Friday, November 25, 2016

Spices, Deserts & Body Heat - Persolaise Perfume Recommendations For Winter 2016


In recent weeks, much of my time has been taken up with writing articles for other platforms, which means that I haven't had many opportunities to share my scented views with all of you here on Persolaise.com. To try to redress the balance, I've put together a list of some of the new (and new-ish) releases which have caught my attention and which would make worthy additions to your winter wardrobe. I realise I've already reviewed some of them on this blog, but never mind: they deserve the repetition!

Here's the rundown...

Galop D’Hermès from Hermès (Christine Nagel)
Christine Nagel’s take-over as in-house perfumer at Hermès achieves completion with this impeccably balanced juxtaposition of a leather note with rose. Thigh-smacking earthiness on the one hand; eyelash-fluttering coyness on the other. The stirrup-shaped bottle is attention-grabbing too.

Au Coeur Du Désert from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer)
More than a decade ago, Andy Tauer released his classic amber composition, L’Air Du Desert Marocain. With the help of the blogosphere, it became the stuff of modern legend. Now he gives us this extrait-strength version, still swooning beneath the power of labdanum and vanilla, but lighter on the smoky notes. Gorgeous.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Persolaise Review: Apsu from Ulrich Lang (2016)


The soundbites
If Apsu were a colour, it would be jungle green.
If it were a texture, it would be the flesh of a honeydew melon.
If it were a sound, it would be air bubbling up through water.

The review
In objective terms, Ulrich Lang's new Apsu - named after the Babylonian proto-god of the "watery depths beneath the earth" - is certainly green. But its greenness is of a curious, perplexing character, falling neither into the figurative, 'cut grass' camp nor into the galbanum-heavy territory redolent of peas and peppers. Instead, its viridian nature is aqueous, albeit not in the ozonic, seaweedy, overly-synthetic manner that blights countless other so-called 'marine' scents. Here, the impressionistic spring bubbling across the top notes is genuinely fresh, as though it's just flowed through a travel-brochure-lake, where the reeds sway in time to the breeze and the heat never rises above 25 Celsius. Key to this effect is what I read as a banana facet (a combo of the jasmine and water lily listed on the official notes?) as well as a goosebump-inducing sprinkling of pepper, both of which bring vim and velocity to what might otherwise have been a pleasantly forgettable piece of work. Picture a tanned diver enjoying a snorkel in tropical waters and you'll get a sense of this perfume's dynamic. Confident and intriguing, Apsu adds a novel twist to the current mini-revival of 70s-style green scents. Do check it out.

[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Ulrich Lang in 2016.]

Persolaise

Friday, November 11, 2016

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: July to September 2016 [part 2]


Here's part 2 of the latest mini-review round-up. For part 1, please click here.

Missoni edt from Missoni (Quentin Bisch; 2016)*
Last year's rainbow-hued, calorie bomb of an edp made more diffusive and, astonishingly, more sugary. Diabetics beware.

Another Oud from Juliette Has A Gun (Romano Ricci; 2015)*
Well yeah, thanks for being honest. Usual, Arab-oudy mix of rough woods & thick-set musks, with fruity edge.

Gentlewoman from Juliette Has A Gun (Romano Ricci; 2015)*
Mainstream cologne, with emphasis on neroli and bergamot, perhaps to suggest femininity. Certainly gentle.

Incense Oud from Nicolaï (Patricia De Nicolaï; 2016)*
Green, artemisia-based oud of Oud Sublime, with more ecclesiastical bent. Attractive, but less memorable than Sublime.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Event: Frederic Malle At Selfridges London


This chap needs no introduction. Frederic Malle, the man behind one of the most influential perfume brands of the 21st century, will be making a personal appearance at the London branch of Selfridges on Thursday 17th November, from 5:30 to 6:00. For a free ticket, please send an email to opinder@profilepublicrelations.com. If you are able to spare the time, I'd certainly recommend going along; he's a fascinating charmer.

Persolaise

PS For part 1 of an in-depth interview I conducted with Malle in 2013, please click here.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Scents Of The 70s - Persolaise In The Sunday Times Style

image: Sunday Times Style

An exciting weekend for me! Tomorrow (Sunday 6th November) sees the publication of my first piece for The Sunday Times' Style magazine, in which I examine the current revival of 70s-style perfumes, as seen in the latest releases from Amouage, Tom Ford and Arquiste, amongst others. If you're based in the UK, please do buy a copy.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the online version of the article.

