Sunday, 8 December 2013

Hermès - The Classics Collection - Bel Ami Vetiver

This December, Hermès are launching The Classics Collection - a selection of eight classic scents from the iconic French perfume stable that have been repackaged in the iconic 'carriage lantern' flacon.

The lineup will include one Jean Claude Ellena newcomer - a flanker to the 1986 masculine Bel Ami, aptly titled Bel Ami Vetiver. A vetiver / patchouli twist on the much-loved original, Bel Ami Vetiver will be available in Hermès boutiques and at Hermè from Decemberand will roll out to selected retailers in 2014. A special feature includes a discrete artwork seen through the bottle printed on the back of the label.

Other repackaged scents in the series will include: Eau d'Hermès (1951), Calèche (1961) in both Soie de Parfum and Eau de Toilette, Equipage (1970), Amazone (1974), Bel Ami (1996), Rocabar (1998), Hiris (1999) and Rouge (2000). 

I personally look forward to exploring the newcomer to the Classic family.
And it's time to rework my Christmas wishlist!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

City Shopping Feature: Perth, Australia: ETERNAL SCENTS

These days, Perth seemingly appears to be in a perpetual state of construction and renovation - cranes, scaffolding and maddening road closures plague the city. In a turbulent West Australian economic climate, as one retailer closes its doors, another soon arrives to take its place. So imagine my delight when, earlier this week, I came upon a brand spanking new artisanal perfume boutique in the Carillon Arcade called Eternal Scents. After suffering a disappointing string of many much-loved and oft-frequented perfumery closures in recent months, Eternal Scents was like a shining beacon, and I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

The beauty about this particular shopping destination for us perfumisti, is that Eternal Scents takes a very traditional approach to what they do. I say 'traditional' in the sense that owners/managers Rafael and Sharon Rodriguez have looked past the common mainstream inclination towards Haute French perfumery, and instead, have reached way back across the millennia to the style of perfumes that were being produced in ancient Mesopotamia, and during the rule of powerful Egyptian Dynasties. Eternal Scents are importers of exquisite perfume materials... raw natural ingredients in highly concentrated pure oil form, all of which have been hand-selected from reliable time-honoured distilleries and closely-guarded sources the world over. Their travels have taken them to Morocco, Egypt, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Dubai India and Saudi Arabia to name just a few, and they have done so, so that residents and visitors to Perth can experience a uniquely different style of perfumery than the masses are generally accustomed to.

The sparkling clean windows that face the arcade proudly affirm "No alcohol, No chemicals". What Rafael and Sharon are offering, is a selection of stunning oils that run the gamut from single raw ingredients (such as Arabian Jasmine, Narcissus, Frangipani, Vetiver Bourbon and Somali Frankincense), right the way through to beautifully custom-blended oil creations that are composed from a selection of these soliflore / raw material components, and mixed with artisanal mastery. The oils are not suspended in alcohol, (as is the case with most fragrances that are found on the open market), and I assure you that just one tiny drop will last the better part of an entire day. These custom blends are both exquisite and compelling... whilst I was there, I sampled a minuscule dab of Indian Oud and Taif Rose which blossomed on the air the very moment Rafael unstoppered the bottle. Its presence could still be distinguished on skin after several showers, the following day.

The oils are presented in beautiful 5ml faceted crystal flacons which catch the light like bewitching gemstones. In addition, a variety of pretty hand made gem-studded filigree / metal flacons are also available for perfumistas who like to carry their portable perfumes in their purse. Rafael and Sharon have also just launched a line of luxurious, non greasy body moisturisers to complement their range.

When asked whether they felt Perth has a demand for such a store, Rafael replied "Of course! We are the only commercial custom-blending perfumery in the region". Undaunted by the idea that they must effectively re-educate the masses on how to appreciate natural perfumery, it appears Eternal Scents' success has expanded exponentially ever since their humble beginnings selling their oils just a few days a week at Fremantle markets. Now, with a beautifully-fitted store in the Carillon Arcade, it feels like their star is on the rise. The pair have already enjoyed a celebrity clientele, including some well-known figures from the Harry Potter film franchise, a popular protagonist from one of Austarlia's longest running TV serials, and renowned figures from the West Australian Ballet.
From where I sit, it would appear that for Eternal Scents, the sky is the limit.

Whilst in Perth, drop in and say hello to Sharon and Rafael, and allow them to escort you through a startling and exciting (ancient) olfactory world of luxury and sensuality.

Eternal Scents is located on Level 2 of the Carillon City Arcade, between Hay and Murray Streets, Perth, Western Australia.

They are open:
Mon-Thurs from 10am - 5:30pm,
Fri 10am - 6:30pm,
Sat 10am - 5pm and
Sunday 12 noon - 5pm.

Tel: (08) 9481 4545

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

GUERLAIN - When Does 'Haute Parfumerie' Become 'Supermarket Cafeteria'?

Celebrating 100 years at their 68 Champs Elysees address, Maison Guerlain have finally revealed their intuitive execution of the boutique's recent renovations. After nine months being closed off to the public, this past November Guerlain flung open their doors to unveil the exquisite interiors that have been completely reworked by offbeat American architect Peter Marino. The reveal laid bare a keen sensitivity to the building's heritage and history, and its foyer and halls have been restored and preserved with great aptitude and panache. Several new zones have been introduced - one, a couture area in which one can view and purchase perfumed leather gloves, and and another, an underground restaurant that will serve you desserts and fiddly pastries. For every stoppered bee bottle and pricey limited edition I've bought in the last 7 years, I can now clearly observe where my dollars have been spent.

Contention has come, however, by way of a new controversial addition to the edifice, namely an area reserved for the conspicuous marketing of "Les Délices du 68" - a selection of specially blended teas and jars of Guerlain-branded honey. If you like your Oolong to smack of L'Heure Bleue, or your honey fussily tied and monogrammed in much the same manner that the famed Dames du Table do their flacons, then this is your jam... but to bandy about wine-tasting terms such as "Grand cru 2013" when referring to honey... it tends to make one guffaw.
Whilst one understands that the marketing minds at Guerlain wish to make 68 Champs Elysees an all-inclusive destination, one has to ask whether the pedalling of such souvenirs is wholly relevant to one of the world's oldest and most revered perfume houses. When did Haute Parfumerie become Haute Knic-knackerie? I cringe to think what might be next... perhaps some Shalimar-scented drawer liners and a life-size Theirry Wasser cutout by the registers to have one's photo taken with?
With paper-thin parallels being drawn between lidded pots of honey and the iconic house emblem of the bee, it's all starting to smell like a conspicuous revenue-gathering exercise to me. Perhaps to raise some capital to offset the renovation costs? Whatever the case, I, for one, am unimpressed. From now on - no matter how pretty it is - I think I might relinquish any future visits to Maison Guerlain... this department-store food hall style shopping I can enjoy at Harrods or F&M.