“Dare the French Kiss! But watch out, this glossy floral fragrance is highly addictive”
One could never accuse Guerlain of being inconsistent in terms of their olfactory output. For nearly 200 years the Parisian Patisserie has crafted some of the greatest olfactory delicacies in the world, and they show no signs of stopping. With La Petite Robe Noire (a cherry liqourice folly) and L’Homme Ideal (a robust masculine with an almond twist), i.e., their recent gourmand output, Guerlain have shown, not only their uniquely French sense of humour, frivolity and style, but also their penchant for all that is edible. They’ve taken it to the mainstream and shown the lesser mortals in the industry just how a gourmand is done, and by all accounts it has been a very successful move for them.
It is no surprise, then, that the latest addition to their Les Élixirs Charnels collection, ‘French Kiss’, displays the exact same sense of fun, foody humour and style as their mainstream launches however, this one is entirely more decadent and over the top in comparison. Created by in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s French Kiss, which has been launched to celebrate 20 years of Guerlain KissKiss lipsticks, is described as a “glossy floral that celebrates the French art of kissing” and an “elixir as spellbinding as a sensuous kiss.” Ooh err, Mrs.
When I started The Candy Perfume Boy, I didn’t really have much of a plan, I simply wanted to talk about perfume. Since my first post way back in July 2011, the way I write and the subjects I write about have evolved. Nowadays I tend to focus more on reviewing new launches, with ancillary series such as Desert Island Sniffs, The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to… and the Scent a Celebrity Series as supporting materials. Series have come and gone (due mainly to my short attention span) but this year I’d like to spend a bit more time looking back, as well as forward, by reviewing some scents that aren’t brand spanking new.
So to start, I want to look at a fragrance that has always been on my mind, but never in my collection, well up until recently, that is. Those of you who have read this blog for a while will know that I’m quite partial to the intriguing olfactory output from rebellious perfume punks, Etat Libre d’Orange. I own about seven or eight of their 32 fragrances, with the latest addition to my collection being the tricksy Putain des Palaces – a perfume I’ve always liked but have been reluctant to buy, for no reason other than the fact that I’m indecisive.
Putain des Palaces was released in 2006 as part of Etat Libre d’Orange’s initial crop of fragrances. Composed by perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer (Hermès’ Eau des Merveilles, Van Clef & Arpels’ Gardénia Pétale & Amouage’s Honour Man) the fragrance, which is roughly translated as “Hotel Whore” (racy, huh?), is described by Etat Libre d’Orange as “the temptress who awaits her prey in the hotel bar, and leads her lucky victim to unimaginable delights…” So yes, Putain des Palaces is a perfume about sex, specifically the transactional variety, and you know what? It does exactly what it sets out to do.
“The music, the perfume… the mother, the daughter.”
We seem to be having an unofficial ‘collections week’ here on The Candy Perfume Boy (I’m thinking next week will be the unofficial ‘celebuscent week’, FYI). So far we’ve taken a stroll down to the docks to take a look at Penhaligon’s new merchant-inspired Trade Routes collection, as well as a gander back in time to review Lalique’s personal Noir Premier collection. Now it’s time for something entirely new from a start up brand with one of the perfume industry’s most experienced names behind it.
This new brand is Dear Rose and it is the brain child of mother and daughter duo, Chantal and Alexandra Roos. Now, if you’re not familiar with the name Chantal Roos, you will be intrigued to know that she has been involved with the development of some of the industry’s greatest perfumes, namely; Yves Saint Laurent’s Kouros, Paris, Opium and Jazz; Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Mâle; and Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey. An impressive CV for sure. Her daughter, Alexandra is also creative force however, where Chantal excels in olfaction, Alexandra succeeds in music and the synergy between these two mediums is what forms the basis of the Dear Rose brand.
Dear Rose currently consists of five brand new perfumes inspired by women, roses and music. Each fragrance was created by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin (the man behind Thierry Mugler’s positively unique Womanity, amongst many others) and plays on the idea of roses and music together to create a varied collection that showcases the incredibly diverse nature of one of perfumery’s most iconic materials. So how does fragrance fair when music meets rose?
I am in full-on winter mode, and just as well really, seeing as the temperature dials have been twisted firmly towards the blue and the season of frost has started. As you may have noticed from Monday’s post, I’m rocking as many scarves as I can, but I’ve also got myself a snazzy new coat and the heated seats in my car have never seen so much use. In short: it’s officially winter.
