We’re just over a week into 2021 and we already have the first big perfume launch of the year, which means this is my first perfume review of the year (exciting!) and it’s for a brand new CHANEL fragrance (very exciting!!) – a CHANEL Exclusif, no less (ARGH SO EXCITING!!!). This CHANEL fanboy is very please to be kicking off the year with something so wonderful – so, let’s take a few moments away from the world and enjoy a spot of scented beauty.

The latest addition to Les Exclusifs is Le Lion and it’s a long-awaited one, having launched in some territories almost one year ago! But now it’s here! As with all of the Exclusifs, Le Lion takes inspiration from the house itself, and this time the lion, the fifth sign of the zodiac and Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s astrological sign, is the theme. In the 1920s, Coco fell in love with the city of Venice, being inspired by its art and culture, and like Chanel herself, the city existed under the guardian sign of the lion. The lion became an emblem for Chanel, both in her personal spaces (her apartment at 31 Rue Cambon was filled with lions crafted from marble, bronze and wood), but also in her clothing, with the symbol engraved on the buttons of tweed suits or the clasps of bags. The lion is a symbol of Chanel’s tenacity and endurance and this is the theme that the fragrance explores.

Le Lion the perfume, seeks to capture this tenacious personality but also the rich and exotic spirit of Venice, the city of the lion that Coco loved. CHANEL perfumer Olivier Polge was intrigued by the emblem of the lion rather than the animal itself, crafting a warm amber fragrance (I’m not using the “O” word, this is my replacement) with a “solar aura” and a “gentle strength”. Le Lion stands out as a uniquely intense and warm fragrance within Les Exclusifs, which tend to lean light, ethereal, abstract, and it is quite surprising in its richness. The big question though, is whether it was worth the wait? Well, read on and you shall see!

This is a super exciting project that I am thrilled to be a part of. As you may know, I write for Escentual as their Fragrance Expert and also advise them on all things fragrance. Over the last two years, we at Escentual have run two blind fragrance trials with journalists, influencers and bloggers, all with the aim to promote discussion about new fragrance launches – it’s been really successful and immense fun. Well, now, #EscentualScents comes to you and this time, you can get in on all of the action and fun!


Comme des Garçons is a brand that gets a pretty regular rotation in my wardrobe. In fact, I’d go as far saying that it would would quite be odd for a week to go by without me picking out one of their scents to wear. For me, they strike that perfect balance between novel and innovative, and pleasant and wearable, which means that I reach for them quite a lot, mostly for those in the regular lineup such as the original Parfum, 2, 2 Man (I just topped up on my bottles of both the 2s, in fact), Amazingreen and Blackpepper. Long story short, I enjoy the brand and the scents are staples for me.

With that in mind, a new Comme des Garçons fragrance is somewhat of an event for me – I’m always intrigued to see what they do and whilst not all are ones I adore (see Floriental, Copper and Concrete), I do always enjoy how they subvert expectations. A Comme des Garçons fragrance always has something to say and their latest launch, Rouge (currently exclusive to Dover Street Market and launching nationwide next year), is no exception. Described, in typical CdG style as an “encounter between religious fervour and earthen reality” Rouge attacks the the colour red from surprising angles, using a central note of beetroot to present something so familiar in an entirely unfamiliar way. To say it’s interesting and unique is somewhat of an understatement…

Through deliberate overdose and rapturous expression, Rouge presents an unexpected unison. an olfactive congregation of desire archetypal associations of the colour Rouge seen and subverted through the distinctly disruptive gaze of Comme des Garçons.

Comme des Garçons

Iconic, game changing, history making, and totally awesome luxury perfume brand Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. We’re big a fan of the brand here at Fume Chat so we thought we’d gatecrash the party and say “bon anniversaire” by chatting all things Frédéric Malle and of course, sniffing some of our favourites. Listen to the episode below the jump!

“Perfumed escapism” – that’s what Nick Steward, founder of indie brand Gallivant, aims to bring to the world with his collection of city-inspired scents, and let’s be real, if there ever was a time when we needed to be transported elsewhere by perfume, now is it. With so many people under lockdown or working from home, and unable to travel, all because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Gallivant provides virtual tours of faraway places, all through the medium of olfaction. Gallivant makes this big old world a much smaller and more accessible place, all with just one spritz of their transportive perfumes.

With their latest launch, Gallivant whisks us away to Uzbekistan and the noble city of Bukhara. This “fairytale city on the Silk Road”, as Gallivant puts it, is home to beautiful, colourful architecture, talented artisans, welcoming people and a melting pot of spices, fabrics and fruits. Gallivant worked with perfumer Ralf Schweiger (Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle; Eau des Merveilles by Hermès, and so many more iconic scents) to distill the city of Bukhara into olfactory form. Together they chose the luxurious and elegant note of iris as Bukhara’s core material. To be honest, they had me at “orris”.

Candy Crush is where I write about scent-related things that I’m currently obsessed with.

This week my Candy Crush is a celebratory limited edition from Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the brand for a second. Celebrating 20 years this year, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is perhaps the most important and game-changing perfume brand to launch this side of the millennium. From its launch in 200, Malle brought a unique point of view to the industry and a revolutionary approach that put both the perfume, and the perfumer at the very centre of everything. Malle set the tone and standard for all other niche brands that followed.

It was a breath of fresh air, or maybe fresh perfume.

Goldfield and Banks is a unique perfume brand. Their ethos focuses on a fusion of Australian materials, some of which have seldom been used in perfumery before, and a French approach to perfume creation. The results are contemporary and exciting, with some surprising twists along the way. Botanical beauty is the approach and each of their fragrances are incredibly wearable, as well as showcasing a unique point of view.

Bohemian Lime is the latest launch from the brand and it takes inspiration from Byron Bay, the tropical and free-spirited coastal town where, as the brand evocatively puts it, “Australia first meets the sun”. The fragrance, which Goldfield & Banks call “carefree” and “lush” is an ode to the Australian finger lime, with herbal accents of coriander, warm woods and vetiver. Let’s take a sniff and see whether it’s as delightfully refreshing as it sounds!

Maison Crivelli is one of the most exciting new brands in niche. They have a clean, but bold aesthetic, and with their fragrances, they seek to subvert expectations, but also embolden customers to talk about and experience perfume in a new way. I’ve pegged it as a brand to watch and with so many gimmicky, cynical niche brands on the market, Maison Crivelli feels like it comes from a place of aunthentiticy. So yes, I’m excited by what they have on offer.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with the Maison’s founder, Thibaud Crivelli over Zoom. During our chat we talked about Thibaud’s origins in perfumery, how we works closely with perfumers to execute his vision, and how he believes in a very sensorial approach. We also touched on how the pandemic may impact the industry and how the industry can seek to be more sustainable. It was fascinating and insightful, and you can read it all below!