A few years back, Frederic Malle announced a capsule collection of fragrances that would sit just outside his main line, taking inspiration from a different source: those people that M. Malle admires deeply. Unlike most capsule collections, ‘par Frederic Malle’ launched only with one scent and it has taken a good few years for another fragrance to follow in the series. It seems that Frederic Malle’s painstakingly focused approach applies not only to his scents but to those he chooses to collaborate with. His first collaboration was with the Belgian designer, Dries Van Noten, a man known for his cerebral couture, and now Malle follows Dries with yet another designer, one who is on the other end of the fashion spectrum – this time Frederic Malle has collaborated with the incomparable designer Alber Elbaz (formerly of Lanvin).
It was admiration that led Frederic Malle to Alber Elbaz and through Malle’s wife’s love of his clothes these two wonderful minds were brought together. The collaboration is one of mutual respect and feels very organically grown yet and it pairs three creatives with who respect, above all, quality, artistry and beauty. Those creative men are Frederic Malle, Alber Elbaz and Dominique Ropion and the result of their trio of awesomeness is Superstitious (yes, I also think of the Stevie Wonder song whenever I hear the name, don’t worry) – a fragrance that feels entirely new yet wholeheartedly classic at the same time.
The scent itself started its life as a work in progress – a grand aldehydic floral with a “classic architecture” worked on by Malle and Ropion for more than a year. Alber Elbaz was introduced to the fragrance (after Malle reportedly had to convince Ropion to “give up his fragrance”), fell in love and then worked with the perfumer to bring it to completion. The rest, as they say, is history. The parallels between couture and fragrance are drawn quite strongly with Superstitious and Malle says that the scent was created in the manner that old fragrances were, with the perfumer working in isolation before presenting it to the client, who then requests it to be tailored to their needs, just like a piece of couture. The result? The most special of collaborations.
Please forgive my excitement, fellow perfume nerds, but it simply cannot be contained today, for there are now Angel chocolates on the market. Now, if you know me, you know that there are three things I hold dear to my heart in this world; 1) my family (including my cats) and friends; and 2) food; and 3) MUGLER. So it stands to reason then, that the idea of MUGLER themed chocolates, nay ANGEL themed chocolates would get me just a tad excited. Well that’s exactly what’s got me going today and hopefully they will do the same to you!
So, MUGLER have teamed up with another legendary French house, the chocolatey heaven of La Maison du Chocolat to translate their most iconic fragrance into a gustatory delight. The result is a box of beautiful chocolates that break down the three key accords of Angel into edible delights that are as indulgent as the scent itself. If, like me, you were trying to diet then I’m sorry, Angel has other plans for you and as we all know, she does not take no for answer.
It’s not often that I bring things to you on The Candy Perfume Boy before they launch, after all it’s not much fun writing about things that people can’t get their noses on yet, but right from my very first sniff of Le Cèdre, the brand new fragrance from Miller Harris (launching in May), I couldn’t not share it with you. I’m not a massive fan of woody fragrances as a genre and on the whole they very much feel lovely, but not for me, therefore it’s also rare for me to sniff something distinctly woody and be head over heels for it. So now you understand just why I’m so excited to be writing about Le Cèdre!
Le Cèdre is the latest addition to Miller Harris’ Perfumer’s Library, a capsule collection of scents created to play to different seasons and moods, and coming together to create a fragrant wardrobe filled with scents that cover all bases. This is a sort of IKEA approach to perfumery where one can purchase a flat-packed collection of scent ready to be assembled and worn throughout the seasons. Le Cèdre joins the collection as 2017’s seasonal entry and I’d suggest that it’s the unconventional scent for the summer season. Miller Harris describes Le Cèdre as an “audacious and escapist fragrance” that is softer than one might think. Well, for someone who finds cedarwood a touch on the solid side, that really does sound like something rather fabulous indeed.
Iris, or orris, is many things. It is famously known as the most expensive natural ingredient in the perfumer’s pallet, making it one of the most elusive and luxurious materials out there. It’s also one of the most beautiful and complex ingredients in the perfumer’s magic bag of tricks, allowing itself to be utilised in a vast variety of ways, which gives it this strange shape-shifting ability, whilst also allowing it to remain instantly and undeniably recognisable as ‘iris’ at all times. Iris is also a divisive material – some will dive readily into its often cold and aloof arms, whilst others will simply say it smells like carrots and they wish for it to be moved very far away from them. Both view points are valid of course, but the striking character of iris cannot be denied.
In perfumery it is not the iris flowers that are used, instead it is the root. The roots are dried over a number of years (hence the hefty cost – orris is an exercise in patience) and then ground before being distilled to create orris butter (beurre d’iris). Reportedly, one ton of iris root produces two kilos of iris butter, making for a painstaking process that drives the cost of the material skyrocketing up to the roof and beyond. But is the beauty of the material matched by the price? Well, the answer to that question will certainly depend on your opinion however, the complexity of the odour profile of orris certainly lives up to its value, more so in fact.
