Magnolia, much like Mimosa, is a floral note not commonly used in perfumery. Sure, there are magnolia scents out there but for every one magnolia there is a thousand tuberoses, a million orange blossoms and a billion jasmines, give or take a few. The strange thing about this is the fact that magnolias smell bloody fantastic, more so than many other white flowers. They’re an easy breezy white flower with wonderful citrus accents and a whole heap of headiness. So yes, we need more magnolia please.
Always ones to answer my cries of fragrant pain, Jo Malone London have just launched a limited edition fragrance called Star Magnolia. Woohoo! Bathed in white, the bottle comes complete a soft collar of white floral petals in an unusual display of exuberance from a brand that is so normally classic and paired back. They describe Star Magnolia as being flirtatious and what could be more apt than a flirtatious floral for spring? Nothing! Let’s sniff…
I have a very high level of respect for the Elie Saab fragrances. Unlike lots of fashion brands that head into the market at this late stage in the game, Elie Saab has a very clear olfactory vision that feels inextricably linked to their design aesthetic. What’s more, the brand has worked solely with one perfumer (the incomparable Francis Kurkdjian) to ensure that their scents all carry the same threads, resulting in a beautiful, luminous style that is undeniably Elie Saab.
In Elie Saab’s Essence Collection, Francis Kurkdjian really gets to stretch his legs and create scents that don’t share the style of Le Parfum, Saab’s signature scent. So far they’ve done wonderful things with oud, rose, gardenia, musk and now, for the latest addition to the collection, two materials get to take centre stage: almond and tonka bean. Essence Nº10: Amande Tonka is a delicious oud to two of perfumery’s most delectable notes and guess what? It’s really tasty….
“Almond essence blends with tonka bean to weave a voluptuous and subtle palette of almond nuances.”
We recently recorded an upcoming battle episode of Fume Chat at Perfume Lovers London and one of the subjects that came up was MUGLER. No surprises there, of course, everywhere I go MUGLER must be mentioned, but what was interesting was the fact that everyone seemed to agree that, when it comes to flankers, nobody does it better than good old Thierry M. I’m on board with this too and whether MUGLER are creating candy floss versions of Angel or spiced-up versions of A*Men, they’re always making some fascinting, and beautifully smelling things.
One of MUGLER’s fragrances that always lends itself well to flankerisation is Alien, the brand’s supreme being. Alien has been treated to many injections of flavour scent and texture, and following their launch of Alien Oud Majesteux last year, MUGLER have added Musc Mystérieux, another instalment to what they’re calling the Oriental Collection. Created by Perfumer Dominique Ropion, this version of Alien plays homage to the ancient ingredient of musk, presenting a smoother and more transparent take on tonkin musk – a solar musk.
New Fume Chat Alert! Coming to you live from The British Library, Nick & Thomas sniff another round of new and interesting things. Our hosts get their noses over ‘Superstitious’, the brand new collaboration between Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle and Alber Elbaz, but also sniff new things from Miller Harris, By Kilian, Amouage, Elie Saab and more!
I’m new to the world of Escentric Molecules. With so much noise in the world of perfumery, it’s understandable that many scents and in some cases, entire brands, will pass me by. Escentric Molecules is one such brand and whilst I’d always been aware of its existence I’d never spent much time exploring what it had to offer. Luckily for me, I now get to discover what all of the fuss is about for the first time as I sniff the latest pair of scents from Escentric Molecules: Molecule 04 & Escentric 04.
Escentric Molecules is the brainchild of German perfumer Geza Schoen. Now, you’ll know Geza from his work with Ormonde Jayne, Clive Christian and 4711, just to name a few of the illustrious houses he has lent his nose to. The idea behind his Escentric Molecules is simple (and really cool if you ask me). Fragrances are launched in pairs, with one Molecule scent and one Escentric. The Molecule is simply an aroma-chemical diluted in alcohol, whilst the Escentric boasts the material in a high concentration amongst other notes to create a more traditional composition. The idea is to pair chemistry with and personally, I think it goes a long way to demystify how fragrances are actually made as well as to showcase the beauty of the perfumer’s materials in isolation.
Following the brand’s famed use of molecules such as Iso E Super, Ambroxan and Vetiveryl Acetate, the latest duo to launch is an essay in Javanol, a sheer sandalwood molecule that is known for its intense freshness. “Imagine a sandalwood stripped of its heaviness to reveal a soft and sheer wood radiating silvery freshness” says Escentric Molecules “that’s Javanol”. In their latest binary pair, Escentric Molecules explore this unusual freshness by presenting Javanol in isolation as well as at the heart of a composition. The results are fascinating.
“What I love about Javanol is its almost psychedelic freshness. It smells as if liquid metal grapefruit peel were poured over a bed of velvety cream-coloured roses.”
There are many things I appreciate about the By Killian brand but above all I very much enjoy their sense of humour. In a world where fragrance is taken so seriously, to the point of it being almost painful, Killian Hennessy comes along with his cheeky smile to save the day. Kilian’s opulent fragrances are housed within dramatic packaging that verges on over the top (NEVER a bad thing in my book), often boast cheeky names such as Voulez-vous coucher avec Moi, and have also been known to smell like forbidden/addictive substances such as marijuana. Kilian’s world is one of fun where decadence and debauchery are embraced wholeheartedly. So yes, I’m here for By Kilian and their domain is my kind of place to be.
The latest scent to be added to the By Kilian lineup is Black Phantom (created by Perfumer Sidonie Lancesseur) and as far as cheekiness goes, well, Mr Hennessy has gone all out. Where to start? Well, the slogan for the scent is ‘a little party never killed nobody’ and the box, well, the box is quite something! Atop Kilian’s signature black lacquered box sits a skull, rising out of the the lid with a somewhat sarcastic smile. Not to mention the fact that Mr Hennessy has forgone the standard Perfumer/Creative Director mugshot of posing pensively with a series of smelling strips and has instead donned some rather impressive shirt sleeves and has posed rather foppishly with a jet black skull as if it were a crystal ball. It’s a bit Mystic Meg and it’s wonderful.
But what about the fragrance? Well Black Phantom the fragrance has some rather intriguing inspirations, taking its name from “the dusky shade of a pirate galleon” whilst speaking of scent-soaked sails, ghostly spectres, rum-spiked Irish coffee, cyanide and “the eerie clash of spectral cutlasses”. It’s all so ridiculous, entirely fun and really effing cool. As Kilian says “if it’s dirty, kinky, naughty, messy, or just plain wrong, I want it” and we want it too, so bring it on Mr Hennessy!