As of today, there are just under two calendar weeks until Christmas day! If, like me, you have neglected your Christmas shopping entirely up to this point, or if you simply have a few tricky gifts left to buy, you will more than likely be scouring the blogs for some gift inspiration in the form of fragrance gift guides. These pieces can be pretty helpful in guiding us to some special presents for those special people in our lives, so this year I’m bringing you two gift guides; a luxury fragrance guide in my Escentual column and today, this very guide that you’re reading right now!
This year I wanted to do a little something different with my Christmas Gift Guide. Instead of picking out scents for him and for her, or for mums and dads, or even personality types, I just wanted to gather together a selection of beautiful things that smell great. So that’s exactly what this gift guide is – a collection of fragrant things that are just gorgeous and will make wonderful gifts for those people in your life that like smelly things. They range from fragrances to shower gels, shimmering powders and candles, and whilst they may vary in their style, they all share one thing in common: they are drop dead gorgeous in every way!
“Shalimar” – just the utterance of its name sends shivers down my spine. Whenever I feel tired of overwhelmed with the onslaught of perfumery today, I often spritz on a touch of Shalimar to recalibrate. It refreshes my nose and reminds me of what ‘great’ smells like. But what makes Shalimar so wonderful? What makes it more than a classic – a legend? Well, for my Escentual column this week I’ve written about The Legend of Shalimar to coincide with the launch of the Shalimar Holiday Makeup Collection, which is currently Exclusive to Escentual for two weeks. To read my column click here, but also don’t forget to check out Emma’s piece on the swatches from the collection and Ceryn’s on the collection’s look.
The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted this handsome chap lurking in yesterday’s post. His name is Avery and he’s a handsome little ceramic French Bulldog that recently joined the family. He was a gift in fact, from my lovely husband, who had taken note of the many subtle hints I have been dropping over the last few weeks, hints such as; “I’d quite like one of those Avery ceramic bulldogs for my birthday”, “can I send you the link to those Avery ceramics?” and “have you bought me that ceramic bulldog I wanted yet?”. It’s a wonder he managed to pick up my artful subtlety…
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (five days away to be exact) and if you’re attached to a significant other you are likely to be thinking about what treats you may have in store for them. Now, don’t you worry, this isn’t yet another gift guide (I’ve done my anti-Valentine’s gift guide already) as they are a dime a dozen these days. No, instead I’ve decided to celebrate the day of St. Valentine by doing something a little bit different this year.
Perfume, like literature and film, is littered with many legendary lovers – iconic pairings that tell the story of true romance. These duos may have been created to market the idea of ‘his ‘n’ hers’ but they also allow a couple to share a fragrant experience by either matching, complimenting or contrasting each other. I’m all for them when done right and with a bit of flair. So, without further ado, here are my picks for perfumery’s most iconic pairings.
“The sickness of making flankers every five minutes is very upsetting, but if I don’t want to get kicked out for not doing my job, I have to do it”
– Thierry Wasser ¹
Thierry Wasser, in-house perfumer at Guerlain, recently likened the penchant brands have for creating numerous flankers to a “sickness” and when looking at the numerous incarnatons of the house’s flagship fragrance, Shalimar, it’s easy to see why. In the last five years we’ve seen seven, that’s right, seven new Shalimar flankers ranging from the sublime Parfum Initial and Ode à la Vanille to the less interesting Parfum Initial L’Eau, and on occasions the brand has stretched the Shalimar association pretty thin.
With their latest flanker, Shalimar Souffle de Parfum, the link has become so emaciated it may have finally snapped. Sniffing the flanker, it’s pretty difficult to pick out exactly how the two fragrances are alike. Shalimar is a grand dame of the oriental world, showcasing bubbling bergamot, smoky-sweet vanilla powder and tons of heavy resins. Souffle de Parfum on the other hand is, well, the complete opposite of that. It may not be worthy of the Shalimar name, but does that mean that it’s a bad fragrance?
Guerlain describe Souffle de Parfum as a “gently perfumed caress” ² and a “breath of extreme sensuality” ², with the ‘Souffle’ here referring to the French word for breath, as opposed to anything culinary-related. It has been designed to celebrate the lighter facets of Shalimar, specifically focus on the shining citrus that famously graces the Oriental Queen’s top notes, and the plush vanilla that sits at her core. In that respect, Souffle de Parfum succeeds, merging these two themes together to create something that may, or may not be Shalimar, depending on how one looks at it.
The Candy Perfume Boy’s ‘Guide to…‘ series is an award winning fragrant exploration of the individual notes that make up the vast and multi-dimensional spectrum that is the world of perfume. In each episode, we take a detailed look at a particular ingredient, analysing its odour profile and the ‘must sniff’ perfumes that serve as reference examples within the genre.