Persolaise

Friday, November 4, 2016

Trends In Masculine Perfumery - Persolaise On Fashionbeans


The award-winning journalist, Lee Kynaston, has just written a piece for Fashionbeans in which he explores current trends in male perfumery. The article includes contributions from yours truly, as well as various other industry commentators. My input aside, I'd say it's well worth your time; please click here to read it.

Persolaise 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ace Of Bases - Persolaise Article In The Latest Scented Letter


I'm really pleased to announce that the latest edition of The Scented Letter - The Perfume Society's multi-award winning magazine - features an article by yours truly on the subject of specialty bases used in fragrance composition. With contributions from industry veteran Frederic Malle, Guerlain's in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser and Fragrances Of The World research historian Will Inrig, the piece aims to lift the lid on a little-known corner of the perfume world... a corner that is at least partly responsible for the existence of classics like Mitsouko, No. 5 and Angel. Other writers whose work is contained in this issue - which is loosely based on the ever-controversial notion of scent as art - include Suzy Nightingale, Viola Levy, Tessa Williams, Jo Fairley and Kelly Hoppen. Only members of The Perfume Society can access The Scented Letter, so if you'd like to sign up - and enjoy a whole load of other fragrant perks - please click here.

Persolaise

Friday, October 28, 2016

Persolaise Review: Dark Rebel Rider from John Varvatos (Rodrigo Flores-Roux; 2016)


The soundbites
If Dark Rebel Rider were a wardrobe accessory, it would be a dark grey scarf.
If it were a time of day, it would be that moment on a Friday evening when you decide to fill your room with some soothing candlelight.
If it were a food item, it would be... well, you'll have to read the full review below...

The review
Any of you who've ever bought the 99% chocolate from Lindt may have been as amused as I was by the "tasting advice" on the back of the packet. "To fully appreciate all its flavours," it says, "we recommend that you progressively develop your palate through our range of high cocoa content chocolate bars, starting with Excellence 70%, then 85% and finally 99%." This sense of working your way up to (or should that be 'into'?) an allegedly superior dark side is, of course, frequently applied to the world of scent. I don't intend to delve into the reductive 'mainstream is bad; independent is good' debate today, but I would like to spare a thought for those compositions which are somewhere in the middle of the 'mainstream to indie' spectrum. The gateway drugs.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Persolaise Review: Portrait Of A Lady hair & body oil and shower cream from Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle - No. 5 body oil from Chanel (2016)


During the last couple of years, Frederic Malle has added several excellent ancillary products to his perfume range (a consequence of brand owner Estée Lauder's considerable skills and experience in this area?) including a blue-skied shower gel for Cologne Indelebile and a purring after-sun lotion for Carnal Flower. But his latest additions deserve to be singled out for particular praise. The shower cream for the celestial rose that is Dominique Ropion's Portrait Of A Lady is so indulgent, it's enough to make the most hardened, world-weary, office-battered person tear up their work diary and spend hours whipping up the lotion into a lather beneath a cascade of water. And as for the hair and body oil... well... 'decadent' doesn't even begin to describe it. Emphasising the berry, cedar and apricot facets of the perfume, it is a call to languorous sensuality, an invitation to stop the clocks, turn down the lights and find a willing subject for a massage. Oh, and the sleek, amphora-like bottle housing this nectar is a triumph of minimalist packaging design.

Chanel are equally adept at releasing more-ish body products to go with their scents and they too have outdone themselves with their body oil for No. 5. Relatively dry in texture (it doesn't leave an obvious sheen on skin) the scent of the oil hovers somewhere between the personalities of the eau de toilette, the Eau Premiere version and the new L'Eau iteration, which is to say that it pushes the citruses front and centre, whilst keeping them wrapped in that familiar ivory-white fur coat of aldehydes, jasmine and musks. More importantly, in much the same way as the Portrait product, it encourages slowness. You can't apply this juice with a quick spritz. The very act of covering one's body with a relatively heavy fluid requires more time and attention than we normally reserve for our perfume rituals, so kudos to Chanel and Malle for making us pause for luxurious breath.

[Reviews based on samples provided by Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle and Chanel in 2016.]

