Guerlain sure know how to make a pretty bottle don’t they? They are, after all the people who brought us iconic housings for fragrances such as Shalimar, Insolence and La Petite Robe Noire. This one, created to celebrate the grand re-opening of their newly renovated boutique at no. 68 on the Champs-Élysées is most certainly befitting of one of the city’s most famous and wonderfully fragrant addresses.
Housing ‘Le Parfum du 68‘, a tweaked version of the brand’s respectable Cologne du 68 from 2006, the classic Baccarat ‘turtle’ bottle is adorned with a gilded Parisian scene created by Ateliers Gohard. Unfortunately only 30 bottles will be produced and one dreads to even think how much it would cost, still it’s rather lovely to dream, isn’t it?
Last night I hosted another Summer Special with the lovely Lila Das Gupta of Perfume Lovers London. The theme of the evening was an ‘olfactory summer holiday’ and all who attended strapped themselves into the seats and set off on a fragrant journey around the world, smelling fragrances that were evocative of specific times and places.
The evening was great fun and it was wonderful to yet again meet with like-minded perfume nerds and discuss all things olfactory. As I was the evening’s host I won’t post a blow-by-blow account of the event, but I would like to briefly share with you the perfumes I had selected and the places they represent. You can look out for Tara’s full write-up of the evening on Olfactoria’s Travels soon.
Update: You can read Tara’s wonderful write up here.
“Nuit de Tubéreuse – Evocative of stifling, humid Parisian nights.”
In perfume nothing is certain, tastes change and develop, and those fragrances we once loved can quickly fall out of fashion and become yesterday’s news. Just as we can lose love for fragrance we once admired we can also find love for those that we’ve hated, ignored or felt unimpressed by. I like to call this big perfume turn around ‘The Big 180’ as in the big ‘180 degrees turn around’.
I’m sure many of you have experienced the big 180 before, we’ve all had that moment where you pick up a sample or tester of a fragrance that you have smelled a million times before, knowing full well that the juice inside has failed to impress, or even disturbed you in the past. But this time something between you and the fragrance just clicks. Suddenly you understand the fragrance in a way you never did before, stars aligns within the universe and a new found appreciation is formed.
I had a big 180 recently with a perfume I genuinely disliked, namely Nuit de Tubéreuse by L’Artisan Parfumeur. I’m a HUGE fan of tuberose (see The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose) and everything about L’Artisan’s most recent tuberose offering offended my nose; I found it to be sour, almost sticky in texture and unpleasant. It just so happened that another L’Artisan fragrance, the upcoming Séville à l’aube that led me to revisit this maligned tuberose and that’s when the big 180 happened.
Ahh the 80’s, a time of excess where everything was big; the clothes, the music, the hair and of course the perfume.
The perfume in the 80’s was loud, proud and would announce it’s arrival a long time before you entered a room, and stay a long time after you left. There were big bouquets of aldehydic florals and massive oriental spice bombs. I shouldn’t forget the HUGE jammy roses and the loud syrupy tuberoses either.
These fragrances, affectionately known as ‘Perfumes with Shoulder Pads’ by the #fumechat Tweeters are representative of the era, and whilst they may not be entirely popular today I have a real soft spot for them.
Oud/Aoud/Oodh/Agarwood is a ‘dark, resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilara and Gyrinops trees when they become infected with a type of mold.’  The smell of Oud really varies and from my experience it can smell medicinal, animalic and funky like a barnyard or intensely peppery and spiky.
Over the last couple of years there has been a plethora of fragrances released based around oud, a note which has been used in middle eastern perfumery for thousands of years. Oud has very much become the note du jour and it seems that almost every fragrance house has done ‘an oud’.
One house that kicked off the trend is Montale, created by perfumer Pierre Montale and tucked away in a corner of the very upmarket and glamourous Place Vendôme in Paris, Montale focuses on rich oriental fragrances and exotic blends using the famous oud.
This review is of two of Montale’s most well known scents, Black Aoud and White Aoud. These two scents strike an interesting contrast with each other and show the versatility of the oud note.