Thursday, 31 December 2015

Guerlain, YSL and Penhaligon's - The Accountant Effect

As we take our first steps into a new year it's customary to look back on the previous twelve months and celebrate successes, whilst saying goodbye to failures. Well, the perfume industry is no different. The list of new releases gets longer every year and so casualties are inevitable. When decisions are made commercially, rather than artistically, love goes out of the window. With accountants entrusted to make the choices, is it true that "when love goes wrong, nothing goes right"?

There has always been a rush to copy successful perfumes or styles, but when a marketplace gets flooded with them then it is inevitable that the original will be the one to survive. The accountant’s spreadsheet will always aim to end in the black, but when commercialism starts to fight against a brand’s heritage, or the public’s expectations, then it can quickly spiral down into the red. Yves Saint Laurent, Guerlain and Penhaligon’s have all fallen foul to this trend during 2015, and whilst there’s light at the end of the tunnel the journey is far from over.

Monday, 28 December 2015

STEPHAN'S SIX - ODETTE TOILETTE


What is there left to say about Odette Toilette that hasn't been said already? Well, her real name is Lizzie Ostrom and she has the craziest approach to "perfume appreciation" that you could ever hope to experience. Her sold-out "scratch and sniff" events are now legendary, and she is also the author of A Century Of Scents, a stroll through one hundred years of perfume. With herself as the subject for a change, what would she make of "Stephan's Six"?

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Scented Christmas Memories

When I was a child the scent of Christmas was something that I didn't give a second thought to, I was more concerned with whether I was going to get He-Man's Castle Grayskull. Look, cartoons and action figures were big business in the eighties. As I grew up however I realised that those scents had become part of me, and within them the memories of my childhood were stored. Christmas was a big thing in my house, I even spoke to my brother for one day a year, although it was probably a grunt. My parents gave us everything that we could have wanted, but what are the scents that have stuck in my head twenty years later?

Monday, 21 December 2015

STEPHAN'S SIX - CAROL DRINKWATER


Forever associated with the character of Helen Alderson, James Herriot's wife in the BBC series All Creatures Great And Small, Carol Drinkwater set pulses racing as the sexy wife of the Yorkshire vet. She left the programme after three series and two Christmas specials, because of other work commitments, and was replaced by Lynda Bellingham. Carol's television and film career is extensive, but a love of writing revealed itself when she bought an old olive farm in France's Le Cannet. Now a successful author of the Olive Farm Series of books, amongst others, what would she make of "Stephan's Six"?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

L'AIMANT - 88 And Not Out!

When Gabrielle Chanel launched the now famous No5 in 1921 she could never have truly imagined the effect that it would have on the perfume industry, although her fierce determination and unstoppable drive would certainly have wanted the actual fragrance to be an international success. What Ernest Beaux's perfume did was to create a completely new category of scents, the Aldehydic Floral. Aldehydes were nothing new, Guerlain had already used them in the 1889 Iris Blanc, but what was truly groundbreaking was his using them in such large quantities. Now, copying successful perfumes was commonplace, even then, but let's take a look at the one that almost destroyed No5 ... L'Aimant by Coty.

Monday, 14 December 2015

STEPHAN'S SIX - MONSIEUR GUERLAIN


When Monsieur Guerlain started his website back in 2006 it was because there was so little information available about the company. Apart from a few books there was no dedicated site. A lifelong fan, he started to pull together every piece of information that he could find, and his impartiality meant that he has become the unofficial authority on Guerlain. Always writing under his nom de plume, what would we learn about him from "Stephan's Six"?

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Bella Bellissima's PERFECT NIGHT

The eternal dream, a perfect night followed by a perfect day. The idea of a high energy, sexually charged experience with the perfect partner that leaves you breathless but wanting more. In perfume terms this is nothing new, but it has never gone to that pre-cigarette moment when your head is spinning and you can't catch your breath. Until now. Well, actually it was 2007, and the perpetrator of this olfactory pleasure was Bella Crane. When creating a sexually charged scent there is a fine line between wearability and provocativeness. So, let me show you your Perfect Night, and then tell me if it doesn't leave you wanting more.

