Friday, 20 October 2017

Persolaise Review: Noir Anthracite from Tom Ford (2017)


My teachers were right: perspective is everything. When you get close to Noir Anthracite (a flanker which, despite its name, shares few features with the original Noir from 2012) your experience is promising. Moonlit minerals. Brooding gunpowder. Sparks lining the edges of polished flint. Maybe some flames too, but no towering ostentations. This isn't a raging bonfire, which is apt, given that the Oracle (ie Wikipedia) tells us anthracite “burns with little flame and smoke”. However, things change when you take a step back. Instead of forming an attractive sillage when they coalesce, all those elements turn into a wall of brash, typically 70s-inflected, Tom Ford patchouli, with an off-putting wood facet and a dubiously aggressive attitude. Ford makes no apologies about his love for older scent codes - and so he shouldn’t, as they’ve often led him to gorgeous creations - but here, the time warp idea reminds you that the decade of flares and disco balls was also the era of bigotry towards women and mass social disillusionment. In other words, it’s just a bit too chest-wig-heavy. When not one, but three people come up to you, pull a face and say, “You smell like my dad,” you know the retro vibe has probably been overplayed. Apply with caution. Or maybe only when you’re going to be within stroking distance of everyone around.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Tom Ford in 2017.]

Persolaise

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Persolaise Love At First Episode 7 Now On YouTube


Episode 7 of Love At First Scent is now on YouTube; please watch it by clicking above or by going directly to the YouTube site (click here). In this edition I covered

Velvet Haze from Byredo (at the start of the video)
Paithani from Penhaligon's (at the 17:00 minute mark)
Un Dimanche A La Campagne from Guerlain (at approx. 36:00 mins)
Strength from Ermenegildo Zegna's Elements Of Man range (at approx. 45:00 mins)

The original video - which attracted a great deal of interaction from the people who watched it live - is still on Facebook. Click here to check it out.

Persolaise

Friday, 13 October 2017

Cinema Scent: Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve; 2017)


Despite the dubious gender politics, the self-important pace and the portentous hamminess of Jared Leto, it would be churlish to deny that Blade Runner 2049 provides much to enjoy and admire. There are a few genuinely eyebrow-raising surprises in the plot, which sees yet another bedraggled policeman hunting an important replicant. The sound design almost radiates out of the screen like a three-dimensional entity. And the various nods and winks to the original possess a power that goes beyond that of mere nostalgia. So yes, even though I'm not sure it's a sequel we needed, I would urge all fans of the Ridley Scott version to watch it.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Friday 13th October 2017


The trouble with live video broadcasts is that you have to fit them into a specific, audience-friendly, day-time slot in your schedule because they're... errmm... live. But despite the odds, the stars have suddenly aligned and it looks like this Friday afternoon will work for my next one. So, all being well, episode 7 of Love At First Scent will be transmitted via my Facebook page on 13th October at 3:30 pm (UK time). On my list of things to sniff will be the unopened sample of the new Byredo above, together with a few goodies from Penhaligon's, Puredistance and Guerlain.

I do hope you'll be able to tune in!

Persolaise

Friday, 6 October 2017

Maiden Call: Thoughts On Chanel Gabrielle, Twilly D'Hermès, Mugler Aura & Gucci Bloom


It’s been brewing for a little while. A mention here. A business report there. But one recent event has turned up the heat and brought the mixture to a boil. And now there’s no avoiding it: the perfume industry is desperate for the cash of young women. Trouble is, desperation is often served with fear.

I’m sure you’ve worked out which event I’m referring to: Chanel’s launch of Gabrielle, their first stand-alone, mainstream, feminine scent for over a decade. It arrives roughly at the same time as Twilly D’Hermès and Gucci Bloom, and not long after Dior’s Poison Girl and Mugler’s Aura. Look a little bit further back and you’ll also find Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse (whose flankers just keep coming) as well as Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire. All of them - with their marketing, their design and their smells - are clamouring for the attention of females below the age of 30.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 6 On YouTube


Episode 6 of my Love At First Scent series is now on YouTube; watch it by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). In this edition I covered

Un Air De Bretagne from L'Artisan Parfumeur
(at around the 3:00 minute mark)
Note Di Colonia IV from Acqua Di Parma (at approx 13:00 mins)
Hemlock and Wolfsbane from Parfums Quartana's Les Potions Fatales collection (at approx 23:00 and 34:00 mins respectively)
Tender from Miller Harris (at approx 45:00 mins)


The original video is still on Facebook (click here), so please head over there if you'd like to see the comments that were left during the broadcast.

Persolaise

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.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Persolaise Love At First Scent Episode 5 On YouTube


Episode 5 of my Facebook Live Love At First Scent series - complete with its annoying technical issue - is now on YouTube; watch it by clicking above or going to the YouTube site (please click here). In this instalment I covered

Lui from Guerlain
Naja from Vero Profumo
Elements Of Man: Integrity from Ermenegildo Zegna
Garden Roses from Burberry
Beach Hut Man from Amouage

The original video is still on Facebook (click here), so please head over there if you'd like to see the interaction which took place during the live stream.

Persolaise 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Trouble With Perfume Adverts - Persolaise In Issue 3 of Tauer Mag

image: Tauer Perfumes

I feel very fortunate to be able to say that latest edition of Tauer Mag features another piece by yours truly, this time on the far-too-vast-for-one-article subject of perfume commercials. The magazine is available only in print, so if you'd like to order it, please click here.

A quick reminder that - family commitments permitting - I'm still hoping to broadcast my next Facebook Live episode of Love At First Scent this Friday, 25th August, at 3:30 pm UK time. If I need to cancel, I'll let you know as soon as possible.

Persolaise  

Monday, 21 August 2017

Minimalist Mission - Persolaise On Feelunique + The Next Episode Of Love At First Scent On Facebook Live

image: Feelunique

A whisper of minimalism makes its way into my latest piece for Feelunique, featuring scents for those times when you just need to tone things down a tiny bit. Please click here to read it.

In other news... I'm hoping to broadcast my next Facebook Live episode of Love At First Scent this Friday, 25th August, at 3:30 pm UK time. However, I'm striking a slightly tentative note because there's a chance I might be needed to help out a family member with a hospital appointment during that time. (There it goes again: everyday life interfering with perfume stuff!) If I can't go ahead with the broadcast then, of course, I'll let you know straight away. But fingers crossed, all will be well.

Persolaise

Friday, 18 August 2017

Persolaise Review: Histoire D'Orangers from L'Artisan Parfumeur (Marie Salamagne; 2017)


Perfume names are a constant source of puzzlement to me. More of than not, it's because so many of them are downright awful (Girl Of Now?!!) but sometimes, the cause of my incomprehension is that they're ill-chosen in relation to the other members of a brand’s portfolio. Take Histoire D’Orangers, for instance. Surely, L’Artisan Parfumeur have already told an ‘orange tree story’ - if we're to take the name literally - in their superb Séville À L’Aube by Bertrand Duchaufour. Indeed, that perfume was the very definition of a scented tale, with a lucid narrative and a clear sense of development, as devised by Denyse Beaulieu, who worked with Duchaufour on the composition. This new release is certainly focussed on an orange tree - indeed, its key note is the plant’s intoxicating blossom - but it doesn't operate like a story at all, preferring instead to present a single, painstakingly detailed snapshot.

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