Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Whilst the idea of using authentic animal products in perfumery is enough to enrage animal rights activists the world over, there is comfort in knowing that the much sought-after Ambergris (grey amber) is one of a few substances that can be sourced without inflicting any harm to the creature itself. Au contrare... this waxy grey/white material is uncommonly ejected from the intestinal tracts of sperm whales, bringing much relief to the beast in the process.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
For a little over a year now, I have been singing the praises of this exceptional men's release to all who will listen. Washington Tremlett, founded in Paris in 1870, became the most prominent shirt-making company in Europe and the New World. After opening a store in Saville Row in London, the company enjoyed the exclusive patronage of Kathryn Hepburn, The Onassis family and Sam Goodwyn, amongst many other names of the European elite. With numerous contacts in thespian circles, the company went on to produce costumes for many theatrical productions, including the stage show and film "My Fair Lady".
Black Tie is a fragrance for men, based around a floral, spicy heart which descends into a base of precious woods. Saffron and rose tread the boards beneath the radiant limelight and take the starring roles in this elegant composition. It is supported by a wonderful chorus-line of floral/herbaceous accords including tuberose, peppery geranium and sage. This exquisite mix maintains the tempo and then comes to a crescendo with its smouldering basenotes of walnut, galbanum, sandalwood and patchouli.
Friday, 7 November 2008
In ancient Chinese Dynasties, Jade was revered as the imperial gem... favoured by the high-ranking members of the imperial family as an ornamental stone. Varieties of the stone can be found in hues from white, through pink to black, but the highly prized emerald green jade commonly appears in history, used in elaborate ceremonial pieces, and hand-fashioned by skilled artisans into objets d'art.
As one might well imagine, judging the vivid green colour of the juice; opening notes are initially rather medicinal... a sharp stab of lush wet mint, followed by the biting aroma of bitter green tea leaves. Whilst these accords share a starring role and have remarkable tenacity, one can also distinguish a scattering of star anise and a curl of aromatic cassia. The experience is rather like a visit to a traditional Chinese herbalist whose walls are lined with antique wooden apothecary drawers; the contents of which are collected and bundled together in rice-paper packages, and carefully tied with string. One can also identify some delicate florals and dusty iris germinating at the heart, though these are as fine as Chinese silk and transparent as hand-made paper lanterns. They merely cast light on the understated vetiver/patchouli base that lies at the floor of the perfume, and whose accords soar and fall sharply like rugged Chinese mountains.
People familiar with Durbano's previous offerings might wonder if he has captured the spirit of jade (the stone) with the same measure of excellence as he has with his other stone poems. His approach to this scent marks a shift in style: for starters, the resinous frankincense/incense accords which were at the heart of all 3 previous perfumes (ones that I felt lend the earthy/mineralic qualities to his work); are now absent. This being said, I don't feel this diminishes his interpretation of jade. After all, the Chinese use jade less in its raw mineral form, and more as a polished and finished piece. If one could experience the taste of a smooth green jade cabochon, it would taste just like this perfume smells. There are nuances of the Far East, and shades of traditional European perfumery that make Jade an enchanting scent with a wonderful vintage twist.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
As many have said before me, Terre d'Hermés is a fragrance triumph. Voted 'Best Fragrance of the Year' by FiFi in 2007 in the 'Men's Luxe' category, my love affair with this scent began whilst visiting Greece that same summer. Given the sweltering heat at the time, I was enamoured with the way it blossomed on my skin.
Jean Claude Ellena once again has approached its construction with great sensitivity, and the result speaks for itself. Its projection is perhaps not the best, however it is worn close to the skin, and in doing so, allows the wearer this wonderful personal luxury.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Last weekend I was thrilled to learn that I was successful in securing one of only 10 very limited places offered to study with the NNAPA.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Previously, I've blogged about the uber-chic Italian design house Costume National, and the exquisitely crafted Scent Intense.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
In 1981, when designer Pierre Cardin purchased the famous Maxim's restaurant on the Rue Royale in Paris, he was already dreaming of opening several more across the planet - each one with cuisine every bit as lavish as the Art Nouveau ornamentation and furniture within. With branches now in New York, London and Beijing, the Maxim's empire has become a string of culinary institutions, a hotel and a museum.