Monday, 7 December 2015

STEPHAN'S SIX - CHRISTOPHER BIGGINS


Christopher Biggins has had an eclectic career, from Porridge to Poldark, Rentaghost to Surprise Surprise and even I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. He is now best known for playing Panto Dame every Christmas, the only one he missed was when he was in the jungle, but people forget that he trained as a classical actor and his credits are impressive. However, his infectious laugh and larger than life personality make him the ideal "celebrity" and I was interested to see what he would reveal during "Stephan's Six".

Thursday, 3 December 2015

My FIVE Candles For Christmas 2015

It's taken twelve long months but we're finally here again ... Christmas!! It's the season of extravagance, gluttony and fights over the Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts, or Toblerone if you're anywhere near Odette Toilette! Hand in hand with this though is the pressure of finding the perfect present. A staple Christmas gift has now become the "scented candle", I think it's taken the place of the humble "bath cube", but the quality of these varies dramatically. So, with everyone wanting that perfect scent I went on the hunt for my top five.

Monday, 30 November 2015

STEPHAN'S SIX - ROJA DOVE


The boy who famously pestered Robert Guerlain into giving him a job, Roja Dove has never lost his passion for fragrance. After twenty years he left Guerlain to open his Haute Perfumery in Harrods, selling only the fragrances that he loved, before finally starting to create his own. What would he make of "Stephan's Six"?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Fragonard's NEW Musée du Parfum

There are some beautiful buildings around the world which have been lost to development, and once they're gone they cannot be put back. However, there is one perfume company that seems to be actively scooping these up, restoring, renovating and then breathing new life into them. I am of course talking about Fragonard. Originally launched in Grasse in 1926, it became the first true "tourist perfumer" and catered to the growing demand for "leisurely pursuits" around the Côte d'Azur. Outgrowing the surrounding area, Fragonard set its sights on Paris, restoring an 1860 townhouse by Lesoufaché and the old Théâtre des Capucines. Both now house sections of the vast Fragonard Collection, have retail space to sell the products, but neither gave a full explanation of the process of perfume making. So, what was next in their sights?

Monday, 23 November 2015

STEPHAN'S SIX - LORNA LUFT


"A legend is a tough act to follow", says Lorna Luft, but she is no longer living in the shadow of her famous mother. Daughter to Judy Garland and half-sister to Liza Minnelli, Lorna has proved many times over that she is a talent in her own right. I caught up with her in Palm Springs to ask her "Stephan's Six".

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Guerlain's Vintage Recreations

The Champs-Elysées boutique reopened in 2013, after major renovations, with the upstairs transformed into a beautiful hall of mirrors. Display areas showcasing historic perfume bottles from Guerlain's history gave Thierry Wasser and Frédéric Sacone and idea, what if you could smell the perfume that was on display? So, back to the original formula books they went and recreated twenty-seven vintage perfumes. These were originally the "secret" of the boutique, and only available to smell if you knew they existed! As the news leaked out, and demand increased, Guerlain introduced a structured workshop in January 2015.

July 2015 saw the arrival of another twenty-three recreations, which took the final total to fifty. However, as much as the first set were fascinating and showcased the artistry of Guerlain, it was the second set which contained the surprise. Within the follow up we got the chance to discover fragrances by Pierre, Gabriel and Jean-Jacques, the “secret” perfumers from the famous family. Their creations had always been attributed to the main perfumer of the time, so they never got the credit. Let's take a look at these four perfumes and see how they fit into the accepted Guerlain style.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Guerlain's Ne m'Oubliez Pas

The Guerlain "Exclusive" lines have always existed to push the "creative audacity" of the company, in the way that its founders did. Mainstream fragrances are currently almost devoid of individuality, because that is what the majority of the public want, and an easy to wear perfume is an art in itself. Whilst Guerlain is adept at creating these, it is not what they are most famous for. In the past the company always pushed the boundaries by exploring new techniques and materials, and these limited releases are where they get the chance to spread their wings once more.

