Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Feeling Your Fragrance: Persolaise In The Scented Letter + Facebook Live On Friday


Spend just a few minutes going through some of the world’s most-respected perfume sites, and you’re bound to see countless references to everything from vinyl to velvet. For instance, Neil Chapman, Jasmine Award winning writer of the Black Narcissus blog, believes that "many perfumes are redolent of textures and fabric: both grace the skin and the body, and they complement and amplify each other to beautiful effect."
I'm excited to let you know that the cover story of the latest issue of The Scented Letter was written by yours truly: it focuses on the subject of how and why some fragrances and ingredients remind us of certain fabrics. Naturally, it features references to lots of fascinating perfumes, but as ever, I won't say what they are here, because the magazine is available only to members of The Perfume Society. To sign up - and gain access to previous editions of the magazine - please click here.

Oh, and before I go, a quick reminder about the next episode of Love At First Scent, my Facebook Live event: it'll be on my Facebook page (click here) on Friday 29th September, at 3:30 pm UK time. I hope you'll be able to tune in!

Persolaise

Friday, 22 September 2017

Persolaise Review: Nuit De Bakélite from Naomi Goodsir (Isabelle Doyen; 2017)


Tuberose is going through something of a mini revival. If the press notes are to be believed, it forms a significant part of Chanel's new Gabrielle (consider me unconvinced on that specific point, although overall, the scent is pleasant enough), it makes a curious companion with ginger in Twilly D'Hermès (about which I shall try to write more soon) and it tries to restore a brand's beleaguered fragrance reputation in Gucci's Bloom (their first half-decent feminine for ages). That's all well and good. In fact, it's almost a cause for excitement. But then along comes something from the less fearful, more free-minded independent sector, and suddenly the mainstream contenders fade into the background. Cue: Isabelle Doyen's Nuit De Bakélite for Naomi Goodsir, the brand's fifth addition to a consistently solid collection.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Cinema Scent: Detroit (dir. Kathryn Bigelow; 2017)


There had to be at least one mention of it. About two-thirds of the way through Kathryn Bigelow’s gut-punching Detroit - an account of the horrific events which took place at the Algiers Motel in 1967 - the white police officer Krauss (memorably played by Will Poulter in an inspired bit of casting) asks Hannah Murray's Julie how she can stand to mix with black men. Doesn't she find the smell of their Afro Sheen unbearable? It’s a startling mention of scent in a film dealing with a subject which often sees smell descriptions hurled as insults: racism. In fact, so frequently is body odour used as a marker of separation between acrimonious groups of humans, it’s surprising that there aren't more references to it in Detroit.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Persolaise Review: Beach Hut Man from Amouage (Elise Benat; 2017)


I think it's safe to assume that Christopher Chong has a sense of fun. In order to preserve the seriousness of Amouage’s signature range, the brand’s Creative Director has avoided populating it with any fragrances that could be seen as lightweight. Nevertheless, he possesses an understandable desire to explore ‘easier’ olfactory codes, so in recent years, he's given plenty of attention to his Midnight Flower collection, which has seen him recruiting the likes of such un-Amouage characters as lilacs and freesias. The latest entry in this range is Beach Hut Man (I'd like to have been at the marketing meeting when that name was first mooted) and sure enough, it is as carefree and exuberant as some of the main Amouage fragrances are dignified.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Cinema Scent: God's Own Country (dir. Francis Lee; 2017)


It's been a while since I watched a film quite as pungent as this one: from the moment it begins, Francis Lee's moving and well-observed God's Own Country reeks of the many smells of its environment. In almost every frame, someone's either vomiting or urinating or licking a scab or thrashing around in mud (a re-working of the Women In Love wrestling scene?) or having sex. In fact, at one point - which foreshadows a poignant moment towards the end - a ewe is persuaded to suckle a lamb after it's clothed in the wool of her dead baby. She gives it a sniff and then allows it to approach.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Persolaise In Harper's Bazaar India


It is with massive excitement that I'd like to share this piece of news with you: the latest edition of none other than Harper's Bazaar India features an article by yours truly on the subject of strange perfumes. I haven't seen the issue yet - apparently, a copy is making its way to me - but I thought I'd give any India-based readers a heads-up straight away so that you can all rush out to your nearest newsstand. Mind you, it's very likely that the magazine is also available outside India; I shall certainly look out for it the next time I'm in London.

UPDATE: The magazine is also available in digital format... which means you can buy it wherever you are!

Persolaise

Friday, 8 September 2017

Perfume Mini-Reviews From Twitter: April to June 2017 [part 2]


For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Orange Leaf from Perfumer H (Lyn Harris; 2017)*
Cologne-like presentation of a vivid citrus leaf on a smouldering bark of wood. Displays typical Harris clarity.

Bat from Zoologist (Ellen Covey; 2015)***
Exactly like stepping inside damp, dank, deadly dungeon. Musty. Fetid. Mouldy. Disturbing. Quite extraordinary. But wearable?

Flower Eau De Lumiere from Kenzo (Alberto Morillas & Amandine Clerc-Marie; 2017)*
Fascinating flanker, ditching steamed musks in favour of sensual blossoms. Definite red tint to this lumiere.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Cinema Scent: Under The Shadow (dir. Babak Anvari; 2016)


Watching Babak Anvari’s superb Under The Shadow reminded me that, more often than not, the way film-makers choose to depict smell is by showing their characters’ reactions to it. Eyes lift with pleasure. Faces crinkle with incomprehension. Bodies double up with disgust. And the reason Anvari prompted this thought is that, unless my memory fails me, I don't think there’s a single moment in his movie when the actors are confronted by the olfactory aspect of their world. As Under The Shadow, in many ways, slots into the horror genre - which invariably resorts to visceral imagery - its apparent avoidance of odour adds to its originality.

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