There is a song on Jay-Z’s latest album entitled ‘Tom Ford’, and in said song Mr Z raps the line; “I don’t pop molly, I rock Tom Ford.” Well much like our good friend Jay-Z, I too am not one for recreational drug use and also have somewhat of a penchant for the offerings of American fashion designer Tom Ford – who knew we’d have so much in common?
Unfortunately that is where the common ground ends and unlike Jay-Z I do not have the adequate finances to rock any Tom Ford clothing (oh but how I wish I did), however my budget can certainly stretch to the designer’s olfactory offerings and like many others I have found there to be a number of sniff-worthy perfumes residing within the Tom Ford corner of the department store.
Mr Ford is relatively active on the olfactory front with two lines of perfume to choose from – the widely available and reasonably priced ‘Signature Collection’, which contains the likes of Black Orchid, Violet Blonde, Sahara Noir, Grey Vetiver and Noir; and the more exclusive and definitely pricier ‘Private Blends.’ Personally, I have found more love for the perfumes in the Signature Collection (much to the relief of my partner and bank balance), however the Private Blend certainly has more than its fair share of gems, which leads me nicely onto Tom Ford’s latest collection – ‘Atelier d’Orient.’
The Atelier d’Orient Collection is inspired by; “the sublime beauty, enigmatic sensuality and exquisite luxury of Asia” and each of the four fragrances within the collection are reported to contain; “ingredients that have treasured prestige in the Orient.” Speaking of the collection, Tom Ford states that each fragrance captures a distinct mood – “captivating romance, colonial elegance, luxurious exoticism and rich mysterious sensuality” – with each serving as a perfect representation of the bold Tom Ford aesthetic.
This week on Escentual I review the brand new launch from Marc Jacobs – ‘Honey’. Like most Marc Jacob scents Honey is a competently produced and fancy-free fragrance that matches cutesy styling (those vinyl flower/bees) and a sunny, sweet scent that is as wearable as it is joyful.
Please click on the image above to visit the Escentual Blog and read my review. Feel free to leave a comment there and share your thoughts about Honey!
I didn’t envy Amouage the task of topping their masculine & feminine duo from last year. Both Interlude Woman and Man were triumphs of perfumery, taking chaotic notes and throwing them together to create two challenging, yet wearable (and not to forget bloody gorgeous) fragrances.
This year’s duo – Fate Woman and Fate Man – certainly have big shoes to fill and it appears that Creative Director Christopher Chong has pulled out all of the stops to create two fragrances that are bold enough to mark the “end of the first cycle of the Amouage narrative” and leave one excited for exactly what wonders the beginning of the next cycle may entail.
Fate Woman (created by perfumer Dorothée Piot) and Fate Man (created by Karine Vinchon) “explores the uncertainty of the future and the universal principal by which the order of things is inescapably prescribed” and in their own, very distinct ways illicit polarising responses. They, as with many Amouage perfumes, are for those that adore excess and do not shy away from bold statements.
Well, it looks like Nigel really came through on the old birthday front (thank you all for your kind wishes btw) deciding much against his better judgement to generously give me a big ole bottle of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Al Oudh as his gift. Al Oudh has been sat on my wish list for quite some time now (which makes me wonder why I haven’t reviewed it already) and out of the slew of ouds available I believe that it is one of the few thatt brings something new to the party.
Al Oudh now joins my three other L’Artisans (Vanille Absolument/Havana Vanille, Traversée du Bosphore and Nuit de Tuberéuse) all of which, Al Oudh included, just so happen to be Bertrand Duchafour creations, thus proving that I really do have a “thing” for le Duchafour, and who can blame me? The dude is clearly a genius and with Al Oudh his skill of turning common accords entirely on their head is in full swing.
Bertrand Duchaufour created Al Oudh for L’Artisan Parfumeur in 2009. It’s billed as an exotic, spicy and woody oud with accents of rose and dried fruits. L’Artisan describe it as “the elixir of sensuality itself”, which is a very fluffy way of saying that it is in fact sex on a stick, or sex in a bottle to be more accurate. Al Oudh may not be what you’re expecting from an oud but that is exactly what makes it so captivating.
“There’s just something about the glamour and luxury of wearing great big flowers that takes away the grey humdrum of everyday life.”
I’m always keen to see what Amouage is up to, they are a brand with incredible cohesion, yet each release is new, surprising and exciting. Amouage’s creative director Christopher Chong has gone a long way to give the brand an international aesthetic, drawing inspiration from Puccini, Swan Lake and the Silk Road (to name but a few) to create perfumes that transcend culture and location.
This year has been a good year for Amouage releases, March saw the release of the latest edition to the Library Collection with the orgasmically good amber Opus VI, and now, preceding the launch of Amouage’s annual masculine and feminine duo later this year, the house has launched a new feminine perfume exclusive to a small number of high-end department stores. A perfume that has been bestowed with the named ‘Beloved’.
Beloved is an unusual launch for Amouage because it stands alone without a masculine counterpart and it joins Ubar as one of the only fragrances in the line to do so. It has been created to represent the modern woman so it stands to reason that it doesn’t need a man to shine. Amouage says that “Beloved engages the elegance and complexity of the modern woman: strong, empowered, animated, in control.”  and to me it feels like a contemporary modern floral with a classic edge.
With so many perfume launches per year and the overwhelming number of niche houses that seem to be popping up all over the place, it stands to reason that one has to give in to the fact that not everything can be tried, and in some cases entire lines must be ignored for the sake of one’s sanity. For me, CB I Hate Perfume was one of these lines that unfortunately fell by the wayside.
