More! More! More! That’s what we want! Give us more!
Us greedy perfume lovers are very lucky because the perfume industry serves us up an all you can smell buffet with every kind of fragrance imaginable. There are fresh aperitifs, rich main courses evocative of exotic cuisines, and not to mention the desserts – oh the deserts! The perfumery dessert cart is filled with chocolate parfaits, rose macrons and candy floss knickerbockerglory sundaes. What’s more, this entire buffet is endless and brands are constantly us up more – more in the form of new treats, all for our insatiable appetite for scent.
This need for more doesn’t just apply to the volume of scent though, no, it also extends to the intensity of the fragrances we wear and one can guarantee that, when a brand launches a popular scent there will be an ‘intense’ or ‘extreme’ version that follows. Often, these flankers can be a little bit superfluous but sometimes they can do something really wonderful by giving more of the scented goodness that made the original so good. A perfect example of an ‘extreme’ done well is the new Straight to Heaven Extreme from By Kilian, which takes the booze and woods of the original, and intensifies them, resulting in something utterly excessive.
I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.
Les Senteurs is a landmark. It’s not just a perfume boutique, it’s THE perfume boutique. For perfume lovers it’s not just a destination for the best niche brands out there, it’s an institution of the perfume world. The selection of perfumes at Les Senteurs is finely curated and since the boutique opened its doors in 1984 (they’ve been around longer than I’ve been alive!) they’ve been responsible for many ‘firsts’, being the first boutique to stock a number of brands in the UK, such as Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. So Les Senteurs is an important pin on London’s perfume map, but it’s also a joyful experience – a tranquil haven where one can browse beautiful scents in peace with expert guidance.
You’re probably wondering why I’m just now, crushing on a perfume boutique that has been in existence since 1984 and it’s true, my crush on Les Senteurs has been holding strong since my very first visit 10 or so years ago. But I crush especially hard today because Les Senteurs has just had a bit of a facelift and I have to say, for 34 years old, Les Senteurs is looking damn fine. The Seymour Place boutique has now closed, which leaves the original store in Elizabeth Street as the flagship, in which the flag for niche fragrance is flown gracefully and proudly.
Happy Valentine’s Day! What better way to celebrate than with a review of a perfume housed within a bottle shaped like a pink heart, eh?
I’ll be perfectly honest and say that when I first became aware of the Australian niche brand Map of the Heart a few years back, I didn’t feel particularly enthused. Here’s just another gimmicky niche brand, I thought – all bottle and no substance. But as we all know, one should not be so judgemental when it comes to perfume because there is always the potential to be surprised! Anyway, Map of the Heart is based on the premise that our hearts are the centre of all we are – as the brand says “our heart is everything pure, good and evil. It aches, it desires, it is who we are.” Map of the Heart is a journey exploration of humankind through the medium olfaction, with six fragrances to date, each one representing a different aspect of humanity (freedom, valour, passion, peace, darkness etc.). Each fragrance is housed within a bottle that takes the anatomical form of the human heart – a flacon designed by the legendary bottle designer Pierre Dinard, no less – the man behind the vessels for Opium, Obsession, Cheap & Chic, and Rive Gauche!
Map of the Heart’s latest fragrances is Pink Heart v.6 and it represents the heart of ecstasy. The brand describes it as “a scent of the imagination and is at once hallucinogenic and hypnotic”. Pink Heart centres on the note of narcissus, presenting an experience that is “narcotic” and “hyper-real”. Having sniffed all of the scents in the collection, Pink Heart strikes me as the boldest and most vivid, but also the most fun. It’s an opulent, excessive fragrance that takes a note so usually associated with glamour and darkness, and spray paints it in the cutest shade of baby pink. So without further ado, lets get to the heart of the matter (bad pun – sorry) and give Pink Heart a big old sniff.
