L’Artisan Parfumeur has been making niche fragrance since the 1970s. They were the first niche brand, in fact and ever since their inception way back when, L’Artisan Parfumeur has continued to create fascinating fragrances that are often quirky and always beautiful. They are a cult brand who have always managed to inspire passion on perfume lovers across the globe, working at the cutting edge to create perfumes that always bring something new to the table, whether that be an entirely new style or a new perspective on something familiar. In short: L’Artisan Parfumeur rocks and I for one am always interested to see what they’re up to. Which leads me nicely on to some lovely L’Artisan newness!
Histoire d’Orangers is the brand’s latest offering and it has come just in time for summer. Created by Perfumer Marie Salamagne (Jo Malone London Mimosa & Cardamom) and is inspired by her memory of travelling through the Moroccan region of Souss, which sits in the foot hills of the Anti-Atlas. Of her trip, Salamagne says “‘my memory of the sunset on Taroudant walls remains untouched. Suddenly, the valley takes on exceptional shades, a warm light intensifies the colours of the raw land and the atmosphere gets fresher. Each time I think of this majestic landscape, I think of orange tree flower water. A delicate and delicious water, ultra-refreshing and incredibly luminous.” A rather evocative description, no? The scent plays with the contrast between the heat of the sun and the cool of the shade, creating a vibrant and incredibly sunny orange blossom that L’Artisan describes as “exquisite”. My nose is ready for it.
When I think of neroli I don’t necessarily think of the colour black, in fact, my mind wanders to shades of white, orange, gold and yellow – hues that are as far from ‘noir’ as they possibly can be. But it is the ingredient neroli and the idea of ‘outrenoir’ or beyond black (a concept created by artist Pierre Soulages) that serves as inspiration for the very latest addition to Guerlain’s L’Art et la Matiére (‘The Art and the Material’) collection: Néroli Outrenoir – neroli beyond black.
“I wanted all of its facets to be expressed: zesty, orangey neroli essence; woody, aromatic petitgrain essence; and orange blossom absolute.”
– Thierry Wasser
Created by Guerlain’s in-house Perfumer, Thierry Wasser, Néroli Outrenoir is described by Guerlain as being a fragrance that “draws on the contrast between the luminescence of neroli and the obscurity of much darker and more mysterious notes”. Coming from a collection that boasts bold compositions such as Spiritueuse Double Vanille (the booziest, biggest and baddest vanilla around) and Rose Barbare (the rose chypre to end all rose chypres), to name just two, it’s fair to say that Néroli Outrenoir has stiff composition, but it has many a trick and a surprise up its pretty little sleeves to allow it to earn its place in the collection.
Before we take a dive into the petitgrain pools of Néroli Outrenoir, it’s important to take a few moments to discuss packaging because the entire L’Art et la Matiére collection has been beautifully repackaged. The fragrances now come in a beautiful leatherette box shaded in a deep purple, but most importantly the bulb atomisers which have always been known to aid evaporation have been niftily remade (again in a beautiful purple shade) with an on-and-off mechanism to prevent fragrance-loss. The packaging is sublime, but how does the scent match-up? All shall be revealed…
I’ve always seen Francis Kurkdjian as a perfumer of light. The fragrances he creates for his own maison and the many brands within the designer arena often possess a radiant and glowing quality that burns much brighter than many other fragrances on the market. Through the use of familiar, yet top quality materials, Francis Kurkdjian captures ultra violet rays and bottles them, making fragrances that glisten but are also approachable, effortless and exceptionally well made. What’s not to like?
His latest fragrance, Petit Matin (which has been launched as a duo with the yin to its yang, Grand Soir) is inspired by the lights of Paris during the early morning. It’s a dewy, optimistic scent made in Kurkdjian’s unmistakeable spacious and solar style, boasting citruses, florals and musks in perfect equilibrium. It’s just the thing if you fancy a fragrance that simply smells good and is neither too bland nor too demanding – something that’s just right (Goldilocks would be all over it).
When Elie Saab released his Francis-Kurkdjian-penned debut fragrance – ‘Le Parfum‘ – in 2011, it quickly garnered praise as one of the most impressive feminine designer launches of the year. Since then it has maintained its popularity, spurring the release of an Eau de Toilette version in 2012 and a brand new intense edition for 2013.
“Inspired by the magical moment of dusk, mysterious and captivating, the floral oriental Elie Saab Le Parfum Intense tells the story of a woman who comes alive as the sun goes down. She is confidence incarnate, and wears her Elie Saab couture like a second skin.”
For Le Parfum Intense, Saab has opted for a perfume that is richer and less diffusive than the original. This particular presentation of Le Parfum serves as a headier and more intoxicating version where the intensity of white flowers is amplified, along with vanilla to create a truly couture experience.
When preparing a review of a fragrance I usually wear it on five or six separate occasions, whilst each time jotting my thoughts down in my perfume book. There is a method to my madness it seems and this process allows me to piece together the many intricacies (or lack thereof in some cases) that make up a perfume.
Most follow this trajectory, allowing me to form a strong opinion at the end of my trials. This however, is not the case for all perfumes that I sample and there is a small category of ‘undefinables’ that seem almost tricky to fathom out. These slippery fishes can either cause great interest or mass frustration, depending on how things pan out and perhaps one of the most severe cases of perfume miffed-ness comes from Viktoria Minya’s Hedonist.