So far in the series, we’ve taken a gander at the lusciousness of lily, variety of violet and the tenacity of tuberose. We’ve also ogled at oud, chomped on chocolate and orbited the world of orange blossom. All-in-all, it’s been a fun and fragrant exploration of some of perfumery’s most beloved ingredients, but our journey is far from over and we have many more smells to sniff. So buckle up as we take off for our next fragrant expedition – a mission to Planet Vanilla.
In this latest instalment of The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to, we’re going to explore all that is vanilla – a note that is as well-known as it is delicious. The use of vanilla in perfume is most certainly plentiful and to serve you, dear reader, I have separated the wheat from the chaff to present you with eight vanilla perfumes that are absolute must sniffs on your fragrant journey. I promise you that they all smell absolutely fabulous!
After an extended hiatus, due to nothing other than my incredible lack of decent organisational skills, my favourite series, Desert Island Sniffs is back! In this series, we explore the lives of people inextricably linked to the perfume industry and the fragrances that have significant sentimental value to them. By discussing the scents that are of importance to people, we can get a unique insight into what makes them tick and a distinct idea of their character. All in all, these sniffs can be utterly fascinating.
If you’re not familiar with this series, the concept is very simple – I invite important members of the perfume industry, such as brand owners, creative directors and perfumers, to be stranded on their very own desert island, along with 5 carefully curated perfumes of their choice. It may be a tricky job narrowing a life down to such a small number of perfumes, but I can assure you that it is an entirely worthwhile exercise!
The perfumes they choose should be those that have had a significant impact on their scented lives and map specific points in their journey of olfactory discovery. In addition to their 5 Desert Island Sniffs one is kind enough to allow them to take a luxury item (only one, mind) and a ‘perfume bible’ to keep them company. By the end of this series there is going to be some rather fabulously smelling desert islands out there!
“In india, jewellery has always been an indispensable part of one’s outfit. It is said to hold the power of the gods and goddesses.”
The story of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan is the stuff of legend. Their epic love story is represented by one of the world’s most famous buildings – the Taj Mahal – a palace that was created as a mausoleum to the princess following her death, upon the orders of a distraught Shah Jahan. The Mughal Empire may now be a thing of the past, but the story of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, and the Taj Mahal lives on.
Historic perfume house, Guerlain has a strong link to this tale. Their flagship fragrance, Shalimar was inspired by the story and named after the Shalimar gardens created by Shah Jahan in Lahore. The Jacques Guerlain creation from 1925 is perhaps as well-known as the heartbreaking legend of the Emperor and the Princess, and it is widely considered as a true classic of perfumery, and the crown jewel in Guerlain’s wardrobe of wonderful fragrances.
“Three months to dream and admire the jewellery worn 400 years ago by a great rani worthy of the Thousand and One Nights.”
Speaking of jewels, a chance encounter between Laurent Boillot, the President and CEO of Guerlain, and Indian entrepreneur, Vinita Jain has resulted in a very special exhibition at La Maison Guerlain – Guerlain’s flagship boutique at No. 68 Champs-Élysées, Paris. From 03 September to 14 November 2014, visitors can view three special pieces – a ring, necklace and head jewel – worn by a princess famed for her beauty and essential artefacts in one of the greatest love stories of all time.
Click below the jump to see the other pieces that will be exhibited at La Maison Guerlain this autumn.
Ahh, tea! Is there anything better than getting home from a long, hard day and boiling the kettle for a relaxing hot brew? The answer is simple: no, there isn’t. Tea drinking, much like perfume sniffing, is one of life’s greatest sensory pleasures and with the wide variety of different blends, one can find a world of truly delicious treats with very little searching required.
So does that then mean that the mixture of both perfume and tea would make for an interesting blend? Venerable french perfume house Guerlain certainly seem to think so and with the revamping of their flagship store at no. 68 Champs Élysées they have launched a number of fragrant teas based on a handful their most inconic perfumes in conjunction with Les Thés de Constance.
So it’s a brand new year and after a short break its time to get one’s nose firmly back to the grindstone (booo!). This year I am hoping to be more dedicated to regular posts on The Candy Perfume Boy after a slightly turbulent 2013, with reviews and routine instalments in my ‘Scent a Celebrity‘, ‘Guide to‘ and ‘Desert Island Sniffs‘ series. I’ll also be sharing my weekly Escentual column and updates on the hunt for my wedding scent with you – all-in-all, I hope for it to be a very exciting year!
One new addition to The Candy Perfume Boy’s roster in 2014, is the ‘Perfume Pic of the Week’. Starting today and running every Monday, I hope that this visual feature allows us to connect more and discuss all elements of perfume ranging from new and exciting launches to perfume advertising, bottles from my collection and anything else that is smelly and intriguing.
The inaugural Perfume Pic of the Week is an image of some vintage Shalimar Eau de Toilette I picked up in Tesco of all places (other supermarkets are available). My online snooping dates it as being from the late ’90s/early ’00s, but if you have a better estimate then please say. I’ve included the Shalimar here because a vintage purchase is most unusual for me, simply because I avoid the chase for vintage formulations as a general rule of thumb.