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.