In the somewhat limited lexicon of perfume description, one relies quite heavily on the concept of character when attempting to translate odour into words. I’ll often find myself personifying a fragrance, bringing in characters from popular culture to best describe the spirit of a scent. Heck, I’ve even done it the other way round and have paired scents with famous characters. Perfume can convey the attitude, emotion and style of a character – characters that resonate with us and allow us to identify with a perfume. These character-filled scents are the ones that lead us to spritz something on and declare it “just so me”.
St Giles is an exciting new brand that understands the character of perfume. So much so, in fact, that their debut collection consists of five personalities in olfactory form. From the mind of Michael Donovan, a luxury PR legend, St Giles brings us The Tycoon, The Actress, The Mechanic, The Stylist, and the subject of today’s review: The Writer. These five fragrances were created to “stimulate and amplify the many different aspects of our character” celebrating “the parts that make us who we are, fusing the reality and the fantasy”. They are five characters one wants to get to know – each translated into perfume form by the incomparable Bertrand Duchaufour – and whilst they are all beautiful, The Writer is the standout. So let’s sniff.
Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you ‘to-the-point’ fragrance reviews that are quick and easy to digest. They are perfume reviews without the faff.
I am not a massive fan of amber fragrances. There’s something pleasing about the classic blend of benzoin, labdanum and vanilla, absolutely, but I often find that, because it’s such a distinct accord, amber fragrances seem to cover very similar ground. So you own one and there’s little need to own more – you just need to pick out the one for you. I’m also not too keen on leather either, because it tends to dominate a perfume. Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all of this so I shall enlighten you: today I am writing about a amber/leather fragrance that I really love.
There’s an ongoing debate as to whether perfume is an art. I for one, know which side of the debate I come down on and I very much believe that yes, perfume is an art form – after all, it can evoke emotion, illicit memories and tell stories in the exact same way sculpture, photography, film and many other types of art can. But does that mean that every perfume is art? Hell no! Perfume is first and foremost a commercial enterprise, in which many brands create things that are new, exciting and beautiful, but also where many others create replicants that are simply made to sell, so it’s a mixed bag and a more in-depth conversation than this one paragraph allows for.
Anyway, I talk about perfume and art because the fragrance I’m reviewing today is created by an artist named Paul Schütze, whose work spans photography, sound and now, perfume. Schütze’s latest duo of fragrances (Cuadra and Villa M – his fourth and fifth fragrances) take inspiration from two famous buildings, weaving architecture and olfaction together in a bold way. Today’s subject, the bright-pink-bottled Cuadra, is inspired by Mexican architect Luis Barragan’s “brilliantly hued modern masterpiece” Cuadra San Cristobal – a ranch situated amongst reflective pools and fountains. I tell you now, it makes for one heck of a fragrance!
I do love a bit of nasal excitement here at The Candy Perfume Boy, so for my first post of 2018, I’m reviewing two fragrances that certainly have caused quite of a bit of intrigue for my nose. They come from The Zoo an NYC-based company created by Perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. Now, you will know Laudamiel as the creator of the Thierry Mugler ‘Le Parfum’ coffer inspired by the movie ‘Perfume – The Story of a Murderer’, as well as being the man behind Abercrombie & Fitch’s Fierce, and Amber Absolute by TOM FORD. Truth be told, Laudamiel is somewhat of a renegade and if you don’t follow his Instagram account, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so, because you’ll find lots of content that aims to demystify the world perfumery and unfurl its reality – a rarity in this day and age.
The Zoo create fragrances that sit within four categories (or ‘territories’ as The Zoo call them); fresh, sexy, raw and forbidden. Laudamiel compares them to animals that with distinct and lovable personalities that are either “expected, reassuring or totally surprising”. I was sent two to try: LOUIS, “a pleasant watery masculine”, and SPACEWOOD, a piece of “fresh icy dewy paradise” that encourages one to “trampoline into the future”. They are housed within simple bottles, protected by handsome wool pouches. The presentation may be subtle, but don’t let that fool you, because the descriptions of the scents are off the charts. Let’s take a sniff and see if The Zoo’s fragrant animals are as much fun as they sound.