Most fragrance houses have an "exclusive" line, but what it usually means is that it is exclusive to a few stores in each country. So when the news broke in September 2015 that Guerlain would be producing a new "exclusive" just for its Paris boutique on the Champs-Élysées it was met with mixed reactions. Would it eventually be rolled out to other countries? Would it be a reworking of an old perfume? To answer these questions I went to Paris in search of Ne m'Oubliez Pas.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

A Prayer For Paris

This time last week I was enjoying my final evening in Paris. A four day trip that saw visits to Serge Lutens, Fragonard, Guerlain and drinks with Thierry Wasser. I could never have imagined that less than a week later an awful scene would play out on the streets of a city that I love so much.

My thoughts are with the one hundred and twenty nine innocent people who lost their lives, and also for their families as they try to come to terms with what has happened. France is the centre of the perfume industry, my industry, and I have many colleagues in many companies that are based in Paris. I pray that they are all safe.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

SERGE LUTENS OLFACTORY WORKSHOP

Workshops are nothing new when it comes to fragrance, and having been "lucky" enough to attend a lot in my time the thought of another usually fills me with absolute terror. However, when I saw that Serge Lutens was going to be starting one at their Palais Royal boutique in Paris it was a must. Luckily I was already going to be in the city for three days so managed to book a place with their expert, Léa Murati. I admit, it was with some trepidation that I handed myself over. Would this be just another selling exercise, or would I actually come away having discovered something new about Serge Lutens?

Monday, 9 November 2015

JE REVIENS - Recreated by Pierre Bourdon

Undoubtedly one of the greatest perfumes ever created, but also with one of the most troubled histories. Reformulations pushed it from a premier scent to a drugstore staple, but true to its name it refuses to be forgotten. In this period of Remembrance let's take a look at one of the soldiers' true nap-sack fragrances, and try to understand why it came to be found on many sweetheart's dressing tables during World War 2.

After the phenomenal success of Dans La Nuit in 1924, Les Parfums Worth followed it with Vers Le Jour in 1925, Sans Adièu in 1929, Je Reviens in 1932 and Vers Toi in 1934. Together they became known as the "Love Poem", and were released as such in 1995 and again in 2000. Unfortunately, by this time most were distant memories, and some of them completely unrepresentative of the time that they were created in, but one fragrance kept its nerve.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Galimard Slashes Its Catalogue

It happens every day, but it doesn't make it any easier. Perfume companies cannot keep everything in permanent production, and so some fragrances inevitably get discontinued. Sometimes this is due to ingredient regulation, but more often it is simply because of a fall in sales. So, it is with deep regret that I have to be the bearer of bad news. Galimard have taken the mammoth decision to discontinue thirteen of their heritage range!

One of these is the fragrance that relaunched the company back in 1946, but that customers have unfortunately turned their backs on, and the others are also pre-2000. They are available while stocks last, but don't wait too long because quantities are limited and they are already out of production. Here is a rundown of my favourites from the list, along with a description of each one.

Friday, 30 October 2015

LES PARFUMS WORTH - On A Budget

The argument of cost versus quality is one that shows no sign of letting up. It goes alongside natural versus synthetic and niche versus mainstream. So, let me say right at the beginning that I don't care whether a perfume is perceived as "cheap", only that it smells good. I wear a fragrance, not a price tag, and we don't walk around with the perfume bottle dangling from a chain. With this in mind I'd like to show you two "inexpensive" choices that are great stocking fillers and are guaranteed to be used to the final drop. They are from the famous House of Worth, and are probably not in your collection at the moment.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Library Of Fragrance Stripped Bare

It's been fourteen months since the Library of Fragrance launched in the UK, and in that time it's had to fight hard to secure a portion of an ever expanding perfume market. Already very well known in America, after one year of trading have they succeeded in converting the British audience? Their uniqueness has actually turned out to be one of their biggest challenges but, with people now becoming more perfume-savvy, this is about to change. So, it's time to take another look at the company that creates the fragrances of everyday life, and even gives you the opportunity to blend your own "erotic" scent.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Lizzie Ostrom's Century Of Scents

When Odette Toilette (Lizzie Ostrom's nom de plume) first told me that she was writing a book about perfume I remember thinking, how will you get the character of this madwoman into print? Lizzie is anything but predictable, and she has made her reputation by taking perfume and turning it on its head. Anyone who has witnessed her in action knows that her quirky style and approachable manner is what keeps you coming back for more. So, would this translate into a book? There have many dry, dusty and pretentious books about perfume over the years which use language that Countdown's Dictionary Corner would struggle to understand, but this is not one of them.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

PURPLE FANTASY - Guerlain's 2001 Reality

Guerlain's love of the "limited edition" is nothing new, and actually some might say that the status of "limited edition" can act as a good testing ground for new fragrances. If you remember, Terracotta Le Parfum was only supposed to be available during Summer 2014, but its popularity meant that it quickly became part of the main range. Unfortunately sometimes fragrances fail to attract a following and disappear after only one outing.

