Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter - January to March 2014

Could this be the start of a regular feature? Below, you'll find all the mini-reviews I've posted on Twitter since January of this year. I've decided to re-publish them here on Persolaise.com partly for the benefit of readers who don't follow my tweets and partly to satisfy the completist geek in me. In case any of you are wondering, you can find me on Twitter @Persolaise.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Perfume Course - Design With Scents 2014 At Kingston University

image: S Sense

If you're on the lookout for a perfume-related course and you're going to be in the London area in mid-July, then you'd do well to consider enrolling on the 5-day Design With Scents workshop at Kingston University. By pure coincidence, in the last few weeks, I've spoken to a few people who've completed the course and they've all spoken of it very highly. You can find out more by clicking on this link, but here's some basic info:
- The purpose of the course is to focus on "the design of places through the sense of smell"; a primary objective is "working on a scent design solution, exploring how to use scents to enhance projects in the fields of design, marketing and communication."
- The course will run from the 14th to the 18th of July; the tutors will be Nicola Pozzani, Joanna Norman and John Ayres.
- The course is open to anyone interested in developing their appreciation of scent creation.
For booking information, please click on the link in the first paragraph.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Persolaise Review: Fahrenheit Le Parfum from Christian Dior (François Demachy; 2014)

They say men mellow with age. Whether the statement is true is up for debate - last time I checked, grumpy old codgers weren't exactly thin on the ground - but it certainly seems to have been on François Demachy's mind when he was composing the new 'parfum' version of Dior's classic Fahrenheit. Jean-Louis Sieuzac's 1988 original was a study in brazen intensity: an unmistakable combination of hyper-green, attention-grabbing violet leaf with resolute woods and a leather that appeared to have been doused in gallons of petrol. It divided the public almost as deeply as Poison: many flocked to wear it (including yours truly) but others turned away in revulsion. To this day, Madame Persolaise insists it makes her think of fly spray and several card-carrying scentusiasts claim they'd be happy if they never encountered it again. The current EDT is unquestionably different from the original - is there any pre-90s scent that has travelled to the 21st century unscathed? - but I'd assert that its signature is still pretty recognisable, even if its middle section lacks some of that striking, chest-pumping Fahrenheit vitality.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I'm Not Business-Driven - An Interview With Céline Verleure Of Olfactive Studio

Olfactive Studio could have been created only in the era of the Internet. In 2011, inspired by cyberspace's populist bias, founder Céline Verleure set up a Facebook page entitled The Blog Of The Perfume Which Doesn't (Yet) Exist, which she then used as a platform for testing brand ideas. To cut a long story short, the result was a perfume house which has already attracted a loyal following as well as a French FiFi award. But is the truth really as fairy-tale-perfect as that? When I meet Verleure in London at the launch of Olfactive Studio's home scent range, I ask her if she really hadn't worked out the whole company in her head before she set up the Facebook page.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What We Really Wore This Winter - 2014

Last September, I published a brief post about the scents with which my skin developed an extremely close relationship during the summer, as opposed to those with which it struck up little more than a professional acquaintance. Several of you kind folks sent me emails to say you appreciated this 'real world' insight into fragrance wearing habits, so I thought I'd put together a similar round-up for this miserable winter to which we've just said, "Good riddance."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Staying Alive - A Trip To The Osmothèque

For a moment, I wonder if the thing is going to leap out and attack me. Curled into the base of a steel box, it's a tangle of what looks like fur, claws and hide. It could be a piece of a garish Halloween costume. Or the remnants of some very strange Biology experiment gone wrong. I stare at it for a moment. And then, reassured that it's quite dead, I bring it closer to my nose and breathe in. The smell that fills me is complexity itself. Both clean and dirty, old and new, intimate and vast, it isn't unlike the experience of sniffing the paws of a puppy or the back of a freshly-washed neck.
To read the rest of my article about my Osmothèque visit, please click on this link to Basenotes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Persolaise Review: Ingrid from Tableau De Parfums (Andy Tauer; 2013)

You probably won't believe this, but I assure you it's true. When I first sniffed Ingrid, before I knew anything about the movie character on which it's based, it seemed to me like a perfume undergoing a personality crisis. Then I discovered that the eponymous protagonist of Brian Pera's third entry in the Woman's Picture series is a transsexual. Now, before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I am not proposing for one moment that the painful, confusing experience of an individual's struggle with the very core of their identity can be reduced to the scented contents of a pretty bottle. But the parallel between the perfume and the film stayed with me, and I'd suggest it's a useful key to understanding the way this new fragrance from Andy Tauer achieves its effects.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Luxury Is About Privacy - An Audience With Frederic Malle (part 2)

For part 1 of this record of Frederic Malle's Q&A session with an audience at Liberty, please click here.