Thursday, 2 October 2008
After my recent study of a number of Middle Eastern oils, I feel I have chanced upon a phenomenal find: the treacle-coloured elixir named Musk Ghazelle -reportedly produced by the manufacturer Ajmal (though I do not see this scent listed in their portfolio of perfumes).
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
As a child, I had an incredible sweet-tooth and it would appear now as an adult, very little has changed. But there are only a handful of sugary treats that I am seldom able to stomach. One is liquorice, and the other; Turkish delight.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
In fragrance circles, there is little known or spoken of with regard to the history of S.T Dupont. Perhaps best known nowadays for their iconic lighters, the French luxury house S.T Dupont was founded in 1872 when Simon Tissot-Dupont opened a prestigious leather goods workshop in Paris. His luxurious leather accessories saw his company rapidly become successful amongst the Parisian high society, and later his sons André and Lucien Dupont went on to produce items for the cream of international society: Cartier, Aspreys of London, the Maharaja of Patiala and the British Royal Family. New innovations came during the highly creative Arts Deco period, and later, with the scarcity of raw materials available during the second world war, the Dupont brothers turned their attention to producing the first pocket petrol lighter. The move was a spectacular success, and to this day, their meticulously crafted metallic, enamelled lighters remain a symbol of status and good taste. In the 70s, the company shifted focus and added bejewelled writing instruments, watches and men's accessories to their portfolio.
It was only in 2003, the brand experienced somewhat of a revival where they sought to produce luxury items that stood at the crossroads between tradition and innovation. A new era saw them apply its values and graphic language to contemporary products such as laptop cases and USB keyrings - all of which carry the S.T Dupont emblematic pattern: the Diamond Head.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
As far as I'm concerned, Tom Ford is an apostle of modernity. For a number of years now, he (and his creative entourage) have managed to accurately predict and lead new movements in fashion, design, and beauty. His monosyllabic first and last name has become a phenomenal global brand, associated with self-indulgent style and contemporary elegance. Though the man himself is rumoured to be a fastidious workhorse, he has the rare capacity to make it all seem so effortless. He is also a man who possesses the uncanny ability to envisage upcoming shifts in trends and tastes; and the savvy to act upon it.
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Monday, 25 August 2008
To celebrate the October 4th L.A. launch of Andy Tauer's Vetiver Dance, Sorcery of Scent is giving away three 1.5ml samples of this delightful fragrance to 3 lucky blog readers.
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
In the late 80's a design house emerged from Chadstone, the fashion capital of Australia. At the helm was Christopher Chronis, an astute young Greek-Australian businessman with an extraordinary eye for fashion. The company carried his name - Christos - and by the late 90's it went on to celebrate many successes both nationally and abroad with its well-tailored line of women's, men's and bridal fashions.
In 1998, his first fragrances for men and women were launched onto the Australian market: Christos Man and Christos Woman. As the first successful Australian designer to make the transition from catwalk to cologne, the media surrounding the release was staggering. Major retail outlets swelled with customers wishing to sample this exotic elixir, which was dispensed from purple crucifix-shaped flacons, by promotional staff wearing dramatic violet-coloured couture coats. As for the scents themselves, the men's eau de toilette was classed as a woody oriental, and the women's a fruity woody oriental... both with mouth-watering gourmand qualities, which were very much in the same strain as the much celebrated Angel and A*men, produced by fellow designer Thierry Mugler. A very clever press and media campaign supported the launch, and innovative coffrets were offered that both charmed and surprised the consumer. For instance, an exquisitely packaged miniature perfume bottle was presented inside a delicious box of Christos chocolates, each of which was flavoured with an individual accord from the scent itself. Very quickly, it seemed at one stage, that the entire continent had fallen to its knees swooning over "Christos"... until, quite unexpectedly, it vanished. Barely a year had passed since its launch, and retail stores were already completely devoid of a single bottle. Speculations were offered, and rumors followed... but it seemed there was no clear-cut reason why the business "went under". Some years passed, and the fragrance that had succeeded in captivating a nation, had become no more than a ghost. And I missed it dearly.