Viktoria Minya is an “award winning Hungarian perfumer” and her first perfume ‘Hedonist’ is described as a “powerful and provocative perfume for a woman who dares to be true to her desires”. With a name like ‘Hedonist’ one expects an indulgent, sensory explosion – a feast of odours for one to dine on like a true glutton. But is this hedonist perhaps a tad too over indulgent?
It’s almost impossible to believe that the first day of Spring has already arrived. Looking out of the window one is greeted by flurries of beautiful but ultimately inconvenient (and more than a little bit annoying) snow. To put it in to context, at this time last year it was a rather more palatable 21 °C and today it’s… – let’s not depress ourselves shall we?
Whilst this blogger may not be ready for spring his favourite perfume brand – Thierry Mugler – certainly is. This month sees the release of their annual ‘Aqua Chic’ editions of pillar fragrances Angel, Alien and Womanity. All three of which are reinterpreted as fresher, livelier and more aqueous perfumes.
For the Aqua Chic editions both Angel and Alien have been redressed in floral waters – rose and orange blossom respectively – to create summer-infused perfumes that are more than welcome to turn our SAD minds to think of warmer, happier and decidedly less blizzardy days.
I don’t know about you but I am most definitely suffering from the January blues. Christmas and New Year have gone meaning two things; 1) the weather is just going to get worse (boo); and 2) we all have to go back to work for the foreseeable future (double boo). It’s at times like this that one looks forward to summer, when things seem that little bit more joy-filled and fancy free.
If there’s one ingredient that speaks the words of summer it’s orange blossom. To me it is the smell of the elements of summer, It is the olfactory depiction of the air filled with life; the pollen on the breeze, the flight of the bees and insects, and the hot sticky skin of all humans and animals that live for the sun’s warmth and sustenance.
As a continuation of my ‘Guide To‘ series, and to give you all some much-needed Vitamin C, I would like to share with you my list of reference orange blossoms. These fragrances are the ones that I feel that any person exploring the note of orange blossom should pay attention to. It is by no means a conclusive list and as with the other guides in the series (see Tuberose, Lavender and Oud) it is very much a work in progress with new discoveries to be added as an when it is deemed necessary.
I can’t believe it but it’s the end of 2012 already, which means that it’s time for us perfume bloggers to put together our lists of the very best and very worst perfumes of the year, honestly, where did the time go?! This year I’m affectionately entitling my awards ‘The Candies’ as a short, punchy alternative to The Candy Perfume Boy Awards. Neat huh?
Across all genres there have been many interesting, exciting and unique perfumes unleashed on to the market along with the usual amount of celebrity dreck, dud flankers and down-right-bizarre niche offerings. All-in-all it’s been a busy year with over 1,300 launches. Impressive but exhausting!
Below you will find my awards for Best Masculine, Best Feminine and Best Unisex Fragrances for both niche and mainstream houses. In addition to this I’ve also included awards for Best Flanker, Best Celebrity Fragrance and Best Ad Campaign. But we’re not just celebrating the very best of perfumery in 2012 here, no sir, we’re also highlighting the very worst with the Sour Candy Award, reserved solely for the naffest perfume of the year.
So I hope you’re wearing your very best frock (or tux for the boys, or frock if you prefer, it’s up to you really) and sipping on some fine Champagne as The Candies 2012 are underway…
As we go through life we share pieces of ourselves with those around us, building relationships and leaving impressions on those we encounter. Our smells and the fragrances we wear, just like our actions, act as time capsules that tie people’s memories to us like silver threads. It is this idea that inspired Francis Kurkdjian to create APOM Pour Femme and Pour Homme.
“APOM (A Part of Me), a bit of oneself that one leaves on others. A relationship inspired from the beauty of the Orient: movement of people, flavors, colours, and scents rediscovered from Lebanon. A combination of softness and strength.”
Both masculine and feminine APOMs centre around orange blossom, a flower that evokes sensuality and closeness, and cedar wood, a material that speaks of arid landscapes. In typical Kurkdjian style both fragrances are exceptional examples of their style and the duo itself offers a stark contrast of both softness (Femme) and strength (Homme).
Having spent a good deal of time with most of the Maison Francis Kurkdjian line I feel as if I am well-versed enough to be able to pick favourites. I think OUD, Aqua Universalis and Absolue Pour le Soir (review coming soon) are standouts, perhaps because they are so bold and unique, but it is in the subtlety of APOM Pour Femme and Pour Homme that I have found real enjoyment.
Séville à L’Aube (Seville at Dawn), the lastest fragrance from renegade niche house L’Artisan Parfumeur, is a fragrance like no other. It is a fragrance born from a chance encounter between fragrance writer/blogger Denyse Beaulieu (of Grain de Musc) and renegade perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour who, after hearing Denyse’s story of a hot summer night in Seville during the holy week said the magic phrase: “Now that would make a very good perfume!” . Thus Séville à L’Aube was born.
Well obviously that was after roughly 130 mods and a whole lot of to-ing-and-fro-ing between perfumer and muse. The devil, as they say, is in the detail and I would suggest that anyone interested in the creation of Sévile à L’Aube should pick up a copy of Denyse’s book The Perfume Lover (you can read my review here) and immerse yourself in the full story of Séville à L’Aube’s birth. It really is fascinating.
For Séville à L’Aube Bertrand Duchaufour had the mammoth task of capturing the sights, sounds and most importantly the smells of one of Denyse Beaulieu’s most unforgettable nights. Neither being known to shy away from a challenge they have managed to create an orange blossom soliflore that one does not hesitate in decreeing as being the absolute best of its kind. That’s right, you heard me: the best!