragrance that strikes the right balance between dry woods and herbs and the delicious gourmand note of cocoa. I warn you dear reader, this is one is far too easy to digest…
The best thing about sharing samples with other perfumistas is that every now and then you will receive one that stops you dead in your tracks and makes you call out to the heavens. I like to call this moment the ‘Eau My God’ moment – that moment where you are literally blown away by the smell wafting out of the sample vial. My most recent, and probably my strongest ‘Eau My God’ moment happened only last week.
Following my Guide to Lavender, the lovely of Tara from Olfactoria’s Travels insisted that she send me a sample of Eau Noire because she thought it might be something I would like. Well, I think we can safely say that Tara knows her stuff because I absolutely love Eau Noire, so much in fact that my love for it is currently bordering on full-blown obsession.
Eau Noire was released in 2004 (I’m late to the party as always) and started out as part of a trio of exclusive Dior Homme colognes, it was created by the über-talented Francis Kurkdjian (one of my favourite perfumers no less) and now sits within Dior’s ‘La Collection Privée’. Dior describe Eau Noire as “an elegant gala spirit in an intense evening fragrance” , and if any fragrance screams ‘evening’ it’s Eau Noire. This dark, brooding beauty wears a coat of emerald green and bewitches you with a sense of intrigue, mystery and danger.
I love Chanel, I mean how can you not, it’s Chanel! I love so many of their perfumes but so far I have found no love for Les Exclusifs de Chanel. This is partly due to the fact that I haven’t spent much time investigating them, but each time I dive in and test them my general impression is that they’re nice and obviously very high quality but they don’t draw me in, and I’m yet to find the one for me.
The somewhat awkwardly named Jersey was released last year and is the latest addition to the Les Exclusifs line and it takes it’s awkward name from the fabric that Chanel “daringly appropriated from menswear by Coco Chanel for women’s fashions.”  That may be so, but I can’t get over just how dreadful the name is, it doesn’t befit the style and class that I expect from Chanel, but then again they did name one of the other Les Exclusifs ‘Beige’, so perhaps they don’t have a 100% brilliant track record when it comes to names.
Chanel describes Jersey as being “As light and liberating as the modern fabric for which it was named…An inspired composition, Jersey is evocative of a meadow lush with lavender – an essence previously worn only by men. A tender trail of Vanilla and Musk brings femininity to the forefront, and a rare, sophisticated new scent is born.”  I would describe it as ‘a granny lavender on the warpath’.
There is no sight more pleasing than the sight of rolling fields of lavender.
Lavender is beautiful, whether you like the smell or not you cannot fail to be moved by the sight of purple fields of lavender rolling under the summer sky.
Lavender is a smell that I have learned to love. For many years I couldn’t abide its smell, which to me was reminiscent of old ladies, underwear drawers and cleaning products. These connotations give lavender a bad rep that it absolutely doesn’t deserve for it is one of the most complex and pleasing fragrance ingredients available.
What I have found most interesting on my lavender scented journey is despite the fact that it is such a bold and distinct smell, it is also incredibly versatile and there are a melange of superb perfumes that showcase the note in unique and fascinating ways.
Lavender is part of the mint family and there are approximately 39 species within its genus. It grows in abundance across the world, mainly in; The Canary Islands, Madeira, North and East Africa, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia and India. 
The smell of lavender is arguably one of the most distinct smells on the planet. It has many facets, it is herbal, sweet – like burned sugar, fresh, green, minty, menthol and floral. Despite its distinctive aroma, lavender is an incredibly versatile material that can be interpreted in a plethora of interesting and surprising ways.