Jean-Paul Guerlain, as I've mentioned before, created some of the company's most popular fragrances. With an output that was so large, some of his loveliest perfumes got buried along the way. One of these was Purple Fantasy, a special release from 2001 which was another interpretation of his love for all things feminine. Always known for being ahead of his time, is Purple Fantasy a lost Jean-Paul classic that pushed too far on its first release? Let's see how it fares fourteen years later!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Sylvaine Delacourte's White Orchid

One thing that has always been at the very heart of every Guerlain product is the scent. Whether it's a lipstick, a compact powder or even a makeup primer, every one has a very definite fragrance. Now, finding that your makeup has a wonderful aroma is something which Guerlain have always excelled at, but their efforts in skincare scent really push the boundaries.

No one that has ever smelt them will forget the famous rose in the Super Aqua range, the freshness of the old Pure Dew Cleansing Foaming Gel, the delicate lily in the Secret de Purette collection, or the edible chocolate that accompanied the Happylogy series. However, the crowning glory must surely go to the White Orchid fragrance that is found inside Orchdée Impériale. Let's seperate the scent from the serum for once, and truly appreciate this intoxicating perfume that debuted in 2006.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

NAHÉMA - An All Consuming Passion

Jean-Paul Guerlain’s creative output for the family company was truly astounding, and while he may have fallen from grace later in life, his contribution to the perfume industry can never be forgotten. A true romantic and a self-confessed ladies man, he loved turning to flowers for inspiration, and in particular his beloved rose. In 1975 he created the incredible Parure, which is now unfortunately discontinued, and in 1983 the exquisite Jardins de Bagatelle, but what came in 1979? Well, after reportedly working on the fragrance for four years Nahéma was finally unveiled to the world. A Floral Oriental if you live in the UK, or a Fruity Floral if you live in France, even this friendly disagreement lends itself perfectly to the spirit of Nahéma.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Guerlain's Fond de Cuve


When Guerlain reopened the Champs-Élysées boutique in November 2013 there was an interesting addition to their range, and one which seems to have gone largely unnoticed. This in itself is quite apt, because the first version of this product was only available if you actually worked for Guerlain.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Other Side of Guerlain

This year has cemented the never ending demand for country exclusives or limited editions, and I have lost count of the number of emails and phone calls asking me, "What is the latest Guerlain release?" After the usual list of Mon Exclusif, Ne m'Oubliez Pas and Cour des Senteurs, I always politely enquire what fragrances by Guerlain they have used in the past. It is at this point that the miracle happens. People suddenly realise that there are fragrances from before 2013 that are still in production!

Magazines, societies and fan groups have become so preoccupied with the latest releases that they are forgetting the classics that have made the perfume industry the diverse tapestry that it is. So, let's just quickly revisit a few of the classic Guerlain fragrances that can be found in every department store whether you live in London, Manchester or Aberystwyth. Say hello to four wonderful perfumes, three by the genius Jean-Paul Guerlain, and PLEASE go and try them. If you're in London then send me an email and I'll show you them myself.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

JICKY by Guerlain

In our constant quest for "newness" and originality we sometimes forget some of the classic creations from the past. These evergreens manage to hold onto their reputation through a mixture of rediscovery and loyalty. Maybe it's time to start revisiting these icons, and where better to start than with the one that changed the face of perfumery for ever.