I’m not entirely sure why I have ignored CB I Hate Perfume for so long, Christopher Brosius is regarded as somewhat of an industry maverick and his appearance in BBC4’s Perfume documentary last year should have piqued my interest, but instead it had the opposite affect. Instead I couldn’t help but feel that line was just a gimmick hiding behind an eccentric personality – watch me eat my words.
I recently had the opportunity to try the two latest CB I Hate Perfume fragrances (in water perfume concentration); 7 Billion Hearts and M5 Where We Are There Is No Here. The names didn’t fill me with a huge amount of confidence, they again sounded quite gimmicky, but I’m always happy to be proved wrong and despite the names both of these new offerings from CB I Hate Perfume are beautifully unusual.
“I love a perfume that makes me smile – Fils de Dieu brings the smiles, and plenty of them”
Despite their often hyper-sexed and occasionally misdirected marketing techniques, Etat Libre d’Orange are one of the most solid niche brands out there. They offer a line of well made, interesting, unusual and affordable fragrances that simply cannot be matched. The Etat Libre d’Orange war cry is “Parfum est mort, vive le parfum” (“perfume is dead, long live perfume”) and they are going a very long way to resurrect the concept of fun into the landscape of modern perfumery, a landscape that can so often become devoid of any delight.
I have said many times before that I am a self-proclaimed Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy, I simply cannot help it, I find their compositions to be filled with humour, occasional, nay regular genius, surprise and wonder. Each one is an essay in pushing the boundaries of perfume, turning familiar genres on their heads and firmly sticking two figures up at the bland, the trite and the cheap.
Fils de Dieu or ‘Fils de Dieu Du Riz et Des Agrumes’ (Son of God of Rice and Citrus Fruits) to use its full name is one of two latest releases from everyone’s favourite French olfactory freedom fighters, the other being Bijou Romantique. It was created by Ralf Schwieger and the concept behind it is interesting to say the least. Also available under the more controversial name of ‘Philippine Houseboy’, Fils de Dieu “is the golden eye that reflects beauty and conflict, rapture and pain. It is an emotional fragrance that requires a sympathetic connection between the server and the served, the giver and the taker, and the willingness to exchange roles.” 
Perfume fate seemed to happen last week. As I was planning The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Oud, the postman bought me two oud-ie goodies – the first being my new bottle of Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and the second being a sample of By Kilian’s latest perfume ‘Amber Oud’. So it seems like last week was fated to be the week of the oud, and in keeping with that theme it only seems fitting to give Amber Oud a whirl.
Firstly, By Kilian has to be commended for their PR practices. Last year they offered members of The Kilian Club on their Facebook Page a complete set of samples from the L’Oeuvre Noire collection and now they have been kind enough to send everyone a sample of their latest fragrance ‘Amber Oud’, with the sole intent of introducing it to Kilian fans. Now, that’s good PR!
Amber Oud is inspired by greek mythology and is the latest addition to By Kilian’s Arabian Nights collection. It was created by Calice Becker and joins Incense Oud, Pure Oud and Rose Oud to become the fourth pillar within Kilian’s oud-quartet. Kilian says that Amber Oud “is borned in Heliades tears”  and with this new fragrance his objective “was to deconstruct/reconstruct the traditional “Amber” by taking the animalistic qualities of a dark “Oud” and adding richness through an overdose of “Vanilla” from Madagascar and “Benzoin” from Laos.” 
Tuberose, tuberose, tuberose, the narcotic Queen of the Night. The erotic, sensationalist flower with a reputation for stealing many a heart and corrupting many a virgin. My love of tuberose is pretty well documented (please see The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose) and I’m pretty much happy to try any fragrance that lists it as a note. I was however, slightly sceptical of Vamp À N.Y., but lots of positive reviews and a sample that was very kindly donated by Ines of All I Am – A Redhead led me to try it.
“This is extreme, never lived before, French couture… addictive, sophisticated and futuristic” 
Vamp À N.Y. is part of Honoré des Prés’ ‘We love NY’ collection created by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. The Honoré des Prés line prides itself on having perfumes that are “100% natural origin – 100% botanical ingredients – 100% engaged.” I don’t know about you but I’m not entirely fussed about whether a perfume is all natural or not, the art of perfumery, in my eyes, requires a large palette of natural and ‘synthetic’ ingredients. But that’s beside the point, Vamp À N.Y., whether it is natural, synthetic or otherwise, is a very interesting take on my favourite flower.
“I imagined for Idylle a bouquet of fresh and joyous flowers, a symbol of love” Thierry Wasser 
In 2009 the eyes of the perfume-world were firmly fixed on the doors of No 68 Champs-Élysées in Paris. The world awaited the brand new feminine fragrance from the world’s most important (and arguably the greatest) perfume house – Guerlain. In the previous year Guerlain (now owned by the fashion-gargantuan Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) had appointed Thierry Wasser as their in-house perfumer and he had already started to create exciting fragrances for the house (see Guerlain Homme), but he was yet to conquer the mammoth task of creating a Guerlain feminine.
A new feminine fragrance from Guerlain is always big news and it can’t be easy creating a fragrance for a house that brought Jicky, L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko and Shalimar into the world, but with Idylle it felt like the pressure was REALLY on. Thierry Wasser had the huge tasking of creating a contemporary and modern fragrance that wouldn’t betray Guerlain’s age old heritage and for that reason Idylle is a relatively important fragrance, it signifies a shift within the house, and this shift is highlighted in the tag-line on the above advertising image, which presents Idylle as “The New Guerlain”.
Guerlain describes Idylle (‘Love Dream’) as “Like a mist of petals on the skin, a fresh floral bouquet warmed by the sensuality of chypre”  and if only to emphasise the ideal of ‘The New Guerlain’, Idylle marks a complete break from the house’s tradition of lavish chypres, big florals and Guerlainade-filled orientals.