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The purpose of these olfactory deconstructions (see Iris and Vetiver) is to understand a raw material used in perfumery by dissecting it into its many facets. By experiencing the many nuances, one starts to gain an appreciation for how it is used within a wider composition and how it can be utilised to create interesting and novel effects. Such is the magic of perfumery – where one distinct material can bring so much more to a fragrance than its odour profile, shifting and changing as it tessellates with other notes to create things that are more than the sum of their parts.

Today’s deconstruction is a widely used material: patchouli. I chose patchouli because it’s a material found in so many fragrances, many of which utilise it as a supporting act as opposed to the star that takes top billing. I also picked it because it’s a tricky note to love, due largely to its associations with head shops and hippies, not to mention how abrasive it can be as a smell. But patchouli is so much more than a new age oil, it’s actually a fascinating and multifaceted material that deserves a lot of attention – and today we are going to give it that attention!

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I feel as if Les Infusions de Prada best showcases the DNA of the Prada brand. It was Infusion d’Iris, the genesis of the collection, that really birthed that inimitable Prada signature that is now so familiar. This Prada trademark is the result of the fusion of two materials; iris and benzoin, both of which come together to create a fizzy, powdery, grey and sweet, gauzy aroma that is so luxurious and so ‘Prada’. It’s glorious and to be found front and centre in the brand’s many infusions.

Speaking of infusions, the latest to join the collection is Infusion de Mandarine, a fragrance that seeks to distil the essence of mandarin and merge it with that Prada signature. Created by perfumer Daniela Andrier, who is responsible for most (if not all) of the Prada fragrances, Infusion de Mandarine presents a cacophony of orange notes wrapped together in a little juicy package. This may look like an unassuming citrus on the surface but boy, it is anything but!

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I love Prada. I think their fragrance output is one of the most consistent, both in terms of quality and when it comes to projecting a strong house identity. You can smell a Prada fragrance and know that it’s a Prada, and this comes down to two key elements; Daniela Andrier as the unofficial house perfumer (who has created the entirety of the collection); and the key ingredient of orris. Combined, these two elements make a Prada fragrance by crafting a house signature that is distinct, luxurious and beautiful. Whatever they do, whether that be a classic like Infusion d’Iris or a contemporary like Candy, Prada never compromises its signature, nor its quality.

Speaking of signatures, Prada launched their flagship fragrances La Femme & L’Homme Prada in 2016. They have since become staples of the brand, epitomising the Prada woman and man. After receiving the intense treatment last year, La Femme & L’Homme are now subject to the ‘l’eau’ treatment, resulting in two fragrances that take a lighter approach. We have one which is a golden, sparkling floral and another that stretches iris powder into something fresh and cool. Both smell absolutely great and show just how versatile that inimitable Prada signature is.

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Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you ‘to-the-point’ fragrance reviews that are quick and easy to digest. They are perfume reviews without the faff.

I am not a massive fan of amber fragrances. There’s something pleasing about the classic blend of benzoin, labdanum and vanilla, absolutely, but I often find that, because it’s such a distinct accord, amber fragrances seem to cover very similar ground. So you own one and there’s little need to own more – you just need to pick out the one for you. I’m also not too keen on leather either, because it tends to dominate a perfume. Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all of this so I shall enlighten you: today I am writing about a amber/leather fragrance that I really love.