Perfume Pic of the Week: The Meditative Rose by Salvador Dalí
Perfume Pic of the Week: The Meditative Rose by Salvador Dalí

In a weird case of serendipity I have been in the mood to do things on a regular basis over the last week; wear rose perfumes and stare at Salvador Dalí’s 1958 work ‘The Meditative Rose. The painting captures the ethereal beauty of the rose, floating high in the sky, casting a tranquil scene that aptly sums up how I feel about rosy fragrances within my collection.

I’ve always seen roses as having a soft and calming presence and much like the two small figures in Dalí’s painting I find myself feeling quite contemplative when wearing any perfume with roses. Over the last week I’ve been relying heavily on Montale’s Black Aoud, a perfume that pairs the sharpness of leather and oud with the most powdery of roses. It’s exotic but comforting and allows one to shroud oneself in a red blanket, which is especially handy in this weather.

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Perfume can be used to evoke a variety of emotions; joy, lust, sadness and love but perhaps the strongest emotion perfume can instil is a sense of comfort. At times when the weather or life is cruel a warm, enveloping perfume can shroud the wearer in layers of liquid armour that fights off the world’s negative elements.

When thinking of comforting perfumes one’s mind drifts easily in to the world of the gourmand, whose inhabitants are olfactory dinners, puddings and treats for those that wish to take comfort in food without the calories. They are comfort on a plate or in a bottle.

Perhaps the most comforting gourmand notes of all is chocolate and it is very much an accord that can go either way with a tendency to be cloying and sickly if used incorrectly. If you are a chocoholic like I am then this guide to the fragrant delights of the genre should serve as a delicious tour of pure delight.

Sun Through the Trees

Oud is a note that seems to have had a great deal of popularity over the last few years. Most perfume houses have an ‘oud’ in their line-up, in fact many have several – anybody who’s anyone has got one. Despite it’s prolific presence in today’s perfume landscape, it cannot be denied that oud is a wonderfully powerful material, that when used properly can be one of the most beautiful smells known to man.

Oud is the jigsaw piece that helps fuse European and Eastern styles of perfumery together, and whilst the oud that is used in western perfumery is much cleaner (and largely synthetic) than that used in the east, it has coloured the face of perfumery in bright arabian hues and taken us on exotic voyages to faraway lands.

Oud

Oud/Oudh/Aoud/Agarwood is a “dark, resinous heartwood” [1] that forms in infected Aquilaria trees. The infection is due to a specific type of mould, that changes the colour and density of the wood, leaving a strong, dark resin (the oud) in the core.

Due to its rarity and variation in quality and scent profile, oud is a very difficult and expensive ingredient to work with, hence why the majority of oud fragrances use a synthetic substitute.

Nigel in the Snow

Nigel expertly posing in yesterday’s falling snow.

The snow has come to Britain, and in true British style everybody has lost their shiz. Seriously, we knew the snow would be coming this weekend on Thursday and ever since the supermarkets have been packed and the shelves have been emptied. Petrol pumps have been drained and the grit has been stock-piled.

I don’t what it is about us Brits that makes us so panicky when it comes to snow, it’s never really that bad, yet the whole country seems to come to a standstill with the slightest flake of the white stuff. Seriously guys, relax, snow is awesome, yeah it’s cold and it totally SUCKS to drive in, especially if your car is a Matchbox Toy like mine (i.e. a Fiat 500), but there is nothing more fun than taking walks in the snow, making Snow Angels and throwing snowballs at your weedy boyfriend!

In order to make the most out of the snow (which has already started to thaw), I thought I’d compile a list of five scents that are best suited to wearing in the snow. Us Fumeheads do like to match our scents to the occasion, and snow is no exception. The scents that I have picked all have a snowy aura, but they also bring warmth and comfort in a time when those qualities are needed in abundance.

Marc Jacobs

I don’t know about you, but when I wear fragrance I wear it for myself and myself alone. Sure, I love to share my passion with others, that is a huge part of my hobby, but when I wear perfume, I wear it because I enjoy it.

And I wear what I like!

Ever since I bought my first proper perfume (Kingdom by Alexander McQueen) I have loved ‘feminine’ fragrances. Looking through my collection it’s obvious that the ratio of feminine and masculine is weighted considerably towards the feminine. To this day I find myself drawn to the feminine releases much more than masculines. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy wearing masculine fragrances but they just don’t wow me the way a lot of the feminines do.

I guess that I’m the King/Queen of fragrant gender bending.

Oud/Aoud/Oodh/Agarwood is a ‘dark, resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilara and Gyrinops trees when they become infected with a type of mold.’ [1] The smell of Oud really varies and from my experience it can smell medicinal, animalic and funky like a barnyard or intensely peppery and spiky.

Over the last couple of years there has been a plethora of fragrances released based around oud, a note which has been used in middle eastern perfumery for thousands of years. Oud has very much become the note du jour and it seems that almost every fragrance house has done ‘an oud’.

One house that kicked off the trend is Montale, created by perfumer Pierre Montale and tucked away in a corner of the very upmarket and glamourous Place Vendôme in Paris, Montale focuses on rich oriental fragrances and exotic blends using the famous oud.

This review is of two of Montale’s most well known scents, Black Aoud and White Aoud. These two scents strike an interesting contrast with each other and show the versatility of the oud note.