The fact that luxury car manufacturer Bentley are making excellent fragrances is a surprise to pretty much everyone. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not surprised that a brand who is responsible for some of the highest quality motor vehicles in the world gives a damn about quality when it comes to their diffusion products – that actually makes a lot of sense. But, this is not just acceptable perfumery from a brand using good quality materials – this is really well thought out and executed perfumery that fits the spirit of the brand and the man who one would expectg to wear such fragrances. In short: Bentley is doing some great stuff so don’t sleep on them just because they also make cars…
Bentley’s latest launch is the Bentley Beyond collection, which consists of three fragrances: Exotic Musk (Mathilde Bijaoui) Majestic Cashmere (Julie Massé) and Wild Vetiver (Sidonie Lancesseur). The collection is an exploration of exotic places – Acapulco, Goa, Java – through singular materials, a story that is not new, but is really well executed here. Both Exotic Musk and Majestic Cashmere are delightful olfactory experiences, but it is Wild Vetiver that is the gem of the collection. It’s a vetiver that, even after all of the other vetiver fragrances in the world, feels new. That, my friends, is something worth turning your attention to.
There’s something really exciting and free about new niche brand KIERIN NYC. They may not offer any complicated gimmicks or a wildly unusual olfactory point of view, but they do something really surprising for niche: they offer accessible, genderless fragrances at a price point this is more reasonable than many designer brands. But this is the spirit of KIERIN NYC – a brand that wants to be for anyone and everyone, making high quality, niche-style fragrances easily available to anyone who is interested.
KIERIN NYC was founded as an “uncompromising New York centric brand” by Mona Maine de Biran (co-founder) that aims to tell the stories of the city through the art of olfaction. KIERIN NYC partnered with perfumer Mathieu Nardin, a Grasse-native who has lived and worked in the Big Apple, to create their debut collection of four fragrances. The brand has a distinct point of view with strong values. They believe in fragrances that are cruelty free, eco-conscious, genderless and inclusive. Those are things that resonate in the fragrances and are absolutely things I can get on board with.
The four KIERIN NYC fragrances are: Sunday Brunch, 10 A.M. Flirt, Santal Sky and Nitro Noir.
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.
I worry about plastic, I really do. As I get older and more aware of my impact on the environment I worry about the products I use and the waste that they produce. Recently I made the decision to stop eating meat, not because I don’t like it, but predominately because of the environmental impact of mass-rearing animals (and the treatment of said animals). I also find myself making considerations about the beauty products I use and asking myself questions like, can I reuse this packaging, and is this refillable etc.? A good place where one can make a change is with their shower gel – switching out the convenience of gels for traditional soaps.
Now, I love a good shower gel, but more often than not they come in a plastic bottle, and they don’t last very long. So a soap, which may come in minimal, recyclable packaging, and which will ultimately last longer, may actually be a good alternative. What’s even greater is that many of our favourite fragrance brands still continue to make soaps so it’s not too difficult for one to get their hands on a lovely bar of something scented with their favourite fragrance. This week’s Candy Crush is just that and more: the entire collection of fragranced soaps from Penhaligon’s.
Anima Vinci offers a very solid collection of fragrances. They riff off classic styles – the hesperidic, the rose, the white floral etc. – but bring something entirely new to their respective genres. Most are beautiful (find me a prettier rose than Rose Prana, I challenge you) and some, like Wood of Life, are new and challenging. All are fascinating, fully fleshed out fragrances created with a vibrant spirit and a sense of passion.
Sesame Chān is the latest launch from Anima Vinci. It’s an ode to vetiver via an unusual combination of nutty notes and sesame seeds:
Sesame Chān exudes tranquillity, Japanese gardens, a touch of almond pink flowers, light meditation stones, deep and rich grounded emotions, the cosiness and warmth of a winter season.
Sometimes I smell a perfume and I just don’t know what to make of it. Whilst many fragrances I smell can provoke an immediate reaction – filing themselves neatly in to piles of ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘ew’, and ‘oooooh’, some take time, and some forever remain in a purgatory land where an opinion is the absolution never to arrive. OK, so I’m being a bit dramatic (just a tad, mind) and this is all a very longwinded way of saying that sometimes, it takes me a while to make up my mind about a fragrance.
