As you may be aware, I do like a good ‘guide to‘, and one of the luxuries bestowed to me by the wonderful people at Escentual, is that I get to not only write my guide to notes series here on the TCPB, but I also get to create a number of guides for a range of perfume genres too. So far we’ve taken a look at the humble Chypre, a genre of perfume that is aloof and mysterious and this week’s post takes a look at another famed style of perfumery.
This week the focus is on the mysterious and exotic world of the Oriental. Much like last time, I have picked three fragrances to represent the evolution of the genre – from the classic to the modern and the contemporary. So, if you are looking for a bite-size guide to the Oriental then all you need to do is simply click on the image above to head on over to Escentual!
Guerlain has released a beautiful movie for its flagship fragrance Shalimar. Running at a length of just under 6 minutes and featuring Russian model Natalia Vodianova, the glorious epic tells the story of a love like no other and the inspiration for Guerlain’s iconic fragrance – the legend of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
With its breathtaking visuals and sweeping soundtrack La Légende de Shalimar (directed by Bruno Aveillan) truly is a feast for the senses that is perfectly befitting for a fragrance that speaks of a romance that transcends time and space. What do you think?
I can’t believe it but it’s the end of 2012 already, which means that it’s time for us perfume bloggers to put together our lists of the very best and very worst perfumes of the year, honestly, where did the time go?! This year I’m affectionately entitling my awards ‘The Candies’ as a short, punchy alternative to The Candy Perfume Boy Awards. Neat huh?
Across all genres there have been many interesting, exciting and unique perfumes unleashed on to the market along with the usual amount of celebrity dreck, dud flankers and down-right-bizarre niche offerings. All-in-all it’s been a busy year with over 1,300 launches. Impressive but exhausting!
Below you will find my awards for Best Masculine, Best Feminine and Best Unisex Fragrances for both niche and mainstream houses. In addition to this I’ve also included awards for Best Flanker, Best Celebrity Fragrance and Best Ad Campaign. But we’re not just celebrating the very best of perfumery in 2012 here, no sir, we’re also highlighting the very worst with the Sour Candy Award, reserved solely for the naffest perfume of the year.
So I hope you’re wearing your very best frock (or tux for the boys, or frock if you prefer, it’s up to you really) and sipping on some fine Champagne as The Candies 2012 are underway…
The Postcards From My Collection Series (if it can be called a series) is where I get to showcase, through the medium of amateur, shoddily taken photographs, the residents of my perfume collection. I feel that I have got to a point now in my fumehead journey that I have built a solid collection that meets most (most) of my perfume needs. There is always room for expansion of course….
So, over the next few weeks we shall be delving into my collection and picking out my favourite pieces. Nigel is quite happy that I’m doing this because he is under the impression that I may do some tidying/dusting on the way. I don’t quite know how to break it to him that I may just avoid the tidying and that my interests lie purely with the perfume, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
This week’s edition looks at the most precious perfumes in my collection and includes my big bottles of treasured things and my little, tiny bottles of just-as-treasured-if-not-more things. They range from the über pricey long agonised buy to the much appreciated christmas present with a ton of sentimental value. Simply put: a varied, but wonderful bunch.
As I mentioned in my most recent Saturday Poll, Thierry Mugler is set to release four limited edition leather interpretations of their most popular scents. This leather collection follows on from last years La Goût du Parfum, in which Angel, Alien, A*Men and Womanity each had a taste enhancer added to shake things up a bit and a new gourmand twist to them. The brand also released Angel and Alien Liqueur de Parfums in 2009, two fragrances that were aged in oak casks to give a more boozy feel.
The success of these enhanced editions got me thinking about what additional ingredients can be added to fragrances to give an entirely new twist on the original accords. There is something to be said about this intelligent method of flankering, it allows for the essence of the fragrance to be preserved whilst simultaneously offering something new, exciting and even if the end result doesn’t quite work out, it is at least interesting, unusual and worth smelling.
So what should we add to a Thierry Mugler fragrance to enhance it? Are there other fragrances that we could an enhancer to? Or are fragrances best left as they are, without flankers or fragrant meddling?
Last week’s Saturday Poll was a classic flagship-fragrance showdown, in which Guerlain’s Shalimar and Chanel’s N°5 went head-to-head to see who was the supreme holder of perfume glory. Both have their loyal fans but scent-wise they could not be further away from each other if they tried; one is a warm, delicious oriental and the other is an abstract aldehydic floral. Opinion was divided!