Persolaise

Friday, October 14, 2016

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: July to September 2016 [part 1]


Round-up time again. Here are some Twitter mini-reviews, covering the period July to September 2016:

Classique Essence De Parfum from Jean-Paul Gaultier (Daphne Bugey; 2016)*
The familiar mimosa/jasmine/orange blossom accord cranked up with buckets of sugar. Too much to take.

Le Male Essence De Parfum from Jean-Paul Gaultier (Quentin Bisch; 2016)*
Original's fougère structure is intact, with cardamom at top & a sweeter base. Teenage boys can rejoice.

Modern Muse Nuit from Estée Lauder (2016)*
She's all grown up! Translucent florals expertly contrasted with burnt nut notes. Genuinely intriguing work.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Persolaise Review: Galop D'Hermès from Hermès (Christine Nagel; 2016)


The soundbites
If Galop D'Hermès were a painting, it would be Two Dancers In The Studio by Degas.
If it were a piece of music, it would be Opening Titles from Michael Nyman's Carrington soundtrack.
If it were a fabric, it would be two-tone silk, reflecting either red or deep brown, depending on how it catches the light.

The review
The link between symmetry, bottles and perfume is so well established, it can justifiably be taken for granted and pushed to one side. But I was reminded of its enduring validity when faced with a flacon shaped like a stirrup. The wishbone-like structure is reminiscent of that other paragon of symmetry, the isosceles triangle, as well as a pair of scales, in perpetual balance. What's more, a stirrup doesn't convey an idea of general symmetry but, with its dual prongs, the specific symmetry that exists between two different forces.

I wonder if Christine Nagel was aware of what the bottle for the new Galop from Hermès was going to be when she composed the perfume. Or maybe the flacon was inspired by the scent? Either way, what we have here is a soul-soothing exercise in harmony: the most delicate tug-of-war between a rose and a leather, with the two supporting each other as much as trying to outdo each other. You could read all sorts of significance into the choice of the materials (my favourite theory is that represents Jean-Claude Ellena handing over the reins to Nagel: the masculine making way for the feminine) but don't let any of that navel-gazing get in the way of the composition's beauty. The florals are fully-fleshed, blushing and wind-swept (but maybe a touch too synthetic?), whilst the tannery facet is injected with the same inky, petroleum energy that fuelled Cuir D'Ange. And between them we have a bridge of luminous, green citrus, just on the edge of perception, uniting the opposite poles, like a pair of reins bringing a rider in contact with a steed. But which of the two is in control? Galop never quite lets you decide.

[Review based on a sample of extrait provided by Hermès in 2016]

Persolaise

Friday, September 23, 2016

Persolaise's Sexy Perfumes Revealed


Following the publication of my recent Grazia article on the latest crop of 'sexy' perfumes, I received several emails from non-UK-based readers who were disappointed that they couldn't get their hands on a copy of the magazine in their own countries. So, now that a few weeks have passed since the piece appeared, I'm able to reveal which scents made the final cut.

In brief, the idea was to recommend new (or fairly new) feminine compositions which might feasibly fall under the 'sexy' banner. The exercise proved more interesting than I thought it would, as it re-emphasised that transparency remains the primary mode of modern scent aesthetics. Even when reaching for somewhat predictable sensuous materials (ie woods, spices, white florals) most of the perfumes below stop themselves from conveying an excessively retro vibe because of a sheer, illuminated quality they share. Is this a sign that we're finally moving away from sticky fruitchoulis? We can but hope.

Here comes the list...

Friday, September 16, 2016

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: April to June 2016 [part 2]


Here's the second part of my latest round-up of mini-reviews:

Eau Parfumée Au Thé Noir from Bulgari (Jacques Cavallier; 2015)**
Excellent attempt to create oud cologne. The agar-rose-leather heart is recognisable, but never weighty.

Omnia Paraiba from Bulgari (Alberto Morillas; 2015)*
Milky spices beneath a well-rendered mango note. Very 'palm trees by the pool', not unlike Nicolaï Eau Corail.

McQueen from Alexander McQueen (2016)** 
Innocuous, unremarkable white floral, leaning towards fresh jasmine notes. Oh Kingdom, we could really do with you now.