Could you tell us a bit about your collaboration with Dries Van Noten.

Frederic Malle: As a person, I've always liked collaborating with others. Working with Dries was like a natural evolution, in the same way that working with Pierre Hardy was a natural evolution. In 2000, just a few months after we had opened, Dries came to see me at my shop on a Saturday afternoon, to see what we were doing, and we became friends. A year after that, he sold my fragrances at his very beautiful shop in Antwerp. I believe he was the first person to sell my fragrances outside my store. Whenever he opened a Dries Van Noten store, our whole fragrance collection was a part of that world. He didn't want to have a fragrance of his own, because he didn't want to sell his soul to the devil, I suppose. He's very precise about what he wants and about controlling his image. So it was like a natural invitation to do something for him. And it was also a way to get inspiration from someone who doesn't know anything about our business. Every now and then, we're going to make a series of portraits of people that we think are inspiring and interesting. But I don't know when. It's a matter of opportunity.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Taking The Highway - An Audience With Frederic Malle (part 1)

At the end of my interview with him at Liberty, Frederic Malle - the niche world's foremost 'scent editor' - faced an audience of admirers who wanted to ask him all about his work, his relationship with his perfumers and - surprise surprise - his views on oud. Given the tremendous response to my interview (please click here for part 1 and here for part 2) and that Malle is just about to release his next fragrance, I've decided to transcribe the highlights of his interaction with the audience. Enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Persolaise Review: Magnolia Grandiflora Michel (Michel Roudnitska; 2013) & Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine (Sandrine Videault; 2013) from Grandiflora

It's hard not to make a connection between Michel Roudnitska's Magnolia Grandiflora and his late father Edmond's unsurpassed Diorissimo. Before it became a victim of repeated reformulations, the latter was one of the finest olfactory creations of all time, a divinely orchestrated lily of the valley, exuding passion and artistry from every single drop. The very same attention to detail and unashamed enjoyment of the natural world are to be found in Monsieur Roudnitska Jr's presentation of the magnolia (created for the Australia-based florist, Grandiflora). Indeed, the precision with which the flower's attributes have been bottled almost makes the creation come across as a riposte to the juice which Dior currently sell under the Diorissimo name, a juice which, for the record, is more than acceptable as an allergen-conscious-era lily of the valley, but which is depressingly unsatisfying when compared to older incarnations.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bertrand Duchaufour On Keeping Things Fresh

At the London launch of four new candles from Aedes De Venustas, two of which have been created by Bertrand Duchaufour, I took the opportunity to ask the perfumer about working too hard. I suggested that as 'originality' is an important criterion for him (the others he cites are 'long-lastingness', 'diffusiveness' and 'wearability') then it must be difficult to make as any perfumes as he does. What methods does he use to ensure that he doesn't repeat himself?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Persolaise Review: Azure (Mathilde Bijaoui; 2014) and Bentley For Men Absolute (Michel Almairac; 2014) from Bentley

Azure is ghastly. Think of all the most mind-numbing masculine scents from the mainstream, and you'll know exactly what this waste of resources smells like. Generically 'citrusy' top. Aromatic mid-section. Woody, ambery base. In other words: a horde of teenage boys taking part in an Olympic-scale bout of 'Spray that can of Lynx until the entire northern hemisphere is obscured by a noxious haze.' I haven't watched The Hunger Games movies, but I gather they specialise in depictions of gruesome contests. Perhaps the people who make them ought to consider an 'Azure Death' segment for their next instalment. I daresay it would be more visceral and frightening than anything they've portrayed so far. Not even the alleged presence of Orcanox (Mane's equivalent of ambroxan) is enough to rescue this depressing creation. On its own, the ingredient presents an intriguing, more-ish blend of both musky and ambergris-like notes. But I can't detect any of its elegance in Azure. All I can detect is cynical, inhumane dullness.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Persolaise Review: Opus VIII from Amouage (Pierre Negrin & Richard Herpin; 2014)

Years ago, I used to argue with a food-loving, atheist friend of mine that there simply must be a God. He'd ask me for evidence. And my response would be to draw his attention to... garlic. There was no way such a miracle of nature could have come into existence, I'd say, without some form of divine providence. He would chuckle and concede that I had a point. I suspect that if perfumers had to name one awe-inducing 'wonder plant', it might be jasmine. There seems to be no end to the number of facets and nuances which the innocuous little flower offers to the pursuits of scent makers. Think of any odour descriptor and chances are it could be applied to the white blossoms to some degree. Sweet, dry, citrusy, animalic, woody, green, mossy, peppery... they all fit. Almost every perfume house showcases jasmine in its collection - Frederic Malle is a notable exception - and now, by way of Pierre Negrin's and Richard Herpin's Opus VIII, Amouage has decided to offer its own take on one of the art form's most venerable materials.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Candy Perfume Boy And ODOU Magazine Win Jasmine Awards

