Hermès’ Un Jardin series, which was started by the previous in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, is an ode to nature that doesn’t necessarily rely on nature to showcase the botanical. Through both natural and synthetic ingredients, the collection takes one on a journey through many gardens around the world, capturing specific and often surprising elements of these landscapes. For Un Jardin En Méditerranée, the piquancy of tomato stems evoke fig trees in a Tunisian garden, whilst in Un Jardin Apres La Mousson paints a watercolour of rainsoaked concrete through melon and spices, creating a mineral, atmospheric beauty. In my favourite, Le Jardin de Monsieur Li, plasticky notes of kumquat and jasmine create a collage image of an imaginary garden – one that could only exist in the mind. Each of these ‘jardins’ is full of suprise.
Now Hermès has Christine Nagel as their nose and with their latest garden, Un Jardin sur la Lagune, Nagel continues the story. Her first jardin is inspired by a dream – a secret Venetian garden imagined in the deepest part of her subconcious. Nagel describes this garden as a “cycle of trees and flowers, nature still enduring within it”. From an olfactory perspective, la Lagune is a soft aquatic floral pieced together with transparent colours – cooling and warming as the sun moves across this most dreamlike of olfactory gardens.
There’s something really exciting and free about new niche brand KIERIN NYC. They may not offer any complicated gimmicks or a wildly unusual olfactory point of view, but they do something really surprising for niche: they offer accessible, genderless fragrances at a price point this is more reasonable than many designer brands. But this is the spirit of KIERIN NYC – a brand that wants to be for anyone and everyone, making high quality, niche-style fragrances easily available to anyone who is interested.
KIERIN NYC was founded as an “uncompromising New York centric brand” by Mona Maine de Biran (co-founder) that aims to tell the stories of the city through the art of olfaction. KIERIN NYC partnered with perfumer Mathieu Nardin, a Grasse-native who has lived and worked in the Big Apple, to create their debut collection of four fragrances. The brand has a distinct point of view with strong values. They believe in fragrances that are cruelty free, eco-conscious, genderless and inclusive. Those are things that resonate in the fragrances and are absolutely things I can get on board with.
The four KIERIN NYC fragrances are: Sunday Brunch, 10 A.M. Flirt, Santal Sky and Nitro Noir.
To me, MUGLER COLOGNE, has always felt like a perfect mid-point in the MUGLER brand. Where ANGEL and ALIEN etc. have always been divisive, challenging compositions, COLOGNE embodies a more palatable signature, whilst maintaining the innovative, unusual quality of the brand. With its weird, steamy muskiness, COLOGNE is as much a ‘MUGLER’ as ANGEL, but somehow it feels more casual, more effortless and with a wider appeal.
Click here to read a roundup of four intense fragrances you need to smell.
Jo Malone London fragrances are offered as colognes and as such, boast a weightless, transparent signature. They are not rich, heavy and opulent scents with an endless reach – they are easy, breezy and transparent. But they are not without character – far from it, in fact, and many have become regular staples of mine (see Mimosa & Cardamom, Tuberose & Angelica, and Basil & Neroli) because they do have a distinct personality that I find really easy to wear and even easier to enjoy.
Because of their lightness and apparent simplicity, the Jo Malone London fragrances lend themselves well to layering (or ‘Fragrance Combining’ as the brand calls it) allowing one to mix and match their scent to create their own semi-bespoke signatures. With their Cologne Intense collection, Jo Malone London offers the same style of fragrance as their main range, but these fragrances have a bit more heft to them, allowing the band to explore the worlds of ouds, orientals, opulent roses, and heady florals, creating stark contrasts for their Fragrance Combining blends.
The latest fragrance to join the Cologne Intense collection is Bronze Wood & Leather. Daring to be a little bit sexier than other fragrances from Jo Malone London, Bronze Wood & Leather evokes wood warmed by the rays of the sun. It’s a smoky-delicious blend that has a darker, deeper and more daring edge. Remember what I was saying about Jo Malone London fragrances having character? Well this one is a perfect example and it shows how the brand offers lighter (the Cologne Intense fragrances are richer yes but they are hardly powerhouses) fragrances that don’t skimp on character.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about violets, so here are four very good ones on Escentual. Click here to read.
Anima Vinci offers a very solid collection of fragrances. They riff off classic styles – the hesperidic, the rose, the white floral etc. – but bring something entirely new to their respective genres. Most are beautiful (find me a prettier rose than Rose Prana, I challenge you) and some, like Wood of Life, are new and challenging. All are fascinating, fully fleshed out fragrances created with a vibrant spirit and a sense of passion.
Sesame Chān is the latest launch from Anima Vinci. It’s an ode to vetiver via an unusual combination of nutty notes and sesame seeds:
Sesame Chān exudes tranquillity, Japanese gardens, a touch of almond pink flowers, light meditation stones, deep and rich grounded emotions, the cosiness and warmth of a winter season.
The success of Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic masculine fragrance Le Mâle somewhat overshadows the greatness of anything else the brand has created. Many of the Gaultier fragrances that followed – the likes of Fragile and Gaultier² – were just as innovative and remarkable as Le Mâle, even if the market wasn’t quite ready for them at the time. Le Mâle is often talked about and nearly always lauded – I myself have written about it on numerous occasions, partly because it’s an icon, and partly because it played a large part in my formative years – I wore it throughout my adolescence and on many a raucous night out (and in…).
But this article isn’t about Le Mâle, no, Le Mâle gets more than enough attention (cheeky git that he is). This is a celebration of Classique, the feminine counterpart to Le Mâle and Gaultier’s very first fragrance – a perfume that doesn’t get the spotlight anywhere near as often as it deserves or desires. Classique has sat on the shelves of our department stores and our bedrooms for 26 years now and whilst others have come and gone, Classique has remained, proving that a good idea executed at the right time really does stand out. But what makes Classique so timeless? Today we’re going to find out.