The Candies 2014
The Candies 2014: The Very Best and The Very Worst Perfumes of the Year

Wow, what a whirlwind of a year 2014 was. The perfume industry has, as always, been nothing short of prolific in its output, with new brands popping up all over the place and the same big names releasing perfume upon perfume, and flanker upon flanker. It has, once again been a very busy year, and the hive of activity within the industry has meant that a great number of wonderful new olfactory treats have been unleashed on the noses of perfume lovers and consumers.

For me, this year has been one of great personal significance. In March I won my first Jasmine Award for my Guide to Violet, and shortly after in May, my best buddy and I tied the knot, only a few days before I presented an award at the Fragrance Foundation Awards. Then in August I was promoted at work, and in September my new husband and I headed off to Tokyo for the honeymoon of a lifetime. In short, it has been a fantastic year and one that will always remain truly in my heart as one of the very best.

To celebrate 2014 from a fragrant perspective, I present to you ‘The Candies 2014’. Those of you who have followed The Candies before will know that they are my annual perfume awards, celebrating the very best, and the very worst perfumes of the year (out of the 147 scents I have reviewed in 2014). Under the jump you will find the winners, losers and honourable mentions filed under neat little categories. So please, don your tux or ball down, break open the Bolly and take your seats for The Candies 2014.

[Also, please don’t forget to head on over to my dear perfume pals, Persolaise and Perfume Shrine, who are both joining me in sharing their ‘best of’ lists today.]

Down by the Docks
Down by the Docks

Quintessentially British fragrance house, Penhaligon’s have been busy this year. Not only they have release Bayolea, an entire male grooming collection complete with accompanying Eau de Toilette, they’ve even teamed up with quirky fashion house Meadham Kirchoff to launch Tralala, an unsettling and whimsical fragrance that certainly lives up to it singsongy name. That’s not to mention the fact that they’re already gearing up for next year’s launch, Ostara! Not content with all of that, they’ve launched the Trade Routes Collection, which consists of three new fragrances inspired by London’s rich maritime history.

The Trade Routes collection takes the “luxurious and decadent commodities which were traded through London’s historic docks at the turn of the 19th century” and turns them into three contemporary fragrances that are decidedly modern in their style. Consisting of Empressa (Mike Parrot), Levantium (Christian de Provenzano) and Lothair (Bertrand Duchaufour), this collection is a perfect example of Penhaligon’s knack for taking the historic and bringing it bang up to date, making for something subversive, and a little bit different.

“Piled high on the quaysides and arriving daily from the farthest flung corners of the globe in a burst of exoticism; the rarest treasures in dizzying abundance; London was the Warehouse of the World.”

– Penhaligon’s

Perfume to Wrap Around Your Neck
Perfume to Wrap Around Your Neck

Oooh, I do love a good scarf and now that winter is finally bedding in, it’s the perfect opportunity to step out of the house wrapped within the warm confines of many a piece of neckwear. In fact, leaving the homestead isn’t particularly necessary (nor much fun in the cold) and I have been known to float around the house, scarf wrapped around neck, simply enjoying the fabulous warmth (and aesthetic) that it brings. I am, if anything, a bit of a poser, after all.

Scarves go incredibly well with fragrance and one of my favourite things to do is sniff a well worn scarf and try to identify the many perfumes that are imbued so deeply within the fibres. The truth is that, scarves may be a fashion item, but they also make wearing fragrance more pleasurable, due to the simple fact that they retain odour, as well as almost amplifying a fragrance so that it can be smelled at numerous intervals throughout the entire today.

In this piece, I’ve picked out some of my favourite scarves and paired them with matching fragrances. These pairings identify the synergies between the textures, colours and signatures of fragrances, and neckwear, but also take a look at some fragrances that simply smell great when lavishly sprayed on any old scarf. So, if you’re looking for a nice winter warmer of a fragrance to pair with your very best winter scarf, then read on, dear reader, read on.

New from Penhaligon's: Ostara Eau de Toilette
New from Penhaligon’s: Ostara Eau de Toilette (Illustration: Melissa Bailey)

This spring, quintessentially British perfume house, Penhaligon’s will launch ‘Ostara’, the brand’s latest collaboration with venerable perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour. Charting a fragrant journey of daffodil from “bulb to bud to bloom”, Ostara is described by the brand as a “modern interpretation” of an “incandescent flower”.

“An iconic feature of the British countryside, the daffodil symbolises the optimism and revival of spring. In 1802, the distinguished poet William Wordsworth wrote about a sea of daffodils in his poem, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’. Excerpts have been included on the outer packaging of the fragrance to reflect the radiance of the flower.”

Wuthering Sniffs
Wuthering Sniffs

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

I always enjoy writing entries for the Scent a Celebrity Series. It’s seriously fun and challenging to try and delve into a character and pick out fragrances that I think can match their personalities. This process gives me a greater understanding of not only the celebrity in question, but also the fragrances I have matched with them, and I always coming away feeling as if I’ve seen things from a slightly different angle.