The results of the Jasmine Awards are in and I am absolutely thrilled to announce that the winner of the Digital prize is Thomas Dunckley - aka the one and only Candy Perfume Boy - for his Guide To Violet. I was fortunate enough to be able to congratulate him in person at the ceremony, but I'd like to express those sentiments publicly too: I'm overjoyed for Thomas and I hope that this achievement encourages him to keep up the wonderful work on his blog.

I am equally excited to be able to say that the winner of the Literary Award (Magazine) is Neil Chapman for Perfume Haters, a piece which appeared in issue #1 of ODOU Magazine. Talk about a success story! Not only did Liam Moore's magazine pick up three Jasmine nominations for its debut instalment, but it also beat the likes of GQ, Psychologies and Elle to one of the most coveted prizes in perfume journalism. A thoroughly commendable accomplishment.

Warm congrats to all the winners!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Off To The Jasmine Awards 2014!

On the fourth anniversary of my blog, I once again find myself in the privileged position of being able to say: I'm off to BAFTA HQ tomorrow for the Jasmines! I expect all the proceedings will be covered in real time on Twitter, so if you'd like to be amongst the first to find out who the winners are, please make sure you're following @FragranceFDN_UK as well as the hashtag #JasmineAwards. I'll try to post some updates too, which you'll find @Persolaise.

Warm congratulations to all the shortlisted writers. May the best articles win!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Twenty Blotters For... Céline Verleure

Pick a blotter... read the question... give a short, snappy answer!

Céline Verleure's perfumery experience is far too vast to be reduced to a brief, introductory paragraph. But here's a super-succinct summary. She was hired by Kenzo Perfumes in her 20s. She was part of the team which gave us Kenzo Jungle, Kenzo Jungle Pour Homme and L'Eau Par Kenzo. She launched Osmoz.com. And most recently, she set up the facetiously-named 'Blog For The Perfume Which Does Not (Yet) Exist!', a venture which resulted in the creation of her very own fragrance brand, Olfactive Studio, whose works are inspired by photographs. When she popped into London a few weeks ago to launch her new home scents, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to fling my twenty blotters in her direction...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Persolaise Review: Rosabotanica from Balenciaga (Olivier Polge & Jean-Christophe Herault; 2014)

I seem to have forgotten how impressed I was with Florabotanica. For some reason, my brain decided to file it under 'pleasant yet unremarkable floral', ie the type which evokes a smile and is then doomed to be forgotten. But looking back at my review from 2012, I see that I called it "intriguing", that I applauded its avoidance of cliches and that I even praised its ability to appeal "to a younger demographic without being condescending." Maybe I was just in a good mood when I wrote those words... or maybe Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Herault were on to something when they bottled their slightly off-centre rose for Balenciaga. The scent's first flanker - Rosabotanica - certainly suggests that their success was the result of some pretty intelligent design rather than just a happy fluke.

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Letter To The EU's Public Consultation On Proposed Amendments To The Cosmetics Regulation

I'm sure most of you are aware that the ever-contentious issue of allergens in perfumery has raised its head again. As has been reported on various sites, the EU is considering making a few amendments to its existing Cosmetics Regulation. If these amendments are implemented, then a) perfume brands would be obliged to declare the presence of more (potentially harmful) materials in their perfumes than they are currently obliged to and b) three substances (HICC [aka Lyral], atranol, chloroatranol) would be banned entirely. The European Commission has set up a public consultation and has invited people to express their views on these proposed amendments.

We are, of course, free to have our own thoughts on whether these amendments would be beneficial. However, I must admit I'm rather puzzled by the muted reaction from several industry observers. Quite a few commentators seem to have taken the stance that the amendments aren't a cause for concern. I'm very happy to be challenged on this, but personally, I can't see how they aren't a cause for concern. Perfumery (and specifically, EU-based perfumery) has already suffered under non-legally-binding 'recommendations'. If some of these are now going to start being turned into laws, the final results may be catastrophic.

A few scentusiasts on Facebook and Twitter have stated that they would appreciate being provided with a model letter which they could send to the Commission, in order to express their opposition to the proposed amendments. I've put together what may be a suitable missive and I've published it below. Please feel free to use it in any way you wish: send it as it stands, in its entirety, or take a few phrases from here and there and weave them into your own words. It's entirely up to you.


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