Carbon
Carbon – The Latest Luna Rossa Flanker from Prada

As far as mainstream lines go, Prada is one of the very best. Everything about the many fragrances in their collection, which stretches from the likes of Candy, Les Infusions de Prada, L’Homme Prada and La Femme Prada, and Luna Rossa, feels finely curated and created in their inimitable house-style. Where many brands would take a cynical approach to masculine perfumery, Prada seeks to incorporate quality and a distinct signature to create fragrances that stand out from the crowd, but not so much that they don’t appeal to the average consumer. The result is something like Luna Rossa, which is a minty fresh blend of lavender, musk and spices inspired by the brand’s professional sailing boat. It’s an accessible fragrance made with a high degree of excellency.

With their latest launch in the Luna Rossa franchise, Prada seem to be innovating. For Luna Rossa Carbon they are exploring the clash of natural materials and synthetics to represent the olfactory idea of carbon. They call it “a set of intriguing, engineered-contradictions” and describe it as an “iconoclastic fougère”. Well, them some pretty big words you got there, Prada – let’s hope that this fragrance lives up to the hype. What I will say, before we get to the sniff test, is that it’s always refreshing for a mainstream brand to talk about the use of synthetics so openly. In an age where ‘natural’ is valued more and more, it’s encouraging to know that the technology and innovation of the industry can be promoted in such an open manner. Anyway, let’s sniff.

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Episode 15 is Here!

Get out your foam fingers and buckets o’ popcorn because it’s time for yet another Battle of the Bottles. This time, Thomas and Nick are battling with a live audience at Perfume Lovers London. Category is ‘department store fragrances of the new millennium (but more ‘House of Fraser’ than ‘Harrods’)’. Fun, fab fragrance and sore losing ensues once this battle commences.

Perfume Lovers London is a Meet Up Group run by Callum Langston-Bolt, Laurin Taylor and Lizzie Ostrom and it holds monthly fragrance events in, you guessed it, London. At their events they offer explorations of fragrance materials, guest perfumers, art, music and whatever else they can think of. To find out more follow the group on Twitter @PerfumeLDN.

The Gift of Muguet
The Gift of Muguet

In France on May Day it’s tradition to present a loved one with a bouquet of Lily-of-the-Valley (or ‘Muguet’ as it is called in France). To celebrate May Day and the beauty of Muguet, I’ve pulled together two reviews from the archives to showcase my favourite Lily-of-the-Valley fragrances.  Both come from entirely different eras, with the first being a vintage formulation of a classic made at time where the key materials that make recreating the scent of Muguet achievable were still readily usable, whilst the other is a modern interpretation that somehow captures the cool and aloof nature of the flower. They’re both entirely different but they’re also both wonderfully beautiful. Enjoy!

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Star Magnolia by Jo Malone London

Magnolia, much like Mimosa, is a floral note not commonly used in perfumery. Sure, there are magnolia scents out there but for every one magnolia there is a thousand tuberoses, a million orange blossoms and a billion jasmines, give or take a few. The strange thing about this is the fact that magnolias smell bloody fantastic, more so than many other white flowers. They’re an easy breezy white flower with wonderful citrus accents and a whole heap of headiness. So yes, we need more magnolia please.

Always ones to answer my cries of fragrant pain, Jo Malone London have just launched a limited edition fragrance called Star Magnolia. Woohoo! Bathed in white, the bottle comes complete a soft collar of white floral petals in an unusual display of exuberance from a brand that is so normally classic and paired back. They describe Star Magnolia as being flirtatious and what could be more apt than a flirtatious floral for spring? Nothing! Let’s sniff…

Essence Nº10: Amande Tonka by Elie Saab
Essence Nº10: Amande Tonka by Elie Saab

I have a very high level of respect for the Elie Saab fragrances. Unlike lots of fashion brands that head into the market at this late stage in the game, Elie Saab has a very clear olfactory vision that feels inextricably linked to their design aesthetic. What’s more, the brand has worked solely with one perfumer (the incomparable Francis Kurkdjian) to ensure that their scents all carry the same threads, resulting in a beautiful, luminous style that is undeniably Elie Saab.