At this time of year, I tend to pull out much warmer and heavier perfumes, as I’m sure many of you also do. One of my absolute favorites is Caron’s Parfum Sacré, a most beautiful floral incense that sits somewhere smack bang in the middle of France and Oman. Parfum Sacré is the olfactory equivalent of a hot water bottle, or a purring feline on the lap. It’s simply divine and for that reason, I’ve dedicated this week’s Escentual column to it. Click here to read about one of my favourite winter fragrances.
I continue to be incredibly impressed by the output from London-based indie brand, 4160 Tuesdays. Perfumer Sarah McCartney has a natural knack for perfumery, but also the subversive talent of injecting humour and eccentricity into her compositions. The result is exceptionally well-crafted fragrances that have bold and bright characters, that one would really have to be a miserable git not to enjoy.
One of Sarah’s most recent creations is New York 1955, a fragrance that was originally launched under her diffusion ‘Vintage Tuesdays’ line, and now sits within the multi-coloured wardrobe of scent that is 4160 Tuesdays. Evoking the image of pastel-shaded ice cream parlors from the 1950s, this perfume is a beautiful rosy-gourmand that is as delicious as it is colourful.
“One of my favourite vintage 1950s scents was Coty’s Chantilly, named after the French town famous for its whipped cream and intricate lace. It’s a soft strawberry and cream perfume, decorated with crystalised rose. For New York 1955 I transported the desert theme over the Atlantic to a New York milk bar, turned up the volume, piled it with vanilla ice cream and raspberries, loaded it with candy floss, crystalised roses and violets, and smoothed it with soft, huggable musks and ambergris.”
A few weeks back I reviewed Essence Nº1: Rose, one of the latest fragrances from Elie Saab and by all accounts a beautifully gourmand take on the humble rose. I love rose, in perfume and in pretty much everything else, and I admire the fact that one flower can be used so diversely, due mainly to the man wonderful nuances it displays as a material. It’s a true fact that not all roses are the same, and for every gourmand rose there’s an oriental rose or a photorealistic one, or even a ton of oud-soaked roses, creating a wide range of olfactory signatures that stem from one flower. The humble rose is anything if not impressive in this respect.
If Elie’s Saab new creation celebrates the gourmand facets of the rose, Rosa Nobile, the latest launch from Acqua di Parma, honours the beauty of rose in a simple, yet utterly satisfying manner. Rosa Nobile is an olfactory performance that celebrates the prettiness of rose in a dance of purity and simplicity. It speaks in pastel shades of pink and with a lightness of touch that is almost coy, but most of all, serves as an incredibly beautiful take on the queen of flowers.
“Strolling in the shade of centuries-old trees, among lodges and staircases, a sensuous fragrance drifts – the strong notes of the rose. Its scent forms part of Italy’s noble gardens which, like a queen, it pervades with natural elegance. Acqua di Parma takes their unequalled charm to give life to an Eau de Parfum introducing new touches into the universe of Le Nobili, a collection of women’s fragrances inspired by the most beautiful flowers of exclusive and private Italian gardens, where art and beauty blend in perfect balance. Each one a unique fragrance, selected for its noble femininity, for its fine perfumed essence, and for its quality. Compositions designed by Acqua di Parma using precious ingredients. Each one is unforgettable. Iris, Magnolia, Gelsomino and the new Rosa Nobile.”
Elie Saab burst onto the fragrance scene in a blaze of golden glory. His debut perfume ‘Le Parfum‘ was penned by none other than industry veteran, Francis Kurkdjian and it presented a radiant woody floral that utilised a solar orange blossom note to capture the unending beauty of Saab’s couture. This perfume kick-started a genre of radiant, glowing fragrances such as Carven’s Le Parfum (also by Kurkdjian) that now permeate the department store shelves, and it has deservedly found quite a following and spawned a number of flankers.
This year, Elie Saab and Francis Kurkdjian have teamed up once again to do something new – specifically to release a more exclusive collection of unisex fragrances entitled ‘La Collection des Essences’. Consisting of four perfumes, Essence Nº1: Rose, Essence Nº2: Gardenia, Essence Nº3: Ambre and Essence Nº4: Oud, the collection has been created to showcase “perfumed expressions of haute couture”, and unlike many exclusive collections (most of which are yawn-worthy and blatant money spinners), this one does exactly what it sets out to do with four fragrances that certainly capture the spirit of ‘Eau de Couture’.
