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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…

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The most fascinating aspect of perfumery is the building blocks – the familiar (and often unfamiliar) materials that come together to create something entirely new. For me, I am endlessly beguiled by the way in which a singular material can, not only be so versatile in its use, but also add nuances to a fragrance that are so far removed from the material when experienced in isolation. One could call this magic, but it’s not, it’s chemistry, and perfumery is a fusion between art and science, where the latter is used to convey meaning and emotion from the medium of smell.

For me it’s always been the synthetics that hold more interest than the naturals. Without synthetic materials (incl. isolates, captives and aroma chemicals) modern perfumery would smell a heck of a lot different. We just wouldn’t have the perfumes that we’ve had for the last 100 years or so – what we’d have is inconsistent naturals that, due to their own density and complexity, often lead to an opaque soup when blended together. Synthetics give the space and definition to these materials allowing them to compliment, contrast and extend each other. They pull the naturals apart and bring new dimensions into play.

One of my favourite synthetic materials is Ambroxan. OK, so it’s not a fancy material, nor is it a particularly expensive one. It doesn’t take 3,000 years to mature under moonlight on an exotic island. No, it doesn’t have to be expressed from the anal glands of unicorns (perfumery has always had a weird fascination with the contents of animal butts, tell me I’m wrong) by golden-locked virgins in the dead of night. But it is an incredibly useful and popular material, and it finds way into many modern fragrances in both prominent, and stealthy ways. I see it as a bit of a ninja – it swoops in quietly, bringing dimension and space to dense compositions allowing them to expand, giving them tremendous lift but also a fascinating mineral facet. To put it simply, Ambroxan is ‘the nuts’.

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I have had so many bad mojitos in my life – you know the ones, they cost a bomb and have a despairingly unfavourable ice to alcohol ratio with far too many mint leaves for something that is not a herb garden. I do not have time for these naff mojitos – I just want to get tipsy without having to drink 40 of them, dropping £300 in the process. Honestly, if I had £1 for every bad mojito I’ve ever drunk, well, I could probably put my funds towards a bottle of something from By Kilian, which is quite handy because their mojito inspired fragrance, the cheekily named ‘Love the way you Taste‘ is a damn good interpretation of one of the world’s most iconic cocktails.

Love the way you Taste is part of the brand’s new limited edition ‘Miami Vice Collection’ (the other one in the collection being ‘Love the way you Feel’ – Kilian really does like a naughty name) which celebrates Kilian Hennessy’s love of Venice Beach, it’s colourful nightlife and deco architecture. They call it a “sophisticated mojito cocktail in a refreshing fragrance” and it seems that they have created exactly that – a refreshing sip of Venice Beach ready to liven up your summer!