Speed Sniffs are a way to bring you ‘to-the-point’ fragrance reviews that are quick and easy to digest. They are perfume reviews without the faff.
Acqua di Parma always strikes me as a really stylish brand. Their fragrances have mass appeal but also a finesse that puts them above much of what the mainstream has to offer. Their Colonia is a perfumery icon and it has seen many interpretations over its 100 year life span, most notably in the Colonia Ingredients Collection which sees the classic cologne reimagined with new signature ingredients from the likes of leather to oud and amber. With this collection, Acqua di Parma remixes the effortless refinement of Colonia and presents it in
Created exclusively for luxury retailer Harrods, the latest scent in the Ingredients Collection is COLONIA VANIGLIA, an ode to the exotic spice of Madagascan vanilla. Created by Perfumer François Demachy, COLONIA VANIGLIA is an exotic oriental that is evocative of tropical islands. Acqua di Parma refer to it as having an “olfactory roundness” which just hints at how smooth this fragrance is. Anyways, that’s enough of me waffling on, you want to know what it smells like. OK, here goes…
Recently when I reviewed ALIEN MAN, I moaned about how it did not smell like a ‘MUGLER’ and how I thought that was a very bad thing. Today I am reviewing Mystic Aromatic, the latest (and tenth) edition to Les Exceptions, an exclusive line of fragrances from MUGLER, and in this review I will say that it does not smell like a MUGLER and remark how I feel that is a good thing. I am a wave of contradictions, Dear Reader, I know. But do read on and you will soon understand why these contradictions are aptly applied.
Mystic Aromatic is described by MUGLER as presenting “an intense aromatic freshness contrasted by hot, bewitching notes”. As with the other fragrances in Les Exceptions, this one too seeks to subvert a familiar genre with an interesting olfactory twist, in this case taking the green aromatic family and injecting it with an unexpected ambery warmth. The result is yet another contradiction from MUGLER, where warm meets cold, fresh meets dense, masculine meets feminine, and green meets gold. Once again, MUGLER proves that it has the ability to surprise…
The most fascinating aspect of perfumery is the building blocks – the familiar (and often unfamiliar) materials that come together to create something entirely new. For me, I am endlessly beguiled by the way in which a singular material can, not only be so versatile in its use, but also add nuances to a fragrance that are so far removed from the material when experienced in isolation. One could call this magic, but it’s not, it’s chemistry, and perfumery is a fusion between art and science, where the latter is used to convey meaning and emotion from the medium of smell.
For me it’s always been the synthetics that hold more interest than the naturals. Without synthetic materials (incl. isolates, captives and aroma chemicals) modern perfumery would smell a heck of a lot different. We just wouldn’t have the perfumes that we’ve had for the last 100 years or so – what we’d have is inconsistent naturals that, due to their own density and complexity, often lead to an opaque soup when blended together. Synthetics give the space and definition to these materials allowing them to compliment, contrast and extend each other. They pull the naturals apart and bring new dimensions into play.
One of my favourite synthetic materials is Ambroxan. OK, so it’s not a fancy material, nor is it a particularly expensive one. It doesn’t take 3,000 years to mature under moonlight on an exotic island. No, it doesn’t have to be expressed from the anal glands of unicorns (perfumery has always had a weird fascination with the contents of animal butts, tell me I’m wrong) by golden-locked virgins in the dead of night. But it is an incredibly useful and popular material, and it finds way into many modern fragrances in both prominent, and stealthy ways. I see it as a bit of a ninja – it swoops in quietly, bringing dimension and space to dense compositions allowing them to expand, giving them tremendous lift but also a fascinating mineral facet. To put it simply, Ambroxan is ‘the nuts’.
I have had so many bad mojitos in my life – you know the ones, they cost a bomb and have a despairingly unfavourable ice to alcohol ratio with far too many mint leaves for something that is not a herb garden. I do not have time for these naff mojitos – I just want to get tipsy without having to drink 40 of them, dropping £300 in the process. Honestly, if I had £1 for every bad mojito I’ve ever drunk, well, I could probably put my funds towards a bottle of something from By Kilian, which is quite handy because their mojito inspired fragrance, the cheekily named ‘Love the way you Taste‘ is a damn good interpretation of one of the world’s most iconic cocktails.
Love the way you Taste is part of the brand’s new limited edition ‘Miami Vice Collection’ (the other one in the collection being ‘Love the way you Feel’ – Kilian really does like a naughty name) which celebrates Kilian Hennessy’s love of Venice Beach, it’s colourful nightlife and deco architecture. They call it a “sophisticated mojito cocktail in a refreshing fragrance” and it seems that they have created exactly that – a refreshing sip of Venice Beach ready to liven up your summer!
I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.
Do you ever have those days when you feel completely blissed out? Where there is not a care in the world and you feel great simply being alive? Well I do and I recently experience a wonderful day like this. It was the morning after the Fragrance Foundation Awards, at which Nick and I picked up our Jasmine Innovation Award for Fume Chat, so as you can imagine, on that morning after I was feeling, shall we say, ‘delicate’. But I have found that there is no hangover that can’t be sorted by a strong cup of Earl Grey so heading to Waterloo train station for a very special, early morning trip, I had myself sorted.
That trip was to Keyneston Mill in Dorset – the home of the very special Parterre fragrances. Now, if you haven’t heard of Parterre, you are missing out. With this brand, the name says it all and it simply means ‘of the earth’ and that’s because Parterre grows materials that are harvested and used in their fragrances. That may not sound that unique, after all, CHANEL does the same, but one must remember that this is all happening in England (a country not known for growing much perfumery-related) and for their first collection of fragrances Parterre has grown, harvested, distilled and used pelargonium, bergamot mint and vetiver. That’s right, vetiver, grown in England, not India, not Haiti, but England, of all places! I told you they were special!