Tea & Pastries
Tea & Pastries

Happy new year to you, Dear Reader. I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas involving lots of fragrant gifts and that your new year was a ball. 2016 will be The Candy Perfume Boy’s fifth year and it feels like the blog has come a long way since our very first post (a review of the ill-fated but remarkably beautiful Shalimar Parfum Initial, no less) back in July of 2011.  Last year was a stressful year for me personally, due to work, the loss of a friend and an exciting, yet complicated house move, and it would be fair to say that my posts have not been as regular as they should have. I hope to change this for 2016 with more regular reviews and instalments in series such as The Scent a Celebrity Series and The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to. Here goes!

One thing I’d like to do is look back a bit more. The perfume industry is so active, with thousands of launches each and every year, and it’s very easy to get caught up in all that’s new and exciting. So when there is time and the mood strikes, I’d like to focus on fragrances that aren’t brand new, but are wonderful none the less. Kicking us off on that theme are two recent discoveries for me from the legendary niche house L’Artisan Parfumeur. These two scents, Tea for Two and Bois Farine, show how meticulous and measured the brand was during its more focused days. L’Artisan seem to have been seeking an identity for themselves over the last few years and have created some exquisite scents along the way (Séville à l’aube, Traversée du Bosphore, Déliria, Al Oudh, Nuit de Tuberéuse etc.), but the greatness of the some of the oldies in the collection cannot be ignored. Tea for Two and Bois Farine are two standouts.

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Mad Scientist
The Crazy Cartoon World of Smell Bent

Smell Bent is the slightly warped brainchild of LA based perfume-lover (and very handsome perfumer) Brent Leonesio. Offering fragrances that “delight your nose and your funny bone” Smell Bent lets you into a cartoon world of chaos, naughty frolics and damn good smells, all for a more-than-reasonable price. As they put it on the Smell Bent Website:

“We think that perfume should be fun and shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. We know life can be hard, but it shouldn’t have to smell bad.”

Brent Leonesio

I reckon that I have perused the Smell Bent website, chuckling away at the names, cartoons and descriptions of each scent, about a million times, yet it was only recently that I decided to put in a sample order. Perhaps there was a bit too much choice for my little brain to handle and if I’m being honest I think that might be the case, I wanted to order just about everything but I couldn’t (apparently we’re supposed to be buying a house or something, I don’t know, ask Nigel) and that made me sad.

It was actually Freddie of Smellythoughts fame that convinced me to bite the bullet and I’m ever so glad he did because the six Smell Bents I ordered, each of which is like a fun little ditty, have surpassed my expectations considerably. So without further ado I present to you Part 1 of my Smell Bent Speedy Sniffs (with Part 2 to follow next week), I hope that you enjoy reading about these characters as much as I did smelling them. They may be low in price but they certainly aren’t short on quality or fun!

Central Park West

“A grand perfume for a grand neighbourhood.”

Bond No. 9 is the Octomom of the niche fragrance world – they just keep popping ’em out. This spring they will be releasing a total of six, that’s right SIX new fragrances, two of which are inspired by New York City as per the norm and four of which will be joining their I Love New York Collection.

I have been pretty vocal on my thoughts of Bond No. 9 and I stand by the fact that they have more misses than hits, perhaps due to the fact that they have released a whopping 64 fragrances since their inception in 2003, and that a lot of perfumes in the line are derivative, not to mention that they are the worst offenders when it comes to vomiting Swarovski crystals on to perfume bottles… They remind me of the line in the poem about the little girl with the little curl by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; “And when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.”

But that’s not to say that there aren’t any good Bond’s. There are in fact a good few that I would deem bottle worthy; Silver Factory is a remarkably cold and metallic incense, Chinatown is a work of genius (why don’t I own a bottle?) and I will always regret swapping away my beloved bottle of Fire Island, who knew I would miss it so much? So yes, it is true, when Bond No. 9 are good they can be very good.

In time for Spring Bond, No. 9 have released Central Park West, the sixth fragrance to be inspired by a New York park. Central Park West is inspired by “the magnificent greenery” of New York’s “greatest urban grassland” and is a spring-like green and white floral “designed to have the grandeur and largesse of the street itself”. A grand perfume for a grand neighbourhood.

Ambre Narguilè

There is one thing I love more than perfume and that is food, especially that of the baked/cake variety. It stands to reason then, that one of my favourite perfume types is the gourmand. Food smells in perfume can sometimes be abstract or representative but the best gourmands are those that present food in a completely literal way. Ambre Narguilé is one of these gourmands.

Ambre Narguilé is an unexpected gourmand.

Honour Woman and Honour Man are the latest duo of fragrances from Omani niche house Amouage. Both fragrances are inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s famous Madame Butterfly and are said to ‘unfold the tale of love and betrayal, hope and despair’ and are ‘as rich and commanding as Puccini’s score’. [1]

Both fragrances were created under the direction of Christopher Chong (if you don’t follow him on Twitter you absolutely should, he can be found @cchonguk), and as usual they are both similar in the grand Amouage style, but at the same time they are both remarkably different.

Archives 69 is the latest fragrance release from those fun-loving perfume rebels at Etat Libre d’Orange and is supposed to represent ‘The Illusion of Sex’. The blurb that came with my sample (including a rather obscene image that I dare not post here, but let’s just say that it makes a play on the number 69) states that Archives 69 is ‘The End of Innocence’.

As mentioned in my review of Tom of Finland, I am somewhat of an Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy, so you can imagine that the news of the release of Archives 69 (named after the location of the ELD’O boutique in Paris) was very exciting to me indeed.

Archives 69 is the first scent by Etat Libre d’Orange that I have found difficulty in linking the scent to the concept, to me it smells strikingly cosy and fuzzy and I certainly don’t detect any of the juxtapositions between light and dark mentioned in the ad copy. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like it, far from it, It’s just that there seems to be a good degree of discord between the scent, the name and the concept.