Friday, July 31, 2015

Persolaise Review: Chance Eau Vive from Chanel (Olivier Polge; 2015)


Olivier Polge's profile at Chanel continues to rise. A few months ago, the guardians of the double-C logo released his first sole-authored creation, Misia, but that was part of the Exclusifs range, which meant it wasn't granted a wide release. Now, his work has been allowed to enter the main collection, albeit in the form of a flanker: the third follow up to Chance, one of the house's bestsellers in North America. Perhaps the next creation we receive from him will be a fully-fledged, all-new feminine scent (isn't it high time the brand gave us one?) but until then, we have to make do with the flanker, sub-titled Eau Vive.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Persolaise Review: Jean Patou Collection Héritage


You may remember that last year, I was bowled over by Thomas Fontaine's reworking of the 1927 Jean Patou scent Chaldée, originally composed by Henri Alméras. The release of the reformulation marked the debut of the 'Collection Héritage', an attempt by the Patou brand to revisit and, if possible, recreate various highlights from their perfume archive. The Collection now comprises no fewer than nine fragrances. As they're all worthy of attention and as I'm in something of a completist mood, I've decided I ought to address the fact that many of them have been rather conspicuous by their absence here on this blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Persolaise In The Observer


If you're a reader of the UK's Observer newspaper, you may have noticed that yours truly was quoted in a perfume-related article published on 12th July 2015. The piece, by Rebecca Ratcliffe, connects the growing popularity of 'independent' perfume brands with the falling sales of celebrity scents. It's an angle which came as a complete surprise when I perused my copy of the paper: the likes of Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Beyonce et al weren't mentioned a single time when Ms Ratcliffe interviewed me. Personally, I'm not sure there is a strong correlation to be made between the performance of celebrity fragrances and those that don't fall under the 'mass distribution' banner. However, I suppose The Observer is entitled to present the current state of perfume retail in any manner it sees fit... and anyway, I'm all for mainstream publications raising the profile of 'niche' scent-making. If you'd like to read the article, please click here.

Persolaise

Monday, July 20, 2015

Persolaise Review: Aquilaria from Nancy Meiland (Nancy Meiland; 2014)


An oud by any other name... would smell more oud-y?? When I saw that one of the scents released by the new, UK brand Nancy Meiland - founded by the eponymous, self-taught perfumer - is called Aquilaria, I let out a groan of dismay. It's depressing enough that we've got a torrent of 'oud' perfumes, I thought. If we're now going to be treated - and I use the word sardonically - to a swathe of creations featuring oh-so-terribly-clever twists on the word 'oud', then perhaps we ought to save ourselves years of agony and jump off the top floor of Harrods right now.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Persolaise Review: Panorama from Olfactive Studio (Clément Gavarry; 2015)


Edmond Roudnitska's words about the way in which a great perfume ought to begin have been widely documented. Years ago, he wrote that a scent should elicit a 'shock' from the wearer as soon as it starts, to jolt him or her out of comfortable familiarity. This shudder of surprise is, according to him, a prerequisite of originality and creative achievement. Although his statement has been quoted extensively, the effect of the experience to which it refers hasn't been dampened. And thank goodness! Because when we come across those rare fragrances which genuinely cause us to gasp with astonishment, the sensation is extraordinary, precious and almost impossible to describe with words.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Favourite Incense Perfumes In The Scented Letter + Brief Word On Olivier Polge Interview


I am genuinely excited to announce that the latest edition of The Scented Letter - the Perfume Society's Jasmine-award winning magazine - features a piece I wrote about my all-time favourite incense perfumes. As the publication is available only to fully paid-up subscribers of the Society, it would be unfair for me to list the perfumes I've included in my piece here on this blog. However, those of you who aren't already members may enjoy having your appetites whetted by these teasers...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Super Scent - The Very Best Of Estée Lauder


As promised on Friday, here comes the first instalment of Super Scent, a series in which the Candy Perfume Boy and I will compile lists - independently of each other - of what we consider to be the best perfumes from a certain brand. The focus of this debut edition is that behemoth of American scent creation: Estée Lauder.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Super Scent Comes To Persolaise & Candy Perfume Boy


If you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that I'm fond of lists. You may also know that this passion for ordering things and presenting them in a numbered sequence isn't peculiar to Persolaise.com: it's a phenomemon that is rife throughout the entire blogosphere. So, in order to indulge this craving for compilation - and, hopefully, give all of you dear readers something interesting to read as you sip your skinny lattes - the one and only Candy Perfume Boy and I have decided to start a very special, semi-regular series on our websites. We're calling it Super Scent.

