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I think it’s been a long time since I’ve fallen for a new Serge Lutens fragrance. Perhaps it was La Religieuse in 2015 or La Fille de Berlin in 2013, I can’t remember, but I know it has been a while! I adore many of his back catalogue greats (especially L’Eau Froide, Tubereuse Criminelle, Sarrasins, Iris Silver Mist, Feminite du Bois, and Fleurs d’Oranger) but many of the new ones have failed to resonate. There have been interesting elements to his fragrances of late, but it seems that he has moved away from the dense orientalism and fleur fatale inspirations of his past, opting for yet more abstraction in fragrances that don’t really make as much of a mark.

Well, I am pleased to say that Lutens’ ‘meh’ streak has come to an end with the latest addition to Collection Noire (the most widely available Lutens collection): Le Participe Passè (The Past Participle). In the usual Lutens way, the perfume is presented with little information other than a riddle that is difficult to decode, with Lutens only telling us this: “past moments that surge into the present have many scents. I have interpreted that which most evokes the past.” Thanks for that, Serge – real helpful! Anyway, this new scent is more than a riddle or a description, it’s something much more than that – Le Participe Passè is quite the spectacle.

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Fragrances tend to fall into two categories for me; those that make an immediate impact (either positively or negative), and those that take a while for me to get. Laconia, the latest scent from super-swish British brand Tom Daxon, fell smack bang into the immediate category. I knew from the first sniff that I liked it and that this wasn’t going to change. Yes, that’s a massive spoiler for this review, but I haven’t told you what it smells like so you will have to read on…

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It was in a field of centifolia roses in the heart of Grasse that I fell in love with Anima Vinci. I hadn’t even smelled the fragrances at this point, but standing amongst the heavily scented roses whilst house founder Nathalie Vinciguerra passionately talked about her debut collection of fragrances I knew that what I was about to experience was very special indeed. You see, Nathalie knows fragrance and she is also incredibly passionate about it. Having worked at Penhaligon’s & L’Artisan Parfumeur as Head of Fragrance Development, Nathalie oversaw a slew of excellent scents (the likes of Juniper Sling and Sartorial) and now her expertise and olfactory vision are being wonderfully applied at her own brand, resulting in the brilliant Anima Vinci debut collection.

The brilliance continued with the latest addition to the Anima Vinci lineup – Tudo Azul – an energising fragrance inspired by the Brazilian caipirinha cocktail (yes please). “Tudo azul” is a phrase that roughly translates as “it’s all great” and it sums up a fragrance that is all about the carefree vibes – about laying on the beach soaking in the sun and sea breeze whilst sipping on exotic cocktails (once again, yes please). That’s where Tudo Azul takes you and I for one am here for the journey!  I just need to pack my Speedos…

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OK, full disclosure time! I don’t think I have covered that many D&G fragrances on The Candy Perfume Boy in my seven years in blogging. Why? Well, being completely honest, I don’t think much of their offering cuts the mustard, and whilst I am here for celebrating the great in both the mainstream and niche arenas, D&G fragrances have seldom fallen into the good parts of either of these spheres. But, I am not one to deny a good fragrance its moment in the sun and today I shall be sharing with you a scent that is officially the very best Dolce & Gabbana fragrance I have tried to date. How’s that for a build up?

The scent in questions is Velvet Incenso from D&G’s exclusive Velvet Collection – their answer to Tom Ford’s Private Blend line and Chanel’s Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection, because let’s face it, you are nobody these days if you don’t have a separate niche line under your umbrella. Velvet Incenso is described as a fusion of the Mediterranean and the Orient that celebrates the historical ingredient of incense and transforms it “into a glittering mosaic of sizzling resins”. It sounds goooooooood.

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I may have said it before but Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is one of the very few fragrances brands where I’d happily own a bottle of each and every scent in the collection. I have many, many favourites and see the collection as one of the most finely curated out there. As a Creative Director, Frederic Malle has a real knack for bringing out the best in the perfumers he works with, resulting in wearable fragrances that tread the line between classic and modern perfectly. In short, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is one of the very best perfume brands on the market and you can come at me if you think otherwise…

“At a party on Paris’ rive gauche, a woman’s fur coat is lifted from her bare shoulders, exposing her neck to the candlelight. Aware of many eyes upon her, she pauses, smiling to herself, before emerging like a conqueror from the shadows.”

Malle’s latest fragrance is intriguingly-named Music for a While. Created by perfumer Carlos Benaïm (who also penned Malle’s Eau de Magnolia – one of my absolute favourites in the collection), Music for a While feels like somewhat of a break from tradition for Malle in the sense that it is quite a fun fragrance. It’s almost as if Malle is repenting for the erotic baroque nature of their last edition, the Alber Elbaz collaboration Supersitious (another favourite – I told you I had many!) and is cleaning up their collection with something a little bit more frivolous. I tell you what – I am here for it!

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Speed Sniffs are a way to bring you ‘to-the-point’ fragrance reviews that are quick and easy to digest. They are perfume reviews without the faff.

Acqua di Parma always strikes me as a really stylish brand. Their fragrances have mass appeal but also a finesse that puts them above much of what the mainstream has to offer. Their Colonia is a perfumery icon and it has seen many interpretations over its 100 year life span, most notably in the Colonia Ingredients Collection which sees the classic cologne reimagined with new signature ingredients from the likes of leather to oud and amber. With this collection, Acqua di Parma remixes the effortless refinement of Colonia and presents it in

Created exclusively for luxury retailer Harrods, the latest scent in the Ingredients Collection is COLONIA VANIGLIA, an ode to the exotic spice of Madagascan vanilla. Created by Perfumer François Demachy, COLONIA VANIGLIA is an exotic oriental that is evocative of tropical islands. Acqua di Parma refer to it as having an “olfactory roundness” which just hints at how smooth this fragrance is. Anyways, that’s enough of me waffling on, you want to know what it smells like.  OK, here goes…

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Recently when I reviewed ALIEN MAN, I moaned about how it did not smell like a ‘MUGLER’ and how I thought that was a very bad thing. Today I am reviewing Mystic Aromatic, the latest (and tenth) edition to Les Exceptions, an exclusive line of fragrances from MUGLER, and in this review I will say that it does not smell like a MUGLER and remark how I feel that is a good thing. I am a wave of contradictions, Dear Reader, I know. But do read on and you will soon understand why these contradictions are aptly applied.

Mystic Aromatic is described by MUGLER as presenting “an intense aromatic freshness contrasted by hot, bewitching notes”. As with the other fragrances in Les Exceptions, this one too seeks to subvert a familiar genre with an interesting olfactory twist, in this case taking the green aromatic family and injecting it with an unexpected ambery warmth. The result is yet another contradiction from MUGLER, where warm meets cold, fresh meets dense, masculine meets feminine, and green meets gold. Once again, MUGLER proves that it has the ability to surprise…