The fascination in the early nineteenth century was the beautiful soliflor fragrance or the ever popular lavender. Some scents were simply single flower preparations, or if they did have additional ingredients then they were only present to extend the life of the fragrance, or boost the central ingredient. That was until 1889, when Aimé Guerlain created a truly iconic perfume.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Princesse Pauline - Galimard's New Perfume

When Parfumerie Galimard launched Napoléon in February it was originally intended as a unisex fragrance. It had a wonderfully floral heart but was tempered by the more masculine base. However, it quickly became clear that it was appealing more to men than women, and so a female equivalent was needed. The fragrance had to be something that was new for the company but also one that wouldn't compete with the others already in their range. Interestingly, for a long time Galimard had stayed away from a typical rose scent, and so this seemed the perfect opportunity to create one.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Music And Perfume

Everything in life creates an impression, sparks a memory or ignites a passion. These "real life" inspirations can sometimes create the most powerful and challenging scents, which is why perfumers have always called upon "daily life" and filtered reminiscences to find that next blockbuster. Yes, abstract creation can also result in very exciting perfumes, but I have always liked to be able to hang my fragrances on a story. A description or an actual image are easier for people to share, because they can come to the same conclusion. What is harder though is when music is used as inspiration. Are you interpreting words, melody or even emotion?

I was first challenged with this question by Ugo Charron, a perfume technician that I met in Grasse. He asked me whether I thought it was possible to create a perfume based on a piece of music. "Of course", I replied, not realising then just how much time I would eventually spend working on it. His concept was a perfume recreation of a 'techno' tune, mine was Edith Piaf's "Hymne a l'amour" ... I'm significantly older! So, the question you end up asking yourself is what aspect of the music do you want to create?

Monday, 14 September 2015

Guerlain Lavande - The 1920s Mystery

With their vintage recreations now totalling fifty, Thierry Wasser and Frèdèric Sacone have allowed perfume fans to experience some of Guerlain's most famous fragrances. Obviously choices have to be made, and not all of the perfumes can be included. One of those which is missing is Lavande. It might not sound very impressive, but unraveling the truth has made me realise just how special it really is.

My interest in Lavande began because of contradictions that littered various blogs and websites. Nothing about this old girl seemed to add up. There were various release dates, various ingredients and even various creators. So I thought it was time to rediscover this forgotten gem, and maybe try a recreation of my own.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Could You Be Creative?

Nestled among the hills surrounding the French town of Grasse you find three parfumeries. Now you may be familiar with Fragonard and Molinard but what about Galimard? Founded in 1747 by Jean de Galimard, it is the third oldest perfumery in the world, after Farina Gegenuber and Floris of London, and offers the "Studio of Fragrances" where for €45 you have two hours and one hundred and twenty seven oils with which to create your very own Perfume. Possible? Let's find out.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Guerlain's Sexual Scents

When Guerlain introduced the Elixir Charnel range in 2008 there were quite a few raised eyebrows at the news that this prestigious house had entered the controversial arena of "sexual" scents. With a collection aimed quite clearly at women with very distinct and adventurous sexual styles, it blew the lid off the most famous and respected historical perfumery. Sex has always sold, that is the undisputed law of retail, but what would Aimé Guerlain have thought? I hope that he would see it as a bold move to modernise a traditional style, and maybe even chuckle at the same time. So what exactly is "Elixir Charnel"?

Friday, 28 August 2015

Guerlain's 1904 Vintage

In 1996 Olivier Cresp was chosen over Jean-Paul Guerlain to create the fragrance Champs-Élysées. Described as the essence of a chic woman, it couldn't have been more different to the 1904 version by Jacques Guerlain. It was never intended to be compared with the original Parfum des Champs-Élysées, and until Thierry Wasser recreated the "vintage" as part his curatorship of the Guerlain legacy it wasn't even possible. So, leaving the current "Radiant Floral" rose petal and almond wood edition, let's travel back to a time when the Champs-Élysées was a very different place.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Colour Of Scent


Let's talk colours. It sounds like a contradiction but it's a wonderful way of describing perfumes. One of the biggest problems with choosing a fragrance is making yourself understood when you say what you like or don't like. When we're children we learn our alphabet, our words and the way to describe something that we can see, but describing smells was always glossed over. This is starting to change now that "Marty The Mighty Nose" has started to visit schools, but what about us that never got to meet Marty?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Eau de ROOM SPRAY