In Elie Saab’s Essence Collection, Francis Kurkdjian really gets to stretch his legs and create scents that don’t share the style of Le Parfum, Saab’s signature scent. So far they’ve done wonderful things with oud, rose, gardenia, musk and now, for the latest addition to the collection, two materials get to take centre stage: almond and tonka bean. Essence Nº10: Amande Tonka is a delicious oud to two of perfumery’s most delectable notes and guess what? It’s really tasty….

“Almond essence blends with tonka bean to weave a voluptuous and subtle palette of almond nuances.”

– Elie Saab

Scented Pencils by Caran d'Ache
Scented Pencils by Caran d’Ache

We love all sorts of scented things here at The Candy Perfume Boy. There is no discrimination when it comes to scented products – give us perfume, candles, body lotions, shower gels – you name, we’ll sniff it. I don’t know why I say ‘we;, because it’s just little old me, but nyway I digress. Every once in a while a slightly unusual scented product will come along, one that is entirely new and more than just a little bit intriguing. These things will either make us exclaim ‘what the smell’ (get it?) or make us fall head over heels for their fragrant beauty. Today’s post is about a product that definitely falls within the category of the latter.

When I was asked whether I’d like to try some scented pencils from Caran d’Ache, my initial thought was “scented pencils are a thing?” quickly followed by “sure, why the hell not”. I do love a pencil, which is no surprise seeing as I am a writer, and I much prefer them to pens. There just is something wonderfully soft about pencils – something romantic about their impermanence and their delicate feel. Caran d’Ache, the Swiss manufacturer of art and luxury goods know a thing or two about pencils and with their scented pencils they’ve created something rather unique: pencils that write and smell beautifully.

Crowning Glory: Iconic Niche Brands
Crowning Glory: Iconic Niche Brands

The perfume community is very protective. All you need to do is search the subjects of European regulations, IFRA and reformulations on any fragrance forum to get an idea of just how protective perfume lovers are, and I’m right there with them. Heritage should be looked after, but at the same time, I think we all have to appreciate the fact that the world, and the industry for that matter, are ever-evolving. Things change, whether that’s because certain materials stop being available, regulations restrict their use, or because brands change hands. Change is inevitable but does that mean we have to accept it?

One of the topics that receives constant criticism is the fact that independent niche houses are being snapped up at rapid pace by big houses. So far we’ve seen Estée Lauder acquire By Kilian, Le Labo and Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle, whilst Puig have acquired Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur. Most recently LVMH bought Maison Francis Kurkdjian and this certainly set the tongues of the perfume community wagging, and rightly so, because it’s a big deal (although MFK has always been positioned as more ‘luxe’ than niche). More often that not, people view these acquisitions as brands selling out or a pre-cursor to their spirit, and beloved fragrances being crushed by corporate greed.  But are they really a bad thing? Or are they just a reminder that, first and foremost, perfume is a business?

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Alien Musc Mystérieux

We recently recorded an upcoming battle episode of Fume Chat at Perfume Lovers London and one of the subjects that came up was MUGLER. No surprises there, of course, everywhere I go MUGLER must be mentioned, but what was interesting was the fact that everyone seemed to agree that, when it comes to flankers, nobody does it better than good old Thierry M.  I’m on board with this too and whether MUGLER are creating candy floss versions of Angel or spiced-up versions of A*Men, they’re always making some fascinting, and beautifully smelling things.

One of MUGLER’s fragrances that always lends itself well to flankerisation is Alien, the brand’s supreme being. Alien has been treated to many injections of flavour scent and texture, and following their launch of Alien Oud Majesteux last year, MUGLER have added Musc Mystérieux, another instalment to what they’re calling the Oriental Collection. Created by Perfumer Dominique Ropion, this version of Alien plays homage to the ancient ingredient of musk, presenting a smoother and more transparent take on tonkin musk – a solar musk.