“La Collection des Essences expresses a supreme elegance, a concise refinement that melds light and colour, depth and subtlety, volume and transparency. Four bold and exclusive statements with precise, dense and dazzling formulas.”
– Elie Saab
I have managed to try the whole collection and I must say that I am impressed, as I expected to be – I am, after all, a bit of Kurkdjian fan-boy. The Gardenia is a sharp, green and fuzzy take on the flower that sits somewhere between photorealism and abstraction, whereas the Ambre is a spicy, cosy and piquant amber, in a similar vein to Byredo’s 1996, and the Oud avoids the typical rose/super-spicy cliches as a woody and animalic oud that wouldn’t feel entirely out of place within Kurkdjian’s own collection. It is the Rose however, that has me hooked with its beautiful gourmand tones, that really are quite striking, despite their simplicity.
Good news, folks! Stella McCartney is re-launching her eponymous fragrance, ‘Stella‘. The composition of the perfume, originally launched in 2003 and created by perfumer Jacques Cavallier (Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom, Issey Miyake’s Le Feu d’Issey and Yves Saint Laurent’s Nu), thankfully remains unchanged, whilst the bottle has undergone a very slight revamp with a number of new sizes available. Stella launches exclusively to Harrods in the UK today.
To celebrate this welcome relaunch (I’m a personal fan as it’s my beloved sister’s signature scent), Stella McCartney has teamed up with fashion photographers Mert & Marcus, and model Lara Stone to create a provocative print and television ad campaign that shows the woody rose fragrance in an entirely more edgy light. One image (NSFW, FYI) displays Stone completely nude and covered with strategically placed flacons, positioning Stella’s relaunch as entirely unmissable.
2014 is quickly become the year of the rose for me. It all started with the fabulous (and addictive) Tobacco Rose by soon-to-be-launched perfume house Papillon Perfumery and quickly spiralled into many days absorbed in clouds of Montale’s Black Aoud and a thirsty hunt for more roses. Nothing can satiate my appetite when I’m on a mission, so it was with much interest that I approached Isparta PG26 (hereafter referred to simply as ‘Isparta’) – the new rose fragrance from Parfumerie Générale.
Now Parfumerie Générale and I have a complex relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the brand and Pierre Guillaume as a perfumer, but nothing from the line has bowled me over yet (Djhénne has come VERY close – I really should invest in a bottle but something holds me back) and I want so desperately to love something with PG’s intriguing gourmand signature.
Isparta is very much in the Pierre Guillaume style (read: woody/gourmand-ish) but displays more clarity than a lot of his perfumes. His other rose, Brulure de Rose for example, is a much thicker and ‘delicious’ take on the note, but Isparta thankfully errs more on the transparent side of things. This is perhaps due to the perfume’s inspiration, which is a woody rose based entirely in nature:
“The province of Isparta in Turkey is famed for its rose oil, obtained from a variety called ‘Isparta Summer Roses’, which grows profusely in gardens and terraced fields on the soft mountain slopes. The roses are picked early in the morning when they are half-open and their fragrance is the strongest… intense, rich and slightly spicy.”
There is so much ‘noise’ in the perfume industry in this day and age that it gets increasingly more difficult to pay attention to the cacophonous din of new launches and brand new niche brands. In order to rise above the noise many niche brands are resorting to ‘clever’ (read: annoying) gimmicks to make their wares stand out from the crowd, ranging from perfumes inspired by blood types (see Blood Concept) to scents that aren’t supposed to be perfumes (see Juliette Has a Gun). Rarely is the product allowed to speak for itself.
Still, for each naff niche brand there is a decent one with high quality products (brands like Arquiste, 4160 Tuesday’s and Maison Francis Kurkdjian to name just a very small few) that allows for the beauty of their scents to be the element that sets them apart from the many other bottles they share their shelf space with. These refreshing outfits remind one that within the crowds and crowds of scent on the market, there are individuals with a passion for perfume and a unique voice waiting to be heard.
One such brand is Papillon Perfumery. Created by New Forest perfumer Liz Moores and launching this year, Papillon has three perfumes devoid of any bells, whistles and gimmicks – they are simply expertly crafted and beautiful perfumes that truly speak for themselves. The perfumes (Angélique, Anubis and Tobacco Rose) prove that familiar themes can still be presented in unique ways if one just approaches them in an entirely different manner.