Christopher Chronis re-emerged in the early 00's and went on to open beautifully appointed fashion retail boutiques in Australia and New Zealand. Since then, Chronis has moved on to design clothes for the Playboy brand, which has secured his success for a great many years to come. As for his perfumes... unfortunately they are now lost to the corridoors of time. For those that came to know and love the scents, its a difficult pill to swallow. I'm sure I speak for many when I say I hope that Christos in its crucifix-shaped bottle, will one day be resurrected.
Friday, 15 August 2008
As a person born in February, amethyst is my birthstone, and I've always been drawn to it. Whilst I was a young teenager growing up in the 80's, I was very interested in minerals and semi-precious gemstones. At one time I had amassed a rather sizeable collection of rocks - all of which I treasured for their value; both arcane and aesthetic.
Ever since being introduced to Olivier Durbano's "Rock Crystal", I have anticipated trying the second in his series of seven stone poems: Améthyste. I was so taken by the phenomenal incense accord of his first perfume, that I had hoped it would reappear here. And I was not disappointed. Améthyste is another stellar interpretation of this deep violet variety of quartz. One certainly feels a sense of "purple" when smelling this for the first time. It opens with a delicate fruitiness where raspberry and grape beckon with one finger, before you are pulled down into a dry heart of rose-coloured palisander wood and orris root. As this scent develops, the blooming fruits recede and a puff of jasmine emerges that cartwheels across the composition before vanishing over an ambery, musky base. But it is the extravagant incense that lends its mineralic earthiness to this scent... it is as husky and dry as ancient sandstone that has been brushed away from a relic found in an archeological dig. It embodies the aroma of the earth that this semi-precious gem has been struck from. Like the stunning jewellery Durbano crafts by hand, this is a perfume to be treasured.
The bottle itself contains three genuine amethyst beads, suspended in the juice. As I turn the flacon in my hands and listen to the satisfying tinkle of the mauve orbs against the glass, I wonder if the liquid has imbued the stones with perfume, or, if indeed the perfume has been released by the stones.
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
In 2004, Hermés nose Jean Claude Ellena managed to create one of my favourite "comfort" scents: the accomplished Ambre Narguilé - a deliciously charming blend of soft spice, woods and floral accords... the sum of which surprisingly emulates the mouth-watering aroma of fresh-baked apple cinnamon pie. One will surely swoon at the memory of such delights with the first spritz of this extraordinary fragrance. Its remarkable composition echoes rum-soaked raisins and cinnamon strudel with a light dusting of sugar, but in a very Hermés manner. Ellena has taken much care to lift the perfume out of the bakehouse, and manipulate it into something so much more opulent. White orchid, honey, ginger, amber, caramel and vanilla all lend themselves to the gourmand nature of this scent, but after an hour or two, the sweet edge subsides and makes way for a warm, tobacco, smokey, incense-like drydown which is peppered with allspice.
Monday, 11 August 2008
Saturday, 9 August 2008
Its no secret that recently I've enjoyed excursions into the world of Middle Eastern perfumery. This came about after a fellow enthusiast named Simon, sent me a bounty of tiny cotton swabs, each of which had been anointed with exotic eastern oils. Like little bags of narcotic substances, when I came to open that fragrant parcel in my home, I introduced my nose to new aromas that I'd never smelled the likes of before. My office space remained thick with odiferous molecules for many days after.
Monday, 4 August 2008
I just wanted to post a very quick notice that I am currently under the gun with an enormous work task, that should see me unable to post on the blog for a couple of days. If all goes according to plan, I will be back this weekend, August the 9th, with more perfume ramblings. Thanks in advance for your understanding.
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Monday, 28 July 2008
French-Armenian perfumer Francis Kurkdjian never ceases to amaze me. At such a young age, he is already the recipient of the coveted Francois Coty Prize for Lifetime Achievement as a perfume creator, and has numerous global fragrance triumphs to his credit, including Gaultier's retail smash Le Male, and the much adored Narciso Rodriguez for Her. Now at the helm of his own atelier, Kurkdjian continues to demonstrate his extraordinary talent whilst designing scents for international design houses and bespoke perfumes for the well-heeled.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
An interesting little company that is on the international rise is Demeter... the US firm that manufactures 'singular scents' of everyday things. The concept is a clever one... by measuring the molecular structure of different odours in a laboratory, Demeter can re-create any one of them - and in doing so, they have built a Library of Fragrance which holds almost any single scent you can think of.