Eau De Sens from Diptyque (Olivier Pescheux; 2016)*
Promising orange blossom note - linked with shampoo cedar - loses conviction and dissolves into salty nothingness.

Colonia Sandalo from Acqua Di Parma (2016)*
A fresh, sweet leather-patchouli, somewhere between YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme and Tom Ford Tuscan Leather.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Persolaise Review: Scent Of A Dream from Charlotte Tilbury (Francois Robert; 2016)


The soundbites
If Scent Of A Dream were a song, it would be Le Freak by Chic.
If it were a colour, it would be pale yellow.
If it were a hairstyle, it would be Farrah Fawcett's Charlie's Angels look.

The review
I try not to attach too much importance to the somewhat flexible 'facts' presented in most press releases. But the marketing material for make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury's debut fragrance - Scent Of A Dream - was impossible to ignore. Apparently, her perfume "can ATTRACT others and also change the energy frequency of the people and environment around you." It has "the power to attract your magical future." It can help you "CREATE YOUR OWN DESTINY through its psycho-active, fleurotic frequency." You can use it to "create an EMOTIONAL PATHWAY with someone else's energy centres." And as if that weren't enough to make you rush out and buy every single bottle within a 20-mile radius, it also "acts as a portal that attracts LOVE, LIGHT, POWER, POSITIVITY AND SEX to the wearer." Phew! Does anyone else need a cigarette? Oh, and in case you're wondering, those capitals aren't mine; they're taken straight from the press pack.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What Was I Wearing? - Persolaise On We Wear Perfume

image: We Wear Perfume

A few weeks ago, the lovely people behind We Wear Perfume asked if I'd mind getting in the 'interviewee' seat for a change. The results of our encounter have now been posted online. If you'd like to find out why perfume is important to me and, of course, which particular scent I was wearing on the day, click here to read the piece. Oh, and while you're at it, do take the time to read some of the other interviews.

Persolaise

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sexy Perfumes In Grazia Selected By Persolaise


Here's a word you will hardly ever find me using to describe perfume: 'sexy'. It reeks of cliches and has had pretty much all its power bludgeoned out of existence by unimaginative advertisers and marketing departments. But you know what they say: go big or go home. So the latest edition of the UK's Grazia magazine (on newsstands now) contains an article by yours truly in which I present not just one but twelve new fragrances that are part of an intriguing wave of modern olfactory sexiness. If you're based in Britain, I'd love it if you rushed out and bought a copy.

Persolaise

UPDATE: To find out which perfumes I chose for the article, please click here.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: April to June 2016 [part 1]


Here we go, ladies and gents: another round-up of my mini-reviews from Twitter, spanning the months April to June.

La Petite Robe Noire eau de parfum intense from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser; 2016)*
Familiar sweet black cherry core is intact, made more mature with tannin-like blueberry note. Amiable.

Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser; 2016)*
As it says, a summery pear over crushed ice. Then come the musky-fruity shampoo notes. Congenial.

L'Homme Ideal eau de parfum from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser & Delphine Jelk; 2016)*
The sweet, woody almond of the edt, made more romantic with a helping of dusky rose. The best of the Ideals.

Halfeti from Penhaligon's (Christian Provenzano; 2015)*
Another entry in the faux-Arabian genre, filled with ersatz rose, oud and spices. Has few distinguishing features.

Blue from Kenneth Cole (Mathieu Nardin; 2015)*
Apple, citrus, ambery woods, freshness, transparency. In other words: another clone of Cool Water, albeit a decent one.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Persolaise Review: No. 5 L'Eau from Chanel (Olivier Polge; 2016)


The soundbites
If No. 5 L'Eau were an item of clothing, it would be a simple, short-sleeved linen blouse.
If it were a colour, it would be ivory.
If it were a time of day, it would be 10 in the morning on a Saturday, when the weekend is still full of promise.

The review
A few days ago, at a local branch of a ye olde generic perfume departmente, I overheard two teenage girls deciding which tester to grab for a quick spritz. 'Oooh, what about Chanel No. 5,' one of them said, chuckling, 'you can't go wrong with that.' Her friend paused for a moment and frowned. 'No,' she said, 'I think I do like it. But it's a bit too grown up for me.' That sums up the issue which has almost certainly led to the brand releasing a new flanker to their icon: No. 5 L'Eau, composed by Olivier Polge.

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