It's time to admit it, we've all done it. At one point or another you've spritzed yourself with room spray instead of your favourite "perfume". Sometimes this has been accidentally, and sometimes very much on purpose, but unless it was made by Glade nobody probably noticed. So what exactly IS the difference between your room spray and the worlds finest perfumes? Well, brace yourselves because you might be surprised at the answer.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

APRÈS L'ONDÉE - From Seduction to Blue Hue

Created in 1906 by Jacques Guerlain, Après l'Ondée is an all time classic and, as I've said many times, my favourite Guerlain fragrance. It has had a troubled history, for a period it was heavily criticised, but it has managed to survive and is now the oldest "female" creation still in production by the company. Just to clarity, the fragrances older than this one are Cologne Imperiale 1853, Jicky 1889, Cologne du Coq 1894 (all unisex), Mouchoir de Monsieur 1904 (masculine) and then my jewel in the crown. Why do I love this so much, and why should you rush to the nearest department store to smell it, if you haven't already? Quite simply, it is a masterpiece of delicacy meeting mystery, freshness meeting earthiness, and expanse meeting warmth.

Friday, 7 August 2015

The Quiet Perfumery

As the centre of perfumery, Grasse has grown alongside the various perfume houses that have come and gone. Now, there are three family run companies still based in Grasse, and while you've probably heard of Molinard and Fragonard, what about Galimard? Parfumerie Galimard has had a pretty chequered history, and one which many people thought had finished when it closed its doors in the eighteen-hundreds. However, thanks to the efforts of two families, the company continues to produce some excellent fragrances. Let me tell you a little about this wonderful perfumery.

Friday, 31 July 2015

The Plight Of The Independent

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a town called "Londinium". Now, in this mystical place there were shops selling everything that a person could want. The shopkeepers knew their customers' names, their tastes, on which day the week they shopped, and never competed with each other in a mercenary way. "Competition is the way to failure. You may succeed in a sale but at the price of a friend."

In 2015 this description of London is indeed a fairytale, but it doesn't need to be. At least, not totally. Come with me as I take you on a journey to see whether there are lessons to be learnt from the Plum capital of the United Kingdom.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Wedding Fragrance

What will your wedding smell like? You've chosen the flowers and the venue, maybe even scenting the church with Jo Malone candles, but the most important decision is still to be made ... What perfumes are you both going to wear? You're going to stand opposite each other for an hour, so it would be a good start if you liked each others' scent. There has recently been a boom in "wedding fragrances", but are we missing some true classics in the quest for originality?

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Vanishing Violet

In 1964 Pete Seeger sang, "Where have all the flowers gone?" Well, for now I'm not concerned with all of them, just one. It was a staple of male and female fragrances as far back as you can remember but this treasure has now sadly fallen out of favour. I am talking about the vanishing violet. This wonderful floral adds a depth to ladies fragrances whilst emanating femininity, hints at a dangerous note in men's scents whilst softening, and in small quantities provides the finishing touch to a perfume by seemingly pulling everything together and then exploding it outwards! It is a truly magical ingredient, so where has it gone?

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Scent Of Moving

With a life crammed full of scents, what happens when you move house and disturb your carefully stored fragrance memories? On 3rd July 2015 it happened to me. My boxed up past became alive again, and each lid that I opened brought back a myriad of emotions. They always say that the act of moving house can be cathartic, and what I found was that every item stirred a memory, not all of them good, and each of these also revealed up a scent. When I last moved in 2003 I didn't work in perfume, I was still an actor, and I didn't "think" so much about fragrance. This meant that I didn't have such a connection with my belongings.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The LYNX effect

We've come a long way since the days of Atlantis and Inca, but the 1983 phenomenon of Lynx (or Axe if you live outside of the UK) shows no signs of slowing down. Originally used with the same gusto as its older relative Brut, it was the staple of every changing room in the eighties and nineties. Looked down on with derision by some people, where does it fit into the "fragrance" world of 2015?

Friday, 26 June 2015

PERPHONE - Perfume with a twist

Gadgets are to the twenty-first century what the garden shed was to the twentieth, a plaything and a distraction. Never particularly useful, they always seem to be invented to solve a problem that doesn't really exist. So, it was with great trepidation that I opened my two boxes from PERPHONE. Would this be another five minute wonder or the birth of a new way to enjoy fragrance?