Aaaaaand you can probably guess where this is going, right? Yes, when it came to Opus XI from Amouage, the 11th instalment in the brand’s Library Collection (where Amouage does its most unusual and often challenging work), I found myself unsure what I thought, even after spending a considerable amount of time with it. Opus XI was created by perfumer Pierre Negrin – it takes inspiration from the Orient and presents oud, one of perfumery’s most popular materials, in an entirely new guise. It’s a singular perfume that brings nuances to a material that could easily be described as tired, forging something that really is fascinating.
I was having a conversation with a good friend the other day and the subject of our musings was that when it comes to fragrance, CHANEL is rarely bad. One can accuse them of being commercial at times, and on the very rare occasion, they can even be guilty of being bland, but bad? Never! There is an inherent quality to CHANEL fragrances – a fastidious commitment to a luxurious house signature achieved through an obsessive dedication to the very best ingredients, both natural and synthetic – that means everything they make is undeniably wearable and pleasant.
CHANEL has created a great many wonderful fragrances (I don’t need to list them – you know what they are) and the ones I adore the most are within their capsule collection ‘LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL’. In this collection, CHANEL goes inwards and draws inspiration from its history, creating perfumes of house significance, with reference points in the fabrics, addresses, and muses, found deep within the CHANEL archives. In my view, LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL, is the brand at its most experimental (by CHANEL standards, of course) where a subtle boldness and an effortless wearability come together in harmony.
It has been two years since CHANEL last added a fragrance to LES EXCLUSIFS (the subversive feminine twist on a fougère that was the remarkable BOY) and I for one, have been waiting very patiently. The new fragrance is 1957 and it celebrates Coco Chanel’s relationship with America – a country where the couturier made her fortune. The name of the fragrance is an amalgam of reference points. 1957 was the year that Coco Chanel was awarded the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. 19 is Chanel’s birthday and 57 is the address of the CHANEL boutique on New York’s East 57th Street – the largest CHANEL boutique in America. 1957 is all of these things and an olfactory ode to the country that cemented the success of CHANEL.
Amy Winehouse was a tremendous talent. Her voice (that voice!) was unlike any other and she crossed the genres, traversing jazz and r&b, to create her own unique sound – the sound of Amy. I remember hearing her for the first time – my boyfriend at the time (now my husband) played me the song ‘Take the Box’, in which Amy implores her ex-lover to pack up the shit he bought her, put it in a box and go on his merry way. Her humour, pain, and power all came through in that song – with that voice. I hadn’t heard anything like it and sadly, won’t hear it again.
Amy did the unconventional – she became the voice of a generation with just two albums. These albums, her jazzy debut ‘Frank’ and her insolent, pain-soaked sophomore effort ‘Back to Black’ are opposing works but each are iconic in their own right. Speaking of icons, Jusbox is a brand that takes inspiration from titans of music – from decades and artists, so it’s no surprise that Amy Winehouse is the feature of their 13th fragrance: the pink rose of Siren & Sailors. It is Amy’s haunt, the bohemian Camden Town in London, that provides inspiration for this olfactory tale – the story of a beautifully voice siren who enchanted those who heard her sing.
This week I’m mostly wearing the euphorically beautiful Jasmine Absolute (IFF-LMR) Préparation by Ostens.
One can accuse the perfume industry of many things, but one cannot call it unproductive. There are now over 2,000 launches per year and it feels almost as if a new brand comes into being every single day. Now, I’m not sure how I feel about all this olfactory noise – part of me thinks the more the merrier, after all, it’s exciting to smell new things all of the time. But the other half – the grumpy cynical half (sometimes he’s not a half and verges on a whole, I’ll be honest) – thinks that all this noise makes it difficult to discern what is good or not. How can one find the magic needle in all that hay? Sometimes it’s hard.
Perfume brands come from all sorts of places; from perfumers who want to go it alone and perfume fanatics who stumble into the industry wide-eyed and ambitious. My cynical side tells me to include the fact that brands can also come from entrepreneurs who have no passion for the subject but an eye for making money too, so let’s indulge him for a moment. In my experience though, the brands that work most successfully are those that come from people who are passionate about perfume (whoever they may be, perfumers, industry insiders or outsiders) but also understand the realities of the industry and retail. Ostens is one such brand – it comes from two industry veterans, two people that not only love perfume, but understand it too – two people who understand the challenges consumers have relating to perfume and have crafted a brand that makes it both accessible and experimental.