The scent of orris is a tricky one to pin down. It is most known for its earthy character, which in extreme can smell vegetal, like carrots and turnips. The scent is mineral but it can also have sweetness, sharing a similar character to violets. If we’re talking texture, orris can be suede-like or powdery, but in some instances it can also appear as doughy and thick. There’s also a woody character to the material and in terms of colour, orris can present hues that range from blue to purple to grey to beige. If you hadn’t guessed already, orris is one of the most fascinating and flexible fragrant materials out there and it has been put to use in thousands of intriguing ways throughout the history of perfumery.
It’s battle day and in yet another epic duel, Thomas & Nick are feuding fragrances from one of the greatest living perfumers, or as Thomas’ says “one heck of a dude”: Bertrand Duchafour – the many behind iconic scents by Penhaligon’s, L’Artisan Perfumer, Comme des Garçons and more. They are joined by blogger and graphic designer (and Nick’s neighbour), Sabine Cornic (http://iridescentrics.blogspot.co.uk) as guest judge, as they traverse the impressive body of work from a talented, diverse and exciting perfumer.
As you may have noticed, National Fragrance Day is everywhere today! It’s a day dedicated to the importance of smell and fragrance. To celebrate, I’ve put together a list of my five favourite fragrance articles from the web over the least year. They’ve all been neatly put together for this week’s Escentual column. Click here to head to Escentual to give them a read. Also, don’t forget to share your scent memories with the hashtag #ScentMemories AND you must take a Smellfie with a favourite scent, tagging it with the hashtag #Smellfie and tagging @theperfumesociety and @fragrancefoundation!
Love it or hate it, it’s impossible to ignore Mon Guerlain and unless you’ve been hiding under a (rather fragrant) rock for the last month or so, it’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll have not seen or sniffed it. This is a Guerlain launch unlike no other – it is literally everywhere and the brand has gone balls to the wall (for want of a better phrase) in terms of promotion. Not only have they chosen Oscar-winning actress, director and human rights campaigner Angelina Jolie as the Mon Guerlain muse (an excellent choice IMHO), they’ve also worked with director Terrence Malick on the accompanying film. Not to mention the huge push in terms of press that the launch has had, which overshadows any other offering from Guerlain in the past. It really is a huge launch.
This post isn’t going to be a review of Mon Guerlain. I’ve already put together my thoughts on the scent, in isolation from its concepts and history for my Escentual column, and you can read those thoughts here. I stand by the fact that I really like how it smells. To me, Mon Guerlain is a novel take on lavender, one that amps up the material’s natural burned sugar notes and folds it into delicious butter candy and musk. It really is lovely, commercial yes, but undeniably lovely and made with top notch materials too. It’s also very Guerlain as well, especially seeing as the house is well know for being the utter dons at making gourmand treats for the nose. Mon Guerlain is no exception and it smells great.
So if this post isn’t a review, what is it? Well, Mon Guerlain is such a huge launch and such a game changer for Guerlain, I wanted to explore the commercial context in which it has arrived and what it may mean for Guerlain going forward. From a house that brought us Jicky, Shalimar, Mitsouko, L’Heure Bleue, Vol de Nuit and Chamade (I really could go on and on, and on) with little fanfare, Mon Guerlain says that Guerlain has finally arrived to play with the big guns like Chanel and Dior. And guess what? They mean business.
Well, well, well, yesterday was quite the day! As you may have read the Jasmine Awards were held yesterday at BAFTA and I am completely thrilled to tell you that I picked up not only one, but two awards at the ceremony. I was lucky enough to walk away with the Best Digital Experience award for my piece ‘Six Scents to Put Hairs on Your Chest’ and the Independent Soundbite Aware for my article ‘Eau so Masc’. I am still in shock, if I’m being entirely honest, but I am so thankful to all of the judges for celebraating my work and incredibly grateful to have been nominated amongst some of the best perfume writers in the business, many of which I am lucky enough to call my friends.
So someone (me) accidentally pressed the wrong button and uploaded Episode 11 of Fume Chat one week early. Whoops! Oh well, the good news is that you get to enjoy the latest episode a little bit earlier than expected. I suppose there is no need to moan there then is there? Enjoy!
It’s time for another round-up episode! This week Nick & Thomas are sniffing more new and noteworthy scents from some of the industry’s biggest brands. They range from nifty colognes with coffee twists to sexy ambers and beautifully girly chypres. All-in-all it’s a super scented episode!
Scents Sniffed: MUGLER Hot Cologne, Evody Onde 7, Jo Malone London Myrrh & Tonka, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Outrageous, Neela Vermeire Rahele & Narciso Rodriguez Fleur Musc for Her.