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Wonderful Witch of Acton


Do you ever hear your parents' words coming out of your own mouth? It always comes as a shock when it happens, and I'm pretty sure that it starts as you approach middle-age! "Mad as a bag of snakes" ... that is how my mother would describe Sarah McCartney, founder of Acton's own 4160 TUESDAYS, and on this occasion I would have to agree. However, I say this with great fondness and admiration because she truly is a glorious one-off.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

La Maison WORTH est de retour

The House of Worth, still most famous for the fragrances Je Reviens and Dans La Nuit, has in recent years seen the lustre start to fade on this diamond in the crown of perfumery, but could it be about to shine once more? Founded by Charles Worth, an Englishman, and his business partner Otto Bobergh in 1858 on Paris' the Rue de la Paix, he was to become one of the greatest names in couture fashion, but the fragrances wouldn't arrive until 1924. By this time the company was being run by Charles' grandson, Jacques Worth, and he saw the potential for a fashion house also venturing into the perfumery market

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

ENJOLI - A Woman CAN Have Everything

A fragrance for the modern woman who wanted it all; a career, a husband, and to still look sexy as she read her children their night-time story. My personal experience of the latter is that you're usually exhausted and covered in baked beans with a side order of Petits Filous, but that's a different story! Created by Charles of the Ritz in 1978, ENJOLI promised an "eight hour perfume for the twenty-four hour woman". Boasting the female ability to "bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never, never, never let you forget you're a man", the ENJOLI woman allowed her husband to think he was in charge, although really she was. Men, has that changed in thirty seven years? Not really, although how has the perfume stood up to passing tastes?

Friday, 5 June 2015

Discarding The Vintage

You've finally found the vintage perfume that you've been hunting for, and after carefully opening the package, or if you're anything like me then you just tear at it like a man possessed, you place the priceless elixir down in front of you. The question is, do you wait until your surroundings are completely fragrance free to savour the first hit? Heck no, you spray or splash the perfume hoping to be enveloped in a personal memory or a forgotten era. Unfortunately what you often get is a smokey, resinous, syrupy smell which is nothing like you remember or expected. Don't panic though, all is not lost.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Layer Me

The question I get asked most often is, "How do I make my fragrance last longer?" There have always been a myriad of complimentary products to go with various scents, but the quality of these has been pretty variable. Also, with the trend for using more than one fragrance at the same time to create a truly unique personal scent, we've actually been missing the most vital piece of the puzzle. You wouldn't paint a wall before preparing the surface, but we are happy to just spray perfume and hope.

So, I went on the hunt for the perfect base for my spritzing, and I found it in the most unlikely of places. I went through lotions and creams, both fragranced and unfragranced, dry oils and even moisture mists, but nothing was doing what I wanted... "Support any fragrance which goes on top, prolong its life and bridge the gap between layered scents", and obviously moisturise as well.

Monday, 1 June 2015

SOPHIA - Wear It With Passion

In 1981 Sophia Loren declined an offer to play the iconic role of Alexis Colby in "Dynasty", and so the part famously went to Joan Collins. However, the same year did see the release of the perfume SOPHIA by Coty. Described as “the fragrance of living and loving”, Sophia Loren told women to “wear it with a passion”. With an Italian sexuality that she was famous for, that message was clear. Thirty-five years later she would return to the world of fragrance in Dolce & Gabbana's Rosa Excelsa campaign, but for now, after a cold shower, I gently caressed the bottle to see whether the original passion could be rekindled!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

CHIQUE Chypre

The chypre fragrance was to the seventies what the Floral Oriental would be to the eighties, and there were lots to choose from. With a complete contrast to the emerging "youth" scents, that were full of bouncy freshness, and even the gloriously "simple" Penhaligon's florals, which were actually far from simple, the chypre provided a scent full of maturity and elegance. The most famous chypre of the Seventies was surely Charlie by Revlon, although it was marketed as an Aldehydic Floral, but Yardley wanted a piece of the action. Their release was the powerful CHIQUE, and this oakmoss overdose is still in production.