Speaking of different perspectives, I thought I’d take the liberty of approaching this episode of the series in a slightly different manner. Our subject for today is the inimitable Kate Bush, a musical enigma and theatrical performer who cannot be rivalled by any other starlet, dead or alive. She is simply unique – simply ‘Kate’. Instead of picking a number of fragrances that suit La Bush’s personality, as I would normally do, I’ve opted to scent four of my favourite Kate Bush albums – after all, there is nothing on this planet more filled with personality than a Kate Bush LP…

Bayolea by Penhaligon's
Bayolea by Penhaligon’s

Penhaligon’s, the eccentrically British perfume house, is a curious outfit. Their historic back catalogue of perfumes is full of straight-laced florals, robustly masculine eau de toilettes and even some exotic follies. Over the last few years however, the brand has made a definite move away from the stiff upper lift of the past and have released a bunch of quirky fragrances that range from filthy florals that can only be worn after the watershed (Amaranthine) to contemporary takes on traditional themes (Sartorial). They’ve even flirted with the British’ love of gin cocktails (Juniper Sling) and have pushed the olfactory envelope to dizzying heights with the bizarre and whimsical (Tralala).

So yes, Penhaligon’s have modernised and funked-up their image of late, but they’re not afraid to return to their traditional roots – and that’s exactly what they’ve done with their latest masculine fragrance ‘Bayolea‘. Created as a reformulation of a bay rhum fragrance from the Penhaligon’s archives, Bayolea has been chosen to scent the brand’s new, and rather extensive grooming range, as well as front the collection in its Eau de Toilette form. Without giving too much away at this stage, it would be safe for me to say that Bayolea is an impeccably well-groomed fragrance that feels perfectly suited to any gent – modern, traditional or otherwise.

The Trade Routes Collection from Penhaligon's
The Trade Routes Collection from Penhaligon’s

Quick off the back off the recent launch of their Bayolea fragrance and gentleman’s grooming range, Penhaligon’s are spoiling our noses with a brand new collection consisting of three historically-inspired fragrances. Launching in September, the three fragrances within this new collection are inspired by the “luxurious and decadent commodities which were traded through London’s historic docks at the turn of the 19th Century”.

“Piled high on the quaysides and arriving daily from the farthest flung corners of the globe in a burst of exoticism; the rarest treasures in dizzying abundance; London was the Warehouse of the World.”

– Penhaligon’s

@FragrantReviews
@FragrantReviews – Fragrance Reviews in 140 Characters or Less

Four years ago today, my good friend, Nick Gilbert and I embarked on an exciting perfume project with a view of turning the world of fragrance reviewing on its head. We set out to use the medium of Twitter to create entertaining and bitesize reviews in 140 characters or less – the result was @FragrantReviews – our smelly baby that launched both of our writing careers.

Writing these reviews is surprisingly challenging. It’s tough to dissect and truly represent a fragrance in such a small medium, but it’s also immense fun and I think I wouldn’t be speaking out of turn if I said that both Nick and I really enjoy putting these fragrant tweets together. They can be funny, they can be poetic and they can occasionally be mean, but one thing they never are is boring.

We’re now at over 3,000 followers, and to celebrate our fourth birthday, I’d like to share with you ten of my favourite Fragrant Reviews – five from Nick and five from me. They range from the olfactory time capsule of Eau de Toast to the utter hideousness of Viktor & Rolf’s BonBon and capture some of our big loves and a number of our, well, not-so-big loves. I hope you enjoy this brief retrospective and will have a go at chiming in with your own 140 character reviews in the comments box.

Click here to check out Nick’s favourites.

Bayolea - The Film
Bayolea: The Film

A short film from Penhaligon’s detailing the ‘alternative’ story of the creation of their latest masculine fragrance – Bayolea.

In honour of the launch of their latest fragrance, Bayolea, eccentrically British perfume house, Penhaligon’s have teamed up with creative collective, ‘Just So’ to create an animated film. Shot on a “shoestring” and in conjuction with stop motion animator, Daniel Gill (numerous TV ads, Fantastic Mr Fox and Frankinweenie), the Bayolea film takes place in the basement of Penhaligon’s Covent Garden Piazza store and contains a degree of fragrant magic.

“Working with Just So felt right from our first meeting and an initial concept has been interpreted wonderfully by Daniel. The entire project has felt like creating magic and I feel the film will have a life of its own; above product promotion yet still very Penhaligon’s”

– Matthew Huband,
Penhaligon’s Head of Global Marketing

Catch the video below the jump!

Bayolea
Bayolea – New from Penhaligon’s

Eccentric British fragrance brand, Penhaligon’s, have launched ‘Bayolea’, their new fragrance for men and an accompanying ‘Gentleman’s Grooming Range’. Recreated from a classic formula within the Penhaligon’s archive, Bayolea (and its accompanying grooming products) cater for all elements of the modern gent’s grooming ritual, and appear to be a more traditionally masculine entry in to the line.

Bayolea is described by Penhaligon’s Head of Global Marketing, Matthew Huband as being “wonderfully fresh and masculine”. The perfume, in limited edition candle form, was chosen to be the official fragrances of London Collections: Men 2014, earlier this year.

“I’m thrilled that we’re releasing this range, responding to our customers and applying a spritz of Penhaligon’s elegance to a modern grooming range. The fragrance is wonderfully fresh and masculine and I can’t wait to see it on the shelf (as well as in my bathroom!).”

– Matthew Huband,
Penhaligon’s Head of Global Marketing