The results of the poll, as always, were very interesting. Shalimar stormed ahead receiving a huge 56% of the vote, which blows N°5 out of the water with its mere 21%. What is interesting is that the Shalimar appears to be more accessible than the N°5, which like other Chanel’s appears to leave some feeling cold.
Food and I have a very strong and loving relationship. Perhaps too loving in fact, and I’ll be the first to admit that our relationship can be a little unhealthy at times. But at those times when I don’t feel that I should exercise a good degree of self control to keep my weight down I thoroughly enjoy going out for dinner and experimenting with new food.
Our senses of taste and smell are inextricably linked and when going out for dinner it makes sense, and it’s also good fun, to match our fragrance to the style of cuisine we will be devouring. Only the other night I was heading out for dinner with friends and was having a SOTE (Scent of the Evening) dilemma, I asked my Twitter followers for help and they came back with some interesting suggestions based on the type of food (Mexican F.Y.I.) I would be eating, which got me thinking – which fragrances would be best suited for other cuisines?
To explore the relationship between fragrance and food I cordially invite you to dinner, during which I, along with the help of my partner-in-crime and budding-foodie Nigel, will pair some of the most popular cuisines with fragrant counterparts that will leave you complimenting your food and smelling wonderful simultaneously. Get your passports out because we’re going to be touring the restaurants of the world…
If like me, you’re fed up with the constant wave of flankers (please see my review of the two new CK One flankers) then I hope you will take this post as some kind of remedy, a tonic if you will. I could spend hours and hours moaning about how I hate flankers and name and shame some of the worst, that would be very easy, and not entirely true. What I would like to do instead is just make a few personal recommendations of what I think are some of the best.
What is a Flanker?
Most of you reading this blog will be familiar with flankers but for those who aren’t; a flanker is essentially a fragrance released using the same (or similar) name as another fragrance by the same house, think of it as a sort of sequel, so for example; Live Jazz is a flanker to the original Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent. The actual juice can be very similar, slightly similar or completely unrelated to the original fragrance.
Flankers are a cheap way of marketing a new fragrance without having to spend a huge amount of money on new concepts, bottle moulds and advertising. They are also a great way of marketing a ‘new’ product to consumers who are already fans of the original fragrance.
Not all flankers are bad, some brands use the opportunity to create a new interpretation of an established fragrance and these tend to be the flankers that work best, they bring something new and interesting to the table.
Us perfumistas/fumeheads/fragonerds/whatever it is we call ourselves are keen followers of the mantra ‘It’s all about the juice’, meaning that we don’t care about the marketing, the bottle or any of the other stuff that comes with a fragrance. We just care about the smell!
It seems that we may differ from the mainstream consumer.
In the mainstream perfume industry the bottle is seen as the key marketing tool for a fragrance. Those of you who watched the recent BBC4 documentary ‘Perfume’ would have seen that in the case of the latest Tommy Hilfiger fragrances (Loud for Him and Her) the bottle and the marketing were the prime focus of the development team and the juice very much seemed like an afterthought.
So how important is the bottle to a perfumista?
I asked my Twitter followers whether they were swayed by the bottle design when purchasing a fragrance. The general consensus seemed to be that no, the bottle doesn’t matter, however an attractive bottle does help. Some even mentioned that if the fragrance was good and the bottle was bad they would decant the juice into something more aesthetically pleasing. We kept coming back to the same conclusion – it’s all about the juice…
I feel that I may buck the perfumista trend slightly, if I love a perfume I will buy it, regardless of whether it has a nice bottle or not. That said, I do like a nice bottle and have on occasions found myself wanting a fragrance because it’s housed in a nice bottle (Hello Lola by Marc Jacob!) I can’t help that I’m drawn to shiny, pretty objects can I?!
There are some brands out there with some really fabulous bottles and in this post I would like to highlight just a few of my favourites.
It seems fitting that my initial post on this blog should be a review of the latest edition of Shalimar by Guerlain; Shalimar Parfum Initial.
My first thought when seeing the news about Shalimar Parfum Initial was ‘Nooooooooooo, it’s PINK, you can’t pinkify Shalimar!!’ Well, as it turns out you can, and the end result isn’t half bad at all.
Shalimar Parfum Initial was created by Guerlain’s In-House Perfumer Thierry Wasser and was made for his niece after she requested he make a version of Shalimar for her. The idea behind Parfum Initial is very similar to that of Chanel’s Eau Premiere for No 5 – a modern, lighter version of the perfume for younger customers who are not quite ready for the original. Guerlain describe the scent as an ‘Initiation into Shalimar’  but it also serves as an initiation to the brand, for those who are unfamiliar with or intimidated by the classic Guerlains.