In each instalment, we're going to present a run-down of what we, individually, consider to be the very best perfumes from a specific, pre-selected brand. Our lists will be based on the latest formulations of the brand's current fragrance line-up. The twist is that we're not going to tell each other which perfumes we're going to put on our list. The revelation will be as much of a surprise to us as it will to you... and it'll hopefully lead to a lively discussion.

Our first Super Scent posts will appear on our respective blogs on Monday 13th July at 12:30 pm UK time. You'll have to wait until then to find out which brand we've decided to target first... but I will say that it is a MASSIVE global player, which means that nearly all of you will have strong opinions about what should and shouldn't have made it onto our lists.

Be sure to come back on Monday!

Persolaise

PS If you've visited my blog today hoping to find my usual Friday review, then I ought to tell you that it was published on Wednesday; please scroll down to find it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Persolaise Review: L'Eau Corail from Nicolaï (Patricia De Nicolaï; 2015)


Trust Patricia De Nicolaï to prove that 'fruity' doesn't always have to mean 'loopy'. Had it been put together by a high street brand, her new Eau Corail would almost certainly have ended up as an embarrassing cocktail of cloying, synthetic-smelling stupidity. But in her skilful hands, it becomes one of those rare things: an uplifting, hyper-realist scent that doesn't rely on citrus cliches to create an impression of freshness. As though setting herself a challenge, Nicolaï has chosen to focus on what is one of the most poorly-rendered fruits in olfactory creation: mango. By surrounding it with melon notes, peach facets and suggestions of mandarin and grapefruit, she has presented it in all its fleshy, green, sweet-and-sour totality, together with an extra dimension of oozing syrup. It may not be as effervescent as a classical cologne, but it makes up for any lack in zing by exuding an air of innate chic, like the multi-generational residents of an Italian seaside town out for their evening promenade. One of the most charming examples of figurative perfumery I've tried this year, Eau Corail sees Nicolaï achieving the near-impossible: convincing us that 'fruity' needn't be 'loopy' and can, in fact, be on a par with 'classy'. Bravo!

[Review based on a sample of 'eau fraiche' provided by Nicolaï in 2015.]

Persolaise

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Opposite Of Everyone Else - An Interview With Robert Gerstner Of Aedes De Venustas


Maybe it’s the rosé, but when I meet Robert Gerstner at a noisy bar at London’s St Pancras Station, he starts chatting away as though we’ve known each other for ages. The words tumble out of his mouth. His hands flit through the air, punctuating all that he says. His facial expressions span an impressive range, from ‘arched-eyebrows appalled’ to ‘pursed-lips conspiratorial’. And when he wants to lavish anything with particularly high praise - like the rosé, for instance - he looks towards the ceiling and declares that it is “faaaaabulous.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

The All New London Perfume Shopping Guide


As some of you may be aware, about 4 years ago, I published a guide to my favourite perfumeries in London. Little did I know how successful that post would turn out to be. It won a Jasmine Award. It quickly became - and to this date remains - the most frequently-visited article on this site. And, most gratifyingly, it led to countless emails from and encounters with scentusiasts who said they found it invaluable during their wanderings around the capital. In order to keep up with a constantly shifting retail scene, I have updated it fairly regularly, but I've decided that the time has come for a more extensive revision. So I am now very pleased and excited to unveil the brand new London Perfume Shopping Guide, version 2.0.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - January to March 2015 [part 2]


Here's part 2 of my digest of mini-reviews from Twitter, spanning January to March 2015. For part 1, please click here.

À La Rose from Maison Francis Kurkdjian (Francis Kurkdjian; 2014)*
Give this one plenty of skin time! You think it's going to be a simple soliflore, but it keeps surprising. It's like a tour through all sorts of different rose perfumes: green, jammy, airy, honeyed, musky. Both light and substantial. A real treat.

La Petite Robe Noire - Ma Robe Pétales from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser; 2015)*
Pistachio note takes away cheerfulness of original's cherry & almond. No sparkle. No zing.

Bronze Goddess from Estée Lauder (2015)*
One of the best 'coconut/suntan lotion' scents, because it tempers sugars with wood. No longer limited edition!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fragrance Flitting - IFF Speed Smelling Comes To London

Alexis Dadier at Speed Smelling, Salon De Parfums
image: Harrods
"What raises the pitch of the event to an especially heart-rending level is the fact that none of these works will be made commercially available. They are all either too expensive or too unusual to be deemed suitable for general release. Once sniffed, they may well be gone forever."
A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of popping into Harrods' Salon De Parfums for the London debut of IFF's much-lauded Speed Smelling extravaganza, in which the brand's star perfumers - including Dominique Ropion, Anne Flipo and Aliénor Massenet, amongst many others - presented the results of their own creative endeavours (ie not the stuff they're required to make by brands). To read my account of the experience, please click on this link to Glass.

The only thing I'd add to the piece is that if Harrods still have any stock left of the Speed Smelling Collection (details in the Glass article) I would seriously urge you to consider buying it. At £100, it isn't exactly cheap, but the sum does get you 11 x 10ml of creations which will probably never again be available in a retail setting. If the price tag is too hefty, see if you can split the purchase with one or two like-minded friends: I'm confident you won't regret parting with the cash.

Persolaise

Monday, June 22, 2015

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - January to March 2015 [part 1]



It's time for another edition of my digest of Twitter mini-reviews; the following are from January to March 2015.

Ostara from Penhaligon's (Bertrand Duchaufour; 2015)
Truly delightful jonquil soliflore from Duchaufour. Orange blossom and subtle white florals mingle with woods & musks. A radiant marriage of the brand's own Orange Blossom & Amaranthine. As optimistic, life-affirming and uplifting as the sun itself. Lovely.

Pour Homme Extrême from Bottega Veneta (Daniela Andrier & Antoine Maisondieu; 2015)*
Recognisably related to the spicy, leathery original, but with emphasis on woods in base. Elegant work.

Knot from Bottega Veneta (Daniela Andrier; 2014)*
Much love lavished on this one. The top notes certainly deserve praise: orange & neroli cascading like liquid gold. But I'd say the loveliness isn't sustained. Fresh, cologne-like feel grows thinner. Still, much to commend it as an 'easy to wear' scent.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Persolaise Review: Noir Extreme from Tom Ford (2015)


I don't know where Tom Ford has been eating his kulfi, but I'm pretty sure it isn't the same place where I've been eating my kulfi. The taste of the dessert - essentially an Indian form of ice cream - is, obviously, one of its most important features. But I'd argue that its texture is perhaps an even more crucial component of its very particular identity. A delectable combination of the velvety, the creamy and the flaky - like downy, sugar-coated snow - the feel of the stuff serves as a perfect medium for the almond, the pistachio, the mango or whatever flavour takes your fancy. In other words, it's an ideal marriage of form and content.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

French Coca-Cola In New York - Cartier's Mathilde Laurent On Working With Oud


In 2014, when Cartier launched their three oud scents - Oud & Rose, Oud & Musc and Oud & Oud (yes, really) - I confess I was rather disappointed. Yet another brand, I thought, jumping on a bandwagon so crowded, it's a wonder it's able to move at all. So when I met their perfumer, Mathilde Laurent, in Paris a few months ago, I had to raise the subject with her. Whose idea was it for Cartier to join the oud brigade?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Uplifting Scents On ParfumPlus


Please click on this link to read my latest piece for the Middle East's ParfumPlus magazine. Some of you may recognise it as an edited version of my recent post on fragrances for a sunny day.

Persolaise

Friday, June 12, 2015

Persolaise Review: Marni Spice from Marni (Daniela Andrier; 2015)


Hats off to the people at Marni for the way in which they're handling their perfume portfolio. They hired an excellent creator, Daniela Andrier, to put together their first scent. They returned to her for their subsequent releases. And they've held their own in a fiendishly crowded environment without any undue fuss or gimmickry. Some may argue it's a shame that, since giving us the original fragrance, the brand has put out nothing but flankers, but there's something geekily satisfying about these variations on a theme; it's fascinating to see how the main accord has been tweaked and re-worked to produce markedly different effects. The latest effort is Marni Spice and, sure enough, it is recognisable as a cousin of the original Marni. In other words, it is a weightless, papery rose, placed upon a plentiful supply of musks. However, in this new incarnation, the flower is made dryer through the use of cedar, nutmeg and enough cinnamon to festoon every cappuccino in the land. It's a quietly elegant affair - reminiscent of Chanel's Chance - with sufficient charm to sustain interest for longer than you might expect. Ultimately, it fails to make a lasting impression, but I suspect it isn't even trying to. Like an expertly-judged piece of background music at a restaurant - effective precisely because it is unobtrusive - it arrives, it serves its purpose and then it makes a polite retreat. It may be easy to forget, but it's also very easy to like.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Marni in 2015.]

Persolaise

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